The New Testament’s Favourite Verse

The Bible has always been a central part of Christian life and there have always been particular verses that have stood out to various generations of believers. Indeed, a survey of favourite verses provides a wide-angle snapshot of people’s theology. As I have previously written about, the favourites verses of the first generation of Christians show they had a very a different theological outlook from us today. Now the early church’s favourite verse is something most Christians today are not familiar with. That verse is Psalm 110:1, which says,

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” (ESV) Continue reading “The New Testament’s Favourite Verse”

Before He was Born (Part II)

The Logic of Pre-existence

Our examination of the Trinitarian understanding of what it means for Jesus to be “the eternal Son” in comparison with what the New Testament (NT) actually says highlights another serious problem. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity appropriates biblical language and reinterprets it in such a way it no longer has its original biblical meaning. Sonship clearly means birth as a human, a historical event, and not timeless “eternal generation”, a Trinitarian belief we can be certain no one held in the NT. Jesus did pre-exist his birth but not as the eternal Son. Again, we find no clear evidence of sonship language being used to describe the pre-incarnate Christ. He is now the eternal Son because he lives forever through the power of the resurrection (Romans 1:4.) Since we have established the Trinitarian model is wrong, the outstanding question before us is, before he was born, before God became his Father, what did he exist as? Continue reading “Before He was Born (Part II)”

Before He was Born (Part I)

The Eternal Son vs. Eternal Sonship

Now the nature of Christ’s sonship is crucial to the Trinitarian understanding of his pre-existence. According to it, Jesus was always the Son of God, even before he was conceived, through a process known as “eternal generation” from the Father. According to theologian Keith Johnson,

This doctrine teaches that the Father eternally communicates the divine essence to the Son without division or change so that the Son shares an equality of nature with the Father (sharing all the attributes of deity) yet is also eternally distinct from the Father.

This brief definition of eternal generation uses a lot of technical philosophical language such as “equality of nature”, “eternally communicates the divine essence” and “the attributes of deity”. This is not the space to unpack what they all mean but suffice it to say, this is not how the NT talks about Jesus as the Son of God. Frankly, what the doctrine of the Trinity means by “Jesus is the Son of God” or that “God is the Father of Jesus” is not what most Christians, including those in the New Testament (NT) era, would intuitively think. Continue reading “Before He was Born (Part I)”

Before He was Born (Intro)

Setting the Terms of the Debate on the Pre-existence of Christ

As I have explained in several posts, I am no fan of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. However, I do agree with Trinitarians on the pre-existence of Christ. I think it is clear that the New Testament (NT) teaches that Jesus had a pre-human existence but what he pre-existed is where I disagree with my Trinitarian brothers and sisters. I utterly reject the belief that he pre-existed as the second Person of the Trinity, eternally generated by the Father, because that is not how the NT describes him or how he existed before his birth. Continue reading “Before He was Born (Intro)”

Christ’s Divine Identity in Paul

Over the years, I have referenced the work of British New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham a lot when it comes to the topic God’s identity and how Jesus is related to it. Bauckham was the first to show me that the New Testament, understood in its historical context, is sufficient to provide a framework for understanding who God and Jesus are in relation to one another without appealing to the doctrine of the Trinity or competing theologies like Arianism or Modalism. Now he sets all of this out in his brilliant book Jesus and the God of Israel (Eerdmans 2008). However, for those who do not have access to this book or would prefer something more manageable, there is a paper Dr Bauckham has written titled Paul’s Christology of Divine Identity which you can access for free here. Continue reading “Christ’s Divine Identity in Paul”