Astonishingly, there are people in today’s churches who, while strongly proclaiming their evangelical credentials, actually teach that Jesus could have been mistaken about some of His teaching! Of course, since the earliest days of Christendom, people with heretical views have plagued the Church. This is why there are so many warnings in the New Testament against false teachers—to imbibe their ideas is to wander off into myths, with the serious risk of ‘faith-wreck’ (see From fables to truth). Unfortunately, the advocates of a fallible Jesus are not merely a fringe group. Rather, their ideas are becoming increasingly and worryingly influential.
In all the cases that I am aware of, it is the insistence of these church leaders and theologians upon the ‘fact’ of molecules-to-man evolution and millions of years that is driving their claim of Jesus being wrong about certain matters—for instance, in His teaching that people had existed from the foundation of the world, the very beginning of creation (Luke 11:50; Mark 10:6). Writers for the theistic evolutionary website Biologos are an example of this. This brief article is not the place to comprehensively unpack and critique these ideas and claims.2 Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of such insidious teaching, and worthwhile for Christians to consider just some of the ways in which we might respond.
Scripture’s testimony of Jesus’ words
That liberals deny the authority of the Bible is hardly news. However, those who profess to hold to the Bible as the very Word of God must be held to account using its own teaching. The number of verses which put the lie to these claims of Christ’s fallible knowledge is legion; here are just a few considerations. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22; 4:1), who is the “Spirit of Truth” (John 15:26; 16:13)—and that without limit (John 3:34). In Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). This makes sense, “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). In view of these verses alone, it is both illogical and blasphemous to claim that Christ, the Son of God, could err in His teaching. Did these statements from Colossians only become true of Jesus after He had ascended to heaven?
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