Thursday, August 21, 2008

John 5, Carl's Blogged Bible Study

This week's post may be lame...I apologize in advance.

For the past few weeks the same Jehovah's Witness has been stopping by my house in attempts to convert me. I had not really engaged with her for lack of time. Last week, however, as we were holding a garage sale she stopped by. Since I was just standing around anyway, we got into a debate. After about twenty minutes, she called on backup. Since I don't accept the JW definition of authority and inspiration, our only common ground was scripture.

The topic of debate was the idea of trinity. (If anyone didn't know, JWs reject the trinity...they do not believe that Jesus is God, rather a created superior being) To accept this doctrinal behemoth, trinity, the Christian must depend heavily on church tradition/history, which JWs illogically reject. The woman, Jennifer, actually brought up John 5, particularly verses 19 and following.

If you read 19ff, trinity is difficult to prove...but then again, does scripture try to prove it at all?

The Father sent his Son (5:36)...Can god send himself?

The Father give the son authority (5:27)...Gan God give authority to himself?

How about verse 26...basically it states that the Father has life in and of himself, unlike humans, our life, according to scripture and church tradition, is contingent upon God. It is nice to know that, according to 5:26, Jesus functions the same way; that is, he has life in and of himself. But this life, was granted to him by the Father.

The way I see it, the idea of trinity is dependent upon church tradition, after all the idea surfaced around 100ce, long after the New Testament had been penned. That's not to say there are not elements of it in scripture.

The early church defined Jesus as, "fully God, and fully Man." What a mystery...a paradox...much like the idea of an uncreated being (God).

So how do I interpret the John 5:19? I consider Paul (Phil.2:5-7):

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.
In a nutshell, Jesus was God but became a man, thus he emptied himself of certain divine characteristics. Everything Jesus was given by the Father were qualities Jesus once possessed but emptied from himself.

I retain belief in the trinity...besides, John 5:22 says that the Father Judges no one...that is Jesus' role. There certainly was plenty of Judging going on in the Old Testament. If is wasn't God the Father who was it? And if God gave Jesus that ability while he was on earth, it just supports the idea of Jesus' "self emptying" in Phillippians.


Anonymous said...

Not lame at all brother...

The trinity is one of the hardest to explain. By faith is the only way to understand it.

God 1 Being with 3 essences(I think that is the wright word).

Remember John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

This was written before 100ce, and John walk with Jesus and would have learned this directly from him. If we believe Christ's divinity is God, then He was every thing God, except that which he had to give up to be human.

Love ya brother... Take care in the move.

darla said...

awesome! I am so happy you got to post!! JW are hard..and I give you credit for debating with them..I havn't had much debate lately with them...I tell them I will listen for 15 minutes if you will listen to me for 15 minutes, they usually leave..not interested in the debate that way.

Love ya man...will get back to your emails in the morning. Praying!

WES ELLIS said...

NO! Not lame.... good read!

I actually just wrote a whole blog post in indirect response to this.

James said...

One of the most frustrating times in my Christian walk, or trudge, was over a trinity debate with a JW, which ended with him challenging me to scripturally prove it's existence to him. I accepted the challenge, and was crushed to find that there is no solid proof of the trinity in scripture. But then one day the Holy Spirit calmed me by removing the veil from Isaiah 6:3 which says,"and the one (seraphim) cried to the other, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come."

One "Holy" for each person of the trinity, and right then I had no more reservations. That is not a scripture that you can use to prove anything with to anybody else, but the Holy Spirit used it to prove it within me. Good post, Nate.

annie said...

Hey Carl!

I'm stopping by to visit with the neighborhood. :)

Great thoughts! Do you know, I just last week was shown that verse about the Father not judging anyone. It's one of those things I know I've read before, but I haven't read read, you know? It opens up so many thoughts. Great to read! The complexities of God is a challenging concept, but oh so delectable. I love delving into the difficult stuff. :) Thanks for these thoughts!

annie said...

Nate - I'm so sorry. Can we modify that? :] lol. I think it was the 'Carl's Blogged Bible Study' that confused me. I apologize.

I'm Annie. I've just joined the Bible Study, so I'm visiting the neighborhood. Great to meet you. Nate. :)

Anonymous said...

Good post. I have had several conversations with JWs about the very same topic. Eventually, I realized: What responsibility does The Creator have for His creations? Because God is The Creator, He has an extraordinairy responsibility to His creation--including us. We messed things up, but God has given us the chance at redemption by upholding His responsibility to us as The Creator. And it is this we find in The Minisitry, The Cross, and The Resurrection.

Michelle said...

Great post, Nate!!

A couple of verses which may help:

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" ~Galatians 4:6

When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me ~John 15:26

nate said...

Thanks for all the comments and insight all. I spent this afternoon with a a solder iron and a mess of electronics exposed and somehow emerged with a functional I hope to catch up on all your posts sitting in my reader, and dropping more posts myself.