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There's Q&A at the end that includes the excellent questions:

"Why does Paul call us sons but also slaves?",
"Is there any place for self-offering to God?",
"You dislike the "Omnibeing", do you mean to say that Jesus is not all-powerful, all knowing, etc?"





RECAP:  The Trinity is not a maths problem, it’s the good news that God is love

The Trinity is the THREE-UNITY of God – God is Three Persons United in Love


How is God Three? –  Eternally distinct Persons.


How is God One?  (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Eternally united in love.  “Perichoresis” – the round dance of the Three


Use of “one” in the Bible:  Genesis 2:24; 11:6; 34:16; Exodus 24:3; 26:6; Deuteronomy 6:4; Joshua 9:2; 10:42; 2 Samuel 2:25; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 30:12; Ezra 6:24; John 17:11,20-21

God is one the way a married couple or a united church is one.


When Trinity Goes Wrong  (Heresies)...

Arianism:  Jesus is not as God as God is God!  (JWs)

Modalism: There’s one Person wearing 3 masks (Oneness Pentecostalism)

Tritheism: There are three Gods doings their own thing.  (Mormons)

Fourth Thing: Having a “God” beneath or beyond the Persons.  (Shamrock)


Our biggest problem:

We try to reconcile the omnibeing with the Trinity.

We need to replace the omnibeing with the Trinity.


The Roles of the Persons

2 Corinthians 13:14
Isaiah 11:1-5; Is 42:1-4; Is 48:12-16; Is 61:1-3


The Father is the Loving Sender / Initiator

John 3:16, 35; 1 John 4:8-9


The Son is the Beloved and Obedient Sent-One / Executor

Psalm 40:7-8: John 5:30


The Spirit is the Personal Empowerer / Perfector / Applier

Acts 10:38; Romans 8:14-16

All things are FROM the Father, THROUGH the Son, BY THE POWER OF the Spirit.


What does it mean that the Son is “eternally begotten”?

By the Spirit and through the Son, God is eternally outgoing

Life-giving, Communicating, Shining, Loving


Richard Sibbes: “God’s goodness is a communicative, spreading goodness. . . . If God had not a communicative, spreading goodness, he would never have created the world.  The Father, Son and Holy Ghost were happy in themselves and enjoyed one another before the world was.  But that God delights to communicate and spread his goodness, there had never been a creation nor a redemption.  God useth his creatures not for defect of power, that he can do nothing without them, but for the spreading of his goodness.”


If God is eternally outgoing, what is “godliness”, “faith”, “sin”, the Christian life?

“The Christian lives far above themselves in Christ through faith and far beneath themselves in their neighbour through love.”  (Martin Luther)

“God does not need our good works, our neighbour does.”  (Martin Luther)

Philippians 2:1-18
:  An outgoing God makes for an outgoing people

CONCLUSION:  Look again to Christ.  Be filled by His Spirit.  Know the Life-Giving Father.  And overflow to the world.  This is our participation in the divine nature!










RECAP:  Knowing God is the stuff of life – (John 17:3; 2 Peter 1:1-11)


We know God in Jesus – He is the Word, the Image, the Way, Truth and Life of God

Therefore it’s Jesus who introduces us to an otherwise invisible Father.

Jesus shows us God’s true glory, lordship, majesty, strength, wisdom and holiness.


THIS WEEK:  We will directly study a truth we’ve been circling around: The Trinity

We do this because understanding Trinity is the only way to understand Jesus:

Jesus is most commonly called “The Christ, the Son of God.”

Christ means “Anointed with the Holy Spirit.”

Son of God means “Eternally begotten of the Father.”


Therefore to know Jesus is to be introduced to two other Persons


Knowing Jesus means knowing Trinity - knowing Trinity means knowing Jesus


GALATIANS 3:26-4:7

The difference between slaves and sons (4:1-3):

Slaves earn, perform, choose, decide, obey.

Sons rest, enjoy, depend, rely, trust.

Slaves have a Slave-driver over them.

Sons have a Father over them.

Slaves look to their performance to know what they’re worth.

Sons look to their Father’s love know what they’re worth.


What was God doing in the beginning?

They were enjoying each other’s company!  (John 17:24)

NOT the Omnibeing – the God of Jesus is not the god of the philosophers.


The Trinity – Three Persons United in Love  (Galatians 4:4-6)

Serving our God is very different!

God the Son becomes God our Brother (v4)

He works out our salvation in our name and on our behalf (v5)

We are “clothed in Him”


Clothed in Christ  (Galatians 3:26ff)

Like Genesis 3

Like Genesis 27


Filled with the Spirit  (Galatians 4:6)

He is the Spirit of Adoption – the Spirit of the Son

He sweeps us up into the Son’s communion with the Father


Calling on our Father  (Galatians 4:6-7)

Through the Spirit, we can call God Most High what Jesus calls Him: Abba!

And we now inherit from Him as true sons!


Now we ‘participate in the divine nature.’  (2 Peter 1:4)


If God was not Trinity then

God is not Father...  He can only be a Slave-master

Jesus is not Divine...  He can only be an Example

The Spirit is not a Person...  He can only be a Force


But no – God is my Father.  He loves me with an everlasting love.

Jesus is my Brother.  He brings me into an unbreakable fellowship.

The Spirit is my Comforter.  He personally reassures me of my place in God!


The Trinity is NOT a maths problem.

It’s the good news that God is Love.  And we’re invited in!










Everyone has a god

Everyone turns to something as a source of meaning, purpose & satisfaction

The question for Christian and non-Christian is always “Which God?”

The Christian responds: The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus is the Image of the invisible God.  (Colossians 1:15)

Jesus is God-sized

God is Jesus-shaped


BUT WAIT... Is Jesus really THE Image of the invisible God?

Are there alternative routes to knowing God??



Proverbs 3:5-7
Romans 8:7
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
2 Corinthians 4:4
Colossians 1:21
Colossians 2:8

The god of philosophy looks nothing like the God of the Cross!



Numbers 33:50-53; Deut 7:1-6; 12:1-3; 29:16-18; 32:15-21; 1 Kings 18:21-40; Psalm 96:4-5; 106:35-40; Isaiah 41:21-24; 44:6-26; Jeremiah 16:19-21; Romans 1:23-25; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 10:20.

The gods of the religions look nothing like the God of the Cross!


Old Testament

John 1:1
John 1:18
John 8:56-58
John 12:38-41
John 5:37-46


Jesus has always been the Way to God

Abraham, Moses and Isaiah trusted Christ.

Jesus simply is the Lord God of Israel.



Psalm 19:1-6
Romans 1:16-20
Romans 10:17ff
Colossians 1:23
John 12:24
Revelation 5:11-14

Jesus is Lord – Creation’s Voice Proclaims It!

The creation reveals a very great deal about God

It does so by revealing Christ!

But our eyes must be opened thru the Spirit and by the Word.


Martin Luther:  Theology of Glory vs Theology of the Cross

The Cross Alone is our Theology
The Cross Judges Everything

The cross reveals God’s glory, lordship, majesty, strength, wisdom and holiness


Revelation 5; 7:17 – The Lord on the Cross is the Lamb on the Throne


Next week we’ll study the triune God.  The Trinity is not a maths problem or an ancient riddle.  It’s the good news that God is love.  And we’re invited in!



March is Trinity month!  So I thought for Thawed-out Thursday I'd link to some older Trinity posts...


God is not revealed in His Twin

The Father is perfectly revealed, not by His Twin, not by a Clone, but by Someone who is His Complement.  The Father is revealed in His Son, the Firstborn, His Image, His right-hand Man-Priest.  Self-differentiation is at the heart of God’s revelation.  Jesus is not the same as His Father and yet fully reveals Him. More than this – this difference is of the essence of the divine self-disclosure.  Self-differentiation in communion is the being of God – all of this is perfectly revealed in, by and through Jesus of Nazareth....


Nicene Trinitarianism

The Creed has no interest in defining an ousia (being) of God first and then assigning this essence to each of the Persons.  The Creed does not have a lengthy prologue before discussing the Father, Son and Spirit.  It simply unfolds the being of God as the interplay of these Persons in their roles and relations...

The vital phrase which calls Jesus "of one being with the Father" does not follow a prior discussion of "the being of God."  Nicea does not first consider a general essence of deity and then apply it to Jesus.  No the very first mention of "being" is in the relationship of Father and Son.

As TF Torrance says in Trinitarian Faith, "The Father/Son relationship falls within the one being of God."  This oneness upholds the distinction (as well as unity) of Father and Son...

There are genuine differences in Persons that in no way compromise their equality of divinity. There is never a time when the Son is not "one being" with the Father nor is there a time when the Son is not begotten of His Father. Therefore there is not a being of the Father that could ever be separately conceived and then assigned in equal measure to Father, Son and Spirit. Instead the being of God is a mutually constituting communion in which Father, Son and Spirit share.  The being of the Trinity consists in three Persons who are one with each other.  While Nicea does not say explicitly that the being is the communion of Persons, it points decidedly in this direction...

The divine nature is constituted by difference, distinction, mutuality, reciprocity – it is a divine life (a dance even!) not a divine stuff.


Nicea Comes Before Chalcedon

...Starkly put, who cares if the eternal Son is God if we can’t say the same of Jesus of Nazareth!  It’s Jesus of Nazareth who says ‘If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.’ (John 14:9)  It’s Jesus of Nazareth who says ‘Son your sins are forgiven.’ (Mark 2:5)  It’s the Man Jesus who lives our life and dies our death.  If salvation is truly from the LORD then it has to be Jesus ‘born of the virgin Mary and suffered under Pontius Pilate’ who is declared fully God.  Nicea necessarily and clearly does this.

And what does this mean?  It means that before we’ve even gotten to Chalcedon we’ve affirmed that the Person of Jesus who is fully man and fully God exists entirely within the circle of divine fellowship which constitutes the being of God.  Jesus the Man is of one being with the Father.  If we could not affirm this then the revelation of Jesus would not be the revelation of God (contra John 14).  If we could not affirm this then the salvation of Jesus would not be the salvation of God (contra Mark 2).  But no, Jesus and the Father are one – not simply ‘the Son’ and the Father...

...Thus His full humanity in no way contradicts His full deity.  The Man Jesus exists fully and without remainder within the circle of divine life.  Chalcedon upholds the full integrity of Christ’s humanity, the complete perfection of His divinity, the absolute unity of His Person.  What Chalcedon does not say, and what it must never be made to say, is that there is a humanity to Jesus that is beyond or outside the divine homoousios.  Nicea has for all time assured us that the Man Jesus fully participates in the circle of triune fellowship which is the divine nature.


Arianism and Modalism: Falling Off Either Side of the Wrong Horse

...With Arianism and Modalism, Jesus gets either squashed down or squished in.  When the "One God" is defined without Jesus, He will always lose out.  Arius will allow Him to be Jesus and not God, Sabellius will allow Him to be God and not Jesus.  But fundamentally these errors are not so different because they both assume a pre-conceived ‘One God’ before they think of Christ.

This leaves us no option but to begin with a doctrine of God that expressly includes the mutual relations of Father and Son.  The "One God" must accommodate relationship from the outset.  Nothing else will allow Jesus to be Jesus and God.


Trinity is not a nuance.

When we unfold the trinitarian life of God in His gospel work, we’re not simply adding a level of detail to functionally unitarian ‘God’-speak.  Trinity is not just a nuancing of more basic truths.  To speak of trinity is to uncover a logic which alters the way we conceive of everything, from the ground up.


Trinity and unity?

Have you ever heard someone say:

“Ah yes you’re emphasising the trinity.  That’s well and good.  But let’s not forget the unity of God.”

And I say…. huh!?

The trinity is the unity of God!!  Trinity means tri-unity.  In that one word (that one doctrine) we have both the oneness and the threeness of God.  God is three Persons united.  That’s what trinity means.  Trinity gives us everything we need to articulate the One and the Three...


The Trinitarian Old Testament

Here are 24 OT Scriptures that must be understood multi-Personally or they are misunderstood...

My point is not that the OT betrays hints, shapes and shadows of triune structure,

My point is not that NT eyes can see trinitarian themes in the OT,

My point is not that we go back as Christians and now retrospectively read the trinity into the OT,

My point is not that the OT gives us partial suggestions of trinitarian life that are then developed by NT fulfillment,

My point is that these texts read on their own terms and in their own context (as the Jewish, Hebrew Scriptures that they are) demand to be understood as the revelation of a multi-Personal God.  The only proper way to understand these texts is as trinitarian revelation.  These texts are either to be understood triunely or they are mis-understood – on their own terms or any others...


Click the Trinity tag for over a hundred other posts.

And keep reading Dan's survey of Trinitarian theology in the 20th century.



Session 1 here.

Session 2 text 

Session 2 audio




We become like what we worship (Psalm 115:8)

The trouble is, our minds are endless factories of idols (John Calvin)

Understanding the living God is the very stuff of life (John 17:3; 2 Peter 1:2-3)


Everyone has a god – we all look to sources of meaning / protection / satisfaction

The question is not: Do you believe in God? The question is: "Which God do you believe in?"

It’s a god eat god world out there and it’s every god for himself!


So which God do we believe in?  That’s our topic for tonight...



When you imagine God what do you picture?


When you imagine Jesus, what do you picture?


When God imagines you, what does He picture?



Colossians 1:15-23

When you imagine God what do you picture?

Verse 15 – He’s invisible.

Verse 21 – We’ve been alienated

But He does have an Image!


We think “God” is obvious, we’re uncertain of Jesus.

In the Bible it’s the other way around: God is unknown unless Jesus reveals Him.


Tom Torrance: The biggest question soldiers asked: “Is God really like Jesus?

Lord Byron: “If God isn’t like Jesus, He ought to be.”


When you imagine Jesus, what do you picture?

 Verses 15-20 – the Cosmic Christ!


Sometimes people think of Christ alone as narrow, is it narrow?

It’s only as narrow as Christ is.  And He is vast!



When God imagines you, what does He picture?

We imagine a dimmer switch. Actually it’s on or off...

OFF: v21 – alienated, enemy, evil

ON: v22 – holy, without blemish, free from accusation.

Verse 23: Keep returning to verse 22!!


SUMMARY:  Jesus is God-sized.  God is Jesus-shaped.  Every day we need to re-imagine God according to His true Image: Jesus!  When we see who He is, then we understand our true position, loved by God, clothed in Christ, filled by His Spirit.



A five part Lenten Course for Hailsham Churches (much of which is taken from Outgoing)

Week 1: Which God? (notes below...)

Week 2: The Christ-like God

Week 3: The Cross-shaped God

Week 4: The Triune God

Week 5: The Outgoing God


Week 1: Which God?





"The human mind is, so to speak, a perpetual forge of idols."  John Calvin

On the other hand, knowing God is eternal life:  John 17:3; 2 Peter 1:2-3


How false gods work:  Psalm 115

You make them like you (they serve you)
They make you like them (you serve them)


Jeremiah 2:10-14

Far Idols – the great powers running the world

Near Idols – the tangible things I trust in


DISCUSS:  Who would you rather speak to: “Alan the Atheist” or “Theo the Theist”?  What are pros and cons of each?


“What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart... That upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.” (Martin Luther)

The world is not divided up into believers and unbelievers...

... It’s a god eat god world out there and it’s every god for himself.


How do we identify our ultimate beliefs?

“What was there in the beginning?”






Over the next four weeks we’re going to look at how we can say this:

SUMMARY:  Everyone has a god.  In fact we’ve all got several – near idols and far idols.  But those false gods are dehumanizing leeches that don’t give life, they suck the life out of us.  We must always ask Which God?  And we must return to the Source.  We need to return to JESUS.  In the words of the Apostle John: Jesus is the true God and eternal life.  (1 John 5:20)


Adapted from this older post.

Deconversion is essential to the religious liberty of every man, woman and child.  We must deconvert from every god that man has imagined.   If humanity is to be free from the tyrannical rule of God: God must die.  This is the most basic claim of orthodox Christianity.

Christopher Hitchens often made the following kinds of remarks about religion's "permanent, unalterable dictatorship":


An eternal North Korea is, he says, religion's idea of heaven.  But it's Hitchens' idea of hell (probably ours too!).

But which God is he imagining ruling over this kingdom of heaven?  He's imagining a greedy dictator, a cosmic leech, an almighty sink-hole of need.  Of course, if that were true, eternity would feel like a drain!  Our lives on earth would be bad enough.

This was the tyranny that Dan Barker laboured under - now president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  He speaks of his past in evangelical Christianity here:

I was a "doer of the word and not a hearer only." I went to a Christian college, majored in Religion/Philosophy, became ordained and served in a pastoral capacity in three California churches. I personally led many people to Jesus Christ, and encouraged many young people to consider full-time Christian service.

But one day he de-converted to find liberation from this Almighty Surveillance System:

"For my whole life there had been this giant eyeball looking at me, this god, this holy spirit, this church history, and this Bible. And not only everything I did but everything I thought was being judged: Was God pleased? I realized that that wasn't there anymore. It occurred to me, 'I own these thoughts. Nobody knows what I'm thinking right now. There's no fear of hell, no fear of judgment, I don't have to be right or wrong, I can just be me.'" (Source)

Once God was dead, Barker was free.  It was "exhilarating", he said.  You can imagine it was something of a Hallelujah moment.  The death of God always is!  Mischievously, I wonder whether Barker wishes such exultation could go on forever...

It's interesting that Barker had this revelation while out in the beauty of nature and looking up at the 'heavens'.  I mention his location because it's very similar to John Bunyan's de-conversion experience, three centuries earlier.

He too was labouring under the feeling that heaven was a spiritual North Korea.  He felt the "giant eyeball" very keenly and it was a heavy oppression.  But one day he also de-converted from his old religion...

"As I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience . . . suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, "Thy righteousness is in heaven"; and, methought withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God's right hand, there, I say, is my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was a-doing, God could not say of me, He wants [lacks] my righteousness, for that was just before him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday and today for ever (Heb. 13:8)."

"Now did my chains fall from my legs indeed, I was loosed from my affliction and irons, my temptations also fled away, so that from that time, those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me; now also went I home rejoicing for the grace and love of God."

Notice the exhilarating effect of the death of God!  When Bunyan grasps the implications of God the Lamb he finds instant freedom from religious afflictions and even from "those dreadful scriptures of God."  Even Bunyan's language mirrors the de-conversion experiences related so often on today's atheist websites.

I've met many an atheists on the internet - especially those from the kinds of religious environments that Bunyan experienced in the 17th century.  Countless times I've heard de-conversion stories about finding release from a greedy god, from judgementalism, from hypocrisy, from the guilt, shame and fear of their religious upbringing.  I feel their pain.  I also grew up in church.  I also laboured under the tyranny of an imagined god.  I also felt the eye-ball in the sky.  I also found release in de-conversion.

But there's two kinds of de-conversion.  There are two kinds of death-of-God experience.

Bunyan de-converts from a God-of-Demand and finds a God-Who-Is-Giver.  The death of God means, for Bunyan, looking to the cross.  There He sees the LORD Jesus giving Himself utterly - pouring out His life for the world.  There He sees that God is not greedy - God is Giver.  This is the vision that changes him.

Barker de-converts from a God-of-Demand and finds, what?  Only other powers.  Selfish powers.  Uncaring powers.  What lies 'at bottom' in this universe in the atheist vision?  'Blind, pitiless indifference' if you ask Dawkins.  Barker is de-converted towards powers that will only judge and crush us in the end.

His exhilaration can only be short-lived.  He's only traded one tyranny for another.  But with Jesus, the death of God is our salvation.  And it might just make you want to sing "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain." (Revelation 5:12).  That's the song of heaven - because heaven is a celebration of the grace, not the greed, of God.

So, as we've seen, God does not treat the world as a tool to be used.  He's not in the whole creation-salvation thing for what He can get out of it.  He's in it in order to pour Himself out.  This is His glory - it is His eternal nature to love the other.  That's what it means to say He creates for His glory.  i.e. He creates that He might sacrifice and give of Himself (Revelation 13:8).  In other words God is for us.  Really and utterly and to the depths of His being, the living God is for us.  This isn't just window-dressing for a more fundamental narcissism.  It is God's uncreated and eternal glory to live for the other.

Once we've grasped this, we've learnt the secret of life.  Kant wasn't so far off really.  Treating people as ends in themselves is absolutely right and good.  If even God does it, then it must be the good life.  But such living is the fruit of the gospel.  It's the good life that comes about with this good God.

Yet it runs counter to all the ways we're tempted to think and act in the world.  Here are some of my temptations to treat things as means rather than ends in themselves...


Like a gold-digging wife, I eye  up Jesus in terms of the heavenly blessings He has to His name.  I conceive of salvation as "escape from hell, forgiveness of sins, feelings of love, assurance and purpose..." and I think of Christ crucified as the mechanism that secures these ultimate benefits.  I use Jesus to serve myself.  But I forget that He serves me.  And that He is salvation Himself!


I can use godliness as a means - and not just for "financial gain" (1 Timothy 6:5). I have all sorts of motivations for "being godly" - salvation, self-righteousness, status, self-protection.  And so, I don't do good "for righteousness' sake" (Matthew 5:10), I do it for my sake.  Yet in all this I forget that godliness with contentment is itself great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).  There's much truth to the saying "a good deed is it's own reward."


I move out into the world to "gain converts".  Every friend has a target on their back.  Every act and engagement is calculated according to its evangelistic potential.  I love unbelievers only to the degree that they are winnable to the gospel.  Essentially I conceive of mission as "gaining converts" rather than "offering Christ."  Much of this stems from the delusion that I can "give the growth" when all I'm called to is "scattering the seed."


I enter into ministry for "shameful gain" (1 Peter 5:2-3).  Perhaps for money.  Perhaps to seem like a big-shot. Perhaps to exercise authority over others.  Perhaps to escape into a nice little ecclesiastical life.  But Paul had it right when he identified his flock as his crown (Phil 4:1; 2 Thes 2:19).  The people to whom he ministered were his joy.  They were the gain which he saw in all his ministry.


I preach the gospel in order to give people law.  I use the gospel as a spoonful of sugar.  It helps the medicine of arduous "discipleship" go down.  "We mustn't forget grace..." I say at the start of the sermon.  And then lay down the law.  But in doing so I'm essentially saying that Jesus is a means towards something more vital - moral rectitude.  What would pastoring look like if my ultimate goal was to give away Christ for free?  (1 Corinthians 9:18)


Can you think of other realms in which we live conditionally and suffer for it?  How does the self-giving life of the Trinity release us into living free?



Jonathan Edwards here speaks of God's pleasure in creation:

"the pleasure God hath in those things which have been mentioned, is rather a pleasure in diffusing and communicating to, than in receiving from, the creature. Surely, it is no argument of indigence [i.e. neediness] in God that he is inclined to communicate of his infinite fullness. It is no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain, that it is inclined to overflow."

God creates from fullness not need.  His glory is not about demanding but giving.  From the Father's eternal begetting of the Son comes the logic of creation's in-time manufacture.  Creation is not the first time God has to relate to another.  Instead, creation finds its origin in His already-outgoing nature.

Creation is, therefore, birthed in self-giving love, not willed out of any necessity.  We can rest assured - God has not called us forth to gain from us, but to give to us.  In this sense we are "created for His glory."  We exist precisely because it is His glorious nature to give life.

The Father has eternally poured life and blessings onto and into His Son by the Spirit.  He continues to express this glory by pouring out life to the world through His Christ.  In this way creation will be glorified, as the Lord gives of Himself, even to the depths of the cross.

Or to say it how Jesus did: "He who loses his life will find it." (Luke 17:33).  First it is God who finds His life in losing it.  He is who He is as He gives Himself away for the world.  Therefore Jesus does not call us into anything He hasn't eternally and originally been part of.  But now, through His invitation, we get to share in it.  Glory!


When preaching on John 1:1-2 (audio here), my last two points were this:

Jesus is God-sized


God is Jesus-shaped

I wonder whether much of our evangelism is aimed at persuading people of point number one.  And I wonder whether that emphasis, if divorced from the second point, is quite dangerous.

Here's what I mean - when we tell an unbeliever that Jesus is God, this is what they hear:  "You know the god of the pub discussion - the distant, arm-chair deity, uninvolved and uncaring?  Actually Jesus is that guy!"

"Oh" says the unbeliever.  "Because Jesus looks quite different to that."

"Yeah, I know" we say.  "But you need to look past all that stuff.  Deep down he's really 'the god you've always believed in' All that other stuff is just Jesus' human nature.  Yeah, that's like window-dressing.  Deep down he's The Big Guy."

And what's the result?  Well how many Christian testimonies run something like this...

"I have always believed in some kind of god.  And then I met Jesus.  And the preacher told me that Jesus is the god-I-always-believed-in.  So now I've added faith in Jesus to my bedrock belief in a deity."

Do you see what's happened here?  Some supposed natural knowledge of God is determining a person's view of Christ and determining it from the outset.

It should be the other way around.  Knowledge of Jesus should revolutionize our view of God. We should tell people not only that Jesus is God-sized, we should tell them that God is entirely Jesus-shaped.  Let's introduce them to the God they didn't know.  Let's offer them the Christ-like God.

As Archbishop Michael Ramsey once said (riffing on 1 John 1:5): "God is Christlike, and in Him there is no unchristlikeness at all."



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