When did the church decide Jesus is God?

From the same sources that brought us such startling news that Mary Magdalene is Jesus’ wife, the early church conspired to oppress women and the New Testament wasn’t written down until over one hundred years after Jesus’ death, we are demystified again by the declaration that at a strategic church council it was decided by the bishop’s present that Jesus actually was God. As the story goes in popular parlance, the disciples began to tell of how great a person Jesus was and the story grew and grew and grew until a few hundred years later people began to believe Jesus was God. Once people began believing this, certain church leaders met together, decided to make Jesus’ Deity the official doctrine of the church and declared a heretic anyone who doesn’t believe Jesus is God.

This story is spun because of one or two controversies in the early church around 300 AD, though in reality teachers opposed the deity of Jesus from the very earliest days of the church. The most noted controversy surrounded the teachings of a man named Arius. Arius was alive in the late 200’s and early 300’s. He taught that Jesus was not the eternal God, but was created by God at some point before the rest of creation. Arius’ errors led to the calling of the first historic church council, which met in Nicea. In that council the pastor’s cl arified the position of the church and condemned Arius as a false teacher and heretic. The Nicene creed declares that Jesus is, “not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

The Council of Nicea did not devise the doctrine of Jesus’ deity. They affirmed that which the church had believed all along. All of the New Testament is filled with the claim that Jesus is the Eternal God. From the claims of the disciples during Jesus’ life (“My Lord and my God.” -John 20:28), to the claims of Jesus during His ministry (“He said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” -John 5:18), to the teachings of the apostles Paul (“Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” -Romans 9:5) the testimony of the New Testament is unequivocal. Jesus is God. The church fathers did not create the doctrine of Jesus’ Deity, they upheld it as the truth of God.

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