Various Views of 2x2s
Over a 25-30 year span, I have asked 750-1,000 Ex-2x2s what was their view of Jesus’ relationship to God while they were 2x2s. Their answers largely fell into the following three views.
(1) Some believed “Jesus was just a man” who managed to live a perfect life. God rewarded Him by crowning him with the title and glory of “Christ.” This view is also called Adoptianist Christology: that Jesus was a man who proved himself to be so fit for God’s purposes that God uniquely entered into him and equipped him. In the first thirty years of life, Jesus was tested/tempted in every way by God. By Jesus’ love, fidelity, obedience and faith, he proved himself to be the person God was seeking, a person who was progressively and completely equipped by God’s purposes. God eventually adopted him as his Son to redeem the world. The adoption possibly took place at his baptism. In other words, Jesus was a man in the fullest sense of the word, who by his love and his gentleness, his goodness and his obedience so approved himself to God that God could take him and specially and uniquely equip him until he was able to adopt him as his Son and so to use him for the work of the redemption of the world. Some verses used to support this view are:
Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV): Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Hebrews 5:8-9: Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him
(2) Some believed that Jesus was literally the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Christ. In the New Testament, Jesus used the word “Father” for “God.” Numerous times, he referred to himself as the “Son of God” and also as the “Son of Man.” He had the same divine attributes as His Father God, but was under Him in authority, as in a human Father-Son relationship. He lived in continual obedience to and trusted in God His Father.
In their minds, holding this belief means they consider Jesus as being divine, having a divine status, a divine nature (supernatural) and/or a deity. To the question “Whom do ye say that I am,” they would answer the same as Peter did in Matt. 16:16-17, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus confirmed Peter gave the correct answer. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Peter also stated: And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God,” John 6:68-69. Jesus, as well as angels, demons, Satan, John the Baptist, Jesus’ disciples, Martha, a healed blind man, and the High Priest called him “Son of God” and/or “the Christ.”
(3) Very few believed that Jesus is fully God, and/or in the triune God concept. These were usually those who came into the 2×2 church from the outside and had previously adopted or were earlier indoctrinated with this belief. They often assumed the 2x2s believed the same.
RE No. 1: When introduced to this concept, those who had thought of Jesus as No. 1 (a “mere man”) are the ones who most readily embrace the belief that Jesus is God. Changing their idea of Jesus from “mere man” to God made the scripture “fit” together better in their minds. A 2×2 confirmed this when she said: “Without the three being one and without Jesus being God, nothing made sense. They were pieces that never fit together.”
RE No. 2: For those who thought of Jesus as No. 2 (the Son of God), the concept of Jesus as God makes the numerous “Son of God” Scriptures NOT fit together for them. The concept causes inconsistencies in the scripture to surface for them, requiring explanations and reinterpretations that do not flow together nearly as well as the Father-Son concept works and has worked for them. They are not anxious to exchange their simple belief about Jesus literally being the Son of God the Father for a concept many describe as being too complex for finite man to understand. In addition, the Scriptures referring to “Son of God” must be reinterpreted to mean other than what they mean at face value. For them, the trinity concept does not go back far enough–to when God and Jesus together created the world and made man in “our image,” Genesis 1:26.
They struggle with the conversations recorded between Father and Son; and prayer to Father from the Son, and with Jesus sitting on the right hand of His Father in Heaven. They ask: So, these things don’t mean what the scripture says? The Bible is written in a code? And so, many prefer to continue to believe that Jesus is divine, the Son of God, the Christ/Messiah, as the scripture clearly states. Their concept of Jesus as the divine Son of God is so VERY close to the concept of Jesus being God (but not necessarily to the God in three persons concept) Most of No. 2 believers were born and raised in the 2×2 fellowship.
NOTE: It is interesting that almost all of the born and raised Ex-2x2s were shown the trinity concept by someone else. In other words, they didn’t pick it up from others in meetings, from their parents, or through their personal Bible studies—it was originally explained it to them by a person or book.
Personal Study by Cherie Kropp
Revised May 18, 2020