The Deity of Christ; Addresses to the Seven Churches; F.W. Newman

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My dear -, -,
Not having any proper answer further on your mere summary of Mr. Brook's, I put your letter to be answered as soon as I could, having already replied to the particular arguments you had asked me about. I am occupied with Newman, so that answering error and grasping systems of it, I had pretty near enough of for the moment, but I have made some progress in it. I have not the least doubt that Dr. Lees denies any real sacrificial atonement. The patristic Platonic form of denying the divinity of Christ is ancient now, and accompanied. with the denial of atonement and everlasting punishment. Thus in Bristol, a man teaches that in Christ God was manifest in the flesh, not He was God, etc. They hold that the Logos or wisdom, not word of God, dwelt abundantly in Christ, so that what God was, was manifested in Him, that He was Lord and is now glorified. They hold forgiveness by love, not by expiation. There are various shades, from a subtle Platonism, such as Justin Martyr's, almost allied to orthodoxy, down to Newman's, who went on to the denial that Jesus was the Christ and of all revelation. He passed through this phase, if phase it can be called, where really all is denied. The Logos is not held to be a person: God's wisdom in God was manifested in Jesus. Hence he speaks of God's being the spirit and source of all wisdom and love. One is manifested in Christ, that is, the λόγος (reason or wisdom) was, and the love or mercy announced in the mission of the Messiah, and therefore in the forgiveness of sins. This excludes evidently expiation, and denies that Jesus was God in any personal sense.
As to begotten, not made, it is ambiguous: he may believe Christ to be Son as born into this world, or he may hold the Platonic notion, modified by Christian doctrines as Justin Martyr (if my memory does not deceive me, though elsewhere orthodox), that is, that the λόγος was eternal in God as His wisdom or mind, but was begotten and produced into a distinct existence before and for the creation. His creed does not say which, and I cannot determine; but the real existence λόγος of the, as a very Person, ὑπόστασις, who could be with God from all eternity, I am confident he does not hold. He believes in one God the Father and one Lord Jesus, using this to exclude Jesus from being Himself God (though man also), and making Him only the wisdom of God manifested in this man, begotten perhaps in a remarkable manner by the Holy Ghost. As to the Holy Ghost, I cannot tell what he holds. I suppose some vague idea of an emanation. Newman calls it, though an avowed infidel, God in the heart.
It is a speculative Platonic system, using Christianity to enlarge its system and incorporate its ideas; but there is no faith at all in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, none really whatever, nor in expiation. This kind of thing is emerging now a good deal....
Affectionately yours, much pressed for time.
December 13th, 1851