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May 26, 2005

Comments

Belinconnu

How can you use Acts to say Jesus wasn't believed as God when he dying Stephen prayed Christ at the moment of his death ? (Acts7/59)
-> http://www.mark-shea.com/between.html is a very interesting I think.

D. C.

Thanks for the comment, Belinconnu. I think we have to read that portion of Acts 7:54-60 in context:

The Stoning of Stephen

When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

(Emphasis added.) To me, at least, this doesn't suggest that Stephen thought Jesus was God; quite the contrary -- he thought Jesus was the messiah waiting in heaven for the time he would return to earth to rule over God's kingdom.

As I say, others disagree with this view. Perhaps reasonable people can differ. But I don't think we can say this view is per se unreasonable.

I appreciate your having taken the time to leave a comment.

bls

The question, it seems to me, really isn't whether one believes this thing or that. It's whether or not we accept people wherever they are and welcome them to come and be part of the journey we all take together.

The spiritual life isn't a one-shot deal. Everybody's understandings change over time - and of course, today there are many people who don't have any religious background. Are we going to demand that they adhere to beliefs they honestly don't hold - or don't even understand - before we invite them in? To me, this is the biggest issue of all right now.

I agree with your wife that it was wonderful that she felt comfortable enough to call, and to ask these kinds of questions. Good for her, and good for you.

Mike

Who said this:
"Who do people say I am?"

D. C.

Who do people say that I am?

First, I don't know whether anyone said it. Mark has Jesus saying this (8.27), supposedly based on Peter's memories. But in the absence of corroboration, I'm inherently guarded about accounts of conversations written down -- in a different language from the original -- decades after the fact.

Second, even assuming Jesus did say this, that would mean at most that he thought he was the messiah, not God. (And if he had thought he was God, that wouldn't establish the fact.)

Mike

bls, no disrespect intended, but that's a complete and total fallacy. Understanding does change over time, true... but God doesn't, nor does Jesus. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow you can be sure He's the same.
This misnomered pc idea of "tolerance" of beliefs and ideas is going to allow millions of souls through the wide gate; do you wish to be one of them?
You and DC- prove God by His Word.
Praying for you!
Love and Peace!!!

Mike

I have a confession: I lied to my wife... I told her I wasn't going to visit this site anymore- and check me out!! One of my little foxes, I guess. At any rate, this will be my last post, for really real! Thank you for your blessings, folks, and I'll keep you in my prayers!
Love and Peace in Jesus' Name,
M.Anthony

Belinconnu

Me again :)

If Jesus, messiah (we agree), was'nt seen as God himself, why did stephen prayed directly to Jesus and not to the Father? He didn't ask to be received by the Father but by Christ !
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
And then had the strengh to add : "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."
Isn't that God's job to receive the deads and forgive sins?
Can someone pray anyone else than God ?

I personnaly don't think that the place Christ have at the right of the Father means he is not God too. Trinity is something we can't grasp. So, that'a way it can reveal it to the poor and limited men we are !

bls

Yes, Mike, I do wish to be one of them, since you ask.

Jane

heeeeey!
its jane

i like your blog.

stephen m bauer

Don't worry about it too much. The people
who witnessed Christ directly had to struggle
with the question, even after his death.
It is one of the themes the synoptic gospels.
But we are a Resurrection people.

Brian Pestotnik

Did Jesus think He was God? He referred to God's angels as His angels, He referred to God's kingdom as His kingdom, he did not tell people to not worship him as Thomas did when he fell to his knees, he referred to Himself as "I am" and the Jews understood what he meant and picked up stones to stone him. (John 8)
Just a couple of passages that specifically refer to Jesus being God are: Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 There are others if you are interested.

D. C.

Brian, thanks for posting. Some thoughts in response:

-- The Gospel accounts of what Jesus allegedly said on this particular topic are of dubious reliability, for reasons discussed at length in other posts (click on the category "Scripture" in the column at right).

-- The specific NT passages you cite refer to God and Jesus -- that is, they distinguish between the two. That fits with the early church's belief that Jesus was in heaven, "seated at the right hand of the Father," waiting for the time of his return to Earth. It doesn't fit with the notion that Jesus was God.

-- Even if we were to be shown compelling evidence that Jesus thought himself to be God, it would take a lot more than that to establish that he was correct. A lot of thoughtful people are simply not persuaded by the extant evidence. (Don't forget that the overwhelming majority of the human race are not Christians.)

Brian Pestotnik

D.C. Do you believe Jesus is one we should respect? If so, why should you respect him? If you respect him because of what you know of him through the Bible and then turn around and say that you can't trust the Bible I would say that you are indeed contradictory.

You on one hand claim that the book speaks truth but don't recognize the supernatural intervention in the Bible- yes man can change history into what they want it to be like- but why would they have ever included the detailed accounts of the denials of Jesus and the lack of faith even at the ascension in Matthew 28? ( Many pastors skip the verse that mentions the disciples still doubted) I believe those passages reveal the earthy reality of original faith- it is not nicely packaged it is tough following after a God who shakes everything up from the way we think things should be.

In regards to Titus 2:13 and other passages that say "God and Saviour Jesus Christ" you are mistaken that it is referring to God the Father in heaven and Jesus next to him- go to the Greek. It is speaking of Jesus throughout this passage it is talking about ONE coming, and ONE gave himself there is no plural throughout the passage both GOd and Savior are in the singular genitive nomitive- meaning the same person. They are both titles of Jesus Christ- sometimes the English does not convey that like the Greek does. The exact same thing is true of 2 Peter 1:1. I don't know if you have knowledge of the Greek- I know enough to be dangerous:) but I really do want to be helpful to you in your search. I'd rather you be "questioning" than antichristian, we are all on a journey in spiritual knowledge, but I firmly believe that if you are seeking the Truth- He will guide you into it- He promises that the Counselor would do that very thing.

Concerning the majority of people do not believe in Christ is not suprising, that is due to the nature of man- not the lack of the reality of Truth displayed in the scripture see 2 Corinthians 2:14. Let me know what you think- hopefully you take this in the spirit it is intended. I like helpful dialogue- I am not easily offended, I teach teenagers- I am willfully a glutton for punishment:)

D. C.

Brian Pestonik writes: If you respect him [Jesus] because of what you know of him through the Bible and then turn around and say that you can't trust the Bible I would say that you are indeed contradictory.

Brian, that’s a classic example of the fallacy of the false dilemma. It presupposes that we can properly rule out other alternatives. In this case, it's improper for us to confine ourselves to this kind of black-or-white, all-or-nothing thinking. We can accept the Bible as helpful, while still facing the facts of its (manifest) limitations.

I like to analogize the work of the scriptural authors to that of scientists. All of them try to understand and explain (what theists view as) God's handiwork in history. Consider Isaac Newton's physics: it's correct, but only up to a point; it breaks down when we get into relativistic phenomena, which are better explained by Einstein. In turn, Einstein's physics is being superseded by further work. Our proper attitude toward this process is not one of anger and disappointment that Newton and Einstein turned out to be "wrong." Instead, it is to glorify God that he has enabled us to increase and refine our knowledge of his creation.

I see no reason to treat the work of the scriptural authors any differently than that of Newton and Einstein. We owe our reverence, not to the thoughts and writings of these men, but to the God at whose handiwork they marveled.

Thanks for taking the time to leave the comment.

mespa913

It was very interesting reading this blog- and I know that although I am a year+ late in getting to say anything, better late than never- you never know who may read this.

I believe the Bible is true- not parts, but all. I don't have a biblical degree, just only what I have read up on, so I don't know all the verses that are questionable in other people's opinion. I have looked up some and found arguments going either way for or against the validity of the Bible, and eventually each of us has to choose where we stand. We all like Pilate in John 18:38 ask "What is truth?" Eventually we come to a crossroad where we have to make a decision. And I have. My stance is that if a person does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, he/she is Not a Christian. Simply because of three things.

1. There is only one God. Jehovah, Yahweh, Adoni, Elohim. The names refer to one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of David, of Daniel, of me. Is the Messiah God? Yes. Isaiah stated it very clearly in Isaiah 43:10&11. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior." And he also says in Isaiah 9:6&7 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." Isaiah also continues in Isaiah 63:16 to say "Thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting." There is only one God, who claims to be the only savior/redeemer and the father. Yet one of the passages is said and commonly held by religious leaders to portray Jesus Christ- the child born, the king in the line of David that will reign forever (and has been reigning forever in my opinion since I believe He is God) And this passage that refers to Jesus calls Him Father. How can Jesus be the Father and the savior at the same time unless they are the same person/entity? How can God claim that there is only one God, one father, one savior, yet have Jesus do the job unless they are the same person/entity? Jesus must be God according to the Old Testament.

2.I love the book of I Timothy. I would encourage anyone to read it from beginning to end, but for now I will look at only a few passages. I Timothy 2:1-6 reads "I exhort therefore (read the previous three verses to find out what 'therefore' is actually there for- you may find it interesting), that, first of all, ...(you pray for everyone)... For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified to in due time." So we understand that there is one God and also one mediator Jesus Christ. Are they one and the same? Let's keep going in I Timothy- to 3:16. "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." Wait- God manifest in flesh? Yes- this is Jesus. God in flesh- Jesus Christ. And you can read the next 11 verses to gain an even more interesting view of anything different. So, yes, Jesus must be God according to the New Testament.

3. So do we need to prove it to know it is true? Well, let's look at it this way. An email I received a while back portrayed this illustration. It is about a Professor teaching his class, talking about the lack of evidence for God and Christianity.

..."Tell me," he continues onto another student. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?"

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. "Yes, professor, I do."

The old man stops pacing. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"

"No sir. I've never seen Him"

"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"

"No, sir, I have not."

"Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"

"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."

"Yet you still believe in him?"

"Yes."

"According to the rules of empirical, testable, d