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De Moor V:22: The Deity of the Son Defended, Part 4

Today’s Anti-Trinitarians follow the footsteps of these; whether they now yield unto the opinion of Arius with Erasmus Johannes, who at Claudiopolis[1] in the Assembly of Anti-Trinitarians served as minister, with whom Socinus disputed this matter, who published this disputation in 1595, republished in the Operibus Socini, tome 2, pages 489-528, with Erasmus contending, that Christ was the Only-Begotten Son of God, even before He was born of a Virgin; but with Faustus Socinus asserting the contrary position, inasmuch as he also inserted in his Institutioni Religionis Christianæ a Refutationem sententiæ Arianorum de Christi Essentia, opera, tome I, pages 656-663. That is, Socinus, with his many followers, adopted rather the error of Paul of Samosata and Photinus, denying that Christ existed before He was born of Mary, and so esteeming Him as a Mere Man, although far superior to all others with respect to Office, Gifts, and Glory. Thus Socinus in his Responsione priori ad Parænesem Andreæ Volani,[2]page 48: Paul of Samosata, Phontinus, and others, thought, as we do, that Jesus Christ did not actually exist before He was born of the Mary. In the secunda ad Volanum Responsione, page 239, Socinus highly extols Photinus as the very best of Men; and at the same time says that he is certain that he keenly defended both in speech and writing our exact opinion (namely, that of the Socinians). Again, speaking also of Paul of Samosata in particular, Socinus writes on page 255 of the same book, Now, as far as Paul of Samosata is concerned, we judge that he did indeed agree with us in this, that he denied that the Son of God actually existed before He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary; and so we believe that his whole opinion concerning the person of Christ is not at all far from ours: see HOORNBEECK, Appartu ad Controversiam Socinianam, page 13, and Socinianismo confutato, tome 2, book I, chapter I, pages 1-6, 67, 68, 70. Thus the Catechesis Racoviana, chapter I de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 2-4, pages 47, 48, asserts that this alone ought to be understood concerning the person of Christ, that He is true Man by nature; yet in no way mere Man, since, because of His miraculous conception and birth, from the womb He is the Son of God, Luke 1:35; but He by no means has a divine nature, since this is repugnant both to reason and to the divine books: to which compare ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ on the place cited, § I-XXXVI, pages 169-182. In the same place, the Catechesis Racoviana, question 30, page 30, affirms that the highest conjunction does indeed obtain between God the Father and Christ, but that they are diverse in Essence: in addition, compare VAN CATTENBURGH, Spicilegio Theologiæ Christianæ, book II, chapter XVI, dissertation 1, § 13, pages 180-182; PETAVIUS’ Dogmata theologica, tome 2, preface to book III, pages 128-130.

The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, according to our AUTHOR, is the sheer Unbelief of Corrupt Reason. Hence they persuade themselves that the Son is necessarily inferior to the Father, even with respect to Divinity. They also suppose that the Names of God, even Jehovah, attributed to Christ, are Names of Office and appellative, the contrary of which appeared in Chapter IV, § 2, 7. They even impudently contend that the doctrine concerning the Divinity of the Son proceeded from the school of Simon Magus: see BULL in primitiva et Apostolica Traditione de Divinitate Jesu Christi contra Zuickerum, chapter II, pages 9 and following.

Now, Lælius Socinus[3] was a disciple of Michael Servetus, whom the Socinians receive as their brother and all but a father: this Servetus, with his followers, is believed to be indicated and condemned under the title of the new Samosatenians of the Confessionis Augustanæ, article I: see CLOPPENBURG’S historical Preface to his Compendiolo Socinianismi confutato, opera, tome 2, pages 325-329; HOORNBEECK’S Appartum ad Controversiam Socinianam, pages 16-21; WALCH’S Miscellanea Sacra, book I, Exercitation V, § 2, 7-13, pages 123, 129-136.

Simon Episcopius

Moreover, speaking of Simon Episcopius and his followers, HOORNBEECK, in his Socinianismo confutato, tome 2, book I, chapter I, section I, pages 68-70, writes: Either I am blind, or Simon Episcopius, the leader of the Remonstrants, has the same opinon as Erasmus Johannes, that Christ existed as the Son of God before His birth from Mary, and that He, created by God before other things, was certainly not of one and the same essence with the Father…. So that certain nothing is more manifest, that that the Remonstrants, following Episcopius, are all Arians.

Hobbes often says that Christ is God and Man, inasmuch as He is a Man whom God willed from eternity to bring forth in a supernatural manner through the Holy Spirit; a Man who is able to make all things what He would have them to be, Appendice, chapter 1: see COCQUIUS, Anatome Hobbesianismi, locus XIV, chapter XXVII, page 524.

On the other hand, against the Arians and Socinians genuine Mennonites roundly confess that Jesus is the Son of God, ὁμοούσιον/ homoousios/consubstantial with the Father, eternally begotten by the Father in His divine Essence; not a creature, but one true and eternal God with the Father; see RYSDYK, Verdediging van de Rechtzinnigheid der ware Mennoniten, § 29, 30, pages 77-79, 89-104.

[1] In Transylvania. [2] Andreas Volanus (1530-1610) was a Polish Reformed theologian. He was involved in controversy with both the Socinians and the Jesuits. [3] Lælius Socinus (1525-1562) was an Italian humanist and Anti-Trinitarian. He exercised no small influence over his more famous nephew, Faustus Socinus.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Sep 23, 2021
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