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Yeah, I Don't Think So

God and Man

 

Jesus
The age old debate of whether Jesus was fully God and fully man is once again making it's rounds.

I just read a Christianity Today review of The Mormon Jesus: A Biography by John G. Turner ; the article was called Mormons and Christians: So Close, Yet So Far Away by Gerald McDermott.

Some people think that it really doesn't matter what you believe as long as you believe and live a good life, and when you die all will be well and you'll waltz through the pearly gates with no problem.

But that's NOT what the Bible teaches. There are plenty of verses in the Bible which argue for a sense of finite determination as it relates to the doctrine that one decides to believe.  For example, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 - "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures."  Here's a good summary of why doctrine is important.

I remember in Bible college a professor warning us that those groups who technically qualify as a "cult" are those religious organizations who seek to reduce or deny two things: 1) the deity of Jesus Christ - that He was, is, and always will be fully God and 2) the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross (the forgiveness of sins through the shedding of blood). According to McDermott, in this age of "why can't we all just get along" efforts, there seems to be an assumption that at least one group, the Mormons, seems to be toning down their position that Jesus Christ is not God, but became God. McDermott attempts to point out that that ain't necessarily so.

We were given a chart in Bible college - and I'm not sure if it is still around - but it compared Christianity to various sects and cults. One version of that chart is here.  And Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults was a textbook in our classes on comparative religions which also has great information; it may be a little dated, but it is never out of date.  When I hear people say that it really doesn't matter what one believes, I think back on those Bible college and seminary days and think to myself, "Oh yes it does..."

To me, Jesus the Messiah was fully man but also fully God.  Period.  I may not understand all that is involved in the divine mystery of God becoming man, but my relationship to God is not based upon UNDERSTANDING. It is and must always be grounded in what I BELIEVE. Any group that would try to water that doctrine down is not being true to God's Word. Any group that tries to add to or take away from what is established in the Bible is not understanding the Bible. Writing MORE to the story does not make the more doctrinal truth simply by associating it to the Bible. "Oh the Bible says this but we say it should ALSO say this..."  Nope. To me, that's heresy. Pure and simple.

This puts me at odds with a whole mess of people. And yes, it also puts me at odds with members of my own family who would decide to follow what I would call a cult. All I can do is hand them a Bible and say, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me." (John 5:39) And NO, you may NOT use additional resources to show what you think about Jesus until you exhaust what the BIBLE says about Jesus. (Psst, by the way, it'll take you awhile. Want the Cliff notes version?  Check out Strobel's The Case for Christ.)

McDermott's article is not easy reading, and I'm not saying I understand all he has written in it or any other hyperlinks to other information. But in reading them, I agree with him that when it comes to the doctrines of the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ, there is no compromise to what is taught in scripture.

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