April 30, 2008

Christ Gospel Church on the Lord Jesus Christ: Part One

(Christ Gospel Church is an international sect with affiliate churches in half a dozen African countries and shortwave broadcasts to many others. You can read the previous posts in this series here: What Does Christ Gospel Church Teach?, Christ Gospel Church on Scripture, Christ Gospel Church on Mankind, Christ Gospel Church on God)

IV. The Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ was both Divine and Human. As the firstborn of every creature, Christ existed in Eternity-past (Colossians 1:15-19). Then, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary in present time (Luke 1:27-35), which was the fulfillment of Isaiah's Prophecy in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14). At the end of Jesus Christ's three-and-one-half years of Ministry on Earth, during which time he went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed, raising the dead, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ was delivered up to be crucified, not because He ever had sinned, but because He determinedly died for the sins of the whole world. On the third day, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father (Acts 10:38-40; Acts 10:38-40). He ever lives at God's Right Hand to make intercession for mankind (Hebrews 7:25; Acts 7:56).[1]
When seeking to comprehend CGC's doctrine of God, one's attention must move toward their understanding of Jesus Christ.

A. The Beginning of Jesus

Confirming Our Faith In the Lord Jesus ChristWhereas the Word is part of the eternal God, Jesus had a beginning. "The same Bible that teaches the existence of a God, known as Father, Word (Christ), and Holy Ghost, without a beginning or an end, also teaches us about the beginning of God's Only Begotten Son, Whose Name is Jesus. . . . Whereas the Christ had no beginning, the Scriptures plainly declare the Son's beginning in Eternity-Past."[2] Hicks also explains how the Son was brought forth:

Since God's Son was brought forth, it is evident from the meaning of this expression that the Father-Mother God travailed Him into being in Spirit and Soul Form. The Scriptures state clearly that the Son was brought into existence, and since the Son did not appear in a physical, terrestrial Body until untold ages later, when a special, terrestrial body was prepared for Him in the Virgin Mary's womb, it is evident that He existed as a Spirit and Soul in Eternity-Past. [3]
Even though Jesus did not begin with a physical body, as a tripartite being his spirit and soul were united with a spiritual and celestial body. "The Spiritual and Celestial Form that clothed the Only Begotten Son consisted of Christ the Word and the Lord of Glory from the Father."[4]

After Jesus was brought forth, he created all things. "Jesus was the firstborn of every creature. The Father brought forth His Only Begotten Son in His own glorious Image before any thing was made that was made. Then, through His Son, God created all things."[5] Besides his position as creator, how is Jesus different than other humans or angels? Hicks replies, "The Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, is unique because His entire Being came forth out of God's own Procreative Loins. . . . The Son of God was begotten completely out of God's Loins. The bodies of men and Angels were made by God's Hands."[6] While Jesus had a beginning, as did other humans and angels, he also remains one-of-a-kind.

B. The Relationship of Jesus and the Word

Therefore, Jesus and the Word of God (also known as Christ) are not the same. Hicks compares the two: "The Name Jesus was given to the Man-Child born to the Virgin Mary through Immaculate Conception. Thus, the Man Jesus had a beginning; He was begotten by God and sent to earth in a human Body. . . . The Name Christ refers to the Son's eternal Divinity. The Christ has always existed, for He is the Word of God."[7] So then, how are the two related? "When God's Breath went forth, some of God's Word went forth with it, and this Word, the Christ, remained joined to the Son from the Son's birth out of God's Procreative Loins."[8] Elsewhere, she clearly explains the relationship between Jesus and the Word: "The Christ, the Word, was in Jesus in Person."[9] So, the Word is not Jesus, the Word is in Jesus.

However, Jesus does not manifest the Word alone. All three members of the Godhead are displayed in Jesus Christ. "Viewed in His Unity, God is One. Viewed in the outflow of His Working and Revelation to mankind, God is Three, and all Three are wonderfully manifested in the Person of Jesus Christ."[10] Hicks further develops this threefold manifestation: "the Word gives us God's portrait; the Holy Ghost leads us to God's portrait and gives Life and Love to it; the Father's Glory brings the Portrait forth and expresses it visibly to others through deeds of love and kindness that one man commits toward another, as he is motivated by Christ's Love that dwells in his heart."[11]

While Jesus the Son was begotten with Christ the Word and the Lord of Glory, he was not eternally joined to them until his resurrection. "On resurrection morning, God the Father deified the Man Jesus by giving Him an eternal Union with the Lord and Christ."[12] This was because of his humiliation when dwelling in a body of flesh:

. . .the Son's scope of human power and influence was limited as long as He dwelled in a Body of Flesh. Restrained to being in one place at one time, at any given moment, Jesus could minister to just a few people, comparatively speaking. But the Father removed these limitations when the Son arose from the dead because His human Name was then joined eternally to the Divine Names of Lord and Christ. . . .

Upon Jesus Christ's Resurrection, an eternal Union was established between God and man; Divinity and Humanity now dwelt together in a Oneness of Relationship. From His Resurrection onward, Jesus' Humanity was Deified or made Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient.[13]
Since the resurrection, Jesus is forever to be known as the Lord Jesus Christ.

[1]Articles of Faith, 4.
[2]Hicks, Confirming Our Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, 6. Emphasis in original.
[3]Ibid, 10. Emphasis in original.
[4]Ibid, 11.
[5]Ibid, 38.
[6]Ibid, 9. Emphasis in original.
[7]Ibid, 70. Emphasis in original.
[8]Ibid, 89.
[9]Hicks, Confirming Our Faith in God, 55.
[10]Ibid, 52. Emphasis in original.
[11]Ibid, 54.
[12]Ibid, 105.
[13]Hicks, Confirming Our Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, 98. Emphasis in original.