October 23, 2019
once again to IT'S IN THE BIBLE. I'm Brother Billy.
John 5:31 Jesus notes the legal precept, If I testify about
myself, my witness is not valid.
in 2 Timothy 3:16 the Bible does bear witness to itself, declaring
that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine.
course, good Christians know the Holy Scriptures from cover to
cover. But if parts of God's Word disagree with other parts,
which are we to believe?
we're going to discuss some of the issues that are raised in the
third chapter of Jesus, Interrupted, a 2009 book by New
Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman.
on this program I interview someone from Biblical times. Once
I talked with a penguin. But today's guests are two modern-day Christians.
makes them unusual is this: Although they're familiar with
most of the Bible, they've somehow missed three of the four
Gospels! Each has read only one.
on the left is Matt, who has read only the Gospel according to
Matthew, his namesake.
everyone. My words will appear on your screen in this magenta
color. M for magenta, and M for Matt.
over here on the right is his cousin Johnny. He also knows
only one Gospel, the one attributed to his namesake John.
words will be in green. J for jade green, and J for Johnny.
well. Matt, since your Gospel begins the New Testament, you
can begin our discussion. My first question is a very basic
one: Who was Jesus?
was the fulfillment of prophecy.
right. IT'S IN THE BIBLE, but where specifically?
Isaiah announced in chapter 7, verse 14, that a virgin is with
child, and she will give birth to a son and call him
Emmanuel. In Hebrew, that means God Is With Us.
in the 8th century BC Isaiah was using poetic language to reassure
his people that God was with them and would soon defeat their
enemies. Isaiah's prediction in verse 16 was that the
territories of those two kings, before whom you now cringe in fear,
will lie desolate. And this would happen within a few
years, before a symbolic newborn boy grew up.
his original manuscript didn't use the Hebrew word bethulah,
virgin. It used alma, young
woman. Much later, Matthew's Gospel quoted from a Greek
translation where alma was rendered as parthenos virgin.
the hypothetical young woman's son merely represented a short span
of time. He was not identified as a savior or the Messiah.
Nor was he named Jesus. The young woman called him Emmanuel.
really stretching here, Matt, if you want to apply Isaiah's words to
Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus did not come into existence when He was born of a woman!
yes, Johnny, I suppose that's true. As evangelicals, we must
believe he came into existence nine months earlier than that, when
his mother's ovum was fertilized by the Holy Spirit.
He already existed at the Creation! IT'S IN THE BIBLE.
He was with God at the Beginning, and without Him nothing was
created. The Word was in God's Presence, and what God was, the
Word was. Then, though not born of human flesh, the Word became
flesh and made His home among us.
Johnny, kings from the east came to pay homage to a newborn king.
At least that's what I read in my Gospel. Why else would we
know nothing about this Christmas. There's nothing
childish in the Gospel I read. There appeared a man
named John who said, After me there comes a man
who ranks ahead of me. Before I was born, he already was.
we should move on. Here's another basic question: What
did Jesus preach?
The time has come, and the kingdom of Heaven is near! (Mt
That is to say, a new age will be here soon. God will overthrow
the evil powers that be and rule the world Himself.
Then the Son of Man will gather every person who has failed to
renounce his sinful ways, and these will be thrown into the blazing
furnace where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. (Mt
Therefore people must get ready. They must repent.
Repent? Contrition is not necessary. It
was not to judge the world that God sent his Son, but to save
the world. No one who puts his faith in Him comes under
that God's Son requires is belief. Whosoever believeth in
Him shall have eternal life. (Jn
Johnny, Jesus taught his followers that before the end of the age,
they needed to reject evil and align themselves with good. If
one town wouldn't join them in repenting, they should move on to
another. Before they had gone through all the towns of Israel,
the Son of Man would come. (Mt
Son of Man, you say? Not the only-begotten Son of God?
we're all sons of God our Father, who is in Heaven. But
the Son of Man is how Jesus described
himself. The sower of the good seed is the Son of
wasn't on God's level. He did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped, according to Philippians 2:6. He did
not even consider himself equal to God's Holy Spirit.
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be
forgiven; but if anyone speaks against the Holy Spirit, for him there
will be no forgiveness. (Mt
thus we worship the Trinity, three separate persons in one
Godhead. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the
you believe in the Holy Trinity, Matt? As it was in the
Beginning, is now, and ever shall be?
just quoting what Jesus said.
in my Gospel, Jesus doesn't go on and on about some Kingdom off in
the future. He tells us about Himself! Before
Abraham was, I am. (Jn
I and the Father are one. (Jn
I am the Bread of life. (Jn
I am the Light of the world. (Jn
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the
Father but by Me. (Jn
Gospel claims that Jesus is equal to the Father? Mine doesn't.
certainly more than a mere Jewish preacher, Matt!
Matt, if your view had prevailed in antiquity and Jesus never came
to be seen as divine, he would have mattered only to his fellow
Jews. His followers would have remained a Jewish sect with
their own interpretation of the Scriptures, like the Pharisees and
the Sadducees. But once Jesus was regarded as God, non-Jewish
people the Gentiles could worship him. Eventually
he could take the place of their other gods, and the old pagan
pantheon could be forgotten.
Professor Ehrman has written, The debates over who Christ
really was came to culmination in the early 4th century. The
Nicene Creed is clear that Christ is God. He is not the same as
God the Father, but he is not at all subordinate to him. If
Jesus had remained a crucified Jew, and not God, Christianity would
never have become the religion of Rome. We would not have had
the history of the West.
that the people of the world have to do is to have faith in Jesus,
and He will give us an eternal home in Heaven. (Jn
if I may, you're speaking of a vertical worldview.
There's a layered dualism. We're down here on Earth, waiting to
be rescued by the Word descending from Heaven.
Matt, you're describing a horizontal concept. There's a
timeline across the page, two ages of this world. The current
age will be followed by a better age to come.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth
just as thy will is done in Heaven. (Mt
we seem to be at cross purposes about that. However, we do
need to move on. We have time for one more question: Why
did Jesus perform miracles?
didn't! He performed signs, to prove that He was
God. He said, Unless you see signs and wonders, you will
He fed the five thousand, people realized He must be the Messiah.
While restoring a man's sight, He explained why the man was born
blind: so that God's power might be displayed in curing
Before raising Lazarus from the dead, He prayed for the sake of
the people standing around, that they may believe it was You who sent
did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, we read
at the end of the Gospel. These are written so that you
may believe that Jesus is the Son of God! (Jn
disagree, Johnny. Jesus didn't produce signs as
proof of his identity. All that's required is faith.
Faith is the evidence of things we cannot see, according to the 11th
chapter of Hebrews.
Matt, if we have proof we have no need of faith. It's unnecessary.
need of faith? Come on, guys, faith and hope are
everything! St. Paul pointed out, Hope that is seen is no
hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? We
walk by faith, not by sight. IT'S IN THE BIBLE, Romans
8:24 and 2 Corinthians 5:7.
the same, Brother Billy, walking blindly by faith can be dangerous.
If a blind man
leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.
true! Faith is untrustworthy. We need proof. We
we don't. Jesus said, An evil and adulterous generation
asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the
sign of the prophet Jonah. (Mt
lay in the belly of the fish for three days, and Jesus would lie in
the grave for three days.
agree, that was a sign. But while he was alive, Jesus
performed not signs but miracles, not to prove he was God but
to show the kingdom of God was at hand.
the Baptist sent to ask whether the long-awaited Messiah had come,
and Jesus replied, Tell him what you hear and see.
He cited the ongoing miracles. The blind are receiving
their sight, the deaf are recovering their hearing, the lame are
walking, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised, and the poor
have good news brought to them. (Mt
well, it seems that we have a basic difference of opinion about
Jesus: who he was, what he preached, why he did marvelous things.
he a man performing miracles to show that a better time was on the
way, or was he God using signs as evidence of His Divinity?
we'll never be able to completely harmonize this contradiction
between the horizontal and the vertical. However, we must admit
that IT'S IN THE BIBLE.
IT'S IN THE BIBLE conversations: