Can you imagine it? Jesus, five years old, sitting in math class, 1 A.D. (Okay, maybe he was homeschooled, but just roll with me here!) He gets back the quiz he took the previous day. The result? 95%. Jesus missed one! But wait…could Jesus have erred?

Back up. Pop quiz.

  • Did Jesus ever stumble and fall down?
  • Did Jesus ever get sick?
  • Did Jesus have any grey hairs?
  • Did Christ ever get depressed?
  • When did Jesus know he was God?
  • Could Jesus have gotten a math problem wrong?

These are interesting questions, as they all center around the relationship of Christ’s humanity to his deity while here on the earth. I think I know the answer to most of these. I am sure that Christ could have misstepped and fallen down. Yes, I imagine he got sick from time to time. Grey hairs? Why not? No, he did not have a sin nature, but he did live in a fallen world whose inhabitants suffered the effects of the fall. Concerning being depressed, I imagine that Christ was depressed from time to time. He was a “man of sorrows” and even cried.

When did Jesus know he was God? That is a good question. I am not sure about this one. It seems as if he knew by the time he was twelve, at least, as he expresses this self-realization in Luke 2:42-49. But how long before that? Who knows? However, I do think his understanding was a realization that was communicated to him by the Father and the Holy Spirit according to “the plan.” In other words, I don’t think he knew it from his time in Mary’s womb. I think his human self had to grow as any normal human would; therefore, his knowledge was limited by his humanity. After all, Luke 2:52 says that Christ “grew in wisdom.” In other words, he went from the lesser to the greater in his humanity, even in knowledge and wisdom.

This brings us to the question of the hour: Could Jesus have gotten a math problem wrong? Here are some options and their implications:

1. Yes, he could get a math problem wrong. He was human.

Problems: You are saying that Christ could have made a factual error. I suppose this is not problematic for the most part, right? I mean where is the harm in him getting a math problem wrong, or accidentally saying the nails are in the second drawer when they were actually in the third? Harmless mistakes are not sinful. However, it is hard not to translate this into the words of Christ as recorded in Scripture. What about the problem of Abiathar in Mark 2:23? You know, where Christ said that Abiathar was the high priest at the time David took the bread, even though (according to 1 Sam 21:1-7) it seems like the high priest was actually Ahimelech. The solution to that problem is not the issue. The very fact that it is a problem is the issue. If Christ could have gotten a math problem wrong, then he can be wrong about factual information. If he was wrong about factual information, then who cares about the Abiathar slip? Conversely, if he could get a 90% on these factual quizzes, how do we determine the 10% that he missed? Is it only when it does not matter? How do we know what matters and what does not? Is it only when it is not in Scripture? So, technically speaking, Scripture is more inspired than Christ?

2. No, he could not get a math problem wrong. He was God.

Problems: This option is difficult because we want to be careful not to seem to “apollinarian” in our view of Christ. You know, the view that Christ was just “God in a bod”? If Christ was no more than pure divinity, knowledge and power, housed temporarily in human flesh, then we don’t have a redeemer because we don’t have fully human representation. We all know the saying, “to err is human.” I don’t really like that, since it is not necessary for a human to err to be truly human. So I would not say that unless Christ erred, he was not really human. But I don’t think that Christ had to have perfect knowledge at every stage of his development. If he grew in wisdom, remember, this is from the lesser to the greater. Maybe the lesser got things wrong from time to time. Maybe he sent his dad to the wrong drawer to get the nails. To suggest otherwise seems very apollinarian and unnecessary.

I don’t know where I stand on this. I have to admit I do have trouble with the implications and problems of both answers. Maybe he could have gotten a math problem wrong simply because he left the answer blank!! That way he did not err and he could still grow from the lesser to the greater!

What do you think? Could Christ have gotten a math problem wrong?


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    113 replies to "Could Jesus Have Gotten a Math Problem Wrong?"

    • mbaker

      Why is this such a big deal when we consider the bigger questions atheists and even Christians are asking regarding the very essentials of Christ’s very existence?

      • Tyler

        I don’t think that’s the point… Point is he’s human we all make mistakes…

    • John

      Christian orthodoxy would say Christ is still human. If being human means he can make mistakes, then he still could be making them. If God inspired scripture, and God is human, which Christian orthodoxy says he is in the form of Christ, then he could be inspiring scripture with errors. You’ve got a bit of a slippery slope with that point of view.

    • mbaker

      With all due respect to to anyone who disagrees, I think we are majoring in the minors regarding the gospel to concentrate on such questions. Lots of folks try to disaprove the major portions of the gospel by asking such questions, which are not really relevant to the essentials, thinking they can disaprove or distract from it by such minor questions. I personally don’t go there with them, or let it make me doubt it myself because it gets the focus off who Christ really is, as the Son of God in the long run, which is the most important, as opposed to His brief time of humanity here on the earth.

    • BlueCat57

      Unfortunately we live in a time where illegitamacy seems to be rampant. But the Bar Sinister has been around for a long time and I’m sure more than one Jew was “born on the wrong side of the sheets.”

      So, unless Jesus was really bad at math I’d say he experienced quite a few “negative” emotions the first time he calculated that his parents had been married X years but he was X + 1 years old. (Did I do that right?)

      He may have become aware that he was God about the time he asked one of them to explain that.

      As for why we are discussing it here. Because we don’t go out and get drunk and try to pick up chicks way out of our league on Wednesday nights. And the Super Bowl is over, the NBA playoffs are a few weeks away, March madness doesn’t start for two or so weeks and Spring training is not quite here. And we are men for goodness sake and we need to discuss something meaningless!

    • Richard Worden Wilson

      Along with mbaker, I concur that “I think we are majoring in the minors.” Most of these questions and answers are not only off point, but hindering deeper and more direct understandings of what the Apostles and first disciples were actually communicating and bequeathing to true followers of and believers in Jesus, the Messiah, who was, as such, explicitly and not speculationally (_a la_ subsequent doctrinal developments) the Son of God. Reading these kinds of questions as being relevant, and giving fantastical conclusions about when Jesus “knew he was God” are so far off the historical terrain and anachronistic that they should be laughable, if they weren’t so post 4th Century common.

    • C Michael Patton

      Yes, a non essential fun question that instigates thought. Hardly divisive tho. But it does help us to wrestle with the implications of the hypo static union and is a good gauge as to where people are at theologically with regard to Christ. So I stand by this post!!

    • bethyada

      He probably could have made a mistake solving a maths problem. Though I am cautious about calling this an error.

      When he learnt to speak he may not have been able to pronounce some consonants (as is usual) so that could perhaps be considered an error. Or perhaps it took a while to establish correct syntax? Likewise, there may have been mathematical problem (Euclid’s Elements existed) he knew he was unable to solve.

      We need to distinguish errors of limitation and errors of false belief. I could say I am unsure about something but this is what I think is possibly the case. Or I could say this is completely true and I reject any claim otherwise. The first is hardly an error, though the second is.

      Admitting to limited knowledge but being forced to answer (eg. maths quiz) is not errant in the way that claiming authority of (false) facts is.

    • Matt

      If the Son did not know “the hour,” it is not inconceivable that the Son got a math problem wrong or other Abiathar-like incidentals. Christians need to take seriously both John 1:1 and John 1:14. My $0.02, but my math might be wrong …

    • Ben Thorp

      From my point of view, you seem to be comparing 2 very different things here – the nature of Jesus, and the nature of Scripture. I would say that “yes” Jesus could have got a maths problem wrong. He was not without error, he was without sin. To suggest that he went through life without making (unsinful) mistakes would be to take something from his humanity.

      However, the issue with the Abiathar passage that we need to wrestle with is more about whether or not we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, than the inerrancy of Christ. It’s not so much that maybe Jesus said something that was wrong, because that in itself isn’t a problem (unless it was sinfully wrong). It’s more that we’re saying the Scripture is wrong, in which case it’s not inerrant, and thus the problem arises.

    • Curt Parton

      First, some are presenting a false dilemma regarding the issues we discuss. Just because we hold strongly to the centrality of the Gospel doesn’t mean it’s pointless to discuss anything else.

      As far as this issue goes, I think this becomes a question of the inspiration and infallibility of Christ’s teaching—whether recorded in Scripture or not. Was Jesus’ teaching on spiritual matters infallible because of his knowledge or because of the inspiration of the Spirit? If the Holy Spirit preserved Christ’s spiritual teaching from error, why could he not—or would he not—preserve all of his teaching from error? And if Christ’s teaching included error concerning Abiathar, could he have also been wrong on historical comments regarding Jonah or Moses? And if he had these kinds of facts wrong in his inspired teaching, how can we assume the spiritual content is error-free?

    • Curt Parton

      I should have clarified that I have no problem with the idea of Jesus getting a problem wrong on a math test. But I think we’re dealing with something of a very different nature when we bring into the picture his Spirit-empowered ministry.

    • Dave Z

      CMP, there’s nothing wrong with this post. Docetism is bad theology, but I think it’s where many people land, consciously or unconsciously, so it’s worth discussion. Thank you for addressing it.

      Myself, I have no problem with Jesus erring, as error is not automatically sinful. Did Jesus have perfect recall of everything anyone said? As a carpenter, did he ever cut a board a little too short? Did he ever accidentally call someone by the wrong name?

      Regarding the issue of whether that affects Jesus’ reliability, he did say that his words, his teachings, come directly from the Father. In John 14:24 he specifically draws a distinction between his words and the Father’s.

      He seems to be saying that his teaching does not come from his humanity, but from his reliance on the Father. Does that carry an implication that his humanity was not inerrant? If it was, why the distinction?

    • […] • C. Michael Patton discusses Christology and whether or not Jesus could have gotten a math problem wrong. […]

    • EricW

      “Inerrancy” is its own worst enemy. It either results in believing in a Bible inerrantists wish we had instead of the Bible we actually do have, or it comes freighted with so many qualifications to allow for the problematic Scriptures and/or harmonizations that it no longer means “inerrant” as the term would be applied to any other document or thing.

    • Curt Parton

      EricW,

      Would you mind giving us some examples of these excessive qualifications and harmonizations, and of the other documents or things to which the term inerrancy is applied?

      (And how do you personally view the authority of Scripture? Is it authoritative? And, if so, on what do you base it’s authority?)

    • mbaker

      I certainly agree that errors, unless deliberate, are not the same as sin.

      I just think that that when we don’t make the distinction between Christ coming as God in human form, and His humanity possibly affecting His teaching as such, are we not in a sense ‘consciously or unconsciously landing’, as Dave Z put it, on the reverse form of Docetism?

      We need to look at how these discussions possibly affect people who are already doubting their faith, and unbelievers
      who read these type things, (which may seem pretty harmless to us), especially those who may misunderstand and say, “See, I told you so, Jesus wasn’t perfect after all. Even Christians don’t think so.’

      Just a thought.

    • Francis

      Jesus can make a mistake in math. Error in math is either knowlege-based (he didn’t learn, or at least didn’t learn it well), or operation-based (he made an error in calculation).

      His teachings, on the other hand, concern spirituality and morality, which by definition is not based on knowledge or operation. It’s therefore impossible to commit a “spiritual” or a “moral” error without deliberately violating the “spiritual” or “moral” standard that one holds.

      We may therefore safely argue that even IF Jesus indeed made mistakes on some of the factoids (such as the tidbit about Abiathar), it doesn’t compromise the authority of His teachings. In addition, if we concede that as a limited man Jesus was guided by the Holy Spirit, then how can God allow such factoids to be wrong in any way to compromise the authority of Christ?

      It’s along the same line of argument that we use for the Bible. Bible is God-breathed, so even if the wording is limited by human experience (such as the geocentric view of the universe) and corrupted by imperfection (such as copist error), the essential message of the Bible is factual, unaltered and infallible.

    • John

      There are two rather different interpretations of this “could he” question. One question is whether he could have got a math question wrong HAD HE CHOSEN TO ATTEMPT TO ANSWER A QUESTION HE WASN’T EQUIPPED TO ANSWER. A different question is whether he may have attempted to answer questions he wasn’t equipped to answer and got them wrong. Perhaps he wasn’t equipped to answer all questions, but chose to never answer questions he didn’t know for certain the answer to. We expect people like the Preesident to be very careful about answering questions. Doesn’t mean the president is any more perfect than any one else, but we do expect him to be careful about lending his authority to to answers he hasn’t checked. How much more would someone who is perfect do the same?

    • BlueCat57

      Iron sharpens iron and CMP is making practice fun. If all the debating here was boring we wouldn’t be excited about our faith and we certainly wouldn’t come back to this blog and support the ministry.

      Let’s add another topic. “Did Jesus ever short sheet his brother’s bed?” C’mon can you imagine a human who didn’t once play a practical joke on someone? Or tell a joke? “A rabbi, a Greek and an Ethiopian walk into a Bar Mitzvah…”

      We need to remember that the Bible is “complete” not “comprehensive.” Jesus lived for 30+ years. That is what, over 10,000 days, and we have a few hundred, if even that, pages recording His life. He ministered for 3 or so and those pages record maybe 30 or so days out of the 1,000 plus.

      To paraphrase the Uncle from “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Definitions, definitions, don’t they teach definitions anymore?

      I don’t consciously think about the difference between mistake and error when I’m using those words. I usually just use the word lie whenever a public figure is talking. (Someone else brought up presidents being careful not to answer questions they don’t know the answer to.)

      I have very low regard for scientists, at least how they are reported in the news, since they (or more accurately the “reporter”) never include the information about how their findings could be wrong. So at face value they are presenting something as “fact” that is not necessarily the final word on the subject.

      I’ve digressed. I better set this aside and come back to it later.

      I did and now it is time to move on. “What’s next?”

    • Francis

      My question would be: If Jesus could make mistake as a human being, could he make mistakes (NOT deliberately sinning) that might have hurt people, emotionally or physically?

    • John

      What makes people think that making mistakes is inherent to being human? Will you make mistakes in heaven?

    • Curt Parton

      Francis, I’m not sure I understand your point about knowledge (comment #16). How is teaching on spirituality and morality not dependent on knowledge? Does not one need to know and understand what they’re teaching? Was the spiritual knowledge and understanding of Jesus inherent within him during his life on earth, or from the Father via the Spirit? And if the Spirit kept his spiritual teaching error-free, why not the supporting facts he used?

      As a skeptic, I would not have accepted the idea that Christ’s teaching could include factual errors, but still be spiritually error-free. This just seems a little too convenient, too patt an answer. The scriptural authors themselves frequently used a “lesser to greater” method of teaching. Well, if someone who is supposed to be divine can’t keep the facts straight that he’s using to support a claimed spiritual truth, why should I accept the spiritual truth as pristine?

      And there’s a big difference between copy errors—that we can discover and correct to their original form—and factual errors in the original, supposedly inspired teaching.

    • William

      I would ask if the issue was relevant to his mission. Could the man Jesus lift a ton weight for fun?
      I think the answer to the questions would be ‘probably for the math one and probably not for the rock one, unless it was to verify who he was as part of his mission from the Father’. He couldn’t do something that goes against his divine nature, like throw himself off a mountain and tell angels to catch him, or make some bread from rocks. I’m probably physically stronger than Jesus, but I don’t have a host of angels ready to back me up the way he did. For what reason would he then be a man? Just so God would know what flesh and blood was like? I don’t think so. Tough question, fun but tough.
      Good post CMP, ignore the naysayers.

    • Steven Carr

      Could Jesus ever do something that was not sinful?

      Like preach to his disciples when he was drunk? Was there wine at the Last Supper?

      How do we know that Jesus was not drunk when he preached about everybody being salted with fire?

    • C Michael Patton

      I suppose the same reason we figure he was not on crack. From the eye of a historian it is a pretty safe bet!

    • Steven Carr

      So you can be pretty sure that Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper , but never got drunk, even though it is neither a sin nor an error to be drunk?

      MATTHEW 11:19
      The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

      Of course, Jesus was not a friend of tax collectors and sinners…

    • Ben Thorp

      “So you can be pretty sure that Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper , but never got drunk, even though it is neither a sin nor an error to be drunk?”

      I think you’ll find plenty of people who would regard getting drunk as being sinful, even amongst those who don’t regard drinking itself as sinful. (cf Ephesians 5:18 as one example text)

    • Steven Carr

      ‘I think you’ll find plenty of people who would regard getting drunk as being sinful, even amongst those who don’t regard drinking itself as sinful. ‘

      People do differ about what is sinful don’t they? But they are not god.

      How do you know Jesus was never drunk? Because the Bible doesn’t say so?

      Ephesians 5:17-18 ‘Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. ‘

      So is it also a sin to be foolish? Or is it just a sin not to follow any advice Paul gave to people?

    • Ben Thorp

      “How do you know Jesus was never drunk? Because the Bible doesn’t say so?”

      No, because the Bible says that drunkenness is a sin, and that Jesus was without sin

      “Ephesians 5:17-18 ‘Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. ‘
      So is it also a sin to be foolish? Or is it just a sin not to follow any advice Paul gave to people?”

      That was one example of many which indicate that drunkenness is a sin. Drunkards and drunkenness are consistently associate with being “of the flesh” throughout the New Testament.

    • Steve Martin

      “Could Jesus Have Gotten a Math Problem Wrong?”

      If He went to an L.A. City Unified public school…like I did, He could have. 😀

    • Dave Z

      The drunkard statement is interesting. Is it just a false accusation by people who disliked Jesus? Simple slander? At any rate, we don’t find the same eagerness to take that scriptural statement as literally as say, Ephesians 5:17-18.

      I also find it interesting that many pounce on Ephesians 5:17-18, but don’t follow through with 19, which I believe is the primary point Paul is making. It’s about being filled with the Spirit, not about condemning drunkenness. But hey, who cares what Paul really meant as long as we can use his words to push a pet doctrine?

      Seems like CMP may have had a post to that effect once, but it didn’t turn up in my search.

    • Ben Thorp

      “The drunkard statement is interesting. Is it just a false accusation by people who disliked Jesus? Simple slander?”

      It’s actually Jesus who says to the Pharisees that he came eating and drinking, but they accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard. The implication, as far as I can tell, is that he is not. I couldn’t find any particular evidence to suggest that he was.

      “I also find it interesting that many pounce on Ephesians 5:17-18, but don’t follow through with 19, which I believe is the primary point Paul is making. It’s about being filled with the Spirit, not about condemning drunkenness. But hey, who cares what Paul really meant as long as we can use his words to push a pet doctrine?”

      Ephesians 5:17-18 may not be the best example. How about these:

      [11] Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. [12] The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. [13] Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. [14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
      (Romans 13:11-14 ESV)

      [19] Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, [21] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

      (Galatians 5:19-21 ESV)

      [9] Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

      (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)

    • Steven Carr

      So if somebody is not a drunkard, it follows that he is never once in his life drunk.

      The Pharisees also accused him of ‘‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

      Obviously the implication is that he was not a friend of tax collectors and sinners.

      And if the Bible never mentions Jesus being drunk when preaching to his disciples, this is a powerful argument from silence.

    • Ben Thorp

      “So if somebody is not a drunkard, it follows that he is never once in his life drunk.”

      Not necessarily. But did you look at the other 3 passages I mentioned, 2 of which identify “drunkenness” as sin, rather than being a drunkard.

      “The Pharisees also accused him of ‘‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
      Obviously the implication is that he was not a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”

      Jesus is providing a contrast of the Pharisees reaction to him and their reaction to John.

      I think it is consistent with Scripture to say that Jesus wasn’t a glutton, although he did eat. Nor was he a drunkard, although he did drink.

      It would be inconsistent to suggest that he wasn’t a friend of tax collectors and sinners, as we know from many other passages that he was – one of his disciples had been a tax collector, for instance.

      “And if the Bible never mentions Jesus being drunk when preaching to his disciples, this is a powerful argument from silence.”

      I’m not trying to argue from silence. That is a slippy road to walk. What I am suggesting is that it is possible to demonstrate from Scripture that drunkenness is a sin, and that Jesus was without sin, and therefore Jesus was never drunk.

      I’m not sure why this is being treated as such a radical and dangerous idea – I would’ve thought it was consistent not only with Scripture but also with church tradition.

    • Dave Z

      Ben, I had a whole response typed out but deleted it because I think we’re veering too far OT with the drunkenness thing. I’ll just say that your references do show we should not live lives of drunkenness. 🙂

    • William

      Yeah guys, you still didn’t answer the question at the end of it all. lol Jesus probably never did trig or calculus. Surely if it were a test of His divinity then yes, He would get any answer to any question correct because that would prove His divinity.
      Interesting discussion though. I heard somewhere that there are many different words that we translate as wine, such as one being defined simply as ‘the juice of pressed fruit’, another being defined as ‘the FERMENTED juice of pressed fruit’, and that Jesus is never associated with the fermented juice kind. Is this true?

    • BlueCat57

      I recently watched a documentary called “How Beer Saved the World.”

      Basically the fermenation process, be it for wine or beer, kills the bad stuff. And quite frankly much of the water available at that time probably had some pretty nasty stuff in it.

      You can control the amount of alcohol produced and I’m sure brewers back then knew how strong their hooch was. There were different types of “adult” beverages for different occasions. (I can never remember one or two of which letter.)

      The people building the pyramids drank a lot of beer each day. It was as much nutrition as liquid. And I’m sure they were buzzed. (Please remember “buzzed driving is drunk driving.” PSA courtesy of the Ad Council and this station.)

      And that ration of rum for sailors wasn’t for their health as much as to get them to climb 50′ up the mast of a ship being tossed in a storm and not particularly care about it.

      I’m sure that the alcohol in the wine and other beverages being consumed had some effect on those drinking it. But hey, can you even conceive of the living conditions? You’d need to be a little buzzed to make it through the day.

      But get off the drunkard stuff. If you want to follow that road to its logical conclusion you could pretty much say that EVERYONE up to and including many in the 21st century lived life at least half-sloshed. That would put pretty much all of mankind’s knowledge including much of today’s scientific research into question because people drink. So how do we know which ones did it when?

    • Francis

      Curt,

      I agree with you: teaching on spirituality and morality must be dependent on a knowledge of spirituality and morality, or at least an awareness of spirituality and morality.

      Romans 2 says: “(The gentiles) show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

      Since I do not believe that “spirituality and morality” is a subject that must be learned (I am aware that modern psychology believes otherwise), I theorized that Jesus’s teaching was not dependent on what he was taught (as math or physics would have to be), but on what he already understood.

      If the knowledge of, and therefore the authority to teach, “the code of God” is entirely independent on how “learned” a person is, it should have been a well-trained Pharisaic rabbi, rather than Jesus, who was the central figure of the 4 gospels.

      Now, that is not to say that I believe Jesus’s teaching contained factual errors, for exactly the reason that you named: “And if the Spirit kept his spiritual teaching error-free, why not the supporting facts he used?” I was merely saying that even IF factual errors were made, it does not compromise Jesus’s aurthority in his teaching in any way, shape or form.

      So you are right. I was wrong in saying that “His teachings, on the other hand, concern spirituality and morality, which by definition is not based on knowledge or operation.” My argument was that Jesus’s teachings was not dependent on what he’d learned or how much he’d learned, but what he knew or understood independent of his previous learning.

    • John B

      Is it a stupid thing to ask, but what has Christ acknowledging God as his father to do with Him understanding himself to be God ? Surely God is Lord and Father of us all?
      No doubt Christ was aware of being filled with God’s spirit — and to this extent he is divine, but no-where does he claim to be God
      Blessings
      John

    • William

      Wow John B.
      I’m not sure if that was a genuine comment or an attempt to put the cat amongst the pigeons.
      ‘No-where does Jesus claim to be God’ eh?
      not sure where to start…
      Blessings
      William

    • Jeff Ayers

      As a human Christ was CAPABLE of anything any human is capable of doing.

      Christ took on him the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16), a body was prepared for him by the Father (Heb 10:5) and Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh.(om 8:3)

      Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the SAME;…

      This issue is solved by the same answer to the “impeccability of Christ” issue: Namely, could Jesus Christ have sinned?

      The answer is, as the man Christ Jesus (as pertaining to the flesh Rom 1:3; 9:5) he was CAPABLE of sinning, as God manifest in the flesh and the Word which was made flesh, he would never sin. (and never did sin- Heb 4:15; Joh 8:46; 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 2:22; 1Jo 3:5)

      So the Scriptures, never record a math error, Christ stumbling or getting sick. And it would be WRONG to assume that Christ actually did any of these; but as a man who was a partaker of flesh and blood, was CAPABLE of getting a math problem wrong, stumbling and getting sick.

      BTW— being a man of sorrows, does NOT mean he was depressed (as defined by a typical psychologist)

    • Jeff Ayers

      two more questions about this issue:

      Why did Christ have to LEARN OBEDIENCE? Does that mean he ever disobeyed? (Breaking the fifth commandment?)
      Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
      Why would he have to “learn to be obedient” if he was obedient from birth?

      Did Christ break the fourth commandment?
      John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
      Since Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (Lk 6:5), was it acceptable (i.e. not sin) to break the sabbath?

    • John B

      Hi William,
      I,v ,been round the block, a few times and cannot find a single ,proof text, for Christs deity.
      I do not have a problem with his divinity.
      When we talk about God are we talking about
      (i)God who is the father of Moses, Abraham and Isaac, and our Lord Jesus Christ OR
      (ii) Three persons sharing one substance, one of whom has a double nature ?
      Anyone living in the first century would have had no doubt about this matter. It seems that it took many many years for people to become confused..confusing themselves and each other!! We have the church in Rome to thank for this.
      Every Blessing
      John

    • John

      Err…. My dictionary says divinity and deity are synonyms.

      And the trinity formulation was agreed by world wide bishops, not dictated by Rome. If you don’t know that I’m not sure how qualified you are to be lecturing about this stuff.

    • William

      John B.
      hmm…
      So, are you a JW?
      Not meaning to jump to any conclusions or any disrespect but I have heard a lot of this type of talk from JW’s.
      Since this is your view then please allow my disinclination to get into a debate with you since I don’t think you will listen to my points, or anyone else’s and take them up.
      William

    • John B

      JJohn
      Talking about qualifications….
      The word ‘divine’ means ‘of God’
      As Emerson said ‘to err is human, to love divine’
      The word ‘deity’ means ‘a God’

      When I say that I believe Christ to be divine I mean that
      (i) He was filled with God’s spirit
      (ii)He was God’s agent -or right hand man
      (iii)He status as Lord and Messiah was divinely ordained

      BUT he was not God, and I’m convinced that this man, who always deflected praise away from himself to his Father, would be greatly saddened to be worshipped as God.
      There are NO proof verses to support the ‘Jesus- God’ position. In fact there are many, many verses which are to the contrary.
      Who did Jesus pray to?
      Who empowered Jesus?

      Best wishes
      John

    • Ben Thorp

      I’m not sure I really want to enter this debate (again), but I can’t really help myself….

      “BUT he was not God, and I’m convinced that this man, who always deflected praise away from himself to his Father, would be greatly saddened to be worshipped as God.”

      And yet he chose not to chastise Thomas who declared “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

      “There are NO proof verses to support the ‘Jesus- God’ position. In fact there are many, many verses which are to the contrary.”

      How about John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word with God, and the Word was God”. Or Philippians 2:6 “He did not count equality with God something to be grasped”.

      Or how about the times when He claimed for himself attributes that only God could have, like the ability to forgive sins. Or when he used the Jewish phrase “I Am”, echoing God when He called Moses.

      “Who did Jesus pray to?
      Who empowered Jesus?”

      Jesus prayed to the Father, and was empowered by the Spirit. Are you saying that Jesus _wasn’t_ God, but the Father and the Spirit are?!?

      As questioned above, it sounds like you are coming from a Jehovah’s Witness point of view, which, as far as the traditional church is concerned is not orthodox because it is unable to ascribe to any of the central creeds of the church.

      The trinity has been a central belief of the church from the earliest records, and this belief _is_ affirmed by Scripture – the verses above are just a tiny sample. I think it can be safely assumed that any church who denies the Trinity would be regarded as heterodox.

    • John

      John B: how did the church that chose what books should be authoritative make a mistake that big, and should we trust its decision about those books if it was so off track?

    • Willliam

      “I and the Father are one.” 31The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God,” (John 10:30-33)

      So even the Jews of the time tried to kill Jesus because they said He was claiming to be God. And yet there are no verses that support the fact He claimed to be God?
      So there is no claim to be ‘a God’ but God. Unless of course you want to rewrite the grammatical rule book for koine greek. But then if you are a JW, you probably would despite the fact most of the NWT was translated by a man with NO peer reviewed work, not a scholar, and mostly self taught. F.W. Franz was a clever man though. Got to give him a little credit.

      For me, debates are about reaching the right conclusion/truth by following the evidence, NOT defending a position, and with all due respect, JW’s no matter how hammered they get in a debate are unwilling to accept the sheer WEIGHT of evidence facing them, like an insurmountable cliff face of which one cannot see the top, then saying it isn’t there.
      The atheist Anthony Flew ended up a theist just by following the evidence, all credit to him. I used to be a pentecostal, holy roller, all that really really embarrassing stuff, ashamed as I am of it now, but in seeking the truth my opinion has changed.
      I’m sorry if this has come across as disrespectful, I don’t mean it too.
      William

    • Willliam

      In respect of defending a position, I mean when it no longer seems reasonable to do so. There is of course no problem in defending a position (unless it is indefensible), as iron sharpens iron, and as diamond cuts diamond, debates are necessary to further our knowledge and to help us reach right conclusions.

    • John B

      Hi Ben
      The reason I do not accept the Doctrine of the Trinity is because IT’S NOT SCRIPTURAL !
      I will address your comments in the order in which you raise them-

      (i) John 20 v28
      Many volumes have been penned on this one verse
      and there is considerable room for argument on the
      meaning of the words ‘Kurios’ and ‘Theos’
      I will not go into these at this point- but merely point
      out that v 31 summarises the foregoing verses with
      words “but these are written that you many know
      that Jesus is the Messiah, THE SON OF GOD’
      (if one is the Son of God the one thing you can be
      sure of is that he is not God!)

      (ii) John Chapter 1 v1-3
      Again volumes have been written about the meaning
      of the word “logos’ but the soultion is simple- John 1
      is a mirror image of Genesis1 (in certain respects)
      In Genesis 1 , verses 3,6,9,11,14,24 & 24 begin with
      the words “And God said…”
      Clearly it was by God’s spoken word that he created
      the heavens and the Earth. In the beginning was the
      power of Gods spoken word.
      v3 says “all things were made by it”
      You won’t find the ‘it’ in your Bible – but it is there- if
      look inthe Post-reformation Protestant bibles.
      You may care to look in the following manuscripts-
      Tyndales Bible 1534
      Great Bible 1539
      Geneva Bible 1560
      Bishops Bible 1568

      It is only after the publication of the Douis Rheims
      (Catholic Bible) in 1582 that all bibles replaced ‘it’ with
      the personal pronoun (he)

      (iii) Philippians Chapter 2
      Note that in verses 6 and 7 Christ is the subject
      and in verses 8 and 9, God is the subject.
      Paul was drawing parallels with Genesis 1 & 3
      -the first Adams great sin was to try to equate
      himself with God. Genesis 3v5 states “ye shall be like
      Gods (if you eat the apples of both trees)
      -Genesis 1 v26 states that man was created in the
      image of God
      CHRIST was the second Adam and he reversed what
      the first Adam did… far from trying to snatch equality
      with God by disobeying God’s command he humbled
      himself and became obedient even to the point of crucifixion.
      Christ emptied himself of human weakness (principally
      ego) and for this God has exalted him to “Lord and
      Messiah”

      Have you never wondered why the scriptures use the
      words “in the FORM of God’ instead of “God”- and “God has greatly
      exalted him’ ? How can God exalt himself?

      (iv) You said “claimed attributes of God-e.g. the ability to
      forgive sins”. Yes, and Christ tells us that he was
      empowered to do so by God – and that we in turn should
      forgive others for their trespasses against us.

      (v)You said ” or that he used the words “I AM ” -echoing
      Gods sacred name.”
      In fact it was not God, but Gods messenger who was
      talking -but no matter.
      Refer to your Greek interlinear and look up John 8 vv
      28 and 58.
      Observe that the “I AM’ in John 8 v 28 is in a
      subordinate role – since he says ” and I can do nothing
      of my own”
      John 8 v 58 again states that the words “I AM’ were
      used by Christ .
      The Greek words used in both cases are ‘ego eimi’
      and they mean “I am’ or “I am he”
      The words “ego eimi’ are used in other places in the
      NT to refer to persons other than Christ or God.
      See for example John 9 v9 Acts 10v21
      Clearly Christ was declaring himself to be the Messiah!

      (vi) You ask “are you saying that Jesus is not God but
      the Father and Son are?”
      No I am saying that there is one supreme God and
      Christ is his Son. The Holy Spirit is the means by which
      God acts in his creation
      I believe that God is the Father of Moses, and Abraham and Isaac, and our Lord Jesus Christ – not “three persons sharing one substance- and one person has a double nature”

      (vii) I am a biblical unitarian. I live in Africa and
      worship in a church which has no walls. The church is multi-
      denominational. In general , no contentious doctrinal
      issues are discussed – and when they are ,they are
      discussed in a spirit of brotherly love. If agreement
      is not reached that are placed on the ‘back burner’
      for a more knowledgable generation to discuss.

      I am aware of the Trinitarian arguments to rebut what I have written -but they are ‘gymnastics’ , piling up one
      improbability after another so that they lose all credibility – except for those who ‘have the eyes for it’

      Just to re-iterate – there are NO PROOF VERSES for the trinity -NOT
      ONE
      Blessings
      John

    • John B

      Hi John
      You may be interested to know that my Jesuit friends admit that the doctrine of the Trinity is not in the Bible!

      They say that the writings of the early Church Fathers have the same ‘validity’ as the scriptures – and that it is only when one takes all of these writings together that
      one can justify the doctrine.

      Luther created a problem for himself and future generations by adhering to a policy of ‘sola scriptura’
      – and that is why protestants have to resort to the ‘gymnastics’ they employ.

      The fear of the church in Rome, at the time of the Reformation, was that protestants would become
      unitarian . The ‘Radical Reformationists’ certainly wanted to ‘take all dogma and doctrine off the table’ and start from a ‘zero base’. For this and they were forced to leave Europe -or be killed. The ones who fled to Poland (the Polish Brethern) were later exterminated

      One can never lose sight of the main argument against the doctrine of the Trinity – it is simply NOT SCRIPTURAL.
      There are logical issues involved too – but I won’t go into these at this time.
      Best Wishes
      John B

    • Ben Thorp

      OK – probably the last time I’ll post on this, but a few more thoughts on your responses. I’m going to skip some points because it’s late here in the UK, and I’ve had a long day…
      (i) Why did Jesus not correct Thomas? Surely this was a serious enough error that it should have been corrected?
      (ii) How would you then translate the rest of John 1? How did the “Word become flesh”? (FWIW, I find it difficult to argue that modern translations are all wrong. You are right in that the word “he” does not appear in v3, but then neither does the word “it”; it is the word for “same”. Given the rest of the chapter, I’m not sure ‘he’ is any worse a translation than ‘it’)
      (iv) Yes, we can forgive someone when they sin against us. We cannot offer blanket forgiveness of sins. Jesus doesn’t correct the Pharisees, or qualify His statement. Likewise in John 10:30-33 (mentioned above) Jesus doesn’t qualify His statement.

      Lets throw out a few more verses, just for fun:

      Acts 20:28, in which the Ephesians elders are commended to look after the “church of God, which He obtained with His own blood”.
      Titus 2:3 and 2 Peter 1:1, both of which refer to “our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ”
      Revelation 4:11 where the 24 elders declare Jesus to be Lord and God.

      FWIW, both the title Lord, and the title Saviour, were titles that were usually reserved for God alone.

    • John B

      Dear Ben
      I’ll respond to your points in the order you presented them
      Before proceeding I’d like to mention two points

      (a) As the Rev. Samuel Clark observed in his book “Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity” (1712)-“if you think you have found a verse which ‘proves’ Christ = God, you will find in the immediate context a verse which shows them to be ‘two’
      (b) The KJV bible has numerous mis-translations which generally attempt to re-inforce doctrine. Modern scholarly Bibles have corrected many of these.

      (i) Why did Christ not ‘correct’ Thomas ?
      Because Christ understood that Thomas was NOT
      addressing him as God. Just check the words “Kurios’
      and ‘Theos’ in your Greek interlinear bible- they refer
      to people ranging from magistrates and judges, and
      ‘people to whom the law was given’ – to the Lord God
      Almighty.
      This verse was contextualised in any case by v 31,
      which summarises Christs mission and shows Christ
      and God to be different ‘selves’

      (ii) How did the ‘Word become flesh’ – simple, Gods
      creative power and will entered a man. And in case
      one gets too carried away- verse 18 says ‘no man has seen
      God’
      (iii)The issue of blanket forgiveness of sins.
      I never said that we had that power. God delegated
      this to Christ only – but as believers, having been forgiven
      we must in turn forgive others.

      NOW- reverting to your verses
      (a)Acts 20v 28
      The KJV uses the words “which he had purchased
      with his own blood”. The Greek interlinear bible uses
      the words “which he purchased with the blood of
      his own Son” (Zondervan)
      (b) 2 Peter 1v1
      “our God and Saviour Jesus Christ’
      NAB and RSV give a translation from another
      manuscript which states ” our God and the Saviour
      Jesus Christ”
      (c)Titus 2v3
      “the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”(NIV)

      The correct translation is ” the Great God and of
      our Saviour Jesus Christ

      This sort of nonsense pervades the KJV. I came upon
      another example last week in 1 Thesallonians 3v11
      where KJV states ” Now God himself and our
      Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our
      way unto you’
      The Greek words are ” theos kai pater’ — God and
      Father … so the verse reads ” May our God and
      Father himself and our Lord Jesus Christ prepare
      the way for us to come to you”
      (d) You refer to Revelation 4 and somehow come to the
      conclusion that the one who sits upon the throne is
      Christ
      I respectfully disagree.
      God Almighty sits on the throne
      (move into Chapter 5)
      among the assembled throng around the foot of
      the throne is a Lamb
      who was deemed worthy to break the seals.

      That’s Christ!

      Best Wishes

      John B

    • John B

      Ben
      So sorry but I missed out your comments on John 10 vv 30-36
      These verses are completely misunderstood…
      In them Christ is referring back to Psalm 82.

      In this Psalm (v1) it is God who rises in the divine
      Council and gives jusdement in the midst of the
      gods.
      These ‘gods’ are the men who were administering
      the laws of their day.
      God proclaimed that they had not ruled wisely or justly.

      The Jews to whom Christ was talking were the current
      ‘gods’
      They refused to accept Christs testimony

      The accused him of blasphemy simply because he said he was “Son of God’ (Christ had no need to qualify this.)

      Christ was warning them that the day is coming when
      God will judge the world by that righteous man whom he had ordained (Acts 17 v31). The Psalmists prayer
      will be answered.

      Best Wishes
      John B

    • Ben Thorp

      I would agree that the KJV is flawed in many places. However, I’ve not used the KJV in any of my studies.

      You state:
      “(b) 2 Peter 1v1 “our God and Saviour Jesus Christ’
      NAB and RSV give a translation from another
      manuscript which states ” our God and the Saviour
      Jesus Christ” ”

      And yet, I cannot find this alternative translation in either the RSV or the NAB. In fact, in a brief search, the only translation I found that rendered it your way was the NWT, the translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

      I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I will, however, refer you to the debate that was had on this very blog on the same matter, beginning at http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/04/the-great-trinity-debate-an-introduction/

    • John B

      William
      Thanks for your contribution.
      I must say that I was dragged into the Biblical Unitarian position by the absolute paucity of scripture supporting the Doctrine of the Trinity.
      My position is still flexible -but I will be difficult to move!

      I am certainly not attracted to the ‘Kool Aid’ served up by the JWs

      Your response to me was kind and compassionate and for that I am grateful.

      Just a few comments

      (i) “I and the Father are one”
      The Greek word for one is ‘hen’
      The same word is used in many other verses to mean
      “Having a common purpose’ as in 1 Corinthians 3v8
      or agin in Philippians 2v2 “having a single purpose’

      (ii) John Chapter 8. The Jews took up stones to stone
      him”
      Have you ever wondered why they did NOT stone
      Him?
      It’s because such a stoning would have been illegal
      and made them murderers. Stoning was only
      permitted for blasphemy – and the Jews were NOT
      accusing Him of blasphemy. Christ himself said that
      he was The Son of God.
      Why were the Jews so incensed that they were
      tempted to stone him?
      Well, for starters Christ had called them
      -born of fornication
      -children of the Devil etc.
      However they restrained themselves and did not
      break the law.

      I think you have alluded to John 10 v 30-36 and this
      Ihave covered in my preceeding post to Ben

      Like you I am passionate about the truth – but
      it is a painful process. Thank God for intelligent
      and compassionate people who can help one along
      the way!!
      Every Blessing
      John B

    • John B

      Ben

      Regarding 2 Peter 1v1
      Sorry about my sloppiness!
      The words I referred to are in the FOOTNOTE to the chapter in the NAB

      My reference to RSV was incorrect.

      If one refers to the Greek Interlinear Bible one quickly gets to the truth of the matter

      The interlinear gives

      “tou theo kai lesou tou kyriou hemon ”
      of God and of Jesus our Lord

      The NASB puts it very well
      ” .. in the knowledge of God AND Jesus our Lord”

      So the scriptures are NOT saying that Christ= God.

      Best Wishes
      John

    • Ben Thorp

      “Regarding 2 Peter 1v1
      Sorry about my sloppiness!
      The words I referred to are in the FOOTNOTE to the chapter in the NAB”

      It’s a footnote because it’s a minority translation.

      “If one refers to the Greek Interlinear Bible one quickly gets to the truth of the matter
      The interlinear gives
      “tou theo kai lesou tou kyriou hemon ”
      of God and of Jesus our Lord”

      Not in any of the Greek bibles I’ve looked at. They all render:

      “tou theo kai hemon kai soteros Iesou Xristou”

      “The NASB puts it very well
      ” .. in the knowledge of God AND Jesus our Lord””

      Not in any version of the NASB I could find. They all render it as “by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”.

    • john b

      Ben
      We are evidently reading from different Greek texts

      My texts are taken from Textus Receptus 1894 ——
      ” tou theos hemon kai soteros hemon iesou christos”
      ‘the God of us AND the saviour of us Jesus anointed”
      see http://www.scriptures4all.org

      and the Westcot Hart Edition 1891 with Nestle variants.
      gives
      “tou theou kai lesou tou kynou hemon”
      ” of God AND of Jesus the Lord of us”
      see http://www.interlinearbible.org

      Clearly the texts differ but they seem to show God and Jesus to be different persons One can argue the point but this is a trifling issue when there are so many clear verses which show that Christ is not God.

      The variation in manuscripts for this verse are a literalists nightmare.
      Best wishes
      John

    • Ben Thorp

      “We are evidently reading from different Greek texts”

      So it would seem.

      “My texts are taken from Textus Receptus 1894 ——
      ” tou theos hemon kai soteros hemon iesou christos”
      ‘the God of us AND the saviour of us Jesus anointed”
      see http://www.scriptures4all.org

      The same Textus Receptus which is widely regarded as inaccurate and one of the reasons that the KJV has the mistakes that you yourself mentioned?

      “and the Westcot Hart Edition 1891 with Nestle variants.
      gives
      “tou theou kai lesou tou kynou hemon”
      ” of God AND of Jesus the Lord of us”
      see http://www.interlinearbible.org

      Of the 11 Greek texts on that page only 1 differs from the text I gave above, and it’s the 1894 Textus Receptus that you’ve used above. All the Westcott-Hort texts read the same as I have used.

      “Clearly the texts differ but they seem to show God and Jesus to be different persons One can argue the point but this is a trifling issue when there are so many clear verses which show that Christ is not God.”

      Actually, there are many clear verses that show that Christ is the Son of God, which Trinitarians would affirm. You haven’t provided a single verse that actually shows that Christ is *not* God.

      “The variation in manuscripts for this verse are a literalists nightmare.”

      Variations do provide difficulties for translators, and for students of the Word. However, there is a wealth of resource and knowledge available about textual analysis, and the Greek NT we have today aren’t going to get much better. Additional findings tend to only confirm the decisions that have been made. The last big change (AIUI) was the Dead Sea Scrolls, which did call into question the aforementioned Textus Receptus.

    • john b

      Ben
      Thanks for that
      You state
      “Actually there are many clear verses that show that Christ is the Son of God-which Trinitarians affirm”

      And I affirm too
      But of X is the son of Y, the one thing we can say with certainty is that Y is NOT X

      You say
      “you havn’t provided a single verse that shows that Christ was NOT God”

      (i) With few exceptions (e.g. in the case of ‘god’ or ‘gods’) God refers to the Father
      (ii)In Pauls writing Lord refers to Christ
      (iii) Without exception “Father” and “Son” are different selves
      Now -to a few of the verses-

      CONSIDER CHRISTS WORDS
      (a) The Father is greater than I John 14v28
      (b) Jesus said to her”I ascend to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God” John 20v17
      (c)The Son can do nothing of himself John 9
      (d)Jesus was visible yet God is invisible 1Tim 1v17 6v16
      (e)Jesus was appreoachable yet God lives in unapproachable light 1 Tim 6v 16
      (f)Christ died but God is immortal1 Tim 1v17
      (g) Jesus said that the Father is the one and only God
      John 5 v44
      (h)Jesus called ‘my God, my God, why have you foresaken me Mat 7v46
      (i) Who did Christ pray to?
      (j)Father the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you sent John 17v1, 3

      AND PETER’S WORDS
      (k) Jesus, a man attested to you by God, with wonders and signs which God performed through him Acts 2v22
      (l)God raised him from the dead Acts 4 v10
      (m) God has made him both Lord and Christ Acts 2v36

      AND PAULS WORDS
      (n) For there is but one God, the Father through whom we exist , and one Lord, Jesus Christ through whom all things are.. 1 Cor 8v6
      (o)The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 2 Cor1v3 11v31
      (p) Christ belongs to God because God is the head of Christ 1 Cor 3v23

      AND EVEN IN HIS RESURRECTED STATE
      (q) ‘then shall the Son himself be subjected to God
      1 Cor 15v28
      (r) and in Revelation Christ is depicted as the Lamb who stood at the base of the throne among the assembled throng.

      Ben, my great sadness is that (particularly in your country) people are drifting away from the church, at a time when the church is most needed, and I attribute this to people being ‘fed’ doctrine which they can scarcely comprehend and which lacks scriptural support.
      I encounter such people almost every day -some of them still ‘cling together’ inside the churches and find fellowship (clandestine) with fellow travellers.

      Best Wishes
      John B

    • Ben Thorp

      “But of X is the son of Y, the one thing we can say with certainty is that Y is NOT X”

      And yet this is the doctrine of the Trinity, which has been a foundational doctrine, even a hallmark of orthodoxy, within the Christian church for hundreds of years. I didn’t say it was rational, merely that it was true.

      I know this won’t satisfy you, in the same way that I doubt you will be able to convince me that your translation of 2 Peter 1:1 is justifiable from the Greek.

      Better and brighter men than me have defended this doctrine. I have done my part, but I suggest you look to them if you want further understanding.

      “Ben, my great sadness is that (particularly in your country) people are drifting away from the church, at a time when the church is most needed, and I attribute this to people being ‘fed’ doctrine which they can scarcely comprehend and which lacks scriptural support.”

      If you think that the doctrine of the Trinity is the primary reason (or, for that matter, a reason at all) that people are leaving the church in the UK, then you are sadly mistaken. If comprehension and rationality were the issue, then the church would have faded during the modern era, whereas, in fact, it flourished. The fading has been in the post-modern era, where the church has, in fact, lost it’s sense of spirituality and mystery than many people desire. And for those who do place a high importance on rationality, the Trinity is the least of their worries (and questions).

    • john b

      Ben
      Thank you for that!
      I come from a fundamentalist ‘exclusive’ background so I have not been brought up to have a reverence for tradition

      Also I am not a total literalist and so I can let something like 2 Peter 1:1 go by as a bit of sloppy writing on the part of the original author.

      I note what you say about post-modern Britain with interest . I am not sufficiently close to the matter , but people tell me that there is a deep spiritual hunger -in people that one would not expect- and that it is not being filled by what is on offer. ‘New Age’ has not fulfilled expectations!

      I am something of an ‘Erasmian” and believe in ‘keeping things simple’-by defining as few things as possible.

      This is abhorrent to some people.

      I must say, you have done an excellent job defending the Trinitarian ‘camp’- no one could have done better- and I have been exposed to some very fine minds – particularly Jesuits.

      As you say , we will probably never convince each other
      – and should leave it at that.
      My very best wishes
      And respect
      John B

    • William

      Hi John B
      Sorry I have been away so long and not at all involved. I think I agree with you that no side is going to convince the other at this point. I’ve had to just skim over this because I was away so long and my time is very limited to about an hour on the ‘net’ every night. I must say, you have been very polite, even when I was not.
      I did notice you criticized the TR and then used it in the debate though. I think that may be fallacious (in the wider sense), lack consistency and undermine the rest of your (otherwise very well thought out) arguments. If one does this then it could be argued that since they are undermining some of their own points, then the rest of their arguments can be ignored. Why would one use a document they had previously criticized in order to make a point? Could it be perhaps that they are defending an issue rather than the search for truth and that this previously ‘flawed’ document presents their position in the best light? A little bit of defending the fort so to speak. I don’t know, but thanks anyway for your points. The whole discussion you both had was very useful to me. Particularly as I had assumed you were a JW initially, very bad of me. Sorry. But you presented your views far better than anyone else I have ever encountered.
      As well, I think since we are probably clear where we stand on the topic, (and it may be at risk of descending into a ‘proof text’ battle , I’ve got hundreds) I’m probably not going to go into it. Sorry I missed it.

      As Meldenius said…
      “In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas”
      Except maybe the first one 😉
      William

    • john b

      Hi William
      You are right to query my approach to TR!

      I was seeking to avoid ‘murky waters’ -but here goes…

      You may have noticed in an earlier blog to Ben that I
      alluded to ‘original texts’

      I was NOT referring to TR

      I was referring to the original texts which were allegedly written by the Apostle Peter.

      I find the RSV and NAB(Catholic) Bibles to be most scholarly – and I live over a thousand kilometres away from a well resourced library -so I will stick to wnat is available to me

      If you look at the preface to the Second Letter of Peter in the NAB, paragraphs 4 & 5 read-

      “Nevertheless acceptance of 2 Peter into the New Testament canon met with great resistance from the early church.
      The oldest certain references to it come from Origen in the early third century
      Whilehe himself accepted both Petrine letters as canonical he testified that others rejected 2 Peter.
      As late as the fifth century some churches still excluded it from canon, but eventually it was universally adopted.
      The reason for the long delay was that there was still persistent doubt that this letter stemmed from the Apostle Peter.
      Among modern scholars there is wide agreement that 2 Peter is a pseudonymous work- i.e. one written by a later author who attributed it to Peter according to literary conversation popular at that time…”
      It goes on to say that 2 Peter may have been written in the first or even second quarter of the second century.

      Out of space -see next blog

    • john b

      William –
      (continued)
      In these circumstances many people would argue that it would be easy to miss out a comma, or a conjunction.

      This type of problem results in apparent discrepancies in scriptures- and people like myself take the truth to ‘reside at a higher level’ rather than being literalist.
      (as Hebrews and Catholics do)

      My search for truth has been painful -from exclusivist fundamentalist to supporter of Desideratus Erasmus.
      (inclusive and keep it simple)

      I would not suggest that you change your stance on such things – only be aware that there are lots of people out there looking for truth. Many peoples first reaction is to brand one ‘unorthodox’ or an heretic!

      I would not like to test the patience of our hosts any further.

      I can see no ‘proof texts’ for the Trinity -but if you like to
      try some on me ,my address is [email protected]

      Every Blessing
      John B

    • […] Could Jesus Have Gotten A Math Problem Wrong? by C. Michael Patton Can you imagine it? Jesus five years old sitting in math class, 1 A.D. (Okay, maybe he was homeschooled, but just roll with me here guys.) He gets back his quiz he took the previous day. The result? 95%. Jesus just missed one! Wait. Can Jesus have erred? […]

    • john b

      Hi William!
      I’m afraid that I ommitted an important thought from the foregoing.
      As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the Rev Samuel Clark
      in his book “Scripture doctrine of the Trinity” (1738) -now available as a reprint- words to the effect that
      “if you think that you have found a verse which shows them to be one, you will find in the immediate vicinity a verse which shows them to be two”

      2 Peter 1 v1 is an example – and you don’t have to go far to ‘prove’ it – see verse 2 -which clearly makes God and Christ two persons.

      In these circumstances, is it possible that a comma or conjunction might have been missed out of verse 1 – particularly when read with verse 2

      Every Blessing
      John

    • Clark Coleman

      John B. wrote: “(ii) John Chapter 8. The Jews took up stones to stone
      him”
      Have you ever wondered why they did NOT stone
      Him?
      It’s because such a stoning would have been illegal
      and made them murderers. …
      However they restrained themselves and did not
      break the law.”

      Please justify from scripture the statement that “they restrained themselves.” What I see in John 8:59 is that “Jesus hid himself.”

    • john b

      Clark
      There are several Greek texts on this subject – and they vary slightly from one another.
      The most common interpretation is ” so they picked up stones to throw at him , but Jesus hid and left the temple area'”
      So, Christ’ hid ‘within the temple area.
      Isn’t it naive to believe that anyone could hide from determined pursuers within such an area. If the pharisees really believed that Christ had blasphemed , they would not have given up so easily -and hunted him down.
      Christ knew that his time had not yet come – so left to avoid a further confrontation.
      On reading John Chapter 8 I cannot see anywhere that Christ was accused of blasphemy for claiming to be God.

      i only see words like ‘my Father’- or a statement that Abraham had forseen his coming (i.e.the coming of a Messiah.)

      Best Wishes
      John B

    • Clark Coleman

      The most common interpretation is that Jesus escaped miraculously. Your interpretation is strained and demonstrates that you have an anti-Trinitarian agenda that you need to impose upon the text. You make statements based on what is explicit vs. implicit in the text very inconsistently and hypocritically. For example, you say that you do not see explicitly where they accused him of blasphemy, while the implicit accusation is obvious, but then you say that the accusers restrained themselves, which is not explicit in the text AND is not even a reasonable inference from the text. Every inference from the text that is Trinitarian you reject for not being explicit enough, but you are happy to make anti-Trinitarian inferences from the text that no one else sees in the text implicitly, much less explicitly.

    • john b

      Dear Clark,
      I feel a great sadness reading your response -since you are determined to see only what you want to see (the thing you accuse me of doing!!)

      Where and why is the IMPLICIT accusation of blasphemy obvious?

      I was ‘dragged’ out of my trinitarian position – by the absence of any scriptures supporting the Doctrine of the Trinity – all I see is apologists indulging in ‘gymnastics’ to justify their doctrine.
      Every Blessing
      John B

    • BlueCat57

      I’m going to jump into this without actually studyng the Trinity in detail. From a “I’ve sat in the pew and studied it a bit 30+ years ago.” point of view.

      We have God.
      In the Gospels we have Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
      In Acts we have the Holy Spirit.

      So what am I missing?

      Is the non-Trinitarian (Or anti- or I don’t want to use a biased word that implies Trinitarianism is right and the opposing (even that sounds biased) view is wrong. A question I can ask here and be understood is: Are views on Trinitarianism heterodoxy or orthodoxy? (Is that the right way to phrase that in an unbiased way? (Gee, I’m being rather PC this morning.))) view that God is, in the terms of a Trinitarian, one person?

      How does the non-Trinitarian explain John 1:1, references to the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God, the phrase “Son of God” as it relates to Jesus, etc.?

    • John

      “I was ‘dragged’ out of my trinitarian position – by the absence of any scriptures supporting the Doctrine of the Trinity” -johnb

      Err, what scriptures? What authority informed you that there are scriptures, where to find them and what writings should be so designated?

    • john b

      John
      If one is a Protestant one believes that ones beliefs should be based solely on scripture – and the most fundamentalist would say that every word is to be interpreted literally. I ask such people “which Bible’?

      The Catholics say that authority dervies from not only the Bible, but from the pronouncements of the Early Church Fathers and the saints – who were considered to be divinely inspired.
      I find that the Early Church Fathers frequently contradicted one another – and I do not accept the authority of the Catholic Church.
      I am of course branded an heretic for my views.
      I am not a Bible ‘literalist’ but I do believe that while scriptures may contradict – truth resides at a higher level. In my judgement, there is a ‘golden thread’ of truth which flows through the sacred writings.
      That is purely a matter of faith.
      Blessings
      John B

    • Ben Thorp

      @BlueCat57 – You ask “Are views on Trinitarianism heterodoxy or orthodoxy?” The vast majority of the Christian church, be it Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox, regard the Trinity as orthodoxy, and unitarianism as heterodox. The 1st council of Nicea (325AD) was the first council to put this in writing, in the Nicene Creed (amended 360 at the Council of Constantinople), and the vast majority of denominations subscribe to that. (Note that the term trinity, and some of its concepts, had been about for at least 100 years before the council of Nicea)

      @John B: Hey 🙂 You write: “If one is a Protestant one believes that ones beliefs should be based solely on scripture – and the most fundamentalist would say that every word is to be interpreted literally. I ask such people “which Bible’?”

      Most denominations will have this referenced in some way. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy says:
      “We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.
      We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy
      invalid or irrelevant.”
      The Westminster Confession outlines…

    • Ben Thorp

      (…contd) roughly the same.

      Essentially this is saying that the answer to the question “which Bible”, is “the original manuscripts”, which are but that the available manuscripts allow a great deal of accuracy.

      Yes, there are literalists who believe that every word must be taken literally, without taking into account form or style, but they are few and far between. Likewise there are those who would say that the KJV is the only true translation, but they are few and far between too.

    • john b

      Bluecat 57
      No need to be too PC with me!

      I am a biblical unitarian -which is heterodox.
      I am an heretic with respect to orthodoxy.

      I believe that there is one supreme God and that Jesus Christ is his Son.
      I believe that the Holy Spirit is the means by which God acts in his creation – rather like the rays of the sun bringing warmth to earth.
      I believe that the Doctrine of the Trinity is an unfortunate man-made construct which is without biblical support and was imposed on the people by force if necessary.
      I believe that God is the Father of Moses, Abraham and Isaac – and our Lord Jesus Christ. ( and the whole of humanity)
      I believe that mankind will ‘come to it’s senses’ – sooner than you think because of the ‘information revolution.”

      I do NOT believe in the triune God – three persons sharing one substance – and by the way one of them has a dual nature!!! And by the way, ‘persons’ and ‘substance’ cannot be adequately described in terms the ordanary man can understand! (A mystery!)

      The John 1v1 issue can be immensely complex if one permits (see my earlier post)
      Just to say that in many respects John 1 is a mirror image of Genesis1 ,where we are told that God created everything by his spoken word . Something like 9 verses begin with “And God said”!!! In other words the word is not a person – but Gods plan was manifest in a person, the man, Jesus Christ see (v14)
      My posts start at 40 in the first section.
      Blessings
      John B

    • John

      Johnb:” If one is a Protestant one believes that  ones  beliefs  should be based solely on scripture –  and the most fundamentalist would  say that every word is to be interpreted literally.   I ask such people “which Bible’? ”

      You ask people which bible? No, I’m asking you which bible. I’m not a protestant, but I think you need to answer this question.

      Johnb: “The Catholics say that authority dervies from not only the  Bible, but from the pronouncements of the Early Church Fathers and the saints – who were considered to be divinely inspired.
      I find  that the Early Church Fathers  frequently contradicted one another – and I do not accept the authority of the Catholic Church.”

      I’m not Roman Catholic, but this is a gross distortion of catholic teaching. Catholic teaching is that the early church fathers are a strong witness to the inspired apostolic deposit of faith that resides in the church. Not that every statement of every church father is inspired and without a single contradiction.

      The problem you have is that at least the protestants, at least in the early days, made a concerted effort to argue their agreement with the early church fathers, and quoted them approvingly. Since you don’t even make an attempt on that front, you are left with an even bigger burden of justifying how you have any clue whatsoever what books should be considered scripture. Why should I care about how you interpret this or that paragraph, when you can’t answer the…

    • Sally

      Thank you for this post.

      It may be my evangelical upbringing but I wince to think that our dear Lord ever took a doo doo.

      Do you think it is possible that He did not have to go in such an earthly manner? Afterall, many scriptures could be pointed out to show how Christ did not always do things as humans do them (ex. miracles).

    • Clark Coleman

      JohnB: “Where and why is the IMPLICIT accusation of blasphemy obvious?” First, I will note that I made points in my post that you are not addressing. Namely, you make the distinction between implicit and explicit when you ask for explicit statements, yet your interpretation depends on inferences that are very much NOT explicit, such as saying that the Jews restrained themselves.

      Regardless of whether you choose to address the inconsistency I have pointed out, I will answer your question. Your interpretation is that: (1) Jesus made statements that made the Jews very angry. (2) Jesus then made a statement that was not blasphemy, nor was it even directed at the Jews. (3) The Jews did not pick up stones to use against Jesus during step (1), but only after step (2), even though step (2) had nothing to do with their desire to stone him.

      I believe, to the contrary, that the Jews picked up the stones right after statement (2) because that was the statement that triggered their desire to stone him. A reasonable man would say that my interpretation is much more likely and reasonable. Someone with an anti-Trinitarian agenda would say otherwise, of course.

    • BlueCat57

      I have other fish to fry so I can’t spend much time here tonight.

      I’m going to study the trinitarian/unitarian debate.

      I found this link that sounds like it might be a good introduction to the issues. It appears to be recent, 2010.

      Maybe I’m missing something but I’ve never found the idea of the Trinity troubling. After saying that, now I have to figure out how to explain why I don’t find it troubling as some here do.

      Well, off to see the Wizard.

    • john b

      Dear Ben
      As you observe most denominations have their carefully worded statements on Bible inerrancy. – and they generally go back to a statement that copies and translations of scripture are the The Word of God TO THE EXTENT that they represent the original.

      They also affirm the accuracy of autobiographical texts.

      We are in deep waters here.

      When we looked at 2 Peter 1v1 we noted that the book was probably not written by Peter (see Preface in NAB)
      but by someone who lived later and wrote under his name

      We also observed that v1 of Chapter 1 contradicts v2 and several similar verses. While v1 ‘shows them to be 1,” v2 shows them to be two persons. Confirms Rev Samuel Clarks generalobservation!

      Quite frankly we do not have (with certainty) all the original texts- and frequently when we have them we cannot ascribe them (with certainty) to the person after whom they are named. And then we have the problem of multiple and often varying texts.

      All we have is the consensual view of the Church -or Councils of Bishops.

      I have (vainly) tried to find out what “Apostolic Christianity’ was like and what was preached. I can not get any clear answers – except the ‘potted’ Catholic version.

      See my blog to John, which follows

      Best Wishes
      John B

    • BlueCat57

      All is lost! We cannot believe anything in the Bible! Ackkkk! I must find sackcloth and ashes and rent my clothes! Then dash myself against something speeding down the highway because we can’t be certain about the contents of the Bible.

      Come on folks. Time to move on, or at least over the CMPs post that covers the topic of uncertainty. I think it was in the last couple of months. Although it may have been older and I just found it recently. He did a couple on inerrancy in December 2011.

      We’re talking about a fun, little thought problem here, “Could Jesus have gotten a math problem wrong?”, not the validity of scripture.

      If you can’t lighten up then maybe you should head on over to The Wittenburg Door and read some of their older stuff. I hear the pre-1995 stuff is pretty good.

    • Ben Thorp

      “When we looked at 2 Peter 1v1 we noted that the book was probably not written by Peter (see Preface in NAB)
      but by someone who lived later and wrote under his name”

      You noted that. I did not. It may say that in the preface to the NAB, but I’m sure that, as a Catholic Bible, it affirms a number of other theologies that I disagree with.

      I couldn’t affirm inerrancy on one hand and deny the authorship of 2 Peter on the other. Whilst there are many scholars who do doubt it, there are equally many who don’t. It has not yet been proven that it was not written by Peter.

      “We also observed that v1 of Chapter 1 contradicts v2 and several similar verses. While v1 ‘shows them to be 1,” v2 shows them to be two persons. Confirms Rev Samuel Clarks generalobservation!”

      You regard it as a contradiction precisely because you do not believe in the Trinity.

      “Quite frankly we do not have (with certainty) all the original texts- and frequently when we have them we cannot ascribe them (with certainty) to the person after whom they are named. And then we have the problem of multiple and often varying texts.”

      You make this out to be a much bigger deal than it actually is. We have a vast number of manuscripts and very few differences considering the wealth of material. Most historians would cry with joy over the vast amount of material we have.

    • john b

      Clark
      If you take a walk down to the Eid Gah Mosque in Kandahar this afternoon, and ask to see some of the ‘pious men’ you will find that they are very much like the Pharisees.
      If you suggest that they are
      born of fornication
      that their father is the devil
      that God or the Prophet foresaw your arrival

      I guarantee that you would have their undivided attention!!!

      They would want to stone you – but probably wouldn’t since that would be murder.

      To answer your questions
      (i) Yes the statements made the Jews very angry
      (ii) Yes, Jesus made a statement that was not blasphemy
      BUT NO, -it was directed at the most pious and self-righteous people you can imagine
      (iii) I agree with you that something Christ said triggered their reaction.

      There is a parallel between these verses and the events described in John Chapter 10 verses 27-40
      in which Christ analogises the Pharisees with the ‘gods’ described in Psalm 82. They had ruled unwisely and would be judged by ‘that righteous man’; (Acts 17v41)

      The verse “I and my Father are one’ is often misinterpreted since the word used for ‘one’ ,”hen’ is used in other contexts to describe ‘having a common purpose” 1 Corinthians 3v8 …. or “united with a single purpose” Philippians 2v2

      It’s all so simple -unless you make it otherwise!
      Blessings
      John

    • john b

      Ben
      It’s a contradiction of the Trinity because the rules the Trinity have been breached!

      Just a couple of final thoughts
      (i) Who did Christ say we should pray to– our Father
      (who is also His Father)
      (ii) The Prologue to Revelation
      “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to
      Him”
      (iii) 1 Corinthians 15 v28
      “And when all things have been subjected to him
      then shall the Son also be subjected unto him that
      put all things under him , that God may be all in
      all”

      Ihave such insights almost every day – and seldom have had to pause and consider a contrary view.
      When I have these are quickly resolved.
      This doctrine has survived because of lack of information by the common man – driven by fear. Time up!!!
      Blessings
      John

    • John

      Who should we pray to? John 14:14, “if you ask me anything in my name, I will do it”

      As for your other dot points, you just assume they somehow support you without elaboration. Needless to say, we don’t know what you see.

    • Ben Thorp

      “It’s a contradiction of the Trinity because the rules the Trinity have been breached!”

      Lets be very clear here. The Trinity is 3 in 1 and 1 in 3. Finding a passage where Jesus refers to the Father is *in no way* a contradiction of the Trinity. That’s the whole point of the Trinity. You sometimes seem to think that Trinitarians are basically unitarians who believe the Jesus is God rather than the Father.

      Let us also be clear about authority and equality. The 3 are equal, but defer in authority. The Bible is clear that the Son defers to the Father, and the Spirit to the Son, but that they are also equal.

      “This doctrine has survived because of lack of information by the common man – driven by fear.”

      Wow. This is possibly the most arrogant thing you have said. To imply that the only reason that the Trinity has survived is because the common man is uninformed is to make light of some of the greatest theological minds of the past 2000 years.

    • john b

      John
      You are quote right – the inspired apostolic deposit of faith resudes in the Church. The history of the church does not give one cause for comfort! ‘Men of clay..”

      I am ashamed to admit that the early Protestants have cause to hang their heads in shame. They tried to exterminate my wife’s ancestors, whose only ‘sin’ was to ask to go back to a ‘zero-base’. The lucky ones eventually escaped to Philadelphia in the USA.

      Even today many churches ‘boot out’ believers who question the Doctrine.

      You ask ‘which books should be considered scripture-
      I don’t know but for starters the acceptable material
      should reflect (in my opinion)
      ONE God
      Gods Laws
      and because we fail to match up- Gods grace
      the indwelling power of the holy spirit

      As Erasmus said, there should be enough material to hold all good men together . Define as little as possible to achieve this. Think inclusively not exclusively.
      FEAR is the enemy.

      Best wishes
      John B

    • John

      That’s a very non-answer JohnB, and very circular. You list 3 criteria, which one might ask oneself by what authority you list them. But even if we shut our eyes and just accept you as Pope and take on board those three, we still have a wide range of answers. Are the scriptures from Qumran inspired for example? The church fathers? Various early writings, the Didache, 1st Clement, the gosple of Thomas, the gospel of James? What about all the various ancient Judeo-Christian works circulating in Ethiopia?

      Come on JohnB, enquiring minds want to know.

    • john b

      John
      I did not say I has all the answers.
      I said “I don’t know , but for starters…”

      It is up to every person to reach their own conclusions – and there are as many conclusions as there persons on
      this earth. One thing I learnt at university is that the truth is out there somewhere -you just have to scramble through the rubbish and red-herrings.
      I don’t believe that the truth resides within one person or group.
      My own view is whatever our personal views we are judged by our behaviour towards our fellow man.
      I also agree with Karen Armstrong that to some extent we construct an image of God which has greatest utility to us.

      Your questions are meaningless – it’s like asking someone how many stars there are!

      Regards
      John

    • john b

      Ben
      You are defying the laws of logic!
      If we say A = B then we can say that B=A
      If God is Christ then can we say Christ=God.
      If you are a trinitarian then you believe that God is more than Christ- ‘God ‘ by your definition is three persons sharing one substance

      If we say that a=b and b=c then we can say a=c
      If we say Christ is God
      and God is a trinity
      then Christ must be a trinity ??????/

      There are lots os these if you’d like?

      You say
      “you sometimes seem to think that Trinitarians are Unitarians who believe Jesus is God rather than the Father”
      Absoluely not
      There is one supreme God and he is the Father.
      Christ is his Son
      The Holy Spirit is Gods power in his creation.

      Forgive me if you think I am arrogant – I simply cannot understand how intelligent men people can stick with the doctrine of the trinity. I think we need to consult behavioural scientists to work that one out.!!
      Regards
      John

    • Ben Thorp

      “You are defying the laws of logic!
      If we say A = B then we can say that B=A
      If God is Christ then can we say Christ=God.
      If you are a trinitarian then you believe that God is more than Christ- ‘God ‘ by your definition is three persons sharing one substance
      If we say that a=b and b=c then we can say a=c
      If we say Christ is God
      and God is a trinity
      then Christ must be a trinity ??????/”

      You’re trying to use maths to explain the Trinity? I think whoever taught you about the doctrine of the Trinity didn’t know what they were talking about.

      The laws of logic are created, just like any other law of nature. I’m more interested in worshipping the creator. The Trinity _does_ defy logic, yes. But then – if my God is truly understandable and explainable by man, then maybe my God is too small….

      ““you sometimes seem to think that Trinitarians are Unitarians who believe Jesus is God rather than the Father”
      Absoluely not”

      I think you misunderstood what I was saying. Your approach towards defeating Trinitarian doctrine seems to be to show passages where Jesus is referred to as the Son, almost as if you think we believe that Jesus is God, and nothing else.

    • John

      “If we say A = B then we can say that B=A”

      Except nobody is saying Christ=God.

      “If God is Christ then can we say Christ=God.”

      Except nobody is saying “god is Christ”

      “If we say Christ is God
      and God is a trinity
      then Christ must be a trinity ??????”

      Really? Let’s apply that to another situation.

      “If we say Coca-Cola is soda
      and Soda is a range of carbonated beverages of various wide ranging flavours and colours
      then Coca-cola must be a beverage of wide ranging flavours and colours ??????”

      You seem to be a smart enough fellow JohnB, but do you really think you have better logical skills than the history if the church? That’s pretty arrogant.

      “It is up to every person to reach their own conclusions – and there are as many conclusions as there persons on this earth.”

      Wow, that’s your answer, relativism? All I’ve got to say then is that my source of authority says your interpretation is wrong, and you’ve really got no comeback.

    • john b

      John,
      Your Coca-Cola = soda example intrigued me.!!!
      Of course in this case Coca-Cola is a sub-set of ‘Cola’ which in turn is a sub-set of’ beverages.’

      I live in the centre of Africa and am surrounded by evangeicals who insist that Christ = God.

      You say that no-one is saying this, but note-
      C. Michael Collins , our host, poses the question in his submission – “when did Christ know that he was God?”

      Where I come from the teaching is that-
      Father is God
      Son is God
      Holy Spirit is God

      But, according to the Trinitarian definition of “God’
      you cannot say”Holy Spirit is God” or “Son is God’ – because God is by their definition much more than this.

      I am not saying there is no right or wrong and that everything is ‘relative’ – but I am quite convinced that we will all ultimately be judged by God, on our treatment of his creation – particularly our fellow man.
      Of course salvation is by Gods good grace, and we are assisted to achieve this by the Holy Spirit.
      I do not accept ‘perpetual salvation’ based blood sacrifice .
      I live in a society where evil genocidal sociopaths
      ‘rule the roost’ and claim to be ‘born again’
      There has got to be some repentance and change in behaviour – in my opinion.

      Strangely, for six decades I was quite happy to accept the concept of “Godhead’ and leave it at that – but insistance on “Christ= God” triggered my desire to ‘get things right’.

      Best wishes
      John B

    • John

      So is English your native language JohnB? Seems like it, but then you live in Africa.

      IS is not the same as ==

      Like most words, IS can have a range of meaning. One of the meanings is “belongs to the category of”. Another meaning is “consists of”. On the other hand == has a strict mathematical type connotation of equivalence.

      Coca-cola is soda. Lemonade is soda. Fanta is soda. But you can’t say that soda is lemonade. You can’t say lemonade=soda.

      Maybe the evangelicals where you are, are confused about the trinity. Plenty of them are. Or maybe you didn’t understand what they were saying. One reason I became Eastern Orthodox is that I think this group has a better grasp of the meaning of the trinity than any of the other groups I’ve come across. Better in the sense of both more biblical, more historical, more logical and easier to understand. So it should be, because we explained it in the first place. Which is not to say that we think other Trinitarian groups are wrong. But from my point of view, they often seem very confusing. You need to go back to the sources, or I would argue Eastern Orthodoxy, to get a clearer view on the meaning for trinity. We are the group who states the formula in church every Sunday, often in the original Greek. Go read what the church fathers said on the topic. Go read Athanasius for example.

      I don’t understand about your comment on perpetual salvation through blood sacrifice. What do you accept, and how does it differ to…

    • Ben Thorp

      You said:
      “But, according to the Trinitarian definition of “God’
      you cannot say”Holy Spirit is God” or “Son is God’ – because God is by their definition much more than this.”

      But you couldn’t be more wrong. That is _precisely_ what the Trinitarian definition is.

      The Westminster Confession puts it this way: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son”

      Athanasius was mentioned above. The Athanasian Creed (albeit possibly not penned by Athanasius) is a good statement of the Trinity. It’s also summed up in this image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-compact.svg or the following statements:

      1. Father is God
      2. Jesus is God
      3. Holy Spirit is God
      4. Father is not Jesus
      5. Father is not Holy Spirit
      6. Jesus is not Holy Spirit
      7. There is one God

      And let’s be clear. This doesn’t seem “logical” (as I stated above). We are designed to live in the tension, in the mystery, of the un-knowable-ness of God. We can discuss all you like, but if your end game is to fully understand God, then you will fail, particular if your arbiter of understanding is “logic”.

    • John

      Whats not logical about it? I’m kinda bored with people saying the trinity is not logical. I’d like someone to prove that, or stop saying it.

    • john b

      Ben
      We don’t seem to be ‘connecting’ but I would like to state that I really do not care for tradition or the statements by church bodies.
      The Trinity is a man-made construct and a product of human reason and speculation.
      It is NOT scriptural. Full stop!!
      You cannot show me that
      Christ is God and
      Spirit is God. (at least not as a person)

      Blessings
      John

    • John

      The bible is “statements from church bodies”.

      It’s kind of ironic that having gone all relativistic on us concerning what should be considered inspired by God, you are now lecturing us on what is truth and what is mere speculation. How did you decide which is which?

      So…. What would the bible have to say for you to be convinced that Christ is God? I’m struggling to see how you could deny it. What is the key thing missing?

    • john b

      John
      I.m time constrained right now -but just a few comments
      (i) Set theory is more appropriate in this case.
      But a member of a set is NOT the set.
      Thats why the ‘old’ concept of a ‘Godhead’ had more
      meaning for me
      (ii) Pleased to hear you are Eastern Orthodox!
      I was walking through Melbourne in Australia
      and my son indicated an interesting ‘entrance’ to a
      modern-ish building and indicated that we should
      go inside. We walked straight into an old Orthodox
      Cathedral. Absolutely beautiful. A pamphlet in
      English invited us to attend services -in English.
      I emphesised immediately with some of it’s contents.
      (iii) We have a smallish Greek community where I live
      and I have animated discussions with my friends
      on stuff like the ‘filioque’ debate -on which I agree
      with my friends.
      (iv) So much of the acrimonious debate during the fifth
      sixth and seventh cenruries was due to the
      ‘richness’ of the Greek language and the ‘paucity’ of
      Latin. I far prefer the “Eastern’ view on many
      subjects…e.g. Atonement etc.

      You asked me to explain ‘perpetual salvation through blood sacrifice” . It’s the idea that by the shedding of Christs blood, believers are given a ‘blank cheque’ for sins – both past and present.
      Luther helped create confusion by his ‘sin boldly’ letter.

      I know people who admit to murdering opponents who sit in church…

    • john b

      John
      …who sit in church every Sunday and exhibit no remorse at all.
      That’s why I said that there has got to be some evidence of repentance – by altered behaviour -particularly towards their fellow man.
      The emphesis on ‘shedding of blood’ is allegorical- not literal Just ask a Hebrew to tell you
      (i) The ‘qualifications’ for being a sacrifice
      (ii) The conditions on which atonement was granted- certainly not for future sin!!
      The gospel writers were trying to find an analogy which would satisfy Hebrew believers.

      The Catholics are quite rightly outraged by Luthers ‘sin boldly’ document – they say that Luther clearly did not appreciate the difference between ‘belief in’ and ‘belief on’

      Of course.

      I still have found no scripture to support many of the components of the various creeds.

      “Godhead’ OK
      “Trinity” -human speculation!

      Best Wishes
      John

    • john b

      John
      I have not gone ‘all relativistic’ on you – I am NOT saying and never have said that there is no right nor wrong and no rules.
      Did you read my blog – number 12 dated
      February 15 2012 at 12,07a.m. in it’s entirety.?

      YOU do NOT have a single proof verse to prove your hypothesis.
      Only tradition which is a product of human reason and speculation. Blessings
      John

    • John

      I don’t know where your blog is.

      You’re not answering many questions. How do you know I haven’t got a proof verse, since when I asked how you know what is inspired, you said oh well, you can have your own personal beliefs about what is inspired. So right there you lost.

      But if we just want to take what you think is inspired, which I’m guessing is a Protestant bible, you won’t tell me what evidence we need. We’ve got verses saying he “is God”, that he is “our God and savior”, “mighty God”, “creator” and verses equating him to Yahweh. What more do we need? You tell me, and I’ll find it.

    • John B

      John
      I’m so sorry, I quoted the wrong reference number.
      As I originally stated it was submission 12 -of the SECOND chapter. i.e. submission 62.

      The references I gave you were part of the answer I gave to Ben Thorpe who seemed to find 2 Peter 1v1 as a proof text.

      So
      Please refer to blog 62

      Then to 66 and 67 to find my answer to part of your most recent submission -i.e. “Our God and Savior”
      Verse 1 stands out in contrast to so many verses which state “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’

      Before I take a short break, I’ll deal with one more of the points you raised – you say Christ was referred to as “God’ and I assume that you are referring to a NT reference to Psalm 45 v 7?
      Trinitarians regard this verse as prophetic -to be taken literally.
      Non-Trinitarians say Psalm 45 v7 is a sort of ‘foreshadowing typology’ – but not to be construed literally in a NT context.
      Note that the word “god’ is in the lower case in scholarly Bibles. This is the King who is marrying.

      Verse 8 shows the whole picture “therefore God, YOUR God has anointed you” This is YHWH.

      Verse 10 is interesting and the NAB Bible translates the verse as “daughtes of Kings are your lovely wives”

      THESE VERSES REFLECT CHRIST ONLY IF YOU HAVE”THE EYES FOR IT”!!!
      The text refers to a royal wedding , nothing more

      Back presently.!!
      Regards
      John

    • John B

      Hi John
      The next one you gave me is “Mighty God”
      Obviously you are referring to Isaiah 9v5.
      The words appear in most versions of the Bible in print.

      The words are translated from the Hebrew words “el-gibbor’ – which has many meanings

      The word ‘el’ can mean anything from ‘sir’ to a mighty person, to ‘god’ to ‘God”

      The word ‘gibbor’ means ‘mighty’ or ‘brave’. See Genesis 10v9 and Zech 9v13

      Conmined the words ‘el and gibbor’ can be used to describe a ‘god hero’ like David -or as in Isaiah 9v5 they are taken to mean “Mighty God” in most Christian Bibles.
      Hebrew Bibles and the catholic NAB Bible state ‘God Hero”.

      The words appear in their plural form in Ezekiel 32.21 to mean “the mightiest of mighty men”

      Now the ‘fun ‘ begins.

      Trinitarians say that this verse is prophetic and that the child born is Christ -confirming Trinitarian doctrine.

      Non-Trinitarians say ‘not so”!
      The NAB chose to accept that the subject is a human- not God – and the footnote is most revealing

      Christ was never called “everlasting Father”
      ‘They name him” – not ‘he is’

      Space is short so-

      The Hebrews say the child is Hezekiah and the text is in the PRESENT TENSE – This tense is reflected in the NAB translation!

      The debate is acrimonious – and truth suffers.

      Many books have been written on this subject!

      Interestingly this theme is never taken up in the NT texts!

      Take your pick!
      Blessings
      John

    • John B

      John
      Sorry to labour this.
      The next word you raised is ‘creator’

      This causes some confusion because of some confusing texts.

      However

      “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”
      Is this God the father of Moses, Abraham and Isaac and our Lord Jesus Christ’ -OR “God in three persons one of whom has a double nature”???

      In Revelation Chapter 5 we see the one who sits on the throne and is credited with creating the heavens and the earth. He is surrounded by Kings and beasts. That is YHWH – God Almighty

      In Chapter 6 we see a Lamb among the crowd assembled around the throne that was DEEMED worthy to open the seals. THAT IS CHRIST.

      Of course we see verses that speak of Christ as “creator of all things new”… a ‘new Adam’ ..” a new covenant’.

      Desperate literalists will hang on to each word and try to make the words fit their doctrine.

      WHICH BRINGS ME TO A NEW SUBJECT
      You have challenged me to reveal which scriptures Iaccept and which I reject.
      The answer is that we must use our God given intellect and common-sense when reading scriptures.
      The Hebrews know the OT is NOT literally correct and have MIDRASH to explain the ‘funnies’ Consider
      (i) God sent Moses to Egypt and intercepted him on the way and announced his intention of killing him because he was travelling with an uncircumcised male
      (ii) Does Leviticus really suggest less justice for the poor?
      (iii)Did God really say you could take a beautiful enemy woman…

    • John B

      John
      … and spare her and take her for your own!(after certain procedures)

      (iv) Did God almighty really endorse ‘ethnic cleansing’ or are certain alleged instructions politically motivated?

      Even in the NT we have versions of stories which do not quite ‘tie up”

      Literalists ignore these and focus, in desperation ‘ on finding ‘proof verses’ for their doctrine.

      THERE ARE NONE.

      In the end ‘ TRUTH RESIDES AT A HIGHER LEVEL – and NOT in the literal word. What do I mean by that?

      Take Genesis
      Do you believe there were two trees, apples and a snake? Or Do you believe that Man’s first sin was to try to make himself equal with God – as is picked up in Philippians 2… in other words , the story is allegorical?

      The Tower of Babel story has the same message.!

      There is very clever imagery and the literalists lose it!

      As Erasmus said “mankind craves certainty’ – and that God chooses not to reveal many things.” We just have to accept it!!

      Blessings
      John

    • Ken Blatchford

      Jesus could not have gotten a math problem wrong. Who is smarter Einstien or Jesus? I would say Jesus not because he is my hero and Savior but because his mind would be absolutely clear. Clear of sin that causes errors in judgment, errors in speaking and errors in thinking. Clear thinking is what I look forward to in my glorified state. To be able to look at things God has made and understand it artistically, mechanically and mathematically purely and correctly because sin will no longer cloud the thinking of this Christian. Jesus had that ability all along. His clear thinking was due to his sinless nature. Einstien on the other hand might wander in his thoughts to lusting for some dame while on his fifth interval of calculus causing him to be wrong in his calculation. Who might know he erred? I suppose Jesus would. He did understand human nature quite well since He did come to fix that problem.

    • David Stevenson

      I believe we should think of Jesus as Adam before the fall, what could a perfect human do? I believe everything Jesus did and or could do was as Adam before the fall, all He did in the gospel witness was as a perfect human.

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