Jesus, a Man “Just like Us”

(This is the third of a series of posts inspired by my attending a Women of Faith conference).

He spoke at length and with authority about relationships with men. As a counselor, he offered expert advice regarding the marks of healthy and unhealthy relationships. He reminded us of the many self-protective barriers we erect and the subsequent need to tear them down, to forgive, and to be reconciled. Being a man, it was comical and disarming to us women as he exposed the flaws of his gender and shared little secrets about communicating with them. The humor made his marriage advice more palatable. But when Steve Arterburn spoke of relationship with one man in particular I wished he would stop talking.

“Personally, I believe Jesus wasn’t omnipotent or omniscient. The Holy Spirit empowered him to do miracles. He was a man like us. WE HAVE THE SAME POWER AND CAN DO THE SAME MIRACLES!”

For a moment I sat stunned. Did he really just imply that Jesus was not/is not God? What exactly does he mean by ‘man like us?’ But then it started: 8,000 women erupted in applause and high-pitched woo-hoos. No clarifications. Instead, I heard more applause, the man on stage allowing it to continue.

Even though my immediate response upon hearing those words was to reject them as false, being surrounded by so many women who agreed with the speaker made me wonder if I was the one who was wrong. But in that moment, the Spirit brought to mind a number of instances in which Jesus used his omniscience and/or omnipotence to prove to the people around him that he was God. He did things that only God could do, knew things that only God could know, claimed things that only God would/could claim. Colossians 1 came to mind, and, “in him [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” put an end to my questioning…for the moment.

It occurred to me, however, that of all the times it would be appropriate and necessary to assure women that Jesus is who he claimed to be, it is in a conference session about relationships, especially marriage. I won’t ask you to leave a comment indicating your answer, but how many readers would say that they are still married today because they believe that Jesus is God? On the surface, it may not seem like all of our actions stem from belief or unbelief. But just think about it for a while…is there anything that we do that does not find its root motivation in belief (or unbelief) in the deity of Jesus Christ?

To be continued…

10 Comments on “Jesus, a Man “Just like Us”

    • I thought so, too, before everyone started clapping. This kind of thinking must be more common.


  1. I cringed at that statement, but before I’d finished your post Brian and I began a conversation about the hypostatic union, and it almost seemed to overlap. It still left the statement incorrect, or at best, very poorly worded. But Jesus the man did seem to set aside access to that part of his nature, choosing to only know what the Father told Him. Often He acts omnisciently (first conversation with Nathanael), but other times He says that not even the Son of Man knows the time, only the Father, and as a child, he “grew in favor with God and man”. So I can see where he might have been coming from….maybe…at least the first part of the statement….but, yeah, definitely would have weirded me out.


    • I had written those same points into the post, but then decided to use them in a separate post. The doctrine of the trinity and Christ’s natures are so difficult to understand. If anything, this incident confirmed for me how important it is to continue teaching my children sound doctrine and to continue reading scripture as a family.


  2. This kind of thought is extremely common in the world of counseling; building up men and women and diminishing Christ. It’s astonishing.


  3. Very sad. I don’t know Mr. Arterburn’s background, but a similar teaching of the HS empowering Jesus, which means we are empowered likewise, is taught by the Word of Faith movement.


  4. Three recent posts over at Pyromaniacs are very helpful on this subject:

    Kenosis and the Omnipresence of Christ

    How Christ ‘Emptied Himself’ (Your weekly dose of Spurgeon)

    The Folly of Treating Christology Like a DIY Project

    In the comment section of the first post, he also links to this study of Philippians 2:7.

    It’s one thing to speak of Christ in his humanity not being omnipotent/omniscient. It’s quite another to speak of Him not being omnipotent/omniscient, full stop.


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