Part II – The Enhanced Public Debate Presentation
By Larry Acheson
A Response to Chuck Henry’s book
Trinity, Oneness, Duality, and Pre-Existence
Sadly, there are folks out there on both sides who make this a salvational issue. Not me. One thing that’s important to me when it comes to any religious topic is how I have never condemned anyone for any disagreements we may have on any Biblical matter. It is not up to me to pass judgment on anyone, so my only focus is whether or not the way we believe and act on our beliefs honors our Heavenly Father and His Son. Frankly, at least on issues like this one, I don’t see why we can’t share a cup of coffee at the table and agree to disagree agreeably. Until Chuck published his book, I felt that we could look at this discussion as an opportunity to learn from each other instead of an opportunity to criticize and even condemn each other. If, after my own diligent research, I reach a different conclusion than you do about when the Messiah’s existence began, why can’t we just let Him be the judge of how earnest we were and where we may have goofed up in our research? Is He going to condemn those who, in spite of their best efforts, reached the wrong conclusion about when His existence began?
For the record, I think it would be great if both sides of this issue could sit down together and agree with what Simon Kepha told Yeshua in Matthew 16:13-17. He said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living Almighty!” When He gave that answer, Yeshua made certain Kepha knew that flesh and blood had not revealed this information to him; it was His heavenly Father who revealed it to him. If we focus our attention on what mattered to Yeshua, then we really should not have to delve into the specifics and logistics of precisely “when” Yeshua became the Son of Yahweh. Our focus should be on the fact that He’s the Messiah, the Son of the Living Almighty. We shouldn’t need to go any deeper than that; nevertheless that’s what is going on and that’s why we’re here today.
The Apostle Peter’s confession of Matthew 16:16 really should be our “bottom line” as well. Yeshua had asked His disciples who men were saying He was. They answered, “Some say you’re John the Baptist; some say you’re Elijah, and others say you’re Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Yeshua replied, “But whom do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living Almighty!”
Did this answer meet Yeshua’s approval? Yes, it did. Yeshua answered, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Please notice that Yeshua didn’t see the need to add or subtract anything from Peter’s answer. He’s the Son of Yahweh and He’s the Messiah. We don’t need to dive any deeper than that. In spite of this fact, books have been written and doctrines formulated, asserting that unless you agree with their conclusions of Yeshua’s origin, then your salvation is hanging in the balance. Agreeing that He’s the Messiah and the Son of Yahweh is not sufficient for them. When someone tells me my salvation is at stake, I do my best to look into the validity of their conclusion. That’s what all of us should do.
As I know Chuck knows about me, I really don’t mind our having differences of opinion on this topic and just agreeing to disagree agreeably. However, when I see the context of Bible verses being grossly distorted, then presented to the public as truth, it does bother me and it makes me wonder how and why anyone would think to do such a thing. But when I am then told I may be an idol worshipper for not agreeing with the person misrepresenting Scripture, it becomes nearly impossible to maintain a productive and meaningful relationship. When Exodus 20:2-3 is invoked to point out that we are worshipping two Mighty Ones instead of the One, one of which must (in their opinion) be an idol, this changes the dynamics of any relationship. Adding to my frustration is the fact that you can read Chuck’s book online and the anonymous web site owner who offers it specifically labels it a “salvational issue.” The web site I’m referring to is www.ScriptureNews2Use.org. Chuck sends mixed signals by allowing a PDF version of his study to be available online at a web site whose owner plainly calls it a salvational issue, while he himself is on record as stating that our salvation is not in danger if we regard Yeshua as the Messiah, the Son of Yahweh, yet at the same time we believe He had a pre-carnal existence.
I realize someone may inquire, “So Biblical Unitarians regard those of the opposing view as being idolaters, which in turn means they think your salvation is in jeopardy if you believe Yeshua had a pre-carnal existence. But you plainly regard Biblical Unitarians as adding to the Word or at best distorting Scripture, so don’t you believe their salvation is in jeopardy for such a serious violation of Torah?”
Just in case someone would think to ask such a question, I need to make it clear, as I stated earlier, that it is not up to me to pass judgment on anyone, so my only focus is whether or not the way we believe and act honors our Heavenly Father and His Son. In this situation, while I am fully persuaded that Biblical Unitarians distort Scripture, at the same time, I sense that they think they are “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Yahweh and Yeshua know their hearts and mine, and I will simply allow Yeshua to be the judge, just as He says He is in John 5:22.
As I mentioned earlier, my original debate presentation, before I found it necessary to trim things down to fit inside the 45-minute allotted time frame, included my commentary on how and why I do not feel this should be a salvational issue. Sadly, the opposition doesn’t seem to see things that way and I will close out this chapter with a slide I put together displaying a visual summary of the typical path of pre-existence discussions:
Click here to access a full-length PDF file of this study.
First Publication, June 28, 2020
Edited July 19, 2020
A Truth Seekers Publication
Plano, Texas 75074-6010
This is the name of our Creator, Yahweh, sometimes called the Tetragrammaton. It is given here in (A) the Phoenician script, (B) the Ivrit Kadum (Paleo-Hebrew) script, and (C) the Modern Hebrew script (a stylization of Aramaic).
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