Re: Is Jonah to be taken literally?

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 16:24:50 EDT

  • Next message: John W Burgeson: "Questionaire"

    In a response to James Stark, Vince Calhoun asked.

    > Isn't
    > there adequate evidence from scripture that Jesus was God and that we are
    > called to worship Him?

    Interesting question, especially in light of the fact that it took the early
    Christian community several centuries to take a definitive stand on
    precisely this question. For more of the story, see Richard E. Rubenstein's
    book, When Jesus Became God (Harcourt, 1999). From the back jacket:

    "After almost three hundred years of persecution, Christianity made an
    astonishing breakthrough in 324, when Constantine the Great became the
    emperor of Rome. No longer fearing for their own survival, Christians turned
    to the question of how to define what beliefs identified a "true" Christian.
    Led by two charismatic priests‹Arius who preached that Jesus, though
    uniquely holy, is less than God, and Athanasius who argued that Jesus is God
    himself in human form‹the debate over Jesus' degree of divinity escalated
    from heated argument to violence and bloodshed."

    Like many episodes in the history of the institutional Christian church,
    this is a sobering story. What may seem so "obvious" to some today is itself
    the product of human history, complete with all of the shortcomings of human
    behavior. The Christian church is a thoroughly human institution. Its
    historical decisions ought not be considered beyond question.

    Howard Van Till

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