On November 2, 2014, I sent an email to Christian Post regarding Anna Diehl, who is one of its bloggers. Since I have heard nothing in response, I am now making my concerns public.
Christian Post (hereafter CP) is a major online media organization based in Washington, DC, that describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website.” It is a member organization of the Evangelical Press Association as well as the National Association of Evangelicals, and has a statement of faith that is generically, solidly evangelical. As I noted in my email to CP, “We share the same orthodox, evangelical beliefs as your organization, as reflected in your excellent Statement of Faith.”
It was recently brought to my attention that one of the blogs featured prominently on CP’s website exists to promote heretical teachings that are clearly at variance with CP’s avowedly evangelical doctrinal position. I refer to the blog called “The Pursuit of God,” the author of which is Anna Diehl. Ms. Diehl denies the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity; her version of the doctrine explicitly contradicts CP’s statement of faith. In a recent article on Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Oct. 31, 2014) on her Christian Post blog, Diehl wrote:
When giving that famous Great Commission, Jesus told His disciples to baptize people in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught that there were three Gods—three Beings who met Yahweh’s definition of praiseworthy…. There are three Gods. Jesus and the Holy Spirit have no beginning. They were not created. They are Almighty Gods who are separate from Yahweh, yet equal to Him in every way.
Note that Diehl teaches that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not Yahweh, but two other eternal Gods in addition to Yahweh, thus making three Gods. Her own website has a page, “What We Teach,” that confirms that Diehl knows full well her doctrine differs from the “classical” doctrine of the Trinity:
How many Gods are there? Three: Yahweh (God the Father), Jesus (the Son), and the Holy Spirit. They are collectively referred to as the Trinity, however we do not use this term in the classical sense of referring to one Being with three “expressions”. We use the term Trinity to mean the Divine trio of three separate and distinct Gods.
Ms. Diehl’s reference to non-standard terminology of “expressions” notwithstanding, her doctrine clearly contradicts the classical doctrine affirmed in CP’s statement of faith that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are “the one eternal God.” In technical theological language, her doctrine is known as tritheism, the doctrine that the world is governed by three separate Gods. Many evangelicals know that Mormonism teaches a form of this doctrine (see Dayton Hartman’s recent excellent study on Joseph Smith’s Tritheism); it is unsettling to find it promoted by a blogger on Christian Post.
This is not the only heretical error taught by Ms. Diehl. Surprisingly, she denies that Jesus Christ is truly human. CP’s statement of faith rightly affirms that Christ is “the eternal Son of God who became fully human while remaining fully divine.” Ms. Diehl flatly and vigorously contradicts this basic doctrine of the Christian faith. In her “What We Teach” article, she writes:
Is Jesus fully God and fully man? No. Jesus is fully God. His brief time on earth did not alter or reduce His Divinity in any way. To teach that Jesus is less than God or that for awhile He “set aside” His Divinity is heresy. God is quite capable of coming to us in a human form without permanently changing His identity.
Since orthodox Christians don’t think Jesus’ divinity was reduced by his becoming a man, or that he set aside his divinity, at first I held out hope that she simply misunderstood the orthodox position. That may be so, but her own position is absolutely heretical. The paragraph I just quoted concludes with a link to another article in which she explains her position more fully. It is entitled, “The Begotten Son: How Jesus Helped the Jews Accept the Idea of Multiple Gods.” In this article, she writes:
Of course the whole idea of viewing Jesus as a human is extremely bizarre because Jesus isn’t human in any sense of the word. He simply came to us in a human form, but His Divine Nature never changed. Oh sure, we like to talk about Him setting aside His Divinity and becoming some weird half-breed of God and man, but all of this is nonsense. Jesus is God, and God can appear to us in any form He likes. We find Yahweh showing up in human form several times in the Old Testament.
Ms. Diehl’s constant caricature of the orthodox doctrine should not distract us from what she herself teaches. In her view, Jesus never became a man. He appeared in human form, but he never actually became human. Her argument is that just as Yahweh could appear in human form in the Old Testament without actually being human, Jesus (a second God like Yahweh but separate from him) could do that in the New Testament. He simply did it for a much longer period of time, and in a more complex way, than Yahweh’s brief appearances in the Old Testament. It was more complex because he seemed to live an actual human life from birth to adulthood and death, but in fact, according to Diehl, he was never really a human being at all. Although her doctrine is unique to her, as best I can tell it is very similar to some forms of ancient Gnosticism.
Finally, although there are several other problems with Anna Diehl’s theology, I will mention just one more than explicitly contradicts the CP statement of faith. Ms. Diehl denies the inerrancy of the Bible, and even denies that all of the Bible is inspired. Her “What We Teach” article says:
Is the Bible inerrant? No…. Is the Bible inspired? Parts of it. But there is teaching in the Bible that is just plain wrong…. Would God ever go against His written Word? Of course. We find many examples of Him doing this right inside the Bible. The Bible does not limit or confine God in any way.
Ms. Diehl has a long string of posts in which she claims to expose various false teachings in the Bible. According to her, we should not pray the way the apostle Paul prayed; the Bible’s teachings about Jesus and the Holy Spirit interceding for us are wrong; Matthew committed some “blunders” in claiming that Jesus fulfilled certain Old Testament passages; the epistle of 1 John “has some very big theological problems” because she thinks it teaches that one must be sinless to be saved; James wrongly teaches that God does not tempt people to sin, and he also teaches false ideas about prayer; Ecclesiastes is “the ramblings of an idolatrous fool”; and on and on.
I realize that Christian Post has a disclaimer stating that “CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).” I also realize that CP does not necessarily endorse views taught on other websites by the authors who blog on CP. However, Anna Diehl’s article on Christian Post, “The Divinity of Jesus & the Holy Spirit,” quoted above, explicitly contradicts the CP statement of faith. I assume that the CP disclaimer is simply a prudent legal disclaimer to safeguard against CP being held legally accountable for every stray opinion expressed on its blogs. That sort of disclaimer would of course be a very reasonable and wise thing to do. On the other hand, the CP statement of faith is meaningless if the organization knowingly hosts a blogger who explicitly contradicts that statement of faith.
I had hoped that CP would investigate this matter and review Ms. Diehl’s teachings. My recommendation to CP was that they discontinue giving Anna Diehl a platform from which to spread her heretical doctrines. Perhaps at some point they may make that decision. In the meantime, since Diehl is publicly teaching heresy, it is necessary and appropriate to respond publicly. This incident is yet another example of the need for Christians to be discerning, not just with regard to other religions but also to what is being taught in the church today.