Joel Hemphill Believes and Teaches:
Jesus Is The Son of God!
Here is an important question for Christianity and for every individual believer who desires to understand clearly who his God is. Is Jesus Christ "the son of God," or in fact "God himself?" The following statements from Holy Scripture do not leave us to wonder.
Listen to Peter's confession!
"Thou art the Christ (Messiah) , the Son of the living God " (Matt. 16:16).
Please note: Jesus did not correct him, but rather rejoiced and said:
"Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17).
And what was Peter's revelation? Not that Jesus was "God," but " the Christ " (Messiah - the anointed one), the Son of God .
Listen to the disciples' confession!
"Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped him, saying, of a truth thou art the Son of God " (Matt. 14:33). Note: They did not worship him as " God ," but as " the Son of God" (See I Chron. 29:20; Rev. 3:9; John 4:23).
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God " (not God) (Mark 1:1).
"Nathanael answered and said unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God ; thou art the King of Israel" (not God) (John 1:49).
Listen to the great Apostle Paul.
"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God " (not God) (Acts 9:20). Note: This was immediately after Paul's encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road, and his first sermon was not that Jesus is "God," but "that he is the Son of God." Paul spoke of "God" 513 times in his thirteen epistles and not once was he referring to Jesus. To Paul, Jesus was " the Son of God . "
"And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:4).
"And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God " (Gal. 2:20).
"Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God , even the Father ...and when all things shall be subdued unto him (Jesus) , then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all " (I Cor. 15:24, 28).
Listen to the Ethiopian eunuch's confession to Philip before his baptism.
"I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God " (not God) (Acts 8:37).
Listen to the words of Jesus himself.
"Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God " (not God) (John 10:36). Note: The Jews took up stones to stone Jesus, not for claiming he was "God," which he never did , but for claiming he was " the Son of God."
Notice John 5:18:
"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father , making himself equal with God." Do not take the word of Jesus' critics, he had not broken the Sabbath, nor had he claimed to be equal with God !
"My Father is greater than I" (Jesus speaking) (John 14:28).
"I can of mine own self do nothing" (Jesus speaking) (John 5:30)
"Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one , that is God " (Jesus speaking) (Matt. 19:17).
"These things saith the Amen, the beginning of the creation of God " (Jesus speaking) (Rev. 3:14).
"Christ Jesus....did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Phil. 2:6 NASB, NIV, NLT and New English Bible).
"The Jews answered him (Pilate) , we have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God " (not God) (Matt. 19:7).
"He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God " (not God). (Matt. 27:43).
Note: Jesus had been in heaven with his Father and our father , his God and our God for some sixty years when he said in Revelation 2:18:
"These things saith the Son of God " (not God).
Listen to the Apostle John as to why he wrote his gospel.
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) , the Son of God (not God); and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31).
So what must a person believe regarding who Jesus is in order to be saved?
"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God (not God), God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (I John 4:15).
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God " (not God) (I John 5:5).
"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself" (I John 5:10).
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God ; that ye may know that ye have eternal life , and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God " (I John 5:13).
Please note: Not one of the preceding verses says that our salvation is found in believing that Jesus is "God," " God the Son ," or the second person of a Trinity! Then why are we who deny the doctrine of the Trinity, or that Jesus is "God," or "God the Son," fought, hated, despised and un-Christianized by many who hold to the doctrines of the Oneness and the Trinity? Though God's Holy Bible says " Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God (not God), God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (I John 4:5), the man-made Trinitarian creeds of later centuries declared a curse on those who did not agree with their error. The Nicean Council (325 A.D.) which decided that Jesus is "very God of very God," in essence that "the Son is truly God, just as the Father is truly God," attached a written condemnation of anyone denying its Creed, especially those who believed that Christ did not exist in all eternity. With Constantine's approval the Creed was accepted and a decree of banishment was issued against all dissenters. This became the dogma of the Christian church, and for centuries thereafter, to deny its teaching was punishable by death. Thus the Doctrine of the Trinity was promoted by the sword and many died rather than embrace its error. History records that in the following two centuries, thousands upon thousands of "Christians" slaughtered other Christians over the doctrine of the Trinity. That same spirit of hate is alive and well within many today.
Look at the Athanasian Creed.
"Whosoever wishes to be saved must, first of all, hold the Catholic faith, for unless he keeps it whole and inviolate, he will undoubtedly perish for ever . Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity... . Let him therefore who wishes to be saved think this of the Trinity ." It concludes with this statement: "This is the Catholic faith. Unless one believes it faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved ." Thus, one of the most famous Southern Baptist ministers of our time is known for his statement: " Define the Trinity and you will lose your mind; deny the Trinity and you will lose your soul." This is neither sound reasoning nor sound Biblical doctrine, and I have been called to say it!
The Jesus of the Bible is supernaturally conceived, virgin-born, unique Son of God ; savior, redeemer, Messiah and soon coming king; but he is not God! Anyone who says "Jesus is the Son of God" has already said he is not "God," as he cannot be both "God" and "God's Son." Christianity simply cannot have it both ways! Jesus must be either "God" or "God's Son." You decide from Scripture which he is.
What does it mean to be called "the Son of God?"
"Adam, which was the son of God " (Luke 3:38). Note: Whether or not to give the word "son" in Scripture a capital "S" is a choice made by the editor or publisher and does not change the meaning of the word "son." Son had no capital "S" in any of the original of the previous Biblical references.
"I will be his father, and he shall be my son" (God to David regarding Solomon) (II Sam. 7:14).
"And thou shalt say unto Pharoah, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son , even my firstborn : And I say unto thee, Let my son go...." (Ex. 4:22-23).
"When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1).
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us , that we should be called the sons of God ....Beloved, now are we the sons of God " (I John 3:1-2).
So the term "son of God" in Scripture does not mean "God" or "God Junior." It is a very special relationship with the one Most High God, our Father in heaven.
Why is Jesus called "the Son of God? "
In Jesus Christ "the Son of God" we too are called "sons of God." But why is he called "the Son of God?" Listen to the angel Gabriel's response to Mary, who wondered the same thing.
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore (for this reason) also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God " (Luke 1:35).
Note: Gabriel did not say "God" or the "second person of a triune God," is going to move into your womb and come forth looking like a baby, "God in flesh!" But "the power of the Highest" by a creative act of the Holy Ghost shall produce a baby in your womb, which shall be " called the Son of God ."
"But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman , made under the law" (Gal. 4:4).
Notice: God's Son was " made of a woman !" Do you see it? God's Son, " made of a woman ." God is our Father, Jesus is our brother, thus we are:
" Heirs of God , and joint-heirs with Christ " (Rom. 8:17).
Noted Trinitarian scholar Professor James Dunn rightly says in his exhaustive work "Christology In The Making:"
"In Matthew and Luke Jesus' divine sonship is traced back specifically to his birth or conception...he was Son of God because his conception was an act of creative power by the Holy Spirit "(p. 61). "We cannot claim that Jesus believed himself to be the incarnate Son of God" (p. 254).
One of the greatest Trinitarian scholars of our day, Dr. Colin Brown writes:
"It is a common but patent misreading of the opening of John's Gospel to read it as if it said: 'In the beginning was the Son and the Son was with God and the Son was God.' What has happened here is the substitution of Son for Word, and thereby the Son is made a member of the Godhead which existed from the beginning." (Dr. Colin Brown, "Trinity and Incarnation: in Search of Contemporary Orthodoxy," Ex. Auditu; (7); 1991; p. 88-89).
Respected Trinitarian Evangelical Biblical scholar Professor Charles C. Ryrie, writing in his well known work, "Basic Theology" admits:
"It is fair to say that the Bible does not clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity . In fact, there is not even one proof text , if by proof text we mean a verse or passage that 'clearly' states that there is one God who exists in three persons" (p. 89). "The above illustrations prove the fallacy of concluding that if something is not proof texted in the Bible we cannot clearly teach the results... If that were so, I could never teach the doctrine of the Trinity or the deity of Christ or the deity of the Holy Spirit " (p. 90).
Some Biblical facts to consider.
Jesus never once said he is "God." He said, " I said, I am the Son of God " (John 10:36). How can Jesus be God when in fact he himself has a God ? (Matt.27:46; John 20:17; Eph. 1:3, 17; I Pet. 1:3; Rev. 3:12).
Paul said "God" 513 times in his epistles and not once is he referring to Jesus, it is always the Father!
Peter said "God" 46 times in his two epistles and not once is he referring to Jesus, it is always the Father!
James said "God" 17 times in his epistle and not once is he referring to Jesus, it is always the Father!
Jesus Is The Son of God, Not God!