Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


KYRIOS - WAS JESUS CALLED LORD GOD BY THE FIRST CHRISTIANS?

Paul the first Christian writer is on record as saying that soon after Jesus's appearances the people and the Church including him saw Jesus as Lord or Kyrios.  Kyrios is God's name and many say its simple - Jesus was God.  Sceptics and liberal Christians feel Jesus did not become God until some time later.  Even some orthodox believers who say Jesus is God think it took time for the Church to see him as God.  The Church came to say that God is a relationship of three persons.  There is only one God but God is three persons who are so united in love that they are the reason we can call God love.

Many who called Jesus Lord did not mean he was literally God.  Arians.  Then there was the earlier group the Jewish Christian Ebionites.  The fake Clementine homilies which pretended to be written by Clement of Rome soon after the apostle Peter died claim "our Lord neither asserted that there were gods except the Creator of all, nor did He proclaim Himself to be God, but He with reason pronounced blessed him who called Him the Son of that God who has arranged the universe.”  One wonders if Clement thought the same thing when they tried to use his name!  The homilies though spurious still tell us something about what kind of traditions about Jesus that were going around in the first centuries.
 
In God and the Human Condition we read, “What was in his [Paul’s] mind when he called the First Person God and the Second Lord, Kyrios? What was the force of Kyrios? To begin with, it is a common noun in Greek, meaning Master, a courtesy term to be used of anyone having authority – as we find it used of Christ in the Gospel by those who were not his disciples. But it has a religious use as well. When a century before Christ, the Jews translated the Old Testament into Greek, they translated the divine Name, Yahweh, as Kyrios, Lord, which was what the pagans would have used for one of their own gods. To a Greek-speaking Jew, Kyrios was the God of the Old Testament. It seems that in the century before Christ and the century after, the rabbis used the word Adonai, Lord, for God. In the Acts of the Apostles, by Dr Arendzen’s count, Kyrios is used 110 times, one third of them in speaking of God, one third of Christ” (page 259).

It looks as if you are called Kyrios in a religious sense then it invariably means you are called God. But think again. Kyrios was used a third of the times in reference to beings who were not God.
 
The Christians did some bold things. They used the name of God in worship and they called him Abba - Daddy. They broke away from some Jewish prejudices that considered these things to be very irreverent. Thus even if Kyrios was the title for God they could have used it for Jesus. And why not for it only meant Lord. The meanings of words change easily.
 
Some Jews and the Christians who ignored superstitious Jewish tradition would have called Jesus Kyrios in the religious sense without meaning that he is God. The restriction of Kyrios to God in the religious understanding could have been scrapped. The reason was that Jesus habitually called Lord or Master in Aramaic and it translated into Greek as Kyrios for it was the word for a religious master.
 
Nobody is able to give us a Bible text saying that only God can be called Kyrios.

Acts gives us an important clue regarding whether or not Jesus being Kyrios must mean that Jesus is God. When Paul had his vision on the way to Damascus and the voice spoke to him he said, “Tell me who you are, Lord”.
 
If he thought it was God then Acts us only telling us that he called the entity Lord and does not say that he was right to. The episode does not prove Paul called Jesus God's name.
 
If, which is more likely, he knew it was not God but Jesus then his use of the word Kyrios does not mean that he believed Jesus to be divine. Paul knew the vision could be of an evil spirit for it had not even spoken much to him and still he called it Kyrios meaning that Kyrios is not God. Paul must have known it was Jesus because the vision told him he was persecuting him. Paul was setting out to destroy the name of Jesus of Nazareth - Acts 9:1, 22:4, 26:9. Strangely he was not worried about the Church calling Jesus Lord. It is like it was just a title and not a declaration that Jesus was God.
 
Jesus told Paul then he was kicking against the goad. That is a way of saying Paul was already drawn to Jesus but was resisting it by persecuting Jesus' followers. This conversion was not the sudden conversion it is made out to be.

Jesus proclaimed that the world would see no sign from him but the sign of Jonah - the resurrection. The gospels say he did other signs. Theologians say that everything Jesus did was a sign but the essential sign was his resurrection from the dead which proved that he was sent by God and was the saviour. That is how they sort out the conflict. Jesus warned of false miracles and would have said that his miracles though signs were not enough. Jesus was called Lord by his disciples several times before he died and rose again. Since he hadn't yet proven that he was Lord, this title does not mean he was being called God in the literal sense. Jesus once said that the law called the hearers of God's word gods. So he could have been called Lord or even God meaning only that he was very close to God and the mouthpiece of God.
 
Jesus is the go-between between man and God and gave the law (Galatians 3:19-20). Paul says that Jesus being the go-between implies that there is more than one party and God is one. He implies that as God is one the other party must be man. This does not fit the notion of God being more than one person. It speaks of God as being one person.
 
PHILIPPIANS
 
Paul wrote in his epistle to the Philippians chapter 2 that believers must do nothing out of selfish ambition but each one must humbly think of everybody else as better than him or her. He declared that each one must look to the interests of others and not their own see verse 2:4 in the Jerusalem Bible. It is not translated properly in the treacherous New International Version. He then declared that rather than thinking of oneself first and not others first we must have the attitude of Christ Jesus. He goes on to say that though Christ Jesus was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped or taken. He emptied himself taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he was obedient unto death on a cross and God raised him high and gave him the name that is above all names. Now at the name of Jesus everything that exists should confess that he is Lord and bow. This exaltation of Jesus would happen to the glory of God the Father.
 
This is supposed to say that Jesus was God. Then why does Paul say he was in the form of God and not simply say he was God?
 
God commanded in the Old and New Testaments that he is to be loved with all our hearts and powers. He demands to be worshipped. Jesus could not be an example of sacrificing himself for others and putting them first if he was God. God simply cannot put others first for he has to put himself first too for he is goodness itself.
 
Paul says Jesus emptied himself to take the form of a servant or slave. If you give away all your wealth, and become a servant you could be said to be taking the form of a servant. If you live as a slave but have fabulous wealth that you simply don't use then how could you be said to be taking the form of a servant? You would be playacting. You may pretend to be an accountant and be an impersonator of the accountant but you are not an accountant. Jesus then to be a real servant would need to stop being God, need to stop being in control of the universe. This is impossible and Paul recognised that it would be impossible so if Jesus really emptied himself he was not God.
 
The believers say that Paul said that though Jesus was in the form of God, he didn’t cling to equality with God but became a slave. How then was Jesus equal to God if he was not God? Jesus was in the likeness of God like a mirror reflecting and taking in the glory of God. He didn’t cling to equality with God. In other words, rather than wanting to be God or equal to God or like God he chose to be a slave. None of this indicates that Jesus was God or entitled to seek equality with God, it only says that he didn’t seek it.
 
God raised Jesus high and gave him the name which is above all names. Name means authority. Christians say this name is Lord or Kyrios. God is called Lord and Kyrios in the New Testament. Is Jesus God? But if Jesus was God, even if he emptied himself of power, he was still God. He couldn't get the authority as God back for he had never lost it. To say Kyrios here means Jesus is God is really to voice the absurd idea that Jesus only became God at his resurrection. The best solution is that to say that Jesus became Lord God at his resurrection only makes sense if we keep focused on how the hymn is about names. Its only a name. Jesus was not literally Lord God.
 
But it is entirely possible that the man only became known as Jesus at his resurrection. That was when he got his name. Jesus means God saves. So saviour then would be the name above all names. This by the way would prove that the notion that Jesus was only known when he rose from the dead is valid.
 
Whatever name or authority Jesus got, he got it according to Paul only for the sake of God's glory. So ultimately the name or authority he got though it is the highest is not as high as God's. If Jesus only became Jesus then the gospels are packs of lies for having Jesus spoken of as Jesus and saviour before his resurrection.
 
Even if Philippians did say that Jesus was God we would be entitled to not take it seriously when Jesus behaved in such a way as to imply that you should think of others and not yourself. If you are not worth thinking about how could others be worth thinking about? See the hypocrisy? See the contradiction?

FINALLY

Why is Jesus Kyrios and  never called God?  Kyrios is Lord. It is God's name but that does not mean it can't be given in honour to a person who is not God but who represents God and has God's authority.


BOOKS CONSULTED

A CALL TO HERESY, Robert Van de Weyer, Lamp Press, London, 1989
ALLEGED DISCREPANCIES OF THE BIBLE, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
ASKING THEM QUESTIONS, Various, Oxford University Press, London, 1936
CHRIST IS GOD, Rev JP Arendzen DD, Augustine Publishing Company, Devon, 1987
CHRIST OUR LIGHT, J Buys SJ Geoffrey Chapman and Gill & Son, London-Melbourne, Dublin 1966
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
DID JESUS CHRIST REALLY COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN? Alan Hayward, Christadelphian ALS, Birmingham
DO CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN THREE GODS? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992
EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
FOUR GREAT HERESIES, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1975
GOD AND THE HUMAN CONDITION, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London 1967
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1994
HONEST TO GOD, John AT Robinson, SCM Press, London, 1963
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES John Wijngaards, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1998
JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE GOSPELS, Daniel J Grolin, George Ronald, Oxford, 2002
JESUS GOD THE SON OR SON OF GOD? Fred Pearce Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham
MERE CHRISTIANITY, CS Lewis, Fontana, Glasgow, 1975
MIRACLES, CS Lewis, Fontana, London, 1960
PRIESTLAND’S PROGRESS, Gerald Priestland, BBC, London, 1981
SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE, Henry Morris, Moody Press, Bucks, 1988
SET MY EXILES FREE, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
SOME MODERN FAITHS, Maurice C Burrell and J Stafford Wright, Intervarsity Press, Leicestershire, 1988
THE CASE FOR CHRIST, Lee Strobel, HarperCollins and Zondervan, Michigan, 1998
THE EARLY CHURCH, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
THE GODHEAD EXPLAINED, Christadelphian Press, Beverley, South Australia
THE METAPHOR OF GOD INCARNATE, John Hick, SCM Press, London, 1993
THE MYTH OF GOD INCARNATE, John Hick ed., SCM Press, London, 1977
THE NEW CULTS, Walter Martin, Vision House, Santa Ana, California, 1980
THE SPIRIT OF GOD, John Bedson, Lightstand Burbank CA 1984
THE UNAUTHORISED VERSION, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1992
UNDERSTANDING THE CULTS, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Campus Crusade for Christ, San Bernardino, 1983
UNITARIAN CHRISTIANITY AND OTHER ESSAYS, William Ellery Channing, The Bobs-Merrill Company Inc, Kansas, 1957
YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER IN PARADISE ON EARTH, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, New York, 1982
 
THE WWW
 
http://www.christadelphia.org/wrested1.htm  
 
http://www.kevinquick.com/kkministries/books/reasoning/nwt.html,
Kevin Quick discusses the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the Bible never says that Jesus is God

www.gospelassemblyfree.com/facts/fathersonwayne.htm
Father and/or Son by H Wayne Hamburger