De Moor V:22: The Deity of the Son Defended, Part 1

The first four centuries after the birth of Christ were abounding in those that were opposed to the True Deity of the Son of God; see HOORNBEECK’S Apparatum ad Controversiam Socinianismi, pages 7-12; BULL’S Judicium Ecclesiæ Catholicæ de Necessitate credendi, quod Dominus noster Jesus Christus sit verus Deus, chapters II, III, pages 13-29; PETAVIUS’ Dogmata theologica, tome 2, book II, chapters VI-XIII; GERHARD’S Loca Communia, tome I, de Deo Patre et Æterno ejus Filio, chapter VII, pages 143, 144; VAN CATTENBURGH’S Spicilegium Theologiæ Christianæ, book II, chapter XVI, § 1-9, pages 162-170; WESSELIUS’ Nestorianismum et Adoptianismum redivivum confutatum, preface, ** 1, 2.



Concerning the Ebionites,[1] EUSEBIUS, Historia ecclesiastica, book V, chapter VIII, Οἱ Ἑβιωναῖοι, ἐξ Ἰωσὴφ αὐτὸν (Deum hominem factum, Virginis filium) γεγενῆσθαι φάσκουσι, the Ebionites assert the He (God made man, the Son of the Virgin) was begotten of Joseph. AUGUSTINE, de Hæresibus, chapter X, The Ebionites say that Christ was merely a man; on which place see DANÆUS in his Opusculis, pages 927, 928; add SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century I, chapter XIV, columns 577, 578; ITTIG, de Hæresiarchis Ævi Apostolici, section I, chapter VI, where in § 1 he also meets various that deny that there was ever any heretic by the name of Ebion: to whom is also to be added JACOB RHENFERD[2] in his Dissertatione de fictis Judæorum et Judaizantium Hæresibus, Opera philological, pages 125-164, whom WALCH, Miscellaneis Sacris, book III, Exercitation VIII, § 2, page 733, mentions as one attempting too rashly, against the great consensus of ancient Writers, to strike the Ebionites from the number of heretics denying the Deity of Christ: see at the same time what things VITRINGA also judges concerning the Ebionites, holding Ebion as a completely fictious man, Observationum sacrarum, book V, chapter X, § 8, with BUDDEUS in turn arguing contrariwise, de Ecclesia Apostolica, chapter V, § 6, pages 487-528. You might with good reason say that ITTIG is too easy and indulgent toward Le Clerc, since, after those things that he had written in his Dissertatione de Hæresiarchis, Centuries I, II, concerning Ebion, author of the sect of the Ebionites, in his Appendice ad Dissertationem illam, § 24, section I, chapter VI, he asserts himself willing to contend vigorously with no man, whether such an Ebion existed, or the Ebionites obtained this name from the character of their doctrine; tacitly granting to Le Clerc that among others more ancient than Epiphanius even TERTULLIAN is silent concerning this Ebion. Nevertheless, while Ebion is mentioned, not only, as ITTIG had previously taught, Dissertatione de Hæresiarchis, section I, chapter VI, § 1, in the Appendice ad Tertullianum de Præscriptionibus, chapter XLVIII; but also, with BUDDEUS observing in de Ecclesia Apostolica, chapter V, § 6, page 495, in that very book of Tertullian, chapter XXXIII, And he, writing to the Galatians, inveighs against the observers and defenders of circumcision and the law: it is the heresy of Ebion: and also in de Carne Christi, chapter XIV, This opinion will be able to agree with that of Ebion, who determined that Jesus was a mere man, and only of the seed of David, not the Son of God. BULL, in Judicio Ecclesiæ Catholicæ, etc., chapter II, § 2, Of that impiety, which denies the Divinity of our Savior, the founders and architects were Cerinthus[3]and Ebion, who vexed Christ’s Church in the Apostolic age itself. This only was the difference between the opinions of Cerinthus and Ebion concerning the Lord Jesus, that the former was separating Jesus from the Christ, and determined that Jesus was indeed a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary, upon whom the Christ descended from above after His Baptism, and, with the passion approaching, withdrew from Him, and returned to His Pleroma; but Ebion (that that was indeed the name of a man, who spread his heresy especially in Asia, although certain learned men think otherwise, we shall show below) was affirming that that same Jesus was also the Christ, and Jesus Christ, the son of Joseph and Mary, from the very beginning to the end of life, and that he was nothing other than a man, etc.

[1] The Ebionites were a second century Judaizing sect, who insisted upon the keeping of Jewish religious rites and laws. They denied the Deity of Jesus Christ. The existence of a second century heresiarch by the name of Ebion is a matter of some dispute. [2] Jacob Rhenferd (1654-1712) served as Professor of Oriental Languages at Franeker. [3] Cerinthus (c. 100) was a heretic: Like the Ebionites, he taught his followers to keep the Jewish law for salvation, and denied the divinity of Jesus (believing that the Christ came to Him at His baptism); like some Gnostics, he denied that the Supreme God made the world, and believed that the bodyless, spiritual Christ inhabited the man Jesus. He also anticipated a millennium of earthly pleasures after the Second Coming but before the General Resurrection.

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