Monday, March 20, 2017

"Everlasting Father" and "Father of Nations"

A major weakness of Modalism is the habit of its followers to take one isolated verse and interpret the rest of Scripture through that one verse. For example, they cite Acts 2:38 and subordinate all of the biblical references to justification by faith to their interpretation of that one verse. In the same way, they claim that Jesus is the incarnation of the Father on the basis of one reference, Isaiah 9:6: "For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." If you challenge them to produce a place that names Jesus "the Father," this is the only one they can produce. 

I will certainly grant that the verse does refer to Jesus, and describes the ministry He was to have as the only Mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5). However, I deny vehemently that it says or implies that He was to be God the Father in the flesh.

First, the titles in the verse refer to various offices that the Messiah would hold. He would be a Wonderful Counselor. To whom? To us. He would be Mighty God. To whom? To us. He would be the Prince of Peace. To whom? To us. He would also be an Everlasting Father. To whom? Not to us, the Modalist claims, but to Himself. To do such violence to grammar is a sign of a false hermeneutic. Modalists will talk about the importance of context in understanding Scripture, while yet committing this brazen act of ripping two words out of the context of their very sentence!

In contrast, Abraham is called "father of nations" repeatedly, in both the Old and New Testaments. For example, the phrase is applied to him three times in Genesis 17:4-6. That's three times in three verses! Paul refers to him as "father of nations" twice in Romans 4:17-18. So, five times in just five verses, in both testaments. So, if anyone does, I would think that Abraham has a better claim to everlasting fatherhood than Jesus does. After all, He is called "Father" in just one verse, and never in the New Testament. Challenged to show anyplace where Jesus refers to Himself, or is referred to by any of the Apostles, as "Father," the Modalist will only respond with steely silence.

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