How Did I Get Here?

Recently, an old friend of mine, upon reading some of what I have written on this site, expressed his concern that some of the things I have written are a “departure from orthodoxy.” He asked what happened to me since he knew me last that had led to these views. Copied below are the two emails I wrote him in response to his email. I have edited the emails, removing things of a more private nature. Continue reading

Thomas Jefferson on Jesus vs. Calvin

The following is an excerpt of a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waterhouse, written June 26, 1822. In the excerpt, Jefferson contrasts the “simple” teachings of Jesus, which “tend all to the happiness of man”, with what Jefferson describes (rightly, in my opinion) as the “blasphemies”, “deliria”, “horrors” of John Calvin. Continue reading

Andrews Norton on Christianity

Below is what I regard a most apt description of what has happened to the doctrines of the Christian religion as taught by Jesus and those whom he designated his apostles. It comes from the unitarian Christian scholar Andrews Norton (1786 - 1853), one-time professor at Harvard University and author of several books including the classic A Statement of Reasons for Not Believing the Doctrines of Trinitarians: Continue reading

Jesus the Son of Man

The term “the Son of Man” appears to have been the preferred self-designation of Jesus. It is found on the lips of Jesus some 32 times in the Gospel of Matthew, 15 times in the Gospel of Mark, 26 times in the Gospel Luke, and 12 times in the Gospel of John. In fact, except for one place in the Gospel of John (John 12.34), the expression is never used in the Gospels by anyone other than Jesus. And even in that passage in John, the expression is only taken up by others by way of inquiry into its meaning: “We have heard out of the law that the Christ lives forever; and why do you say, the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So what is the meaning of this term so favored by Jesus to describe himself?

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Jesus the Son of God

According to the Scriptures, Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. What does this mean? Because most Christians take for granted the teaching of the later creeds that Jesus, a man, is actually God as well, they interpret Jesus’ title Son of God as denoting the eternal deity ascribed to him in the creeds. To put it another way, since most Christians presuppose the doctrine of the trinity, when they hear Jesus called the “Son of God” in Scripture, they hear this as “God the Son” of the later creeds. But this is a misinterpretation of the title. According to the Scriptures, Jesus is Son of God for two reasons, or in two different ways; and neither of these reasons or ways involves the idea that Jesus of Nazareth, a man, is somehow actually God as well. Continue reading

John 6:64 and Judas’ Treachery

In John 6:64, it is reported that Jesus told his disciples,

“‘But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.”

The reference to the “one that would betray” Jesus is clearly Judas. And because the Gospel writer says Jesus knew “from the beginning” (Gk. ex arches) that Judas would betray him, this verse is all-too typically interpreted as evidence that God foreknows all things from eternity including free human decisions. In fact, it is even often interpreted as evidence that God has planned and ordained from eternity all things including human decisions, even sinful ones. But is this verse really evidence of any of this? Continue reading