The Biblical Doctrine Of The Godhead

I recently posted a video on YouTube, “Where’s Your Proof,” showing that most denominational practices actually have no biblical authority whatsoever. In response to that video, on viewer made the following comment:

“I tried to prove the Trinity from scripture but then I couldn’t? find any verses to support it :(“

I invited the commenter to engage in a discussion of this important topic, here on Bible Q-n-A, with the following comment:

“I’de be happy to discuss that with you over at bibleqna.com. I’ll post this video there and you can make your comment requesting? proof for the Godhead and I’ll give you passages like Matt. 3:16, 17; 28:19; 2 Jn. 9 and such like. We could have a good discussion on it. Let me know if you want to do that and I’ll start the discussion chain.”

Well, Rob accepted my offer so I am making this post for the starting point of our discussion.

To begin with, I would like to hear how he addresses the verses I mentioned above. There are only a few choices a person can make in explaining these passages. 1) There are three persons in the Godhead (Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9). 2) Only one of the persons in these verses referred to is actually God and the other two are not. 3) All three are actually the same person merely appearing to be three distinct persons.

Rob, please let us know which of these is actually your position on the Godhead.

Thanks,
Norm

Comments

  1. 1. Matthew 3:16

    "And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him;" – Matthew 3:16 (ASV)

    A) I fail to see anything even remotely teaching a Trinity in this passage.
    B) On the contrary it seems to me to indicate a very human Jesus who is being commissioned by God for a task.
    C) Peter refers to this event during a sermon in the book of Acts where we read:

    "Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." – Acts 10:38 (ASV)

    D) This certainly makes no sense under the premise that Jesus is divine for why should he need to be given the Holy Spirit and power if he is the Almighty God.
    E) Instead, we see that because Jesus is a man he has no power or authority of his own and must rely on the Holy Spirit to accomplish the works given to him by God.
    F) Indeed, Peter states that the miracles and incredible deeds that Jesus did were only possible because God was dwelling in him and working through him.

    2. Matthew 28:19

    "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:" – Matthew 28:19 (ASV)

    A) I can see why if someone was already a Trinitarian they might read the Trinity into this verse.
    B) However in of itself the passage says nothing that even remotely teaches a Trinity.
    C) Here are just a few observations that I would point out:
    - The context of the verse is baptism not the identity or nature of God.
    - Nothing in the verse identifies the Holy Spirit as a person.
    - Nothing in the verse identifies Jesus as the Almighty God.
    - Nothing in the verse says that it is listing persons in the Godhead.
    - Nothing in the verse says that the things listed share the same divine essence or substance.
    - Nothing in the verse says that there is one God in three distinct persons.
    - Nothing in the verse says that 3 people can somehow be one "being".
    - Nothing in the verse says that the things listed are co-equal and co-eternal.
    D) It is wrong to assume that just because things are mentioned together that they are automatically the same thing. For instance:

    …he took with him Peter [1] and John [2] and James [3!], and went up into the mountain…

    - Does that make a Trinity? Are they three persons in one being?
    E) Lastly I would point out that Trinitarian scholars agree that the traditional reading is not even the words of Jesus:

    "The historical riddle is not solved by Matthew 28:19, since, according to a wide scholarly consensus, it is not an authentic saying of Jesus, not even an elaboration of a Jesus-saying on baptism" (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, 1992, page 585)

    3. 2 John 9

    "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son." – 2 John 9 (ASV)

    A) I agree completely that we should abide in the doctrine of Christ. Let's look at what Jesus taught:

    i. Jesus States that the Father is the Only True God

    "And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, Jesus Christ. " – John 17:3 (ASV)

    ii. Jesus and a Scribe Agree on How Many God Is

    "Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: … And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he" – Mark 12:29, 32 (ASV)

    iii. The Father of Jesus is the Almighty God of Jesus

    "Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God." – John 20:17 (ASV)

    • Rob, I wasn't sure what form of denial you would take to the three Persons of the Godhead. Some reject this biblical doctrine saying that all three Persons are actually the same One Person, i.e. Jesus. The most prominent form of this false belief is Oneness Pentecostalism. However, that is not you. The other form of false doctrine on this issue is the rejection of Jesus' deity, and the Holy Spirit's as well. Your comments pretty clearly put you in this latter group. Probably the most prominent deniers of the Son's deity are the Jehovah's Witnesses, or, more properly, the Watchtower Witnesses. Are you a disciple of the Watchtower Society (i.e. Jehovah's Witness)?

      It doesn't really do any good to discuss the verses showing the individual activity of the three Persons of the Godhead with someone who denies that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God. You are not denying that they are three distinct Persons, you deny that they are God.

      What about explicit statements that Jesus and the Holy Sprit are God? Do you believe the inspired word of God to be infallible and reliable? If so, then you will accept clear biblical statements of Jesus and the Holy Spirit being referred to as God.

      First, Jesus:

      John the Baptist came to make strait the way of Jehovah (Isa. 40:3; Matt. 3:3; Jn. 1:23). However, the work of John was to prepare people to receive Jesus (Jn. 1:19-34; 3:28-30; Matt. 11:7-10). Jesus is Jehovah!
      Jesus is the Branch of David called "Jehovah Our Righteousness" in Jeremiah 23:5-6.
      Jesus is Jehovah of Hosts, who is the first and last (Isa. 44:6; Rev. 1:17).
      Jesus is Jehovah, the Great Shepherd (Isa. 40:10, 11; Heb. 13:20).
      Jesus is our Mighty God (Isa. 9:6), our Great God and Savior (Tit. 2:13).

      Now, The Holy Spirit:

      When Aninias lied to the Holy Spirit he was lying to God (Acts 5:3, 4).
      The Holy Spirit is eternal, a characteristic of the Divine Nature (Heb. 9:14).
      The Holy Spirit is Omniscient, a characteristic of the Divine Nature (1 Cor. 2:10).

      I'll leave you with those for now. I'm looking forward to your response.

  2. I just want to add here that I pray this discussion will help protect the reader from being deceived by the cunning arguments presented on thousands of doorsteps every day by the very zealous Watchtower Witnesses. I could say that I comment them for their zealous evangelism if it wasn't for their damnable rejection of Jesus as our Great God and Savior (Tit. 2:13).

    If Robert is a Watchtower Witness, he is the first I have encountered who is willing to discuss their rejection of the Son of God in an open and public forum. I do commend him for that. People should always be willing to stand up and defend what they believe.

    I pray that I will be able to help Robert see and accept the clear doctrine of Christ on this crucial point.

  3. 1. Matthew 3:3

    It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: "A voice of one crying out in the desert, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'" – Matthew 3:3 (NAB)

    A) Old Testaments prophecies are almost always removed from their original context when applied to Christ. For example:

    He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, "Out of Egypt I called my son." – Matthew 2:15

    - Matthew applies Hosea 11:1 to Jesus' refuge in Egypt to hide from Herod.
    - Yet in the original context the verse is about Israel being called out of Egypt during the Exodus.

    B) This is the pattern for every Old Testament prophecy that I can think of off the top of my head.
    C) There should be no difficulty then in understanding that a passage that was originally about YHWH could be applied to Jesus in the New Testament.
    D) Just like Hosea 11:1 doesn't make Jesus a tribe of Israelites so Isaiah 40:3 does not make Jesus the Almighty God.

    2. Jeremiah 23:6

    In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: "The LORD our justice." – Jeremiah 23:6 (NAB)

    A) The Hebrew is ambiguous and can also be translated with YHWH giving him a title rather than being part of the title:

    In his days is Judah saved, and Israel dwelleth confidently, And this his name that Jehovah proclaimeth him, 'Our Righteousness.' – Jeremiah 23:6 (YLT)

    B) This is also the punctuation that the Jewish translators followed when making the Septuagint:

    In his days Iouda will be saved, and Israel will encamp in confidence. And this is the name by which he [the Lord] will call him: "Iosedek among the prophets." – Ieremias 23:6 (NETS)

    C) So it is at best ambiguous whether or not YHWH is even part of the title that is applied to the Messiah.
    D) At any rate, even if your interpretation is correct the passage still offers no support for the deity of Christ.
    E) There are dozens and dozens of Hebrew names that have the word YHWH or God in them.
    F) This was a common Jewish practice that signified the individual's relationship with God or that served to glorify the name of God.
    G) For example, the exact same name is applied to the city of Jerusalem a few chapters later in Jemiah:

    In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: "The LORD our justice." – Jeremiah 33:16 (NAB)

    H) Just like having that title doesn't make the city of Jerusalem the Almighty God neither does it make Christ the Almighty God.

    3. Isaiah 44:6

    Thus says the LORD, Israel's King and redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; there is no God but me. – Isaiah 44:6 (NAB)

    A) It seems as though you are arguing that if the same statement is used by Jesus than he must be God.
    B) However, the same statement is not used by Jesus who omits everything about being YHWH, YHWH of Hosts, and the only God:

    He touched me with his right hand and said, "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld. – Revelation 1:17b-1:18 (NAB)

    C) It is clear that the context in which the phrase is used is entirely different from God's usage of it.
    D) In Isaiah the phrase signifies that YHWH is the true God and that there is no God but he.
    E) In Revelation the phrase "first and the last" is always connected to the resurrection of Jesus (cf. "The first and the last, who once died but came to life, says this…" Revelation 2:8).
    F) At any rate, having a title of God used elsewhere in reference to a man does not make them God. For instance:

    - Artaxerxes is "King of Kings" (Ezra 7:12), Nebuchadnezzar is "King of Kings" (Ezekiel 26:7, Daniel 2:37), Jesus is "King of Kings" (Revelation 17:14) and YHWH is "King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15).

    G) I could give dozens of examples like this but the point should be evident.
    H) Just because a title is given to different individuals does not mean that they are the same thing or that they are used in the same way.

    4. Isaiah 40:10-11

    Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. – Isaiah 40:10-11 (NAB)

    A) This passage uses the metaphor of a shepherd to illustrate God's relationship to his people.
    B) This use of language is very common in the bible and is applied to more than just God:

    - David is "Shepherd" (2 Samuel 5:2, 7:7), Death is "Shepherd" (Psalm 49:14), Cyrus is "Shepherd" (Isaiah 44:28), Jeremiah is "Shepherd" (Jeremiah 17:16) etc.

    C) I cannot stress enough that finding similarities between titles or functions of people does not make them the same being.
    D) Lastly, the context of the passage you cite clearly identifies Jesus as a distinct entity from God:

    May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, – Hebrews 13:20 (NAB)

    E) The God of Peace is very clearly separate from the one called the 'great shepherd of the sheep'.

    5. Isaiah 9:6

    For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:5[6] (NAB)

    A) I already pointed out that many many names have the word God or YWH in them. Here are some examples:

    - Joshua means "Yahweh is Salvation", Seraiah means "Yahweh is Ruler", Israel means "he will rule as God", etc.

    B) Simply having the word 'el' or 'Yah' as part of one's name does not even remotely make them God.
    C) The Hebrew 'el', which is translated as 'god' here isn't only used for YHWH but also for humans. Some examples:

    Ezekiel 31:11 – A king is called 'el': it is translated 'mighty one' by most translations.
    Psalm 29:1 – The parents of warriors are called 'el': it is translated 'mighty' by most translations.
    Psalm 82:1 – Judges are called 'el': it is translated 'gods' by most translations.

    D) In fact, the same exact title that is used here (i.e. 'el gibbor') of Jesus is also applied to humans elsewhere:

    "Then from the midst of the nether world, the mighty warriors shall speak to Egypt" – Ezekiel 32:20[21]b (NAB)

    E) The words translated "mighty warriors" are the same the ones translated "mighty god" in Isaiah 9:6.
    F) Many Trinitarians recognize that this term is not identifying the Messiah as a god. For example:

    - Martin Luther translated 'el gibbor' as "divine hero" in his German bible.
    - The MNT, NEB, BLE, REB, NAB, etc. translate the phrase as "mighty hero" or something similar.

    G) Here are some Trinitarian commentaries on the usage of 'el gibbor' in Isaiah 9:6:

    God-Hero: a warrior and a defender of his people, like God himself. – New American Bible, commentary on Isaiah 9:6

    'Mighty God' may imply divine kingship, for which there is some evidence in ancient Israel (cf. Ps 45:6), or 'God' here may be a kind of superlative: 'Divine Warrior'. – Oxford bible commentary pg 447

    mighty hero (as above) or divine hero (as reflecting the divine majesty) Is 95. – A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Brown, Driver, Briggs)

    6. Titus 2:13

    as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, – Titus 2:13 (NAB)

    A) The Greek is ambiguous as to whether or not the title 'god' is referring to Jesus or the Father.
    B) Many Trinitarian translations do apply the title 'god' to Christ in this verse. For example: AKJV, ASV, BWE, CJB, KJ21, KJV, LO, NAB, RNKJV, TMB, UKJV, WB, WYC.
    C) Many Trinitarian translations that do apply the title 'god' to Christ admit that the Greek is uncertain. For example: CEV, GNT, NASB, NRSV, RSV.
    D) Even assuming that the title does apply to Jesus is does not indicate that Jesus is the Almighty God.
    E) Many people who represent God or are in a position of power are given the title 'god' in the bible. For example:

    - Men are called God in Exodus 7:1, 21:6, 22:8-9, 1 Samuel 2:25, Psalm 45:6, 82:1, 6, Ezekiel 31:11, 32:21, John 10:35, etc.
    - Angels are called God in Genesis 16:13, 22:16, 31:13, 32:28, Exodus 3, Psalm 8:5, 97:7, 138:1, etc.
    - Even Satan is called the "god of this world" by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4

    F) Jesus explicity states men who are God's agents and his appointed earthly rulers are called 'gods':

    Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? – John 10:34-36 (NAB)

    G) It is clear from this example that men "to whom the word of God came" could be called 'god' in a biblical sense that does not make them the Yahweh himself.
    H) As God's anointed one was delegated power and authority he could be called God in the same sense that a king, prophet, judge, or angel could be called 'god'.

    Post Script.

    "If Robert is a Watchtower Witness…"

    I am not a Jehovah's Witness and I never plan on becoming one. I attend services at a local Church of God congregation (www.timberlandbiblechurch.org).

    "willing to discuss… I do commend him for that"

    Thank you for the compliment Norm. I am only 21 so I do not know everything there is to know but I try to represent my beliefs as best as I can.

    "People should always be willing to stand up and defend what they believe."

    Unfortunately, most Trinitarians that I talk to have no idea what they believe. Most of them that I have talked to wound up describing Modalism or some other unorthodox view when I asked them to explain the Trinity to me.

    Sorry I wrote so much,

    Rob

  4. I just wanted to make a quick post to thank Robert for his good reply. Of course, I believe he has misrepresented several passages in discounting their reference to the Messiah as God Himself. But I do appreciate the thoroughness and directness of his reply. I will be posting my response soon. Titus 2:13 (ASV) Titus 2:13 (WESTCOTT) Titus 2:13 (ESV)

  5. EDIT: Point 6 "Titus 2:13" part B should read:

    B) Many Trinitarian translations do NOT apply the title ‘god’ to Christ in this verse. For example: AKJV, ASV, BWE, CJB, KJ21, KJV, LO, NAB, RNKJV, TMB, UKJV, WB, WYC.

  6. Robert ,

    If you are to deny the deity of Jesus Christ then you deny that he could have been a propitiation for our sins. Christ had to be perfect in order to atone sins , thus perfection making Him God. Furthermore , I am curious as to your explanation of 1 John 5:7 , and John 1:1 – 14. The scritpure which we know is perfect (2 Tim. 3:16) tells us of the deity of Jesus Christ. I find it hard to accept that Jesus could not have been God , and yet was able to pay for sins which required perfection.

    Thanks ,

    Kyle.

  7. Those are verses that I was planning to raise in my next post but Kyle beat me to it. So, I'll go ahead and ask. If Jesus is not God then who do you believe that he is? Don't just answer, "he's the Son of God." We both know and agree that the Scripture refers to Jesus as the Son of God. What I want you to answer is in reference to his "being." If he is not a member of the Godhead with the Divine Nature then what exactly do you believe him to be? An angel? Purely human? What?

  8. In responding to my last post, where I provided several passages referring to Christ as God, Robert repeatedly discounts such references as "ambiguous." It is very convenient to simply say that something is "ambiguous" and so you can't use that one. I don't agree that these statement are ambiguous or hard to understand. I do accept that people differ on some of their interpretations but the entirety of the references I provided cannot simply be discounted on the basis of ambiguity or differing interpretations.

    Robert says "Old Testament prophecies are almost always removed from their original context when applied to Christ." He gives Hosea 11:1 as an example of this. I just want to make something clear here, and I don't think Robert intended to give this impression. New Testament writers never use Old Testament passages "out of context." In Matthew 2:15, Matthew did not use Hosea 11:1 "out of context." He was showing Christ to be the ultimate fulfillment of a statement that was originally made of Israel. I think I understand what Robert was trying to say here and I don't think he was trying to raise doubt about the reliability of New Testament Scripture. However, the use of Hosea 11:1 in Matthew 2:15 is not at all parallel to the use of Isaiah 40:3 in Matthew 3:3. Isaiah 40:3 is in the context of a direct line Messianic prophecy. So Robert's attempt to discount it as evidence is incorrect.

    In one of the clearest statements of Christ's deity, Titus 2:13, Robert discounts it as "ambiguous." However, a literal reading of the Greek is probably even clearer than the English. Here is the word for word translation of what it says. "Waiting the blessed hope and appearing the glory the great God and Savior our Jesus Christ." Notice, in the Greek it is "the great God and Savior our Jesus Christ." Who is the Great God and Savior? Our Lord, Jesus Christ! This is only ambiguous if you refuse to accept that Jesus is God.

    I could say more about Robert's discounting the clear evidence from the passages provided previously but I would rather just continue to add to the evidence already given.

    Speaking of those who refused to accept Jesus as God in the flesh, Immanuel (Matt. 1:23), what will Robert do with the way the Jews understood what Jesus was saying about his nature. They understood that he was claiming divinity and Jesus did not correct them or deny that they had understood him correctly. Rather, he gave further proof that they were correct in their understanding of his claim (Jn. 5:17-18, 22-23). In John 8:58-59 they tried to stone him for saying "Before Abraham was I AM." They understood that Jesus was claiming to be the very same I AM of Exodus 3 (Ex. 3:14). In John 8:24, the word "he" is not in the Greek, which is why it is italicized in many translations. Jesus says unless we believe that he is the Great I AM we will die in our sins.

    What about the fact that Jesus accepted worship? If he is not divine then would he not have sinned in accepting what belongs only to God? I wonder if Robert believes in a sinful Jesus (cf. Heb. 4:15). Surely not! But to claim that Jesus is not God would make him such.

    If Jesus is not God then would he not have sinned by receiving Thomas' affirmation that he is Lord and God (John 20:28)? Jesus not only accepted it but told Thomas that he rightly believed it! (John 20:29).

    If Jesus is not God then wouldn't he have sinned by accepting the worship of the leper in Matt. 8:2? Not only did he accept it but he rewarded it! (Matt. 8:3).

    What about the worship he accepted from the ruler who came to him wanting him to raise his daughter? (Matt. 9:18).

    Or when he accepted the worship of the disciples after they saw him walking on the water and calming the storm? (Matt. 14:33).

    Or what about the women after the resurrection? (Matt. 28:9-10).

    Or what about the disciples after the resurrection? (Matt. 28:17).

    Lest Robert start offering back those verses that show Jesus being offered mock worship or having demons fall down before him in trembling fear, let me offer one more striking scene of Jesus receiving worship.

    In Revelation 4 the scene is of worship before the throne of God and it says he is "worthy" of such worship (Rev. 4:11). Then, in chapter 5, the picture shifts to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lamb Slain for our sins (Rev. 5:5-6). When the Lamb of God takes the sealed book the focus of worship shifts to him (Rev. 5:8, 14). They give the exact same praise to the Lamb in Revelation 5 that they did in Revelation 4 to the one on the throne. He is the one "worthy" of our worship (Rev. 5:11-13).

    How is this to be explained if Jesus himself is not divine? Robert has not yet responded to my question asking him to identify just exactly what he believes Jesus to be. If he was just a man then he accepted something that other godly men refused for themselves (Acts 10:25-26; 14:11-15). If Jesus is an angel then he accepted something that other angels refused to receive (Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9). The angel rebuked John and told him to "worship God." But when Jesus received worship he accepted it. If John was wrong and needed to be rebuked for worshipping an angel rather than God then why would Jesus, if he is an angel, not be wrong for receiving the same?

    I will eagerly await the reply.

  9. It is my firm belief, that mankind is inquisitive. We want to know how things tick. And because of this, if they don't fit into our preconcieved notion of how things ought to work, then we reject them. It is for this reason that there are a multitude of false doctrines among us today. We refuse to believe in the existence of hell because we can't get our mind around a venegful God. We refuse to believe that baptism is necessary unto salvation, because it goes against our sense of justice. We refuse to believe in the Godhead, because we are unable to grasp the concept of three distinct (not separate, but distinct) persons within ONE God! Just because we can't understand it, or it goes against how WE believe justice should be given, does not make it untrue.

  10. [NOTE: Sorry I have taken so long to respond but I have been very busy with school. I have two tests for tomorrow so even now I don't have a lot of time to refine my response. It is somewhat sloppily written but I think that it accurately reflects my beliefs and still gets the point across.]

    Defining who Jesus is can be a monumental task. There are so many things that we will never know or understand. However, in reading through the scriptures one can quickly identify the central and most fundamental teachings about Jesus.

    It seems like the best place to get a sense of this is to look at what the Apostles were preaching in the book of Acts. It is in the sermons recorded by Luke that we can discover what the earliest disciples thought people needed to know about Jesus. Certainly not every exhaustive detail of his life or work is covered but we can be sure that they told their Jewish and pagan audiences exactly what they need to know in order to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.

    On the day of Pentecost we read about the first Christian sermon that was ever preached. We are told that the disciples are preaching to a tremendous crowd of Jews who have gathered from all over the empire. Their entire aim is to bring these men into a knowledge of the truth about Jesus of Nazareth. It is shocking than that the person we read about is a far cry from the God-Man of modern orthodoxy. Instead of being the almighty YHWH of Hosts we see the following:

    1. Jesus was a man accredited by God with many miraculous signs and deeds that God did through him (2:22).
    2. Jesus was delivered over into the hands of his enemies, in accordance with God's plan, and crucified by them (2:23).
    3. Jesus was raised from the dead by God because he would not abandon him in Hades (2:24-32).
    4. Jesus was exalted by God to sit at his right hand and have victory over his enemies (2:32-35).
    5. Jesus was made both lord and Christ by God (2:36).

    These points constitute the central message of the identity and work of Christ. Belief in these equips one to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. Around 3000 Jews were baptized into the body of Christ with this understanding of who Jesus was. The Jesus that brought them to salvation was a "man accredited by God" not the divine second person of the Trinity.

    In fact, read every single sermon in the book of Acts and you will never, not once, find a reference to a Trinity, Godhead, God-Man, 3-in-1, Hypostatic Union, divine nature, incarnation, essence, eternal generation, on and on and on. None of these man made doctrines were required for baptism by the Apostle's who preached under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    Trinitarians constantly tell me that you must believe the Jesus is Yahweh, the Almighty God of the Old Testament, in order to be saved. I defy anyone who believes that. Show me one place anywhere in the entire canon of scripture where someone was saved after having the Trinity preached to them. In fact, I see dozens of examples to the contrary. Let's look at some of these sermons:

    Acts 3. Peter's Sermon to the Onlookers

    - Jesus was servant of God and a prophet like Moses (3:13, 22).
    - Jesus was handed over to his enemies and killed (3:13-15).
    - Jesus was raised from the dead by God (3:15, 26).
    - Jesus was lifted by God heaven and remains there (3:21).
    - Jesus was appointed and made the Christ by God (3:20).

    Acts 4. Peter and John before the Sanhedrin

    - Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the anointed one of God (4:10).
    - Jesus was crucified but God raised him from the dead (4:10).
    - Jesus was rejected by the people but he became "the head of the corner" (4:11).
    - Jesus' name is the only one given among men by which we can be saved (4:12).

    Acts 5. The Apostles before the Sanhedrin

    - Jesus was "hung on a tree" and killed by the Jews (5:30).
    - Jesus was raised from the dead by the God of the patriarchs (5:30).
    - Jesus was exalted by God to be a prince and a savior (5:31).

    There is so much more that could be looked at but obviously I don't have the time or the space to go over everything. Seriously, read through what the Apostles were teaching people. We have sermons or summaries of them in the many passages (e.g. Acts 9:20-22, 10:36-43, 13:22-41, 17:1-3, 17:23-31, 18:28, 22:12-16, 28:23-31).

    Paul, John, Peter, Apollos all preach the same message. Jesus of Nazareth is a man from the line of David, a servant of God, a prophet like Moses, the one appointed lord and Christ, etc. There is not a mention of the Trinity dogma anywhere in their sermons. If the church of the first century believed in later Catholic inventions they must not have thought them important enough to bother bringing up once in a while.

    Instead we see that thousands of people repent and are baptized unto the remission of their sins without even the slightest notion of a tri-personal Godhead or an incarnate God-Man. I have never once in my life heard a Trinitarian preach anything like what Simon Peter preached at the house of Cornelius:

    "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him." (Acts 10:38)

    When was the last time you preached a sermon like that?

  11. Re: Mike

    "We refuse to believe in the existence of hell because we can’t get our mind around a venegful God."

    1. I accept the existence of hell so far as the bible defines it. I reject the Dantesque inferno that was created by the Catholic church.

    "We refuse to believe that baptism is necessary unto salvation, because it goes against our sense of justice."

    2. I believe that water baptism is necessary for salvation. From what I've heard, I agree completely with the Church of Christ understanding.

    "We refuse to believe in the Godhead, because we are unable to grasp the concept of three distinct (not separate, but distinct) persons within ONE God!"

    3. I reject the Trinity because the bible does not teach it. It is the product of Greek philosophy and was integrated into Christianity by the use of force.

    "Just because we can’t understand it, or it goes against how WE believe justice should be given, does not make it untrue."

    4. Agreed.

  12. Re: Kyle

    "Christ had to be perfect in order to atone sins , thus perfection making Him God."

    1. The bible says that Jesus was blameless and without sin. It also says he was perfected:

    "It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings." – Hebrews 2:10 (NRSV)

    2. The bible says Jesus had to be a man, not a god, to reconcile us with God:

    "Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people." – Hebrews 2:17 (NRSV)

    "I am curious as to your explanation of 1 John 5:7 , and John 1:1 – 14."

    3. 1 John 5:7 is universally recognized to be a Trinitarian corruption of scripture.

    4. There is not a single scholar anywhere in the world who argues that it is authentic.

    Consider: If the doctrine was so clearly taught in scripture why did Trinitarians need to corrupt the bible just to find support for it?

    5. The prologue to the gospel of John speaks about the word of God.

    6. Jesus is the embodiment of God's word so it is rightly stated that "the word was made flesh".

    "The scritpure which we know is perfect (2 Tim. 3:16) tells us of the deity of Jesus Christ."

    7. It seems to me like people interpret the bible through the lens of a few verses that are wrested to support the Trinity.

    8. The overwhelming testimony of scripture is that Jesus is a man chosen by God to be his Anointed One.

    Consider: Have you ever tried to prove the Trinity from the book of Acts or Luke or Mark or Matthew?

    "I find it hard to accept that Jesus could not have been God , and yet was able to pay for sins which required perfection."

    9. I am somewhat surprised by that because the bible teaches the opposite.

    10. Jesus absolutely had to be a human being in order to make the payment for sins:

    "Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil," – Hebrews 2:14 (NRSV)

    Consider: If God is immortal and therefore cannot die what makes people think that he had to be God to die for us?

    Thank for the questions Kyle,

    Rob

  13. Robert,
    One of my favorite radio talk shows has a segment called "The Duck Of The Day." I think I will put your last post in that category. You did a great job of writing a lengthy post that completely "ducked" my question. Well, in the grand old tradition of pressing for a direct answer, I'm going to ask it again. And, I'll try to make it a little easier for you to give a clear, concise, direct answer.
    If Jesus is not divine, then what do you believe him to be?
    Is he God? (I know you will say no to this one but I would still like to have you make that direct statement to the question).
    Is he an angel of God? (yes or no).
    Is he just a man? (yes or no).
    If he is not God, an angel, or just a man then please give a clear concise statement as to what you believe him to be. For example, "I believe Jesus to be ____."
    Now, you said that "Defining who Jesus is can be a monumental task." It wasn't a "monumental task" for you to deny that he is God. Why should it be a monumental task for you to say, "He is not God but, rather, he is ________." I think you should be able to do that for us.
    It seems that you are attempting to discount the Gospel record of who and what Jesus is by trying to limit the discussion to the sermons recorded in Acts. However, the historical record of the Gospels reveals what the people on Pentecost had already been hearing about Jesus. Whatever prior knowledge Peter's audience may have had must be taken into account. Therefore, we have the Gospel record. That is not to say that I agree with your assessment of the sermons in Acts, that they included nothing of Christ's deity. I am simply pointing out the fallacy of neglecting the recorded evidence of the audiences' prior knowledge, especially the one on Pentecost. The same Jews that were present in Jerusalem on Pentecost would have been present for the feast of Passover, just fifty days prior, and, therefore, would have been present for the crucifixion. There is no way that their having prior knowledge can be denied (cf. Acts 2:22).
    In Acts 2:34, Peter quotes from Ps. 110:1. Jesus had used this same passage to teach his duel nature, deity in flesh (cf. Col. 2:9), when he asked the Jewish leaders who's Son was the Messiah (Matt. 22:41-45). The whole point of the question there was to reveal the error of rejecting the deity of Christ. How could he be the Son of David and also be called "Lord" by David. There is only one way, he is both God (David's Lord) and man (David's Son). So, you are incorrect in your statement that Peter did not teach the deity of Christ in his sermon on Pentecost.
    Next, you said

    …[I]n the book of Acts…you will never find, not once, find a reference to a Trinity, Godhead, God-Man, 3-in-1, Hypostatic Union, divine nature, incarnation, essence, eternal generation, on and on and on.

    However, you are incorrect in this. Acts 17 is an inspired sermon, is it not? And, in that sermon for Gentiles, Paul makes reference to the Divine Nature or Godhead (KJV). The text says that we are God's offspring (tou theou). Therefore, we should not think that the "Divine Nature" (theion) is like gold or silver or stone, etc. (Acts 17:29). The Greek word theion is defined by Louw and Nida (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains) as "pertaining to having the nature of God." A derivative of this same word is used specifically for Christ in Col. 2:9. All the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily. The word there is theotetos. Again, Louw and Nida define it as, "the nature or state of being God – 'deity, divine nature, divine being.'" So the literal definition of the word would have the text read something like, "in him the whole content of being God dwells bodily." Truly, he is Immanuel – God with us!
    I don't call myself a "trinitarian," I call myself a Christian because I have submitted my will to my Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). And as a Christian, yes, I would tell you that you must accept the truth that Jesus is deity in order to have everlasting life. Jesus himself taught such a necessity. In John 8:24 Jesus said that unless we believe he is the I AM we will die in our sins. The word he is not in the Greek and, in the context, Jesus makes a strong point of the fact that he is the I AM (cf. Jn. 8:58; Ex. 3:14).
    As you go through and outline the various sermons in Acts, you again fail to acknowledge any prior knowledge on the part of these audiences. However, Peter appeals to this prior knowledge as the basis for his message in Acts 3 (cf. Acts 3:13, 18, 20, 24-25). It is very clear that Peter is preaching to those who have already heard Christ preached and who had prior knowledge to reflect upon. We both believe that water baptism for the remission of sins is necessary for salvation, however, where does Peter preach it in this sermon? Simply pointing out that a particular doctrine is not taught in a particular sermon doesn't mean that the audience was never taught that doctrinal point. So, again, your appeal to the various sermons as excluding the deity of Christ is incorrect or, at best, suppositional.
    Let me leave you with another question and I will eagerly await your reply. Who purchased the church with his own blood? In Acts 20:28 it is "the church of God" which "he" (i.e. God) purchased with "his" (i.e. God's) own blood. Did the Father have physical blood with which to purchase the church? (cf. Jn. 4:24; Lk. 24:39). So, whose blood purchased the church?
    Robert, I greatly appreciate your interest in discussing this issue and I pray it will be beneficial for all who take part and follow along. I pray we will all seek to serve God in harmony with his word without the hindrance of man-made doctrines

  14. [Is he God? (I know you will say no to this one but I would still like to have you make that direct statement to the question).]

    A) Jesus has the title θε?ς applied to him in one passage for certain:

    Thomas answered and said to him, "My lord and my θε?ς!" – John 20:28

    B) He is called θε?ς because human representatives of God can carry that title:

    If he called them θεο?ς to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken) – John 10:35

    [2. Is he an angel of God? (yes or no).]

    A) Jesus is an ?γγελος in sense that he is a messenger or envoy of God.
    B) This is the same way in which other men are called ?γγελος in the bible:

    This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my ?γγελος before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.' – Matthew 11:10

    C) Jesus is not an ?γγελος in the sense that he is a part of the host of heavenly spirit creatures:

    For to what ?γγελος did God ever say, "You are my son, today I have become your father"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? – Hebrews 1:5

    [3. Is he just a man? (yes or no).]

    A) Jesus is most emphatically a man, a human being in every single way possible:

    i. The Old Testament Identifies Jesus as a Man

    Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. – Acts 3:22 (quoting Deuteronomy 18:15)

    ii. Jesus Identifies Himself as a Man

    but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. – John 8:40

    iii. Jesus' Disciples Identify Him as a Man

    "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know – Acts 2:22

    iv. The New Testament Identifies Jesus as a Man

    the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh – Romans 1:3

    v. The Resurrected Jesus is Identified as a Man

    because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." – Acts 17:31

    B) Jesus has to be fully man completely and totally a human being in order to reconcile us to God:

    i. Jesus Had the Same Human Nature as All Men

    Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, – Hebrews 2:14

    ii. Jesus Was in Every Way a Like Other Men

    Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. – Hebrews 2:17

    iii. Jesus Had to be a Man to Be Tempted

    For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. – Hebrews 2:18

    iv. The Mediator Between Mankind and God is a Man:

    For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, – 1 Timothy 2:5

    D) If by "just a man" you mean in contrast to being part zebra / part man or part kangaroo / part man or part YHWH / part man than yes.

    [4. If he is not God, an angel, or just a man then please give a clear concise statement as to what you believe him to be. For example, “I believe Jesus to be ____.”]

    A) I believe Jesus to be a man accredited by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him.

    [Now, you said that “Defining who Jesus is can be a monumental task.”]

    A) I mean only in regard to the particulars like exactly how the virgin birth was orchestrated.
    B) The New Testament does not elaborate on other certain points like what Jesus did between 12 and 30.
    C) In reference to these speculative tasks it can be hard to come up with a concrete answer.
    D) My entire point was that the essential and fundamental aspects of Jesus' identity and work is plainly attested to over and over again.
    E) What is not a monumental task is defining who Jesus is based on the absolutely clear and unambiguous statements from him and his disciples.

    [It seems that you are attempting to discount the Gospel record of who and what Jesus is by trying to limit the discussion to the sermons recorded in Acts.]

    A) The purpose of the sermon on the day of Pentecost was to give people the fundamental message of who Jesus was and what he did.
    B) You wanted me to present my opinion of the absolute fundamental and defining characteristics of Jesus.
    C) Since that is exactly what the disciples were doing in their sermons I will let them guide my answer to you.
    D) There can be absolutely no criticism leveled against an approach that mimics exactly the actions of the disciples under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
    E) On the day of Pentecost the Jews heard exactly what they needed to hear about Jesus of Nazareth.
    F) They preached the absolute essentials of who Jesus was and it had nothing to do with him being a divine God-Man.

    [Whatever prior knowledge Peter’s audience may have had must be taken into account.]

    A) Like what? What are you suggesting? That the Jewish and pagan crowds already believed he was God? What are you saying?
    B) Anyways, what they had knowledge of is already stated by the disciples:

    "a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know"

    C) It is abundantly clear that what they already had knowledge of the miraculous works which were done through him by God.
    D) People often accepted Jesus as a prophet and servant of God yet never as the second person of the Trinity. For instance:

    This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him." – John 3:2

    [deity in flesh (cf. Col. 2:9)]

    A) Colossians 2:9 says nothing about Jesus being a "deity in the flesh".
    B) It says the exact opposite:

    For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, – Colossians 2:9

    C) Notice that it doesn't say Jesus was the fullness of deity it says that the fullness of deity dwelt inside his body.
    D) This passage makes it clear that the fullness of God lived and operated in the man Jesus Christ not that he was somehow a God-Man.

    [How could he be the Son of David and also be called “Lord” by David. There is only one way, he is both God (David’s Lord) and man (David’s Son).]

    A) What verse are you getting that idea from?

    [Paul makes reference to the Divine Nature or Godhead (KJV)]

    A) That the word θε?ον occurs not one would dispute.
    B) If your assertion is that θε?ον means Godhead and Godhead means Trinity than I would disagree.
    C) If however by godhead you only mean 'deity' or 'divine' nature than I am with you.
    D) At some point the word Godhead came to be synonymous with 3-in-1 God so I'm somewhat leery of using it.

    [Immanuel – God with us!]

    A) I already addressed the argument that supposes that someone is God if their name refers to God.

    [Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ]

    A) I think I already addressed this verse also.

    [In John 8:24 Jesus said that unless we believe he is the I AM we will die in our sins.]

    A) Out of twenty Trinitarian translations that I just looked at only one of them even tried to make this verse deify Jesus.
    B) According to you this is some clear statement of divinity yet when he tells them "I am he" they ask "Who are you?" (vs. 24).

    [However, Peter appeals to this prior knowledge as the basis for his message in Acts 3 (cf. Acts 3:13, 18, 20, 24-25)]

    A) Only Acts 3:13 says that they knew anything about Jesus before hand and it was the fact that he was crucified.
    B) It wasn't a secret that Jesus was killed and his death would only prove to people that he wasn't God because God cannot die.
    C) Again, what are you trying to suggest?

    [We both believe that water baptism for the remission of sins is necessary for salvation, however, where does Peter preach it in this sermon?]

    A) The sermon in Acts 3 isn't about the significance of baptism, it is about the identity of Jesus.
    B) Anyways as soon as they finished preaching they were arrested so I don't think they baptized anyone that day.

    [Who purchased the church with his own blood? In Acts 20:28 it is “the church of God” which “he” (i.e. God) purchased with “his” (i.e. God’s) own blood.]

    A) I am 99.99% certain that you are aware of the textual and translational variations for this verse.
    B) You criticize me for accurately identifying the ambiguity inherent in these passages and than proceed to cite more ambiguous passages.
    C) So, I'm not going to do anything but let Trinitarian scholars speak for themselves:

    "Church of the Lord": AMP?, ASV, LO, WWE,
    - Footnote: E-R-V, ESV, GNT, HCSB, ISV, NET, NIV, NRSV, TNIV, NCV,
    "Church of God": CENT, CEV, DARBY, EMP, E-R-V, ESV, GNT, HCSB, ISV, KJV, LITV, NAB, NET, NIV, NJB, NKJV, NLT, NCV, NRSV, RSV, TCNT, TNIV,
    - Footnote: AMP, ASV, WEB,
    "Church of the Lord and God": AMP?, WEB,
    - Footnote: HCSB, NET, NKJV,
    "blood of his own": CENT, CEV, CJB, DARBY, EMP, GNT, NCV, NET, NJB, NRSV, RSV,
    - Footnote: E-R-V, ESV, NAB, NLT,
    "his own blood": AMP, ASV, ESV, E-R-V, HCSB, ISV, KJV, LITV, LO, NAB, NIV, NLT, TCNT, TNIV, WEB, WWE,
    - Footnote: CEV, GNT, NET, NRSV,

    [Robert, I greatly appreciate your interest in discussing this issue and I pray it will be beneficial for all who take part and follow along. I pray we will all seek to serve God in harmony with his word without the hindrance of man-made doctrines]

    I am glad that you find this discussion interesting. I can certainly say amen to you closing statement.

    - Rob

  15. Robert,
    Just a suggestion, but you should check out the book "The Wallace-Vaughn Debate" between G.K. Wallace (church of Christ) and Ray Vaughn (United Pentacostal Holiness) on the doctrine of the Godhead. It has lots of good info on this subject, and may help you to learn more about what the Bible says about the Godhead.
    As for your doctrine, it sounds very similar to the Gnostic doctrine. John warned against this kind of doctrine in II John 7, "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." And also, in I John 4:2-3, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
    3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. "
    My question is, if Christ was just a man then what was He before He "came in the flesh"?
    I wanted to say more, but I cannot remember the verses I wanted to use at this time.

    • Re: Jeff

      [Just a suggestion, but you should check out the book “The Wallace-Vaughn Debate” between G.K. Wallace (church of Christ) and Ray Vaughn (United Pentacostal Holiness) on the doctrine of the Godhead.]

      A) Jeff, I am not a believer in the Oneness doctrine but I appreciate the suggestion.

      [As for your doctrine, it sounds very similar to the Gnostic doctrine. John warned against this kind of doctrine in II John 7, “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”]

      B) I'm not sure if you realize this but my entire point is that Jesus came in the flesh.
      C) I deny that Jesus of Nazareth was the Almighty God not that he was a human being.

      [My question is, if Christ was just a man then what was He before He “came in the flesh”?]

      D) Jesus existed eternally in the plan and purpose of God even before he was created in the womb of Mary:

      This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord – Ephesians 3:11 (NASB)

      E) However, before the "flesh" was begotten by the holy Spirit the man Jesus Christ did not literally exist.

      Q: Jeff do you think that the man Jesus of Nazareth was walking around in heaven before he "came in flesh"?

      God bless,

      Rob

  16. Q: Jeff do you think that the man Jesus of Nazareth was walking around in heaven before he “came in flesh”?

    Yes, I think that, save for the time He was in the flesh and the times He was sent as God's messenger, Jesus was in heaven with the Father. I believe that He is currently there on His throne reigning at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3).
    In Genesis 1:26 God said, "let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness". To whom was God speaking if not the Son? Man hadn't been created yet so He couldn't have been talking to man. Also, the word translated God in that verse is Elohim which is a plural term.

    E) However, before the “flesh” was begotten by the holy Spirit the man Jesus Christ did not literally exist.

    So, you're saying that the Holy Spirit is God? Then you must also admit that there is at least two persons in the Godhead.

    As for II John 7, the whole point of John's argument was to show that Jesus was God in the flesh. Like you, the Gnostics believed that Jesus was just a man. They believed that He wasn't deity until the Holy Spirit desended on Him at His baptism. They then say that He lost His deity shortly before His crucifixion. Anyways, John was attempting to show that this doctrine was false with his comments in I and II John.
    It was also John that said in John 1:1-2, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God". The Word in these verses is Christ.

  17. CyPontuo says:

    I had a similar discussion or debate with someone I thought was a saved Christ follower, he still claims he is, but I'm not so sure, because he rejects his "traditional' upbringing and mostly kind of follows a "Father God" through a Jesus who is his brother and more of a spirit "being". God he believes sent him to give us an example so that we maybe an example. These are hard to debate , kind of like people who are spiritual who follow new agey energies and lights. You want to be understanding and I certainly realized, when receiving Christ and the Holy Spirit comes alive in you, how wretched my own self deceit really was before becoming a new creation and that contrast continuously is revealed on my walk with the Lord. I feel that Jesus is "all" the Father God Creator and yet all man like any of the miracles, because I tried many "spiritual' things before I was saved and none really had the power of my own admittance to wrong doing quite like reciving Jesus Christ. Something with "blood" divine becoming the atonement and the The Lamb" , clearly God himself did that, the book of John clearly shows this. I feel that without His divine grace no one is righteous and The Father God to get into relationship with His people made in His image(the human race-homosapiens- etc) needed to save us with meeting us at that discussion at the points of worst wreckage's, decay, manipulation, corruption and deception. We have an altar through Christ who encompasses all the OT, the Exodus (He is the promised land) the Ark of the Covenant and Tabernacle ( who receives Christ and/or three of more meet in His name you are in the presence of the Most Holy HighPriest through Jesus to talk , praise God Our Father or confess sins)- I mean sin and the like are the results of man made in His presence and with His wholeness, that a free will chosen that began to lack full trust in Our Maker (adam and eve in the garden) . Sin caused death and Christ is God's blood shed to bring us in again despite our falling away. I do not think any "versions" of any other is appropriate because these alternate Christians just make it more confusing to people who do not have to be wise enough but just need to receive Christ, they intellectualize it and turn him into a good role model,but we are fully in need of divinity and Gods reconciliation because we are dead in the flesh and lost with limited sight without His vision of hope and second life and the accounts of our lives. It is almost like alternate versions of Christianity that take away His deity have a rosy picture of Gods love but reject certain doctrines (mainly the trinity) as a deception or lie, all the while sort of loving on so many other non-believers. People in our non-denominational setting of worshiping Christ and home groups and Saturday and Sunday services and Christ centered teaching , a place where Jesus is the sole gate to be with the Father and receive the Spirit, People come in to our congregation and want to have Jesus teacher without a bondage or obligation to "the church" or His body. The know about the "temple" and the church not really being a building and how Jesus rebuked religion(Pharisees and Saduccees) so they use that as a way to kind of do an autonomous Jesus walk with know confession and little fellowship and little surrendering lives to serve His church, again they just want all the "experiential" stuff and the non-relgious arts and there is no true repentance , say, because God is only love and nothing more and would never let His children suffer and no one , I mean no one is lost they say because of some parables they read wrong.
    I think that the Bible is clear, Jesus was saying (whether you beleive Him a God man, a prophet, or spirit guide) whatever you decide, mankind rejected him, many many types of men and women and only some mostly ordinary people, sick and pathetic types that were mainly pointed out(though large groups apparently were following) were the only ones who said Yes we know You are the one. But admitting or being blind Jesus gives us sight, only God (or sent by God if you prefer) could give a man sight. The problem I have with people who reject him as God is that Jesus was like constantly , Ok you say you believe in God or that the Father is your God, then why do you not see that I AM or I am he and if you do not believe the miracles believe that I am righteous. But still they argued and questioned him. I also think some of you are missing the point that the Jews persecuted him and indirectly murdered him, for fear of breaking the "law" , because He equated himself with The Father and pointed to the scriptures and said something like you read the scriptures and you think these will save you by that I stand here and the prophecies the things written about , the words have lead up to the moment where God has become the Words said in the scriptures and here I am and still you reject me. He basically was saying they could understand and dictate aspects and concepts of scripture but they were not believing in God really because when he (or his beget model type version in flesh) stood with them they hated him and the righteousness he spoke of. In essence they liked the darkness rater that the light of the world.
    I feel as though Satan knows the scriptures and God created the world and everything in it, other beings were made as described "heavens' and the earth. So celestial beings may have certain powers we yet to understand, because of sin we may never. It was sin that fractured the wholeness of his creation. the light of His world . The evil in humans is the absence of light. Physical light or the sun, fires, light bulbs (though man made), yo know all the 'elements" that are light not man made , say, though man has discovered ways to harness that, If you accept not the light , spiritually speaking, however the divine light "really" can be or is capable of, well if accept not Christ as Lord and Savior you are still absent form the light and His presence. Satan is big on appearing as false light or mimicking lights. I mean if you reject the Bible and Jesus i understand you may not want to belive that story as the "only " way to heaven or you find it hard to wrap your brain around the narrow gate of a certain time and place in history God wanting to use "one" group to project to the whole world. That i understand your honesty, but I do not understand why somehow would be proud of or feeling like they figured out a loophole in "something else" that Jesus Christ is. Unless you are compromising with many "spirit" guides or all the worlds teachers of moral behavior, that is not in a box and uses them all to reach anyone , anywhere. But then I feel you destroy His distinction. The distinction of Christ that by faith and by grace, that because we cannot be righteous and that a rebellious creature deceived man all of creation is co existing with evil and sin, but that despite our inheritance God himself "gave us an offering" to redeem us to live again , to have His light to show us our sin that we can see more clearly the consequences and deceptions, but even if this passing world we fail that and lose and only think of ourselves at some point this realm is not everything but a corruption and He provided an escape to eternity or beeter yet He is always new and doing a new thing, He always resurrects and recreates and metamorphosis like rebuilding . I mean we get a new body a new life for those that choose to follow Him some of that newness will be here in human terms but ultimately GOD OUR CREATOR who was JEsus THEWORD WITHGOD IN THE BEGINNING THaT BECAME FLESH,, ultimately His perfection is working out as it overcomes sin and failure and even death, and a new earth is kind of the setting no one knows exactly how it will pan out, but Jesus said He was GOd and that gate to it, and he warned many will say many ways and false Christs will appear. I think if we get into Jesus being something other than GOd, despite you best efforts to 'model' Jesus or self deceptions into thinking you are "good" somehow without divine purity of the Savior -man who was the fullness of GOd,if we get way from that we are getting away from salvation and leaving doors wide open for Satan to distort and distort and create false "beings" that appear like like or like Jesus, and these are false doctrines and wizards that peep, people are easily remolded by media and trends and exciting tangible gods, we cannot follow any righteous consistent path long at all, we are inherent of sinful nature and only the wholeness of God in through the man Jesus Christ , to shed "divine holy blood" can save us and stand in our place so we can be clean before we His Holy throne.
    Satan has a form of spirituality about him and has much rule/knowledge over earthly mattesr. if evil is the absence of light , Satan loves the darkness and the darkness does not understand it, (the atonement, the blood the Godhead etc. ) really , we do not recognize Jesus, we are all beggars in the economy of mercy. John 1:1 talks about how the though the world was made through Him the world does "recognize" him.

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