Lying Is Now The Issue
by Gene Frost
September 7, 2000
In an article on his website, The Seeker, entitled "Made A Little Lower Than the Angels" and dated August 2000, Ronny Milliner addresses the last half of it to our exchange concerning his persistent lie that I believe that Jesus was not really a man, but only appeared to be. It attacks my person while maliciously lying about what I believe, hence the subtitle, "Brother Frost and Lying." In response after response to Milliner, as in article after article before he made his false charge, I have clearly stated that Jesus was God and man, God manifest in the flesh. I do not believe, nor have I taught that Jesus was a man only in appearance and not in actuality. I have demanded that he present proof of his charge - cite the reference where I have ever stated what he avers. He has failed to do so, and in this latest effort he admits that his conclusion is implied:
"Here are quotes from brother Frost's writing in which I believe he takes a position which implies a denial of the true humanity of Jesus. I suspect we will have to leave it up to the reader as to whom is telling the truth on this particular topic. I am content to leave it there."
He does not know that I believe what he avers, although he does know that I do not teach what he charges, else he would produce the evidence. And don't think for a moment that he hasn't made a thorough search. Ronny probably has a more complete record of articles I have written and sermons I have preached than I do. He has no proof, but by putting his own spin on statements he lifts out of context, he thinks he finds an implication, that is, a hint or suggestion or intimation, that I believe Jesus never came to earth as a man, but was only an apparition in the appearance of a man. There is no basis for his charge: he cannot find that I ever stated what he charges, but somehow in the recesses of his own mind, he surmises that I must believe what I do not teach. And he is willing to leave judgment to the reader. Ronny, you take this too lightly. It doesn't make any difference as to what others choose to believe about this matter, whether some are willing to trust and act upon your conclusion or not. The judgment belongs to God ... and you stand convicted of evil surmising (suspicion, conjecture, unfounded opinion (1 Tim. 6:3-5, read the context.) Again, I plead with you to repent before you are called in judgment before God.
Milliner acknowledges that I have accused him of "perverting 'what others say,' of 'slander,' of telling 'blatant lies,' 'misrepresentations,' and 'false charges,' of having 'malice aforethought,' and of lacking 'the mental acumen to understand' what he has written." Not only have I accused him of these things, I have demonstrated them to be so. And I am going to go further. Ronny Milliner employs carnal weapons. (2 Cor. 10:4) He seeks to carry the argument by "demonizing" his opponent through malicious ridicule and caricature. Further, he is illogical in his reasoning. These can be illustrated in his latest article.
Milliner is flippant in his attempt to dismiss all that we have written before. He summarizes our exchange to date as centering on (1) the omission of a footnote; (2) focusing on a Scripture that had nothing to do with his objection; (3) the change of the format of an article. Absurd; he must think that the readers cannot look back at the exchange. Apparently, he is not only careless in his reading, but evidences a serious problem with comprehension. I have neither the time nor patience to go back over our correspondence. I appeal to the reader to review the past articles, his and mine (we have linked our articles on the internet to his website where his articles can be found).
We go now to his list of quotations from which he supposedly implies that I believe contrary to what I teach.
- 1 -
The first quotation is from H.A.W. Meyer, with my statement following in which I reiterate what the text (Phil. 2:7-8) states: when Jesus "was made in the likeness of men," He was "in fashion as a man." Ronny becomes unglued when one says that Jesus was in his outward condition "as a man," yet this is precisely what the text says. And he is upset with me because I repeat it! Apparently, to quote the Bible to Milliner is to imply that Jesus only appeared to be a man, but wasn't indeed. His problem is not with me, but with the inspired writings of Paul.
All of this we have pointed out, which he ignores. Since my statement followed the quotation by Meyer, the reader needs to understand that Meyer in the context contends that although Jesus was "certainly perfect man," he was, by reason of the divine nature present in Him, "not simply or merely man." If this were not the case, and Jesus was simply or merely man, then it would mean that Jesus' spirit was no different from the created spirits in men. Therefore, Jesus would have been just a man, and not God manifest in the flesh, even as materialists teach. Yet, we know that Jesus' spirit, as the Word (John 1:1-2), before coming to earth was of a divine nature, so what happened? Was He changed in His spirit-being? Did He cease to be divine (God)? Was He divested of (did He surrender, abdicate, give up) the divine attributes that characterize the divine nature? Milliner cannot have it both ways. The spirit in the body of Jesus cannot possess the divine nature (with the attributes of deity) and at the same time be devoid of it to become a spirit no different from created spirits.
From what Meyer says and the quotation I gave from Phil. 2:8, Milliner concludes that Gene Frost believes that Jesus only appeared to be a man, but was not indeed. By what convoluted reasoning does he reached such a warped conclusion? How depraved a mind must be to evilly surmise what is repeated denied, and affirmed to the contrary!
Observe Milliner's conclusion in contrast to mine from what is presented above:
1. Jesus was a perfect man, in likeness as a man.
2. The spirit in Jesus was more than characterizes ordinary man; His nature was divine.
3. MY CONCLUSION: Therefore, we must conclude that in the perfect man, we call Jesus, dwelled the divine Spirit of God.
MILLINER'S CONCLUSION: Therefore, Jesus was not a man, but only appeared to be.
Is this, by any stretch of the imagination, logical reasoning? Because Jesus is a perfect man, and His spirit within is divine, we are to conclude that He really was not a man, but was only an apparition?
- 2 -
Milliner takes exception to the statement that likeness does not extend to identity. There is nothing in that statement that implies Jesus was man only in appearance. Even so, again Milliner demonstrates that he is a careless reader. What he attributes to me is a quotation from M.R. Vincent, Word Studies, page 879-880. The footnote so indicates. I guess he can wave this one aside and say, this is just about a footnote.
But look at the consequence of his denial of what Vincent wrote. Look at the statement in the context in which it was made. Vincent comments:
"As He appealed to men, He was like themselves, with a real likeness; but this likeness to men did not express His whole self. The totality of His being could not appear to men, for that involved the form of God. Hence the apostle views Him solely as He could appear to men. All that was possible was a real and complete likeness to humanity. What He was essentially and eternally could not enter into His human mode of existence. Humanly He was like other men, but regarded with reference to His whole self, He was not identical with man, because there was an element of His personality which did not dwell in them - equality with God. Hence the statement of His human manifestation is necessarily limited by this fact, and is confined to likeness and does not extend to identity. 'To affirm likeness is at once to assert similarity and to deny sameness.' (Dickson)."
Since Milliner disagrees with this, he must then affirm either (1) that man is identical with God, essentially eternal, a personality equal with God, or (2) the Spirit of Jesus was not identical with God, no longer God and equal with God, and became identical with men, as a created spirit. In his effort to try to find some fault, he forces himself into a blasphemous position.
From what Vincent wrote, Milliner concludes that Gene Frost believes that Jesus only appeared to be a man. Vincent does not teach that Jesus was only an apparition, nor do I believe He was. I guess, however, when one has an agenda, it really doesn't matter what is said. By repeating the lie over and over, perhaps someone will believe it and spread it, and the opponent is demonized.
Notice the contrast in what I would conclude from Vincent's writing and Milliner's conclusion:
1. Jesus was in a real and complete likeness to other men.
2. He was not identical to them: in Jesus was an element of His personality, which did not dwell in them, namely equality with God.
3. MY CONCLUSION: Therefore, Jesus as a man was like other men, but not identical in that His spirit was divine - He was God manifest in the flesh.
MILLINER'S CONCLUSION: Therefore, Jesus was not really a man; He was an apparition.
Again, where is the reasoning? What implies an apparition? Who denies that Jesus was a man?
- 3 -
In his third quotation, referring to what I wrote, he more clearly expresses a denial of the deity of Christ. We repeat what I wrote in context:
"Some apparently reason: Our understanding of Jesus' humanity is to harmonize with the argument that men can live in perfection: therefore, we must make Jesus just a man, (the divine Spirit stripped of godhood to become a human spirit in a human body,) to demonstrate the argument. [Reminder: this I do not believe.]
"We prefer to reason: Our understanding of Jesus' humanity is to harmonize with the clear statement that the fullness of Godhead dwelled in him bodily: therefore we must not think of him as a human spirit in a human body, but as a divine Spirit, with all the characteristics that makes one God (Godhood) in a human body."
It is this last paragraph that Milliner rejects. If the statement is not true, to make it true (according to him) we need to convert the positive wording into the negative, and the negative into positive, in which case here is how it would read. Remember this is Milliner's position:
"We prefer to reason: Our understanding of Jesus' humanity is not to harmonize with (but rather to reject) the clear statement that the fullness of Godhead dwelled in Him bodily: therefore we must think of him as a human spirit in a human body, and not as a divine Spirit, with all the characteristics that makes one God (Godhood), in a human body."
If he does not believe this statement, then he has no complaint and must accept what we said as true. Note also that there is nothing in the statement we made that even remotely implies that Jesus only appeared to be a man. He was a man, a spirit in a body - that's what man is. He was not, however, a mere man - a created spirit (some refer to as the human spirit) in a body. His spirit is divine. He is the I AM. He IS God before He came to earth, on earth as a man, and in heaven. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. How could He ever be just a man (a created spirit in a human body) without being divested of every divine quality that distinguishes God from man?
Again, to show the contrast:
1. Jesus' humanity is in harmony with the Bible statement that in Him dwelled the fullness of Godhood.
2. As a man, His spirit was not created (human) but was divine, with all the characteristics that makes one God
3. MY CONCLUSION: Therefore Jesus was man, body and spirit, in which case His spirit was divine.
MILLINER'S CONCLUSION: Therefore Jesus was not a man; He only appeared to be a man.
Where is the logic? Do words only mean what Milliner wants them to mean? By legitimate definition and use, from what does he draw his conclusion?
- 4 -
His fourth reference to prove that I believe that Jesus wasn't really a man, just appeared to be so, is another statement lifted out of context. Here is what I wrote (Gospel Anchor, April 1991, page 128):
"How, then, do we reconcile the statement that Jesus was 'deity' before, during, and after He was on this earth? If He was deity on earth, He could not be an 'ordinary man like you and me.' If He was like you and me, He could not at the same time be 'deity.'"
Milliner says that this is saying that Jesus wasn't a man, but just appeared to be a man. Instead of putting his own spin on what is said, why doesn't he answer the question and deal with the argument?
How does he reconcile the fact that Jesus was deity on the earth and the claim that He was an ordinary man the same as you and me? Are ordinary men deity? I believe that Jesus was a man, experiencing all that we experience in the flesh, all the while His spirit was divine and not created as is ours. He did not just appear to be a man. As a man He did indeed experience hunger, thirst, tiredness, emotions of love and hate, etc. Milliner apparently believes that He was not divine, that His spirit was stripped of the qualities and characteristics of divinity. He can't have it both ways.
Consider the contrast:
1. Jesus was not ordinary, of no exceptional ability, degree, or quality.
2. Jesus was a perfect man, in whom was the fullness of Godhead bodily.
3. MY CONCLUSION: Jesus was man on the earth, in whom was the fullness of God-being.
MILLINER'S CONCLUSION: Therefore Jesus really was an apparition, and not a man at all.
- 5 -
Milliner quotes from the Gospel Anchor several quotations of others, with two sentences from my pen:
"Jesus was no mere man. What man saw was the fashion of a man; what they did not see was the Person of God (the Word) in that body."
With the sentences above, in the same paragraph, I said, which, of course, Milliner does not quote:
"In contrast to His glorious appearance as God, a sovereign to be served, He took on the appearance of a servant."
When the Word was made flesh, He did not appear in His role of God, in His majesty and glorious appearance, so as to be recognized and received as God. When men saw Jesus, they did not at first see Him as God; rather He was in appearance as a man, as were they. Though they did not see an appearance of God, in radiant glory, He was nevertheless God. It was not apparent from their first meeting, because in every appearance, characteristic and native power he was a man. They and we had to discover his divinity. It was later, at His transfiguration, that the disciples were enabled see the glory that was His. Peter said that they "were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." (2 Pet. 1:16-18; see 1 John 1:14.)
Apparently Milliner disagrees when we say that Jesus "was no mere man," which is to say that He was a mere man, "being nothing more than" than a man - no deity there, no divine nature, no majesty or glory in that body.
Consider the contrast:
1. Jesus, in His everyday life, walked on this earth as a man.
2. Yet He was not a mere man, nothing more, because within His body was the Person of God that He is.
3. MY CONCLUSION: Therefore, Jesus, who is God, was more than other men; within the man Jesus was the Person of God.
MILLINER'S CONCLUSION: Jesus was not really a man, but only appeared to be such.
Ronny attempts to contrast what Earl West presented and what I have presented. I fail to see a contrast. It exists only in the mind of Ronny.
He says that Earl West does not conclude "that Jesus merely appeared to be a man."
The truth is: Gene Frost does not conclude "that Jesus merely appeared to be a man."
Every time Ronny Milliner says otherwise, he misrepresents what I believe and teach, and to persist in it, after being corrected time and again, his misrepresentations become deliberate, malicious lies.
Having examined his so-called "proof," the reader can see that in none of the statements he quotes do I state what he implies. Evil surmisings do not constitute proof of one's conclusions.
Milliner Versus Milliner
Notice that Milliner now says: "I do not believe that." Do not believe what?
Milliner does not believe that: "Jesus was changed in His spirit-Being, that He was divested of, surrendered, abdicated, gave up the divine attributes that characterize the being of God, to become a man no different than any other man."
To state it positively, Milliner does believe that: Jesus was unchanged in His spirit-Being, that He possessed, retained, continued to employ, the divine attributes that characterize being God, to become a man different from all other men.
This sounds like he agrees with me, that Jesus was not a mere man, as other men, and that in His body was the spirit-Being of God unchanged, with the attributes that characterize the being of God. Why is it then, when I say the same thing, he concludes that this means that Jesus was only an apparition and not indeed a man? It seems that he has gone out of the way to try to find a disagreement, and in his zeal has had to distort, to put his own spin on, what I have written.
It seems strange that if Ronny truly believes that Jesus was unchanged in His spirit-Being in coming to earth, and did not divest, surrender, or abdicate the divine attributes that characterize being God, why he did not join us in opposing John Welch when he argued this very point? It was this very argument, that Jesus divested His Godhood (Deity), that precipitated this whole controversy, a controversy that has been fueled by Milliner and others. Why did Ronny prepare John's charts and operate his projector in two debates? Why did he research the material, lifting statements (often out of context) from many writers, for John to use? Why does he still support John Welch, when John says that he may a change a word here or there, but that he still believes the same thing? Why have I become his enemy when he admits that I have told the truth? (Gal. 4:16) Why does he lie against me and support what he recognizes as error?
Ronny's admission here undermines all of his argumentation in the five so-called "proofs" for his lie. As the reader no doubt perceives, I am thoroughly disgusted with the persistent tactics and behavior of Ronny Milliner.
Ronny is indeed desperate. He tries to find contradictions, charging that I constantly contradict myself, as though if it were true this would justify his lie that I believe that Jesus was only an apparition and not a man. But his effort further shows the depth of his depravity. (Put that in the list of my references to him. If he wants a specific, he uses carnal weaponry rather than weapons God has authorized.) In a caricature he presents me as making contradicting statements. I am persuaded that he is more interested in the ridicule than in the substance of his charge.
"He Emptied Himself"
He takes exception to the statement that Philippians 2 does not say Jesus emptied Himself of, but that it says He emptied Himself. Does he turn to the Scriptures and cite the verse that says, "He emptied Himself of ..."? Of course not. "Emptied" is not a transitive verb, which would require the mention of what is emptied following the verb. However, the phrase, "in the form of God," precedes the verb, "emptied," and the adversative conjunction separates them. "Emptied" (kenoo) means to "make empty ... as taking away the prerogatives of status or position"; Phil 2:7, "he emptied himself, i.e. to an unimportant position" (Electronic Analytical Lexicon to the Greek N.T., Friberg). It "means to empty oneself, to divest oneself of rightful dignity by descending to an inferior condition, to abase oneself." (Complete Word Study Dictionary, Zodhiates.)
The translations are in agreement as to the meaning. The King James Version, the New King James Version, and the Webster Bible alike translate the phrase: "made himself of no reputation." The American Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version, the Darby Bible, and Young's Literal Translation translate the phrase, "he emptied himself" (with no "of"). The Bible in Basic English and the New International Version translate it: "he made himself nothing." This is just to name a few translations that are at hand at the moment. Not a one of them says, He emptied Himself of. Now, who accepts the truth of the text, and who ridicules it?
He quotes in the second voice box, of his caricature: "He emptied Himself of the form (morphe) of God..." The full quote is:
"When the Word, who is God (John 1:1-3) came to earth, He surrendered the glory in which He appeared in heaven. He emptied Himself of the form (morphe) of God, the visage of the position and status that was His."
"Visage" is how one appears; "morphe," I state, "refers to the position or status in which one appears, rather than the substance of his being." My statement is that in coming to earth, Jesus surrendered His heavenly role or appearance as God. He did not empty Himself of His BEING, only His glory, as Ronny notes in his second reference in the text. Does Milliner deny this?
As an alleged contradiction, Milliner quotes me in the first voice box: "...the object of the verb 'emptied' cannot be His being in the form of God, ..." (He does not cite the reference.)
However, these two statements are not contradicting. There is a difference between emptying or surrendering the role in which one appears and in surrendering the actual being in the form. Of course, all of this I have explained before. However, Ronny is not so much interested in the truth and representing one correctly as he is trying to find statements, in context or out, that can be construed to be in contradiction, each the other. Nevertheless, we will explain it to him again.
"'Being' (huparcho) here is present, active, participal, expressing 'continuance of an antecedent 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 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." (2 Linguistic Key to the Greek N.T.. Rienecker and Rogers, p. 550; 3 Word Studies, vol. IV, p. 82, Wuest.) - Gospel Anchor, vol. XVII, p. 52.
Those Frightening Questions
I have answered the questions Ronny Milliner posted to me concerning what I believe and teach. He, however, wants me to comment on what others believe, or how I would react to the excerpts he presents. He presents quotations taken from the Gospel Anchor and questions whether I believe all that was written in every article. The answer is, of course not. It is a foolish assumption. Nor does every disagreement require an editorial repudiation. Ronny should know this from his association with Faith and Facts magazine. Does he suppose that its every word is reflective of the faith of both publisher and editor of that journal? Are they liable to defend every statement that appears in print? Are they bound to justify inclusion of every statement, and explain why any and everything that does not fully comport with their faith was not expunged? Ronny Milliner edited a book, the man Christ Jesus, in which he says of the writers, that "they themselves might not agree on every little point, the application of a particular verse, or the specific wording of some phrase or sentence" (Preface). Could this also be said of the editor, or is Ronny Milliner prepared to endorse every statement found in the book? Has he written anything that explains why he left in the book any statement with which he is not in full agreement? Or, does demand of other editors what he does not demand of himself? Is he prepared to justify publishing the very doctrine of which he says, "I don't believe that"?
So why does he ask of me to endorse every statement, or explain why a statement was included? The reason is transparent. I have no interest in playing this game with him. I know full well what he wants. He wants to tie me to what others have written, which he can then put his spin on and imply that they and I believe what we actually do not. This would involve me in endless responses, in defending the language that they use. Look how long and involved it has been in my effort to reason with Ronny concerning what I have written, that he might recognize his sin against me in surmising that I believe that Jesus was only an apparition and not a real man. Think of all the surmises he might find in the writings of others of which he could accuse me of believing! Correcting Ronny would be an endless task. It is an endless task ... it would not be so with an honest man.
Of course, I could play the same game and demand of him to tell us plainly whether he accepts all, and list statement after statement, that John Welch teaches, and others of the Welch party. However, what Milliner believes, I am willing for Milliner to say, and I wish he would tell us plainly what he believes. I have addressed questions to him about what he believes ... and they remain unanswered.
I will defend what I believe to be the truth, until shown otherwise. Ronny has not shown otherwise, and I am now convinced that truth is not the issue with him. I have answered questions Ron Milliner asked me about what I believe. In turn, I have asked him to tell us what he believes, but he does not. He will not answer questions. He persists in lying about what I believe. I can do no more. I leave him with his own conscience, and with a plea to repent before this issue is settled eternally.
As we have before noticed, these false accusations have a phoenix nature. Crushed down by the truth, they rise from the ashes years later to do the devil's bidding. This exchange is typical of our confrontations with the Fact and Facts party. There will be one exception. This time we do intend to allow this exchange to quietly pass into history to be forgotten, and perhaps be resurrected at a later date. I propose to preserve it for those in the future who may desire to know the truth and to better understand the difficulties we have endured in an effort to defend the name and character of our Lord.
If Ron Milliner wants to be remembered as the man who maliciously lied in falsely accusing me of not believing that Jesus was a man, but was only an apparition, so be it.
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