Jesus Son of God But Not God?

A comment from a Baptist on one of my youtube videos:

As always I enjoy your videos, but being Baptist, i am going to say that Jesus is not God, he is son of God. A lot of people have a misconception that Jesus is God as a man. But what people don’t understand is that God is way too powerful to ever come to earth, I mean no where in the bible does Jesus even claim to be God. With that being said no, Mary is not the mother of God. She is an earthly vessel from where God created a divine man Jesus to be born from. Much love and blessings!

I responded by asking her if Jesus is God or is He not God. She said:

Jesus is son of God, whom is divine and savior but the bible also says we can do better things than Jesus, which would have not been stated if Jesus was God, because there is nooo way we could do greater things than God!

The confusion sets in. I told her she should talk to her pastor about this because it is wrong.

Enter full communion with the Church and be liberated from such error!

27 thoughts on “Jesus Son of God But Not God?”

  1. To be fair, it is possible to read the Bible and come away with believing that Jesus is not God. Arians had plenty of scripture passages which are used by Mormons today to “prove” that Jesus was not God. Christopher Hitchen, which is by no mean unbiased, did make a valid comment that the miracles performed by Jesus seemed pretty paltry for the God of the universe, who could have rearranged the stars to say “Jesus is Lord” or regrown every limb in every country at his command. (Of course, if he did do that, it could be possible to explain that away, but that’s beside the point.)

    The key thing is to validate ideas with one’s faith tradition, as you suggested. Catholicism has 2000 years of answers to the harshest of critics on every question known to man, but even the Baptists tradition has salvaged enough from Catholicism to give an answer to many of those sorts of basic questions, even if some of the answers (e.g. young earth creationism) are a bit wonky.

    1. Anil,

      Yes that is true. I highlighted her statements in part to show how easy it is for a well-meaning person to read the Bible and come up with a heterodox doctrine on a critical area of the Faith. But that is also why I pointed her to talk to her Baptist pastor because even he knows that what she is saying is wrong and could explain to her why.

      When I told her this she messaged me back and said she is strong in her faith and doesn’t need to talk to anyone to learn about God.

      1. I find that way of thinking very odd, though it seems prevalent in individualistic American culture. If a person was illiterate, he or she wouldn’t be able to just stare at the Bible and all of a sudden get it. We need other people to teach us to read. And even once the basics are down, we need guidance as the vocabulary gets more complicated. I was (still am) a voracious reader when I was little and would mispronounce words that I had seen in print but never heard. I was stubborn about correcting myself because I thought I knew it all, but of course I didn’t. I needed others to patiently correct me, just as I need the Church.

  2. Devin, I fear that on this issue you’re turning your confused Baptist interlocutor into something of a foil. I struggle to make the connection between her original comment and your universal panacea for everything: “enter full communion with the Church…” As you rightly suggested, her pastor would likely set her straight on this.

    On Good Friday I once again attended a service at a local Catholic Church with my Roman Catholic wife (http://radref.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/walk-extra-mile.html). Once again bread and wine were barred to us. We did not refuse ‘full Communion’. We were refused hospitality.

    There are many splendid things in your blog (which is why I keep on coming back for more) but it’s the adversarial mindset that worries me. I’m a peaceable type. A ‘vanguard’ is not peaceable.

    1. The Eucharist is not “hospitality.” It is a gift, not a right. It is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and those that eat or drink Him unworthily eat or drink judgement upon themselves.

      It’s similar to the marriage covenant. Just like you shouldn’t engage in the marital act and become “one flesh” with your spouse prior to pledging your life to him/her, you shouldn’t become “one flesh” with the Eucharist prior to pledging your life to Christ and the Church that He founded.

    2. Phil,

      Yes I should make clear that this self-described Baptist is not following the main Baptist beliefs on Christology. But it is an example of how easy it is to go astray when reading the Bible. You can see her logic: “Jesus says we will do greater things than Him, but humans cannot do something greater than God, so Jesus must not be God.”

      Well the Vanguard title is targeted toward fighting against Satan and his demons. They are not peaceable so we have to battle them. We are the Church Militant. But among fellow Christians we must be peaceable and that’s why when conversing with this young woman I was direct but tactful and told her she needs to talk to her pastor because her beliefs are heretical and she doesn’t realize it. Satan wants her beliefs to go astray but God does not. God bless!

  3. I do not know what reason they had for refusing you the Eucharist, but as you seem to believe it is bread and wine, given out in hospitality, I am glad they did. The Catholic view of the Eucharist – that it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ – must be accepted before you can receive as to do otherwise is to fail to honour the Lord and would be sinful on your part.

    Assuming there is no other impediment, your acceptance of the Catholic faith is all that is required for you to receive as the Church will not refuse you or hold any grudges. Indeed, the Church hopes you will accept this as it wants to share this most wonderful gift from the Lord with you. I will certainly pray that you can share this with us.

  4. Thanks to JoAnna for your response. I appreciate that a good deal depends on what we understand by ‘the Church’. That is a very long discussion. The Eucharist is not only hospitality, but it is hard to imagine authentic sacramental practice without a spirit of welcome. The passage you paraphrase from 1 Cor 11 does not involve a refusal of table fellowship, only a warning to eat and drink worthily.

    With respect, I ask you how any non-Catholic Christian would see the lack of inter-communion. This is a wound in the Body of Christ.

    1. Why don’t you ask the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, who also practice closed communion?

      Or why don’t you ask your wife why she declines to have marital intercourse with men other than you? It’s the same concept. As I said above, the Sacrament of the Eucharist has definite parallels to the Sacrament of Matrimony. You engage in the marital act with your wife because the two of you have sworn lifelong love and fidelity to one another. Catholics receive the Eucharist only after they have sworn lifelong love and fidelity to Christ – which means being a part of His Church.

      You’re right in that it is a wound in the Body of Christ that all are not part of the Church He established. All you need to do is become a member of the Catholic Church, and that wound will be healed.

  5. It is possible to read the Bible and come up with anything and everything.

    Of couse that person was wrong. Baptists, however many doctrines they get wrong, do believe that Jesus was God (a part of the Trinity).

    Protestant Christian denominations believe in the Trinity. Of course there are many out there who have a poor understanding of even their own denomination’s teachings and beliefs.

  6. Phil – As I’m sure you know, the Catholic Church teaches that the bread and wine become (literally) the body and blood of Christ. Isn’t this idolatry to Protestants? In which case, not believing the Catholic Church’s teaching, why would you even want to participate?

  7. I’m a centerist Lutheran in a congregation that invites all baptized Christians (who believe Christ to be truly present in the bread and the wine) forward to partake of the Lord’s Supper. We believe our Missouri brethren put up too many fences around Christ, and are a bit legalistic.

    For us, we have made the decision that if we are to err…that it will be on the side of God graciousness for sinners.

  8. The multiple responses are appreciated. I know from experience that this issue often generates more heat than light. If you followed the link to my blog I think it would be evident that I’m equally critical of Roman Catholic and Protestant tribalism. There are Mennonite churches which practice closed communion as well. I don’t approve.

    Whether I’m a Protestant or not depends on how you understand Anabaptism, but that’s a side issue.

    As for “become a member of the Catholic Church, and that wound will be healed” I could weep. The Church is not your church or my church but God’s Church. The Good News of Jesus Christ is not become like us and you will be saved. In my post I plead for the privilege of walking an extra mile with people who are not like me. Call that an invitation.

    1. “The Church is not your church or my church but God’s Church.”

      God’s Church is the Catholic Church. It’s the one He founded, and there’s an unbroken line of popes from St. Peter to Benedict XVI.

      “The Good News of Jesus Christ is not become like us and you will be saved.”

      You’re right, it’s not. The Good News of Jesus Christ is to believe in Him and you will be saved. But if you do believe in Him, why would you want to be separate from the Church that He established and gave authority to bind and loose?

  9. I think that amongst those who believe (wrongly IMO) that nothing really happens in Baptism, or Holy Communion, that it may be easy to include everyone. Why not? It’s just a “symbol”, anyway.

    But there are those of us who believe that since Christ commanded us to do these things, that He is in it…for us. He never commanded us to do anything where He wouldn’t be acting in that act…for us.

    I do find it a bit odd that many believe that Christ can actually live inside their heart…but yet they hang onto the belief that He could NOT be present in a bowl of water, or piece of bread and sip of wine, that are accompanied by His Word of promise.

    __

    Anyway, got to head off to the salt mine, now. Ciao. (’till later)

  10. You seem to see the Eucharist as a welcoming step and thus it probably seems like we are rejecting the invitation, ‘to walk an extra mile’, that you are offering. However, Catholics do not share this view, but instead see the Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian life only to be received by those who accept the teachings of the Catholic Church. You were refused not to spurn you, but to show due respect to the Lord and to protect you from sin.

    As you were in a Catholic Church rather than interpreting the refusal through your own perspective you should see it from the Catholic perspective. To do otherwise would be like assuming an Italian, in Italy, is speaking German at you and then getting offended when they use a word that would be, unbeknown to them, an insult in German. I certainly hope this way of thinking brings some peace when you think of the Church refusing to allow you the Eucharist.

  11. Well, it’s no surprise that 500 years of bloodshed and strife haven’t been solved in a day. I greatly regret the deterioration of ecumenical relations folllowing Pope John XXIII’s death. I know that there isn’t a single ‘Catholic perspective’ on this. In the meantime Anna and I have a marriage to nurture. It would mean a great deal to us if we could worship together.

    1. Firstly, you are welcome to attend the Mass and pray with your wife (in and out of Church). If you believe the Eucharist is just bread and wine it should be no great bother to not receive it. If, however, you sense on some level that it is the Real Presence and that you are missing out on something of the greatest value,then I can understand your angst at not being permitted to fully join in with this part of the Mass, which in terms of physical time is only a small proportion of the entire liturgical act.

      Also, the Church is very clear in its teaching on the Eucharist. It is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ and it should only be received by those who accept the faith and the refusal of non-believers is not intended as a personal insult. As a ‘peaceable type’ I hoped you would simply accept this clear teaching as the perspective of the Church as it should reassure you that the message is not intended to signify you are not welcome. Obviously, there are dissenting Catholics, but to assume that their views, which might lead you to (incorrectly) think you are not welcome when refused, should dictate how you interpret the Church’s actions seems distinctly unfair to the Church as a whole, which is, as I have said, very clear on this teaching.

  12. What is preventing you from worshiping together? The Eucharist is central to Catholicism, true, but it’s hardly our only form of worship. There are non-Catholics, soon-to-be Catholics, and Catholics who cannot receive the Eucharist who worship at Mass with Catholics who do receive.

  13. When I saw the title of this post, I was hoping for a discussion of what Theos means, but instead it turns out to be a regular old youtube war. ;)

    In Biblical and early Christian language Christ is Theos (Divine), but not Theos in the sense of being the Father, who is called Theos as a proper name in the New Testament. If your baptist poster were making such a point for whatever reason it would have been somewhat valid. But her justifications for her statement are off the rocker.

    1. Nicholas, would you expect anything less than a youtube war here?

      In seriousness, this is a young woman who is very earnest I have no doubt, but her handle on youtube suggests she specializes in showing women how to put their make-up on, so I don’t think she is a theologian. :)

    1. Thanks Phil. I appreciate you weighing in, and hopefully you do not feel denigrated in any way. I know where you are coming from.

      And I myself have been a youtube warrior more times than I can count. :)

  14. Thanks Devin, a big wave from Epping Forest to you. It’s getting quite late here. I sometimes forget to take account of the time difference.

  15. wow. i read that and got a huge knot in my stomach. it makes me sick. praise the Lord for his Truth.

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