Carving the Tube of Begotten

Some creative writing.

If you take out your board and surf the net anywhere around "Reformed" and "Word of Faith," you'll find some heavies crashing the beach with a newfangled "Reformed Word of Faith" message. These Spicolis say that the Word guys need to pull their doctrines back and ride the safe waves of orthodox Christianity, not the monsters of the North Shore. Here's the pitch of one of these reformed surfer dudes:

As the years have passed, and as my knowledge of scripture, doctrine, and church history has increased, I have found little or no scriptural support for certain portions of the expanded Word of Faith messages commonly preached today. I have therefore chosen to preach a faith message, identical to the original one that Kenneth Hagin preached, which does not include any Kenyonisms. I am preaching what I call a "Reformed Word of Faith" message that is compatible with orthodox Christian doctrine. I urge other Word of Faith preachers to consider doing the same.

These shoobies seem to be all shook up about three doctrines in particular that the Word guys preach:

  • The spiritual death of Christ
  • Christ literally being made sin on the cross instead of having sin imputed to him
  • Christ suffering in hell for three days

I'm not satisfied with the shallows of superficial dogma. I'd rather take my boogie board to the high prize of the North Shore to ride the waves of the fellowship of his sufferings and the power of his out-resurrection. Acts 13:33 is one of those monsters. It reads:

he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you." (Acts 13:33 NRSV)

When you first read begotten, you think of those ugly Christian bookstore creches, but Jesus' incarnation isn't what Paul is thinking about. The context is Caribbean clear.

But God raised him from the dead; and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you." (Acts 13:30–33 NRSV)

Seeing we're on resurrection beach, we notice that signpost, the word today. Paul points to a specific point in time—the third day—when Jesus was begotten (or birthed). Begotten here is what separates those who can carve the tube, and the Reformed rag dolls. The begotten beach signsare black and white.

Louw & Nida: "to cause to be born, to be born of"

BDAG: "to come into existence, primarily through procreation or parturition"

Thayer: "to beget"

(Greek lexicons for those not in the know.)

The paths of the natural begotten scriptures are well-worn:

Abraham begat Isaac, and Issac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren. (Matt 1:2, Young's Literal)

Then the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God." (Lk 1:35, NRSV)

And He gave to him a covenant of circumcision, and so he begat Isaac, and did circumcise him on the eighth day, and Isaac [begat] Jacob, and Jacob--the twelve patriarchs. (Acts 7:8, Young's Literal)

But once we start down the natural paths and start swimming out to the spiritual undulations of begotten on the third day, we hear the scream of the orthodoxy bullhorn and see the Reformed guys turning their boards back to the beach. Paddling on, we see that begotten [γεγεννηκα] isn't used in the New Testament for natural birth. It's also used for the rebirthing of the spirit of man.

If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him. (1 Jn 2:29 NRSV)

Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God's seed abides in them. (1 Jn 3:9 NRSV)

Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." (Jn 3:3 NRSV)

If Jesus hadn't been separated from God, if God hadn't laid on him the sins of us all, if he hadn't suffered in hades for three days, then why in the name of Baywatch would he need to be born on the third day?

The 98-lb. Reformed weaklings can piddle-paddle around Orthodoxy Beach all day long—riding their Bammerwee waves of psychical applause and relaxing in the cool sun of their denominational nods. For me, this reformed faith message is "no shirt, no shoes, no dice." I'm taking my board out to the deep. It's only when I come to the know the depths of the swells of his sufferings that I will ever be able to hang ten on the tsunami of his resurrection.

Surf's up, dude!

A post from 2011.

GospelPeter Smythe