Logos Doctrine Explained

Logos Doctrine Explained


Preamble:

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This article is put forth in an attempt to simplify my findings on Logos Theology due to many requests from novice peoples for me to dumb down my exposition of the subject. 


I have also had several college professors from around the world ask me to supplement their knowledge and further explain the specifics of my findings. 


There is a link in the Benediction section of this short article which leads to a more in- depth article on these matters. 


Though i may try to be extremely clear and concise in my work concerning Logos Theology, i suppose the complexity of this subject cannot help but produce a misunderstanding of the terminology and concepts among most readers, especially among my fellow Oneness brothers and sisters.


Some who suppose the doctrine of a pre- incarnate manifested Logos exclusively Trinitarian are ignorant of the subject matter and far outside the realms of informed Theology. This article acts to rectify such ignorance. 


It is my hope that my findings can be objectively observed and researched for verification by the scholars among us, while the novices among us may benefit from a more simple explanation of these Theological matters. 


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Introduction:

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Logos (Memra) is an ancient orthodox Hebrew concept.


"…in Jewish thought in the Second Temple era and for a thousand years beyond among traditionalists and free-thinkers, the Memra or Logos was broadly considered....the means to God’s Self-Revelation..."

-Dr. Raymond L. Gannon, PhD, 

Ref: YESHUA: THE ETERNAL MEMRA


The concept was passed down to ancient Greece through the pagan school of Alexandria.


"Using Plato to envelope Christianity with a favorable aura, Justin injected two novelties....the first....that Plato and the other Greek philosophers were not wholly original, but borrowed from Moses and the biblical prophets their understanding of the Logos."

-G. Vermes, Professor, Oxford

Ref: Christian Beginnings, pg180


The Greeks used the concept in their Philosophy formulations.


Philo of Alexandria, a supposed former Pharisee turned Philosopher, during the 1st Century, adapted one of these Greek formulations (Demiurge) for use back into Judaism from which the concept came.


Philo's application first advocated, in Judaism, that God's expressed Word (Memra/Logos) was a distinct lesser God Person beside Himself, while insisting that he still believed in only one God. 


"Philo seems to adopt a dualistic position,....the main problem,....with the divine powers, lies in their relation to the Logos....God is said to be the supreme genus and His logos the second one."

-Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Philo's Theory was rejected by period Orthodox Judaism (Pharisees) and even by later Rabbis.


"The Rabbis labeled the idea (two powers in heaven).... heresy....firmly rejecting it on the basis of Old Testament Monotheistic texts, providing alternate explanations for the relevant Biblical passages. In their explanations....the Rabbis opposed any depiction of a seperate independant Angelic or human figure who seemed to be Divine, who carried the Divine Name or acted as God. If this figure could be identified with God's (The Father's) presence or glory by terms such as Shekinah....or Memra, then they were willing to ACCEPT it.  Indeed they elaborated on these terms to describe the manifestation or Self Revelation of God (The Father)."

-David K. Bernard, ThD, Professor, UGST, 

"The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ"


The Apostle John used the ancient Hebrew term "Word" (Memra/Logos), and it's popularity among Hellenistic Jews sympathetic to Philo's cause, to explain that the expressed Word of God The Father became a man. 

(See John 1:1-3,14)


The Proto-Trinitarians first introduced the Philosophical Subordinate Second Person Logos Theory into Christianity during the mid-late 2nd Century, while insisting that they still believed in only one God. 


"Early Christianity was theologically diverse, although AS TIME WENT ON a (pre) “catholic” movement, (proto-Trinitarians), a "bishop"-led, DEVELOPING organization which, at least from the LATE SECOND CENTURY, claimed to be the true successors of Jesus' apostles,"

-Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy


The Proto-Trinitarian's Theory was rejected by period Orthodox Christianity (Monarchians).


"The Modalists were the successors to the Apostles, NOT the Trinitarians. The Trinitarians expropriated the term "Catholic" (Universal) from the writings of Ignatius. When they increased in power and numbers they branded the Modalists, who preached one God, as Heretics and styled their group as Catholic."

-Dr. Friedrich Loofs, Trinitarian Historian, Professor at the University of Halle

Ref: The History of the Primative Church


The Apostles stemmed from Phariseeical Judaism and the Monarchians, who were successors to the Apostles, in the first 3 centuries of the Christian faith, taught that Logos, being initially begotten (formed) in the beginning, was the production of an ontologically identical offspring of The Father. The "Image of God" or Paternal Light revealing The Father. 


"IMAGE of the invisible God"

-Col 1:15


"BRIGHTNESS of His glory, and the express IMAGE of His Person"

-Heb 1:3


"he that seeth ME seeth Him that SENT Me"

 -John 12:45                                    


"He that SENT Me is....THE FATHER"

-John 8:26,27                             


"he that hath seen ME hath seen THE FATHER"

-John 14:9


" The realistic Judeo-Christian tendency. Setting out from the manifestation of the Divine, (Memra),...they advance to the position that in Christ the manifestation, (Memra), became a person, then that personal Word, (Logos), was pre-existent, and also world-creative, and...., was the Wisdom, " of God...

-Dr. J.A. Dorner, Professor of Theology, University of Gottingen


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Modes of Logos:

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There are 2 recognized modes of Logos. 


1) Logos endiathetos, 

the Word within or thought, 

Wisdom, unexpressed (invisable)


2) Logos prophorikos, 

the Word enunciated or verbal utterance, 

Voice, expressed (visable)


" Wisdom is the indwelling tenant of the mind of God, Word is the bringing forth and enunciating of the Wisdom from within; the branch of YHWH points also to the oneness of nature between the tree and the offspring, and 'the brightness of His glory', to the identity of essence between the ray emitted and the generating focus of light. "

-Francis Bassett, M.A., 1883, Oxford University


Bible writers, Pre-Marcellus Monarchians and Pre-Origen Proto-Trinitarians ALL taught that thought (invisable Logos) became speech (visable Logos) at or just prior to the beginning.


"....this was in fact the prevailing thesis of most Christian writing in the second century when it undertook to explain the Fourth Evangelist’s assertion that the one who became incarnate was the Logos who had been with the Father as theos (god) if not ho theos (God) from the beginning (John 1.1)."

-Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Modes of Expressed Logos:

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Expressed Logos (Image of God) is, to this time, recorded in 2 modes:

(*NOTE: a 3rd mode, "glorified-human" is identified in eschatological prophecy)


1) Celestial (Angelic)


2) Terrestrial (Human)


“Elohiym is God, the living God, the power of creation (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17; Rev. 3:4-11). He first assumes a creature form, though spiritual in nature (Gen. 12:7, 32:24-30, Isa. 6:1, 5); afterwards, the human form for the purpose of redeeming mankind. (John 1:14, Heb. 2:9, 14, 16, 17; Phil. 2:7, Rom 8:3). That Elohiym, in His creature form spiritually, who appeared to the Patriarchs and Prophets is the same who appeared in a human form 1,900 years ago to Israel can be clearly seen by reading the following Scriptures: Gen. 17:13, Ex. 6:23, with John 8:56-58, Isa. 6:1, 2, 5, 9, 10 with John 12:39-40, 41, 44, 45.”

-Ref: Divine Names and Titles of Jehovah, pgs 7-8, G.T. Haywood, Oneness


Celestial Sonship of Logos began at or just before the beginning, (Jn 1:1, 1 Jn 1:1),. Celestial Sonship refers to when Logos was first radiated from the Light source, when Wisdom became Speech or Paternal Light. 


Terrestrial Sonship of Logos began at the incarnation, (Lk 1:35, Jn 1:14),. Terrestrial Sonship refers to when Logos, the first begotten, was manifested in the flesh as a genuine human, found in the likeness of men.


"There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another."

-1 Cor 15:40


"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."

-Jn 17:5


"The doctrine of the Incarnation, which speaks of God visiting us and living among us in the person of Yeshua the Messiah, is nothing other than the most thorough explanation of the many theophanies (meaning, divine appearances) of YHWH in the Hebrew Scriptures."

-Ref: "7 Secrets of the Real Messiah", pg5, Professor M. Brown; PhD


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Early Doctrinal Departures:

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Monarchian Departure:

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Marcellus, in the 4th Century, was the first Bishop to present the Theory that Logos was not expressed until the incarnation.


"Marcellus of Ancyra (4th Century Bishop) developed a Monarchianism of his own, ("Mind Word Only" Theory) which was carried much further by his disciple, Photinus."

-Catholic Encyclopedia


Marcellusian Theory, which i have termed "Mind Word Only" Theory, was rejected upon conception, yet it is held by the majority of Monarchian believers today. 


"The Old Testament also provides numerous examples in which God is made visable in anthropomorphic form....Most Scholars see passages in the Old Testament in which God reveals Himself in man-like form,....as being the Word, the expressed self of God, prior to Bethlehem....The invisable of self-presences in the world in the visable of self. The God of the Bible is NOT a God who reposes, or reposed at one time, in an abstract world of invisibility of merely concept or thought....Such a notion is ERROR."

-Nathaniel Wilson, Professor, Wilson University, General Superintendent WPF, Oneness

Ref: Apostolic Pentecostal Theology, 

pgs 135,138,139


Trinitarian Departure:

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Origen, in the 3rd Century, was the first to suggest the Theory that Logos was eternally generated (manifested) along side The Father in eternity past.


"He (Origen) is the first theologian to state unequivocally that the “three hypostases” which constitute the Trinity are eternal not only in nature, but in their hypostatic character; there was never a time when wisdom was the latent thought of the Father and had not yet come forth as speech."

-Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Origenian Theory, often termed "Eternally Generated Son" Theory, was rejected upon conception, yet it is held by the majority of Trinitarian believers today.


“There is not a single scripture that asserts Jesus existed eternally as a Son. He is called ‘The Word’ , ‘God’s Wisdom’, ‘Back in the Beginning’, but never God’s Son. See John 1:1, Prov. 8:22-31…He asserts that His existence was inseparable from the One True God. He asserted that back in the beginning He was in ‘the bosom of The Father’, It is written in Zechariah that He was ‘God’s Fellow’. Micah said the babe of Bethlehem was ‘from everlasting’. Isaiah says He was the ‘Everlasting Father’…”

-Ref: Revelation of Jesus Christ, pg 37, 

Frank Ewart, Oneness


Departures Analysis:

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The departures which were formally rejected at their conception are currently the positions held by the majority of each respective faction today. Each position, Mind Word Only Theory and Eternally Generated Son Theory, is diametrically opposed to the other, each residing in the far opposing wing of their particular party.  

 

The current modern day MINORITY of BOTH Monarchian and Trinitarian factions teach that Logos was initially begotten (formed) in the beginning, being congruent with early Christian Orthodoxy. Each factions’ minority wing resides towards the moderate center of the argument, which produces much possibility for doctrinal reconciliation among the factions themselves. If the majority wing of each faction would move towards the moderate center, in place of strenuous dogmatic polemics, a reconciliation could be achievable. 


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Proper Term Usage:

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The New Testament writers and their early Monarchian successors equated the term SON with Pre-Incarnate Manifested Logos by identity. Identifying the Self same Image of God which was Incarnate. 


Both sets of writers utilized the term "Son" when referring to Pre-Incarnate Logos retroactively. They also equated and utilized the term CHRIST with Pre-Incarnate Manifested Logos in the same fashion.

-Ref: Heb 1:1-3, Eph 3:9, Shepherd, etc...


It must be understood that both the terms Son and Christ should be restricted to the God-Man born of Mary, but we must also conceed that the terms identify the Self same Image that was "with God" (pros ton theon) in the beginning and can be used to retroactively identify said Image.


“The visible being who appeared to Jacob and declared Himself to be God, and who was recognized by Jacob as God, is variously described in the Bible as ‘the Angel of Jehovah’ (over 50 references), ‘the Angel of the Covenant’ (Mal. 3:1, 1 Cor. 10:9), and ‘the Angel who can refuse to pardon iniquity, because the Name of Jehovah is in Him’ (Ex. 23:21, Psalm 2:12). Surely no one will deny the Power to forgive, or the right to refuse pardon, belongs solely to God. Who is this Angel if He is not the Pre-Existent Christ?...Likewise, the fact that Christ was not ‘just another Angel, did not prevent Him from being the Angel of God’s Presence and the Angel of the covenant who ‘suddenly came to His Temple’ (as foretold in Malachi 3:1 and fulfilled in John 2:13-16)”

-Ref: God in Christ Jesus, pgs 48-49, 

John Patterson, Oneness, Word Aflame Press


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Tracing Monarchian Logos Theology:

=============================

 

             Orthodox Jewish Memra

                                  |

                     First Christians 

                         (Apostles)

                                  |

                   Early Successors

                     (Early Bishops)

          Rome-Lyons-Antioch-Sardis

                                  |

                      Later Bishops


Note: Monarchians dominate in Rome until mid-late 3rd Century, after the baptism crisis, and dominate in west until 12th century and in east until 9th century. 


"Modalistic Monarchianism" was the "popular Christian belief in ancient Christian Theology."

-Jaroslav Pelikan, Professor, Yale University, Trinitarian, Historian

Ref: The Emergence of the Catholic Religion, vol 1


For 150 years from the post-Apostolic Age to the Pre-Catholic Age we find 6 Monarchian Bishops of Rome:


1) Clement of Rome, 1st Century

2) Victor of Rome, 2nd Century

3) Elutherus of Rome, 2nd Century

4) Callistus of Rome, 3rd Century

5) Zephrinus of Rome, 3rd Century

6) Stephen of Rome, 3rd Century


Analysis of this time period reveals that the proto-Trinitarian Theory had not yet made it's way into the beliefs of the legitimate Church.


"Turtullian and Hippolytus did NOT, to all appearance, yet succeed in getting their form of doctrine approved in the Churches."

-Adolph Harnack, Professor, Halle University

Ref: History of Dogma


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Tracing Trinitarian Logos Theology:

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         Orthodox Jewish Memra

                              |

     Alexandria Philosophy School

                              |

                     Pythagoras 

                              |

                        Greece

                              |

                      Heraclitus

                              |

                  Plato's Timeus

                              |

               Gnostic Demiurge

                              |

                          Philo

                              |

                         Justin

                              |

                      Turtullian

                              |

                         Origen


Note: notice that there is no Apostle or ordained church bishop involved with the timeline. The Proto-Trinitarian thought process is PHILOSOPHICAL in nature and NOT Biblical.


"The doctrine of the (Subordinate God The Son) Logos and the Trinity recieved their shape from Greek Fathers (Proto-Trinitarians), who....were much influenced, directly or indirectly, by the Platonic philosophy....that ERRORS and CORRUPTIONS crept into the Church from this source CANNOT be denied."

-New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge


For 150 years from the post-Apostolic Age to the Pre-Catholic Age we find that ALL 4 of the major contributors to the Trinity Theory's development were excommunicated by seated Bishops:


1) Turtullian

2) Hippolytus

3) Novatian

4) Origen


The Trinity Theory is extremely Antinomian, (against all Biblical law). Many scriptures teach that "God is One". But absoloutly ZERO passages say "God is three". Over 50 times scripture calls God "Holy One", NEVER does it refer to God as "Holy Two" or "Holy Three".


The Trinity Theory began to be developed among Philosophy College graduates, in the late 2nd century as a sort of Religious Syncretism, (the fusing of aspects in different religions together). In fact, the modern Trinity doctrine was not codified, (officially defined and set in standard), until the late 4th century with 5th and even later century revisions.


The Trinity Theory is a Theocrasias, (imposed application of systematic religious formulations upon another belief system) from the ancient Babylonian and Egyptian mystery traditions.


As with it's ancient predecessors from which the Theory is influenced, the Trinity is a type of Pluriform-Monotheism, (many distinct Entities, who can simultaneously exist, being separate manifestations of a single Deity source or substance), which is technically a totally different classification of belief system than Christian/Biblical Monotheism.


"The Christian Bible, including the New Testament, has NO Trinitarian statements or speculations concerning a Trinitarian Deity...It is evident that Trinitarian speculation greatly resembles the way of thinking of pluriform monotheism." 

-Encyclopedia Britannica


Pluriform Monotheism defined:


"three gods are combined and treated as a single being addressed as singular." 

-Morenz, S. Egyptian Religion. 

Cornell: University Press; 1973:254-257


The Trinity Theory is a product of post-Biblical Philosophical speculation being imposed onto the scriptures which can be made to infer the possibility of supporting a Triune God. The Trinity Theory itself, however, is NOT found in the Bible.


Warning against Philosophical influence:


"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

-Col 2:8-9


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Conclusion:

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In sum, we find from scripture 3 distinct time periods in the manifestation of the Body of God (Logos) to the earth. 


1) "Which was"

-Pre-Incarnate God-Angelic state

-Seen from the beginning by Adam, Jacob, Moses, etc...


2) "Which is"

-Incarnate God-Man state

-Seen during Incarnation by the Apostles, etc...


3) "Which is to come"

-Glorified God-Man state

-Seen after second coming by "every eye"...


"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."

-Rev 1:8


Expressed Logos is the Image of the One Spirit God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


"ONE body, and ONE Spirit"

-Ref: Eph 4:4


1 Body + 1 Spirit = 1 Person


This is the teaching of the Apostles and their Successors, the Modalistic Monarchians, who retained the ante-Nicene majority everywhere. Proto-Trinitarian thought came later and developed over time among the minuscule minority.  


"Modalistic Monarchianism", was once, "embraced by the vast majority of ALL Christians."

-Adolph Harnack, Professor, Halle University, Trinitarian, Historian

Ref: "History of Dogma"


Knowing all these things firmly establishes doctrinal continuity from ancient Orthodox Judaism, to the Apostles, to their recognized Successors, Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Theophilus of Antioch, Ireneaus of Lyons, Melitto of Sardis, etc...,who ALL taught that Logos was initially begotten (formed) in the beginning and were ALL Modalistic Monarchians. 


Trinitarians CANNOT claim doctrinal continuity, NOR Apostolic succession through seated Bishops due to the historical fact that professing Christian Triune thinking is native to the late 2nd Century and resided far outside the accepted normal Christian community.


In close, we have shown that there is no Triune God taught in scripture, that early Bishops did NOT teach the theory, that the proto-Trinitarian movement was virtually always rejected by seated Bishops and became an anti-Church pre-Catholic Confederacy as a result, forming their own "Churches" and "Schools", with no bishops represented in the legitimate Church until AFTER the middle 3rd Century. 


We have demonstrated, due to the historical evidence and after exercising all due diligence in research, that it can be systematically shown that the concept of Pre-Incarnate Logos, being begotten (formed) in the beginning, much like the practice of Pentecostalism, MUST be said to have originated NOT from the Proto-Trinitarians, but was carried over FROM Monarchianism INTO the developing thought of Proto-Trinitarianism in the 2nd-3rd Centuries 


The Theological Establishment will NOT surrender a dogmatic model simply from observing it's discrepancies. A NEW model must present itself which proves to answer the inadequacies of the old. 


My findings on Logos Theology do provide Scholars the tools necessary to re-examine the issue and for recalibrating consensus.


Therefore, the later doctrinal departures that are foreign to the original Christian Faith, including "Mind Word Only" Theory and "Eternally Generated Son" Theory should be immedietly discarded by the Theological community in favor of adopting an earlier, more Biblical and Historical position. 


Most embrace the chains of dogmatic allegiance as they kiss their bonds.

Do gains made in spreading dogmatic consensus justify the means of being intellectually dishonest? I should say NOT.


To be factually correct is a kind of worship that God seeks after.

-Ref: Jn 4:23


Which is more important, to be factually correct as such is sought by The Father for worship, OR to be dogmatically allegient?


Facts matter, details matter and history matters.


I believe that if Oneness can discard the error of Marcellus, (Mind Word Only Theory), and if Trinitarians can discard the error of Origen, (Eternally Generated Son Theory), then BOTH factions could come together on consensus generally, shedding distractions, allowing both to be called back to the original question of distinction of Persons. 


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Logos Doctrine Explained

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Benediction:

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To learn more about early Christian Logos Doctrine, please find the following link:

"The History of Logos Doctrine"

https://www.facebook.com/groups/377116779310914/permalink/744593315896590/


"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:"

-Colossians 1:12-15


God bless you for reading, and as always, thank you for studying with us.


mark august; MDiv

writing for

Academy of Christian 

Theological Studies

A.C.T.S. Think-Tank

acts2216.org

"Bridging the Gap Between

Oneness and Trinitarianism"

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