Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - The Deity of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels

"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - Introducing a New Series
"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - Introduction
"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - The Deity of Jesus Today
"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - The Deity of Jesus in the OT
"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - The Deity of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels


Liberals will often assert that Jesus never claimed to be God. Perhaps their most used "evidence" regards the witness of the Synoptic Gospels. In Matthew Mark, and Luke, they claim, Jesus never claimed to be God nor did the writers portray him as God. It is only until the much later Gospel of John do we see Jesus as being lifted up as divine.

Is this true? The answer is simple; no.*

In their book The Deity of Christ, editors Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson enlist Dr. Stephen Wellum from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to prove from the Synoptics that Jesus was understood to be and claimed to be divine. There is no one more qualified for the task than he.

Wellum does more than I expected. Typically such theological discussions are offered in a simple format. A number of key passages and verses are presented proving Jesus' deity and then a general conclusion is made. Instead, Wellum draws our attention to the real purpose and meaning of both Scripture and the Synoptic texts in a way that proves emphatically that the earliest Gospels portray Jesus as divine and expect their readers to embrace him as such.

To do so, Wellum puts the Gospel narratives in their broader biblical context. He spends considerable time looking at the hope of the Old Testament showing that the prophecies anticipated a man (to save man) and God himself (for man cannot save himself as Adam, David, Abraham, and the rest proved) to save man. Jesus embodies this hope as the theanthropic one.

He then looks at both implicit and explicit Christological claims of deity. Implicit claims to deity including his fulfillment of the Old Testament, his baptism, and the connection between his teaching/miracles with the inauguration of the Kingdom of God.

Explicit claims of deity in the Synoptics as outlined by Wellum first begins with Jesus' use of abba. Wellum writes:
As Joachim Jeremias has shown in his study of the contemporary Jewish literature, "there is no analogy at all in the whole of Jewish prayer for God begin addressed as Abba." the reason for this reticence was due to the fear that one needed to give proper deference to God's holiness and majesty." (77-78) 
Yet Jesus uses it frequently when speaking to the Father. Wellum goes on to point out "how Jesus distinguishes his use of Abba from that of his disciples, and how Jesus does not associate with the disciples when he teaches them to pray, "Our Father" (Matt. 6:9; John 20:17). (78) Here we see Jesus explicitly identifying himself as divine with a unique relationship with the Father.

Another explicit claim of deity worth highlighting regards his "I have come to" statements. Most notable here regard the exorcisms where the demons ask if Jesus had come to destroy them (Mark 1:24). He writes:
Jesus is portrayed in exalted terms on both occasions and his heavenly origin is evident when he is identified as the "Holy One of god" and the "Son of God." Jesus' coming in order to destroy the demons is presented as a visit from the heavenly realm, and, as such, it presupposes not only his preexistence but also that he transcends the human realm and is identified with God. (86)
Two other explicit statements worth highlighting briefly (as Wellum does) is his claim to forgive sins in Mark 2 and his use of "I AM."

In the end, Wellum shows that any fair reading of the Synoptics and their place in the broader biblical metanarrative show that Jesus identified himself as divine and the earliest Gospel writers understood the same.


* I have written an article on this subject previously. You can read it here.


For more:
"The Man Christ Jesus" by Bruce Ware: A Review
David's Lord: Jesus on the Hyopstatic Union
12 Proofs of Jesus' Deity From the Synoptic Gospels
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 5
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 9
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Christology 10

All Around the Web - September 1, 2015


Samuel James - Looking for Abortion Truth in Big Media

The Gospel Coalition - This Story Isn’t About Marriage

Eric Metaxas - From Suicide to Euthanasia

Thom Rainer - Seven Internal Barriers to Growth in a Church

Huffington Post - 15 Religion Treasures at Yale


Monday, August 31, 2015

"What is Christianity" Article

In Sunday's State Journal, the following opinion piece of mine was published. You can access it online here but subscription is required.


She was a young student sitting at my kitchen table crying uncontrollably. The tears increased as she sobbed her way through her life story of victimhood from men who claimed to love her. She could no longer pretend everything was OK.

Days later I rushed to comfort parents who had just lost their child. There is nothing more tragic in this world than that.

What do you say in moments like these?

I am a pastor and find myself in similar situations frequently always asking the same question. The answer continues to be: nothing brings greater hope and comfort than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But what is the gospel of Christianity? In the midst of endless culture wars many have opinions but few have the truth. I would like to briefly explain what Christianity is here.

Christianity is not primarily a political ideology, an ethical philosophy, or legalistic ritualism. Christianity, in its essence, is a message of freedom and hope rooted in the person and work of Jesus who, through the cross and empty tomb, liberates us from what enslaves us – fear, guilt, and sin – which begins in this life only to conclude in the next.

The promise of heaven, therefore, becomes a reality for us now. This means our joy is not based on our circumstances but on the victory of our Savior. We have found peace, love, and contentment because Christ is our everything. Regardless of life’s troubles the gospel remains good news. Whether we are at rock bottom, haunted by our past, or burdened with guilt too great to carry, Jesus is our freedom and hope. This personal transformation is the key to bringing communal change. Given the free gift of God’s love, I am now free to love others.

Jesus, then, is joy to the hopeless, love to the forgotten, and grace to the guilty. This is Christianity.

All Around the Web - August 31, 2015

Albert Mohler - Ashley Madison and the Death of Monogamy

 
Joe Carter - When Did the Decline of Marriage Begin in America?

RNS - Southern Baptist mission board to cut as many as 800 positions

Owen Strachan - The Depressing and Weirdly Encouraging Data on Ashley Madison Users

Gizmodo - Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site


Friday, August 28, 2015

All Around the Web - August 28, 2015

Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About Margaret Sanger

Russell Moore - Human Dignity in a World of Abortion Clinics

Ligonier - Convictions and Cultural Change: A Google Hangout with John MacArthur

Andy Naselli - “Here I Stand”: Elsa (from Frozen’s “Let It Go”) vs. Luther (at the Diet of Worms)

Popular Mechanics - Making Ocean Water Drinkable Is Much Harder Than You Think


"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - Complete Series

I have said before that not all books are created the same. Some are barely worth cracking the spine while others are simply a regurgitation of old arguments. Certain books, however, deserve to be devoured slowly. It has been my attempt the past few years on this website to explore such books.

Recently I concluded blogging through the book Collected Writings on Scripture (Crossway, 2010). Shortly after beginning the book, it became clear that the author, Dr. D. A. Carson, has penned a book worth further exploration.

Since we have completed our series, below you will find the links to each article exploring the book. I highly recommend you pick up a copy for yourself.
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - Introduction 
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - The Canonization of Scripture
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - The New Hermeneutics
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - Faith and Practice
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - Walter Bauer Thesis
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - Progressive Revelation
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - On Redaction Criticism
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - Final Word on Redaction Criticism
"Collected Writings on Scripture": Blogging Through Carson - On Perspicuity


Here are the other books we have explored.