John Mark Comer, of Solid Rock church in Portland (some 7,000 attendees), is teaching a doctrine that he has labeled “creational monotheism”. This doctrine declares that there is only one “creator God”, but that there are many gods. He claims this is the teaching of Scripture. He claims that there is a distinct class of created beings called “gods”, but that they all derive from the creative power of the creator God. These gods are distinct from demons, for he made a point in one of his sermons to teach that the demons serve “the gods”.
If you take the words monotheism and polytheism by their plain meaning, as provided by dictionary.com:
Monotheism = the doctrine or belief that there is only one God
Polytheism = the doctrine or belief in more than one god or in many gods
then you should quickly realize that the pastor’s attempt to call his doctrine monotheistic is greatly lacking in logic. For if you teach there is more than one god, you are by definition polytheistic. It does not matter whether you teach that only one of the gods, out of the many, is worthy of worship. The recipient of worship has nothing to do with the definition of monotheism or polytheism.
So, in summary, there is a church which, if you were to peruse their website, seems to fall within the class of an evangelical church with social justice leanings. But they are teaching polytheism.
Yet, because he is teaching that we ought to worship Yahweh above other gods, his brand of polytheism can be more precisely labeled. He is a henotheist. The dictionary tells us that henotheism is
“The worship of a particular god, as by a family or tribe, without disbelieving in the existence of others.”
Henotheism is neither considered apostolic doctrine nor the teaching of Scripture. The Scripture refers to false gods and idols, but we are never to take such things literally, as if there are actually a distinct class of beings known as “gods”. The false gods of Scripture are always demonic or derived from the art and thought of man. Henotheism is not a viable doctrine in orthodox Christianity. The Scriptures teach monotheism.
To teach that Yahweh rules over the council of gods is to teach something very similar to Greek mythology, where Zeus was the “Father of Gods and men” and ruled the council of the Olympians. It is a horrible leap in logic to think that if you teach only one god should be worshipped, that you are monotheistic.
The prophet Isaiah gives us words from the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the only true God.
If this pastor can’t understand the simple definitions of monotheism and polytheism, should we even entertain the idea he understands the Scriptures accurately regarding “the gods”?