[reaction to One Year Bible June 19-20 readings]
In today’s reading from Acts we come across at least the second mini-statement of beliefs, or basically a quick telling of the history of Israel. In part, Paul explains that from David’s “descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.” Also, Paul notes that “God raised [Jesus] from the dead” and while even David’s bodies decays, “the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.” Earlier in Acts, we get a similar listing of articles of faith. This time from Peter who taught, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Also, Peter points out that Jesus “was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”
What strikes me about these passages is how decidedly non-trinitarian they are. In Peter’s passage he refers to “this man” and they both talk about Jesus coming from David, and God raising Jesus. Peter’s remarks come just after finishing the Gospel of John which seems to contradict this notion of Christ as separate from God by beginning with these, well, these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1.
Now there are believers today who accept Jesus as important, or even savior, but who do not believe in the idea of trinity. Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, resurrected and will come again to judge the world. Mormons believe Jesus is the Son of God, quite literally. But neither group accepts the idea that Jesus is God. Also, some of my ultra liberal friends have rejected this idea that Jesus is God.
I’ve only picked out one scripture from John, but look for yourself if you don’t believe me, it clearly asserts that Jesus and God are one. For those of us who do not have the benefit of a superseding text to the New Testament, i.e., the Quran or the Book of Mormon, I submit that such contradictory passages authorize us to ask questions about the nature of Jesus. They almost require us to.
I’m going to send this to my favorite Mormons & Muslims in hopes that they can provide some insight on their views of the Trinity and what they think of John’s Gospel. (Is it corrupted? Is it misunderstood?) As for the super liberals, they just chose not to believe the bits that are inconvenient. 😉
UPDATE: I’ve received a couple of personal messages from Mormon brothers and sisters pointing out that John also affirms Jesus as a separate being from God in Chapter 17 when Jesus prays to God. How can one pray to oneself? They promise to comment more fully when the rigors of private practice let up a bit. I hope they do!