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I appreciate good and challenging writings about the Holy Spirit, even past the oft times debates I can get in on continuationism vs cessationism. I also appreciate some of the foundations of the narrative-historical perspectives of a writer like Andrew Perriman.
Thus, I was interested in Perriman's recent thoughts on the "conception" accounts of Jesus by the Holy Spirit and what that all meant within the first century Jewish context as related back to the Hebrew Scripture and teachings.
Perriman is doing a longer series well worth reading, but the first article on Jesus' conception by the Spirit is here. I really look forward to some thoughts on his article.
As a side note: 1) Please don't insist that Perriman does not believe in the incarnation or hypostatic union. 2) Please try and steer clear of snarky comments simply because it is engaging in a fresh way with an "already settled matter of the church".
Taking us way back a week in time...
I figure it's a pretty softball question to any self-identified Evangelical whether he holds Jesus to be God. I mean, that's a much larger circle, orthodox, in which Evangelical is only a subcategory. Since this thread came out, it seemed to me on reading Mr. Perriman's material that he simply does not believe in the divinity of Christ. I mean forget the brouhaha about T.D. Jakes and modalism (for a moment), at least he holds that Christ is divine.
I had the effrontery to ask Mr. Perriman on his own site--for a straight answer. In those words, a straight answer about the deity of Christ, I note today that over the weekend he did respond. Now tell me, Evangelicals, and tell me, ye orthodox, how many of you would answer in this way:
HE: There is not much chance of a straight answer in the near future. But I will try to put together some sort of response to the whole question of Jesus’ relation to the Father. I will say, though, that what I personally believe is not really the point. This all arose over a post about the interpretation of one passage. What are Matthew and Luke trying to communicate when they say that Jesus was born of a virgin? I believe that they are reliable interpreters of the event and that we should trust their understanding. But what do my “beliefs” have to do with that? If there appears to be a contradiction between traditional beliefs and what the passage is actually saying, what are we supposed to do? I believe that as faithful interpreters of scripture we have a responsibility to address the problem honestly and not gloss over it. Where this will lead us, I’m not entirely sure. There are a number of other passages in the NT that suggest pre-existence, but we haven’t got to them yet. In the meantime I do my best to read the NT in the context of a historic community of faith
I think it would be a lot cleaner for Andrew Perriman to be straightforward about where he's coming from, what his position is.
What this feels like is him wanting orthodox Christians to trust him as a trustworthy source (mutually held orthodox beliefs) even though he isn't trustworthy by the orthodox standard. Why is he unwilling to reveal his beliefs? Why would he think that orthodox Christians would think it's irrelevant? Is it because he's concerned that those who believe these basic truths would stop reading his material if they knew he doesn't?
Is it because he's trying to undermine those basic truths for some reason, and the only way he can do it is to pretend that he believes as an orthodox Christian does?
Or is it that he's seeking approval, or agreement, from those who are orthodox Christians, for some reason?
I don't get it. But cageyness always makes me feel nervous and unhappy.
Thanks for pursuing this Marv. Sure do appreciate it!
Sorry to have been absent from the discussion. I've replied to Marv's extensive comment on the textual material in a post on my blog. I greatly appreciate the trouble that you have all taken over the argument—I have found it very helpful. I understand the concerns about my "cageyness", but I still think that one of the tasks that we are called to as a biblical people is to make sense of scripture as it presents itself to us, not as we would like it to be. How we deal with the results of that undertaking are another matter, which is when what we historically believe—and what I personally believe—becomes important. But for now, I mean to hold to my principal, which is that it is unhelpful, and sometimes quite misleading, to read scripture looking for evidence for later theological developments.