|Only Begotten and
the Deity of Christ
A Review of Hugo McCord's paper
Brother Hugo McCord has in the Gospel Advocate, and of late at the 1988 Freed-Hardeman
College Bible Lectureship, advocated that the Greek word monogenes be translated "unique"
rather than "only begotten." I have never had the pleasure (and I say pleasure because of what
everyone who has met him has reported to me) of meeting brother McCord. All reports I have
heard of his piety and scholarship has been most favorable. Yet, in spite of this, I find his most
recent work on "ONLY BEGOTTEN," distributed at the 1988 Freed-Hardeman College Bible
Lectureship, most distressing and dangerous.
Brother McCord has defined the difference between translating monogenes "only" and "only
begotten" as: "the difference in fact is deity over against non-deity" in connection with Jesus, and
accused those who use a translation which contains "only begotten" of "unintentionally"
adopting the same error as the Unitarians and the "Witnesses" saying "these people do not
know they have demoted the Lord whom they love to creature status." He further states in his
paper that the Father-Son relationship between God and Jesus "is figurative," therefore not
I must vehemently disagree with brother McCord in his opening statement: "A discussion of the
phrase 'only begotten' is not of importance in itself." If a discussion of that which demotes our
Lord to a mere creature is not of importance, if a discussion of the relationship which Jesus
bears to the Father is not of importance, if it is not of importance whether Jesus is literally the
Son of God, then please tell me what, in all of Christianity, is important! All Christianity is
wrapped up in that confession of faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God.
Brother McCord expresses love for "those sincere Christians who have not learned what they
are really doing to our Lord." May I also express my love for those who have been deluded into
accepting brother McCord's position, and for brother McCord: a deep enough love (concern for
the good) for them, and for our Lord, to respond to his error and expose it.
Time was not sufficient between the reception of brother McCord's paper and the preparation of
this issue for the press to fully respond to the error of brother McCord's paper. But, Lord willing,
we shall fully respond, point for point, reprinting his entire paper in order to properly review it in
Meanwhile, remember the words of the apostle John: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in
the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life
through his name" (John 20:30-31); "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
In order to be as fair and complete to brother McCord in representing his position as presented
in the paper at Freed-Hardeman College, brother McCord's paper will be quoted section by
section. There is no intent at any point or position to misrepresent, but only to correctly refute the
error which he has espoused.
As in the case of any erroneous position, there is some truth sprinkled within in order to make
the concept more believable. Acknowledgement of truthful statements is made with joy.
However, while acknowledging certain statements are true, it does not imply, or logically follow,
that the conclusions reached are true. The whole of an argument must be true in order to justify
With these introductory remarks, the review of brother McCord's paper commences: (his words
are reproduced in smaller type)