The controversy between those who maintain and those who deny that God is the Father of all men is merely nonsensical. God is physically and naturally the Father of all men; he is morally and spiritually the Father only of those who have been renewed by his Spirit. All men are sons of God in a lower sense by virtue of their natural union with Christ; only those are sons of God in the higher sense who have joined themselves by faith to Christ in a spiritual union. We can therefore assent to much that is said by those who deny time universal divine fatherhood, as, for example,
C. M. Mead, in Am. Jour. Theology, July, 1897:577-600, who maintains that son-ship consists in spiritual kinship with God, and who quotes, in support of this view, <430841>John 8:41-44 ? ?If God were your Father, ye would love me? Ye are of your father, the devil? = the Fatherhood of God is not universal; <400544>Matthew 5:44, 45 ? ?Love your enemies? in order that ye may become sons of your Father who is in heaven?; <430112>John 1:12 ? ?as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name. Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit, 103 ? ?That God has created all men does not constitute them his sons in the evangelical sense of the word. The son-ship on which the New Testament dwells so constantly is based solely on the experience of the new birth. The doctrine of universal son-ship rests either on a daring denial or a daring assumption ? the denial of the universal fall of man through sin, or the assumption of the universal regeneration of man through the Spirit. In either case the teaching belongs to ?another gospel?
( <480107>Galatians 1:7), the recompense of whose preaching is not a beatitude, but an anathema? ( <480108>Galatians 1:8).?
But we can also agree with much that is urged by the opposite party, as for example, Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, I:193 ? ?God does not become the Father, but is the heavenly Father, even of those who become his sons. This Fatherhood of God, instead of the kingship, which was the dominant idea of the Jews, Jesus made the primary doctrine. The relation is ethical, not the Fatherhood of mere origination and, therefore, only those who live aright are true sons of God. 209 ? Mere kingship, or exaltation above the world, led to Pharisaic legal servitude and external ceremony and to Alexandrian philosophical speculation. The Fatherhood apprehended and announced by Jesus was essentially a relation of love and holiness.? A . H. Bradford, Age of Faith, 116-120 ? ?There is something sacred in humanity but systems of theology once began with the essential and natural worthlessness of man. If there is no Fatherhood, then selfishness is logical but Fatherhood carries with it identity of nature between the parent and the child. Therefore every laborer is of the nature of God and he who has the nature of God cannot be treated like the products of factory and
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