Arianism

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This article is one in a series of studies on William Branham and the Trinity - you are currently on the topic that is in bold:

Arianism is effectively a belief in two gods, an uncreated and a created, a supreme and a secondary god, and thus is really heathen polytheism. It holds Christ to be a mere creature, and yet the creator of the world.[1]

Some followers of William Branham, in particular Lee Vayle and his followers, preach a similar view of Jesus Christ.

History in the Christian church

Arius (256–336 A.D.) was a presbyter in the Baucalis region of Alexandria, Egypt. He began a controversy around 318 over the nature of Christ’s relation to the Father.[2]

The view advanced by Arius was as follows:

  1. God was not always Father, but only after He begat (i.e. created) the Son.
  2. Wisdom and the Word (Logos) dwell within this God, but they are powers, not persons.
  3. To create the universe, God brought into being an independent substance as the instrument by which all things were created. This Being is termed, in Scripture, Wisdom, Son, Image, Word, etc.
  4. As regards His substance, the Son is a separate being from the Father, different from Him in substance and nature. Like all rational creatures, the Son is endowed with free will, and consequently capable of change.
  5. The Son is not truly God, but is only the so-called Word and Wisdom. He has no absolute, but only a relative, knowledge of the Father.
  6. The Son is not, however, a creature like other creatures. He is the perfect creature, and has become God, so that we may term Him ‘the only-begotten God,’ etc.
  7. Christ took a real body, but it had the Logos taking the place of the soul. From the Gospel record, we see that this Logos is not an absolutely perfect being, but is capable of suffering.
  8. Amongst other created beings, the Holy Ghost is to be placed beside the Son as a second, independent substance. According to Arius, apparently, the Spirit is the creation of the Son.

Such, then, was Arianism—a theory of the mutual relations of the Persons in the Trinity based nominally on the words of Scripture, but arrived at really by the methods of the heathen philosophers.[3]

The Council of Nicaea in AD 325 was involved in resolving the dispute over Arianism.

The teachings of Lee Vayle

Lee Vayle denied the deity of Jesus Christ and preached Arianism. Like Arius, Vayle asserted that the Son of God was a subordinate entity to God the Father. A similar doctrine is also taught by Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons.

...the church has made the great mistake in making Jesus equal to God — which he is in a certain way — but he’s not God. He’s not Deity. I’m sorry, but he’s not, because God is not in him. No way. What God was in him is not Deity, same as what God is in you is not Deity, concerning Deity Himself, which is Sovereign God and Creator and Maintainer.[4]
Now with the subject of sovereignty, what I wanted to do was to bring to you the understanding that Jesus is not Deity. When Bro. Branham said, “He’s God, but he’s not God,” in our minds we placed that with the incarnation, and that is true. But, when you realize that in the incarnation, which is to come, when that Spirit that’s in our midst, and that’s the Spirit of God, He will become incarnate to us again.
...
We’re going to talk about, as I said, in the fact of sovereignty, Jesus cannot be Deity. Now Jesus can’t be Deity when we consider true Deity.
...
Jesus definitely is not God. He is the Son of God. And his form, as I’ve mentioned already, Bro. Branham said, “The only difference between God and His Son is that sons have beginnings.”
What do you mean, “sons have beginnings?” Well, sons are procreated. The thought of having a son does not give anybody the ability to create one. The substance must be there in order to be passed on to that person, to bring that person in the likeness of the progenitor.
So, Jesus was the Son of God, which he was. That life had to be already there, and that life simply had to be passed on in a mold, and that mold would have to be what was ever within the intrinsicality and essentiality of Almighty God. That’s why Jesus was the image of God. And that’s why, when God said, “Let us make man in our image,” it was made in the image of Jesus, and it came out a man. That’s why Bro. Branham said, “God was the first man; Jesus, the second; and Adam, the third,” because God comes in threes. What for? Not as persons: one, two, three gods, but in God doing what He did to bring forth Himself through children. As it is said by people, “Men and women achieve a certain immortality by having children.” But, if the line suddenly dies, the immortality is gone.
So, Jesus can’t be Deity, when we consider true Deity. He is the Son of Deity, Son of God, and since elevated by God, he is worthy of worship, but not as God is worshipped. He can’t be. It is wise to regard Jesus, Son of God, in the light of Hebrews, as written by Paul, and glorifying God for His wisdom and power, for so setting us all in divine order.
...
And, how was he equal with God? Because he was the First-begotten Son of God. So therefore, positively, he was equal in the inheritance, because it split the kingdom right down the middle. But God didn’t split Himself down the middle. God didn’t split His sovereignty down the middle. He had an equality, the same as Bro. Branham says, “Satan was one time equal with God and led in the worship.”
Was he equal with God as per Godhead? Oh, don’t be ridiculous. Was he equal, then, in the majesty and the glory and the power? Don’t be ridiculous. He had to be a controller of some description, as the great CEOs are of all the money you’ve got invested in stock, and they act as though it were their own, with their golden parachutes, and their divvying up, and their perks, and God knows what.
...
Now again, in Jn 14:6 - I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (So, he’s not the Father, and he’s not God. “There’s one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” [1 Tim 2:5])
And It places it right there that Jesus is not God. See? I’ll tell you: I believe calling Jesus ‘Deity’, which we’ve had people here do that, is an entire misunderstanding or no understanding of Seed: that God is the Father, the Progenitor, the Author, the All in all of a race of His Own children, genetically, legitimately, spiritually, physically, every single way. God is not our Creator; He is our Father; He is our Source; He is our Progenitor. Call it what you want. Out of the Great Fountain, God, came every one of His sons, and nothing else came from that Lifeline, because the Bible says, “In him was life.”[5]


Footnotes

  1. Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 3 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), 649.
  2. Dennis E. Groh, “Arius, Arianism,” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 384.
  3. F. J. Foakes-Jackson, “Arianism,” ed. James Hastings, John A. Selbie, and Louis H. Gray, Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh; New York: T. & T. Clark; Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908–1926), 777.
  4. Lee Vayle, Godhead Q&A #4: Tangibility of God, 11-05-2000
  5. Lee Vayle, Godhead #14: The Man, Jesus Christ, Is Not Deity, August 6, 2000


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