Friday, March 17, 2017

Glib Trinitarian

It seems those belonging to Christendom’s ranks can’t get past the basics. If they aren’t talking about the trinity, eternal damnation, durability of the human soul, they’re moaning over the empty pews in their churches and the general apathy of their parishioners.

I’ve been monitoring a subject division (and subdivisions) of Theology within Flipboard. The specific feed I was viewing today is “The Geeky Pastor” (aka, Tim Challies). In it, he links to an article titled “Is Jesus God?” The actual author of the article is Silverio Gonzalez. Mr. Gonzalez finishes his one-paragraph introduction, cheerfully claiming: “So, here are five ways Scripture shows that Jesus is God—a distinct person of the Trinity.”

(Both the Scripture citation and the “claim” are from Mr. Gonzalez. The “focus” and “counter” are my thoughts.)

Scripture: Col.1:19
Claim: “Jesus shares the same attributes as God.”
Focus: “fullness”
Counter: Matthew 27:46. If, as the author of this article claims, Jesus is himself God, then how could Jesus “abandon” himself? Yes, indeed, Jesus is glowingly, majestically, spoken of in the prophetic words of Isaiah as: “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Additionally, when Gabriel (the angel) appeared to Mary (at the time, the future mother of Jesus), he also said that Jesus would "rule as King over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to his Kingdom." (Luke 1:31-33). However, as my blog articles have explained, being designated a “Mighty God” doesn’t mean he is the Almighty God. Additionally, just as a son can be the “spitting image” of his father, so Jesus (in a spiritual sense) imitated his Father so accurately, that he could say, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” (John 14:9) However, that he did NOT mean he was the same person, Jesus also said, “I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative. Just as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous because I seek, not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30) Yes, Jesus does “share attributes” but then mankind is also “made in God’s image” and share in God’s attributes (to some limited degree as imperfect beings) of justice, indiscriminate love, mercy, righteousness, faithfulness, and wisdom.

Scripture: John 1:1-3
Claim: “Jesus shares in the creating [sic] work of God.” (The claim should have been "Jesus shares in the creative work of God.")
Focus: Jesus intrinsically and inextricably attached to the creative works.
Counter: The claimant disproves his own words by using the phrase “shares in.” A person cannot “share in” something that he alone is doing. Either Jesus is a discrete entity or he is not. We believe he is a discrete entity, subservient to the Father, God Almighty. We agree that Jesus did indeed work with the Father (Jehovah) in creating all other things. That doesn’t make him “THE” God. 

Scripture: Eph. 1:7–10
Claim: Jesus shares in the saving work of God
Focus: “redemption in his (Jesus’) blood.”
Counter: Acts 4:12. If Jesus hadn’t been named by God (“given under heaven”) he would have been like any other rope not secured at the other end. Read this illustration about a father and son who save people in sinking boat. Another illustration: In this real-life and well-publicized event, a capsule was lowered into a shaft to rescue trapped miners. Question, although it was the capsule that actually saved the miners, who was thanked for the rescue? It was the topside workers that diligently labored to plan and execute a rescue mission. If the rescuers hadn’t been at the other end of the cable lifting the capsule, the capsule itself would have been useless. It is the same with Jesus acting as our savior. God made the provision. Jesus’ faithful sacrifice saved us, and then he “appeared before God in our behalf.” (Hebrews 9:24)

Scripture: Matt. 28:16–18
Claim: Jesus receives worship due to God alone.
Focus: disciples did obeisance (NWT), bowed down (NWT, World English, Young's Literal), worshipped (several), did homage (Darby), adored (Douay-Rheims), prostrated themselves (Weymouth).
Counter: Notice the analysis of the Greek word used above. While “worship” seems a bit strong for something that literally translates “kiss,” given the custom of the people at the time, I understand why many translators decided on the word “worship.” However, more accurately, “adore, bow down, and prostrate” seem the right word choices. The disciples were Jews. They knew the truth in Jesus’ words to Satan (Matthew 4:10), "Go away, Satan! For it is written: 'It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.'" (See Deut.6:13,10:20, this article on “obeisance.”)

Claim: "Jesus shares the names of God."
Focus: The term "Alpha and Omega."
Counter: It is a common mistake that people make, confusing who is speaking in this verse. As the NWT and other translations make quite clear, it was Jehovah, the Father, speaking. Not Jesus.

Jesus is indeed our savior. God Jehovah made several prophecies about him in the Hebrew Scriptures (Reference 1, Reference 2). Jesus is absolutely the “Son of God,” but not “God, the Son.” We “bend our knee to him” in total subjection.

(Before posting this article, I tried to research who Mr. Silverio Gonzalez is. I stumbled across another article he wrote, where once again, he glosses over scriptures in a feeble attempt to prove the Trinity. He really strikes me as very glib. On this page, he is the third contributing writer listed.)

Other Trinity and Jesus identity articles:

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