October 29, 2020

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

Many who deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ (Arianism in all its forms for example) have attempted to make the historical case that early Christians prior to the Council of Nicea didn’t believe in such things as the idea that Christ, in addition to His human nature, possesses fully the Divine nature in the same way that God the Father and God the Spirit do. While the orthodox Christian may respond with an appeal to a plethora of early documents such as Ignatius’ (A.D. 30-107) statements that demonstrate a high Christology in the Ante-Nicene period, and rightly so, the Christian may also look to the opponents of the early church in that period as well (it goes without saying, of course, that Scripture is sufficient in itself to deal with this issue). Toward the close of the second century, Celsus, a pagan philosopher, wrote a polemical work against Christians called On The True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians. In this book, he made an observation, albeit inaccurate, about the Christians of his day and their worship of Christ as God:

 

Now, if the Christians worshiped only one God they might have reason on their side. But as a matter of fact they worship a man who appeared only recently. They do not consider what they are doing a breach of monotheism; rather, they think it perfectly consistent to worship the great God and to worship his servant as God. And their worship of this Jesus is the more outrageous because they refuse to listen to any talk about God, the father of all, unless it includes some reference to Jesus: Tell them that Jesus, the author of the Christian insurrection, was not his son, and they will not listen to you. And when they call him Son of God, they are not really paying homage to God, rather, they are attempting to exalt Jesus to the heights. [1]

 

 

 

[1]  Celsus, On The True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians, R. Joseph Hoffmann, Translator (Oxford: Oxford University, 1987), p. 116.