Is Jesus God? April 25, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
How does one classify a cult? From my perspective a cult is defined more by actions than beliefs. Cults exist when leaders “lord” over the followers. Cults are about control or manipulation. In cults, church decisions are made by a few leaders or a single leader and those decisions even bleed over into the personal lives of the followers. Cults are normally built around a personality. In other words, many churches, especially those in the independent, charismatic circles have many cultic tendencies and are, at a minimum, what I call “personality cults.”
However, the typical measuring stick used by the evangelical church to determine who is labeled a cult is the question of the deity of Christ. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are two groups that immediately come to mind. Both of these groups do not believe that Jesus is God and do not subscribe to the concept of the trinity and as a result are labeled by many as cults.
I’ve always wondered why this particular “essential belief” was so important. After all, a casual reading of the gospels would not immediately lead one to the conclusion that Jesus was God. Even the epistles contain very few references to this ever so important doctrine. Church history, also shows an evolution of this belief over a span of time.
Then why are we so dogmatic about this belief? Any logical individual can see that a case can be made using a large volume of scriptural text that Jesus is not God. In other words, there is definitely room for debate on this subject. It is NOT a clear cut conclusion.
I’m not really trying to get to an answer to this question in this particular post. I’m simple trying to ask what I feel is a valid question that many of us have probably contemplated. We’ve all done the explanations of the trinity to a skeptic using a variety of different concepts. At times, it made so much sense and at other times, I’m sure we’ve all thought deep down- who am I kidding?
If Jesus is not God, does that invalidate his teachings? Does it make them any less valuable to us? What does it do to the doctrine of the atonement?
There are so many questions and sometimes so few clear answers.