Liar, Lunatic or Lord?

When asked, “Who is Jesus?,” many people would say that he was a great moral teacher. However, if one examines his life and teachings, that option isn’t available to us. Jesus was either (a) a liar, (b) a lunatic, or (c) Lord.

True, Jesus was a great teacher. But he also made some outrageous claims about himself. Here are just a few:

  • He claimed to be the only way to salvation:
    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jesus speaking, as recorded in John 14:6, NIV)
  • He claimed the authority to forgive sins, a perogative of God alone:
    Jesus…said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven. …the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” (Mark 2:5, 10, NIV)
  • He claimed to be equal with God, both by claiming God as his Father (John 5:17-18) and by using the phrase “I AM” to identify himself (see Exodus 3:13-16 and cross-reference it with John 8:58). It was this “blasphemy” of claiming to be God that led to his execution by crucifixion.

So, Jesus was either (a) lying when he made these claims, (b) confused or delusional when he made these claims, or (c) he really was who he claimed to be: God in the flesh. I believe that option (c) is the truth about Jesus Christ.

Atheist-turned-Christian C.S. Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him, “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. 1

Protestant author Josh McDowell examines the evidence for all three alternatives in chapter two of his book More Than A Carpenter. He sums it up as follows:

The issue with these three alternatives is not which is possible. But rather, the question is “Which is more possible?” Who you decide Jesus Christ is must not be an idle intellectual exercise. You cannot put him on the shelf as a great moral teacher. That is not a valid option. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God….

The evidence is clearly in favor of Jesus as Lord. Some people, however, reject this clear evidence because of moral implications involved. They don’t want to face up to the responsibility or implications of calling him Lord.2

This site takes its name – Option C – from this trilemma. My plan is to use this blog to present interesting items related to Christian thought, church history, apologetics and related topics. Enjoy!


Sources:

1 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1960), p. 55-56.

2 Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter (Living Books, Wheaton, IL, 1977), p. 33-34.

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