Your presumably unwitting, but nevertheless fundamentally irreverent, article Good news! Jesus joins ranks of incorporated engineers (11/25 December 1997) revealed the gross ignorance of all the parties to its content, both of Scripture generally and of the unique Person of the Lord Jesus Christ particularly. Keith Elliott, the University of Leeds professor of theology and religious studies, and so-called 'expert on the New Testament', is quoted as implying that the incarnation of the Son of God involved a human father, named Joseph. In fact the Messiah was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:20-23) - Christmas. The so-called 'gospel of James' is not in the inspired record.
Christ is none other than God, the Creator; ever heard the carol 'Lo, within a manger lies He Who built the starry skies'? Genesis 1:1 states that 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'. Engineers start with materials, but Christ - as God - designed and created the entire material universe ex nihilo. The real 'good news' is that this same Jesus, as the sinless Saviour (His true 'job title') promised after the Fall in Eden, 'made himself of no reputation' (Philippians 2:6-11) and was made 'to be sin for us'. He thus embodied (literally, 'incorporated') sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and fully paid its dues on behalf of others. Take great care in future how you write about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
Derek J Knight (F), 67 The Fairway, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex SS9 4QW.
Regarding your article 'Good News! Jesus . . .' I am moved to make the following complaints.
First, at a time when the ICE pays lip-service to equality across the board - for chartered and non-chartered professionals alike - it is a horrific slur on the carpentry trade to refer to it as 'lowly'. The word 'demotion' is also used. Don't carpenters and joiners have to undergo training via apprenticeships, etc? Is this so far removed from the ICE's routes to membership?
Secondly, your 'expert on the New Testament' refers to 'the gospel of James'. Unless this is a far removed book of the Apocrypha no such book exists. James wrote an epistle! Furthermore, if Jesus' engineering knowledge is in question I would refer you to Matthew 7:24-27. Imposed loading, groundwater effects on foundations and wind loading are expressed eloquently here. I would, therefore, concur with Fr. Giovanni Magnani and refer to Jesus as a timber engineer.
Thirdly, 'the people of his hometown all spoke well of him' (Luke 5:22). This changed when he tried to teach them about Naaman the Syrian 'all the people . . . were furious' (Luke 5:28) and this was how they remained - set against him. Not - you notice - because of delusions grandiose but because the truth hurts!
In conclusion, for a Christmas issue of NCE should we not be encouraging each other? It doesn't really matter if Jesus was a near chartered engineer or a bloke who mended chairs for a living. He is the Son of God who died for us all. We should thank Him for coming at all, not try to pigeonhole Him to boost our own egos!
David R Hector (G), project engineer, Haswell Consulting Engineers, 99 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LA.