D.C. Toedt (aka The Questioning Christian) is one of the regular contrarians who hangs out at TitusOneNine, Kendall Harmon’s blog. D.C is a lawyer who regularly raises doubts about the historical reliability of the New Testament–especially when it comes to either miracles or the historic doctrines of the church. In a recent discussion over at TitusOneNine, D.C. raised the following objection:
If we’re to believe Acts, it’s abundantly clear that the apostles regarded Jesus as a mortal. They thought he was a special mortal, to be sure: in their minds, his resurrection proved that he had been designated by God to return Real Soon Now as Israel’s liberator. [Evidently they were wrong about that.] But there’s nothing in their reported early preaching that even hints they thought Jesus was God Incarnate. The standard orthodox response is that it took the church awhile to come to that conclusion. OK, fine: then the conclusion is far from self-evident — and it’s not at all unreasonable for others to conclude otherwise.)
I responded rather hastily, “Sorry, D. C., you’re wrong.” This resulted in a few interchanges at the end of which D.C. left this challenge:
Many of you think the apostles always believed a high christology, but Acts clearly suggests otherwise — which raises interesting questions that William Witt and others seem afraid to confront.
Not one to back down from a challenge, I promised D.C. to get back to him, but when I finally finished my response, I realized it was way too long to post as a blog comment, so I’m putting it as a post on my own blog in hopes that some find it valuable.
One of the causes for frustration in the current discussions between the orthodox and revisionists in the mainline churches these days (especially on the blogs) is that so often the debates are between an uncritical orthodoxy and an uncritical revisionism. (more…)