Saturday, October 17, 2015

Knowing How You Know Something

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Years ago, I remember attending an R.C. Sproul Jr camp here in New Zealand. Though I may not agree with his theology, he did have much to offer. He talked about the importance of knowing how you know something (Epistemology). "Knowing how you know something" is something that sometimes we as members of today's society can ignore due to fear or laziness. However, knowing how you know is an important exercise that challenges dangerous thinking. There is safety in hearing and wrestling with multiple interpretations. Not only is it important to wrestle with various interpretations, but it is also important to formulate narratives for which we live. This post will address the value of challenging Groupthink in Christianity, but also emphasising the importance of narratives or beliefs that we live by.

Dangers of Groupthink

So what on earth is important about needing to know how we know something? Many movements throughout history were characterised by "groupthink", which is the concept that people tend to fall into groups and believe something just because it is the norm. We may not feel like we accept group thought just because it is the norm, but because there is safety in the group. We think that because everyone else thinks so it must be true. That is why it takes so long for societies to change. Once we get into a pattern of thinking, it can be hard to be free from that linear thinking.

Christianity is no exception from this problem, and yes, I call it a problem. It is a problem because we can so tightly hold to one particular way of thinking and entertaining other ideas may threaten our perceived reality. Questioning our perceived reality is a scary exercise but an exercise that does not need to bring fear. Alternatively, it should be a scary thought to believe in somethings without questioning why we believe it. For example, look at the Crusades, Nazis, racism in America, or even stereotypes we should be aware of in New Zealand. All of these groupthink situations create dangerous movements that do not lead to truth but away from it. 

What we believe can depend on the time that we are born in. Christianity is rich in diverse thought over the last two thousand years. Today, because people are less isolated due to globalisation, we are opened to various viewpoints. This causes growth in varying beliefs. Yet because there are so many various beliefs this can also cause some of us to essentially give up in looking at what others think - especially in our fast paced world that lives in the “now”. I think because of this fast paced world we live in, we have lost the deep value in knowing why we believe something. We can just pick a group and stick to it, often in fear of someone who may think differently. Yet there is safety in the diversity of thought - especially in Christianity.

Valuing Diversity

Proverbs 11:14 talks about the safety in the abundance of counsellors and illustrates the importance of self-reflecting why we believe something. Why would an abundance of counsellors be recommended if there was only one way to view something? The value with seeking advice is that we can check our reasoning with other people. If there is value with a multitude of people in order to get varying viewpoints, this means not surrounding ourselves with people who only agree with our thinking. Now this can be hard and tiring! However, it is necessary for the purpose of finding what is true. Truth should not need to be militantly proclaimed (except for possibly combating a groupthink situation), but will speak for itself amongst truth seekers - especially in regards to seeking God. If we seek truth, and God is true, then we seek God. This also applies to various interpretations of what God looks like. Paul also talked about the “good Bereans” who would check their beliefs about the scripture when they heard something different.

However, this does not mean living in a permanent negative vacuum of scepticism. We must all live by narratives or beliefs about our lives and our connection to the world. For example, a Calvinist, an Arminianist and a Universalist would have very similar yet different outlooks on the world around. It is important what we believe, because what we believe influences how we live in the world. For example, since believing in the sovereignty of God I have found a new confidence in Him, and because of this, confidence in my interactions with the world. Earlier I did not have such a faith in God’s sovereignty, and felt weaker because I felt that my interactions with the world were totally up to my Freewill, and I could mess things up. I do not deny that my actions are still very important, but now I feel like I can trust God to work with my failings.

God seems to allow various interpretations of Himself in Scripture. Each person, depending on where they are in their lives, finds different concepts about God helpful. I highly doubt that any one person have always had the same view of God. Experiencing other points of view has enabled ourselves to check our beliefs and align with what is more true. Yet, the gradual journey of finding further revelation in God’s mysteries is a process that also holds its own value. We all start as infants, knowing nothing of the world, but as we grow and constructively critique each other, we can build narratives that more fully align with what is true.


Groupthink can be dangerous, because we end up following untested and unwise beliefs. However, we can avoid succumbing to groupthink by seeking alternative viewpoints. The Bible talks about seeking many counsellors and being “good Bereans” rather than ignoring or being afraid of alternative ideas. But being forever a sceptic is impossible - we need to construct narratives about our reality in order to function as people. So, when we hear something new and either agree or disagree with it, it would be helpful to find out what it is before prejudging it for what it appears to be. 


  1. Good post brother, and I can see a little Calvinistic flavor there :-)
    I do agree, that when someone believes in the sovereignty of God, it surely lifts a burden from the shoulders of a believer.

  2. Hey Paul! Yes, I do appreciate some Calvinist thoughts :) Hope you are keeping well! Haven't heard from you in a while

  3. Well brother, all though I wasn't commenting, but I have been reading your posts.
    As you know, I'm always controversial in most doctrines and that is not always appropriate or welcome.
    I test every doctrine against 'election' and if there is no election within a doctrine, then the doctrine is most likely not true, inferior or incomplete.

    Romans 9:11 'so that the purpose of God according to election might stand'.
    You see, if election does not stand in any doctrine then there is something wrong. For that reason I have a serious problem with your previous post on 'Universalism'.
    It all sounds good and we all like to think that at the end we will ALL live happily ever after. But that is just not the case! Again election is missing.
    I think that 'election' is the power in every doctrine.

    First, no one likes the thought of election, but once we can see it, it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.

  4. Hi Paul, I welcome your comments!
    You are right in that election is a large part of the Bible and needs to be addressed. I had not yet addressed it in the series but was planning to :)

    My simple understanding of Election is that it seems to refer to the people who God chooses before the first death. There must be something unique about becoming a follower of Christ in this "age", but I am not sure what that is. It may be something unique about the character of those chosen compared to those who aren't? However, I find more than enough scriptural support for Universalism to be a viable belief. If I am wrong then I will stand corrected when I meet the Father :)

  5. Daniel, I see election not only in one particular doctrine but in all doctrines.
    To me 'election' is the division of two groups and not the amalgamation of the two.
    One group (or individual) is elected (chosen) the other is rejected and that is by God's choice and not by men's choice.
    And Universalism tends to unite those two groups of people, especially at the end and therefore it has the name 'Universalism', meaning that all mankind universally will be in eternal bliss, saved and loved by God at the end, and perhaps live happily ever after :-)

    Yes, that is a nice thought, but even the present life will teach us that that is not true. Some of us live a good life and others live in utter misery from birth.

    Perhaps we can look at the doctrine of love (John 3:16); if God loves everybody 'universally' alike without exception, then that love means absolutely nothing to anyone.
    That is because election is missing. Within election there must be a rejection and it is the rejection which gives the meaning and the power to love.

    For example; if your wife loves every man in the whole world 'universally' alike, that love would mean nothing to you, but if she loves only you, and rejects every other man, then that love would mean something to you.
    Here you can see, that universal love is useless and so is the doctrine.

    Oh, by the way, which Father are you going to meet? And what is His Name? :-)

  6. Ha ha Paul :)

    Might I point out that in John 3:16 God loves the "world" which is an all inclusive term. For love to be valuable or true it does not need to be exclusive.

    On the husband and wife analogy... why would God love multiple people within His church, if keeping it to one member be so important? Maybe He should have stopped at Abraham and ignored us to keep His love "pure".

    Also love in the Greek has many different terms for its various connotations. The love of God is not meant solely as a romantic expression.

    His name is I Am :)

  7. Yes Daniel, I agree with you that love isn't only a romantic expression.
    I was thinking of a Fathers love for His children, or God's love for His Church which are many members, yet ONE Church, and He loves ALL His children and ALL His Church the elect without exception.
    God's love is for His children with the exclusion of Satan's children, and God's love is for His Church with the exclusion of Satan's church.
    In God's Church are ALL equally important, and Abraham was not more important than the least in God's Church.
    In that doctrine election stands.

    "His Name is I am":-(
    Well brother, we both know that 'I am' is not a name, perhaps you have to try again :-)

  8. He he Paul :) That is the most generic name God has given us in his Word. There are myriads of names God is known by in the scriptures.

    Fair point to believe in God's elect and Satan's. However, as I pointed out in John 3:16 and this post
    There are still many, many scriptures that are all inclusive of God's love and determined will to save all... even "Satans" children also :D

    Cheers brother

  9. Daniel, every Christian religion has always used the Scriptures to support their ideas and doctrines.
    But we need to judge all those doctrines whether they are from God or not.

    I also believe that the Lord Jesus wants to save ALL mankind through their works on the one hand and on the other hand He has a special salvation for His elect (His children) and that salvation is by grace alone, it is a free gift lest any man may boast. That salvation is the new birth, born again from the dead unto life everlasting (eternal live).
    The first are natural salvations and temporary, the other is the salvation of the spirit, to be born again and that is eternal (eternal life).

    'God has myriads of names' :-o

    Exodus 34:14 'for the Lord, whose name is Jealous'. Well Daniel, again, we both know that 'Jealous' is NOT a name, it's a description.
    If God would have myriads of names, surely we would find one name in the Old Testament.

    But in the Old Testament nobody knew His Name, because it had not been given at that time.
    Jacob asked for His Name (Gen.32:29), and Moses (Exo. 3:14), and also Manoah (Judg. 13:18), but again His Name was not given to anyone.
    The first time when mankind knew the Name of God was in Matthew 1:21 + 25 'And you shall call his name JESUS'!
    That of course is, providing that you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Lord God the Almighty the creator of heaven and earth, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
    Or do you believe in another identity with another name who could be the God of all creation?

  10. Daniel, every Christian religion has always used the Scriptures to support their ideas and doctrines.
    But we need to judge all those doctrines whether they are from God or not.

    I also believe that the Lord Jesus wants to save ALL mankind through their works on the one hand and on the other hand He has a special salvation for His elect (His children) and that salvation is by grace alone, it is a free gift lest any man may boast. That salvation is the new birth, born again from the dead unto life everlasting (eternal live).
    The first are natural salvations and temporary, the other is the salvation of the spirit, to be born again and that is eternal (eternal life).

    'God has myriads of names' :-o

    Exodus 34:14 'for the Lord, whose name is Jealous'. Well Daniel, again, we both know that 'Jealous' is NOT a name, it's a description.
    If God would have myriads of names, surely we would find one name in the Old Testament.

    But in the Old Testament nobody knew His Name, because it had not been given at that time.
    Jacob asked for His Name (Gen.32:29), and Moses (Exo. 3:14), and also Manoah (Judg. 13:18), but again His Name was not given to anyone.
    The first time when mankind knew the Name of God was in Matthew 1:21 + 25 'And you shall call his name JESUS'!
    That of course is, providing that you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Lord God the Almighty the creator of heaven and earth, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
    Or do you believe in another identity with another name who could be the God of all creation?

  11. As far as 'group thinking' is concerned, regarding Christianity - as long as the Bible is the plumb line used then the truth will be found. If there are any questions to be asked regarding those scriptures the answer will be found also within those scriptures.

    As far as who are the children of God is concerned, John ch. 1 v. 12 identifies who are children of God:- 'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:'
    So it depends on who believes on His name.
    Regarding names of God, yes He has many names. He is what He is and will be what He will be, that is why the Word of God is able to speak to us and advise and teach in all situations.

    In the Bible people were given names according to what their character was, and Jesus Christ means 'Saviour, anointed One'. That is because He (the Word made flesh) was anointed by God the Father (Who is Spirit) to be the saviour of mankind.

  12. Hi Paul:
    To reply to your question
    "Or do you believe in another identity with another name who could be the God of all creation? "

    No, I do not believe in another deity ha ha. It seems you believe God's name is what He chooses, rather than a description given to Him? I tend to think that God is much bigger than a single name and hence we use many names to describe who He is. I tend to agree with Brenda's point that the name of "Jesus" is another descriptor name meaning "Saviour".

    I tend to like the name "I Am" because it encompasses all of who God is and one God used Himself.

  13. Hi Brenda, please grant me a comment.
    The plumb line alone is not good enough. Does it go according to your interpretation or my interpretation or does it go according to Daniels interpretation?

    Our interpretation is not reliable, therefore we need the Spirit of the Lord to lead us into all the truth.
    You said, "As far as who are the children of God is concerned, John ch. 1 v. 12 identifies who are children of God:- 'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:'
    So it depends on who believes on His name."

    No Brenda, absolutely not. You need to listen carefully to what the Spirit says to you.
    We have been talking about John 1:12 in a previous debate.
    It is impossible for you to become a son to the Queen of England regardless whether you believe in her and neither can you become a son to anyone in the whole world by believing in them.

    Only if you have been born of an earthly King, you have become a son of the King and there is NO other way.
    The same is with God, you were in God (Christ) before the foundation of the world, and when you were born of God you became the son (daughter) of God.
    Now, if you ignore that, you cannot understand the Scriptures and you always will be in error.

    Brenda, you should not override that truth with the doctrines of man.

    John 1:12 is a statement and not a teaching. It doesn't tell you that you must DO something in order to become a son of God.
    It only states that those who are born again or born of the Spirit, or those who have received the Spirit have the right to become the children of God.
    They are those who believe in HIS NAME and NOT those who don't know His Name.
    It doesn't depend on whether they believe in His Name, verse 13 makes that clear, "who were born, not of blood nor of the WILL of the flesh nor of the WILL of man, but of God."

    Can you see, it doesn't depend on anything of us, it's only a statement so that we can identify the children of God.

    Before I was born again, nobody knew that I was a son of God, not even I.
    The reason was that I was dead in my sins and trespasses and I was just like the sons of the devil.
    The difference came when I received the Spirit of God into me (born again), and that was NOT by my WILL or anybodies will but only by the will of the Lord.
    To all my family, friends and neighbours I have become a son of God in their eyes.
    But, did I really become a son of God?
    Certainly NOT!
    As I have explained above that nobody can become a son to anyone. Every son is in his father before he was born and after he was born he became the son of his father, he cannot become the son to another father.

    As for me, I was in my Father Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, therefore I always was a son of my heavenly Father Jesus Christ.

    It is a fallacy to assume that the children of Satan can become children to God, or visa versa.

    Concerning the Name of God.
    If you insist to believe men's doctrines that God has many Names, then please give me just ONE Name of the God in the Bible, apart from the Name 'JESUS'?
    OK, just ONE Name?

  14. Daniel, you said, "I tend to like the name "I Am" because it encompasses all of who God is and one God used Himself."

    Well brother, I think that we both know that 'I Am' is NOT a name.
    Nobody in the whole world was ever called 'I Am' and not even God who is the creator of heaven and earth.
    'I Am' has not even a meaning, it's meaningless.

    Just think, if Moses went to Pharaoh and said, I am has sent me to you, what do you think Pharaoh would have thought?
    Well, easy to imagine :-)

    And neither does God use names to describe Himself, but rather, He used descriptions to describe Himself, like Exodus 34:14 "the Lord whose name is Jealous".
    Well, is the word 'Jealous' a name? Again Daniel, we both know that Jealous is not a name but a description and there are many more examples like that in the Old Testament.
    Nobody knew His Name in the Old Testament till He was born into His own creation in (Mat. 1:25).

    Look brother, I have a simple belief in Jesus Christ, He alone is the Lord God the Almighty the creator of heaven and earth and He never had another name other than JESUS, I know that because He told me so :-)

    Most Christians don't believe that Lord Jesus Christ is the only God there is, therefore they say that God has many names.

  15. Hi Paul,
    of course I will grant you a comment. The thing is, you have said the same things over and over that you are saying in your comment to me here. So I have to say that regarding an answer to what you are saying:- you will find all the answers in the more than one hundred comments left on your posts on your blog, and on No Doubt's ( Keith's ) blog - The Book of Matthew. I honestly can not see the point of answering your questions over and over when you do not believe what Jesus says regarding His Father, let alone what I say.

    I don't mean to be rude, I enjoy discussions about the Bible and being God's children, or Jesus' brethren as the Bible puts it, but I have to go with what the Bible says and not against it.

  16. OK. Brenda, if I ask the same question over and over again, then please give me an answer and don't just quote the Scriptures.

    I know the Scriptures and I believe the Scriptures, therefore I cannot argue against the Scriptures, I can only argue against someone's belief or reasoning.

    Example; If you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has a Father, then you don't believe the Scriptures and you don't believe in Jesus at all, it's as simple as that.
    The Scriptures and the Spirit said that Jesus does not have a FATHER or a mother or any genealogy or beginning or end of days (Hebrew 7:3). Why don't you believe that?
    The Lord Jesus plainly said, that He is the Father (John 10:30 and 14:9) and there are many more Scriptures concerning the deity of Jesus.
    Why don't you believe Jesus?

    The Scriptures said that the Lord Jesus Christ is the creator of heaven and earth (John 1:3 and Col. 1:16) and the Spirit of God will tell you that the creator of heaven and earth does NOT and can NOT have a Father. So then, why don't you listen and believe what the Spirit says to you?

    Brenda, from the beginning of our debate, I have asked you to deal with that problem, it causes you to believe in a false god called Yahweh and therefore you transgress the first Commandment of the Lord.

    The problem doesn't stop here, it will and already has polluted every other doctrine.
    For instance; why can't you accept that it is impossible for anyone to become a son or children to the Queen and to God or to anyone else by BELIEVING?
    Why is that??
    That is plain logic, and the Lord Jesus has created us in His image which includes intelligent logic.
    I find it unusual that you don't agree with me on that, to disagree is to disagree with the Lord, for the Lord has all knowledge and He is the truth.

    How can we have a debate with different rules?
    I think that we both ought to agree with sound wisdom first, and then it will result in true knowledge of God.

  17. Paul,
    having no mother or father did not make Melchizedek God, It made him a priest of the Most High God,(Hebrews ch. 7 v. 1), which likens him to the son of God (as stated in verse 3):-

    'For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.'

    Jesus Himself says, regarding His mother and His brothers, in Matthew ch. 12 vs. 46 - 49:-

    'While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! '

    Regarding His Father He says in verse 50:-
    ' For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

    I will just leave those few verses as a response to your questions Paul, otherwise I could spend hours typing out Bible verses and not really getting anywhere in this interaction with one another.

  18. Hi Paul,

    When Brenda and Daniel say that we can 'become' children of God by believing, and that Jesus has a 'Father', and that God has many 'names', they are adhering to Scripture to a large extent. You know there are verses that use the exact language they are using.

    The problem you seem to have (correct me if I'm wrong) is that there are verses which teach apparently opposite things (e.g. Jesus was not created, Jesus is the One True God, those who believe were already elected children of God before the creation of the world). We definitely need to value those verses as well - I agree that they are incredibly important and beautiful truths. But we can't pit Scripture against Scripture and then claim we are 'right'. We need to acknowledge that Scripture is nuanced.

    We 'become' children of God in some important and beautiful sense, but in an equally important and beautiful sense we do NOT 'become' children of God. God has many 'names' in one sense, but not in another sense. Jesus has a 'Father' in some sense, but not in another sense. Scripture has no problem using words to teach a particular point, and not really bothering to define itself fully or balance itself out right there in the moment. Jesus said 'My Father', but didn't immediately feel the need to teach a mini-sermon on why this DIDN'T mean He was created or a separate 'God' somehow.

    If we have a problem because we apply one particular strict definition to a word (e.g. 'Father' or 'become'), its we who need to change our approach, rather than starting to pit Scripture against Scripture. It's valid to use Scripture's words as long as we mean the same thing that Scripture means. This is why I have no problem saying that Jesus had a Father and that Jesus was the Creator of all, that when we believe we become the children of God that we always have been since the creation of the world, that God has many names and the Jesus is the One True God.

  19. Hi Paul,

    I think it would be helpful to remember, that we all have our opinion and own logic, but logic will struggle to be "holeless", especially when it comes to grand narratives. This however doesn't stop the use of grand narratives to understand the world.

    I don't think that anyone would disagree with you about Jesus not being the "technical" Son of God. However, where we do disagree is where Jesus is considered to be the only name of God or personification of God. The bIble is clear that Jesus is God, yet at the same time (in some way) a certain expression of God as a separate entity. Not that they are different god's but different expressions or personifications of God.
    There are many times where Jesus talks to the Father and the Father to Jesus (Hebrews 1) which suggests there is some kind of plurality of Oneness happening.
    I hear you Paul. It is not something one can rap their head around easily, but it is how it can be portrayed in the Bible.


  20. Ha, I just replied as you did Josh. Well put

  21. Brenda, what I'm asking you is, what do those passages mean.
    Who was Melchizedek?
    Again, you don't need to type out Bible verses, I'm a big boy, I also can read the Scriptures myself :-)
    Was Melchizedek a man?

    Tell me Brenda, in God's creation is there somewhere a man who had NO beginning and and NO end?
    Or was there ever a man created who had NO mother or father?

    Every man in of God's creation has a genealogy, and if there would be one man who had NO genealogy as the Scriptures said, then that has to be the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He is the ONLY eternal true God who had NO mother, NO father, NO beginning, NO end and NO genealogy.
    Why? Simply, ONLY GOD does not have a genealogy etc. and it follows, that this only God who is Jesus Christ does not have an helper god called Yahweh or whatever other name you like to give him.

    Jesus Christ is the ONLY God who is Spirit (John 4:24) and caused Himself to become a man, by being born through the virgin Mary, in the likeness of Adam.

    So then, if the Lord Jesus Christ is the creator God of heaven and earth and does NOT have a Father just as the Scriptures said, tell me please, WHO then is your Father who is in heaven??

    By the way, I'm still waiting for only ONE name for God in the Old testament? :-)

  22. Hi Joshua, I'm glad to hear from you.
    I know what you are saying, and it seems that there are apparently opposite Scriptures, but the Scriptures cannot be in contradiction against itself, because it is God's written Word for us and suitable for correction in doctrine and conduct.
    We have been debating those doctrines for a long time.
    As I always have said, that the doctrine of God is the most important doctrine of all other doctrines.
    If we transgress in that doctrine, we are most likely wrong in all other doctrines and it,s consequences are severe.
    Most churches and their leaders don't want to debate those doctrines because they sometimes get a little heated :-)
    But their dilemma is, that they pray to a BIG God called Jehovah THROUGH a little god called Jesus.
    Or, they give thanks to this BIG God whatever his name might be for sending us his son Jesus.
    And they even worship this BIG unknowable God whom they call Father, whose name is either Jehovah or Yahweh.

    Because they believe that God is three persons, therefore they say that one god of those three gods can do nothing of his own unless the other god, the greater god called 'Father' is telling him to do so.
    They even think that the little god is praying to a BIG God saying, ' Father, not my WILL be done, but your WILL be done', and the little god said that he can do nothing of his own unless this BIG god is telling him so, and the list goes on and on.

    Well Joshua, I hope you can see the problem of todays Christian church.
    I think the problem is, that we don't know who our Father is, who is in heaven.

    It is reasonable to say that if I don't know who my natural father is, then to say that my father has many names.
    And it would be ignorant to say that my fathers name is chemist, plumber, doctor, painter, scientist, jealous etc.

    It's hard to accept that, if I don't know the name of my natural father, that it would make me an illegitimate son, not to mention my mother.

    The same is with God, the mother, which is the church has never told her children who their Father is who is in heaven.
    So, if the mother (church) tells her children that their Father has many names, then there has to be definitely something wrong with the mother.

    I think we both know what's wrong with the mother whose children's father has many names, don't we? :-)

    Concerning the Scripture; sometimes it appears that the Scriptures says something contradictory, but that is, because a statement sometimes is explained in a metaphor or a type.

    Fact (statement),= Jesus does not and cannot have a Father, otherwise He is NOT God.
    Metaphor,= Jesus is speaking about His Father metaphorically just as He has said in John 16:25 and the fact that God became a man, from that position, every man has a father including Jesus. But because Jesus is the Lord God the Almighty came in flesh, therefore it is He (Jesus) who is the Father.
    The Lord Jesus IS the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17) who overshadowed Mary, and the holy offspring shall be CALLED the Son of the most High God (Luke 1:35).

    Can you see, there is no other person there called 'Father', Jesus is our Father who is in heaven.

  23. Thank you brother Daniel for agreeing that Jesus is not a technical Son of God.
    He is only CALLED the Son of God (Luke 1:35) because of His incarnation.

    Also, I'm glad that you believe that Jesus is God, but you need to convince Brenda to believe that :-)

    So then, if you believe that Jesus is God, then necessity demands that you reject every other entity from being God.
    If Jesus is God, then He ALONE must be God, and He does NOT and cannot share deity with another.
    If God shares deity with another entity, then HE cannot be called HE, because two or three entities are called THEY 'the gods'.
    You see, in God, there is no plurality, God is always singular, 'ONE'.

    Yes, Jesus seemingly was talking to the Father, but because Jesus doesn't have a Father just as the Scriptures said, therefore Jesus was speaking to Himself because He is the Father and there was no other to speak to. He spoke to the Father for our sake (John 11:42), so that we would believe, just the same as He swore by Himself because there was no greater one to swear by (Jer. 22:5).

    There is NOT one account in the Scriptures where the Father is speaking to Jesus, no, not even one.
    Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the Father and does not have a Father, therefore there is no other Father to speak to Him.

  24. Have a read of Hebrews 1 which I mentioned before. I do believe that Jesus is God, the same God as the Father and the Holy Spirit. However God reveals Himself as three separate "personalities" playing different roles. I don't think I could call them separate entities because they aren't, they are a plurality of ONE.
    Hebrews 1 seems to speak of different personalities of God, especially 8 and 9

    "8 But of the Son he says,

    “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
    9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”"

    It does seem clear to me that in the Bible there is a plurality of ONE when it comes to God.
    If you think that this plurality of personalities is a metaphor, could you let me know why you think the Bible would entertain this metaphor so often? Wouldn't it be easier for Jesus just to call Himself God instead of referring to the Holy Spirit and the Father as separate from Himself?

    For example Jesus said:
    John 5:30
    "“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me."

    Also, here is a Name that God chose to go by in the OT

    Exodus 3
    "13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[a] And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”"

    Cheers. Thanks for the comments Paul! Very good discussion

  25. Daniel, it is not possible for ONE to be a plurality.
    ONE is always a singularity, it is constant and it never changes, it always will be ONE.

    The Lord our God does not change, He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and God does not reveal Himself in three separate personality's.
    God revealed Himself only in ONE person Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Three personality's would really be three persons and that is trinitarian thinking.

    Hebrew chapter 1;
    Oh brother, I love that chapter.
    Yes, it seems that there are two personalities, but the reality is that the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking and testifying about Himself.

    Verse 1, 'God, after He spoke long ago ....'.
    The first question we need to ask is, who is that God?
    Now, the answer to that is in verse 10, 'You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands.'
    And we know that according to (John 1:3 + Col. 1:16) JESUS created everything, therefore it is Jesus who is speaking from verse 1, testifying about Himself when He became a man.
    And that He has anointed Himself above His companions, which is above you and I and all of us who are in Christ.

    Concerning your question, and verse 9, 'Therefore God, your God, has anointed You......'.
    Well Daniel, we both know that there are not TWO Gods who are having a dialogue with one and another.
    Imagine, one god is saying to the other god, 'not my will be done but your will be done', or, 'into your hands I commit my spirit', or one god is saying that the other god is greater than I etc. etc. and there are many more of those metaphors.
    I think that the Lord Jesus wrote those metaphors, analogies and parables for the simple reason so that we cannot come to know Him by reading the Scriptures.
    Remember the Lord Jesus said to the wise guys and the scholars, 'You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about ME; and you are UNWILLING to come to ME so that you may have life' (John 5:39-40).
    And in another passage He said, 'I praise thee O Father, that thou hast hidden this things from the wise and the intelligent and revealed them to infants,'Luke 10:21).
    Perhaps you can see, that it is not a question of Scripture knowledge but rather knowing Jesus and believing in Him.

    Concerning God's Name;
    Exodus 3:14, 'I AM WHO I AM' is not a name. No brother, it's NOT a name.
    When Moses went to Pharaoh, he didn't say that I Am who I Am has sent me and neither did he said that to the Israelite's.
    Why not?
    Did Moses disobey God?
    Moses was an intelligent brother who fully knew that I Am who I Am is NOT a name.

    Moses in his days didn't know the Name of God, but I do. Therefore I go and speak to the Israelite's and the Christians in the Name of the Lord of host JESUS Christ of Nazareth so that every knee would bow and every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father.
    (Not to the glory of another God called 'God the Father', but to the glory that the Lord Jesus Christ has the title 'God the Father'.)

  26. Hi Paul,

    Really interesting discussion here! I've always been Trinitarian, I've looked into Oneness theology before but failed to be persuaded. I don't see Oneness as a heresy, but I think the Trinity works better with reality and with Scripture. Just a couple of points to add :)

    - You said 'ONE is always a singularity, it is constant and it never changes, it always will be ONE'. This is just plain wrong. One is not always a singularity. It all depends on your perspective and WHAT you are describing as 'one'. There is 'one' species of human, but this 'one' can include multiple humans. There is 'one' body, yet multiple organs and cells. There is 'one' personality, yet multiple ways that personality expresses itself. There is 'one' sentence, yet multiple aspects to the intended message.

    - You said that 'we both know that there are not TWO God's who are having a dialogue with one another.' Of course there aren't - but you've created a false dichotomy if you think this automatically means it must be a single self-aware entity talking to Himself. The whole point of Trinitarian thinking is that it creates a third option which is quite different (and makes God out to be slightly less crazy, in my opinion). You haven't yet defended why God can't be 'One' and yet express Himself in three distinct self-aware entities that can then relate to each other (I don't go so far as to call them three seperate 'persons' or 'personalities').

    - I agree that God is not easy to cognitively grasp, and this is why He uses metaphors, and why He become incarnate. I'm certain that the Trinity is an inadequate explanation of God. However, it seems that God has certain ways that He WANTS us to think about Him. He revealed Himself as incarnate, and so it is right for us to think of Him as human (even though this is incomplete). He revealed Himself as a distinct self-aware entity from the Father, and so it is right for us to think of Him as such, EVEN IF this is incomplete in some way.

    - Your distinction between apparently intuitive names and titles seems arbitrary to me. The only reason we think of 'Jesus' as a more intuitive name than 'I Am' is cultural. Ancient names were ALL titles with literal meanings (e.g. Abram / Abraham, Israel, Adam), and Jesus has a literal meaning as well. There is no reason to suppose that we should accept 'Jesus' as a more 'special' or 'intuitive' name than all the other terms God uses for Himself.

    - Jesus is special is NOT because He has a more intuitive name, but because He is a person that reveals the fullness of God. Praying in Jesus name or believing in Jesus' name was not about using a magical word. The 'name' was always a Title that represented a person - we are to pray in Jesus' authority and believe in the PERSON of Jesus. I don't care what word is used, as long as it conveys the appropriate meaning - the PERSON of Jesus.

  27. Thanks brother Joshua for your input. You have touched some interesting points there, points and questions which are in the heart and minds of every believer. Although sometimes inadequate because of our complicated minds.
    Where will we start? :-) and how far will we go? :-)
    Concerning parables and metaphors, I think that the Lord Jesus doesn't want everybody to understand the value of His words, or plainly, He doesn't want them to understand the Scriptures.
    (Matthew 13:10 to 17) Jesus said, to US it has been granted to understand, but NOT to THEM.
    Verse 13 'Therefore I speak to THEM in parables; because while seeing THEY do NOT see, and while hearing THEY do NOT hear, nor do THEY understand.'

    Matthew 13:10 to 17 is a very strong election passage and many of the top Theologians throughout the centuries did not understand.

    It is a danger for intellectually strong men, perhaps like yourself Joshua :-) to rely on the intellect rather than on the Spirit of the Lord. I know that because I have read many of your posts, and I can see that you wrestle with many concepts of the Scriptures.

    When we are confronted with an oxymoron and we can't get our head around it, then it is tempting to rearrange our words and speculations in order to make it fit.
    Perhaps like a square peg and a round hole, we ram the peg into the hole whether it fits or not and then we say, 'you see, it fits!':-)
    Well brother, I'm guilty of that, and I didn't know any better, till the Lord Jesus took me aside and taught me His Word and opened my mind so that I could see clearly, in other words, the Lord Jesus removed the plank from my eye so that I can see and understand.

    If we build a house (doctrine), we need to have the foundation right and strong, so that whatever we build on top will stand and not fall.
    The foundation of the doctrine of God is to fully understand and agree on the meaning of 'ONE'.
    If we fail on that, then everything becomes intangible and nothing will be secure and reliable, it becomes like quicksand. And for that reason most of the churches and their clergies don't know who God is and neither do they believe in Him.
    It is one thing to believe that there is a God and it is another thing to know that God.

    If we believe that ONE can be THREE, four or more, then we have no foundation to work from and that is exactly the reason why the Christians don't know God.
    They believe in a nonsensical god who is three persons and then they deceive the ignorant and tell them that those THREE persons equal ONE God. And if someone questions their reasoning, they cleverly rearrange their wording and explanations with endless riddles so as to think that they can hide behind a facade of spirituality and knowledge.
    This ought not to be so with us, we ought to have a simple belief in Jesus Christ our Lord.
    The Lord Jesus said, that this is the greatest and most important doctrine, belief and understanding that God is ONE (Mark 12:29). To fail in this doctrine is to fail in all other doctrines.

    Daniel, I know that you don't believe the trinity, that is because you can see that it is inadequate and a nonsensical doctrine.
    It's inadequate because ONE is NOT THREE, and ONE can never become three at any point of time.
    ONE is fixed, it is stable and unchangeable. If you add ONE to ONE, then each one is still ONE and together they are TWO. But the Lord our God is ONE and that 'ONE' has to be the Lord Jesus Christ. If you add another ONE to the Lord Jesus, then there are TWO who each is one, and if each one is a God then there are two God's, but we know that God is ONE and it is impossible for to be three entities or persons.
    For that reason it is so simple to know and believe that JESUS Christ is the only ONE.

  28. Continuing from previous comment.

    Concerning the Name of God.
    That is exactly the same; if God would have many names (more than ONE), then we would have the right to believe in many gods.
    That is the problem with the trinitarians. They pray to one name of one of their gods through a name of another god and think that one of them might listen. If none of them will listen, the call upon a third name and the fourth name and whatever other name they can think of.
    Because they don't believe that there is only ONE God and ONE Name, and that there is NO OTHER NAME given in heaven and on earth, other than JESUS, therefore they don't know and cannot know God and die in their sins (John 8:24).

    The name Jesus is not a 'title' and neither is it a special name, it is a normal human name, just like any man would have, but it is the only Name of God.
    I Am is not a name and neither is it an inductive name.
    I Am is a plain statement of God saying that HE IS, He is who He is, He is the only ONE God who is God, and beside Him ( singular ONE) is no other God.

    I Am is not a name and it has nothing to do with any culture or title etc. and for those who like to think that Jesus has a meaning, it would mean that God is with us (Emanuel), Jesus, the God of all creation is now with us in flesh with the Name JESUS.

    As for me, when I called upon the Name of God (JESUS), it was the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth who alone turned up and no other.
    Anyone who will call upon any other name will not be heard, that is because they would not believe in the only ONE with the only Name whom God has sent, our only Lord and God Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Jude 1:4 and 1:25).

  29. Hi Paul, thanks for your replies. I'll leave a few comments with you.

    You were saying that -
    It is a danger for intellectually strong men, perhaps like yourself Joshua :-) to rely on the intellect rather than on the Spirit of the Lord.

    Paradoxically, it seems you like to rely on your intellect to disregard the possibility of a plurality of one, and yet disregard the use of reason when someone else tries to solve a paradox you are happy to accept?

    God is very able to more than one name. I have more than one name. In fact I have at least three which I am known by and they all apply equally. My first and middle names reflect my person, and then my last name which reflects my heritage... which also makes me a member of a group which has many "personalities" yet under one name.

    If God only answers to one name, then how did the many people existing before Jesus communicate with God? The name "Jesus" only really arrived when God revealed that side of His nature to us 2000 years ago.


  30. Daniel, if I would address this comment to Tom, it would cause a confusion, because it is not your name.
    You only respond to your name 'Daniel' and we all know you under the name Daniel, although there are many other called Daniel. But to distinguish you from any other Daniel, you added a description (Da Pilgrim) to your name, just like Jesus.
    There are many who are called Jesus, but to distinguish Jesus from another Jesus, he has the title 'Lord' in front of His Name and the description 'Christ' after His Name, but His Name is JESUS and no other, anything else is a title or a description.

    I use my intellect to override a paradox, and none of us likes to entertain the paradox that ONE could be THREE. :-)
    Although it seems, that some clergy like to keep their congregations under the deception that God is three persons in one God with many names.

    Look Daniel, if God has created you in His image, are you three? No, you are one, just as God is one. Are you three personalities? No, you are one person with one personality, just as God who has created you in His image.
    Are you three entities? No, you are one entity.
    Do you have three aspects? Well, I think that you have many aspects.
    Do you have many names? No you have one name, and we all call you by the name 'Daniel', just like God who is in Jesus Christ.

    What do you think, if someone will call on the name Buddha, would the Lord Jesus listen? Or those who call on Allah, would the Lord Jesus come? Or those who pray to Jehovah, would the Lord Jesus listen?
    Look brother, you can put any name in there and the true God will NOT listen because they do not call on His Name, He has ONLY one Name and there is no other name given.
    If you call on someone's name, the owner of that name will respond, and if he has died, he cannot hear or respond because he is dead.
    But the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth rose again from the dead on the third day and He is alive forevermore, therefore the Scripture says, that whosoever shall call on the Name JESUS shall be saved.
    What do you think will happen to those who call on another name?
    Well bother, I know, that many call on the names of false gods who cannot save or hear.

    Before God was born into His own creation, He had no name, that is because God is NOT a man, God is Spirit (John 4:24). But when He was born into His own creation He BECAME a man.
    Man was created, but God was NOT created, He always was, but at the appropriate time He prepared Himself a body and He caused Himself to be born into His creation, and in that sense He BECAME a man with the name of a man JESUS.
    Before God was born into His own creation He was known and called or addressed by the TITLE 'Lord', or the DESCRIPTION 'God' (deity).
    Jacob, Moses and Manoah wanted to know His Name, but the Lord Jesus didn't give them His Name because He wasn't yet born though the virgin as the prophets have said.
    (John 5:43) Jesus said, 'I have come in my Fathers NAME', therefore the Fathers Name is JESUS.
    Of course, that depends on, whether you accept that 'Father' is NOT a name?
    Well Daniel, I think that you should agree with me on that.
    It is of great importance that we have a generation of godly men who can rightly divide the Word of truth.