Just delivered: a must read for Muslims and Christians

‘In A Man Attested by God Professor J. R. Daniel Kirk presents a comprehensive defense of the thesis that Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels is best interpreted as an idealised human figure rather than divine. Counterbalancing the recent trend toward early high Christology in such scholars as Richard Bauckham, Larry Hurtado, and Simon Gathercole, Kirk here thoroughly unpacks the humanity of Jesus as understood by Gospel writers whose language is rooted in the religious and literary context of early Judaism.’  Source

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

65 replies

  1. Why on earth do they let a a hooker endorse a book such as this?

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  2. Perhaps because it was a silly joke. One of the endorsements was written by Morna D Hooker.

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  3. > that Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels is best interpreted as an idealised human figure rather than divine.

    Christians do not see it as one of the other but as both: Jesus is the true sinless man, and this is God fulfilling our destiny. The Old Testament in no way gives any hope that humanity is capable of fulfilling its own destiny.

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    • Professor J. R. Daniel Kirk is a Christian too and argues in depth that Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels is best interpreted as an idealised human figure rather than divine: conclusion Jesus is not God in those gospels.

      “The Old Testament in no way gives any hope that humanity is capable of fulfilling its own destiny.”

      God forgave people’s sins and people became righteous in the Jewish scriptures long before Jesus was born, so there was no need or point to a human sacrifice.

      Islam agrees.

      Liked by 5 people

    • “The Old Testament in no way gives any hope that humanity is capable of fulfilling its own destiny”
      What was the point from punishing some people in the OT and describing others as blameless & righteous before God then ?
      What was the point from praising that law by all prophets of God then? If it had been something useless, then it would’ve been better to be described as garbage. Don’t you think ?

      Liked by 1 person

    • True sinless Man or God-man?

      Liked by 2 people

    • I hear the words, but what does it mean?

      Liked by 1 person

    • The M word is incoming,brace yourselves.

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    • > God forgave people’s sins and people became righteous in the Jewish scriptures long before Jesus was born, so there was no need or point to a human sacrifice. Islam agrees.

      The eschatology of the OT is clearly that God will provide some type of atonement Psalm 130:8, Ezekiel 16:63, Daniel 9:24, Zechariah 13:1, God will make atonement for us.

      This righteousness of God comes with the messiah Jer 23:3-6, 33:14-22. And comes to its focus with the righteous servant of Isaiah 53.

      This is the messianic eschatology of the OT.

      > What was the point from punishing some people in the OT and describing others as blameless & righteous before God then? What was the point from praising that law by all prophets of God then? If it had been something useless, then it would’ve been better to be described as garbage. Don’t you think ?

      The law of God is his standard. This law accommodates our sin, through sacrifice, so that we may approach God and come into his presence. This is not saying we are sinless or that sin is not a problem. Sin is a problem an needs to be dealt with. Muhammad did not have this idea about sin and hence we disagree.

      Abu Ayyub Ansari reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin, and then asked forgiveness from Allah, and He would have granted them pardon. (Sahih Muslim: bk. 37, no. 6621-6622)

      > True sinless Man or God-man?

      Both.

      > I hear the words, but what does it mean?

      It has to do with anthropology – your view of what it means to be human. In the Torah, Prophets, Psalms and Gospel we are made in the image of God. So what does it mean to be in the image and likeness of God? It means that humans represent God’s rule in creation (Gen. 1:26), we are to display his character (Lev. 19:2), and will share in his glory (Gen. 2:9, 3:22, Ps. 8, 82). That is, God has created a connection between us and him. The OT story is that this plan is yet to be fulfilled and will be fulfilled with the Son of Man of Daniel 7. That is, there is an eschatology for humanity in the OT. Jesus fulfils this eschatology. I suspect Kirk would agree with me.

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    • ” The law of God is his standard. This law accommodates our sin, through sacrifice, so that we may approach God and come into his presence. This is not saying we are sinless or that sin is not a problem. Sin is a problem an needs to be dealt with. Muhammad did not have this idea about sin and hence we disagre”
      How could this paragraph has anything to do with my question?!
      You’ve made a big claim that the OT is NO WAY gives ANY hope that humanity is capable of fulfilling its own destiny, so I’m asking why God labled some people as blameless in the OT?!
      Why did that “all loving god” kept punishing his beloved people while he hadn’t given them any hope to be capable for almost 1500 years?
      Would you deal with these questions please?

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    • After some corrections

      ” The law of God is his standard. This law accommodates our sin, through sacrifice, so that we may approach God and come into his presence. This is not saying we are sinless or that sin is not a problem. Sin is a problem an needs to be dealt with. Muhammad did not have this idea about sin and hence we disagre”
      How could this paragraph have anything to do with my question?!
      You’ve made a big claim that the OT is NO WAY gives ANY hope that humanity is capable of fulfilling its own destiny, so I’m asking why God labled some people as blameless in the OT?!
      Why did that “all loving god” keep punishing his beloved people while he hadn’t given them any hope to be capable for almost 1500 years?
      Would you deal with these questions please?

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    • “so there was no need or point to a human sacrifice.”……..Didn’t you see ‘Lord Of The Flies’? It’s in our nature. Humans ultimately need and demand a human sacrifice. They also love a good bonfire.

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  4. The Old Testament is unknown to the vast majority of Christian scholars, pastors and apologists; they misunderstand and not infrequently contravene core Torah-based doctrines. Christian apologists are only able to [mis]quote certain mistranslated passages, which they spin with their preconceived NT Pauline theology as well as the ever elusive Holy Ghost who helps them more with their deranged idolatry. My claims, that I have just made can be very easily substantiated, with the help of the Real God of Christianity, Paul of Tarsus.

    Paul Stated the Following

    “But what saith it? The word is nigh (near) thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;” [Romans 10:8]

    In Romans 10 :8 Paul misquoted [Deuteronomy 30:14]. Why? Because the Torah, in its context does not support Paul’s nonsense. So he had to misquote it, when he was preaching to Pagan Gentiles.

    “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” [Deuteronomy 30:14]

    Deuteronomy 30:14 SPECIFICALLY TEACHES THAT THE LAW IS EASY, SO DO IT.

    Paul’s Theology teaches that Law is impossible to keep and is basically a prison etc. This is HIS MESSAGE not the TORAH. Which is why paul misquotes it. MOST CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTS ARE UNAWARE!

    The full context of Deuteronomy 30:9-11 disproves Paul and show us that if the author of the NT Epistles is hell bound for misquoting the scripture and bearing false witness as well as False Prophecy in 1s Thessolonians 4: 17 (Ehrman agrees that Paul was wrong about the 2nd coming of christ) etc then what hope should we have from Shamounian Hate Preachers like David Wood and Nicodemious? Think about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I thought you already did a post on this book?

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  6. I remember a lot of discussion on your earlier blog posts on this.
    Here is an excellent review of Daniel Kirk’s book:

    https://secundumscripturas.com/2016/10/05/tissowhite-reflections-on-daniel-kirks-broadside/

    Also, Allan Ruhl made a great point in an earlier post:

    “You do know that Professor Kirk is a supporter of homosexual “marriage” within Christian circles? What does it have to do with his recent book on Christology? Absolutely nothing except for the face [sic. he meant fact] that conservative and traditional Christians won’t take this seriously. They’ll say that he doesn’t believe in the Biblical Jesus anymore than he believes in Biblical marriage. If you want to try to convince conservatives, don’t bother quoting this book.”

    October 4, 2016

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  7. Allan Ruhl’s comment and the fact that we already had 212 comments on this book and related issues.

    https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/10/03/21818/#comment-26813

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  8. It is indeed hard to take Daniel Kirk seriously as a scholar, since he also thinks homosexuality is ok and that same sex marriage is ok.

    https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/10/19/new-testament-scholar-excites-muslims-jr-daniel-kirk/#comment-28345

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    • Ken that is a very silly thing to say. You are a self confessed sinner so likewise it is hard to take you seriously as a commentator.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am not talking about the sin of homosexuality; I am talking about his justification for it, by apparently not taking the Scriptures seriously about what the NT (and OT) actually says about homosexuality, especially 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and Romans 1:18-28, etc. It is hard to take him seriously, since he cannot deal with those verses in an honest exegetical and historical-contextual manner.

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    • Ken you are a self confessed SINNER, and this distorts your understanding of the Bible as we have all seen many times. It is hard to take you seriously as you cannot deal with those verses in an honest manner that refute your fundamentalism.

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    • It’s like you did not read what I wrote above.

      Everyone is a sinner.

      Kirk’s justification for thinking homosexuality is not a problem and that same-sex marriage is ok, that is the problem – his lack of scholarly reasons and lack of exegetical and lack of historical context argumentation is the problem, not the fact that we are all sinners and fallible and can make mistakes.

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    • trapped in an endless loop

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s like you did not read what I wrote above.

      Ken do you DENY that as a self confessed SINNER, this distorts your understanding of the Bible?

      Are you now claimimg to be personally infallible?

      It is hard to take you seriously as you cannot deal with those verses in an honest manner that refute your fundamentalism.

      Talk about double standards!

      Liked by 2 people

    • now you are the one trapped in an endless loop.

      you did not see or think about the distinction I made in evaluating Daniel Kirk.

      No one is arguing we are not sinners, nor infallible.

      my point is about Kirk’s justification and argumentation, not the fact of sin itself or whether one confesses they are a sinner.

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    • I wonder if you’ve actually read what I’ve said about homosexuality? I do, in fact, take the NT passages seriously and read them in their historical-critical context. I’m a bit concerned that you seem to have this sort of hierarchy in your head: “If someone already agrees with me, their works are worth reading. If not, I should not waste my time.” That’s not a good way to be in community with the diverse Christian communion, and it doesn’t bode well for the integrity of your theological convictions.

      Peace+

      Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks for commenting Dr. Kirk –
      I heard your debate with Dr. Robert Gagnon – it was a while back, so forgive me if I got the details wrong; but you did affirm same sex relationships and same-sex marriage, right?

      I don’t see how any Christian or scholar can affirm that, if you also agree with the sound exegesis of the relevant texts – for example the clear and orthodox and historical exegesis of Dr. Gagnon, or Dr. James White or Dr. Michael Brown, on 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Romans 1:18-28; and Matthew 19:4-6.

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    • Ken, you sound like James White. That guy lambasts anybody for quoting or using a scholar who doesn’t agree entirely with their worldview – he does that a lot with people who use Bart Ehrman. But in reality what Bart Ehrman thinks about theism or whatever is irrelevant when it comes to his material on contradictions in the Gospels, NT TC or authorship of the NT documents.

      The same applies to Dr Kirk’s views on homosexuality in the NT – those views aren’t related to this book. I do wonder what you think about what Dr Gagnon said in the debate with Dr Kirk, the bit about the church compromising over marriage after divorce. Why don’t evangelicals not kick up a fuss about scholars who allow marriage after divorce or scholars/churches who stay silent on premarital heterosexual courting.

      And Ken, Dr Kirk is the coolest NT scholar out there. Let your hair down a bit and read some of his work.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. It would be better for your view to concentrate on someone like Larry Hurtado – (vs. Kirk’s view) do some blogs on his books and his view of the gospel of John.

    He is a more consistent scholar, though I don’t agree with apparently rejecting many parts of Matthew and John, etc. as historical.

    One should listen to part 1 of the video of Bart Ehrman vs. Michael Bird, also. (not just part 2 that was put up on another post).

    I am still also working through it; trying. Not enough time in life for all these things!

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    • If Jesus has sex, will his children have some divinity in them? If not, could he somehow transmit such a thing i,e divine DNA to bring little yhwhs? Serious question. Since the OT states clearly that the Messiah will enjoy plenty of unprotected sex within marriage! He will also bring back blood sacrifices for sins! This is consistent with Islam and history. Please answer the question.

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  10. Since the OT states clearly that the Messiah will enjoy plenty of unprotected sex within marriage!

    Where in the world do you get that?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yahya Snow wrote:

    Ken, you sound like James White.

    Thanks for the compliment!

    That guy lambasts anybody for quoting or using a scholar who doesn’t agree entirely with their worldview – he does that a lot with people who use Bart Ehrman. But in reality what Bart Ehrman thinks about theism or whatever is irrelevant when it comes to his material on contradictions in the Gospels, NT TC or authorship of the NT documents.

    It is relevant when the same presuppositions and kind of argumentation is used on different subjects.

    The same applies to Dr Kirk’s views on homosexuality in the NT – those views aren’t related to this book.

    If someone says that they take the biblical texts seriously (like Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Romans 1:18-28, etc.) in their historical context and meaning, and then says, but then says that today’s homosexuals and so called “same sex marriage” of today’s society has no relation or application to the texts of Scripture, I wonder how consistent or logical their thinking processes are.

    I do wonder what you think about what Dr Gagnon said in the debate with Dr Kirk, the bit about the church compromising over marriage after divorce. Why don’t evangelicals not kick up a fuss about scholars who allow marriage after divorce or scholars/churches who stay silent on premarital heterosexual courting.

    “premarital heterosexual courting” – if there is no sexual relationship, what is the problem with this, as is, in your wording?

    Evangelicals, conservative Christians, and fundamentalists (who Paul W. likes to label me and Dr. White) have always spoken up on these issues (if you mean “pre-marital sex” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8), and if you mean “no fault divorce” or divorce for other reasons than continual unrepentant, hardhearted adultery (Matthew 5:32; 19:8-9) and desertion by an unbeliever ( 1 Cor. 7:15); you just don’t know the history of those issues before the internet.

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  12. Even the terms and concepts of “sexual orientation”, “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” have been questioned, because they are constructs from late 1800s onward (? exactly ?), and Freudian Psychology (with a few other before Freud, I think) and they have developed afterward in the field of Psychology.

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  13. I would be keen to see some of the actual arguments Kirk puts forward for his position. Much is this type of discussion, particularly with Ehrman, is this scholar says with not evidence actually discussed. What is Kirk’s evidence?

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    • “Much is this type of discussion, particularly with Ehrman, is this scholar says with not evidnce”
      ??!!
      After all, you associate yourself with Sam Shamun and Tony Costa, so here we go.

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  14. (Please excuse my appalling grammar. It was written in haste 😦 )

    I would be keen to see some of the actual arguments Kirk puts forward for his position. Much of this type of discussion, particularly with Ehrman, does not discuss the evidence. What is Kirk’s evidence?

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    • He shows that the description of Jesus in the Mark,Matthew and Luke is similar to the descriptions of Adam, Moses, David,Solomon,previous prophets, kings etc the in the OT and other Jewish writings .

      Thus there is no passage in the Synoptic Gospels that places Jesus as equal to God. But all the passages in the Synoptics that are quoted as proofs that the authors considered him to be divine have precedents in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish literature for human figures who were subordinate to God.

      This is a brief summary of his presentation,

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    • “…there is no passage in the Synoptic Gospels that places Jesus in the synoptic gospels as equal to God”.

      This is a joke right? Matthew 28:19.

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    • That is not an argument. Notice it says God GAVE Jesus all authority- he did not have it before. Therefore he was not God – who does not change or acquire authority from anyone.

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    • You just got caught out big time. You don’t even know what the verse says. Hint. Nothing remotely related to “God giving Jesus authority” (sic)

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    • Why not quote the verse. Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing.

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    • “Therefore, make disciples of all nations baptising in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”

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    • My bad. I was referring to the preceding verse.

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    • No worries mate. Ill buy you a pint next time im in London.

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    • But my point still stands.

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    • Jesus clearly conflates the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the same sentence. Ipso facto the Son is equal to the Father.

      Jesus has a God. Yep. Its what the incarnation is all about. Imagine if I took a bucket down to the beach and filled it up. I would have the pacific ocean in a bucket but not the whole of the pacific ocean. Thats impossible.

      As Calvin said in Jesus we see God reducing himself to our level so we can know him.

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    • The preceding says God GAVE Jesus all authority- he did not have it before. Therefore he was not God – who does not change or acquire authority from anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Btw there is no incarnation in Matthews gospel, nor is Jesus pre-existent

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Fawaz. I am still keen to see what these similar examples are, however, I agree that Jesus is similar to Adam, Moses, David, etc. It seems to me the problem for us is the doctrine of the image of God. Humanity is made in the image of God. This means we represent God’s rule, are to display his character, and will share in his glory. This is the standard message throughout the Torah, Prophets, Psalms and Gospel. Jesus brings this to its fulfilment, therefore, he is similar and radically different to Adam, Moses, David, etc. They all failed. In the gospel we see the true image of God. This salvation is what God said he would do.

      There are two significant doctrines of the prophets that Muhammad failed to include in the Qur’an. These are the image of God and God’s dwelling with his people. These are important foundations for Christian doctrine. But since Islam does not have them it makes it harder for us to understand each other.

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    • SG, you realize that the OT doesn’t agree, and it doesn’t include what so called the ” doctrines of the prophets” according to you, don’t you?
      For example, it’s impossible according to hebrew prophets for God to die
      ” LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you WIL NEVER DIE. You, LORD, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish”

      Also, there’s a huge difference between that they failed & they cannot. God commanded jews to be holy by obeying the law while for christians the law cannot lead to holiness to begin with. The law is a curse and garbage according to your prophet Paul.

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  15. Micah 5:2

    2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
    From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
    His goings forth are from long ago,
    From the days of eternity.”

    The first part of Micah 5:2 is quoted in Matthew 2:6; and the Jewish readers would know to look up the verse and see the rest of the verse – that Messiah is from eternity past.

    Along with using the word for “bowing down” / “worship” (proskuneo / προσκυνεω in Matthew 2:1-12 several times, and understanding / seeing the same word in Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9 and how it is used there, it is obvious that Matthew indirectly speaks of Jesus’ pre-existence (by Matthew 2:6 quoting Micah 5:2), and that He deserves worship, and worship is only for God, therefore Jesus is God by nature/substance.

    Revelation 19:10

    10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. [an angel] But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    Revelation 22:8-9

    8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
    9 But he *said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

    The word is also used in Matthew 14:33 and 28:9 and 28:16 to show that people worshiped Jesus and He accepted this worship. And only God deserves worship.

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    • The Father gave Jesus all authority again, after humbling Himself as a man, after the resurrection and exaltation, that authority and glory was restored. Matthew 28:18 teaches the same truth in John 17:5 and Philippians 2:5-11.

      John 17:5
      5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

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    • Ken that is a different gospel. You are confusing the issue.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Micah 5:2 (quoted in Matthew 2:6)

      2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
      Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
      From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
      His goings forth are from long ago,
      From the days of eternity.”

      I started with Matthew, the quote of Micah 5:2 and the use of worship in Matthew 2:1-12, and then how the word for worship is used in the rest of Matthew for Jesus, and that Rev. 19:10, 22:8-9 shows it was understood as only for God. and then, John 17:5 explains Matthew 28:18.

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    • Yes mixing it all up. Not helpful or biblical.

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    • It follows logical thought and is Biblical – Biblical verses are cited and reason shows sound argumentation. self-evident.

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    • If you read Dr Kirks book you will find there are many other Jewish biblical and non biblical texts that speak of ‘worship’ of others than God.

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    • But Matthew within his own book, the quote from Micah 5:2, then John 17:5, and Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9 demonstrates what the NT authors understood in a unified way.

      Demonstrates that Matthew, Micah, the gospel of John, and Revelation all come from one mind – God’s mind; a unified author. “God-breathed”

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    • “and the Jewish readers would know to look up the verse and see the rest of the verse …” Lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I thought that was funny too. Not sure Ken gets it

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  16. Listening again, as time allows, to Dr. Daniel Kirk’s part of the debate with Dr. Robert Gagnon on homosexuality.

    Daniel Kirk’s “scholarship” –

    1. Seems to say that sexual self identity (one’s own desires or attractions) as primary and presuppositional.
    But even Paul Williams in his lecture on homosexuality and Islam (in a post above) agrees that these are modern, western constructs.

    2. Seems to imply that “LGBTQ” folks sexual identity is their primary identity, like the Gentile nations. What a strained attempt at a parallel.

    3. Uses Acts 10-11 and Acts 15 about the Gentile (ethnic nations, non Jews) to imply that we should accept LGBTQ people like the way God accepted the Gentiles by faith alone, etc.
    A terrible parallel that is insulting to people’s ethnicity. equating sinful desires and sinful actions with ethnicity, creation, nature, etc.

    4. Dr. Kirk contradicts the clear teaching of of Matthew 19:4-6 and Jesus’ quoting of Genesis 2:24 as clearly showing that marriage is for only man and woman, but Kirk claims we cannot use this, because the context is mainly about divorce; and then claims the earlier verse – Genesis 2:18 – “it is not good that man should be alone” – as somehow applicable for gays and lesbians to have same sex partners. But since he put “B” in there – bisexual – how does that consistently apply? It cannot, since that would require their rights to have 2 other spouses, one from each of the sexes. And the very fact that Genesis 2:24 is the answer to 2:18 demonstrates how goofy and strained his nutty scholarship is. The creation of woman was the answer to man’s being alone.

    Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6, also alluded to Genesis 1:1 and 1:26-28, clearly showing the creator’s intention from the beginning that marriage is between a male and a female.

    While the context in Matthew 19 is primarily about divorce, the fact that Jesus goes all the way back to Genesis 1:1; 1:26-28 and 2:24 demonstrates that male and female for marriage is a creation truth, grounded in God’s intention for human beings and since it makes no mention of any kind of exception for LGBTQ persons, his exegesis is eisegesis and terrible.

    Since he is so bad at interpreting something so clear in such a bad way, that any thinking can understand; he does not seem like a trustworthy source of exegesis for the other book that you are promoting.

    I have not finished listening to all of it again; as time allows. I heard it before when it was first published and discussed by others, but going over it again.

    Like

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