There is a frequent assumption, and/or misunderstanding, that unbelievers frequently expresss about the Trinity. As a believer you should be aware of this. James White on occasion says:
Difference in function does not indicate inferiority of nature.
For many who deny the Trinity or the deity of Jesus, it is thought that since Jesus fulfilled a lesser (subordinate) role in his incarnation compared to that of the Father, Jesus must therefore posses a lesser nature.
Those who oppose the deity of Christ often point to Jesus’ submissive remarks about doing the will of his Father. For example, Jesus says, “the Father is greater than I am.” They infer from this that Jesus does not share the same nature with the Father. But this is confusing categories. It ignores the broader context that is talking about their relational roles, not their nature.
Jesus also calls the Father, “My God.” Yet those who oppose the deity of Christ ignore that this is a humble acknowledgment of the incarnate Jesus modeling for us humility and submissiveness (John 20:17). This exalting-affirmation is what we would expect from the Son of God.
Similarly, it is argued, since Jesus is the agent of the Father in many respects such as creation, Jesus cannot be fully God. Regarding the Spirit, they will make the similar false assumption. Since the Spirit is sent by the Father, the Spirit cannot have the same divine nature as the Father. They will look at these statements and make the fallacious leap that difference in function indicates inferiority of nature.
They also deny the freedom of the Divine persons to choose their roles. Or to put it another way: they assume that to be truly God, the Son and the Spirit must have the exact same roles as the Father in order to share in the same nature.
A simple, but effective, illustration will show that difference in function does not indicate inferiority of nature: A husband and wife—as well as children!—will posses different roles in a marriage. Wives are to take on the submissive role, yet this does not indicate that difference in function requires inferiority of nature. Does the wife have a lesser nature than that of the husband? Not according to Christian anthropology. They are both fully human.
Let’s praise God for the incarnation, which itself presupposes a submissive role that brought about our salvation. We do not worship a unipersonal-unitarian God, but worship instead a complementary-trinitarian God.
Jehovah Witnesses have been trained to refuse any literature when they are out witnessing. They simply will not take what you want to offer them.
However, there is one thing they will take…and that is your phone number. And there lies your strategy.
Toward the very end (not beginning or middle) of your conversation with them, ask them if they would be willing to meet again to talk. Typically they will say ‘yes.’ Then immediately take the initiative and take out of your pocket a tract or other piece of evangelistic literature and write your name and phone number on the back of the tract, and give it to them asking them to be sure to call you for a follow up meeting.
Don’t ask them if they will take it. Just give it to them and say goodbye.
Be prepared beforehand to have a tract and pen ready for the end of your conversation. This tactic may not always work, but it will sometimes.
It is a strategy that God may just use to save their soul.
With respect to social memory theory, it is doubtful whether Ehrman is the appropriate and accurate authority to cite in terms of the scholarly research done on the subject. He may just be, as he has been before, trailing along in public support of the latest fad…
In short, it is not a theory of history and cannot be used to determine historicality (such as whether or not Jesus existed). More than that, it is not even a theory of how memories are transmitted, even if it is (and this may be questioned in its details) a theory of how memories are formed.
David Yoon introducing a new book by noted New Testament scholar Stanley E. Porter, writes:
“Our most prolific author, Stanley Porter, has another book published called When Paul Met Jesus: How an Idea Got Lost in History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016). Porter revives a theory set forth earlier by William Ramsay, Johannes Weiss, and James Hope Moulton, that Paul had seen Jesus in the flesh. This idea has since curiously dissolved in modern NT scholarship, probably because of Baur, Wrede, and Bultmann, who had pitted Jesus against Paul. But building on their idea that Paul had met Jesus during his earthly ministry, Porter argues that certain passages in the NT point to the fact that Paul did in fact meet Jesus before his crucifixion and resurrection, and consequently the Damascus road Christophany was not the first time Paul met Jesus. They key passages he looks at, besides Acts 9, are 1 Corinthians 9;1 and 2 Corinthians 5:16.
I, like many others, had not even thought about asking this question before—a point Porter identifies in this book. But having gone through it and thinking through many of the implications of this idea, I am convinced that it is more likely that Paul did meet Jesus during his earthly ministry than that he did not, and certain statements of Paul make much more sense if we consider that he knew Jesus and talked with him during his earthly ministry. Along these lines, Porter mentions the possibility, argued by A.M. Pope and T.A. Moxon, that perhaps Paul was the rich, young ruler in the Synoptic Gospels, although he admittedly does not think it is essential to the overall theory. I’m not sure if I am convinced that Paul was the rich, young ruler, but that’s a small point. The overall argument is compelling, and I think, even for those who are skeptical, the book should generate some very interesting conversations.”