Who was Jesus Christ? Was he just a good moral teacher? Was he merely a failed political revolutionary? Perhaps he was a lunatic who just didn’t know what he was doing. Or maybe, he was a con-artist looking to trick people into believing he was more than just a human being. Christians proclaim to the world that Jesus Christ was fully human and fully God. Furthermore, Christians claim that Jesus Christ was the Lord and Savior of the entire universe. What someone believes about the person and work of Jesus Christ, orthodox Christians believe, sets the pace for how one will live in this world and directly impacts issues related to eternity. Even pluralists such as John Hick feel the weight of the question about Jesus Christ’s identity. Hick says:
“There is a direct line of logical entailment from the premise that Jesus Christ was God, in the sense that he was God the Son, the Second Person of the divine Trinity, living in a human life, to the conclusion that Christianity, and Christianity alone, was founded by God in person; and from this to the further conclusion that God must want all his human children to be related to him through his religion which he has himself founded for us.”
Indeed, this is precisely what Christians have believed for 2,000 years. Norman Geisler reiterates this point. He says, “Orthodox Christianity claims that Jesus of Nazareth was God in human flesh. This doctrine is absolutely essential to true Christianity. If it is true, then Christianity is unique and authoritative. If not, then Christianity does not differ in kind from other religions.” Though a thorough investigation of this point is outside the scope of this post, Geisler provides a good outline for what the Christian apologetic is on this point. He writes:
“The basic logic of this apologetic for Christianity is: (1) The New Testament is a historically reliable record of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ… (2) Jesus taught that he was God Incarnate… (3) Jesus proved to be God Incarnate by fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, by a miraculous life, and by rising from the grave… Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth is Deity.”
Therefore, what one believes about who Jesus Christ was and what he accomplished through his life, death and resurrection has profound implications for one’s worldview. One may believe Jesus was not God Incarnate, not the Savior of the world, did not rise from the dead on the third day, and not Lord of all. However, in believing that, one holds contradictory beliefs from what orthodox Christians embrace. Both beliefs may be false, but only one can be true.
Some Concluding Thoughts…
It has been the goal of this series of posts to show the necessary relationship between truth and the Christian worldview. Because Christianity claims to be a revealed religion, it is actually a sign of humility and obedience for believers to embrace, proclaim, and defend their Christian faith. To avoid or reject this responsibility is the real sign of arrogance because it reveals that one presumes to know better than God. John Hick properly understood the implications of confessing that Christianity alone was and is the fullest disclosure of God's self-revelation. What other response could possibly be more appropriate than to confess with one’s mouth and believe in one’s heart that Christianity is true, and not merely preferable? Christians believe that if Christianity is not true, then it is merely one religious preference among many. However, Christians have historically proclaimed, from the beginning, that they are the humble stewards of the one, true, and living God’s self-disclosure.
Soli Deo Gloria,