He is part of a cult.

People have said that I’m part of a cult. They mean it, of course, in a derogatory sense.

These same people that derogatorily accuse me of being part of a cult believe that God is somehow a combination of three persons in one essence. They also believe that one of those persons of the three-person god also has a human essence (or nature).

So, this belief system that accuses me of being part of a cult has for their god three persons in one essence, but one person in two essences.  Three persons in one essence, but one person in two essences.

But I’m the one, supposedly, who is part of a cult with a strange belief system.

And they don’t notice that in their definition of who God is, they have eliminated the possibility that Jesus the Messiah (Christ) is a real human person. Otherwise their description of their god would be three persons with two essences (a divine essence and a human essence).

Wait, check that. Their description of their god should be four persons in two essences if they believe that Jesus is a real human person (see comments below). Count them up: "1) God the Father, 2) God the Son, 3) God the Spirit, 4) Jesus the human person". That's four persons. So by definition they have eliminated the human Jesus.

Again, according to them, I’m part of a cult with a strange belief system.

I believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. The God of Jesus the Messiah, like your God and my God, is the God whose name has been revealed to us in the Bible, spelled with the four Hebrew consonants יהוה.

My belief lines up word for word with what Jesus said after his resurrection: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17).

My belief lines up word for word with what the Apostle Peter preached on the first Pentecost (Shavuot) after Jesus was raised from the dead.

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know - this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  God raised him up… (Acts 2:22-36).

My belief lines up word for word with what the Apostle Paul called a knowledge of the truth: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:4-5).

Let’s just say for a moment that I and a growing number of others are hearing Jesus, Peter and Paul correctly, taking the words of the Lord Jesus and his apostles at face value and not adding to them. Jesus, a human, the Messiah (Christ), was put to death and raised from the dead by God.  Jesus, the man Jesus, was raised from the dead by God and exalted to heaven at the right hand of God. A man, raised from the dead, is at God's right hand.

Could it be? Is it possible? What if the Trinity and the “deity of Jesus” are incorrect interpretations made by people in the decades and centuries after Jesus, in lands and cultures distant from Jerusalem? What if the post-biblical Alexandrian (Egyptian), Cappadocian (modern Turkey) and Roman interpretation of God and Jesus is departure from biblical truth? What if they are wrong -- that in fact their three person in one essence god and their one god person in two essences god-man is the aberration -- not the real God or Christ?

Who would be part of a cult then?


Lost Ibex said…
Bill, you're not a part of a cult. Members of cults expel their members who disagree with them. Friends (and good academics) stick by each other when beliefs change, and new or different ideas are explored. You've had a great impact on a lot of people. They can't take that away from you. It also takes a lot of guts to stand up for what you believe, especially against an entrenched institution. I don't know if you still have a classroom, but you're still teaching.

Thanks for everything Bill
Bill Schlegel said…
A challenge for Bible-believing persons who believe in a god who is three-person in one essence, and in a messiah who is two essences in one person. Before accusing anyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah (a real human person, not a god-man) of being part of a cult, you should be prepared in the presence of God and His Messiah to show from the Scriptures where God Himself or the Messiah Jesus explained that יהוה is three persons in one essence, and that Messiah is two essences in one person.

Allow me to recommend not to rely on hints, clues or inferences. If I can explain in one sentence that “God is three persons in one essence”, God or Jesus certainly would be capable of telling us that. Don’t rely on someone else who you believe to be an authority person that told you that God is three persons in one essence, and that the Messiah is one person in two essences.

Messing with what Jesus the Messiah called the first commandment is serious business. Some would call it lawlessness.

“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel; יהוה our God, יהוה is one.’” (Deut. 6:4, Mark 12:29).

In the Scriptures both יהוה and His Messiah told us that יהוה is one. If you want to tell יהוה and His Messiah differently, you better be prepared, not with inferences, hints and clues. Those inferences, hints and clues may not be saying what you think.
Unknown said…
I am looking to see where Jesus said its okay to worship me because I am God. I have not read it yet.
Greg Logan said…

I would add one little adjustment to the above -

re the statement
"And they don’t notice that in their definition of who God is, they have eliminated the possibility that Jesus the Messiah (Christ) is a real human person. Otherwise their god definition would be three persons with two essences (a divine essence and a human essence)."

The last line would be FOUR persons with two essences and one of those persons a human one. In fact, I believe there God already has a human essence somehow attached to it...sort of like a puppet at the end of an octopus' arm getting waved all around - talk about the Mormons have some weird σκυβαλα...😂

Also the whole "one person in two essences" really the "in" is obscurant - the word "with" would much better serve to show what they really believe - a distinct personality from two distinct essences.... NOW one is free to ask exactly the essence of that person itself...well, a whole kettle of monkeys... (otherwise they would reduce the person to a mere idea - and their three persons would cease to exist).

Greg Logan

Greg Logan said…

Have you worked through Schaff's analysis of Chalcedon? Section 7 specifically addresses the issue of the anhypostasis of the human nature. This was where I was exposed to the issue - and blew my brains out. There are related footnotes that make certain there is no exploitation of trinitarian games - though Schaff tries to white-wash with the obscurant and meaningless "enhypostasis".

IMHO this is essential reading as a basis - though there are a few others - that all corroborate this same concept. I can provide at your leisure.

Greg Logan
Bill Schlegel said…
Greg, thanks for the comments and bringing into sharper focus what's going on in Trinitarian world. Wow, what a mess is under the facade. You are right, if Jesus is really a human person, then in Trinitarian world God would have to be four persons (the three eternal persons, plus the human person Jesus). So by definition, "three persons with one essence" eliminates not only the "humanity" of Jesus, but the human person Jesus.

I haven't read Schaff on the non-personhood of the human nature that Trinitarianism has made for Jesus. I'll plan to delve in. For me it should always come back to: "Where is the tri-personality of God described in the Scriptures? Where is the duo-natured Jesus described in the Scriptures? Where is the non-personhood (anhypostastis) of Jesus described in the Scriptures?"

It's all so foreign, so unbiblical.

Kenneth Greifer said…
Mr. Schlegel,

I am a Jewish amateur Hebrew Bible researcher, and I like to analyze difficult Hebrew Bible quote and I try to come up with my own translations and explanations that I put together in books that I self-publish. I think I have some ideas that could help you argue against the trinity in my first volume. I have a lot of excerpts that you can read on my site http://www.hebrewbiblequotes.com/
If you look at my chapters on seeing G-d and on the angel of G-d's presence in the first volume, I think you will like some of the ideas. I don't think you will like the rest of my books because I am Jewish and I disagree with Judaism and Christianity on a lot of things. I didn't know how to reach you by email, so I hope it is ok with you that I put this comment instead. Thank you.
Greg Logan said…

As a "colleague of Bill's - I am pretty certain we are not about "liking" per se - we are about quality scholarship - facts - elimination of assumptions and presuppositions, etc.

There are some of us who acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth - a man attested to by God - as the Messiah - who OTOH reject evangelicalism and even aspects of the NT which seem to be internally inconsistent, e.g. the virgin birth, etc.

The whole matter of seeing Yahweh is, of course, fascinating on a few different levels - including the fact that the TNK editors do NOT appear to be consistent on this matter (as they are not consistent on other matters... not surprising - there are a LOT of documents to manage...:-) ).


Bill Schlegel said…

Thanks for the note and for the link to your books. Wow, you've done a lot of work. I looked over a few of your volumes, and learned some things. I'll plan to use your work as a resource. The examples for parallel grammatical usage are particularly helpful.

I sent you a facebook friend request and message. Let's be in touch. Blessings,
Kenneth Greifer said…

Thank you for taking the time to look at my work. I am glad that you like what you have seen so far, and I hope you will find information that will help you spread your beliefs in the oneness of G-d. I have excerpts on my site, but I wasn't sure what quotes or topics would help people like you, so I wasn't sure what chapters to put in the excerpts. If you can think of any other quotes in the Hebrew Bible that you have to argue about, maybe I have information on that quote that I can add to the excerpts.

You are the first well-educated person to have a positive reaction to the books. Most people don't like that I sometimes divide the Hebrew letters into words differently in some quotes. I believe that they can just ignore those ideas and just read the other information. I hope that you won't be offended by those ideas. I understand that a lot of people believe the Hebrew Bible was passed perfectly, and I think it was passed down very well, but not totally perfectly. I don't think anyone reading my books would say I am attacking the Bible at all because I am not.

The holiday starts soon, so I am kind of busy right now. I am not exactly Orthodox, but I try to not use electricity on holidays.

Kenneth Greifer
William K said…
Been studying for the last year on biblical Monotheism coming out from a trinitarian assembly..Thanks Bill for your writings and Podcasts, you have made a big difference in my understanding..question? On reading these comments on this article there is a statement by a Greg who says that theirs no virgin birth or have issues with it, I once read William Barclay write that. Was wondering if you have any material on that..
Bill Schlegel said…
William K., Shalom. Glad you've found some of this content helpful.

I don't have any suggestions for additional material on the virgin birth topic.

To me, Matthew's account is clear concerning the virgin conception/birth. I have a high regard for Scripture and have no reason to doubt Matthew's account. I don't think the virgin conception/birth has anything to do with the necessity to circumvent sin nature or anything like that.

Rather, I see it as miraculous evidence that God is at work, that the child to be born is of God, God's Messiah, the designated descendant of David who is to rule as God's human son. Adam was a son of God formed from the dust, having no human father or mother. Jesus, the 2nd Adam, has a parallel direct creation beginning to Adam.

It is true that the virgin conception/birth does not play a significant role in the Gospel narratives, or in any of the rest of the New Testament literature.

Sean Finnegan may touch on the denial of the virgin birth/conception in the podcast I'll link below. I can't say for certain, but I'd be suspicious that Enlightenment anti-supernatural tendencies probably went after the virgin birth/conception.

Again, for me, it's not a problem. The NT insists that God can and has raised the dead man Jesus Christ to everlasting life. A virginal conception would seem "easier" than raising the dead to immortality.
Greg Logan said…
William K.

Ask yourself - did Paul ever refer to a virgin birth?? Supposedly one of the greatest miracles of all time.... No - nor did ANY of the writers. Why? I would suggest that they simply were not aware of such an idea because it had not been formulated.

This corresponds to what appears to be a very adoptionsistic notion of sonship in Paul's mind.

I would prefer to think that I actually have a "higher" view of scripture than Bill Schlegel - as it is an accurate view (that is what a real "high" view is rather than some artificial man-made notion) - which are a series of documents written in by confessing Christians reflecting their various ideologies - and thus allow each one to speak for himself.

I note that Bart Ehrman was helpful in identifying some of these issues - via a hermenutic of reading through the text into the personal and cultural contexts, etc. He noted that it was quite popular to have some sort of virgin birth - and Christians, not wanting "their guy" to be less than the best needed to add that to the mix and eventually did - as seen in Matt and Luke.... HOWEVER, NOT seen ANYWHERE ELSE PLUS A CLEAR ADOPTIONIST SONSHIP elsewhere, etc.

This same evolution has resulted in insane, anti-Christ notions of the hypostatic union which denies the man Christ Jesus (something MOST of them reference REPEATEDLY and thus a much more likely reality)

Best wishes in your further pursuit


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