What is the foundation of Christology? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I don’t know if this one will be as long as the prologue since Buzzard’s whole argument seems to be to reference Mark 12:29, Deut 6:4, and say “Shema” and “Monotheism” over and over. He does reference Ken Samples talking about the importance of the Shema, which all Trinitarians would agree with. At the same time, he does seem to reference Ken Samples as if Samples would agree with him. He would not. I have interviewed Samples and he is indeed an orthodox Trinitarian.
Buzzard does say there is not a word of such revolutionary changes in the nature of God in the New Testament, but this could also be because the idea of a multiplicity in the Godhead was not unfamiliar to the Jews. There is no interaction with the intertestamental literature thus far that I have seen that did inform the Jewish background of Second Temple Judaism Jesus lived in. ONe such work would be the Wisdom of Solomon where Wisdom is presented in terms reminiscent of that of God in passages like the Exodus. I highly encourage readers to read How God Became Jesus. (Unfortunately, my copy is back in Tennessee.)
Buzzard also writes about how a Calvinist pastor once called him a heretic. This is seen as an unloving attitude, but is it? If the pastor really thinks that, is that not more of a warning to Buzzard? We can say all we want that perhaps the tact wasn’t there, but how are we to assume it was done out of an unloving spirit.
Despite this, the next part talks about him speaking and some older ladies in the church come up after his talk and beg he and his family to repent lest they face eternal hellfire. Whatever you think about the doctrine of Hell, I have no doubt the ladies came from a place of love, but Buzzard is apparently upset about that as well. It could just be that Buzzard doesn’t like to be challenged. He also says they seemed unaware of the Unitarian creed (Assumption again) of Jesus and any knowledge of the history of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity was absent.
Ah yes. If only those stupid old ladies were as informed as Dr. Buzzard is. They should be grateful that he just graces them with his presence.
When we get to the history of the doctrine, he talks about the controversy after Arius and says that the fact that there was such controversy should alert us that there is a problem. There wasn’t any of this with the doctrine of God in the ministry of Jesus. In this, there is a big question unanswered.
Why were Jews at the time upset about the ministry of the early church following in the footsteps of Jesus? What were Jesus and His followers doing that was so shocking? Buzzard has already said it wasn’t their doctrine of God, so what was it? What created such a scandal? Thus far, I have no idea from Buzzard.
Also, when the Arian controversy started, it wasn’t the Trinity that was the new doctrine bringing about chaos. It was Arianism. In other words, had someone not been upsetting the apple cart, there would have been no controversy. Also, as was said before, there were problems in actions on both sides. Buzzard will only give you one side.
He also writes about how the average Englishman (Which Buzzard is) who believes in the Trinity doesn’t often understand it. So what? For one thing, if you fully understand your doctrine of God, you have a pretty small God. One problem comes with the question of asking if Jesus is God.
While He is, when we say this, we are using shorthand. It is a statement that Jesus fully possesses the nature of God in His being. It does not mean that Jesus is the Father. We are speaking of God in a sense of nature.
Buzzard also says Jesus foresaw a time of killing coming in John 16:2. Why does Buzzard need to look to the Arian controversy? That killing started with Stephen and keep in mind, Buzzard can’t say it was over the doctrine of God by his own position, so what was it?
He also says that in Matthew 16 Jesus could have said about His identity “I am God, and upon this rock, I will build my church.” Sure. That would have solved everything. Then the question would be “Are you the Father?” This is why the understanding of the Trinity was a gradual matter. Jesus had to show who He is and He also had to show He is not the Father. He trusted us to work it out.
Buzzard actually knows this because he says the same thing when replying to Witherington. He goes a step further and says that any claim to be the God of Israel would have been nonsensical. No Jew would understand it. First off, if that’s the case, then it’s obvious why Jesus didn’t say it. Second, would it be nonsensical? Buzzard has not told us why. He has just assumed it.
The final section has Buzzard saying that the creed was unitarian and thus if Jesus was said to be God, then there would have to be two gods since God is unipersonal. Thus, Buzzard’s assumption that the Shema is Unitarian, which he has not demonstrated, drives his doctrine. We all agree that if God is unipersonal, then two persons cannot be God. The question is “Is God unipersonal?” I can fully say I agree with the Shema. How could I not? I just don’t agree with Buzzard’s interpretation of it.
We will continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)