Preaching in Acts and Christology

God, Christ, & The Holy Spirit
User avatar
21centpilgrim
Posts: 176
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:17 pm

Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by 21centpilgrim » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:30 am

One of the things that added to a stronger non-trinitarian stance for me was what the preaching in the book of Acts had to say regarding Jesus.

Looking at the preaching in Acts was a valid method for Steve and many in regards to learning more of what the Bible actually teaches in regards to hell vs preconceived notions that we bring to the text, so I thought it would be a consistent helpful barometer regarding the question of a Trinitarian teaching about Christ being biblical or not.

Give it a go and share any feedback, thanks
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2183
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by darinhouston » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:39 pm

I've always been hesitant to draw doctrine from Acts alone, but it can be a good place to check your presuppositions -- if the teaching in Acts is consistent with your view, it's at least somewhat confirming. I don't recall anything that is inconsistent with a unitarian position from Acts, though that is almost an argument from silence. If there are places where you see positive affirmation, it might be fruitful to note a few.

User avatar
21centpilgrim
Posts: 176
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:17 pm

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by 21centpilgrim » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:53 pm

Thanks Darin.
Acts 2 Peter's sermon at Pentecost-
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’[f]

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

Ok, so from this sermon, what we can glean from regarding the nature of Jesus is that he was a man. This man was a physical offspring from the lineage of David. This man, from the physical line of David was the messiah. The man Jesus was the appointee "my Lord" by the appointer "the Lord" of Psalm 110. Jesus was not always this Lord and Messiah but God made Jesus Lord and Messiah

This description of Jesus at the introductory sermon of the founding of the church, falls very short of supporting a Trinitarian understanding of Jesus. At best i think a Trinitarian could say that Peter, newly filled with the promised Holy Spirit, highlights the humanity of Christ. The 3,000 added to the church that day were impressed with a view of Jesus that in no way challenges the notion that 'the Father alone is the only God'.
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 4947
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by Paidion » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:50 pm

21¢ wrote:Ok, so from this sermon, what we can glean from regarding the nature of Jesus is that he was a man. This man was a physical offspring from the lineage of David. This man, from the physical line of David was the messiah. The man Jesus was the appointee "my Lord" by the appointer "the Lord" of Psalm 110. Jesus was not always this Lord and Messiah but God made Jesus Lord and Messiah
There is no question that Jesus was a man, descended from David through his mother. But he was more than a mere man. He had no human father. He was the Son of God!
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

Singalphile
Posts: 897
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by Singalphile » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:58 pm

I do think it's fair to use the silence to help determine what was most important to the apostles and their scribes. Surely more was said than what was recorded, but it doesn't seem like key facts would be left out of every sermon.

Looking at the 8 theological statements that the New Testament says one must affirm (or at least not deny) in order to be saved, the Acts 2 preaching contains 7 of those 8 statements, implicitly or explicitly:

1. God exists (implicit throughout)
2. God rewards those who seek Him (v38)
3. Jesus is the Messiah/Christ (v36)
4. Jesus is the Son of God (missing)
5. Jesus came in the flesh (v22, v30)
6. Jesus is Lord (v36)
7. God raised Jesus from the dead (v32)
8. Acknowledge that you have sinned (v38)

Only the statement that Jesus is the Son of God is missing. But that assertion is made elsewhere in Acts. In Acts 9, Saul/Paul begins proclaiming that "[Jesus] is the Son of God." Also, in Acts 8:37, the Ethiopian proclaims that, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," despite the fact that the text doesn't say that Philip previously mentioned that fact. (Note: Acts 8:37 is disputed; it's not in the earliest manuscripts.) It's arguably stated in Acts 3, as well (pais).

In Peter's second sermon in Acts 3, Peter calls Jesus the archégos - author/captain/prince - of life.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2183
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by darinhouston » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:48 pm

But, we do learn elsewhere that Jesus is the "Son of God." I believe this is an incontrovertible textual reality. (see Romans 1:4 -- which interestingly doesn't say He was always had the title of Son of God but that He was declared to have the "title" the Son of God by His resurrection -- presumably when He took the throne alongside the Father). We can argue what that title means, ontologically, but we cannot argue that He was not the Son of God (by title) or the "son" of God (by paternity). What the bible does not seem to affirm (at least explicitly) in Acts or otherwise is that He was "God the Son." It may be something fairly derived/inferred, but it is not explicitly taught.

I do agree that the way Acts (and virtually all other apostolic references) refers to Jesus is consistent with His being a "man" -- a "mortal" (if that term is appropriate -- it may not be). But, I don't see that unique to Acts.

I also agree with Paidion, however, that Jesus is no mere man (whatever that means). He was a sui generis unique son of God, though perhaps unlike Paidion believe He was like us in all other ways (as in not existing as a pre-incarnate "person") but not conceived in the way we were (by the sperm of a man).

Further, as to His incarnation (and on a totally random point) I think it's interesting (though I'm not sure to what end) that Eve was not conceived by a man/woman combo and came from Adam (a man) and Jesus was not conceived by a man/woman combo and came from Mary (a woman). As the "second Adam" that feels very bookend-ish and relevant, though I have no idea what to conclude from the observation.

Singalphile
Posts: 897
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by Singalphile » Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:15 am

I do think that Jesus, as the word/logos, was with God and was God and had glory with God (all references from John) before His incarnation. I also don't think Romans 1:4 necessarily means what you say it means, if you mean that He was not the Son of God before His resurrection. Jesus was referred to as the Son of God before that, after all.

But otherwise, I don't dispute anything you say (unfortunately, my agreement is worth nothing :) ).

That is an interesting observation, although I'm not really sure about the parallel. Jesus wasn't the 2nd Eve.

Thanks. God bless!
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2636
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by Homer » Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:10 pm

21centpilgrim wrote:
This description of Jesus at the introductory sermon of the founding of the church, falls very short of supporting a Trinitarian understanding of Jesus. At best i think a Trinitarian could say that Peter, newly filled with the promised Holy Spirit, highlights the humanity of Christ. The 3,000 added to the church that day were impressed with a view of Jesus that in no way challenges the notion that 'the Father alone is the only God'.
I do not think this statement does justice to Peter's sermon. Surely Peter, motivated by the spirit, emphasized Jesus' humanity precisely because it very soon came into question and even to this day receives little emphasis. And if He was nothing more ontologically than human I can see no efficacy in His death on the cross. As God said to Abraham "I will provide".

Excellent article regarding this issue (I'm not a Calvinist but they aren't wrong about everything!):

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/je ... ully-human

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2183
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by darinhouston » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:30 pm

Singalphile wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:15 am
I do think that Jesus, as the word/logos, was with God and was God and had glory with God (all references from John) before His incarnation. I also don't think Romans 1:4 necessarily means what you say it means, if you mean that He was not the Son of God before His resurrection. Jesus was referred to as the Son of God before that, after all.
So, I did distinguish between "son" as in paternity vs. "son" as in title. That He was the son in the paternal sense is not in question (after all, He was conceived by the HS and not Joseph) -- the question is whether the title has more meaning than that and the only place that is addressed clearly is in Romans 1:4 and this is quite explicitly a title which was "given" to Him in His resurrection. I do suggest He did not have the title/position of "Son of God" in that special sense before His resurrection. If you contend otherwise, how do you exegete Romans 1:4?

Also, John does mention logos in connection with Jesus, but it is not explicit that Jesus "was" the Logos so much as whatever the Logos was in the "beginning" it then "became" incarnated (or enfleshed) in Jesus. So, I don't think it's that obvious that Jesus was in one "form" before the manger and in another "form" after. There is considerable parallel with the eternal Wisdom/Sophia language in Proverbs and other literature being "personified" as Christ. That doesn't mean Christ "personally" pre-existed necessarily. We can all agree we don't know precisely what if any pre-existence Jesus had, but we can't agree that Scripture is explicit and unequivocal on the subject.

Singalphile
Posts: 897
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Re: Preaching in Acts and Christology

Post by Singalphile » Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:50 pm

darinhouston wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:30 pm

So, I did distinguish between "son" as in paternity vs. "son" as in title. That He was the son in the paternal sense is not in question (after all, He was conceived by the HS and not Joseph) -- the question is whether the title has more meaning than that and the only place that is addressed clearly is in Romans 1:4 and this is quite explicitly a title which was "given" to Him in His resurrection. I do suggest He did not have the title/position of "Son of God" in that special sense before His resurrection. If you contend otherwise, how do you exegete Romans 1:4?
I'm not sure I understand the distinction. We both think Jesus is actually the son (begotten) of God. Jesus was declared to be the Son of God before His resurrection (in Matt 16:16 and elsewhere), and he was marked out (or distinguished) in a powerful way as the Son of God by being raised from the dead, among other ways (e.g., various miracles, the transfiguration). I'm not seeing anything else that needs to be exegeted.

(And for the record, I really don't care if you or anyone else affirms or denies trinitarianism.)
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

Post Reply

Return to “Theology Proper, Christology, Pneumatology”