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Crosscurrents in Adventist Christology

by Claude Webster


III. The Christology of Heppenstall

We now turn specifically to the Christology of Heppenstall and wish to describe the aspect of his theology under two basic headings, namely, the Person of Christ and secondly, the Work of Christ. In the first section where we will focus on the Person of Christ, we will do this in three parts. Firstly, we will look at the Man who is GOD, with emphasis on Christ's deity. Secondly, we will describe Heppenstall's view of the MAN Who is God, with concentration on His humanity. Finally, we will seek to understand Heppenstall's concept of the relationship between the GOD-MAN and sin.

A. The Person of Christ

As we focus on Heppenstall's picture of the Person of Christ we have found inspiration for our three divisions of this section from the title of his book, The Man Who is God (1977).

l. The Man Who is GOD

In seeking to describe Heppenstall's view of the divinity of Jesus Christ we plan to do this in four parts, namely, the Incarnation, the virgin birth, the possession of divine attributes and the use of Christ's divine nature.

a. The Incarnation

The crucial question of Christianity has to do with the claim that Jesus was more than a good man and in effect was both God and man. Heppenstall sees the Incarnation as the greatest miracle of all time and eternity.94 One cannot understand or explain the mystery of how God could become flesh. If the Incarnation is the most marvelous thing to take place in earth or heaven then it must be of extreme importance. Heppenstall believes that the Incarnation is the central fact of Christianity.95

Heppenstall defines the Incarnation as the in-dissoluble union of the divine and the human.96 The eternal Son of God, who existed from eternity, actually took on flesh in the form of humanity and became a real man. This union of the divine with the human results in two natures in one Person.97 When Christ took upon Himself human nature He was still God. He did not cease to be God in the Incarnation. Heppenstall says: "In Jesus we have a historical union of man and God."98

Heppenstall turns his attention to the purpose of the Incarnation.99 Sensing the crisis caused by the sin problem in the universe he sees a reason for the Incarnation in the moral character of God Himself. God is absolute righteousness and love and He would not simply abandon man to his own evil devices. by coming into the arena of sin Himself, He would demonstrate His love and His righteousness and settle the moral and spiritual crisis of the universe.100

A second reason for the Incarnation given by Heppenstall is that by becoming man Christ could reveal to all men the character of God.101 By beholding Christ and His manner of life one can obtain a clear concept of the love of God. "Christ's revelation of the Father tells us we have a personal God who is not neutral."102

Another purpose for the Incarnation, according to Heppenstall, is that the character of God might be vindicated before the universe and that every doubt about the Father be removed.103 God would not choose to settle the rebellion by force. He would come in the Person of Christ to settle the issues through redeeming love. Given time the universe has understood the issues at stake, the nature of sin and rebellion and the character of God. The Incarnation vindicated the Father, and Christ continues to reign until He has settled every dispute and in the end will fully establish the justice, mercy and authority of God.104

Heppenstall moves to the heart and the core of the Incarnation in its relation to the atonement.105 Only the God who created could redeem and this redemption could not be accomplished by an angel or by a created being.106 Christ adopted humanity in order that He might offer Himself a sacrifice for sin. "The Son of God took upon Himself humanity in order to bear God's judgment on sin."107 8ecause God cannot die He came in the form of humanity in order to bear the punishment for sin.108 Thus Christ brought redemption from sin within the grasp of all who would believe in His atoning death.109

Heppenstall sees Christ as fulfilling the role of the second Adam as a further purpose of the Incarnation. From the first Adam comes physical, mental and spiritual degeneracy and from the second Adam comes justification, righteousness and eternal life. The two Adams stand as representative men under whose banner all mankind resort. Through Christ the reign of sin as a result of the first Adam is reversed and the reign of grace and righteousness becomes a reality.110

A final reason given for the Incarnation by Heppenstall has reference to the fact of judgment. Jesus Christ is the faithful judge of all mankind because of His Incarnation and His being one with man. Because of His oneness with man and His having taken upon Himself the nature of man, judgment has been committed into His hands. He is able to feel with man because He Himself has experienced the human lot. The universe can never say that God was arbitrary in the judgment of mankind. The Incarnation has provided a faithful and righteous Judge.111

b. The Virgin Birth

By the virgin birth Heppenstall understands that Jesus Christ was born into this world of a woman without the participation of a human father under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. If Jesus Christ had entered the world by means of both father and mother He would have been no different from any other child. The fact that Christ was born of a virgin makes Him unique. If, on the other hand, Christ had entered this world without either an earthly father or mother He would not have been a man or partaken of human nature.112

Furthermore, in the virgin birth we are confronted with the supernatural over against the natural. This reality tells us that God has visited our planet in person and that in Jesus Christ we have the supreme revelation of God. Heppenstall sees the virgin birth as harmonizing perfectly with the truth of the Incarnation. Taking both the Incarnation and the virgin birth together we have a basis for the claim that it was very God who came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.113

In spite of the problems surrounding the Hebrew of Isaiah 7:14, Heppenstall believes that Matthew was acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in taking this ancient prophetic word and giving it a Messianic interpretation.114He believes that Matthew's use of the Greek word parthenos to describe Mary as a chaste young woman was done with deliberate intent, and while the word does not always carry the connotation of chastity, in this case it is clear that Matthew wished us to understand it thus.115 The virgin birth tells us that Jesus Christ was the Man who is GOD.

c. The Divinity of Christ

Heppenstall has always believed that when God became man in Jesus Christ He retained His divinity and was fully God while also being fully man.116 Some of the evidences for His divinity are His miraculous birth by means of the Holy Spirit, His sinless life, the manifestation at His baptism, His revelation to the Samaritan woman and the healing of the palsied man. In Christ's Sabbath miracles He gave evidence of His equality with His Father and hence of His divinity. In the incident concerning Lazarus and his resurrection are evidences of His divinity. His claim to be judge of all men and the fact that He accepted worship declared Christ's divinity. In the death and resurrection of Christ are, likewise, evidences of His divinity.117

In dealing with the divinity of Christ while upon earth, Heppenstall wrestles with the problem of the kenosis as set forth by Paul in Philippians 2:5-7.118 While there is an indication of some form of limitation on the use and manifestation of Christ's divinity while on earth, Heppenstall does not wish to indicate that Christ abandoned any of His divine attributes or that He was not fully God while on earth.119 He says that if Christ emptied Himself of any part of His deity then Christ was no longer God and Christ would really only be a man.120 If this was the case the Christian religion would not have a full salvation to offer us. In this whole question of the kenosis, Heppenstall is aware of the danger of abandoning the deity of Christ in favor of His humanity.121 Therefore, he continually stresses the fact that Christ did not abandon His divine attributes and remained fully God while on earth.122

Heppenstall also presents a further thought in connection with the deity of Christ. He offers the suggestion that while Christ did not lay aside His deity, He did manifest it in another form. This form was that of a ‘slave.’ There was no question but that Christ was equal with God. As fully God His divine nature is unalterable and unchangeable. However, in taking the form of man Christ changed the mode of expressing His deity.123

d. The Use of Christ's Divinity

Although Heppenstall wishes to hold to the full deity of the incarnate Christ and to the fact that "in Jesus Christ are two one Person,"124 and that Christ did not abandon any of His divine attributes, he does wish to address himself to a limitation of the use of Christ's divine attributes. After establishing the concept of the full divinity of Christ by nature, Heppenstall makes room for a voluntary limitation of the use of Christ's divinity. This limitation was self-imposed by Christ.125

This surrendering of the use of the attributes of deity did not mean giving them up, for this would destroy Christ's deity. He "surrendered their control to His Father without losing His deity."126 He chose to live as a man and became subject to the limitations of humanity. While He was still God, Heppenstall saw Christ as limited in knowledge, subject to temptation and requiring the aid of the Holy Spirit.127 Jesus Christ exercised no power not available to other men.128

In seeking to understand Heppenstall's concept regarding the surrender of the use of Christ's deity the question should be asked for the sake of clarity as to whether Heppenstall believed that Christ surrendered the total use of His deity, while still retaining the attributes, or whether Christ only surrendered the independent use of His deity.129 In other words, did Christ never use His surrendered deity during the Incarnation or did He use His deity at times by per-mission of the Father?130 While it appears that Heppenstall suggests that Christ surrendered His divine attributes to the control and direction of the Father through the Holy Spirit,131 it would appear that the general thrust of Heppenstall's teaching in his later years is that Christ very rarely actually exercised His divine attributes.132

2. The MAN Who is God

We will now seek to describe Heppenstall's position on the humanity of Jesus Christ and will do this in three sub-sections. Firstly, we will look at the reality of Christ's humanity. Secondly, we will consider Heppenstall's view concerning the centre of Christ's consciousness and, thirdly, we will relate the fact of temptation to Christ's humanity.

a. The Reality of Christ's Humanity

Heppenstall has been consistent in accepting the full humanity of Jesus Christ in opposition to any docetic tendency.133 In adopting human flesh Christ accepted the limitations of humanity.134 The humanity of Christ was real in that it truly followed the natural process of development from childhood to manhood.135 Heppenstall says that "a growth of mind and body, of character and personality"136 took place. He says that Christ developed His personality and consciousness through the same process as do all other children.137 Throughout His life He lived as a man, thinking as a man, eating and drinking as a man, sleeping as a man and demonstrating the mental and emotional activities of a man.138

Heppenstall is clear that Christ's humanity was not a super-humanity beyond that of man. In fact, it was not even the unaffected humanity of Adam before the fall. He says of Christ: "He took a weakened human nature, not the perfect nature Adam had before he sinned.139 He makes a distinction between sin and the consequences of sin when he says: "Christ took human nature in such a way that this nature, without sin, bore the consequences of sin.140 And yet while Heppenstall has Christ bearing the consequences of sin he sees Him as possessing "a perfection of mind and ability above that of sinful man."141 Paradoxically, Heppenstall can see Christ with weakened human nature and yet as the very example of what God intended man to be.142

b. The Center of Christ's Consciousness

To emphasize his understanding of the reality of the humanity of Christ, Heppenstall takes time to discuss his concept of the centre of Christ's consciousness.143 While maintaining that Christ was divine he rejects the idea of a double consciousness in Christ in favor of the single human consciousness.144 He does not believe that Christ operated with two wills and two separate consciousnesses.145 For Heppenstall the human consciousness is so real and vital that he can say of Christ "every act and decision was a human act and decision."146 He is convinced that from the time of Christ's conception to His resurrection the only consciousness which He possessed was that which all other men have.147 Heppenstall cannot accept that in the same Person there could be both knowledge and ignorance of the same events. He sees the Gospels as accepting the centre of Christ's consciousness and mental processes as human rather than divine.148 With a truly human consciousness Jesus Christ was not omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient during the Incarnation, according to Heppenstall.

c. Temptation and the reality of Christ's humanity

In dealing with the problem of Christ and temptation Heppenstall does so in relation to the reality of His humanity. How does the humanity and divinity of Christ affect the issue of the temptations of Christ? We will firstly look at Heppenstall's view of the reality of Christ's temptations, secondly, at his position regarding the seat or locale of temptation for Christ, and thirdly, at his conviction with reference to the method of Christ's victory over temptation.

i) Reality of Christ's temptations. Heppenstall desires to maintain the reality of Christ's temptations and not to regard them as fictitious or deceptive charades. He believes that if the divinity of Christ was active during the Incarnation this would so dominate Christ's humanity as to make it impossible for Christ to sin and hence would negate the reality of His temptations. Because Heppenstall maintains that Christ's deity "was quiescent"149 during the Incarnation he can uphold the reality of temptation for Christ. Heppenstall believes that Christ's temptations were no make-believe but rather were real cross-roads where Christ had to decide between His own will or the Father's will (Heb. 5:8,9). Because Christ possessed a human nature that was free to choose the path of disobedience and was not dominated by His divinity, Heppenstall sees the temptations of Christ as very real and fraught with the possibility of a wrong choice.150

ii) Seat or Locale of temptation for Christ. Heppenstall believes that the temptations facing Christ were directed to His humanity rather than to His divinity. Because the centre of Christ's consciousness was human and not divine, according to Heppenstall, temptation would meet Christ's human will, intellect and emotion. If temptation had been directed at Christ's deity Heppenstall feels that it would have been pointless because God cannot be tempted by evil (James l: 13).151

Heppenstall sees temptation coming to man in two ways.152 One comes to the inner man in his sinful condition and with his bias toward sin. From this avenue temptation had no hold on Christ for He Himself said: "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" (John 14:30). In this respect Satan could find no foothold with Christ. Heppenstall sees temptation also coming to us from outside. It is not necessary to have a sinful nature or an inner bias to evil in order to suffer temptation. Adam and Eve were tempted before they fell into sin, and unfallen angels and beings have been tempted without yielding to temptation. The possibility of being tempted is the same for a sinless or for a sinful person. The temptations of Christ came not from inner corruption but from external pressure upon His normal human faculties.

iii) Method of Christ's Victory. For Heppenstall the secret of Christ's victory over temptation did not lie in hidden resources within Himself,153 or in a reliance upon His divine nature154 but rather in a life of total dependence by faith in His Father.

And so Christ owed His victory to a living faith in His Father155 and to the presence of the Holy Spirit in His life. If Christ had achieved victory through dependence on His own power it would have been tantamount to declaring His independence from God. Satan tried to break Christ's perfect trust in His Father.

The real problem in sin is a lack of faith and a reliance upon self. Because independence from God is the real problem, Heppenstall sees Christ choosing the path of utter dependence upon God rather than living in self-dependence based on His own inherent power.156

3. The GOD-MAN and Sin

In describing this aspect of Heppenstall's Christology we wish to give attention to the questions concerning Christ and original sin, Christ and sinful human nature, Christ and actual sin and finally, the implications of Christ's sinlessness.

a. Christ and Original Sin

We have already observed that Heppenstall takes a firm stand on the radical nature of human sin.157 His position is that all members of the human race are born into a sinful state or condition. This condition or disposition is separate from and preparatory to personal acts of transgression for which the sinner is responsible. Adam and Eve became separated from God and their children inherited the results of the parents' sin, separation from God. "This state of sin into which all men are born is called original sin - not in the sense of inherited guilt, but of an inherited disposition to sin."158

Having established Heppenstall's view of original sin and how it affects all humanity, the question must now be asked concerning his teaching with regard to the effect of original sin on Christ.

Heppenstall believes that because Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Luke l:35) and was God Himself, we cannot apply an alienated condition to Christ. He was not born separate from God and did not begin life with a tendency toward independence from God as we do. He was born without the taint of sin. the self-centered spirit of fallen man was totally absent from Christ. He was never selfish as all other men are and He was perfect in surrender, in obedience, in faith and righteousness. All other men need regeneration but Christ never needed this experience.159

Heppenstall believes that we have no right to say that Christ was born in a state of sinfulness as we are. In support of Christ's sinless state are the New Testament witness, the miraculous nature of His Incarnation and birth, His deity united with humanity and His mission to provide perfect righteousness for unrighteous men.160

b. Christ and Sinful Human Nature

Heppenstall is clear that Christ did not possess a sinful nature as all men do. In this sense Christ is separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26). Christ was unstained by sin and free from all evil within His Person. Heppenstall believes that if Christ had had a sinful nature He could not have offered a perfect sacrifice. "The efficacy of Christ's sacrifice lay in His absolute sinlessness and His deity."161 A perfect atonement, according to Heppenstall, requires a sinless Christ in both nature and conduct.162 In stating his Christological position he comes across strongly against any concept that Christ possessed a sinful human nature.163 While all men have fallen, sinful human natures with tendencies and a bent to sin, Christ had no inclination or bent to sin.164 From His birth He was called that holy child" (Luke l:35). He never needed to be born gain or to find a new divine centre, for at the centre f His being was Deity itself.165

Heppenstall agrees that Christ partook of the flesh of His contemporaries after 4,000 years of sin and was subject physically to the decline of the race, but because he separates original sin from the genetic process he can maintain that Christ did not have a sinful nature like man does.166 He did not come in sinful flesh but only in "the likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3).167 While Heppenstall sees in this a similarity between man and Christ, he also sees a dissimilarity. He believes that Paul is very careful "to make clear the sinlessness of Christ's nature."168 It is true that "Christ was not born free from physical deterioration"169 but at the same time He did "not have a sinful nature like our own."170

c. Christ and acts of sin

While some Adventist theologians would differ with Heppenstall on his views of Christ in relation to the state of sin, all would agree with him in regard to the sinlessness of Christ in act and deed. Heppenstall is clear that Christ never once confessed Himself a sinner or as having committed sin. He never had to ask His Father for forgiveness. There was no trace of personal guilt or of remorse over some sin committed. His entire life breathed sinlessness.171

When Heppenstall considers 2 Cor. 5:21 and the phrase "made to be sin" with reference to Christ, he believes that it is "quite out of the question to believe that God made His Son sinful in any way."172 In no way was Christ made a sinner. What is meant, according to Heppenstall, is that God laid on Christ our iniquity in an accounted sense, and this was done at the cross and not at Christ's birth.173

d. Implications of Christ's sinlessness

Heppenstall believes that the view of Christ possessing a sinful nature like all other men, leads to the reduction of Christ to the same level as all sinners.174 He believes this is wrong and that the gospel rests on the truth of Christ's perfect righteousness as opposed to man's unrighteousness. Instead of a reductionism, Heppenstall advocates a theory of elevation for Christ. "So let no one claim to be righteous in the sense that Christ was righteous, sinless in the sense that Christ was sinless."175

This view of Christ's sinless human nature leads Heppenstall to veer away from a gospel based on example or imitation.176 The gospel is grounded in what Christ accomplished through His sinless life, atoning death and glorious resurrection. Sinful man is to recognize his need and to accept the gift of Christ's righteousness. Instead of struggling to imitate Christ the sinner is to enter a loving relationship with Jesus Christ, to trust in His merits and to look to Him in daily surrender.

Finally, Heppenstall's stand on the sinless human nature of Christ and the radical nature of human sin has led him to champion the cause of anti-perfectionism within Adventism.177


94 See Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, pp.20,21. Here Heppenstall shares Ellen White's sentiments when she says: "When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven - the incarnation of the Son of God" (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 76, 1903).[back]

95 It was a very important issue which led to the Incarnation. Heppenstall says: "Jesus did not become incarnate in the interest of the superficial and the unreal" (In Touch With God, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1975, p.300). Would it be more accurate to say "God did not become incarnate in Jesus...?" See also Heppenstall, Syllabus for Bibles Doctrines, Vol. l, La Sierra, p.25; The Man Who is God, p.21. Heppenstall says further: "In Jesus Christ there has come into our world a new objective truth from God that is decisive for faith and experience" (The Man Who is God, p.7).[back]

96 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.21. Elsewhere he writes: "He descended from heaven and took upon Him human nature" ("What is Man Worth?" These Times, January 1969, p.5). See also "I Believe in Life after Death," The Signs of the Times, April 1964, p.14.[back]

97 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.22. Here we have typical Chalcedonian language used by Heppenstall indicative of his traditional stand. [back]

98 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.25. Heppenstall's emphasis on the historical aspects of the events of salvation is strong. Note: "God's supreme revelation is found at one single point in history: the incarnation of the second member of the Godhead" (Ibid., p.7).[back]

99 For Heppenstall's discussion of the purpose of the Incarnation as he understood it in 1977 see The Man Who is God, pp.28-46. In his Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, La Sierra, he presented the purpose of the Incarnation in three parts, firstly, the preliminary purpose, secondly, the primary purpose and thirdly, the plenary purpose (see pp.26-28). The preliminary was to reveal the Father to mankind and in addition to reveal man to himself through the Ideal Man, Jesus Christ. The primary purpose of the Incarnation was two-fold; firstly, relative to the entire universe and secondly, concerning man. As far as man is concerned, Heppenstall speaks of God's purpose in providing a second Adam who could destroy the works of the devil, overcome sin on man's behalf, take away sin and become a faithful and merciful High Priest. The plenary purpose of the Incarnation was to provide reconciliation and atonement for sin. [back]

100 The moral and spiritual crisis of the universe has to do with the mysterious origin of rebellion and sin which first arose in the heart of Lucifer and threatened God's character and government. God chose to solve this problem, not by force, but by love in giving Himself in the Person of His Son to redeem mankind. See Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, pp.28,29. See also "Can You Stand Persecution?" These Times, July 1968, p. 5, where Heppenstall says that Jesus Christ offered to the world "the only solution to the sin problem." See also "Things Which Cannot be Shaken," These Times, January 1972, p.4, where he says: "The universality of sin requires a divine answer and a plan of salvation." God would seek to solve man's deepest problem through Jesus Christ. Further to the thought of the crisis and problem he says that God sent His Son "to provide an answer to the sin-and-death problem, and to win men back to fellowship with Him" ("How God Works to Save Us," These Times, February 1973, p.12). Again Heppenstall says: "He came to provide a solution to the problem of sin" ("The Invitation;' These Times, March 1973, p.4). [back]

101 Heppenstall says: "We see in Christ the embodiment of grace and truth, the supreme revelation of divine goodness" ("Who Will Plead My Case?" These Times, May 1975, p.13). Here Christ is called the supreme revelation of 'divine goodness' and that only resides in God. In Access to God, p.11, Heppenstall links the Incarnation with the work of atonement as the "full revelation of God that actually and potentially affects every man in the world." See also "Can Man be Really Free?" These Times, February 1967, p.10: "God confronts us with the revelation of Himself in Christ." See also Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.29-32; In Touch with God, p.13.[back]

102 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.31. [back]

103 See this thought in Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. 1, p.27, where Heppenstall brings out the idea that le Incarnation was not only for this planet but to serve purpose of vindicating God's character and law before the entire universe. See also Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, pp. 32-35. [back]

104 Heppenstall speaks of the continuing work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary where He confirms the triumphs of the Incarnation and the cross and where Christ performs the last phase of "priestly work leading the vindication of God and His people, and the eradication of sin and Satan" (Our High Priest, p.157). He speaks of Christ restoring "the truth about God and His final movement for a dying world" from the heavenly sanctuary (Ibid., p.180). Further: "It will prove God righteous in all His judgments" (Ibid., p.184). Heppenstall has an exalted view of Christ's victorious work from the heavenly sanctuary. [back]

105 As far back as his La Sierra days (1940-1955) Heppenstall was teaching that the main or plenary purpose of the Incarnation was for reconciliation and atonement. See Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. 1,p.28, where he cites Col. l:20 and Eph. l:10 in connection with reconciliation. There is no doubt that the cross plays a very crucial role in the theology of Heppenstall. This was still vital for Heppenstall in 1977 (see The Man Who is God, pp. 35-39). See Salvation Unlimited, p.43: "all the lines of human history meet at the cross." [back]

106 Heppenstall writes: "God could not give us a Saviour by delegating the work of redemption to an angel. He could not place the destiny of our race in the hands of a created being from another world. Only the God who created us could redeem us" (The Man Who is God, p.38). [back]

107 7Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.35. [back]

108 Heppenstall says: "Had He remained in His preexistent state there was no way for Him to die. But He came to die" (The Man Who is God, p.3S). Therefore, the Son of God became man. See also Salvation Unlimited, p.54: "For divinity cannot die." [back]

109 Heppenstall states: "God alone, in a unique act of redemption, has brought to bear upon man's lost condition a revelation of His saving power and righteousness" (Salvation Unlimited, p.32). [back]

110 Heppenstall says the second Adam is Jesus Christ incarnate. "Jesus Christ is called the second Adam because to Him was entrusted the task of redeeming man from the first Adam's fall and separation from God" (Salvation Unlimited, p.122). The second Adam came to give eternal life, obedience instead of disobedience, justification instead of condemnation, righteousness instead of unrighteousness. In this way Christ communicates spiritual life to all who receive Him (see Ibid., p.123). See also Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, pp. 39-42. See also Heppenstall, In Touch with God, p.120. " the second Adam, brought new life to the race, for those who believed in Him." See also Ibid., p.359. [back]

111 For Heppenstall's view of Christ's work of both redemption and judgment from the heavenly sanctuary, see Our High Priest, pp.187-217, in the chapter, "The Hour of God's Judgment." Note also: "From His priestly throne in the heavenly sanctuary Christ administers redemption and judgment" (Salvation Unlimited, p.244). [back]

112 For Heppenstall's discussion of this aspect of the virgin birth see The Man Who is God, pp.47,48. [back]

113 See Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, pp. 49-54. [back]

114  Ibid., pp. 56-60. [back]

115  Ibid., pp.62-66. Heppenstall is conscious of the textual problems in connection with the Hebrew word 'almah in Isaiah 7:14. He, therefore, inserts a discussion by Raymond F. Cottrell taken from Problems in Bible Translation (see The Man Who is God, pp. 64,65). While Heppenstall would not accept the typical liberal pre-suppositions that underlie much of modern historical criticism, he does accept that theology must be engaged in a critical ("The demand today is to build our theologies on critical scholarship" - see "Constructing a Sound Theology," The Ministry, April 1957, p.21), historical and grammatical method. [back]

116 We note that at La Sierra (1940-1955) Heppenstall was teaching the full deity and the full humanity of Jesus Christ (see Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, pp.19-24). This has remained his position in later years. See The Man Who is God, pp.2S-28, where he has Christ retaining all the attributes of deity in the kenosis and yet also being a full and real man. See also In Touch with God, pp. 35, 64, 154, 217, 299; also "Things Which Cannot Be Shaken," These Times, January 1972, pp.4,5. [back]

117 For these evidences of Christ's divinity as given in the paragraph see The Man Who is God, pp.25-28; 129. Heppenstall says: "The fact that Christ Himself was God at His incarnation and was born of the Holy Spirit deny His being was in any part out of harmony with His Father" (Perfection, p.64). See also "Getting Rid of Sin," The Signs of the Times, August 1965, p.13; "Creed, authority and freedom," The Ministry, April 1979, p.14. Note also: "Just as Christ and the Father are one in essence, so the Holy Spirit and Christ are one in essence" (The Holy Spirit and You," These Times, November 1970, p.18). This is an important statement by Heppenstall on the identity of essence between Christ and the Father. This indicates true deity in Christ. [back]

118 For Heppenstall's handling of the kenosis problem see The Man Who is God, pp. 67-83. Heppenstall appears to have accepted some form of kenosis. He rejects the kenotic theory which would call for Christ to part with His divine nature or any part of it. For him this would mean a shrunken divinity and Christ would not be fully God. Another form of the theory which Heppenstall does not accept maintains that Christ retained the full conscious and active deity in Himself but that while on earth He acted as if He did not possess these. The form of kenosis which Heppenstall appears to have adopted for himself is that which sees Jesus as fully God and fully man, but surrendering the use or function of certain divine attributes to His Father, which then became latent or quiescent while He lived on earth. [back]

119 Heppenstall says: "Nothing is said of giving up His deity or any part of it, or of abandoning any of His divine attributes" (The Man Who is God, p.74). [back]

120 Note Heppenstall's thought: "Any interpretation that would make Christ less than fully God is contrary to the Word of God" (The Man Who is God, p.70). In talking about Christ accepting the limitations of humanity Heppenstall observes: "In accepting these limitations the Son of God does not cease to be God" (Ibid., p.71). [back]

121 All the heresies that have arisen as to the nature of Christ have tended to sacrifice Christ's deity on the one hand or His humanity on the other" (Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.71). [back]

122 Heppenstall quotes Lightfoot approvingly in this connection: "Our Lord divested Himself, not of His divine nature, for this was impossible; but of the glories, the prerogatives of Deity" (B Lightfoot, Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, p.112, quoted in The Man Who is God, p.75). Note: "In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (In Touch with God, p.22). [back]

123 For Heppenstall's discussion of this concept see The Man Who is God, pp. 71-73. Note: "He did not lay aside His deity; His deity was manifested in another form, the form of a 'slave" (Ibid., p.73). [back]

124 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.84. We are here reminded of footnote 97 in this chapter. [back]

125 Heppenstall clearly presents some form of limitation of the use of Christ's divinity during the Incarnation. He speaks of Christ 'adjusting' His divinity to the human Jesus. In some way there was a limitation so that the deity of Christ did not overwhelm the human aspects of His personality (see The Man Who is God, p.68). Heppenstall says: "We cannot think of Christ's becoming a man without His having in some way limited His deity" (Ibid.). Speaking of the cross experience, Heppenstall says that although Christ possessed all power "He still refused to use that power to relieve His own suffering or escape from the experience of rejection" ("What it Means to 'Fall in Love' with God," The Signs of the Times, April 1958, p.23). See also The Man Who is God, pp.75,78. [back]

126 Heppenstall says that when Christ surrendered the use of His divine attributes to the Father it does not mean that He gave them up, for this would destroy His deity (see The Man Who is God, p.91). Heppenstall makes a difference between surrendering these attributes and abandoning them. Concerning the latter he says: "Christ could not abandon any of His attributes without losing His deity" (Ibid., p.79). [back]

127 Regarding this limitation of His deity by surrendering His divine attributes to the control of the Father, Heppenstall said in 1977 that there "is no proof that Jesus had the fullness of divine knowledge during His life on earth" (The Man Who is God, p.92). Furthermore, Christ "performed His miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit and angels" and He was "not turning off or on His divine nature" (Ibid., p.96). See also Salvation Unlimited, p.140: "Never by His own inherent power did Jesus perform any of His miracles." See also In Touch with God, p.24. [back]

128 See Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.90. [back]

129 Would it be better to say that Christ surrendered the independent use of His divine attributes but that He did act in His divinity in forgiving sin and in performing His miracles? Could we say that Christ used His divine attributes in submission to His Father and never for His own benefit as a man? [back]

130 While Heppenstall states: "The only way that Christ could give expression to His divine attributes would be through their release by the Father at the request of the Son, and which the Father had evidently agreed to" (The Man Who is God, p.89), he gives no evidence of this release but rather shows that Christ lived as other men do from the centre of His human consciousness and did not use His divine attributes. He says that Christ surrendered "the exercise of His deity and divine attributes" (v., p.71), the "active use of certain attributes" (Ibid., p.79), and He "relinquished the use and display of those attributes that would have prevented His living as we live" (Ibid.). In similar vein Heppenstall says that Christ did not "exercise those divine attributes that would have given Him the answers to anything He wanted to know and do" (Ibid., p.80), and that Christ "relinquished the right to use His divine attributes" (Ibid., p.88). Again noticing Heppenstall's limitation of the function of the divine nature we read that God became man in such a way "that His divine nature had no activity, no knowledge outside or apart from His humanity...The Son of God laid aside the functions of deity and lived as a man" (Ibid., p.90). When Heppenstall speaks of Christ surrendering the use of His divine attributes to His Father it appears that he means the function of these attributes was held in abeyance and withdrawn and that they were not in operation. Rather, Christ had to live life as man must live it entirely by faith (see Ibid., pp.79,89). [back]

131 Note Heppenstall's words: "In some mysterious way He surrendered them to the control and direction of the Father, through the Holy Spirit" (The Man Who is God, p.79), [back]

132 We have seen that Heppenstall's general teaching in The Man Who is God relative to Christ's use of His deity could be summed up thus: "The Son of God laid aside the functions of Deity and lived as a man" (page 90). We have also observed that Heppenstall indicated that when Christ performed miracles this was by the power of the Holy Spirit and the angels (see footnotel27). It is interesting to note a slight change from his La Sierra period (1940-1955). While he then also maintained that Christ "held in abeyance His divine power for His own benefit and life and voluntarily made himself dependent upon His Father" (Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. 1, p.23), he did say that Jesus knew and taught and performed only what the Spirit permitted and directed and when thus permitted "he knew, taught and performed, not like the prophets, by power communicated from without, but by virtue of His own inner divine energy" (Ibid., p. 24). Would this earlier view of Heppenstall not be in closer harmony with his stated acceptance of the two natures in one Person, a position which he still adheres to? (See The Man Who is God, p.84), No doubt, Heppenstall gave considered thought to his change of direction in this instance, in order to maintain the reality of Christ's humanity. [back]

133 In his La Sierra era (1940-1955) Heppenstall taught the reality of Christ's humanity. Note: "The flesh and blood which the Lord Jesus Christ took showed that He became truly and really man. Do not think of Him as merely appearing a man, or as being a man only in His body. One of the earliest heresies in the Christian church was the doctrine designated as Docetism, the doctrine that our Lord had a body like ours, only in appearance, not in reality" (Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, p.22). Heppenstall has taken this position consistently through the years. In The Man Who is God (1977), he sides with those who accept the 'full deity and the full humanity of Jesus Christ (see ) page 71). [back]

134 Heppenstall says: "When Christ took human flesh He accepted the limitations imposed by His life on earth" The Man Who is God, p.68). This limitation meant for Heppenstall that Christ during the Incarnation was not omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent (see Ibid., pp. 9l-100). It is interesting to observe that during the earlier La Sierra period (1940-1955) Heppenstall appeared to give as proofs that Jesus was divine His claim of omnipotence (Mtt. 28:18) and omniscience (Col. 2:3). See Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, pp.19,20. It does appear as if there was a shift in Heppenstall's thinking between 1950 and 1977 towards a more radical acceptance of the limitations accepted by Christ in His humanity. Here, it is interesting to note a difference between Heppenstall and the Waggoner of The Glad Tidings (1900). While Heppenstall states: "Nothing of deity remained outside the incarnate Son" (The Man Who is God, p.90), we remember Waggoner's idea that Christ was larger than the flesh and occupied heaven while Jesus was on earth (see footnote 122 of chapter III). In fact, even in Christ and His Righteousness (1890),Waggoner spoke of the Son of Man being in heaven while He was on earth (see footnote 72 of chapter III). [back]

135 "The Gospels teach us that Jesus' life in every way followed the natural process of development" Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.85). He was teaching this back at La Sierra when he said that Christ was subject to the "ordinary laws of human development" Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, p.23). [back]

136 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.86. [back]

137 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.86. [back]

138 In his Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, La Sierra, Heppenstall showed that Christ experienced weariness, hunger, temptation, suffering and sorrow, thus sharing the common lot of humanity (see p.22). See also The Man Who is God, p.86. Note also: "He became a man like us. He belongs to us" ("Who Will Plead My Case?" These Times, May 1975, p.13). See also In Touch with God, pp.27,256. See also Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, La Sierra, p.22, where Heppenstall applies the "Son of Man" references to Jesus. [back]

139 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.74. [back]

140 Heppenstall, Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, p.23. The consequences of sin must not be seen as equivalent to 'original sin,' for in the section on "Christ and original sin" we will observe that Heppenstall, while accepting the principle of 'original sin' for all men, excludes Christ from the state of sin as well as from the acts of sin. [back]

141 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.92. [back]

142 Note Heppenstall's words: "Jesus is humanity at its highest and best, the very flower and glory of the human race. He alone does justice to the idea of humanity as God intended it to be. He is the center in whom humanity finds its fulfillment" (The Man Who is God, p.105). Also: "Jesus Christ is the representative Man, the ideal Man," Salvation Unlimited, p.143. [back]

143 For Heppenstall's treatment of the one human centre of Christ's personality and consciousness see The Man Who is God, pp.84-106. Quite evidently, Heppenstall believes that he can maintain this position and still hold to Christ's full deity and to the concept of two natures in one Person (see Ibid., p.84). Heppenstall does not have Christ abandoning His divine attributes, but surrendering their use and function into the hands of the Father. This means, for Heppenstall, that there is only one single consciousness functioning in Jesus Christ in the Incarnation, and he has opted for a human consciousness. While Heppenstall was teaching at La Sierra (1940-1955) that Christ "held in abeyance His divine power for His own benefit and life and voluntarily made himself dependent upon His Father" (Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, p.23), it is only in this one source of 1977 (The Man Who is God) that we found Heppenstall's concepts regarding the single consciousness of Christ spelt out clearly for the first time. We have not discovered this in any other source. [back]

144 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, pp. 84-91. The reason we are only referring to The Man Who is God in footnotes 144-148 is that we have not been able to discover any reference to or discussion of a single human consciousness in any other books or articles by Heppenstall. [back]

145 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.97. [back]

146  Ibid., p.90. [back]

147 See Ibid. [back]

148  Ibid., p.91. [back]

149 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.154. If the divinity of Christ was not a contributing factor in the victory of Christ over temptation one does wonder how Christ could have achieved complete victory in His humanity whereas all other men have failed. Heppenstall would state that it should be remembered that Christ possessed a sinless human nature whereas all other men are born in sin. Furthermore, Christ was so possessed by the Holy Spirit from birth that He always chose correctly. We will remember that at one stage Waggoner believed that it was impossible for Christ to sin because of His divinity (note footnote 87 in Chapter III dealing with Waggoner). This was no real disadvantage for man, for what Christ was by nature man could become by grace. While Ellen White, like Heppenstall, maintained that Christ faced real temptation in His humanity ("The enemy was overcome by Christ in His human nature" Ellen White, The Youth's Instructor, April 25, 1901), she does make some allowance for a more active usage of Christ's divinity in the struggle than does Heppenstall. Note her words: "No one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say that Christ was just like other children. He was God in human flesh. When urged by His companions to do wrong, divinity flashed through humanity, and He refused decidedly. In a moment He distinguished between right and wrong, and placed sin in the light of God's commands, holding up the law as a mirror which reflected light upon wrong" (Ellen White, The Youth's Instructor, September 8, 1898). Is it not possible to maintain the reality of Christ's temptations and yet to make greater allowance for a conscious usage of Christ's divinity even if it is generally exercised in choosing to live on the level of humanity? [back]

150 Furthermore, Heppenstall sees Christ facing temptation more strongly than even Adam. for Christ inherited a physical constitution weakened by the increasing degeneracy of the race. "The possibility of His being overcome was greater than Adam's because of this" (The Man Who is God, p.154). Heppenstall thus sees sin as a possibility for Christ in His human nature. [back]

151 Heppenstall quotes Shedd approvingly when the latter states that the divine nature is intemptable and impeccable but the human nature is both temptable and peccable. Taken from Wm. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 11, p.332 (see Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.152). [back]

152 For Heppenstall's discussion of these two avenues of temptation see The Man Who is God, pp.151,152. [back]

153 See Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.151. See also, Syllabus for 8ible Doctrines, Vol. l, p.23, where Heppenstall says that Christ needed prayer as a man to live the life of faith. [back]

154 Note Heppenstall's denial of this: "Christ voluntarily committed the use of His divine attributes into the Father's hands and refrained from exercising them without His Father's express permission during His earth life" (The Man Who is God, p.153). Heppenstall wished to make certain that Christ's deity never superceded His human faculties. The temptation was always present for Christ to exercise His divine prerogatives. The greatest temptation was for Christ to forsake the level of humanity which He had chosen and to assert His divine nature. [back]

155 Heppenstall says: "In His human life on earth, our Lord lived by faith in His Father" (Salvation Unlimited, p.64). Note also: "Jesus Christ on earth lived righteousness by faith" (Ibid., p.34). See also pp.139, 141, 142, 143. [back]

156 Instead of seeing Christ virtually never using His divinity and only living in His humanity in utter dependence on His Father, could one not say that Christ used both His divine and human natures in complete dependence upon His Father, for He had chosen the path of submission and humiliation? [back]

157 See footnotes 60-70 in this chapter. For further references on original sin not given previously see Heppenstall, Salvation Unlimited, pp.68, 79, 123, 139, 140; Our High Priest, pp.25, 51, 52; In Touch with God, p.66; "Getting Rid of Sin," The Signs of the Times, August 1965, p.13. [back]

158 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.107. Adventists in general have been cautious on the doctrine of original sin. Some are opposed to extreme forms of the doctrine; others have theological objections to the doctrine as a whole; still others reject the concept for soteriological reasons. They feel that if original sin for man is conceded and Christ is exempted, a gulf is created between man and Christ which leads to the teaching of relative sanctification and perfection for man. If Christ and man can be placed on the same level as to inherent state and condition then the sinless life of Christ is a possibility and requirement for all God's children. While many Adventist theologians are clear on the actuality of original sin, more work needs to be done, generally, to enunciate an Adventist view of original sin which will fit the general scheme of Adventist theology and be true to Scripture. [back]

159 See The Man Who is God, pp.125-128. Note also: "Christ was the one life lived on earth in which the will of God alone was obeyed from the beginning to the end" (Heppenstall, Salvation Unlimited, p.139). [back]

160 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.129. [back]

161 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, pp.140,141. [back]

162 It is not sufficient for Christ to be only sinless in conduct. He must also be sinless in His nature and in the very centre of His being. Heppenstall says: "Only a sinless Christ is sufficient to provide us with a perfect atonement and redemption from sin" (The Man Who is God, p.142). Redemption could not be achieved if Christ were a sinner, "either by possessing a sinful nature or by committing a sinful act" (Ibid.). Note also Heppenstall's discussion on the humanity of Jesus and freedom from sin in Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. 1, p.23. [back]

163 Note his declaration: "To believe that Jesus Christ inherited a sinful nature as all men do - a nature that was inclined to evil and incapable of doing any good of itself - is to ascribe total depravity to Him, to say that the whole of His being was sinful as is ours. If this was so, then He needed to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit" (Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.141). It is true that Christ came under judgment at the cross but this was because of the accounted sins of the whole world being laid upon Him, rather than because of His own inherent sinful nature or misdeeds. Heppenstall says that the picture of Christ with a sinful nature - a nature bent to evil, is not the God-man of Scripture but might only be a godlike man. It is hardly possible to overemphasize the need for a sinless Christ (see Ibid., p.148). [back]

164 Heppenstall remarks: "Christ is the one exception in that He had no such inclination or bent to sin" (The Man Who is God, p.132). Note also: "Jesus Christ was sinless, free constitutionally from every taint of sin and defilement" (Salvation Unlimited, p.142). While one understands Heppenstall's position and concern, one wonders if the word 'constitutionally' is the best word in light of Heppenstall's insistence that 'original sin' should not be tied to physiological or genetic processes (see The Man Who is God, p.138). At La Sierra (1940-1955) he was likewise teaching that Christ's nature had no tendency to sin. Note: "But if in Christ there was no sin, or tendency to sin, how could he be tempted? In the same way that Adam was tempted" (Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, p.23). [back]

165 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.135. It is interesting to note that Heppenstall places deity at the very centre of the being of Jesus Christ. This must be harmonized with his concept of the single human consciousness of Christ. [back]

166 Heppenstall makes a difference between the flesh and the normal genetic process on the one hand, and the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus Christ on the other hand. While Christ would suffer the weaknesses and liabilities common to all men He would possess a human nature that was pure, holy and sinless. See The Man Who is God, p.138. Note: "Christ, in taking us up into Himself, takes all that belongs to US except sin" (In Touch with God, p.94). [back

167 For Heppenstall's discussion of Romans 8:3 see The Man Who is God, pp.136-139. [back]

168  Ibid., p.137. Heppenstall says elsewhere that many can testify "that the only perfection, the only sinlessness, they have ever seen or known has been that of Jesus Christ, the only perfect and sinless Man;" ("Is Perfection Possible?" The Signs of the Times, December 1963, p.10). [back] >
169 The Man Who is God, p.138. [back]

170 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.137. [back]

171 Heppenstall says that Christ "lived in complete oneness with His Father." He possessed a "sinless state and life." Also, Christ's will was not in rebellion to the will of God. "This points to a moral and spiritual harmony and elevation of character unknown in our human existence" (Heppenstall, Perfection, p.64). Also: "Had Christ disobeyed the law in the slightest degree, there would not be a divine righteousness to reckon to man's account" (Heppenstall, Salvation Unlimited, p.39). See also The Man Who is God, p.146; Salvation Unlimited, pp.54, 151. Note also: "Everything about Him is perfect" (Perfection, p.72). See also Ibid., pp.76, 77, 83, 85. [back]

127 Heppenstall, The Man Who is God, p.143. [back]

173 For Heppenstall's position on 2 Cor. 5:21 see The Man Who is God, pp.143,144. We have noted Waggoner's different stand from Heppenstall. Waggoner saw Christ being "made sin" in an accounted sense at the birth of Christ, while Heppenstall applied this to the cross. Waggoner goes further and includes Christ's possession of a sinful human nature as part of being "made sin" for us. On Waggoner see footnotes 40-44 in Chapter three. [back]

174 Note Heppenstall's words: "Men sometimes equate their own sinful nature with the nature of the Redeemer and reduce His stature to their own level" (The Man Who is God, p.147). [back]

175  Ibid. [back]

176 Heppenstall says that the attempt to imitate Christ can degenerate into a system of ethics and moral achievement. A religion which does not realize the sinner's hopeless condition, while concentrating on the imitation of Christ, can create a preoccupation with self. See The Man Who is God, pp.148,149. Note also: "There is no salvation in the life example of Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, if that is all there is" (Ibid., p.37). Because of Heppenstall's Christology, his soteriological emphasis is not based on achievement, quest or imitation, but rather on reception and acceptance of the historical events connected with Christ, and His abiding presence in the life through the Holy Spirit. [back]

177 We have already referred to this in a previous section of this chapter. See footnotes 85-93. For additional source material, not referred to in these footnotes, see the following: Heppenstall, "Some Theological Considerations of Perfection," Supplement to The Ministry, Washington, D.C.: General Conference Ministerial Association, [n.d.]; also some objections to 'Perfectionism' in Syllabus for Bible Doctrines, Vol. l, p.46, indicating that Heppenstall's stand on this subject has been consistent throughout at least the major portion of his teaching career. Note his words then: "The fundamental error of perfectionism is its low view of God's law and its narrow conception of sin" (Ibid.). While, for Heppenstall, Christ did not possess a sinful human nature, man is in this position and the sinful nature will not be eradicated until the second advent of Christ. See Perfection, p.88; "Is Perfection Possible?" The Signs of the Times, December 1963, pp.10, 11, 30. [back]

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