Friday, March 27, 2009

The Deity of Christ - R.C. Sproul

I have attached an exert of R.C. Sproul's Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. In a previous post I employed an exert to address the issue of subordination within the Trinity. The reason for such is reference purposes - I have again engaged with debates on the issue of the Deity of Christ in the New Testament. For a person who has honestly read the New Testament, this is a non-issue as the understanding and revelation of Jesus is clear in that he is deity - but Muslims are obliged by faith in the Qur'an to ignore this.

Although many Muslim polemic sites contain 'rebuttals' (as used in the most loosest of terms) to these arguments - I have found them a useful starting point.

The confession of the deity of Christ is drawn from the manifold witness of the New Testament. As the Logos Incarnate, Christ is revealed as being not only preexistent to creation, but eternal. He is said to be in the beginning with God and also that He is God (John 1:1-3). That He is with God demands a personal distinction within the Godhead. That He is God demands inclusion in the Godhead.
Elsewhere, the New Testament ascribes terms and titles to Jesus that are clearly titles of deity. God bestows the preeminent divine title of Lord upon Him (Philippians 2:9-11). As the Son of Man, Jesus claims to be Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28) and to have authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:1-12). He is called the “Lord of glory” (James 2:1) and willingly receives worship, as when Thomas confesses, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
Paul declares that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily (Colossians 1:19) and that Jesus is higher than angels, a theme reiterated in the book of Hebrews. To worship an angel or any other creature, no matter how exalted, is to violate the biblical prohibition against idolatry. The I ams of John’s Gospel also bear witness to the identification of Christ with Deity.
In the fifth century, the Council of Chalcedon (a.d. 451) affirmed that Jesus was truly man and truly God. Jesus’ two natures, human and divine, were said to be without mixture, confusion, separation, or division.
1. The deity of Christ is a doctrine essential to Christianity.
2. The church has had crises of heresy regarding Christ’s deity in the fourth, fifth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.
3. The Council of Nicea (a.d. 325) affirmed the deity of Christ, declaring that He is of the same substance or essence as the Father and that He was not a created being.
4. The New Testament clearly affirms the deity of Christ.
5. The Council of Chalcedon (a.d. 451) declared that Jesus was truly God.
Biblical passages for reflection:
Mark 2:28
John 1:1-14
John 8:58
John 20:28
Philippians 2:9-11
Colossians 1:19
a.d. anno domini (year)
Sproul, R. C.: Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House, 1996, c1992

[Related posts: Jesus said, "I and the Father are ONE" | The Myth: The Early Christians did Not believe Christ to be Divine]

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