Saturday visitors at your doorstep remind you that the finer points of doctrine can be tricky, especially for a layperson. So much is at stake, however, that you often feel like you’d like to say more, but you’re not sure how. Part of the solution comes in recognizing the doctrinal error and its place in history. RTB theologian and author Kenneth Samples discussed the origin of Arianism on a recent edition of Creation Update. The Arian heresy (not Aryan, as in Nazi) stems from the teachings of third—to fourth—century theologian Arius of Alexandria (c. 250–336). Arius held that Jesus was a created being and, although very much like God, not equal to God. The Son was not of the same substance as the Father. Ken explains the heresy in detail on the program, but I found his discussion with cohosts Hugh Ross and Jeff Zweerink insightful. Ken outlines a flow from the Trinity to the Incarnation to the Atonement to the Resurrection. If you’re wrong at the outset then you’re wrong all the way down. As an example, if Jesus was not truly God he could not bear the weight of divine wrath from the Father. If he was not truly man, he could not fulfill God’s law perfectly and credit that to humanity’s account. The very gospel is at risk. Fine, you say, but why is Average Joe delving into doctrinal issues when the blog says “Science Apologetics for the Nonscientist”? Well, for one, RTB specializes in science apologetics but doesn’t stop there. Philosophical and theological considerations always follow. Ultimately, the big doctrines come into view. RTB defends the inerrancy of Scripture and exists to remove obstacles so that people might consider the claims of Christ. Secondly, a practical reason. If I can speak for other laypeople, sometimes I wish I had a little better understanding of historical errors like Arianism so I can be better prepared for visitors from the Kingdom Hall or the LDS Church. In the past, most conversations have been brief and have ended awkwardly. Maybe the next one will result in more than a “let’s agree to disagree.”
Resource: Without a Doubt, by Kenneth R. Samples, 120–33.