Archive for the 'Theolgoy' Category

29
Dec
09

Responding to 10 Reasons why Jesus is not God…Reason #10

     It’s no secret that the true identity of Jesus is debated about all around the world. These discussions range from topics concerning the real historical Jesus to theological disputes about the nature of Jesus’ divinity. The question is however, who is right? Over the next couple of weeks, I would like to take some time and respond to a comment that was left on my blog site that challenged me to consider a video put together by an Islamic theological talk show. The particular episode in question is about a guest host, who was a former Christian youth minister, gives the top 10 reasons why Jesus is not God. My objective for this series of writings is two-fold.

     1.) I want to accept this challenge and give responses to each of the 10 reasons. In each response, I will be responding directly to the claim made by the people on the show. My responses may not be too long, but if further discussion is desired, I would love to engage. 2.) In doing so, I would like to advocate that Jesus is in fact God and that God is truly revealed through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Without His works, death, and resurrection, no one could know God in a redemptive way.

     First, before we get started, I would like to say that in me responding to these theological claims, I want it to be understood that I am not attacking the Islamic people in any way. I do not have anything personal against them. I am seeking to humbly and faithfully defend the Christian faith. If anything, this should make for an interesting discussion that could prove pivotal in later engagement with Muslim believers.

     As I was watching this video, I noticed that the host and the guest being interviewed were very humble and kind. I respect that and I commend them for taking this issue very seriously. The video is an episode from a talk show called, “The Deen Show” (Click here to preview this video), and they’re website can be found at www.thedeenshow.com. If you get a chance, you should check it out, it’s quite interesting.

#10 Reason why Jesus is not God

      According to the guest on the show the first reason that Jesus cannot be God is because Jesus was born. He argues that God has always existed, even before time. He would like to argue that God has always existed and cannot be born, Jesus was born, and therefore, Jesus does not have the same qualities as God so He cannot be God.

Response to Reason #10

     I guess my first thought on the matter is to simply ask, why not? Even if Jesus is God, why can He not be born? Cannot God do anything that He wants to? This reason of why Jesus cannot be God fails to embrace the fact that Christianity has developed a theological system of how Jesus can be both God and be born, and the system works. In order for this objection to carry any weight, more on the matter needs to be argued. Just by stating that God cannot be born is not enough to overthrow such a belief.

     Besides that, Christianity has a whole theology built around the incarnation (Jesus becoming man) of Christ. Along with our Muslim friends, Christians too believe that God has always existed, but we hold to a Trinitarian nature of God. This Trinitarian nature of God consists of the fact that God is 3 persons in one nature, the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. They’re not 3 separate gods that are really one in the end, as some eastern religions might believe, but rather there are 3 persons in one nature. The Trinitarian concept of God is a monotheistic belief, only one God. All of that to say, we believe that Jesus has always existed.

     So we see that reason number 10 taken alone does not work. Christianity has a whole theology built around the fact that Jesus is God and was born. In order for this objection to work, it would have to discredit the whole of Christian belief and by itself it cannot accomplish that. However, the fact that Christianity has a place for Jesus being God and being born does not mean that it has answered every objection, but it does give us a good starting point.

19
May
09

Habakkuk and the Character of God in the Bible

   gow         One of the most interesting books of the Bible would have to be Habakkuk. This tiny writing sits at the end of the Old Testament containing much detailed information about who the God of the Bible is and what He looks like in relation to the entire created universe. Discussing the character of God seems to be a major point of dialogue in most theological and philosophical circles today. There are many opinions about who the God of the Bible really is, and many differing views are being taught within the Christian church itself. The point of discussion in this article is to focus on the true nature of God based on Biblical evidence, but first it would be wise to consider other views that are being held in the church today.

     Consider this quote from a “Christian” theologian,

     “The future is determined not by God alone, but in partner with human agents. God gives us a role in shaping what the future will be. He is flexible and does not insist on doing things His way. God will adjust His own plans because He is sensitive to what humans think and do.”

     What is particularly interesting about this quote is that it quickly diminishes the completely sovereign aspect of God’s character. This is not too far off from what is known as Open Theism, the view held by people like Gregory Boyd and John Sanders. Basically, this position holds that God does not know the future exhaustively and that He can only know what is knowable. This seems to be taking a step away from the historical view of who God is in the Bible.

     Considering the book of Habakkuk would, in my outlook, absolutely decimate this view of God, and Habakkuk does it biblically. The whole point of the book of Habakkuk is that God is completely sovereign in every aspect of life. One quick read through of Habakkuk would quickly put to rest the notion that “God is flexible and does not insist of doing things His way and that God will adjust His own plans because He is sensitive to what humans think and do”.

     In fact, the opposite is true. In the narrative of Habakkuk, the prophet Habakkuk goes before God questioning why God has not done anything to stop the wickedness that the people are committing. God answers Habakkuk and says that He is doing something, “A work in your days that you would not believe if told” (Hab. 1:5). God was referring to the raising up of the Babylonians to judge and destroy the wickedness of Judah, the very place where Habakkuk was at this time. Habakkuk then questions God as to why He would do something like this, but God answers with a rather astounding remark.

     “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not right within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4).

     As Habakkuk is in immense fear of the Babylonian threat coming, but God answers by saying that the Babylonians will get their just punishment for destroying Judah, but the ones from Judah who have faith in the Lord of heaven will live. To me, this raises some considerable doubt about the nature of God as presented in the quote above. Will God really adjust His plans even if we humans do not think it is a good idea what God is doing? I think not, and Habakkuk clearly shows this.

     The ending of Habakkuk is what is truly amazing about this whole study. By the third chapter, Habakkuk is now singing a song of praise to God remembering all that God has saved His people from mainly focusing on the Exodus out of Egypt. Habakkuk concludes that though the army of the Babylonians is coming, he will rejoice in the God of his salvation because God still saves people. Clearly, Habakkuk did not want to endure hardship of war, but joyfully does because the true God, the Lord in heaven will deliver him.

     As for the character of God, we see that He works out all of history to His liking. Of course this does not mean that humans don’t have a free will, but rather that God’s sovereignty is compatible with the free will of humans. I think it would be wise to say that the God of the Bible is not the God of the quote from above. God does not dwell in systems of theology such as the Openness of God, but rather sits comfortably in the realm of biblical truth taught in Scripture. God is not a sucker sitting around for when we humans conveniently need Him, but rather God is actively working out all of history for His glory and liking. Truly we worship and amazing God that is still in the business of saving sinners from the just punishment we deserve.

14
Mar
09

Round Two, The Battle for the Big Bad Bus Ads Continue.

    

   ab  As the battle for the bus campaign rages on, the war for space on the sides of city buses is by no means at a stand still. As of October 21, 2008 in London England, the atheist ad campaign was in full swing. Supported by the British Humanist Association (BHA) and Oxford professor Richard Dawkins, the atheist bus campaign has received much publicity. And with a slogan that says, “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, it is clear that hype is not hard to come by, especially with the Christian community.

     In response to this atheistic slogan being pushed, members of the Christian community are striking back with messages of their own. “There definitely is a God, so join the Christian party and enjoy your life”. This is an example of one of the several responses from Christian groups. Among other responses are ones that quote Psalm 53, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God”. On and on the battle continues, but what are we to think about this?

     No doubt this competition brings about mixed feelings of being patriotic to ones cause, but should this be the way to handle disputes on theology? That’s right, theology! At the most basic level of this argument is one of theology, but it’s whose theology is right that is in question. Is the atheistic theology, one that calls for the absence of God the right way, or could it be the Christian’s view of God who intervenes in the affairs of humans that is correct after all? I say that this is no way to be fighting for a truth that means so much for so many people.

     I have to admit that I am somewhat skeptical of this bus campaign stuff. As a Christian, spending our time and money combating atheism on the sides of city buses is not the way to go. We need to be devoting our time and energy into spending quality time with people who do not believe the Christian message showing them the true gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we should be involved in our community helping those who are less fortunate and in dialogue with the people of our community to show them that Jesus came to save sinners. I am all for the apologetical approach to defending the faith, but wasting time with bus ads probably will not save anyone. I will also note that putting an atheistic slogan on the sides of city buses will probably not convince anyone either. We need to take another look at what the Bible says about defending the faith,

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3: 15-16

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10: 3-6

     Know that I am not saying that there is not place for intellectual engagement, because as Christians we should be ready to engage this world intellectually at any moment, but there is a way that we should go about doing just that. Responding to an atheist bus campaign with ads of your own will not reflect the gospel accurately and that is what we should be doing. Rather than mocking the atheist position with words like theirs, we should take every thought captive for the sake of Christ. When it’s all said and done, my opinion is that overall; these bus ads will probably not matter much.

Consider these sources:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29662866/

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1877658,00.html

http://www.atheistbus.org.uk/faq/




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