Last Sunday & today we had seminarian-led catechesis, and I appreciated it, because it was on the Holy Trinity, a truly great topic. Last week, however, the point was made, in one of the vicar's power point images, that one of the trinitarian heresies is the idea that Christ and Michael are the same. It is quite possible that he did not mean it the way it reads, but of course this point must be clarified, lest it lead people to draw the wrong conclusions. Today I was going to take a moment in class and clarify the issue, but I never got the chance. I walked in a bit late, because of coffee clean up, and at no point during or at the end of class did I find the opportunity. So I do so now.
There are heretical sects, most notably the Jehovah's Witnesses, which teach that Jesus Christ was merely the incarnation of the Archangel Michael. That, of course, is a christological heresy, one which offers a novel twist on the ancient heresy that denies Christ's true divinity.
On the other hand, there are Christians who believe that Michael, the Archangel, is the Lord Himself, the uncreated Angel (messenger) Who is Himself the message, the eternal Logos, ie., the Lord Jesus Christ, in a pre- or extra- incarnational manifestation.
To view Michael as Christ is not the same as viewing Christ as Michael, if "angel" not be read in a literalistic manner. In this instance, I am not attempting to argue that Michael is Christ, for that would require a more thought out, better organized, and thorough argument than what I can give this afternoon. Nevertheless, we must be clear that it is not heresy. It has a long history among right-thinking Christians, and it has its advocates even today. I confess that it is my own view, as well.
Christians are free to disagree with this interpretation of the scriptural witness to the Archangel, but there is certainly nothing heretical about it. There are sound exegetical and theological arguments behind it, and I would suggest that it fits well with the christus victor theme of the atonement, and can help us appreciate the fact that the battle which Christ fights for us is waged in several dimensions, including the cosmic and the historical, even within the individual soul of the Christian.