The Resurrection of Christ: A Rock for Philosophical Speculation


“The empty tomb, then, forms a veritable rock on which all rationalistic theories of the resurrection dash themselves in vain.” ~J.N.D. Anderson, Evidence for The Resurrection

While reading C. S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century recently I came across this analogy that is fitting for this discussion. Note what Scott Burson and Jerry Walls suggests here:

“What would you say if you picked up the newspaper tomorrow morning and the lead headline screamed, “Bones of Jesus Found: Scholars Refute Resurrection”? Your first reaction might likely be grave skepticism and a quick glance through the body of the story to identify the names of these radical revisionists. But suppose upon reading the opening paragraph you discovered that the academicians who made this pronouncement are not of the Jesus Seminar variety but rather a battery of the most respected evangelical New Testament scholars in the world. The article indicates that these venerable professors had secretly gathered at an archaeological site in Jerusalem to examine a new find and that the whole group, much to their chagrin, concluded that these were the actual bones of Jesus of Nazareth. In light of this startling revelation, would you give up your Christian faith?”

Some of you may have never considered this and yet others may have. However, as difficult as it may be to unpack the implications here we must find ourselves agreeing with Paul. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul writes:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:13-14 NRSV)

Unlike many faiths today Christianity is rooted in space-time history and is open to both verification and falsification. The bodily Resurrection of Christ, from the dead, is a pillar of the Christian faith. No other person has been able to achieve such a feat. In fact, it is this divine feat that enables us to rightly identify Jesus as God. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then He is not God, and was only a good man, a miracle worker from Nazareth. If Jesus did not rise from the dead our sin remains.

Paul tells us that we preach Christ in vain if He “has not been raised”. This belief in a Christ that was resurrected from the dead was new. The disciples did not adopt some Jewish belief. Plato and Judaism believed in some sort of after-life where our bodies would be changed; however, Christ was resurrected from the dead in actual time and space—before the end of time—and He was later seen by many eyewitnesses.

The implications of this will not be fully explored here but they should awe us and increase our faith. As believers Christ abolished the limitations, at least those we perceived, of space and time and therefore the significance of Jesus Christ cannot be measured.

Trends of the Resurrection:

Beliefs on the Resurrection have changed over time. Many philosophical trends have come and gone as well (e.g Hegelianism is almost gone from Germany). G.K. Chesterson, in Orthodoxy, noted that “the man of the nineteenth century did not disbelieve in the Resurrection because his liberal Christianity allowed him to doubt it. He disbelieved in it because his very strict materialism did not allow him to believe it.” Today, there are liberals who believe in the Resurrection yet would suggest it was a spiritual or non-physical resurrection (Wolfhart Pannenberg, Marcus Borg). Gnosticism and Jehovah’s Witness would also support a spiritual resurrection.

Rudolf Bultmann, believed that the historical resurrection could never be proved, believed the essence of the resurrection is that Christ is raised in our hearts, not that He was raised physically from the dead. N.T. Wright notes that Bultmann believed “the resurrection-language of the early church was used to denote not a separate event from the crucifixion but the early disciples’ faith that the crucifixion was not a tragic defeat but the divine act of salvation. Easter is thus about the arising, not of Jesus, but of the faith of the early church.”[1] The Resurrection however is more than just subjective visions by 1st Century followers of Christ.

As atheism is increasingly defining and organizing itself, as a relatively recent philosophy, materialistic and naturalist impulses are also growing. This is a war for the minds of men today. Many are committed to a naturalistic, even Darwinian, worldview that does not allow for miracles. Darwinian evolution has laid a foundation upon which the naturalist builds their worldview. To the naturalist, who rejects supernaturalism, there is no transcendent God since there is nothing outside the natural world and therefore if Jesus did rise bodily from the dead then He was indeed God.

We should not be surprised by similar stories found in the mythological tales of different cultures and time periods. Just as with the near east creation and flood stories we should expect to find them for in someway they echo or are derivative of the events in Genesis, which in reality transcend such stories. In his, Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis noted that the monotheistic writings of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten anticipate the poetry of the Psalms. The rising and dying kings of the eastern mystery religions could also anticipate the death and resurrection of Christ. Although they are not exact parallels they could point to a spiritual resonance with what was to come.

Proofs of the Resurrection:

“The appearances of Jesus and His resurrection are as well authenticated as anything in ancient literature…there can be no doubt that they occurred, and that the main reason why Christians became sure of the resurrection in the earliest days was just this. They could say with assurance, “We have seen the Lord.” They knew it was he!”
~British theologian Michael Green

Here is a quick list of proofs for the Resurrection:

  1. The empty tomb.
  2. Sudden transformation of frightened and uncertain disciples into bold proponents of the Resurrection for which they would die.
  3. The claim that the church was the Body of Christ.
  4. The transformation of the Christ-hater Saul, to the Christ-lover Paul.
  5. A hermeneutical conviction by the early church which correlated the death, burial and resurrection of Christ with Old Testament Messianic references.
  6. The inability of the Jewish leaders to disprove the Resurrection event.
  7. The use of Sunday or worship on the “first day” instead of the Sabbath.
  8. The conversion of James, the brother of Christ, who originally opposed the teachings of his brother.
  9. This A.D. 117 account by Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrneans:

“For I know that after His resurrection also He was still possessed of flesh, and I believe that He is so now. When, for instance, He came to those who were with Peter, He said to them, “Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit.” And immediately they touched Him, and believed, being convinced both by His flesh and spirit. For this cause also they despised death, and were found its conquerors. And after his resurrection He did eat and drink with them, as being possessed of flesh, although spiritually He was united to the Father.” Ch. III

  1. The theme of the Resurrection of Christ and the believer’s future resurrection are interwoven throughout the New Testament.
  2. Non-Christian historical sources such as Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian, Mara Bar-Serapion and the Talmud all confirm the crucifixion of Jesus.
  3. The Romans were very good at what they did. There are many appearances and eyewitness of Christ after the crucifixion being resurrected from the dead. (See Matthew 28:8-10, 16-20; Luke 24:13; John 20:11-29 and Acts 1:1-11).
  4. The Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium. These are centuries old burial cloths which bear the image of a crucified man. Advocates for the Shroud of Turin believe it to be the burial shroud of Christ. Many have declared it to be a medieval forgery (dating to 1350) but others assert its authenticity. The debate continues to this day.
    • These proofs are not without their critics but this post is not designed to be exhaustive. Therefore I have not endeavored to present argument for or against any of these arguments. I can do so at a later time or in future comments. You can also see my other articles on the Resurrection here.

The Results of the Resurrection:

Some may say, “So what?” Others may ask how does the Resurrection event relate to me today? First, the Resurrection gives us eternal life. A hope for a future beyond this finite world. Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26 NRSV

Second, there is an impartation of power. Paul writing to the church at Ephesus, “and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:19-20 NRSV

Third, the Resurrection of Christ brought about the reality of Justification for believers. Paul, again, states: “It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.” Romans 4:24-25 NRSV

The fourth result is perhaps one of the most important. The Resurrection of Christ provides us with a future hope of resurrection. Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-101) speaks of this hope and calls it the “future resurrection” in The First Epistle of Clement. Prior to the comments by Clement the Apostle Paul would tell the Corinthians:

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:17-22 NRSV

Fifth, Paul also reminds us of our union with Christ. He says that Christ has “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6 NRSV Therefore since we are united with Christ we will also be raised as Christ.

The Significance of the Resurrection:

First, the Resurrection of Christ signified the beginning of the Last Days and the Final Resurrection. Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God. The coming of the Kingdom brings stark reality to the fact that God is about to intervene in time and space. To judge the righteous and the wicked.

The time following the Resurrection event is one leading to all believers glorification and immortality in the resurrected life (See 1 Corinthians 15:50-56). In his letter to the church at Colossae Paul reminded them that Jesus was the “first born from the dead” (Colossians 1:18). Thankfully this means he is only one, or the first, of many to come.

Second, the Resurrection of Christ was the vindication of the message and mission of Jesus, the Christ. Since Christ was raised from the dead his claims are true and His message of salvation is authentic. This, then, means something very important and powerful. By His Resurrection Christ has defeated Satan, sin and has overcome death. Jesus is Lord of our salvation but is also the victor. He has put the forces of evil under Him.

It is obvious that Jesus understood Himself as being the atonement for humanity. It was the atoning sacrifice for the sins of man, which reversed the deadly effects of Adam in the Garden of Eden. In the Garden Eve was tempted by Satan and as disobeyed God resulting in The Fall. Jesus essentially began the restorative process of God’s creation. He was “God with us” reconciling the world to Himself.

The Assurance of Salvation:

Finally, the resurrection is eternally significant because it brings us the assurance of our salvation (See Acts 17:31). Donald Bloesch noted,

“The New Testament does give us evidences of Jesus’ resurrection, among which are the empty tomb and the appearance of Jesus to his disciples after his death. Yet these are not proofs that can compel reason, because they leave too many unanswered questions. They are evidences, however, that ratify faith.” [2]

Bloesch firmly believes in the historical bodily Resurrection of Christ. He sees the New Testament evidence as ratifying our faith yet they are not rationally certain. Historical analysis can give us approximations. For example, in Science measurements are not exact. The last digit of a measurement is always estimated or sometimes rounded off. This does not mean the measurements are invalid or inaccurate but rather they are not exact.

In his Pensees mathematician Blaise Pascal notes,

“This religion, so great in miracles…so great in science, after having displayed all her miracles and all her wisdom, rejects all this, and declares that she has neither wisdom nor signs, but only the cross and foolishness.” He goes on to say, “for those, who, by these signs and that wisdom, have deserved your belief, and who have proved to you their character, declare to you that nothing of all this can change you, and render you capable of knowing and loving God, but the power of the foolishness of the cross without wisdom and signs, and not the signs without this power.” (Pensees, 586-587)

In other words the Christian faith has many evidences in its support, but it is not these evidences that cause us to believe. Bloesch goes on to say,

“the empty tomb is a sign of the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, but divine revelation alone is the cause of our acceptance of belief in this resurrection. The women at the tomb of Jesus believed not because they saw a tomb that was empty but because an angel appeared to them and announced Jesus’ resurrection (Mt 28:1–7; Mk 16:5–6).”

A similar account is true with Paul. Even though Paul knew many of the disciples and eyewitnesses of the Resurrected Christ he became convinced by his personal encounter with Christ where he actually heard the voice of the Lord (See Acts 9 and 22). This is probably why Paul would later pen these words under divine inspiration:

“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.”
Epistle of Paul to the Church at Rome 10:17 NRSV

JN Anderson


[1] http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Historical_Problem.htm

[2]Donald G. Bloesch, The Last Things : Resurrection, Judgment, Glory (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 1.


Quote on The Incarnation: Dr. Raymond Crownover

To say that before His incarnation Jesus was actually (temporally) God and only the Son prophetically is somewhat problematic in that God is extratemporal. He created time and stands outside of or above time. Thus past, present and future do not affect Him as God in the way they affect His creation.
~ Dr. Raymond Crownover Click the link to visit his website and see more of his writings as a Oneness philosopher and scholar.


Trip to Longview Museum of Fine Arts


Me standing by a Last Supper painting by Michael Blane

Lisa and I besides a Picasso painting by Michael Blane.

Lisa and the Lady with the circle of enlightenment.


Maelstrom Twister




Me and Jump sculpture.


Media and Body Image by Lisa C. Anderson

Main Slide
Did you know that in the US alone 9.5 billion dollars are spent on cosmetic surgeries a year and 45 billion are spent on cosmetics?
I think it would be fair to say that Americans have a warped body image. Why do we have this warped image of ourselves? Who makes us feel this way? I have found that media and their portrayal of women plays a big role in our quest for perfection and disappointment at the lack thereof.
As a society we should be aware of the tactics used by media concerning body image and the negative effects it has upon women. There are at least three points we should remember:
1. False Perfection In Media
2. Why Media Portray Women in this Fashion
3. Negative Effects this Media has on Women
False Perfection In Media:
Have you ever felt like there are us, the normal people, and then there are the perfect people? Some weird breed of man or woman who never seems to age and always has glowing skin with perfect hair. We all want to look like them, these supposed beauty models, but if the truth be known they probably wish they looked like that as well.
This is propaganda tactics. Of the sort that have been going on since post-WWII. Indeed, even Hitler had his alpha male—the ideal German. Media sources today use tricks of the trade such as makeup, lighting, photo and video editing tools such as Photoshop to alter the look of their models into the perfect human being. Much of these images are what we actually see on the Internet, TV, and magazines. The Dove company has used video’s, such as Dove Revolution, from their real beauty campaign, to give us a glimpse into this perversion of human image.
Now that you know how media sources accomplish this level of false perfection you might ask, “Why do they do such a thing?” The number one reason is of course money and we all know that sex sales. Sex is used to catch the eye of the audience. The more glamorous, seductive and perfect their models look the more money they are going to make.
The “Journal of Experimental Psychology” suggests that it has been proven that the human eye of both the male and female stay attentive to television commercials exceptionally longer when a female, particularly a seductive or at least attractive female, is on the screen.
An unreachable perfection is good for sales by using an image of unattainable perfection. It is as though we are less than perfect and need their product. If this form of marketing was any more explicit we would probably reject the notion, but since it is implicit in the message of the commercial campaigns and Hollywood’s desperation for unreachable perfection many often accept this false image.
There is little protest against this as well. Only recently has some fashion shows stopped allowing ultra thin models on their runways due to protests.
Negative Effects of Media Body Image on Women:
You may say so what? Who cares what tactics the media uses? The problem is that this form of media has some very negative effects on women in particular, especially adolescent women. In the least, it fosters a negative perspective of anyone not attaining to their benchmark for perfection. When a woman does not measure up to the image of perfection that media sources project upon her the woman becomes dissatisfied and depressed, which results in low self esteem.
There can be an increase in eating disorder as well. Author of Beauty and the Beast of Advertising ,Jean Kilbourne, states When Glamour magazine surveyed its readers in 1984, 75 percent felt too heavy and only 15 percent felt just right. Nearly half of those who were actually underweight reported feeling too fat and wanting to diet. There is evidence that this preoccupation with weight is beginning at ever-earlier ages for women.
A recent Wall Street Journal survey of students in four Chicago-area schools found that more than half the fourth-grade girls were dieting and three-quarters felt they were overweight. One student said, "We don't expect boys to be that handsome. We take them as they are." Another added, "But boys expect girls to be perfect and beautiful. And skinny."
The amount of regretful cosmetic procedures is also astounding. As stated in my opening in the US alone 9.5 billion dollars are spent on cosmetic surgeries a year trying to achieve that perfect form of beauty. However, many of these procedures end in regret. The two top reasons for regret are:
1. They no longer look like themselves and feel disconnected
2. Botched surgeries.
The “Chicago Tribune” states in an article that “After plastic surgeries more do an about face”. Thousands of patients actually find themselves so displeased with the results of their surgeries that they are later paying top dollar to undo what they had done. The demand for such procedures is so high that some doctors now promote themselves as “revision plastic surgeons” and devote 50% of their practices to such cases.
It is our responsibility, as a society, to be aware of certain tactics used by media and the negative effects it has on women in particular, especially those of adolescence. Parents and ministers should arm themselves with this information as they battle the results of the media’s body image propaganda.

1. Ryan, Jennifer D., Cohen, Neal J. (2004). The Nature of Change Detection and Online Representations of Scenes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 988-1015.
2. Dr. Barry Lycka, The Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association
Kristen Schamberg, Chicago Tribune, Monday, January 21st 2008. After Plastic Surgeries, More Do An About Face
3. Jean Kilbourne, Media & Values Issue #49. Beauty and the Beast of Advertising
4. Dove, Real Beauty campaign video, www.Dove.com

Lisa C. Anderson

Lisa is a business owner (dylosh.com), a pianist and singer. She is also a Sunday School teacher for New Life UPC. Lisa studied Graphic Design at Northeast Texas Community College and is currently studying Science.


Thoughts on John 17:5 by Dr. Daniel L. Segraves

segraves In His prayer just before He was betrayed and arrested in Gethsemane, Jesus said, “And now, O Father, glorify me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). Do these words prove that the Son was eternally a divine person distinct from the Father?

When we consider the prayers of Jesus, we must keep in mind that His prayers are unique to the Incarnation. What this means is that we have no biblical record of the Son praying to the Father prior to the Incarnation. Although some prayers of the Messiah are recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures and specifically in the Psalms, these prayers form part of the prophetic content of the Old Testament. In other words, they do not reflect prayers that had been prayed before the text was written, nor do they provide the content of prayers being prayed at the time they were written. Instead, they are prophecies of prayers the Messiah would pray when He came into the world. For example, the words of a messianic prayer are recorded in Psalm 40:6-8a: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God.’” The writer of Hebrews recorded this prayer, which Jesus prayed “when He came into the world” (Hebrews 10:5). The point is that the words of the prayer were first written by David, a prophet,[1] but they were not actually prayed until Jesus came into the world as God manifest in human existence.[2]

Another example is found in Hebrews 1:6. This demonstrates that not only the prayers of Jesus, but also the words of the Father concerning the Son as they are found in the Old Testament are prophetic. According to Hebrews 1:6, God said, “Let all the angels of God worship Him [the Son[3]].”[4] But these words were not spoken by God prior to the Incarnation; they were spoken “when He again brings the firstborn into the world” (Hebrews 1:6).

John 17:5, like all of Jesus’ prayers, must be read in the context of the Incarnation. It must be taken into account that Jesus was at once both God and man. The deity and humanity of Jesus cannot be divided and considered in isolation from each other. Everything that Jesus did and said He did and said as who He was, God manifest in genuine and full human existence. Thus, when Jesus referred to “the glory which I had with thee before the world was,” these words refer to the glory that He had with His Father not as a distinct person in the Godhead, but to the glory that He had as God manifest in the flesh [human existence]. Since the Incarnation had not yet occurred before the world was, this was an anticipatory glory that was a reality to the extent that it existed already in the mind of God even though it had not yet occurred in time. This is much like John’s description of the Messiah as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Although the word translated “slain” (esphagmenou) is a perfect passive participle, indicating that the slaying occurred in the past, Bible readers instinctively understand that this does not mean that Jesus was crucified at the time the world was created, but that His crucifixion was anticipated in the mind of God.

If Jesus’ words in John 17:5 do not take into account His humanity, that is, if they do not reflect the reality of the Incarnation, we are left with a Nestorian Jesus whose deity and humanity were not integrated in one person, but who could at one moment speak and act as a mere man with no regard for his deity and who could at the next moment speak and act as God with no regard for His humanity. In other words, when Jesus said, “I,” He referred to Himself as He really was: both God and man or the God-man. Jesus never said “I” to refer exclusively to His deity or to His humanity. In the Incarnation humanity was incorporated into the Godhead and everything Jesus said and did reflected this reality. As it has been said, we are body and soul, but Jesus is God and body and soul.

From the standpoint of Christology, what we have said here reflects the broad teaching of both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. But now we must consider whether John 17:5 can be read in a way that does not conflict with the integrity of Christ’s person.

First, even before examining the Greek text, we should ask, If Jesus was truly God, what need did He have of prayer? To some, the prayers of Jesus prove that He was not God. To others, the fact that He was God proves that His prayers were merely meant to be an example to us. But I think it is safe to say that most who believe in both the deity and humanity of Christ also believe that the prayers of Jesus were genuine and that they reflect the fact that Jesus was not only God but also man. It was not because He was God that Jesus needed to pray; it is because He was also human. In other words, Jesus prayed for the same reason we do; human beings need to pray. The fact that He was a human being in whom dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily[5] does not detract from the authenticity of His humanity. It did not render it unnecessary for Jesus to eat, sleep, or to participate in the full range of human activities. Neither did it render it unnecessary for Him to pray. This is bound up in the miracle of the Incarnation, and human attempts to explain this mystery will always fail. Miracles must be accepted for what they are; they lie completely outside the range of human understanding or explanation.

There are two words in the Greek text of John 17:5 that some insist prove that Jesus is distinct from the Father as the eternal Son. The first is eichon, translated “I had.” Since eichon is in the imperfect tense, active voice, and indicative mood (literally, “I was having”), and since the active voice means that it is the subject that is acting (in this case, Jesus), and since the indicative mood confirms the reality of the action from the viewpoint of the speaker,[6] it is claimed that this means that Jesus pre-existed the Incarnation as the eternal Son. Since He is the “doer” of the “having,” and since this was before the world was, then the Son must have possessed glory with the Father before the world was as an actual person distinct from the Father.

But if Jesus, who was both God and man, possessed glory with the Father before the world was – and He certainly did, as indicated in John 17:5 – He possessed it as who He was at the moment of His prayer: God manifest in flesh. Jesus could no more pray from the perspective of His deity while ignoring His humanity than we could pray from the perspective of the material part of our existence while ignoring the immaterial. No analogy is sufficient to explain a miracle, but Jesus cannot be bifurcated so that either His deity or humanity is irrelevant to any of His words or deeds. If before the creation of the world Jesus possessed glory with the Father as it relates to His deity, He also possessed glory with the Father at the same time as it relates to His humanity. Few would suggest that Jesus’ humanity pre-existed the Incarnation!

Those who wish to point to the imperfect active indicative form of eichon in John 17:5 to prove the eternality of the Son are reading more into the imperfect tense than is there. Although the imperfect tense expresses continuous action in the past, it says nothing about the origin or termination of the action or about how long the action continued. In other words, the imperfect tense is not an “eternal” tense. Although it does not specify the origin or termination of the action, it describes ongoing action that does indeed have a point of origin; that point is simply not within the scope of the imperfect tense. In this case, Jesus was having glory with the Father before the world was. The imperfect tense does not inform us about the beginning or duration of the possession of this glory.

To say that the imperfect tense indicates continuous action in the past is an incomplete description of its function. The imperfect may be descriptive, in that it vividly presents what was going on in the past. Like a motion picture, it shows the movement of an event. Nothing about this use of the imperfect addresses origin, ending, or even the idea of the lack of an origin or ending. On the other hand, the imperfect may be iterative, showing continual or repeated action in the past. In this case, the action occurs again and again. Then, the imperfect may be inceptive, emphasizing the beginning of the action rather than its progress.[7]

As far as the use of the imperfect is concerned, all that John 17:5 tells us is that at some point in the past, and specifically before the world was, Jesus was having glory with the Father. The verse does not tell us how long He had this glory, nor does it tell us whether He still had this glory after the creation of the world, although it may imply that He did not. Jesus did not say He was having this glory before the Incarnation. If He had said this, we could assume that the Incarnation was the reason He no longer had this glory.[8] But if the Incarnation was the reason Jesus no longer had this glory, how could the glory be restored to Him as long as the Incarnation endured (i.e., forever)?

It seems much more satisfying to understand Jesus to refer to the glory that belonged to Him in anticipation of the full range of His incarnational experiences, including not only His manifestation in the flesh, but also His death, burial, and resurrection. As Paul wrote, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.[9] If the glory for which Jesus prayed involved both His deity and humanity, His prior possession of this glory also involved both His deity and humanity, or it would not have been the same glory.

In what sense did Jesus, as God manifest in the flesh, possess glory with the Father before the world was? The answer to this question may be found in the possible range of meaning in the words para soi, commonly translated “with thee.” The preposition para, when used in the dative case, includes the meanings “with” or “beside,” with position implied.[10] But this does not begin to exhaust the range of meaning possible with para in the dative case. Indeed, a red flag goes up immediately with the idea of physical position being indicated in Jesus’ prayer, whether one embraces a trinitarian or oneness view of God. It is widely understood that it is inadequate to think in terms of physical location or position when one thinks of God. For example, biblical scholars commonly explain references to the “right hand of God” in metaphorical terms. F. F. Bruce, for instance, comments on Hebrews 1:3:

That no literal location is intended was as well understood by Christians in the apostolic age as it is by us: they knew that God has no physical right hand or material throne where the ascended Christ sits beside Him; to them the language denoted the exaltation and supremacy of Christ as it does to us.[11]

To insist that we read para soi with its simplest and limited reference to position is to impose a literally materialistic meaning on the text. When we talk about God – again, from either a trinitarian or oneness point of view – in what sense could it be said that the Son was positioned with or beside the Father before the world was? If we go down this road, we shall soon embrace ditheism or tritheism.

But this choice is not necessary. Para, when used in the dative case, has a wider range of meaning than merely “with” or “beside.” As the Louw-Nida Lexicon points out, para with the dative includes within its range of meaning “in the opinion of,” from the viewpoint of a participant, marking a participant whose viewpoint is relevant to an event. Thus, para can be translated “in the sight of, in the opinion of, in the judgment of.”[12] Certainly Jesus, who understood more clearly than anyone that God is Spirit, did not mean by para soi that the Father has a physical location and that He, Jesus, was positioned beside the Father in that location before the world was. But nothing would prevent the translation “the glory which I had in Your sight” or “in Your opinion,” or “in Your judgment” before the world was. This avoids the problem of physical location within the Godhead and captures the essence of the same idea as Revelation 13:8. Jesus was with the Father before the world was in the same sense that He was slain from the foundation of the world. The slaying of Jesus required the Incarnation. The Incarnation did not occur in time and space until a specific date on the calendar. Yet John declared that the Lamb was slain long before this specific date. Indeed, the New Living Translation renders Revelation 13:8: “And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life, which belongs to the Lamb who was killed before the world was made.” If Jesus, the Lamb, could be killed before the world was made, He could also have glory with the Father before the world was. The one requires the other.

Jesus could say He “was having” this glory in the past just as surely as John could say He was slain in the past. That which exists in the mind of God is reality just as surely that which exists in the material world. The Lord knew Jeremiah before Jeremiah was formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He declared Cyrus to be His servant over a century before Cyrus was born (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1). He renamed Abram (high father) Abraham (father of many) before Abraham had even one descendant. God can do this because he “gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17). Jesus Himself is God. Therefore, He can say, “And now, O Father, glorify me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” But because He is God manifest in human existence, this prayer must be read in the context of His manifestation in the flesh. He had this glory as God manifest in the flesh. Since this did not come into existence in time and space until the Incarnation, it was an anticipated, prophetic glory, no less real than it would be when the anticipation was fulfilled.

If we read the text any other way, we are at best embracing a Nestorian Christology. At worst, we are forsaking the biblical witness to the one God in favor of a materialistic ditheism or tritheism.
When miracles are involved—like the Incarnation—rationalistic explanations can only lead us astray.


Dr. Segraves is Academic Dean and Assistant Professor of Biblical Theology at Urshan Graduate School of Theology (Florissant, MO) and Professor Emeritus at Christian Life College (Stockton, CA). After graduating from Western Apostolic Bible College and Gateway College of Evangelism, I earned the M.A. in Exegetical Theology (with highest honors) and the Th.M. (with honors) from Western Seminary. I am currently in ABD (all but dissertation) status for the Ph.D. in Renewal Studies at Regent University School of Divinity.


[1] See Acts 2:30.
[2] I Timothy 3:16.
[3] See Hebrews 1:2.
[4] This quote is from the Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy 32:43.
[5] Colossians 2:9.
[6] See Ray Summers, Essentials of New Testament Greek (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1995), 11-12.
[7] See Summers, 57.
[8] See Philippians 2:5-11.
[9] Romans 1:4.
[10] To say that para is in the dative case here reflects the five case system. In terms of the eight case system, the meanings “with” and “beside” reflect the locative case.
[11] F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1964), 7.
[12] See Louw-Nida Lexicon, Domain List 90, E, 90.20. BibleWorks 4.

Matthew 28:19 and Granville Sharp’s Sixth Rule by Dr. Daniel L. Segraves

segraves Does Granville Sharp’s sixth rule require Matthew 28:19 to indicate that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons?
Sharp’s sixth rule says that when nouns of the same case are joined by kai [and] and each noun is preceded by the article [the], the second noun expresses a different person, thing, or quality than the first noun. Here is the exact wording:

And as the insertion of the copulative kai between nouns of the same case, without articles, (according to the fifth rule,) denotes that the second noun expresses a different person, thing, or quality, from the preceding noun, so, likewise, the same effect attends the copulative when each of the nouns are preceded by articles: . . .
As with some of Sharp’s other rules, there is an exception to the sixth rule. It is as follows:
Except distinct and different actions are intended to be attributed to one and the same person; in which case, if the sentence is not expressed agreeable to the three first rules, but appears as an exception to this sixth rule . . . the context must explain or point out plainly the person to whom the two nouns relate.

One such exception that is commonly agreed upon, and that is offered by Sharp himself, is John 20:28. In this text, Thomas says to Jesus, “Ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou.” A literal translation would be “the [ho] Lord [kurios] of me [mou] and [kai] the [ho] God [theos] of me [mou].” Even though this conforms to Sharp’s sixth rule (two nouns, Lord and God, are joined by “and,” and both are preceded by the article), Sharp rightly determined that this is an exception to the rule. The reason for this is that the context clearly indicates that Thomas was speaking to one person, Jesus, and that he was identifying Jesus as both Lord and God.

The relevant phrase in Matthew 28:19 reads as follows: “eis to onoma tou patros kai tou huiou kai tou hagiou pneumatos.” The literal translation would be “into [eis] the [to] name [onoma] of the [tou] Father [patros] and [kai] of the [tou] Son [huiou] and [kai] of the [tou] Holy [hagiou] Spirit [pneumatos].”

Here there are three nouns (Father, Son, and Spirit [“holy” is an adjective modifying “Spirit”), all joined by “and” and each preceded by the article. The question is whether this text qualifies for Sharp’s exception. Is there anything in the context to indicate that one person is in view rather than three?

The word “name” is a singular noun. In the Jewish mind, “name” is virtually synonymous with “person.” In other words, Jesus’ Jewish disciples would have understood Him to mean that they were to baptize believers into the “person” (God Himself) who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Some trinitarian scholars have recognized, based on the grammar of the text, that Matthew 28:19 is about a singular name. For example, J. Oliver Buswell, a Presbyterian theologian, wrote, “The ‘name,’ not ‘names’ of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in which we are to be baptized, is to be understood as Jahweh, the name of the Triune God.” F.W. Beare, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies in Trinity College, University of Toronto, in his comments on Matthew 28:19, wrote,

From Acts and the Pauline epistles, we gather that in the earliest days, converts were baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38), or of “the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16); “into Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:3), or “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). . . . The triple formulation . . . is not, properly speaking, “trinitarian”; there is no element of speculation about the divine essence or the relations between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It reflects the modes in which the divine is manifested in Christian faith.

Marvin R. Vincent wrote, “The name is not the mere designation, a sense which would give the baptismal formula merely the force of a charm. The name, as in the Lord's Prayer . . . is the expression of the sum total of the divine Being: not his designation as God or Lord, but the formula in which all his attributes and characteristics are summed up. It is equivalent to his person.”

Sharp’s sixth rule (without the exception) calls for a radical distinction to be made between persons, things, or qualities. This is a grammatical device to indicate that two persons or things or qualities are in no way the same. Although trinitarianism teaches that God exists as three persons, it teaches that God is one being. The doctrine sees the three persons as being distinct, but not separate. In other words, trinitarianism does not call for the kind of radical distinction between the persons that would be required if Sharp’s sixth rule is applicable to Matthew 28:19. Sharp’s sixth rule, logically applied, would require the Father to be one being, the Son another being, and the Holy Spirit a third being. This is not what trinitarianism teaches. It would actually be tritheism.

Those who wish to apply Sharp’s sixth rule, without its exception, to Matthew 28:19 have misunderstood either the rule itself or the doctrine of the trinity. There is no indication in Granville Sharp’s Remarks that Sharp himself applied the rule to Matthew 28:19.
Since, according to the grammar of Matthew 28:19, there is but one name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, that means there is but one person – one God – who is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The God that we know as the Son is the same God that we know as the Father and the same God that we know as the Holy Spirit. Sharp’s rule does not require a fragmentation of God into three radically distinct persons.

W. D. McBrayer, ed., Granville Sharp’s Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek New Testament (Atlanta: The Original Word, 1995), 25.
Ibid., 28.
J. Oliver Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962), 123.
F. W. Beare, The Gospel According to Matthew (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981), 545.
Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Volume 1 (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, n.d.), 149-150

Click here to visit Dr. Segraves blog.

Dr. Segraves is Academic Dean and Assistant Professor of Biblical Theology at Urshan Graduate School of Theology (Florissant, MO) and Professor Emeritus at Christian Life College (Stockton, CA). After graduating from Western Apostolic Bible College and Gateway College of Evangelism, I earned the M.A. in Exegetical Theology (with highest honors) and the Th.M. (with honors) from Western Seminary. I am currently in ABD (all but dissertation) status for the Ph.D. in Renewal Studies at Regent University School of Divinity.

Passing of Bishop J.T. Pugh




Odessa, TX – March 23, 2010. “We regret to inform you of the passing of Rev. J. T. Pugh, honorary member of the General Board of the United Pentecostal Church International. Brother Pugh was born in 1923 and passed away today in Odessa, Texas. Further details will be made available at the website of the First UPC of Odessa, www.firstupc.com.” ~Dr. David K. Bernard




John Wesley: He Being Dead Yet Speaketh by Matthew Shaw

wesl It is a notable fact that throughout history, sincere Christians who would attempt to divest themselves of tradition and rediscover the model of New Testament Christianity have adopted various restrictions on dress and adornment. There is an incontrovertible continuum of such regulation in the historical record from the apostolic age to the modern era, fully demonstrating that our Pentecostal standard of righteous living is not legalistic innovation but has undeniable historical precedent amongst various groups of seekers and pilgrims who based their directives for Christian modesty on the same Scriptural passages that inspire us to distinguish ourselves in fashion from the world.

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was very clear on the subject of dress and made a plain address on the subject entitled “Advice to the People Called Methodists, with Regard to Dress.” His movement, which was rooted in Anglicanism, was fundamentally dedicated to reform and a return to Biblical practice and piety and included strong teaching on how the Christian should pursue holiness in dress and adornment.

Wesley provides clear criterion for Methodist plainness—thrift and gravity. Firstly, he argues, that the Christian’s apparel should be “ . . . cheap, not expensive; far cheaper than others in your circumstances wear, or than you would wear if you knew not God.” Secondly, he cautions that modesty is not compatible with superfluity, asking Methodists to select clothing that is “grave, not gay, airy, showy; not in the point of the fashion.”

John Wesley also warns the Methodists against a catalog of ornaments and vanities:

Wear no gold . . . no pearls or precious stones; use no curling of hair, or costly apparel, how grave soever. I advise those who are able to receive this saying, Buy no velvets, no silks, no fine linen, no superfluities, no mere ornaments, though ever so much in fashion. Wear nothing, though you have it already, which is of a glaring colour, or which is any kind gay, glistening, or showy; nothing made in the very height of fashion, nothing apt to attract the eyes of by-standers.

He further forbids the wearing of necklaces, ear-rings, finger rings, and extravagant lace and advises men against “coloured waist-coats, shining stockings, glittering or costly buckles or buttons” and any other “expensive perukes.”

John Wesley concludes with a passionate plea that should yet ring from our Pentecostal pulpits: “Let our seriousness ‘shine before men,’ not our dress. Let all who see us know that we are not of this world. Let our adorning be that which fadeth not away; even righteousness and true holiness.” Ultimately, his message is an indictment against those modern Pentecostals who have transformed the church aisle into a runway! It is high time for the Dagon of fleshly fashion and carnal clothing to fall, crumbling, before the presence of God. More than ever before, let us adopt a simple modesty rooted in heartfelt observance of God’s word and prayerful, personal piety.

Click here to visit or read from The Old Landmark: Celebrating Apostolic Heritage

Islam Is A Religion of Violence


jihad_boy Arshed Masih, 38, is still fighting for his life in Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, a city not far from Pakistan’s capital. With the help of police, Muslim extremists last Friday set him on fire for refusing to convert to Islam and raped his wife, local sources told AsiaNews. The incident occurred in front of a local police station.

Read entire story here!

In other news “A student has died after being beaten to death by pro-Taliban radicals at a Pakistani university. The beating, which occurred earlier in the week, culminated in the death of Anan Khan, who attended the University of Engineering & Technology in Peshawar.

He was severely beaten with several other students at the university by members of a student wing of the hard-line Jamiat-e Islami party.
Witnesses have said the IJT attacked Adnan for playing music. Members of the IJT have a record of breaking up music appreciation functions and dance parties on the campus.”

Read online from BigNewsNetwork

My Sweetheart!



Here is a picture of my wife of almost 12 years and mother of my two boys! She is the most beautiful and talented woman that I know. I don’t know where I would be without her! Together we own a graphic design company. You can check it out on the web at www.dylosh.com


Quotes of Note by Winston Churchill and C.S. Lewis


Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. ~Winston Churchill

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on. ~Winston Churchill

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on. ~Winston Churchill

Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter. ~Winston Churchill

It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right. ~Winston Churchill




If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. ~C.S. Lewis

Like a good chess player, Satan is always trying to manuever you into a position where you can save your castle only by losing your bishop. ~C.S. Lewis

The claim to equality is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. ~C.S. Lewis

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. ~C.S. Lewis

There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake. ~C.S. Lewis


King James Only?: Refuting the False Conspiracy Theories of King James Only Teachers

by Bob DeWaay

Click here to read the FULL article from Critical Issues Commentary online.

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

In recent years, an old debate has rekindled: Is the King James Bible the only valid translation of the Scriptures for English speaking people? G. A. Riplinger has published a book that claims not only that the King James is the best translation, but that all other modern versions, including the New King James, are the products of a New Age conspiracy.1 Filled with over 600 pages of charts, quotations, footnotes, and numerous examples of similarities between New Age teachings and words found in various translations of the Bible, her book has convinced some people that she is right.

Riplinger is not the first to propose that new translations are suspect and that the King James is the only valid English Bible. In the 1950's controversy attended the publication of the Revised Standard Version, partly because it was published by the National Council of Churches and partly due to the translation of Isaiah 7:14 as "young women" rather than "virgin." The RSV was deemed liberal and unacceptable to most conservative, Bible believing Christians. Since the King James was the only major alternative at the time, it remained the Bible for most evangelicals. Since the RSV did translate "virgin" correctly in the New Testament passages that teach the virgin birth, perhaps the translators were not trying to deny the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14 (the Hebrew word translated in Isaiah 7:14 as "virgin" in the NASB is not translated that way in any other O.T. passage). Nevertheless, the RSV became suspect and was never adopted by many conservatives.

With the appearance of the New American Standard Version, the New International Version and other English translations, English speaking Christians now have several options. Riplinger and others, however, have charged that every new translation, including all recent lexicons, Bible dictionaries and other study aids are the result of a grand, New Age conspiracy to change the Bible and deny the deity of Christ. According to this conspiracy theory, the Greek texts that we use are also corrupted. Some of scholars, texts, and lexicons indicted by Riplinger are: Brown - Driver-Briggs, Alford, Thayer, A.T. Robertson, Nestles-Aland Greek New Testament, Strong's Concordance, and Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.

Is church-based ministerial training just as good as seminary-based training? by Jason Dulle

Here is a great article by Jason Dulle that I thought was worth passing on.

Click here to read from Theosophical Ruminations

I’ve heard it more times than I can count: “Church-based ministerial training is just as good as Bible college/seminary-based ministerial training.” Personally, I think this statement is not well thought out. The two training methods cannot be equal because they focus on different aspects of ministry. In some matters, ministerial training within a local church from a pastor is superior to the training one can receive in seminary. In other matters, the training one gets in seminary is superior to the training they could obtain from their pastor in the local church. Seminary-based ministerial training excels at preparing one’s mind for ministry, while church-based ministerial-training excels at preparing one for some of the more practical aspects of ministry (such as performing ceremonies, administering the Lord’s supper, counseling, praying for the sick, etc.) Both are needed, and thus whenever possible, both should be sought.

If someone wants to prepare themselves theologically for the ministry, church-based training is no substitute for seminary, and for good reason. Seminaries exist for the primary purpose of preparing ministers with the theological knowledge needed to more effectively minister the Word of God to the people of God. The amount of time spent learning theology in a seminary can never be achieved in a local church (at least not within the same timeframe, if not the scope of learning itself) for two reasons. First, most pastors are not equipped with a seminary-level education, and thus could not provide it.

Second, most pastors do not have the time to dedicate 15-20 hours a week teaching someone theology. They have many other responsibilities. Michael Patton recently compared the difference between a church and seminary to the difference between a hospital and medical school. He asked, “Could local hospitals provide a better place for training than medical school? Not really. Why? Because that is not their focus. They are there to practice medicine. There is a reason why a different type of venue needs to be set up for both—effectiveness in all things pertaining to the training as well as a concerted effort with a very particular purpose. The local church and hospitals serve for residencies, not the primary training venue.”[1] Well put. In the same way a doctor needs to prepare himself academically in medical school because that is a more suitable environment, likewise a minister should prepare himself academically in a seminary since that is a more suitable environment for learning what needs to be learned to effectively minister to hurting souls in the church.


Quote by Chuck Colson on Democracy

Pure democracy was what some of our Founders feared most, shocking though it might sound to some. To them, the tyranny of the masses was no less a danger than the tyranny of the monarch. They knew that people are swayed by fads and fashion, or by demagogues playing on the passions of the moment. That is why John Adams wrote that unbridled democracy would lead to "everlasting fluctuations, revolts and horrors, finally requiring police action to impose order." ~Chuck Colson


“I’d Rather Obey Jesus than Peter” by G. Jorge Medina from Defenders of The Faith.




Click here to read article from Defenders of The Faith blog.

Sometimes when talking to Trinitarian friends we hear the phrase, “When it comes to baptism, I’d rather obey Jesus than obey Peter.” This usually comes after we’ve shown them Acts 2:38,

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

The part that bothers them is that Peter said to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and they see that as contradicting what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19,

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Which is the right way to be baptized?

When a Trinitarian friend says that they’d rather obey the words of Jesus they imply that Peter may have been mistaken, but Jesus, of course, could never be mistaken. By asserting this they essentially shot themselves in the foot, among others, for the following reasons.

1. He is admitting there’s a contradiction in the Scriptures. He assumes Peter was wrong when he said baptism was in Jesus’ name. Then, ALL Scripture would NOT be inspired of God as Paul asserts in 2 Timothy 3:16. No true Christian should ever make such an affirmation. It destroys the trustworthiness of the Bible.

2. If there's a contradiction between both scriptures, then the Holy Spirit made a mistake, because Peter had just received the anointing of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-4) and this was supposed to have given him the power to be a witness of Jesus (Acts 1:8).

3. If the Holy Ghost can make a mistake, then, how can we trust the rest of the Scriptures? How can we know which parts are true and which are in error?

4. We must also remember that Jesus never wrote an epistle. Matthew is the one that reports Jesus commanded to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This would not be a case of Jesus vs Peter, but Matthew vs Peter (IF there was a contradiction).

5. If there was such a disagreement between Peter and Matthew, why did Matthew, on the day of Pentecost, say nothing but rather stood with the other Apostles backing up what Peter was preaching? Why did Matthew not correct Peter, if Peter was mistaken? (Acts 2:14).
6. Why did Jesus give Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven if He knew that the day Peter was to receive the Holy Spirit he would disobey and betray His instructions?

The only solution to harmonize this apparent contradiction is to see in Matthew 28:19 the commandment and in Acts 2:38 the fulfillment or obedience to the commandment of Jesus. Both scriptures are true. The “name” of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is Jesus!

In other words, the Spirit that was in Peter reminded him of the words of Jesus, and gave him the Name that should be called on the baptismal waters. Matthew, being present, full of the same Spirit, was in total agreement with Acts 2:38. The rest of the Apostles understood Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 in the same way since they consistently baptized calling on the name of the Lord. (Please do take the time to study the following scriptures: Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16.)

For Apostolic Pentecostals “all Scripture is inspired of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). There are no contradictions in the Holy Word of God. There’s perfect harmony between Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38. There’s a Name revealed for our salvation, a Name so high and glorious that manifests the identity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That name is the name of Jesus (Please see Hebrews 1:4; Ephesians 1:21-23).

"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NKJV)

G. Jorge Medina

Defenders of The Faith

Blog - Evangelical Philosophical Society

Blog - Evangelical Philosophical Society

Atheism as a Psychological Crutch: A Review of James Spiegel’s The Making of an Atheist

Using Modern Technology to Relieve Ancient Stress by Peter Gurry at CSNTM





Here’s a link to the March 2010 Newsletter of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts and Daniel B. Wallace.




This month there is an article by Peter Gurry on “Using Modern Technology to Relieve Ancient Stress”.


Oneness Debate: Urshan, Sabin vs Martin, Beisner

Oneness Debate: James White vs Robert Sabin


B.B. Warfield and The Trinity

ISBEThe International Standard Bible Encyclopedia includes an article by Benjamin B. Warfield on the Trinity. This article can also be obtained in other printed texts by B.B. Warfield. You can also click here to read this work online. Warfield notes:

”The term "Trinity" is not a Biblical term, and we are not using Biblical language when we define what is expressed by it as the doctrine that there is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence. A doctrine so defined can be spoken of as a Biblical doctrine only on the principle that the sense of Scripture is Scripture. And the definition of a Biblical doctrine in such un-Biblical language can be justified only on the principle that it is better to preserve the truth of Scripture than the words of Scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity lies in Scripture in solution; when it is crystallized from its solvent it does not cease to be Scriptural, but only comes into clearer view. Or, to speak without figure, the doctrine of the Trinity is given to us in Scripture, not in formulated definition, but in fragmentary allusions; when we assemble the disjecta membra into their organic unity, we are not passing from Scripture, but entering more thoroughly into the meaning of Scripture. We may state the doctrine in technical terms, supplied by philosophical reflection; but the doctrine stated is a genuinely Scriptural doctrine.”(1)

Note the parts I have emphasized. First, Warfield suggests that it is better to “preserve the truth of Scripture than the words of Scripture”. Is this bad logic? For example, how do we know the “truth of Scripture” if we do not examine or exegete the “words of Scripture”?

Second, the Trinity is “given to us…in fragmentary allusions”. There is then no real formulaic doctrine of the Trinity in the pages of the New Testament. Even the early salutations like 1 Corinthians 13:14 are not characteristic of a Trinitarian formula, i.e. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The order is varied or a member of the Trinity is left out. The words of Scripture do not teach a Trinity. It must be presupposed.

Third, Warfield also says we are “entering more thoroughly into the meaning of Scripture” when we come to the Trinity. In my opinion he is referring to the interpretation of Scripture that comes to a belief in the Trinity. Ones hermeneutic or interpretation of a Scripture has definitely been varied throughout history. Everyone has presuppositions, no matter if we acknowledge them or not, but it is the words of Scripture that should inform the meaning found in Scripture. As we have noted the Trinity is not in the words of Scripture.

Trinitarianism is a doctrine that was and is being hammered out well beyond the dates of our canon of Scripture. It was not until the Athanasian Creed that we see some coherent formulation of the Trinity. Typically non-Trinitarian groups, such as Unitarians, Arians, Monarchians have always viewed the earliest forms of Christianity as being non-Trinitarian. They also agree that the Trinity is a later dogma and philosophical reflection upon the text of Scripture itself. Non-Trinitarians are very diverse, since some reject the divinity of Jesus and others exalt the deity of Jesus to its rightful place.

Lastly, he also suggests that “we may state the doctrine in technical terms, supplied by philosophical reflection; but the doctrine stated is a genuinely Scriptural doctrine.” He is saying that we must use technical or non-Biblical terms which are supplied by philosophical reflection. This might be true to an extent but it is clear that Trinitarianism is a product of tradition and creeds. Ironically, Oneness scholars have been saying something similar for many years.

JN Anderson

1. International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.


A Christian’s Reasonable Service: Defending Truth

Christian Truth: In Spite of Post-modernism


While teaching his theology class at Grace Theological Seminary, Dr. John C. Whitcomb, showed his theology class a magazine photo. In the photo you could see an “evangelistic” outreach by liberal seminary students standing at a shopping center, with hands pointing straight up. They kept this posture and that was really their message. Their message was “We don’t know what it all means … but we are in contact with whoever is up there…”

Although there are some things(1) that we might never be able to explain or make perfect sense of there are things that we can know for sure. John MacArthur stated, “Authentic Christianity starts with the premise that there is a source of truth outside of us.”(2) I find this statement true, and profoundly so in our post-modern culture where liberal theology is still popular.

In the Gospel of John Christ states, that it is the “truth” and knowing truth that sets us free, it is liberating. Jesus, the historical Messiah, and genuine Son of God, goes on to call Himself “truth” (John 14:6). In fact, the same Greek word for truth (ἀλήθεια) was used in both passages. Jesus is God, and God then is Truth. The exclusivity of Jesus cannot be denied. It is in our emotional or philosophical unpacking of this fact that we can assimilate this truth. Spiritual disciplines aid the discovery of these truths as darkness disappears at the presence of light.

Jesus is the light. John the Baptist, the forerunner for Christ, came as a witness to the light (John 1:7-8), the light which is Jesus (John 1:9; 9:5). Truth and light are very similar but yet very different. For example, when a person, who has been in the darkness, comes into the darkness their iris can sometimes constrict due to the amount of light entering the pupil. This is called adaptation, in ocular physiology. Light then exists whether we can or will allow ourselves to see it or not. The same is with truth, at times propositional truths that we read in the Scriptures can be rejected or accepted yet they do exist whether the atheist or skeptic acknowledges it or not. 

Truth therefore remains truthful despite the degenerate nature of a society which seeks to redefine or marginalize. No matter how far the earth may distance itself from the sun does not mean the sun ceases to exist. The same is with truth today, a defeatist, “hold the fort” mentality is not acceptable to God.

It seems as though some people believe in a village god. A god that is created and sustained to meet their needs. It does not reach out and does not transcend their current crisis most of the time. This is an existential crisis in our society as we become increasingly focused upon the individual.

It seems symptomatic to our post-modern society to interpret every life situation or even Scriptural passage from the individual standpoint. This is appropriate in some part but not always. The closer we get, as a collective, to sole human reasoning as a guide in our society the closer we return to dark ages or when men grope in darkness and not truly knowing. Man was not made for dependency from God--this is the angst of the atheist.

Mark Twain, in his writings about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, alluded to a gilded era that believed they were really getting something. Who would ever whitewash a fence for an apple core? Do you remember how much the entry fee was to a Barnum and Bailey show back then? Twain saw that gilded notion that we are getting something for our money and labor but are really getting nothing.

This was a picture of his times but I see it in Christianity too. Too many Christians are satisfied with thin or superficial relationships with God and His Word. Our shouts or cries unto God better be more about Him rather than our desperation to pay the bills or to receive a get out of "trouble" card.

Truth Exists With or Without Human Detection

Truth exists no matter if the moral relativist acknowledges its existence or not. Christian philosopher, William L. Craig, was recently answering the question, “How do you know objective morality is based upon God?”(4) He notes that “there is an objective moral difference between abusing a baby and loving that baby.”

He continues, “In the animal kingdom, some animals eat their young.” He then relates a childhood story of his father flushing his white mice. At first, he noted that he felt “crushed” by these actions but understood and felt different once he realized that the mother mouse was eating her babies and her parents intervened by flushing them. This is a sort of utilitarian dilemma but it also reveals, acutely, the moral dilemmas permeating our consciousness.

The recognition or non-recognition of these dilemmas do not mean that they do not exist but that they do exist, very much like 1 plus 1 equals 2 and although it is indescribable blue is indeed a color. I  cannot see the wind yet I know it is there according to my senses.

Ironically the aftermath of Facist and Communist regimes like those of Hitler and Stalin or Mao, although disillusioned, vividly demonstrate that truth exists. If the heinous crimes of such men can be rightly said to be wrong then upon what basis do we make that claim. Surely it is a truth that exists objectively.

Christian Truths Must Be Distilled

Since these truths do exist, with or without human detection, then it becomes important, in some way, for them to be recognized. Jesus stated that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;”(5) The timing is obviously not so great as it is the laborer being in right relationship with Christ. Being sent of God and also being in the field. The commissioning and the orientation of the believer is partly to “go and make disciples of all nations”(6) and it is in the field where they should “go” for the harvest awaits. It is the laborer in the field that stands ill equipped to gather the waiting harvest.

Spiritual truths or even propositional truths must be assimilated and then disseminated. It cannot be simply glanced off our spiritual and divine capacity to pray and reason with God. Instead, it must be taken and ingested. You may remember the quote from T.S. Eliot, a 1948 Nobel Prize winner for literature, which stated:

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.(7)

Here Eliot takes out his canvas and paints for us literarily what it means to learn and reckon truth or knowledge. We can continuously grow and mature, not only as we grow spiritually (See Galatians 5:20-22; 2 Peter 3:18) in Christ, but also as we take on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). God has gifted us, since Creation, with the ability to reason and have logic. Aristotle did not create the laws of logic rather he discovered them. There is probably no new truth, only truth we may have perceived but not noticed. Everyone can be shown truth but it is not always received, nor is it always believed. Truth can be known, a lie cannot be known.

At the end of our exploring and discovering, however, we still stand in awe of God’s truth, as if for the very first time. This is the humility of Christ, possessed by the eternal deity and yet being Alpha and Omega (Revelations 1:8) he “humbled himself” (Philippians 2:8).

John R.W. Stott, in Your Mind Matters, notes that God “has constituted us thinking beings; he has treated us as such by communicating to us in words; he has renewed us in Christ and given us the mind of Christ; and he will hold us responsible for the knowledge we have.” In this book Stott essentially suggest that anti-intellectualism is a form of worldliness. God expects us to not only worship him with demonstrative worship or lifestyle but also with our minds. If we are to take on the mind of Christ  as he tells us by the Apostle Paul (See Philippians 2:5), then our mind and rationality is intrinsically related to our transformation process as new and maturing creatures in Christ.

When we distill truths they will surface in our thoughts and practice. They will effect our very nature of existence and purpose on the earth. Many homes and individuals are smitten with anger and range in these times. Many of the contributions of literature (the rise in vampire novels and affinity with violence) and entertainment (Hostel, Saw, Friday the 13th) have been filled with blood and violence incited by rage and confusion.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has written a book called The Broken American Male wherein he notes the rise of anger in men. Fear and anger are possibly the most expressed emotions in our dreams. These are also emotional impulses we possibly give into on a daily if not regular basis. It is also what plagues many broken and hurting families where one parent or family member is always angry.

In the 1400’s Thomas a Kempis, in the Imitation of Christ, wrote “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” Often times we express our anger unfairly or in the wrong direction. Our anger should be with ourselves, at ourselves, for not being consumed by The Truth. We should allow God to not only transform us spiritually but intellectually as well. The more light added to a dark place the more information we are able to see or understand. We increase as we draw near to Christ.


Christian Truths Are To Be Defended

God is in the details, and if He is there then we can be sure that Satan would like to be an influence there as well. Since the Gospel is to be proclaimed and since we are going to make truth claims then there is going to be a need to give a defense, or a reason for that claim. The defense and the reason for our claims is where the details enter, and this is where another war wages.

In 1 Peter 3:15(3), the Apostle Peter, makes it clear that Christians should do at least three things:

1. Make Christ Lord in their hearts. A Gallup Poll on Religion in 1980 revealed that “we are having a revival of feelings but not of the knowledge of God. The church today is more guided by feelings than by convictions. We value enthusiasm more than informed commitment.” To make Christ Lord in our life is going to mean He invades our thoughts and our reasoning. We will have to place Him upon the throne of our life. It is He we must submit and yield too.

2. Be prepared to give an answer for the hope within us. The NRSV makes this statement plain, “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;” NRSV The word “ready” or ἕτοιμος mentioned by Peter here suggest that one be ready for anything. This word is also used in Titus 3:1 where the believer is encouraged to be “ready to every good work” (KJV). To be expecting the skeptic or questioner to ask of you the reason for your hope, the very claim on which you have staked the truth.

J.P. Moreland, in his book, Love Your God With All Your Mind noted:

“The Puritans were highly educated people who founded colleges, taught their children to read and write before the age of six, and studied art, science, philosophy, and other fields as a way of loving God with the mind...The minister was an intellectual, as well as spiritual authority in the community. As Puritan Cotton Mather proclaimed, ‘Ignorance is the Mother not of Devotion but of HERESY.’”

I do not think it is our imperative to become intellects devoid of spiritually. I do think though that we must realize that the Word of God, has been given us, and it means something. Education and learning is a gift and an ability that is God given. Learning institutions were first in basilicas and churches, not atheist or Gnostic halls of learning. It is out of the birth of Christianity that science grew. It is out of the light of the text of Scripture that the Reformation and Enlightenment sprang. America is a culmination of what was perceived as a new or intellectual and religious freedom by thinkers of that day who, at the very least believed in God and had been profoundly influenced by Scripture.

Often we are taken up with doctrines or beliefs that we have studied for years, yet they only relate to the believer. For example, can the unregenerate fully understand holiness and spiritual things? No, and that is why we must be balanced in our study of truth. It is a tragedy for us to vehemently declare our allegiance to truth in secondary matters yet “refuse consistently to face her where graver issues are at stake.”(8)

3. Do this with gentleness and respect. This pertains to how we are to give an answer to those who would ask.

With gentleness and respect. Alfred Adler once noted that, “the truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression. It is possible to lie, and even to murder, for the truth.”(9) The Crusades or the Inquisition illustrates the point here. Just because a cross or the name of Christ was placed on the shoulders or helmets of soldiers during the Crusades does not make the actions of that soldier valid. It does not make his shedding of blood godly nor valid.

As mentioned earlier when one is exposed to truth it can sometimes be much like entering a lighted room after coming in from the darkness of night. This happened during the times of the Renaissance, the Romantic era and in other points in time when true light was perverted by humanity. It can cause us to squint or to shy away. If this is the case, it is even more incumbent upon us as preachers of the Gospel to speak the truth but do so in love (See Ephesians 4:15).

Remember the story of Noah and the ark? Although no analogy is perfect his story does apply in a sense. For example, when Christ returns again it will not be as a lamb that is meek and mild, yet He will come in fire and judgment. The disobedient will be punished and evil will be reckoned. The great judge will come to balance the scales. This was the story during the days of Noah, and yet divine judgment is coming again. No, not in the form of a flood, but in flaming fire (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

God has told us to “go” and make disciples. The making of a disciple often does not occur overnight but it does involve teaching and it does involve reasoning truth claims. Discipleship does not mean we have to go to a college or university, nor how much you paid for it but the work that was actually done. In this process we should have no harshness or hypocrisy. Here there is no room for bitterness or flippancy when we speak of our Savior.

Christ is not physically in the world today, nor are His hands or feet. The Church, that One Body united, is to be His hands and His feet. With that in mind it is with the mind of Christ, and in the spirit and humility of Christ that we must bring light to a dark world.

Truth in The Church

Where do we begin to spread truth? Who shall begin to spread it? The answers to these questions do have immediate or simple answers but it should begin with the Church, even our churches. The Apostle Paul, while writing to Timothy stated:

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).

Notice the location of what Paul calls the “pillar and ground of the truth”. It is not in human reason, alone. It is in the church. In Love Your God With All Your Mind, Moreland states, “Saint Paul tells us that the church--not the university, the media, or the public schools--is the pillar and support of the truth.” The battle for truth must begin inside of each of us and it must be declared, as a sign of Christian unity, to the pews of our churches.


1. “but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;” 1 Peter 3:15 NRSV

2. e.g. Hypostatic Union, Incarnation, etc.

3. MacArthur, John (2002). Why One Way? : Defending an Exclusive Claim in an Inclusive World (19). Nashville: W Pub. Group.

4. Craig, William L. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5MtBdG36g “How do you know objective morality is based on God?” Accessed March 11, 2010

5. Matthew 9:37, NRSV http://www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/matthew/9-37.html

6. Matthew 28:19, NIV http://www.biblestudytools.com/matthew/28-19.html

7. Eliot, T.S. Four Quartets: “Little Gidding”

8. Janos Arany (1817-82), Hungarian poet

9. Alfred Adler, Problems of Neurosi

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)