“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. . . . You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.”

by J. R. Daniel Kirk

These famous words by C. S. Lewis beautifully encapsulate the Christianity of my childhood. They underscore how central Jesus’s divinity has been to the church’s confession of faith for the past sixteen hundred years. And they provide a trenchant lens for coming to terms with Jesus as he is depicted in the Gospel of John.

But they also provide a set of blinders that have the power to keep us from ever coming fully to terms with Jesus as he is portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels.

In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus says very few things that explicitly claim lordship for himself, and none at all that assert preexistence or divinity. John is full of such references, but the Synoptic Gospels seem to be telling a different story.

A Man Attested by God provides some pointers for reconceiving the gospel as a story about Jesus as The Human One, an idealized human figure who plays the roles and performs the functions that Israel’s God always intended for humanity—and Israel, and its kings—to fulfill.

Of course, biblical scholars aren’t usually in the habit of appealing to C. S. Lewis in our exegetical arguments. The case for a divine Jesus in the Synoptic texts has been made through more subtle appeals to the way in which Jesus plays various roles or receives certain honors that have otherwise been reserved for God alone in early Judaism.

This is why the chapter I consider the most important in A Man Attested by Godcontains a lengthy engagement with Judaism. There I show that various strands of biblical and post-biblical Jewish traditions regularly depict idealized humans playing the role of God on earth.

What’s surprising isn’t that Jewish people depicted someone exercising authority over demons (see David/Solomon) or receiving God’s Spirit (see David, again) or multiplying bread (see Elisha) or curing leprosy (see Elisha, again) or claiming to be son of God (see Adam, David, Israel) or son of man (see Israel, Enoch).

What’s surprising in the Gospels is the claim that this particular human being, this crucified Jewish peasant, was celebrated as the one in whom the embodiment of such divine powers had reached its apex. What’s surprising is the claim that the eschatological apogee of human life has already come, in the outskirts of Galilee, and been raised from the dead by the power of God.

My experience in both the church and the academy is that we haven’t gotten very far past the idea that to say “human” is to say something diminutive. The phrase “I’m only human”—so often used as an excuse for weakness and failure—captures the way we immediately think of our humanity as something inherently negative. When it comes to our thinking about Jesus, we too often bring this understanding with us: Jesus became human so that he could be identified with everything that’s wrong in the world, in order that (through his identity as God) it might be fixed.

But what if the idea that humanity is the image of God—that when one looks at a human one comes as close as possible in this life to beholding God’s own face—is not an idea that God has given up on? What if the plan to have a faithful humanity ruling the world on God’s behalf is not a plan that God has abandoned despite the mockery we have so often made of it?

What if a human who is fully and quintessentially human is the one thing that the world actually needed in order to be finally set to rights—and for us to be set to rights upon it?

J. R. Daniel Kirk

J. R. Daniel Kirk

This is the story that I believe the Synoptic Gospels are telling. It’s a story whose dynamic Irenaeus referred to as “recapitulation.” It’s the story of Jesus as the “idealized human figure” that we see on the pages of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. While we turn to John to begin our quest to understanding as the preexistent Word of God made flesh, we turn to the Synoptic Gospels in order to understand the story of Jesus as a man attested by God.

* * *

Read more from J. R. Daniel Kirk on his Storied Theology blog, and order A Man Attested by God at Eerdmans.com



Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Books, Christianity, Recommended Reading

126 replies

  1. Explain Christ’s birth from Luke.

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    • Or, if you prefer, start here, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Explain how He was conceived through the Holy Spirit and was born to a virgin as described in a Synoptic gospel, supports your story.

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    • what’s to explain? There is no Incarnation in Luke, no pre-existence. Do you agree with Luke?

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  2. Yawn.

    False dichotomy. Jesus is portrayed as an idealized human figure – he was god incarnate as fully human after all, so what else could he be, Einstein? – and he was clearly divine.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

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  3. And your boy Bart grudgingly agrees that jesus is portrayed as god in all the gospels……

    https://ehrmanblog.org/jesus-as-god-in-the-synoptics-for-members/

    OUCH!

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  4. I’m a boob. What was I thinking? DUH!

    Most people are born of virgins! My cousin was a virgin when she had Luigi. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, too. My mother was a virgin until her 9th child. Aunt Betty was conceived through the Holy Ghost. She was special. Her six older brothers resulted from some ordinary dude who never would marry her mother.

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    • But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you harbor evil in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”…

      He was a magician! Amazing Kreskin reads minds, too. And he heals a lot of people. I know this guy Frank who used to live around the corner. He put up a sign: I FORGIVE SIN AND HEAL–TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE–open weekdays Tuesday through Friday, noon to 3 pm. No appointment necessary. Most major insurance accepted.

      And his mother wasn’t even a virgin

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    • {After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

      Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

      While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”]}

      Wait. That sounds like God is worshiping someone. His Son? Would that be Elijah? Must be Elijah! His mom was a virgin, I’m pretty sure.

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  5. Later, as Jesus was dining at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.…For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners…But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’

    [He wanted their votes and cash, is what he wanted. He was running for Chief Admiral of the Israeli Navy. A clandestine military operation. Am almost positive. He walked on water remember. Dead giveaway]

    Guess what?

    At that time, John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast so often, but Your disciples do not fast?” Jesus replied, “How can the attendants of the bridegroom mourn while He is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast.…

    Bridegroom? Jesus was getting hitched? Jesus was going to get married and then go on a long honeymoon? Then the guys at the wedding from Jesus’ side would mourn and stop eating and drinking? His wife was going to take Him away? Where did she take Him? This sounds like a plot to exchange Jesus Christ for an impostor from Egypt, I’m pretty sure.

    This is getting interesting.

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  6. But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit worthy of repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

    I baptize you with water for repentance, ( water makes a guy repent? News to me) but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

    Baptize with the Holy Spirit? Where did that crazy cat get that idea? What is a Holy Spirit? Sounds like a cult. Why didn’t John do the deed with this Spirit dude? Conspiracy! That must be it!

    Whose sandals could he not carry? Elijah? What was he doing with somebody else’s shoes, anyway? Couldn’t afford new ones. Bet cha.

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  7. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus says very few things that explicitly claim lordship for himself, . . .

    Oh, except claiming He is Lord (Yahweh) of the Sabbath Day – Mark 2:28, which is a claim to be God Almighty of Genesis chapters 1-2, the creator of all things who created in 6 days and then rested on the 7th day.

    oops.

    oops . . . Mark 2:1-10 shows Jesus is God by being able to forgive sins . . . oops. The Scribes admitted this, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7)

    oops.

    and many more passages where Matthew, Mark, and Luke call Jesus “Lord” ( kurios) = Yahweh, Master, Lord of lords.

    oops

    Matthew 7:21-23 –
    Lord, Lord” = about Jesus on the day of judgment. (“on that day”)

    oops

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    • Mark 2:28 in the original Aramaic simply means human being.

      Mark 2: 1-10 read in light of the same story in Matthew suggests that God had given Jesus this authority.

      Kurios has a wide spectrum of meanings in Greek from Sir all the way to God. It can be a title given to a human being.

      Liked by 1 person

    • original Aramaic of Mark ? where is this?

      In context, since the Pharisees were objecting to Jesus’ disciples working on the Sabbath Day, the claim of Jesus is a claim of Deity.

      And Jesus as “Son of Man” – He is claiming to be the Divine figure of Daniel 7:13-14 who goes up to the ancient of Days and sits down at His right hand. (ascends to heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father) and is given a kingdom of people from all nations and they come and worship Him. Mark 14:60-64 – that is why the Jewish leaders accuse Him of blasphemy and call for His death. It is clear.

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    • I assume Jesus spoke Aramaic. Of course we do not have Jesus’ actual speech anymore – a major loss. The divine figure in Daniel represents the people of the most high ie Israel. They approach God – so they are logically not God, ‘worshiped’ is better translated as serve (see modern translations of this passage).

      Blasphemy at that time was a wider category than today. An unworthy claim to be God’s special anointed one could elicit such a reaction.

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    • But it was written in Greek; as all scholars agree.

      So, as a Muslim, do you agree that Jesus sits at the right hand of God and judges and has a kingdom of peoples from all nations and tribes and they come and worship and serve Him at God’s right hand at His throne?

      The word for worship is strong.

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    • But Jesus actually taught in Aramaic. We must never loose sight of this. It helps us to have a clearer sense of what Jesus meant by terms such as son if man and lord = mar. Scholars do this kind of work.

      Worship is ok if it is understood more loosely as applying to human beings. The sons of the most high you say are worshiped were human beings of course.

      Serve is a better translation as it avoids misunderstandings.

      The gospels talk of the disciples too judging people at the End not just Jesus. Are they God?

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    • Yes, Jesus spoke orally in Aramaic, but the gospel writers wrote it in Koine Greek, so that it would go out to all the nations living in the Roman Empire at the time, in a language that more peoples could understand and it was written down so that we would have it later in history to read, study, and understand. Psalm 110:1 used 2 Hebrew words for “Lord”, but they are both translated in Greek as Kurios, (in both Lxx and all three Synoptics, another example where Ehrman and you are wrong)

      εἶπεν ὁ κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου

      “The Lord said to My Lord sit at My right hand”

      נְאֻם יְהוָה לַֽאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִֽימִינִי

      Yahweh and Adoni – shows that Jesus is Yahweh. (Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44)

      That all three synoptics translate the passage this way shows that all three of them understand Jesus’ claims to be God; and again, Ehrman is proved wrong, as is Daniel Kirk, and you.

      Mark many times does keep the Aramaic in the text:
      Mark 3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 14:36; 15:22, 15:34 and translates it into Greek.

      I wonder why Mark does NOT do that for Lord in Mark 12:35-37 ?

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    • The problem is that Greek is a very different language to Aramaic. You inevitably loose something in translation. And so we miss much of the nuance and meaning of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels as we have them.

      Fortunately in Islam we have the actual original words of the Quran and Muhammad.

      Obviously Jesus is not and cannot be Yahweh in the synoptic gospels as Jesus prays to and worships Yahweh. Your view entails an absurdity. This is one reason why I am no longer a Christian,

      Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, we gained more by it being written in Greek, as it is a more precise language; and was able to spread throughout many cultures in the Roman Empire.

      Jesus prayed to the Father, yes. This proves Modalism is wrong. One God, in three persons.

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    • You are wrong. Translators know well that something of the original language is always lost in translation, especially when we go from Semitic to non Semitic languages. Son of man is idiomatic in Aramaic but strange in Greek (and English). Ignoring this fact has caused much misunderstanding in Christian readings of the Greek gospels. You have unfortunately fallen into this trap yourself.

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    • And you have no answer for the use of Psalm 110:1 by Jesus Himself, in all three synoptics, which proves you and Ehrman and Kirk are all wrong.

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    • Not so. His speaks to the messiah. In Hebrew there are not two gods.

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    • Trinitarians NEVER say there are two gods. One God in three persons. Two of the persons are there in Psalm 110 and Daniel 7:13-14, which are the two texts that Jesus quotes at His trial to the Jewish leaders – Mark 14:60-64

      Boom!

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    • Psalm 110 only mention 1 God Yahweh. Daniel 7 only refers to 1 God. You are reading your own theology into the texts, an intellectual sin.

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    • Why did the Jews translate both words as Kurios around 280-200 BC ? (in the Lxx) ?

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    • kurios can mean different things in different contexts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Then why didn’t Jesus say to the Jews in Mark 14:60-64 – “uh, guys, you misunderstand me, I didn’t mean to claim that; I only meant that I am some kind of exalted human, therefore I am not blaspheming, . . . etc. ?

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    • because in Mark he remains silent.

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    • no He did not – only at first He did in verse 61; but then He spoke up in verse 62, “I am . . . and you shall see the son of Man coming in power on the clouds and sitting at the right hand of power”, etc. Mark 14:60-64

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    • Jesus read the text that way 2000 years ago long before me. Why did He take them that way in Mark 14:60-64 ? (that He is Yahweh and fulfills Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 110:1) ?

      Did Jesus, Peter, Mark, Luke, and Matthew commit an intellectual sin there?

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    • no the only sin is yours Ken. Repent. None of those passages say Jesus is God. You read that into the words.

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    • I already did repent and trusted Christ and He saved me and justified me and washed me clean and saved me and changed me into a new person.

      “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
      2 Corinthians 5:17

      ” I was blind; now I see” John 9:25

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    • Yahweh = the Father of Israel = the Father of Jesus

      You are confusing the persons: The Father ≠ The Son.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is why the doctrine is that one God in substance (Yahweh), and the three persons share in the same substance, ie, are Yahweh in essence; but three in persons.

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    • Yahweh is not a three personal substance. Yahweh is the Father of Israel = the Father of Jesus. Who says there is NO God BESIDE HIM.

      You are losing touch.

      Liked by 1 person

    • //Why did the Jews translate both words as Kurios around 280-200 BC ? (in the Lxx) ?//

      What evidence you have by claiming that?

      I believe Jews have always read their scriptures in Hebrew — not in Greek. Also the “original” septuagint was only the five books of Moses, the Torah. No evidence who really translated the Neviim and the Ketubim into Greek nor when. Obviously neither there was no “quality control” over these translations.
      I strongly suspect the surviving Septuagint mss must likely was a composite, a later christian redaction not the actual jewish translation. That’s why the jews discard it for any theological and homiletic use.

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    • They were Jews. The whole OT (TaNaKh) was finished by about 150-132 BC, long before Jesus was even born or john the Baptist started preaching. They were all Jews in 150-132 BC. They translated both words as kurios in Psalm 110:1 and Hebrew word, Alma (young woman of marriage-able age) as Parthenos = “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14.

      Boom!

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  8. Hey. I forgive sins, too. I’ve forgiven lots of people for doing all kinds of garbage. Jesus think he was some super religious dude? Plus, Jesus didn’t even work while He traipsed around the country. He used people. He was a song and dance cat

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  9. Bart Ehrman wrote: at the link given by Trey:

    With respect to the forgiveness of sins: when Jesus forgives sins, he never says “I forgive you,” . . .

    Yes He does !! in verses 10, (Mark 2:10) and He proves He has authority to forgive sins by healing the man.

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  10. “Dude calm down. This blog is a place for serious discussion. Ok?” PW

    Who me? I’m enlightening you bro. Very serious Paul. The fate of humanity rests upon what we do with this Guy, Paul. No?

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  11. Yes, Jesus spoke orally in Aramaic, but the gospel writers wrote it in Koine Greek, so that it would go out to all the nations living in the Roman Empire at the time, in a language that more peoples could understand and it was written down so that we would have it later in history to read, study, and understand. Psalm 110:1 used 2 Hebrew words for “Lord”, but they are both translated in Greek as Kurios, (in both Lxx and all three Synoptics, another example where Ehrman and you are wrong)

    εἶπεν ὁ κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου

    “The Lord said to My Lord sit at My right hand”

    נְאֻם יְהוָה לַֽאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִֽימִינִי

    Yahweh and Adoni – shows that Jesus is Yahweh. (Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44)

    That all three synoptics translate the passage this way shows that all three of them understand Jesus’ claims to be God; and again, Ehrman is proved wrong, as is Daniel Kirk, and you.

    Mark many times does keep the Aramaic in the text:
    Mark 3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 14:36; 15:22, 15:34 and translates it into Greek.

    I wonder why Mark does NOT do that for Lord in Mark 12:35-37 ?

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  12. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

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  13. “They correctly understood what was happening.” pw

    eventually. when the Spirit came. And when He blew in, they proceeded to turn the world right side up. Defeated cowards moments before, He filled them to overflowing and they set humanity ablaze with love. Despite the lions and the hangings and being burned alive upside down to serve as candles as darkness fell, they persisted to believe in Him resurrected from the grave.

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  14. “You are wrong. Translators know well that something of the original language is always lost in translation, especially when we go from Semitic to non Semitic languages.” pw

    not always true. in fact, translations can enhance and add insight

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    • good point. All translation is interpretation – so Jesus’ words have been interpreted by the evangelists who have put their own slant/theological spin on his words – especially the Fourth Gospel.

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    • @Ken: Suppose based on all the above verse it one can conclude that Jesus could some how be divine. But why go for that interpretation when the fact of the matter is

      1. God == the one whom prophets of OT worshiped and whom Jesus worshiped.
      2. We know that Jesus only worshiped “the Father”
      3. We also know that neither Prophets of OT nor Jesus worshiped any other persons, beings, entities
      4. So it follows that “the son” or “holy ghost” can’t be God.

      Therefore why even bother going to “textual” criticism when simple, plain, clear as day TRUTH is apparent , that only “the father” is God and non besides him are god.

      Once this fact sinks in then you will start understanding the verses of Gospels in real way, the way Jesus taught them and the the way Disciples understood them.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Also we Muslims need to stop taking the “bait” by disproving divinity of Jesus based on meaning of Gospel verses alone. Words are easy and it can be interpreted in any way one wants. The correct way is to take both “actions” and words of Jesus into account. That’s how we judge people in real life. That is how justice system works. That is how we elect people in office. That is how we choose our life partners etc.

    Similarly to get a “theological” view on any matter about Jesus we need to look at what Jesus actually did AND said. e.g in “proving” divinity of anything the first question that we need to ask is whether Jesus or any prophet of OT actually worshiped that entity. If there is evidence then well and good else even that “option” should not be on the table as a viable interpretation.

    Same thing on salvation. Did Jesus or his disciples “live a life” AND “taught” that salvation is by “believing in his death and resurrection”? If there is no evidence then we shouldn’t even discuss the possibility of crucifixion because at that point it is irrelevant to the larger question of salvation.

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    • RM
      Exactly, Great points.

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    • RationalMuslim

      Thanks. As simple as that. I hope Ken Temple and his lieutenants understands this.

      Thanks.

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    • Good that you brothers found these simple arguments useful. Actually I have taken this line of arguments with some very learned pastors/evangelical scholars in my town (of course in a very civil way) and they have admitted they don’t have answer to these.

      But one “missionary” said how can Jesus worship “the Son”, when is the same being.Well my answer was equally terse. I said that is “precisely” what I am trying to get at “How can one god worship another” 🙂

      Also if it was possible for Jesus to worship “the father”, why he never worshiped “the holy ghost”, after all that being is a different person than “the son” according to their standard theology. Complete silence and bewilderment on the face of the missionary who was “hoping” to convert me 🙂

      Well our job is not to win arguments. Our job is to really make the addressee think and when he starts to think rationally then insha allah he will guided by Allah.

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    • RM,
      Thanks for your insights.

      Al-Hidayah min Allah.

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    • The substance / essence / nature (ذات ، جوهر ) of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are the same essence, so to worship one of them is to worship all three persons of the Trinity, Trinitas Unitas.
      Jesus accepted worship; He never refused it, so He was and is Deity.
      Matthew 2:1-12
      Matthew 14:33
      John 20:28
      Matthew 28:9
      John 5:23
      Hebrews 1:6, 8 – commands to worship the Son, and the throne of God is the Son’s forever, “But of the Son, it says, “Thy Throne O God is forever”
      Revelation 5:8-14

      Also, Jesus’ holy and pious character points to His Deity.
      He never sinned. John 8:46; John 19:4
      Even the Qur’an confesses this – Surah 19:19

      Jesus predicted His death and resurrection at least 3 times before it happened.(Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:32-33; also John 2:19-22)
      Jesus rose from the dead. (Matthew 27; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21; I Corinthians 15)

      What do you do with the empty tomb?
      What do you do with the appearances of Jesus to His disciples?
      What do you with Him showing them His body to touch and feel? (Luke 24:39; John 20:26-29)
      Why were the Romans nor the Jews never able to find His body, if they or someone else had stolen it?

      Why would the disciples preach His death and resurrection with boldness and get persecuted for it if they had secretly stolen it? (Acts chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and more)

      Jesus never conquered anybody, never entered into politics, and never fought back or did violence to anyone. (He rebuked the hypocrites and Pharisees, and overturned the tables in the temple full of the money-changers, etc. – but that was justice.)
      Jesus loved people, the lepers, the poor, slaves, etc.
      Jesus ministered to the outcast, like the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4, and the touched and healed the lepers in Luke 17.

      The Roman Empire became Christian after over 300 years of the disciples of Jesus becoming the manifest, dominant ones – (as the Qur’an testifies – 3:55 فوق – above, dominant, victorious and 61:14 ظاهرین – the manifest and obvious ones), and growing and responding in a holy and godly manner, even as they were hunted down and persecuted and killed (off and on) as testified by early documents like the Didache, Mathetes, etc. and the early church fathers such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, etc.

      That victory through humility is powerful. The victory of the cross and resurrection is powerful.

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    • thanks for the sermon Ken.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Can you answer any of my questions?

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    • they have all been answered a dozen times before. You will not learn.

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    • I don’t remember you explaining the empty tomb and resurrection.

      If Allah made it look like they crucified Jesus, who was it that they crucified and buried and why is there not evidence of someone else’s body that looked like Jesus, etc. ??

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    • @Ken: your logic is reverse. but that is not even the question. The question is why do you worship two extra persons that Jesus didn’t worship? Neither did any of the OT prophets.

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    • RationalMuslim

      “@Ken: your logic is reverse. but that is not even the question. The question is why do you worship two extra persons that Jesus didn’t worship? Neither did any of the OT prophets.”

      Yawn.

      Genesis 18.

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  16. Okay, Paul, let’s look more closely at what we have here. First, twice I asked you to identify each verse that’s been fictionalized. Let’s start there. Verse by verse. Would you begin? Since I’ve asked Paul to respond, based on his statement, I’d like him to be the only one to answer.

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  17. I said that is “precisely” what I am trying to get at “How can one god worship another”🙂

    Because there is only one God.

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  18. The question is why do you worship two extra persons that Jesus didn’t worship?

    No, the question is why did Jesus receive worship and honor and claim to be God? ( all the “I am” statements and John 5:17-18; 8:24; 56-58; 10:30-39; 19:1-7)

    In His incarnation, He prays to and honors the Father, and honors the Spirit as the one who is “the Spirit of Truth” and says “He will testify of Me”.

    Neither did any of the OT prophets.

    The Trinity was not fully revealed yet in the OT, even though there are hints of the doctrine.
    “Let us make man in our image” – Genesis 1
    Elohim is plural.
    “The Spirit of Yahweh”, etc.

    “kiss and worship the Son” – Psalm 2:2, 7, 11-12

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    • “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot. He was known before the foundation of the world, but was revealed in the last times for your sake.…”

      Before the universe began, HE WAS.

      God redeemed us through His precious blood because He was a perfect and acceptable sacrifice to God the Father. No other human being was or could ever be qualified to preform this work. Jesus was born without a sinful nature. (I would love to see His DNA.)

      “God presented Him as an atoning sacrifice through ‘Faith In His Blood’, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and to justify the one who has faith in Jesus.”

      Like

  19. Jesus was sinless. He was GOD. Think of it! Jesus never, not even once, sinned.

    Like

  20. “In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus says very few things that explicitly claim lordship for himself, and none at all that assert preexistence or divinity.” kirk

    Dr. Kirk,

    Would you offer your interpretation of these sentences from Luke in light of your view on the person Jesus Christ?

    {Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

    And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

    Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.}

    Like

  21. Good Ol’ King Herod was troubled

    And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

    And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

    And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

    Like

  22. “Which two Synoptic gospels did the young Christian church have access to? How do we know they had no other accurate sources of information about Jesus Christ?”

    Dr. Kirk, Who was responsible for putting the words in the mouth of Jesus we find in the gospel of John? Whose idea was it to have Jesus say, I am the truth, the light and the way?

    And “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

    And, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me…”

    We know you don’t believe Christ said what’s quoted here, so who thought up these these things and why? What’s your best guess? What was his motive?

    Like

    • “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. . . . You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.” C. S. Lewis

      Lewis’ books sold in the millions. (One of my favorites is “Screwtape,” his least favorite to write.) and generously gave away a great deal to worthy charities. He even led the Socratic Club at Oxford in which Antony Flew participated. I believe it was Mere Christianity which led to Chuck Colson’s conversion.

      Indeed, Lewis reasons that a man who walked around making claims and statements as Jesus had been doing was either out of His mind, equivalent to a guy who believed he was a poached egg, or He was Who He said He was.

      His influence reaches into Harvard’s classrooms.

      “THE QUESTION OF GOD

      For many of us, it’s hard to imagine a place less receptive to Christian ideas (although Harvard was born out of what they at one time referred to as a “Holy Ghost revival”) and the difference that those ideas can make — both in individuals and the life of a culture — than Harvard University.

      Yet one of the most popular courses at Harvard is about precisely that: the strength of a Christian worldview when measured against the secular alternative.

      The course is entitled “Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis: Two Contrasting Worldviews” and is taught by my good friend Dr. Armand Nicholi. Nicholi is a professor at the Harvard Medical School, editor of the Harvard Guide to Psychiatry, and a committed Christian.” Chuck Colson

      C.S. Lewis, who was an English language scholar, not a Biblical scholar, still opposed strongly certain forms of higher criticism.

      PBS produced a special based on Dr. Nicholi, that class and the question of God.

      Like

  23. Another form of proof regarding Christ’s deity cannot be dismissed. We are familiar with the testimony of hundreds of millions of people over two thousand years, from every corner of the earth, burst into instantaneous, celebratory amazement as they are literally born from above. Just as He promised, the Comforter, Christ’s representative on earth, has entered the lives and hearts of those who called upon His name. And, it only makes sense. How could GOD ALMIGHTY take up residence inside a conscious human being and not provoke such responses?

    “O, taste and see that the LORD is good”, is more than a nice, quaint invitation, It is a promise. He can be experienced and known, deeply, intimately, individually

    Like

  24. “A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’… Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, ‘HERE IS YOUR GOD!’ See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.” Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11

    Not, “prepare the way for the messiah.”

    “See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way BEFORE ME, and the Lord (ha Adon)* whom you seek will suddenly come to HIS temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:1

    *the words ha Adon are never used for anyone other than Yahweh:

    Like

  25. Then a paralytic was brought to Him, carried by four men. Since they were unable to get to Jesus through the crowd, they uncovered the roof above Him, made an opening, and lowered the paralytic on his mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”…

    Only GOD can forgive sins. Texts permeate the Synoptics proving Jesus was GOD.

    Like

  26. MORE DATA THAT KIRK IS WRONG

    “You have heard it said, but I say…” From the Sermon On The Mount Jesus made clear that He was a greater authority than even the Old Testament.

    “He who does not love me more than his mother or father is not worthy of me,” That is not the statement of an “idealized” man.

    “But I tell you, something greater than the Temple is here,” Yes. He, Himself, GOD. To the Jews only Yahweh/GOD was greater than the temple.

    Dr. Kirk, Would you care to comment? Thanks for your efforts seeking the truth and the proper interpretation of the New Testament.

    Like

  27. [Much has been made of differences of vocabulary in the Pentateuch, and elaborate lists of words have been assigned to each of the supposed authors. But these distinctions fade away when subjected to careful scrutiny, and Driver admits that “the phraseological criteria…are slight.” Orr, [“The Problem of the Old Testament,” page 230] who quotes this testimony, adds, “They are slight, in fact, to a degree of tenuity that often makes the recital of them appear like trifling.”]

    Franklin Johnson, D.D., LL.D.

    UNRAVELING MYTHS AND PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC HOAXES

    Like

  28. The books of Joshua and Judges have been regarded by the higher critics as unhistorical on the ground that their portraiture of the political, religious, and social condition of Palestine in the thirteenth century B. C. is incredible. This cannot be said any longer, for the recent excavations in Palestine have shown us a land exactly like that of these books. The portraiture is so precise, and is drawn out in so many minute lineaments, that it cannot be the product of oral tradition floating down through a thousand years. In what details the accuracy of the biblical picture of early Palestine is exhibited may be seen perhaps best in the excavations by Macalister [“Bible Side-Lights from the Mound of Gezer”] at Gezer. Here again there are absolutely no discrepancies between the land and the Book, for the land lifts up a thousand voices to testify that the Book is history and not legend.

    Franklin Johnson, D.D., LL.D.

    UNRAVELING MYTHS AND PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC HOAXES

    Like

  29. They were shocked when the stele of the Pharaoh of the exodus was read, and it was proved that he knew a people called Israel, that they had no settled place of abode, that they were “without grain” for food, and that in these particulars they were quite as they are represented by the Scriptures to have been when they had fled from Egypt into the wilderness.

    Franklin Johnson, D.D., LL.D.

    UNRAVELING MYTHS AND PSEUDO-SCIENTIFIC HOAXES

    Like

  30. To be a person, one must have knowledge, the capacity to feel and a will and The Holy Spirit qualifies. “”But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

    “The Holy Spirit is not merely an illumination that comes into our minds, but He is a Being who Himself knows the deep things of God and who teaches us what He Himself knows.”
    Rev. R. A. Torrey D.D.

    Like

  31. In 1 Corinthians 12:11, we read, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” Here will is ascribed to the Spirit and we are taught that the Holy Spirit is not a power that we get hold of and use according to our will but a Person of sovereign majesty, who uses us according to His will.”

    He makes decisions, another aspect of a person.

    Like

  32. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
    Here, we see the Third Person of the Trinity can feel and feel deeply, another characteristic of what it takes to be a real person. As we study the bible, the Person-hood of the Holy Spirit of God is established.

    “Here grief is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a blind, impersonal influence or power that comes into our lives to illuminate, sanctify, and empower them. No, He is immeasurably more than that, He is a holy Person, who comes to dwell in our hearts…” Torrey

    Like

  33. Numerous references to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament make perfectly clear His role as the Third Person of the Trinity. Vain are the attempts to reduce Him to someone other than that.

    Like

    • where does the NT say anything about a Trinity?

      Like

    • Which verses in the Bible are fictionalized and which ones are falsified, specifically?

      (John 3:16)

      (Philippians 2:5-8; John 1:1)

      (Acts 5:3, 4)

      Like

    • For God (that’s 1) so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (that’s 2), that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

      Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit (that makes 3) and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

      In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

      Who, “being in very nature God”,
      did not consider “equality with God” something to be used to his own advantage;
      rather, he made himself nothing
      by taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
      And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!

      If you question the reality and the true nature of the Trinity, it is okay. First things first. IOW, receive His Son by faith as your personal Savior, take hold of Him deep in your gut, and ask Him to forgive you for everything you’ve done that has hurt you, others and Him, for the forgiveness of all your sins, (I didn’t know what sin was when I asked Him to come into my heart) and do so with every ounce of strength and sincerity you have, and GOD will become real to you. Jesus will manifest Himself to you and you will never be the same. You have just met in person God Almighty and you will know it. Jesus made this relationship possible and the Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative on earth.

      Like

  34. All higher criticism is based on the hypothesis that the theory of evolution is true. No one evolved from sheer nothingness (GOD ALMIGHTY always was, is, and will be) to become a human being, ever. Didn’t happen.

    Like

  35. Here’s the deal. If Christ wasn’t real, He can’t become real to you. If He was real, He said He would make Himself known to you if you meant business with Him.

    What’s to lose? Many seem to be sincere in their quest to see if there is a GOD. I wonder. He offers to prove Himself. Why not take Him up on this and see what happens?

    Bart Ehrman did and GOD blew His socks off. He led his mother to the LORD and she still follows Him. A whole host of people will tell you the same thing.

    taste and see that the LORD is good

    Like

    • religious experiences are not a reliable guide to Truth. All religions can testify to similar experiences yet they have different creeds.

      Like

    • “Religion” doesn’t offer the opportunity to know GOD in a personal way. Jesus Christ does. Religious experiences are just that. Meeting, encountering, one-on-one, the GOD of the universe is unlike anything else known to mankind. While it is true that a subjective experience is not sufficient to prove the reality of GOD, and even though the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is altogether unique, GOD gave us His Word and the magnificence of the universe to reveal Himself, as well.

      As a matter of common sense, if GOD is Who He says He is in the Bible, He can manifest His Presence and do so in an unmistakable fashion. Indeed, personal knowledge of GOD is unlike anything else. Words fail. Words get in the way. Nevertheless, knowing HIM transcends everything in this life, no matter how wonderful. Beyond compare.

      Taste and see

      Like

    • thanks for the sermon dude.

      Like

    • I had one of the winningest football coaches of all time. I said to him words along these lines, “You motivate players so well, so easily. It’s unbelievable! Like no one I’ve ever seen” Do you know what his response was? “It isn’t hard when it comes from your heart.”

      I think most of those commenting on your website are in one form or another, preaching.

      “Later as they were eating, Jesus appeared to the eleven and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.…”

      I better preach.

      Another example of the risen LORD from a synoptic gospel. “Jesus appeared to the eleven and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him AFTER HE HAD RISEN”

      GLORY BE TO HIS HOLY NAME. HE IS RISEN! ALLELUJAH Allelujah Allelujah

      Like

    • He loves YOU- PAUL. Right now, right where you are at this moment. He knows you–inside and out. You cannot surprise Him or catch Him off guard. He pleads with YOU at this juncture in space-time, to talk to HIM. HE’s listening anyway. Ask HIM if HE really can hear you. Ask HIM to show HIMSELF to you, in a way just for you, that would be especially meaningful to you. Just you. Go ahead Paul. See if HE’s really real

      Like

  36. The Jewish people of Jesus’ day cherished the idea that GOD was One. They jealousy protected His special status. Then, why did Jewish men and women forsake everything to follow this Jewish man, a true nobody with nothing? What motivation pushed them to sacrifice all for him?

    Money? Power? Prestige?

    They were torn asunder, butchered, turned upside down and burned like candles. They could have bolted. They didn’t.

    Like

  37. “Concerning the end of his life, Gelasius states, that he died there as a martyr. Concil. Rom Deer. de lib.
    Auth. and Apocr. Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 43.
    Mark, he writes, having been sent by Peter to
    Page 78 Egypt, faithfully preached the Word of truth there, and nobly sealed the testimony thereof with his blood. All the ancient and modern, Greek and Latin, martyrologies agree with this. Histories state the following concerning the manner of his death: That in the eighth year of Nero, when he,
    at the feast of the passover, preached the blessed remembrance of the suffering and death of Christ, to the church at Alexandria, the heathen priests and the whole populace seized him, and with hooks and
    ropes which they fastened around his body, dragged him out of the congregation, through the streets and out of the city; so that his flesh everywhere adhered to the stones, and his blood was poured out upon the
    earth, until he, with the last words of our Saviour, committed his spirit into the hands of the Lord, and expired.
    Anton. p. 1. cap. 6. 16. Procop. Dia Metaphr. Ado. 25. Apr. de Fest. Apost.”

    THE
    BLOODY THEATER
    OR
    MARTYRS MIRROR
    OF THE
    DEFENSELESS CHRISTIANS
    Who Baptized Only Upon Confession of Faith, and Who Suffered
    and Died for the Testimony of Jesus, Their Saviour, From
    the Time of Christ to the Year A. D. 1660
    COMPILED FROM VARIOUS AUTHENTIC CHRONICLES, MEMORIALS, AND
    TESTIMONIES, BY
    THIELEMAN J. van BRAGHT

    Like

    • Dude this blog is not a place to preach at other people, but a forum for discussion. Understand?

      Like

    • I guess not. What is the difference between what i’m doing and others?

      Like

    • The point is you are taking liberties with my blog which is for serious discussions not preaching. Final warning, I will delete on sight any more rants from you.

      Like

    • “The point is you are taking liberties with my blog which is for serious discussions not preaching. Final warning, I will delete on sight any more rants from you.”

      I don’t know what the differences are. Obviously I’m upsetting you which is not my intention at all. I thought the discussions here were meant to try to convince others of our point of view: to communicate what we think about theology and why. What am I ranting about? I don’t get it.

      But, if you don’t want me around any more, I’ll honor that

      Like

  38. Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare. The variations are largely minor and don’t obscure our ability to construct an accurate text. The 4th edition of this work was published in 2005 – the same year Ehrman published Misquoting Jesus, which relies on the same body of information and offers no new or different evidence to state the opposite conclusion.

    Melinda Penner of Stand to Reason

    Like

  39. Ehrman says in an interview found in the appendix of Misquoting Jesus (p. 252):

    Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands. The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

    There are many reasons. This is just a very quick, very incomplete, yet persuasive response for quite a few skeptics: because Metzger and Ehrman say so.

    Like

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