"Neo-Apollinarianism": A Smear Tactic

by Gene Frost

    On an internet Website, The Seeker, Ron (aka Ronny) Milliner posted an article, entitled "Neo-Apollinarianism." It follows the same presentation as a section of a previous article, written eight years ago (January 1992), under the sub-title of "Apollinarianism," with addition of a few more quotations. The full article, entitled "‘Who’s shifted" Or ‘Somebody Stripped His Gears!’," we reviewed in an open letter to Ronny Milliner. (See the review, "Who Stripped His Gears?", posted on this site.)

    In typical fashion, Milliner lifts quotes by different writers in different contexts and connects them together in order to make it appear that he is continuing a historical quest to uproot a so-called "Apollinarianism." He weaves a contrived portrait of the teachings of Apollinarius in an effort to slander by association those who oppose the heretical teaching of the Welch party. He lists some of the tenets he supposedly avowed, and ignores others which do not suit his purpose.  I know of no one who believes all that has been attributed to Apollinarius; I do not know of anyone who will deny all that he is reputed as having taught.

    I could care less about what Apollinarius taught, or what a Catholic Council decreed at Chalcedon in condemning him. I will side with neither side of the controversy. My faith comes not from this source, but from the inspired Scriptures. (Rom. 10:17)

    Milliner lists some five tenets of so-called "Apollinarianism." If he can successfully label his opposition with the term, then I suppose he can then add to his list other teachings attributed to Apollinarius and accuse them of these teachings also. From his historical source of what constitutes Apollinarianism, we may also add to his five:

6. Neo-Apollinarians believe that Jesus acquired a body by conversion of the substance of the Godhead into the substance of flesh.

7. Neo-Apollinarians believe that the two substances, the deified flesh and Godhead, are confounded or blended.

    Does Milliner know any so-called Neo-Apollinarian? Will he now accuse those whom he labels as Neo-Apollinarians of believing these tenets? This is a game he can play. Excuse me.

    To demonstrate his perverseness in charging others, I will examine his charge that I believe that

"Jesus Just Appeared to Be a Man."

    This is not a new charge. I was first falsely accused of believing that Jesus only appeared to be a man in 1991.

1991 – Misrepresentation

    In the July 1991 issue of Faith and Facts, John A. Welch wrote:

    "Brother Frost teaches that while on earth Jesus had all the qualities of deity in present possession and only appeared to be a man:

    "‘In appearance he looked like a man, except when it was proper for his innate glory to radiate through His tabernacle of clay. In appearance, He gave up the prerogatives of His deity, which were merely held in abeyance (except when they did not compromise his role as a servant.)’ (Anchor, December, 1990, page 4)." John Welch, Faith and Facts, July 1991, page 22.)

    Note that in the quotation cited I did not say that Jesus "only appeared to be a man." There is a vast difference between "in appearance He looked like a man" and He "only appeared to be a man"! The point made was that Jesus did not reflect in His flesh the glory of His majesty as God (except in the transfiguration, 2 Pet. 1:16-17), but in His appearance, as men saw Him, He was a man. He appeared not as God, but as man. The point could not be missed, except for a deliberate desire to misrepresent. Note the context:

    "‘Form’ (morphe) obviously is how one appears in his position or status; it is the visage of his role. In the beginning, the form of the Word was that of the Father, reflecting the glory of His majesty. Paul writes of Christ ‘being in the form of God…’ (Phil. 2:6) "Being’ (huparcho) here is present, active, participal, expressing ‘continuance of an antecedent state or condition,’2 ‘an antecedent condition which is protracted into the present. That is, our Lord’s being in the form of God was true of Him before He became a man and was true of Him at the time of the writing of this epistle, which tells us that in taking upon Himself humanity with its limitations … He lost nothing of His intrinsic deity…"3 This form, not His deity, Jesus was willing to give up on earth in order to take the role of a servant, in which role He appeared. He came in the flesh, in fashion as a man, appearing with the visage and limitations that characterize man. In appearance He looked like a man, except when it was proper for His innate glory to radiate through His tabernacle of clay. In appearance, He gave up the prerogatives of His deity, which were merely held in abeyance (except when they did not compromise His role as servant)." (Gospel Anchor, December 1990, page 4.)

    The misrepresentation is unconscionable in view of the actual statement, plus the context in which it was stated. The false charge was corrected in the September 1991 issue of the Gospel Anchor:

    "In addition, John [Welch] wants me to affirm that Jesus was a man only in appearance, not actually. And he knows that I do not believe any such thing. The very statement quoted in Faith and Facts denies it. The article in Bible Answers, volume 1, was addressing this very argument. Is it honest to pretend that one’s opponent believes something that you know he has exposed and refuted in writing? I am appalled that even John would attempt this.

    "His effort to make it appear that I believe Jesus ‘only appeared to be a man’ is more than a ‘little dishonest.’ His evidence? John quotes me as saying, ‘In appearance he looked like a man…" (I capitalized He.) Yes; why did He have the appearance of a man? Because He was a man! There is a big difference between saying that Jesus had the appearance of a man and that He only appeared to be a man. I said the first; I did not say the last. The dishonest ‘sleight of hand’ is detected by the addition of the word only and the change of verbs. In context, I was discussing the radiant glory that adorns Deity. When Deity came in the flesh, He did not retain that glory, the appearance of God. (John 17:4) His appearance was that of a man. In the same article, I stated many times that Jesus was in a body of flesh, that He was a man. What John Welch has done here is inexcusable." (Gospel Anchor, September 1991, page 4.)

    This should have put this false charge to rest. But one thing we have learned about the Welch party: once a misrepresentation is set afoot, it is never retracted. John Welch did not correct the misrepresentation, nor did he apologize for the false charge. In fact, he repeated the false charge in 1992.

1992 – Deliberate Lie

    In the April 1992 issue of Faith and Facts, John Welch wrote:

    "Brother Frost refuses to debate whether the inner nature of Jesus was changed, although that is the core of his writing and speaking for two years. He argues that the inner being of Jesus was unchanged while being merely in appearance as a man." (Faith and Facts, April 1992, pages 149-150.)

    That statement is false, and John Welch knew it when he wrote it. And so we corrected him again:

    "Man is a being of dual nature: a spirit in a body of flesh. The divine Spirit of Jesus was housed in a body (John 1:14), so that He became a man. I do not deny His humanity. Again, you misrepresent me, saying that I believe He was man ‘merely in appearance.’ I never said that. I deny the accusation and corrected you in the September issue of Gospel Anchor. To state it again is blatant dishonesty. The original evidence for your statement was a quote: ‘In appearance He looked like a man…’ (That’s because He was a man; He did not come in appearance as God.) Pray tell, though, what is the difference in this and what you say: ‘to ordinary appearance he was a man’ (The Word Became Flesh, page 27)? Why does this not mean that you believe Jesus was a man only in appearance?" (Open letter, John Welch Bows Out, June 15, 1992.)

    As I said, once one is misrepresented by the Faith and Facts crowd, we can expect to hear it again and again. And so we have, from several writers of that journal. They never make corrections. They repeat lies so often they begin to think they are so. In fact, they will quote their own articles as the "source document." (I have proved this before on other issues.)

1994 – Shameless Slander

    In a book published in 1994, the man Christ Jesus ("the" and "man" are not capitalized), Ronny Milliner, under the subtitle, "Apollinarians Believe That Jesus Only Appeared to Be a Man," continues to propagate the misrepresentation. As an example of those who believe that Jesus only appeared to be a man, he presents the following quote attributed to me:

    "‘… the power of the higher divine nature was united in Him with the human appearance, which was not the case in other men. The nature of Him who had become man was, so far, not fully identical with, but substantially conform (in likeness) to, that which belongs to man.’ Note that Jesus was not in fashion a man, but ‘as a man.’"15

    "Endnotes … 15Gene Frost, ‘What Was Emptied’?", Gospel Anchor (Vol. 17, No. 4); Dec., 1990, p. 52."

    The quotation above is attributed to me. Actually, I was quoting H.A.W. Meyer, in his Critical and Exegetical Handbook (vol. 8, pages 75-76), and so referenced it in my article. To attribute a quote from a different writer, clearly identified, to me is inexcusable. Even so, there is nothing in Meyer’s statement that indicates that Jesus only appeared to be a man. In this same reference, Meyer clearly states that Jesus was a man and as such had the appearance of a man, having given up His appearance as God.

    "… He renounced the divine glorious form which, prior to His incarnation, was the form of appearance of His God-equal existence, took instead of it the form of a servant, and became as a man," page 73.

    "Men saw in Christ a human form, bearing, language, action, mode of life, wants and their satisfaction, etc., in general the state and relations of a human being, so that in the entire mode of His appearance He made Himself known and was recognized (eureq.) as a man. In His external character, after He had laid aside the divine form which He had previously had, there was observed no difference between His appearance and that of a man, although the subject of His appearance was at the same time essentially divine."

    Neither Meyer nor I stated that Jesus only appeared to be a man. Reference was clearly made to His appearance. It would be interesting to hear Milliner, Welch, et al., describe Jesus’ appearance on earth if it was not as a man.

Of course, Milliner had to misrepresent Meyer before he could attribute the misrepresentation to me. This demonstrates to what lengths these men will go to create a false image and with it slander others. These men are notorious for their misrepresentations of others. They glory in quoting men in debate, rather than presenting exegesis of the Biblical text, and, in doing so, they pervert what they say and ascribe to them positions they do not believe. I have documented the practice by examining their references; I have letters from many, who are quoted as in sympathy with what the Welch party teaches, denying the representation.

2000 – Malicious Slander Continues

    Now, in his article in The Seeker, Ronny Milliner reproduces the same false charge! Once they set a misrepresentation afoot, they never stop, even after their dishonesty is exposed.

Who Believes That Jesus Only Appeared to Be a Man?

    Their argument is that to say that in appearance Jesus was a man is to say that Jesus only appeared to be a man. I do not believe this. But since they do, to be consistent they must now accuse John Welch himself with believing that Jesus only appeared to be a man because he says,

    "It was not apparent from their first meeting, because in every appearance, characteristic and native power he was a man." (John Welch, The Word Became Flesh, page 5; emphasis added.)

    "Since to ordinary appearance he was a man, the divine nature of Jesus has to be established separate and apart from all normal appearances." (John Welch, The Word Became Flesh, page 27.)

    Let it be understood that every time John Welch, Ron Milliner, et al., say that Gene Frost believes that Jesus only appeared to be a man, it is a lie … a lie that persists even after it has been corrected.

    If this article seems impatient, let the reader know that I have had to deal with such ungodly treatment since 1990. I have patiently corrected these men in their failure to understand what they read, have corrected their misrepresentations, and have repeatedly exhorted them to turn from such behavior, all to no avail. The misrepresentations and lies continue. It is time, well past time, for all with any association with the Faith and Facts party to appeal to these men to repent and to apologize for their shameful conduct. At this point, I must conclude that, without a public correction, all who bid them God-speed are partakers with them. (Rom. 1:32, 2 John 11; see 1 Cor. 5:5.)

by Gene Frost

Address of The Seeker

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