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.

Sola Scriptura…. Really?

The phrase “sola scriptura” is tossed around a lot these days.  I hear it in conversations with believers who are defending their beliefs and see it frequently on church home pages. It’s a well known Latin phrase that simply means “scripture alone” and it does have a nice ring to it.  Many Christians like to boast that “the Bible is my only authority!” We wish that were true, but sometimes we wonder. How about you? Do you believe in sola scriptura…. really?

Is the Trinity Sola Scriptura?

Let’s take a look at what is arguably the single most important doctrine in modern Christendom and see if it passes the “sola scriptura” test or not. It’s a teaching from our creeds about the nature of God and it’s widely used as a litmus test for orthodoxy. If you question or object to its dogma you’ll likely be written off as a heretic, a wing nut, or at the very least, someone way out on the fringe. Yes, you guessed it! I’m talking about the trinity, our beloved and venerable Holy Trinity. In this article we ask if the trinity is really consistent with the principle of sola scriptura… or is it simply a Christian sacred cow with no basis in scripture at all?

Find These Words in Scripture!

If the trinity is scriptural you should be able to find it in the Bible pretty easily by finding the words “three persons”, “triune” or “trinity” in  the scriptures. The trinity is built on words and ideas like co-equal, co-eternal, persons, substance, essence, hypostasis, and homoousious.  A good concordance could help you find these words in scripture without much effort and prove the trinity is consistent with sola scriptura.  All you have to do is find these words in scripture! If the words and ideas that men have used to build the trinity are really consistent with sola scriptura they must be in God’s Word somewhere! But they are not. None of them. None at all. Not even one. Why not? Could it be because the trinity has a lot do to with our creeds but doesn’t have anything to do with scripture?

Choose Sola Scriptura or Choose the Trinity

The lack of scriptural references to support the trinity creates a problem doesn’t it? Some try to minimize the problem and say, “So what! What’s the big deal?” Well, it is a big deal and here’s the issue. Do you believe in the creeds or do you believe in scripture alone? The dilemma you face is that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have your doctrinal cake and eat it too. Choose sola scriptura or choose the trinity of the creeds but you can’t honestly have both. Either throw out the archaic creeds that gave us the trinity or throw out the whole idea of sola scriptura.

Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve

I’m reminded of the time when Joshua confronted Israel with these words: “Choose you this day whom  you will serve. As for me and my house we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) The man chosen to lead Israel didn’t leave them much room for waffling around. The edges of the decision were sharp and the choice before them was stark. Choose your old and familiar religion or serve YHWH in sincerity. Perhaps God has brought all of us to the kingdom for such a time as this and now insists that we too make a choice. Choose scripture or choose an old and familiar man-breathed creed. As for me and a growing number of believers, I think we’ll go with sola scriptura. Why not join us? You’ll be glad you did.

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes

Jesus Christ… the God-Man?

The Dual Nature of Jesus Christ

The dual nature of Jesus Christ is a central teaching of both Trinitarian and Oneness (Monarchian) theology. In both beliefs it is commonly said that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Trinitarians believe Jesus is one of the divine “persons” in God who visited our world during His incarnation while Oneness proponents believe Jesus is the Father Himself incarnate. Both views advocate for the “God in a human body” position and both have developed some pretty fancy theological footwork to explain and defend their doctrine. Trinitarians use the concept of a hypostatic union while Oneness believers endorse the same teaching without labeling it a hypostatic union. Both views teach belief in Jesus Christ… the God-Man.

A Schizophrenic Vision of God?

Some very clever church fathers once came up with the notion of an “impersonal human nature” for Jesus Christ to support their belief in the trinity. They obliterated the essential humanity of Christ by declaring that He is “man” but not “a man”. This approach completely does away with the idea that Jesus was actually an individual human being like the rest of us. Oneness belief states that Jesus sometimes spoke as man and other times spoke as God and it’s up to us to decide which is which.  No matter how they explain it both of these positions leave us with a schizophrenic vision of God and Christ that is unbiblical and ultimately incomprehensible.

“God in a Body” Belief Systems

Ceasar's were also seen as incarnate godsEgyptian pharoh's were incarnate godsThese dual nature “God in a body” belief systems have some very ancient roots. The earliest records we have of “God-man” thinking can be traced all the way back to Egypt. The Egyptians believed that pharoah was God on earth in a human body! It isn’t at all surprising that later Alexandrian philosophers, refined and “Christianized” what was originally a pagan idea. The Romans likewise ascribed divinity to their Caesars just like the Egyptians. The theologians of Rome inserted this old “God-man” idea into their Christianity. We are left with the conclusion that Trinitarian and Oneness beliefs drink deeply from a river of pagan thought that flowed first through Egypt and later through Rome.

A Man Who Has Told You the Truth

Jesus Christ was not an abstract repository of humanity and divinity. He plainly declared Himself to be “a man who has told you the truth”. Christ was born, and lived, and died as one of us. He was not an abstract man with an “impersonal human nature.” Jesus was “a man” and more than that… He was a perfect man.  He was crucified for our sake and then rose from the dead as the firstborn of God’s great redemptive plan. Now He invites us to join Him. What marvelous grace that God would invite us to share in the immortality of His only begotten Son!

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes

The Man Christ Jesus

If Jesus Isn’t God….

“If Jesus isn’t God…. is He just a man?” The Trinitarian view of God insists that Jesus is a divine “person” who has existed from all eternity. We think this idea rules out any chance of Him being truly human like the rest of us. (I haven’t existed from eternity and none of my friends have either). We are saying that “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5-6) Our mortal lives begin at birth and end at death. If Jesus was truly one of us He should have followed the same pattern… and He did! His  mortal life began with His birth in Bethlehem and ended when He was crucified on Calvary. Jesus then created a gloriously new pattern of life and death when He rose from the dead. Now He invites us to share in His immortality!

Jesus Christ is Unique Among Men

Skeptics dismiss Christian belief by saying, “The Bible is just a book filled with myths and stories that aren’t really true.”  Most Christians believe that although the Bible is indeed a book it is much more than “just a  book”. Calling the Bible “just a book” implies that the Bible is simply one book among many and no different than all the rest. We affirm that the Bible is indeed a book, but not just a book! It is a unique book, in a class by itself and distinct from all others… and we can say the very same thing about our Savior. Jesus Christ is unique among men. He is in a class by Himself; sinless, perfect and distinct from all others… but he is still thoroughly and completely a man. He was most definitely one of us but He is not just a man”.

Jesus is the Christ of God, the Anointed One

Jesus Christ is the miraculously begotten Son of God. The Father called Him “My Beloved Son”. He is the Lamb of God and the Light of the World.  No other man “ever spake like this man!” Who else has raised the dead, walked on water and stilled a tempest with a spoken word? Jesus is the Bread of Life and He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We know Him as the Good Shepherd, our High Priest and the Great Physician. Jesus Christ is our Savior, Kinsman Redeemer and Judge and yes… He was a man, a perfect man to be sure! But fortunately for us He was not “just a man”. Jesus is the Christ of God, the Anointed One, the Messiah and our Brother.

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes