Tag Archives: rule of faith

From Faith to Follow

I keep coming back to Confessions of Faith. As I dance around this (repeatedly) there’s one major thing I’m trying go get to: we as Christians have regularly created the impression that being a Christian is defined by thinking/believing the right things.

Thinking the right things isn’t bad. At some level it’s necessary. But I don’t want to say with, say, Philip Schaff, that belief in the content of the creeds is “necessary and sufficient” for salvation.

So what if our recitations of our shared narrative began with a phrase other than, “I believe,” a phrase that was was self-involving in a different way?

What if we recited together, instead, something like this?

I worship God the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who brought us up out of the house of bondage, the God who did not spare his own son but delivered him up for us all and raised him from the dead;

And I follow Jesus the Messiah, his only begotten son, who was anointed son of God by the Spirit, taught us with authority, healed the sick, fed the hungry, embraced the outcast and the sinner, cast out demons, beckoned us to follow, took up his cross, loved me and gave himself for me, reconciled the world to God, was raised from the dead and enthroned as Lord and King, and sent his followers and Spirit out into the world;

I receive the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the crucified and risen Christ, given by Christ that I might walk in faithfulness, receive forgiveness, crucify the flesh with its passions and desires, and receive a share in Jesus’ own sonship, speak in God’s name, extend forgiveness, make peace among people, heal the sick, feed the hungry, embrace the outcast and sinner, cast out demons, take up the cross and pour myself out in self-giving love for the good of my neighbor, be raised to newness of life, and thus live and reign with him forever.

That’s what I’m getting at. There are lots of good, true things in our statements. But how do we talk and think about who we are such that we are always remembering that our statements are self-involving? Not merely involving of our minds, or our “hearts,” or our beliefs, but summoning us to participate in the narrative of the coming reign of God?

Thoughts?

From Faith to Faith

What makes us Christians? What defines us as a people?

“I believe in God the father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only begotten son, our Lord…”

That’s one way of doing it. We are articulate what we believe. In an upward gesture, we define ourselves by a common set of postures toward God, Jesus, and Spirit.

What makes us who we are, what saves us, is our faith.

But, as I’ve argued here before, we need to be careful how we identify ourselves. We need to exercise care because how we define who we are will determine what we think faithful action looks like.

Ethics and identity are inseparable.

I’ve been arguing for some time that we need to reconstrue our identity and our ethics in narrative terms. We need to loosen our grip on statements of faith, and move toward more fully living into the story of the narrative of the faithful Christ.

It strikes me that what I’m arguing for is a wholesale transformation of our way of understanding Christian faith that corresponds to a shift in the way many Paul scholars are reading the phrase, “the faith of Christ” (πίστις χριστοῦ).

This phrase can be read one of two ways.

  1. Christ can be seen as the object of faith (thus the phrase “objective genitive” as the Greek construction). This would mean, “[our] faith in Christ.”
  2. Christ can be seen as the subject of faith (thus the phrase “subjective genitive” as the Greek construction). This would mean, “Christ’s faithfulness.”

At bottom, what is Paul after? By what are we justified in the sight of God? Is it our faith in Jesus? Or is it Jesus’ faithfulness in going to death on the cross?

The idea that we’re justified by our own faith in Christ is part of a larger way of construing Christian identity in terms of believing the right things about God.

When Richard Hays renewed the argument for the subjective genitive (“Christ’s faithfulness”) reading of Paul, the subtitle of his work was this: “The narrative substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11.”

The point is not simply that we translate a phrase in one particular way. The larger point is that this translation reflects a deeper structure in Pauline theology.

Paul is a narrative theologian. He tells the saving story of Jesus. And he invites his congregations into it.

It might be that Hays was onto something even larger than his own initial project caught sight of (or, at least, articulated): by decentering our faithful response, the faithfulness of God in Christ can return to center stage. We can being to creatively reimagine what it means to be the faithful people of God, not as those who believe a certain list in a shared statement of belief, but those who are active participants in the saving story of the crucified Christ.

Not only might we make room for a storied theology, we might make room for a storied identity that gives rise to a faithful, storied ethic.

Theological Interpretation Article in Christianity Today

I’ve had a thing or two to say about theological interpretation on ye’ old blog over the past couple of years. I am a theological interpreter of scripture, and strive to be a Christian reader of scripture, at that. So in general I resonate with, and am happy for, a movement that strives to carve out respectable space for so engaging the Bible in both the academy and the church.

This month’s Christianity Today has a cover story on theological interpretation by J. Todd Billings. It is not yet available online, but read it when you can if you would like a nice overview of what theological interpretation is up to.

The article echoes commonly stated needs of the church: to have a Bible that speaks to it as a word for people who are devoted to loving and following the Lord and God about whom the text speaks.

It also indicates that one of the more important ways forward is to read using the rule of faith.

As usual, I find the former element more important and compelling than the latter, as I continue to find myself scratching my head about what someone committed to the Rule of Faith is supposed to “do,” what kind of identity it forms, and why Christological readings should be transformed into Trinitarian readings. But then again, you’ve heard all that from me before!

This article really is a judicious piece, a welcome and accessible introduction to what is happening in the world of theological interpretation of scripture and provides some sense of why it is important.

If You Think You’re So Cool…

… then why not get the whole church to say you’re right?

That’s a large part of Barth’s challenge to the church, and particular groups within it, as he wraps up the seemingly interminable §20, “Authority in the Church.”

Backing up, part of the reason why Barth commends the Creeds as worthy of the church’s respect is that these have been spoken by the church, in accordance with scripture, against whatever positions it was waging its theological wars in the past. A Creed is formed when the church as a whole feels compelled not only to say “yes” to what the church always agrees to, but also to say “no” to what it sees as an aberration in its teaching.

Barth Experiences God Through Pipe

In this section, Barth commends the creeds, in part, because those who offered them were willing to subject their judgments to the judgment of the whole church, and because the church as a whole has been willing to affirm them, and because the church as a whole has been willing to say no to the alternatives.

He notes throughout that the neo-Protestantism that was arising in the late 19th and early 20th centuries never attempted creedal status for its reconfigured understanding of Jesus. Barth suggests that this in itself is reason to privilege the creeds over the latest scholarly labors.

A few days ago I wrote about the importance of community context for maintaining faith. I experienced a similar dynamic at work here. What I mean is this: it is easy for me to have my appreciation for the creeds marred by history: knowing the circumstances, the way the opponents were treated, and the like makes me suspicious of the writers and their work at times. Barth is aware of this history, acknowledges it, recognizes its power to call the creeds into question, and yet still maintains that we should acknowledge them as the words of those who are within the church and testifying to the voice of holy scripture.

I still hold onto some of my reservations, but engaging the difficulties in a context in which they are still honored was helpful.

In all, I found Barth’s vision of the place of the creeds within the church compelling–and I think it is because he refused to treat them as a rule of faith. A rule of faith is, by definition, a measure by which we assess biblical interpretation and teaching as either conforming to the Christian faith or not.

Barth will not allow the creeds to take this place of precedence over scripture.

The authority they have is as first commentary on scripture, not as lens by which the scripture must be understood. And that is what their relationship must always be.

Scripture Is What Church Isn’t

I need to come back to Barth §20, to explore a bit more how he works out the relationship of authority in the church to scripture, creed, and church in general.

This authentic copy of revelation and this authentic model of obedience to it is therefore the content of the witness of the prophets and apostles in Holy Scripture. It is therefore true that Holy Scripture is the Word of God for the Church, that it is Jesus Christ for us, as He Himself was for the prophets and apostles during the forty days. (544)

This manner of standing in for Jesus Barth is not willing to share with any.

He acknowledges that as early as Irenaeus there is an appeal to a tradition outside the written text, a supplement to what scripture does not tell us completely–and this tradition is a coequal authority by the fourth and fifth centuries. But there is evidence on the other side as well–and Barth insists that fidelity to Christ who has spoken through the prophets and apostles entails siding with this latter evidence in favor of scriptural primacy.

Barth’s theology of inscripturation is that those who were witnesses to the Word who is the revelation of God mediated the word which is the witness of that revelation. That witness is in the church as scripture, and thus holds primacy of place as the mediator of the Christ to whom it witnesses. Since Christ has ascended, we might summarize, there is no more direct revelation and therefore the church cannot claim for itself the same authoritative role as scripture holds for itself (552-53).

Digging back into Irenaeus, Barth maintains that setting up tradition alongside scripture as an authority would lead inevitably to the Catholic position of setting up the church itself as a third pillar (564-5). Those who know my strong reservations about the Rule of Faith as a controlling authority can imagine my delight at finding such an ally.

But this does not lead Barth either away from the church or to a reckless abandonment to the church’s witness to biblical revelation!

With both canon itself and the church’s Creeds, Barth asks us to take seriously that we would not have a canon to fight over, and wouldn’t have a faith to hear, were it not for the church speaking to us, fulfilling its commission to speak the word of God.

What is tremendous about how Barth holds things together in §20 is this: he demands respect for the church’s decisions, that we humbly acknowledge that without these we would not have heard the word, and at the same time will not allow them to attain to the same permanence that scripture as the word of God has as the continuing voice of God upon the earth.

The canon can, at least in theory, be changed. We receive it as an on-going act of faith in response to the voice of God we hear in it. And we do not abandon it based on our own, or our group’s own, dissatisfaction with one part.

The creeds can, at least in theory, be challenged. They never stand as the norm by which scripture is judged, or even, ultimately, the norm by which our faith is judged. They stand as summary interpretations of scripture and therefore always under scripture and subject to critique by what is heard from the Bible.

A couple of weeks ago someone asked me if I objected to the creeds being recited in worship. I have a concern about it, to be sure–that we will wrongly think of ourselves as the people who fall within the creed rather than thinking of ourselves as the people who fall within the story of Christ. And these are different!

And yet, these statements have been spoken with the voice of the church throughout the ages as a testimony to our solidarity as one holy, catholic, and apostolic church. They remind us that our God’s story wraps up the story of Jesus. They remind us that the hope of humanity is the resurrection of the dead.

So while I do not want them as rules of our faith, I find them valuable as testimonies to what the church needed to say then and there–and, if appropriately historicized, guides to how we might think about what it means to say what we must say here and now.

Barth manages to demand that scripture be what the church should never be: our canon. And he does so without retreating into historically problematic ideas about the relationship between scripture and canon that sometimes plagues Protestant attempts to delineate their relationship to the church.

King Jesus Gospel

Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel is the most recent in a stream of books designed to get evangelicals to recognize that the Christian faith is an inherently active affair. It is not merely a personal message of salvation to be believed in my heart, it is about a grand story that we must continue to tell, and live out, if we are to be the faithful people of God.

I have much affinity with Scot’s overall project. Like my own work in Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul?, The King Jesus Gospel is concerned to articulate a gospel that both Jesus and Paul proclaimed, to articulate this gospel as deeply enmeshed in the story of Israel, and to insist that the gospel is not merely about personal salvation but about a more pervasive, cosmic transformation.

More than this, Scot is working with a similar paradigm to the one I’ve been developing here and elsewhere over the past several years: there is an inherent connection between the gospel message, what defines us as Christians, our identity, and our ethics.

The sharp end of his argument is this: the way that we have “shared the gospel” has been so much about personal salvation that it fails to carry with it an inherent call to a particular way of living. And, when the message of salvation is so truncated, it begins to close its claim to bear the label “gospel” at all: it is “soterian” (about salvation) without being entirely “evangelical” (about the gospel).

McKnight spends the first couple chapters laying out the need to move from a “salvation culture” to a “gospel culture.”

The book then turns to develop an articulation of what the gospel is. It moves from Paul’s summary statement in 1 Cor 15 through the Creeds before returning to Jesus in the Gospels and Acts.

The focus of these chapters is this: the death and resurrection of Jesus are the consummation of the story of Israel.

One the most important contributions of this, the meat of the book, is that Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated himself to be the king of the kingdom, the special agent in whom the story of Israel is coming to its consummation. Far too much credence has been given to the notion that Jesus proclaimed God rather than himself. Jesus places himself right in the middle of God’s plans for the cosmos.

Here are a few places I’d want to push back on the book and maybe generate a bit more conversation:

  • Is the Creed really a faithful summary of the Paul’s 1 Cor 15 gospel? The most important reason I say no is that it removes all of the important interpretive glosses that enable us to say that why the death and resurrection are “gospel”: “according to the scriptures” and “for our sins.” McKnight is insisting that the gospel is the consummation of the story of Israel–yes! But if there is one area where the creed is deficient it is precisely here. There is no “according to the scriptures,” there is no OT, there is no Israel. The creator God has a son whom he sent.
  • Is the creed a faithful summary of Paul’s gospel? No, for reason number two: Paul’s declaration is that Jesus is “the” Lord, the Creed says “our” Lord. In other words, the Creed is the beginning of the soterian gospel that McKnight has written the book to counter. There are other reasons why the Creed is quite different from 1 Cor 15 as well, but hey–this is my hobby horse. You know that I am wary of the creeds as lenses for reading scripture, or as the most accurate summaries of the Story.
  • I’m concerned that using 1 Cor 15 has curtailed the power of the Gospels to contribute to McKnight’s argument. I agree that there is much to the idea that the gospels are passion narratives with lengthy introductions. However, there is a Mark 1-8 in addition to a Mark 8-16. I think that it is precisely in figuring out how Mark 1-8 are gospel, not in hurrying to the crucifixion, that the “gospel culture” McKnight hopes to propagate is going to be established. It might be that our evangelical obsession with the cross is, itself, a significant part of the paradigm that needs to be broken up. I thought that Embracing Grace pushed some of these issues a bit better.

The book is replete with powerful, important statements such as these:

“The question is not about whether Jesus preached justification; the question is about whether he preached the Story of Israel coming to its completion in the story of himself as a saving story.” (106)

“From this point on, Jesus claims, everyone’s moral life is to be measured by whether they live according to his moral vision.” (107)

“… the book of Acts reveals that gospeling was not driven by the salvation story or the atonement story. It was driven by the Story of Israel, and in fact makes most sense in that story.” (134, emphasis original)

The book is sure to generate significant conversations, especially in the more traditional, conservative evangelical world toward which the argument is largely directed. It is written so as to be accessible to everyone, and would be a great conversation starter for many small groups and pastoral staffs.

Authority, Scripture, Creed

Blogsphere confessional: I realize that I am often not at my best when I am trying to work out the relationships among bible, theology, and church authority. I do too much “not this but that” rather than “this and also that.” The whole project of reading through the Church Dogmatics was meant, in part, to keep me wrestling with and appreciating good theology.

In §20, Barth is wrestling with the very issues that have been driving me insane for the past decade or so: where does church authority come from? What does it mean and look like to have scripture as ultimate authority? What does this mean for our confessions about the canon as it stands? And what does it mean for the creeds that speak to us of what the church has said defines it and its beliefs?

This section is beautiful, because Barth the dogmatician (i.e., the one who seeks to say within the church what the church is truly saying about God) demands that we not surrender for one minute the Reformation principle that the Bible as the word of God is the church’s authority. This means that the authority will not be shared or usurped by church or creed.

And, it is only within the church that we meet this Bible as a Bible, as holy scripture; and before we could even say anything good or ill about a creed it must come to us as the church’s proclamation that this is what it believes.

Barth manages to advocate a hermeneutical spiral that deals with the reality of the church as the primary locus of God’s speech and as the primary mediators of the word, that deals with the reality of the Bible as something that is only the book it is because of the church, while demanding that we never lose our evangelical and Protestant moorings by allowing the church to have either a final word over the scriptures, or even a co-equal word alongside it.

Let me try that again: the canon (!), church, and creeds are important, but are always subject to correction and stand under the authority of scripture as the word of God.

But this authority of scripture is a derivative authority. It is only because Jesus is Lord that the Christian Bible has authority (§20.1). For there even to be a church is not to have a bunch of people sitting around reading the Bible. The Society of Biblical Literature is not the church. Where the church really is the church it is a people living in obedient relationship to Jesus Christ.

One reason I trust Barth is that he keeps demanding that people be actively responding to the story of Jesus if they are going to claim for themselves the prerogative of bearing the name of the church. Where the more recent conservative move has been to say that we have the word in the Bible itself, and therefore as the possessors and readers and expositors of the word we are the emissaries of God, Barth suggests the reverse.

To be the people of God is not to posses and master the Word, but to be possessed and mastered by it.

To be in the presence of scripture is not to have laid hold of what is pristine and to derive one’s validity from that possession. It is to be in the presence of something human in every sense that the word “human” conveys in a fallen world: limited, fragile, sinful. And yet, it is also be in the presence of something that, though very human, is the instrument that God in God’s grace chooses in order to speak and draw and otherwise mediate the authority of the resurrected Lord Jesus.

Christ sits enthroned above all, and God speaks this Word through the word that is scripture. The word has authority because of this dynamic use to which God puts it, to which we believe he puts it, as God calls us to obey. And the church’s own authority rests under both of these: the written word which mediates and the God who speaks through it.

More needs to be said about how this relates to church authority and creeds in particular. But the focus on word, and obeying the word, rather than believing a creed or submitting to a church, enables Barth to cultivate a vision for what the church is, what Christianity is, that has an inherent ethic.

This has the power to overcome the failure that has beset the church in general and Protestantism in particular for most of its history.

“The existence of the church of Jesus Christ stands or falls with the fact that it obeys as the apostles and prophets obeyed their Lord. It stands or falls with the known and actual antithesis of man and revelation, which cannot be reversed, in which man receives, learns, submits, and is controlled, in which he has a Lord and belongs to Him wholly and utterly.”

Yes. That.

Now, how do we define Church and Christian such that this kind of obedience lies at the core of its identity?

Not the Rule of Faith: Why I Care

On this blog I am frequently doing my best to drive a wedge between the Bible (and good biblical interpretation) and systematic theology, the rule of faith, and the like. Several times I have revisited the question of why the story of Jesus, rather than the church’s doctrine of the Trinity, should be our interpretive grid–and what defines our identity as Christians.

Why do I care?

There are a number of ways to approach that question, but part of it has to do with a combination of personality and past experience.

Personality

Do you know the Enneagram?

I regret to inform you that I am an Eight. In brief, this means that I’m a controlling jerk. Well, that’s the worst of it.

Eights tend to be passionate about truth and justice. Of course, we’re always right, so this can be self-serving, but the redemptive edge of this passion is that we care about those who don’t have power. We care about the injustice and control that can dominate people’s lives when the wrong people use their power in the wrong ways.

The redemptive moves for 8 include becoming agents of mercy and justice, and inspiring others to follow along this path.

Experience

I have experienced that the theology of the church is a way to control people, and that this control often comes at the expense of honest readings of the Bible and honest articulations of what people actually believe.

I was in a denomination that had an 85+ page Confession of Faith, and any ordination candidate had to delineate every place he disagreed with it. And the list of disagreements had better be close to zero.

I discovered that this sort of Confessional magisterium (ask me to sing my “paperback pope” song for you sometime): (1) created disingenuous theologians, who affirmed things they disagreed with; (2) controlled biblical interpretation in ways that were distracting and just plain bad; and (3) served as a strong means for controlling the “insiders club” for the good ol’ boys (and they were all boys, no girls allowed) who had the power and only wanted to share it with those who were happy to help them build what was theirs.

Theology as the defining marker of the church creates systems of control that look nothing like the Jesus who said, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The Rule of Faith, while quantitatively shorter, is qualitatively the same if it is functioning as rule. Trinitarian theology, similarly, can play this role of church control. It requires us to frame our reading, our gospel, our understanding of Jesus, in a way that binds us to the church rather than freeing us to follow Jesus–though going through that guarded church door might lead us into the company of Jesus as well.

But I rebel against the Creedal control because I don’t want you to think you have to experience what I did: that the only way into the fullness of participation in the body of Christ is through strange and foreign structures that often have little to do with the Bible through which God has chosen to make the Word of life known to the world.

But does it have the power, the authority to demand that we read in accordance with its traditions, its creeds? No, I’m too Reformed to say yes. And, I believe enough in the fidelity of what the creeds say that is true to demand that they control our reading of scripture: if they are right, then a good reading of scripture will generate these affirmations without those affirmations being the prerequisite assumption for reading the Bible rightly.

I want you to be free to discover that the Creeds are right. And, perhaps once every few hundred years, where they aren’t. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

ed note: I realize after posting this that it leaves unanswered about half a million questions about the place of the church in our christian practice. Please stay tuned for my next Church Dogmatics post for more theologically and ecclesially developed musings

ed. note 2: I think this post is a dud. I need to work on how I actually want to delineate the tensions I feel in different hermeneutics and their relationships to power, freedom, and the Christian story. I might have inadvertently gone Quito (Mtn Goats reference) in true 8 fashion

Christ or Trinity?

Since the Colloquium on Theological Interpretation last month (see here, and here) I have been mulling the question of Christian hermeneutics. In particular: is there a difference between a Christological hermeneutic and a Trinitarian hermeneutic? And if so, why do I advocate Christological readings rather than Trinitarian?

The answer to the first question is decidedly yes: there is a difference between Christological and Trinitarian hermeneutics. The former, readings that explore the ramifications of scripture for the story of the crucified and risen Christ, points us to the ministry of Jesus, in particular his death, resurrection, and exalted Lordship. The latter points us to the divinity of Christ.

The clearest example I have seen of the important difference between these is the reading of Lukan intertextuality provided by Richard Hays at SBL last year. He cited Jesus’ words at the end of Luke, that Jesus opened the minds of the travelers to hear all the things written about him in the scriptures.

Hays then proceeded to engage with a far-reaching reading of how Luke was applying the OT texts that referred to YHWH to Jesus instead. The upshot of Hays’ reading was that Luke is showing us that the OT’s YHWH is none other than the Jesus of the Gospel.

Even though this reading focuses on Jesus, it is a Trinitarian reading inasmuch as the working assumption that makes the reading possible is the idea of an eternal Son coequal with and in some way identical to the God of the OT.

Luke, however, intends a very different interpretation of the OT as a witness to Jesus.

Luke does not simply say, the OT is about Jesus no go find out how I’ve shown this. He tells us precisely how the OT speaks of Jesus the Messiah. First, in Luke 24:26-27 he says, “‘Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures.”

The thing written about Jesus in the scriptures are not that Jesus is YHWH, but that Jesus, as Messiah, had to suffer and enter his glory.

This is even more clearly stated later in the same chapter:

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures,and said to them, “Thus it stands written that the Christ would suffer and would rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.(NET Bible)

To read scripture aright is not to read it as a witness to the eternal Trinity, but to read it as witness to the suffering and glory of the Messiah.

The presupposition needed for the Christological reading that Luke directs us to is not that Christ is preexistent or in any sort of ontological way identifiable with YHWH of the OT.

The presupposition required for a Christological, narratival hermeneutics is that Jesus who died was, in fact, the Messiah, that that God raise this Jesus from the dead and enthroned him over all things.

There is a difference, and Luke invites us to Christological narrative rather than divine onotology as the way to correctly read scripture in light of the Christ event.

The narrative of Jesus, not divine identity as it is often construed today, is the way to correctly read the whole Bible in light of Jesus as Messiah, according to Luke (and Paul and John and Matthew and Mark and Peter and Hebrews and Revelation). This means that our hermeneutics will be driven by the story of Jesus rather than the Trinity. It also means that when we chose to use the Rule of Faith as our hermeneutical grid, we have taken a significant step away from the Christian reading of scripture that is commended to us in the NT.

“When I Say God…”

“When I say God, what I mean is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

This statement of Geoffrey Wainwright was a favorite among the Divinity Students at Duke when I was there–it invariably showed up in each of their sermons prepared for Trinity Sunday.

The Christian God has an identity. That identity is Father, Son, and Spirit. This is our starting point. This is who (and what) our God is.

So what happens when we turn to the Bible and read the word “God”?

When Paul said God, he meant the Father only.

Similarly, when we read Mark, for example, God is the sender, the power, the authority giver, the father.

The burden of my various threads of thought over the past couple of weeks (and months and years!) on the blog has been to clear out space to answer this question: “What does it mean to say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ before Christians were proclaiming, ‘Jesus is God’?”