Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Will the REAL Jesus Please Stand Up?

In any instance of communication, a single unique reference is sufficient to delimit identification.

For instance, I have never met Rose Cole, from Rose's Reasonings Blog, although we have talked on the phone, emailed each other, and discoursed on blogs.

If, when I was talking to, let say, Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, I referenced Rose, of the Rose's Reasonings blog found at http://Rosesreasonings.blogspot.com, who is paralyzed from the waist down,

Would I necessarily be talking about a different Rose?

(Rose is not paralyzed)

Why?

I made a UNIQUE reference to her, in that the Rose I am refering to has a blog called Rose's Reasonings at the very site of http://rosesreasonings.blogspot.com.

The fact that I refered to Rose as being paralyzed from the waist down was nothing more than a misconception or untrue belief I HAVE ABOUT HER, not some spurious, fake, or imaginary Rose.

If one unique reference is all that it takes to limit that reference to a specific person, why is it that we say that Mormons refer to a wholly "different Jesus" when they make reference to Him in (at least) 20 unique and distinct areas of agreement with evangelicals?

We all have or had misunderstandings and misconceptions about Jesus. How many misconceptions about Jesus does it take to make Him another Jesus? Can a simple misunderstanding preclude me from refering to the historical Jesus Christ? What if all I had was the gospel of John and I was misinformed and believed that Jesus Christ was born in Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. Yet I have read the gospel of John and make reference to Him from there. Am I necessarily referring to a "different" Jesus because of this misconception?

Communication would become impossible if we required absolute precision when making reference to people. We all have misconceptions (IOW FALSE BELIEFS) about everyone, including our spouses, parents, and siblings. When we make reference to these people, are we conjuring up an imaginary "different" relative, because no one in the world fits the 100% description and conception we have of the referent?

Everyone here should realize that such a thing is absurd.

All that it takes is ONE unique reference to delimit identification of a specific person.

Let us speak as to the irreducible minimum to identify Jesus Christ for salvific purposes:

#1) The name : Jesus

But there are many people named Jesus, I must make the reference unique. Let me continue:

#2) His unique ability: Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to everyone who believes in Him for it.

No one in the universe can fit this reference[!!], other than the historical Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, born of the Holy Spirit and Mary, crucified on a Roman Cross, and resurrected from the dead.

I could delimit Christ in other ways, that he was risen from the dead after being put to death on a Roman cross. No person in the universe can fit this unique description.

BUT THIS INFORMATION IS NOT SALVIFIC. For our purposes in evangelism, the irreducible minimum which delimits reference to the historical Jesus, which is indeed salvific, is that JESUS dispenses irrevocable and eternally secure eternal life to the believer in Him for it. This information is sufficient to delimit our referencing to the bona-fide Jesus Christ (in whom we all have misconceptions about).

No one but the consistent FGer can give a solid, objective answer to the question, "What is essential to know concerning Jesus to delimit our faith to Him and not some imaginary person?" Let me tell you why. If the non-FGer lists 10 strong and rock-solid references to the Lord Jesus Christ, all it would take, for them anyway, to speak of another Jesus, is to include a blatantly (to them) erroneous belief.

Lets say you asked this question to the normal Traditionalist. He could say, "If you delimit Jesus Christ by these things, you will make sure that you aren't discussing someone else" :

1) virgin birth
2) hypostatic union
3) death for sins
4) resurrection from the dead
5) name: Jesus
6) mother: Mary
7) had apostles named Peter, John, and James
8) Died on a cross
9) was a carpenter
10) Performance of great miracles such as raising people who were physically dead
11) He is God

But lets say that I beleive all these things about Jesus Christ, but I say that he was the spirit brother of Lucifer who was made God by another God.

Well, the whole thing goes to pot and I am now believing in a different Jesus, even though I agree to the list of these 11 rock solid references!

The whole idea becomes a slippery slope. How can ANYONE be sure that they are believing in the REAL Jesus (as opposed to these imaginary figments being brought to life by heretics) when one really can't know if all what they believe about Jesus is in fact true in reality?

Where does one draw the line? There can be no logical difference between a major or minor misconception, nor any OBJECTIVE means by which to discern which category to put them in. Any misconception is a blatant erroneous belief, no matter how sincere it is.

Let's use Rose Cole from Rose's Reasonings again. If I came up with 11 unique references to her (that could be true of no one in the universe but Rose Cole) but then referred to her as an astronaut rather than a visual arts person at her church (maybe THAT isn't even what she is!), am I referring to a DIFFERENT Rose?

To insist on the application of an orthodox doctrinal checklist for eternal life is superfluous, erroneous, and damaging to assurance. Am I to look at my doctrine for assurance or am I to look to Christ through His promise of eternal life for assurance?

Furthermore,

with each of those 11 rock solid references to Jesus Christ comes an explanation of each. Not only must I assent to the references and doctrines contained in that list, I must assent to them in the way the creeds such as the Westminster Confession or others defines them. The slippery slope keeps getting more slippery by the moment!

In reality (let's try to stay here!) there is only one Jesus Christ who can truly impart eternal life to the believer in Him for it. Simple trust in Him to do so will bring eternal life.

43 Comments:

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I agree with the essence of the argument. But if you are going to insist on believing in the name of Jesus as essential to saving faith, you face the same dilemma as those who talk about a 'different Jesus.'

Let us say I refer to Rachel, a lady who attends and works for Emmanuel Baptist Church, who is married to a mail carrier called John Cole, who is a member of the Unashmed of Grace blog and keeps a blog called Rachel's Reasonings, I am ontologically referring to Rose~, even though I ahve confused her name.

This is not a different person, or a 'different Rose~', it is the same Rose~.

I think you have a far more Biblical basis for insisting on the name of Jesus than those who insist on His deity.

However, I do think one might believe in Him while ignorant of His name.

Our Lord says,

I am the Resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live and he that livethe and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

If one has affirmed that the person who said this is what He claims, the guaramtor of eternal life, one has affirmed the essential criteria of saving faith even if one through ignorance is unaware of His name.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

August 07, 2007 1:04 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

Antonio –

I do insist on the deity of Christ and that God is ONE – that’s why I see the “Mormon Jesus” as being a different Jesus, he is in fact to them a separate God born of a physical sexual union between God the Father and Mary. Makes me wanna hurl…..

The promise of Christ that guarantees eternal life to all who believe in Him derives its power through His deity. Saving faith now is the same saving faith that Abraham had:

Romans 4:20-22
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Notice: It was essential that Abraham be convinced that what GOD had promised GOD was also able to perform.

His unique ability is not what distinguishes who He is but more the promise He makes.

The fact that He is God is the only thing that distinguishes who the object of saving faith, Jesus Christ, IS.

People need to know God, they need to know His promise and they need to be fully convinced that what He promised He is also able to perform.

In Christ,

JL

August 07, 2007 5:16 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Jon,

"Makes me wanna hurl….."

It is a rotten and appalling idea, but the fact is that salvation is by grace. We are saved by trusting in Jesus Christ for His free gift of eternal life. If we have to avoid believing disgusting things as a condition of being redeemed, then the gracious nature of the transaction is compromised.

"The promise of Christ that guarantees eternal life to all who believe in Him derives its power through His deity."

Absolutely, but why is it necessary to understand this?

I may not understand the principle of internal combustion, but that does not stop me trusting that my car is able to take me places.

This idea of a different Jesus is very perplexing.

If somebody believed that Antonio was my father, would they believe in 'a different Matthew C?'

August 07, 2007 5:41 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

Matthew -

I threw in the hurl... I realize it has no bearing on truth.

The point I make is that God is one - you don't need to believe that the Father of Jesus is God - you need to believe that Jesus is God.

I agree with Antonio that the Auto Mechanic Jesus is absurd. The absurdity lies in anyone placing their trust in any one (thing) less than God for eternal life.

If I believe Jim Jones when he said "he who believes in me will have eternal life" - I don't have eternal life because Jim Jones is not God and I have place my faith in a man and a man's promise.

It is God and God's promise when believed that is salvific.

In Jesus Christ(God the Son),

JL

August 07, 2007 6:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"If I believe Jim Jones when he said "he who believes in me will have eternal life" - I don't have eternal life because Jim Jones is not God and I have place my faith in a man and a man's promise."

If a person believed that our Lord was merely a man, but they believed He could give eternal life, that belief would not be justified, but it would still be faith and they would receive eternal life.

August 07, 2007 6:12 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

"If a person believed that our Lord was merely a man, but they believed He could give eternal life, that belief would not be justified, but it would still be faith and they would receive eternal life."

Is it our faith or the object of our faith that saves?

Can a person believe that our Lord is God but not believe that He could give eternal life, thereby HAVING FAITH that our Lord is God and receive eternal life whether they realize it or not?

August 07, 2007 6:44 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

I don't think you can separate God from His promise or His promise from God.

The gospel of Christ is the power OF GOD unto salvation for everyone who believes.

Ro 1:16 -
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

The power is not in the promise but in GOD. If you do not recognize that it is Jesus Christ, God the Son, in whom you are placing your trust - then your trust is irrelevant, there is no power.

August 07, 2007 6:54 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

You wrote, "Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to everyone who believes in Him for it."

So I can be clear on your interpretation of God's plan of salvation:

1) The ONLY thing that a lost sinner needs to believe is Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life and he is born again. Is that your position on the Gospel?

2) A sinner does NOT need to know, understand or believe that he is a sinner, and that Jesus died for his sins. Is that your position?


LM

August 07, 2007 12:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jon, let me ask you a simple question:

Are you saying this: If a man were to believe that Jesus was the Christ and had given him eternal life by faith alone - yet he did not understand the deity of Christ - that his faith is invalid and he is not saved?

Simple yes or no would be sufficient.

Antonio

August 07, 2007 1:07 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Lou, let me ask you a simple question and I will answer yours:

Are you saying this: If a man were to believe that Jesus was the Christ and had given him eternal life by faith alone - yet he did not understand Jesus' death for sins and His resurrection - that his faith is invalid and he is not saved?

A simple yes or no will do.

Antonio

August 07, 2007 1:08 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matt,

as I said. I understand your dillemma. But the Gospel of John does not give any wiggle room. The Gospel of John requires that one know the name of the Christ. Jesus is the Christ.

As I said, I would let God arbitrate. If such a one believes on Him apart from His name, I am hoping that he would be taught immediately by someone who knows Christ's name and other pertinent information for sanctification.

I insist that JESUS is the Christ.

Antonio

August 07, 2007 1:29 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

"Jon, let me ask you a simple question:

Are you saying this: If a man were to believe that Jesus was the Christ and had given him eternal life by faith alone - yet he did not understand the deity of Christ - that his faith is invalid and he is not saved?"

Believe which Jesus is the Christ?

A person named Jesus who claims he gives eternal life to all who believe in him....

I would say not saved.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, who says he gives eternal life to all who believe in him....

Absolutely saved.

Are we to have faith in our faith or faith in God?

Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.

August 07, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey John,

you write:
----------
A person named Jesus who claims he gives eternal life to all who believe in him....

I would say not saved.
----------
You describe exactly what is told about the Christ in the Gospel of John. A Person named Jesus claims the He gives eternal life to all who believe in Him for it.

Let me tell you this: His disciples believed that He was the Christ and did not understand His deity and were still born again!

I understand that you don't want to invalidate the simple exercise of faith into Jesus that really does bring eternal life.

Christ's deity is something that they learned very late in His ministry. But many of his discples believed He was the Christ very early in His ministry (John 1:35-50) and the rest believed into Him shortly thereafter (John 2:11).

Were they unsaved until they acknowledged His deity?

Antonio

August 07, 2007 8:39 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

You asked, “Are you saying this: If a man were to believe that Jesus was the Christ and had given him eternal life by faith alone - yet he did not understand Jesus' death for sins and His resurrection - that his faith is invalid and he is not saved?”

First, you are asking me a question as though I have made a specific statement that you are trying to clarify.

Second, I know why and how you are using the word, “understand.” You will take that word and stretch into the idea that a lost man must have a deep theological understanding of the substitutionary death of Christ, His atonement, the bodily resurrection, etc. I have read you making this stretch in other posts. Your “Checklist” is a partial example. You use terms like, “theological hoops.”

So, I am going to limit your wording to “knowing” in the sense of agreeing with what the Bible says in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 and Romans 10:9-10 about Jesus' death and resurrection.

Third, you are asking me to judge and determine what has gone on in the heart of a man. Nether you or I can know exactly what the Spirit of God is accomplishing in the heart of man. We cannot discern just how a lost man is internalizing what the Holy Spirit is convincing and convicting him about.

Those things said, If a lost man is told nothing more than he needs ONLY to, “believe Jesus is the Giver of eternal life.” He is told NOTHING else, and therefore, has no knowledge of his sin before God, that Jesus died and rose from the dead in payment for his sins, he then has been given an incomplete, reductionist message that, therefore, saves no one.


LM

And now, your turn, if you please

So I can be clear on your interpretation of God's plan of salvation:

1) The ONLY thing that a lost sinner needs to believe is Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life and he is born again. Is that your position on the Gospel?

2) A sinner does NOT need to know, understand or believe that he is a sinner, and that Jesus died for his sins. Is that your position?



LM

August 07, 2007 9:27 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Jn Lee:

You wrote, "Are we to have faith in our faith or faith in God? Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed."

That was very well put.


LM

August 07, 2007 9:28 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Lou,

You have evaded the question. For clarity sake, let me reword:

Are you saying this: If a man were to believe that Jesus was the Christ and had given him eternal life by faith alone - yet he did not at all know or understand Jesus' death for sins and His resurrection - that his faith is invalid and he is not saved?

Please do not evade and stall. Answer the simple question and I will be as verbose on your questions as humanly possible.

Antonio

August 07, 2007 10:14 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jon,

what hat did you pull this "faith in faith" thing out of?

I have advocated nothing of the sort.

Jesus is the Christ, the disciples believed this, and according to 1 John 5:1 anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born again. They believed that Jesus is the Christ much earlier than they knew He was divine.

Antonio

August 07, 2007 10:16 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

"I understand that you don't want to invalidate the simple exercise of faith into Jesus that really does bring eternal life."

Absolutely not...Amen!

August 08, 2007 5:25 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

The interpretation of the Gospel you hold to is as extreme an example of what is commonly known as "Easy-Believism" I have encountered to date.

The position on the Gospel and worsening definition of repentance that has been coming from Hodges and the GES for years has been a ripe target for the Lordship camp to set their sights on.

And in this case, in regard to this new and disconcerting twist on the Gospel, the Lordship Salvation advocates are right on target when they take you, Hodges, Wilkin, et al, to task (and they surely will) for this reductionist message you are propagating.

Commandant, I leave you to your own devices. I asked a question, you reply with a question that is designed to play "gotcha." I don't play that game.

Now you are going to duck my questions. You can play that game on your own time.

You are on record with there is no need for a lost man to even know he is a sinner and a lost man can be saved. Jeremy Myers also takes this position.


LM

August 08, 2007 5:36 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

1 John also says…..

5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

10 Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son

12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.


How can anyone separate the "Christ" - the messiah - the appointed one - from the revealed deity of Jesus?

"what hat did you pull this "faith in faith" thing out of?"

I'm not playing theological Harry Potter - I sincerely love you, Zane, Bob, Jeremy and everyone else in the Free Grace camp that disagrees with me. I can't get past the faith of Abraham. Could Abraham's faith been accounted to him for righteousness if it was in anything less than the promise of God?

Looking at the text, Rom 4:20-22, this is what disturbs me most: Does proclaiming the deity of Christ irrelevant to saving faith bring Glory to God? Can anyone trust in God without knowing it is God in whom they trust?

August 08, 2007 5:47 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

"You describe exactly what is told about the Christ in the Gospel of John. A Person named Jesus claims the He gives eternal life to all who believe in Him for it."

I'm sorry, but I don't see that at all brother.

Joh 20:31 -
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The book of John emphasizes his deity along with Him being the Christ.

August 08, 2007 5:49 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
Hey - it is Rachel!
What an interesting discussion. I think Matthew really brings up some good questions and I find it interesting the way you have answered him.

You know how I think on this subject. I agree that the wording "another Jesus" is not helpful. I think it is trying to address a real problem, though. How many misconceptions can one have about the Son of God? It is really a good question. You have a shorter list than me. :~) You know I think more like Jon Lee.

I hope you will consider this one thing that Lou has said about this: it is a ripe target for the Lordship camp to set their sights on.

I know you are convinced of your position so that should not matter to you. It is a little sad to watch, though, for me, as your position becomes that target, because I am really with you on so many issues.

August 08, 2007 5:57 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I also want to tell you that I read in your other post and so appreciated this (and similar sentiments on this post, albeit a little differently worded):

But how ever these patently ridiculous, and virtually impossible hypotheticals work out, in the end, *God knows the heart, and He is quite qualified to sort through such a mish-mash.*

That is just the best way to look at it for now. Aren't you glad that we aren't the One that searches the hearts of men? phew!

August 08, 2007 6:15 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

"Let me tell you this: His disciples believed that He was the Christ and did not understand His deity and were still born again!"

In light of John 2:11 -

John 2:11
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

I'm not sure you can say they didn't know He was God. What else would "manifested His glory" refer to?

August 08, 2007 6:46 AM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

I really like what Dr. L.E. Brown says about the Martha story:

"Jesus makes two promises to Martha:

* He will raise the dead (v. 25)
* He gives eternal life (v. 26)

He asks Martha if she believes his claims. She affirms faith in his promises by stating that she believes two things:

* He is the Christ
* He is the Son of God

(Technically the second phrase is in apposition to the first, defining it. To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to believe that He is the Son of God). In light of John’s statement in 20:30–31, we must believe a simple proposition: Jesus is the Son of God who raises the dead and gives eternal life That is it!"

We see "Son of God" following "Christ" throughout the book of John. The simple proposition is where I think Dr. Brown nails it!

August 08, 2007 7:01 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jon,

Let me throw some things out to you.

It is significant that the Apostles recognized Jesus as the Christ (in the Johannine sense) very early in Christ's ministry,and so are therefore saved, yet at the same time, we can hear them saying:

Mark 4:41
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

Matt 8:27
27 So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"

Luke 8:25
And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another,"Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!"

There are only 2 things that we can do with the above facts, and to once again name those facts:

1) The apostles learned the good news about eternal life from Jesus VERY EARLY in His ministry and were saved and

2) Even after believing in Him as the Christ, and therefore being saved (see 1 John 5:1), they did not recognize Christ's deity, as evidenced in their comments of amazement at Jesus' miracle of calming the wind and waves.

Again there are only two things that can be done with this info:

1) Say that the disciples were not saved until MUCH LATER in Christ's ministry

or

2) Modify these disciples' statements to say something other than what their prima facie meaning is.

"Who can this be!?" They already knew Him to be the Christ. They are obviously not aware of His deity.

Just take a cursory run throught the gospels. Much of what the disciples did, said, asked, and wondered, did not betray an understanding of Christ's deity.

Futhermore, let me quote Zane Hodges, who can say what I desire to say much more brief and concisely:

----------
It is precisely the ability of Jesus to guarantee eternal life that makes Him the Christ in the Johannine sense of that term. Our Lord’s exchange with Martha in John 11:25-27 demonstrates this clearly.

You remember it, don’t you? “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26). Her reply is a declaration that she believes Him to be the Christ. Martha said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (11:27).

Notice here that to believe that Jesus is the Christ means to believe that He guarantees resurrection and eternal life to every believer. But now let us look at John 4. In that famous passage we have the Samaritans saying to the woman who had encountered Jesus, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

Observe that the common denominator to both passages is the term “Christ.” On Martha’s lips He is “the Christ, the Son of God,” and on the lips of the Samaritans He is “the Christ, the Savior of the world.” This is not an accidental or insignificant difference.

In Jewish prophecy and theology the promised Christ was also the Son of God—that is, He was to be a divine person. Recall the words of Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6-7). But in Samaritan theology, the Messiah was thought of as a prophet and the woman at the well is led to faith through our Lord’s prophetic ability to know her life. Her words, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (4:19) are a first step in the direction of recognizing Him as the Christ. There is no evidence that she or the other Samaritans understood the deity of our Lord.

But they did believe that he was the Christ. And John tells us in his first epistle that “whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (5:1)! A full theology of His person is not necessary to salvation. If we believe that Jesus is the One who guarantees our eternal destiny, we have believed all we absolutely have to believe in order to be saved.
----------

Both the Mormons and the JWs will say that Jesus IS "the Son of God". Yet they will provide some other import other than monotheistic, trinitarian deity into it.

For John, the "Son of God" and "the Christ" have the import "the one who promises (guarantees) eternal life to the believer in Him for it". He uses them appositionally.

Jon, Jesus both identifies Himself as one with the Father yet distinct. He is called the Son. These concepts are difficult to understand. In not a single place in the whole of the Bible are we told that we must understand Jesus to be God in order to be saved.

Must one have the import of "deity in equality to God [the Father]" in the phrase "Son of God" in order to be saved?

John states that believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, has life in Jesus' name. Yet the import that he gives to these terms are clear: Jesus as the Christ the Son of God, guarantees eternal life to the beleiver in Him for it.

Let me pose to you a question in line with the Samaritan illustration above by Zane Hodges.

Someone says: "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, my Savior, who has given me eternal life through faith." And this person does indeed believe this, yet does not understand the deity of Christ. Is this person saved?

Antonio

August 08, 2007 12:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rose,

thank you for the kind words.

In my evangelism I never fail to mention the name of the Christ. Jesus is the Christ, and anyone who believes that with the Johannine import is born again.

You write:
----------
I hope you will consider this one thing that Lou has said about this: it is a ripe target for the Lordship camp to set their sights on.
----------
I just want to let you know that I have a few problems with them too! :)

You write:
----------
I know you are convinced of your position so that should not matter to you. It is a little sad to watch, though, for me, as your position becomes that target, because I am really with you on so many issues.
----------
Zane pointed me to a comforting verse at a time like this: Luke 6:26. Beware when all men speak well of you.

Your friend in whom you agree with many issues and disagree with on a few others,

Antonio

August 08, 2007 12:28 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jon,

I just wanted to tell you that I am enjoying our discussion, and I hope that it will be profitable to clarify both our positions. I understand you to be a Free Grace brother and comrade in the glorious and wonderful gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As long as you deem such a discussion profitable, I am willing to continue.

I can see that we only disagree in one area. And let me tell you this in concession: I preach the full deity of Christ.

But am confident that anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ and has given them eternal life through faith is born again, regardless of their theological blind-spots.

Antonio

August 08, 2007 12:31 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

Antonio -

I appreciate you taking the time to respond at length - it is definitely helping me understand the depth of the argument - and yes I deem that profitable!

I'm not sure I fully understand your use of the term "Christ" in the "Johannine" sense. It seems a bit contrived. I would say, regardless of Samaritan theology, that to believe Jesus is the Christ is to believe that He is the Son of God. I say regardless because:
1) We are never told the Samaritans who believed didn't accept His deity.
2) Jesus did point out to the woman that they had erroneous theology in verse 22:

22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

"Knowing what" we worship is important - so important as to be linked with salvation.

In Christ,

JL

August 08, 2007 1:08 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

So John,

I take it by your response that you indeed would believe one unsaved who

believed the Jesus was the Christ and his Savior and that he had eternal life through faith yet did not understand Christ's deity.

To me this would be an invalidation of the simple faith into Jesus that does bring everlasting life, and would make one guilty of adding their own "theological requirements" to Christ's words.

Nowhere in the text of John is there stated that one must believe that Jesus is divine in order to be saved. I don't disparage the thought. Jesus is the God-Man! And as such, through His death and resurrection, is fully qualified to impart eternal life to all who simply believe in Him.

I can't picture a person who believes that Jesus is the Christ, his Savior, and that he has eternal life through faith alone, yet will stand at the Great White throne judgement pending eternity in the lake of fire for the lack of assent and/or understanding of Christ's deity.

I can picture someone not being convinced that Jesus guarantees eternal life to the believer unless he is first persuaded that He is fully God.

I do not think that a case can be made that Christ's disciples believed in His deity when they were born again. Furthermore, with the way the disciples acted toward Jesus and as viewed in their specific statements, I find that anyone would be hard pressed to make a case that the disciples understood Jesus' divinity throughout most of His ministry. It was not until after the resurrection that they understood many things, and Thomas could say, "My Lord and My God!" I don't doubt, though, that at some time later in Christ's ministry that they had some understanding in some form of His divinity, although in what sense we cannot be dogmatic. But we must realize that they believed in Jesus for eternal life before they recognized Him as divine!

Antonio

August 08, 2007 1:39 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

"I can't picture a person who believes that Jesus is the Christ, his Savior, and that he has eternal life through faith alone, yet will stand at the Great White throne judgement pending eternity in the lake of fire for the lack of assent and/or understanding of Christ's deity."

I agree... if THAT Jesus is God the Son - not Jesus Martinez, the fish taco maker at Rubio's!

I hold that there has to be something that identifies THE Jesus Christ - THE object of saving faith - His deity is what sets Him apart from anyone else who ever lived - the name Jesus alone fails to do this.

August 08, 2007 2:48 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

Another thought:

The disciples saw THE object of saving faith face to face - perhaps, in that unique window of time when God was on the earth, one needed only to look upon Him and say "Yes, I believe in YOU". They had the advantage of identifying Christ by His tangible person - something mankind no longer has the luxury of doing......

August 08, 2007 2:54 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jon,

Many things can delimit identification of Jesus. But as this post has argued, only one UNIQUE reference is all that is needed to delimit identification.

Let me pose yet another question for you:

Let us say that I believe Jesus:

1) Was born in Bethlehem
2) Mother's name was Mary
3) Was tempted by Satan
4) Walked on water
5) Healed the sick
6) Gave sight to a blind man who had been blind from birth
7) Turned water into wine
8) Cast out demons
9) Raised Lazarus from the dead
10) said to an adulteress caught in the act, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more"
11) of the tribe of Judah
12) line of David

and believed his promise:

"Most assuredly I say to you, whosoever believes in Me has eternal life."

In other words, I believe that the Jesus who did these things is the Christ, and my Savior, and that through faith alone I have eternal life. Yet I do not know and/or understand He is God.

You would believe me unsaved and on my way to hell because I have misplaced faith. I am believing in 'another' Jesus. Such an argument is baseless (I barely know much about you, but I surely can reference you by using what little unique things I know about you, apart from any of the grander and fuller elements of your personality, character, position, etc.).

Have we not delimited the Jesus who is referenced to none other than the Jesus of the gospels?

Of course we have.

But you insist upon an additional theological requirement, one which neither Jesus nor John required, and this for the purpose of delimiting identification, not as a biblical mandate.

Your arguments haven't been based upon a biblical requirement mandating one believe that Jesus is fully God, equal to the Father in every respect. They have been framed by the idea that without Jesus' deity assented to, our faith will inevitably be misplaced, into some ethereal, figment of our imaginations, in other words, some 'other' Jesus. This reasoning is flawed for 2 reasons:

1) Jesus was believed in for eternal life apart from His deity being understood.

2) Many other unique references to Jesus can delimit our referencing of Him to the Historic Jesus who did make a promise guaranteeing eternal life to all who simply believe He has done so.

Antonio

August 08, 2007 4:54 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

Are you now deleting my comments to avoid answering the questions I asked?


LM

August 08, 2007 6:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Lou,

as Christ as my witness, nothing has been deleted here.

Just scroll up and all your stuff is there.

be blessed,

Antonio

I would love for you to answer my question though. I promised to answer all yours in verbose form.

August 08, 2007 7:15 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

Antonio -

Your last response was huge, I need to digest this some more. Thanks for taking the time to work through this!

In Christ,

JL

August 08, 2007 8:06 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jon,

in many respects, you are much more honorable than me.

I thank you for your patronage here on this site, and I appreciate you always sharpening me.

I wanted to mention that your article on "Tulip" or as you put it "Pulpit" was outstanding. I want to post it on UoG. Would you let me?

Antonio

August 08, 2007 8:43 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

Antonio -

I appreciate you brother! I would love to have you post "Pulpit" on UoG - thanks for the kind words!

In Christ,

JL

August 09, 2007 6:05 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

My apology, it appears I am in error on the deletion issue.

As for questions: I took the time to give a well thought out reply to a question you asked, which was your answer, to a question I first asked of you.

It seems to me that it is your turn to reply to the question I asked.


LM

August 09, 2007 4:12 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio,

I just want to say how much I appreciate you. I'm learning a lot from you, and I just want to say thank you.

My prayer is that God will use your writings to bring many to believe in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. Just think what it will be like when you meet those people in glory! AWESOME!!!

Praying for you!

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

August 25, 2007 5:43 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Antonio, first let me say that I think your article is excellent.

YOu said, "Jesus is the Christ, the disciples believed this, and
according to 1 John 5:1 anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born again."

My question is that this statement seems to me to mean taht one need not know the he has eternal life, for him to have been born of God. Many people believe that Jesus is the Christ who do not believe that this is all that is necessary for one to be born of God.

Gary (gkmcnees@comcast.net could you let me know if and when you answer this? Thanks, Gary)

May 25, 2008 3:33 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Antonio, first let me say that I think your article is excellent.

YOu said, "Jesus is the Christ, the disciples believed this, and
according to 1 John 5:1 anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born again."

My question is that this statement seems to me to mean taht one need not know the he has eternal life, for him to have been born of God. Many people believe that Jesus is the Christ who do not believe that this is all that is necessary for one to be born of God.

Gary (gkmcnees@comcast.net could you let me know if and when you answer this? Thanks, Gary)

May 25, 2008 3:33 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Antonio, first let me say that I think your article is excellent.

YOu said, "Jesus is the Christ, the disciples believed this, and
according to 1 John 5:1 anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born again."

My question is that this statement seems to me to mean taht one need not know the he has eternal life, for him to have been born of God. Many people believe that Jesus is the Christ who do not believe that this is all that is necessary for one to be born of God.

Gary (gkmcnees@comcast.net could you let me know if and when you answer this? Thanks, Gary)

May 25, 2008 3:33 PM  

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