This coming weekend, Feb. 12-13, I will be holding a debate at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on the topic “How Did Jesus Become God?”   They are calling it a “Dialogue,” but that’s just because they’re being nice.  It’s actually a great group of people, even though, as you might imagine, we agree on very little when it comes to matters of faith.   My worthy opponent is Michael Bird. You may have heard of him. He is the author of The New Testament in Its World, and Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message, among other books.  Back when I published How Jesus Became God, he was the one who edited the response book that came out the same day, How God Became Jesus.  He wrote one of the articles in the book.  We will both be staking out our claims on Friday night.  The next day are papers delivered by scholars we have hand-chosen for the event, two each: mine are my good friends Jennifer Knust (Boston University) and Dale Martin (Yale); his are Simon Gathercole (Cambridge) and Larry Hurtado (emeritus, Edinburgh).

The format:  Friday night Michael and I both present our 35 minute papers; respond to the other guy’s; and take questions from the crowd.  Saturday each scholar presents a paper and both Michael and I respond for five minutes (all the papers are roughly on the topic.)  Here is the website:  The event will be live-streamed.

In preparation for the debate I was asked to deal with a few questions.  Here they are, along with my responses.  Of greatest relevance for our presentations, as you’ll see, are questions 4 and 5.  If you have any questions or issues you would like me to address related to any of this, let me know!


Q&A for Greer-Heard Jollies

  • Where are you from?

My wife often asks me that.  Short story, I first saw the light of day in Lawrence Kansas.  My childhood was spent there and in Fremont Nebraska.  After high school I attended Moody Bible Institute, where I majored in Bible-Theology.  On graduation I went to finish my B.A. at Wheaton, majoring in English and taking Greek as my foreign language.  For a Master’s degree I wanted to work on Greek manuscripts and so went to study with (the great) Bruce Metzger at Princeton Theological Seminary.  I stayed, then, to do a PhD with him as his final doctoral student.  I taught at Rutgers University in the mid 1980s and have been teaching, reading, and writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1988.


  • How did you arrive at this point in your life (brief bio)?

When I was a junior in high school I had a born again experience and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.  That’s what impelled me to…

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