Re: [asa] A theology question (imminent return of Christ)

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Fri Oct 17 2008 - 16:55:21 EDT


I haven't said much on this but I am in essential agreement with , and the
limitation of Jesus (kenosis) is essential to understand the divine-human
nature of Christ, though it can shock some

----- Original Message -----
From: "Murray Hogg" <>
To: "ASA" <>
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 9:27 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] A theology question (imminent return of Christ)

Hi Bernie,

This particular discussion could go (and seems to be going!) in a number of
different directions! I, however, would want make the point that question at
hand isn't whether Jesus could have been in error on the date of the
parousia, the question is whether he was. And that in turn puts the question
of whether we have sufficient data to make that assessment.

To which I think the answer is "probably not" - I simply don't see any
compelling reason to put on the lips of Christ a date (nor even a date
range) for the eschaton. As I've repeatedly stated "suddenly and without
warning" is what he taught and "in our lifetime" was an inference the
disciples drew from it.

But to scotch suggestions that the data is being misrepresented to avoid
thorny theological problems, let me just make the following few

1) The idea that Jesus was wrong/ignorant would be a theological problem
only in as much as it illustrates the difficulty which ALREADY exists in
trying to reconcile the idea of Jesus' human limitation vs divine fullness.
It's clearly very difficult to find any solution to this difficulty but in
theory at least the entire concept is simply (ha!) a restatement of the
theme of Phillipians 2:6-8.

2) The issue (to my mind) isn't the question of whether Christ could
possibly have been wrong. That possibility is already inherent in the
concept of the incarnation as I've just outlined above. The issue, rather,
is whether Christ was _actually_ wrong. And to discuss that we have to first
determine that he made some sort of definitive claim about the date of his
return. Frankly, I think HE (as opposed to his disciples) makes no such
claim. I may be wrong, of course, but it has nothing to do with attempting
to evade the possibility of Christ being in error. In short, it's an issue
of exegesis not one of what I consider to be a priori possible.

So one might then want to open a discussion on what follows on the
assumption that I'm wrong with respect to the exegetical question. And
having reflected on that for a few days the answer would most likely be "not
much." Indeed, I've already urged taking Matthew 24:36 as indicating the
Jesus WAS ignorant of the date of the parousia - so I've already factored in
some level of "limitation" in respects of Christ's knowledge. To my mind,
Christ being wrong/uncertain about the date of the parousia would merely add
one more thing to the list of things involved in the Word emptied himself in
being made flesh. In terms of theological consequence, I don't find the
thought "scary" in the least.

Murray Hogg
Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> Hereís my idea. Pastor Murray (someone you likely agree with) and I agree
> that the disciples thought Christ would return in their lifetime, and
> these disciples were wrong. My hypothesis for consideration: Isnít it a
> possibility that Jesus was wrong? Can that be possible, and still not
> detract from the nature of the trinity, which no one understands fully
> anyway? Jesus did not know everything. I think we can all agree to that.
> He had to learn how to walk, speak, and get potty-trained just like every
> other human, right? When he was learning math, he probably got some
> questions wrong (oops, 2+2=4, not 3, when in grade school, if there was
> such a thing). And somehow that doesnít detract from His Godhood. In the
> same way, could he have simply taught his imminent return and had been
> wrong? I know the consequences of that may feel scary, but that hasnít
> stopped before as some of us ignored the consequences to our Biblical
> understanding when we studied and rejected YEC.--

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Received on Fri Oct 17 17:02:13 2008

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