Thank you so much for praying for my dad, Roy. He had extensive surgery (about 10 hours) for oral cancer. Doctors removed about 40% of his tongue and grafted on a patch of skin from his leg. He begins swallow and speech therapy soon. They also removed his lymph nodes. Huge stuff going on. But dad’s a tough old Italian, and he’s fighting back to recover. I’m so proud of him. He’s ahead of the doctor’s predicted recovery schedule, so keep in in your prayers. Dad is 80 years young and we want him around for a long time to come.
If you want to email an encouragement to him, please leave a comment after this post, and I will forward all comments to him tonite. Dad would love to hear from you, friend or stranger, and to know that he’s in your prayers.
My cousin sent me some scans of really old Bible studies I taught decades ago. One that stood out for me was on the Deity of Christ. I believe, and the Bible teaches, that Jesus is fully human and fully God.
The deity of Christ hotly debated from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. Beginning around the 70’s, evangelicals were united on his deity, but inadvertently began undercutting his humanity. In the last few years of THE EMERGENCY CHURCH, the pendulum has swung back, and I see signs that the doctrine of Christ’s deity is once again slipping. Theological liberalism is theological liberalism whether it’s coming from the old (pro-communist) National Council of Churches or the modern-day spokespeople of the so-called emergent church. Same old story… new words to tell it.
Here is one example of the latter.
““My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. “I and My Father are one.” Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” John 10:29-31, NKJV.
Here’s what I wrote 15 years ago in my Bible study notes, and I would stand by every word today:
Jesus had three options for the word “one” – he could have used the masculine, feminine, or neuter forms. The word used here (hen) is neuter gender, and could be translated “one thing.”
Notice the precision of Scripture. Jesus’ choice of words bears on the oneness/unity of essence within the Godhead. If he had used the masc/fem genders this would imply “one Person”.
Thus this is not an assertion of identity, but of unity.
The Jews regarded this statement as blasphemous. This is only understandable if we concede his claim of deity.
“Hear both the ‘are’ and the ‘one.’ In that he said ‘one’ he delivers us from Arius. In that he said ‘are’ he delivers from Sabellius. If ‘one’ not diverse. If ‘are’ both Father and Son.
Let’s start with Arius, a church leader from North Africa, at that time the center of Christianity. Arianism taught that Jesus and the Father did not have the same, identical essence, and that Jesus was created from nothing by the Father.
Augustine points out that the word “one” delivers us from Arius. Jesus claims to be “of one essence” (neuter gender) with the Father. If Arius had been right, Jesus could not have made this claim.
Then, Sabellius. He was a 3rd century priest from Libya. He taught that the Trinity was simply a way of describing three aspects of the one person that is God. God wears his Father hat, his Son hat, and his Spirit hat, successively. One at a time. Not simultaneously. Sabellianism is often called modalism. The Son is the Father is the Spirit, one at a time. Modes of being, not distinct persons.
Its modern counterpart exists in a theological system called Oneness Pentecostalism, of which T.D. Jakes and the music group Phillips, Craig, and Dean are allegedly a part.
Yet centuries ago, Augustine wrote, “in that he said ‘are’ he delivers from Sabellius.” The linear, durative, present tense of the verb indicates that Christ and the Father ARE ONE THING SIMULTANEOUSLY, not successively.
Jesus is God–always has been, always will be. From that first Christmas morning onward, he is also human without ceasing to be God. That will never change either.
God help us if we move the ancient landmarks of the faith.
I’m going to send out the full study on the deity of Christ, typo’s and all, in my next WISEGUY’S newsletter. Click on the mobster up on the right to subscribe!