how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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Andrew, You say many things that make me go hmmm.

Differentiation of Father and Son, a new narrative, and new starting points…I like that – good assumptions! The last 100 years of academia has transformed its followers into their own image and their own terminology while fortifying their age-old presuppositions. So I like your new assumptions! This leads to a Christology that focuses mainly on the Man which gives us insight to God and ourselves. However, we must be leery of being rooted and grounded in explanations and apologetics (even if they are new) instead of being grounded in a relationship in Christ the Mystery. Explanations take the Mystery out of Christ whether they are good or bad. Our explanations may debunk another’s point of view but we must be careful not to be too comfortable in our enlightenment simply because we debunk another view. Assumptions, models, paradigms, and formulas eventually come to pass. Yet in saying that, I look forward to a better understanding of Christ which will no doubt involve more of the same but at least they will be new. And as you and JT discussed, it may end up Arian and Trinitarian but it should not start there. Our Christological assumptions should lead to relational and experiential explanations to be an authentic exercise toward the Object of our faith. To me, no explanation will do that does not focus on the Good News. Maybe, for this reason, I have learned plenty from Trinitarians even though I am not one.

Through different explanations, we should continue to learn more, but we should never reach grand conclusions about a Man that was born of a Virgin (can’t be explained – that act is/was simply impossible). Likewise and equally impossible is this same man making the declaration that He would raise Himself from the dead three days later (John 2:19). So from the start of “sonship”, He is the Mystery although He is not declared as such until after He is resurrected. So what to do with Jesus has been the problem for centuries. Generally what happens is Trinitarians expand meaning (God the Son) while Unitarians shrink meaning (YWHW is God and Jesus is a man) so the distinctions become obvious. It boils down to what do we do with this Man – this is and has been the problem?

If Paul were alive today, and using Microsoft Word, I believe I Timothy 3: 1-15 would read like bullet points in a policy handbook – clear, concise, and to the point. Also I believe verse 16 would be an addendum stated “Oh, by the way, without controversy great is the Mystery. Good Luck!” So back to what do we do with this Man - Born of a virgin and declared that He would raise Himself from the dead.

What is our responsibility? The answer to this question places us closer to original Christianity. I believe our responsibility is to steward the Mystery i.e., maintain the Mystery… Eph 3:8 the unsearchable riches of Christ; I do not believe it is simply an explanation from our intellect that returns us to original Christianity. Quite simply, we will end up in the dung that Paul, a Hebrew of Hebrews, found himself in.

So my muse is geared in the direction of one = one. Are we to worship God in a lesser self-disclosure (Logos) of Himself – Old Covenantal name – YWHW because Jesus is a man? Should we continue to focus on His introduction and progression YWHW = I am self existing, eternal – Elohim/God of gods, El Elyon/ most high, Jireh/provider, Rapha/healer, Nissi/banner, M’Kaddesh/sanctifier, Shalom/peace, Makkeh/Judge, Sabaoth/of Hosts, Rohi/Shepherd, Tsidkenu/ righteousness, Shammah/ LORD is there. And not His conclusion - Jesus = YWHW became salvation? Or to say it another way, Jesus is all that. Are we going to be so extremely focused on “just a man” (born of a virgin & declared that He would raise Himself from the dead) that our differentiations go to far. When we draw our differentiations between the Father and the Son, it can not be in name, Word, or deed; hence, the manifestation of God. If you seen me, you’ve seen the father…I manifest your name… if nothing else believe the works that I do and so forth. Jesus manifested a name above all names - the family name which is passed down from Fatherhood Eph 3:15. So the differentiation is not in name - YWHW is one and Jesus is the other. Nor is the differentiation in works – expressed image. Nor is differentiation in Logos/self-disclosure which proceeds forth from the Bosom/Heart/Desire of the Father and outwardly expressed by/through His Son who is now in the Bosom, on the Right Hand, Throne, etc… So our theological constructs should be about the Son – Good News who has been highly exalted and worthy to be praised – the Logos moves from abstract (Father’s heart) to concrete (Son’s life – the Glory of God).

In the beginning God said, “Let there be light.” And the Logos became light, yet the angels did not worship the light. When the Logos became flesh, well, now, they worship whom they can see. The Word is God. 1 Timothy 3:16 seen by angels, but not before then. The angels never saw God in a lesser revelation of Himself - YWHW Old Covenantal Salvic name.

I Timothy 4:10 God is the Savior of all men. Yet the blood of the last Adam saves us.

John 2:19 Can just a man raise Himself from the dead.

I like your idea of a historical narrative. I believe that will glean many new nuggets. Also, I believe you nailed the mystery/desire of creation Colossians 1:16 (purpose). This also provides the answer for the pondering philosophers – “Who am I, What am I doing here, and where did I come from?”

God bless,