They Never Told Me This in Church!
by Greg Deuble
(New expanded edition, 2010)
by Barbara Buzzard
What a thorough going delight it has been to re-read this book! It doesn’t get much better than this —simple, superbly documented, utterly profound and world-changing to boot! Mr. Deuble is Australian and the reader will be treated to a wonderful variety of Aussie slang which is sprinkled throughout the book and makes for thoughtful and colorful reading.
This book is “A Call to Read the Bible with New Eyes” and an invitation to re-examine your theology. It reveals yet another cover-up, this one deadly serious, and proceeds through a series of chapters that follow the theme of loss of the original to a fraudulent product, culminating in “Another Gospel.” I think the reader will discern an honest heart and mind at work here. Deuble (rhymes with Bible) has a knack of getting to the heart of issues and makes intense study a real joy.
Greg Deuble’s story is a fascinating one — from seminary and many years of preaching straight orthodoxy to accepting the challenge of investigating his position and, honestly and diligently, proving himself a Berean. I was most privileged to have been at a Bible study in Australia several years ago where I witnessed his acceptance of this challenge. Since then he has become almost our new gold standard for honesty, and we heartily recommend what we have come to call the “Deuble prayer.” It goes something like this: “Oh God, if I am deceived in any way, please undeceive me. I want the truth – no matter what the cost.”
Deuble finds that the early Church was led into temptation and that it was not victorious when faced with pagan ideas and philosophy but compromised so totally that the end product no longer was true to its founder. He quotes from The Messianic Legacy: “Christians continue to be troubled today by the Church’s contradictory doctrines, which arose from the unhappy endeavour to blend incompatible pagan and Jewish ideas...Christianity became transformed by the assimilation of alien ideas and modes of thought. In the process it ceased to be a reliable guide to its own beginnings.” And this summation from the same source: “Christianity, as we know it, is in many respects actually closer to those pagan systems of belief than it is to its own Judaic origins.” The compromises that were made had the effect of losing the real Jesus and substituting a Jesus of orthodoxy’s imagination, departing from the church Jesus founded and promoting an alien one.
You will be challenged to a T/F quiz which will let you know whether you have been “caught in the traditional snow job.”
Gandhi was asked what the greatest enemy of Christianity was and replied “Christianity.” Could this be true?
Lockhart in Jesus the Heretic says: “There is a sense in which it is necessary for the Jesus who died all those centuries ago to die a second time, not for the sins of the people but for the sins of the Church who made of him more than he ever wished to be.”
Deuble asks this astute question: “Why have those who believe in the ‘orthodox’ teachings of the mainstream church always persecuted those who, on good scriptural grounds and out of a pure conscience before God, begged to differ from the accepted line?” Do ponder this one, for it is very revealing. Greg finds that according to the Apostle John the reason is that the former teaching possesses the spirit of antichrist.
Deuble is appalled that within his own Church of Christ heritage, most are totally unaware that one of their greatest leaders, Barton Stone, was an avowed anti-Trinitarian (there’s a great story about how Stone tried to believe the Trinity and could not). We have all been kept in ignorance as to how many of the greatest thinkers of all time have objected to the doctrine of the Trinity: Sir Isaac Newton, John Locke, Isaac Watts, John Milton, and of course Thomas Jefferson.
I would like to offer this sample paragraph to entice you to read this book:
“Yes, winners are grinners and they get to write their own story. Losers just lose. But need they? There is another big untold story out there. Perhaps after all the real Jesus of Jewish history can speak with the same authority that once amazed the crowds who heard him. Even his enemies were impressed. ‘No man ever spoke like this man,’ they admitted (John 7:46). Before it is too late, the traditional church must allow Jesus the Messiah, the Jesus who lived in history, the Jesus of the Bible, back into our human existence. Our hearts cry for authenticity. Beyond the stormy winds of ‘orthodox’ persuasion; beyond the earthquakes of ‘official’ church councils; beyond the fires (often literal) of ‘mainstream’ persecutions, is it possible that we can yet hear that authentic word, ‘You have heard that it was said of old...but I say unto you’ (Mark 5:21-22). Perhaps, if we listen to God the Father’s command, ‘This is My beloved Son; hear him!’ we will in fact ‘hear the voice of our God’ (1 Kings 19:9-14).”
“Christianity itself has tended to suffer from a translation out of the Prophets and into Plato.” With this quotation and the following one from Snaith, Deuble wants his readers to hear the screaming of alarm bells. “Our position is that the reinterpretation of Biblical theology in terms of the ideas of the Greek philosophers has been both widespread throughout the centuries and everywhere destructive to the essence of the Christian faith.”
I appreciate Greg Deuble's honesty when he says, “I confess that it never occurred to me that these propositions (two natures of Jesus) are impossible contradictions.” He then examines statements such as that of Martin Lloyd-Jones who said that we are to look at the Trinity with wonder, awe and worship even though “no single explicit statement of this doctrine is made [in the Bible].” He gives evidence of the fact that the Trinity was found in paganism and in several pre-Christian belief systems, and he feels that the fact that the Trinity is so confusing should be a dead give-away to its man-invented nature.
You will, I believe, see the author’s reasoning when he says: “There is not one verse in all Scripture that uses the word ‘God’ to indicate a three-in-one Being. Not one. This is an astounding fact. Surely it is unbelievable that in the very book that claims to come from divine inspiration, if this doctrine of the Trinity is supposed to be so foundational, there is not one single instance out of some 12,000 occurrences of the words for God and His personal name Yahweh where ‘God’ means ‘three Persons in one’ whenever God speaks as ‘I’ or ‘Me’. This is important. Or perhaps after all, the writers of the Bible had not imagined Him to be three Persons?”
Deuble notes that Robert Hach makes the point that what is revealed is no longer a mystery and conversely, if it remains a mystery, it has not been revealed (not rocket science, but shocking to unfold and take in!). “The fact that Trinitarianism remains a mystery to human understanding, despite its supposedly having been revealed by God, is the strongest argument against regarding it as a revelation of God: if God had revealed it, it would be understandable.”
For the sake of brevity, I should like to list some salient points without comment:
“Jesus never claimed credit for the original Genesis creation of the heavens and the earth. He was in no doubt that the universe was God’s handiwork (Matt. 19:4; Mark 13:19).”
“Surely we do not honour the Lord Jesus when we attribute to him what he himself rejected and what belongs only to his Father in heaven?”
“From cover to cover the unanimous revelation of the Bible is that truth matters. It is necessary to ‘receive the love of the truth so as to be saved’ (2 Thess. 2:10).”
“Exalted in heaven right now Jesus still calls the LORD God Almighty ‘my God’ and ‘my Father’ (Rev. 3:2, 5, 12).”