The Jesus-Event

 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
(Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:17)
God tabernacled (John 1:14) with us. "God is with us" in the person of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:23, Colossians 2:9) God was "in Christ" reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). God entered into His very own creation and existed as a man. It includes an historical event. For over 30 years God, while existing as a man walked on earth. Once He was despised, rejected, beaten, crucified, and buried He did as He had said, and raised Himself from the dead on the third day (John 2:19). He is God all in all and seated at the supreme place of the universe.

This is the Jesus-event. This is where the invisible God was made visible. This is not to say God stopped being God or that God had to empty heaven. Simply, the Creator partook in creation. God is simultaneously creator, sustainer, father, son, holy, redeemer at the same time. Since Jesus is God in quality, rather than in terms of quantity, the personality, identity and character of God was in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:9).

The Scriptures also speak of Saul, a Christ-hater, turned Christ-lover, better known as Paul who gave his life for what he once considered heresy and worthy of death (Acts 7:50ff.). Paul makes this contribution to the testimony of the Resurrection of our Lord and its life-changing effect. Notice 1 Corinthians 15:
1 Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. NRSV
Notice some of these statements of Paul:

1. In vs. 3 he has and is handing them something of "first importance". 
2. Christ died and was buried in accordance with Scripture.
3. Christ appeared to Cephas, the twelve, more than 500 people most of which were still alive, to James, all the apostles and lastly Paul himself.
4. God's grace in him has not been in vain.
5. If Christ has not been raised our proclamation and faith is in vain.
6. If Christ has not been raised then you are faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 

Notice that Paul correlates the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as being in accordance with the Scriptures. Paul obviously sees Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic references (e.g. Genesis 3:15; Psalms 2:1–2; 16:10; 22:1; 22:6–7; 22:22; 69:21; 89:26–28; Isaiah 7:14; 24:16; 42:1; 42:6; 49:6; 53:5). This conviction, shared by all the New Testament writers, was core to the early church. Notice also that Paul is making propositions that he emphatically believes to be true. He also shows it to be true based upon a) being in accordance with Scripture (cf. John 5:39) b) eyewitness accounts including his own first hand account. 

The Resurrection of Christ provides us with a future hope of resurrection. Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-101) speaks of this hope and even calls it the "future resurrection" in The First Epistle of Clement. These only serve to echo was Paul had earlier written. In Ephesians 2:6 Paul says that Christ has "raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (NRSV). Therefore, since we are united with Christ we will also be raised as Christ. 

In the Old Testament Jacob left his encounter with God at the river and he left never to be the same. He left changed. The physical and psychological impact of Jesus upon the Bible writers and clearly Paul here is indeed profound. Penetrating to the depths of the human person. Paul was smitten. He was struck by Jesus, the Christ, the man from Nazareth. He was so moved by his encounter with Jesus that it changed not only his career direction but caused him to leave what he had known to be true until that point. As a devout Pharisee he left no doubt people and things he loved. Are we that moved by the Jesus-event? Are you that moved by the Jesus-event? Would you believe even if you're life depended on it? 

The Resurrection does not rely only in an empty tomb but also, among other evidences, eyewitness accounts of the risen Lord. (See Matt 28:8-10, 16-20; Luke 24:13; John 20:11-29 and Acts 1:1-11). This ratifies the faith and personal experiences (Paul's in Acts 9 and 22) that multiplied millions have had and are having with Jesus until this day. The tomb was empty, the disciples were transformed from uncertain to bold preachers of the Resurrection, for which they would die.

JN Anderson


The Discipleship Book on The Trinity

Philosopher and blogger Dale Tuggy writes about a new book by Michael Patton which includes a chapter on the Trinity. Click here to read from his blog - trinities : theories about the father, son, and holy spirit.

Excerpt below:
Over at Parchment and Pen Michael Patton has posted a chapter on the Trinty, part of a forthcoming book called The Discipleship Book, intended to instruct new Christians.
Dear new Christians – beware. Patton is sincere, but misinformed. He thinks the Bible obviously teaches what he’s asserting, and reasons that any prior Bible-loving Christians must’ve thought likewise.
But having studied a vast amount of historical writings by Christians, I can assure you that this is demonstrably not so, even if we stick to “mainstream” Christians (so ignoring, e.g. “Arians”, Marcionites, etc.) I take no pleasure in pointing this out, and I wish it were as simple as Patton says. But facts are facts.
I’ve discussed his sort of take on the Trinty before. It is not, as Patton says in a comment, “what the Bible teaches and Christians for 2000 years have believed.” It is what (some? many?) theologians at Dallas Theological Seminarythink about the Trinity. How widespread these views are, I’m not sure. But the many evangelical and other theologians riding the “social trinitarian” bandwagonwould not agree with what Patton says.

Re-Examining "Baptism in the Name of Jesus" by Jason L. Weatherly

Jason L. Weatherly has a series of blogs posts entitled: Re-Examining "Baptism in the Name of Jesus". Here Weatherly is examining some of the claims of Church of Christ teachers like Bruce Reeves and Don McClain. So far this is a 5 part series so enjoy. Click here to go to the Weatherly Report!


Shariamerica: Islam, Obama, and the Establishment Clause


Modesty and Intimacy by Steve Pixler

One of the deepest desires of the human heart is to experience intimacy. Intimacy is an aspect of love, for intimacy is the mutual sharing of self that only occurs in true love. We often think of love as being purely selfless service, but there is much more to love than this. Love that seeks only the satisfaction of others is actually self-love twisted into masochistic self-loathing. Love not only seeks to satisfy others by serving their genuine needs (not necessarily all their wants), but love also seeks to find satisfaction for self in such selfless service. In other words, love seeks mutual satisfaction, which is existential fulfillment, and this sort of mutual self-realization is intimacy. 

Intimacy requires secrecy. In order to truly experience intimacy we must share relationship in a mutually inclusive and exclusive way. There must be boundaries. We must shut some people in and some people out in order to experience intimacy. All healthy relationships entail this polar balance of mutual inclusivity and exclusivity. The parent-child relationship is inclusive of their children and exclusive of everyone else's children. My children will never feel special in their relationship to me if I insist that they mean no more to me than the neighbor's kids. The same is true in marriage. A healthy marriage requires recognizing who is "in" and who is "out" of the relationship. People who cannot tell the difference become adulterers. 

Relationships that are strong and healthy are all "closed" to some degree. In fact, those who boast that they have an "open" relationship are simply admitting that they don't have much of a relationship at all. The deeper a relationship goes, the more closed it becomes, and the more closed it becomes, the closer it becomes. This is a fact of human existence, and to deny it is to deny reality. 

The point here is that the human body and its physical appearance was created to be an instrument of intimacy, specifically an instrument of the sexual relationship that celebrates and communicates the covenantal unity of marriage. Sex was designed to make a man and woman one in both body and spirit, thus actualizing the contractual and legal union effected in holy matrimony. Sex was created to facilitate intimacy, to enact it and enable it, and this intimacy is manifested physically in the glory of covenantal nakedness and the private celebration of physical beauty and attraction that occurs in the secret chamber of a married man and woman. This is why fornication is so deeply dissatisfying and requires ever-increasingly bizarre experimentation. Sex without covenant acts out a lie. Married sexual relations actualize marital oneness, and thus fornication has nothing to offer but the empty bodily actions of a sick charade. Fornication is a farce. 

So, the nakedness of the body was created to facilitate intimacy. God designed the naked body to arouse the sexual passions that make two people one. Nakedness is an invitation, a powerful, primal call, to enter into the secret places of the body and share oneness of soul. Thus, when we expose our nakedness to the general public by dressing immodestly, we confuse both our psyche and the psyche of the beholder by issuing an invitation we likely have no intention of fulfilling. When we undress in public, we frustrate intimacy. We reveal the secrets of our body to everyone, and we all know what happens to a relationship when someone breaks a confidence and tells all your secrets. 

Immodesty makes intimacy more elusive. Immodesty shares the secrets of the body with total strangers, and this means that there is less for the husband and wife to share exclusively. This causes deep angst within the human psyche that is often unrecognized and contributes to the ongoing dissatisfaction that characterizes the average couple's love life. Immodesty is live, public pornography, and it has exactly the same soul-numbing effect on the love life. When intimacy is lost, love is lost. 

There is something very troubling happening to the human race. We are having great difficulty loving because we have trouble keeping secrets. We have real problems with intimacy. We know very little these days about what it means to share in covenantal exclusivity. A planet full of psychiatrists will never be able to sort out the damage that is being done to our daughters and wives as lecherous fathers and husbands encourage their women to display in public the treasures of physical beauty that God gave for a husband to enjoy alone. When a man encourages his wife to expose her body, he is telling her that she is worth very little to him--so little, in fact, that he is willing for the man on the street to share her secret beauty, the beauty that was given by God to facilitate sexual oneness. 

Now, I should say here that I am not against women being beautiful and displaying that beauty for all to see. In fact, I am planning a separate post on Modesty and Beauty to further elaborate this point. The Word of God goes to great lengths in various places to show us the beauty of many leading women of scripture, and the Bride of Christ is a woman of eternal and spectacular beauty. No, I am not condemning beauty. For all those who equate holiness with homeliness, I am not on your bandwagon. Rather, what I am referring to is the public display of the parts of the body that are considered to be secret parts and sanctified to the priestly love of a godly husband. And this is more than what hides in a bathing suit. Much more. (See my earlier post on Modesty and Scripture.) 

I once had an awkward experience on an airplane. A very provocatively dressed young woman was seated next to me, and she immediately began telling me that she was a stripper and Playboy model. She told me that she had won Cyber-Playmate of the year. I listened for a few minutes while she told me all this, and then she asked me what I did for a living. I told her I was a pastor. She gasped and sputtered and began apologizing profusely for even mentioning what she did for a living. She was bright red for a bit, and I was grateful that she at least still had the capacity for shame. 

We talked for nearly two hours on the flight as I told her about my wife and children and showed her all my pictures. She told me my wife was lovely and that led us to discuss the question of what is real beauty. In our discussion on beauty, she made the statement that she felt like her beauty should be shared with the world. I responded that her beauty was like gravel on the ground--anyone can pick up gravel and put it in their pocket. Thus, it has no real value. But my wife's beauty, on the other hand, is like diamonds. Because my wife's beauty is for my eyes only, her beauty is rare and valuable. We don't throw diamonds on the ground for anyone to pick up. No, we treasure them and place them in a vault for safekeeping. She confessed that she had never heard it put like that.

I need to wrap this up before it becomes a book. One last comment: modesty promotes intimacy because modesty recognizes the value of physical beauty and the role that nakedness plays in promoting mental and spiritual health through sexual wholeness in marriage. Modesty declares to the world that both the man and the woman treasure intimacy so much that they will not violate it in deference to worldly fashion. If you are a secret worth keeping, then cover up. 


Does the Doctrine of the Trinity Correctly Define the Godhead? by Clifford Readout, Jr.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a theological construct of relatively early Roman Christianity (c. 220-325 A.D.), based on Philo's philosophical definitions of the Logos (Word) in the prologue of the Gospel of John. The doctrine has evolved through the centuries to be refined and recorded in the written doctrinal statements of the various denominations into a definition of the Godhead which states that God has eternally existed as three separate and distinct Persons, who are, always were, and always will be, co-equal, co-eternal, co-powerful, and co-present. These three Persons are called "God the Father," and "God the Son," and "God the Holy Spirit." God the Father is neither God the Son or God the Holy Spirit; God the Son is neither God the Father or God the Holy Spirit; and God the Holy Spirit is neither God the Father or God the Son, but all Three mystically share the same "substance." It further states that "God the Son" was sent by "God the Father" to be the sacrifice to atone for human sins. It resolves the Scriptural conflicts created by the doctrine by including some statement to the effect that the doctrine is not explainable by human reason, cannot be comprehended by human reason, but is not contrary to human reason, rather, it is a "divine mystery" which must be accepted by "faith."

The Doctrine of the Trinity is very close in idea to various pagan theologies dating back to ancient Babylonian idolatry, but finds its entry into Christianity through adoption of ideas contained in Greek philosophy. (Philo, mentioned above, and others, notably Tertullian.) The earliest record of Trinitarian terminology is found in the writings of Tertullian (c. 220 A.D.), who also wrote, in his "Against Praxeas," that the majority of Christians rejected his ideas as idolatry, holding instead to "the Monarchy," i.e. the doctrine that there is only One Person who is God, that He is a Spirit, and that He became flesh to be the Saviour. The doctrine of the Trinity was codified by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. to satisfy the demand of Emperor Constantine to reconcile the teachings of Arius and his followers, who denied the Deity of Christ, with the rest of Christianity which held firmly to the exclusive Deity of Jesus Christ. The resulting compromise satisfied neither camp, but became the single issue which determined "orthodoxy" under the rule of Rome.

It is not simple to determine the understanding of "early Trinitarians." First, it is difficult to determine just when there were "early Trinitarians." We can determine when "modern" Trinitarianism came into being, but the designation "early" makes it subject to varying interpretations. (This problem is explained in more detail in problem three, following). Second, it is difficult to determine what anyone in the past understood about anything! We can only look closely at the words they employed to write their doctrines, and try to determine what those words must have meant to them. We can do this linguistic work with the help of the scholars. But that brings us to the third problem: It is in the nature of believers to be anachronistic in their historical research, that is, people tend to read back into history their present day understanding, and attribute it to those they are looking back at, and interpreting their words accordingly. (This simply demonstrates that the Bondage of Belief is the strongest bondage known to men. It is possible to believe a lie, but you cannot know a lie. Only truth can be known. And it is only by knowing the truth that we can be freed from the Bondage of Belief.) So, a Trinitarian will see in the historical accounts evidence of his own belief, and so will the Oneness believer. Intellectual honesty is more rare among theologians than it should be! However, it is not impossible to be intellectually honest, and to avoid anachronistic errors. Fourth, there is the problem of the nature of historical evidence. All histories either have developed, or will develop, through a three-fold process:
  1. they begin as the biased account of the winner of a conflict;
  2. they undergo revisionist alterations when that winner no longer dominates the process;
  3. finally historians far removed from the time and events sort through the tainted records trying to determine what really happened.
Since history is generally written by the "winners," they often do not preserve any original records of the thinking of the "losers," except as "adversarial testimony." In other words, all we know about many of the theologies now considered to be heretical comes from the negative comments written about them by those whose doctrine came to dominate as orthodoxy. That makes it difficult to determine what the heretics really believed. Nevertheless, adversarial testimony can sometimes do more to discredit the orthodoxy than it does the heresy. Again, intellectual honesty is required to come to any sound conclusions. Only the intellectually honest theological historian can render an honest judgment about another's conclusions, but he will be roundly condemned if his judgment does not confirm the beliefs of the others!

Tertullian (c. 180-220 AD) wrote that most believers rejected his concept of a "trinity" because they believed that there was no division in the Godhead, nor any plurality of persons. This would indicate that his own concept is very close to that held by most official Trinitarian doctrine today. It is, however, very important to note that Tertullian's ideas were rejected as being idolatrous by the large majority of Christians of his day. His "heresy" was not official doctrine until the codification of certain terminology at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, followed by "refinements" and additions in later councils, particularly Chalcedon in 451 AD. But, it can be argued, with significant support from the historical records, that not even the bishops who formulated the doctrine at Nicea would have considered Tertullian's concept orthodox. There was discussion and disagreement about terminology among them, but they were faced with an impossible task, i.e. to reconcile the Arian doctrine with that of the rest of Christianity. Their intent was to officially establish the Deity of Christ as orthodoxy, while answering the arguments of Arius against Christ being God.

One of the primary words chosen by the council was the Latin word "persono," the word translated into the English, "person." However, the Latin word persono was a theatrical term, meaning "mask," and derived from the verb meaning "to speak through." Roman drama was performed by one actor, regardless of how many characters were in the story. The one actor would play all the parts. He would signify which part he was playing by holding up a "persono," or mask which represented that particular character, and "speaking through" that mask the character's lines. Then he would hold up the persono of the next character, and speak through it the next character's lines. And so on. This makes it apparent that the word "person" was not intended to mean "individual center of consciousness" as it is commonly understood today. Thus, it appears that Tertullian's concept of a plurality of individuals in the Godhead was not the intent of the language drafted at Nicea. It wasn't until later councils incorporated other philosophical concepts, such as Philo's "logos" musings, that "persono" was morphed into meaning "individual" in the manner of modern Trinitarian doctrine.

Many Trinitarian historians have acknowledged this. There are other words in the original Nicean Creed which opened a door to theological difficulties. And the various camps of bishops there had several points of contention about such terms. It happens that those of the bishops who would now be considered to have been Modalistic Monarchians (very close to modern Oneness theology), and who were the largest minority among the bishops at Nicea, left without consenting to the creed because of the possible misunderstandings allowed by some of the terminology.

All this indicates that "early Trinitarians" (assuming agreement with the modern definition) were originally a small and unorthodox (heretical) minority until after the Council of Nicea in 325 AD adopted the terminology which would give rise to definitions accepted today. But, if we are to label all who could accept the original meaning of "persono" as "early Trinitarians," then it is manifest that their doctrine has little in common with modern Trinitarianism. They were much closer to the Oneness view than to the Trinitarian. This is made even more manifest when one discovers that the original Nicean deliberations almost totally excluded mention of the Holy Spirit. The "Third Person" was written into the "Nicean Creed" by later councils.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been changed several times through the centuries since it was first codified by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Because of its mystical and contradictory terminology it has been given various definitions by various groups based on subjective objections raised by their leadership.

The doctrine of the Trinity was never a part of the thinking of any of the OT writers, at least as far as can be determined from the many documents recording their words. No significant tenet of the doctrine exists in their prophecies. Rather they are adamant in their insistence on the exclusive, indivisible, and absolute deity of Yahweh.

The NT writers promoted the idea that God is One, a Spirit, and He became flesh by means of the incarnation and virgin birth. Historians of both the Church and Christian doctrine acknowledge this fact. To the NT writers, Jesus Christ is the Almighty God manifest in flesh, not one of three persons in the Godhead.

Proponents of the doctrine of the Trinity, forced by the historical record to acknowledge these facts, strive to circumvent them through theological innovations, most drawn from philosophical musings:
  1. The "primitive church" (led by the Apostles, whose understanding the Lord had opened, and who were to teach everyone else...see Luke 24:45, Matthew 28:20, etc.) was ignorant of the truth, God having chosen to reveal it progressively to succeeding generations. Today, they say, we understand the most important doctrines far better than they did.
  2. The doctrine of the Trinity exists as a divine mystery, which can neither be understood or explained by rationality, and must be accepted by "faith." It is something which can only be believed, but not known.
  3. The contradictions contained within the terminology of the doctrine of the Trinity are necessary to avoid certain heresies condemned throughout Christina history. The doctrine offers no explanation of how the contradictions actually are not contradictory other than that they are part of the "divine mystery." 
My conclusion is that the doctrine of the Trinity was not part of the understanding of the Apostles, and when its terminology was first formulated, it was not intended to convey the concepts of Tertullian, which are the foundation of the "official" doctrine of the Trinity. I do not think there is any significant difference between Trinitarian doctrines then and now, but I also do not believe that the theologians of those days should be considered Trinitarians, either.

Interestingly enough, the adoption of the Doctrine of the Trinity marks an tremendous change in Christian history. Prior to 325 A.D. Christians were persecuted by pagans, and others who rejected the exclusive Deity of Jesus Christ as God manifest in flesh. Within fifty years of the adoption of the doctrine of the Trinity, Trinitarian Christians were persecuting anyone who would not accept the doctrine of the Trinity. It seems to me like something went wrong.

I think there are better, and more scriptural ways to define the Godhead than the doctrine of the Trinity. The following statements express a more scriptural confession of the doctrine of the Person, Identity, and Name of God:
  1. God is One. Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; et al.
  2. God is a Spirit. John 4:24; Ephesians 4:4; et al.
  3. God (who is a Spirit) became a Man. Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 12:2; Psalm 118:14 - 21; John 1:1, 14; 2 Corinthians 3:17; et al.
  4. The Man God became is identified by the Name “Jesus,” with various other titles added: “The Lord Jesus,” “Jesus Christ,” “The Lord Jesus Christ,” “Jesus of Nazareth,” etc. Luke 1:31; Matthew 1:21; Acts 8:16; 10:36; 11:17; 22:8; et al.
  5. The Man God became was fully God in the Absolute sense through “the mystery of godliness,” which is the Incarnation. Thus, the Man God became is “God with us,” “the Mighty God,” “the Everlasting Father,” and “the Almighty.” 1 Timothy 3:16; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Revelation 1:8; etc.
  6. The Man God became was also fully Human in the Ultimate sense through the seed of the virgin woman of the lineage of Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David, yet totally without any sin nature because He was also God Incarnate. Genesis 3:15; Genesis 49:10; 1 Kings 8:26 - 27; Acts 2:30; Romans 9:5; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 4:15; etc.
  7. As a Man, He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man; learned obedience, suffered, died by crucifixion, was buried and rose again the third day. Luke 2:52; Hebrews 5:8 - 9; 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 4; et al.
  8. As a Man, the scriptures use the following titles to designate His Deity (Godhead) and Humanity:
    1. “The Son of God,” 1 John 4:15; 1 John 5:20; et al.
    2. “The Son of Man,” Matthew 12:8; John 5:27; et al. 
The One True and Almighty God became a Man called The Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is both the One and Only Lord God Almighty and the Human Messiah, called “the Son,” who gave His life to redeem us. Elohim (God) hath made that same Yeshua’ (Jesus) whom ye crucified both Yahweh (Lord) and Messiah (Christ). The Lord Jesus Christ is not part God and part Man. He is not part of God. He is fully, completely, and exclusively God in the Absolute sense, and also fully, completely, and absolutely Human in the Ultimate sense. In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He is not a “second person” in the Godhead. There is no other God or “Divine Person” than He. Beside Him there is no Saviour. Acts 2:36; Colossians 2:8 - 10; et al.

It is fully as serious an error to detract from or deny His Perfect and Ultimate Humanity as it is to lessen or dilute His Absolute and Exclusive Deity. He is both fully Human and fully God. This is one factor of His Uniqueness and Incomparability. There is none like Him!

© 2000 Clifford H. Readout, Jr.

Click here to check out C.H. Readout at All Experts.com!

The Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem


Quotes from The Restoration of Christianity by Michael Servetus (1511-1553)

"first, he is Jesus Christ; second, he is the son of God; third, he is God." (pg. 5)

"Whatever is beyond flesh and blood is both from and in heaven. Not only was Christ from heaven, but he even brought heaven itself to us..." (pg. 25)

"Every God is a person; no person is a Trinity; therefore no God is a Trinity." (pg. 65)

"Logos properly denotes both an internal faculty and external speech. At any rate, it is a true representation..." (pg. 69)

"just as man himself already was at one time glorious in God, as in John 17. Everything which God previously performed by his Word or His own voice, Christ now performs as the flesh, and to him...he announced the mind of the Father and makes Him recognizable...the person of Elohim, that creates everything, existed in the flesh, and the very face of Christ is the face of God that was once visible to all." (pg. 73)

"In Christ there is not some portion of God, but the whole totality of God, the whole fulfillment of the Word and the spirit" (pg. 105)

"God has revealed Himself to us, making Himself outwardly visible through the Word, yet internally perceptible through the spirit. Though He remains a great mystery in either case, He is yet such that humanity may see God Himself and possess Him. God was previously not visible, but now we shall see Him with His face unveiled, and, so long as we open the gate and step upon the road, we shall gaze upon Him as He shines in ourselves. It is time that we open that gate and this path of light . . ." (Preamble).

"For the heavenly Word made flesh on earth expressed the substance of flesh so that the flesh itself is said to be from heaven: because that flesh in itself actually has the divine substance from heaven" (pg. 104).

"Jesus Christ is one man who holds within himself a divine and human nature. By bringing them together in one body and in one new man he holds both within himself...the word had never before experienced a man of such a nature." (pg. 381)

"Thus, God came together with human nature to raise it up by fathering for Himself a son as a human being." (Pg. 382)

"God's presence not only does not change appearance, but, furthermore neither does it break up the unity within an individual. In fact, divinity itself makes a unity for every manifestation and individuation." (pg. 384)

"no doubt that in Christ's flesh the mystery is great..." (pg. 386)

"The true Messiah, Jesus, who was crucified, shared in the nature of God and man such that he could not be called a creature, but rather on that partakes of creatures." (pg. 387)

"from God's perspective there is nothing awaiting existence..." (pg. 403)

"Although you can give a special name that only suits God, the Father, such as calling Him "ungenerated" and "Christ's father," nevertheless, another name, which would reflect His glory or power with respect to us, suits the son just as the Father. In fact, it is bestowed upon the father through the son. Their name is necessarily one just as they are one. He is truly God, the omnipotent Creator, and he is truly Jehovah." (pg. 404)

All quotes taken from The Restoration of Christianity (An English Translation of Chistianismi Restitutio, 1553) by Michael Servetus. Translated by Hoffman and Hillar. The Edwin Mellen Press

Key Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament

Χριστός - Μεσσίας

Gleason L. Archer listed these texts as key for understanding the Messianic prophecies:

Genesis 3:15 Messiah to reconcile men to God; fully human, born of a woman, He will utterly defeat Satan
22:18 He will be of the family of Abraham
49:10 He will be of the kingly tribe of Judah

Deuteronomy 18:15 He will be a prophet who, like Moses, revealed the word of God

Psalms 2:1–2 He will be tried by Gentile rulers and condemned by His own Jewish people
16:10 Through resurrection, by the Father, Jesus’ body will not see corruption
22:1 He will experience the rejection of the Father at His death
22:6–7 He will be mocked at His crucifixion
22:22 Christ will glorify God in His church after His resurrection
40:6–8 Christ delighted in all the Father’s will
69:7–12 Christ would be rejected by men
69:21 Christ would drink gall at His crucifixion
89:4 Christ will be the eternal seed of David
89:26–28 Christ will be God’s eternal son, His unique first born
110:1 He will ascend to the right hand of the Father, and be coronated
110:4 His priesthood will be eternal, after the manner of Melchizedek
132:11 He will be the lineage of David

Isaiah 7:14 Christ will have a virgin birth; He will be called Immanuel
7:15–16 He will grow up in a land dominated by a foreign power
9:1–2 He will minister in Galilee
9:7 He will be of the line of David, but His kingship will be eternal and He will be the Son of God
11:2 He will be anointed with the Holy Spirit
11:4 He will minister perfect justice regerding the poor and the meek
24:16 Christ will offer salvation to the entire world
40:3 He will have a forerunner
42:1 Christ will be the great anointed Servant of Yahweh
42:2 His ministry will be gentle
42:6 Christ will be the fulfillment of God’s covenant
49:6 Christ will be a  light to the Gentiles
52:14 He would be disfigured by the abuses He suffered prior to crucifixion
53:4 Christ will bear all our diseases
53:5 He will provide atonement for sin
53:9 He will be buried in a rich man’s tomb
53:10 The Father will prolong Christ’s days by resurrecting Him from the dead

Daniel 9:24 His public ministry to begin in A.D. 26, which would be 483 years after the decree to Ezra to rebuild Jerusalem; 3 1/2 years later (in the middle of the seven year “week”) the Messiah would be crucified while atoning for sin as the “Most Holy” One

Micah 5:2 Jesus would be born in Bethlehem

Zechariah 9:9 He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt
11:12 Christ would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
12:10 He would be pierced for our transgressions (Isa. 53:5)*

*Excerpted from Archer, G. L. (1998). A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed.].) (385). Chicago: Moody Press. Emphasis mine.


Does Church History Hurt Oneness Apostolics? by Bobby Killmon, M.Div.

This is a tired argument leveled against us that is very quickly losing sway. Some have argued that if Jesus said, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church..." then why is it that there seems to be an inconsistency with that truth and finding Oneness believers throughout Church history. So the question becomes, does Church history hurt us as Apostolics and Oneness people?

A more detailed look at this argument, and those purporting it, shows us not only does the theological bias of many Trinitarians cause them to misread Scripture it also causes them to misread history as well. There are a myriad of scholars and historians who are becoming more honest in their evaluation of the facts of history. The notion that the Trinity was uniformly endorsed from the early times or even after is not tenable in most circles of theology today. (1)

Further, writers of antiquity even acknowledge that their particular beliefs were not indicative of the majority of believers at that time showing, that even as doctrines around issues in the godhead and doctrine of salvation faced innovations and corruption, there were still a majority of believers holding other views. For instance, Tertullian says in his work "Against Praxeus" that most people of his day would reject his views. He said the "majority of the faithful" whom he dismissed by terming "simple people" were adverse to believing his doctrines. This shows he was not in the majority in the late second and third centuries.

We also must remember that history is written by the winners. Whenever the Trinitarian position became the popular position in various places and times those leaders often took the opportunity to murder their opponents as well as burn any of their works. You could be killed for having a copy of a "banned book." The fact that any documents at all survived from the lists of banned books shows that people were willing to preserve these works even when it might mean personal peril.

Most suggesting we are hurt by this argument would not stand under the scrutiny of their own polemic. After all most would be products of the Reformation and believe in Sola Scriptura which says Scripture alone is the standard of doctirne. After all, if we wanted to go by numbers alone we would need to be Catholic or perhaps, even more pointed, Muslim. The point is no matter how many deviate from the truth, the Word is our standard. So , most proponents against us would fall prey to the very sword they level at Apostolics.

(1) See Oscar Cullman's The Christology of the NT, James D. G. Dunn's Christology in the Making, Hendrikus Berkhof's Christian Faith, Luke Timothy Johnson's The Early Experience of the Divine and a host of others.

Bobby Killmon is the Dean of Biblical Studies at Indiana Bible College (IBC). Killmon has a B.A. in Theology from IBC and an M.Div. from Christian Theological Seminary where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.


The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster

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Charles Foster is a writer, barrister, and tutor in medical law and ethics at the University of Oxford. This book is part of his journey to silence nagging doubts and an examination of one of the greatest claims in history. This is more than a journey though this is an in-depth debate by Foster, as a practicing trial attorney, unyieldingly presenting the case for and against the Resurrection of Jesus. 

John Lennox, professor of Mathematics also at Oxford, has high praise for this work. He says, “By focusing his inimical, lateral thinking, forensic mind, both to the case for and to the case against the resurrection of Jesus, Charles Foster has managed to achieve what should be legally impossible: to combine the roles of defense and prosecution...As one member of that jury, I found Foster's book providing me with yet more evidence in support of my conviction that the central claim of Christianity is true: Jesus rose from the dead."

There are eight chapters: 1) Does all this matter? 2) The sources 3) The death 4) The burial 5) The Empty Tomb 6) The Post-Resurrection Appearances 7) Did the Early Church Believe in the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus? 8) Where Did the Christians Get Their Idea of Resurrection? There is an epilogue, 4 appendices, notes, select bibliography and index. The appendices include statements on The Cause of Death; The Turin Shroud; The Jesus Family Tomb Statistics and The Gospel of Peter. The book also includes 45 illustrations that reflect various evidences referred to throughout the debate, e.g. Shroud of Turin, flagrum, patibulum, or ossuaries. 

In the epilogue we see Foster’s conclusions. His comments on Luke and Paul’s connection to the Resurrection are salient: 
"First Corinthians 15 is important for these purposes because it’s early…so too are the accounts…in Acts. Luke, who wrote Acts, was Paul’s companion and very much Paul’s man…if the early chapters of Acts indicate a belief in the physical resurrection Luke must have thought that belief was shared by Paul too. Read First Corinthians 15 through the lens of Acts, and you’ll see it properly. And what you’ll see is a clear and very early belief that the body of Jesus had vanished from the tomb and then, three days later, appeared again in a form that was in fact rather more than physical.” 
The format of the book is unique. Foster records this debate by using two characters: X and Y. X presents the non-Christian view while Y follows in the discussion presenting the Christian view. Using this format it is easy to compare the arguments for X and Y. For the sake of this review I would like to focus on the chapters 6, 7 and 8. They cover the Post-Resurrections Appearances, Did the Early Church Believe in the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus? and Where Did the Christians Get Their Idea of Resurrection?

The Jesus Inquest by Charles Foster : The paperback copy I received was provided to me at no charge by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Invoking Philosophy to Prove the Trinity to Deny Philosophy?

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3) In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: (1 John 5:7. Matt 3:16–17, Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14) the Father is of none, neither begotten, not proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; (John 1:14, 18) the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. (John 15:26, Gal. 4:6) (1)
This is how the The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCOF), in chapter two, marks off the persons of the Trinity. Notice the statements closely above. Furthermore, in their classical commentary on the WCOF, the Hodge scholars, note this of section three:
All the names and titles of God are constantly applied to Christ, and to none others except to the Father and the Spirit: as Jehovah (Jer. 23:6); mighty God, everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6); God (John 1:1; Heb. 1:8); God over all (Rom. 9:5); the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20); the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty (Rev. 1:8). (2)
Trinitarians often bifurcate the person of Christ. This is routine for Trinitarians to mine the Gospel narratives (See Bowman and Sabin debate), especially the Gospel of John, for passages that seems to suggest a pre-existent second person is speaking of Christ, who is also using the emphatic "I", can also be divided from His humanity in those instances. This is not allowing all of Scripture to speak but that which they will cherry pick in order to split Christ into two Sons. One human who can and does die and another exclusively divine one who cannot die. This does not satisfy the totality of Scripture rather it also bifurcates the Old Testament from the New Testament.

Because of the assumption of eternally begotten, which are mutually exclusive terms, they have immediately assumed God is eternally a Father person, a Son person and consequently a Holy Spirit person. Besides the Biblical record that the Son was begotten in time (Hebrews 1:5, Luke 1:35) they continue to explain this by the invocation of a mystery or attempting to sideline the issue as if it has no true bearing on their assumed doctrine of Pre-existence. Shelf it for another day? As if it hasn't been shelved since AD 451.
In a review of Peter Toon’s Our Triune God evangelical scholar Max Davidson in the Evangelical Review of Theology:
"Of particular concern is the frequent reference to the Son as eternally begotten by the Father, but without any demonstration that this follows from Scripture, or any explanation of just what this concept might actually mean. Toon appears to accept, with most modern scholarship and Bible translations that monogenes in Jn. 1:14, 18; 3:16 means unique, for he writes, ‘Jesus is the only Son; he is one of a kind’ (p. 162). But in keeping with the church fathers, he frequently speaks of the Son as ‘begotten of the Father before all ages’ (p. 240). He accepts, without demonstration, the fourth century Cappadocian distinctions between Father, Son and Spirit as being based in ingenerateness, generateness and procession. Much more penetrating exegesis is called for in this matter. Certainly ‘Son’ can be adequately interpreted in terms of relationships, rather than origin. Toon’s position implies a kind of eternal subordination. He writes that ‘the Father is first and the Son is included in the Father, for he is begotten of the Father before all ages’ (p. 240). In fact, it seems that Toon’s self-confessed allegiance to the early creeds, rather than an openness to the biblical text itself, underpins his trinitarian exegesis.” (3)
The idea of the Son being eternally begotten does not come from Scripture, but the 5th century Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). Notice the comments of another Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul:
“Numerous heresies arose in the early church to challenge the deity of Jesus Christ. In responding to these attacks from within, church leaders eventually explained the second Person of the Trinity in this manner: The Son is eternally begotten by the Father. He is equal to the Father, but he is called a Son, and the Bible speaks of his being begotten. God exists in eternity, so there was never a time when the Son did not exist. Begetting is not an event in time; it simply describes the relationship between Father and Son. The Son is eternally mature and equal to the Father and also eternally begotten by the Father. This is a mystery because we cannot imagine a timeless state.” (4)
Although the Council proclaimed that “begetting is not an event in time,” the Bible deliberately describes it as a temporal event. Any creed or council suggesting otherwise should not be seen as a terminal stopping point. Hebrews 1:5 certainly applies time words to the begetting of Jesus. These are words that only make sense in a temporal state:
"For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’?” (ESV)
Essentially they invoke a philosophical conclusion and then avoid explaining how that is so at all cost. In fact, every example or analogy of the Trinity will fail as has been repeatedly demonstrated (e.g. three headed dog Cerberus used by William Craig and J.P. Moreland). Simply saying these properties distinguishes the persons is to assume what has not been proven.

The Oneness Pentecostal Confession (2002-2007) in section 42 states:
42) We regard the terms “Father” and “Son” in the New Testament as serving to emphasize the true humanity of Jesus, not to make distinctions within God’s being. The title of Father reminds us of God’s transcendence, while the title of Son focuses on the incarnation. Any attempt to identify two divine persons tends toward ditheism or subordinationism. Moreover, in our view, defining the Son as a second divine person results in two Sons—an eternal, divine Son who could not die and a temporal, human Son who did die. (5)
Trinitarians are routinely guilty speaking of God as having separate persons or separate personal beings. In countless debates with Church of Christ, Wesleyan and Reformed Trinitarians such references as "separate persons"; "separate beings"; "personal beings" are used to describe some part of the Trinity. In David Bernard's debates with Gene Cook and Eugene Carpenter both of these Trinitarians said as much. The conceptualization of the Trinity tends toward tritheism and not monotheism. As a result Trinitarians cannot remove the implications of believing in multiple "persons" while at the same time trying to speak of the One true God.

Consider this example. In his September 7, 2010 podcast James White, a Trinitarian apologist, not only sees distinct divine persons but also separate and not together persons. At 13:48 into the podcast White says that Oneness Pentecostals have the presupposition:
“that if Jesus is in anyway shape or form connected with the father that they are somehow together.”
Here we see the typical Trinitiarian faux pas as they attempt to define the Son, who is YHWH, apart from the Father who is also YHWH. They obviously have more than one YHWH in mind because their language betray's them. This is nothing new as it was the early Trinitarians apologists such as Tertullian and Hippolytus that helped to move Christian thought away from the actual Biblical God who came in flesh while also being in gross error. A God who suffered, was crucified, bled and died was no longer tenable to Greek sensibilities. In this way Unitarianism and Trinitarianism have joined roots. The Westminster Press in 1949 printed The Christian Doctrine of God by Emil Brunner. Notice his remarks about the Trinity:
“The doctrine of the Trinity itself, however, is not a biblical doctrine and this indeed not by accident but of necessity. It is the product of theological reflection upon the problem...the ecclesiastical doctrine of the Trinity is not only the product of genuine biblical thought, it is also the product of philosophical speculation...” (6)
In the 1970's Geoffrey W.H. Lampe gave his Bampton Lectures which were later turned into a book entitled: God as Spirit. Here he shows the complete inadequacy of the Trinity and its unique ideal of pre-existence while maintaining the deity of Christ. In the Oxford Dictionary Christian Church it’s noted that Lampe, has “sought to maintain the Divinity of Christ while regarding Trinitarian doctrine as basically outdated.”(7) Trinitarians often suggest you cannot affirm the deity of Christ apart from believing in multiple person who are God. There is no logical correlation.

There is no need of the Trinity to guard monotheism. In this it has failed Jesus and it has failed his followers. There is no need of the Trinity to guard the deity of Christ. It actually misunderstands and abandons Him in his very person. There is no Trinity in the Scriptures so it has nothing to defend, it does not exist.

Adversus Trinitas,



1. The Westminster confession of faith. 1996. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
2. Hodge, A., Hodge, C., & Hodge, A. (1996). The confession of faith : With questions for theological students and Bible classes (electronic ed. based on the 1992 Banner of Truth reprint.) (56). Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation.
3. Max Davidson, “Review of Our Triune God by Peter Toon” in Evangelical Review of Theology: (1997) Volume 21, page 286.
4. R.C.Sproul, Before the Face of God: Book Four: A Daily Guide for Living from Ephesians, Hebrews, and James.  Page 140
5. Oneness-Trinitarian Pentecostal Final Report, 2002-2007 Presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies
6. Brunner, Emil. The Christian Doctrine of God. Copyright © 1949. Philadelphia : Westminister Press.
7. Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.) (1653). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.


Defenders of the Faith - Houston, TX

Jeffrey Brickle, Professor at UGST : Monograph on Gospel of John

Jeffrey Brickle, Ph.D, is part of the faculty at Urshan Graduate School of Theology as Associate Professor of Biblical Studies. Brickle was honored to have his essay included in this landmark work. Brickle has concentrated his studies on the oral and aural nature of the Writings of John. This work also includes scholars such as James D.G. Dunn. It is a T&T Clark publication. You can preview here. Below is the table of contents. 

Part I: John and Oral Culture 

Introducing Media Culture to Johannine Studies: Orality, Performance, and Memory, Anthony Le Donne and Tom Thatcher
Seeing, Hearing, Declaring, Writing: Media Dynamics in the Letters of John, Jeffrey E. Brickle
The Riddle of the Baptist and the Genesis of the Prologue: John 1:1-18 in Oral/Aural Media Culture,Tom Thatcher
A Performance of the Text: The Adulteress' Entrance into John's Gospel, Chris Keith

Part II: John as Oral Performance 

John's Memory Theater: A Study of Composition in Performance, Tom Thatcher
The Medium and Message of John: Audience Address and Audience Identity in the Fourth Gospel, Thomas E. Boomershine
Jesus Retold as the World's Light in Johannine Oral Prophecy, Antoinette Wire

Part III: John in the Medium of Memory 

Scripture Talks because Jesus Talks: The Narrative Rhetoric of Persuading and Creativity in John's Use of Scripture, Michael Labahn
John's Gospel and the Oral Gospel Tradition, James D.G. Dunn
Memory, Commemoration and History in John 2:19-22: A Critique and Application of Social Memory, Anthony Le Donne
Abraham as a Figure of Memory in John 8:31-59, Catrin H. Williams

Part IV: Reflections and Directions 

What Difference Does the Medium Make? Barry Schwartz 
Introducing Media Culture to Johannine Studies, Gail R. O'Day

Jeffrey L. Brickle, Ph.D
Here is a link to Brickle's other works and information.


Burgos and Anderson Debate mp3

"The Son personally preexisted the incarnation with the Father." 

Michael Burgos and James Anderson

Part Two: Cross Exam.


Debate : "The Son personally preexisted the incarnation with the Father." Burgos and Anderson

I will have the privilege of debating with Michael Burgos from Onenesspentecostal.net. Burgos is a Reformed Trinitarian and is equally adamant about his faith. This should be a good debate and discussion. The debate will be on Theopologetics next Tuesday, April 5th, at 8:00 pm. It will be live and recorded to mp3. I am very thankful for Chris Dates for hosting this debate. 

After reading some of Burgos' material and having heard a previous interview on Theopologetics I sent him an email asking him if he was willing to do a debate on the Trinity and Oneness theologies on Chris' podcast. Previously, Burgos had challenged me to a public debate. We were going to do a debate in public some time this year but we  have agreed to this venue instead for now. Burgos has spent alot of time and effort concentrating on Oneness Pentecostal beliefs. I pray that we will both learn something from this discussion.

I ask you to keep me in prayer as I pray and prepare. I hope to make the mp3 available on the blog and the audio page at Evidentialfaith.com. Chris Date will also be posting the mp3 at the below link.

Burgos affirms and Anderson deny : "The Son personally preexisted the incarnation with the Father."


1 hour and 15 minutes

1.  5-minute introductions and prayer by the moderator

2. 20-minute opening affirmative from Mike

3. 20-minute opening negative from James

4. 15-minute rebuttal from Mike

5. 15-minute rebuttal from James

 (50 minutes)

1. 5-minute negative cross examination (James asks Mike Q’s)

2. 5-minute affirmative cross examination (Mike asks James Q’s)

3. 5-minute negative cross examination #2

4. 5-minute affirmative cross examination #2

5. 10-minute questions from me/my listeners (alternating between James and Mike)

6. 10-minute closing negative from James

7. 10-minute closing affirmative from Mike

Adversus Trinitas

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