Supposed Divinity of Jesus
Modern Christian Divines agree with Islamic views, as to the supposed Divinity of Jesus.
The following extract is taken from ‘The Graphic’ of August 20th, 1920:
“During the last few days orthodox Christianity has received the greatest blow it has suffered for many years. Outside the Church, scores of people, learned and skilled in the ways of theology, have been attempting to prove, that the basis of Christianity was all wrong, and that modern science had destroyed its very foundation. This time, though, a blow has come from the inside itself; and three highly – placed theologians, all avowed members of the Church of England, in which they live, preach and have their being, have united, to use words which lay men take to mean, that Christ was not the son of God, but a Palestine Jew….
“Now, what Renan argued in ‘The Life of Jesus’, what all scientists outside the faith have expressed in learned terms, has been suddenly put into a bomb which, thrown at the Modern Churchmen’s Congress at Cambridge not a week ago, has staggered the Anglican Church so much that the reverberations of the shock will be felt for years… Dr. Rashdall, the Dean of Carlisle, Dr. Bethune – Baker, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, the Rev. R.G. Persons of Rusholme, have stood up at an Anglican Conference, and – if their words have been reported rightly denied the Godhead…..
“Christ was not divine but human, said Dr. Rashdall. ‘I do not for a moment suppose, that Christ ever thought of himself as God’, said Dr. Bethune–Baker. ‘Jesus was a man genuinely, utterly, completely, unreservedly human,’ said the Rev. R.G. Parsons- ‘ A Palestine Jew who expressed himself through the conditions and limitations of life, and though peculiar to his own time.”
These three men are not people whose opinions can be disregarded, even by the most orthodox of all Christians. They are men of the highest intellectual attainments, men of brilliant achievements in the world of theology; all of them men who, as lecturers and fellows and professors, have instructed scores of Anglican divines before their ordination and since.”
Canon Barnes on the Old Testament
In its issue of January 6th, 1922, the Daily Graphic has dealt with a speck delivered by the Canon of Westminster at the Association of University Women Teachers. The following is an extract of the speech as inserted in the above issue:
“In this connection it was most important, that the true nature and value of the Old Testament should be explained to children. It was Jewish literature; and was valuable for us, mainly, because it showed how the Jewish prophets were led to the idea of God, which Jesus accepted and emphasised, and because, in it vague expectations of a Messiah foreshadowed the advent of Christ. But in the Old Testament were also to be found folklore, defective history, half-savage morality, obsolete forms of worship based upon primitive and erroneous ideas of the nature of God, and crude science. The whole, however, was valuable, as showing the growth of a pure monotheism among the Jews- a religious phenomenon, as remarkable and inexplicable as the great intellectual development of the Golden Age of Greece. It was very difficult, to convey truths, like this, to children, and so it seemed to him better, to postpone the Old Testament part of religious teaching, to the later stages; otherwise, children would learn stories, like that, with which the Book of Genesis opened, which they would afterwards discover to be untrue.”
The same paper goes on to say:
“He, Canon Barnes, had come reluctantly to the conclusion, that it was highly dangerous, to use for didactic purposes such allegories, as the creation of woman, the Daniel stories and Jonah; it encouraged the prevalent belief, that religious people had a low standard of truth.”
Thus, the Reverenced Doctor condemns the Old Testament, and desires to eliminate it from the course of studies. He considers that, among other stories, that of Jonah is dangerous to teach to human intellect, while in its infancy and growth. He acknowledges, that to accept stories, like that of Jonah and Daniel, as genuine pieces of history, would betray a low standard of truth in the believers of Christianity.
Was Christ Divine?
Dr. Rashdall, Dean of Carlisle, recently delivered a remarkable speech at the Modern Churchman’s Congress on ‘Jesus as the Son of God’, and in the course of his address, he said:
“There is a growing demand, that liberal theologians should speak in quite definite language about the divinity of Christ. The following are some of the things that we do not and cannot mean, by ascribing divinity to Christ:
- Jesus did not claim divinity for himself.He may have allowed himself to be called Messiah, but never in any critically well attested sayings, is there anything which suggests, that his conscious relation to God is other than that of a man towards God. The speeches of the fourth Gospel, where they go beyond the synoptic conception, cannot be regarded as history.
- It follows from this admission thatJesus was in the fullest sense a man, and that he had not merely a human body, but also a human soul, intellect and will
- It is equally unorthodox to suppose that the human soul of Jesus pre–existed. There is simply no basis for such a doctrine, unless we say that all human souls exist before their birth into the world, but that is not the usually accepted Catholic position.
- The divinity of Christ does not necessarily imply virgin birth, or any other miracle. The virgin birth, if it could be historically proved, would be no demonstration of Christ’s divinity nor would the disproof of it throw any doubt on that doctrine.
- The divinity of Christ does not imply omniscience. There is no more reason for supposing, that Jesus of Nazareth knew more than his contemporaries about the true scientific explanation of the mental diseases which current belief attributed to diabolic possession, than that he knew more about the authorship of the Pentateuch or the Psalms. It is difficult to deny, that he entertained some expectation about the future which history has not verified.”
The Rev. H.D.A. Major, Principal of Ripon Hall, Oxford who opened the discussion was as outspoken as the Dean.
“It should be clearly realised”, said the Rev. Major, “that Jesus did not claim in the Gospels to be the Son of God in a physical sense, such as the narratives of the virgin birth suggest, nor did he claim to be the Son of God in a metaphysical sense, such as was required by the Nicene theology. He claimed to be God’s son in a moral sense, in the sense, in which all human being are sons of God, as standing in a filial and moral relationship to God, and capable of acting on those moral principles, on which God acts.”
The Dean of Carlisle, who is recognised as one of the most fearless and outspoken of Modern Churchmen, had a distinguished university career. He was a theological tutor at Balliol, and preacher at Lincoln’s Inn, for five years. He was Dean of Hereford, before his transfer to Carlisle, in 1917. 
The glory of Jesus naturally does not lie in being a God, because he cannot be a God, but his whole triumph lies in being a man, a perfect man, a holy man, and in the words of the Holy Koran, a Model for the people whom he was sent.