I was engaged in a Scriptural discussion with a small group of people who did not really know me but heard through a third-party (also a member of that group) that I held unusual views in the matter of what is called Christianity and the book called by men The Bible.
Apparently, on a mission, they subtly came after me with a view to entrap. After lunch one day early in the week, one of those persons stopped me in the hallway, introduced himself in a friendly manner, and let me know that he was acquainted with one of the persons in his group I had been having disccusions with. I suppose he felt himself more knowledgeable and well-versed of all of the other members of that group. Perhaps he was the leader of this “religious’ group – I do not know.
But he asked me why I did not believe that Jesus is God? His tone was more in line with, “How dare you believe that Jesus is not God?” I really began to wonder if he really wanted to hear why I did not and was simply looking for an open door to explain to me why he did. A “concluding the matter before it is heard” type thing.
I had to let him know that if he was sincerely and truly interested in why I believe that Jesus is not God, that he should allow the courtesy of allowing me to explain why strictly from Scripture and not from a “preferred” religious organization standpoint nor from a “preferred” personal and emotional standpoint; and, if we can meet later in the day at a more appropriate time. He agreed only if I extended him the same courtesy. I agreed.
But before we departed our separate ways I asked him what prompted his approach to me; a person that he does not know nor ever met? He said that my discussions with his colleague has his colleague so discabobulated that he has begun to cultivate doubts as to whether Jesus is God. I then asked this person why did he think his friend came to me so many times with such questions? That perhaps any doubts that he began to have did not originate with his discussions with me, but from the Scriptures I showed him? At that we agreed to meet later in the day in a secluded spot so that we could converse without interruption.
We met promptly later that evening. I began the discussion with a question. “Does it bother you that I personally believe that Jesus is not God and that I expressed such to your friend?” “Quite frankly, yes.” He said.
I explained to him that such as view, then, amounts to censorship and a presumption that the viewpoint of others is in error without having examining their viewpoint. It is a viewpoint that seeks blind acceptance of a viewpoint without challenge or investigation. This goes against what the Apostle John wrote at 1 John 4:1.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
He went on to explain that to teach something not in the Bible is cancerous and that God would be displeased with it. (No, you are displeased with it)
I then asked him, “Why do you presume that what I spoke to your friend is not written in Scripture and why would you conclude the matter without allowing me the opportunity to show you from Scripture why I believe that Jesus is not God?”
“Fair enough.” He said, “Show me. But I assure you that you will not be able to find anything in Scripture to disprove that Jesus is not God.” (There was that “Conclude the matter before it is heard” mentality again)
Inside my thought processes I was struck at how this person was so confident that Jesus is God and that I was not going to find anything. This only told me that he did not know Scriptures as much as he claimed. I had to be careful. I did not want to take on the role of an aggressor as that is not the way the Master taught us; but rather, a role as a teacher leading this person to water.
I asked him if he was familiar with John 1:1. He was.
He said this was the Scripture that provided undeniable proof that Jesus is God. “How so?” I asked.
He quoted the last part of that Scripture – from the Kings James Bible – where it says,
… and the Word was God.
I asked him to read the Scripture in its entirety:
In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the word was God.
I asked him if he saw a problem with it? He said, “No, it is as clear as day in what it says.”
I asked him, “Notice that the word was with someone, who?”
He took a moment to look at the Scripture and said, “The word was with God! So what?”
I said, “How can the word be with God and at the same time be God?”
“Because God is a trinity.” He said.
“Where is it stated in Scripture that God is a trinity?” I said.
He said it was in the Bible someplace but he just did not remember where it was.
I said, “Please let me help you. The Scripture to which your are referring is at 1 John 5:7.”
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (KJV)
Note: I asked him to look up this Scripture in other Bible translations and it does not say that at all. And, this passage does not appear in the ancient text and was added by those who wanted to support the trinity concept.
After reading that Scripture he agreed that it is the one he had in mind. Then I asked him, “Where in that Scripture does it say that Jesus is God?” He went silent and I could see him visibly distraught.
“Maybe this is not the Scripture. I know it’s in there somwhere.” He said.
“Never mind” I said, “may we go back to John 1:1 I want to show you something in that Scripture. He agreed.
I explained to him that the two instances of the word “god” in that Scripture are not the same if one reads the Scripture in the Greek, the language in which Matthew to Revelation were written. I explained that the first instance of God had a definite article “ho” in front of it. The Greek word “ho” means “The.” So the first instance of God in John 1:1 would read “Ho Theos” or “The God.”
I explained the second instance of the word “god” in John 1:1, that it does not have a definite article in front of it and that the Greek language does not use “indefinite” articles such as “a.” That when no definite article is used in front of the word it is presume to be NOT a definite article such as “The.” So the second instance of “god” in John 1:1 is not “Ho Theos” or The God, but “a god” or “a god-like one.”
Explain more …
I challenged him to research this himself.
“Let’s stay in the Book of John” I said. He agreed (while taking notes).
I asked him, “Do you believe Jesus existed?” Yes, he said.
“Do you believe he walked the earth?” Of course.
“Do you believe that he spoke with people and healed many of them of their ailments?” Yes, I do.
“Then you agree that people saw Jesus over 2000 years ago.” Absolutely. “Don’t you?” he said to me.
“Yes, I believe all of those things.”
“So, what is your point?” he said in a rude manner.
“The words Jesus himself spoke at John 1:18.” I said.
I asked him to read the Scripture. After reading the Scripture he rambled on incoherently speaking of the mystery of the trinity and that I needed to have God’s Holy Ghost to understand that Scripture.
I explained that, “Everything you just said is in support of a document men created many hundreds of years ago called that Athanasian Creed and not in support of the words of our Master, Jesus Christ.”
He admitted that he did not know what the Athanasian Creed was but that he would look it up.
I explained that Jesus is clear in what he said at John 1:18, there is nothing mysterious about it. He said that …
“No man has seen God at ANY TIME.” EVER!
So, if people laid eyes upon Jesus over 2000 years ago, he could not have been God.
I then asked him to show me one – just one Scripture – where The Most High God Himself or Jesus ever said that he (Jesus) is God? He could not.
He then accused me of being godless and an athiest. (Personal attacks are what many resort to when they find themselves in a corner. This is a Red Herring to distract away from the issue being discussed. In other words, make the person the issue rather than the issue). I asked him why he would conclude that about me? His response was because I did not believe that Jesus was God. (Obviously, he was seeking blind acceptance to his view).
I then assured him that I believe in and worship the God of my Lord, Jesus Christ; and no, I do not believe Jesus is God, I believe him to be who His Father in heaven; he himself; and who his closest companions say he is: The Son of God.
I asked him, “Do you not believe Jesus to be The Son of God?” He said “Of course I do, what kind of question is that?”
I said, “Then how can Jesus be both God and The Son of God? That is like saying that I am both a father and a son to myself?”
He resorted to the “Mystery of the Trinity defense” and I reminded him that Jesus could not be any clearer at John 1:18.
To make a long story short, I showed him all of the Scriptures where The Most High God says Jesus is His Son; all of the Scriptures where Jesus closest companions – his chosen Apostles who were taught by him – agreed that he is The Son of God; Scriptures where high officials, demons, and even Satan the Devil all acknowledged that Jesus is the Son of God. I explained to him that it was for this very claim – of being the Son of God – that Jesus was brought before the High Jewish Court to be questioned and eventually turned over to the Roman authority to be put to death.
I explained that God cannot be killed, he is eternal; and that Jesus was put to death and spent three days dead in his memorial tomb and that someone had to resurrect him.
Did not Jesus say that “The Father is greater than I?” I asked.
Does not God know all things? Yet, did not Jesus express that his knowledge was limited? (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32; Matthew 24:42 and Acts 1:7)
I asked him to read the words of the Apostle Paul at 1 Cor 8:6. Who is stated as God in that Scripture?
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Who is stated as Lord? (Head and Master over mankind)
Jesus [the] Christ (see 1 Cor 11:3)
Lastly, I asked him to read the words of the Apostle John at John 20:31.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
If anyone knew of Jesus’ true identity, it would have been this Apostle and what did he say concerning as to who Jesus was to be believed as?
… the Messiah, the Son of God.
At this point he was clearly distraught because he was not able to produce not one Scripture having anyone saying that Jesus is God. I reminded him that he was perhaps unwittingly upholding the man-made document from which the Trinity teaching sprang: The Athanasian Creed. That such as teaching should be challenged because it is contrary to what our Master, Lord and Head – Jesus Christ – taught.
I explained that my preference is to listen to the direction of my God in what he instructs at Luke 9:35.
A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.
It is to the living person of the Son of God, that I listen to. Not doctrines produced by men who seek to push them off upon the world of mankind as from God.
Then he asked me, “What is your religion?”
I replied, “I have no religion.”
He said, “Then you are an athiest, like I thought.”
I asked him, “What was Jesus’ religion?”
To my surprise, he said, “Christian.”
I said, “How can that be? Jesus never instituted something called Christianity, never directed his disciples to be called Christians and he certainly never called himself such.”
I asked, “Do you think I am an athiest in spite of me saying that Jesus is The Son of God and my Head and Master?”
He said, “But you claim you have no religion.”
I explained that religion is a thing that men use to divide and separate themselves from each other. That there are well over 33000 “Christian” congregations in the world; many of which, contend with one another and teach “Christ” differently. Quite a few of them have even engaged in bloody warfare with each other.
He asked me, “Then what are you?”
I thanked him for asking me the question and asked him to open his Bible to John 8:31-32 and read from there the words of my Master.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
When he finsished reading, I said, “I am Jesus’ disciple. No more and no less. No fancy titles. “
He admitted – again to my surprise – that he had to check all of this stuff out and that he could see why his friend would now have doubts.
I explained that we must be sure that we know the thoughts and teaching of our Master because when one produces teachings such as “Jesus is God” there will be someone – like myself – who will produce these other Scriptures and you will be tasked to explain them. It would be unreasonable for you to ignore these Scriptures because they go against what is commonly taught and believed about Jesus. I, for one, will always task those who bring this Trinity teaching before me and have them explain these other Scriptures I mentioned.
In the end what I learn is that the preference is for the defense and maintenance of the Trinity doctrine rather than the words of God and His Christ.
Our discussion ended and though a little distraught, he said I gave him something to think about and he had to study Scripture deeper.
What he really meant was studying to find something to disprove or explain what I showed him, still ignoring the many Scriptures presented to him. I knew that he still believed that Jesus is God and did not expect – over one discussion – that he would have a change of heart. It would be unreasonable for me to expect him to have a change of heart and mind in on short discussion. Only God, through His Christ, can wrench from persons, deeply entrenched error and free them from those persons and mighty religious organizations that produce them.
It is very important that we know who we are and who we belong to. We do not belong to “religion” or to religious organization and the human authority structure that controls them with their many rules, regulations, and rituals. (The amounts to a reversion to law keeping anyway. Something Jesus said his disciples are no longer under). We belong to Jesus [the] Christ. He alone is our Head, Teacher, Leader, Shepherd, Master and Lord. We are free as his disciples and are not to allow ourselves to be taken into captivity by religious authority structures and systems claiming to be from God and himself. (1 Cor 11:3) Such claims are traps and snares.
As disciples of Christ, we are not to be in fear of “bulk” religious authority who would flex their muscle before us to make us fearful of them in that “If we are not with them, we are not with God and Christ and something bad will happen to us if we do not join them – such as eternal hellfire or loss of life.”
This to is taught to ensnare the aware ones.
We are to be disciples of The Son of the Living God, Jesus [the] Christ. Never should it be assumed that membership into religious organizations is what makes one a disciple. Jesus never said that, men did. Jesus’ words are clear at John 8:31-32 that discipleship is to be to him – a person – not third-party “go-betweens” and what has been come to be known as “Christianity” and her many denominations.
My advice is that if you are within a religious organization, get out! (Revelation 18:4) You are in captivity and do not know it. My advice is to bypass “third-party” religion and go directly out of it to the person of Jesus [the] Christ to be taught by him.
Our identity as to who we are does not lie in membership with religious organization. Being called a Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist or whatever carries no true identifying characteristics. These things are only outward coverings. Our true identity lies in our attachment to our Head, Lord and Master as his disciple. Why? For one, because he asked us to; and secondly, because he worships the true God and we want his God and Father to be our God and Father. Who better than the Son of God knows the True God?
So, it is to this Son of God – God’s Christ or Messiah – that we identify with and follow, not any religious organization.