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October 2019

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A Two-faced God?

Top post image old and new testaments‘A Two-faced God?’ is an intentionally provocative question. I do not mean to offend, but rather to bring into sharp focus the central issue I explore in this article.

In my previous post (found HERE), I made the case that Jesus of Nazareth is the full representation of the nature and character of the triune Godhead. In this article, I claim that any attempt to present God’s nature and character as anything other than that which is displayed in and through Jesus of Nazareth is tantamount to declaring God to be two-faced. By the way, I am using the term ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ as shorthand for ‘God incarnate in bodily form in the person of Jesus’.

The problem that some folk have with my contention that Jesus FULLY represents the Godhead, is that Jesus of Nazareth appears devoid of wrath and justice, but that these are divine qualities much in evidence in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation. Therefore, they reason that Jesus of Nazareth is the ‘fullest’ but not the ‘full’ representation of God. Crudely put, God has both a happy face and an angry face, much like the theatre masks worn by early Greek thespians. However, Jesus did speak of wrath and judgment and so we are able to apply a Jesus-perspective to these subjects.

Jesus in the Old Testament

Some people claim that Jesus, God in bodily form, appears throughout the Old Testament and therefore we can attribute the words and acts of wrath and justice associated with parts of the Old Testament witness directly to Him. A second claim is that as all of the Bible is inspired, we must regard any depictions of divine wrath and judgment attributed to God as pertaining to the triune godhead, which obviously includes Jesus.

Christologies and Angelologies

Apparent manifestations of God in a form tangible to human senses are known as theophanies, but on closer inspection can be separated into angelic appearances (angelophanies) and appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ (Christophanies). There are nine generally accepted theophanies in the Old Testament and in my assessment, four pertain to angels and five to the pre-incarnate Christ. In a short article of this nature, I cannot give much detail, but here is a brief outline of the Christophanies:

  1. Genesis 12:6-7 The Lord appeared to Abram and promised to give his descendants the land of Canaan. Abram built an altar to memorialise this theophany. The account reveals only benign intent.
  2. Genesis 17:1-22 Here the Lord appeared again to Abram to confirm and elaborate on the covenant He had made. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and his wife’s name to Sarah, introduced circumcision as the outward sign of the covenant, and blessed Abraham’s descendants, including Ishmael. Once again, the account reveals only blessing and benign intent.
  3. Genesis 18:1-33 What at first appeared to be three angles approach Abraham while on their way down to Sodom and Gomorrah, but it soon became evident that one of them was in fact God. The Lord told the two angels that He intended to disclose to Abraham his plans concerning the two cities of iniquity. The reason He gave was that He had chosen Abraham to teach his people to “keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just”. So, the question is ‘what did the Lord demonstrate to Abraham of His righteousness and His just ways?’
    1. Although the evidence was that the sin of the people of these two cities was great and grievous, He would personal verify this before acting against them.
    2. Even if there were only ten righteous people there, He would not destroy the city while they were in it.
    3. Chapter 19 tells just how wicked the inhabitants were and how the two angels led Lott (Abrahams cousin) and his immediate family to safety before destroying the area.
  4. Exodus 3:1-15 This is the account of how the Lord appeared to Moses from within a burning bush. Here He commissioned Moses to return to Egypt to bring the Israelites out of captivity. He revealed His name to Moses as ‘I Am’, which Jesus of Nazareth later attributed to Himself in the statement that, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). Once again, what can we learn of God’s nature and character from this account?
    1. That God was concerned with the suffering of His people in Egypt.
    2. That He cared enough to send Moses to Egypt as His envoy to secure their release and lead them into the promised land.
  5. Joshua 5:13-15 Here the Lord appeared to Joshua before he began the conquest of Canaan. He referred to Himself as the commander of the army of the Lord and stated that He was neither for nor against Joshua. The strongest evidence that this was a Christophany was the command to Joshua to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. Nothing particular concerning God’s nature and character is revealed in this encounter. However, His neutrality indicates that He was not necessarily endorsing Joshua’s subsequent violent actions.
In these five theophanies, God revealed Himself in ways consistent with His self-revelation in and through Jesus of Nazareth.
The four angelophanies are not relevant to discussing the nature and character of God in any direct way, but for the record, they are found in Genesis 32:1-30, Numbers 22:22-35, Judges 13:1-22, and Daniel 3:16-28.

Jesus in the book of Revelation

A major consideration here is that John developed this book almost entirely as a collection of vivid symbolic pictures. Very little in this apocalyptic work should be taken at surface-level. For instance, the Lord Jesus is depicted in chapter one as having burning feet and a sword instead of a tongue. In chapters five and six, He is imaged as a lamb, and in chapter nineteen, as a warrior mounted on a horse. The symbolism in these images speaks figuratively of His glory, His redemption, and His ultimate judgment.

Chapters two and three record seven letters to the churches that Jesus dictated to John. In my book Revelation in the Stars, I list His condemnations and warnings as well as His commendations and promises. Significantly, He accompanies His words of warning and condemnation to the churches with instructions on how to remedy their condition.

The later chapters of the book paint a terrible portrait of judgment, yet it would be a mistake to think that Jesus of Nazareth did not speak about these things.

The rationale for a two-faced God

Before, setting out my understanding of how we can interpret all of scripture form a Jesus-perspective, including the wrath and judgment passages, I want to attempt to describe how I understand why some scholars resist the idea of Jesus being the FULL representation of God.

The problems appear to be around the question of how to deal with the wrath and judgment parts of the Bible that do not appear to reconcile with how Jesus portrays the Godhead.

To put it another way, how to accept the divine self-revelation in Christ Jesus without compromising the inspiration and trustworthiness of the whole Bible, including its ethically and morally difficult bits. The solution for many is to contend that Jesus of Nazareth, whilst being the fullest revelation of God, is not the full revelation. In other words, they contend that there are other aspects of the divine character and nature not revealed in and through Jesus. As I have pointed out in my previous article, this flatly contradicts key texts in Paul’s writings as well as what Jesus said about Himself.

Once again, I am limited in an article of this nature but I have written other posts on this matter and you can find the latest of them here: Sabbath Sticks, Stones and Sacraments

I hold that the problem arises for many in not recognising:

  1. The actual nature and purpose of the Bible and that the scriptures faithfully and accurately record the thoughts, words, perceptions, and understandings both of God, and of humans who do not necessarily present God’s sentiments or motivations.
  2. That Jesus of Nazareth does, in fact, speak on wrath and judgment. The revelation of Jesus as presented in the Old Testament and the last book of the Bible is not in conflict with God’s self-revelation in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus spoke of wrath and judgment and interpreted the most significant of all historical examples, the account of the great flood, giving vital insights into divine love and compassion in the context of judgment.
  3. That His life and the full body of His teachings give context to His statements concerning wrath and judgment.

Red Letter Christianity

Before I end this article, just a brief note on what theologians refer to as ‘a canon within a canon’. What they mean by this is the misguided idea of regarding the Gospels as a higher order of inspired scripture than the rest of the Bible. In years gone by, folk often referred to this as Red Letter Christianity because only the words of Jesus (printed in red in some Bibles) were deemed important. In our day the ascription Red Letter Christianity is applied to religious politics more than anything else. Folk with this agenda take the words of Jesus and apply them straight into their modern political framework with little regard for their original intended meaning. So, for instance, the Sermon on the Mount becomes a manifesto for a dominionist religious-political agenda, and so on.

I do not subscribe to either form of Red Letter Christianity. All of the Bible is inspired and necessary. Jesus fully presents the nature and character of the Godhead and therefore constitutes a reliable interpretive yardstick for the whole Bible. He is the primary interpreter of Scripture (note the word ‘primary’).

How I understand a Christocentric interpretation of scripture

My most succinct statement of this is in the article I wrote for Conspectus academic journal, which you can find HERE.

The shortest way I can state my Christocentric method of interpreting the Bible is as follows:

I interpret all of scripture through the lens of what Jesus said, did, and what He revealed of the nature and character of the Godhead. When something appears contradictory to this divine revelation in Christ Jesus, then I search for other ways of understanding the apparently contradictory testimony. If I cannot find a way to do this without potentially violating the integrity of any part of scripture, then I admit that I just do not understand adequately and I focus on what Jesus revealed. In doing this, I am not copping-out, but simply acknowledging the reality of divine mystery as well as my limited ability to adequately comprehend. In essence, I say to myself: “This I do not understand, but what Jesus has revealed I do understand. Therefore, I will focus on His self-revelation and leave the rest open to possible future understanding, either in this life or the next.” You can find many examples of my attempts to follow this methodology in my blog posts over the last few years.
I hope this and the previous article have been helpful.  More and more scholars are writing and teaching on the centrality of Jesus and I am convinced that this is a subject currently on God’s heart. I trust that what I have written here will help provide insights into what others are producing as well as the body of my own work

A Two-faced God? Read More »

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Jesus, the Full Representation of God

top image of postI realise that an article titled ‘Jesus, the full representation of God’ is signalling a theological discussion that may not appeal to everyone. For this reason, and because it is a complex subject, I am going to start with a concise overview instead of ending with one.

I am a passionate advocate of Christocentricity (Jesus-centeredness). A vital part of this way of understanding the Bible, and life in general, is that the Lord Jesus Christ presents the full nature, character, values, principles, and priorities of the Godhead. This means that although the scriptures, in general, reveal the ways of God and humanity, Jesus will always be the plum-line of truth. If I want to know if something is ‘of God’ then I need only to look to Jesus.

However, other theologians contend that although Jesus is indeed the fullest revelation of the Godhead, He is not the ‘full’ revelation. In other words, they contend that some aspects of God’s nature and character are not manifested in Jesus but are found elsewhere in the Bible. In a crude sense, it is as though God has two faces, one benign and loving and the other apparently harsh and violent.

There are also some scholars who hold to a form of Christocentricity, as I define it, but contend that we find Jesus himself in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation where He is sometimes presented very differently to the Gospel depictions. Some also propose that because God is one (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) then anything attributed to ‘God’ anywhere in the Bible must equally apply to the Lord Jesus (God the Son). In this sense then, all biblical references to God would be Christocentric.

This article is the first in a two-part series on the centrality of Jesus, and in this post, I just seek to make the case that Jesus is the FULL representation of the nature and character of God.

A Concise Overview

The distinction between ‘full’ and ‘fullest’ is important. If we concede that Jesus of Nazareth is not the full representation of the Godhead then we, of necessity, have to find ways of reinterpreting key texts such as Colossians 1:19, 2:9, Hebrews 1: 1-3 and so on. These attempts can often end in a distortion of scripture.

Claims that God displays different character traits in the Old Testament to those manifest in Jesus have other implications and flatly contradict the Lord Jesus’ own statements such as “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

If we cannot rely on Jesus to adequately present the nature of the Godhead to us, then what can we know with certainty about God? Also, if Jesus, God manifest, is not our primary interpreter of scripture, then how do we rightly interpret the Bible?

On the positive side, knowing that Jesus is the full revelation of the nature and character of God gives us certainty and consistency. We know that we can know God because Jesus reveals Him fully and His life and words are faithfully recorded in the Gospels, within the context of the fullness of inspired scripture. It gives us a consistent standard against which we can evaluate and better understand all of the Bible as well as life in general.

The clearest biblical statements on the subject matter covered in this article are in Colossians 1:19 and 2:9. They read ‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him’, and ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’. Jesus himself said, “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:7-9), and, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me” (John 12:44-45). Other key texts that bear on this subject are Hebrews 1:1-3, 1 John 1:1-3 and John 1:14 and 18. The point of the discussion, analysis and commentary in this article is to make the point that in Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of the Gospels, we have the FULL presentation of God’s nature and character.

Why the distinction is important

Before going any further, I want to stress that the distinction between ‘full’ and ‘fullest’ is important.

  1. If we concede that Jesus of Nazareth is not the full representation of the Godhead then we, of necessity, have to find ways of reinterpreting key texts such as Colossians 1:19, 2:9, Hebrews 1: 1-3 and so on. In my view, attempts to read these texts as anything other than straightforward statements of the full representational nature of Jesus often end in seriously distorting the scriptures.
  2. Claims that God displays different character traits in the Old Testament to those manefest in Jesus have other serious implications. Once again, those who hold this view are obliged to reinterpret the clear statement that ‘in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’ (Colossians 2:9). Attempting to do this usually results in the claim that Paul’s declarations refer to the ascended Christ and not the Christ of the Gospels. However, this flatly contradicts the Lord Jesus’ own statements such as “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

While these are important considerations, the biggest problem inherent in the ‘fullest’ but not ‘full’ idea concerns our ability to know God. If Jesus Christ is not the full presentation of the nature and character of the triune God, then how are we to know and trust him?  Are we to select those character traits that fit our concept of who God should be? Are we to unhitch ourselves from the Old Testament and disregard what it reveals of divine holiness, justice, and judgment? If we cannot rely on Jesus to adequately present the nature of the godhead to us, then what can we know and what can we trust? If Jesus, God manifest, is not our primary interpreter of scripture, then how do we rightly interpret scripture? I will be touching on these concerns in my next article.

On the positive side,  knowing that Jesus is the full revelation of the nature and character of God gives us certainty and consistency. We know that we can know God because Jesus reveals Him fully and His life and words are faithfully recorded in the Gospels, within the context of the fullness of inspired scripture. It also gives us a consistent standard against which we can evaluate and better understand all of the Bible and life in general.

I will try to cover some of these and other aspects of the discussion further on or in my second article, but first I must anchor the matter in the biblical evidence. It is important that this thesis is based on a responsible interpretation of scripture rather than an opinion.

Colossians 1:19 and 2:9

The clearest biblical statements on this issue are in two verses in Colossians. They read ‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him’ and ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’.

Colossians 1:19 is part of Pauls’ powerful declaration of the supremacy of Christ, which starts in verse 1 with the words, ‘He is the image of the invisible God’. Further, in verse 22 Paul refers to our reconciliation with God ‘by Christ’s physical body through death’. Then, in chapter 2 verse 9 he uses the words’ in bodily form’. So, the context of the two verses is the physical/bodily Jesus of Nazareth and not some mystical pre-incarnate or post-ascension Jesus.

In Colossians 1:19 three key words are ‘all’, ‘fullness’ and ‘dwell’. There are no particular difficulties in translating the underlying Greek here. ‘Pan’ (all) means ‘whole’ or ‘every’. ‘Pleerooma’ (fullness) means ‘repletion, fills, or full’. Robertson quotes Lightfoot (a well-respected theologian of a previous generation) as commenting that pleerooma  is, ‘a recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes’. The third key word in the text (dwell) is ‘katoikeesais’ meaning ‘to house permanently, inhabit, or dwell’.

Colossians 2:9 contains the same three words and adds ‘soomahkoos’, which means ‘corporeal, physical, incarnate, or in bodily form’. Here Robertson asserts that, ‘all the pleerooma of the Godhead, not just certain aspects, dwells in Christ and in physical form’. He adds that Paul ‘asserts plainly the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ in corporeal form’. (For those interested, these quotes are from Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament).

In a short article of this nature, I can’t go into all the details of the subtleties various commentators have applied to these two texts, but I think I should cite one well-known New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright. He writes, in commenting on Colossians 1:19 that, ‘God in all his fullness was pleased to take up permanent residence (this is the best way of taking the Greek verb) in him. The full divinity of the man Jesus is stated without any implications that there are two Gods. It is the one God, in his fullness, who dwells in him’.

Now, to even better understand Paul’s inspired statements, let me take you to some things Jesus said about himself.

What Jesus said

Jesus was talking to His disciples about the fact that He, in himself, was the only way to God the Father. Then He said, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”   Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:7-9).

Earlier in John’s account, he recorded Jesus as saying, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me (John 12:44-45).

I have bolded the key words in these two texts and I don’t think they need any commentary.

Other key texts

Although there are several other texts that bear on this issue, I will cite just three. Hebrews 1:1-3(a): ‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…’

1 John 1:1-3 ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ’. This passage is an amplification of what John wrote in his Gospel that ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).

Another relevant text is John 1:18 ‘No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known’.

Conclusion and lead into the next article

The aim of this discussion, analysis and commentary is to make the point that in Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of the Gospels, we have the FULL presentation of God’s nature and character.

I cannot see how any other interpretation can be given to the texts I have referenced, but in the next article, I will explain why I think some scholars of our day do in fact attempt to reinterpret these key texts.

In my next article, I intend dealing with the following topics:

  • Jesus in the Old Testament
  • Jesus in the book of Revelation
  • The rationale for a ‘two-faced’ God
  • Red-letter theology
  • How I understand a Christocentric interpretation of scripture.

For those of you who have read the entire article, and not just the ‘Concise Overview’, thank you. I hope it has been thought-provoking and helpful to you. I would appreciate your questions or comments, as always, but perhaps these would be more appropriate after you have read the follow-up article.

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TruthTalks: The Mountains of the Lord

Mountains of the Lord TruthTalksSeveral mountains feature in the Bible and take their significance from what happened on them.

For instance, Mount Moriah where Abraham took his son to sacrifice to Yaweh, Mount Sinai where God gave Moses the tablets of stone, and Mount Carmel where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. However the two most significant mountains of the New Testament are Mount Zion, where Jesus died for the sin of the world, and Mount Hermon.

At Paneas, on an extended ridge of Hermon, the Lord Jesus confirmed that He was the long-awaited Son of Man, and further up Hermon, God the Father confirmed that Jesus,was the Son of God.

Click on the audio button below to listen to the podcast of the article on this fascinating subject.

TruthTalks: The Mountains of the Lord Read More »

The Mountains of the Lord

The Mountains of the Lord feature bold and large in the unfolding saga of God’s dealings with humankind.

The first biblical reference to the Mountain of the Lord is in Genesis 22:14, which concludes the dramatic story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son. At the last moment, God substituted a ram for Isaac and the account ends with the words,And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”‘

Approximately 1900 years later Jesus, God the Son, the Lamb of God, gave up His life as a sacrifice on behalf of all humanity. The place where this took place was Golgotha, one of the seven hills of Jerusalem collectively known as Mount Zion. Moriah, the place of Abraham’s sacrifice is also part of Mount Zion, as is Olivet where Jesus mourned over Jerusalem and later ascended back into Heaven. Another biblically famous mountain was Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments from the hand of God. Mount Carmel was the place where God and the prophet Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal.

However, I want to write about possibly the greatest of all the mountains of the Lord: Mount Hermon.

Mount Hermon

Hermon is a magnificent, perpetually snow-capped mountain that marked the northern-most border of ancient Israel. It is the highest mountain in the region, but it has a long sloping ridge that descends southwards. Although the waters of the Jordan river come from the melting snow of Mount Hermon, they run underground until they surface at a place on the mountain ridge called Paneas, or Caesarea Philippi. The ancients regarded water sources as gateways to the underworld of the dead and therefore erected temples and shrines nearby to honour their particular gods. As the name suggests, a shrine to the pagan god Pan stood there, as did a memorial to Caesar a self-proclaimed Roman god. The fountainhead of the river Jordan was a low cave appropriated known as ‘the gates of Hades’.

Jesus at Paneas

Matthew 16:13-20 records the trip that Jesus and His disciples took to Paneas. It was there, standing amidst the pagan altars, shrines and temples that Jesus asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” This was a theologically loaded term referring to the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, the Representative Man, the new Head of regenerated humanity. Jesus then asked who his disciples thought he was, and Peter, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

Both Jesus’ humanity and divinity are in evidence in this brief exchange, for ‘Son of Man’ indicates his humanity and ‘Son of God’ indicates his divinity.

Jesus on Mount Hermon

In a more subtle and veiled way, this visit to Paneas was as much a confrontation with the powers of Hell as was Elijah’s challenge on Mount Carmel. Hence Jesus’ declaration that He would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). In Paneas He stood as the ultimate prophet, the true Son of Man, but his divinity was yet to be authenticated. This took place further up the mountain ridge on the slopes of Hermon, the Mountain of God. Matthew 17:1-13 records what we know as The Transfiguration.

It is best that you read this account directly from the scriptures, but the highlights are as follow:

  • Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up the mountain where they witnessed something truly remarkable.
  • The Lord’s face began to shine like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light.
  • Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus. Moses was, of course, the first great leader of Israel who had received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Elijah was the great prophet who defeated the servants of Baal on Mount Carmel. Luke’s Gospel records that they were briefing Jesus on His forthcoming exit from the earth that would take place at Jerusalem.
  • Peter was so overcome by witnessing this that he offered to build three shrines, one for each of them. He was probably thinking back to the shrines to the gods he had seen just days before at Paneas.
  • However, he was soon corrected when a bright cloud enveloped them and a voice from heaven declared,This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him”. Peter and the other two were terrified when they heard this voice and fell face down in worship for they understood that there was but one true God and that they were in his presence. The Voice of God the Father spoke from the cloud. The Holy Spirit transfigured their master gloriously right before their eyes.
God the Son stood before them as Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

God revealed on Mount Hermon

We need to read the full account starting at Panaes and ending at Hermon (Matthew 16:13 – 17:13) to comprehend the importance of what took place on that Mountain of the Lord. Here Jesus of Nazareth was authenticated as both Son of Man and as Son of God – The ultimate representative of the human race, the last Adam, and the full embodiment of the Godhead.

This why Paul wrote ‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him’ (Colossians 1:19) and ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’ (Colossians 2:9). This is why God the Father told the early disciples, and also us, to “listen to him”. This is why Jesus himself said:

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:25-27).

This is why, when the glory cloud had disappeared from the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples looked up and ‘saw no one except Jesus’ (Matthew 17:8).

The centrality of Jesus

The message told on the mountains of the Lord, the declarations by God and by men, and the inspired teaching of the Apostle Paul, have all lead me to an unshakable faith in the primacy of the Lord Jesus Christ in all things. He is the supreme and ultimate revelation of the Godhead, the embodiment of all authority in Heaven and on Earth (Matthew 28:18), the prime subject of the Bible and its preeminent interpreter. Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form, the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3).

Why then…?

Why then do many theologians contend that while Jesus of Nazareth was the FULLEST representation of God on earth, he is not the FULL divine representation? In other words, they hold that the Jesus of the Gospels reveals much of the nature and character of the Godhead, but other parts of the Bible reveal additional aspects of God’s nature. I will attempt to address this issue and provide an answer to my question in a later article. For now, let me just say:

  • Turn and look to Jesus for your salvation
  • Look to Jesus to know the nature and character of God
  • Look to Jesus to unlock the meaning of the Bible.
  • Just look to Jesus.


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TruthTalks Sermon: We all Need Hope

Last week I published an article based on Romans 15:13, and yesterday I preached it at the Lonehill Village Church.

For those who have not read the article, the gist of the message is that many Christians and unbelievers alike are feeling rather hopeless in these difficult days. The political, economic, labour, and crime situation is fraught and for many the light of hope burns dimly. In this message, I give an antidote for hopelessness.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.