Tuesday, July 14, 2009

troubled about the Trinity

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Somehow, a call got through to me at work that had nothing to do with my job. A man wanted to argue that Jesus is not God. It's not like he wanted to know "a reason for the hope that is in me;" it's just that he wanted to bash Christianity... on my boss' dime. I did not give him the satisfaction of a fight. The decline was firm, but not harsh.

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But I thought about his question, and so I ask: why did they kill Jesus? Remember that the Roman governor could not find fault in the man. It was the religious leaders that insisted upon the death penalty, but for what? Was it because Christ performed miracles? because he was humble and unassuming? because he stressed the over-arching importance of loving God and loving our neighbor? No. It was because they knew he was claiming to be God.

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If someone claims that (who is not God), it is blasphemy. That is a serious sin... unless that person actually IS God. One of my favorite passages is John 8:58, because of how eloquently Jesus made the claim, and because the reaction clearly demonstrates that they clearly knew what he meant. And they killed him for it.

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  • In the beginning... both Genesis and John's gospel tell us that God created the world. But John's gospel presents Jesus as the Creator. This is not a case of "either/or," but "both/and."
  • Who raised Jesus from the dead? You'll find that the Bible will tell you that God did, but you will also find that Jesus said that he would raise himself. Again: both/and.

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I'm sure a person can be saved without first knowing how to defend the doctrine of the Trinity (like the thief on the cross next to Jesus), but can a person truly be saved who vehemently denies it? I honestly doubt it. This is not a matter that has to do with allowable preferences, but a non-negotiable, essential doctrine. It is heresy to deny the deity of Christ. I wished that I could answer the man's question. Hopefully someone will.

11 comments:

donsands said...

Nice post. The third person of the Triune God won't allow His children to not believe the truth of God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

It's a deep truth, but also a pure and simple truth of Scripture.

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Cor. 13:14

Craver Vii said...

Another one of my favorite lessons on the deity of Christ is recorded in the synoptic gospels. Men bring a paralytic to be healed, but Jesus forgives the man. Onlookers are shocked, because only God has the power to forgive, and Jesus says which is easier to say, and then he heals him. Thus, he validates his authority to forgive, which is a God-thing.

mommanator said...

I'm presently reading a book that deals with the trinity, I haven't finished, but think it is quite interesting and a good read. Very unusual in how it is written. I cant put it down and an easy read! Perfect time to read it in an empty house with no outside inflences! It's called "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young

lime said...

well, that man has to have ears to hear the answer too.

excellent reflection though.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Hmmm. I'm not sure this is a subject that can successfully debated. I think people see what they've been conditioned to see or what they allow themselves to believe.

Craver Vii said...

I heard that book is selling like hotcakes, Mommanator. Despite its popularity, it didn't pique my interest. I would like to hear what you think after you finish reading it.

I'm glad you brought that up, Lime! Originally, I had a section explaining why I thought my answer wouldn't convince the caller, but edited it out for the sake of space. I think you're right on target.

The beauty of blogs EG, is that I theoretically could debate it if I wanted to. Whether a debate is "successful" though, depends on what parameters we're using. If we're talking believer vs. non-believer, the principle measure of success for me would simply be that I had an opportunity to tell the story. I will leave the job of convincing to the Holy Spirit.

By the way, the deity of Christ was debated (and settled) at the first ecumenical church council at Nicaea, way back in 325 AD.

mommanator said...

I LOVED IT AND WOULD RECOMMEND. APPARENTLY THEOLOGIANS ARENT TOO KEEN ON IT?!
IT REALLY MADE ME THINK AND I WANT EVERYONE TO READ IT. IT IS SUCH AN EASY READ!

donsands said...

I think it's great to read all sorts of books. The Shack, I don't think I'm going to read though. My pastor read it and reviewed it. He was okay with the story, but he was disappointed in the theology. Also, I believe Young is an Universalist.

Here's Pastor Dutcher's review Mommanator if you want to give a look. It's a three part video series, and very short, but to the point. Greg is a gentle and sensative kind of a guy. http://www.beholdinghim.blogspot.com/

Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Craver Vii

Why did they kill Jesus?

Answer:
(John 19:7) The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

(Mat 26:63-64) But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

(Mat 27:43) He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said,
I am the Son of God.

Jesus was NOT killed because he claimed to be GOD, the Creator!
Rather, he was killed because he claimed to be
the Messiah, the Son of the Living GOD;
i.e. the Son of the Creator, the ONE GOD!

(Cp. Matt. 16.16)

Therefore, on this subject,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus


Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.
The video deals also with John 8.58, 1.1ff.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Craver Vii said...

Thank you for expressing your beliefs, Adam. I am concerned about what you said, because that's a pretty serious thing to deny. Christ is God or he isn't.

The realm of beliefs can be separated into three general categories: preferences, heresies, and a whole lotta gray area in between. About the gray area: sometimes we refer to things that are important to us, but not in the critical, heresy portion as "non-essentials." I am not entirely comfortable with that label, because it seems to undervalue a thing when it is called a non-essential. Anyway, the deity of Christ is an absolute essential. Any person who denies that is in serious danger (from Christ himself). That is not an arguable idea that resides in the realm of preference. It is neither in that tricky gray area that may be important, but you can choose to take it or leave it. It is a non-negotiable, and if you 're not on board with the Trinity, you ain't in the (salvation) boat.

Jesus' sonship was different than the sonship God offers to those who he chose to become his adopted sons and daughters. Jesus Christ was in very nature, God. His life did not begin with Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem. Before Abraham was, Jesus said, I AM. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

You need to rethink your position, sir.

Brother Greg said...

To tag your apologia Craver, the Council of Chalcedon affirmed two things of the incarnate Christ for this discussion. First, vera homo, vera Deus (truly man, truly God) and second, homo ousious (of the same essense or stuff as God the Father). That particular council had to deal with several heresies at one time and, I think, did a great job of denying these heresies and establishing what we are to believe of Him based on God's inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word. I believe any defenitions other than the definitions @ Chalcedon puts one in a dangerous place.
Soli Deo Gloria!