A.C.D. Promotes Dangerous Heresies

The June-July 2007 edition of The Journal has a lengthy article on the June 2007 “One-God Seminar” put out by Ken Westby and his Association for Christian Development (A.C.D.).

I believe that what A.C.D. does and stands for is dangerous and at least two of its teachings need to be denounced as heresy–the first being the denial of Jesus being God and the second being the denial of portions of the New Testament being scripture. 

For some background, let’s begin with the following introduction to this conference from Dixon Cartwright of The Journal:

Ken Westby continues to stir things up five years after his first annual conference to promote the concept of “one God.” This year a congregation in the Albany, N.Y., area whose affiliations include the Church of God Abrahamic Faith served as the local host of the sixth yearly conference.

The Living Hope Community Church, pastored by Vince Finnegan and copastored by Mr. Finnegan’s son Sean, was the site of the three days of meetings June 8-10, 2007, to argue (in a collegial way, as Mr. Westby always optimistically puts it) that God is one rather than two, three or some other number.

The obvious consequence of a belief that God is one—unitarianism, or unitary monotheism—is that Jesus is not God, at least not God in the sense that the Father is the Supreme Being: eter-nal and all-powerful. Trinitarians (most of Christianity) and binitarians (most churches derived from the Worldwide Church of God) believe that Jesus is God.

Mr. Westby and friends, on the other hand, say that Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Savior and the elder brother of Christians but is not God.

A.C.D. is promoting heresy by teaching that Jesus is not God. Yet Jesus is God and that is what the Bible clearly teaches.   

So how do unitarians get around the Bible?

They either tend to ignore, question the validity of, or retranslate portions of the Gospel According to John!


F. Paul Haney began by referring to his “lingering doubts” about the authenticity of the Gospel of John “and its substance.” He has concluded that John, unlike the synoptics—Matthew, Mark and Luke—is an “evolved book.” …

Mr. Haney ratcheted the discussion up a few notches for the fundamentalist Christians to whom he was speaking when he mentioned that he had decided that perhaps the entire book of John is not what he once thought it was…

If that method means Mr. Haney “must excise some parts of the Gospel of John, in particular, as being hostile to Yahweh’s teaching,” then “so be it.” Mr. Haney’s presentation, he said, was meant to “examine, interrogate and analyze John’s Gospel,” not to discard it.

“I do not worship the Bible,” he said, “but over the years I have discovered that some professing Christians do.” Mr. Haney spoke of John’s prologue, the first 18 verses, as “a hymn that was a later addition.” Therefore, anything in the prologue that seems to support Jesus as God as God the Father is God is automatically suspect…

The synoptics—Matthew, Mark and Luke—in large part “agree with one another,” Mr. Haney said. “But John’s Gospel is a special case. It came on the scene relatively late and has the distinction of sharply disagreeing in many respects with the synoptics as well as with some of Paul’s writings.”

Beginnings of books are normally NOT later additions.   The Bible itself says that we are to get doctrine from it (2 Timothy 3:16), yet many unitarians teach heresy when they teach that John 1:1-18 is a “later addition”.  It should be noted that F.P. Haney also questioned several other portions of that Gospel–hence apparently feels that it is not inspired scripture.  I believe he is teaching heresy.

Here are some other comments about the conference:

Noel Rude presented “Did Christ Create the Cosmos?”

Several New Testament passages, Mr. Rude said, “seem to say that Jesus Christ created the universe.” The most widely cited, he said, is John 1:3, which states that “all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

In reality, rather than Jesus the Messiah literally existing before His birth as a human, “the Messiah takes on and personifies the preexistent Word, wisdom, way, truth of God . . . Yet Jesus acknowledges that this is not His own wisdom” in John 12:49: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.”

Mr. Rude noted that some verses in Paul’s writings are not as easy to explain and “actually do seem to say that Christ created the cosmos.” The verses include 1 Corinthians 8:6 (“by whom are all things”), Ephesians 3:9 (“who created all things by Jesus Christ”), Colossians 1:16 (“for by him were all things created”) and Hebrews 1:2 (“by whom also he made the worlds”).

So the above presenter seems to be saying that you cannot rely on the statement in John 1:3, even though they agree with Paul’s writings that also show that all things were made by Jesus Christ.  Teaching against relying on scripture is heresy.

Here is information relating to another presenter:

Citing 1 John 4:1-3 and 2 John 7, Mr. Gluckin noted that “the very root of the spirit of Antichrist is founded in not acknowledging Jesus was a man.”

The above explanation was probably given in more detail at the conference, so I would simply refer readers interested in the Antichrist to the article Some Doctrines of Antichrist.

Another presenter took exception to John as well:

Gary Fakhoury presented “The Nature of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels.”

The synoptics—Matthew, Mark and Luke—“demonstrate an obliviousness to Jesus’ deity,” Mr. Fakhoury said…
“Mr. Fakhoury continued: “If everything we knew about Jesus were contained in the synoptic Gospels, we would not have the slightest reason to suspect that Jesus was God in the flesh. “We would, however, have every reason to believe what our group [the One God Seminar people] has always believed and taught: that Jesus was God’s unique son: begotten by the Holy Spirit, righteous in word and deed, faithful to the end, a just and mighty Lord Messiah who reigns as God’s glorified vice regent in heaven and before whom all knees shall bow.”

Regarding the literalness of the events of the synoptics as opposed to the literalness of the events mentioned in the Gospel of John, Mr. Fakhoury said he thinks of John as a “meditation” about Jesus Christ whereas the synoptics present “just the facts, ma’am.” Therefore, John has a different purpose, Mr. Fakhoury seemed to be saying, and is not required to be as literal a report as are the synoptics. 

I bolded the above portion to comment about it.  First of all, the New Testament is more than Matthew, Mark, and Luke (the “synoptic” Gospels).  So, notice two comments from Paul about Jesus:

Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God (Philippians 2:5b-6).

But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom (Hebrews 1:8).

And second of all, perhaps he forgot about a particular passage in Matthew:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” ” (Matthew 1:23).

The Journal also reported the following comments from Ken Westby at the conference:

“God is a personal being,” Mr. Westby said. “He is not a mystery, a phantom, a godhead or anything of the like. He has plans, emotions of anger, wrath, grieving, love, laughter, compassion, disappointment, pleasure and surprise…” 

The Apostle Paul, unlike Ken Westby, did support the idea of a Godhead as he wrote:

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).  

Earlier, Ken Westby wrote:

But no Gospels, no epistles, and no Apocalypse were penned until decades after Jesus was taken up into the clouds. This fact is not debated. This point can be important when confronting the very few scriptures in the NT that seem to reference the preexistence of a glorified Christ (Westby, Kenneth. Two Thrones, Two Lords, Two Saviors, One God. Association for Christian Development’s The One God Seminar. Tyler, Texas July 25–27, 2003).  

A.C.D.  denies the deity of Christ and questions at least portions of the Gospel that the Holy Spirit inspired John to write and apparently other passages of scripture.  A.C.D. is thus promoting dangerous heresies and should be denounced by those who believe that they are in the true Church of God. 

Several articles on the Godhead include:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

Another article of possibly related interest may be Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?

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