John MacArthur's Position on the Eternal Sonship of Christ
MacArthur's Original Denial of Eternal Sonship in his Study Bible.
Note: George Zeller's comments are in bold.
The John MacArthur Study Bible
The John MacArthur Study Bible was released October 1997. MacArthur is cautious in his statements regarding Christ's Sonship, yet it is still evident that he teaches an incarnational Sonship position:
God's Son was born in a point of time. He was always God, but He fulfilled His role as Son in space and time at His incarnation" [see study note at Hebrews 1:5]. MacArthur believes that Christ was always God, but that He was not always the Son of God. He became the Son when He was born in Bethlehem. His Sonship, according to MacArthur, was merely a "role" that He assumed in time.
It (Psalm 2:7) is the only OT reference to the Father/Son relationship in the Trinity, a relationship planned in eternity past and realized in the incarnation" [see study note at Psalm 2:7]. Christ's Sonship was planned in eternity past but was not actually realized until the incarnation. Prior to the incarnation, according to MacArthur, He was not the Son of God.
While He was eternally the Son in anticipation of His incarnation, it was when He entered the world in incarnation that He was declared to all the world as the Son of God and took on the role of submission to the Father" [see study note at Romans 1:4]. MacArthur teaches that Christ did not actually become the Son until the incarnation. Prior to Bethlehem He was only the Son "in anticipation." He also teaches that Sonship is merely a "role" which Christ assumed and that it involves "submission."
These study notes clearly present the incarnational Sonship position, not the eternal Sonship position.
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