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Satanic Quote: Modernist: believes in Angel Christology

Werner is a flaming modernist typical of almost all university professors of religion. But in utter deception, JW's fail to tell us that Werner labels JW's as Polytheists!

Werner, Martin: The Formation of Christian Dogma

How the Watchtower quoted the source

What they left out to deliberately misrepresent the source and deceive you:

"In the Primitive Christian era there was no sign of any kind of Trinitarian problem or controversy, such as later produced violent conflicts in the Church. The reason for this undoubtedly lay in the fact that, for Primitive Christianity, Christ was . . . a being of the high celestial angel-world, who was created and chosen by God for the task of bringing in, at the end of the ages, . . . the Kingdom of God." (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p125)

The Primitive Christian conception of the Messiah as a high angelic being also explains for us the fact, which is of great doctrinal importance, that in the Primitive Christian era there was no sign of any kind of Trinitarian problem or controversy, such as later produced violent conflicts in the Church. The reason for this undoubtedly lay in the fact that, for Primitive Christianity, Christ was, in terms of late-Jewish apocalyptic, a being of the high celestial angel-world, who was created and chosen by God for the task of bringing in, at the end of the ages, against the daimonic-powers of the existing world, the new aeon of the Kingdom of God. Hence there was no ground for any new problem concerning the relationship of Christ to God. On this decisive point, on which everything depends, further clarification is necessary. Because the relationship of Christ to God the Father was conditioned by the direct and essential connection of the concept of the Christ with the doctrine of angels, that relation-ship was understood unequivocally as being one of 'subordination', i.e. in the sense of the subordination of Christ to God. Wherever in the New Testament the relationship of Jesus to God, the Father, is brought into consideration, whether with reference to his appearance as a man or to his Messianic status, it is conceived of and represented categorically as subordination. And the most decisive Subordinationist of the New Testament, according to the Synoptic record, was Jesus himself (cf. for example Mk. x, 18; xiii, 32; xiv, 36). This original position, firm and manifest as it was, was able to maintain itself for a long time. 'All the great pre-Nicene theologians repre-sented the subordination of the Logos to God." (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p125)

Arianism was doomed. It had indeed, with its reference to Scriptures and the old tradition of the Church, good arguments as its disposal. ... Modalism had criticized the accepted Trinitarian doctrine of the Church as a doctrine of three gods. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p160)

Arianism was doomed. It had indeed, with its reference to Scriptures and the old tradition of the Church, good arguments at its disposal. But it allowed itself in the course of the conflict to be misled into compromises with its opponent, which landed it into difficulties, of which advantage was effectively taken. Compromise finally went so far that the Arians could be charged with polytheism. Before Arius, as we have seen, the Angel-Christology had also already made concessions to the new deification of Christ. But, by the time of Arius, in the Church one had become sensitive about the charge of polytheism. For Modalism had criticised the accepted Trinitarian doctrine of the Church as a doctrine of three gods. The Church was, therefore, prepared to clamber out of the former incompleteness of its doctrine of the divinity of Christ and to follow Modalism, in so far as this was compatible with its essential position. But Arianism now on occasions itself slid, by its compromises, into a similar incompleteness, although the maintenance of the strong original monotheism of Deut. vi, 4/Mk. xii, 29 represented its own initial position. In this respect it had hitherto been no less sensitive than Modalism. Thus Arius argued that a Son, who was, in like sense as God the Father, 'eternal' and consequently god-like, would no more be the Son, but the Brother of the Father. But now many Arians compromised to the effect that the Logos-Son was indeed not true God (but a high angelic-being), but that he was called God, this honour having been graciously bestowed upon him. With this God 'in the second place' the Arians would surely have raised no stir and certainly no 'Arian' controversy in the time of Justin, who, being heir to the Angel-Christology, taught practically the same thing. However, now they were convicted inexorably of polytheism and of deifying the creature. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p160)

"Every significant theologian of the Church in the pre-Nicene period, had actually represented a Subordinationist Christology. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p234)

The one divine Logos-Son of the Church's teaching and the many gods of the Gnostic Plerotna had three fundamental characteristics in common: they had come forth from the Father by generation; they, accordingly, stood to the Father in a relationship of Subordination; they represented the means of mediation between the transcendent God the Father and the terrestrial world. In this connection there must be recalled the fact, established earlier (p. 125), that every significant theologian of the Church, in the pre-Nicene period, had actually represented a Subordinationist Christology. There was also a common scheme in the matter of fundamental structure, within which the one divine Logos-Son of the Church's doctrine occupied a like position to that of the Aeon-deities of the Gnostic system. The criticism of the Gnostic exegesis of the first three chapters of the johannine Gospel, which Irenaeus undertakes, was in fact simply directed to the point that the Gnostic multiplicity of the divine Aeons was to be reduced to the one divine Logos-Son, begotten of the Father, who became flesh in the historical Jesus Christ. This reduction was conceived in terms of the same commonly presupposed and recognised ground scheme. When viewed from the standpoint of that uncompromising monotheism, from which Irenaeus criticised Gnostic polytheism, it signified no fundamental and absolute difference, but only one that was relative. in other words, whether a multiplicity of Aeon-deities was subordinated to a transcendent Father-God, who had generated them, as in Gnosticism, or only a unique Logos-Son was thus subordinated, as the doctrine of the Church, as represented by Irenaeus, taught, was in effect a difference merely of degree. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p234)

"The course of the age-long doctrinal conflicts of the Early Church shows, for example, that the Trinitarian and Christological problems were by no means effectively settled by the doctrinal decrees of Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451). (Martin Werner, The Formation of Christian Dogma, p. 298)

"The dogma of Christ's deity turned Jesus into a Hellenistic redeemer-god and thus was a myth propagated behind which the historical Jesus completely disappeared" (Martin Werner, The Formation of Christian Dogma, paraphrase of p. 298)

"The course of the age-long doctrinal conflicts of the Early Church shows, for example, that the Trinitarian and Christological problems were by no means effectively settled by the doctrinal decrees of Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451). Indeed, among those who had not peremptorily rejected them these new formulations of doctrine were deemed satisfactory only when it was found that they could be understood otherwise than was originally intended. The essential point, however, is the fact that all the new problems, which forced themselves upon Christianity in late Antiquity and with which it had unceasingly to contend as capital issues, owing to this false policy, were problems which were wrongly stated from the first. Consequently, each attempt at solution inevitably degenerated into a controversy of incalculable dimensions. The cause of the Trinitarian-Christological problem, which so perplexed Post-Apostolic Christianity, lay in the transition from the apocalyptic Messiah-Son of Man concept of the Primitive Christian eschatological faith, with its sense of imminence, to the new dogma of the divinity of Jesus. There was certainly no need nor justification, in the inevitable process of de-eschatologising, to substitute, in the interpretation of the person of Jesus, for the original concept of the Messiah simply a Hellenistic analogy such as that of a redeeming divine being. The analogy was no more appropriate or proper than that which had become problematical, and it did not deserve to serve as a substitute for it. indeed, it was wholly invalid. It was a myth, behind which the historical Jesus completely disappeared, because there was nothing common between them. Hippolytus, for example, once expressed himself in the following manner: 'The Word sprang from heaven into the womb of the Virgin; it sprang from the Mother's womb on, to the Tree; it sprang from the Tree into Hades; it sprang up to earth again- Resurrection! It sprang from earth to heaven. Thus it seated itself on the right-hand of the Father.' He believed thereby that he was speaking of the nature of the person of the historical Jesus, but he was in truth describing a product of doctrinal fantasy, which never had a reality in history. The Church in late Antiquity rendered itself incapable of recognising, in the insoluble difficulties of its wrongly stated problems, the perversity of its own conduct and of the doctrinal presuppositions which it had recently chosen to follow. The embarrassing nature of the ensuing situation had already revealed itself in that the Church at the beginning of the transformation-crisis exalted the records of the original form of Christianity as an authoritative supernatural revelation of doctrine, while at the same time having itself to desert this primitive tradition. The result of this, however, was that, in all the perplexity of the problem into which its conduct now landed it, the Church would only look upon the obscure character of this supernatural revelation as actually justifying the exposition of this revelation which it set forth in its newly formulated dogmas, although these dogmas obviously failed as a satisfactory interpretation. By so doing, this Christianity of late Antiquity also laid up trouble for the future. For it was inevitable that some time this wrongly conceived problem of revelation would provoke a new crisis. This entanglement in problems, which were misconceived, throws into strong relief the failure of ancient Catholicism relative to the real problems. In the Trinitarian-Christological confusion failure was also revealed in the matter of comprehending the problem which was truly constituted by the question of the religious significance of the actual historical personality of Jesus. In the course of the necessary process of de-eschatologising the relationship of the idea of the heavenly Messiah of apocalyptic to Jesus of Nazareth proved itself to be one of a myth to an historical personality. Thus was the task set of understanding the proper import of the person of the historical Jesus, for which the myth could have only the sense of a symbolical expression of religious truth. This real problem stood behind the scenes of the furious Trinitarian-Christological disputes of the Church during the period of late Antiquity. And it continued to remain in the back-ground. In a dispute about Christ, which was conducted in such a manner, this problem could not come up for discussion." (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p298)

"Consequently one now began to talk of a divine 'Trinity'. In the Nicene confession-formula of A.D. 325 this concept had been, significantly, lacking. 'Tinitas' = Trias did not signify a kind of 'unity of three', but simply 'three-ness.' (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p252)

Consequently one now began to talk of a divine 'Trinity'. In the Nicene Confession-formula of A.D. 325 this concept had been, significantly, lacking. 'Trinitas'- Trias did not signify a kind of 'unity of three', but simply 'three-ness'. In the adoption of this concept the Gnosticising tendency also showed itself For the ' Trias' -'Trinitas' was first adopted as a doctrinal terminus technicus in the period of the Church's controversy with Gnosticism. As a doctrinal concept, 'trinitas' was of Gnostic origin. Trias - trinitas was one of a number of numerical-concepts employed in Gnostic pleroma speculation, where there was, with the trias, a dyas, tetras, hexas, an ogdoas, dekas, and dodekas. The Valentinian Gnostic had been, accordingly, so far as the existing sources permit us to know, the first Christian theologian to designate the Father, Son and Spirit specifically as a Trias. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p252)

Deception Exposed:

What they fail to tell the same article also says:

The Significance Of The Idea Of The Divine Sonship: The designation of Christ as a pre-existent being was handed on to Post-Apostolic Christianity in the form of the 'Son of God' directly through the teaching of Paul. That the pre-existent Christ was called the 'Son of God' by Paul is evident from the parallel statements of Phil. ii, 6 ff. and Rom. viii, 3. In the Post-Apostolic period, before the time of Justin, the Pre-existent One was designated 'Son of God' already in the Johannine writings, and by Barnabas and Hernias., In so far as there were doctrinal variations in this connection, they existed simply as a result of the differences between the older jewish Christian and the Pauline interpretations of Christ and the attempts at reconciliation which they soon prompted. Because of this, during the Post-Apostolic period, the position of Paul's concept of the pre-existence of Christ was not completely assured. Irenaeus tells of certain who disputed the idea. Things were situated differently from the beginning of the 3rd century. Then serious controversies broke out over the question whether the Pre-existent One was the 'Son'. The occasion was the appearance of Monarchianism. Any one who refused to recognise a pre-existent 'Son' was rejected as a heretic by the Church even before the time of Marcellus of Ancyra and Photinus of Sirmium. in the 4th century. What appeared as a new factor in the Post-Apostolic conception of the divine sonship of Christ was the interpretation, according to which the 'Son of God', as such, should be the 'Begotten' of God, the Father of all. A misunderstanding of the Messianic doctrine of late Judaism and Primitive Christianity was involved here, analogous to that whereby, as Post-Apostolic Christianity had come to suppose, the Primitive Christian term 'Son of Man' should signify Christ as the Son of Mary or as a descendant of Adam. It was now thought that the sense of these Primitive Christian terms was to be deduced directly from their literal meaning, which, of course, did not correspond to the original Primitive Christian interpretation. But the new interpretation of the concept 'Son of God' did correspond to the mythological thought of Hellenistic folk-religion, as is sufficiently attested by the Christian philosopher Justin, when he, by way of example, draws an analogy between Christ, the 'Son of God' and the sons of Zeus. However that may be, it now became a factor of importance that the 'Son of God' idea, according to the new interpretation, could be utilised to illustrate and prove the new dogma of the divinity of Christ. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p218)

Thus Arius argued that a Son, who was, in like sense as God the Father, 'eternal' and consequently god-like, would no more be the Son, but the Brother of the Father. But now many Arians compromised to the effect that the Logos-Son was indeed not true God (but a high angelic-being), but that he was called God, this honour having been graciously bestowed upon him. With this God 'in the second place' the Arians would surely have raised no stir and certainly no 'Arian' controversy in the time of Justin, who, being heir to the Angel-Christology, taught practically the same thing. However, now they were convicted inexorably of polytheism and of deifying the creature. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p160)

Gnostic idea of sexual generation provoked a reaction of mistrust towards the adoption generally of the notion of divine generation, and this attitude remained effective for a long time. In the Johannine-Ignatius theology the subject of the generation of the Son from God the Father was obviously handled with circumspection. It is evident that from time to time in the Early Church the fact that the Prologue to the Johannine Gospel said nothing of the pre-existent divine Logos-Son's being generated was regarded as a problem. In that Prologue the Logos-Son is represented rather as being ever 'with God' from the beginning (John i, i f.). And the Ignatian theology, which stands so close to the Johannine, describes the pre-existent Son exactly as the 'Unbegotten'. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p220)

"This sound conclusion meant in fact a recognition that the Apostolic and Primitive Christian Messianic name 'Son of God', attested by the New Testament, had originally nothing to do with the notion of an act of generation by God." (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p223)

Thus in the great Gnostic systems, as later in Neoplatonism, the Nous held the place within the Church in its doctrine assigned to the Logos. ... Sometimes Philo is clearly the source of inspiration, sometimes Prov. viii, 22 ff., sometimes it is a question of an attempt at a compromise between this key passage of the Old Testament and John i, I. (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p 226)

With Justin and Irenaeus the process of de-eschatologising the Primitive Christian conception of Christ, assisted by the Logos doctrine, was able even to achieve the transformation of the apocalyptic Christ into the Platonic World-Soul." (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p 228)

Our comment

Werner is a flaming modernist typical of almost all university professors of religion. But in utter deception, JW's fail to tell us that Werner labels JW's as Polytheists! ("Compromise finally went so far that the Arians could be charged with polytheism." ... "However, now they [Arians] were convicted inexorably of polytheism and of deifying the creature." Werner)

The fact that Werner says that Arians and Modalists viewed the Nicenes as approaching polytheism is irrelevant, because we reject most of what Werner says since he is a raving modernist!

We admit that Werner takes the view that the original view of Christians was that Jesus was a created angel. "But Apollinaris became the father of Monophysitism. And in the dispute between Monophysitism and Dyophysitism in the following period the Church was rent asunder. This was the price which ft had to pay for its earlier victory over Arianism. In Arianism the Church had suppressed and condemned as heretical the original Primitive Christian doctrine of Christ, namely, the Angel-Christology. In its place it had set the new dogma of the divinity of Christ. out of this common basic dogma the 'Monophysites' and the 'Dyophysitcs' could set forth their explanations how the Christ of primitive teaching could also be a human being." (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, p266) But Werner also believes that the original view of Christians was that Christ would return within the lifetime of the Apostles. In fact this is the primary intent of the book, not Christology. Notice this on the pack cover of the book: "Starting from Albert Schweitzer's bold thesis that Jesus and his followers believed in the imminence of his Second Coming and the accompanying end of the world, Martin Werner goes on to study the effect on original Christian beliefs of the failure of the Second Coming to take place in the lifetime of the first generation of Christians. He gives a clear exposition of the basic characteristics of this vital historical development, backed by an exhaustive study of the source material." (The Formation of Christian Dogma, An Historical Study of its Problems; Martin Werner, back cover)

In spite of Werners views, he is of little help to Jehovah's Witnesses, for he trashes many elements of what they believe in the nature of God.

We simply say, Werner, a modernist, was wrong on many things. First, his primary premise that the first century Christians were let down and directionless when the second coming DIDN'T happen as all of them believed. Werner argues that this led to dramatic changes in doctrine. Second, one of many changes of doctrine he says this letdown catalized, was the invention of a creator God incarnate in Christ. We flatly deny that Werner was right on either of his opinions of "primitive apostolic faith" namely, that first century Christians expected the second coming in their lifetime and that they viewed Jesus as a created angel-turned-saviour.

Werners comments that early faith was subordinist, is exactly what Bible trinitarians believe and what the Bible says!

Werner, a "modernist and liberal theologian" is about the best Anti-Trinitarians can find as an authority.

Go To Alphabetical Index Of Deceptive Quotes

Written By Steve Rudd, Used by permission at: www.bible.ca

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