Have you ever heard a non-believer say that he thinks Jesus was a good moral teacher, but not the Son of God? This “middle ground” position was obliterated by C.S. Lewis in his book, “Mere Christianity.” One of Lewis’ famous quotes created the popular evangelism “trilemma” of Jesus as either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord.
Here is what Lewis wrote on the matter:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.
In the new edition of Evangelism Explosion’s Reasonable Answers for Honest Skeptics video series, John Sorensen tackles how to answer the question, “Is Jesus God?” He notes that even back in the 4th century, the question of Jesus as God proved controversial in the church:
In the 4th Century the church was wrestling with this issue, but from a slightly different angle. Is Jesus God or is He God’s highest and most perfect created being? Surely this would be OK to say of Jesus, right? Well, not according to a council of bishops who saw this as heresy. This heresy was a result of the teachings of a man named Arius. Arianism, as it came to be known, taught that God the Father created God the Son and was subordinate in nature. Unfortunately, many followed Arius’ teachings and this was threatening to split the Empire. In response, the council formed a doctrinal statement affirming that the Son was not made and is of the very same essence of the Father. Today we know this as the Nicene Creed.
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