Gore, Incarnation, 90, 91, 110, shows the immense importance of the controversy with regard to oJmoou>sion and oJmoiou>sion . Carlyle once sneered that ?the Christian world was torn in pieces over a diphthong.? But Carlyle afterwards came to see that Christianity itself was at stake, and that it would have dwindled away to a legend, if the Arians had won. Arius appealed chiefly to logic, not to Scripture. He claimed that a Son must be younger than his Father. But he was asserting the principle of heathenism and idolatry, in demanding worship for a creature. The Goths were easily converted to Arianism. Christ was to them a hero-god, a demigod, and the later Goths would worship Christ and heathen idols impartially.

It is evident that the theory of Arius does not satisfy the demands of Scripture. A created God, a God whose existence had a beginning and therefore may come to an end, a God made of a substance which once was not, and therefore a substance different from that of the Father, is not God, but a finite creature. But the Scripture speaks of Christ as being in the beginning God, with God, and equal with God.

Luther, alluding to <430101>John 1:1, says: ??The Word was God? is against Arius; ?the Word was with God? is against Sabellius.? The Racovian Catechism, Quaes. 183, 184, 211, 236, 237, 245, 246, teaches that Christ is to be truly worshiped, and they are denied to be Christians who refuse to adore him. Davidis was persecuted and died in prison for refusing to worship Christ; and Socinus was charged, though probably unjustly, with having caused his imprisonment. Bartholomew Legate, an Essexman and an Arian was burned to death at Smithfield, March 13, 1613. King James I asked him whether he did not pray to Christ. Legate?s answer was that ?indeed he had prayed to Christ in the days of his ignorance, but not for these last seven years?; which so shocked James that ?he spurned at him with his foot.? At the stake Legate still refused to recant, and so was burned to ashes amid a vast conflux of people. The very next month another Arian named Whiteman was burned at Burton-on-Trent.

It required courage, even a generation later, for John Milton, in his Christian Doctrine, to declare himself a high Arian. In that treatise he teaches that ?the Son of God did not exist from all eternity, is not co-eval or co-essential or co-equal with the Father, but came into existence by the will of God to be the next being to himself, the first born and best loved, the Logos or Word through whom all creation should take its beginnings.?

So Milton regards the Holy Spirit as a created being, inferior to the Son and possibly confined to our heavens and earth. Milton?s Arianism,

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment