The argument that Jesus was liar, lunatic or Lord of all is used to get people to accept he was Lord by a process of elimination.  It presupposes that there is something special about Jesus' claim to be Lord.


Background is vital.  There were lots of apocalyptic prophets and Messiahs in Israel at the time Jesus allegedly lived.  The dead being raised was a part of the narrative and when Jesus failed to raise the dead the Church decided he did not fail for he raised himself and the others are yet to be raised.  It was a matter of when you will be raised not if. 

The life of Joseph Smith by his mother speaks of a culture that was riddled with people having revelations allegedly from God.

After Obama, somebody saying they might be president of the USA does not seem so odd.

The trilemma is not as convincing when you realise that we only think it is persuasive for it so strange to us.  If we had friends claiming to be God we would not be thinking that somebody claiming to be God means they might be really God.  We would think they are sane and not liars but just caught up in nonsense.
The trilemma is superstition and cruel superstition at that for it is a very serious thing to encourage people to give their lives to Jesus if there is too much uncertainty. There is more than just the question of if Jesus was liar, lunatic or Lord of All. Was he honestly mistaken?  Did he make his belief that he was God all about himself - and did it leak out and lead to this thing he wanted to stay personal to end up being part of a religion?   If self-deception was involved we must remember that there are billions of ways to be self-deceiving regarding an issue or claim. So a trilemma is pathetically simplistic.  Was his claim to be God a misunderstanding? Was it his followers who lied that he claimed to be God? Or did they not lie but imagine that the Holy Spirit inspired them to "realise" that Jesus was God? Did Satan do miracles to make people think falsely that Jesus claimed to be God? Remember how Paul in Romans 1 condemns anybody who turns God into a man. Did he claim to be God in the sense that a Pantheist does? What if he thought that the word God describes a moral principle and that himself and the Father and the Holy Spirit are only God in the sense that they adhere to that principle? Was Jesus fooled by aliens or demons to think that he was God? Did he claim to be honorifically God - eg was he like those who were called God as a mark of honour without any literal meaning being intended? After all he said that people who were very good were called gods in the Old Testament - they were not real gods but were gods by honour. Was he joking if he said he was God for after all he said God should be seen as Abba Daddy - really! That we should be over-familiar with God? Sounds like a joke!


A CALL TO HERESY, Robert Van de Weyer, Lamp Press, London, 1989
ALLEGED DISCREPANCIES OF THE BIBLE, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
ASKING THEM QUESTIONS, Various, Oxford University Press, London, 1936
CHRIST IS GOD, Rev JP Arendzen DD, Augustine Publishing Company, Devon, 1987
CHRIST OUR LIGHT, J Buys SJ Geoffrey Chapman and Gill & Son, London-Melbourne, Dublin 1966
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
DID JESUS CHRIST REALLY COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN? Alan Hayward, Christadelphian ALS, Birmingham
DO CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN THREE GODS? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992
EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
FOUR GREAT HERESIES, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1975
GOD AND THE HUMAN CONDITION, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London 1967
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1994
HERESIES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM, Editors Ben Quash and Michael Ward, SPCK, London, 2007
HONEST TO GOD, John AT Robinson, SCM Press, London, 1963
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES John Wijngaards, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1998
JESUS GOD THE SON OR SON OF GOD? Fred Pearce Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham
MERE CHRISTIANITY, CS Lewis, Fontana, Glasgow, 1975
MIRACLES, CS Lewis, Fontana, London, 1960
PRIESTLAND’S PROGRESS, Gerald Priestland, BBC, London, 1981
SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE, Henry Morris, Moody Press, Bucks, 1988
SET MY EXILES FREE, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
SOME MODERN FAITHS, Maurice C Burrell and J Stafford Wright, Intervarsity Press, Leicestershire, 1988
THE CASE FOR CHRIST, Lee Strobel, HarperCollins and Zondervan, Michigan, 1998
THE EARLY CHURCH, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
THE GODHEAD EXPLAINED, Christadelphian Press, Beverley, South Australia
THE METAPHOR OF GOD INCARNATE, John Hick, SCM Press, London, 1993
THE MYTH OF GOD INCARNATE, John Hick ed., SCM Press, London, 1977
THE NEW CULTS, Walter Martin, Vision House, Santa Ana, California, 1980
THE SPIRIT OF GOD, John Bedson, Lightstand Burbank CA 1984
THE UNAUTHORISED VERSION, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1992
UNDERSTANDING THE CULTS, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Campus Crusade for Christ, San Bernardino, 1983
UNITARIAN CHRISTIANITY AND OTHER ESSAYS, William Ellery Channing, The Bobs-Merrill Company Inc, Kansas, 1957
YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER IN PARADISE ON EARTH, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, New York, 1982
Kevin Quick discusses the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the Bible never says that Jesus is God
Gives the Jehovah’s Witness response to this site
Father and/or Son by H Wayne Hamburger