I know I am a little late to the Mark Driscoll’s Jesus table, but I have wanted to respond to his recent controversial sermon (see here where the Mars Hill website censored the message afterwards). In this particular sermon, Mark openly wrestles with how it is that, on one hand, his Jesus could both create the heavens and the earth, while on the other hand, be truly described in such passages as Luke 2:40 and 2:52 as “increasing in wisdom.” The controversy, from the perspective of evangelicals, is that Mark suggests that Jesus learned and grew in wisdom by making ‘mistakes’, but these mistakes are to be distinguished from sins.
I don’t want to comment on the mistake vs. sin debate which Mark’s sermon has created. I do, however, want to place my finger on the issue which he has inadvertently brought to the forefront. Mark rightly points out that which all four Gospels regularly depict; Jesus is not coequal with God the Father in regard to his knowledge and understanding. Consider the following passages:
And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” (Matt. 15:34)
And He said to her, “What do you wish?” (Matt. 20:21)
And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Matt. 20:32)
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt. 24:36)
And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” (Mark 5:9)
“Who touched My garments?” (Mark 5:30)
And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” (Mark 8:5)
Taking the blind man by the hand…after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” (Mark 8:23)
And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.” (Mark 9:21)
Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. (Mark 11:13)
“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the only Father.” (Mark 13:32)
The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; (Luke 2:40)
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (John 8:28)
So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. (John 11:17)
and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” (John 11:34)
These passages clearly go against the closing words of the Nicene Creed which states:
But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.
I suppose then that the authors of the four Gospels, since they depict Jesus has growing in knowledge, learning new things, and being unaware of the day of his second coming, would fall under condemnation of the Nicene Creed.
Or maybe the Jesus of the Gospels is fine and the Nicene Creed is the problem…