During my frantic attempts to hold onto my orthodox Christian faith, practically every conservative and orthodox pastor, theologian, and apologist with whom I spoke encouraged me to read NT Wright’s, The Resurrection of the Son of God, so I am shocked to find Wright saying the following on page 24 of this text:
“Part of the problem here—and to this we shall return—lies in the confusion that still occurs about the meaning of Messiahship. To say that Jesus is ‘the Christ’ is, in first-century terms, to say first and foremost that he is Israel’s messiah not to say that he is the incarnate Logos, the second person of the Trinity the only begotten son of the father. Even the phrase ‘son of god’, during Jesus’ ministry and in very early Christianity, does not mean what it came to mean in later theology, though already by the time of Paul a widening of its meaning can be observed.”
If the earliest Christians did not believe that Jesus was God’s incarnate Word; the second person of the Trinity; God Himself in the flesh; nor did they use the terms “Christ” and “son of God” to infer that Jesus was the Creator, the Almighty King of Heaven and Earth…then by today’s conservative/orthodox Christian standards how could these early Jewish “believers” even be considered true Christians?? If the early “Christians” simply believed that Jesus was the Jewish messiah…a man, maybe a divine man, in the sense that angels are divine, but not God, what does that say for the environment in which the Christian religion developed?
I would bet that the average modern Christian sitting in the pew on Sundays believes that the Apostles handed down to their successors, who handed down to their successors, etc., the core beliefs and doctrines of the Christian Faith, identical to the core beliefs and doctrines taught in his Church today (every other Christian denomination, of course, has these true teachings screwed up). However, if the earliest “Christians” didn’t even view Jesus as God, the Creator, equal with the Father; part of a Trinity; how much more of Christian teaching and doctrines simply “evolved” from this early murky religious stew?
And Wright wants us to still believe that the Resurrection story, first recorded 35-40 years after the alleged event, by anonymous writers, can be proven as historical fact??
Read part 4 here.