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Who is Jesus?

The Restoration Movement has traditionally steered clear of the Trinity:

  1. TheTrinity in most churches is defined as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, three in one, of one substance. Don't ask me to explain it: the clover leaf is one leaf, yet is three leaves at the same time; the egg is made up of the yoke, the white and the shell.

  2. Churches of Christ have traditionally stated that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate persons, co-equal and united in plan and purpose and love. "Let us make man in our image", "One God, one Lord, one Spirit..." (Eph. 4).

  3. Churches of Christ have traditionally emphasized the deity of Christ and downplayed the humanity of Christ. So they confess that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet they also teach it was impossible for him to sin. They teach that he suffered on the cross exactly as all humans would, but that he retained a full memory of eternity with the Father in heaven. So they believe Jesus did not have faith, he had infinite knowledge.

  4. This tends to make Jesus one-dimensional and a little boring. He becomes a superman able to leap tall buildings, but it is no big deal for him to do it. He is not someone we can relate to. Is this the Jesus we read of in the gospels? Can we truly say He "became flesh and dwelt among us," if He had such an advantage? The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was to come alongside us and be one of us.

  5. In the gospels Jesus is depicted as:
    a. Emotional: anger, sorrow, stress.
    b. Needing to fast alone for forty days to make a decision.
    c. Needing to pray by himself all night long.
    d. Needing companionship from the apostles and from Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
    e. Asking for encouragement from the apostles, especially Peter, James and John.
    f. Under great stress: He sweated blood.
    g. Sometimes discouraged: "Do you want to leave, too?"

  6. I believe Jesus emptied himself (Phil. 2), and took on the complete role of a human being. He had to learn about God and who he was from his mother. He had to walk by faith not by sight. I believe the first time Jesus heard the Father's voice while he was on earth was at his baptism: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."

  7. This makes Jesus a compellingly fascinating person. How did He develop so much trust in the Father? How did He develop such a simple, powerful view of God as a Father? How did He develop so much faith that He could lay hands on people and heal them?

  8. Hardline Churches of Christ also deny that Jesus traded places with us by dying for us on the cross. They believe he paid for our sins, but they deny that He gives us His righteousness. They believe we are forgiven by Christ's sacrifice, but it is up to us to come up with our own righteousness by obeying the commandments (especially the commandments about the work, worship and organization of the local congregation). They also deny that our belief in Jesus' sacrifice for our sins can be reckoned to us as righteousness, as Abraham's belief in the promise of God was reckoned to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:4; Romans 4).

  9. I believe that Jesus not only forgave us of our sins, but also traded places with us in many ways:
    a. Jesus died in our place for our sins.
    b. Jesus gives us his righteousness so that when God looks at us He sees us as perfect like Jesus.
    c.  Just as God covered Adam and Eve's shame by covering their nakedness with animal skins, Jesus died naked taking upon Himself our shame and giving us his glory (II Thes. 3:14). We share Jesus' crown of glory.
    d. Jesus gives us all His rights of sonship. We are adopted into the family of God as sons, as a gift.
    e. As we grow in Christ we are to grow up to all His fullness (Eph. 4). We are to do His work with His power.

  10. No-one can look at that list and come away anything but awed at the empowerment God gives us. And this is the point of God's relationship with us. God wants us to succeed as His children. Our relationship with Him is perfect, as a free gift. This is the power to conquer sins, conquer discouragement, and the power to love each other.

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A list of what I believe are unbiblical doctrines in the more conservative Churches of Christ.

Inspiration of the Bible