Is God A Person?

I have encountered a number of Oneness Pentecostals who not only object to the Trinitarian concept of God as “three persons,” but object to calling God a “person” at all.  In what follows, I provide typical objections offered against calling God a person, followed by a response.
Objection: The Bible never uses the term “person” of God
Response: The question is not whether the Bible uses the term per se, but whether the nature of God as described in Scripture can rightly be described as personable, given the definition of person: a conscious, rational, thinking, subject of various experiences (a mind).
Furthermore, the Bible does not speak of humans as “persons” either, and yet no one disputes the legitimacy of applying such a term to human beings.  The mere fact that such terminology is not used of God no more means that God is not accurately described as being a person than the absence of such terminology for humans means we are not accurately described as persons.  If we do not hesitate to call ourselves persons, neither should we hesitate to call God a person.
Objection: The Bible calls God a Spirit, not a person
Response: The two terms are not incompatible with one another.  Humans are spirits as well as persons.  “Spirit” describes the kind of substance our person is; i.e. our person is a spirit, or spiritual in nature.  The same is true of God.  He is a person who is spiritual in nature.
If God is not a person, what is He?  Answering that He is a spirit will not do, because spirits come in two logically possible forms: personal, impersonal.  Clearly God is not impersonal, so He must be a personable spirit.  If God is personable, why not call Him a person?  What other than “person” properly and accurately describes the attribute of being personable?
Objection: God cannot be a person because God does not have a body
Response: Having a body is not necessary to personhood.  A person is essentially incorporeal in nature.  What makes something a person is their possession of mind, the very thing God is/has.  Having a body may be commonplace to persons, but it is notnecessary.  Put another way, persons might have bodies, but persons are not identical to their bodies.  That this is true should be obvious from the doctrine of the intermediate state.  When we die our person goes on to be with the Lord in heaven, but our body stays in the ground.  Such a state of existence is possible only because having a body is not an essential property of persons.  And if it is not an essential property of persons, then God’s lack of a body does not count as evidence against His personhood.
“Persons” applies to more than just human beings.  Any being who is a conscious, rational, thinking, subject of various experiences is a person.  Both angels and God fit this description, and thus they are persons: God is a divine person; angels are angelic persons; and humans are human persons.  Humans are embodied persons, while God and angels are disembodied persons (apart from Christ, at least).
By Jason Dulle, M.A. Exegetical Theology

A Final Thought On Being Philosophers: by Christopher Ullman

Christopher Ullman is a professor at Christian Life College in Chicago, Ill. Dr. Paul Ferguson teaches there as well. Click here to read a bio about Christopher and navigate Christian Life College.

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” a Greek philosopher named Socrates confidently declared. Aristotle agreed, and enlarged the scope of inquiry to the entire world with an exclamation: “Philosophy begins in wonder!” But where does it end?

Ours is a skeptical culture. For good reasons and with honorable intentions, we are constantly urged:

1. Take nothing for granted.
2. Trust no one.
3. Doubt every fact.
4. Scrutinize every motive.

Therefore, we have been conditioned to judge a person to be highly educated who asks many questions. (After all, Socrates did.) Furthermore, it seems so profound when you can end every paragraph with a query. Finally, people think you are wise beyond your years when your important conversations always end with a sigh and a disclaimer: “But who can really know for sure?”

However, if philosophy succeeds at nothing but raising unanswerable questions, it is an abject failure, and an irresponsible waste of time. If you are leaving this class thinking “I will never understand . . . after all, who really does?” then we have failed.

For the study of philosophy to be worthwhile, for it to have any “cash value,” it must conclude some things. Indeed, philosophers throughout history have been bold enough to announce their conclusions about the nature of reality, rationality, knowledge, morality, beauty, justice, and the ultimate. What gave them the audacity to actually believe they had discovered truth? I believe they each held a faith in the human mind and spirit: answers could be discerned. I believe they each also held a belief in the world: the universe is a place of order and regularity; its sameness and the consistency of its operating overwhelm its anomalies. Their unspoken creed seemed to be, “If I probe deeply enough, if I reflect long enough, I will hit, or maybe stumble upon, the answers.”

For most of the time humans have been sniffing around for the scent of knowledge, they have NOT felt helpless and hopeless. Encountering the perplexity of many odors, the chaotic variety of tracks, and the confusing tangle of possible trails, they nevertheless have not abandoned the search. Because of their courage and their dogged perseverance, they enriched the world in which they lived with what they found. Their thoughts stimulated the generations of inquirers that followed them. Philosophers can do the same today.


"if philosophy succeeds at nothing but raising unanswerable questions,
it is an abject failure, and an irresponsible waste of time."

Philosophy can point the inquirer away from bad logic, mere appearances, unjustified opinions, uncritiqued moral assumptions, ignorance about injustices, apathy concerning beauty, and a shrugging off of the ultimate meanings. Philosophy can point the questioner towards arguments that work, reality that lives, knowledge that illuminates, goodness that ennobles, peace that endures, harmony that blesses, and purpose that energizes. Philosophy, however, never lays down its weapons against the unknown, never shrinks away from the battle. The stakes are too high, and the cost of failure is too dear. Believing we have found truth, could we be mistaken? Yes. Must we be mistaken? The answer to this must be a resounding NO, or there is no point in asking.

A wise man once promised, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Later, one of his captors rhetorically whined, “What is truth?” His faith that answers exist, waiting to be discovered, made the first a hero by whose arrival on Earth many literally mark time. Disbelief that there is even a point to it at all made the second a mere footnote in history, known to us today only because for a brief moment he stood in the shadow of the first, then turned away.

Philosophy asks, “Which one will you be?” This is not a rhetorical question.


Debate : Perkins and Reeves

Debate in March 2011

Debate Each Night on Apostolic Doctrine 

- Roger Perkins (UPCI) and Bruce Reeves (Church of Christ)



Book Talk: The Fruitful Life by Dr. Jerry Bridges

Book Talk: The Fruitful Life by Dr. Jerry Bridges

I just finished my review of this excellent book on the Fruit of the Spirit. Read the review. Highly recommend.

The Fruitful Life by Dr. Jerry Bridges

The Fruitful Life: The Overflow of God's Love Through You

I recently received a review copy of The Fruitful Life, authored by Dr. Jerry Bridges, through a review program for NavPress. The cover packages this text well. Jerry Bridges lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is a committed to the Biblical text. He has written such books as The Pursuit of Holiness: The Practice of Godliness, Trusting God, and The Gospel for Real Life. Click here to peruse or purchase all of his works. In this text you can appreciate his high-view of Scripture as he dives into the riches of The Fruit of the Spirit. There are also exercises at the end of each chapter for study, lessons, devotion, or for use in small groups.

Bridges begins with a Puritan premise that “the fruit of the Spirit is the work of the Spirit and not of human origin.” Noting this he also explains however that we have a crucial role to play but must recognize the source. We must be responsible to the Holy Spirit in our acts of obedience to its maturation process in our lives.

We must be devoted to God, fully. It is only in our genuinely devoted acts do we find “acceptable motives for actions that are pleasing to God.” (Bridges, 12) It is unfortunate that most of our motives are, indeed, self-centered or are centered around advancing our individualism. Our motives must be God-centered. Jesus is the centerpiece of Scripture and He, as God, must be the center of our lives.

The source of power for living a Godly life comes from “the risen Christ” (Bridges, 15. See Colossians 2:6-7). Bridges goes on to note that Christ is the “source” of power and that “our means of experiencing that power is through our relationship with Him.” (Bridges, 16) We must behold Christ in His Word and depend upon Him through it and in prayer.

The believer should be concerned with putting off falsehood and putting on truthfulness. This is the only way for us to cut away our own presuppositions and allow the Holy Spirit to create us into the image of Christ. This means that we are in the business of adding and subtracting during our journey. Adding things we should have and subtracting things that should not be apart. Since we are all growing in our journey it is imperative that we not only put off traits from sinful nature but also add traits such as love, joy, and compassion to help us deal with the restoration of others.

A maxim to remember is: “Growth in all areas is progressive and never finished.” (Bridges, 23). In Philippians 3:12, even Paul recognizes a sense of pressing towards a goal, an object. Even the mature and veteran believer must be in a state of developing and growing in the knowledge of our Lord.

Bridges also draws upon “the fear of God”; the “love of God” and the “desire for God” as “three essentials” in our devotion towards God. He uses a triangle to illustrate. At the bottom right is the “love of God”, the bottom left is the “fear of God” and at that apex is the “desire for God”. Our foundation of fear and love towards God will produce and protect our desire for more of God.
The very last chapter, in this work, is about seeking a deeper devotion to God. Typically, we teach and explore the Fruit of the Spirit but can say very little about how to help this fruit grow. Bridges takes aim at this here as he offers his explanation. Bridges notes that after the New Birth all Christians possess, even in “embryonic form, a basic devotion to God.” (Bridges, 169) He goes on to list two things that are crucial in our growth (Bridges, 70).

1. “a balanced approach to all three of the essential elements of devotion: fear, love, and desire”

2. “a vital dependence upon the Holy Spirit”

The dependence upon the Holy Spirit cannot be stressed enough in our present mileu of naturalism, materialism, and skeptics alike. Growth however is impossible without prayer, meditation, worship, and the quite time. These all help us grow in God. It is important to pray for growth, and meditate on the Word of God. In conclusion, Bridges reminds us that “from this joyful relationship flows the rich harvest of our transformed character.” (Bridges, 178)

Biblical 'Contradictions': The Reason We Require Theologians, Pastors, Church Ministry Leadership

Biblical 'Contradictions': The Reason We Require Theologians, Pastors, Church Ministry Leadership

Check this out!


Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ: Jesus Manifesto

Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ

I recently received a review copy of Jesus Manifesto through a review program for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I am very impressed with this book given its content and its timeliness. The Christ of Scripture and the Christ of History are trying to be pulled at both ends by liberal scholars and the typical skeptics alike. Skeptics and even so called believers would dethrone Christ. Viola and Sweet, however, do a thorough job in Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ: Jesus Manifesto. They proudly proclaim that Christ is the “Rosetta Stone of the Bible.” (pg. 11)

In the opening pages Jack Hayford praises Jesus Manifesto and suggest it “calls us to Jesus' person and position as Lord of the church...to restore the “saltiness” that will keep His church alive.” Dr. Kenneth Ulmer from The King's College says it “brings us back to center.” Steve Brown from Reformed Theological Seminary say that “Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have a radical and Biblical solution” for our Christ-less culture.

Indeed, a solution is needed. Viola and Sweet tap the pulse of the modern drift and says “If the church does not reorient and become Christological at its core, any steps taken will be backwards.” (pg. Xiv) They draw our attention quickly to J.D.D. Or the Jesus Deficit Disorder. Our culture and the church have made the gospel about so many things other than Jesus Himself and it is time we embrace, know, and seek Christ! The ultimate question for anyone in any generation since Christ is “Who do you say that I am?” This question is required of every generation.

Viola and Sweet sum up Christ as the “melody, the harmony, the rhythm, the tempo, and the music behind all things. The heavens and earth sing His song and play His tune.” This is the argument of Jesus Manifesto. In fact, if you wonder if this is an “emergent' text by liberal thinkers, guess again. On pg. 23, they say “we are arguing that Christianity is Christ—nothing more, nothing less.”

They go on to write, “the only address where anyone can find Him [Christ] is...you!” (pg. 56) Christ died, resurrected and ascended yet He dwells in us today. When the world looks for Christ they will see you and I as His followers as His body on the earth today. We must make room for Christ to be sovereign and supreme in our lives! Viola and Sweet beautifully sum up the Incarnation by saying, “In the incarnation, the beating heart of the universe became a human heart.” Christ is the aperture of God whereby men see the glory of God. Through Christ, however, the “clearest image of the whole can be seen.

In the conclusion Viola and Sweet retell the story of Pope Ratzinger, who was a Cardinal at the time, and his sharing a venue with Bob Dylan in 1997. Ratzinger is still not so sure if him and Dylan made a great pair but the Pope did utilize the lyrics of Dylan in a song at the meeting. Ratzinger says, “You ask me how many roads a man must walk before he becomes a man? I answer: there is only one road for a man, and it is the road of Jesus Christ, who said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life”

Adversus Trinitas

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