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© 2002, Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald,  Bayith Ministries www.bayith.org  email: bayith@blueyonder.co.uk  You are very welcome to make copies of this article for personal research or for free distribution by print or email, but please respect our conditions that the content remains intact (including this copyright statement); that no misleading impression is given that we are necessarily associated with or endorse the distributor; and that proper reference is made to the title and author.  Website owners are encouraged to link to this page, but you must not incorporate this article into your own website without our prior written consent.  Thank you and bless you.

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Chapter and Verse on Alpha’s Jesus
Part 2: The Nature of Alpha’s Jesus

by Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald
December 2002

 

INTRODUCTION

In a radio interview recently, we were asked what Alpha taught about the nature of the Lord Jesus.  (The interviewer had heard that Alpha’s view was significantly out of line with Scripture.)  We were aware of a few problems, but the question prompted us to look in detail at this matter.  Firstly, though, we should establish whether or not accuracy on this topic is a serious issue.  

Many people today believe that, provided “Christ” is preached, it doesn’t matter what is preached about Him.  This notion is based on Philippians 1:15-18, which talks about two groups of people: “The one preach Christ [out] of contention, not sincerely, … But the other [out] of love … [N]ot withstanding, every way whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice”.  But does this really mean that God the Father is happy for us to preach whatever we want about His Son, provided we use the word ‘Christ’ when speaking?  Mormons preach a ‘Christ’, as do New Agers and the like…  

As the references to preaching ‘insincerely’ or ‘in love’ demonstrate, and as a check of the Greek proves, the phrases “in pretence” and “in truth” in the above passage relate to the motive behind the preaching, not to the accuracy of it.  Both groups were preaching the same things but for different reasons.  Paul elsewhere warns very gravely against listening to anyone who preaches different things about the Lord than those he himself preached (see 2 Cor. 11:3-4 or Gal. 1:6-9).  

All scriptures need to be held in tension with all other scriptures, else we lose our balance – and will fall.  Since the Lord warned of “false Christs” (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22 ), we obviously need to be careful that we are always preaching the true Christ.  For example, Acts 9:20 states that ‘preaching Christ’ must entail preaching “that He is the Son of God”.  Getting the nature of Jesus Christ correct is foundational to the gospel and is indeed therefore something about which we have to be precise.  

 

WAS HE PRE-EXISTENT?  

The Bible tells us that Messiah Jesus has always existed.  Micah 5:2 teaches that His “goings forth” have been from “everlasting”.[1]  Just like the Father and the Spirit, the Lord Jesus lives outside of time - hence He said, in John 8:58, “before Abraham was, I Am”, rather than “before Abraham was, I already existed”.  He has always existed, thus time is irrelevant on this matter.  In contrast, the New Age movement believes that the Messiah was a created being – albeit the very first thing to be created.  Plainly this issue has a bearing on the trustworthiness of Scripture as well as on the true nature of our Lord.  So how does Alpha fare over this important question?  

Nicky Gumbel does not actually call Jesus ‘pre-existent’ or ‘everlasting’ or ‘eternal’ in the talks, and when he discusses Jesus’ love for us he says it is only now and future, rather than in the past too[2] – yet, from a spiritual perspective, the Lord sacrificed Himself for us before the foundation of the world (2 Tim. 1:8-10; Rev. 13:8).  Regarding the Lord’s pre-existence, it would also be valuable if Alpha mentioned at least one of His Old Testament appearances (e.g. as in Dan. 3:25 and Josh. 5:13 -15) but Nicky currently chooses not to.  

We have to go to the final chapter of his book Searching Issues to locate his best comments regarding the pre-existence of the Lord.  Here Gumbel usefully says, “God the Son … [was] there at the very beginning”.[3]  Provided his readers are confident that the Lord Jesus is indeed God the Son (see later) then this statement is very significant.  The only fly in the ointment is that Gumbel never explains that God the Son was there before the very beginning.  As we have seen, New Agers believe that the Son was the first created thing and they would therefore readily agree that He was there “at the very beginning”.  Gumbel needs to teach that Jesus Christ was not created at all.  It would surely not take long to do?  

Nicky Gumbel’s second best statement about the Lord’s pre-existence is this: “The three Persons of the Trinity existed before the creation of the Universe … The Three Persons of the Trinity loved each other … before the Universe was made”.[4]  Again, however, this would not actually preclude the Son having been created before the creation of the Universe.  

Since New Agers draw a distinction between Jesus and the ‘second Person of the Trinity’, let us now turn to Alpha’s specific references to “Jesus”.[5]  In one of his books, Gumbel usefully writes that “Jesus is the only man who has ever chosen to be born”,[6] although of course this is still quite a long way from teaching that He has always existed.  (Some of the more demanding observers might also insist that this statement does not necessarily mean Jesus existed as a separate person before His First Coming.[7])  

Unfortunately Alpha materials get progressively more worrisome on this issue, and we need to consider what is the total impression being given to participants – especially as increasing numbers of them today have been taught little or no truth about Jesus (and probably some error) beforehand.  For example, a sentence on page 213 of Questions of Life begins: “Under the Old Covenant (before Jesus)…”, but if the Lord Jesus has always existed then the concept of “before Jesus” is meaningless.  Note that Nicky does not write “before Jesus’ Incarnation” or some other unequivocal phrase.[8]  The obvious inference is that the Lord did not properly exist before Mary gave birth to Him as a man.  

Alpha’s books are important, but we should pay particular attention to the Alpha talks because these are what every participant is supposed to be presented with.  We can find no hint in the talks that the Lord was pre-existent.  In contrast, HTB wants everyone on Alpha to be told:

“How can something … [made] by human beings also be 100% inspired by God? It is similar to the way in which we say that Jesus is fully human … Let me use an analogy. Perhaps the greatest English architect of his time was Sir Christopher Wren. He built St. Paul ’s’ Cathedral … There was only one architect involved. He finished building it in 1711… He used agents to do it, but he was the one who was behind it all” [Talk 5].

God the Father is likened here to an architect, and the Lord Jesus is likened to a building.  But every piece of architecture has an originator and hence an origin.  A building is a created entity.  The most natural and reasonable assumption for hearers is that the Lord Jesus Christ was not pre-existent at all but was designed and “built”.

 

IS HE THE WORD MADE FLESH?  

Rev. 19:11-15 makes clear that Christ Jesus is the Word.  This is directly related to the matter of His pre-existence, for the famous clause in John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word”, rather than “At the beginning was created the Word”.  Likewise verse 3 of this chapter says “All things were made by Him [i.e. by a Person called ‘the Word’]”.  Since He cannot have created His own self He cannot logically be a created being.  Verse 14 then tells us “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”, thus confirming that Jesus is the Word and therefore that He was the Creator of “all things” - and hence was a real Person before His Incarnation.  But is this what an Alpha attendee will pick up?  

The Lord Jesus is simply never called “the Word” in the Alpha talks.  (We possess a copy of the video transcripts in electronic form, as released by HTB, which enables us to perform word-pattern checks with great accuracy.)  Although the word ‘reincarnated’ is used at one point, there is no mention of terms like ‘incarnation’ regarding Jesus in the Alpha talks, nor of Him coming “in the flesh”, nor of any of the three crucial verses from John 1 cited above.  These omissions can easily serve to make people question whether the Lord properly existed before His birth as a man.  Indeed, on this pivotal issue we find clarification missing time and again in Alpha publications.  HTB refers to things like:  

  • “the birth of Jesus Christ”;[9]

  • “When Jesus was born”;[10]

  • "the place of his birth”;[11] and

  • “hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus”.[12]

Would it be so difficult to add the three little words “in the flesh” or “as a man” onto the end of one or two such statements?  In Talk 8, Gumbel manages four references to the Lord’s “birth”, yet in none of them is it explained that He pre-existed His birth.[13]  In the plethora of ‘Alpha Resources’, we can only find one reference to the phrase “the word made flesh”,[14] and even here Alpha:  

(a)  Doesn’t explain that “the word” is a reference to Jesus’ nature,

(b)  Doesn’t capitalize “Word” – which would at least have helped indicate that it signifies a person,

(c)  Doesn’t quote Scripture – the phrase appears as part of a quote by William Temple (a man who was happy to endorse churches almost regardless of what they taught about our Saviour[15]), and

(d)  Doesn’t provide the relevant Bible reference, or indeed ANY Bible reference that would help explain what “the Word” truly means.  Indeed, the context of the quote would lead most unbelievers to suppose that the phrase merely means Jesus ‘fleshed out’ the Father’s instructions, or ‘put flesh on’ the Father’s ideas.  

(Incidentally, although the phrases “the Word of God” or “God’s Word” appear fourteen times in the Alpha talks, and are rightly applied to the Bible on some of those occasions, they are never applied to the Person of the Lord Jesus.  This is extremely unfortunate.  Just as the Lord Jesus is God the Father’s revelation of His Word as a man, so the Bible is the Father’s revelation of His Word as a book.  With this profound relationship between the “written Word” and the “Word made flesh” broken, Alpha participants are likely to take a significantly lower view of Scripture than they ought to.  People would respect the written Word far more if they understood that it is as perfect as Jesus and represents Him in His entirety.  For more on Alpha’s treatment of holy writ, see our book Alpha – the Unofficial Guide: Overview.[16])  

 

DID HE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT BEFORE HIS BAPTISM?  

Jesus (in His Incarnation) was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-20) and, as a “child … [He] waxed strong in spirit…” (Luke 2:40).[17]  This is another important doctrine about the Lord Jesus, as we shall see shortly.  So where does Alpha stand?  

In Talk 8 Gumbel offers a very hopeful statement when he says “[A]lmost everybody connected with the birth of Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit”.  He proceeds to list Mary, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, and Zacharias – but not Jesus!  Many people will be sure that this is just an unfortunate oversight, but it recurs in the book Questions of Life [pp122-3].  And the Alpha Manual exhibits the same problem.  This last publication even adds Simeon to the list, but omits the Lord Jesus Himself.[18]  (We are not criticizing what Gumbel says here, but merely observing that this would have been a great opportunity for him to confirm that Jesus was already full of the Holy Spirit.  We feel the absence of any mention might lead certain participants to assume otherwise.)  

Gumbel’s first reference to Christ Jesus having the Spirit of God is in Talk 8, but not in relation to the Lord’s conception.  Gumbel says: “John the Baptist is the first person who makes the link between the Spirit and Jesus”.  Surely Simeon and Anna both recognized, or ‘made the link’, between the Spirit and Jesus (Luke 2:25 -38)?  Surely the angel that spoke to Mary before she conceived ‘made the link’ too (Luke 1:35 )?  Surely John the Baptist’s Father Zacharias ‘made the link’ while his son was still a baby (Luke 1:67-79)?  Surely Isaiah ‘made the link’ between “the Spirit and Jesus” hundreds of years previously (Isaiah 61:1-3)?  Unless of course Gumbel means something else by the word “link”…  

Gumbel uses this term again when he writes “John the Baptist links him [i.e. the Holy Spirit] with Jesus”.[19]  But both of his statements are ambiguous and could easily be taken to mean that John created the ‘link’ between the Lord Jesus and the Spirit.  It is important for participants to believe that Jesus was always filled with the Spirit rather than being filled at His baptism, otherwise they will demote Him.  (They will also be encouraged to promote the idea that people are indwelt by the Spirit (i.e. saved) through baptism rather than through faith alone.)  

Certainly “the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him [Jesus], and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22), but we have already seen that Jesus was indwelt by the Holy Ghost even as a child.  This episode publicly signified the beginning of His full ministry, but the passage nowhere says the Spirit was poured into Him at His baptism (which would have meant He was not full of the Spirit beforehand).  

Consider the following text from Gumbel and see whether, taken as a whole, it suggests that Jesus Christ was filled by the Holy Spirit as a result of His baptism.

“Jesus was a man completely filled with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God descended on him in bodily form at his baptism (Luke 3:22 ). He returned to [sic[20]] the Jordan ‘full of the Holy Spirit’ and was ‘led by the Spirit in the desert’ (Luke 4:1). He returned to Galilee ‘in the power of the Spirit’ (v. 14). In a synagogue in Nazareth he read the lesson from Isaiah 61:1, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me…’ and said, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’ (v. 21).”[21]

Note that Gumbel moves very swiftly from the Lord’s baptism to the word “Today”, giving the distinct impression that His baptism occurred earlier that same day, and therefore implying that the Spirit was on Jesus because He had been baptized.  But it was not that same day.  The small matter of the forty days the Lord spent in the wilderness in between these two events has been swept under the carpet!  Elsewhere we are told by Alpha that “Jesus received power through the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his baptism”,[22] as if He did not have the power of the Holy Spirit before this (and as if the forty days of prayer and fasting were irrelevant to His ministry).  

 

IS HE “CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD”?  

“Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah”.  The Bible makes plain that the Lord Jesus is Israel ’s promised Messiah (John 1:41 -45; 4:25 -26; Dan. 9:25 -26).  The Bible calls Him “Jesus Christ” on 189 occasions.  But is Alpha straight down the line on this issue?  (We will come to His Sonship in a moment.)  

Gumbel certainly refers to “Jesus Christ” a good number of times, although the word ‘Messiah’, or ‘Christ’, is not actually explained in the talks.  A modest concern for some, however, is the number of times “Jesus” is separated from “Christ” on Alpha.[23]  These words are separated a total of 571 times in the talks.[24]  

The phrase “Christ Jesus” makes particularly clear that Jesus is not just someone with “the Christ” operating in Him – which is presumably why it appears 58 times in the New Testament.  Strangely, this valuable phrase appears only eight times in all the Alpha talks – only about one fifth as often as it should do in order to be in balance with Scripture.[25]  

Of greater concern is the fact that Gumbel teaches we are Christ: “[A]ctually, the Church is Christ”.[26]  Such a statement diminishes the nature of Jesus and enhances the nature of believing men.  The disciples of Jesus belong to Him, so we are His body (the Body of Christ) in the same sense that a husband owns the body of his wife, but we are not Him!  The title of ‘Christ’ or ‘Messiah’ belongs exclusively to Jesus.  

Gumbel also teaches that “The church completes Christ in the same way as a body completes the head”,[27] but this is simply wrong.  Jesus Christ is already complete; He has His own head AND His own body.  He is our ‘head’ in the sense of being our Master, but the Body of Christ is complete, with its own eyes and ears – and hence its own ‘head’ parts, as described in 1 Corinthians 12:12-21.  If we imagine that we “complete Christ” in the way Gumbel says, then we are well on the road to believing that we are also divine, instead of being a group of sinning, “unprofitable servants” who are only saved by God’s grace through faith in His only Son.  

On, then, to Jesus’ Sonship.  After almost all of His followers had left Him (in John 6:66), the Lord asked the remnant if they were going to depart as well: “Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? … [W]e believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God”.  The Lord is indeed “the only begotten Son” of God, i.e. the only natural Son, (John 3:16 ,18; 1 John 4:9).  But is this the way Alpha sees it?  

Gumbel does indicate several times in the talks that Jesus is the Son of God, although detractors might complain that this is almost always done indirectly – e.g. by noting that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God,[28] or by pointing out that His followers believed it,[29] or by observing that Satan questioned it.[30]  However, Gumbel never calls Jesus “the only begotten Son” in the talks.  Readers may feel that ‘begotten’ is an uncommon word, even though many modern dictionaries include it.  But Gumbel is happy to use other uncommon words like ‘immanent’,[31] ‘theopneustos’[32] or ‘syncretistic’[33] and he could easily explain the meaning of ‘begotten’ if he chose to – but he never does.  

It is helpful that Gumbel (albeit very occasionally) calls Christ Jesus the “unique Son of God”, but this is unlikely to impress many hearers because everyone is “unique” - and Gumbel tells Alpha participants that every Christian is a son of God too[34] (without ever clarifying that Jesus’ Sonship did not come through adoption - like ours does).  There are a tiny number of occasions when Gumbel calls Jesus “the one and only son of God”, but the phrase “one-and-only” is also a euphemism for ‘unique’ - and anyway Gumbel undermines the fact that the Lord Jesus is the only Son of God with statements like the one below:

“I love a character … called Billy Bray …  At the age of 29 he came to Christ … He became this magnetic person … he said, ‘I’m a young prince. Because I’m the adopted son of God. I’m the son of a King!’ [rather than ‘a son of the King’] - that was his favourite expression: ‘I am the son of a King.’ You can’t get higher than that.[35] And that’s what it means to be a child of God…”.[36]

Finally for this section, we need to return briefly to our Saviour’s conception as a man.  As we saw in the first article, Nicky doesn’t mention the virgin birth in any talk, and he teaches things like “Scripture … is 100 per cent the work of human beings … just as Jesus is fully human…”.[37]  This will tell many on Alpha that, while the Lord may have been adopted as a son by God, nevertheless He had a human father.  Gumbel reinforces this belief when he quotes Phil ip calling Jesus “the son of Joseph”.[38]  Gumbel offers zero clarification.  Many in Israel supposed” Jesus to be the son of Joseph (Luke 3:22 ), but He wasn’t, and none of the writers of the NT books called Him that.  

We close this section with some more surprising facts on this topic:  

  • Even in the chapter supposedly devoted to ‘The Trinity’ in Gumbel’s book Searching Issues, there is not a solitary mention of the virgin birth.[39]

  • Regarding His claims, including His claim to be the Son of God, Gumbel says “What evidence is there, then, to support what he said? The first area we should look at - obviously, [is] his life” [Talk 2].  But Gumbel doesn’t look at this crucial aspect of His life, while suggesting to hearers that they are being presented with the evidence![40]

  • Coaker observes that, in the whole of the book Questions of Life, there are “no references to the birth narratives”.[41]  Could this be because such references would teach the virgin birth of the Lord?[42]  Certainly the natural assumption by most of the ‘unchurched’ on Alpha will be that Jesus’ conception was like that of any other man.

 

CONCLUSION  

There are more concerns we could mention, but this article is already long enough and the pattern is already obvious.  On each of these questions Gumbel seems not just unwilling to state the whole truth in a categoric way, but repeatedly damages these truths about our wonderful Saviour who gave His life as a ransom for us.  The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to testify accurately of Jesus (John 15:26 ) and to glorify Him (John 16:14 ), so what does this tell us about Alpha?  Is the same pattern evident when we examine the Divinity of Alpha’s Jesus?  The next article will seek to find out.

May God bless you.

 

 

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Forward to Part 3: The Divinity of Alpha’s Jesus

Back to Part 1: The Character of Alpha’s Jesus

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[1] Any honest translation of the Masoretic Hebrew, such as the KJV, will say this.  Gumbel does refer to ‘Micah 5:2’ on page 35 of Questions of Life, but only in relation to “the place of his [i.e. the Lord’s] birth”.  If his readers look up this verse in Gumbel’s unfortunate choice of Bible version, they will see that it teaches the Lord Jesus had an “origin”.

[2] “The love of Christ … It’s so long: all the way through our lives … from the moment we accept Christ to the moment we die, and then beyond that into eternity” [Talk 10].  (See the first article in this series for version details (e.g. for Alpha talks and books) and for other administrative points regarding this second article.)

[3] Searching Issues, p101.

[4] Searching Issues, p110.   (Few people doubt that the Father and the Holy Spirit were not created, so it would have been ideal if Gumbel had unambiguously mentioned the ‘Lord Jesus’ here.  Note also that the relevant paragraph in Gumbel’s book never denies the idea that the Father and the Spirit could have been in communion with each other before creating Jesus.)

[5] Using indirect phrases like “God the Son”, rather than “Jesus”, when referring to doctrines about Him, is fine on occasion but obviously introduces an extra layer of complication and can lead to misinterpretation if done often.

[6] 30 Days, p9.

[7] It is interesting, for instance, that Gumbel chooses “born” instead of “conceived” here.

[8] The word ‘incarnate’ can be defined as “to come in the flesh”.

[9] Alpha News, #20, p9.

[10] Why Christmas?, (HTB Publications, 1997), p3.  See also p7.

[11] Talk 2.  See also 30 Days, p16.

[12] Talk 3.  Likewise, Gumbel refers to “Mary the mother of Jesus” (e.g. in Talks 7 & 8) without mentioning that she was only His mother in terms of His incarnation.

[13] As a brief digression, it is very odd to consider that Satan is almost presented as pre-existent on Alpha!  In talking about the Temptation in Eden , Gumbel says “This was a path that led to destruction, that Satan had planned from the beginning” [Talk 11].  But Satan was surely not fallen at the beginning, even assuming he was created that early.  Alpha participants would not know this however.  Indeed, Talk 11 in the 1997 videos taught that we “don’t know” Satan’s origins.  (Gumbel needs to read Ezekiel 28:14-19!)  Gumbel’s amazing statement has been replaced with one that is arguably worse, viz. “[I]t’s not clear where the devil came from [as opposed to ‘how he originated’]”.  Although Gumbel, in the same talk, also says “[T]he devil … is part of the created order”, this is not necessarily teaching that Satan himself was created.  It really only says that he possesses his assigned part/role in the order of things.  But that could be said of the Lord Jesus too!  The Lord has a (saving) part/role in the created order of things.

[14] 30 Days, p15.  (Note that Gumbel is happy to employ the word ‘flesh’ in other contexts, e.g. in Talks 13 & 15.)

[15] William Temple was, among other things, a founder of the World Council of Churches – and allowed all manner of groups with heretical notions about Jesus to join.  See Cathy Burns, Billy Graham and his Friends, (Sharing, 2001), p207.

[16] U.S. outlets for our book are supplied in the ‘Better Than Rubies’ section of our web site (www.bayith.org).

[17] Gumbel’s preferred Bible version hides this fact in its rendering - by deleting the words “in spirit”.  We know the Messiah was always full of the Holy Spirit from Messianic Psalm 22, verses 9-10.

[18] Green Alpha Manual, p32.

[19] Questions of Life, p132.  The identical wording is used in the Green Alpha Manual, p32.

[20] Luke 4:1 reads “from the Jordan ”.

[21] Questions of Life, pp123-4.  (The ellipsis is Gumbel’s.)

[22] Green Alpha Manual, p32.

[23] The Greek Scriptures do likewise, but they (unlike Alpha) are given in the context of the Hebrew Scriptures, so there is little scope for misinterpretation!  (See the last seven paragraphs of Searching Issues for another vivid example of Alpha ‘separating’ Jesus from Christ.)

[24] Gumbel, like the New Age movement, also shows an inordinate affection for the tiny number of Bible verses that call Jesus “the Christ”.  Gumbel calls Him this four times in Talk 2 alone.  Sadly, Gumbel’s Bible version reads “the Christ” numerous times when it should not.  It does this twice in Acts 17:3, a fact which Gumbel takes advantage of in Talk 12.  It does so again in Acts 3:20 which Gumbel exploits on page 27 of Searching Issues.  He doesn’t stop there though.  Even when his Bible version doesn’t add “the” to “Christ”, Gumbel adds it all the same (see 30 Days, p45).  The Jewish historian Josephus said of Jesus “He was Christ”, as opposed to “He was the Christ”, thus showing that the “the” was not Hebraically necessary in this context.  However, when Gumbel quotes Josephus, he inserts “the” - as if to suggest Josephus was wrong [Questions of Life, p24].

[25] In other words, to have the same ratio of references to “Jesus” and “Christ Jesus” as appears in the Greek Scriptures.

[26] Talk 14.  In the same talk Gumbel says “If you ask the question where is God? The answer is, ‘He is in the midst of his people’”.  Gumbel thus implies that this is the main place God is!  Gumbel writes “God … has come to live in us” [30 Days, p51], but he does nothing to avoid the confusion these words could engender.  What makes Jesus different from a spirit-filled Christian in this case?

[27] 30 Days, p52.

[28] Talk 2 uses phrases like “He claimed to be the Christ, the son of God”.

[29] See the references to “Simon Peter”, “ St. Paul ” and “ St. John ” in Talks 2, 3 and 4 respectively.  Likewise Gumbel seems to prefer for unbelievers to rely on the words of an angel [Talk 8] or on the weak logic of C.S. Lewis [Talk 2] rather than Gumbel stating it as his own belief and proving it.  On the few occasions when he does indicate it himself, he invariably remains unable to say “Jesus is the only Son of God.” but instead splits the statement into separate sentences – as if to come as close as he can without actually having to state this truth [e.g. see 30 Days, p16].

[30] Talk 11.

[31] Talk 6.

[32] Green Alpha Manual, p17.

[33] Searching Issues, p59.

[34] Talk 9.  In the booklet Why Christmas?, the fact that we are only adopted is obscured altogether!  We simply “become children of God. He is our heavenly Father” [p21], we “become his sons and daughters” [p14].

[35] Note the ambiguity in this sentence.  Jesus is higher than all.  Hearers may well assume that they will be at the same height as Jesus!

[36] Talk 9.  Note that all of Gumbel’s references to us being ‘sons of God’ through adoption occur in Talk 9, even though this is six talks on from the gospel presentation!

[37] Questions of Life, p171.

[38] Talk 12.  (See chapter 10 of our book for other examples of how Nicky Gumbel’s Bible version undermines the Christhood and Sonship of Jesus.)

[39] The only place we can find a proper reference to His “virgin birth” is in Gumbel’s book 30 Days, (p16), yet even here it is called “the virgin birth” rather than “His virgin birth”.

[40] Indeed Gumbel goes on to recommend participants start by reading John’s gospel – rather than one of the synoptic gospels that would teach the Lord’s virgin birth etc.

[41] Coaker, op. cit., p22.

[42] Gumbel does say “The angel said [to Mary], ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’” [Talk 8], but the context in which Gumbel quotes this is Mary being filled with the Holy Spirit, not the Holy Spirit causing the conception of Jesus.  Plus, on its own, this verse still doesn’t tell unsaved hearers that Jesus’ conception did not involve Joseph too.