"Adoptionism" and other Heresies
Adoptionism is a heresy that says Jesus Christ was adopted by God the Father at His Baptism. But this cannot be true for many reasons.
1) We have the Christmas story and the Angel says to the shepherds “Today a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”
2) and the Magi visiting asking where the newborn King of the Jews can be found.
3) We have the story of Jesus’ presentation in the temple where Simeon sees the newborn Christ and the Bible says “Simeon took him into his arms and said “my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples”
4) We have the story of a teenage Jesus teaching the Scribes and Scholars, and Jesus’ response to His parents, “did you not know that I would be in my Father’s house?”
So even though most heresies are defeated by Scripture, most heresies are designed to spread among those who do not know the Scriptures.
At His Baptism, we do have the Spirit descending upon Jesus, but the Church Fathers all saw that as a sign for other people, not that Jesus was, at the moment, being adopted into the Trinity.
So when we hear in our Gospel today that “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” it does not mean that at Jesus’ baptism in the previous chapter that Jesus received, for the first time, the Holy Spirit, but instead Saint Cyril points out that Christ did not perform miracles as did the saints, but Jesus Christ, being by nature the Son of God, Jesus exercises by His own power that grace which is of the Holy Spirit.
And this is one of the many reasons Jesus gave us the Catholic Church – to sort out what is true and false teaching. It isn’t just “me and Jesus”… “me and Jesus” has resulted in about 60,000 different denominations of Christians…we need to always be checking what we are hearing in our hearts and consciences with what the Catholic Church teaches about Jesus.
Lots of heresies have found temporary footholds in the hearts of Catholics throughout 2,000 years, but the Catholic Church has never ceased to point them out and, ultimately, defeat them. When there are genuine disagreements on how to interpret a particular passage of Scripture, the Church is Christ’s appointed referee in the dispute.
May we always be seeking to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church and Her saints.