A Finger in the Wind
29 December 2016
It is hard to imagine now how much power the Arian heretics wielded in the fourth-century churches. Often campaigning with the political authorities to gain their support, it appeared as though the Arians, who taught that Christ was only a creature created in time by God, would be able to infuse their insidious teaching everywhere.
Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria, now remembered as the champion of orthodoxy, was then reviled everywhere and suffered five different exiles from his episcopal see for being such a tenacious proponent of the truth that Christ was God of God and of the same substance as the Father (Nicene Creed). Although universally opposed, Athanasius proposed the truth of the Godhead of Christ. Church history gave him the epitaph Athanasius contra mundum; "Athanasius against the world." Like Athanasius, Bishop Hilary was a proponent of the eternal Godhead of the Son. However, he too recognized the cost of proclaiming the truth.
If Hilary had acted like a modern churchman, he would have stuck his finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing, and taken away by the Arian gale would not have proclaimed the Nicene truth to the church. God's Word is hardly subject to surveys of human beings. God's truth stands whether or not the humans agree. Indeed, the Word of Lord stands forever. Unchangeable truth is the gift that God has given us forever. We honor the Son just as we honor the Father who sent Him, not because humans agree that He should be honored, but because God has said it.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"It is with a full knowledge of the dangers and passions of the time that I have ventured to attack this wild and godless heresy, which asserts that the Son of God is a creature. Multitudes of churches, in almost every province of the Roman Empire, have already caught the plague of this deadly doctrine; error, persistently inculcated and falsely claiming to be the truth, has become ingrained in minds which vainly imagine that they are loyal to the faith. I know how hardly the will is moved to a thorough recantation, when zeal for a mistaken cause is encouraged by the sense of numbers and confirmed by the sanction of general approval. A multitude under delusion can only be approached with difficulty and danger. When the crowd has gone astray, even though it knows that it is in the wrong, it is ashamed to return. It claims consideration for its numbers, and has the assurance to command that its folly shall be accounted wisdom. It assumes that its size is evidence of the correctness of its opinions; and thus a falsehood which has found general credence is boldly asserted to have established its truth.
"For my own part, it was not only the claim which my vocation has upon me, the duty of diligently preaching the gospel which, as a bishop, I owe to the Church, that has led me on. My eagerness to write has increased with the increasing numbers endangered and enthralled by this heretical theory. There was a rich prospect of joy in the thought of multitudes who might be saved, if they could know the mysteries of the right faith in God, and abandon the blasphemous principles of their folly, desert the heretics and surrender themselves to God; if they would forsake the bait with which the fowler snares his prey, and soar aloft in freedom and safety, following Christ as leader, prophets as instructors, apostles as guides, and accepting the perfect faith and sure salvation in the confession of Father and of Son. So would they, in obedience to the words of the Lord, 'Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him' (Jn 5:23), return themselves to honor the Father, through honor paid to the Son."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 6.1-2
John 5:19-26

Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself." (ESV)
Lord Christ, You are God of God and of the same substance with the Father. Help us to confess the truth of Your full divinity hidden under humanity. Send Your Holy Spirit that we might not find ourselves following the whims of humans, but all the more faithful to Your self revelation in the Word of God. Amen.
For Hilary Murray and Nathan Haak, who will be joined in holy marriage on Friday, that the Lord Jesus would be with them in their lives together

For Memorial Lutheran School and all faithful Lutheran Schools, that they might be lights among people who sit in darkness and in the fear of death
For all those who have become weary in their daily vocations, that they might be strengthened by God
For all Christians pastors, that God our Lord would make them faithful shepherds of their flocks  and that their flocks would show rightful honor and respect to their shepherds

Art: CORREGGIO, Holy Night (1528-1530)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
Sent by smurray@mlchouston.org in collaboration with
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