How to Hear the Voice of Jesus

The world bombards us with so much information and distraction that sometimes it’s hard to hear the voice of Jesus. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually hear His voice and separate it from the torrent of media noise coming our way? The sound of Jesus’ voice often seems faint compared to all the news we hear about wars and pandemics, inflation and economic collapse, crimes, natural disasters and political crises. All these things are coming at us through an almost endless variety of technologies and it seems like we are awash in an ocean of news, entertainment and information. It would do most of us a lot of good if we learned how to hear the voice of Jesus instead of all the noise and distraction the world sends our way.

Theological Noise

There’s another kind of noise that also makes it hard to hear the sound of Jesus’ voice. It’s helpful to think of the ancient dogmas coming our way from the church fathers as a kind of “theological noise” that can also drown out Jesus’ voice. I like to watch nature shows on TV and am amazed by the way a mother seal or seagull finds her own offspring in a noisy colony full of hungry shrieking babies. Somehow or another she hears the sound of her own baby and that baby hears and recognizes her voice! It’s just a miracle… and it’s a miracle too that we can even hear the voice of Jesus over the all the theological noise  surrounding us.

The Sound of Jesus’ Voice

Jesus meant it when He said, “My sheep hear my voice…” (John 10:27) Above the noise of the world and church traditions there remains the sound of Jesus’ voice and it’s still possible to hear it if you dare. He speaks to us plainly and forcefully and today we can hear His voice in the words of scripture. The words of Jesus continue to echo through the centuries and hallways of history and His sheep still hear them today. Scripture is the sound of Jesus’ voice and His sheep delight to hear Him. His words cut through the proud religious traditions of men now just like they did when He walked in Israel. His voice also cuts through all the philosophical nonsense that forms the heart of trinitarian dogma and His words are “sharper than any two edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12)

The Voice of Tradition

Our most sacred tradition (the trinity) declares that God is three co-equal persons who share the same divine substance. This is the united voice of the church fathers and councils and it still shouts loudly in Christendom today.  Modern theologians and scholars simply echo the ancient thoughts and words of the church fathers and for the most part their voices are the only voices allowed in our churches. It is fair to say that their voice is the voice of tradition, but the voice of tradition is not the voice of Jesus.

The Voice of Jesus

No one ever heard the voice of Jesus say that God is three persons or anything remotely like it. His words are simple, straightforward and clear.  He taught that the most important thing, the first and greatest commandment of all is this: “Hear O Israel! The LORD our God is One LORD.” (Mark 12:29) This is the main thing! Don’t ever forget it…. no matter what you hear from creeds, councils, church fathers, traditions or the denominations that want you to listen to their voice. “The LORD our God is One LORD.”  “For us (Christians) there is one God, the Father and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5)

There Are So Many Voices in the World

“There are, it may be, so many voices in the world and none of them is without significance.” (I Corinthians 14:10) All we have to do is figure out what those voices signify and which voice we should listen to. Should we listen to the words and voice of the church fathers in the triune creeds they imposed on the Body of Christ?  Or should we listen to the words and voice of Jesus Christ recorded in scripture? Who should we listen to?  We think that’s a good question to think about. What do you think? It makes sense to us to listen to Jesus.

Copyright 2023 by Bob Shutes

PS: It took this old retired pastor almost 50 years of study and searching to find a clear and Biblical alternative to the trinity. I confess to being a little slow. Ultimately I arrived at the immensely satisfying and solidly Biblical understanding of God and Christ we speak of on this website and that some call Biblical Unitarian. I hope it doesn’t take you that long! If this teaching brings you peace and blessing please spread the word and share a link to www.wonderfultheology.com with someone else soon! (they might not have 50 years left). God Bless.
Water is a Biblical symbol of the refreshing nature of God's Spirit.

A Fable for Thirsty Souls

In Another Time and Another Place

In another time and another place there was a young man who found himself born on the shores of a lake more beautiful and refreshing than he could describe in words (though he would often try). How he had come to be there was something of a mystery only understood by the Master of the Waves who owned the waters and all who swam in them. Somehow the young man understood that his life near the waters had to do with memories of a terrible and killing thirst. Mostly though, he had simply learned to love the One who filled the waves and sent the gentle breezes to him, and who gave him the sweet stillness of the morning and the evening.

The God of the Waters

In the course of time he came to know that the waters were truly his, and would always be his. The Master had even given him a fountain, one that he could take with him into the dryness where men still went mad and died from the killing thirst that he himself had known. It seemed that the feel of the water and its fragrance,  even its sounds as it splashed about him had become the very stuff of his life. When the God of the Waters had fully satisfied the young one He sent him back into the dry places with the assurance that his small fountain would be enough to cure even the worst of the killing thirsts. Even the nearly dead and delirious could make their way to the shores of his beloved lake if only they would take a sip.

The Property Owners Association

No one told him about the Property Owners Association. These were people who claimed to own the lake and the right to determine who got to swim, and when and for how long. They even claimed to speak for the Master of the Waves and insisted that the young swimmer forget about the water and pay more attention to cleaning up the lakeshore. Worse than that they insisted that the cure for the killing thirsts was just tidying up a bit and then going to work on the property owners’ pet projects. And do you know what? The young man was so naive and gullible, and they were so insistent and their leader so forceful that the young man believed them!

After Many Long Years

After many long years of intense labors the young man had such an odd thing happen to him… one day he somehow managed to get the scent of his beloved waters once again. It was so unexpected, and so welcome. Actually, it made him realize that his little fountain had nearly dried up and that he had begun to feel the effects of the killing thirsts all over again. He realized that he didn’t really belong to the Property Owners Association and didn’t want to and had done enough of their projects to last him a lifetime. More than that though, it was the water that drew him. Just the smell of it and the feel of it and its refreshing.

The Master of the Waves

The Master of the Waves, how good it was to see HIM again and to know His stillness and His gentle breezes. And the young man decided he had learned a valuable lesson. The Lake belonged to the Master after all, and the Property Owners Association really didn’t have much to do with the water, or with the Master either.

Copyright circa 1995 by Bob Shutes

PS: This was written in hopes that it might be a blessing to all who are bound by or leaving the dryness and chains of legalism. May God grant you peace and an abundant supply of living waters for your journey.

Who Understands the Mystery of God?

Who understands the mystery of God? Scripture teaches that God has a lot to say about who will know Him and who will not. Knowing God takes divine revelation and no one understands the mystery of God without God’s help. Jesus said, “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” (Luke 10:22) When Jesus asked  “Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man am?” Peter answered “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” Jesus commended him and said “…flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-17). Only the Son reveals the Father and only the Father reveals the Son.

The Eyes of Your Understanding

Preachers love to preach and writers love to write about the mystery of God and Christ but only God can give true understanding. Jesus taught, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him…” (John 6:44)  and again “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). These few verses make it clear that coming to a knowledge of God and Christ takes divine help. We publish this website in hopes that “The eyes of your understanding may be opened…” (Ephesians 1:18) but realize that no one can open your eyes but God Himself. This whole business of knowing God and Christ depends on divine intervention.

It is a Great Gift to Know God

The scales that blinded the Apostle Paul’s eyes were put in place by God and then God Himself removed those scales.  This faith of ours and our ability to hear it, understand it and believe it is not of ourselves it is a gift from God. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8). It is a great gift to know the true identity of the man Christ Jesus and it is a great gift to know God. Think of it as a pearl of great price because it truly is.

Blessed Are Your Eyes

Jesus had a lot to say about people who hear but don’t hear and see but don’t see. “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears for they hear” (Matthew 13:13-16). He still cries out in the marketplace today, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!” Jesus wants us to hear Him but the simple message of God and His Christ has somehow gotten lost in the speculations of our learned philosophers and theologians.  The message of the Father and His only begotten Son still blazes on the pages of the holy book and God wants you to see it! If you want to truly understand the mystery of God and Christ just ask God to reveal it to you. He promised He would! “Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find.”

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes

Does the Trinity Mean Anything?

Words Should Mean Something

Words should mean something… unless of course we are talking about the trinity, in which case all bets are off. Hang on tight because here we go! God is One but He is Three. God is one Essence but three Persons and this is not tritheism but is really monotheism. How easy was that? God is one and God is three and that’s all there is to it! All we have to do is agree that words don’t really mean anything. This helps us revere an idea that we can’t even begin to understand in any sensible way. We are left asking the question: Does the trinity mean anything?

HeeHaw Theology

Most of us grew up believing that one means one and three means three and that pretty much settled it. Had it not been for the work of Platonic philosophers who latched onto Christianity with a vengeance we might have continued believing this old fashioned truth in blissful ignorance. But no! When the Bible declares that God is One it doesn’t mean one at all, it means three which now equals one. To believe it all we have to do is dispense with the pesky idea that words actually mean something understandable and sensible. One trinitarian writer even suggests we dispense with grammar altogether and start speaking of God as, “He are and They is.” Should we call this kind of thinking “He Are Theology” or should we call it “HeeHaw Theology”?

If God is Not Someone…What is He?

Classic Trinitarian sleight of hand claims that although God is three persons He (It?) is just one God. C.S Lewis helps us make sense of all this by declaring, “We must remind ourselves that Christian theology does not believe God to be a person.” In simple terms this means that God is not a divine individual at all. He is not really someone, He is something! This lines up perfectly with the oft expressed idea that “God is one what and three who’s“. What’s so hard about that? All we have to do is change our thinking! Instead of asking “Who is God? we should be asking “What is God?”… but somehow that doesn’t seem to reflect Biblical thought at all does it?

Trinitarian Logic

Trinitarian logic would let you claim that although you are married to three different women you have only one wife and are a firm believer in monogamy.  Monotheism with three “persons” is like monogamy with three wives. We say polygamy is not monogamy and the trinity is not monotheism. Simply claiming you believe in monotheism doesn’t make it true. Once you gut words of their meanings you can say anything you like no matter how absurd or illogical it might be. This dear friend is what we are faced with when we consider the most hallowed of all our religious traditions, the trinity.

A More Biblical Approach

A far better and more biblical approach is to simply declare that there is just one God, One Eternal Supreme Being we call the Father. He meant what He said when He declared “I alone am God and there is no other God beside me!” He is the Father of Eternity and the Father of Spirits. He is most assuredly a personal God. Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Savior, is His only begotten Son. These are the words and teachings of scripture and they mean something understandable. Someday these words will judge our beliefs and everyone, including you, will believe they mean what they say.

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes

PS: I would like to thank everyone who visits and takes the time to read the things we post on this website. I know it has been awhile since new posts have been published but now that summer is coming to an end I promise to be much more diligent. God Bless and thanks for your patience.

Who Owns the Trinity?

Scholars declare the trinity is a mystery that is beyond understanding and we agree! Divine mysteries are spiritual truths that were formerly hidden but are now meant to be understood. Man made mysteries are something else altogether and can be impossible to understand. Since the trinity is so incomprehensible we ask ourselves, who owns the trinity?

The Greatest Divine Mystery of All

There’s no doubt that the greatest divine mystery of all is the revelation of God Himself and His plan for the ages in His Son Jesus Christ. This is something we can definitely understand and that God wants us to understand! Our inheritance includes “the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God and of the Father and of Christ.” (Colossians 2:2) God did not leave us in the dark about Himself.  When Christians though are pressed to explain the trinity they usually say,  “It’s a great mystery that no one can understand.” A highly educated orthodox bishop once told me the trinity is “a vague nebulousness” but he believed it anyway. We can’t help but  wonder… who owns the trinity? Is the trinity a divine mystery or is it ours?

Does Anyone Understand the Trinity?

One of the most peculiar things about the trinity is that even people who claim to believe it wholeheartedly confess they have no idea at all of what it really means. In an effort to explain how God can be one “substance” in three co-equal and co-eternal “persons” some have proclaimed that God is “One What and Three Who’s”. We say “who could fail to love a God like that?” To this day no one can explain precisely what a divine “person”  is and how such a “person” differs from God’s “substance”. Where did men ever get the idea that God is some type of substance anyway? The answer is pretty clear, they got it from Greek philosophy because the Bible never says things like that about God!

How to Explain the Trinity

Common trinitarian illustrations include “God is like an apple with skin, seeds and flesh but it is just one apple.” And let’s not forget other even more well-known explanations of the trinity such as God is like an egg with shell, egg-white and yoke but it’s just one egg!  Or God is like water, steam and ice! Do any of these things reveal God to us? Even more impressive than these examples is that most Christians subscribe to the notion that God is like a triangle!  One modern theologian has stated that “The Trinity reveals God more as a verb than a noun.” Did you notice that none of these illustrations have anything at all to do with scripture? Maybe that’s because the trinity has nothing at all to do with the Biblical mystery of God.

The Trinity is Officially a Mystery

Isaac Newton found the trinity to be “unintelligible, it was not understood at the Council of Nicea… nor ever since”. Newton also wrote that “the debates at Nicea had more to do with Plato and Aristotle than with Jesus.” Thomas Jefferson wrote “The Athanasian paradox that one is three, and three but one is so incomprehensible to the human mind that no candid man can say he has any idea of it.”  We affirm that the trinity is a man-made bafflement and a nonsensical philosophical abstraction. Perhaps the trinity is officially a mystery because it is man-made and doesn’t have much to do with God at all.

The Biblical Mystery of God and Christ

The divine revelation and Biblical mystery and  of God and Christ is both clear and understandable. The One true God known as the Father miraculously brought about the birth of His only Son Jesus, who is God’s Christ and our Savior and Messiah. This Jesus was crucified for our sake, rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God! He has promised to return to earth someday and set up a kingdom that will never end. Believers in every age have looked forward to this blessed hope. Compared to the philosophical abstractions of men, the Biblical mystery of God and Christ reveals divine truths in ways even children can understand… and we like God’s approach a lot better.

Copyright  2022 by Bob Shutes