on Monday, September 11, 2017

I’ve been meeting with some Mormon missionaries over the past few months. We have discussed a number of topics, ranging from the definition of grace to trash talking BYU after LSU beat them. Standard fare for any aspiring theologian.

One question that we keep returning to is this: Who is Jesus?

Sometimes the missionaries try to present their position as though I agree with them; whereas, other times the crevice between our positions is very clear. Most recently I asked them to interpret a number of texts for me through their lens and I thought to myself, “What a great blog series that would make!”

So here we are.

In the coming months, we will produce a number of articles related to this question. We’ll address many of the relevant texts on an individual basis. I’m going to ask many of our professors and students to address the texts at a level accessible by everyone! Because, let’s be honest, the question of deity can regularly have difficult concepts and language.

Now, I’d like to make a simple, starting case for the significance of the question.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says, “Hear, o Israel, the Lord our God is one. You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

This passage is known as the Shema. The word “Shema” is written in the form of a command. It means, “Listen!” Understand the word in the same way you understand an announcer at a football game commanding the crowd to stand for a moment of silence. The announcer isn’t asking you to stand, he’s commanding you to stand and obey. In the same sense, the word Shema is commanding us to listen and obey.

And what are we commanded to do? First, we are commanded to observe that the Lord our God is one. Second, we are commanded to love the Lord our God with every fiber of our being. Here is where the rubber meets the road.

This passage puts such impetus upon the observation and adoration of the one, true God, that any other assertion of deity must be heavily scrutinized. Which returns us to this question: Is Jesus God?  

Bad news, I won’t make any arguments here, but in the coming months you’ll find a number of articles analyzing the texts related to Jesus’ deity. 

Steve Morgan serves as the Digital Communication and Marketing Coordinator at NOBTS.