I've been banned once again* after becoming involved in the comments thread of a Challies.com post entitled The Gospel: Conventional vs Emerging. All of my comments have now been deleted even though there still remain several responses to my now non-existent statements.
The reasoning behind the ban is as follows:
OK, let’s keep this on track. I’ve deleted several inappropriate comments. Furthermore, I’m going to restrict comments to those who actually believe the Bible is the Word of God. Comments denying foundational truths such as the Trinity and the deity of Christ will be deleted. (by "david")
In case you were following this thread, here are a selection of my comments leading up to the ban:
The various statements concerning "Doctrinal Purity" are based on the assumption that most Christian church doctrines are based on the New Testament!
The passages quoted from Titus, Timothy and Peter refer to the "gospel" - not to the doctrines crystallised by all the disputes among early Gentile church fathers which eventually culminated in the creeds formulated by ecclesiastical councils called by Roman Emperors from 325AD onwards.
The "gospel" being preached was stated by Paul to be -
"Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand (before Herod Agrippa) unto this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses did say should come; how that the Christ must suffer, and how that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles." (Acts 26:22-23)
The Hebrew movement begun by Jesus and the Apostles bears no resemblance at all to the creeds of orthodox Christianity. These "pure doctrines" bear the image, not of the mind of Christianity's founder, or of the Supreme Being, but of early Gentile theology.
Yes, the religious leaders of Jesus' time laboured under exactly the same misapprehensions as do the religious leaders of today. However, the apostles and authors of the New Testament did not.
John 10:34-36 clearly explains the usage of the terms 'god' and 'son of God' as applied to Jesus. These verses may be taken to exemplify what theologians have failed to grasp - that 'sonship' of God is not restricted to Jesus and that it is of a purely ethical and spiritual nature:
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (Psalm 82:6) If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, say he of him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into this world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?"
Surely there can be no greater authority to turn to than Jesus himself! On his testimony, those to whom the word of God came were themselves 'gods' e.g. Jeremiah (Jer.1:9), Ezekiel (Ez. 2:7), Shemaiah, Elijah, and Moses (1 Kings 12:22, 17:24, 8:53). This differed from the pagan concept in that the men themselves had no claim to divinity.
The crucial difference between Jesus and other 'sons' was that Jesus was 'anointed' with plenipotentiary powers to speak and to act with full authority in the name of God.
Jesus castigated the religious leaders of his time for thinking that he was claiming to be God and for not understanding their own scriptures. It could be argued that the Christian churches have a more serious case to answer. They ostensibly preach Jesus of Nazareth while, at the same time, through their doctrine, they misrepresent him and actually further the viewpoint of those who crucified him. The personality cult built up around the person of 'Jesus Christ' effectively destroys the central figure with far greater definition than the crucifixion itself accomplished.
Jason, you said
"I also agree that prooftexting is unfortunate, as with the context-free use of Christ’s citation of Psalm 82:6 in vynette’s last submission."
I was responding to a previous comment, and providing context for that comment. I do not engage in prooftexting and my citing of the passage is not "context-free." If it is proper for Jesus to quote Psalm 82:6 when responding to the religious leaders (John 10:34-36), it is proper also for me.
The following comments were deleted almost immediately after posting.
No, God does not share his glory with another - but the reflection, the image of his glory is seen in humans. The reflection of God's glory that would be seen in Jesus was foreknown - not pre-existent.
Isaiah 49:3 - "You are my servant, Israel, in whom my glory will be seen," and from Hebrews 1:3 - "and he is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of his power..."
Jesus received a crown of glory and honour upon his resurrection but in 2 Peter 1:17, a distinction is drawn between the 'glory' bestowed on Jesus by God, and God's own glory.
Many NT passages tell us that the disciples and those who follow Jesus in the resurrection will share in the 'glory' of Jesus. (John 17:22, 1 Cor. 15:43, 1 Pet.5:4, Col. 3:4) This 'glory' of Jesus cannot be that of the Father else all those mentioned would share in God's own glory.
In John 17, Jesus himself expands upon what he meant when he said "I and the Father are one":
"Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one even as we are...Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believeth on me through their word, that they may all be one, even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee that they also may be in us. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given unto them, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one..." (John 17:11, 20, 21-23, 26)
Jesus is speaking of an affinity of spirit - of love - binding his disciples, his believers, himself and the Father into one bondage. If the interpretation is made on the basis that Jesus IS the Father, then there is as much authority for saying the same thing of the disciples, and the believers for all were to be perfected into one.
Phrases such as "I and the Father are one" are 'ex-cathedra' affirmations of the authority vested in him. When not speaking 'ex cathedra', Jesus was careful to distinguish between himself and Almighty God e.g "of myself, I can do nothing."
Victoria, you said -
"To have someone who is either new age or Jehovah’s Witness spouting their false doctrine on a reformed site without being challenged by someone trained in theology is a shame!"
I'll say it once again, all of my statements can be demonstrated from scripture itself. I am not a "new age" person, anything but, and I am not, nor ever have been, a Jehovah's Witness.
The "false doctrine" of which you speak is not mine but the teachings of the Graeco-Roman fathers. The "gospel" of the New Testament writers bears no resemblance to the Nicene Creed, or any other creed of Christendom.
If doctrines such as the Trinity and the Miraculous Incarnation are "true" then they will withstand the most rigorous examination. Jesus told Pilate that he was born to"bear witness to truth." It is therefore encumbent on those who would be his followers to do likewise.
To set down my position in depth would exceed the limits of this thread. However, just to give you an example -
The arguments in Colossians and Hebrews are set within the framework of the New Creation, not the Old. The New Creation is "created" by Jesus. He is the firstborn of the New Creation - the Kingdom of God. He is the firstborn from the dead, the first of many brethren to follow. All humanity is described as being made in the "image of God". Jesus is presented as the culmination of the Old Creation, the perfect man, the perfected "image of God."
When the fervent Hebrew hope of a 'messiah' transitioned to a practical reality in Jesus, it moved John to write:
"All things came into existence through him, and apart from him, not even one thing came into existence. What has come into existence by means of him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness but the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:3-5. See also Acts 26:18)
So we see that life is what came into existence through Jesus. He is the author of the New Creation of life.
If you wish to dialogue further, you could comment on my own blog or email me from there.
Hopefully, for those of you who are interested, you can pick up the flow of conversation by cross-referencing with The Gospel: Conventional vs Emerging.
If "doctrinal truths" cannot withstand the rigours of examination, then they are not "true."
As the poet Milton said: “Custom without truth is but agedness of error.”
* See the Beastly Blogger for a little light refreshment.