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Archive for the ‘Apologetics/Worldview’ Category

I referred to a question a few days ago that Mark Driscoll asked in his book, Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions, ultimately everybody answers the question of who Jesus is and responds in kind.

There is so much conjecture and opinion.  SocietyVS – a regular visitor to this blog said:

I see Jesus as the Christ – Messiah – at the right hand of God in His court – but not God.

A new friend, Steve, responded:

So what do you do with Isaiah?

He said some interesting things about the Messiah:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

And what do you do with John?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14)

If the Bible is any good at all, the conclusion is inescapable.

What does Jesus have to say about Himself.  A walk through the Gospels we can see that Jesus claims to be God in numerous ways.  Driscoll mentions ten.  I am going to list the first five in this post.

1.  Jesus said He came down from Heaven.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me, (John 6:38, ESV).

If you read John 6:41-66 you will see that this comment got Him into trouble with the Pharisees, and confounded his own disciples.

2.  Jesus said He was more than just a good man.

A lot of people will say that Jesus is a good teacher and that He (they wouldn’t capitalize he) was a good man.  They tried saying this back in His day as well.

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone, (Mark 10:17-18, ESV).

Jesus healed on the Sabbath and that really infuriated the Pharisees.  He also called God his Father and that also put Him on their “bad” list.

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God, (John 5:18, ESV).

3. Jesus said He is the Son of Man.

Jesus uses this title around 80 times in all four Gospels.  This is a title that we see in the book of Daniel.

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed, (Daniel 7:13-14, NIV).

This passage indicates that he isn’t human.  He is given messianic dominion and authority.  This person is worshiped.  David speaks of this person is Psalm 110.

The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Lord sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

4.  Jesus performed miracles.

Driscoll states, “Jesus was a great leader and teacher, but his ministry also included the miraculous – one line of evidence that he was in fact God and more than just another spiritually enlightened person,” (pg. 20).  Jesus says to those challenging Him to view these miracles as evidence.

Do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”  Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands, (John 10:36-39, ESV).

Nearly forty specific miracles are mentioned in the New Testament and nearly a third of the Gospel of Mark deals with His miracles.

5.  Jesus said He is God.

Many cults wrongly deny Jesus’ divinity.  But Scripture clearly illustrate how Jesus said he is God.  His hearers understood his claim.

But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need?  You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death, (Mark 14:61-64, ESV).

Also we see in John 8.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple, (John 8:58-59, ESV).

When Jesus names himself “I am,” he was declaring himself to be the same God who revealed himself by the title “I AM”.  In John 10 we see that the Pharisees wanted to stone him for blasphemy.  Why?  Because they understood Jesus was saying that He was God.

So before we make up our minds and say that Jesus isn’t God we really have to closely examine what He said about Himself.  I hope that you will do just that and check out the next post.

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I know there are people from a variety of backgrounds who read this blog.  I just started reading Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears.  In it Mark, in the opening chapter, asks some great questions that every single person on the globe must answer for themselves.

Who exactly is Jesus?  Is he a good man or God, the half-brother of Lucifer or a prophet, liar or truth-teller, therapist or communist, stand-up comic or just my uber-fly, holy homeboy?

What say you?  Please leave a comment.

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expel-300x250_NowPlaying I just got back from watching Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed produced and hosted by Ben Stein.  I haven’t really read any reviews for the movie before.  I saw a couple of interviews Ben Stein did and then saw the commercials.  Honestly I’ve never gone to watch a documentary in a movie theater before.  I was tempted to wait until it came out on DVD.  I’m glad I didn’t. 

Ben Stein did a remarkable job making a case for the “wall” that has gone up in academia regarding the origins question.  If you are on the “right” side of the wall then you are ok.  If not then you are ostracized, marginalized and sometimes expelled.

It didn’t promote creation.  Stein even interviewed a professor (for the life of me I can’t remember his name – see the movie), who was in favor of the theory of intelligent design, who said he was liberal and not religious at all.  He interviewed a number of the academia who were in favor of intelligent design and what they had to say was compelling.

What intrigued me the most was the interviews he did with well know scientists and professors who hold to the theory of evolution.  The best known for those who don’t follow this debate is Richard Dawkins, author of the God Delusion.  By the way, just a quick digression, one commenter in my last post said there is no such thing as Darwinism – at least three of the ID dissenters interviewed, including Dawkins used the term.

Intelligent Design doesn’t start with the Bible.  It starts with science and then goes where the evidence leads.  Like conclusions about the structure of a cell and DNA – discoveries in microbiology where the evidence points to design not randomness.

The problem is that you can ask those questions, and look at evidence, so long as you do not conclude ID.  Anything by design, excuse me, anything but design by a higher power.  Dawkins is ok with the pursuit of ID, he thinks that design may explain some of the problems within evolution.  He just believes that design is from a more “evolved race” that came and began life here.  I mean anything, but God.  Here is how he feels about God.

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

So in other words, life began because of aliens or perhaps life began on crystals as another scientist suggests.  They don’t have an answer for our origins.  Answers they give are not science they are metaphysical answers.

We need to tear down the wall so a rational, honest discussion/debate can occur.  The freedom of inquiry should not be denied to our scientists.

Update: For a more detailed, and frankly better, review, check out Douglas Groothuis’ (professor at Denver Seminary) review on his blog.  (HT: Matt Proctor)

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I’m looking forward to watching this movie this weekend.  Below is a preview.

Here is an interview that Ben Stein did on the O’Reilly Factor:

This is interesting because not only is this a Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design issue, but really a free speech issue at play as well.  It should be good.  Go see it if you have a chance, especially opening weekend.  If it does well it will open in even more theaters.

Time to stop giving Darwinism a free pass.

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John Piper is dead on and doesn’t pull any punches.  I too hate the prosperity gospel and how it perverts the true gospel.

HT: Brian Eberly

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Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason weighs in.

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An objection that I hear often from those who are outside the faith is “you are being intolerant when you claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God

R.C. Sproul in his book Reasons to Believe said something very insightful.

Moses could meditate on the law; Muhammad could brandish a sword; Buddha could give personal counsel; Confucius could offer wise sayings; but none of these men was qualified to offer an atonement for the sins of the world…. Christ alone is worthy of unlimited devotion and service.

That may not be popular in today’s culture, but truth is not about a popularity contest.  Besides when it comes to the exclusiveness of Christianity (and by the way, Christianity is not the only religion that is exclusive) Jesus himself said He was the only way.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6, ESV).

I guess perhaps Jesus was being intolerant too.

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