Did Jesus claim to be God? Nope!

Did Jesus Claim to be God? The leader of more than 47 million Christians said no.

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The classic question “Did Jesus claim to be God?” that Muslims have asked Trinitarians for decades can easily be answered in the negative. The late Dr. Michael Ramsey, who served from 1961 to 1974 as the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, i.e., the office of the spiritual head of the Anglican Church, answers the question precisely. As the head of the Anglican communion in the 1970’s, he led 47, 408, 000 Anglican Christians globally. [1] That was in fact a rather significant portion of the entire worldwide Christian population at the time.

In his book ‘Jesus and the Living Past,’ in the chapter on ‘Jesus and God,’ he begins by dismissing, rather emphatically, proposals that Jesus might have claimed to be God:

“Jesus did not claim deity for himself. He proclaimed the sovereignty of God, a sovereignty realized in and through his own mission;” [2]

 

Although his expert testimony above was given in 1978 in the Hale Lectures, which was after his retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury, it remains, nevertheless, a powerful statement from an authoritative and revered conservative Christian theologian regarding the person of Jesus. Despite having retired from the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury when he delivered the Hale Lectures, he was still a highly regarded authority in the Anglican Church as he was bestowed the venerable position of life peer as Baron Ramsey of Canterbury. His expert witness vindicates the Muslim claim– popularised by the late Ahmed Deedat –that Jesus most certainly never claimed to be God or demanded worship for himself. And Ramsey’s admission that Jesus “did not claim deity for himself” perfectly corroborates what the Qur’an says in Surah al-Ma’idah, verse 116:

“And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): “O ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: ‘Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?’ ” He will say: “Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner-self though I do not know what is in Yours, truly, You, only You, are the All-Knower of all that is hidden and unseen.” (Muhsin Khan’s translation)

The above demonstrates that insofar the question “Did Jesus claim divinity?” is concerned, the Qur’an reveals an uncanny insight, that happens to be accurate, into the historical Jesus; lending credence to the Qur’anic claim of supernatural origin.

Notes:

[1] Johnson, T. M & Zurlo, G. A. (2017). The changng demographics of glbal Anglicanism, 1970-2010. In David Goodhew (ed), Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion: 1980 to the Present. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. p. 50

[2] Ramsey, M. (1980). Jesus and the Living Past: The Hale Lectures 1978. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 39

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