Monday, December 20, 2010

More scholarly blasphemy.

"So our central question can indeed be answered negatively, and perhaps it should be. But not if the result is a far less adequate worship of God. For the worship that really constitutes Christianity and forms its distinctive contribution to the dialogue of the religions, is the worship of God as enabled by Jesus, the worship of God as revealed in and through Jesus. Christianity remains a monotheistic faith. The only one to be worshipped is the one God. But how can Christians fail to honor the one through whom it believes the only God has most fully revealed himself, the one through whom the only God has come closest to the condition of humankind? Jesus cannot fail to feature in their worship, their hymns of praise, their petitions to God. But such worship is always, should always be offered to the glory of God the Father. Such worship is always, should always be offered in the recognition that God is all in all, and that the majesty of the Lord Jesus in the end of the day expresses and affirms the majesty of the one God more clearly than anything else in the world." -James D.G. Dunn (via, bottom quotation of James McGrath's review

I don't even really know what to say in the face of this puerility. Not even John AT Robinson stooped this low in his remarkably low christology. I take it that James McGrath agrees with Dunn's basic conclusions, which also means that James McGrath cannot be taken seriously as a theologian or as a teacher of the word. Here are your gods, oh modern Protestants, here are your saviors. They can't even get their christ right. They present to you a savior who is mere physis and not the logos who became physis. There is no "I AM" here, to whom Abraham looked ahead and rejoiced. There is no Jesus who stood at the beginning with God, and who in very nature was God. Just a plain, old, home-grown human being. Oh men! Oh you men! How long will you spread this error with your endless and arrogant self-confidence? Do the creeds mean nothing to you you feckless heretics? You tout your Bible and shout "sola scriptura!" before going on to say: "John clearly felt free to attribute to Jesus words and sentiments that Jesus himself probably never uttered while on earth." In other words, the christology of John is a stumbling block to you and so you neglect it altogether. You don't have scripture, you have a truncated scripture which has been nicely cut up to shape your wretched sub-Arian theology.

Here's a task for you scholars. Go and read the middle recension of Ignatius' letters again. That's right, read Ignatius since what matters for you is history as opposed to scripture. Note how often he refers to Jesus as "God". I'll give you a reference to start with: To Polycarp, 3.2. Note how in all of his letters the controversies of the church's of Asia Minor have to do with Judaism, the flesh of Jesus, obedience or disobedience to the bishop's and presbyters, the relationship between the prophets and the gospels. In his letters the deity of Christ is assumed, not disputed. The virgin birth may have an element of controversy in the environs surrounding each church (cf. Smyrnaeans 1.1), but Christ's godhead goes uncontested and can be stated quite casually by Ignatius to all of the mixed congregations he writes to (many of which were founded by Paul or other apostles). Ephesus, Rome, Tralles, Magnesia, Smyrna, Antioch, Philadelphia...all of these congregations are the direct products of the apostolic missionary activity. And by the very start of the 2nd century they all have not one ax to grind with the divinity of Jesus. It floods their confessions. The Romans call Christ "Our God" (1.1) and the Ephesians "God come in flesh" (7.2) and the Smyrnaeans "the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible" (3.2) and so on.

Christology of this fervor, "Jesus-olatry" of this intensity does not just arise in a vacuum. But where then, is the controversy? Where are you going to fix it? Earlier than 100 A.D? Sheesh, we're getting right back into the time of the apostles. So where are you going to place it? Some sweet spot in between the deaths of the final apostles and their fellow-workers (presbyters, deacons, elders, overseers etc..) and the beginning of the ministries of Clement, Ignatius and Polycarp? All the best to you. I wish you luck. Your theory would be completely without foundation and would be based on a lack of evidence.

Nor will it do these perverted arians any good to claim that the middle recension of Ignatius' letters are corrupted. Not even the likes of Adolf von Harnack said such things. Moreover, the longer recension which includes all of his spurious epistles has the lower christology! One would think it would be exactly the opposite if MR were brought up for dispute in this case.

If Jesus is God, as the church in Asia Minor along with its bishops, its writers and its confessions stated by 100 AD, heck, my best bet is concluding that the early church worshipped Jesus.

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