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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Heresy of Monarchianism

TrinityMonarchianism is the belief that the godhead is singular, consisting of one monarchia. It emerged in the second century as a reaction to the Gnostic belief that in the beginning there was more than one all-powerful being, a good god and an evil counterpart. There were two varieties of Monarchianism: “modal” Monarchianism and “Adoptionist” Monarchianism. Each tried to explain the relationship between God, the Father, and Jesus, his Son, in different ways. “Adoptionist” Monarchianism suggested that Jesus was a human being in every way until He was adopted by the Father to be his Son. The more pervasive variety of Monarchianism was Modalism, the belief that the Father, Son and Spirit are numerically one and the same appearing at different times in history under different forms.

The Westminster Confession of Faith gives us the correct orthodox view of the Trinity in Chapter II – “Of God, and of the Holy Trinity”: “In the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.”

In the Scriptures, Godhead denotes that infinite, eternal, and unchangeable nature, or essence, which is not peculiar to the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost, but common to all the three. The distinction in the Godhead is characterized by the word person. Each of the Sacred Three is truly God.

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