Each month we feature two videos – the most recent addition to our video book reviews, and a recent addition to our CORE Convictions videos. The CORE Convictions series is designed particularly for those who wish to grow in their knowledge of Biblical teaching and Christian living as well as for those who want to know more about how Lutherans understand the Bible. We also want to provide this resource for those who do not have the opportunity or the option of attending a church where the preaching and teaching is Biblical, orthodox, and confessional.
Here is a link to our You Tube channel. In the top row you will find recordings from both sets of videos – in the order in which they were posted, beginning with the most recent. In the second row you will find links to the Playlists for both sets of videos. We now have six videos in our CORE Convictions series. Many thanks to retired NALC pastor Tim Hubert for his video on “Interim Ministry.” His video will be featured in January 2023.
This month we want to feature a video book review by Ken Coughlan and a CORE Convictions video by Pastor Jeffray Greene.
“HOW GOD BECAME JESUS”
Many thanks to Christian apologist Ken Coughlan for his video review of the book, How God Became Jesus. Ken is media director, director of international programs, and staff counsel for Trinity Lutheran Church (NALC) in Joppa, Maryland. A link to his video can be found here.
In 2014 Bart D. Ehrman from the University of North Carolina published a book entitled How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. His argument is that the earliest Christians did not view Jesus as any kind of divine being. Rather over time the prevailing view of Jesus changed from being merely human to being a lesser divine figure. Ehrman claims that in this change the early Christians were following early Judaism, which allowed for many lesser divine figures. Eventually, by the time we come to the Gospel of John, the view of Jesus changes again from being a lesser divine to being equal with the Father.
Anticipating a strong reaction, the publisher released an advance manuscript to a group of five internationally recognized biblical scholars with traditional views, who wrote a response entitled, How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature. These scholars argued that right from the start early Christians saw Jesus as one with the Father. They fault Ehrman for totally ignoring the major Jewish tenant of a strict monotheism. They also argue on the basis of the earliest Gospel, the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins is a claim to be God.
Ken Coughlan urges people to read How God Became Jesus and then bring it to the attention of their congregations, friends, and colleagues so that people will see that there is a better substantiated view than that of Ehrman. If they only read Ehrman’s book, there is a good chance that they will become confused by the fundamentally inaccurate information that can be found within it.
“WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CONFESSIONAL?”
Many thanks to NALC pastor, Dr. Jeffray Greene, for his very illuminating discussion of the question, What does it mean to be confessional? A link to his video can be found here.
Beginning by stating the need for watchmen and for walls to protect the Church from all the streams of error and wickedness that are threatening to invade the Church, Pastor Greene then makes the affirmation that the work of the Lutheran Confessions is to be the walls while our work as the people of God is to be the watchmen. The Confessions were written and carefully constructed so as to keep us from having to start out all over again with each new generation. They are there to keep us from treading down all of the paths which might tempt us. They are there to protect us from all of the ways in which the church is being pillaged today.
Having talked about the role of the Confessions, he then discusses the content of our Lutheran confessional faith, as delineated in the Book of Concord. He has a very interesting way of putting it – God gets all the verbs. God does all the work of salvation. If He did not do it, it would not happen. God alone gets the credit. The action is His. He gives; we receive. Christ did it all for us so that we can receive what is needed.
With the Lutheran Confessions, which were written as a defense of the faith, we do not need to start over and build the walls. Rather the Lord through His saints has already built the walls.