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#1 andrewlya

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 04:14 PM

HI all, I come from a Christian Orthodox background, but I  don't see God as a Triune. I see God as one, who is the Father. I see Jesus as His Son and the promised Messiah and the Holy Spirit is the power of God which is what Christadelphians believe.

 

However, there are some Biblical verses that confuse me with regards to Jesus's nature. Even though Jesus Himself never said that He was God or asked to be worshiped there are certain verses pointing out to a possibility of that. I am not sure how to interpret them, please help me understand the following verses.

 

If Jesus is not God then He cannot be worshiped as only God can be worshiped then why does the Bible say this:

  • "Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’" - John 20:28
  • "Of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen."-
    Romans 9:5
  • "But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom." -
    Hebrews 1:8
  • "Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ"- Titus 2:13
  • "Then those who were in the boat came and[a]worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”-

Matthew 14:33

  • "And as they went to tell His disciples,[a] behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. "-

Matthew 28:09

  • "When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted."-

Matthew 28:17

  • "Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him."-
    John 9:38
  • "But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him.”-
    Hebrews 1:6
  • "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"-
    John 1:1

I am looking forward to our anwers,

 

God bless in Jesus's name.



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Posted 11 April 2016 - 06:28 AM

Thanks, andrewlya, for the OP - will get back to you in the next day or so ... unless another likes to "chip-in" before hand :)  



#3 andrewlya

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 08:38 PM

Thanks, andrewlya, for the OP - will get back to you in the next day or so ... unless another likes to "chip-in" before hand :)

 

Great, thanks and looking forward to it.



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Posted 17 April 2016 - 04:36 AM

andrewlya apologies for the delay in responding ... rather than re-invent the wheel will post dialogue from several regarding the verses you have noted.

Not all are Christadelphian writers but have come to the same conclusion that Jesus is the Son of God and not God the Son.

We will start with John 20:28: 
 

John 20:28
 
The well-known words of Thomas to Jesus, “My Lord and my God,” are supposed to be decisive for the full Deity of Christ. Jesus, however, had already denied being God (see above on John 10:34-36). John distinguishes Jesus from the one and only God, his Father (John 17:3). Readers of the New Testament often do not realize that the word “God” can be applied to a representative of God. There is good evidence that John incorporates into his portrait of Jesus as Messiah, ideas drawn from the Messianic Psalm 45. In answer to Pilate, Jesus declared that he was a king whose task was to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). There is an Old Testament background to this theme. Psalm 45 is written in praise of the Messiah (Heb. 1:8), who is addressed as “most mighty,” and urged to “ride prosperously in the cause of Truth” (vv. 3, 4). The psalmist foresees that the king’s enemies “will fall under you” (v. 5). The royal status of this leader is emphasized when the writer addresses him with the words “O God” (Ps. 45:6). The career of the Messiah outlined in Psalm 45 is reflected in John’s observation that Jesus’ enemies recoiled at his claim to be the Messiah and “fell to the ground” (John 18:6)42 Thomas’ recognition of Jesus as “God” is a beautiful fulfillment of the Psalm’s highest address to the King of Israel. In that Psalm the Messiah is acclaimed as the Church’s Lord and “God.” But the “God” Messiah has been appointed by his God, the One and only Infinite God (Ps. 45:7).
 
Jesus himself was interested in the use of the word “God” for human rulers (John 10:34; Ps. 82:6). The Messiah is supremely entitled to be called “God” in this special sense, particularly because he embodies the “word” which is itself theos (John 1:1). It is possible that John adds one further statement about Jesus as “God.” He declares him to be (if this is the correct manuscript reading — the point is disputed) “unique son, ‘God’ [theos]” (John 1:18). This is the ultimate Messianic description, expressing the fact that Jesus is the image of the One God. As Son of God, however, he is to be distinguished from the one who is underived, namely his Father. It remains a fact that John wrote his entire book to prove that Jesus was the Christ (John 20:31), and that the God of Jesus is also the God of the disciples (John 20:17). An unusual occurrence of theos in reference to Jesus should not overturn John’s and Jesus’ uniform insistence on the creed of Israel. It is an unwarranted advance (2 John 9 should be noted) beyond the intention of John to make him the innovator of the equation “Christ” = “the Supreme God.” It is sufficient to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, Son of God (John 20:31).
____________

42 See Reim, “Jesus as God in the Fourth Gospel: The Old Testament Background,” New Testament Studies 30 (1984): 158-160.
 
Buzzard, A. F., & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity; Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (pp. 291–293). International Scholars Publications.

ON THOMAS’ STATEMENT – John 20:28
 
The basis of understanding this is in John 10:27-36.
 
A quote from Psalm 82:6 is made by Jesus.  The Psalm shows that the judges of Israel are called “gods” (Elohim) on the basis that the word of God came unto them.
 
Ephesians 1:3 God was the God of Jesus as well as his Father (cp. John 20:17).
 
John 17:1-3 v3 is the key to life eternal.  THE FATHER IS THE ONLY TRUE GOD – Jesus excludes himself = he is the servant of God (e.g. Isaiah 52:13; 53:9-11).
 
1 Corinthians 8:4-6 – there is only one true God.
 
1 Timothy 2:3 – the reason for this title is in v4, note v5 this was written approximately A.D.65 – 30 years after Jesus had ascended to heaven.  Jesus is still called man – therefore he is not God.  But, further as a mediator he is drawn from mankind.  He can only be a mediator if he is not God.
 
John 17:5 is to be understood that the Father’s purpose of glory was known to the Father before the world was and He foresaw His son at the head of this glorified family, see vv21-22.
 
(Why we do not have a paid ministry:
 
Acts 20:28-34; 1 Peter 5:2-3; 2 Peter 2:1-3 (feigned = counterfeit) – i.e. they buy you and do it with counterfeit currency.)
 
Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:24; 9:52; James 2:25 – angels translated as messengers.
 
O’Connor, C. R. (n.d.). The Things of the Kingdom and the Things of the Name (p. 45). Riverwood Ecclesia.
 
John 20:28 - “My Lord and my God”.
 
A stock “Trinity” proof text. Is it?
 
a) In an attempt to evade the application of these words to Jesus, the suggestion is sometimes made that this was just an ejaculation of utter surprise. This is altogether unworthy. Thomas may have been a doubter, but his spiritual level was still infinitely higher than that of a blasphemous British dock - labourer. It must be conceded that the words “My Lord and my God” were intended to apply to Jesus. Then how? In what sense?
 
b) Let it be emphasized and re-emphasized that Thomas was a Jew, soaked from childhood in the unshakable belief of Israel that “the Lord our God is one Lord”. For such it would be a moral and spiritual impossibility to move in a split second (or in a lifetime) from believing Jesus to be an ordinary man (verse 25), to an emphatic conviction that he was God Almighty.
 
c) Next, let it be remembered that it is the common principle of the Old Testament to refer to God’s accredited representatives, be they men or angels, as though they were God. Those who act for God are spoken of as God. Angels are referred to as “God” in Gen. 16:13; 18:13; 32:30; and Exod. 23:20,21: Hos. 12:3,5, men are referred to as “God” in Exod. 21:6; 22:8, Psa. 138:1; 82:1,6; (John 10:34). Similarly, Messiah is referred to as “...him”; Isa. 64:4 (where he “the almighty: and “thee, O God”= Messiah). In Mal. 3:1 “prepare the way before me” becomes “before thee” in Matt. 11:10.
 
d) So Thomas’s confession is certainly a recognition of the divine act in raising Jesus from the dead; it is probably an acknowledgment of Jesus as Messiah (Zech. 12:10, cp. “reach hither thy finger”); it is certainly not a declaration of belief that Jesus was God the Son.
 
Whittaker, H. A. (1995). A Look at Those Difficult Passages (pp. 62–63). Printland Publishers.


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Posted 17 April 2016 - 04:38 AM

“My Lord and my God”
 
THOMAS is the only person in the Gospels to call the Lord Jesus Christ “God”, when he “answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). The text is often used by those of other persuasions as a ‘proof’ of the Trinity. As Bible-believers we have no difficulty in accommodating the handful of instances where the title “God” is applied to the Son, taking into account the overwhelming number of places where the Father is called “God” in the New Testament. The evidence against any suggestion of a Trinity is decisive.
 
Why then does Thomas call Jesus “My Lord and my God”? Why does he use two titles, “Lord” and “God”, rather than one? Why does he combine the titles in this distinctive twofold affirmation? These are questions which we can only answer by examining the context, and particularly the allusions which take us back to the Genesis creation. We shall see that Thomas’ remark has in it echoes of Genesis, and has to do with the new creation.
 
It is easy to overlook the fact that Thomas’ remark is part of a conversation. Jesus’ conversations always allude to the Old Testament Scriptures, and those with whom he talked also show an awareness of the Scriptures, their remarks often being recorded in order to reveal insights of faith for our learning. In addition, the Biblical writers (under inspiration) have recorded the conversations in such a way, with details of time and place, so as to bring out the significance of the things that are said. The conversation between Jesus and Thomas illustrates all these points.
 
The main allusion is in John 20:22: “He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit”; which (as indicated by most marginal references) connects up with Genesis 2:7: “The LORD God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”. Such an allusion introduces to a reader the theme of creation, and the disciples are being presented to us as types of Adam. Other creation allusions are not far away: the breathing takes place on the first day of the week (John 20:1), but in the evening of that day—the day had had a morning and an evening (John 20:19). This is the language of creation week (Genesis 1).
 
A Creation Theme
 
The allusion implicit in Christ’s breathing on them takes the reader back to the event of Adam becoming a living soul, and this makes Christ a mediator of the creation of a new man (cf. Ephesians 2:15). It is because the Lord Jesus Christ has this creative role in respect of the new creation of men and women, that Thomas calls him “my God” (with the stress on my). Thomas had been absent on the occasion of the original “breathing” upon the disciples, but eight days later, again on the first day of the week, with the door shut once more, Thomas in effect invites Jesus to breathe on him by calling him “my God”—addressing one who had the power to create (John 1:3, 4).
 
It is precisely because Christ breathes on the disciples, with Thomas absent, that when Thomas recognises him, he recognises him as his “God” (John 20:28). His assertion is consistent with Christ’s role as an eloah (cf. the creation of the first Adam by the elohim, Genesis 1:26). Had Thomas not made this assertion, we could have still deduced that this was Christ’s status from his creative role. (Brother John Thomas explains this perspective in Phanerosis.)
 
A Trinitarian may quote Thomas’ confession, but the context contains information which goes totally against the doctrine of the Trinity. Jesus himself used the expression “my God”—see, for example, Matthew 27:46 and Revelation 3:12. His God, he says, was also Mary Magdalene’s God, and is the Father. Does Thomas have a different God from that of Christ or Mary Magdalene? This question is like asking whether the “LORD God” of Genesis 2:7, who forms man from the dust of the ground, is different from the “us” who decide to make man in Genesis 1:26. The fact is that “God”, as a title, is applied to angels and God the Father, and there is no conflict between what Christ and Thomas say, since both Christ and the Father can and do bear the title “God”. In order to understand how this is possible, we have to understand the names and titles of God in the Bible.
 
In the context of John 20, Jesus had just been raised from the dead by the Father: God had breathed into him once more the breath of life. This happened on the first day of the week, while it was dark (cf. Genesis 1:2), but with the resurrection there was light. For the disciples, this power of resurrection had been given to Christ by God the Father; and so for Thomas, Christ is the “God” who must raise him from the dead. The distinction here between God the Father and Jesus is analogous to that expressed by David in the words: “The LORD said unto my lord” (Psalm 110:1). In the Hebrew of this verse, the distinction is made between YHWH and Adonai. Jesus appealed to this text to indicate his exalted status in relation to David, but David’s words also show that Christ’s status as “lord” is subordinate to the LORD.
 
The Bride of Christ
 
We have been thinking of Adam, but the theme of the creation of the woman also is present in John 20. The incident of “breathing” on the disciples takes place after Christ has showed his “side” to them. Since it was from Adam’s side that Eve was taken, the Lord is showing to the disciples that they are also a woman taken from his side. They recognise this fact by calling him Lord, which is a term used between husbands and wives in the Bible (cf. Abraham and Sarah, 1 Peter 3:6). The Gospel writer has set the scene for this use of “my Lord” by Thomas, because he has also recorded the exchange between Mary and Jesus, in which she calls Jesus “my Lord” and “Master”.
 
The disciples are part of the bride of Christ, taken from his side. Indeed since the woman was taken from the man, and since she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, there is a close identity between the man and the woman. When the woman was formed from Adam’s rib, she would then have had the breath of life breathed into her so that she became a living soul. Thomas had expressed his doubt in terms of the side of Jesus, and so his faith also is expressed in terms of the side of Jesus. Jesus is his Lord, from which he needs (in a figure) to be taken. Thomas recognises the creation of both the male and the female when he calls Christ “my Lord” as well as “my God”.
 
The breathing upon the disciples takes place before the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Since this breathing corresponds to the creation of man (and woman) in Genesis, the baptism of the Holy Spirit would refer to the next act in the Genesis 2 sequence—the giving of knowledge to Adam. The Master’s words to Mary revealed that he had not yet ascended to the Father, to receive gifts of knowledge for men, and it is this that Mary accepts (John 20:17; Ephesians 4:8). The purpose of this knowledge was for Adam to fulfil a priestly role in the garden of Eden in respect of Eve and their children. Jesus breathed on the disciples, and sent them into the world with an Adamic commission. This apostolic-priestly role (1 Peter 2:9) needed knowledge which was to be used in building a temple (Ephesians 2:20, 21).
 
Passing from death to life is one of the themes of John 20; and of Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life, Isaiah says:
 
“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
(Isaiah 25:9)
 
ANDREW PERRY
 
(1994). The Christadelphian, 131 (electronic ed.), 374–375.


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Posted 17 April 2016 - 04:44 AM

Romans 9:5

 

Some Trinitarians offer Romans 9:5 as conclusive proof that Jesus is “God over all” and therefore part of the Godhead. It depends which translation one reads, because there are some seven different ways of punctuating the verse in which either Christ or the Father is called “God blessed forever.”21 The issue is: Should we read “of whom, according to the flesh, is Christ, who is over all. God be blessed forever,” or “of whom, according to the flesh is Christ, who being God over all, is blessed forever”? Among older commentators Erasmus, though a Trinitarian, was cautious about using this verse as a proof text:

 

Those who contend that in this text Christ is clearly termed God, either place little confidence in other passages of Scripture, deny all understanding to the Arians, or pay scarcely any attention to the style of the Apostle. A similar passage occurs in Second Corinthians 11:31: “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever”; the latter clause being undeniably restricted to the Father.22

 

Using the principle of comparison of text with text, it is most likely that Paul describes the Father as “God over all.” Paul uniformly makes a distinction between God and the Lord Jesus. In the same book Paul blesses the Creator and there is no reason to doubt that the Father is meant (Rom. 1:25). In another passage he speaks of “God our Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen” (Gal. 1:4, 5). Romans 9:5 is an obvious parallel. It should not be forgotten that the word theos, God, occurs more than 500 times in Paul’s letters and there is not a single unambiguous instance in which it applies to Christ. A number of well-known textual critics (Lachmann, Tischendorf) place a period after the word “flesh,” allowing the rest of the sentence to be a doxology of the Father. Ancient Greek manuscripts do not generally contain punctuation, but the Codex Ephraemi of the fifth century has a period after “flesh.” More remarkable is the fact that during the whole Arian controversy, this verse was not used by Trinitarians against the Unitarians. It clearly did not attest to Jesus as the second member of the Godhead.

 

In modern times Raymond Brown finds that “at most one may claim a certain probability that this passage refers to Jesus as God.”23 In the conservative Tyndale Commentary on Romans, F.F. Bruce warns against charging those who treat the words as applicable to the Father with “Christological unorthodoxy.”24 It is proper to add that even if Jesus is exceptionally called “God,” the title may be used in its secondary, Messianic sense of one who reflects the divine majesty of the One God, his Father.

 

When the detail of grammatical nuance has been fully explored, balances of probability will be weighed in different ways. It is incredible to imagine that the Christian creed should depend on fine points of language about which many could not reasonably be asked to make a judgment and experts disagree. The plain language of Paul’s and Jesus’ creed is open to every student of the Bible: “There is no God except one...There is for us [Christians] one God, the Father” (1 Cor. 8:4, 6).

 

That “one God” is as distinguished in Paul’s mind from the “one Lord Jesus Messiah” as He is from the many gods of paganism. The category of “one God” belongs exclusively to the Father, that of “Lord Messiah” exclusively to Jesus. Jesus himself had provided the basis of Paul’s simple understanding of the phrase “one God.” Both master and disciple shared the creed of Israel who believed in God as one, unique person.

____________

 

21 For a full examination of the various possibilities, see the essays in the Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, 1883.

22 Works, ed. Jean Leclerc, 10 vols. (Leiden, 1703-1706), 6:610, 611.

23 Jesus, God and Man, 22.

24 Romans, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 176.

 

Buzzard, A. F., & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity; Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (pp. 281–283). International Scholars Publications.



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Posted 17 April 2016 - 04:49 AM

Romans 9:5
 
“… Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.”
 
PROBLEM:
 
This passage is cited by trinitarians to prove that Christ is “Very God.”
 
SOLUTION:      
 
1. The trinitarian argument rests on the punctuation of this passage. The RSV translates as follows: “They are Israelites … to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.” There is no evidence in this translation in support of the trinitarian assertion.
 
2. The passage appears to allude to Psalm 41:13: “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” This Psalm concludes Book II of the Psalms and is a fitting climax to the Apostle’s argument in Romans. Paul enumerates the spiritual privileges of Israel: The Sonship, the glory (Shekinah glory), the covenants, the law, the temple worship, the promises, the patriarchs, and the Messiah himself of Jewish lineage. The apostle then concludes with a thankful ascription of praise to God for all that He has done for Israel.
 
3. Even if it be insisted that the passage be read as in the A.V., the passage is appropriately explained on the basis of God-manifestation. Christ is “over all, God blessed for ever” because this power and authority has been delegated to him. (John 5:19, 30; 1 Cor. 15:24–28). Those who act for God are referred to as “God” in the Old Testament. (See Exod. 23:20, 21).1 Paul elsewhere makes it clear, however, that “the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3). The Son is not “co-equal” therefore, with the Father.
 
Wrested Scriptures [computer files. (1997). (electronic ed.). Northridge, CA: The Christadelphian.


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Posted 17 April 2016 - 04:57 AM

Hebrews 1:8

III. DID JESUS’ FOLLOWERS THINK HE WAS GOD

The Messiah of the Book of Hebrews
 
... Without question the humanity of Jesus as High Priest was another special point to be emphasized in the book of Hebrews. Confusion has arisen, however, over verse eight of the first chapter: “But of the Son He says, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.’” Brown presents the following observations:

 

Vincent Taylor admits that in v. 8 the expression “O God” is vocative spoken of Jesus, but he says that the author of Hebrews was merely citing the Psalm and using its terminology without any deliberate intention of suggesting that Jesus is God. It is true that the main point of citing the Psalm was to contrast the Son with angels and to show that the Son enjoys eternal domination, while the angels were but servants. Therefore in the citation no major point was being made of the fact that the Son can be addressed as God. Yet we cannot presume that the author did not notice that his citation had this effect. We can say at least, that the author saw nothing wrong in this address, and we can call upon a similar situation in Heb. 1:10, where the application to the Son of Psalm 102:25-27 has the effect of addressing Jesus as Lord. Of course, we have no way of knowing what the “O God” of the Psalm meant to the author of Hebrews when he applies it to Jesus. Psalm 45 is a royal Psalm; and on the analogy of the “Mighty God” of Isaiah 9:6,God” may have been looked on simply as a royal tide and hence applicable to Jesus as the Davidic Messiah.18

 

Raymond Brown rightly senses the strong Messianic atmosphere of Hebrews 1. The “Mighty God” of Isaiah 9:6 does indeed mean, as defined by the Hebrew Lexicon, “divine hero, reflecting the divine majesty.”19 it is precisely that same Messianic sense of the term “God” which allows the psalmist to address the King as “God,” without inviting us to think that there are now two members of the Godhead. The quotation of Psalm 45:6 in Hebrews 1:8 brings that same Messianic use of the word God into the New Testament. We should not misunderstand this very Jewish use of titles. It is a serious mistake to think that the Messiah has now stepped into the space reserved for the One God, the Father. However exalted the position of Jesus and despite his function as God’s representative, the strict unipersonal monotheism of Israel’s faith is never compromised by any New Testament writer.

 

The writer to the Hebrews joins the rest of the New Testament in proclaiming Jesus as God’s royal Messiah. The promise of the man Messiah’s coming Kingdom is, of course, found frequently in Scripture. Paul told the Gentile world in the clearest of terms that God “has fixed a day in which He will judge [or administer] the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising him from the dead.”20

 

The man Jesus lived and died on this earth and by his obedience qualified to be the first righteous world ruler. Through his resurrection and the power now conferred on him by his Father, he will return at the appointed time to sit on the throne of his father David, ruling and judging the earth. He remains, however, even in his resurrected state “the man, Messiah Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5), a testimony to the wonderful thing God has done through and for man. One would do a grave injustice to the writer of Hebrews to insist that he was trying to present a preexistent God-man in the first chapter of his epistle.

 

The often repeated notion that unless Jesus is God we have no Savior, has no scriptural backing. On the contrary, the Bible attests to the astonishing plan God is executing through a chosen human being. We must understand that the source of all Christian hope is found in this man, Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. If Jesus were not a member of the human family, as we are, then we have no assurance that human beings can be resurrected to eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection proved to the Church that the man Messiah was indeed worthy of the exalted titles ascribed to the Messiah in the Old Testament. His resurrection was the hope that motivated the early Church. If it had happened to one man then it could happen to them ...

____________

 

18 Jesus, God and Man (New York: Macmillan, 1967), 24, 25, emphasis added.

19 Brown, Driver and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), 42. Cp. the plural elim, “gods,” used of persons other than the One God. At Qumran angels are called “elim,” including Michael. The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis comments: "the openness to using divine names for principal angels has obvious implications for NT Christology" (ed. Willem A. VanGemeren, Paternoster Press, 1996, 1:402).

20 Acts 17:31, quoting Ps. 96:13, where the psalmist states that God is coming to “rule the world in righteousness,” an occasion for the greatest rejoicing (vv. 11, 12). This is Paul’s proclamation of the coming Kingdom to the Athenians.

 

Buzzard, A. F., & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity; Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (pp. 77–80). International Scholars Publications.



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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:00 AM

Hebrews 1:8
 
“Declared to be the Son of God”
 
So Jesus was not God, but in his character he represented the LORD exactly. “Upholding all things”, he kept God’s purpose by this word of power. This was only achieved through Jesus’ obedience. God’s objective was that we might be brought back to Him. Christ was sinless, and God raised him from the dead to uphold His righteousness. Through Christ’s resurrection, God declared him to be His Son (Romans 1:4). Jesus during his ministry manifested the attributes of his Father mentally and morally. When he was immortalised, God was manifested physically in His Son, who now sits at the Father’s right hand.
 
In Hebrews 1:8, Christ is called God as he will reign on God’s behalf: he will be God’s representative. This is a quotation from Psalm 45:6 where the word Elohim is singular, allowing us to identify it with the Lord Jesus Christ. The manifestation of his Father which he had shown before on the earth will be revealed again. Previously he had shown the LORD in three aspects of his life: in will, in word and in works.
 
Jesus declared the first of these in his answer to Philip’s desire to see the Father (John 14:9–11). Jesus was not claiming to be the Father physically, but that they were one in will and purpose. Jesus’ will was only to do “the will of him that sent me” (John 4:34) and to finish God’s work of redemption. Paul described this when he wrote: “God was in Christ reconciling the word unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
 
In Jesus’ words he displayed the Father: he never had to qualify his speech by “Thus saith the LORD”, for his speech was never his own. He was always an ambassador representing the Father (John 12:49–50).
 
Nor were his actions his own (John 14:11). They were the third witness that he called, that they might believe that he had made known the Father. In John 5:36 he identifies his works again in response to the accusation that he was making himself equal with God (John 5:17, 18).
 
Collectively all three aspects manifested the name of God, which Christ declares to be his purpose elsewhere in John when he says, “I have manifested thy name”. We can see the three ways in which God is in Christ in the account of his healing of the palsied man (Matthew 9:1–8). It was only possible to speak such words as God’s words, as only God can forgive sins. This work was only possible with the Father’s power, therefore it was the Father’s work. The people recognised the Saviour whose will it was, observing the means by which “The LORD is my salvation”.
 
John was an eyewitness to the Son of God (John 1:1); he saw, heard and handled the “word of life”, the word that was made flesh. In John 1, Christ is referred to as a revelation of the light. He existed from the beginning as the Word with God, which was an expression of the mind of God, a channel by which His power is exercised for a purpose. The will was the word which was the work, for word and work are interchangeable: both are his will (Isaiah 55:11).
 
The word was made flesh by the Holy Spirit working on Mary and was a fulfilment of God’s promise to David. “I will be his father and he shall be my son” referred to an event in the future. This illustrates that Christ was not in existence at the beginning of time. He was only in the mind and plan of God.

Justin Robinson
(1995). The Christadelphian, 132 (electronic ed.), 216–217.


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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:06 AM

Does the New Testament Call Jesus God?
 

Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1

 

A number of contemporary discussions advance the so- called “Granville Sharp’s rule” to support their claim that Jesus is called “the great God and Savior” in Titus 2:13. Sharp contended that when the Greek word kai (and) joins two nouns of the same case, and the first noun has the definite article and the second does not, the two nouns refer to one subject. Hence the disputed verse should read “...our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” and not as the King James Version has it, “...the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” The rule about the omission of the article, however, cannot be relied on to settle the matter. As Nigel Turner (who writes as a Trinitarian) says:

 

Unfortunately, at this period of Greek we cannot be sure that such a rule is really decisive. Sometimes the definite article is not repeated even where there is clearly a separation in idea. “The repetition of the article was not strictly necessary to ensure that the items be considered separately” (Moulton-Howard-Tumer, Grammar, Vol. Ill, p. 181. The reference is to Titus 2:13).16

 

Since the absence of a second article is not decisive, it is natural to see here the appearing of God’s glory as it is displayed in His Son at the Second Coming. There is an obvious parallel with Matthew’s description of the arrival of Jesus in power: “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his holy angels” (Matt. 16:27). Since the Father confers His glory upon the Son (as He will also share it with the saints), it is most appropriate that Father and Son should be closely linked. Paul had only a few verses earlier spoken of “God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior” (Titus 1:4).

 

A wide range of grammarians and biblical scholars have recognized that the absence of the definite article before “our Savior Jesus Christ” is quite inadequate to establish the Trinitarian claim that Jesus is here called “the great God.” At best, the argument is “dubious.”17 It is unfortunate, as Brown says, “that no certainty can be reached here, for it seems that this passage is the one which shaped the confession of the World Council of Churches in ‘Jesus Christ as God and Savior.’”18 It should also be noted that the Roman emperor could be called “God and Savior,” without the implication that he was the Supreme Deity. Even if the title “God and Savior” were most exceptionally used of Jesus, it would not establish his position as coequal and coeternal with the Father. It would rather designate him as the One God’s supreme agent, which is the view of the whole Bible.

 

The same grammatical problem faces expositors in 2 Peter 1:1. Henry Alford is one of many Trinitarians who argue that Jesus is not called “God” in this verse. For him the absence of the article is outweighed here, as in Titus 2:13, by the much more significant fact that both Peter and Paul normally distinguish clearly between God and Jesus Christ. The writer of the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges agreed that “the rule that the one article indicates the one subject... [cannot] be too strongly relied upon as decisive.”19 A Trinitarian writer of the last century was much less generous to those who sought proof of the Deity of Christ in the omission of the article: “Some eminently pious and learned scholars...have so far overstretched the argument founded on the presence or absence of the article, as to have run it into a fallacious sophistry, and, in the intensity of their zeal to maintain the ‘honor of the Son,’ were not aware that they were rather engaged in ‘dishonoring the Father.’”20

 

The last statement may in fact be true of the whole effort of orthodoxy to make Jesus equal in every sense to the Father.

 

____________

 

16 Grammatical Insights into the New Testament (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1965), 16. An unfortunate misprint occurs in Nigel Turner’s statement. The word “not” is omitted before “repeated,” reversing Turner’s intention to point out that the article does not have to be repeated to separate two distinct subjects. We had ample opportunity to discuss this matter with the late Dr. Turner.

17 See Raymond Brown, Jesus, God and Man, 15-18.

18 Ibid., 18. Cp. Nels Ferré’s objection that this title implies a docetic Jesus (“Is the Basis of the World Council Heretical?” Expository Times 73:12 (Dec., 1962): 67).

19 A.E. Humphreys, The Epistles to Timothy & Titus (Cambridge University Press, 1895), 225.

20 Granville Penn, Supplemental Annotations to the New Covenant, 146, cited in Wilson, Unitarian Principles Confirmed by Trinitarian Testimonies, 431.

 

Buzzard, A. F., & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity; Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (pp. 279–281). International Scholars Publications.



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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:17 AM

Matthew 14:33
 

Because the name Son of God shows he is not God.—“But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.— Matt. 16:15, 16. “For he received from God the Father honour and glory when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.—2 Peter 1:17. “Of a truth thou art the Son of God”.—Matt 14:33.

 

Stannus, H. H. (1899). History of the Origin of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Christian Church (p. 94). Christian Life Publishing Company, London..



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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:38 AM

Matthew 14:33; Matthew 28:9; Matthew 28:17; John 9:38; Hebrews 1:6

 

(Worship of Jesus)

 

The Ascension and Exaltation of Jesus

 

WHY did Jesus ascend to heaven? When it was time for him to be parted from his disciples, why did he not just walk away from them, or simply disappear?

 

In Acts, Luke is clear about what happened: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). The disciples are described as watching him steadfastly “as he went up” (Acts 1:10). This account is complemented by the one in Luke’s Gospel: “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:51). The epilogue of Mark’s Gospel also summarises the situation, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

 

Together these passages present a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ being separated from his disciples and rising up into heaven to be with God. He was “taken up”, “he went up”, he was “carried up”, he was “received up” into heaven. But why? Why was he taken from his disciples by rising up into the sky? In a scientific age, we may be reluctant to say that Jesus went up to heaven because it is a rather mediaeval notion to assume that heaven is ‘up’. But whilst we may find it difficult to comment about the physics of this event, there are certainly some important spiritual lessons we can learn from it.

 

The Ascension seems to be an ‘acted-out parable’. It appears to be a way of showing the disciples in literal terms what was happening in spiritual reality. Firstly, it was clearly showing the disciples that Jesus was leaving them. This separation was different from the ones which had happened during the previous forty days. Jesus was now being parted from them to “ascend to” his Father. That was clear.

 

Secondly, the way that Jesus was taken up from them, was also teaching another important lesson. As he ascended it would have been clear that Jesus was being exalted. He was going to be with God. He was literally and spiritually taken upwards into heaven, and a cloud (a symbol throughout Scripture of the divine presence) received him out of their sight. The Ascension spells out to us, then, the exalted status of Jesus and his close communion with God.

 

The Exaltation of Jesus

 

This exalted status of Jesus (which is being shown to us in the Ascension) is absolutely fundamental to our faith. It is emphasised by a number of New Testament writers. Firstly, Paul describes how God “raised him (Jesus) from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church ...” (Ephesians 1:20-22). This is a remarkable statement of Christ’s exaltation—God has “put all things under his feet” and made him “the head over all things”. Secondly, Peter also emphasises the same point: “Baptism doth also now save us ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22). Finally, the writer to the Hebrews explains that the Son, “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

 

Jesus has then been exalted to the right hand of God and is now above all things, and the New Testament writers are at pains to emphasise just how high this exaltation is. This is what the Ascension is helping to teach us. Jesus is Lord over all things.

 

Our Response

 

So how should we respond to this? What does it mean for us? There are a number of practical responses we can make to the exaltation of Jesus. We should note how the disciples themselves responded:

 

“And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” (Luke 24:51–53)

 

Three things: they worshipped Jesus; they rejoiced; and they remained in the Temple, praising God in public. Let us think about these three.

 

It is significant that the first response of the disciples to Christ’s exaltation was to worship him. Our response should be the same. Jesus is worthy of our worship: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). This picture of Christ being worshipped in Revelation is an example to us.

 

But Christ’s Ascension was not the first time people had worshipped Jesus. After his resurrection, his disciples worshipped him (e.g. Matthew 28:17). During his earthly ministry he was also worshipped on a number of occasions (e.g. Matthew 14:33; 15:25). The man who had been born blind and whom Jesus had healed confessed his belief and “worshipped him” (John 9:38). Commenting on this incident, Brother Robert Roberts (with characteristic forthrightness) says:

 

“‘And he (the man) worshipped him’. Worshipped him! Yes, why not? It is written, ‘Let all the angels of God worship him’, and John beheld them in vision comply. ‘He heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the lamb that was slain’. Shall we, with puny, frost-bitten Unitarian ideas of this nineteenth century of darkness, refuse to bend the knee where angels spend themselves in celestial raptures? Nay, verily: ‘To him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father’.”1

 

We should take these lessons to heart. Brother Roberts leaves us in no doubt that the Scriptural position is that Jesus should be worshipped. We shall worship him in the Kingdom; we should worship him now. This is why Christadelphians have always sung hymns honouring Jesus and why the current hymnbook revision committee have rightly stated that this principle, embodied in all previous Christadelphian hymn books, will be continued in any new one.2

 

But some people feel uncomfortable with this. After all, we worship God. Does not worship of Jesus deflect worship from God himself? The apostles did not think so. In Luke 24 (above), they worship the exalted Jesus (in Luke 24:52) and then straight away worship God (Luke 24:53). The two go together. And in Philippians 2, we are told how:

 

“And being found in fashion as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

(Philippians 2:8–11)

 

This passage once again emphasises the exaltation of Jesus. God has “highly exalted him” and given him “a name which is above every name”. We should therefore recognise this and be ready to bow the knee to Jesus and to confess him to be “Lord”. If we do, we are told that it is to the “glory of God”. Far from deflecting glory from God, worshipping Jesus gives God glory:

 

“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”

(John 5:23)

 

This is made all the more emphatic when we compare Philippians 2 with Isaiah 45. There God says of Himself, “Unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isaiah 45:23). It appears that the “name” that Jesus has been given by God is the divine name itself.3 Jesus has been exalted by God in such a way that he now bears the name of God, and that is all the more reason to worship him. But once again, in doing so we are giving “glory to God the Father”. It is, after all, God who has exalted Jesus and God who has honoured him with the divine name.

 

Joy in Our Lives

 

The second response of the disciples who witnessed the Ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:52 was that they returned to Jerusalem “with joy”. Why with joy? Jesus had just left them. Why were they joyful? Surely, it is because of the wonderful promise of Christ’s return, which they also received on his being taken up into heaven (Acts 1:11). They were assured by the angels that Jesus was indeed “being taken from them” but also that he would “come” just as they saw him “go”. They knew that he would return. In addition, they also knew that in other respects he would never leave them. “Lo,” he said, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus was to be spiritually present with them continually. That would also have made them joyful.

 

These things should also fill us with joy. We can rejoice at the promise of his return to restore the Kingdom. We can also rejoice in his spiritual presence now. He is with us now and always. Just because he has been highly exalted, it does not mean that Jesus is no longer interested in us. Quite the opposite. One of the important aspects of Christ’s exaltation to the right hand of God is his work for us. “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34). As our intercessor at God’s right hand, Christ is able to act on our behalf (that is what “making intercession” means). He is not some remote ruler; rather, he wants to help us. It is a marvellous thing that Jesus who is in such intimate communion with God, who has been anointed King, is also our mediator and helper with the Almighty. Our knowledge of this means we can share the joy of the apostles in the exaltation of Jesus.

 

Praising, Preaching, Following

 

The disciples in Luke 24:52 rejoiced, but they also had a job to do. Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus’ last command to them was that they should preach the Gospel (Mark 16:14). The angels’ question, “Why do you stand gazing up into heaven?” (Acts 11:11) is if anything a mild rebuke. They were not just to stand there but get on with the job! Their return to Jerusalem following his Ascension was, however, an act of faith, since Jesus had told them to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them (Luke 24:49). They waited in Jerusalem but it seems that they could not contain their joy. They began praising God in the Temple, as well as preaching the good news.

 

Like the early disciples of Jesus, we should also not be afraid to allow our joy to be reflected in every part of our life, in public as well as private. And like the disciples then, we also have a job to do. We, like them, have to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. Before his ascension, Jesus made it clear to his disciples that the Gospel should be preached “to every creature”. We must continue their work.

 

Christ’s exaltation should give us every confidence to follow him. We know (and this is a fundamental lesson of Philippians 2) that we should emulate Jesus who humbled himself and was then exalted by God. We too are promised that, if we humble ourselves now, we shall be exalted in due time. We too must become servants now if we are to be kings and priests in the future.

 

In the meantime, the work of God in Christ has given us hope. A final practical consequence for us of the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God is that it is there that we should now try to direct our minds. The Apostle Paul writing to the Colossians brings this lesson out (also reassuring us of the promise of our ultimate glorification): “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4). The exaltation of our Lord should mean that we try to concentrate our lives on “things which are above”, and also try to live our lives knowing who our Master is.

 

Stephen Pinfield

____________

 

1 Robert Roberts, Nazareth Revisited. 3rd edition, Birmingham, Christadelphian, 1926, page 353.

2 Roger Long, Michael Owen and Trevor Pritchard, “Giving Honour to the Son”, The Christadelphian, February 1997, pages 47–48.

3 Alfred Nicholls, The Name that is Above Every Name. Birmingham, Christadelphian, 1983, pages 65–67.

 

(2000). The Christadelphian, 137 (electronic ed.), 55–57.



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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:41 AM

"JESUS glorified his Father’s name ... But there was more: the Father gave him the Name which he had glorified! For so Paul declares: “That every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” We pause to note that far from detracting from the honour of God by recognising Him as Father and attributing the Name to the Son, it is enhanced by the glorifying of the Son, even as the Lord himself had said: “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” As we pursue the theme, with all the rich harmonies of this hymn about the glory of the risen Christ, we see how completely the Father’s Name is glorified in him ... In him the love of God was manifest, and men beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
 
ALFRED NICHOLLS
The Name that is Above Every Name, page 67


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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:48 AM

John 1:1

 

Christology, the study of who Jesus is, has to do with a reasoned statement about the relation of Jesus to the One God of Israel. There is no doubt that for the early Christians Jesus had the value and reality of God. This, however, does not mean that they thought Jesus “was God.” It has been held by some that John presents Jesus in metaphysical terms which would appeal to people in the Greek world who thought in terms of abstract ideas familiar to Hellenistic thought. “Orthodoxy” claims John as its bridge to the world of Greek metaphysics — the metaphysics which helped to mold the Jesus of the church councils.

 

We suggest that we should first see if John can be readily understood in terms of his otherwise very Jewish approach. Why should we attempt to read John as though he were a student of the Jew Philo or of Gentile mystery religion? Why should John be claimed as a supporter of the dogmatic conclusions of the much later church councils? Should we not make sense of him from the Old Testament world of ideas? “What we do know,” says a leading Bible scholar, “is that John was steeped in the Old Testament Scriptures. If we wish to understand the historical ancestry of John’s Logos [word] concept as he himself understood it, we have to go back to those Scriptures.”22

 

It is a considerable mistake to read John 1:1 as though it means “In the beginning was the Son of God and the Son was with the Father and the Son was God.”23 This is not what John wrote. The German poet Goethe wrestled to find a correct translation: “In the beginning was the Word, the Thought, the Power or the Deed.” He decided on “deed.” He comes very close to John’s intention. What the evangelist wanted to say was: “The Creative Thought of God has been operating from all eternity.”

 

As a leading British Bible scholar wrote:

 

When John presents the eternal Word he was not thinking of a Being in any way separate from God, or some “Hypostasis.” The later dogmatic Trinitarian distinctions should not be read into John’s mind...in the light of a philosophy which was not his...We must not read John in the light of the dogmatic history of the three centuries subsequent to the Evangelist’s writing.24

 

To understand John (and the rest of the New Testament) we must pay close attention to John’s cultural heritage which was not the world of Greek philosophy in which the dogmatic creeds were formed some three hundred years later. When John is read in the light of his Hebrew background he provides no support for the doctrine of a Jesus who is “God the Son,” an eternal uncreated Person in a triune Godhead:

 

An author’s language will confuse us, unless we have some rapport with his mind...The evangelist John takes a well-known term logos, does not define it, but unfolds what he himself means by it...The idea belonged to the Old Testament, and is involved in the whole religious belief and experience of the Hebrew Scriptures. It is the most fitting term to express his message. For a man’s “word” is the expression of his “mind”; and his mind is his essential personality. Every mind must express itself, for activity is the very nature of mind...Thus John speaks of the “Word” that was with God, and was Divine, to express his conviction that God has ever been Active and Revealing Mind. God, by His very nature, cannot sit in heaven and do nothing. When later in the Gospel Jesus says, “My Father works up till now” he is saying what the Evangelist says in the first verse of the Prologue.

 

John’s language is not the language of philosophical definition. John has a “concrete” and “pictorial” mind. The failure to understand John [in his prologue] has led many to the conclusion that he is “father of metaphysical [i.e., Trinitarian] Christology,” and therefore responsible for the later ecclesiastical obscuration of the ethical and spiritual emphasis of Jesus...The evangelist did not think in terms of the category of “substance” — a category which was so congenial to the Greek mind.25

 

In an illuminating article in the Bible Review J. Harold Ellens points out that titles such as Son of God, as used at the time when the New Testament was written:

 

were never meant to designate the figures to whom they were applied as divine beings. They meant rather that these figures were imbued with divine spirit, or the Logos. The titles referred to their function and character as men of God, not to their being God. Thinking of a human as being God was strictly a Greek or Hellenistic notion. Thus the early theological debates from the middle of the second century on were largely between Antioch, a center of Jewish Christianity, on the one hand, and Alexandrian Christianity, heavily colored by neo-Platonic speculation, on the other. For the most part, the Jewish Christians’ argument tended to be that they had known Jesus and his family and that he was a human being, a great teacher, one filled with the divine Logos...but that he was not divine in the ontological sense, as the Alexandrians insisted. The arguments persisted in one form or another until Cyril of Alexandria’s faction finally won the day for a highly mythologized Jesus of divine ontological being. Cyril was capable of murdering his fellow bishops to get his way.

 

By the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, this Alexandrian perspective of high Christology was dominant but not uncontested by the Antiochian perspective of low Christology. From Nicea to Chalcedon the speculative and neo-Platonist perspective gained increasing ground and became orthodox Christian dogma in 451 CE. Unfortunately, what the theologians of the great ecumenical councils meant by such creedal titles as Son of God was remote from what those same titles meant in the Gospels. The creeds were speaking in Greek philosophical terms: the gospels were speaking in Second Temple Judaism terms...The Bishops of the councils should have realized that they had shifted ground from Hebrew metaphor to Greek ontology and in effect betrayed the real Jesus Christ.26

 

It is not difficult to understand that the Bible is abandoned when fundamental terms like Son of God are given new and unbiblical meanings. The church councils under the influence of Greek speculative neo-Platonism replaced the New Testament Son of God with a God the Son fashioned by philosophy. When a different meaning for a title is substituted for the original a new faith is created. That new faith became “orthodoxy.” It insisted on its dogmas, on pain of excommunication and damnation (the Athanasian Creed). Nicean dogmatic “orthodoxy” lifted Jesus out of his Hebrew environment and twisted John’s Gospel in an effort to make John fit into “orthodoxy’s” philosophical mold. And so it has remained to this day.

 

A revolution is needed to reverse this tragic process. It will come when Christians take personal responsibility for getting in touch with the Bible and investigating it with all the tools now at our disposal. A key to proper biblical understanding is to recognize that the Bible is a Jewish library of books and that Jesus was a Jew steeped in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament).

 

The hidden paganism in Christianity needs to be exposed. The history of orthodoxy shows signs of a spirit which is far removed from the spirit of Jesus. Those who have questioned “orthodoxy” have often been roughly handled.27 One commentator asks:

 

How is that the religion of love has been responsible for some of the worst cruelties and injustices that have ever disgraced humanity?...The Church has persecuted more cruelly than any other religion...Our religious beliefs are propped up on the traditional scaffolding, and many of us are intensely annoyed if the stability of this scaffolding is called in question. The average Catholic [and the same applies to many Protestants] relies on the infallibility of his Church, which he has usually accepted without investigation. To own that his Church has been wrong, and has sanctioned heinous crimes, is almost impossible for him.28

 

____________

 

22 C.J. Wright, Jesus: The Revelation of God, Book 3 of The Mission and Message of Jesus: An Exposition of the Gospels in the Light of Modern Research (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1938), 677.

23 Cp. the very misleading paraphrase of the Living Bible: “Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is Himself God. He created everything there is – nothing exists that He did not make” (John 1: 1-2).

24 C.J. Wright, Jesus: The Revelation of God, 707.

25 Ibid., 707, 711.

26 See “The Ancient Library of Alexandria,” Bible Review (Feb. 1997), 19-29 and further comments in "From Logos to Christ" ("Readers Reply"), BR (June 1997), 4-7, emphasis added.

27 For an illuminating example of misguided religious zeal and cruelty, see the account of Calvin’s savage persecution and execution of the Spanish doctor and scholar who questioned the doctrine of the Trinity, in Marian Hillar, The Case of Michael Servetus (1511-1553)The Turning Point in the Struggle for Freedom of Conscience (Edwin Mellen Press, 1997).

28 Dean W.R. Inge, A Pacifist in Trouble (London: Putnam, 1939), 180, 181.

Buzzard, A. F., & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity; Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (pp. 174–178). International Scholars Publications.



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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:52 AM

The Technicalities of John 1:1

 

John 1:1 has been subjected to a minute analysis by commentators of every shade of opinion. It is obvious that some modern translations are blatantly Trinitarian interpretations. The Living Gospels25 reads: “Before anything else existed there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is Himself God.” But that is to raise the whole Trinitarian problem. Suddenly God is two persons. A little-known fact is that the “word” was not assumed to be a second person in translations prior to the King James Version. The Bishops’ Bible of 1568, replaced by the King James Bible in 1611, understands the word to be impersonal, and uses the pronoun “it,” as does the Geneva Bible of 1560.

 

It is an assumption that by “word” John meant a second uncreated personal being alongside the One God. John elsewhere recognizes that the Father is the “only true God” (John 17:3) and “the one who alone is God” (John 5:44). Many have recognized an obvious connection between the “word” and what is said of Wisdom in the Hebrew Bible. In Proverbs “Wisdom” is personified and is said to be “with” God (Prov. 8:30). John says that the “word” was “with [pros] God.” In the Old Testament a vision, word or purpose is said to be “with” the person who receives it or possesses it. The word has a quasi-existence of its own: “The word of the Lord is with him”; “the prophet...has a dream with him.” It was in the heart of David (literally, “with his heart”) to build a temple. Wisdom is “with God.”26 The latter is a striking parallel to John’s opening sentence. In the New Testament something impersonal can be “with” a person, as, for example, where Paul hopes that “the truth of the Gospel might remain with [pros] you,” present to the mind (Gal. 2:5). At the opening of John’s first epistle, which may provide just the commentary we need on John 1:1, he writes that “eternal life was with [pros] the Father” (1 John 1:2). On the basis of these parallels it is impossible to say with certainty that the “word” in John 1:1-2 must mean a second member of the Trinity, that is, the Son of God preexisting.

 

John goes on to say that “the word was God” (John 1:1). Intense discussion of the exact meaning of “God” (which has no definite article) has made the whole passage seem complex. According to some a rule established by Colwell demands that the absence of the article does not weaken John’s intention to say that the word was fully God and identified with Him. Others have insisted that “God” without the article is John’s way of telling us that the word had the character of God and was fully expressive of His mind. The Trinitarian Bishop Westcott’s opinion is much respected and has the tentative approval of Professor Moule:

 

Bishop Westcott’s note [on John 1:1], although it may require the addition of some reference to idiom, does still, perhaps, represent [John’s] intention: “[God] is necessarily without the article (theos, not ho theos) inasmuch as it describes the nature of the Word and does not identify His Person. It would be pure Sabellianism to say that ‘the Word was ho theos.’”27

 

The bishop’s point was that the “word” cannot be distinct from God (with God) and at the same time identified with Him. This would blur all distinctions in the Godhead. Rather, John describes the nature of the “word,” and the absence of the article before God “places stress upon the qualitative aspect of the noun rather than its mere identity. An object of thought may be conceived of from two points of view: as to identity or quality. To convey the first point of view the Greek uses the article; for the second the anarthrous construction is used.”28

 

After a close analysis Philip Hamer suggests: “Perhaps the clause should be translated, ‘the Word had the same nature as God.’”29 He adds that “there is no basis for regarding the predicate theos as definite.”30 “Thus,” says another scholar, “John 1:1b denotes, not the identity, but rather the character of the Logos.”31

 

The difficulty facing translators is how to convey these subtle nuances in English. James Denny insisted that the New Testament does not say what our English translations suggest: “The Word was God.” He meant that in Greek “God” (theos) without the article really means “having the quality of God,” not being one-to-one identified with God.32 One attempt to convey the right shade of meaning is found in the translation: “The word was god.”33 Unfortunately standard English translations convey the wrong sense. As Hamer says, “The problem with all these translations [RSV, Jerusalem Bible, New English Bible, Good News for Modern Man] is that they could represent [the idea that word and God are interchangeable].”34

 

The prologue to John’s Gospel does not require belief in a Godhead of more than one person. It is most likely that John is correcting a contemporary Gnostic tendency to distinguish God from lesser divine figures. John’s intention is to bind the “Wisdom” or “word” of God as closely as possible to God Himself. The word is God’s own creative activity. Thus John says that from the beginning God’s wisdom, which the One God had with Him as an architect has his plan, was fully expressive of God. It was God Himself in His self-manifestation. All things were made through this plan. The same “word” was finally embodied in a human being, the Messiah, when Jesus was born, when the “word became flesh” (John 1:14). Jesus is therefore what the word became. He is the perfect expression of the mind of God in human form. Jesus is not to be identified one-to-one with the word of John 1:1, as though the Son existed from the beginning. Jesus is the divinely authorized messenger of God and, like the word, has the character of God.

 

James Dunn’s conclusion about John’s intention confirms a non-Trinitarian reading of John 1:1-3, 14:

 

The conclusion which seems to emerge from our analysis [of John 1:1-14] thus far is that it is only with verse 14 [“the word became flesh”] that we can begin to speak of the personal Logos. The poem uses rather impersonal language (became flesh), but no Christian would fail to recognize here a reference to Jesus — the word became not flesh in general but Jesus Christ. Prior to verse 14 we are in the same realm as pre-Christian talk of Wisdom and Logos, the same language and ideas that we find in Philo, where as we have seen, we are dealing with personifications rather than persons, personified actions of God rather than an individual divine being as such. The point is obscured by the fact that we have to translate the masculine Logos as “he” throughout the poem. But if we translated Logos as “God’s utterance” instead, it would become clearer that the poem did not necessarily intend the Logos of vv. 1-13 to be thought of as a personal divine being. In other words, the revolutionary significance of v. 14 may well be that it marks not only the transition in the thought of the poem from preexistence to incarnation, but also the transition from impersonal personification to actual person.35

 

This reading of John has the enormous advantage of harmonizing him with the testimony of Matthew, Mark and Luke and allowing the undivided unity of the One God, the Father to remain undisturbed.

 

____________

 

25 Tyndale House, 1966.

26 2 Kings 3:12; Jer. 23:28 (Heb.); 1 Kings 8:17; 2 Chron. 6:7; Job 12:13, 16; Job 10:13: “with you” is parallel to “concealed in your heart,” i.e., “fixed in your decree.” See also Job 23:10, 14.

27 C.F.D. Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek (Cambridge University Press, 1953), 116.

28 Dana and Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (New York: Macmillan, 1955), sec. 149.

29 “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” Journal of Biblical Literature 92 (1973): 87.

30 Ibid., 85.

31 D.A. Fennerna, “John 1:18: ‘God the Only Son,’” New Testament Studies 31 (1985): 130.

32 Letters of Principal James Denny to W. Robertson Nicoll (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1920), 121-126.

33 C.C. Torrey, The Four GospelsA New Translation (New York: Harper, 1947, second edition).

34 Hamer, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” 87. The equivalence of “word” and “God” he lists as “clause A,” ho theos en ho logos, and it is described on p. 84 of his article. The translation “the Word was God” misleads readers into thinking that John is promoting the Trinitarian idea that the word (and therefore Jesus) is equivalent to the Supreme God.

35 Christology in the Making, 243.

 

Buzzard, A. F., & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity; Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (pp. 283–288). International Scholars Publications.



#16 Librarian

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 05:57 AM

In John’s Gospel — “In the beginning was the Word”

 

Now we turn to John 1. The argument is usually presented to us like this: John 1:14 (“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us...”) clearly refers to Jesus. Jesus then was the Word; and because the Word was “in the beginning” (John 1:1), and “all things were made by him” (John 1:3), we must conclude that Jesus was in the beginning and that all things were made by Jesus.

 

It may be helpful to tabulate our answer thus:

 

1. Any interpretation of John 1 that conflicts with the plain teaching of Matthew and Luke about the birth of Jesus Christ is bound to be wrong.

 

2. Any interpretation of John 1 that conflicts with Bible teaching that the Father is the Creator is bound to be wrong. Isa. 42:5-7 is helpful here: “Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein; I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison”. We recognise the Lord Jesus here as the Light of the Gentiles, and the one who opens the blind eyes. But the passage speaks of a greater than he, who calls him, holds his hand, and helps him to fulfil these great purposes. The greater one is described in Isa. 42:5 as “God the Lord”, and He it is who “created the heavens, and stretched them out. “ The Father is the Creator.

 

3. It is rather naive to say that Jesus and the Word are synonymous throughout the prologue of John’s gospel, just because Jesus is the “Word… made flesh” of John 1:14. If the Logos simply means Jesus, why use the word Logos anyway? We suggest instead that the content of John 1:1-14 could be summarized thus: From the very beginning, and invariably, God acts according to a principle, comprehended by the word “Word”. The supreme manifestation of this principle is Jesus — the Word made   flesh. Hebrews 1 is a parallel: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”.

 

4. What then is the principle comprehended by the “Word”? Psalm 33 provides the explanation. Ps. 33:6 reminds us of John’s statement that all things were made by the Word: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth”; and Ps. 33:9 explains further: “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast”. God always expresses His will before acting. Thus it was in creation (“God said, Let there be...”), and thus it has been ever since. And the supreme expression of the will of God — the embodiment of God’s will — is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Now let us move on. Certain passages are frequently quoted as proofs that Jesus pre-existed. We have already come to the conclusion that Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of the Lord’s birth make pre-existence impossible; and we have found confirmation of this conclusion in Old Testament, Messianic prophecies. Obviously, therefore, the passages quoted in support of pre-existence are being misunderstood. Even if we cannot explain them, we have at least to be clear on the point that they cannot teach pre-existence, because this would make them contradict other plain scriptures.

 

Let us then look at some of these ‘pre-existence’ passages from John’s gospel, and see whether an acceptable alternative explanation can be found. We have already examined the opening verses of John 1. Other passages from the same gospel that are quoted for the same purpose are:—

 

“No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).

 

“What   and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:62).

 

“Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

 

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5).

 

“.. thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

 

 

Watkins, P. (n.d.). Some Difficult Passages - Book 1 (pp. 5–6). Christadelphian Isolation League (CIL).



#17 Librarian

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 06:00 AM

Of interest ...

 

PROOFS THAT CHRIST WAS NOT GOD.

 

Because Christ most clearly showed he was not God.—The Jews who were seeking a charge against him said, “he made himself God”; Christ immediately refuted the falsehood,—“Jesus  answered them is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods; if he called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God”.—Jn. 10:34,36. He whom Christ addressed in prayer, he addressed as “The only True “God”.—Jn. 17:3. “He came from God, and went to God”. —Jn. 13:3. “I came out from God”.—Jn. 16:27. “And! Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God”.—Mark 10:18. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama, sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”?—Matt. 27:46. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God “.—Jn. 20:17.

 

Because the New Testament in numerous passages declares that God is the God and Father of Jesus Christ.—“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore,  knoweth that I lie not”.—2 Cor. 11:31. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blest us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”.—Eph. 1:3. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom”.—Eph. 1:17. “That ye may with one mind, and one mouth, glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.—Rom. 15:6. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”.—1 Pet 1:3.

 

Because the Scriptures teach us there is but One God, and in the same sentence affirm that Christ is not that God.—“To us there is but one God, the Father of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ”.—1 Cor. 8:6. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.—1 Tim. 2, 5. “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all”.—Eph. 4:5, 6.

 

Because the Scriptures testify that Jesus grew and increased in favour with God. How could he then be God?—“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man”.—Luke 2:52. “And the child (Jesus) grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him”.—Luke 2:40.

 

Because the high names, and offices, and greatness of Christ, are said to be given to him by God.—“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name”.—Philippians 2:9. “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell”. —Col. 1:19. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye hath crucified, both Lord and Christ”.—Acts 2:36. “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob; the God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus”.— Acts 3:13. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour”.—Acts 5:31.

 

Because the New Testament teaches that all power and authority possessed by Christ were given to him by God.—“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do”.—Jn. 5:19. “I can of mine own self do nothing”.— Jn. 5:30. “And (God) hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church”.— Eph. 1:22. “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God”.—2 Cor. 13:4. “I have power to lay it (his life) down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father”.—John 10:18.

 

Because Jesus Christ says he is inferior and subordinate to the Father.—“My Father is greater than I”.—Jn. 14:28. “To sit on my right hand and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them, for whom it is prepared of my Father”. —Matt. 20:23. “But of that day and that hour (of judgment) knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father”.—Mark 13:32. “My Father is greater than all”.—Jn. 10:29.

 

Because Christ worshipped and prayed to God.—“Jesus went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God”.—Luke 6:12. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth”.— Matt. 11:25. “Jesus prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done “.—Luke 22:42. “Christ in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save”.— Heb. 5:7.

 

Because Christ has taught us not to pray to him, but to God.—“In that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father, in my name, he will give it you”.—Jn. 16:23. “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth”.—Jn. 4:23. “As he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, our Father which art in “Heaven”.—Luke 11:1, 2. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.—Eph. 3:14.

 

Because the very name Christ shows he is not God, but anointed of God.—“Thou (Christ) hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows”.—Heb. 1:9. “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good . . . for God was with him”.—Acts 10:38. “   For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed”.—Acts 4:27.

 

Because Jesus Christ is represented by himself as distinct from God as one witness in a court is from another.—“It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me”.—Jn. 8:17, 18.

 

Because in numerous passages of Scripture Christ is represented as appointed Judge of all by God.—“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son”. —Jn. 5:22. “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead”.—Acts 10:42. “Because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath “given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised Him from the dead”.—Acts 17: 31.

 

Because the name Son of God shows he is not God.—“But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.— Matt. 16:15, 16. “For he received from God the Father honour and glory when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.—2 Peter 1:17. “Of a truth thou art the Son of God”.—Matt 14:33.

 

Because Christ was taught of God the doctrines he taught to Men.—“I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught “me, I speak these things”.—Jn. 8:28. “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me”. Jn. 7:16. “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak”.—Jn. 12:49.

 

Because numerous passages show a clear distinction between God and Christ.—“Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ”.—1 Cor. 1:3. “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ”.—Rom. 1:7. “Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord”.—1 Tim. 1:2. “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the Church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”.—1 Thess. 1:1.

 

Because Christ always declared he was only the sent of God.—“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth riot the spirit by measure unto him”.—Jn. 3:34. “And he that sent me is with me”.—Jn. 8:29. “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you”.—Jn. 20:21. “I am not come of myself but he that sent me is true”.—Jn. 7:28. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”. —Jn. 6:29.

 

Because the Apostles always speak of Christ as less than God. —“But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God”.—1 Cor. 11:3. “And ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”.—1 Cor. 3:23. “For he (God) hath put all things under his (Christ’s) feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him”.—1 Cor. 15:27.

 

Because Christ is called the Image of God; and an image cannot be that of which it is the likeness.—“Who (Christ) is the image of the invisible God”.—Col. 1:15. “Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”.—2 Cor. 4:4. “Who (Christ) being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person”.—Heb. 1:3.

 

Because the uniform teaching of the Scripture is that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.—“This Jesus hath God raised “up, whereof we all are witnesses”.—Acts 2:32. “And (ye) killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead”.—Acts 3:15. “Unto you first God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities”.—Acts 3:26. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree”.—Acts 5:30. “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power”.—1 Cor. 6:14.

 

Because the Apostles often speak of Christ as a Man, and in the same sentence show he is not God.—“Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him”.—Acts 2:22. “But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God”.—Heb. 10:12.

 

Because Jesus Christ never taught he was God\ but most distinctly taught he was a Man, and the Son of Man.—“But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God”.—Jn. 8:40. “Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath”.—Mark 2:28.

 

Because Christ was a Prophet as Moses was a Prophet.—“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren like unto me . . . . I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words into his mouth”.—Deut. 18:15,18. Stephen testifies that Christ is that prophet “This is that Moses which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shalt the Lord your God raise unto you of your brethren, like unto me”.—Acts 7:37.

 

Because the Sacred Scripturess represent Christ as coming not to do his own will, but the will of God.—“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me”.—Jn. 4:34. “For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the: will of him that sent me”.—Jn. 6:38. “I seek not mine own will but the will of the Father which hath sent me”.—Jn. 5:30. “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God”.—Heb. 10:7.

 

Because the Scriptures uniformly represent Christ as being at the right hand of God. How then can he be God?—“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God”.—Mark 16:19. “Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God”.—Luke 22:69. “Therefore being by the right hand of God”.—Acts. 2:33.

 

Because the reign of Christ shall come to an end.—“Then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rub and all authority and power”. —“And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all”.—1 Cor. 15:24, 28.

 

Because the whole of the passages adduced for the deity of Christ are capable of an easy explanation, so that every text supposed to support the doctrine of the Godhead of Christ has been explained by Trinitarian theologians in a different sense from that which supports this doctrine. And because we find it conceded in the commentaries of Trinitarians that our proof texts cause them insuperable difficulties, so that they retire from their own explanations, expressing dissatisfaction at them and conceding that these texts are not capable of an easy explanation on their hypothesis; while their proof texts are explained away by expositors of their own school.

 

Because Christ is represented as a Priest. The office of a priest is to minister to God.—Because he is represented as an Apostle appointed of God.—Because he is represented as an Intercessor with God.—Because he is represented as not the primary, but intermediate, cause of the benefits he bestows.—Because he denies that he is possessed of independent existence, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience.—Because it is expressly stated, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ God gave to him”—Because he is represented as the servant of God.—Because he is represented as receiving honour from God in consequence of doing what pleased God.—Because Christ is represented as having learned obedience by the things which he suffered.—Because St. Paul affirms that Christ now lives unto God and by the power of God.—Because when charged by the Jews with making himself equal with God, he replied, “The Son can do nothing of himself”.—Because if the salvation of man depends on believing Christ is God, it is curious that Christ never taught those who surrounded him that he was God; but when they professed to understand he was making himself God, or equal with God, he immediately denied these charges, so that they might not regard him in that light.—Because no man hath seen God at any time. This cannot be affirmed of Jesus Christ.—Because had the disciples believed him to be Almighty God, they could not have been so familiar with him, argued with him, betrayed him or denied him, and fled from him, and at first disbelieved in his resurrection from the dead. If this is an essential doctrine of Christianity, we cannot understand how the disciples knew nothing of it.—Because we never find the Jews charging the first Apostles with teaching that Christ is God, which every Jew now charges on the head of Christian teachers.

 

 

Stannus, H. H. (1899). History of the Origin of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Christian Church (pp. 90–97). Christian Life Publishing Company, London.






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