KMac thank you for input on this. So when we took them through the scriptures that affirm the Deity of Christ they were reluctant to accept that that’s what those verses actually in fact taught. They claimed that that was just someone’s opinion on what they taught. I showed them the correlation between John 1:1-14 and Genesis 1.
I explained to them that the “Word” is “Logos” in the Greek and that in this particular context its describing a “Person” and that that person is Jesus Christ Himself. I pointed out that He was “In the beginning” which signifies that He was already in existence before the beginning of anything. Then I pointed out the personal distinction made when it says “And the Word was with God”.
I explained that that signifies that what is being described here is a relational quality that distinguishes one particular aspect of personhood from another. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father. Then it says and the Word “Was God”. This is where the confusion began to set in for them.
When we attempted to explain the difference between “Essence”, which is the very nature of a thing that has very particular attributes and characteristics, and “Persons” which describes personal distinctions within the Godhead they were not inclined to really try and think it through themselves. They just kept saying that’s mans opinion. They easily accepted that Gods “Essence” refers to “What” He is, which is “One Being”. But when we said He is “Three in Persons” they quickly rejected that notion and said that it doesn’t make any sense. They think it is " Three Gods" which they rightly reject as being true.
They believe that God the Father created Jesus to do His work and that He came simply to teach. They dont seem to have any real understanding of the true gospel message.
One of them was raised Roman Catholic and he states that his Priest taught them that Jesus Christ is just the “Son Of God” but not God Himself. The other grew up in a Christian home and just simply has been taught bad theology and has been clearly influenced by the “Easy Beliveism” that has been so persuasive and influential in many of our modern churches.
I explained to the one who was raised Roman Catholic that I dont know what type of theology his priest was teaching but it was not Roman Catholic Theology because they “Affirm” the Deity of Christ. He responded by saying they don’t. I did not push the issue much further after that because it was clear that he was simply misled and has not really ever engaged in any type of serious study.
I dont mean that in a derogatory way. I just mean that it is evident when someone has never studied to find the answers themselves. I did not tell him that because I did not want to offend him or start an argument.
This whole issue is why I posted the question “Did Jesus Create His Own Physical Body” and is also why I weighed in on some other topics in different threads to try and find a way to better respond to both of these men and truly help them to understand and remove the barriers and roadblocks to their beliefs.
I know the Holy Spirit is Who “Regenerates” them and seals them for the day of redemption. Our logic and reason and theological answers dont perform that divine act. But I also know God uses these other methods to open peoples hearts and minds in order to become receptive to the truth.
“What’s so good about their gospel that they think that saves them?” My honest opinion on that is I dont know. They cant explain it. Their works dont and they seem to know that much. But they seem to think that just believing in the existence of God the Father is enough. Its complicated. They do think Jesus died for their sins but they dont think He is God.
They don’t seem to grasp that only God is capable of doing such a thing. This has actually been a common experience in many conversations I have with both people who claim to be Christian’s and people who are not Christian’s. Its commonplace to find that people dont actually know what they believe! They know that they believe “Something” but they tend to believe more so in their “belief” itself than the “Actual Thing” their claiming to “Believe In”.
In other words it’s purely subjective with no objective facts to support it whatsoever and most people I find are completely fine with that because it makes them “Comfortable”. That is “Another Gospel” of the most subtle and self-decptive form. The task that we have as Christian’s in the era we live in is colossal.
Engaging in these difficult conversations is critical and at times discouraging. But if we are to proclaim the “True Gospel” of Jesus Christ it “MUST” be done. I need your help Kmac! I need all of your guys’ help.
I’m just a regular guy. I am not trained in this. I haven’t gone to school. I’ve learned a great deal from the materials RZIM provides, as well as Ligonier ministries and others but I cant quite reach others in the depth and magnitude you all can. Sorry for the long response. I look forward to hearing more from you. Thank you and God bless.