Anthony Buzzard Multimedia • About Anthony Buzzard
Helping the World to Count to One and
Believe in the Gospel of the Kingdom and New Creation
Eberhard Griesebach, in an academic lecture on “Christianity and Humanism,” delivered in 1938, observed that “in its encounter with Greek philosophy Christianity became ‘theology’. That was the fall of Christianity.”1
by Anthony Buzzard
May I start with this introductory thought: I would like to encourage the abandonment of the misleading dichotomy which goes like this: “Don’t preach doctrine; preach Christian living.” This can easily be an excuse for never making clear the essential framework of the Christian faith. “Doctrine divides,” so the slogan goes. Yes, but truth and error divide too, and Jesus caused all sorts of divisions with his teaching. He (and Paul) also of course aimed at a solid unity among his followers — a unity based on truth. And Paul uttered these amazing words in 2 Thessalonians 2:10: “Because the love of the truth they would not accept in order to be saved, God will give them over to a deluding influence so that they wind up believing what is false.” The only insurance against falling for the spirit of antichrist was, for Paul, a thorough and increasing grasp of truth, the very mind of Jesus, who is the Truth.
Yes, of course we are to be kindly in all of our teaching and living. We are to be “gentle towards all.” But avoiding “doctrine” may simply make us water down the precious truths of the faith. And of course, all teaching is doctrine. So the cry “don’t preach doctrine, preach Christian living” actually amounts to “don’t preach these teachings, but do preach other teachings.” Then of course the awkward reply of Scripture to this point of view is that we are to “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Jesus combined Christian living and “doctrine” so beautifully, concisely and uncomplicatedly (John 17:3). “This is the life of the age to come” — this is how we are to live and eventually gain the immortal life of the future Kingdom fully — by knowing and understanding that You, Father, are the only one who is truly God (o monos alethinos theos, the ultimate definition of monotheism — Jesus defined it superbly), and that Jesus is your accredited shaliach, ambassador, agent, deputy, plenipotentiary. Are we indignant or complacent about the fact that Augustine, highly revered, said that the text ought in fact to read, “This is eternal life: that they know You and Jesus Christ whom You sent, as the only true God”? Have we made our protest against this fraudulent manipulation of Scripture? Indeed are we indignant at the appalling, brutal murder of Servetus by John Calvin, 1553, (for excellent documentation do read Did Calvin Murder Servetus? (Standford Rives, 2009). And of course you must read our modern Servetus’ cry for a return to the God of the Bible, Kermit Zarley’s The Restitution of Jesus Christ. Joel Hemphill’s To God Be the Glory equally adds to the recovery of truth about God and His Messiah. Joel is now adding to his armory the much needed cry that Greek philosophy is the root of all the trouble in churches.
How Not to Make John Contradict the Other Gospels!
Jesus is the Messiah, Son of God, not God the Son. This is true of the whole New Testament. Psalm 110:1, with its clear but translator-suppressed distinction between YHVH and adoni, has yet to have its day, and I hope revolutionize churches. Adonai is 449 times the title for the One God and rhymes with El Shaddai. Sarah called Abraham adoni (‘adonee’), and did not think he was God! Adoni never means the Lord God. Adoni is the proper protocol word for addressing “His majesty King Jesus.”
It is a pity we don’t all live to be 150 years old. I can understand how God did not use Moses until he was well up in years. I think I have learned more about how to help others to see who God and Jesus are in the past several months. I have known of course since about 1970 that God is not a family of two or three, but it takes years for this truth to become clearer and clearer. I did two radio programs with Michael Brown, the leading Jewish Messianic Christian (author of five learned volumes on Answering Jewish Objections). His radio program is called “Line of Fire.” Then I was invited to engage with the Calvinist James White (“Unbelievable,” with the British Justin Brierley as moderator). These were for me enlightening, mainly the preparation needed for intelligent defense of our position. I emerge nervous about how belief in two or three who are all of them together “Yahweh” can pass muster in the judgment. Dr. James White dedicates pages in his Forgotten Trinity to explaining that God is “one What composed of three Who’s.” He tries to simplify the befuddling complexities of Trinitarian theory. He admits that three X’s cannot be one X. But I fear he falls into his own trap when towards the end of the book, he shares his technique for getting Jehovah’s Witnesses to accept the Trinity: He argues that the Father is Yahweh and Jesus is also Yahweh. But there is only one Yahweh
A low point was reached by the academy when in Westminster Theological Journal (1957, 1, p. 137) Krabbendam wrote: “God is one Person and three Persons simultaneously.” While James White offers us “one What and three Who’s,” Dr. McGrath, leading Trinitarian author at Oxford, says that God is “one Who in three forms.” Millard Erickson, chief evangelical exponent of the Trinity (God in Three Persons, 1996) admits that to express the Trinity one must break the rules of grammar and say “he are one, and they is three.” It is a very exhausting and divisive business — trying to make one equal three. The Seventh-Day Adventist PhD’s recently produced a special book on the Trinity to celebrate their “orthodoxy” and on p. 76 spoke of the “inherently plural word echad [one] in Deut. 6:4.”
Better just to admit with Luther that he did “not so much believe in the Trinity as find it true in experience.” Or confess with A.H. Newman, “The Trinity is a contradiction indeed and not merely a verbal contradiction, but an incompatibility in the human ideas conveyed. We can scarcely make a nearer approach to an exact enunciation of it than of saying that one thing is two things.”
1Cited by Robert Friedmann in The Theology of Anabaptism (Herald Press, 1973), 50.
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