April 2012


To Love and Cherish

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Christianity: The Basics

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Archive for April 2nd, 2012

The Epistles of John: Living in Truth and Love. 1 John 2:22-3a

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 by Elgin Hushbeck

Week 24: Mar 18, 2012

Having pointed out to his readers that they have an anointing and know all things, John defines who cannot be trusted.


f. Why John Writes (2:21-27)

ii. Those who deny are the liars (2:22-23)

22-3a – Who is a liar but the person who denies that Jesus is the Messiah?[1] The person who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father.

Who is a liar is a rhetorical question that draws out a key distinction between believers and those who left. John does this with three phrases centered around literally: “The denying” (ἀρνούμενος).

the person who denies that Jesus is the Messiah

– The first “denying” is key for it is what characteristic of a non-believer. This is more than just a matter of the words; it goes much deeper to the core meaning. Goes to the nature, person, and work of Jesus.

The person who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist

– The second “denying” functions as a restatement and amplification of the first. There are several things going on here. The first is that the Son and the Father are being equated. To deny one is to deny the other. Second Jesus is being linked to the Son. This may seem obvious, but it is important to remember that the heretics saw divisions between Jesus, the Christ, and the Father. This is what separates groups that are Christian from those who claim to be. I do not believe that this includes those in other religions, for the context here is those who left the church. Unlike Jews and pagans (or today, Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, etc.), those who left claimed to be the true followers of Christ. Today this would include groups like the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. They claim to be true followers of Christ, but they deny the basic biblical teaching concerning the nature, person, and/or work of Jesus.

No one who denies the Son has the Father.

– The third “denying” is a summary of proto-Gnostic belief and here John is applying these statements to his critics.

Questions and Discussion

As can be seen from the shortness of the study, there was a lot of discussion this week and more than I can summarize here. Most of it centered on how and where we should draw the line between Christians and non-Christians in terms of teaching. From 1 John it is pretty clear the dividing line is the person of Jesus Christ. Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses have a view of Jesus that differs significantly from that in the Bible.

For example, while John 1 says that Jesus was “the word” and in verse one says “the word was God” the Jehovah Witnesses, attempt to avoid this by translating this as “the word was a god” and then goes on to try and diminish this even further by claiming that “a god” does not really mean what is says, but really means something lesser than a god.

There was also a lot of discussion on how this applies to groups whose view of Jesus is ok, but where we have other disagreements. While many Christians are fairly tolerant of differences such as pre, mid, or post tribulation, many Christians have other beliefs they think are really important. For some differing views of creation are seen as disqualifying. Perhaps one of the most difficult such views centers on the questions about the Bible such as inerrancy. While I hold to inerrancy, I do not believe that those who question inerrancy are automatically not Christians. For example, I have a friend who does not accept inerrancy, but whose commitment and relationship to Christ are solid. In fact, I have asked him and he cannot give me any specific errors in the Bible, but he is just not willing to say that the Bible is inerrant.

In short I am not as concerned about most theological views, as I am about two things: What do they say about Jesus, and how is there walk with the Lord.

If you have question or comments about the class, feel free to send me an email at elgin@hushbeck.com and be sure to put “Epistles of John” in the header.

See here for references and more background on the class.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible: International Standard Version®. Copyright © 1996-2008 by The ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission. www.isv.org

Note: Some places I have modify the text from the ISV version. Passages that I have modified have been noted with and * by the verse number and the ISV text is included in a footnote.


[1] 2:22 Or Christ