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No heresy in Charles Wesley’s Christmas hymn

08 November 2013


From Dr Bill Evershed

Sir, - I must take issue with the Revd Philip Welsh's assertion (Books, 1 November) that the line "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see" is a "Docetic howler". Even taken out of context, the case is not proven, since, for that to be so, "veiled in" would have to imply "merely disguised as", when it more obviously implies "taking our nature". More to the point, taken in context, the next line's reference to "the incarnate Deity" offers a parallelism that removes all doubt.

Also, as a natural traditionalist, I can't help but feel that Charles Wesley (et al.) would have been rumbled before now if there was substance to the charge.

Finally, any Docetist worth his or her salt would be well advised to avoid drawing attention to the message of Christmas, whose earthy realities emphasise the true humanity of "God with us". The Docetist's natural hunting ground is Easter.

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