In the mid-90s, the youth of this nation asked the question inspired by Billboard Top 40 rock artist Joan Osborne in her song, One of Us, “What if God was one of us?” For six months, the youth of the nation, Christian and non-Christian, raged about what the world would look like if the lyrics were true, only to return to the question once again in 2004 with the CBS prime-time drama Joan of Arcadia. It was almost prophetic that Joan Osborne, a non-Christian, would ask this question. She wanted her listeners to see God as a god or gods who may or may not exist; and if he/she/it does exist, he has never truly had contact with His creation. But God exists as Father, Son, and Spirit, and each of His persons commune with one another in perfect unity.
God’s eternal relationship exists completely transcendent from His creation. For the Second century and today, this concept was and is a huge problem. How can a God who is transcendent be near to and understand His creation? The Gnostics understood this dilemma and sought to present an answer in the form of the God who is only knowable through special knowledge of Him that is reserved for the elite. Muslims believe that “God does not reveal himself to anyone in any way. God reveals only his will…and we have it in perfection in the Qur’an.” In the light of this, the Jewish scriptures presented God as the God who exists: Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I AM...I AM has sent me to you.” God, who stated His name using the Hebrew word for Be, proved that He is active in His creation and not merely eternally transcendent leaving creation to defend and order itself. How can this be reconciled? John, in his gospel, presented Jesus as the one who is God who “was in the beginning with God …the Word [who] became flesh, and dwelt among us.”
This paper will focus on what it means for God to have become one of us through the person of Jesus Christ in light of the messages brought by Dr. John M. Perkins, Civil Rights activist and founder of the John M. Perkins Foundation, during the Multnomah University Spring Lectureship at Central Bible Church n Portland, OR, April 10-13, 2007. As Perkins describes from a Martin Luther King, Jr. sermon, the problem is that “eleven o'clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour and Sunday school is still the most segregated school of the week.” In light of the incarnation of Christ, how can the followers of Christ bring about the destruction of the hurt and the effect of segregation and hatred within society that brings reconciliation across racial, ethnic, and economic barriers?
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