Michael Heiser wrongly defines the gospel of salvation p.1
(but excludes the who that is salvation)
In this question and answer session we learn from Michael Heiser that you do not have to believe Jesus is God incarnate to be saved, to be a believing Christian https://youtu.be/9L9g77_v73s
My statements are in bold. His quotes are more lengthy so that one sees they were not taken out of context.
QUESTION: A person asks about the eternal sonship doctrine.
Heiser states, “ I don't believe in adoption Christology, so you know godhead thinking is clear to Me in the Old Testament, you know you have the binatarian thing. Once you understand by Binatarianism you're gonna see places where the spirit is brought into the discussion, you're gonna see the spirit talked about in similar ways that the second Yahweh figure is talked about. And if we have a Godhead that means you have three persons who are Co eternal so I would be in the eternal you know sonship I'm trying to remember what the terminology was here exactly eternal sonship, because eternal sonship is related to but not the same as the eternal subordination.”
His statement " Once you understand binitarianism you will understand trinitarianism " is not correct. God does not change, he either always was triune or not, and he was not binatarian. He is not a second Yahweh, but a second person, all three are the eternal God, equal in all the attributes and nature.
QUESTION : “the second question is if a binatarian accepts the Orthodox Trinitarians view of the father and son but differs on the personality of the Holy Spirit would a Trinitarian still be able to view that binatarian as a brother in Christ?
Heiser: well I'm gonna assume here that when he says differs on the personality and Holy Spirit that what he means is doesn't think the Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead that's it, that's actually a different question than whether the Holy Spirit is a person or not but I think that's probably what the question intends. So let's say can a person who's … Arian and not Trinitarian, a Trinitarian, you know still be considered a brother in Christ or something like that, that that's what I'm hearing in the question.”
I do not know of any binatarians, who exclude the Spirit (almost unanimously the issue is the Son). And triniatarians do not accept those who deny the Holy Spirit as part of the Godhead as brothers.
Here is where we get to the real issue.
“ I would say I think that failure to see the three and one in Scripture is just that it's a
Failure. Y ou know again once you understand by note binatarianism, trinitarianism derives from two trajectories essentially you've got two powers language applied to the spirit… but the Spirit is talked about in the same ways in particular as the second Yahweh figure gets talked about – minus the embodiment, but there's this blurring of the spirit the spirit is brought into the conversation as it were with the invisible Yahweh in the visible Yahweh and the anthropomorphizes Yahweh and they are interchanged, that's one trajectory and then second seeing how Jesus is the second Yahweh figure the second person and then noting how the New Testament identifies the spirit with him with Jesus in certain passages. You know and I talked about this in unseen realm a lot …you have passages where the Spirit of God the phrase the Spirit of God occurs in tandem with the spirit of Jesus or the Spirit of Christ. Okay it's the same person you have Paul say on two occasions he refers to Jesus as the Lord who is the spirit so you have this sense that just as Jesus is but isn't God and he's the son he's not the father but, but they're still the sam e, you know it began this whole God had talked that were used to that is also again used to be part of Judaism because of the two powers issue, so Jesus is God but he also isn't the father, well the Spirit is but isn't Jesus and, and, and once you see how you know Jesus is the focal point for both the father and the spirit that's where actually we're trinitarianism derives from so I, I think the failure to see that is just you know kind of not knowing your Bible well enough or maybe not knowing what you're looking at might be a better way to put it because typically the way trinitarianism is talked about it it's proof texted and I think we we're much better off you know to go beyond proof texting but again having said all thatif people can't see that they aren't damned okay since salvation isn't about the ability to articulate theology not, not just theology of the Trinity but theology on a whole bunch of things.’
This is whole lot of words of spaghetti to unwind. Of course it’s a failure of not seeing God as triune, not knowing your Bible. Of course no one knows theology before they are saved by the gospel and they learn the doctrine of God after by the Holy Spirit teaching them. However, Heiser’s whole emphasis here is that you don't have to understand or believe in the Trinity to be saved is completely wrong on more than one level.
And no, this is not about two powers but distinct persons. The Spirit is not Jesus, he has the same nature as the Son and the Father,
Yes not knowing your Bible well enough is an issue. There is some leeway that can be given here, at least for a new believer learning, until a person is confronted with the concept of the triune nature, specifically shown in the scripture that Jesus was God come in the flesh. If they reject it, at that point it would show if the person was really saved in the beginning or not. The Holy Spirit bears witness to who Jesus is, this is especially important in the gospel message.
Most people receive the gospel just hearing that Jesus saves them from their sin, some people also hear that Jesus is God who saves. The Jewish audience at the time hearing Jesus is Lord knew exactly what it meant. He explained it over and over in his sermons.
But to say salvation isn't about the ability to articulate theology … of the Trinity. Its not about theology, on how each person relates to one another or their activities. But, the person who didn't hear that Jesus was God when they first believed in Him (as their savior), their salvation will be confirmed when they hear that Jesus is God, the Creator of all things, and accept it, or, if they reject it at that time for the duration of their life, they were never ‘born again,’ made alive spiritually.
Along with having the Holy Spirit they confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord, they are to understand it, even to some limited degree.
Why is Heiser neglecting the person of the gospel and only focusing on the actions of this person.
(Starting at 5.00) “Romans 5:8 doesn't say that Christ died for us while we were articulating trinitarianism correctly or on the condition that we successfully articulated a Trinitarian theology doesn't say that at all. John 3:16 doesn't say whosoever believes or it says, it says whosoever believes in Christ, again the one God gave to be the Savior the world you know will be saved, it doesn't say you know that whosoever understands how to navigate adoptionism eternal sonship subordination and it doesn't say any of that. ”
He presents a flawed argument in Rom.5, Jesus dying is fulfilling his ministry toward us out of love and mercy. It’s not about the differing theologies, which one is correct and which is heresy, but understanding who the Son of God is, who died for your sins is necessary.
In this scripture portion of John that Heiser quotes to use as his example, it does says Jesus came from heaven as we read it in complete context. John 3:13-16 “ No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. … that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.’ V:18 “ but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God .”
It says to believe in him - who is the Him? We are told in Scripture only God is the savior.
We are to believe in the name of The Only begotten Son, which means he is not only man but the God man which makes him unique, the only one was sent by God (the Father) from heaven to earth. As Nicodemus would know what Jesus meant when he said he was sent into the world, that he is the light sent.
“The brother in Christ, which was part of the question is a phrase used of believers those who put their entire hope of eternal life and forgiveness of sin integrating no merit of their own on the work of Christ on the cross that's what makes you a believer, and it's it's an it's an exclusive thing there are no multiple roads to salvation, Jesus said I'm the way the truth of life you know no one comes to the Father except through me. You know he, he doesn't say you can get through me once I hear you successfully articulate Trinitarian theology … it just doesn't say that. you can get lots of doctrines wrong and still believe that there is no other means of salvation. you can believe the correct object of salvation and you can and you can believe the necessity of believing in that object of salvation and still not be able to articulate very well how it all works or why we need the Incarnation or, or why there is a Godhead. those are related but distinct things okay there they're not you can't exchange understanding of the Trinity with belief in the gospel that you can't swap those in and out and have the same result, you can have it you can have someone who can articulate trinitarianism perfectly and if they don't believe that Christ is the lone way of salvation put their trust and faith in him they're not a believer they're good theologian but they're not a believer these are not one-to-one exchangeable things.”
Heiser states one only needs to believe Christ is the lone way of salvation, but nearly every cult holds to this.
They must put their trust and faith in him or they're not a believer. Who is the him that they call Jesus?
This is a false argument he presents using theology. It’s not about understanding the theology but confessing WHO Jesus is. There is no swapping, one must have both, not either or. When Jesus said I'm the way the truth of life no one comes to the Father except through me, it is articulating who the Son is, the only mediator is the God –man (1 Tim.2:5). Being the savior applies to Trinitarianism, for without the triune God ones cannot identify the son of God who died in the gospel message.
The object is God who became man, to reconcile us with the Farther. if he is only a man as the cults believe or if you just believe he is the savior (whoever that may be) that is not making one a recipient of salvation. You must know the ‘who’ your salvation is in.
Heiser’s message is saying it does not matter who that object of salvation is except by name. What Heiser is promoting is pure ecumenism. That the Mormons the Jehovah witnesses and all those who deny who Jesus is Biblically are brethren.
(6:45) “so you know they're not damned I would say you know if you go back you can find references to the Arians again back at the Nicean controversy, the losers and they denied the eternality of the Son you know they believe there was a time when the Son was not, you know they, they didn't see Jesus is fully God but nevertheless they did see Jesus as the sole means of salvation and they get referred to as brethren. I mean there are places where that t happens. There they're not they're not considered non-believers they're considered to have aberrant theology by the decision of the council and I think we need to you know remember this and apply it to our own situations.”
If you can accept Arians who fully denied what the trinitarians explained from the Bible, that means ever person who says Jesus died for my sin but deny his person, is accepted. That is a huge problem he is introducing in his watered down gospel.
Heiser calls Arians believers, but did Athanasius call them brothers? What Hesier is saying is absolutely wrong about the Arians. To answer Heiser’s slide into home base, no the Arians were not just aberrant, they taught heresy and were ALWAYS considered heretics. And they are today as well. What is his intent in this statement? Because has now opened up salvation to those who deny Christ is God in the flesh, which is the main way the Church confessed and taught whom Christ is. Could it be that those he uses in references for his teachings are in this category? We certainly know some are.
At the council of Nicea, Arianism was condemned. I think Mr. Heiser may need to brush up on history. Athanasius who was the main defender of Christ at these gatherings had spoken on this and made himself clear “ But, whereas one heresy, and that the last, which has now risen as harbinger  of Antichrist, the Arian, as it is called, considering that other heresies, her elder sisters, have been openly proscribed, in her craft and cunning, affects to array herself in Scripture language  , like her father the devil, and is forcing her way back into the Church's paradise, -- that with the pretence of Christianity, her smooth sophistry (for reason she has none) may deceive men into wrong thoughts of Christ, -- nay, since she has already seduced certain of the foolish, not only to corrupt their ears … those whom it has deceived may repent; and, opening the eyes of their heart, may understand that darkness is not light, nor falsehood truth, nor Arianism good; nay, that those  who call these men Christians are in great and grievous error, as neither having studied Scripture, nor understanding Christianity at all, and the faith which it contains. ”
I think this last portion that Athanaius spoke, is applicable to Heiser as well.
“and for Christians come to be called Arians, bearing this badge of their irreligion. For let them not excuse themselves; nor retort their disgrace on those who are not as they, calling Christians after the names of their teachers  , that they themselves may appear to have that Name in the same way … though Arius be dead, and many of his party have succeeded him, yet those who think with him, as being known from Arius, are called Arians… while those of them who go off to the heretics, and again all who from the Church change to this heresy, abandon Christ's name, and henceforth are called Arians, as no longer holding Christ's faith, but having inherited Arius's madness .”
 Vid. infr. 4 fin. “ Still Arianism was contrasted with other heresies on this point, as in these two respects; (1.) they appealed to a secret tradition, unknown even to most of the Apostles, as the Gnostics, Iren. Hær. iii.” Underline mine
8:45 Heiser: “Now somebody might think of you know first John you know John's talk about unbelievers not believing quote that Christ had come in the flesh okay well that really isn't about successfully articulating trinitarianism it's really about rejecting that Jesus was the Christ …. If you look at first John 4 for instance verses 2 & 3 think about what this says, by this you know the Spirit of God every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus, is not from God notice the two polar opposites every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God okay. Then how do you wind up being not from God it doesn't say that every spirit that does not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh is not from God that isn't what the verse says it says every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. so this this this, John's idea about Christ's coming in the flesh is, is really about and ultimately about accepting that Jesus was the Messiah, again the Savior the ones who you know who was sacrificed he was given by God to take away the sins of the world.”
Heiser, alludes to Jesus Christ coming in the flesh, as not really referring to him being God coming in the flesh, but rather just the savior; of Israel . In other words, all anybody has to do is put their trust in Jesus as the Messiah and they are accepted, which would include all the cults and religions like Bahai and Islam. But Scripture teaches us that it is not just what he did but who did it, who He is.
What does the Scripture actually say--1 John 4:2-3 “ Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God and every spirit that does not confess t hat Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
The Gospel focuses on the person who is Christ, the Son of God who was sent from heaven as the Savior (1 John 4:14; Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 45:17). Who came in the flesh? God the Son sent by the Father. That is who Jesus Christ is. That is what Messiah means
Here Heiser again is watering down this qualifying statement in the Bible which is a crucial point in defining and identifying Jesus.
Confessing what Jesus? The one who came in flesh from the verse before. Heiser manipulates the meaning and this is dangerous what he is saying.
For his statements on the gospel opens up Christianity to every cult that only believe Jesus died for their sins, but deny his deity; that they are all to be accepted as part of the body of Christ. That you can believe Jesus is the Christ and savoir and still not believe he is God. This crucial elimination changes everything. That’s His academics.
Furthermore, if one were to read Johns second letter it defines what he meant in his first letter, 2 John 7-8 “ For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. ”
The question is, who is Christ, Biblically? Matt 26:63 at his trial they demanded,
Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” This is what the religious leaders understood who Christ is. That is who came in the flesh. Martha at Lazarus’ resurrection confesses “ Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God” ( John 11:27 this was common knowledge among those who knew the Scripture apart from the Pharisees teaching).
The term “antichrist” is used in the New Testament exclusively by John applied to those who deny that Jesus (as God) came in the flesh–“incarnated” being the Christ, the God man (1 Timothy 3:16 tells us who incarnated); they are of the anti-Christ spirit. John in his epistles was specifically addressing the Gnostics influence within the church who denied his incarnation (God became man, flesh).
This antichrist movement began early on in the church. John writes, “ Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming (literally: that antichrist shall come-singular), even now many antichrists (plural) have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us ” (1 John 2:18-19). The phrase “last hour” describes the days between Christ’s first and second coming. They left the believing brethren because they disagreed, and have continued to leave starting their own cults, religions and movements.
Heiser: “John three-sixteen if you reject that, okay, then that's not from God. They are many Christians who would embrace the exclusivity of the gospel today wouldn't have a prayer of successfully articulating the subtleties of adoptionism, subordination ISM eternal sonship etc. hey when I became a Christian I know I bought any of that. I wouldn't have had a prayer to have an intelligent discussion about any of that but I understood what the gospel was and why I needed it and that there was no other way of salvation and I just think we need to keep some of these things in perspective. so no they're not damned you know I think, I think they're incorrect in their theology …
This is his conclusion, Salvation apart from the understanding that it is God who came as man to die for ones sin, and this is what he holds today
Scripture says salvation is to whosoever believes in Christ as who is the one God gave to be the Savior the world; God the Son, sent from heaven. The whole New Testament teaches this.
Again John clarifies his teaching 1 John 4:14-15 “ And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God .”
There is no other person WHO IS salvation (Jesus’ name means God is salvation). It is about who he is, not just being the way.
Only God is our savior according to the New Testament Jesus is called that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” ( Luke 1:35)
Matt 1:21 you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” V:23 they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us .”
Lk.1:47 – Lk 2:11, this is mentioned before he went to the cross to die for our sin. I Tim 1:1 2:3 Titus:1:3, 2:10, 3:4 Jude 25, 2 Pt.1:1.
If the Holy Spirit indwells someone he will teach them the truth about who their savior is, they will confess when asked. The cults have always been part of the apostasy. Scripture specifically addressing the Church points to an end time removal of faith, the main tenant of the faith is who Jesus is, “who do you say I am” is pertinent to the gospel.
1 Tim 3:16 “ And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh ” This was also a hymn in the early church.
Heiser statements that you do not need to believe the correct object (person) of salvation.
That it is not a necessity in salvation to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, God in the flesh. Mr. Heiser’s liberalism is blatantly showing us what he really believes. As one reads the Scripture it tells us Jesus is God. If he is not God in the flesh than who is he? And how can he save?
1 John 5:11-13 “ And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life”
Reminiscent to what John wrote at the end of his Gospel, “ but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)
Heiser obfuscates doctrine, the qualifying scriptures on the subject. Scripture does say whosoever believes in Christ the SON OF GOD (who is God the son) the one God gave to be the Savior the world, that is the correct object of salvation, the God man, not just a man. He is called Lord as well as savior, 2 Peter 3:2 Lord and Savior, v:18 “ but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Scripture tells us the savior IS God. His and other opinions are meaningless.