We are to accept everyone as brothers and sisters as long as Christ is preached(the simple gospel Romans 10:9-10, Nicene Creed, etc…) => Philippians 1:18 defends this principle. Is this true?
When questioning teaching about the deity of Christ on earth or who we as christians are to have unity with, I am usually met with the above idea. Usually it has to do with the Kenosis doctrine and those teaching that Christ poured out His divinity to become man. It is true that these people call themselves christians and are also preaching the simple gospel(Romans 10:9-10, Nicene Creed, etc…). So, should we rejoice with them(unity) that the gospel is being preached and ignore the false doctrine about the deity of Jesus? Let’s look at the scripture.
Philippians 1:14-18 NASB… and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice …
From NetBible Phil 1:15
- envy = ill-will, jealousy
- strife = contention, wrangling, quarreling
- goodwill = kindly intent, benevolence
From NetBible Phil 1:16
- love = brotherly love, affection
From NetBible Phil 1:17
- selfish ambition = Paul exhorts to be one in the mind of Christ not putting self forward or being selfish(Phil 2:3;Ja 3:14)
- pure motives = honest, sincere motives
From NetBible Phil 1:18
- pretense = outward showing
- truth = objectively, free from pretense, deceit
First notice that Paul here is talking about motives – both good and bad. Next notice he rejoices because Christ is preached – the true gospel. Also notice what it doesn’t say – it doesn’t say as long as the “simple gospel” is preached. Paul assumes these with good or bad motive are preaching the SAME gospel – that is what he rejoices about.
Also notice that those who preach Kenosis along with a “simple gospel” are preaching a different Christ and so really preaching a different gospel than that in scripture. This Kenosis Christ has no power until baptism vs. the Christ of scripture who is, was and will always be fully God(Col 2:9;Jn 8:58;Rev 1:7-8).
Does Paul rejoice in this type of preaching? Consider these scriptures, also written by Paul.
Galatians 1:6-10 NASB
Perversion of the Gospel
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed(condemned to hell)!
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:1-4 NASB
Paul Defends His Apostleship
11 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. …
… 12 But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
2 John 1:9 AMPC … Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son.
Notice that these who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ
=> DO NOT have the Father or the Son(or the Holy Spirit).
What does Jesus say?
John 8:31-32 AMPC … So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. 32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.