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Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2007

Faith Forum: Was Jesus God, the son of God or both?

April 7, 2007

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Jesus eliminated confusion about who he was in his time on Earth

The Rev. Darrel Proffitt, rector, Saint Margaret's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St.:

More than 2,000 years since Jesus walked on earth, he remains a central figure of controversy. Even atheists seem to respect who he was and what he seems to stand for. Often it is said that Jesus was a religious leader, a good teacher, a prophet or a moral and ethical leader.

The problem with these descriptions is that Jesus never claimed them himself. He declared that he was God. It was this declaration that led to his arrest, conviction and execution.

Fortunately Jesus eliminated any confusion about the matter. There are only three options that his claim leaves us with:

¢ He was deluded, or perhaps mentally ill to claim that he was God.

¢ He was one of the biggest con artists of all time, fooling not only those who followed him before his execution, but even fooling the 500 witnesses that saw him after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), the disciples who died a martyr's death proclaiming the resurrection and the billions of people who have followed him throughout the centuries.

¢ He was telling the truth and he is the Son of God.

One event took place after his execution that forever changed the world and substantiated the claims he made about himself. On the third day, he rose again. The tomb was empty. The authorities were concerned that something might happen; that is why they put soldiers to guard his tomb and to make sure he stayed there. Ever since that wonderful day that brings the world ultimate hope, people have tried to keep Jesus in the tomb. But he's not there. He is risen!

- Send e-mail to Darrel Proffitt at darrel_proffitt@sbcglobal.net.

Teachings on Christ reflect authority, certainty of absolute truth

The Rev. Bill Hurlbutt, lead pastor, Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive:

The Bible, and history when studied without bias, clearly teach that Jesus was both God and man. That fact is what makes Christianity unique among other faiths in the world.

The Muslim faith is based on the teachings of Mohammed, Buddhism on those of Buddha, Confucianism on Confucius, Marxism on Marx, and evolution on that of Darwin. Not one of these is based on the unbiased observation of historical data or facts, but solely on the teachings and theories of men. Even those who wish to accept evolution must accept that it is based on theory and not on observable data.

Christianity, however, is founded not on what Jesus taught but on who Jesus is and on what he accomplished. No one has ever spoken and taught like Jesus! But ultimately the value of what he said is dependent upon who he was and what he did, and there is an abundance of historical evidence that authenticates his life, words and work.

This is what gives the teachings of Christ authority and places them alone in the category of absolute truth. The truthfulness of Jesus and his teachings are founded on and in the historical record, a record open to investigation and examination. Some would try to place Christ among the great religious leaders of history, as one among many. But Christ's uniqueness is so great there is none that can compare with him.

The fact is, men reject Jesus Christ, his birth, miracles and resurrection not because of a lack of evidence, but because they have never really researched the evidence with an open mind or they simply do not want to submit to his claims of authority.

- Send e-mail to Bill Hurlbutt at p.b@1inchrist.org.

Comments

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

And Ragingbear gets to climb onto his favorite soapbox to insult Christians.

Ragingbear 7 years, 8 months ago

Once again, we see the so-called loving Christians immediately drop into their favorite hobby of insulting all the other religions.

gogoplata 7 years, 8 months ago

If Jesus rose from the dead, that makes him different. It proves his power is real. If he didn't then Christianity is nothing more than another religion.

prioress 7 years, 8 months ago

The TEACHER was wonderful, powerful and brave. His message resonates throughout the centuries, even though most of us cannot live up to the standards he created. He should not be mocked, and neither should any religion or religious person who has the courage to live by the rules. I see nothing 'wrong' with christianity or its basic tenets. All religions are based on lovely stories and faith, which is, by definition, irrational. Happy easter to all.

Just because politicians had to create a new myth to match the old testament generations after the TEACHER was (probably) killed does not diminish the power of the message or the universal truths we all need to understand to conduct a decent, humane life in our day-to-day dealings with others.

prioress 7 years, 8 months ago

The TEACHER was an Essene who lived generations before the 'jesus' cult began. According the the record, he was strong, loving, radical and was probably killed by the establishment because he threatened their powers. Nothing to be ashamed of, and christianity's message is still powerful no matter the myth or the context. Death and return to life are common in many religions. The Jews most likely picked this up in Egypt during their bondage there. So what? If christians want to live by the golden rule and follow the TEACHER, that's wonderful.

Whether someone 'stole the body' to help with the creation of the new cult/religion (and it was essentially a cult until Constantine told them to quit fighting over doctrine and demanded a concensus on their 'belief') or there was an actual return from the dead is not relevant. How people live their lives each day and how they treat others is what counts.

J Good Good 7 years, 8 months ago

"How people live their lives each day and how they treat others is what counts."

BRILLIANT!

So why can't more Christians look at Pagans, or gays, or Muslims, who are living their lives as good people and treat us with kindess and respect as human beings? As Jesus would, by the way.

Daniel Speicher 7 years, 8 months ago

Now, I'm not saying I would go into the whole "this is what makes Christianity different from other religions" mantra if I had an opportunity to answer this question in a couple of paragraphs. But, I am curious, Raginbear, what Pastor Hurlbutt said that is "stupid" (as you claim him to be.) He didn't maliciously say anything against the other religions. He did, however, point out that Christianity has a fundamental difference in their holy scriptures than the others. They claim that their God came in human flesh, was crucified and raised to life again.

I am not attacking you, Raging. I think a lot of the times you hit the nail on the head pointing out hypocricy and intolerance... But, I am interested, specifically, this time what exactly got your goat.

--Danny Speicher

Michael Capra 7 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Daniel Speicher 7 years, 8 months ago

Agnostick, I would like to try and clarify (or, attempt to clarify without knowing the intentions or logic behind Rev. Hurlbutt's answer) the paragraph in which you are referencing.

I definitely agree with you on a level... When you introduce humanity into the process you introduce the potential for error. Now, as Christians, we believe that because this is God's word and because it is His way of communicating to us, we also believe that He guided the thoughts of, not only the men who wrote it, but also the men who put it together years later. However, as a non-believer, you do not believe that. So, we must look at it from a purely logical standpoint. Even when we take the "divine" aspect out of the writing, the Bible is still substantiated more by other historical documents than any other holy scripture out there. Furthermore, it's oldest manuscripts are more accurate to newer manuscripts than any other historical document out there. (I forget the percentage, but I am fairly sure it is in the high 90's.) And, every time they find an older manuscripts historians and paleontologists stand amazed at the accuracy of the verbal and written "storytelling" throughout the history of these texts.

Now, I know that without knowing Christ on a personal level none of this means a thing to you. And, it really shouldn't. From an outsider's view religion is religion is religion. However, from an insider's view it is far different. And, here's what I will say as someone who believes in the Bible... I could care less about the Christian religion. It can rise and fall and I wouldn't bat an eye. Christianity is a relationship. It isn't a church building with golden altars and stained glass windows... It isn't priests and pastors... It isn't even a community of believers. It is a real, authentic, loving relationship between a God (who wanted the relationship so bad that He did whatever it took to get us back in right relationship with Him) and His creation. Church is important (as it gives a community to those who believe... And, thus gives strength and encouragement as well as discipleship and growth.) But, "church" isn't Christianity. If you want to know what really separates Christianity from other religions, you have to know that relationship I'm talking about. There is nothing I can say to describe it... There is no act I can do to prove it. It is a stumbling block to those who seek a "religion by laws" mentality and foolishness to those who seek logic (1 Corinthians 1:23), but it is the salvation to those who seek a reason for living higher than man's laws and answers deeper than that which logic can give (1 Corinthians 1:25).

((cont'd. below))

Daniel Speicher 7 years, 8 months ago

((cont'd. from above))

And, as far as other religions' teachings. I like most of them. I think Buddhism and parts of Hinduism and Islam have some amazing points to live by. I would also say that when it comes to the teaching of how to live "day by day" that most religions agree and it almost always boils down to two laws (which, in the Bible, are the two greatest commandments): #1. Love your God... Do that which is righteous in God's eyes; and #2. Love others... Do that which is ultimately kind and loving to others who inhabit the earth with you. The difference always comes down to the eternal (not the "day by day" here and now.) And, that is where people must decide: Which faith, if any, is correct? And then cling wholeheartedly to the truth that they find. Because, if any of these faiths are correct, there is no higher calling than to serve that respective god.

--Danny Speicher

paladin 7 years, 8 months ago

I think Agno has nailed it. Oh, sorry. A divinely inspired manifestation of God, among others. But, a man, nonetheless, wise beyond his years, who proclaimed a message of peace and love and hope and was a wonderful model to emulate, a spiritual guide and healer. He gave us many fine lessons and ideals to strive to live up to. He was killed by his contemporaries. That, too, is a lesson. If we would just try to be more Christ-like, our world would be a much better, happier, more peaceful place.

Newell_Post 7 years, 8 months ago

What abut the Adoptionists? They were an early Christian group that believed Jesus was the ADOPTED son of God. They believed that God adopted Jesus at the moment when he was baptised.

I don't know much about the eastern churches, but I think some of them may believe that Jesus is truly the son of God and "not of the same stuff as the father." This means two distinctly separate entities with Jesus as a sort of demi-God.

Most of the western churches believe that Jesus is "of the same stuff as the Father" and therefore God.

Now therefore I propose the Newellian theory that God is a multi-dimensional being that exists in 9 dimensions. However, since we are 4 dimensional beings we cannot perceive his other 5 dimensions and Jesus was the projection of a 9-dimensional God into our 4-dimensional space.

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by right_thinker (anonymous) on April 7, 2007 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"YOU JACK OFF LETS TEACH ARE BABYS YOUR CRAPOLA YOU PEICE OF CRAP"- 458

Spoken like a true Christian. Nice.

LJW Moderators? Whatya think?

Well, for once, you and I agree. Let's celebrate. I've got the beer!

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Your_Mom (anonymous) on April 7, 2007 at 7:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The secular world has been attacking Christianity with dubious stories and biased reporting.

First they tried to say Jesus was gay as were his disciples.

Second they said he married Mary Magdelene and they moved to France and had children.

Third they said he married Mary M. and they moved to India and had children.

Fourth they are now reporting that his tomb was found in Israel with His bones in a box.

Atheists, which one is it? What will it be next week?

(Jesus was a being from another planet?) If you doubt Jesus Story read Lee Stroble's book "A Case For Christ"

Have a blessed Easter

I would posit that very few people who may not view the world as you Are the very few who believe all of this. It is not just Atheists, though, who believe there is more to the great "Jesus Story" than what we hear.

Crispian Paul 7 years, 8 months ago

Posted by right_thinker (anonymous) on April 7, 2007 at 8:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don Imus now is in hot water for saying 'nappy headed hos'....when will the left-wing bias media start exploding with hysteria when someone bashes a Christian...oh I forgot, never.

Don't say the 'n' word or 'faggot' or besmirch any minority....buuuuuut, say all you want about a Christian and it's just fine as the far as the left-wing media is concerned.

God Bless America!!

Perhaps the world needs to think like social workers. I have even "gasp" prayed with clients who were Christian, Jehovah's. I don't think anyone should use the words abive derogatorily, nor do I think it's OK to bash a religion. A politial view that invikes religion?--that's entirely separate.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

What inane BS, is jesus the son of god or is he god.

What evidence, other than a 2000-year-old storybook written by ignorant men, is there to support either of these claims?

Where is common sense? Where is proportion? Where is using one's reason?

Religious claptrap, hokum, ghost-stories, fairy-tales. It continues to amaze me that people will dedicate their lives to this nonsense. I guess it says something about our stone-age brains...

Linda Endicott 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't recall the Bible ever saying that Jesus said he was God. The reason he was killed by the Romans is because he proclaimed himself to be "the King of the Jews"...as such, he was executed for political reasons, not relgious ones.

The Romans did have help from his fellow Jews, though, as they took exception to his claims that he was the son of God and the fulfillment of prophecy. They asked the Romans to arrest him and execute him on their behalf, something that the Romans didn't want to do to begin with.

I guess they got over that problem when he said he was the king of the Jews.

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