Baptism/Amazing Grace: A Conversation Over Lunch, Part 27 (In Reply to Keith Brenton, Part 4)

History

What I’m trying to say is, should we presume either salvation or condemnation for the non-believer (who has not heard) with regard to a judgment that has not yet taken place and in the absence of incontrovertible clear specific scripture?

We should presume nothing. We should study the scriptures to learn what they reveal. And we should not avert our eyes from the hard texts, imagining that we can come up with a form of Christianity better than God’s own.

Or just tell the Story of Christ indiscriminately like a sower who has no compunction to stop sowing no matter what kind of soil lies beneath?

You are, you know, changing the subject. Indeed, the understanding I teach is the understanding that has driven mission works across the globe for 2,000 years! Of course, we must tell the Story of Christ! Absolutely! But this is hardly the obvious conclusion to draw from a theory that suggests those separated from Jesus might be saved without knowing Jesus.

About 100 years ago, many within the Mainline denominations began teaching that the lost aren’t really lost because God is too good to damn people ignorant of Jesus — and their mission work died. And now their denominations are dying.

The mainline establishment sees a Third World with churches everywhere as no longer a “mission field” in the classic sense. The planting of churches throughout the world has now been achieved. The relativism and tolerance of a liberal world view now demand a kind of respect for non-Christian religions which precludes overt attempts to evangelize among them. Evangelism, as such, is low among liberal priorities anyway.

Richard Hutcheson, “Crisis in Overseas Mission: Shall We Leave It to the Independents?Christian Century (March 18, 1981,) pp. 290-296.

They re-created God in their own image and found a God who was much, much easier to obey. “Social justice” stopped being about Jesus and began to be about making this world a better place by the power of human ingenuity. They built a kingdom, but not God’s Kingdom.

Now, we have a nation filled with people who see government as savior, taxes as tithes, and welfare as salvation. And even conservative evangelicals often seek to save the world by the power of the United States Congress. We are worshiping the wrong god — and as a matter of history, part of what has secularized American Christianity is the loss of evangelistic zeal that has accompanied more inclusive theologies.

(This is a buttressing argument. The merits of “available light” depend on Scripture, not experience. But experience tells us why it’s important to have this conversation.)

It’s hard to submit to a theology that teaches damnation to those who’ve never heard of Jesus, because that means that we’ll see in hell people who are more righteous than we, while we enjoy the delights of heaven. It’s a deeply disturbing thought.

We can react, as the hyper-Calvinists do, and declare ourselves the elect and the rest of the world damned by God’s choice. That is, we can blame God.

We can react, as the Mainlines do, and absolve our guilt by pretending that God will save the lost despite our failures — diminishing the sacrifice of Jesus and contradicting the story of Acts and shaming the martyrs. We can blame the Fundamentalists for being judgmental, while we sit back and watch the world go to hell.

Or we can regain the passion of the apostles and the other martyrs for Jesus. We can recognize our role in God’s Cosmic Plan. We are to be image-bearers, proclaimers of Good News, and priests who serve at God’s temple by imploring the lost to come in and be sacrificed along with us.

Indeed, our role is that of the servant in this story —

(Luk 14:23-24 ESV)  23 “And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”

We’re the servant! We are to go to the highways and hedges. We therefore should cope with the awful news that many people just as good as — if not better than — us will be damned, by getting busy proclaiming the good news.

Yes, God hosts a banquet open to all — but in his wisdom, he’s decided that it’s our job to carry his invitation.

It’s easy to get mad at God for being so foolish as to trust the likes of us. It’s easy to imagine that we aren’t ultimately responsible, because God will do our job for us if we’d rather not bother. But that’s all denial. It’s just not true. It’s not what the Bible says. It’s not how the early church lived.

I completely agree that anyone who has not heard the gospel is in danger of judgment going against them. But, by the way, so are we believers if we hear and fall and reject. There is power in the Story and the promise within it to transform lives and begin the process of salvation right here and now in this life. Yet is that power categorically denied to those who have not heard?

“Is that power categorically denied to those who have not heard?” Yes.

Ultimately, we struggle to see the lost as deserving their fate. Everyone deserves damnation, but damnation is a destruction that is finite and fair. God is just.

And we struggle to accept the free gift we’ve received. We want to feel that we deserve it. We don’t want to feel privileged. But we don’t deserve it, and we are privileged. Faith in Jesus, as central as that is to Christianity, doesn’t merit salvation.

We are chosen. We are elect. We are loyal subjects of the King. No one else is. But anyone else can be. We need only extend the invitation to join God’s Great Banquet.

Coda

My views are boringly traditional. And there are very, very smart people whom I greatly respect who disagree with me. I’ve corresponded with some of them, but I’ve yet to hear a convincing case.

Most argue from Romans 2, but Romans 2 is written to demonstrate the truth of Romans 3 —

(Rom 3:9-18 ESV)  9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,  10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;  11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.  12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”

“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;  16 in their paths are ruin and misery,  17 and the way of peace they have not known.”

18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Which then builds to —

(Rom 3:21-25 ESV) 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

We dare not interpret Romans 2 to say, “Some haven’t fallen short of the glory of God.” Or  “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe in love or goodness or Mohammad.” Just believe in something that’s kind of spiritual-ish.

We dare not empty “faith” of the object of faith. To do so is to dethrone Jesus and declare that there are other kings who can also save. We all serve somebody. If it’s not Jesus, it’s the wrong king.

Nor may we declare that Jesus saves those without faith in him, but who are really good people (works salvation) or who believe in something divine (you know, like the Greeks Paul preached Jesus to or the Jews Peter preached to). The idea that faith can be divorced from Jesus is all very much in line with an existential, 20th Century liberal theology that finds salvation in a purely individualized “faith” rather than in an objectively real Jesus of Nazareth. It’s not remotely Christian. It is very Western, very American.

And that’s much of what frustrates me in these conversations. No one seems to want to talk about the Bible. Rather, we assume that the Bible is silent and then fill the silence with philosophies that are utterly foreign to the Scriptures. We become functional Unitarian-Universalists and start looking down our noses at Christians who disagree with us for being “judgmental.” We pull out all the “no judging” verses, and pound the opposition for daring to make a judgment — oblivious to our own judgmental, condescension. I do not enjoy such discussions. I have trouble not getting angry.

On the other hand, when people talk about the Bible, even if we disagree, I enjoy the discussions immensely. Such conversations push me deeper into the text. Rather than pushing me to worship a vague and unrevealed god, they push me to see God more clearly — and I always delight in whom I find.

Can someone go to heaven and yet believe that some who’ve never heard of Jesus will be saved? Yes, if they are in submission to Jesus as Lord. Yes, if they submit to his revealed word —

(1Jo 4:6 ESV) 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

It’s an mistake that’s not outside of grace. But it’s a mistake.

However, for those among us who argue from condescension, who refuse to submit their views to the scriptures, well, they have no business being teachers among the faithful and should not be given a platform to spread their man-made speculations.

(2Ti 2:23 ESV) 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

Good, righteous, holy Christians can disagree about the Scriptures — provided they submit to Jesus as Lord and allow themselves to stand under the judgment of the Scriptures. Those who consider their opinions more meritorious than the Scriptures have no place in the church’s teaching ministry or leadership.

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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28 Responses to Baptism/Amazing Grace: A Conversation Over Lunch, Part 27 (In Reply to Keith Brenton, Part 4)

  1. laymond says:

    Jay, yes indeed the bible paints a compelling picture of what the followers of Jesus Christ are to do, while following the path he blazed while here.

    Mat 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
    Mat 9:12 But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
    Mat 9:13 But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    I do not pretend to know the specific role God had in mind for you , but it seems Jesus did not intend for John’s role in life, to be to correct Peter and all the other apostles, Jesus intended for John to preach the gospel, to the sinners.

    “Indeed, our role is that of the servant in this story –

    (Luk 14:23-24 ESV) 23 “And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

    We’re the servant! We are to go to the highways and hedges. We therefore should cope with the awful news that many people just as good as — if not better than — us will be damned, by getting busy proclaiming the good news.”

    Indeed as you said the role in the life of a Christian is that of a servant, to God and his Son first (they both ask for the same thing) and to one another.
    I don’t know how to say this without sounding harsh, and a little judgmental, so I will just say it. When we spend our time speaking at gatherings of our fellow Christians, and blogging to fellow Christians about the gospel, that is time that could be spent on the “highway, and hedge rows”
    The CoC is so far behind the JW in that regard that if we start now we could never catch up.

    As for as Luke 14:23-24 is concerned, it seems more to suggest that the uninformed are more likely to be included, instead of denied. “compel people to come in” not invite believers in. ” For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” It seems to me those who are in the know, and refuse are those who will be rejected.

    Either Jay, or Keith said;
    “I completely agree that anyone who has not heard the gospel is in danger of judgment going against them.”
    What about those who spend their time in speaking to “Christians”, those who have heard, and ignoring those who haven’t heard, what is their penalty. NOTHING ?

  2. Monty says:

    As I read my Bible, I read of the God who stepped down off of His thrown, gave up His glory and became a servant in order to pay the penalty for sin and satisfy the justice of God. He was subjected to abuse, extreme punishment and death all for the sake of the lost and as the Hebrew witer says, “to bring many sons into glory.” And we are to believe that it wasn’t completely necessary? That there really are alternate routes? Did Holy God subject himself to being a sin bearer when some other route was possible, no matter how remote? Sorry, that just sounds like more Oprahisms. There is no other name under Heaven by which man may be saved and there is no hope that I can read about in Scripture outside of the person of Jesus. To even get the fact He came in the flesh wrong was(and is)to be lost and is the spirit of anti-Christ. There are spiritual absolutes as much as modern thinking wishes to blur them.

  3. Jay, again, I appreciate your willingness to address these questions. That’s what they are: questions. Not an attempt to build a case or present an alternative salvation or construct yet another man-made soteriological position.

    I do care — immeasurably, as you know — about scripture, and my questions have to do not with what scripture says, but what we have traditionally said it means.

    And the reason I bring up mission is because the way we view scripture and the God revealed there has a lot to do with the way we approach mission, as you well know. When people want to know why they should love a God who damns those who have never heard of Him, that’s not my question but theirs; I’m just forwarding it. When I find that I don’t have a good answer for it, I start looking for one. I ask my own questions. Have we interpreted scripture correctly? Are we really portraying God as He is?

    I know that can be irritating and frustrating, and I am sorry that it is. My intention is not to be frustrating or condescending or judgmental, but to prove all things and hold fast what’s good.

    So my best answer to the question “Why should I love a God who damns those who have never heard of Him?” is “I don’t know that He does. I believe that He judges all, individually, with justice and mercy, by what they say and do — which testifies to what they believe. I believe He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I believe He is unwilling that anyone should be damned, but that all should repent. I believe He sent His Son with that message and the general response was to kill the Messenger but that God proved that life and death were in His hands.”

    That’s my answer: “I don’t know.” I know how scripture has been traditionally interpreted; I know how Calvinism and Universalism have misinterpreted it. But I also find it possible to say “I don’t know” when it comes to what God will or won’t do when He hasn’t specifically said something about it in scripture. And I look at the scriptures you’ve cited and interpreted (with no question of your character, your indisputable love for God, your deep respect for His Word and His will) and I still have questions.

  4. laymond says:

    Monty says:
    March 16, 2012 at 11:09 am
    As I read my Bible, I read of the God who stepped down off of His thrown, gave up His glory and became a servant in order to pay the penalty for sin and satisfy the justice of God.

    Monty, please direct me to where you read this, I would surely like to read it myself. If God came in the form of Jesus, was the universe “godless” for the nine months Jesus was in the womb, or did as you say god ruled from the womb of a woman.?

  5. Bob Brandon says:

    “We should presume nothing.”

    True, but nonetheless we do. Part of the task of exegesis is to identify our biases and discount both our interpretation and application accordingly. Opinions are always contingent on our part; meekness compels us to accept our limitations, and our limitations are not identical with God’s.

    “Now, we have a nation filled with people who see government as savior, taxes as tithes, and welfare as salvation…”

    Respectfully, this statement is overheated and unhelpful. Rather, many believe that government is capable of great good, representing the will of the people. There are a great many people in Alabama today who are thankful that we have a government that one might describe as “savior,” paid for with taxes perceived of as “tithes,” and distributed as “welfare as salvation.”

    As a political faith, however, its time may indeed be passing.

  6. Johnny says:

    Laymond is that not what Philippians 2 says when it says
    In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

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

    9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

  7. Ray Downen says:

    I think Jay has made the case. Paul makes clear in Romans 3 that all have sinned. The wages of sin is death. Can good deeds outweigh sin? No. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away sin. How urgently we need to carry the gospel to the lost!

  8. laymond says:

    No Johnny, that is not what Paul said, not close.
    look as the ESV it says it more plainly.
    Phl 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
    Paul is saying we need to be more like Jesus, who was the image of God but knew it was not possible to be equal to God.
    Lets look at what Paul said about Jesus, the son of God in another place.
    Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
    That does not by any stretch of the imagination make Jesus God.
    And Jesus was not the first one that was said about.
    Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:—
    That statement does not by any stretch of the imagination, make man, God.

    Lets look at what Jesus said in the book of John,
    Jhn 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
    I don’t see where Jesus said anything about volunteering for the Job.

  9. Johnny says:

    And how would you explain away this?
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

    6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

    9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  10. Scott Shirley says:

    Maybe the loincloth-wearing Aborigine in a cave in Australia who has never heard a sermon about the resurrection can still have faith in Jesus. Can’t he look at the sky and believe in something greater than himself… that Truth is out there and should be pursued? If so, does diligently seeking that Truth mean he is pursuing Jesus? Does Jesus = Truth? If so, how much of the Truth does Grok have to understand? Can he not understand Love and pursue it? Peace and pursue it? Compassion and pursue it?

    No, Grok doesn’t know the details of the Gospel story but then again neither do I, not really. Oh I think I do, we all think we do. We read our translations and thank God that we “are not like other men.” We are thankful that we “know” what he did for us and that having that knowledge, when coupled with the desire to let Jesus (Truth) be our Lord, saves us. But why do I get to presume that because I have the honor of reading the Bible my subsequent understanding of Truth (Jesus) is that much better than Grok’s? Could it be that my knowledge of Emmaus road is no better than Grok’s despite the fact that I can read about it and he can’t?

    I have no idea if any of the above is correct or even makes sense. But I freely admit that I hope it is true while further admitting that my hope doesn’t make it so. However, I have trouble comprehending a God who would damn over a legality… an unfortunate circumstance of birth. He might. Who am I to argue with Him? I’m just confessing that I have trouble buying it. I have trouble understanding it because it doesn’t seem to make sense from an omni(insert word) God. I know that “God’s ways” aren’t my ways. But that band-aid answer doesn’t really help much. So I empathize with Keith’s frustration in not having a good answer for the question.

  11. Alabama John says:

    Scott,

    Somehow many forget that Jesus has been around guiding us humans in this old world far longer and before his birth in this old world.

    Can a person be saved other than by Jesus. No.

    Does that mean all before Mary giving birth to Jesus didn’t know Jesus? No!

    Also forgotten is His blood shed on the cross didn’t just save those written about in the NT up to today, but reached backward to save far many more of those who are unknown and unwritten about in our Bible (remember the world could not hold all the books if all Jesus did was written down) in the past whose sins were rolled forward from the beginning of time on this earth. Their salvation was and is from Jesus just as ours is.

    They might of not known Jesus as we do, but on the other hand, maybe they knew Him better! We sure don’t read of all the bickering among them do we. All they did was believe and worship by nature and became a law unto themselves.

    Ever how they worshiped Him, and like the old Gospel song says, “When He was on the cross, I was on His mind” applies to us all, then, now and in the future.

  12. laymond says:

    John, that is an awful lot of books to cover just 33 yrs of one’s life. I believe the internet could hold most is not all, don’t you.:)

  13. Alabama John says:

    laymond,

    He was there when the universe was created. It doesn’t say which one!
    Just what He was doing from that time til coming to earth would take a lot of writing.

    I’m curious to know exactly what all He has been doing for 2000 years since leaving this earth. Reigning just doesn’t cut it for an answer. Looking forward to the exciting answers.

    Of the 33 years, we only have approx 3 in writing and they are in the NT as a very short version of His doings for those 3 years. Doesn’t take up much paper, but, opinions on those 3 years might strain even the internet. LOL

  14. laymond says:

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”
    Johnny, I have no desire, or intention to explain “away” the scripture you quoted. But that writing was not referring to the son of God “Jesus” that writing was about the servant of God “the spoken word”.

    Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.The
    Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters
    Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.

    And God said, this phrase is repeated at least 30 times in the KJV.
    what you quoted simply said the word of God was a part of him, and had always been a part of him. Not all of him but a part of him, and that part was bestowed upon his son Jesus at baptism, along with other powers of the spirit God.and would dwell upon him his whole life here. ” and made his dwelling among us.” Johnny, why do you think Jesus could not give the “comforter/ Holy Ghost” to the apostles until after he was called to heaven?
    “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And not only the glory of the Son, but the glory of the Father through the Son.
    Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:
    Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
    If you wish to study about Jesus I suggest you read ISA. 11, & 12
    Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
    Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

  15. laymond says:

    A. J. unless I am mistaken did God not promise David that the savior of God’s people would be of the stem of David? Who was the son of Jesse.
    Rth 4:22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

    Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
    Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
    Can you please explain to this old country boy how it is that Jesus is both of the blood of David, and a God from heaven.
    Can it be that Isa. 11. is not speaking of Jesus.? I think it is.

  16. Alabama John says:

    laymond,

    I agree.

    There is a flesh of this world lineage and also one of the God Spirit in Jesus.

    Jesus also fulfilled the promised lineage combination of earthly tribes. That is an interesting study in itself.

    As an ‘Ol country boy myself, I, as an earthy being see it similar to earthly pedigrees we have on all our registered stock. We can follow the sire and dam back for many generations on a cow, dog, and other stock. Folks like to quote the champions in that l lineage but it is above all that, it is still known above all as a cow, dog, or whatever the creatures original created name was before it was born that overrides that recorded lineage.

    Of course there is no disrespect meant in these comparisons!

    Sorta like the old gospel song “the flowers Momma left for me” meaning the forever flowers: The Rose of Sharron and The Lily of the Valley who died for me.
    Jesus has respectfully been called many names.
    .

  17. laymond says:

    AJ, I’m sorry for the way I stated my question to you about the nature of Jesus, of course I know how Jesus was both from woman and God, the bible plainly states how.
    My confusing statement read as if I didn’t understand that “Can you please explain to this old country boy how it is that Jesus is both of the blood of David, and a God from heaven.” which of course I do understand how this happened, anyone claiming to believe in Jesus would have to first of all accept the fact of Jesus’ birth.
    What I meant to say, considering, Monty’s statement of March 16, 2012 at 11:09 am
    “As I read my Bible, I read of the God who stepped down off of His thrown, gave up His glory and became a servant in order to pay the penalty for sin and satisfy the justice of God”
    I will try again, hoping I will do better.
    How can a God who voluntarily stepped down from his throne, be from “the stem of Jesse, the father of David”
    This question to you arose from a statement you said on March 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm
    “He was there when the universe was created. It doesn’t say which one!”
    Making it sound (to me anyway) that you agreed with what Monty had said earlier. That God almighty had come to earth in the form of Baby Jesus.
    Not so Jesus was not “God” Jesus was the son of God and a woman, so the bible plainly states, The word came from heaven and descended upon Jesus along with other Godly powers at Jesus’ baptism at the age of thirty years.
    Jesus was not with God at creation, “The Word ” was with God at creation, the spoken word was the power God used to create all things. Therefore the phrase “and God said” The almighty God the Father of all creation , created everything, not his Son Jesus , this is stated within the bible in many places, yes even the “new testament” .

  18. Alabama John says:

    laymond
    Sorry for my assumption you were asking for some sort of clarification since I understand you would know more than me on that subject.
    I believe there is a Godhead three and Jesus is one of those. Gods son, but still God.
    To me, he did come to earth and was born of Mary but the line of his earthly father Joseph was still his human line just as His birth mothers line was. Call Joseph his adopted father if you will. Most of the names we recognize from the Bible came in Josephs line, but importantly, the required priest line was from Mary.
    When those two lineages were prophesied to meet for Jesus to be born, if we didn’t count Josephs, only half would of been met.
    Jesus, not of this earth, unlike our children didn’t have a earthly lineage without counting both Joseph and Mary.
    Since the Bible says both lineages did meet, Josephs counted.

  19. laymond says:

    AJ, that doctrine mostly hinges on a verse found early in biblical writings.

    Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

    The argument is that the plural “our” suggest that there has to be more than one being present when man was created, therefore God is a trinity, a triune God three persons in one God.
    AJ, as we read Genesis, it seems to me that man was the very last thing to be created.the universe, the animals and everything that was created was before man.
    AJ, answer a few questions to my satisfaction, (that means from scripture) and I will be forced to agree with the Trinity Doctrine.

    #1 Did God create the angels ? I believe I can prove he did.
    #2 which was created first angels, or man? I believe I can prove angels were.
    #3 Why is it impossible that God was speaking to the angels, when he said “our image”? I can’t prove that one way or the other, if you or anyone else can, please do.

    Let me help, a little.
    Psa 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
    Psa 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
    AJ, I believe this tells us which was made first. If God made man lower than angels, angels had to be made first. logic.
    Hbr 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
    Unless we can find a way to discredit this statement, Jesus was also made as a man. but later elevated above the angels.

    Isa 43:11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.
    Isa 45:21 Tell ye, and bring [them] near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? [who] hath told it from that time? [have] not I the LORD? and [there is] no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; [there is] none beside me.

    Could it be that those who created the “trinity doctrine”, could be wrong. ?

  20. laymond says:

    oops, I forgot to make my final point, ([there is] none beside me.) that means equal to me. and notice he did not say “us” he said me.

    reading through this morning, I noticed I left this out.

  21. Alabama John says:

    laymond,
    I have been to several debates on just that subject but it was many years ago.
    The COC took the trinity side and the Church of God the singular.
    Never seen so many sheets hung up with writing on them.
    One of the best debaters was a great preacher friend of mine named Bill Bragwell who preaches today at Fultondale Alabama Church of Christ. He would be able to explain the trinity side much better than me.
    Could they be wrong, Yes, we all could be wrong on many things as we have a Bible of the Jews edited by the Catholics and we know a few books of it are missing.
    All we or anyone can do is follow what we have in way of knowledge of God and with God knowing our heart if anything is missing that will be taken into consideration by God at our judgment.
    That is the lesson we must believe in for all of humanity and that includes us. For us to think we have it all just right above all else in the world that ever lived is in itself wrong and a sin!
    I keep bring that up as we of the COC are the most guilty in the past and some still believe that.

  22. Alabama John says:

    laymond,
    One thing that does come to mind and I’m going by memory. In Isaiah, it says behold, a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son and you should call his name Emmanuel which means “God with us”.
    Seems a funny name for someone not a God. I sure wouldn’t name one of mine that.

  23. laymond says:

    I am not to sure it is unimportant to get this right. I wonder what Jesus meant when he said; Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    If Jesus was God seems that was a great opportunity to say so.
    Even Paul forgot that Jesus was God, when he said. 1Cr 8:6 But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

  24. Alabama John says:

    laymond,
    You make good points.
    I’m curious as what you really think of Jesus.
    There were many claiming to be the Messiah in those days and Jesus has outlasted them all. Please explain what you are thinking. I would really like to know.

  25. laymond says:

    Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a
    Branch shall grow out of his roots:
    Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

    This is the main scripture that determines my perception of Jesus Christ/ the Son of God. along with many others, that fortify these.
    This is promised in the old testament, and shown to be carried out in the new testament.
    Mat 1:1 forward explains the ancestry of Jesus leading from the “stem of Jesse” and the miraculous birth of the first and only begotten son, not created of God. the fulfilment of Isa 11:1
    Mat 3:16, is the fulfilment of Isa 11:2
    Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
    Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    My opinion of the nature of Jesus Christ, Is Jesus was fully man until the age of 30 years or there about, and at baptism became the vessel by which God spread the gospel. And at completion of the work God gave him to do he was called to God to sit at the right hand of his father. It is more complicated than this simple explanation but that is it in a nutshell.

  26. Royce Ogle says:

    Welcome to Watchtower Magazine.

  27. laymond says:

    You might be right Royce, at least they believe in what they are doing. most people here seem to believe the Church of Christ don’t know what they are doing, and never did. And are just now struggling to get there.

  28. Alabama John says:

    laymond, thanks for the explanation.

    Something that gives me a problem with that is how was it possible for the virgin Mary to give birth to Jesus if God didn’t intercede and Joseph didn’t impregnate her? Also the angel Gabriel coming to Joseph to explain to her husband how she could be pregnant and who she was carrying. Do you think all that story in the gospels is wrong in the bible?

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