Brethren Archive

F.E.R. Heterodox on the Person of the Christ

by William Kelly

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Transcript:


Not sure of date first published, it is in BT 1904




Comments:
Collop said ...
Monday, Oct 4, 2021 : 20:44
Nick Fleet said ...
It is not to WK's credit that he penned such an attack on FER. It ought to be possible to counter error without resorting to personal insults. In any case, those who wish to correct error ought first to be clear as to the truth themselves. Many of FER's opponents, in accusing him of error, insisted on others accepting statements which were themselves unscriptural, primarily the "union" of the two natures in one. I'm still waiting for someone to show me where in Scripture I can find such a thought. It might just be right to speak of the two natures (God and Manhood) in One (one Person) but not in one nature. "Union" is only possible between two previously existing separate things (for example husband and wife). Scripture is silent in respect of much of this holy subject and, where that is the case, we ought not to speculate. I'm not defending everything FER said, by any means, but his opponents are guilty of pressing things which cannot be supported by Scripture. Also, WK condemns FER for distinguishing between "the Son" and "Son of God" in 1 John, but I heard the very same (and rightly so, I think) from a leading teacher from Germany here in the UK.
Tuesday, Oct 5, 2021 : 02:10
Timothy Stunt said ...
Similarly depressing are WK's smear tactics in the second paragraph. Because BWN's orthodoxy was almost universally impugned among Brethren, WK gratuitously links FER to BWN 'the whipping boy' so as to establish FER's guilt by association. All the more reason for Nick Fleet so rightly to observe: "It ought to be possible to counter error without resorting to personal insults." Timothy.
Tuesday, Oct 5, 2021 : 04:33
Marty said ...

The Holy Spirit must be grieved by some of our interpretations of Scripture, but must be much more grieved by how we mistreat those who disagree with us.

Tuesday, Oct 5, 2021 : 04:48
Mark said ...
Unless the context in which Mr Raven made his various statements is known, it is rather like listening to one side of a telephone conversation, and wrong deductions therefore are likely to be drawn. The background needs to be taken into account.

Bypassing the strong language used by WK against Mr Raven, there are two points in question. The first is a concept around at the time that by incarnation the Lord Jesus was two persons. The second is the complaint about the distinction made between Christ as the Son and the Son of God.

As to the first point, John in his gospel succinctly states that ‘the Word became flesh’ (Jn. 1:14). It might be that nobody would think of the Incarnate Word as thereby being two persons. Nevertheless, one critic of FER has written, “There could not be the union of God and man in Christ, unless He was a human person as well as a divine person.” (J Hennessy, An Answer to What is Ravenism? page 10.)

If this be thought insufficient evidence for Mr Hennessy deducing the notion of two persons in Christ, he then wrote, “They [FER and others] make the human nature in Christ a thing only, not a person.” (Ibid, page 22 – italics JH.) That is, Mr Hennessy and those aligned with him regarded Christ’s human nature as a person.

Can it not be seen therefore why Mr Raven was objecting to the expression “the union of God and man” with regard to Christ?

In line with this, when Mr Kelly wrote about Christ taking manhood into His person, he might have known what he meant by it, but such an expression leads to confusion. A brother more recently taught, “That perfect manhood conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, was not a person in itself, but a nature. Though body, soul, and spirit, it was personal only because the Eternal Person of the Son of God took it to Himself. It had no separate personality. He did not take a man to Himself but he took Manhood.”

While doubtless written with the good intention of proving that the manhood of Christ was a nature and not a person, it is erroneous nevertheless. Let us drop these attempts to go beyond Scripture, and be content with those things made known to us therein. The explanations given by the Angel Gabriel to Joseph and Mary are quite sufficient.

Regarding the second point and difference made between “Son” and “Son of God” it would be good if brethren read what Mr Darby says on the matter in the Synopsis on Psalm 2 verse 7, Matthew 1 verse 25, Luke 1 verse 35, John 1 verse 49, 1 Corinthians 15 verse 24, Hebrews 1 verse 5, and in footnotes in various other places.

There is a distinction to be made between the Son of God born in time according to Psalm 2 verse 7 and His eternal sonship as co-equal with the Father in the Godhead as expatiated upon by the Apostle John in his writings particularly, not to mention of the Son with regard to His deity by Paul in Colossians 1, and as also found in Hebrews 1.
Tuesday, Oct 5, 2021 : 17:27
Mark said ...
I just add with regard to the statement concerning “the unity of [Christ’s] Person” which would appear correct, howbeit contradictory to that which Mr Hennessy wrote.

This emerged in response to another associated with him who insisted on the unity of His person by attributing things which attach to Christ in His manhood as though the same could obtain in His deity, otherwise, it was being argued, the Person of the Son was being divided.

As said earlier, the context in which Mr Raven wrote, the background to it, needs to be understood before rushing in with strong words of condemnation.
Tuesday, Oct 5, 2021 : 21:02
Mark said ...
To pre-empt an accusation of carelessness on my part in being incorrect in that it was the Angel of the Lord who appeared to Joseph, and, at that, in a dream, I was trying to be brief. In that I confess to have failed!
Wednesday, Oct 6, 2021 : 00:54
Syd said ...
It's about 130 years, I think, since the Raven error on the Person of Christ. There really is NO mystery about the context or background of what he said and meant - his writings are there to study. And so it spread throughout the world, to assemblies all over, and caused confusion, conflict and consternation amongst believers. Is that what the truth does? Raven of course, was well-known and respected.
Now look for examples in the NT Church, and see how false teachers (by name) were addressed by Paul. Did he oppose them? Yes! Did he confirm what sound teaching was to be believed and upheld by believers? Yes! And did he exhort elders especially to watch over the flock? Yes! So did many of those men of the 19th century when necessary.
Kelly had it quite right in the article. In fact, with Raven's error, 20-30 noted men, if not more, took up the pen to address the erroneous teaching, and they concur. If Kelly was unkind in rightly condemning the false teaching, I suppose others may have been kinder. But if one abides not in the doctrine of Christ, receive him not (2 Jn 1).
But let's be careful. The Godhead is inscrutable, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father. Perhaps today, generally speaking, less is known about the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, amongst Christians, than those men of the 19th century, who "prayed out the truth on their knees in persevering prayer" in the midst of a Christendom that had lost the truth. I believe that today we carefully, and prayerfully, need to examine the Word to see what "truth" we hold to.
Wednesday, Oct 6, 2021 : 03:26
Mark said ...
Let me make clear that I regard a number of things which Mr Raven said to be at least obscure and some quite wrong. The point is that his opponents were not exactly right either, often making blunders themselves, but the strong language used by WK, not only here but elsewhere, was “over the top” and inappropriate.

This website is a useful source for research, providing primary sources to ascertain facts rather than hearsay and mere opinion, sometimes, sad to say, biased as a result of personal animosity.

Meetings have been ruined by strong characters who have driven people out, or have walked out taking others with them. Sadly, as a result of division and subdivision, we are now in such a broken state that it has become almost impossible to enjoy what used to be called “assembly principles.”

A brother very active in open air preaching and track distribution was recently asked by a passer-by can he advise a church in his locality. The brother had to say, “No.” Brethren! What have we done?”

At this point in time, when the dust has long settled, we can look at things more objectively, both sides of an argument taken into account, and, most importantly, evaluated in light of the actual words of Scripture.

It is not unknown in a controversy for persons to be accused of holding a doctrine supposedly attributable to Mr Raven in order to put them down as not worth taking any notice of, and thereby bolster their own position. Mr Kelly’s book serves a useful purpose to that end.
Wednesday, Oct 6, 2021 : 15:29
Martin Arhelger said ...

What does Scripture say?

- “the children partake of blood and flesh {in one word: manhood}, he {the Lord} also, in like manner, took part in the same” (Heb 2:14)

- “the Word became flesh” (Joh 1:14)

So He partook of manhood. Reading the Gospels you see his godhead (which he ever had) as well as his manhood (of which he partook when he became flesh). Example: “And awaking up he rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Silence; be mute. And the wind fell, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39) He “awoke” (from sleep) because he was a perfect man (in other words: he had a perfect humanity/manhood) and slept on a pillow. And the wild sea obeyed Him because he was God (in other words: He had a divine personality).

I don’t think that WK in infallible, but is a strawman argumentation to make Kelly to say that the Lord Jesus was two persons. If Hennessy wrote “He was a human person as well as a divine person” I would disagree with this formulation but to say that He had (and has) a human personality as well as a divine personality is the truth. Even if WK’ language was inappropriate that does not whitewash FER.

If WK was unsound or dark in speaking about Christ “taking manhood into His person” so was J. N. Darby who used similar expressions:

- "His divine glory into which He has taken manhood is immutable" (Notes and Comments on Scripture, p. 317)

- “God and man were united in one person” (CW 29:213)

- “the union of Godhead and manhood in one Person” (CW 29:358)

- “He was alone, God and man in one person, but not united to men, to sinful corrupt man; but, having miraculously-formed sinless manhood in His own person. The union with Godhead was now, for the first time, and only here.” (CW 15:347)

- “it {Christ’s humanity} was united to Godhead” (CW 15:148)

- “the union of God and Man in His {Christ’s} Person” (CW 27:357)

- “The union of God and man in the Person of Christ is the centre” (Synopsis on Ephesians)

JND clearly held the doctrine that Christ had a human personality. Once he wrote: “Why does He say, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ if there was no ego, no human personality?” (CW 29:212) FER on the contrary denied this. When being asked: "Why is He not PERSONALLY man?" one would have expected that FER should confess the truth that He was personally man / had a human personality. But FER replied: "You cannot have two personalities in one." The sentence "You cannot have two personalities in one" can only mean: "You cannot have a human personality and a divine personality in one (namely Christ)."

That I haven’t misrepresented FER can be seen from other passages. FER said: “If you carry the thought of the incarnation beyond the scriptural limit, that is, form (that of a servant) and condition (flesh and blood), you cannot avoid, that I can see, reaching distinct personality, and so making two personalities in Christ, a divine and a human.” (Ministry FER 19:519) So it is clear, that for FER “making two personalities in Christ, a divine and a human” was not true.

JND rightly said: “The moment you deny personality in the man Christ Jesus, you run into a thousand difficulties and errors.” (CW 29:212) This was just the case with FER and some (not all!) of his followers. See an example: FER taught that Christ assumed a human “condition” in Incarnation (see the quotation above, also Ministry FER 3:272: “The truth of a divine Person assuming human condition”). According to FER’s false notion Christ’s human “condition” ended when He died at the cross and there was, therefore, no manhood in Christ from Friday-evening to Sunday-morning. Hear what FER said: “But it is the Person who left the condition {when Christ died}, which He had assumed {at the Incarnation}, to take it again {in resurrection - the allusion being to Joh 10:17}, and not as flesh and blood but still as Man, and meantime {that is: after His death and before His resurrection} He was in paradise.” (Ministry FER 19:520. Read the context to see that my remarks in braces are no misrepresentation and just what FER believed)

Be aware that manhood is for FER only a “condition” and then ask yourself what “the Person who left the condition” means. If FER’s words were true not only resurrection, but re-incarnation would be needed. This is what W. T. Whybrow rightly remarked and, once again, I recommend to read his little paper: The Truth of Christ's Person: Is It Taught by Mr. F.E. Raven?

FER denies the human personality of Christ and degrades it to a mere “condition”. If that is not heterodoxy, then I no longer know what else is heterodoxy.

Martin Arhelger

Wednesday, Oct 6, 2021 : 18:10
Jonathan said ...
Darby resisted developing speculative error in parts of the movement, including ticking off JBS for erroneous content in JBS's own periodical. WK also similarly highlighted error coming from that source. History has proven both of their long range heresy radars entirely correct. I personally do not object to Kelly's strident condemnation of Raven and his errors. Sometimes you have to make the point strongly (cf Gospels, the epistles etc.).
Wednesday, Oct 6, 2021 : 20:25
Nick Fleet said ...
Again let it be understood that we don't agree with everything FER said. We agree with WK about Christ “taking manhood into His person”. We can agree also with JND when he writes of "God and Man united in one person". The Lord was truly and fully a Man as he was God. There are plently of Scriptures that show He had a spirit, soul, and body as a Man. Whether we see His Godhead or His manhood, He is the same Person. He could say "I" as a Man because He had taken Manhood into His Person (and He could say "I" as God but He wasn't two "I"s). One who perpetuated the bitter attacks on FER more recently insisted that the Lord had two "egos" and tried to use JND's writings to support it! I won't make JND an offender for a word but where in Scripture do we find "union"? That the two natures are united in One (or one Person) we can accept as the truth but the problem is that some (then and now) insist that the truth is that "God and Man were united in one [nature]" or "the union of God and man in one". Where is the Scripture for that? Brethren may have used such expressions and we could go to the Creeds but the Scriptures say nothing of the sort.

The charge is often made (and repeated above) that, to FER, his Manhood was "only" a condition. Where did he ever say that? The Lord's Manhood was not "just" or "only" a condition and I don't believe FER had any such view. Again, he gets bashed time and again for using the word "condition" yet both JND and WK used it without censure. "Conditon" has the same idea as "form" or "in the likeness", or "in figure" - "taking a bondman's form, taking his place in [the] likeness of men; and having been found in figure as a man." (Phil 2:7-8)

Another thing is FER's reference to "a helpless babe". It's ironic that the most anti-Raven party (the American TWs) still use JND's 1881 hymn book which has a hymn by Lord Cecil, "Trembling soul, behold thy Saviour" (#80 App). The second verse begins, "Once on earth in Bethlehem's manger, / As a helpless babe He lay". Also, I've heard brethren sing Stuart Townend's "In Christ alone! – who took on flesh, / Fullness of God in helpless babe." without batting an eyelid!

Lastly, I would mention that there were many godly and well-taught brethren who came down the Raven line: Dr Wolston, Hamilton Smith, James McBroom, FB Hole, and George Davison to name a few. Some of these are even published by the anti-raven party in the USA. If you want to read clear teaching about the Lord's Person, you have only to read the many articles in the early editions of 'Scripture Truth' to see that they taught the truth.
Thursday, Oct 7, 2021 : 02:10
Nick Fleet said ...
I would just add that the background to the controversies of the 1880s and 90s was that the brethren were in a low spiritual state and marked by party spirit. One should have thought that, having cleared themselves of FER's errors, the anti-Raven party would go on in spiritual peace and unity but the TW spilt and their many sub-splits that followed would indicate that the same low state remained.
Thursday, Oct 7, 2021 : 02:27
Mark said ...
There is a misrepresentation of something I have written above, though it is assumed that it was not deliberate. I have not made “Kelly to say that the Lord Jesus was two persons.” I wrote of “one critic of FER” (though there were others at the time), and named him. I attributed the notion of the human nature in Christ being a person to Mr Hennessy, not Mr Kelly. It is a pointless argument as to whether or not human nature is a person. A human person has a human nature. That is what makes them human, but human nature is not a person. The Eternal Son became Man through the Incarnation, and, as a Man, with the body, soul, and spirit of a man.

As to the expression that Christ took up manhood into His Person, I was merely saying that it is an expression that can be misunderstood, as the stated example shows. To say that there was an impersonal manhood formed in the womb of the Virgin for the Son of God to take into His Person so that it then became personal is something we do not read of in Scripture. The Angel Gabriel said not a word about this to Mary.

Returning to the “strong words” of Mr Kelly (and it is his “FER Heterodox on the Person of Christ” which was really the subject for these comments), let me cite a similar tactic from his book against FER on Life Eternal in which this booklet is appended. With regard to FER’s exposition based on the brazen serpent is found this assessment by Mr Kelly: ‘But what a hodgepodge is made of “divine teaching” by these ill-assorted ingredients from Exodus and Numbers boiled together for a witch’s caldron of poison.’ Even if wrong (and it is a ‘big if’), it was totally unbecoming and completely unacceptable that he should have penned such words.

I have already said, “Let me make clear that I regard a number of things which Mr Raven said to be at least obscure and some quite wrong.” One matter on which he is condemned, and he is by W T Whybrow, for having written, “Christ is viewed as man, distinct and apart from what he is as God.” Yet I read for example, “And awaking up he rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Silence; be mute. And the wind fell, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39) The comment on this is, “He awoke (from sleep) because He was a perfect man (in other words: He had a perfect humanity/manhood) and slept on a pillow. And the wild sea obeyed Him because He was God (in other words: He had a divine personality).” As Man He slept: God does not sleep; but as God He calmed the sea. Is not this the very thing Mr Whybrow is condemning in FER?

I am not minded to continue this further, since I do not think this to be the purpose of the website, but greatly appreciate and value it as an excellent source for research.

My intention initially was to make the point that WK’s book written against FER has encouraged some to vilify a number of brothers, charging them with what they suppose are FER’s errors, even on subjects not directly related to Christological matters.
Thursday, Oct 7, 2021 : 04:15
Mark said ...
Just to clarify a point in my last comment:

Returning to the “strong words” of Mr Kelly (and it is his “FER Heterodox on the Person of Christ” which was really the subject for these comments), let me cite a similar tactic from his book against FER on Life Eternal in which this booklet is appended. With regard to FER’s exposition based on the brazen serpent is found this assessment by Mr Kelly: ‘But what a hodgepodge is made of “divine teaching” by these ill-assorted ingredients from Exodus and Numbers boiled together for a witch’s caldron of poison.’ Even if wrong (and it is a ‘big if’), it was totally unbecoming and completely unacceptable that Mr Kelly should have penned such words.

Reading through afterwards, an ambiguity is removed if "Mr Kelly" is named as the "he" who should not have penned such words.

Having said that, I find Mr Kelly's writings helpful otherwise.
Thursday, Oct 7, 2021 : 04:33
Martin Arhelger said ...

Nick,

1) I never heard of JND or WK using such language as FER.

2) It does not help that many, who went with FER, did not held his doctrines (WTPW, HS, FBH etc.). This does not whitewash FER. (Others, who went with FER repeated his evil doctrines, for example JT sen.)

3) It might be true that FER’s has been misunderstood sometimes. But this does not whitewash the evil doctrines which he had.

4) There were splits among those who followed FER and among those who refused FER. But this is no indicator of the truthfulness of FER’s doctrines.

It is not important what you or I believe (or want to believe) that FER held. FER’s own words will tell us. Please read FER’s article “The Person of Christ” (Ministry 19:519-520; this was written in 1895 but first published 1912 in “Mutual Comfort”) to see what FER really thought.

Take the last paragraph. How do you understand FER’s words “the Person who left the condition, which He had assumed”?  Please tell me your interpretation of these words. Here is my understanding of FER (a bit more expanded, in braces):

“But it is the Person {of Christ} who left the condition {of his manhood at the time when He died on the cross}, which {condition of manhood} He had assumed {at the Incarnation}, to take it again {in resurrection, see Joh 10:17}, and not as flesh and blood {as during His lifetime until He died, Heb 2:14} but still as Man {in a new condition in resurrection}, and meantime {after His death and until His resurrection} He was in paradise {and there was no condition of manhood in paradise}.” I don't comment on these evil docrines;  I simply try to understand these words of FER in their own context. Can you make another sense of these words?

Martin Arhelger

Thursday, Oct 7, 2021 : 05:10
Martin Arhelger said ...
Mark,

I did not think (nor do I actually wrote) that YOU thought (or wrote) that Kelly held that “the Lord Jesus was two persons”. My point is that I have heard the “argumentation” FER must be right because the opposite opinion would be Nestorianism. I think we agree that this sort of argumentation is nonsense. FER must be judged by his own words.

You quote my example of Mark 4:39 and after that you wrote: “Is not this the very thing Mr Whybrow is condemning in FER?”
I don’t think it is the same, because I am not giving both sides “distinct and apart” from each other ;-)

As to Kelly’s language: Perhaps Kelly’s language is sometimes too strong, rude, or impolite - and I will not defend all his expressions. But in my opinion, impoliteness is a rather small thing compared to the fact that someone is a false teacher in such a fundamental thing as Christ’s manhood.

Martin Arhelger
Thursday, Oct 7, 2021 : 05:56
Mark said ...
Martin

I had said that I was not minded to continue these exchanges further, since I do not think this to be the purpose of this space for comments exactly. I point out also that both Nick and I have made it clear that we do not agree with everything FER said.

On the example you gave (and I do not say that I disagree with you), I once heard a brother teach that we cannot say that the Lord Jesus in the boat as Man slept, and, as God, rebuked the sea. That would divide His Person. We cannot say that as Man He did this, and as God He did that. Yet, as I pointed out, God does not sleep.

It is a question of what FER means by ‘distinct and apart.’ W T Whybrow, on reading the link you gave, seems to be in danger of merging the Manhood and Deity of Christ. Even so, did FER state the matter in terms which are too far in the opposite direction? This is why I have said that the context in these matters has to be taken into account.

To take up Mr Whybrow’s first example, and I am not going to deal with them all. FER, as “proof” that Christ is “viewed in Scripture as man, distinct and apart from what He is as God,” quoted, along with other Scriptures, Romans 6. On this WHW comments, ‘In no wise does the passage separate Christ as man from what He is as divine. It is “by the glory of the Father” He is raised from the dead. He is therefore the divine Son. It is not only “to sin,” but “for sin,” that He died. Will Mr. R exclude what He is as divine from the sacrifice? True, He died in manhood, but will Mr. R deny the value of His Deity to that death? If so, there would be no propitiation.”

We must be careful here. Fallacious reasoning makes out that because Jesus is God, and Mary is the mother of Jesus, then Mary is the mother of God. Many believe this. Similarly, since Jesus died, and Jesus is God, God died. Some believe that too. I am willing to learn; but I have not examined before now this argument of Mr Whybrow’s with regard to Romans 6. I had always thought that ‘as many as have been baptised unto Christ Jesus, have been baptised unto His death’ (Rom. 6:3). Did God die? Is not the Lord Jesus considered here as Man, as made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Heb. 2:9), distinct and apart from what He is as God (Heb. 1:8)? The same for the rest of Romans 6. ‘For in that he has died, he has died to sin once for all: but in that He lives, he lives to God’ (Rom. 6:10). Christ must be viewed here as Man distinct and apart from what He is as God: He died, He lives; He lives to God.

He had to be a Man to die, and, as a Man, ‘has been raised up from among the dead by the glory of the Father’ (Rom. 6:4). Therefore, the Apostle Paul’s exhortation is, ‘So also ye, reckon yourselves to dead to sin and alive unto God in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 6:11 Darby Translation). Notice the presence of the word ‘also’ here. Christ in the preceding verse has been viewed as Man, distinct and apart from what He is as God, of course not with regard to His Manhood and Deity as though they are apart in His Person, but in respect of what He accomplished before God as Man, so that it has its application to “us men” – Christians. Nevertheless, having said that, Manhood and Deity in Him are distinct, otherwise they are confused, merged into one in Him, Christ as having but one nature therefore – in short, Eutychianism.

When I read the rest, Mr Whybrow presents more problems in his tract than he solves. I do not elaborate on Christ ‘raised up from among the dead by the glory of the Father’ except to say the God has been glorified in the Son, but the Son as Man. God is Father to Christ as Man, not only as in the Godhead. As said, the context in all these arguments must be taken into account. The same also in studying the Scriptures.

I believe Mr Whybrow quite wrong on this matter; but do I denigrate him by calling him an “evil teacher,” and throw all sorts of insulting names at him? The point is that errors were made on all sides, and, if this website is used properly, we might learn from the mistakes of others. However, shall we fight again the battles long past?

As to expressions liable to be misunderstood, I gave as an example that of “Christ taking up manhood into His Person.” The key here is to see the distinct lines which Matthew, and particularly Luke take on the ‘birth of Jesus Christ’, and that of the Incarnation in John. It is important to read in Luke 1 what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary within the context. The Virgin was given an explanation which should suffice for us too, not venturing into the realms of speculation. Mr Darby distinguished Christ as the Son of God born in time from His eternal sonship, not that He has two sonships of course, but that we must not ignore that He is the Son of God in Manhood as well as the Son in the Godhead.
Friday, Oct 8, 2021 : 01:31
Syd said ...
I was going to forbear on this topic, but must come in here please. I think more confusion is being caused. Martin, to my view, had very basically summed up the Raven error, or at least given some salient points, and I concur with the brethren quotations he used. Fact is, simply and profoundly, Raven was wrong on what he taught concerning Christ partaking of flesh (His humanity if you will), and His Deity. Otherwise, Raven was a good teacher and has left some useful writings.

Now on what Mark has said above, on Romans 6 (to my mind, not a key passage on Manhood/Deity). But this is foundational for the believer to understand our position in Christ (new life)—His death, burial and resurrection. And yes, to understand that He, who knew no sin, “in the likeness of sinful flesh” and as a sacrifice for sin, was made sin for us, and died on the cross. Of course it was as Man He died, not God! But Romans 6 doesn’t deal with the Humanity and Deity of Christ in one Person per se. And we also know that all three Divine Persons were engaged in Christ’s resurrection.

However, Mark writes in reference to Romans 6 (read it in the context above, but the point is clear): “Christ in the preceding verse has been viewed as Man, distinct and apart from what He is as God, of course not with regard to His Manhood and Deity as though they are apart in His Person, but in respect of what He accomplished before God as Man, so that it has its application to 'us men' – Christians.”

And Mark again: “Is not the Lord Jesus considered here as Man, as made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Heb. 2:9), distinct and apart from what He is as God (Heb. 1:8)? The same for the rest of Romans 6. ‘For in that he has died, he has died to sin once for all: but in that He lives, he lives to God’ (Rom. 6:10). Christ must be viewed here as Man distinct and apart from what He is as God: He died, He lives; He lives to God.”

The repeated statement: “Christ...viewed as Man distinct and apart from what He is as God” with respect to His death as in Romans and Hebrews is the issue. We cannot view Christ in this manner. We cannot say “not with regard to His Manhood and Deity as though they are apart in His Person” but then compromise this by saying it changed in what He accomplished before God as Man. And it has nothing to do with “God dying” which is ridiculous to think. I haven’t read Whybrow, but if he said as quoted: “In no wise does the passage separate Christ as man from what He is as divine,” speaking of Christ’s death to sin in Romans 6, then where is the fallacy in his statement?

This is why “no man knoweth the Son but the Father”—no man knows the Incarnate Son. But, what gave infinite value to the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ on the cross? What made that work of atonement so acceptable to God, and perfectly satisfied His righteous demand against sin, upon His Son? Is it what Christ accomplished in His Manhood, separate from being that Divine Person (deity)? NEVER! You cannot, cannot, view Him in His work on the cross as “distinct and apart” from what He is as God—God manifest in the flesh; “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

Sorry, but here I depart.
Friday, Oct 8, 2021 : 04:15
Dirk said ...
Hy Sid,

concerning what you wrote about Raven: "Otherwise, Raven was a good teacher and has left some useful writings." - have you once read https://www.brethrenarchive.org/archive/exclusive-section/raven-division/demonstration-of-errors-in-the-new-teaching-by-ws-flett/ ?
After reading these articles I asked myself if there is anything reliable in FER's writings at all.

Dirk Schürmann
Friday, Oct 8, 2021 : 16:02
Samuel said ...
Some of Raven's critics pointed out the complexity and unclear nature of much of his writing (and transcribed sayings). This is blameworthy, even if one were to agree with his controverted opinions. The level of involuted non-straightforwardness of how he expressed himself must have grated on many competent brethren of the time, who would have enjoyed the good classical education that led to high standards of clarity in thought and writing. I have tried on various occasions to do my DIY analysis of various Raven writings. It's just not worth the struggle. If his output benefits others, so be it. It's not going to benefit me whatever it is that he's supposed to be saying.
Friday, Oct 8, 2021 : 17:46
Syd said ...
I suppose I did open up myself to criticism when I wrote "Otherwise, Raven was a good teacher and has left some useful writings." I don't read, study or use Raven for personal use, except to have scrutinised his known false teachings. But please brethren, let us not be so unkind and judgemental as to blacklist everything a believer ever wrote or taught in assemblies. If you would be the judge, sobeit.

This website gives an "Index to Notes of Lectures" by FER. If there's absolutely nothing useful in that, then I'd be amazed. Personally, I have no interest in undertaking such a task! But a brother in the time of Raven, A.J. Pollock, wrote in an open letter to C.A. Coates about Coates' false teachings, and said: "May I first point out that while freely criticising my remarks, you have not ventured to animadvert upon the weighty extracts from the writings of J. N. Darby, J. G. Bellett, W. Kelly, F. W. Grant and F. E. Raven? The writings of these servants of God show that they entirely refuse the views that you advocate. Their interpretation of Scripture cannot be lightly laid aside. I do not accept their statements simply because of the names attached to them, but as the result of their convincing appeal to Scripture."

You should be able to research on this website what teaching of Raven, concerning the Person of Christ, Pollock referred to. "Useful" for Pollock, and for thousands of brethren who read his letter. Of course, this does not justify the views of Raven that have been the focus of these discussions - they were false. And if fault be found with Pollock for referencing Raven....

But I will now forbear, and thank the brethren for the interaction, and for sensitising our minds to what we believe; may we in our day earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.
Friday, Oct 8, 2021 : 22:12
Steve said ...
I wonder how many people still within the brethren movement (or indeed elsewhere) really know what they believe and why?

So many seem content to maintain the traditions handed down to them from previous generations.

Where are the modern-day poets, hymn-writers, and authors of challenging and encouraging ministry?

When were the hymn books currently in use last revised, and updated to include new songs/hymns?

How are we all progressing on our own spiritual journey?

It is not always the "leading lights" that make such a difference to others lives.

Let us all know Whom we have believed, and seek to be a blessing to others.

Steve



Saturday, Oct 9, 2021 : 04:20
Roger Holden said ...
I find it intriguing that Raven’s teaching can still promote such a lengthy exchange of views. Raven of course had a great impact on his ‘successor’, James Taylor. Currently, as part of an attempt to write something of a biography of James Taylor I have being trying to understand this impact. I find this very difficult because of the difficulty of understanding what Raven is saying. One point I would make is that in debating these issues the Brethren were handicapped by their view that the truth had only come to light with J. N. Darby. So they debated these issues from scratch without any reference to the fact that they had been debated many centuries earlier. Nevertheless, Darby was starting from the ‘orthodox’ view of the trinity which emerged from those debates.
Thursday, Oct 28, 2021 : 16:15


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