The Trinity and Acts 2:36

Does Acts 2:36 disprove the deity of Christ? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve had two times where I have interacted with someone online from the group called the Iglesia Ni Cristo, a cult group that seems to have the strategy online of “Say the same thing over and over preferably very loudly and ignore anything to the contrary.” Last night, I encountered someone who seemed to think the only verse in the Bible worth talking about was Acts 2:36. This is one a lot of skeptics of the deity of Christ and/or the Trinity use.

So what does the verse say?

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

The idea is rooted in the word “made.” If Jesus was made Lord and Christ at His resurrection, then He was not these things before. Right?

The Greek word is ποιεο and if you want to base your argument on this word, well good look. Unfortunately, it’s one of those words that has a lot of meanings behind it. Here’s what you can find at BlueLetterBible.com.

  1. to make
    1. with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc.
    2. to be the authors of, the cause
    3. to make ready, to prepare
    4. to produce, bear, shoot forth
    5. to acquire, to provide a thing for one’s self
    6. to make a thing out of something
    7. to (make i.e.) render one anything
      1. to (make i.e.) constitute or appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that
      2. to (make i.e.) declare one anything
    8. to put one forth, to lead him out
    9. to make one do something
      1. cause one to
    10. to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about)
  2. to do
    1. to act rightly, do well
      1. to carry out, to execute
    2. to do a thing unto one
      1. to do to one
    3. with designation of time: to pass, spend
    4. to celebrate, keep
      1. to make ready, and so at the same time to institute, the celebration of the passover
    5. to perform: to a promise

So let’s go a different route. Let’s start with Lord and limit our usage to Lukan usage before the resurrection. Luke 1:43 has Elizabeth referring to Mary as the mother of her Lord. In Luke 2:11, the angels say that born in Bethlehem is Jesus, who is Christ the Lord. In 3:4, John the Baptist prepares the way for the Lord and then here comes Jesus.

In 5:8, Simon calls Jesus, Lord. A leper does the same in 5:12. In 6:46, Jesus asks why call Him, “Lord, Lord” and not do what He says? The friends of the centurion call Jesus Lord in 7:6 and Luke calls Jesus Lord himself in verse 13 and again in 31.

In 9:54, two of Jesus’s disciples refer to Him as Lord and two would-be disciples do so in verses 57 and 61. Luke again calls Jesus the Lord in 10:1 and the returning disciples in verse 17 call Jesus Lord as well.

Honestly, I suspect at this point this is getting repetitive. You can search on your own and find the numerous places where many people in the Gospels call Jesus the Lord in Luke and this before His resurrection. So what about Christ?

Yep. Luke 2:11 mentioned above and Simeon is told in the came chapter he won’t die until he sees the Lord’s Christ. Demons declare Jesus to be Christ in chapter 4 and in chapter 9, Peter makes his great declaration of faith that Jesus is the Christ.

So now, either all of these verses are wrong or need to be reinterpreted or Acts 2:36 needs to be.

So how do we read Acts 2:36 then?

It’s easy. The resurrection was the action whereby God declared that Jesus was indeed Lord and Christ. It is God’s vindication of the claims of Jesus. It in now way means that Jesus became Lord and Christ at that point or else Jesus Himself is wrong many times throughout the Gospels and surely should have corrected all those people giving Him those titles.

Thus, the INC and the JWs and anyone else using this verse just really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, such groups will continue to do so because they don’t know better. They will also avoid contrary scholarship that disagrees because sadly, they don’t want to know better.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/12/2017: Michael Bird

What’s going to be on the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night I recorded the latest episode of the podcast and on it, I discussed the adoptionist position with a leading scholar. Why record last night? Because my guest is all the way in Australia and due to time differences, we had to handle things differently.

Adoptionism is the idea that Jesus hasn’t always been the Son of God. He was adopted at one point in His lifetime be it at His birth, baptism, or resurrection. My guest has taken a look at the arguments scholars put forward for this and has put forward a brief but powerful book on the topic. His name is Michael Bird.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Michael grew up in Brisbane before joining the Army and serving as a paratrooper, intelligence operator, and then chaplains assistant. It was during his time in the military that he came to faith from a non-Christian background and soon after felt a call to ministry. He graduated with a B.Min from Malyon College (2001) and Honours and Ph.D from the University of Queensland (2002, 2005). Michael taught New Testament at the Highland Theological College in Scotland (2005-9) before joining Brisbane School of Theology as lecturer in Theology (2010-12). He joined the faculty at Ridley as lecturer in Theology in 2013.

Michael describes himself as a “biblical theologian” who endeavours to bring together biblical studies and systematic theology. He believes that the purpose of the church is to “gospelize,” that is to preach, promote, and practice the Gospel-story of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remembered by students for his mix of outlandish humour and intellectual rigor, he makes theology both entertaining and challenging.

As an industrious researcher, Michael has written and edited over thirty books in the fields of Septuagint, Historical Jesus, Gospels, St. Paul, Biblical Theology, and Systematic Theology. His book Evangelical Theology is an attempt to develop a truly gospel-based theology that promotes the advance of the gospel in Christian life and thought. He is the co-editor of the New Covenant Commentary Series, an associate editor for Zondervan’s The Story of God Bible Commentary, and an elected member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (the international society of New Testament scholars).  He speaks often at conferences in the Australia, the UK, and USA and is currently working on a New Testament Introduction co-authored with N.T. Wright. He also runs a popular blog called Euangelion.

Michael is married to Naomi and they have four children.

We talk in this show about the Jewish context of the Gospel accounts and how Jesus fits into them. We look at passages like Romans 1, Acts 2:36, Philippians 2, and the baptism of Jesus in Mark 1. We also cover the importance of the understanding of the Old Testament and look at ideas such as Jesus being based more off of Greco-Roman imagery instead of Jewish thought.

The show was only an hour long, so that leaves plenty more for those interested in getting the book. I hope you’ll be looking forward to this episode. Please also consider going on ITunes and leaving a positive review for the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: Our Lord

What does it mean to say Jesus is Lord? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

When we read Romans 10, we read about how we are to say “Jesus is Lord.” This is often thought to be a baptismal statement in that the person would say it as they were being baptized. The reality is that no Jew or Greek would say this unless they were ready to accept the consequences.

If you were a Jew, to say Jesus is Lord was a way of putting Jesus in the divine identity and saying that He is in some sense, YHWH. A Jew would know that if this was not true, it would certainly constitute blasphemy and God was not too pleased with blasphemers.

A Greek on the other hand would know that this was about Caesar. To say Jesus is Lord was to say that Caesar was not. That would put you on the outs with the Roman Empire and in the league of who, another one who was a threat? No. In this case, it would have you be siding with a crucified criminal and saying “That’s who I choose to follow instead of you Caesar!”

Caesar would not be pleased.

Today, we have really lost sight of the Lordship of Christ. We have often reduced Jesus to a buddy or good friend and someone we might go and have a drink with or something, but too often when we do that, we fail to treat Him as the sovereign Lord of the universe.

I was discussing this last night in a Facebook group with the concept of people saying “Jesus is my boyfriend.” As I pointed out, the reason you have a boyfriend should be (And this implies you’re a girl of course) is because you want to see if he’s marriage material. If you plan to marry him, then that means that eventually one day you’ll be sleeping with him.

Sorry, but you are not going to be sleeping with Jesus.

Now I was told many girls who say this are just saying “I’m not interested in dating. I just want to focus on Christ for now.”

That’s fine.

But why not say just that?

The first Christians did say Jesus is Lord after all. Why can’t we? (By the way, for those concerned, I have no interest in a debate on Lordship salvation, though I do think all Christians should say Jesus is Lord.)

The Lordship of Christ means that Jesus is our king and it doesn’t just mean He will be king in the future, although His rule will be much more manifest. It means that He is king right now and He is king because God vindicated His claims by raising Him from the dead.

What would it mean for you if you started living knowing you are living in a world where Christ is King right now?

“What?! Are you serious?! Have you seen what is going on in our world right now?! How can you possibly say Christ is king?!”

Because Scripture says it. In Psalm 110 we read

“The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

The right hand is the place of rule and Christ will rule regardless of having enemies right now. As He walked this Earth, He proclaimed the Kingdom of God was present and this was while demonic activity was around, His enemies were plotting against Him, and He got Himself crucified. In all of that, He was still saying the Kingdom of God was there.

As we go out in the world today, we are ambassadors of the King and we are to live that way. We are to treat Jesus even more seriously than we would treat any earthly ruler today. (Considering some of our earthly rulers, for many of us that’s not saying much sadly.) Jesus is the divine sovereign of the universe and when we treat Him like that instead of like a buddy buddy type, then we’ll start seeing more of His reality in our lives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters