Insight on the News
Theologians Torpedo Trinity
● A highly controversial new book published in England challenges the traditional Church teaching that Jesus is God. Entitled “The Myth of God Incarnate,” the book’s authors, seven noted British theologians, argue that Jesus was not God in human form but “a man approved by God” for a special role.
“There is actually nothing new about the central themes of this book,” says John Hick, the book’s editor, who is professor of theology at Birmingham University. “That the historical Jesus did not present Himself as God incarnate is accepted by all [theologians] . . . Christian laymen today are not fully aware of it.” Jesus, says Hick, “did not teach the doctrine of the trinity.” In a section of the book, Frances Young, lecturer at Birmingham University, suggested that the doctrine of the incarnation of Christ was adopted by the early church through a fusion of pagan and Jewish traditions.
Though the theologians who wrote this book do not present Jesus Christ as the Bible does, as truly ‘the Son of God,’ they have drawn attention to the falseness of the Trinity doctrine, as taught by Christendom’s churches. Jesus himself never claimed to be God but said: “The Father is greater than I am.”—Luke 1:35: John 14:28. See also John 20:17.
● “Our philosophy of rehabilitation has been shipwrecked,” said Sweden’s chief prosecutor Holger Romander. “Criminality will not be cured through prison rehabilitation.” Though Sweden’s prison system is regarded as one of the most progressive in the world, the rate of return to prison among those with previous convictions is more than 70 percent. This is as high as any in the world. Thus, a western-European prison expert said: “It is disheartening. In my country we are still in the Middle Ages compared to the Swedish approach to criminals.”
What do criminals themselves say about rehabilitation? According to a recent Rand Corporation study of 49 habitual Californian criminals, most said that nothing would have prevented their return to crime—not even harsher treatment in prison, longer sentences, or the strong likelihood of being caught. The majority clearly favored crime as their career. “I wasn’t equipped to handle the outside world,” explained one. “I always felt really uncomfortable with straight people.”
Evidently “wicked people exist,” as noted by James O. Wilson, professor of government at Harvard University, in his book “Thinking About Crime.” Of course, human rehabilitation systems also may not reach the hearts of some persons. But we can be sure that man’s Creator, who knows the heart, will soon take action to remove the truly wicked from the earth, as God’s Word promises: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more. . . . But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth.”—Ps. 37:10, 11.
“Playing” with the Truth
● Once every 10 years the Bavarian town of Oberammergau in Germany puts on what has been called the “world-renowned Passion Play.” Because the Second Vatican Council condemned anti-Semitism, the script for the drama has come under scrutiny. The village recently voted to spend $387,000 for trial performances of a revised version, assigning guilt to the Roman soldiers, instead of to the Jewish religious leaders, who, in the Bible, are shown responsible.—Acts 3:12-15.
Not all were happy with the revised version, and 820 of the town’s 4,800 population signed a petition protesting the changes. Why? For the sake of the truth? No, apparently money was the main factor, as the protesters feared that any changes might jeopardize the profits that the village made on the play. (In 1970, the 93 performances of the drama netted the village a profit of close to $8 million.)
But whether the town council finally approves the new version or not, it is ironical that any proposed play about Jesus’ death would disregard the truth—especially since Jesus told Pilate on the day of his death: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) Of course, anti-Semitism is definitely wrong, but nothing is accomplished by trying to change the facts of history.