Essential Truth

But Jesus Never Claimed to be God!

This is another old argument against classical Christianity that I still hear rather often: “Jesus never claimed to be God” usually coupled with “so clearly he wasn’t”.

While there is no place in Scripture where Jesus said the words, “I am God”, the assertion that He never claimed to be God is quite very inaccurate. The argument comes from a basic misunderstanding of first century Jewish culture as well as Biblical illiteracy. No serious student of the Bible can make such a claim unless he ignores or discounts major passages of the Gospels.

The way in which Jesus claimed to be God is best summed up in the Homan Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics:

“In the first century, much like today, to say “I am God” would be almost meaningless. Even Roman Emperors were ascribed deity or claimed deity for themselves. What Jesus did do was claim to be a very specific God to a specific people in a very specific way. And the way in which He made His claims was unambiguous and unmistakable to those people.”
==Powell, D. (2006). Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics (pp. 310–311). Nashville, TN: Holman Reference. Continue reading

Essentials #11 – Christ’s Return, Judgement and Reign

The last installment in our series on the essential beliefs of all Christians is, surprising to me, one which many people’s response is ‘so what?”. It is quite important, and I’ll explain why after I list the eleven core doctrines of the Christian faith as a quick review:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The triunity of God
9. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The Bible is very clear that Jesus the Christ will visibly and physically return, raise the dead and judge all of mankind, and establish His kingdom. In fact, there are so many passages in both the Old and New Testaments concerning His second coming that instead of pointing you to various articles and videos in links at the end of this short article, I’ll just list SOME of the many passages that do so.

So what’s the big deal about all that? Life goes on, one day Jesus will return (maybe)… whatever. It’s a nice story, but nobody really believes that stuff, do they? I mean, really it’s been two THOUSAND years! Continue reading

Essentials #10 – The Necessity of Faith

It’s been a long series, but we’re almost to the end – we’re at number ten of the eleven essential beliefs of the Christian faith. This time, around, we look at the necessity of faith – why one cannot be at Christian without faith. Of course, since there are many, many misconceptions and misunderstandings about what faith really is, we’ll have to start with a definition of faith as used in this context. Continue reading

Essential #9 – The Death, Burial, and Ressurection of Christ

(Note: for those of you who’ve been lamenting the lack of pictures and embedded media in the last few posts, there’s a video a the very end just for you!)

I’ve been working through the essential beliefs of the Christian faith – those facts that are necessarily true  for Christianity to be a worldview based on transcendent truth rather than man-made fantasy (such as Darwinian evolution, hyper-rationalism, or any of a multitude of religious traditions or ‘roll your own’ brands of paganism.

This installment deals with the central, core tenet of Christianity – the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ and the implications of those historical events upon the eternal destinies of every single human being who has, does, or ever will live.

As usual, let’s start with a list of just what the essential beliefs are:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The triunity of God
9. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The first thing we come to with #9 is that weird word ‘atoning’. Just what does that mean, anyway? Continue reading

Essentials #8 – The Triunity of God

You may notice that I’ve slightly reordered our list of essential Christian beliefs. I’ve done so because in this revised order, the first eight in our list now (as one of our more logically-minded readers suggested) makes a progressive path of doctrine that makes number 9 on our list much more understandable once you grasp these first eight. Here’s the reordered list:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The triunity of God
9. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

This makes this installment all about one of the most ridiculed and misunderstood of our core beliefs. The doctrine of the Trinity has been debated for millennia, and yet it is impossible to deny the triune nature of God without denying both essentials #1 and 7.

Continue reading

Essentials #6 and #7 – The Sinlessness, Humanity, and Deity of Christ

This time around, we’ll take a look at two of the essential teachings of the Christian faith, which are:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The first of these two, the sinlessness of Christ, is necessary for the two doctrines following on the list to be true. If Jesus is not sinless, then he cannot be Deity (more on that later), and His death, burial, and resurrection would have no effect on whether we are saved from God’s wrath or not. Continue reading

Essentials #5: The Virgin Birth

The virgin birth of Jesus is by far the most ridiculed teachings of the Christian church, and because of that many who claim to be followers of the Christ have gone so far as deny it.

However, it is one of the essential Christian doctrines.

First, a quick review of what the essential Christian doctrines are. These are beliefs that negate the Christian faith if they are denied; anyone who denies any of these doctrines are not disciples of the Christ, no matter how much they may try to convince you (or themselves) otherwise. They are:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

Last time, we looked at the necessity of God’s grace. The virgin birth makes the radical demonstration and fulfillment of that grace as shown in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ possible. Continue reading

Essentials #4: The Necessity of God’s Grace

Previously, we examined the truth that everyone is subject to God’s punishment for sin, and this time we will briefly look at the necessity of God’s grace. Before that, however, let’s review our list of essential Christian beliefs:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts.
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

So far, we’ve seen that, in plain terms, God made everything (and everyone), and as Creator He has both the power and authority to make the rules and set the punishment for any offenses. We’ve also seen that every one of us had disobeyed those rules and have rejected God’s terms for life, liberty, and contentment with Him. We are all therefore deserving and certainly subject to punishment unless God Himself rescues us from it.

That act of rescue is the ultimate demonstration of God’s grace toward us. Continue reading

Essentials #3: Human Depravity

In my last post, I summarized the importance of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. Today, we continue our overview of the bare essentials of the Christian faith with what most people consider the most offensive of the lot, but before I launch into the doctrine of total depravity, here’s the full list:

1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts.
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.

The first thing most of us think when we hear the phrase ‘total depravity’ is that of a Hannibal Lector, Ted Bundy, or perhaps the ISIS goons and their unspeakably cruel acts – and then smugly go on our way proud that WE aren’t THAT bad… Continue reading