Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The logic of the Trinity

I want to do a few blogs on the Trinity. The first one will be about the logic of the Trinity. The second one will be about Biblical arguments for the Trinity. The third one will address common objections to the Trinity. This comes from an outline I did when I taught on the Trinity in Sunday school a few years ago.

First, let me give a definition of the Trinity: There is one being who is God, and that God exists as three distinct persons, namely the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are coequal and coeternal. The one uncreated God is a tri-personal being.

I'll admit that the Trinity seems odd, but it is not, as some suppose, self-contradictory. On the surface, to say that God is One and Three at the same time seems contradictory, but we must remember what a contradiction is. Two claims can only contradict each other if they are talking about the same thing at the same time and in the same sense. God is not three in the same sense that God is one. If the Trinity required that God was one being who was three beings, that would be a contradiction. Or if the Trinity required that God was one person who was three persons, that would also be a contradiction. But the Trinity requires that God is one being who is three persons. There is no contradiction, because God is one in a different sense than God is three.

This being/person distinction strikes us as odd for the simple reason that in or ordinary experience, all people and animals are uni-personal beings. "Being" and "person" are nevertheless distinct categories. A being is anything that exists. A person is a particular kind of being that posesses personhood. Here's an analogy to explain this categorical difference:

rock: 1 being, 0 persons.
human: 1 being, 1 person.
God: 1 being, 3 persons.

Since not all beings are persons, "being" and "person" are distinct categories. If it's possible for there to be one being who is not a person, and another being who is one person, there's no difficulty in supposing the possibility of there being another being who is three persons.

To further clarify what exactly the Trinity is, I'll contrast it with three other views. These views go by different names, so I'll mention all that I'm aware of.

Trinitarianism = tri-unitarianism
one nature or being (God) who is three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)

Modalism = Sabellianism = Jesus Only = Oneness = Patripassionism
One person (Jesus) who manifests himself in three modes or natures (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)

Arianism = Subordinationism = Unitarianism
One being (God = YHWH) who is one person (the Father). Jesus is a created being.

Tri-theism = polytheism
Three separate and distinct gods.

Arians (especially Jehovah's Witnesses) often confuse Trinitarianism with either tri-theism or modalism. Trinitarians do not believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate and distinct Gods (tri-theism), but rather they are separate and distinct persons. Neither do Trinitarians believe that the Father and the Son are the same person (modalism), but rather that they are the same being.

The Trinity is arrived at by deductive reasoning. It's based on the logical consistency of various points found in the Bible.

1. There is one and only one God.
2. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

From these two points, it follows deductively that:

3. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same God.

But there's another point:

4. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father.

From 3 and 4, it follows deductively that the one God is a tri-personal being.

The question now is whether or not these three points are Biblical. If they are, then the Trinity is Biblical.

For the Trinity, part 1

224 Comments:

At 2/23/2005 12:36 PM , Blogger The Drake said...

This is one of the best explanations of the doctrine I've come across. May I borrow this to share with my Sunday School class?

We are going over cults in our study of Galations (chapter 1, Paul's admonition not to believe 'another Gospel'), and I just did a presentation on the Way International. This little primer on how to explain the Trinity to those outside the faith would be really helpful.

God bless!

 
At 2/23/2005 4:36 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

You're welcome to use this any way you like. I would also recommend James White's book, The Forgotten Trinity.

 
At 10/15/2007 11:22 PM , Blogger Farhad said...

Trinity is stupid belief. Creator cannot be similar to creature. If he's creator he has to be of different nature. There can't be co-equal or comparable unto him. If it is not so, then he also needs maker.
Christ was eating, drinking, sleeping as you and me. How can God, creator of universe, can be needy? He can't be needy. He cannot exist in what he created. It is stupid to think that he can exist in time and space which he created himself.
How the God is Christ, if he was killed by people like you and me?
It is impossible.
Some people say that he transformed into a human being to show his love to us. When Moses asked God to show himself to him, God rejected. A question occurs: Wasn't God loving Moises? Of course, he was, because he chose him and revealed him.
What happened after that? Did He die and after three days he resurrected? Isn't it idiotic? What was happening with this world in this days? It was not circling?

 
At 10/16/2007 8:17 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Farhad,

It sounds like you don't think it's possible for the creator of the universe to fashion a physical body and animate it. But you haven't really given me any reason to think so. Do you think such a thing would be too difficult for the almighty?

Your comment really just addresses the issue of incarnation, not the Trinity. Since we Christians think God was a Trinity even before the incarnation, your comments are irrelevent for the most part. You haven't said anything about the idea of one God being three persons.

 
At 11/24/2007 12:36 AM , Blogger Santeyio said...

Well, I am quite impressed. Quite a good explanation of the Trinity... elegant in it's simplicity.

I stumbled upon your blog while searching for bow-making techniques; I've been getting rather obesessed of late. I love the mixture of theology and bow-making on your blog.

 
At 11/24/2007 12:45 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Thanks Santeyio. I understand the obsession. I suffered from it myself for the longest time. If you're interested, I have a whole web page about bow-building.

 
At 4/17/2008 12:40 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Dear Sam, a rock is not a "being". The word "being" is a synonym for "person". Therefore, any definition of God as "one being and three persons" is saying that "one person is three persons" or that "one being is three beings". I don't think you will find that kind of definition of God in the Bible. Are you smarter than the apostles? How can you dare to define God using descriptions not found in the Bible itself! I do not think it is wise on your part.
sincerely, Larry T.

 
At 4/17/2008 7:22 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Larry, it seems that the crux of your objection is merely over the meaning of the word, "being." If "Being" must mean the same thing as "person," then I would agree that a rock is not a being and that it's logically impossible for God to be one being and three persons.

But words are defined by their use, and when I use the word "being" in this context, I don't mean the same thing as when I use the word, "person." If you insist that "being" can have no other meaning, then I'm fine with that. I'll simply choose a different word to refer to what I'm talking about, and my position on the Trinity will be exactly the same.

You see, it isn't the words that are used to define and describe God that I'm concerned about so much as the substance behind them. I'm more concerned with what the words signify than the words themselves. So I'm not troubled in the least that the particular words I use aren't always Biblical words as long as they codify Biblical concepts. "Trinity" is not in the Bible, but as I demonstrated in the rest of this series, the word DOES codify a Biblical concept.

And there are many words people use that, while the words themselves aren't found in the Bible, they DO accurately codify Biblical concepts--words like monotheism, theocracy, omniscience, omnipotence, etc.

I don't usually respond when I get new comments on old blog entries, but I thought yours merited a response. Thanks.

Sam

 
At 4/18/2008 7:53 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Sam is guilty of a common Trinitarian logic fallacy called “equivocation”, which simply means that Sam is using the same word in two different ways in the same argument. I personally think that Sam has fooled himself or was fooled by some other Trinitarian into this fallacy. Sam must define the word “being” for us to his own ends, he says: “A being is anything that exists.” The dictionary says that a “being” is:
be•ing http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/being
Pronunciation: \ˈbē(-i)ŋ\
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 a: the quality or state of having existence b (1): something conceivable as existing (2): something that actually exists (3): the totality of existing things c: conscious existence : LIFE 2: the qualities that constitute an existent thing : ESSENCE; especially : PERSONALITY 3: a living thing; especially : PERSON
When Sam tells us that a “rock is a being” he is using the word to mean something that “exists”. When Sam uses the word “being” in regards to a human “being” or God (a divine being), then he is using it to refer to “a living thing, especially a person.” It would certainly not be proper (and I have never heard anyone do it) to call a rock (or any inanimate object) a “being”. If someone told you that they had thrown a “being” into the lake you would take them to mean that they had thrown some human-like person into the lake, not a “rock”! If they later said, I just meant that I threw a “rock” into the lake, you would look at them and say, Why did you use the term “being”? To use the word “being” for a “rock” is an inappropriate use of the English language. A rock has “being” because it exists, but it is NEVER referred to as “A being” because it has not conscious personality, it is not a person.
A “being” can only be one “person” because they are really just the same thing. If the Jews were being asked to change their belief system from a radical monotheism to Trinitarianism then there would have been a lot of discussion in the NT that would not have waited for Constantine 295 years later! Yet, if there was a upheaval from Unitarian Monotheism to Trinitarianism, we find not one peep of it in the NT. Sam does not find it odd that no prophet or apostle ever used the word “Trinity” in the Bible; no synonym, no definition, no discussion, no debate, on the subject was ever had in the New Testament. Only after the fall of the church into the hands of Neoplatonists, did the subject even come up.
Sam, do not feel that you have to respond to one as insignificant as myself. I am sure you are a busy man with “better” things to do, contemplating the “being” that is a “rock”.

 
At 4/18/2008 11:18 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Sam, do not feel that you have to respond to one as insignificant as myself. I am sure you are a busy man with “better” things to do, contemplating the “being” that is a “rock”.

Well, I'm certainly not in the habit these days of responding to such condescending remarks, but I do think your arguments deserve a response.

There are three arguments you seem to be making. First, you accuse me of equivocating on my use of the word "being," such that when I use it of a rock I mean "something that exists," and when I use it of God, I mean "a person." But that is simply false. I mean "being" in the same sense in both cases. I mean "something that exists." There are different kinds of things that exists--some are persons and some are not. Rocks are not persons, and people are. Once again, I must remind you that the particular word used to articulate this distinction is irrelevent to whether the distinction is legitimate. You can quibble with my use of the word "being" all day, and it will do nothing to diminish my arguments for the Trinity.

Second, you just repeat the argument you made the first time--that "a being" always refers to "a person," and therefore rocks are not beings. Since I've already responded to this argument, I don't have much new to say except to point out something odd about your defense. In your second dictionary definition of "being," you said that a being is "something that actually exists." Well, rocks exist, don't they? Doesn't that make them beings by that definition?

Third, you said that if the new testament supported Trinitarianism, there would've been much more discussion about it. I don't find that to be a compelling argument for two reasons.

First, because there IS some discussion about it. If you'll recall, Jesus was almost stoned at one point because the people thought his statements amounted to blaspheme, and that he was making himself equal with God. You might say they simply misunderstood him, but you can't say there was no stir over the issue. So you're quite mistaken when you said there was no discussion whatsoever until Constantine.

And your Constantine statement is obviously false, by the way. The Sabellian controvery alone is enough to disprove your comment. The Sabellian controversy predates the Arian controversy.

Second, because, as I demonstrated in the following four blog posts on Biblical arguments for the Trinity, the Trinity can be deduced from the New Testament.

 
At 4/19/2008 9:29 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Sam, accusing me of being �condescending�, condescendingly says, �I'm certainly not in the habit these days of responding to such condescending remarks.� But I was not being �condescending�. I was only demonstrating absurdity by being absurd.
Sam�s bias blinds him from his obvious logic fallacy (equivocation) because he so desperately needs to cling to the unbiblical Trinity doctrine. I think Sam is honest, so much so that he really does not see or understand his own logic fallacy. Remember, equivocation means �the misleading use of a word with more than one meaning by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time.� Dear Sam, A rock has �being�, but a rock is not �a being� (yes, rocks do actually exist!). When you speak of a being as a person you cannot include non-personal entities like �rocks�, unless you have rocks for brains. This is where your equivocation kicks in. When we speak of persons as �beings� we are speaking to their personhood, their conscious personality. When we speak of inanimate objects having �being� we are simply saying that they exist. News flash to Sam: A rock has being because it exists. A rock is not a �being� because it has no conscious personality (except perhaps your �pet� rock).
Regarding my accusation that there is no definition, no discussion, no debate about the Trinity in the NT, Sam says: ��there IS some discussion about it. � Really? Sam, if you will notice, Jesus was accused of making himself equal with God by his enemies. Jesus himself said just the opposite in John 14:14, �My Father is greater than I.� Satan is the one who tried to make himself equal with God (Isa. 14:14). There was certainly no cliff side discussion of there being three persons in one �being� of God when the Jews were contemplating throwing their own Christ over the edge! The Jews accusing Jesus of making himself equal to God certainly would not qualify for a discussion on the Trinity doctrine anyway! If Jesus would have claimed to be God and would have started teaching them that YHWH existed as �three distinct centers of consciousness in one divine substance� then the Jews would have and should have tossed him over the cliff! Sam has inadvertently sided with the enemies of Christ in accusing Jesus of the sin of Satan in supposedly making himself �equal� with God. I guess the words of Christ himself in John 14:28 mean nothing when it might mean that tender egos could be hurt by having to admit they are wrong. Comments on the lack of NT comments or teaching on the Trinity doctrine by Buzzard and Hunting make my point without me reinventing the wheel:
�The earliest recorded history of the Church, the book of Acts, reports a whole conference held to decide such questions as Gentile circumcision, eating food containing blood, and the eating of meat from strangled animals. If these physical matters were considered worthy of formal discussion, how much more would a conference be necessary to discuss the explosive change from belief in the single person God to that of a Triune God, among those fiercely monotheistic Jews, leaders of the early Christian community. ...Never was there the slightest trace of any argument concerning the Trinity. ...It remains a fact that the doctrine of the Trinity was never defended in the whole of the New Testament. This could simply be because it was simply unheard of.�
�The idea that at some point in his career a man was suddenly discovered to be the God-man of the Trinity would have been cause for widespread discussion. To omit the record of this extraordinary event would have been akin to the history books of the United States failing to make mention of the founding fathers or the Civil War, or British historians ignoring World War I and II and Winston Churchill. The idea is inconceivable. The novel idea that Jesus was God would have caused a major doctrinal upheaval deserving the most comprehensive attention. It could not have crept silently into the minds of the monotheistic Jewish apostolic community. A new concept about Deity would certainly have provoked furious controversy.�
My only comment about Constantine is: Sam, you don�t know good sarcasm when you see it.
In the process of Biblical exegesis, the translation or interpretation of a text must make logical sense in order to be valid. Any rendering of a text which is nonsensical should alert the translator to go back and try again, for he hath rendered a foul and untrue thing which be not the word of God. I again repeat, that no passage can be produced that authorizes the doctrine of the Trinity and to which, without in any way departing from the spirit of the text, a clearer, more natural meaning cannot be given, one more consistent with common sense and the basic and immutable truths.
Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the Trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp July 30, 1816, denouncing the doctrine of the Trinity and suggesting it to be so riddled in falsehood that only an authoritarian figure could decipher its meaning and, with a firm grip on people's spiritual and mental freedoms, thus convince the people of its (supposed) truthfulness.
Finally sir, we will no longer sit idly by while these falsehoods are promoted, but we will communicate our arguments to you and others as the Spirit sees fit.
Dan 3:16 ��we [are] not careful to answer thee in this matter.�

 
At 4/19/2008 9:33 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Correction, Jesus said "My Father is greater than I in John 14:28.
thank you,

 
At 4/19/2008 10:29 AM , Blogger Sam said...

Larry,

I'm moving today, so I won't have much time to write over the next few days. I'm just going to ignore the polemics and address the arguments.

The "being" argument

You're just repeating yourself at this point. I've told you plainly what I mean by "being," and all you're quibbling about is my vocabulary. You accuse me of equivocation, but you haven't demonstrated it. Your basis for accusing me of equivocation is YOUR definition of "being." But you can't accuse me of equivocation by pouring your meaning into my words when I have told you plainly what I mean when I use the word "being" in this context.

The Trinity is not spelled out in the Bible

If all you mean is that God being three persons in one substance is not explicitly spelled out in the New Testament the way it is in the Nicean creed, then I agree with you. But that hardly counts as an argument against the Trinity when every element in the Trinity is in the Bible, and the triune nature of God can be logically deduced from those passages.

John 14:28 "The Father is greater than I."

I responded to this in Arguments against the Trinity, part 2.

There's no debate about the deity of Jesus in the earliest history of the church.

1. However odd that might be, it's irrelevent since the Trinity can be deduced from the Bible, and is therefore Biblical.

2. Most of the controversies that ARE addressed in Acts and in Paul's letters center around the problem of incoporating gentiles into an otherwise Jewish religion. There's no reason for the Trinity to have come up.

3. The deity of Jesus certainly DID cause controversy between Christ's followers and Jewish outsiders, as we've seen.

4. The deity of Jesus and the personhood of the Holy Spirit seem to be so taken for granted in the New Testament that I get the impression it was not controversial among Christians, and the issue had been settled early on (I would say probably during the ministry of Jesus).

 
At 4/20/2008 11:14 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Dear Sam, regarding John 14:28, certainly no offense intended, but I would rather take Jesus' word for it than your convoluted explanation about how "greater than" really means "equal to". If you are really interested in the logic (or lack thereof) of the Trinity, then checking out www.biblicalunitarian.com would be a good place to start. You can read about Logical Fallacies Employed by Trinitarian Theology. Or you can stay in the Matrix. I hope your move went well. But it may be "moving day" again for you Sam. Try moving from Babylon to Jerusalem. Yours always, Larry

 
At 4/28/2009 6:04 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Very interesting argument.

 
At 12/05/2009 11:24 AM , Blogger terraleogoincele said...

Hi,

I really appreciate the fact that you attempted such a tough topic.
My knowledge of the same is not comprehensive.Your analogy was'nt perfect but that was a good attempt anyway.I've heard and seen so many Christians move over to Islam just because of this one topic.
If this is a fact,then with or without Biblical foundations,this
can be explained.
By way of analogy I could use
water(3 forms)....Our understanding of the Trinity is "FATHER,SON and THE HOLY SPIRIT".
The attributes of the above are global(vapour),semiglobal(water) and local(ice).Can this analogy be built on further,Id appreciate your help.
I consider it urgent to understand this coz Im actually seeing perfectly sensible guys going haywire once they get trapped in Mohammedanism.

 
At 12/05/2009 4:26 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Every Muslim I've ever heard criticize the Trinity has had a misconception of what the Trinity is. They confuse it either with modalism or with tri-theism. And I think the reason Christians fall victim to their critiques as well as the critiques offered by unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses is because the Christians themselves don't have a proper understanding of the Trinity. Churches tend to gloss over this subject because it's difficult, which, as you've seen, has devastation results.

The Trinity may be hard to wrap your mind around, but it is NOT hard to define. And we don't need to be able to conceptualize it or have our minds wrapped around it before we can have an accurate understanding of what it is. So it's the definition of the Trinity that I've tried to explain and defend in this series.

I don't like the water/ice/steam analogy because I think it's more closely resembles modalism than trinitarianism. In modalism, there is one person (God) who manisfests himself in different modes--father, son, and holy spirit. The water analogy sounds like that since the same substance (H2O) can manifest itself in different modes--solid, liquid, and gas. So I think this analogy is misleading.

 
At 12/06/2009 5:51 AM , Blogger terraleogoincele said...

Hi Sam,

Thankyou for your time.What your saying is there are three components to God(am I right?).Only when three combine do they become god?My understanding was well you could say modalism.
Let me get the basics right through logic and logic alone.
1)I believe that God can talk to me(though its not been proven) but its agreed upon otherwise God wouldnt be all powerful(can do anything)
If he can talk to me,this indicates a local or personal presence.But the next question would be,if he's here whose looking after the world?
He/she/nongender has to look after the world also,otherwise as again
God wouldnt be all powerful.
This means a global presence as well.
The Holy Spirit is everywhere.The Son is a highly local or personal entity.What about God ?
God must be the superset and these two must be the modes he operates in.
I'm sorry..I know the logic might not be very clear but Im tackling my thoughts only when I write.
Plz share your thoughts.
Another thing is Episcopal churches which test everything to limit still keep the Trinity as an important foundation stone...and plus the world has had a lot of outstanding philosophers,so the thought that this might not have faced intense debating is naive.
By the way,if you want to know
there is an ancient church in Iraq
called The Assyrian Church...they dont believe in the Trinity.They're still alive although the Mozzie Nazis are trying their best to extinguish their ancient presence

 
At 12/06/2009 6:01 AM , Blogger terraleogoincele said...

Hinduism believes in Trinity although it is simply a breakup of the fundamental characteristics of God as we know
Brahma (creator)
Vishnu (preserver)
Shiva (destroyer).

Sam ,Im just after the truth
wherever it may be ,Im not after labels or branding.Please do reply

 
At 12/12/2009 11:54 AM , Blogger Sam said...

The Hindu "trinity" isn't really a trinity in the same sense that Christians believe in a trinity. In the Christian trinity, there is one God who is three persons, and the three persons share the same divine essence or substance. Thye are co-equal and co-eternal, so they don't just manifest themselves at different times. The Hindu God isn't personal at all, and the three are just manifestations or representations of God.

I'm not sure I understand your argument for modalism well enough to respond to it. Sorry.

 
At 3/31/2010 3:28 AM , Blogger Nigel said...

Sam you done a great Job
God is a being who has three centres of consciousness who are known to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This being is unlike us humans whom he created and which have only one centre of consciousness. This is the clear testimony of all scripture both HS and CGS. Problems only arise when we confuse being with consciousness and when people try to force meanings onto texts which are not there. You can only come up with a Unitarian God if that is the presupposition that you start out with. This is what is unique about the Christian revelation. Moslems, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, Oneness Pentecostals and all others who purport to know and understand the God of the H & CGS (yes Moslems too, they say they accept both these revelations beside the Koran) will all be very quick to tell us that “Jesus isn’t God” because it is illogical or unreasonable or God couldn’t or wouldn’t. Please tell me how the Trinity is illogical and where in the Scripture God tells us that he can be framed by human logic and reason and where God tells us that he cannot enter his creation. Do Trinitarians claim to know the all that there is to know about the full nature of the Godhead( theotetos )? No we claim only to know that which he has seen fit to reveal to us.

 
At 3/31/2010 8:29 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

“‘The indebtedness of Christian theological theory to ancient Egyptian dogma is nowhere more striking than in the doctrine of the Trinity. The very same terms used of it by Christian theologians meet us again in the inscriptions and papyri of Egypt.’ And now we see some meaning in the strange phrases that have puzzled so many generations in the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, such as, ‘Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten not made, being of one Substance with the Father.’ These are all understandable enough if translated into the language of the Solar Trinity, but without this clue to their meaning, they become sheer nonsense or contradictions ... The simplicity and symmetry of the old sun Trinities were utterly lost in forming these new Christian Creeds on the old Pagan models ...The [pagan] trinities had all the prestige of a vast antiquity and universal adoption, and could not be ignored. The Gentile converts therefore eagerly accepted the Trinity compromise, and the Church baptized it. Now at length we know its origin.” Origin of Triads and Trinities, John Newton, pp. 20-21, 25-27

 
At 3/31/2010 8:51 AM , Blogger Sam said...

Larry T, your post is a text book example of the fallacy of bulverism. As C.S. Lewis put it, "You must first show that a man is wrong before you show why he is wrong." You have attempted to explain where the Christians got the doctrine of the Trinity without first showing that they were wrong in the first place.

But as far as the origin of the Trinity is concerned, your quote is entirely wrong to begin with. One need only read the early literature to show that Athanasius and those on his side were deeply immersed in the scriptures. Read Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History and see that the arguments for and against revolved around the scriptures.

Besides just being wrong, your quote is irrelevant even if it is right. Because if the Trinity can be demonstrated from the scriptures, then it's completely irrelevant whether the same or similar idea is found in other religions. I don't know if any modern Trinitarian who consults the Egyptians to formulate their beliefs about the Trinity. Every one of them demonstrates from the scriptures alone that the Trinity is true. See, for example, The Forgotten Trinity by James White and Putting Jesus In His Place by Robert Bowman. I also encourage you to read this series I did on the Trinity. Directly after this post, I posted four blog entries demonstrating that the Trinity is Biblical followed by four blog entries answering objections to the Trinity. I never consulted the Egyptians. My reasoning comes straight from the Bible.

 
At 3/31/2010 9:51 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Sam,
you are right to say that Athanasius was "deeply immersed", but i hestitate to use the language required to describe what he was deeply immersed in. Honest men can have differing opinions and all cannot be told in a single email, so yes, i did leave out many things about why the Trinity is a doctrine of devils, but, if you please i will give a little here and a little there for your edification.

 
At 3/31/2010 4:49 PM , Blogger Sam said...

you are right to say that Athanasius was "deeply immersed", but i hestitate to use the language required to describe what he was deeply immersed in.

You're welcome to argue with me, but I do ask that you argue like an adult. Comments like these will be deleted in the future.

 
At 4/01/2010 4:00 AM , Blogger Nigel said...

Sam

Why do you continue to argue with Larry. I've got to question why you do since nothing that I've read from him seems to convey any of the honesty which he likes to talk about.

Do you think anything can be gained from this?

From the way in which he adresses you this person clearly has an extemely high opinion of himself (based on what?) and until that is removed he hasn't any chance of meeting God on any level so far as I can tell.

He can only countenance a god (small g) who is on his own level.

Thats how he comes across to me can any headway be made with him at this point? He's had a lot of your pearls but what has been returned in their place?

 
At 4/01/2010 11:23 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Nigel, I'm not just arguing with Larry for his benefit. It's for the benefit of those who might be reading this discussion.

I must ask you to keep the personal insults to yourself. I like the fact that no matter how fierce the opposition has gotten on my blog, it is almost always civil.

 
At 4/02/2010 5:19 AM , Blogger Nigel said...

Sam

Its unfortunate that you felt that you had to address me in this way.

You are of course right on your first point many others may benefit if not Larry himself.

On the second point though I have been civil and I haven't made any personal insults. All that have said concerning the discussion with Larry is based on the dialogue between you both. Like you, those of us who have read the exchange can make judgements about the value of the comments passed back and forth. In just the same way we can judge the honesty of an argument.

He has not responded to many of your invitations to look at a number of sources and other relevant issues. Honesty is a word used by Larry.

Now had I attacked Larry's character or made derogatory comments about him personally (I don't know him) you'd be right to call me on it. I didn't do either of these things and no more than when you yourself said that in an earlier exchange that you're "certainly not in the habit these days of responding to such condescending remarks" 18/04/2008.

Yes I am blunt and to the point and I will call a spade a spade when I see it. It's considered a virtue and not a vice where I come from.

I hope that Larry does derive some benefit from the exchanges I really do and more so others. Perhaps the longer that he beats up on Aunt Sally and tears up Straw man the more benefit will be gained?

 
At 4/02/2010 11:37 AM , Blogger Sam said...

Nigel, what's unfortunate is that instead of talking about the arguments surrounding the trinity, we are talking about each other. I don't like that this conversation has turned personal all of a sudden.

I don't mean any offense to you or Larry, but I'm thinking about deleting the whole thing starting with Larry's comment about Athanasius. I like to keep the comments on topic most of the time, and if they happen to stray off topic on occasion, I'd at least like the diversion to be a pleasant one. This is an unpleasant one.

I guess I do owe you an explanation, though. You said that you did not make derogatory comments about Larry. What I thought was derogatory was you accusing him of dishonesty and saying that he had an extremely high opinion of himself. That was unnecessarily personal and added nothing to the discussion. If you think he's wrong, demonstrate that he's wrong, but don't insult him. Larry should be put in the position of having to defend his point of view, but he should not be put in the position of having to defend his personal character.

 
At 4/03/2010 11:59 AM , Blogger Nigel said...

Sam
I must withdraw not my purpose to get into an argument with you, its your blog.
In the comments that I made I was talking about his manner of argument in this respect. Not his character.
As to proving him wrong you’ve done it already comprehensively anyone would need help not to see it. He either just doesn’t recognise it or isn’t prepared acknowledge it.
I’ve said all that I can.

 
At 4/06/2010 10:53 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Sam, try looking at this:

http://www.bibletoday.com/harmony/trinity.htm

Also, why are you editing what i have sent you re: the trinity. Are you afraid for fellow bloggers to see and be influenced by those who disagree?

I thank you sir for your consideration on these matters and may the good Lord bless your efforts as long as truth is your goal and not just verification of what you already believe!

Larry

 
At 4/06/2010 5:38 PM , Blogger Sam said...

I haven't edited any of your comments, Larry. Thanks for the link.

 
At 5/26/2010 11:02 AM , Blogger Rursus Siderespector said...

"Persons" in Trinitarism are not persons. They're hypostases: parts that can be related to. See Wikipedia

 
At 5/26/2010 11:19 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

It is, of course, very "Trinitarian" to use words not found in holy writ in their definitions of God. Hypostasis is just one of the many good examples and more proof that the Trinity cannot be defined using words found only in the bible! The fact that the very word "Trinity" (or its synonym) is also NOT found in the bible should be a red herring for anyone searching for truth.

 
At 5/26/2010 11:58 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Anyone who comments on any doctrine of scripture uses words not found in the bible. Especially if you're commenting in a language other than Greek, Hebrew, or Aramic.

Rursus,
The three person of the Trinity are very much persons, not parts. Furthermore each person is fully God. See Nicene and Athanasian Creeds as well as the definition of Chalcedon.

 
At 5/26/2010 12:16 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt's comment is a little humorous, but i will address it anyway. Of course i allow for the English translation of the original languages and the same principles apply. The word "trinity" or its synonyms are NOT found in the bible in ANY language. Maybe even especially Hebrew or Greek! The language of the word used is actually quite irrelevant. Those who presume to use words not used by the apostles and prophets of our Lord in their descriptions of God exalt themselves above the very writers of the Bible. If one's description of God does not come from from holy writ, then it must come from some other source and it betrays, not only a spirit of exaltation in thinking they are smarter than the very apostles of our Lord, but it also demonstrates the fact that their method of Biblical interpretation allows for the idea that they have special knowledge that is beyond that of the very apostles and prophets themselves. That is a very slippery slope indeed.

 
At 5/26/2010 12:26 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Would you deny God's Omniscience or Omnipotence?

 
At 5/26/2010 12:47 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt, if you can find those words in the Bible, then i would use them to in my definition and/or description of God. If not, then i would not presume to use them to describe the MOST HIGH. If there are words in the bible to describe your doctrine, just use those words, lest you should fall into the blunder of borrowing even more terms from the Platonists. The use of Pagan terms betray the direction of the movement of ideas.

 
At 5/26/2010 1:00 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Okay...so do you not know if those words are in the Bible? If you don't know what words are written in the bible then perhaps you ought to find out so you can remain consist ant in your analysis of Biblical Christianity.

Also do you believe that your god has wings and is on fire? (Psalm 36:7 cf Deuteronomy 4:24)

 
At 5/26/2010 5:24 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt, i do know if they are in the bible and i do know that they are not. I simply asked you a hypothetical question to make a point. No one has a right to say anything about God that is not specifically mentioned in the scriptures. Interpret the words of the Bible as you may, but at least use the words of the Bible and stop pretending that you know more than the apostles.

 
At 5/26/2010 5:49 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Okay, then to be consistent you must not hold to Unitarianism either since neither the word Unitarian nor Unitarianism are ever used in the bible and God never said He was comprised of only one person. Thanks for clarifying that for me.

Matt

 
At 5/26/2010 7:19 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt, you haven't yet and you will NEVER will catch me using that word. I will say anything about God that can be quoted directly from scripture as long as it is a litgitimate scripture in the Bible. As you may know 1 John 5:7 is spurious to say the least, however, even if John had written it, it does not necessarily validate the Trinity doctrine. The "oneness" between the Father and the son is understood as being in one accord or acting in harmony esp. as the son acts on behalf of the Father. It should never be confused with oneness of identity or "being". That is a Neoplatonic idea that has no place in the ideas of Scripture. Thank you, Larry

 
At 5/26/2010 7:36 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

By the way, I am not a Unitarian. I am a "Christian." I think that term can be found in the bible! Have a great day Matt and thank you so much for your time. I am sure you are a nice guy, as am i; i hope! :-)

 
At 5/26/2010 7:40 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt, No one can "be" more than one person and if the Trinity doctrine were biblical and important to believe, i am pretty sure that somebody would have mentioned it somewhere in Scripture. We maintain that no passage of Scripture can be produced that authorizes it and to which, without in any way departing from the spirit of the text, a clearer, more natural meaning cannot be given, one more consistent with common sense and the basic and immutable truths.

 
At 5/26/2010 11:47 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry wrote:I will say anything about God that can be quoted directly from scripture as long as it is a litgitimate scripture in the Bible.

Okay.

Larry wrote:The "oneness" between the Father and the son is understood as being in one accord or acting in harmony esp. as the son acts on behalf of the Father. It should never be confused with oneness of identity or "being".

Where does scripture say this is the only way the "oneness" between the Father and the Son is to be understood? Where does scripture say that did not believe that both the Father and the Son are not both Deity?

Larry wrote:No one can "be" more than one person

Prove this from scripture please.

Larry wrote:If the Trinity doctrine were biblical and important to believe, i am pretty sure that somebody would have mentioned it somewhere in Scripture.

I am not attached to the term, Just like I am not committed to the Table of Contents in my Bible, however I attached to the concept being taught (Matthew 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Matthew 28:19), just like I affirm that all of the books in my Bible are scripture.

Larry wrote:We maintain that no passage of Scripture can be produced that authorizes it and to which, without in any way departing from the spirit of the text, a clearer, more natural meaning cannot be given, one more consistent with common sense and the basic and immutable truths.

Of course you, whom ever this we is, maintain such a proposition but assertions are not arguments. You must argue and prove, from scripture, that the "oneness" of God is as you describe not simply assert it as such.

Matt

 
At 5/28/2010 9:20 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
You cannot prove a biblical doctrine by a negative assertion. In other words, there is no argument about the fact that there is no scripture in the bible that says that God is more than one person. But, you cannot prove that there are more than one person in "God" by saying that there is no scripture saying that there is only One person in God. The absurdity of making YHWH a schizophrenic monstrosity is not only unbiblical, it is pagan in its origins.

 
At 5/28/2010 9:58 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

What did Jesus mean when he said, “My Father and I are one.” (John 10:30) Did he mean to say that he was God himself? Or, did he mean something else? In what way was Jesus one with God? What kind of oneness existed between the Father and the Son? Why didn’t he mention the Holy Spirit too? “Regarding John 10:30, John Calvin (who was a Trinitarian) said in the book Commentary on the Gospel According to John: ‘The ancients made a wrong use of this passage to prove that Christ is ...of the same essence with the Father. For Christ does not argue about the unity of substance, but about the agreement which he has with the Father.’”
W. E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, tells us that one of the meanings of the word “one” as used in the N. T. is “metaphorically, union and concord. e.g. John 10:30 ; 11:52 ; 17:11, 21, 22 ; Rom. 12:4, 5 ; Phil. 1:27.”
Do not forget that Jesus did not mention only HIS oneness with God but also that all Christians should be "one" with God: “That they all may be one; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: ...that they may be one even as we are one.” (John 17:21,22)
“For ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

The little word “even” should not be ignored in this verse. It means “fully, exactly, precisely.” Jesus prayed to his Father that all Christians might have the same kind of oneness with the Father that he himself had, that all Christians might be “fully” one with the Father in “exactly,” or “precisely” the same way Jesus is one with his Father! This would enable every true disciple of Jesus to have the hopes that some day they might be “partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4) and be privileged to echo the sentiment of Jesus in John 10:30 - “I and my Father are one.”

 
At 5/28/2010 5:15 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
Exactly what tenent of the Trinity doctrine is taught in the scriptures you mentioned? namely, Matthew 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Matthew 28:19??? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be mentioned, but, what tenet of the doctrine is taught beyond that?
Jesuit Edmund Fortman admits in his book, The Triune God: “The New Testament writers... give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal divine persons ... Nowhere do we find any Trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead.”

Yale University professor E. Washburn Hopkins affirms in the Origin and Evolution of Religion: “To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently unknown; ...they say nothing about it.”

Jaroslav Pelikan, sterling Professor of History at Yale University, who is called “The Doctrine Doctor,” is quoted saying: “You are not entitled to the beliefs you cherish about such things as the Holy Trinity without a sense of what you owe to those who worked this out for you ...To circumvent St. Athanasius on the assumption that if you put me alone in a room with the New Testament, I will come up with the doctrine of the Trinity, is naive.”

 
At 5/28/2010 5:22 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

We read the following from John Newton’s book Origin of Triads and Trinities: “The indebtedness of Christian theological theory to ancient Egyptian dogma is nowhere more striking than in the doctrine of the Trinity. The very same terms used of it by Christian theologians meet us again in the inscriptions and papyri of Egypt.’ Newton continues: ‘And now we see some meaning in the strange phrases that have puzzled so many generations in the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, such as, ‘Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten not made, Being of one Substance with the Father.’ These are all understandable enough if translated into the language of the Solar Trinity [worshipped in ancient Egypt], but without this clue to their meaning, they become sheer nonsense or contradictions ... The [pagan] trinities had all the prestige of a vast antiquity and universal adoption, and could not be ignored. The Gentile converts therefore eagerly accepted the Trinity compromise and the Church baptized it. Now at length we know its origin.”

 
At 5/28/2010 5:39 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt says,
"Where does scripture say this is the only way the "oneness" between the Father and the Son is to be understood? Where does scripture say that did not believe that both the Father and the Son are not both Deity?"
I say,
A common sense interpretation of the Bible dictates that there is only ONE GOD, the Father (I Cor. 8:6) and that since God has a son, then this son is someone else, NOT GOD. Only one person can be God because if two persons were God, well, there would just be two Gods. The whole purpose of John's gospel is to teach us that Jesus is the "Son of God", not that he is "God". The whole idea that God consist of a conglomeration of "persons" or "hypostases" is the very height of nonesense and absurdity

"...these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31

Harold Brown, author of Heresies, tells us the following: “It is a simple fact and an undeniable historical fact that several major doctrines that now seem central to the Christian faith - such as the ...Trinity - were not present in a full and self-defined generally accepted form until the forth and fifth centuries. If they are essential today - as all of the orthodox creeds and confessions assert - it must be because they are true. If they are true, then they must always have been true, they cannot have become true in the fourth and fifth century. But if they are both true and essential, how can it be that the early Church took centuries to formulate them?”

 
At 5/29/2010 5:16 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
I am not trying to prove the doctrine by negative assertion I am simply trying to keep you consistent. You have stated that if the words are not found in the Bible you would not ascribe them to God. Thus even if you disprove Trinitarianism, and you haven't, you must also prove the form of Arianism that you personally ascribe to from the text of scripture consistently.

Unfortunately you are not dealing with texts I am citing, but picking other texts that I have not cited. John 10 for instance cannot be observed properly without first looking at texts such as John 5 and 8 where Jesus makes far more direct claims to deity. Even so any mere man or prophet couldn't claim to have perfect unity with the Father in the context of John 10:30 (love, care, power, and the claim of these itself). Furthermore "In John 17:22, the order of comparison is not reciprocal. The unity of the Father and the Son is the reality against which the unity of believers is to be measured, not the reverse. And like any analogy that generates a comparison, the analogy cannot be pushed to exhaustion." (DA Carson, The Gospel According to John, 395)

As to Galatians 3:28 and 2 Peter 1:4 I agree that Christians have a oneness with God, but that oneness is always mediated to them by Christ. (John 17:22-23)

Please type all of a verse when you cite it. 1 Corinthians 8:6 reads: "yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." If we are to be consistent with your interpretation of this verse we must not only deny that the Father is Lord, but also completely miss what Paul is doing here. This verse ought to look familiar to any Christian or Jew it borrows from Deuteronomy 6:4 "“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." Applying this sacred text to both the Father and the Son, what is more this text would call the Son specifically YHWH in this context.

 
At 5/29/2010 5:19 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
As for your citation of the assertion, through Harold Brown, that the doctrine of the trinity was unknown until the 4th and 5th centuries, this makes little sense in light of the anti-Nicene Fathers who wrote on the subject of the Deity of Christ as early as Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians (Chapter 8) 110 AD. "Study, therefore, to be established in the doctrines of the Lord and the apostles, that so all things, whatsoever ye do, may prosper both in the flesh and spirit; in faith and love; in the Son, and in the Father, and in the Spirit; in the beginning and in the end; with your most admirable bishop, and the well-compacted spiritual crown of your presbytery, and the deacons who are according to God. Be ye subject to the bishop, and to one another, as Jesus Christ to the Father, according to the flesh, and the apostles to Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit; that so there may be a union both fleshly and spiritual." Source - http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.iii.xiii.html"
And Tertullian, Against Praxeas, (Chapter 2) 208 AD. "We [Christians], however, as we indeed always have done (and more especially since we have been better instructed by the Paraclete, who leads men indeed into all truth), believe that there is one only God, but under the following dispensation, or οἰκονομία , as it is called, that this one only God has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. Him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the Virgin, and to have been born of her—being both Man and God, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and to have been called by the name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and, after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics, much more before Praxeas, a pretender of yesterday, will be apparent both from the lateness of date which marks all heresies, and also from the absolutely novel character of our new-fangled Praxeas." Source - http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.ix.ii.html

Seems like the Trinity was understood well before the 4th and 5th centuries.

 
At 5/29/2010 10:24 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

The word ‘trinity’ was not coined until Tertullian, more than 100 years after Christ’s death, and the key words (meaning substance) from the Nicene debate, homousis and ousis, are not biblical, but from Stoic thought. Nowhere in the
Bible is the Trinity mentioned. According to Pelikan, ‘One of the most widely accepted conclusions of the 19th century history of dogma was the thesis that the dogma of the Trinity was not an explicit doctrine of the New Testament, still less of the Old Testament, but had evolved from New Testament times to the 4th century. (Historical Theology 134)
Tertullian did not consider the Father and Son co-eternal: ‘There was a time when there was neither sin to make God a judge, nor a son to make God a Father’ (qtd. in Lonergan 48); nor did he consider them co-equal: ‘For the Father is the whole substance, whereas the Son is something derived from it’ (qtd. in Lonergan 48). In Tertullian we find a groundwork upon which a trinity concept can be founded, but it has not yet evolved into that trinity of the Nicene Creed. Trinitarians today would say that Tertullian was basically an Arian. The very fact that Trinitarianism had to "evolve" after the apostolic age is a clear indicator that it was NOT a doctrine of the apostles.

 
At 5/29/2010 10:46 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

The Catholic Encyclopedia explicitly confesses that, “the formula (of the Trinity) itself does not reflect the ...period of origins;” but was “the product of three centuries of doctrinal development.” The reason that the Trinity doctrine is not mentioned, not defined or even discussed in the whole of Scripture is that it was NOT a doctrine of the Apostles and prophets of God! It is NOT mentioned or defined or discussed in the Bible because it is NOT a biblical doctrine. All scriptures which are used as "proof texts" for the Trinity doctrine can be better interpreted according to Jewish ideas about God and, i repeat, no passage of Scripture can be produced that authorizes it and to which, without in any way departing from the spirit of the text, a clearer, more natural meaning cannot be given, one more consistent with common sense and the basic and immutable truths.
As to Deut. 6:4 -
Trinitarians have blundered in their assertion that the Shema Yisrael in any way implicates a plurality in God!! How far do the scriptures have to be twisted to make people believe that “one” and “only” mean a “plurality” !!?? Do they mean to say that Moses and all the prophets just missed it somehow? Do they mean to say that the Pagans, using only reason and human wisdom, were smugly figuring out every detail of the secrets of the “Trinity” while, at the same time, God left the sacred writers and prophets in the dark concerning the supposed truth about this doctrine??!! This entire notion could not be more ridiculous!! The historian Will Durant sets the record straight: “Of all the ideas the most distasteful to Judaism is that of a plurality of Gods. The unity of God is passionately reiterated against the polytheism of the pagans and the apparent Tritheism of the Christian Trinity; it is proclaimed in the most famous and universal of Jewish prayers, the Shema Yisrael: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.’ No messiah, no prophet, no saint, is to have a place beside him in his temple of worship.”
Jewish scholars today tell us that the Shema Yisrael of Deuteronomy 6:4, formerly rendered in English as “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one,” should actually be translated and understood this way: “Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” “The translators concluded that the point of the words when originally written was not God's oneness, which is a theological concept, but rather his exclusivity at a time when Israel’s neighbors worshipped many deities.”
Since the word “Lord” was substituted for the “name of God” in this passage, and (even as the Trinitarians quoted above agree) the Hebrew word for “one” really means “only” - Deuteronomy 6:4 should be rendered thusly: “LISTEN, O ISRAEL! JEHOVAH IS OUR GOD, ONLY JEHOVAH!” “...in Deuteronomy,” says Hislop in his book The Two Babylons, “...the unity of the Godhead is asserted in the most emphatic manner, ‘Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah,’ i.e., ‘only Jehovah.’ When it is intended to assert the Unity of the Godhead in the strongest possible manner....” This translation also corresponds better with other scriptures of the Bible: “...that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, even thou ONLY.” (Isaiah 37:20) “Thou art God ALONE.” (Psalms 86:10; also 83:18)
In his book The Triune God, Edmund Fortman, who is a Roman Catholic Jesuit, admits the following: “The Old Testament ...tells us nothing explicitly or by necessary implication of a Triune God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ...There is no evidence that any sacred writer even suspected the existence of a [Trinity] within the Godhead. ...Even to see in [the O. T.] suggestions or foreshadowings or ‘veiled signs’ of the trinity of persons, is to go beyond the words and intent of the sacred writers.”
May God richly bless all who seek the truth!

 
At 5/31/2010 2:14 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
It is very courteous to cite your sources. Your first reply to me was taken entirely from this site: http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm
To plagiarize an argument as your own without citation is dishonest at best, and quite disrespectful to both myself and Cher-El L. Hagensick who actually wrote the article.

Also you haven't dealt with the argument from 1 Corinthians 8:6, since you have not provided a consistant alternative exegesis to the text. Remember according to your original exegesis the Father is God and the Son is excluded from that role, yet by the same logic the Son must be Lord are role from which the Father is excluded. Also if you remember my exegesis shows that the Father and the Son are both being given divine titles showing them both to be YHWH, or at least the Son to be YHWH. Finally The Son is called YHWH. Perhaps you wish to say that 1 Corinthians 8:6 has nothing to do with Deuteronomy 6:4, however you must give an exegesis of 1 Corinthians 8:6 before you move to the outside text if that is the case. We are trying to have a consistant after all.

Second I am quite tired of this whole "you're neo-Platonic" accusation. Your Arianism/Socinianism is far more neo-Platonic than anything Christian. Allow me to explain, in neo-Platonic thought there is the One which emenates the Mind which emenates the Soul which emenates Mater. This is very similar to the view that Father is the One God, who created the Son, who created or helped create the Holy Spirit and by which the Material world was created. Just saying you owe quite a lot to Plotinus yourself.

 
At 5/31/2010 10:58 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
you seem like a very angry little man. If i used information from a website and did not give credit, i apologize for that, but i am not writing a book here, just passing along information. I am actually happy you gave the website address and i would advise all the readers of this blod to check it out. Thanks Matt! But, my advice to you would be: Get a grip dude. Don't let that vein in your forehead burst over it. :-) The history of Trinitarianism is one of hatred, anger, and persecution of those who do no comply. Do not get caught up into that spriit, brother.
I thought this was a friendly discussion. Please do not turn it into something else.
In regards to 1 Cor 8:6, there seems to be no need to go further. I explained to you already that, to me, it identifies the one God as the Father.
As far as Jesus being called YHWH, that NEVER happens in scripture. Simply NEVER. Then you tell me that I "must give an exegesis of 1 Cor. 8:6 before" i can do something else. You seem a little bossy and ill tempered. so i will just let your little command go by and relax in the spirit of forgiveness. My advice to you Matt would be to be careful about becoming too dogmatic and ridgid in your approach to Christian teachings. Let's keep this discussion civil, remembering that it was the love of Christ which kept him on the cross, not the nails! Whether you like it or not Matt, you could be wrong. I believe you are wrong in your belief system but my opinions have no bearing on whether you are right or wrong. The same goes in reverse, my friend. As far as Platonism is concerned, i can quote a great many, but in my next blog i will do that. In the mean time you might re-read my quotes of John Newton (from 5/28/10) and his assertion that the Trinity has its foundation in Paganism and NOT in the Bible. If the apostles and prophets wanted us to believe in a trinity doctrine, then they were certainly remiss in their duties to teach it. They neither mention it or define it anywhere in holy writ. It is my opinion that Trinitarians have to wrest the scriptures and explain them through the prism of Neoplatonism in order to arrive at their doctrine. This is simply an irrefutable fact! More later, my friends!

 
At 5/31/2010 11:05 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Since we are giving out web-site addresses at Matt's request (and i agree wholeheartedly with him on that) here is another one which might be checked out by all. While i do not always agree with everything in every website, i do think some valuable information can be gleened from many. From this one http://www.blavatsky.net/magazine/theosophy/ww/additional/christianity/TheTrinity.html we find the following: "The Chaldean sun-god, Mithra, was called "Triple," and the trinitarian idea of the Chaldeans was a doctrine of the Akkadians, who, themselves, belonged to a race which was the first to conceive a metaphysical trinity. The Chaldeans are a tribe of the Akkadians, according to Rawlinson, who lived in Babylonia from the earliest times"

 
At 5/31/2010 11:09 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Alex. Hislop goes further in his book the Two Babylons and says: “The sun, as the great source of light and heat, was worshipped under the name Baal.” “In the uppermost story of the tower of Babel, or temple of Belus,” says Hislop, “...there stood three images of the great divinities of Babylon.” The triune Babylonian deity was the sun god known in the Bible as Baal, though the god was known by various names in various nations. The Bible identifies the worship of the “host of heaven” (the sun, moon, and stars) with the worship of “Baal.”

“And they left all the commandments of the Lord
...and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.”
(II Kings 17:16 ; Jer. 8:2 ; Zeph. 1:4,5)

 
At 5/31/2010 11:21 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

James Bonwick, in his book Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, tells us the following regarding the pagan Greek philosophers: “The Greek writers, full of the old philosophy and Platonic Trinity, perhaps saw more than the Egyptians intended, or they mystified the notion. Damascius talks of Eicton, Emeph or Cneph, and Ptha, and that, ‘according to the Egyptians there is one principle of all things praised under the name of the Unknown Darkness, and this thrice repeated.’ Jamblichus notifies ‘Ammon the generator, Ptha the perfector, and Osiris the producer of good.’ One quotes an inscription: ‘One Gait, one Athor, and one Akori; Hail, Father of the world! Hail, triformous God!’ Proclus says, ‘The demiurgical number does not begin from a trinity, but from a monad.’ Plutarch recognizes their Trinity as a right-angled triangle; of which Osiris is the perpendicular, Isis is the base or receptacle, and Horus is the hypotenuse. But they are all imbued with the Trinity idea of Plato: Agathos, Logos, and Psyche; the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.”
Will Durant tells us of the syncretistic spirit of Pagan religions as they pay from the “Orient” to Greece, to Rome, and from thence into “Christian” theology: “Hellenism, after the Roman conquest of Greece, conquered Rome even as the Orient was conquering Greece. Every extension of Roman power spread the ferment of Hellenic civilization. ...the spirit of Greece has seeped so thoroughly into modern culture that ‘all civilized nations, in all that concerns the activity of the intellect, are colonies of Hellas’ today. ...Christian theology and practice (the very words are Greek) stem in large part from the mystery religions of Greece and Egypt, from Eleusinian, Orphic, and Osirian rites; ...from Stoic and Neo-Platonic theories of the Logos...”
Trinitarian William G. T. Shedd, D. D. admits in his book A History of Christian Doctrine: “...Platonism, under the treatment of the New-Platonics, degenerated into an imaginative theosophy; contributing to the corruption of Christianity.”

 
At 6/01/2010 11:36 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United State wrote the following in a letter to John Adams, 1813

"It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one . . . But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests. Sweep away their gossamer fabrics of factitious religion, and they would catch no more flies. We should all then, like the Quakers, live without an order of priests, moralize for ourselves, follow the oracle of conscience, and say nothing about what no man can understand, nor therefore believe."

 
At 6/01/2010 11:40 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

The French New Universal Dictionary reveals both Plato's Greek Philosophical Influence upon Christianity and that of ancient pagan religions: “The Platonic Trinity, itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier peoples, appears to be the rational philosophic trinity attributes that gave birth to the three hypostases or divine persons taught by the Christian Churches ...Thus Greek philosophers conception of the divine trinity ...can be found in all the ancient pagan religions.”
James Hastings wrote in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics: “In Indian religion, e.g., we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, Siva, and Visnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus ...Nor is it only in historical religions that we find God viewed as a Trinity. One recalls in particular the Neo-Platonic views of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality, which is triadically represented.”
Siegfried Morenz, in the book Egyptian Religion, notes: “The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians ...These gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology.”

 
At 6/01/2010 11:41 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

“No historical fact is better established, than that the doctrine of one God,
pure and uncompounded, was that of the early ages of Christianity ...Nor was the unity of the Supreme Being ousted from the Christian creed by the force of reason, but by the sword of civil government, wielded at the will of the Athanasius. The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.”
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Smith, Dec. 8, 1822

 
At 6/01/2010 12:45 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt said in regards to Christ's oneness with God and the believer's oneness with God:
"Even so any mere man or prophet couldn't claim to have perfect unity with the Father in the context of John 10:30 (love, care, power, and the claim of these itself). Furthermore "In John 17:22, the order of comparison is not reciprocal. The unity of the Father and the Son is the reality against which the unity of believers is to be measured, not the reverse. And like any analogy that generates a comparison, the analogy cannot be pushed to exhaustion." (DA Carson, The Gospel According to John, 395)"

Apparently Matt does not believe that the prayer of Jesus to his God (YHWH) will be answered. Jesus prayed: "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17:21-23) Jesus says, "I in them" which this same John explains in 1 John 3:24a :
"And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him." To be 'one' with Christ and the Father and to be "in" them is to be in complete harmony with them and to keep the commandments. Matt, this does not mean that the overcoming believer would have the same "power" as God! Peter said that we should "escape the corruption that is in the world through lust" and become "partakers of the divine nature." (2 Pet. 1:4)
I find it sad that Matt, and many others, deny Christ an affirmative answer to the prayer to his "God and Father" (John 20:17) and that they deny the power of the holy spirit to provide the wherewithall for us to become "partakers of the divine nature" as the apostle suggested.
Matt somehow believes that Christ's prayer being answered affirmatively constitutes "pushing an ananlogy to exhaustion." How sad, to deny both the prayer of him who died for us and the power of the holy spirit at the same! Matt says, "the order of comparison is not reciprocal" but, as convoluted as that sounds, Jesus contradicts Matt and makes it simple by using the little word "even" when the Lord says "even as we are one." The word "even" means "on the same level" and "free from variations" and "equal in measure." Reference - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/even
Matt says, "the order of comparison is not reciprocal" but Jesus says it is. I think i will go with, hmmmmmmm..... Jesus!
Any Christian denial that we cannot become ONE with God and become a partaker of the divine nature is a denial of the words of Christ himself, a poor interpretation of scripture, and demonstrates an ignorance of the entire purpose of the religion we call Christianity.

 
At 6/01/2010 5:51 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry seems to have been busy. Larry seems to have completely misunderstood what I meant when I said you ought to cite ones sources. It is simply good manners to give credit where credit is due.

Also since he insist upon his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 8:6 I am wondering if he is willing to admit that the Father is excluded from the title of Lord, and thus Lordship since there is "one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist"?

I would also like to say that I too would detest such a god as described by Thomas Jefferson in his letters. It is not the Triune God of Scripture and it bares no resemblance to God as described in the original post nor in my comments that followed. Neither Sam nor I have ever said one being is three beings or three persons is one person. If Larry cannot understand the distinction or argue against the doctrine as presented, rather than how he thinks it ought to be, then nothing further needs to be said.

Likewise pagan religions are polytheistic and have more than their triad of head gods within their ranks. Furthermore these polytheistic gods were not in unity nor did they share being. In fact they are much closer to your view of God than mine. The only difference between your view and theirs is that they had lots and lots of monolithic gods and you only allow for one.

As to the non reciprocity of John 10:30 to John 17:11b, if Larry believes he can be one with the Father in the same way Christ is, then he does not need Christ in any way, shape, or form. Thus my statement "As to Galatians 3:28 and 2 Peter 1:4 I agree that Christians have a oneness with God, but that oneness is always mediated to them by Christ. (John 17:22-23)"

Moreover Larry is the one who brought John 10:30 up as if I were using it as a proof for the Deity of Christ. My only statement about it is that it does lend support to His Deity because "any mere man or prophet couldn't claim to have perfect unity with the Father in the context of John 10:30 (love, care, power, and the claim of these itself)." Not simply unity but perfect unity, enough to claim that they are one. While this does prove that Jesus is a perfect person it does not necessarily prove his Deity. That is as far as the text allows us to go however since I did not bring this text up as a direct proof for the Deity of Christ, and have not used it as such, I see no need to go further regarding this specific text.

Larry still has yet to deal with the texts I brought up in my comment on May 26, 2010. Those being: Matthew 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Matthew 28:19. He simply dismisses them as irrelevant to the topic. I would like to see him respond to these as they are very Trinitarian in their nature. Then perhaps we could even move to other texts such as Hebrews 1:8, John 1:1-3;14, Hebrews 1:4 cf Deuteronomy 34:14, etc only lend their support to this doctrine.

Finally any denial of the necessity of Christ as Larry's logic implies is a denial of Christianity at its core. I have never denied the unity of the Church to Christ nor the unity of Christ to the Father, thus Larry's last statement is nothing more than a bit of deceptive rhetoric.

 
At 6/02/2010 12:34 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Please Matt,
Let us argue, without being argumentative, my friend.
As far as citing sources, I have already agreed with Matt that sources should be noted and if I failed to do that on an occasion, well, I am human. My record of citing sources on a regular basis proves that I was not making some attempt at plagiarism (on a blog such as this it is a little humorous anyway). Please watch out for your judgmental spirit, Matt. It is not becoming.
Perhaps another Mea Culpa will satisfy Matt's lust for power. Mea Culpa! :-)
On the other hand Matt seems to have no problem at all with Trinitarian theologians who plagiarize Plotinus daily and as a matter of course. One need only read the writings of Plotinus and Aquinas to see the very same ideas and the very same methods of argument used by both men. It is as if the same demon possessed both!
I gave the following as evidence of the Christian imitation of the Pagan Trinity earlier but it seems to need repeated here:

“‘The indebtedness of Christian theological theory to ancient Egyptian dogma is nowhere more striking than in the doctrine of the Trinity. The very same terms used of it by Christian theologians meet us again in the inscriptions and papyri of Egypt.’ And now we see some meaning in the strange phrases that have puzzled so many generations in the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, such as, ‘Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten not made, being of one Substance with the Father.’ These are all understandable enough if translated into the language of the Solar Trinity, but without this clue to their meaning, they become sheer nonsense or contradictions ...The simplicity and symmetry of the old sun Trinities were utterly lost in forming these new Christian Creeds on the old Pagan models ...The [pagan] trinities had all the prestige of a vast antiquity and universal adoption, and could not be ignored. The Gentile converts therefore eagerly accepted the Trinity compromise, and the Church baptized it. Now at length we know its origin.”

more on the next blog

 
At 6/02/2010 12:35 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt's misunderstanding of 1 Cor. 8:6 is as bright as the sun when one simply looks at the verse immediately prior: "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)" 1 Cor. 8:5 \
Matt, since Satan is himself called a "god" (2 Cor. 4:4), how then can 1 Cor. 8:6 mean that there is numerically only one god? 2 Sam. 4:8 contains the word "lord" twice. Tell me, Matt, do they refer to the same person in both cases?
The answer should be obvious to all, but we will, no doubt, soon see Matt's feeble answer on this blog.
In regards to Jefferson's statements, I recognize three things. First, that he did not bother with the Trinitarian subtlety and distinction between the word "being" and "person" and, secondly, that I have to agree with him since there really is no difference anyway because they really mean the same thing (one being the definition of the other), and thirdly, that Jefferson obviously understood more about the Trinity and Platonism than the preachers of his day and the Trinitarians of mine. Matt, tell me; Why do you think that Jefferson accused Trinitarians of being Platonists? Just ask yourself that and look for an anwswer.
I find it amusing, to say the least, that Matt thinks i do not understand the "distinction" and I will trump that by declaring that no "distinction" really exists except in the minds of those make beleive that there is. I would challenge anyone to find the supposed "distinction" between "being" and "person" discussed in holy writ. One must needs go outside the bible for that hairbrained and paganistic discussion.
All this from an ideology that can not understand the distinction between a father and a son and make them into a schezophrenic neoplatonic monstrosity that exists only in the pages of books written by those whom God has left behind for reasons known only to Himself.
Matt's diatribe on Pagan trinities serves only to demonstrate that he is not well versed in the ancient mysteries and that he doesn't pay attention in class. The fact is that the ideas of the trinity can ONLY be found in Pagan writings and their corrupt Christian imitators. Neither the word, idea, or concept exists in holy writ. I do not need the likes of Augustine, Athanasius, or Aquinas, or any other half pagan Neanderthal, to get to heaven. Neither the word Trinity nor the ideas which define it are found falling off the lips of Jesus or any of the apostles or prophets. That is enough for me, and their words should be enough for anyone.

Who, Matt, ever said that oneness with God could be accomplished without Jesus? You make things up my friend and attack a wall no one is defending. I appreciate your NOT using John 10:30 as a proof text for the supposed "deity" of Christ since (as you are can wisely see) it does no such thing.

In regards to Matthew 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Matthew 28:19, I really see nothing there that says Trinity or any of it tenets. Do you? Really? I believe in the Father, the son, and the holy spirit. I define what they are differently than you do but i see nothing in the before mentioned Scriptures to validate your doctrine. Other than simply being mentioned, what Trinitarian point is made in these Scriptures? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are mentioned together, are they a Trinity? Peter, James, and John are also mentioned together. Are they a Trinity too? You see the absurdity of trying to prove the doctrine of the Trinity simply by referencing a Scripture in which they are mentioned; do you not?

 
At 6/02/2010 11:30 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

We have come full circle and it seems that Larry has not desire to engage in actual argumentation, rather ad hominem and assertion. Larry wrote "I will trump that by declaring that no "distinction" really exists except in the minds of those make beleive that there is." Do you the reader see what this is? It is an apriori commitment to his Arianism. Yet now Larry seems to assume it is the default position that being and person are the same. There is nothing in the "holy writ" that could confirm this. Thus even if Trinitarianism is incorrect, he has not proven his position. I doubt he would agree, yet it is like this:

If I hold to the fact that there are pink elephants on mars at this moment and he holds that there are yellow faeries on mars and not pink elephants, then by proving pink elephants don't exist on mars at this time he has not proven that yellow faeries do. I know this is a silly example but this is exactly what Larry is claiming to do here.

Moreover this is not argument simply assertion. If that is what passes as good argumentation then all I have to do is say there is a distinction of being and person and I would challenge Larry to show me from scripture that this is untrue.

Furthermore he seems to continually insist that the Doctrine of the Trinity is Pagan or neo-Platonic originating with Plotinus often quoting him, without citation, as he said. I do wonder how Tertullian quoted someone who would have written after his death. That would be quite interesting to know. Furthermore it is no small fact that Tertullian hated Platonic Philosophy going so far as to state: “I am sorry from my heart that Plato has been the caterer to all these heretics.” in his "A Treatise on the Soul."
That being said the true question here is what does the Scripture say, not what does this person or that person say but what does scripture say. Scripture says that there is but One God. (Dt 6:4, Is 44;6,45:8,Mk 12:29, Js 2:19) God exists in three distinct persons, Father Son, and Holy Spirit. (Mt 3:16-17,28:19; 2 Cr 13:14; Jn 14:16-17) The Father is Fully God. (Jn 6:27; Rm 1:7; 1 Pt 1:2) The Son is Fully God. (Jn 1:1,14; Rm 9:5; Cl 2:9; Hb 1:8) The Holy Spirit is Fully God. (Ac 5:3-4; 1 Cr 3:16).

 
At 6/03/2010 1:54 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

One needs go no farther than the dictionary to know and understand that a being is a person. If there were a distinction then I have no doubt that God would have mentioned it somewhere in the Bible. The whole idea is an absurd notion at best (pink elephants and and yellow fairies notwithstanding).
A biblical doctrine has to exist in the Bible to be a biblical doctrine. The Trinity is neither mentioned or defined in holy writ.
The whole idea that the Son is called "God" and the holy spirit is called "God" in the Bible is a myth and scriptures used as a proof text to create this illusion can be better translated to mean quite the opposite. Trinitarian tampering with the scriptures such as 1 John 5:7, 1 Tim. 3:16, and Acts 20:28 are infamous.
I am not sure why Matt would spend so much time "wondering" how Tertullian quoted Plotinus when I NEVER said Tertullian quoted Plotinus or anyone else for that matter. Plotinus espoused the basic ideas of Plato, who predated Tertullian and it has been amptly demonstated by me, even in this blog, that trinitarian ideas existed in all the ancient nations and mystery religions of old.
Plotinus’ own writings also testify to the fact that Plato’s Trinity doctrine came to us from “antiquity.” “Thus Plato knows the order of generation - from the Good, the Intellectual-Principle; from the Intellectual-Principle, the Soul. These teachings are, therefore, no novelties, no inventions of today, but long since stated, if not stressed; our doctrine here is the explanation of an earlier and can show the antiquity of these opinions on the testimony of Plato himself.”
Unfortunately, for Christian Trinitarians, historians have traced the true source of their doctrine not to Jerusalem, but to Alexandria, as we read in Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled: “...it was in Alexandria (Egypt), let it be remembered, that they laid the first foundations of the purely Platonic Trinitarian doctrine. It became the Plato-Philonean doctrine later, and such as we find it now. Plato considered the divine nature under a three-fold modification of the First Cause, the reason Logos, and the soul or spirit of the universe. ‘The three archial or original principles,’ says Gibbon, ‘were represented in the Platonic system as three gods, united with each other by a mysterious and ineffable (indescribable) generation.’ ”

It should be no surprise to anyone that Tertullian "hated" Platonic Philosophy even while retaining some of its ideas in his thinking. Tertullian seems to embody an evoloving trinitarianism but is not quite there yet. As was mentioned earlier by myself, he believed that there was a time that the Son did NOT exist and that, by today's standards Tertullian would be regarded more as an Arian than a Trinitarian.
“The triumph of the church,” says MacMullen, “was one not of obliteration (of paganism) but of widening embrace and assimilation.” (Ramsey MacMullen, Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries, pg. 159)
James Hastings in his Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics confesses the following: “At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian. It was not so in the Apostolic and Sub-Apostolic Ages, nor was it so even in the age of the Christian Apologists.”
History is replete with the fact that the early church was not Trinitarian. Martin A. Larson, in his book The Story of Christian Origins, tells us that the recorded writings of early Christians were “Arian”: “An examination of the works of Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Hippolytus, Novatian, and Dionysius of Alexandria, all written between 170 and 250 AD, reveals that their concept of Christ was substantially Arian: that is, the same as expressed in Colossians 1:15, ‘the image of God, the firstborn of every creature.’ ”
The Encyclopedia Britanica tells us that “...believers in God as a single person - unitarian Christians - were ‘at the beginning of the third century still forming a majority.”

 
At 6/03/2010 2:17 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

The Catholic Encyclopedia tells even more: “...even Tertullian seems to think that God is neither Son nor, in the strictly personal sense, Father until ‘after’ the coming forth of the Word with a view to creation. Side remarks in his treatise against Praxeas show more conclusively still that a concept of truly eternal generation or nativity was not yet current.” Larson tells even more about Tertullian’s supposed “Trinitarianism”: “Tertullian was the first spokesman for the Church who wrestled consciously and elaborately with the Trinitarian problem. In his zeal to combat Prazean modalism, he was intent primarily on establishing the separation of the divine persons. In so doing, he denied not only their equality, but also their co-eternity. ...he continues that the Son derives from the Father, who 'is distinct from the Son,' and 'greater than the Son.' And in another passage we read: ‘God... has not always been Father... for He could not have been Father previous to the Son.’ ” (Larson, The Story of Christian Origins, pg. 565)

 
At 6/03/2010 2:17 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

When we open the Catholic Encyclopedia to the word “Trinity” we read the following admission to the fact that, not only was the doctrine of the Trinity not found in the Bible, but it was not a doctrine of the church until the fourth century: “It is difficult, in the second half of the 20th century, to offer a clear, objective, and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and theological elaboration of the mystery of the Trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, presents a somewhat unsteady silhouette. Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma ‘one God in three Persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought. ...the (Trinitarian) formula itself does not reflect the immediate consciousness of the period or origins; it was the product of three centuries of doctrinal development. ...From what has been seen thus far, the impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th century invention. In a sense this is true... The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. ...New Testament exegesis is now accepted as having shown that not only the verbal idiom but even the patterns of thought characteristic of the patristic and conciliar development would have been quite foreign to the mind and culture of the New Testament writers.”

 
At 6/03/2010 2:18 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

In the Encyclopedia Britanica we read: “...it is something of an anachronism to speak of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity...” The Catholic Church admits that the early church did not adhere to the idea of a triune God, as Jesuit Gerald O'Collins put it in the magazine U.S. Catholic: “Of course it took some centuries before the full and explicit church teaching on the Trinity developed. The New Testament does not state the doctrine of 'three persons in one nature.”
Will Durant’s comment about the Church’s acceptance of Plotinus, the pagan Neoplatonist, is as follows: “Christianity accepted nearly every line of him.” ( Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Caesar and Christ, pg. 607-611 ) Eerdman, the Christian historian, concurs: “Platonic, and later Neoplatonic, concepts were the prevailing philosophical tradition throughout the pagan world. And when Christianity converted Europe, a syncretic spirit and attitude among the clergy and laity resulted in deliberate attempts by Christian missionaries to ‘baptize’ features of pagan religions and thus overcome them by absorbing them into Christianity.” (Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity, pg. 88 )
Dr. Shedd agrees that Platonism influenced Christianity: “In the ...great controversy of this period, - that respecting the Trinity; - those theologians who exerted the most influence in forming, and establishing the final creed-statement, had been disciplined by the Greek intellectual methods. Athanasius, Basil, and the two Gregories, were themselves of Greek extraction, and their highly metaphysical intellects had been trained in Grecian schools. Athanasius, ...and Basil, Gregory Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzen, were thoroughly versed in classical antiquity. Such a discipline as this would naturally introduce these leading minds of the 4th century, to the philosophy of Plato, whose influence was felt through the whole Hellenic culture of the period.” (William G. T. Shedd, D. D., A History of Christian Doctrine, pg. 70, 71 New York: Charles Scribner, 1864)
Matt believes there are three persons who are all God. Therefore, even though Matt claims to believe in one God, he contradicts himself, as do all Trinitarians by actually claiming three gods after the manner of his Pagan cousins the Neoplatonists. If there are three persons who are God then there are three gods. Anything less than that pure logic is a contradiction and is unworthy of belief by any true Christian who holds to the original intents of the Biblical authors. God is not the author of confusion! 1 Cor. 14:33

 
At 6/03/2010 11:41 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
You said that Trinitarianism has its roots in neo-Platonism (4/18/2008) thus Tertullian must have been a neo-Platonist. Furthermore you say I don't mind when Trinitarians plagiarize Plotinus. Yet how could someone who died before either Plotinus or Ammonius Saccas began teaching plagiarize them, much less be influence by them. This is just silly. If you mean to expand your definition of neo-Platonism to anything that resembles Platonic thought at all then you must throw any non-pantheistic religion (believing in a Creator/creation distinction) in with it, however this would simply lead to neo-Aristotelian thought defined in the same broadness.

Furthermore you are attacking texts I did not cite, this makes me believe you are actually using secondary sources to defend your position. I have not brought up 1 John 5:7, 1 Tim. 3:16, nor Acts 20:28, please stick to dealing with the texts I brought up, my arguments, or the subject of the original post, not someone else's arguments and texts.

 
At 6/03/2010 11:44 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Here now we have the elements of the dogma of the Trinity, that is, the doctrine of the living, only true God, Father, Son, and Spirit, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things. This dogma has a peculiar, comprehensive, and definitive import in the Christian system, as a brief summary of all the truths and blessings of revealed religion. Hence the baptismal formula (Matt. 28:19), which forms the basis of all the ancient creeds, is trinitarian; as is the apostolic benediction also (2 Cor. 13:14). This doctrine meets us in the Scriptures, however, not so much in direct statements and single expressions, of which the two just mentioned are the clearest, as in great living facts; in the history of a threefold revelation of the living God in the creation and government, the reconciliation and redemption, and the sanctification and consummation of the world—a history continued in the experience of Christendom. In the article of the Trinity the Christian conception of God completely defines itself, in distinction alike from the abstract monotheism of the Jewish religion, and from the polytheism and dualism of the heathen. It has accordingly been looked upon in all ages as the sacred symbol and the fundamental doctrine of the Christian church, with the denial of which the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and the divine character of the work of redemption and sanctification, fall to the ground.

On this scriptural basis and the Christian consciousness of a threefold relation we sustain to God as our Maker, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, the church dogma of the Trinity arose; and it directly or indirectly ruled even the ante-Nicene theology though it did not attain its fixed definition till in the Nicene age. It is primarily of a practical religious nature, and speculative only in a secondary sense. It arose not from the field of metaphysics, but from that of experience and worship; and not as an abstract, isolated dogma, but in inseparable connection with the study of Christ and of the Holy Spirit; especially in connection with Christology, since all theology proceeds from "God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." Under the condition of monotheism, this doctrine followed of necessity from the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. The unity of God was already immovably fixed by the Old Testament as a fundamental article of revealed religion in opposition to all forms of idolatry. But the New Testament and the Christian consciousness as firmly demanded faith in the divinity of the Son, who effected redemption, and of the Holy Spirit, who founded the church and dwells in believers; and these apparently contradictory interests could be reconciled only in the form of the Trinity; that is, by distinguishing in the one and indivisible essence of God three hypostases or persons; at the same time allowing for the insufficiency of all human conceptions and words to describe such an unfathomable mystery.

...Continued...

 
At 6/03/2010 11:45 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

The Socinian and rationalistic opinion, that the church doctrine of the Trinity sprang from Platonism and Neo-Platonism is therefore radically false. The Indian Trimurti, altogether pantheistic in spirit, is still further from the Christian Trinity. Only thus much is true, that the Hellenic philosophy operated from without, as a stimulating force, upon the form of the whole patristic theology, the doctrines of the Logos and the Trinity among the rest; and that the deeper minds of heathen antiquity showed a presentiment of a threefold distinction in the divine essence: but only a remote and vague presentiment which, like all the deeper instincts of the heathen mind, serves to strengthen the Christian truth. Far clearer and more fruitful suggestions presented themselves in the Old Testament, particularly in the doctrines of the Messiah, of the Spirit, of the Word, and of the Wisdom of God, and even in the system of symbolical numbers, which rests on the sacredness of the numbers three (God), four (the world), seven and twelve (the union of God and the world, hence the covenant numbers. But the mystery of the Trinity could be fully revealed only in the New Testament after the completion of the work of redemption and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The historical manifestation of the Trinity is the condition of the knowledge of the Trinity.Again, it was primarily the Œconomic or transitive trinity, which the church had in mind; that is, the trinity of the revelation of God in the threefold work of creation, redemption, and sanctification; the trinity presented in the apostolic writings as a living fact. But from this, in agreement with both reason and Scripture, the immanent or ontologic trinity was inferred; that is, an eternal distinction in the essence of God itself, which reflects itself in his revelation, and can be understood only so far as it manifests itself in his works and words. The divine nature thus came to be conceived, not as an abstract, blank unity, but as an infinite fulness of life; and the Christian idea of God (as John of Damascus has remarked) in this respect combined Jewish monotheism with the truth which lay at the bottom of even the heathen polytheism, though distorted and defaced there beyond recognition.

Then for the more definite illustration of this trinity of essence, speculative church teachers of subsequent times appealed to all sorts of analogies in nature, particularly in the sphere of the finite mind, which was made after the image of the divine, and thus to a certain extent authorizes such a parallel. They found a sort of triad in the universal law of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; in the elements of the syllogism; in the three persons of grammar; in the combination of body, soul, and spirit in man; in the three leading faculties of the soul; in the nature of intelligence and knowledge as involving a union of the thinking subject and the thought object; and in the nature of love, as likewise a union between the loving and the loved.These speculations began with Origen and Tertullian; they were pursued by Athanasius and Augustin; by the scholastics and mystics of the Middle Ages; by Melanchthon, and the speculative Protestant divines down to Schleiermacher, Rothe and Dorner, as well as by philosophers from Böhme to Hegel; and they are not yet exhausted, nor will be till we reach the beatific vision. For the holy Trinity, though the most evident, is yet the deepest of mysteries, and can be adequately explained by no analogies from finite and earthly things.

...Continued...

 
At 6/03/2010 11:45 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...


As the doctrines of the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit were but imperfectly developed in logical precision in the ante-Nicene period, the doctrine of the Trinity, founded on them, cannot be expected to be more clear. We find it first in the most simple biblical and practical shape in all the creeds of the first three centuries: which, like the Apostles’ and the Nicene, are based on the baptismal formula, and hence arranged in trinitarian order. Then it appears in the trinitarian doxologies used in the church from the first; such as occur even in the epistle of the church at Smyrna on the martyrdom of Polycarp.Clement of Rome calls "God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit" the object of "the faith and hope of the elect."The sentiment, that we rise through the Holy Spirit to the Son, through the Son to the Father, belongs likewise to the age of the immediate disciples of the apostles.Justin Martyr repeatedly places Father, Son, and Spirit together as objects of divine worship among the Christians (though not as being altogether equal in dignity), and imputes to Plato a presentiment of the doctrine of the Trinity. Athenagoras confesses his faith in Father, Son, and Spirit, who are one as to power (κατὰ δύναμιν), but whom he distinguishes as to order or dignity (τάξις) in subordinatian style. Theophilus of Antioch (180) is the first to denote the relation of the three divine personsby the term Triad.

Origen conceives the Trinity as three concentric circles, of which each succeeding one circumscribes a smaller area. God the Father acts upon all created being; the Logos only upon the rational creation; the Holy Ghost only upon the saints in the church. But the sanctifying work of the Spirit leads back to the Son, and the Son to the Father, who is consequently the ground and end of all being, and stands highest in dignity as the compass of his operation is the largest.

Irenaeus goes no further than the baptismal formula and the trinity of revelation; proceeding on the hypothesis of three successive stages in the development of the kingdom of God on earth, and of a progressive communication of God to the world. He also represents the relation of the persons according to Eph. 4:6; the Father as above all, and the head of Christ; the Son as through all, and the head of the church; the Spirit as in all, and the fountain of the water of life.Of a supramundane trinity of essence he betrays but faint indications.

Tertullian advances a step. He supposes a distinction in God himself; and on the principle that the created image affords a key to the uncreated original, he illustrates the distinction in the divine nature by the analogy of human thought; the necessity of a self-projection, or of making one’s self objective in word, for which he borrows from the Valentinians the term προβολή, or prolatio rei alterius ex altera,but without connecting with it the sensuous emanation theory of the Gnostics. Otherwise he stands, as already observed, on subordinatian ground, if his comparisons of the trinitarian relation to that of root, stem, and fruit; or fountain, flow, and brook; or sun, ray, and raypoint, be dogmatically pressed.Yet he directly asserts also the essential unity of the three persons.

Tertullian was followed by the schismatic but orthodox Novatian, the author of a special treatise De Trinitate, drawn from the Creed, and fortified with Scripture proofs against the two classes of Monarchians.

...Continued...

 
At 6/03/2010 11:46 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

The Roman bishop Dionysius (A. D. 262), a Greek by birth,stood nearest the Nicene doctrine. He maintained distinctly, in the controversy with Dionysius of Alexandria, at once the unity of essence and the real personal distinction of the three members of the divine triad, and avoided tritheism, Sabellianism, and subordinatianism with the instinct of orthodoxy, and also with the art of anathematizing already familiar to the popes. His view has come down to us in a fragment in Athanasius, where it is said: "Then I must declare against those who annihilate the most sacred doctrine of the church by dividing and dissolving the unity of God into three powers, separate hypostases, and three deities. This notion [some tritheistic view, not further known to us] is just the opposite of the opinion of Sabellius. For while the latter would introduce the impious doctrine, that the Son is the same as the Father, and the converse, the former teach in some sense three Gods, by dividing the sacred unity into three fully separate hypostases. But the divine Logos must be inseparably united with the God of all, and in God also the Holy Ghost must dwell so that the divine triad must be comprehended in one, viz. the all-ruling God, as in a head."Then Dionysius condemns the doctrine, that the Son is a creature, as "the height of blasphemy," and concludes: "The divine adorable unity must not be thus cut up into three deities; no more may the transcendant dignity and greatness of the Lord be lowered by saying, the Son is created; but we must believe in God the almighty Father, and in Jesus Christ his Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and must consider the Logos inseparably united with the God of all; for he says, ’I and my Father are one’; and ’I am in the Father and the Father in me.’ In this way are both the divine triad and the sacred doctrine of the unity of the Godhead preserved inviolate." - Phillip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 100-325., §149.

Now we could continue to quote scholars back and forth or you could actually deal with the argumentation presented as well as the Biblical evidences for the Trinity presented. At the very least you could show from scripture that being and person are identical.

 
At 6/04/2010 7:46 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt's brilliant deduction that I somehow think that Tertullian quoted Plotinus is sheer nonsense. First of all Tertullian was NOT even a Trinitarian , as I have already shown. Secondly, Tertullian, even if he were a trinitarian, certainly clay county ideas were prevelant in his day.

 
At 6/05/2010 5:26 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry thinks he has proven that Tertullian was not a Trinitarian. Let us examine that claim. He has quoted a second hand source quoting Tertullian as saying, ‘There was a time when there was neither sin to make God a judge, nor a son to make God a Father’; This quote is not from Tertullian but a quote from an older edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia. The New Catholic Encyclopedia has reworded the quote, yet here is the full context. Tertullian has the true formula for the Holy Trinity, tres Personae, una Substantia. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are numerically distinct, and each is God; they are of one substance, one state, and one power. So far the doctrine is accurately Nicene. But by the side of this appears the Greek view which was one day to develop into Arianism: that the unity is to be sought not in the Essence but in the origin of the Persons. He says that from all eternity there was reason (ratio) in God, and in reason the Word (Sermo), not distinct from God, but in vulva cordis. For the purpose of creation the Word received a perfect birth as Son. There was a time when there was no Son and no sin, when God was neither Father nor Judge. In his Christology Tertullian has had no Greek influence, and is purely Roman. Like most Latin Fathers he speaks not of two Natures but of two Substances in one Person, united without confusion, and distinct in their operations. Thus he condemns by anticipation the Nestorian, Monophysite, and Monothelite heresies. Source - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14520c.htm
The context seems to indicate that while Tertullian did believe in the Eternal Trinity he did not believe in the Eternal Sonship of Christ, rather that the Second Person of the Trinity became the Son of God at the creation of the world, just as God became a Judge after sin entered the world.

 
At 6/05/2010 5:26 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

The second quote is this:‘For the Father is the whole substance, whereas the Son is something derived from it’ This quote is taken from Against Praxeas 9. The quote in context says: "Now, observe, my assertion is that the Father is one, and the Son one, and the Spirit one, and that They are distinct from Each Other. This statement is taken in a wrong sense by every uneducated as well as every perversely disposed person, as if it predicated a diversity, in such a sense as to imply a separation among the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit. I am, moreover, obliged to say this, when (extolling the Monarchy at the expense of the Economy) they contend for the identity of the Father and Son and Spirit, that it is not by way of diversity that the Son differs from the Father, but by distribution: it is not by division that He is different, but by distinction; because the Father is not the same as the Son, since they differ one from the other in the mode of their being.For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole,as He Himself acknowledges: “My Father is greater than I.” In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being “a little lower than the angels.” Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son, inasmuch as He who begets is one, and He who is begotten is another; He, too, who sends is one, and He who is sent is another; and He, again, who makes is one, and He through whom the thing is made is another." Phillip Schaff writes the following on the subject: "“In his representation of the distinction (of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity), Tertullian sometimes uses expressions which in aftertimes, when controversy had introduced greater precision of language, were studiously avoided by the orthodox. Thus he calls the Father the whole substance, the Son a derivation from or portion of the whole.” (Bp. Kaye, On Tertullian, p. 505). After Arius, the language of theology received greater precision; but as it is, there is no doubt of the orthodoxy of Tertullian’s doctrine, since he so firmly and ably teaches the Son’s consubstantiality with the Father—equal to Him and inseparable from him. [In other words, Tertullian could not employ a technical phraseology afterwards adopted to give precision to the same orthodox ideas.] Source - http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.ix.ix.html
What Schaff is saying is true of all doctrine, later generations use more precise language than earlier ones to clarify the position against the onslaught of heresy.

 
At 6/05/2010 5:26 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Since we have vindicated Tertullian we must move to the second assertion by Larry. Larry wrote: Secondly, Tertullian, even if he were a trinitarian, certainly clay county ideas were prevelant in his day. I am unsure what the term clay county ideas means, but the context makes me believe that Larry is trying to suggest that the ideas of the Trinity were about in every day culture at Carthage. I agree and I disagree. I agree in that there were Christians in Carthage, many of whom assumed the trinity though they were not explicit and precise in their writing of it. I disagree that Philosophically there was a great Trinatarian or triad air in Carthage. The two main philosophies of the time were Stoicism and Epicureanism. Neither have a triad based system. Furthermore it seems that Plotinus' teacher Ammonius Saccas was influenced by Christianity as his parents seem to have been Christians. If this were the case then it is not strange that Plotinus would adopt what he liked about Christianity and mix it with his discoveries of Persian and Indian philosophies, which contain polytheistic triads.

 
At 6/05/2010 11:49 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
I apologize to you and the blog for my typos from my last addition. I was on my cell phone and, nuff said. Back to business: to all the readers of this blog:
Platonism was around long before either Tertullian or Saccus and anyone who is foolish enough to think that the Church was Trinitarian before Nicaea or that Tertullian was a Trinitarian is just, well... decieved. Even Plato admits his ideas were not invented by himself but were received from ancient sources (Babylon). From my other quotes, it is quite obvious that Neo-Platonism did play a major role in influencing the church's development of the Trinity, but that has nothing to do with Tertullian or Saccus. They and their contemporaries were Platonist; however, it was not termed Neo-Platonism until later, due mainly to Plotinus.
I hope you have all that straight now. I will not spend the time or effort necessary to answer Matt on all his addtions to this blog, as i would, for the most part, be repeating myself. Let the readers decide and let the holy spirit lead us into all truth as God makes revelation available to each of us. Such post biblical historical accounts are simply evidence toward one idea or another, but, when it comes down to it, the answers are all in the Bible itself.
I would like to ask Matt though, if he doesn't mind too much:
Is it necessary for me to believe that Jesus Christ is GOD to be spared an eternity in HELL??!! Or will I spend eternity in the pits of anguish because I see the Bible meanings differently than Trinitarians do?

 
At 6/05/2010 12:59 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry, while I agree that Platonic thought did exist at the time of everyone after Plato and that the term Neoplatonism was coined in the 18th century it is used to describe a school of thought surrounding Plotinus and his followers. Platonic thought did not have a triad or trinity in it and as such could not have had an influence on Christianity in that form until after Plotinus. To say that Tertullian was influenced by neoplatonism is quite silly and historically inaccurate.  Furthermore while platonic thought did exist at the time of christ to tertullian it was not an influencial school of thought until revived by Plotinus in the new (neo) form. Stoicism and epicureanism were the most popular philosophies at the time. These would be the Greek philosophies that influenced Tertullian if he were influenced, certainly not Platonism in any form as he regarded it as the mother of all heresies.

As to your last question: Jesus answered that question himself in John 5:19-24 specifically verse 23. Cf. 1 John 2:23

 
At 6/05/2010 4:48 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

So, Matt also interprets the Bible to send all who disagree with the trinitarian doctrine to hell. Predictable. Most trinitarians do the same. Those of us who believe the truth should pray for these poor misguided souls.

 
At 6/06/2010 12:48 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

It takes a very high degree of ignorance to make a statement like: "Platonic thought did not have a triad or trinity in it and as such could not have had an influence on Christianity in that form until after Plotinus."
At the risk of being redundant i will quote the following:
“Plato never claimed to be the inventor of all that he wrote, but gave credit for it to Pythagoras, who, in his turn, pointed to the remote East (read Babylon) as the source whence he derived his information and philosophy. Colebrooke shows that Plato confesses it in his epistles and says that he has taken his teachings from ancient and sacred doctrines!” (H. B. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, Vol 2, pg. 39, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, Cal.)
James Bonwick, in his book Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, tells us the following regarding the pagan Greek philosophers: “The Greek writers, full of the old philosophy and Platonic Trinity, perhaps saw more than the Egyptians intended, or they mystified the notion. Damascius talks of Eicton, Emeph or Cneph, and Ptha, and that, ‘according to the Egyptians there is one principle of all things praised under the name of the Unknown Darkness, and this thrice repeated.’ Jamblichus notifies ‘Ammon the generator, Ptha the perfector, and Osiris the producer of good.’ One quotes an inscription: ‘One Gait, one Athor, and one Akori; Hail, Father of the world! Hail, triformous God!’ Proclus says, ‘The demiurgical number does not begin from a trinity, but from a monad.’ Plutarch recognizes their Trinity as a right-angled triangle; of which Osiris is the perpendicular, Isis is the base or receptacle, and Horus is the hypotenuse. But they are all imbued with the Trinity idea of Plato: Agathos, Logos, and Psyche; the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.”
Next, Matt shows an incredible lack of understanding when he says:
"To say that Tertullian was influenced by neoplatonism is quite silly and historically inaccurate."
After it has been explained two times already that no one ever said that Tertullian was influenced by Neoplatonism, Matt goes back to claiming that someone did. I find it amazing that an educated person would continue such an egregious error. The very fact that Plotinus' brand of Platonism was called "Neo" (New) should lead anyone to the conclusion that Platonism existed before Plotinus. The influence of Platonism and NeoPlatonism on the Church is well documented and i see no reason to repeat proofs of this fact over and over. It is far too easy for anyone to look it up themselves.
Not that this makes much difference at this point, but the influence of Platonism on Tertullian's thought life is all too well documented, in so much that, it takes a peculiar kind of blindness to miss it or to not acknowledge it:
"Prior to his conversion at age of 40, Tertullian received a Greco-Roman education in Rome.
...Without hesitation, Tertullian referred directly to Plato in his writings." http://www.helltruth.com/history/ancient-beliefs.aspx
True enough Tertullian saw the danger of mixing Platonism with Christianity, but he himself could not escape the tendency which he, at times, preached against.

 
At 6/06/2010 12:50 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

A. E. Taylor, in his book Platonism and Its Influence, tells of the men who corrupted the Christian church with the Neoplatonic Trinity: “Meanwhile, before the time of Proclus (Greek philosopher, 410 - 485) the Christian Church had become the real heir of Platonic philosophy. ...The lengths to which Origen went, in the next generation, in reading the eschatology of Plato’s myths into Christianity, are notorious. His theories were finally repudiated by the Church, but the tendency of which they are the outcome was continued in the fourth century by the Cappadocian divines, notably by St. Gregory of Nyssa, from whom the Platonic influence passed to the West through St. Ambrose of Milan, still within the fourth century. ...It was by a different route that Platonism found its way into the main current of Western orthodoxy. This is principally the work of two great men, St. Augustine and Boethius. Augustine, the greatest figure of the Western Church and the author of what is most distinctive in its theology, had been deeply influenced, before his conversion, by the study of Plotinus in a Latin version. In a famous passage of his Confessions, he says that the only fundamental truth that he had not found in the ‘Platonists’ was the doctrine of the Incarnation. Boethius furnished the West with its knowledge of logical doctrine by his expositions of Porphyry and Aristotle, and with its standard formula of orthodoxy by his tracts on the doctrines of the Trinity and the Person of Christ. ...A secondary potent source of Platonism in mediaeval thought and literature are the writings of the so-called ‘Dionysius the Areopagite,’ which laid the foundations of mediaeval angelology and the mediaeval theory of mysticism. These works are, in fact, only a superficially Christianized version of Proclus (the Neoplatonist), but were readily accepted in the Dark Ages as the authentic compositions of an immediate disciple of St. Paul, and supposed to embody a revelation made to the Apostle when he was ‘caught up to heaven.’ The channels through which Platonism passed into the thought of the Western Church are in the main, these three, Augustine, Boethius, Dionysius, and the Plato who thus influenced theology is primarily Plato seen through the medium of Plotinus.” . E. Taylor, Platonism and Its Influence, Our Debt to Greece and Rome, pg. 17 - 20. Cooper Square Publishers, Inc. New York, 1963

 
At 6/06/2010 5:49 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
When I wrote "Platonic thought did not have a triad or trinity in it and as such could not have had an influence on Christianity in that form until after Plotinus." I was speaking specifically on the question of God since the topic is as such. Plato's Demiurge was not a Triad or Trinity. Aristotle's unmoved mover was not a Triad or Trinity. These two philosophical conceptions of God share fare more with Larry's monolithic view than my Trinitarian one. Perhaps he is willing to admit his god is a mix between Plato's and Aristotle's but I doubt it. Furthermore he goes on to quote Proclus who is a Greek Philosopher from the Fifth Century AD which is after the Council of Nicaea takes place! This man was supposed to have influenced the Christian doctrine of the Trinity?!He also holds that Iamblichus (Jamblichus) influenced
Christianity but Iamblichus was a contemporary of Plotinus and would have been unable to influence Tertullian or any other Trinitarian prior to his birth in 245.

Next Larry tries to show that Tertullian was sympothetic to Plato and influenced by him, even quoting him in some places. I agree Tertullian did quote Plato in section 3 of his work On the Resurrection. The title of that chapter is called "Some Truths Held Even by the Heathen. They Were, However, More Often Wrong Both in Religious Opinions and in Moral Practice. The Heathen Not to Be Followed in Their Ignorance of the Christian Mystery. The Heretics Perversely Prone to Follow Them." and the quote in context is: For some things are known even by nature: the immortality of the soul, for instance, is held by many; the knowledge of our God is possessed by all. I may use, therefore, the opinion of a Plato, when he declares, “Every soul is immortal.” I may use also the conscience of a nation, when it attests the God of gods. What Tertullian is showing here is that even people who are wrong don't necessarily get everything wrong. Both Plato and the Bible attest to the immortality of the soul. Yet to follow Plato instead of the Bible in this matter leads to reincarnation rather than Rebirth and resurrection from the dead. Furthermore Tertullian goes on to say: For philosophy is the material of the world’s wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and dispensation of God. Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy… What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has the Academy to do with the Church? What have heretics to do with Christians? Our instruction comes from the porch of Solomon, who had himself taught that the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart. Away with all attempts to produce a Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic Christianity! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after receiving the gospel! When we believe, we desire no further belief. For this is our first article of faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides. - Heretics, 7. Very strange words coming from a man who mixed Plato and Christ...

The A.E. Taylor quote which Larry provided is rather interesting. It mentions that certain Platonic concepts were tried to be brought into the eastern church by Origen, yet never once mentions the Trinity, it mentions Eschatology. Furthermore it mentions that while the theories took some root in the east it was not until Augustine and Boethius that Platonism "found its way into the main current of Western orthodoxy." I am sure you know that both of these men lived after the Trinitarian debates of the Fourth Century; and while it is true that Augustine and Boethius supported the orthodox position on the Trinity against Arianism, neither played a role in the formulation of the Trinity as expressed at Nicaea. So they really have little to do with the conversation at hand.

 
At 6/06/2010 10:23 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I think enough has been said By matt and myself To allow the readers of this blog To make their own investigation About what has been said So that they may come to their own conclusions. May the holy spirit lead us into all truth. God bless you all there is truth seekers. Blessed be the god and father of our lord jesus christ.

 
At 6/06/2010 11:22 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Indeed. May God grant wisdom to anyone searching the scriptures that they might take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Honor the Son as you honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

 
At 6/10/2010 4:37 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
I know you are quoting a scripture, but, tell me, why do Trinitarians always want to bring up "wrath" and "anger"??? Couldn't we just leave it with the idea that we are all seeking the gospel truth and that some see it differently? The Pharisees were convinced they were right too. That did not make them right. It is all too often true that those who are most convinced of their own dogma are, at the same time, the most wrong!
Chill my brother, lest we start burning each other at the stake; as in the days of yore!

 
At 6/10/2010 4:57 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
We bring up the wrath and anger of God because we live in a world where sin is not seen as exceedingly sinful. The Gospel isn't about good people trying to be better, it's about God saving bad people. Also as I am sure you know, Christ spoke of the wrath to come more than any other person in the scriptures. Furthermore let's not pretend that you are not dogmatic about your Arianism, if you weren't you would have no reason to post over 40 comments on this blog.
Also we are not all seeking the gospel truth, rather we are all suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, and continue in this unless God intervenes. (Romans 1:18ff cf. Romans 8:7-8) As for the whole stake thing, I know vengeance belongs to the Lord and I am simply hoping to help those seeking to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. Or to paraphrase Jesus loving the Lord with all your mind.

 
At 6/10/2010 5:14 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
Neither you nor any Trinitarian is Jesus. We know that what he said was true. We know that he had the truth. What you and i say about the words of Jesus is simply our opinion about what he meant. We are all aware of the judgement side of the gospel, however, you have no right to threaten others with "anger" and "wrath" just because they do not agree with your brand of Christianity and your personal opinions. You are NOT the Lord! And you have no authority to do so! No one denies that the gospel is to save sinners. Nor do we need reminding that we live in a sinful world.
As far as believing what we write, we both do and anything i say about those who have a belief applies equally to me. I do deny being dogmatic about my beliefs due to the fact that i consider myself a truth seeker (as opposed to an "I have already found all the truther"). I always acknowledge that i could be wrong, but I do not shy away from presenting evidence for my opinions as they stand today. I have yet to meet a Trinitarian who can say the same. They cannot admit that they might be wrong because to them that means they will spend eternity in HELL! I would agree that Trinitarians are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, but that certainly is not my aim.

 
At 6/10/2010 5:49 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
The hypocrisy of your last post is astounding, you cry out against me speaking of wrath and anger saying it is "simply our opinion" and "i could be wrong"; then go on to state that you know "Trinitarians are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness". Do you know that or is that also simply your opinion? By linking the Trinity to this statement you have removed the possibility that you could be wrong on this doctrine and have submitted that you presupposed that God is monolithic and as such cannot be Triune. Basically this statement shows that you believe "I have already found all the truther" regarding this doctrine. Thus what you give in the opening paragraph you take away in the latter. A bait and switch from one well versed in postmodernity. To put it another way, "we only have our opinions but I know your opinion is wrong." Is it; or is that just your opinion? Now it is fine if you wish to hold to this form of radical skepticism but if you do you ought to be consistently skeptical.

 
At 6/11/2010 2:38 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

It seems Matt's aggressive Trinitarian claws are coming out. Right on time and just as expected.
No, Matt, anything and everything you and i say or write is either a relection of our opinion or something which supposedly supports our opinion. Let me just say that, in my opinion, you are wrong on every level and on everything you say. I suppose if anyone reads this blog, they can decide for themselves. Certainly, neither of us can be suffiently represented in the forum, but, be that as it may, we blog on. Matt is the one who claimed that we all, including himself "suppress the truth in unrighteousness." He said it himself of himself. When I refused to include that little phrase in my self description, then Matt accused me of "hypocrisy". Let, me just say, that (in my opinion) there is no greater "hypocrisy" than Trinitarianism and that anyone who espouses and defends such a doctrine has drifted hopelessly away from the anchor of truth (which is Jesus Christ)!!!

 
At 6/11/2010 2:43 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Top Ten Reasons to Not Believe in the Trinity


I. The Jews did not have or believe in a Trinity God. The concept was unknown to the prophets and the religion of Judaism from which Christianity was derived.

II. The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, neither is any word or phrase having the same meaning as “Trinity” found in the Bible.

III. The idea of the Trinity is not in the Bible. The doctrine of the Trinity is never defined, discussed, or defended in Holy Scripture.

IV. The doctrine of the Trinity cannot be defined using only the
words found in the Bible. Unbiblical terms and language,
often borrowed from paganism, must be utilized at every turn.

V. The doctrine of the Trinity actually contradicts scripture at almost every turn. Eg.: a. “Greater than” VS “Equal to”
b. “created” VS “not created”, Etc…

VI. The doctrine of the Trinity mirrors heathen doctrines and pagan philosophy and is, in fact, a syncretism acquired by Christianity from those less than pure sources.

VII. The doctrine of the Trinity was not taught during Biblical
times nor in the post apostolic age.

VIII. The doctrine of the Trinity, in fact, was imposed on the Church by civil government.

IX. As Trinitarians admit, the doctrine is illogical, unreasonable, self-contradictory, and makes no sense what so ever.

X. The doctrine of the Trinity does not promote holiness, but rather makes excuses and rationalizations for continuing in a sinful life and, in fact, excites and promotes the lower nature of mankind.

Let the few readers of this blog decide from themselves and investigate the above. they will find each point valid and true.

 
At 6/11/2010 7:29 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
You seem to have missed what I said when I wrote that all men suppress the truth there was an and statement, all men suppress the truth and continue to do this unless God intervenes. Furthermore I was simply pointing out the inconsistency or hypocrisy in your two statements saying I could be wrong, but I know you're wrong. If you could be wrong, then you cannot know that I am wrong. That is where your hypocrisy is.
Larry I must ask, am I wrong in your opinion even when I am quoting you? If not then everything I write cannot be completely wrong. Let's not use words like everything unless we really mean them.

 
At 6/11/2010 7:29 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry wrote:
I. The Jews did not have or believe in a Trinity God. The concept was unknown to the prophets and the religion of Judaism from which Christianity was derived.
By that logic the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah therefore we ought to reject that Jesus is the Messiah. Furthermore the Jewish scriptures do have Shadows of the Trinity within them. Isaiah 63:7-14
Larry wrote:

II. The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, neither is any word or phrase having the same meaning as “Trinity” found in the Bible.

By this logic, the word Theology (θεολογία) is not in the bible so we ought not do theology, never mind that the concept is found throughout.

Larry wrote:
III. The idea of the Trinity is not in the Bible. The doctrine of the Trinity is never defined, discussed, or defended in Holy Scripture.
This is a bit of rhetoric, while there is never a systematic definition of the doctrine of the Trinity in the bible, that does not mean that the concept is implicitly stated or understood within scripture.
Larry wrote:
IV. The doctrine of the Trinity cannot be defined using only the
words found in the Bible. Unbiblical terms and language,
often borrowed from paganism, must be utilized at every turn.

I believe Larry is trying to say that one cannot simply string a series of verses together to define the Trinity. I would argue that you could. Also I would argue that I could provide a definition using only words found in scripture, but I doubt he would accept such a definition.

Larry wrote:
V. The doctrine of the Trinity actually contradicts scripture at almost every turn. Eg.: a. “Greater than” VS “Equal to”
b. “created” VS “not created”, Etc…

Larry here seems to have a misunderstanding about the Incarnation of Christ. Of course Jesus' physical body was created, "The Word became Flesh and made His dwelling among us." Of course the Father was Greater than the Son in one sense "But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus".

Larry wrote:
VI. The doctrine of the Trinity mirrors heathen doctrines and pagan philosophy and is, in fact, a syncretism acquired by Christianity from those less than pure sources. This is pure speculation, that aside Larry's Arian doctrine of god shares far more in common with pagan sources than the Trinity. All pagan gods were monolithic.

Larry wrote:
VII. The doctrine of the Trinity was not taught during Biblical
times nor in the post apostolic age.

This again is simply false. Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian all wrote implicitly or explicitly on the Trinity.

Larry wrote:
VIII. The doctrine of the Trinity, in fact, was imposed on the Church by civil government.
Constantine was an Arian. Thanks for coming out.

Larry wrote:
IX. As Trinitarians admit, the doctrine is illogical, unreasonable, self-contradictory, and makes no sense what so ever.
This is a pure assertion, I do not know of any learned Trinitarian who would say that the Trinity is illogical, furthermore I know of many who would say that only by assuming the Trinity can we even make sense of logic, or love, or value, have a personal God not dependent upon His creation, what have you.

Larry wrote:
X. The doctrine of the Trinity does not promote holiness, but rather makes excuses and rationalizations for continuing in a sinful life and, in fact, excites and promotes the lower nature of mankind.
What??? This makes no sense at all every good Trinitarian knows that we are to take "every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ" that in faith we might please the Father as we are lead by the Holy Spirit. Then again this may be a reference to the same "Trinitarians [who] admit, the doctrine [of the Trinity] is illogical, unreasonable, self-contradictory, and makes no sense what so ever."

 
At 6/12/2010 12:22 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
I have already qualified what i say as my opinion and when i say i know you are wrong, well, that is simply my opinion. My opinion that you are wrong does not necessarily make it so. Conversely, your opinion that i am wrong doesn't make it so either.
There is no hypocrisy in that.
Matt asks, "Larry... am i wrong in your opinion even when I am quoting you?" My answer: "Maybe!"
:-)
In regards to my use of the word "everything", i think Matt is getting a little picayunish; and is suppose he would accuse Isaiah of the same use of the word "all" in Isa. 37:36 "when they arose,...behold, they were all dead!" Matt, if they were "all" dead, who "arose?"
Let me clarify, it is my OPINION that EVERYTHING you say in support of Trinitarianism is WRONG. There, i hope that was helpful.
Back to work...

 
At 6/12/2010 12:52 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I will answer each point in the coming days.

Matt, if God were a Trinity, it would only have been natural that He would have let the Jews know He was. He didn't just suddenly become a Trinity when Jesus came to earth! You tell us that YHWH will certainly burn us in HELL eternally if we do not beleive in the Trinity, yet, no Jew in the OT EVER even considered the doctrine! They must all be in HELL! If we who do not accept the Pagan derived doctrine of the Trinity are going to burn in Hell for it, i would think that it would have been a very plain doctrine in, at least, the NT! Yet, not only is it not defined, discussed, or debated, it is not even mentioned! If God is ultimately the author of the Bible, then God did an extremely poor job in saving us from HELL because (according to you) we will burn in hell for not believeing it, yet it is not even mentioned in the entire Bible!

 
At 6/12/2010 12:52 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I.The Jews did not have or believe in a Trinity God. The concept was unknown to the prophets and the religion of Judaism.

Rabbi Singer says, “It is difficult to imagine a notion more hostile to the pure monotheism preached in the Jewish scriptures than the Christian teaching that there is a plurality within the divine nature of God.”

“It is certain that the nation of Israel, to whom ...grand declarations about the Deity were given, knew nothing about a ...Trinity of persons in the Godhead. No fact could be more firmly established, once their national literature is taken as a guide, and if language has any stable meaning.” (Buzzard & Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 14, International Scholars Publications.)

The Jewish Encyclopedia bluntly denies the existence of the Trinity and attributes the Christian church’s possession of it to pagan sources: “The idea of the Trinity is, of course, regarded by the Jews as antagonistic to their Monotheistic faith and is due to the Paganistic tendency of the church.”

“...the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicaean-Costantinopolitan Creed, the Athanasian Creed, to quote only the main ones - are considered by the Jews as being in flat contradiction to this fundamental assertion of Jewish monotheism. Claude Montefiore has put it in the clearest way: ‘As to the nature of God, all Jews maintain that the doctrines of the divinity of Christ, of the Trinity, of the Eternal Son, of the personality of the Holy Spirit, are infractions of the divine Unity and false.” (Anthony F. Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 29, International Scholars Publications. )

Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity tells us: “The first Christians were all Jews. They had come to believe the apostles’ message that Jesus was the promised Savior of God’s people. ‘Jesus is the Messiah (Christ)’ summed up all that the Jews were called upon to accept. The resurrection of Jesus was emphasized more than his death in the earliest preaching to Jews, because it demonstrated that the man executed as a criminal was nevertheless God’s Messiah. ...all early Christian theology was Jewish, since the language and concepts it used were quarried chiefly from the Old Testament.”

Jesuit & Trinitarian Edmund Fortman wrote in his book, The Triune God: “...There is no evidence that any sacred writer even suspected the existence of a Trinity within the Godhead ...Even to see in the Old Testament suggestions or foreshadowings or 'veiled signs' of the trinity of persons, is to go beyond the words and intent of the sacred writers.”

“It is undeniable that the idea of a sole, unique creator God was the most sacred tenet of Israel’s national heritage. Their cardinal belief in One God could not have been quickly or easily dispelled. In fact, belief in the Trinitarian God would have been the most revolutionary and explosive concept ever to have rocked the first-century Church. Yet of that revolution, if it ever occurred, the New Testament gives us not one hint.” (Buzzard and Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 7)

 
At 6/12/2010 12:52 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I.The Jews did not have or believe in a Trinity God. The concept was unknown to the prophets and the religion of Judaism.

Rabbi Singer says, “It is difficult to imagine a notion more hostile to the pure monotheism preached in the Jewish scriptures than the Christian teaching that there is a plurality within the divine nature of God.”

“It is certain that the nation of Israel, to whom ...grand declarations about the Deity were given, knew nothing about a ...Trinity of persons in the Godhead. No fact could be more firmly established, once their national literature is taken as a guide, and if language has any stable meaning.” (Buzzard & Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 14, International Scholars Publications.)

The Jewish Encyclopedia bluntly denies the existence of the Trinity and attributes the Christian church’s possession of it to pagan sources: “The idea of the Trinity is, of course, regarded by the Jews as antagonistic to their Monotheistic faith and is due to the Paganistic tendency of the church.”

“...the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicaean-Costantinopolitan Creed, the Athanasian Creed, to quote only the main ones - are considered by the Jews as being in flat contradiction to this fundamental assertion of Jewish monotheism. Claude Montefiore has put it in the clearest way: ‘As to the nature of God, all Jews maintain that the doctrines of the divinity of Christ, of the Trinity, of the Eternal Son, of the personality of the Holy Spirit, are infractions of the divine Unity and false.” (Anthony F. Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 29, International Scholars Publications. )

Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity tells us: “The first Christians were all Jews. They had come to believe the apostles’ message that Jesus was the promised Savior of God’s people. ‘Jesus is the Messiah (Christ)’ summed up all that the Jews were called upon to accept. The resurrection of Jesus was emphasized more than his death in the earliest preaching to Jews, because it demonstrated that the man executed as a criminal was nevertheless God’s Messiah. ...all early Christian theology was Jewish, since the language and concepts it used were quarried chiefly from the Old Testament.”

Jesuit & Trinitarian Edmund Fortman wrote in his book, The Triune God: “...There is no evidence that any sacred writer even suspected the existence of a Trinity within the Godhead ...Even to see in the Old Testament suggestions or foreshadowings or 'veiled signs' of the trinity of persons, is to go beyond the words and intent of the sacred writers.”

“It is undeniable that the idea of a sole, unique creator God was the most sacred tenet of Israel’s national heritage. Their cardinal belief in One God could not have been quickly or easily dispelled. In fact, belief in the Trinitarian God would have been the most revolutionary and explosive concept ever to have rocked the first-century Church. Yet of that revolution, if it ever occurred, the New Testament gives us not one hint.” (Buzzard and Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 7)

 
At 6/12/2010 1:04 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

II. The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, neither is any word or phrase having the same meaning as “Trinity” found in the Bible.

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” - Peter F. Drucker, management consultant

The word, Trinity, literally means “three-ness”. This term does not appear in the Bible, and indeed, it did not exist until Tertullian coined the term in the early third century.

Trinitarians do offer their point of view in regards to the issue of whether or not the actual word “trinity” is in the Bible. I found an excellent presentation of the Trinitarian view at a web-site done by Matt Slick, the president of CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY. He claims that it doesn’t matter if the word “trinity” appears in the Bible or not. Following are examples of his flawed defense followed by our answers:

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY: “Some critics of the Trinity doctrine claim that since the word ‘trinity’ is not found in the Bible, it isn’t true.”

This is a mischaracterization and partial truth of what the critics of the Trinity doctrine are saying. The issue is not only that the word “trinity” is not in the Bible but also the fact that there are no synonyms and/or group of words or phrases which denote the same meaning as the word “Trinity” in the Bible. Add to that the fact that the Trinity doctrine is never defined, discussed, or defended in the Bible but is believed by Subjectionists to be a contradiction of what the Bible actually has to say on the subject and you get a better picture of what the “critics” argument against the Trinity doctrine really is.

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY: “…some assert that if God wanted us to believe in the Trinity He would have stated the doctrine clearly. …Not all things taught in the Bible are perfectly clear.”

When someone defends a doctrine that they hold to be the “cornerstone” of their religion by saying: “Not all things taught in the Bible are perfectly clear,” it categorically demonstrates that the Biblical defense of their teaching is essentially and emphatically weak or even nonexistent. We don’t observe Jesus defending any of his teachings in the Bible by making excuses stumbling and bumbling around and saying, “Well, it ain’t exactly taught in the Bible so well and it’s not ‘perfectly clear’ but…” No! Jesus simply said, “It is written…”!

We maintain that if the Trinity Godhead doctrine is the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity, then the question begs to be asked: Why isn’t it taught in a “perfectly clear” manner? I dare say that no doctrine that is not “perfectly clear” in the Bible can be said to be the “cornerstone” doctrine of the Christian religion! And, contrary to the Trinitarian assertion that the Godhead issue is not “perfectly clear”, Scripture tells us that the Godhead doctrine is indeed “clearly seen” and that they “are without excuse” for not knowing it:

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Rom. 1:20)

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY: “Take a look at the book of Revelation. It contains many things that are cryptic that must be interpreted after examining all of the Bible.”

Obviously the Trinitarian argument is that the Trinity doctrine is “cryptic” like the “cryptic” passages of the “book of Revelations”. We maintain that any biblical doctrine given the amount of weight that the Trinity doctrine is given by Trinitarians would necessarily be not only mentioned but clearly defined and easily understood in Scripture (Rom. 1:20) to have any validity what so ever.
cont...

 
At 6/12/2010 1:05 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Synonyms for the word “cryptic” are “hidden,” “secret,” “enigmatic,” “mysterious,” “obscure,” and “puzzling”. Antonyms for the word “cryptic” are “straightforward,” “simple,” and “uncomplicated.” We maintain that according to the Bible itself (Romans 1:20) the Godhead doctrine should be straightforward, simple, uncomplicated, “clearly seen,” and “understood” not hidden, enigmatic, mysterious, obscure, puzzling, and “cryptic” as Trinitarians acknowledge their version of the Godhead doctrine to be.

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY: “…there are many biblical concepts that people believe in that don't have a specific word describing them used in the Bible. For example, the word ‘bible’ is not found in the Bible, but we use it anyway to describe the Bible. Likewise, the words ‘omniscience,’ which means ‘all knowing,’ ‘omnipotence,’ which means all powerful,’ and ‘omnipresence,’ which means ‘present everywhere,’ are words not found in the Bible either, but we use them to describe the attributes of God. We don't have to see a specific word in the Bible in order for the concept it describes to be true.”

We maintain that the concept of the Godhead is a biblical doctrine whereas the word “bible” is not. It is simply the word we use to describe the “Scriptures” and literally means “book.” Consequently, it is fallacious to use the word “bible” as an example of a “biblical concept” which is described using specific words that are “not found in the Bible.” The problem for Trinitarians becomes even more problematic when it is demonstrated that synonyms for the word “Bible” actually do appear in the Bible many times. In fact the word “book” occurs 188 times in 175 verses of the Bible and the word “scripture” or “scriptures” occurs 53 times in 53 verses of the Bible. Can the same be said for the word “Trinity”? Where are the synonyms for the word “Trinity” in the Bible? There are no synonyms, no words which denote the same meaning and no definitions in the Bible for the word “Trinity”. If there were then we could quote scriptures that spoke of God’s “three-ness” or his “three in one-ness.” But there are none.

It seems doubtful to me that a doctrine of this importance does not merit even a mention by any prophet or apostle in the whole of Holy Scripture! “Baptism” is a Biblical doctrine which is clearly less important than the Trinity doctrine, yet it is mentioned and described in the Bible dozens of times. The “resurrection” is a Biblical doctrine which is also clearly less important than the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet, it also, is mentioned or referred to dozens of times in the Bible. Why is it that these other doctrines are shouted from the housetops in the Bible, and yet, the Scriptures fall strangely silent when it comes to even the mention of the Trinity which is supposed to be the very “cornerstone of Christianity”?

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY: “Following are other words that the Bible does not use but the concepts are mentioned.
Atheism is the teaching that there is no God. "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).
Divinity - which means divine quality or godlike character. Yet, we speak of the godlike quality of the Lord God. See Psalm 139.

Incarnation - which means the word (God) who became flesh. Yet, this is definitely taught in the Bible (John 1:1,14).

Monotheism is the teaching that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:8).

Rapture is the teaching that the Christians who are alive when Jesus returns will be caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-18).”

cont...

 
At 6/12/2010 1:05 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

We would, therefore, maintain that since none of these words are in the Bible they are expendable, non-essential terms which we are not required to use in our theology.
In fact, we maintain that if the word, its synonym, or group of words denoting the same meaning is not found in the Bible then it should never be used in our theology especially when used to describe God or the Godhead. Why? Because the Bible is our theology. There are no synonyms or group of words which denote the same meaning as the word Trinity in the Bible and the word Trinity itself is also not found therein; therefore, the word Trinity itself (or any other word not found in the Bible) should never be used to describe the Biblical God. We prefer to leave the descriptions of God and the Godhead “unto whom it was revealed” (I Pet. 1:12) in the Bible, namely the apostles and prophets who wrote the Bible. Unless, of course, Trinitarians consider themselves smarter or more informed about God than the apostles, prophets, and writers of the Bible.
Next, in the case of the other five words mentioned above, they are all in some way defined by the text either by a synonym, a group of words denoting the same meaning or idea inherent in the word. This fact is confirmed by Trinitarian Matt Slick, who is making the point when he gives his scripture references.
The thought that Trinitarians miss is this: Where in Holy Scripture do we find the synonym, the phrase, or the context which relates the idea of the Trinity – that is that God is “a single being existing simultaneously as three distinct persons”? That answer is easy. Nowhere!

If we compare the writings of those whom we know believed in the deity of Christ with the writers of the NT then we notice at once the stark difference between the two. The writers of the Bible did not write as if they believed that Jesus Christ was God and they certainly did not write as if they believed in the doctrine of the Trinity. We know how people write when they do believe in those doctrines, let me quote a Trinitarian, Murray J. Harris, who makes my point nicely:

“No one who turns from reading a (so-called) church father such as Ignatius back to the NT can help being impressed by the remarkable reserve of the NT writers in applying the term (God) to Jesus. Nowhere in the Gospels or Epistles or the Apocalypse does one find expressions such as those of Ignatius: ‘for our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary’ (Eph. 18:2; not the Bible); ‘love for Jesus, our God’ (Rom. prooem. not the Bible); ‘permit me to be an imitator of the passion of our God’ (Rom. 6:3; not the Bible); ‘I give glory to Jesus Christ, the God who granted you such wisdom’ (Smyr. 1:1, not the Bible) And in the spurious fourth Oration against the Arians, Pseudo-Athanasius inveighs principally against the Marcellians in a treatise that begins ‘the Word is God from God’ and closes ‘so then he himself is God the Word. So Christ is the God-man, born of Mary.’
The questions that arise jostle for attention. Does the NT ever parallel the boldness of Ignatius in designating Jesus as "the God"? If the writers of the NT were persuaded of the deity of Christ, what accounts for their reticence (self-restraint, silence) to ascribe to him the title that, of all the divine names, would seem most explicitly to affirm that deity?”

Since we know how people write when they believe in the deity of Christ and we also know that the writers of the NT did not write that way, no other conclusion can be drawn other than to answer Mr. Harris’ question as follows: The writers of the NT were not persuaded of the deity of Christ or the Trinity as Ignatius and other (so-called) church fathers obviously were and this (and only this) accounts for the great difference in their writings from that of the writers of the NT.

 
At 6/13/2010 1:20 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Now on to number 3

III. The idea of the Trinity is not in the Bible. The doctrine
of the Trinity is never defined, discussed, or defended in Holy Scripture.

“Should we not expect somewhere in Scripture a precise, clear formulation of the strange proposition that God is ‘three in one?’” (http://www.answers.com/topic/trinity-1 )

Historian Arthur Weigall records in The Paganism in Our Christianity: “Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word ‘Trinity’ appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord.”

“No natural reading of the Scriptures would yield the Trinitarian formula. At least a few honest Trinitarians, especially those of the Roman Catholic persuasion, admit this fact. For instance, Catholic apologist Karl Keating writes, ‘Consider the doctrine of the trinity. It is not present on the face of scripture, not just in the sense that the word Trinity is never used...but also in the sense that it is by no means obvious, from the surface meaning of the text...” Vance A. Stinson, God is not a Trinity, pg. 13

Jesuit Edmund Fortman admits in his book, The Triune God: “The New Testament writers... give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal divine persons ...Nowhere do we find any Trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead.”

Yale University professor E. Washburn Hopkins affirms in the Origin and Evolution of Religion: “To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently unknown; ...they say nothing about it.”

Jaroslav Pelikan, sterling Professor of History at Yale University, who is called “The Doctrine Doctor,” is quoted saying: “You are not entitled to the beliefs you cherish about such things as the Holy Trinity without a sense of what you owe to those who worked this out for you ...To circumvent St. Athanasius on the assumption that if you put me alone in a room with the New Testament, I will come up with the doctrine of the Trinity, is naive.”

The renowned Doctor of Doctrine is telling us the Trinity cannot be found by open study of the New Testament. He is admitting that it is not a doctrine of clear Biblical statement. Rather, the Trinity is a doctrine of inference, not of statement. That is why the Trinity has such troubled acceptance. We could add to Dr. Pelikan’s statement and say that if you placed 10,000 people in rooms with New Testaments, they would not find the Trinity. We also have not found it.

“The earliest recorded history of the Church, the book of Acts, reports a whole conference held to decide such questions as Gentile circumcision, eating food containing blood, and the eating of meat from strangled animals. If these physical matters were considered worthy of formal discussion, how much more would a conference be necessary to discuss the explosive change from belief in the single person God to that of a Triune God among those fiercely monotheistic Jews, leaders of the early Christian community. ...Never was there the slightest trace of any argument concerning the Trinity. ...It remains a fact that the doctrine of the Trinity was never defended in the whole of the New Testament. This could simply be because it was simply unheard of.” (Buzzard and Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 35 )

 
At 6/13/2010 1:42 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I think it good that i interupt my TOP TEN to answer Matt's illogical claim in #1 that:
"By that logic the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah therefore we ought to reject that Jesus is the Messiah. Furthermore the Jewish scriptures do have Shadows of the Trinity within them. Isaiah 63:7-14 "

The Jews did believe in a Messiah, they just did not understand that Jesus of Nazareth was the one. The OT does obviously teach that a Messiah was to come and is coming. It is just as obvious that the Old Testament does NOT teach the idea or even mention a Trinity (except for Baal who was a Trinity god)!
Next, to "see" a "foreshadowing" of the Trinity in Isaiah 63:7-14 is the same as admitting that the doctrine is NOT taught in the Bible. Why does not a prophet in the OT ever mention the Trinity of God? Why do they not mention the idea of the Trinity being three persons in one God? Why do they NEVER talk about "one being in three hypostases?" Etc....??? The reason must be obvious, but for those afflicted with the blinders that Trintarianism affords its victims: The reason is that God is NOT a Trinity, that no writer of Holy Writ ever thought He was a Trinity, and such an idea NEVER even occured to them!
You cannot wring wine from balls of cotton unless you first soak the cotton in wine. You cannot wring Trinitarianism from the Scriptures unless you first inundate the Scriptures with the wine of Trinitarianism. Only then can Trinitarianism be wrung from the cotton of Holy Writ. (this idea is credited to B & H, The Trinity, Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound) It must first be taught to the mind of the initiate so the its victim can "see" it in the Bible. Judaism and the Jews NEVER "saw" the Trinity in the words of their prophets. Only when the fallen church (2 Thes. 2) fell into the hands of the Gentiles did this (what a surprise) Gentile idea worm its way into the Church over a period of centuries.
If there are any readers of this blog, please study this out for yourselves and save yourselves from this untoward generation!

 
At 6/13/2010 1:42 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I think it good that i interupt my TOP TEN to answer Matt's illogical claim in #1 that:
"By that logic the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah therefore we ought to reject that Jesus is the Messiah. Furthermore the Jewish scriptures do have Shadows of the Trinity within them. Isaiah 63:7-14 "

The Jews did believe in a Messiah, they just did not understand that Jesus of Nazareth was the one. The OT does obviously teach that a Messiah was to come and is coming. It is just as obvious that the Old Testament does NOT teach the idea or even mention a Trinity (except for Baal who was a Trinity god)!
Next, to "see" a "foreshadowing" of the Trinity in Isaiah 63:7-14 is the same as admitting that the doctrine is NOT taught in the Bible. Why does not a prophet in the OT ever mention the Trinity of God? Why do they not mention the idea of the Trinity being three persons in one God? Why do they NEVER talk about "one being in three hypostases?" Etc....??? The reason must be obvious, but for those afflicted with the blinders that Trintarianism affords its victims: The reason is that God is NOT a Trinity, that no writer of Holy Writ ever thought He was a Trinity, and such an idea NEVER even occured to them!
You cannot wring wine from balls of cotton unless you first soak the cotton in wine. You cannot wring Trinitarianism from the Scriptures unless you first inundate the Scriptures with the wine of Trinitarianism. Only then can Trinitarianism be wrung from the cotton of Holy Writ. (this idea is credited to B & H, The Trinity, Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound) It must first be taught to the mind of the initiate so the its victim can "see" it in the Bible. Judaism and the Jews NEVER "saw" the Trinity in the words of their prophets. Only when the fallen church (2 Thes. 2) fell into the hands of the Gentiles did this (what a surprise) Gentile idea worm its way into the Church over a period of centuries.
If there are any readers of this blog, please study this out for yourselves and save yourselves from this untoward generation!

 
At 6/13/2010 1:48 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Next, reason number 4 to NOT believe in the Trinity doctrine:
The doctrine of the Trinity cannot be defined using only the Bible. Unbiblical terms and language, often borrowed from paganism, must be utilized at every turn.

“...the complex post-biblical controversies about how to define the Son in relation to the Father could have been avoided if the
Hebrew terminology of the Bible had been retained.” Anthony F. Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 131, International Scholars Publications.

Trinitarianism departs from the Bible and, were it not for our anchor in Scripture, it would transport us into the bizarre world of cosmic speculation. “One of the strongest arguments against (the trinity) is that it cannot be expressed without abandoning biblical language.” (B&H, pg. 12)

We read the following from John Newton’s book Origin of Triads and Trinities: “The indebtedness of Christian theological theory to ancient Egyptian dogma is nowhere more striking than in the doctrine of the Trinity. The very same terms used of it by Christian theologians meet us again in the inscriptions and papyri of Egypt.’ Newton continues: ‘And now we see some meaning in the strange phrases that have puzzled so many generations in the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, such as, ‘Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten not made, Being of one Substance with the Father.’ These are all understandable enough if translated into the language of the Solar Trinity [worshipped in ancient Egypt], but without this clue to their meaning, they become sheer nonsense or contradictions ...The [pagan] trinities had all the prestige of a vast antiquity and universal adoption, and could not be ignored. The Gentile converts therefore eagerly accepted the Trinity compromise and the Church baptized it. Now at length we know its origin.”

 
At 6/13/2010 1:48 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

cont...
Loraine Boettner, in his book Roman Catholicism makes a very good point when he says: “A study of religious errors will show that they have this common characteristic: They consist either of additions to Scripture, or of subtractions from Scripture, or perhaps a mixture of the two.” St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote: “If we could speak of God only in the very terms themselves of Scripture, it would follow that no one could speak about God in any but the original language of the Old or New Testament. The urgency of confuting ‘heretics’ made it necessary to find new words to express the ancient faith about God.” Here, even the great St. Thomas, perhaps purposely, is confusing two issues. The first issue is that of using only the original languages. However, this is easily dismissed when we come to understand that the translated words of scripture are not the “new words” of which St. Thomas speaks. The early so-called “church fathers” went back and forth from Hebrew to Greek or from Greek to Latin quite often. St. Augustine knew Latin but not Greek; he, therefore, could read scripture only in Latin and not in Greek. No, the “new words” St. Thomas is writing about are words that are not in the Bible in any language; and this is what is the very large elephant in the living room of which few Trinitarians dare speak. When St. Thomas says: “The urgency of confuting ‘heretics’ made it necessary to find new words to express the ancient faith about God” it is tantamount to an admission on his part that it is impossible to define the doctrine of the Trinity using only words found in Scripture. This is why St. Thomas finds it “necessary” to use “new words” as he put it, to “express” the Trinity. However, the question that should have been asked of Mr. Aquinas is: “Why aren’t the words of the prophets and apostles good enough?” Are not the words of the prophets and apostles of our Lord when translated into the vulgar tongue better than the terms used by devil worshippers and pagans (also required to be translated into the vulgar tongue)? The words of the apostle Paul yearn to cry out: “…what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” (II Cor. 6:14-16) Must we, as Christians, borrow from pagan philosophers, heathen priests, and devil worshipers? Why must we dig in an iron mine for gold? Why search Hell for Heavenly treasures? Aren’t the words of Moses, Isaiah, John, and Paul good enough? Why must we borrow from Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus? Aquinas was himself a Neo-Platonist and argued in favor of non-Biblical terms to define the “Trinity” because 1) he knew those words were “necessary” to define the Trinity, and 2) he knew it was impossible to define the Trinity using only Scripture, and 3) it never occurred to him that if the Trinity could not be defined using only Scripture that it might not be true. Non-biblical Pagan terms are used to define pagan ideas like the Trinity. The words the Pagans employ to describe their deviant doctrines are not used in the Bible because those ideas are not taught in the Bible. Therefore, the Trinity can not be a Biblical doctrine because it cannot even be described or defined using only Scripture!

 
At 6/14/2010 12:08 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

In response to Larry's comment on 6/13/2010 1:42 PM. Unfortunately Larry has not dealt with my argument. The Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah because they interpreted the Scriptures to show that the Messiah would be a conquering king, not a suffering servant. If the Pharisees of the early first century were wrong in this regard why could it not be the case that their Monolithic Monotheism, which seems to have been a reaction against Zoroastrianism, was not also wrong? Furthermore the Targum Onkelos (An Aramaic translation of the Law prior to Christ) suggests that there was a plural or complex view of God's unity even after the Assyrian Captivity.

This seems to be the main dividing line between Larry and myself, he believes that God is monolithicly One and Biblical Christianity teaches that God is not monolithic but a Complex unity, the NT clarifies that the complex unity is Triunity, or that YHWH is Triunely One.

Also if you are going to cite liberal scholars please at least indicate that many of the people you are citing think Judaism started as a Henotheist religion and evolved into a Monotheistic one. (Henotheism - A fancy name for polytheism where you only worship one of the gods.)

 
At 6/14/2010 10:51 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
In our discussion, the reason the Nation of Israel rejected their Messiah is relatively unimportant. The fact is, the OT did teach that a Messiah would come and the Jews did recognize that. That is indisputable. It is likewise indisputable that they did NOT believe that YHWH was a schizophrenic monstrosity (or as Matt puts it, a "complex unity"!)

The very idea that the Jews considered God a Trinity is extremely distasteful, but most of all, it is false. Judaism NEVER even considered, let alone accepted, God as anything but a unitary monotheism. Any attempt on Matt's part, or anyone else's for that matter, to try to prove otherwise is simply an exercise in futility.
Matt claims that the NT teaches that YHWH is "a complex unity" which is a "Triunity, or that YHWH is Triunely One." Of course, Matt was unable to quote scripture and verse for that neo-platonic balderdash. Matt, obviously, thinks he is so much smarter than those hay seed apostles who didn't even know that God was a three person unity of complex personhood, etc... it's a good thing that Matt has come along with new revelation from God almighty Himself to show us the way more perfectly than those silly Bible authors could ever do!
Yep, Matt knows more, because Matt knows about Zoroastrianism and Henotheism!
Side note. Matt, you need not give me instructions on what to put into my blog, as in the last paragraph of your diatribe dated 6/154/10.
Alas, reader, do your own research and let the Lord lead you into all truth. Hint: it is my educated OPINION that Matt can not help you in this regard.
PS. Does anyone but Matt and I read this blog?? :-)

 
At 6/14/2010 11:14 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Now on to number 5 of the top ten reasons NOT to believe in the Trinity:

IV. The doctrine of the Trinity actually contradicts
scripture almost at every turn.

God is eternal, he was not created. However, the Bible says that Jesus is a created being: Ps. 90:2 ; Isa. 43:10 Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14.

God does whatever he pleases. Conversely, Jesus is subject to God his Father - Ps. 115:3; Eph. 1:11. I Cor. 15:28; John 14:31; John 12:49, 50.

God basically knows everything. Jesus has limited knowledge.
Ps. 147:5 ; Heb. 4:13; I John 3:20Mark 13:32 ; Rev. 1:1.

God has original authority and supreme power. But Jesus has had power delegated to him. Isaiah 44:6, 8 ; 45:5. John 5:19, 30 ; John 14:31, I Cor. 11:3 ; 15:27, 28 ; Heb. 3:2

God cannot be tempted with evil and is innately holy, but Jesus was tempted with evil and had to "learn" obedience to God. James 1:13 Heb. 2:18: 4:15 ; Lev. 19:2. Luke 22:28

God alone is immortal and can never die. Jesus died and was raised to life again by God his father and creator. I Tim. 6:16Rom. 10:9 ; I Cor. 15:15 ;

THE TRINITY VS THE BIBLE

The Trinity says that Jesus is “God the Son”. The Bible says that Jesus is “the Son of God.” Mark 1:1 ; John 20:31

The Trinity says Jesus is equal to the Father. The Bible says that The Father “is greater than” the Son. John 14:28; I Cor. 11:3 ; I Cor. 15:27, 28

The Trinity says Jesus is the eternal uncreated God. The Bible says that Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature” Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:16

The Trinity says Jesus was always perfect. The Bible says that Jesus became “perfect” (Heb 5:9)

The Trinity says Jesus was God and could, therefore, never really die. The Bible says that Jesus “feared” death (Heb. 5:7) and in fact did die.

The Trinity says Jesus raised himself from the dead. The Bible says that “God raised him (Jesus) from the dead” Acts 13:30-37

 
At 6/14/2010 11:19 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Now on to number 6 of the top ten reasons NOT to believe in the Trinity:

VI. The doctrine of the Trinity mirrors heathen doctrines and pagan philosophy and is, in fact, a syncretism acquired by Christianity from those less than pure sources.

President Thomas Jefferson said, “It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticism that three are one and one is three, and yet, that the one is not three, and the three are not one.... But this constitutes the craft, the power, and profits of the priests. Sweep away their gossamer fabrics of fictitious religion, and they would catch no more flies”

The book entitled, The Church of the First Three Centuries acknowledges: “The doctrine of the Trinity was of gradual and comparatively late formation: ...it had its origin in a source entirely foreign from that of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures; ...it grew up, and was engrafted on Christianity, through the hands of the Platonizing Fathers.”
A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge records that many historians believe that the Trinity “is a corruption borrowed from the heathen religions, and engrafted on the Christian faith.”
Historian Will Durant observed: “Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it... From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity.”
Siegfried Morenz, in the book Egyptian Religion, notes: “The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians ...These gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology.”
James Hastings wrote in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics: “In Indian religion, e.g., we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahma, Siva, and Visnu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus ...Nor is it only in historical religions that we find God viewed as a Trinity. One recalls in particular the Neo-Platonic views of the Supreme or Ultimate Reality, which is triadically represented.”

 
At 6/14/2010 11:19 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

cont...
“A text from one of the Hindu bibles, (the Puranas) will evince the antiquity and prevalence of this belief in a nation of one hundred and fifty millions of people more than two thousand years ago. ‘O you three Lords!’ ejaculated Attencion, ‘know that I recognize only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity that I may address to him alone my vows and adorations. The three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, becoming manifest to him, replied, ‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only by semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation and destruction, but he is one.’
cont...
The French New Universal Dictionary reveals both Plato's Greek Philosophical Influence upon Christianity and that of ancient pagan religions: “The Platonic Trinity, itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier peoples, appears to be the rational philosophic trinity attributes that gave birth to the three hypostases or divine persons taught by the Christian Churches ...Thus Greek philosophers conception of the divine trinity ...can be found in all the ancient pagan religions.”

Of course, it is my contention that the truth of God was exclusively delivered to the Jews through God’s prophets and never to the heathen, as David wrote in the Psalms:

“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and [as for his] judgments, they have not known them.” (Ps. 147:19, 20)

In fact, God sent Moses to rescue Israel “from Egypt, from the nations and their gods”:

“...what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?” (II Sam. 7:23; I Chr. 17:21)

Let the reader decide (if there are any) :-)

 
At 6/14/2010 3:55 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

In response to Larry's comment of 6/14/2010 10:51 AM
Larry wrote: Judaism NEVER even considered, let alone accepted, God as anything but a unitary monotheism. This is simply false the Targum is quite explicit in it's Complex monotheism. The Plurality of both the name Elohim and verbs used with it in the Bible also lead to show that ancient Judaism had a less monolithic view of God than Modern. (See Genesis 20:13, 35:7, 2 Samuel 7:23, Psalm 58:12, etc.)
Also I never said the apostles didn't know that God was Triune, They experienced it of course they knew, what I said was the NT clarified the complex unity we see in the OT, or Trinitarianism, though I would submit that there are many passages in the OT that also show God as being Triune. Also I doubt anyone is reading the comments to this blog post from over 5 years ago.

One last thing, while Larry is on the assault perhaps he would like to debate the issue over a recorded skype chat that could then be placed on youtube? Something like Resolve: The Bible teaches Strict Monotheism. Larry as the Affirmative, Myself for the Negative. or Resolve: The Old Testament teaches Complex Monotheism. Myself on the Affirmative, Larry on the Negative. or Resolve: The Bible teaches Trinitarianism. Again Myself on the Affirmative, Larry on the Negative.

 
At 6/14/2010 4:23 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
I do not consider the idea that Judaism ever considered Trinitarianism as even worth talking about. Any Rabbi would be nauseated at the very hint of it.
But, again, let those who would look it up themselves. I am sure some Jew somewhere was as tainted with Platonism just as much as Christians are corrupted with it today. As far as God being a "complex unity", well, let me be kind by simply pointing out that those terms are NEVER used in the Bible to describe YHWH.

“It is certain that the nation of Israel, to whom ...grand declarations about the Deity were given, knew nothing about a ...Trinity of persons in the Godhead. No fact could be more firmly established, once their national literature is taken as a guide, and if language has any stable meaning.” Anthony F. Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, page 14, International Scholars Publications.
The Catholic Church itself admits that the Jews did not believe in the Trinity as Bishop Morrow tells us in his book My Catholic Faith, a Catechism in Pictures: “The Jews did not explicitly believe in the Blessed Trinity.” Louis LaRavoire Morrow, D.D., Bishop of Krishnagar, My Catholic Faith, a Catechism in Pictures, page 25
Karen Armstrong, a former nun, speaks of Paul’s Jewishness in her book A History of God: “Paul was too Jewish to accept the idea of Christ existing as a second divine being beside YHWH (Jehovah) from all eternity. The hymn (Philippians 2:6-11) shows that after his exaltation he is still distinct from and inferior to God, who raises him and confers the title kyrios (lord) upon him. He cannot assume it himself but is given this title only ‘to the glory of God the Father.’ ...When Paul and John spoke about Jesus as though he had some kind of preexistent life, they were not suggesting that he was a second divine ‘person’ in the later Trinitarian sense. ...These ideas were comprehensible in a strictly Jewish context, though later Christians with a Greek background would interpret them differently. In the Acts of the Apostles, written as late as 100 CE (AD), we can see that the first Christians still had an entirely Jewish conception of God. Peter did not claim that Jesus was God. He ‘was a man, commended to you by God by miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you.’ After his cruel death, God had raised him to life and had exalted him to a specially high status ‘by God’s right hand.’ The prophets and Psalmists had all foretold these events; thus the ‘whole house of Israel’ could be certain that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah (Acts 2:22-36) This speech appears to have been the message of the earliest Christians” A History of God, pg. 88, 89, Knopf publisher, New York, 1993

 
At 6/14/2010 11:02 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
I never said that the Jews, especially modern Jews considered Trinitarianism, rather that they, in ancient times, had a far more complex view of God's unity in regards to their monotheism than the strict monotheism espoused by Conservative Judaism today. Reformed and Restoration Judaism would fall more in line with Karen Armstrong, as most of the adherents of those sects would say that there are many roads to God or that all religion is simply good for the spirit if not taken to an extreme. Mrs. Armstrong would admit that both you and I are saying essentially the same thing despite our differences when it comes to religious matters, and thus need not argue about the Trinity, a proposition that neither you nor I seem willing to accept.

 
At 6/15/2010 12:00 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,

In regards to your comments about Judaism's supposed "complex view of God's unity" and the word Elohim - Rabbin Singer says:

"It is difficult to imagine a notion more hostile to the pure monotheism preached in the Jewish scriptures than the Christian teaching that there is a plurality within the divine nature of God. Yet, with limited knowledge of the Jewish Bible and the language it was written in, many Trinitarians brazenly refer to the name of God as it appears in the first verse in the Bible to advance their contention that there are three persons sharing in the godhead. More specifically, missionaries point to the plural form of the Hebrew word Elohim, which is one of the names of God frequently used in the Torah. They insist that the scripture’s use of the Hebrew letters yod and mem (pronounced im) at the end of the word Elohim as a plural suffix provides ample evidence from Tanach that there is a plurality within the nature of God. ...
I will begin by saying that you can rest assured that the Hebrew tongue is a foreign language to (trinitarians), and both of their contentions are erroneous. This assertion can be easily explained away by her lack of familiarity with the biblical language,
...If you examine the few verses evangelicals use from the Jewish scriptures as they seek to buttress the doctrine of the Trinity, you will notice that none of them, even in Christian terms, speaks of three persons. In essence, their flawed declaration was born out of a desperate desire to weave the Trinity out of whole Jewish cloth. This is an impossible task.

In Smith's Bible Dictionary we read the following: “Elohim is the plural of Eloah ...The plural form of Elohim has given rise to much discussion. The fanciful idea that it referred to the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, hardly finds now a supporter among scholars. It is either what grammarians call the plural of majesty or it denotes the fullness of divine strength, the sum of the powers displayed by God.”
Robert M. Bowman, author of Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, admits, “...elohim for God in the Old Testament cannot be evidence of the Trinity.” Robert M. Bowman, Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, page 49
Commenting on this, Oxford scholar R.B. Girdlestone writes in his Synonyms of the Old Testament: ‘Many critics, however, of unimpeachable [Trinitarian] orthodoxy, think it wiser to rest where such divines as Cajetan [a theologian] in the Church of Rome and Calvin among Protestants were content to stand, and to take the plural form as a plural of majesty.”

Re: Karen Armstrong, the quote that i gave you speaks for itself. If you do not want to address the issues in that quote, please just say so instead of offering a misdirection about other positions that Karen may or may not have that are irrelavant to the issue at hand.

 
At 6/15/2010 1:15 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Now on to number 7 of the top ten reasons NOT to believe in the Trinity:

VII. The doctrine of the Trinity was not taught during Biblical times nor in the post apostolic age.

“...[A] short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion (Jesus), before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State; that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man, has been adulterated and sophisticated by artificial constructions, into a mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves; that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue and cry of infidelity, while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus…” -- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, 1810

The notable Rabbi Singer tells us: “Bear in mind that there is no mystery as to the origins of the Trinity nor is there any secret as to whose loins gave birth to this aberrant creed. The doctrine of the Trinity emerged out of the crucible of the Catholic Church long after the Christian century. It is therefore no wonder that this pagan doctrine was unknown to authors of the New Testament. Church history reveals that it was not until three hundred years after the birth of Christianity that the doctrine of the Bianity (325 CE) and Trinity (381 CE) received formal approval in the Christian community. These well-documented events occurred under circumstances confused with political agitation and radical dissention. In essence, the Jewish people never believed in a Trinity, and the church adopted it under enormous political pressure from the most pagan segments of the Catholic Church.” http://www.outreachjudaism.org

Harold Brown, author of Heresies, tells us the following: “It is a simple fact and an undeniable historical fact that several major doctrines that now seem central to the Christian faith - such as the ...Trinity - were not present in a full and self-defined generally accepted form until the forth and fifth centuries. If they are essential today - as all of the orthodox creeds and confessions assert - it must be because they are true. If they are true, then they must always have been true, they cannot have become true in the fourth and fifth century. But if they are both true and essential, how can it be that the early Church took centuries to formulate them?”

The New Catholic Encyclopedia vol. 10, page 335 admits: “From the middle of the 4th century onward, however, Christian thought was strongly influenced by Neo-platonic philosophy and mysticism.”

Andrew Norton declares in the book A Statement of Reasons, that the Trinity originated not from the Bible, but from Platonic Philosophy: “We can trace the history of this doctrine, and discover its source, not in the Christian revelation, but in the Platonic philosophy ...The Trinity is not a doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, but a fiction of the school of the later Platonists.”

 
At 6/15/2010 6:18 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Please stop putting words in my mouth, I never said the linguistic name Elohim proved the Trinity. Far from it, I only suggested that given texts such as Genesis 20:13, 35:7, 2 Samuel 7:23, Psalm 58:12, etc, it stands to reason that the ancient Hebrews had a more complex monotheism than modern Jews do, and was not as monolithic as you hope. If you do not want to address the issues in those specific texts and simply want to generalize about all instances of the word Elohim in the scriptures that's fine, however don't offer misdirection and say that the Jews believed something that is clearly refuted by those texts in the original language, that is that they believed in monolithic monotheism.

As to Karen Armstrong, my comment is extremely relevant. Her presuppositions lead her to disagree with Trinitarianism and as such she needs it to be a later development. If you are looking for an exegesis of Philippians 2:5ff I would be happy to provide one:

 
At 6/15/2010 6:19 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

"[5] Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [6] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped," What does the form of God entail? The Greek word there means the "outward display of the inner reality or substance. Here it refers to the outward display of the divine substance, i.e., divinity of the preexistant Christ in the display of his glory as bein in the image of the Father. (Reinecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, 550). This is why many other translations render this verse, being of the Nature of God, by nature God, has always been God by nature.
"[7] but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." Here we see that Christ did not "grasp" (we will come back to this grasping notion in but a moment) His equality with God he instead did something the opposite, he "made himself nothing" or emptied himself." The first thing that needs to be seen is that Jesus did this to himself. We don't see the Father or anyone else emptying Christ, rather Christ voluntarily did this to himself. This is quite important. The KJV renders this verse well showing the metaphorical usage of empty that Paul uses so often (cf. Romans 4:14) "But made himself of no reputation". It is not as though Jesus stopped "being in the form of God" rather he laid aside those privileges that he owned.
This laying aside is linked to the act of taking. He took the form of a servant, much in the way he took the form of a Man (John 1:14) Indeed he was born as a man. This word form is the same word used in verse six. It was something added after, and was not his by nature. Jesus added slavery to himself to serve others.
Now the entire passage hinges on that "equality with God a thing to be grasped" phrase. What is this phrase showing? Well in the context of this passage, which is speaking about humility, the whole point is giving up ones rights to serve others. If this passage were about grasping at Godhood it would not fit with the topic of humility. We don't say of the Vice President of the United States, "oh what a humble man he isn't trying to have the President killed so he can be the President, praise his humility." Such a statement would be utterly foolish, yet this is exactly what Karen Armstrong would have us think Paul was saying. The passage makes much more sense in it's context if one of two equal persons does not consider his privileges something to be held onto at all costs. Rather voluntarily laying aside the privileges for the ones he is serving, he is obedient to the other even to the point of death. That seems like true humility. If Paul is trying to lay a coherent foundation for humility it would only make sense and be a standard for such humility if he is presenting Jesus as coequal with God the Father.

 
At 6/15/2010 6:20 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Paul himself would seem to agree here as he finishes the passage by stating that "[9] Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Here we see Paul drawing on an Old Testament passage and applying it to Christ. "I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that every knee will bow and every tongue will swear allegiance." (Isaiah 45:23) in this passage YHWH is speaking and saying that every knee will bow to him, yet in Paul's letter every knee is bowing to Jesus to the Glory of God the Father? If YHWH is only the Father then Paul seems to be a polytheist. This is certainly not the case, rather Paul is showing that both the Father and the Son are worthy of the name YHWH. To bow to Jesus is to bow to YHWH, and as the glorification of the Son results in the glorification of the Father. Any non-Trinitarian interpretation of this passage destroys the thrust of the teaching and in fact is reduced to teaching practical polytheism. Praise be to God that this passage is Trinitarian as is the rest of scripture!

 
At 6/17/2010 9:23 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Now on to number 8 of the top ten reasons NOT to believe in the Trinity:

VIII. The doctrine of the Trinity, in fact, was imposed on the church by civil government and Imperial Law.

“It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” …Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia

“No historical fact is better established, than that the doctrine of one God, pure and uncompounded, was that of the early ages of Christianity . . . Nor was the unity of the Supreme Being ousted from the Christian creed by the force of reason, but by the sword of civil government, wielded at the will of the Athanasius. The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.” Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Smith, Dec. 8, 1822

“To enforce the decisions of the Council of Nicea, Constantine commanded, with the death penalty for disobedience, the burning of all books composed by Arius, banished Arius and his closest supporters, and deposed from their sees Eusebius of Nicomedia and another bishop who had been active in the support of Arius.” A History of Christianity Volume 1 1997 Kenneth Scott Latourette

“…in 438, Emperor Theodosius II issued the Theodosian Code, which inflicted the penalty of death on those who denied the Trinity.” Roland H. Bainton, The History of Christianity, pg. 101 - 104, Published by American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. New York.

Anthony F. Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, in their book The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, said, “From the beginning of recorded history, fear of religious competition has normally produced a thinly-veiled state of belligerency on the part of official custodians of the faith. In that atmosphere there seems little room for calm, open discussion of differences. ...traditional religious systems often meet any threat to the status quo with hostility and intransigence. They have dealt harshly with the nonconformist.”

“Why did (Sir Isaac) Newton not publish (his) findings (regarding the fraudulence of I John 5:7 & I Tim. 3:16) during his lifetime? A glance at the background of the times may explain this. Those who wrote against the doctrine of the Trinity were still subject to persecution in England. As late as 1698 the Act for the Suppression of Blasphemy and Profaneness made it an offense to deny one of the persons of the Trinity to be God, punishable with loss of office, employment and profit on the first occasion, and imprisonment for a repetition. Newton's friend William Whiston (translator of the works of Josephus) lost his professorship at Cambridge for this reason in 1711. In 1693 a pamphlet attacking the Trinity was burned by order of the House of Lords, and the next year its printer and author were prosecuted. In 1697 Thomas Aikenhead, an eighteen-year-old student charged with denying the Trinity, was hanged at Edinburgh, Scotland.”
http://www.answers.com/topic/an-historical-account-of-two-notable-corruptions-of-scripture

The history of Trinitarianism is one of intolerance, hatred, and persecution of the nonconformist. When ever possible, Trinitarian ban those who disagree with them from society and theologically condemn them to HELL. They do their best to condemn them to HELL on earth as well.

 
At 6/17/2010 9:24 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Now on to number 8 of the top ten reasons NOT to believe in the Trinity:

VIII. The doctrine of the Trinity, in fact, was imposed on the church by civil government and Imperial Law.

“It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” …Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia

“No historical fact is better established, than that the doctrine of one God, pure and uncompounded, was that of the early ages of Christianity . . . Nor was the unity of the Supreme Being ousted from the Christian creed by the force of reason, but by the sword of civil government, wielded at the will of the Athanasius. The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.” Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Smith, Dec. 8, 1822

“To enforce the decisions of the Council of Nicea, Constantine commanded, with the death penalty for disobedience, the burning of all books composed by Arius, banished Arius and his closest supporters, and deposed from their sees Eusebius of Nicomedia and another bishop who had been active in the support of Arius.” A History of Christianity Volume 1 1997 Kenneth Scott Latourette

“…in 438, Emperor Theodosius II issued the Theodosian Code, which inflicted the penalty of death on those who denied the Trinity.” Roland H. Bainton, The History of Christianity, pg. 101 - 104, Published by American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. New York.

Anthony F. Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, in their book The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, said, “From the beginning of recorded history, fear of religious competition has normally produced a thinly-veiled state of belligerency on the part of official custodians of the faith. In that atmosphere there seems little room for calm, open discussion of differences. ...traditional religious systems often meet any threat to the status quo with hostility and intransigence. They have dealt harshly with the nonconformist.”

“Why did (Sir Isaac) Newton not publish (his) findings (regarding the fraudulence of I John 5:7 & I Tim. 3:16) during his lifetime? A glance at the background of the times may explain this. Those who wrote against the doctrine of the Trinity were still subject to persecution in England. As late as 1698 the Act for the Suppression of Blasphemy and Profaneness made it an offense to deny one of the persons of the Trinity to be God, punishable with loss of office, employment and profit on the first occasion, and imprisonment for a repetition. Newton's friend William Whiston (translator of the works of Josephus) lost his professorship at Cambridge for this reason in 1711. In 1693 a pamphlet attacking the Trinity was burned by order of the House of Lords, and the next year its printer and author were prosecuted. In 1697 Thomas Aikenhead, an eighteen-year-old student charged with denying the Trinity, was hanged at Edinburgh, Scotland.”
http://www.answers.com/topic/an-historical-account-of-two-notable-corruptions-of-scripture

The history of Trinitarianism is one of intolerance, hatred, and persecution of the nonconformist. When ever possible, Trinitarian ban those who disagree with them from society and theologically condemn them to HELL. They do their best to condemn them to HELL on earth as well.

 
At 6/17/2010 9:36 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

IX. As Trinitarians admit, the doctrine is illogical, unreasonable, self contradictory, and makes no sense what so ever.

“Thus saith the Lord... let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me...” (Jer. 9:23, 24)

In a Catechism of the Catholic Church called To Live is Christ we find the following Trinitarian admission: “We cannot fully understand how the three divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God because this is a supernatural mystery.”

Similarly, in a booklet called Catholic Word Book, and included in the definition of “Mysteries of Faith” is the following crushing confession: “Supernatural truths ...can never be wholly understood even after revelation.”
In a booklet called The Apostles Creed, under the heading “Mystery of the Trinity” the following Trinitarian acknowledgment is found: “Christ has told us that the Trinity exists. All our attempts to imagine the Trinity end in failure. We want to imagine what three Persons Who are one God look like, and we can never quite picture how They can be both one and three. ...And it is logical to admit that in the infinite God there is a fullness of existence which is beyond our experience to visualize and beyond our limited natural knowledge fully to comprehend.” The Apostles Creed, Catholic Information Service, Knights of Columbus, Imprimatur: Most Reverend John F. Whealon, Archbishop of Hartford.

It has been said in jest that the Law of the Logical Argument is that “Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.” This Law seems to apply to Trinitarians because they are forced at every turn to espouse irreconcilable contradictions so diametrically opposed and incomprehensible that when they attempt to explain their doctrine they appear uneducated in the subject about which they speak and, therefore, incapable of delineating an intelligible line of thought. They portray Jesus as someone who both knows and does not know (simultaneously) the time of his own return, (Mark 13:32) who is greater than himself (John 14:28) and who talks to himself as if he were someone else (John 17). A few more examples would be: 1) the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; yet there are not three Gods but one. 2) Jesus was 100% man and 100% God at the same time. ??? 3) Jesus was tempted just like you and I are yet he had no fallen nature that would desire sinful things, and on and on… When I confronted one Trinitarian with the Biblical truth that Jesus was a created being (Col. 1:15) he was completely unashamed to contradict both the Bible and himself by replying: “God can be both created and uncreated at the same time.”!?!?!?! Trinitarians seem to think that “anything is possible” no matter how intrinsically absurd or illogical their argument sounds. They, more often than not, find themselves forced into the kind of absurd explanations that compel one to conclude that they haven’t the slightest idea what they are talking about.
And so, let us here quote Thomas Jefferson: “The Athanasian paradox that one is three and three but one, is so incomprehensible to the human mind, that no candid man can say he has any idea of it, and how can he believe what presents no idea? He who thinks he does, only deceives himself. He proves, also, that man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.”

 
At 6/17/2010 9:37 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

cont...

The claim set forth above by Trinitarians that the reason we cannot “comprehend” the Trinity is that we have “limited natural knowledge” is an invalid and fallacious defense. The truth is that no matter what your intelligence level is and no matter how much “knowledge,” “experience” or even “revelation” a person has, that which is intrinsically illogical cannot suddenly become logical due to the intelligence level of the person attempting to make sense of it.

Lorraine Boettner was a Protestant and a Trinitarian author. In his book Roman Catholicism, he makes many valid arguments against doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church which can and should also be applied to doctrines to which he continues to cling, namely the Trinity. First we quote Mr. Boettner:

“That which contradicts our reason much be pronounced irrational. Yet the adherents of Rome, under threat of eternal condemnation, are forced to believe what their church tells them, even though it contradicts their senses. The effect cannot be other than detrimental when men are forced to accept that as true that which they know to be false.”

Next we will use Mr. Boettner’s own words and logic but instead of using them against the Church of Rome, we will turn them against the doctrine of the Trinity:

“That which contradicts our reason must be pronounced irrational. Yet the adherents of the Trinity, under threat of eternal condemnation, are forced to believe what their church tells them, even though it contradicts their senses. The effect cannot be other than detrimental when men are forced to accept that as true that which they know to be false.”

Father John A. O’Brien (Roman Catholic priest), in his book The Faith of Millions, asserts the following of logic with which I agree:

“It is the law of logic that contradictory statements cannot be true at the same time. If one statement is true, then all the statements which contradict it are false. Deny this principle of logic and you deny all possibility of correct human reasoning.”

I wonder if Father O’Brien would permit his principles of logic to be applied to what Martin A. Larson calls the “mutually contradictory elements constituting Catholic doctrine” which are listed below:

“So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. . .
So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord: the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet they are not three Lords: but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to confess
each of the Persons by himself to be both God and Lord;
So we are forbidden by the Catholic religion:
to speak of three Gods or three Lords.”



We dare maintain that, without in any way departing from the spirit of the text, a clearer, more natural meaning of Scripture can be given, one more consistent with common sense and the basic and immutable truths than the interpretation offered by Trinitarians, an interpretation which they themselves describe as incomprehensible and full of self-contradictions they characterize as “mysteries.” (some Adapted from Voltair) We maintain that mysteries are not outright contradictions and that reason and faith are not mutually exclusive but rather complimentary.

 
At 6/17/2010 2:20 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Now for the last installment of the Top Ten Reasons to NOT believe in the Trinity:

X. The doctrine of the Trinity does not promote holiness, but rather makes excuses and rationalizations for continuing in a sinful life.

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes.” -- Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

The doctrine of the Trinity does not promote holiness, but rather makes excuses, justifications, and rationalizations for continuing in a sinful life. Trinitarians need Jesus to be "God" because Trinitarianism teaches that since Jesus was "God" in the flesh, he could not be tempted as a real man. Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen attempts to explain this confusion to us:

“The presence of temptation does not necessarily imply moral imperfection on the part of the one who is tempted. In that case, Our Divine Lord could not have been tempted at all. An inward tendency toward evil, such as man has, is not a necessary condition for an onslaught of temptation. The temptation of Our Blessed Lord came only from without, and not from within, as ours so often do. ...Good men are not tempted in the same way as evil men, and the Son of God, Who became man, was not tempted in the same way as even a good man.”

Another Roman Catholic writer, Thomas Hart, candidly faces the problem posed by the later doctrine of the Trinity when he observes that: “The Chalcedonian formula [the council’s decision declaring Jesus both God and man] makes genuine humanity impossible. The conciliar definition says that Jesus is true man. But if there are two natures in him, it is clear which will dominate. And Jesus becomes immediately very different from us. He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. He knows the past, present, and future...He knows exactly what everyone is thinking and going to do. This is far from ordinary human experience. Jesus is tempted but cannot sin because he is God. What kind of temptation is this? It has little in common with the kinds of struggles we are familiar with.”

The true purpose of the Trinity doctrine is to hide the way of salvation from man and this is why it is so staunchly defended by the powers of darkness. For, if Christ is not tempted “in the same way as even a good man,” (if he, in essence, had no corresponding desire “from within” to sin as we normal humans do) how then are we to follow his example in resisting sin (as the Bible plainly teaches us to do?)

1Pe 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps…”

 
At 6/17/2010 2:20 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

If Christ had no personal struggle with the nature of sin which dwelled within him, how could he help them who are really tempted? The answer is that he could not have. But the truth is that he did and he does, as Paul said in the 2nd Chapter of Hebrews:

“It was right and proper that in bringing many sons to glory, God ...should make the Leader of their salvation a Perfect Leader through the fact that he suffered. For the one who makes men holy and the men who are made holy share a common humanity. So that he is not ashamed to call them His brothers, for He says: ‘I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, In the midst of the congregation will I sing Thy praise.’ And again, speaking as a man, He says, ‘I will put my trust in Him.’ And, one more instance, in these words, ‘Behold, I and the children which God hath given me...’ Since then ‘the children’ have a common physical nature as human beings, He also became a human being, so that by going through death as a man He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might also set free those who lived their whole lives a prey to the fear of death. It is plain that for this purpose He did not become an angel; He became a man, in actual fact a descendant of Abraham. It was imperative that he should be made like his brothers in nature, if he were to become a high priest both compassionate and faithful in things of God, and at the same time able to make atonement for the sins of the people. For by virtue of his own suffering under temptation he is able to help those who are exposed to temptation.” (Heb. 2:10-18, Letters to Young Churches)

The Apostle James gives us the Biblical definition of the word “temptation”: “...every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” (Jas. 1:13-15) Temptation does not exist without a corresponding appetite in the soul! “No, a man's temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires,” wrote James. (James 1:13,15) If Jesus had no inward desire then he, in effect, was not tempted according to the Biblical and dictionary definition. A rock has no inward desire for sinful things, how then can you say it is tempted? Why did Jesus “suffer” if he weren’t wrestling against the enticement of sin fighting against the inclination to satisfy his inward desires as a man? Jesus was, therefore, “drawn away of his own lust and enticed. (Jas. 1:13-15)

“For we have no superhuman High Priest to whom our weaknesses are unintelligible - He himself has shared fully in our experience of temptation, except that he never sinned.” (Heb. 4:15, Letters to Young Churches, Phillips)

“The doctrine of the Trinity was accepted at a time when the Christian Church had begun its steady descent down into toward the Dark Ages. If at least we could see the Church moving toward more brotherly love and kindness after the Trinity concept took root, we could sense that something good had emerged. But such was not the case. The picture that emerges is of a Church steeped in worldliness, pomp and ceremony, leaving the purity and simplicity of its early faith far behind. Even worse are centuries filled with bloodletting and ruthlessness that followed, with the Church bent on world conquest. All contrary religious thought was stifled as the Church grasped for total world-control.”

 
At 6/17/2010 11:40 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, Ten Strawman arguments erected against the Doctrine of the Trinity, no scriptural exegesis but selective quoting from extra-biblical sources and bad paraphrases of the bible.
I will focus here on two different different responses Larry left as well as quoting the sections of scripture in their contexts for you to see.

As to the illogical nature of the Trinity, Larry has engaged in a linguistic argument but not a logical one. He has not proven that the Trinity breaks the law of non-Contradiction. A very basic syllogism for the Trinity is:
There is one God.
There are three persons identified as God: The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.
Each person is distinct from each other.
QED: There is one God comprised of three Persons, or God is Triune.

In order to prove the Trinity is illogical you must show that one of the premises contradicts itself, is invalid, or that the conclusion does not follow from the premises. I would expect that if you were to show that a premise were invalid you would have to invalidate it from scripture, not from silence. If you were to show that a premise were contradictory you would show it contradictory logically eg. A = ~A. If you were to show that the conclusion does not follow you must provide the conclusion that does follow from the premises. If these cannot be met then you assertions are just that empty rhetoric.

 
At 6/17/2010 11:40 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Now Larry quotes from a rather bad paraphrase of the bible in his last installment. Allow me to quote most of the passages from a literal word for word translation of the text. Also I as a trinitarian agree with everything written in these texts, it is my Pelagian Arian friend who does not.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. - 2 Peter 2:21-25 Christ is indeed our example but He also bore our sins in His body. This texts teaches salvation by Grace through Faith unto Works, just like the rest of scripture.

 
At 6/17/2010 11:40 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, "What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. - Hebrews 2:5-18 Ironically this passage teaches a great deal about Christ's High Priestly office, but there is something I would like you all to look at, notice how Christ had to be made like his Brothers? Why would a mere human have to be made like their brothers? Why would a mere human have to take flesh?

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:15-16 Christ was indeed tempted in every way yet without sin. This does not disprove his deity nor does it lend itself to worldliness, rather it breaks the bonds of legalism. At home or away we seek to please him, yet when we fail we draw near knowing we have a great High Priest able to forgive us even the vilest failures. Larry is preaching a different Gospel than the one Paul preached when He wrote "we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died in vain!" - Galatians 2:16-21 And as such is quite worthy of the anathema of Galatians 1:9.

 
At 6/21/2010 6:11 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

As Matt said, Trinitarian doctrine teaches that the Father is God, that the Son of God is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God.
That is three Gods. Yet, Matt (and all Trinitarians) immediately contradicts himself by saying that there is only one God! Matt's syllogism breaks down immediately when it proposes that which is ridiculous: the idea that there are three who are God and yet there is only one God.
As i have stated over and over, the Bible does not even mention this doctrine or define it. The idea of the Trinity was plagiarized from the platonists,for you will find neither the word nor the idea of the Trinity in the Bible. It is naive to think that any person who sat down and read the NT would come away convinced or even aware of the idea of the Trinity. Only after the idea of the Trinity has been taught to a person can they "see" it in the Bible. Only by a series of misinterpretations can such illogical conclusions be drawn. The myth of the three in one god is an illusion that cannot even be conceived of by the human mind.
Matt accuses me of being "illogical" while he himself is defending and promoting the most illogical idea ever conceived from the bowels of hell.
Matt says that "In order to prove the Trinity is illogical you must show that one of the premises (of his syllogism) contradicts itself".
While this can easily be done, it can never be done to the satisfaction of those who are convinced of their belief system (like Matt obviously is). It is my opinion that Satan uses Trinitarianism to blind his victims from the truth and that God lets it happen to separate these people from his true sheep. It is, therefore, futile to try to change Matt's mind. But, for those who have doubts or those who have an open mind, disproving the Trinity is very simple indeed.
I should know, I used to be one and I have had and continue to have many experiences of converting Trintarians away from this Platonic error to the light of the true gospel.
As I always say, let the reader decide. There is much information on this subject on the internet. One good one that i would suggest is: http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com/

 
At 6/21/2010 6:28 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

On 6/14/10 Matt said:
"Plurality of both the name Elohim and verbs used with it in the Bible also lead to show that ancient Judaism had a less monolithic view of God..."
Then, the very next day (6/15/10) Matt said the following:
"I never said the linguistic name Elohim proved the Trinity."
Matt can't have it both ways. Either the word "Elohim" helps prove the doctrine of the Trinity or is does not. I most empatically say that it does NOT. Matt is, at best, confused on the issue. And no wonder, it is common knowledge that Trinitarians attempt to use the word "Elohim" to "weave the Pagan trinity from Jewish cloth" (as Rabbi Singer put it).
When Trintarians attempt to say that "elohim" is the plural form of the Jewish word for "god", well, one might ask them then, Why do you not translate it as "gods" then when it designates YHWH??

Matt can call my Top Ten Reasons to Not believe in the Trinity "straw men" if he pleases, but he is completely unable to disprove even one of its tenets.
I cannot improve the words of Thomas Jefferson, so i will simply repeat them: "The Athanasian paradox that one is three and three but one, is so incomprehensible to the human mind, that no candid man can say he has any idea of it, and how can he believe what presents no idea? He who thinks he does, only deceives himself He proves, also, that man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck."

 
At 6/21/2010 6:39 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

In regards to Matt's comments on Philipians 2, i might simply direct the readers (if the be any) of this blog to go to the following website:

http://www.mindspring.com/~anthonybuzzard/philippians.htm

There i think you can certainly find enough information to answer the points made by Mr. Lautensach.

 
At 6/22/2010 3:49 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
First you have not yet interacted with the logic of the Trinity in a logical way. You have repeatedly interacted with it in a rhetorical way but you are not claiming it is rhetorically inconsistent but illogical, and as such must show it to be illogical by logic. You may not find the logic convincing, just as an atheist might not find the following syllogism convincing but there is no logical error in either:
If Logic then God
Logic
QED God

Logically sound perhaps not convincing but logically sound.
Likewise:
There is one God.
There are three persons identified as God: The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.
Each person is distinct from each other.
QED: There is one God comprised of three Persons, or God is Triune.

Please show me a logical error or retract your statement that the Trinity is illogical.


On 6/14/10 I said:
"The Plurality of both the name Elohim and verbs used with it in the Bible also lead to show that ancient Judaism had a less monolithic view of God than Modern." Then, the very next day (6/15/10) I said the following:
"I never said the linguistic name Elohim proved the Trinity." And indeed I did not, I merely stated that the OT Jews did not have a view of strict monolithic monotheism that Larry is espousing. Just because the linguistics show that there wasn't a strict monotheism does not prove Trinitarianism it simply proves that strict monolithic monotheism is wrong according to the Jewish Scriptures. Now I would submit that the only valid form of monotheism is Trinitarianism but that is something different than saying the Ancient Jews were not monolithic in their monotheism.

As for the link on Philippians 2:5-11 by Mr. William M. Wachtel, we see gross eisegesis from the onset. Rather than dealing with the text in its context first he jumps to other texts in other contexts to prove his point, without exegesis of those texts first, rather he assumes the exegesis. He even tries to use texts that prove the Deity of Christ to deny it, eg. John 17 or 20. Therefore it is extremely difficult to interact with Mr. Wachtel since he does not provide a full exegesis of the texts that form his presuppositions regarding what this text can and cannot say. Furthermore he does not deal with how this text ought to show us an example of humility. The fact that Christ did not usurp God, as if one could do such a thing, is not an example of humility, it may be an example of maturity but not humility. As I said in my exegesis of this text, we don't view the Vice President as humble because he does not assassinate the President and take over his job, to think such is to have quite a skewed view of humility.

Larry and I have been back and forth on this round after round. Perhaps the people here would like to hear to respected representatives of Unitarian and Trinitarian views. Sir Anthony Buzzard representing the Unitarians view and James White representing Trinitarianism: Enjoy.

http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={8D308942-5CE3-4BB8-9039-B8653F819D33}

 
At 6/23/2010 1:07 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
There is no logic to the Trinity doctrine to discuss. The very notion is illogical. It is not taught or even mentioned in the Bible. Only when a person is looking through a Platonic glass can certain key scriptures be twisted to arrive at its aberrant conclusions. The Bible does not teach that the son of God and/or the holy spirit is YHWH! Only through a biased misunderstanding what the Bible says can this conclusion be reached.
Next: As has already been demonstrated, Matt uses the word "Elohim" in a feeble attempt to bolster his idea of the Trinity. This is commonly done among Trinitarians and proof of these attempts are far too numerous to mention here. Matt's contention that the word "Elohim" somehow "proves" that the Jews did not believe in a "strict monolithic monotheism" is absurd and proofs of that fact are also too numerous to recount here; this information is available for all to investigate for themselves. Matt did not bother to answer the question of why Trinitarians (or anyone else for that matter) do not translate the plural "elohim" as "Gods" when it refers to YHWH since it (supposedly) "less monolithic view of God" (as Matt puts it). It is my opinion that the notion that "Elohim" means anything that could be taken to support the idea of the Trinity simply shows the ignorance of the person making that point.

 
At 6/23/2010 3:05 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry has once again refused to interact with the logic of the trinity even though I have laid out the syllogism for him twice. He simply says it is illogical, yet offers no proof. If that is what makes for a sound argument these days then all I would have to say is that by definition the Trinity is logical and there would be the end of the discussion. However that is not how argument nor logic works, and Larry has yet to interact with arguments for the Trinity or the logic of Trinity. Perhaps he has not had training in logic but if he is attempting to prove that the Trinity is illogical he ought to be able to show such on logical grounds.

As for Elohim, again he has not interacted with the texts I spoke of where Both Elohim and the Verbs used with the names are plural. He simply says "well why didn't they translate it Gods?" Um... because the Jews were monotheists, and the texts cited were talking about YHWH? (Genesis 20:13; 35:7; 2 Samuel 7:23; Psalm 58:12) Clearly these passages can only be translated God if the Jews were both monotheists and had a complex view of the unity of God. All that aside who is David speaking to when he references God's God and who is God's God?(Psalm 45:7-8) Who are the Creators? (Ecc. 12:1) Who are the Makers? (Psalm 149:2) Who are the Holy Gods? (Elohim Qdshim - Joshua 24:19) These passages also show a plurality in YHWH or that YHWH is not monolithically one, but a complex unity. These passages make sense to a Trinitarian but not to a Unitarian.

Finally his last straw man mixes categories. Indeed there are some antinominial Trinitarians that live unholy lives, but to say they represent all Trinitarians is as silly as saying all Unitarians are Universalists and as such there doctrine leads to unholy living. I doubt Larry would agree with that but that is exactly the mistake he makes in his final reason to not be a Trinitarian.

 
At 6/24/2010 11:32 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt may supposedly have some training in logic, but if his syllogism is what passes for logic these days then someone needs to go back to school. Anyone who thinks that three different persons can be the same being and then accuses anyone who refuses to accept that absurdity as being illogical is hysterical and wrongheaded.
Try this: the Trinity doctrine cannot be true because a "person" and a "being" are essentially the same thing and three persons cannot be the same being. It would be tantamount to saying that Washington, Adams, and Jefferson were all the same president of the United States. Any historian promoting that idea would be locked up in an insane asylum. The main assumption of Matt's syllogism is that the Bible teaches that all three "persons" of the so-called trinity are all three "God" at the same time. Aside from being nonsensical, the Bible teaches no such thing.
In regards to Elohim, Matt, I am not speaking of the Jews, I am speaking of the English translations. I have yet to find one that will translate "elohim" as "gods" when it is use of YHWH. Your comment that "the Jews were monotheists" missed the whole point and tells me that you fell asleep in class.
In reference to Ps. 45:7, 8. Matt seems to lack the knowledge that the word "god" does not always mean the "supreme God" but oft times has reference to others who can have that title. ie. 2 Cor. 4:4 where Satan himself is referred to as a "god". Jesus said, "...He (God) called them gods unto whom the word of God came" John 10:35. Did not David himself say, "O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy is forever". Psa. 136:2 And again, "He judgeth among the gods". Ps. 82:1 Jesus himself called YHWH his "God" from the cross: "my God, my God!" Matt. 27:46 and after the resurrection when he said to Mary: "I ascend to ... my God, and your God." John 20:17. YHWH is the God of gods and Jesus is one of the gods that he is the god of, for Paul says, "The head of Christ is God" 1 Cor. 11:3
Alas, Let the readers decide (if there are any :-) ). Ultimately, YHWH Himself is the revealer of truth, we can but offer to our fellow man our opinions of what that truth is.
Apparently Matt also does not understand the 10th reason to NOT believe in the trinity, so he gives it smear and leaves it at that. Matt does not understand that the reason Trinitarians need Jesus to be God is so they can also deny the possibility of obtaining the divine nature in the flesh as Jesus did by overcoming sin in the flesh.

 
At 6/24/2010 4:15 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry is declaring that being and person are essentially the same thing, and thus the Trinity is illogical. Let us examine that claim.
According to the Oxford English Compact Dictionary - Being when used as a noun means "1 existence. 2 the nature or essence of a person. 3 a living creature: alien beings."
Now we must notice a few things first being is defined as existence, that is perhaps the simplest definition of being one could find, the second is something that describes the nature or essence of a person, this in and of itself does not limit the number of persons a being can have it simply states that we are talking about the nature and not the personhood of the person. Finally a living creature. Well a living creature would indeed describe flowers, yet flowers do not have personhood. I dare say that Larry has never went out to the daisy field, sat down, and had long conversations with the flowers. Perhaps he has in Wonderland but not in reality. However if we were to believe Larry he would have to say that those flowers are persons, with the power to think, act, and value, for that is what we mean when we speak of persons or personhood. No one accuses a plant of personhood, why would they, likewise anyone who equates persons with being as "essentially the same thing" either has not spent time working through the issue, is the type that like to have deep meaningful conversations with flowers, trees, and other beings that do not think, act, nor value, or they are someone who is too blinded by their own tradition to actually look at the issue.

As regards to English translations the reason no translation to my knowledge has translated them in the plural is because the bible is explicitly monotheist, just not strict monolithic monotheist.

So rather than answer my question on Psalm 45, where I was simply asking who David was speaking to, you go off on a tangent with other texts and other passages. Passages in Greek which don't even use the word Elohim. Fair enough but that is a sure sign that you are unable or unwilling to answer the question. Let me ask an even simpler question who David was addressing when he wrote "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever." Who is he speaking to? Furthermore if you believe Jesus is a god, are you sure you yourself are not espousing some Hindu-Christian mix where there are many gods ruling the world with a supreme God over them? Do you think that you will one day be one of these gods? If so you are no longer a monotheist but a polytheist, I am quite sorry if that is the case.

 
At 6/24/2010 5:14 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt, the whole idea of "person" and "being" is a manifestly unbiblical idea which has been drained from the cess pool of paganistic platonism and, as such, is unworthy even of consideration by any bible believing Christian. If you don't even understand the idea of a person and a being then i can be of little help to you. Do you really believe that a flower is a being in the context of this discussion? In a discussion of conscious beings a conscious being can only be one person. To make God otherwise is to make him a hullucinating schizophrenic monstosity whose three consciousnesses are simultaneously thinking the same thing, etc... I would advise any readers of this blog to look up the word "being" and they will find that one of its synonyms is the word "person".
As far as the word "Elohim" is concerned, now Matt seems to be saying that if he were to translate the Bible then he would translate "Elohim" as "Gods" when it refers to YHWH!!
The Torah says regarding Moses in Exodus 7:1, And the LORD said unto Moses, "See, I have made thee a god (Elohim) to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet." (KJV) Are Trinitarians going to claim that there was a plurality of persons in Moses?
The fact that the name of God, Elohim, does not in any way imply a plurality in the godhead is well known and widely recognized even amongst Trinitarian Christians. For example, in the New International Version (NIV) Study Bible, which is hardly a translation or annotation which could be construed as friendly to the Jewish faith, the Christian author writes in his commentary on Genesis 1:1: God created. The Hebrew noun Elohim is plural but the verb is singular, a normal usage in the OT when reference is to the one true God. This use of the plural expresses intensification rather than number and has been called the plural of majesty, or of potentiality. (NIV Study Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 6.) Rabbi Singer.
In regards to Ps. 45:6, Matt, for some reason, wants me to say that the word "God" is Jesus Christ. So I will. The person who shall sit on that throne and whose God is YHWH is the messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. I am sorry if Matt was offended that i did not directly answer that question in my last blog but it is such a manifest fact I will have to wait to see why Matt really wanted me to say that. The larger point of Jesus being called a "god" in the bible was addressed in my last blog also dated 6/24/10 where I preempted Matt by expounding on the use of the word "god" in Scripture. Matt takes all these scripture quotes to try to make me look like some sort of Hindu. It is a poor attempt and all who read this must be embarrassed that such a thing would be said in the face of all the scriptural evidence to the contrary. It is a manifest biblical idea that when the Bible says there is one God it means that there is one original uncreated and all powerful person whose name is YHWH and all others who have that title are lesser creations who are rulers nevertheless and who can be called "god" with the understanding that qualifiers are necessary to tell which "god" they are. For example, even YHWH Himself is identified as the "most high God" (Gen. 14:18; Ps. 78:56) and as the "Highest" in Luke 1:32, 35. If there were not others who carry the title "god", which the scriptures plainly say that there are, then there would be no need to add qualifiers to identify which god one is speaking of. God! which god? The Highest God! His name is YHWH and He is the "God of gods!" (as the scriptures plainly teach in Deut. 10:17; Jos. 22:22; Psa. 136:2; Dan. 2:47; 11:36.

 
At 6/25/2010 1:14 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Do you deny existence to a flower as a living entity? If you would then of course we are miscommunicating when it comes to the term being, you seem to think I am using the term being as person, I am not if the term entity is easier for you to understand then I would be happy to use it instead of the term being.

I never said I would translate Elohim gods, that is quite silly and is the result of a rather hasty generalization on Larry's part. If he can take my statement "As regards to English translations the reason no translation to my knowledge has translated them in the plural is because the bible is explicitly monotheist, just not strict monolithic monotheist." and make that accusation I am unsure if this discussion can go any further. I would simply note that, as I have stated, YHWH is not monolithic as He is called Makers, Creators, etc.

When Larry quotes Exodus 7:1 he does seem to be missing the entire point. I am not questioning that other people are called "as God to Pharaoh" or "Are ye not Gods". I am speaking of specific references. The fact that Larry still refuses to answer to who David is addressing in Psalm 45 is quite troubling. Likewise in Psalm 110 who is David's Lord? It is rather telling that he wont deal with the texts cited. I agree with Larry that every time the word God is referenced we must understand it in its context. Yet he is not yet willing to deal with those contexts and simply jumps to other texts with different contexts. If that is what passes as exegesis then there is no reason to continue this discussion.

Larry continues his rant about how there are a plethora of gods in the world as a simple red herring trying to divert attention away from the issue. We are not speaking of those that by "by nature are not gods." We are speaking of YHWH alone, so indeed if I were to cite a text such as Exodus 7:1 suggesting it taught a plurality of gods he would be very right to bring this discussion up. We are not talking about that, we are not even talking about whatever concept he has of deification, we are speaking of YHWH, and currently why there are Plural nouns and verbs used of YHWH in the Old Testament; an issue he seems unable or unwilling to address.

 
At 6/26/2010 11:19 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
What I said about the flower I said, "in the context of this discussion." I also made note that there is no discussion in the Bible about God's being and suppossed "persons". That discussion can only be found in the writtings of the pagans from which the ideas were, borrowed or stolen (which ever the case may be).
As far as this "discussion going further", there is no obligation for Matt to respond or to not respond on this blog, and the same is true for me.
Matt claims: "I would simply note that, as I have stated, YHWH is not monolithic as He is called Makers, Creators, etc." I wonder, Matt, why no translators use Makers or Creators (Plural) when refering to YHWH? You yourself now claim you do no espouse the us of the plural "gods" as a possible translation for "elohim" which is supposedly the exact same word in Hebrew. I would agree with Rabbi Singer that your lack of understanding of the Hebrew language is the main thing you are demonstrating in the discussion of the word "elohim".
Next up, Matt says: "The fact that Larry still refuses to answer to who David is addressing in Psalm 45 is quite troubling."
I will tell you what is "troubling" Matt, and that is that the first time you asked this question i assumed it was simply a rhetorical question since the answer is so obvious. In my next e-mail I answered the question with these words, "The person who shall sit on that throne and whose God is YHWH is the messiah, Jesus of Nazareth." If this answer does not register with Matt for some reason, then prayer for Matt may be the only possible action that can be taken.
In response to Matt's reference to Ps. 110: Buzzard and Hunting wrote - “The two words for ‘lord’ in the sentence ‘The Lord said to my lord’ are significantly different. The first ‘Lord’ is Yahweh. ...In Psalms 110:1... there is no question that the first Lord mentioned (Yahweh) refers to God, the Father, the One God of Israel (as it does some 6700 occasions). The second word for ‘lord’ (here, ‘my lord’) is adoni, meaning, according to all standard Hebrew lexicons, ‘lord,’ ‘master,’ or ‘owner,’ and it refers here ...to the Messiah. If David had expected the Messiah to be God, the word used would not have been adoni, but adonai, a term used exclusively for the One God.”

 
At 6/28/2010 12:23 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
First yes a flower is a being in the context of this discussion. It is not a person though, that was the point of the analogy.

There is no biblical president for the unification of being and person as Larry would like others to believe, he simply assumes this.

Larry may question my understanding of the Hebrew language but first he would have to understand my question, which he has not shown any understanding of. Clearly when Elohim is translated with a singular verb in the context of YHWH it ought to be translated as God. I am suggesting that at times it is clearly talking about YHWH and is plural and used with plural verbs, there is of course one God so why the plurality within YHWH if he is monolithic as you espouse? *Note: the question is not about the name Elohim but the verbs used with it when speaking of YHWH.

Larry states that Jesus is David's God, quite interesting. Larry can understand and accept two different uses of the word God, such that there is one supreme God and another non-supreme God or perhaps god, yet when it comes to the distinction between being and person he is confused or denies such a distinction can be made. This is simply an inconsistent use of language.

As to Psalm 110:1 I do hope that we all realize that this interpretation of Psalm 110:1 depends entirely upon the addition of vowels by Jewish scribes to the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament in the 8th Century AD as a response to Christianity! Adonai and Adoni are consonantly the same word and would have been without distinction during the time of Christ. Interesting way of doing theology.

 
At 6/28/2010 10:16 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Someone once said, "Anything is possible when you don't know what you are talking about." In my OPINION, Matt does not know what he is talking about. It is as simple as that.
I wonder when Matt walks into a garden he says to himself, Look at all the beautiful beings." Matt misses the point when he says, "There is no biblical president for the unification of being and person as Larry would like others to believe." My entire point is that there is NOTHING in the Bible about the supposed distinction between God's "being" and his supposed "persons". That discussion is done only by Platonists.
By the way, originally, the first "Lord" in Ps. 110:1 was the name YHWH. The title Adonai was later used instead of the name of God due to, apparently, an exagerated fear of using it in vain.
Matt mischaracterizes me again when he says, "Larry states that Jesus is David's God, quite interesting."

 
At 6/28/2010 10:17 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

cont...
The following is from http://onlytruegod.org/defense/hebrews1.8.htm
In answer to a question, "Is Jesus the God at Hebrews 1:8?" an answer appeared in The Watchtower, 1984, March 1st, p.31, which states,

"No. The weight of the evidence indicates that it is Jehovah. According to the New World Translation, Hebrews 1:8 says: "But with reference to the Son: "God is your [the Son] throne forever and ever."" This shows that Jesus' throne, his office or authority as a sovereign, has its source in Jehovah the Almighty God. However, believers in the Trinity prefer the Authorized Version, or King James Version, which renders Hebrews 1:8 this way: "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Thus, they feel that Jesus is shown to be the same as Almighty God. Why is this not correct? First, note the context. In many translations, either in the main text or in the margin, Hebrews 1:9 reads, "God, your God, anointed you." This makes it clear that the one addressed in verse eight is not God, but one who worships God and is anointed by him. Secondly, it should be noted that Hebrews 1:8, 9 is a quotation from Psalm 45:6, 7, which originally was addressed to a human king of Israel. Surely the writer of this psalm did not think that this human king was Almighty God and neither did the writer of Hebrews think that Jesus was Almighty God. Commenting on this, scholar B. F. Westcott said: "It is scarcely possible that[Elohim,God]in the original can be addressed to the king. . . . Thus on the whole it seems best to adopt in the first clause the rendering: God is Thy throne (or, Thy throne is God), that is 'Thy kingdom is founded upon God.'" With good reason, therefore, the New World Translation and a number of other translations render Hebrews 1:8 as, "God is your throne." (See An American Translation, Moffatt; also the marginal reading in American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version and The New English Bible.) This makes it clear that the "Son," Jesus Christ, has a God who is higher than he is."
And,...
When Solomon, who was God's Son(II Sam.7:14),ruled over the Lord's kingdom(I Chron.29:11), he sat on the Lord's throne (´al kisse´ Yhwh) (I Chron 29:23; see also Enoch 51:3; 55;4; 61:8; 62:2-3,5; 69:26-27,29).That did not mean that Solomon was God. It means that Solomon ruled over God's kingdom when he ruled over Palestine, and he sat on God's throne when he ruled from Jerusalem. Therefore, it is just as proper to speak of the eternity of God's throne with reference to the son Jesus who was to sit on it as it was to speak of God's throne when Solomon, the son, sat on it. The point of the authors arguement is that, in contrast to the angels, who are as temporal as wind and fire, the Son was destined for a throne which was "forever and ever," as the scripture says. At the end of the verse "his" has the stronger textual support..., although almost all other texts have "your"(sou) in conformity to the LXX(and MT). The RSV renders Ps.45:6, "Your divine throne"- the most likely rendering when the next line continues "Your royal scepter....." and the address is clearly to the king. The same would be here true in Heb.1:8 if the reading "your" were accepted at the end of the verse. It seems more likely that the author of Hebrews spoke only in reference to the Son when he addressed God, mentioning the eternity of the throne on which the Son would sit.

 
At 6/28/2010 11:16 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

In regards to Ps. 45, Matt want to know who "David" is speaking to and then he says: "Larry states that Jesus is David's God, quite interesting."
For everyone's information, Davis is not the one speaking to the messiah in Psalms 45, it is YHWH Himself:
"About the Son, however, God said: "Your kingdom, O God, will last forever! You will rule over your people with justice."-Todays English Version.
The RSV agrees with the Jewish Tankh in rendering Ps. 45:6 as YHWH speaking to the messiah: "Your divine throne endures for ever and ever."
The implication here is that the throne upon which the messiah will sit and rule from is divinely appointed and delegated to the messiah (see Heb. 3:2).
So, Matt asks his question amiss, because he doesn't even know who is talking to who. No wonder he is confused enough to think that the Father and the son are the same "god"!

 
At 6/28/2010 11:47 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

So, Matt. Is YHWH calling the messiah His "god"? This makes your question look rather foolish!
Trinitarianism is daily shown to be a collosal error.
It is my contention that most rank and file "Trinitarians" are actually a lot more "Arian" in their beliefs than those like Matt would imagine. When quized about the tenets of their doctrine, most Catholics, Methodists, and Baptists sound a lot more like me than they do Mr. Lautensack.
It is easy to convert them to the truth of a created son of God who is a lesser and separate being from his Father. They are usually astonished that their church would teach such a thing as Trinitarianism and they do NOT think they are going to go HELL just because they see Jesus as the messiah sent to save them from their sins and who acts on God's behalf as His agent, but who is not himself the "most high God"!

 
At 6/28/2010 3:57 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry wrote:
My entire point is that there is NOTHING in the Bible about the supposed distinction between God's "being" and his supposed "persons".
Since these are his words and as such he would hopefully understand them allow me to put my point in terms he would understand.
My entire point is that there is NOTHING in the Bible about the supposed unification between God's "being" and "persons".

These arguments are indeed the same, and I agree there is no systematic formulation of the complex unity of God in the bible, but one goes entirely too far to say that because something isn't explicitly taught in the bible that it is not implicitly taught.

Larry then submits himself to the authority of the Watchtower tract and bible society. I would have to wonder if he also agreed with their modalism. That aside, the only way to get "God is thy throne" from Hebrews 1:8 is to completely ignore Psalm 45:6-7, because while it is a grammatically acceptable translation of the text, as is "Thy throne O God", it ignores who the Psalmist would have been speaking of. There is no grammatical way to get God is thy throne from Psalm 45:6-7, so either your theology is affecting your translation, as with the Jehovah's Witness', the writer to the Hebrews was not quoting scripture, rather making something new up, or the text ought to be, "Thy throne, O God." This also indeed shows that Jesus is the Davidic Messianic King, here again we would agree, if Solomon was the immediate fulfillment of 2 Samuel 7:14 how much more is the Son of God the final and plenary fulfillment of that text? Did not prophets following Solomon forsee the promised Son of God? (Isaiah 9:6-7; 16:5; Jeremiah 23:5; 30:9; 33:15-17; Ezekiel 37:24-25) Indeed Jesus was human King, not an angel or some other demi-god. If we continue in the text we see Psalm 102 applied to Jesus, indeed in that Psalm YHWH is the only one spoken of. I know you will probably say that this refers to a new creation, but why then would the writer use past tense terms? Furthermore the incarnate son does have a God who is functionally superior to him, just as a judge if functionally superior to you in a court, though you are both ontologically human. Functional inequality does not imply ontological inequality, to say it does assumes too much.

Indeed in the letter to the Hebrews the Father is speaking of the Son, yet in Psalm 45 the speaker is clearly human. My question was about Psalm 45 in the original context who is being addressed. You stated that in the original context the throne belonged to Jesus. And went from there assuming that is what Larry believed, he apparently has changed his mind after reading some Watchtower tracts.

Indeed I would agree that most professed would fail a Trinitarian quiz if I randomly polled them this Sunday, I disagree that they would be Arian, though some might, I find that more are modalists (saying Jesus and the Father are the same person). The general reason for this is the failure to teach doctrine in Church, most people go to "feel good" churches. There is nothing wrong with being emotional but when it comes at the expense of the mind we have gone to far.

And yes YHWH was calling the Messiah God. You would agree since you have just stated that it is YHWH speaking in Psalm 45 right? That is not okay if you are a Unitarian but is okay when we realize that YHWH (The Father) is calling YHWH (The Son) God. As Matthew 28:19 says there is one name that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share. The Jews he was writing to would have understood the name as ha_shem or The Name, YHWH.

 
At 6/29/2010 12:50 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
It is my opinion that any doctrine that carries the weight that you give the Trinity (esp. saying this if you disbelieve it that you are going to HELL)would be taught in the Bible EXPLICITLY and NOT implicitly! It cannot be emphasized enough that neither the word nor the idea of the Trinity can be found in holy writ. Only by mistranslating, misinterpreting, and misunderstanding a few key scriptures can the bias of the Trinitarian be confirmed by the Bible.
Matt, by saying, "My entire point is that there is NOTHING in the Bible about the supposed unification between God's 'being' and 'persons'" unwittingly confesses that his doctrine is not in the Bible. All the examples we have in nature and in the world around us are that all beings are only one person. If God were the exception to this rule then He would have brought this out in Scripure because the idea is foreign to all the examples that are common to the human experience. The fact that God does not mention the idea that He is an exception to the "one being one person" rule in Scripture is ample proof of my point and not Matt's. My point was: "that there is NOTHING in the Bible about the supposed distinction between God's 'being' and his supposed 'persons'."

 
At 6/29/2010 1:05 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Next, I would like to comment that Matt's statement that I "submitted myself to the authority of the Watchtower" simply because i quoted it is obviously meant as an insult. I could say something like, "Well, since Matt grovels at the feet of Constantine and licks the boots of Athanasius, etc..."
You get my point...
In regards to Ps. 45:6, It is my opinion that the RSV and the Jewish Tanakh have it right when they translate it: "Your divine throne endures for ever and ever." This indicates that Christ's throne was divinely appointed and that Christ rules at the pleasure of God, his father. As the NT also bears out: "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." NKJV
Matt still thinks this is David speaking to someone when he says: "in Psalm 45 the speaker is clearly human." Really, well that is NOT what Paul tells us in Heb. 1:8! Paul makes it clear that it is YHWH who is speaking. Look at Heb. 1:5 where he quotes God: "I will be a father and he shall be to me a son." Paul quotes God again in verse 6 and 7 by saying "he saith", and, Paul is certainly under the impression that God is speaking to the messiah in verse 8 when he quotes Ps. 45:6. I will take Paul's word for it over Mr. Lautensack. No offense intended.

 
At 6/29/2010 1:47 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Next,
Matt's experience with persons in the main line churches may be different from mine and this may be because we approach those people differently or it may simply be that they are different people. But, if not believing the Trinity doctrine sends you to HELL, then i would think that the preachers would be more dutiful to teach it instead of letting their congregations to become practical Arians or Sabellians! If i know and Matt knows what is in the minds of these people because of our conversations with them, then surely their preachers know; or do they?
Matt, you call the son of God by the name of YHWH because you confuse the identity of Jesus with the Most High God. Let me clear this up for you; Jesus is the son of God and YHWH is the God the Father. It should be a curious thing to you that the Bible never uses the phrase "God the son" (or "God the Holy Spirit" for that matter)!
As far as Matthew 28:19 being used as a proof text for the Trinity, Matt misses the truth on several points. First up is his use of the phrase "in the name of". Matt characterizes this phrase to mean that all three (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) all have one name and that that name is YHWH! Matt does not know that the phrase "in the name of" really means "by the authority of" which gives someone delegated power to act in the stead or in the name of someone else as if they were that someone else. Matt's use and understanding of the phrase is a little humorous, but it has nothing to do with the name YHWH or the name of any of the three mentioned in Matt. 28:19.
Next, Matt might check out this website:
http://www.israelofgod.org/Constantine.htm which questions the authenticity of this scripure:
"In the course of my reading I have been able to substantiate these doubts of the authenticity of the text of Matthew 28:19 by adducing patristic [L. pater: "father"] evidence against it, so weighty that in the future the most conservative of divines will shrink from resting on it any dogmatic fabric at all, while the more enlightened will discard it as completely as they have its fellow-text of the ‘Three Witnesses’ (1 John 5:7). - F.C. Conybeare in the Hibbert Journal"
The fact that the writer of the gospel of Mark does not include this phrase in his rendition of the words of Jesus should not go by without notice: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15
Many times the Bible tells us to be baptized in the name of Jesus (ie Acts 2:38; 8:16; 19:5), but we are, supposedly, asked to believe that only one time are we instructed to be baptized in the "name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?" As the Bible plainly teaches, "in the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every fact be established." (Deu. 19:15; Matt. 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1)
Matt. 28:19 fails this test and has but one witness, not to mention the fact that it blatantly contradicts other more established scriptures that we should be "baptized in the name of Jesus"!

 
At 6/29/2010 2:48 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
As the analogy with the flower has shown, there is no rule that says all entities or beings have a one to one ratio being to person. You of course do not accept that flower has being because you believe that being means person. That is fine but you are trying to disprove the Trinity from scripture so you ought to show that being = person from scripture. Since this cannot be done you have a very daunting task. My point by rephrasing the quote by Larry was to simply show that there was no such rule and as such the Trinity is not an exception.

Larry believes that Constantine had something to do with the Trinity, as if he formulated it. Constantine did force the Council at Nicea, but the Trinity, and certainly the Son's deity was understood far before it. It might also be noted that Constantine was an Arian who did not believe in the preexistence of the Son. The comment about the Watch Tower was not meant as a slam I am simply trying to figure out where Larry is coming from as he has espoused beliefs in line with Mormons, Hindus, Jehovah's Witness', perhaps even some Christian ideas, at first it seemed he was a partial Socinian, someone like Sir Anthony Buzzard, yet other comments have shown him to be either a full Socinian or perhaps something else.

As for Psalm 45 - There is no textual reason for one to write God is thy throne nor thy divine throne is forever. This only makes sense if your theology is guiding your translation rather than the text. Furthermore it is quite strange to think that YHWH showed up at a wedding feast in the Court of David to give this address and no one is astonished at all, so yet the writer to the Hebrews rightly applies it to the Son with the Father speaking, as all scripture is about Jesus (John 5:39; Luke 24:27)

Indeed in the name of does regard authority. But the singular name given to the three persons, and the use of The Name when referring to God? The Jewish audience of Matthew would have believed that The Name being referred to was YHWH.

As for Constantine writing the bible, first as already noted he was an Arian. Second there is no Manuscript evidence that there has ever been any tampering with the text. Thirdly F.C. Conybeare's assertion is based upon reading of Eusebius’ quotations of this text.

Also Mark and Matthew are different Gospels, Mark leaves out Peter walking on the Water, Matthew includes it, should this mean that it didn't happen? John is the only one who writes that Jesus turned water into wine, should we assume this is spurious too? That would be quite silly wouldn't it?

Furthermore there are two witnesses that say we ought to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and two that say we ought to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, clearly this isn't some technical formula for baptism. What these passages (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5) seem to do being is distinguishing Christian baptism from John's baptism (Acts 1:5, 22, 10:37, 11:16, 13:24, 18:25, 19:4) and perhaps others, such as Jewish ones. As the writers of the NT were known for using shorthand this makes quite a bit of sense. Also the external testimony regarding baptism is quite convincing, the Didache, Tatian the Syrian, Hippolytus, Tertullian, etc all espouse the Matthew 28:19 baptism formula in their writings.

 
At 6/29/2010 5:18 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
Let me just say that i believe we have spent enough time on the words "being" and "person" and that, as far as i am concerned, that argument can stay exactly where it is. It has been no daunting task for me to prove that the discussion of the mythical difference between the two words is NOT a biblical discussion. If anyone says that these two words have relavance on this issue, then they are putting themselves above the apostles and prophets of the LORD; for they have said nothing about it. What kind of a person would make such statements about God where the Bible is silent? This question can only be answered by the individual. It is not my purpose here to make disparaging remarks. My arguments against the idea that these two words have relavance will stand as they are; I can add no more.
The following idea is adherred to by the majority of Trinitarians: "The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who would try to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind. But he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul" (Harold Lindsey and Charles J. Woodbridge, A Handbook of Christian Truth, pp. 51-52).
We would agree with Jefferson who said that that can not be believed which is not first understood.

 
At 6/29/2010 5:30 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

next,
I also do not agree with the idea that Constantine wrote the bible, nor that he came up with the idea of the Trinity. No, we have Babylonian priests (or worse) to thank for that. Constantine leaned toward Arianism at the close of his life, but history is replete with the fact that religion was important to him only for political reasons. Truth, to the Trinitarian, is arrived at by the majority vote; ie Nicaea.

 
At 6/29/2010 6:03 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
I agree the topic of person and being as I am using has been beat to death. I agree there is no explicit discussion of being and person in the bible, it seems rather obvious that a flower is not a person but actually exists or has being. Likewise when the bible teaches that there are three persons called God, but only one God, we ought to take that very seriously. Larry once again wants to limit language about the Bible to the words of the Bible. If we are to use this standard consistently any statement he makes that is not taken directly from scripture he himself must disregard it by his own standard. Indeed even the word bible is not to be used. He must never preach a sermon since they are unbiblical because the word sermon is not found in the bible. Furthermore he must not believe in the omniscience, omnipotence, or omnipresence of God, indeed deny those concepts since there is no explicit use of this language in the scriptures. I myself am not attached to the words, though both Person and Being are found in the Bible, just not in an explicit way. I am however attached to the One God, who is called three different persons.

We also agree that Constantine did mainly use religion as a political tool. However if we look at history while Nicea (AD325) was indeed Trinitarian in the following years the Arian heresy flourished. Athanasius was exiled five times, perhaps more, after AD328 when the popular majority ruled by Arians swept the land. Some of those exiles were forced by Constantine himself, while amnesty was granted to Arians. If any position were implemented by Constantine it seems that the Arian position was. It might well be noted that both Athanasius and Arius were from Alexandria. It was not until 381 at Constantinople that the Biblical Truth won out against Arianism. A council not called by government but by the Church.

 
At 6/30/2010 6:54 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

My objection to using unbiblical terms to define biblical doctrines stems from the fact that, since words have meanings, words carry with them ideas. The idea of the trinity is a peculiarly pagan one and NOT a biblical or hebrew one. It is an undeniable fact that the trinity cannot be defined using only words found in the bible. The use of platonic terms by so-called church "fathers" to define their doctrine of the trinity betrays the movement of ideas from paganism into the church.
Therefore, the use of such peculiar terms and ideas to define the biblical God should be avoided at all costs. If the ideas are not specifically mentioned and defined in the bible then those ideas and terms are unbiblical. I would not use the term omnipresent, omnicient, omnipotent to describe God because they are not in the bible. If that idea is in the Bible, quote the scripture that you claim includes that idea and nothing more in your definition of who God is, lest you add to the words of scripture and unwittingly say things about God that are not true.
Next, Constantine may have been an Arian by the time he died but, it is my opinion that he remained esencially pagan; but his use of religion for political purposes propelled the church toward the compromise with paganism that led it to a moral collapse and into Trinitarianism and the Dark Ages. The so-called Church did finally define the Trinity at Constantinople in 381 AD, but, the trouble is, none of God's representatives were at the bombastic farse, only the worldly compromisers were left by then while the true church went underground or even out of existence. 2 Thes. 2

 
At 7/01/2010 12:29 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
I agree that words have meanings, it is also fine if you don't want to use words not found in the bible such as Omniscience, Omnipotence, or even Trinity. Allow me to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity using simply biblical words. Here O' Israel the LORD our God. The LORD is one(Echad)! Echad is a plural one, see Genesis 2:24, Husband and Wife are considered one (Echad) flesh.
The Father is God(Philippians 1:2), the Son is God (Titus 2:13), the Holy Spirit is God(Acts 5:3-4).
The Father is not the Son who is not the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:16)

There you have God as the Bible defines God. Remember that His ways are higher than ours and his thoughts are higher than ours. (Isaiah 55:9) We are finite he is eternal and there are none like him. (Deuteronomy 33:26-27, Psalm 89:6)

You might agree with Jefferson who said "that can not be believed which is not first understood." Yet you go to far to say you fully understand God. If exhaustive understanding is necessary to believe something, look at your earthly father, do you exhaustively understand him? Do you exhaustively understand the bible? If not according to your proposed interpretation of Jefferson you ought not believe the bible.
A final note about 2 Thessalonians 2. This is a text that many anti-Christians try to use to defend their views on God. If this were a worldwide apostasy then Ephesians 3:21 is a false scripture. So since Larry would want to be biblical he would have to say that God used an underground church that never died, or that the Churches of the Middle Ages were at least in part true churches. Yet if he holds that Trinitarians were the ones that "set themselves up as God" in 2 Thessalonians 2 he must also hold that all Trinitarians are hell bound because they "refuse to love the truth and so be saved." I don't know if Larry is willing to go that far, perhaps he is. If he is then I must ask who said that they were God, not a prophet, elder, pastor, evangelist, teacher, but which Trinitarian said I am the Holy Trinity worship me. 2 Thess. 2:4

 
At 7/01/2010 1:54 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
An oft quoted Isa. 55:9 means nothing in the face of the fact that the Godhead issue is comprehensible according to Rom. 1:20: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" AKJV

Your use of the word "Echad" is only another example of your ignorance (and therefore misuse) of the Hebrew language. You still cannot define the doctrine of the Trinity using the Bible only. The tenets of the doctrine (one being, three persons, for example) are not present. Also, your premise that the son and the holy spirit are shown to be YHWH in the bible is completely untrue. The conclusion that the Bible calls Jesus or the holy spirit (the most High) in a way that would confuse their identity with YHWH is only arrived at by those with a bias using either a bad translation, a bad interpretation, or both. Therefore, no definition of the trinity can be shown from scripture and any attempt to do so only reveals the use of misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and misinformation.
Matt mischaracterizes me when he says that I "...go to far to say you fully understand God." I never said this. I do believe, and i think i have scriptural evidence to back me up (Rom. 1:20), that the nature of God and his eternal power (the holy spirit) can be "understood."
Next, re: 2 Thes. 2: Matt's mischaracterization of Eph. 3:21 notwithstanding, it is my opinion that 2 Thes. 2 speaks for itself and that the coming apostasy did indeed happen soon after the removal from this earth of the apostles (Acts 20:29). One need not read much history to know that doctrinal drifting became rampant in the decades and centuries after the pristine church had done its work. If Eph. 3:21 means what Matt imagines that it means, well, i suppose that is OK with me. It is possible that an underground church did (and does) exist in a parallel sense, both at the same time. The persecuted church and the persecuting church. The same as in the book of acts when the apostate Jews persecuted the true people of God.
As to Matt's conclusions about the Hell-worthiness of Trinitarians, I will let God be the judge on that. I do know that the bible says that it is the "truth" that sets you free and not error. Matt has no problem sending me and my "ilk" straight to the burning cauldens of hell, that much is for sure. Also, since Matt and I disagree about what "HELL" is, then this discussion could go into another direction. That is for another place and time.
As to Matt's last question, I would ask Matt to become a student of history, for that is where the answer to his question lies and where it exists to this day in the apostate church.

 
At 7/01/2010 3:26 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Please show me how Echad is being misused? Is it not used in Genesis 2:24 to show Husband and Wife as one Flesh? Is it not used in Deuteronomy 6:4 to show there is one God? Please explain how the word is not being used properly.

If it is untrue that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are YHWH then please provide biblical evidence. Also please explain how John can claim Isaiah saw Jesus in Isaiah 6:1 and how Jesus himself can use the language of Isaiah 43:10 of Himself in John 13:19 when that Passage is specifically referring to YHWH.

Again I can understand Larry's resistance to use words not found in scripture so for his help we are simply looking at the Doctrine of "the Echad or oneness of YHWH in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." You wont find a single non-biblical word in the title of that Doctrine. Also one would do well to note that Larry does not hold himself to this standard very well when trying to refute the Trinity, he likes Extra-biblical sources and words much more than scripture it would seem, that is a bit of a lack of consistency. Yet he could try to be more consistent in the future and explain the texts that indicate Jesus is God or the Holy Spirit is God rather that simply asserting "Also, your premise that the son and the holy spirit are shown to be YHWH in the bible is completely untrue. The conclusion that the Bible calls Jesus or the holy spirit (the most High) in a way that would confuse their identity with YHWH is only arrived at by those with a bias using either a bad translation, a bad interpretation, or both. Therefore, no definition of the trinity can be shown from scripture and any attempt to do so only reveals the use of misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and misinformation." Assertions are great for somethings but they are not arguments and they are not providing texts and explaining them in the light of all of Scripture.

I do believe that this is a clear doctrine, and since you have admitted that fully understanding God is not necessary, I likewise believe that the Triune God of Scripture can be plainly known from the world, namely his eternal power and divine nature. I also believe that men in their unrighteousness suppress this truth because they hate the God of scripture. (v.18)

As to Larry's last response, Indeed it should be clear, yet no Trinitarian I know of has ever made the claim to be God or a god. That is not to say some tritheists or polytheists have,(Joseph Smith) indeed some others come close claiming to become divine under the Supreme God, but no orthodox Trinitarian to my knowledge has, save Christ, but he did not claim to be the Trinity rather the Son.

 
At 7/02/2010 5:17 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
for more information on "echad", check out the web site at:
http://www.messiahtruth.com/trintorah.html
The Jews tells that your use of that word is "totally incorrect".
Rabbi Singer says the following about your use of "echad": "Although this ‘proof’ is as flawed as the doctrine it seeks to support, for those who lack an elementary knowledge of the Hebrew language, this argument can be rather puzzling. The word echad in the Hebrew language functions in precisely the same manner as the word ‘one’ does in the English language. In the English language it can be said, ‘these four chairs and the table constitute one dinette set,’ or alternatively, ‘There is one penny in my hand.’ Using these two examples, it is easy to see how the English word ‘one’ can mean either many things in one, as in the case of the dinette set, or one alone, as in the case of the penny. Although the Hebrew word echad functions in the exact same manner, evangelical Christians will never offer biblical examples where the word echad means one alone. Thus, by only presenting scriptural verses such as Genesis 1:5 and Numbers 23:13, it creates the illusion to the novice that the word echad is somehow synonymous with a compound-unity. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth." www.outreachjudaism.org/trinity.html
B & H righly say the following:
"“It is untrue to say that the Hebrew word echad (one) in Deut. 6:4 points to ‘compound unity.’ A recent defense of the Trinity argues that when ‘one’ modifies a collective noun like ‘bunch’ or ‘herd,’ a plurality is implied in echad. The argument is fallacious. The sense of plurality is derived from the collective noun (herd, etc.), not from the word ‘one.’ Echad in Hebrew is the numeral ‘one.’ ‘Abraham was one [echad]’ (Ezk. 33:24); ‘only one man,’ NIV). Isaiah 51:2 also describes Abraham as ‘one’ (echad, ‘alone,’ KJV; ‘the only one,’ NJB), where there is no possible misunderstanding about the meaning of this simple word. ...The claim that ‘one’ really means ‘compound oneness’ is an example of argument by assertion without logical proof. ...The argument involves an easily detectable fallacy. Echad appears some 650 times in the Hebrew Bible and in no case does the word itself carry a hint of plurality. Echad is a numerical adjective and naturally enough is sometimes found modifying a collective noun - one family, one herd, and one bunch. But we should observe carefully that the sense of plurality resides in the compound noun and not in the word echad (one).
...It has been necessary to belabor our point because the recent defense of the Trinity makes the astonishing assertion that echad always implies a ‘compound unity.’ The author then builds his case for a multi-personal God on what he thinks is a firm foundation in the Hebrew Bible. The linguistic fact is that echad never means ‘compound one,’ but strictly a ‘single one’ ” Buzzard and Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, pg. 25, 26

 
At 7/02/2010 5:35 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

cont...
Matt says: "If it is untrue that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are YHWH then please provide biblical evidence."
Let me just say that it is ridiculous to assert that the Bible is going to argue against the idea that the son or the holy spirit are YHWH. That idea never came up and, therefore, no writer of the Bible ever had to defend it or deny it. The idea is that the Bible declares YHWH to be the most high God and no other. Show me one scripture that declares Jesus or the holy spirit to be YHWH and I will show you how that scripture is either mistranslated, misunderstood, or misinterpreted. It is as simple as that. Any rendering of Scripture that arrives at such an ignorant and preposterous doctrine as the Trinity is a foul thing that be not the word of God!
In regards to Isa. 6:1:
Essentially what you are saying is: 1) that since Isaiah said that he had seen the “King, the Lord of hosts” in Isa. 6:1, 5 and, 2) since John refers to Isaiah as also seeing the “glory of Christ” in John 12:41; you, therefore, in your confusion, conclude that, 3) Jesus must be the “the King, the Lord of hosts” of Isa. 6:1, 5! You then use the fact that John quoted from Isa. 6:10, which is textually near the place in the Bible that Isaiah said he “saw” the “Lord of hosts”, as further proof of your premise. The mistake you make is in assuming that John 12:41 is referring to Isa. 6:1, 5 instead of Isa. 53:1 which John had quoted in John 12:38. John, however, never quotes or refers to Isa.6:1 or Isa. 6:5 in any way whatsoever. Isa. 53:1 is the only passage of Isaiah quoted by John which has a direct reference to the Messiah. The only reason John quotes Isa. 6:10 is to speak of Israel’s spiritual blindness, not to identify the Messiah as the “Lord of hosts” of Isa. 6:5! Even a cursory reading of the texts in question reveals that John never "refers to this particular vision of Isaiah (6:1, 5)" nor does he “claim it was Jesus whom the prophet saw” in that vision. A study of the book of Isaiah reveals that Isaiah had visions of the Glory of God and of the Messiah; so for John to tell us that Isaiah “saw the glory of Christ” is no reason at all to confuse the identity of the messiah with the most high God.
When John says that Isaiah prophetically “saw” the “glory” of Christ in John 12:41 he was pointing directly back to his own statement in John 12:38 where he had just quoted the writings of the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus in Isa. 53:1. John was not referring to Isaiah’s vision of seeing God on His throne in Isa. 6:1, 5! Isaiah’s vision of the “Lord” in Isa. 6:1, 5 and his prophesies of the “glory” of Christ are two separate events which need not be confused.
If the point John wanted to make was that Jesus is God Almighty by naming him as “the King, the Lord of hosts” as seen by the prophet Isaiah in Isa. 6:1, 5 then he could have and would have simply said so. But, John does not say this. John neither mentions nor quotes Isa. 6:1 or Isa. 6:5; nor does he identify Jesus as the “Lord of hosts”. The assumption that you make is caused by your own need to “see” that which is not there. So you pretend to read John’s mind as to what he was thinking instead of what he was actually writing.
Like all Trinitarian proof texts, your doctrine is never stated directly in scripture, but must be manufactured (derived, as you would say) by those with a preconceived notion and arrived at using tortured logic and the manipulation of facts perpetrated by those who are willing to arrive at a foregone conclusion at any cost.
I believe you do violence to the scriptures and your readers a severe disservice when you identify Jesus Christ as God Almighty by automatically thinking that John 12:41 somehow makes Christ "the King, the Lord of hosts" of Isaiah 6:1, 5.” There is simply nothing in the text to lead the reader to your illogical conclusion.

 
At 7/02/2010 5:43 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

cont...
As far at the Trinity being a doctrine that can be comprehended, i think i have already offered ample Trinitarian testimony that it is not. My comments on that stand and let the readers decide.
Regarding 2 Thes. 2, Matt does not know who or what this scripture refers to (by his own testimony). I see no reason, therefore, to enlighten him in this blog. Let our discussion focus on the Godhead issue and let Matt be in the dark on 2 Thes. 2. The same source that has convinced him of the Trinity also hides from his eyes the truth about 2 Thes. 2. The two things are related.
Matt, hint: It has nothing to do with Joseph Smith or anyone claiming to be the Trinity. That was a little humorous though, and for that i thank you.

 
At 7/03/2010 2:06 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt, what is there about John 13:19 that has anything to do with Isa. 43:10???

 
At 7/06/2010 1:39 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Echad does in some contexts indicate a single numerical one. In this you are correct. (See Gen 2:21, Lev. 16:5, etc.) However it can also mean a plural one or complex unity, (Gen 1:5, 2:24, Ezekiel 37:17). Also it is correct that the context of the Shema alone is not enough to discuss which type of oneness Echad means here. To say that Echad of God in Deuteronomy 6:4 cannot mean complex unity is a linguistic fallacy. Furthermore the only reason I used the Shema was to give a definition of the doctrine of God that did not use extra biblical words. To assert that I am wrong you ought to show evidence that Echad is not to be used in this second way, or show that two members of the Trinity are not YHWH God. To simply assume that YHWH is unipersonal simply does not take into account the other texts where Echad is compound.

Rather than trying to show Jesus and the Holy Spirit being merely creatures or a force, Larry elects to conclude that Scripture is not " profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." I on the other hand do agree that Scripture can correct all error, especially when it comes to the Doctrine of God. If neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit is God then it ought to be rather simple to prove from scripture. This is simply an a priori dismissal of evidence.

John 12:38-41
It is quite interesting that Larry will apply the statement "Isaiah said these things because he saw his [Jesus] glory and spoke of him." only to verse 38 but not verse 40 even though the statement is made in verse 41. Rather interesting to refer to one passage as "things" when the immediate contexts shows two. However if John is referring to both statements when he says "Isaiah saw these things" then he is linking Christ to YHWH in quite an unambiguous way. Which is a more natural reading of the Text, that both quotes are referred to as things Isaiah said because he saw Christ's glory and spoke of him, or only the earlier quote being about Christ?

2 Thessalonians 2
I do indeed have theology regarding this passage however if this were to happen in the space time continuum, as the passage would indicate, Larry ought to be able to point to a historical figure who claimed to be the Trinity, or a member of the Trinity and ordered men to worship him. If he cannot find such a historical figure then his conclusion must be that this is spiritualized. I do wonder if that is how the Thessalonians would have understood this passage.
As to the comment "the same source that has convinced him of the Trinity also hides from his eyes the truth about 2 Thes. 2." This brings quite a paradox because according to 2 Thessalonians 2:11 it is "God who hides from my eyes this truth" so according to Larry, God who is not Triune has convinced me that he is Triune... and Larry says my God is schizophrenic.

...

 
At 7/06/2010 1:39 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

John 13:19 and Isaiah 43:10
The fact that Larry cannot see the link between these texts makes me think that he does not understand the Greek language very well, perhaps he has yet to learn it. (hopefully the Greek font will work here)
John 13:19
απ αρτι λεγω υμιν προ του γενεσθαι ινα πιστευητε οταν γενηται οτι εγω ειμι

Isaiah 43:10
γένεσθέ μοι μάρτυρες κἀγὼ μάρτυς λέγει κύριος ὁ θεός καὶ ὁ παῖς ὃν ἐξελεξάμην ἵνα γνῶτε καὶ πιστεύσητε καὶ συνῆτε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ἔμπροσθέν μου οὐκ ἐγένετο ἄλλος θεὸς καὶ μετ' ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔσται
Emphasis mine.
Here Jesus is using language that only YHWH would use of himself. "hina pisteusete ... hoti ego eimi." "In order to believe that I am He." Why would John use identical language as Isaiah, who was speaking of YHWH, hoti Ego Eimi, I am (the self existent one). This text also links John's other I Am statements to Isaiah's similar I AM statements. Such as John 8:58 with Isaiah 41:4, John 8:24 with Isaiah 46:4, and repeating himself as to make guards fall in John 18:5-6. All three Isaiah passages harken back to Exodus 3:14.

As Christ himself says, "I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."

 
At 7/06/2010 9:10 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
you have become childish and argumentative. I think your ignorance is appalling. I leave you to your fate and your egregious errors. let the reader (if there be any) decide.

Larry t.

 
At 7/06/2010 12:59 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Apparently Matt does not read the blogs i write or he would not be claiming that "echad" was a plural unity of some sort. Echad simply means the number one. No more and no less.
The old tired "I am" argument should not be fooling anyone these days. there is ample arguments for both sides on all these issues online, people should study them out for themselves and attempt to let the holy spirit guide them. I praise the Lord for the internet and encourage all to seek the truth of Jesus Christ.
I am certain that Matt is sincere, but sincerely wrong. that is my opinion. Let the readers decide.

 
At 7/06/2010 3:27 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
I am sorry you feel I am being childish. I am simply trying to hold you to the same standard you seek to hold me to. If you have one standard for your Unitarianism and another standard for Trinitarianism then it would certainly seem that inconsistency should not be allowed in an argument.

I am indeed being argumentative in the sense that I am arguing to suggest that certain facts tends toward a certain conclusion. I make no apologies for this, as I am sure you do not when presenting your side.

As to the Echad reference rather than interacting with how Echad can be a "plural one or complex unity" as scripture itself uses it (Genesis 1:5, 2:24) or to use similar language as Rabbi Singer "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit constitute the one True God." (Man and Wife constitute one Flesh, Two sticks constitute one stick) None of his sources actively interact with the scriptures that would indicated Echad as a "complex unity" (aside from Rabbi Singer mentioning that only viewing one side would give one the indication that this was the only way the word could be used) such that they would show my previous statement to be untrue or against the Hebrew language.

Furthermore Larry seems to have grown distasteful of the texts of scripture in John since they very clearly identify Jesus as YHWH. Perhaps he will, like Thomas Jefferson before him, take a razor to his bible so that it will fit his theology.

If Larry's last posts were an indication this ought to be my last post in the series. Indeed the readers, anyone who wades through this ought to take every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ when considering the scriptural doctrine of God.

I do pray that Larry "may come to his senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."

 
At 7/06/2010 3:55 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I will certainly let Matt have the last word. The Lord knows this could go on forever.
I would like to mention that Matt ignored my quote of Buzzard and Hunting in regards to "echad" where the point was made: "...we should observe carefully that the sense of plurality resides in the compound noun and not in the word echad (one)."
One can easily go back and read my blog from 7/2/10 if one would want to.
Matt's delusion that the gospel of John somehow identifies Jesus of Nazareth with YHWH can not be backed up with anything except a preconceived notion. For the Gospel of John does no such thing. I love the gospel of John and i am offended that Matt tells readers that i have "grown distasteful of ...John" and that I want to "take a razor to my bible". Shall i now enumerate the sins of so many Trinitarians and then ask Matt if he would like to do likewise? I doubt very much if he would be moved.
I do pray that Matt and all Trinitarians "may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."

 
At 7/06/2010 4:21 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Indeed Buzzard is correct that there are over 600 uses of the word Echad in the Hebrew scriptures, according to my source some 698 in 546 different verses, yet it is simply wrong to say that none imply plurality. As I have stated there are many times when Echad is a "complex unity" or "plural one" Genesis 1:5; 2:24; 3:32; 11:6; 34:16,22; 2 Chronicles 30:12; Ezra 2:64; Jeremiah 32:39; etc. All of these instances Echad is a "complex unity" or a "plural oneness." To say that Echad must mean one in the way it means one in verses like Exodus 9:7; 2 Samuel 13:30; 17:12; or Ecclesiastes 4:8 etc. is simply wrong. Furthermore in the quoted text Buzzard did not address any specific text where Echad at least appears to imply a "plural oneness" hence my dismissal of it. I would have to ask Sir Anthony if the one flesh of a man and wife were a compound one or a singular one to get clarification as to his statement though.

I do pray that Larry will search the scriptures. This could go on for days but unless new information comes up this ought to be my last post.

May the Triune God of Scripture bless you.

 
At 7/08/2010 3:47 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I had said I would give Matt the last word. Don't make a liar out of me by not responding to this blog. :-)
Matt's statement regarding the word "echad": "...it is simply wrong to say that none imply plurality." Unfortunately, Matt does not show how it is "simply wrong."
Matt must not read my blogs very carefully so I will repeat myself again and let the reader decide:
(I would like to mention that Matt ignored my quote of Buzzard and Hunting in regards to "echad" where the point was made: "...we should observe carefully that the sense of plurality resides in the compound noun and not in the word echad (one)." One can easily go back and read my blog from 7/2/10 if one would want to.)
The level of bias required to make Matt "see" a plurality in the number "1" is astounding!
Matt says: "I would have to ask Sir Anthony if the one flesh of a man and wife were a compound one or a singular one to get clarification as to his statement though." Again, Matt, the idea of any plurality does not come from the word "one" but from the word "two". This would be the same as two corporations merging into ONE corporation. Let me ask you Matt, what sense of plurality do you get when you say "ONE corporation??" I am not seeing the plurality in the oneness! Are you?
Matt mentions a "plural oneness". Matt, is that anything like a white blackness? or even like a live deadness? How about a holy evilness? or even, what about a circular square??? You get my point. It would seem to me that Matt has a peculiar kind of blindness indeed! Let the readers decide.
It has always been amazing to me how the Devil can get theologians to see exact opposite things as being the same. I also pray that Matt will, not only search the scriptures, but that the LORD will open his eyes to the truth of them unencumbered by Trinitarian bias which blinds it's victims to the truth of the word of God.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you all! (2 Cor. 11:31; 1 Pet. 1:3)

 
At 7/08/2010 4:47 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

As to not disappoint Larry or make him a liar I will respond. I do believe a rhetorical difficulty has arisen and not an actual one. While I still believe it is simply wrong to state that echad never implies plurality, I do agree that the context is necessary to establish the plurality. In that sense we agree. We would also agree that there is only one YHWH, Deuteronomy 6:4, we would differ would on the Triunity of YHWH, you believing only the Father is YHWH, myself believing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are YHWH, but only one YHWH. I hope that clears up this misunderstanding.

One final point of thought for anyone who reads this:
If Unitarianism (Larry's position) were true we would expect these kinds of statements in Scripture:

1. There would be frequent, strong, unambiguous statements of EXCLUSIVE deity by the one God.
2. No other individuals would manifest the same powers, glory, characteristics of the one God (except those that may be sharable by creatures).
3. No other individuals would be called "God".
4. Manifestations of God would NOT interact with God (implying distinction within God), but only with the creation.
5. Any literary devices involving God ("the right arm of the most High") would NOT interact with God (implying distinction within God), but only with the creation.
B6. There would be prohibitions against worship of ANYTHING OTHER THAN the one God, and perhaps rebukes of humans who tried to worship super-human (but not divine) agents.

And:

If Trinitarianism were true(My position) would we expect these kinds of statements in Scripture:

1. There would still be statements of the EXCLUSIVE deity by the one God, but the terminology used would be more ambiguous as to 'number' or even be suggestive of a plurality within the one.
2. There would be multiple individuals, metaphors, agents that would be called "God".
3. These Divine agents would interact with other Divine agents in the SAME passage.
4. These multiple 'agents' would still be contrasted with FALSE gods.
5. These multiple 'agents' would be related somehow to each other--within the unity.
6. All of these agents would be accorded worship, prayer, unique attributions of glory.
7. These agents would all be described in personal terms, to insure they were understood as 'real' and not simply literary devices.
8. There would be passages in which the various agents might be 'linked' in equal roles or formulae.
9. There would be passages in which you couldn't tell WHICH of the agents was doing the work (due to the unity).
10. There might be different passages which attributed the SAME results to DIFFERENT agents.
1

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2Corinthians 13:14)

HT| Christian ThinkTank

 
At 7/09/2010 3:37 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Well, I would like to make a few comments, since Matt wanted to install some new ideas into the debate. I will either change my mind about letting Matt "have the last word" or he can respond to this and do so. I am sure he will.
Matt says the following about our discussion about the word "echad": "I ...agree that the context is necessary to establish the plurality." But, we do NOT "...agree that the context is necessary to establish the plurality." Matt just doesn't seem to comprehend the fact that the word "echad" is the very same as the word "one" in English and works the same way in Hebrew. I repeat for the third time - "that the sense of plurality resides in the compound noun and not in the word echad (one)." If I tell you that I own ONE flock of sheep, what is there about the word ONE that would make you think about "plurality"? NOTHING. The noun "flock" is the word which tells you I own more than ONE sheep, but the word ONE does not do that. Please wake up, Matt. Please. I need to tell you what this argument is making you look like to persons, even Trinitarians, that I am sharing your responses with, but it is not my purpose to insult you, rather to educate you.
There is no "misunderstanding" (as Matt says) between Matt and I; no, it is a "disagreement."
Next, I am NOT a Unitarian if that term is to associated with a sect. Matt would call me an "Arian."
Lastly, Matt's little list speaks for itself and should be easily refuted by anyone with a smathering of biblical knowledge and understanding, therefore, i will not bother with it.

 
At 7/11/2010 12:44 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
First I was using Unitarian as Sir Anthony Buzzard would use the term, to describe your doctrine of God not to label you as a cultist. I would use it to label someone outside of Christian orthodoxy though.

Secondly I am not sure if you are actually saying the semantic domain of "Echad" is the same as that of the English word "One", but I would hope not. I do agree that certain instances of "Echad" function in a similar manner as certain instances of "One" but "Echad" does not function anything like the word "One" in other places and does indeed imply plurality. (e.g. Exodus 36:30)

Now I will simply repeat what I wrote in my last post concerning the Echad of YHWH in my last post. Perhaps a careful reading will allow you to see that while One flock is indeed One flock but the Oneness of the flock is plural.

"We would ... agree that there is only one YHWH, Deuteronomy 6:4, we would differ would on the Triunity of YHWH, you believing only the Father is YHWH, myself believing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are YHWH, but only one YHWH."

As to the list, it really wasn't meant for you Larry, it was meant for anyone reading this site so they could see which Theology is more consistent with scripture. It is fair to say that it pretty accurately represents both positions presented here.

 
At 7/12/2010 10:32 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
Unitarians normally do not believe in the pre-existence of Christ. I do. As I said, You would call me an "Arian". If you consider me or my Unitarian brothers a cult, well we can simply return the favor, thank you very much. I don't really care, either way.
"But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:" Acts 24:14
Next, Echad. Matt obviously does not comprehend the fact that Echad is simply the Hebrew word for the English word "one" which is the exact opposite of any hint of "plurality". Matt pretends to know the Hebrew language better than Rabbin Singer. I will repeat what Rabbi Singer said for our readers: "Although this ‘proof’ is as flawed as the doctrine it seeks to support, for those who lack an elementary knowledge of the Hebrew language, this argument can be rather puzzling. The word echad in the Hebrew language functions in precisely the same manner as the word ‘one’ does in the English language. In the English language it can be said, ‘these four chairs and the table constitute one dinette set,’ or alternatively, ‘There is one penny in my hand.’ Using these two examples, it is easy to see how the English word ‘one’ can mean either many things in one, as in the case of the dinette set, or one alone, as in the case of the penny. Although the Hebrew word “echad” functions in the exact same manner, evangelical Christians will never offer biblical examples where the word echad means one alone. Thus, by only presenting scriptural verses such as Genesis 1:5 and Numbers 23:13, it creates the illusion to the novice that the word echad is somehow synonymous with a compound-unity. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth." www.outreachjudaism.org/trinity.html
Matt says in regards to my statement about "one flock": "...while One flock is indeed One flock but the Oneness of the flock is plural." Matt, the only way the "flock" can be plural is if there is more than ONE flock. Are you saying that when I say that i have ONE flock that i actually have TWO or THREE flocks? This liguistic trick used by Trinitarians is quickly revealed when we realize that "we should observe carefully that the sense of plurality resides in the compound noun and not in the word echad (one). ...It has been necessary to belabor our point because the recent defense of the Trinity makes the astonishing assertion that echad always implies a ‘compound unity.’ The author then builds his case for a multi-personal God on what he thinks is a firm foundation in the Hebrew Bible. The linguistic fact is that echad never means ‘compound one,’ but strictly a ‘single one’ ” Buzzard and Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, pg. 25, 26"
We have wasted enough time on the word "echad". Now let the readers decide.
cont...

 
At 7/12/2010 11:08 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

cont...
In regards to the NAME YHWH, Matt says, ""We would ... agree that there is only one YHWH, Deuteronomy 6:4, we would differ on the Triunity of YHWH, you believing only the Father is YHWH, myself believing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are YHWH, but only one YHWH."
The preposterous nature of this statement is made more manifest when we change the name YHWH to, say, George; for example "We would ... agree that there is only one George, we would differ on the Triunity of George, you believing only the Father is George, myself believing my Father, my Son, and my cousin are George, but only one George." Matt, if there are three different people named George, how many Georges are there? Hint: THREE!!! Matt can say that the son's name is YHWH when his name is obviously Jesus! Is the Father and the Holy Spirit also "Jesus"?
You get my point.
Matt says of his "List", "that it pretty accurately represents both positions presented here." I would beg to differ, and say that his "list" simply shows his bias against the truth. For example, Matt says: "3. No other individuals would be called "God". Matt says this in the face of many Bible scripures which call Moses (Ex. 7:1) and even Satan himself in 2 Cor. 4:4 "god".
"The phrase “god of this world” (or “god of this age” [NKJV]) indicates that Satan is the major influence on the mind-set expressed by the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His areas of influence also encompass the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions." http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-god-world.html
The Trinity doctrine is only one of many ideas which are included in the "the majority opinion" of the people of this world over which Satan is "god". Yet, in the face of this biblical evidence, incredibly Matt concludes that only YHWH can hold the title of "god".
As was explained earlier, YHWH is the "Most High God". Qualifiers are use to describe Him and to differentiate Him from others who also have the title "god". As Paul said, "To us, there is but one God, the Father" (1 Cor. 8:6) and to true believers there can be but one God, just as with true Americans there can be but one "President" even though there are many presidents of other countries, "to us, there is but one President, Mr. Obama."

 
At 7/13/2010 1:19 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
You have repeated this claim that Echad only functions as the word "one" does. This is simply false. However rather than take my testimony for it I will provide summarized lexical citations, containing the uses of Echad.

Brown, F., Driver, S., and C. Briggs. The Brown Driver and Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon.
1. - one
2. - each, every
3. - a Certain
4. - the indefinite article
5. - only
6. - one ... another, the one... the other
7. - as ordinal, first
8. - in combination
a. - eleven
b. - with other numerals as cardinal.

Swanson, James. The Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament).
1. - one
2. - first
3. - one time
4. - one, i.e. which is united as one in contrast to separate parts.
5. - each, every
6. - a certain one
7. - only
8. - unit, i.e. a sequence of single units.
9. - unit, in unity

Koehler, Ludwig, Walter Baumgartner, M.E.J Richardson, and Johann Jakob Stamm. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament.
1. - numeral one
a. - one place, soul, person, law
b. - alone, only, one and only,
c. - one of the ...
d. - unanimous, single day,
e. - once
f. - become one, a unit
g. - the same
2. - one another
a. - one to another
b. - one after the other
3. - indefinite article
a. - any one of them
b. - a holy one
c. - a little while
4. - ordinal, first
a. - the first day
b. - the first year
5. - distributive
a. - one in each trime
b. - from each man
c. - one after the other
d. each single one

I could go on but I believe that these illustrate that Echad is quite a diverse word with a wide range of meanings and is not "simply the Hebrew word for the English word "one" which is the exact opposite of any hint of "plurality". Furthermore I have never said that Echad always implies complex unity, but to say that such a concept is outside of its semantic domain is simply wrong.

As to the Shema of George, I reject that the limitations of man's being are the limitations of God's being as Larry implicitly accepts. Men are one person and one being thus God must be one person and one being. I do not accept that God must be limited as we are, indeed I do not accept that God must be like us in any way other than how he has revealed that he is like us from scripture.

As for the substitution name, yes if we substituted first names of humans we would of course find that the Shema seems monolithic, but not if we substitute any name as Larry suggested. "We would ... agree that there is only one Lautensack, we would differ on the Triunity of Lautensack, you believing only the Father is Lautensack, myself believing my Father, my Son, and my cousin are Lautensack, but only one Lautensack." Of course this like all analogies will break down if pushed to far, but it does show how Larry is oversimplifying the Shema by assuming God is more like us than scripture allows.

 
At 7/13/2010 1:20 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry seems to think that a Monolithic God who wanted to the world to know he was Monolithic would allow the title of God to be used of other agents. Fine, that is indeed within the realm of the semantic domain of the word in this world, but the lists are not talking about this world, only the worlds we ought to expect scripture to shed light on given the Arian/Unitarian Doctrine of God and the Trinitarian Doctrine of God. In the Quran for example we do not find God (Allah) being used of any person save God most High. Furthermore acts only God can do are not ascribed to mortal men, this is consistent with the theology of Arianism/Unitarianism. If the Bible were to be this consistent with Arianism/Unitarianism the name YHWH ought not be connected with other persons, and the acts of YHWH ought not be connected to any other persons such that they are doing what only YHWH can do.

Finally we have come back to 1 Corinthians 8:6. Notice how Larry does not quote the full text. This is because consistent exegesis of the text ruins his "only the Father is God" conclusion or excludes the Father from Lordship. The verse says "Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist."
Let's just note the context, this verse is showing how God the Father and Jesus Christ are not among the "so called gods" "many gods" or "many lords." Secondly this verse hearkens back to Deuteronomy 6:4. Paul is applying the Shema to Christianity. The Shema again is Hear O Israel, the LORD (YHWH) our God the LORD(YHWH) is one (or the LORD (YHWH) alone). I will accept either translation since both seem to emphasis the point that there is one God, namely YHWH or the LORD. Paul treats the two divine names “God” and “Lord” as both identifying the one divine Creator and proper object of religious devotion. He includes Jesus in this divine identity, indeed he even uses the stronger title to identify Jesus. A very telling portion of the text is the parallel between the Father and the Son. Everything is from and for the Father, yet everything exists through the Son. This is quite interesting considering that the Old Testament ascribes all of creation, as being YHWH's (e.g. Isaiah 44:24; 40:28) this includes being From YHWH, For YHWH and is sustained Through YHWH. Thus the Arian or Unitarian is quite inconsistent with the Old Testament in regards to this verse since they have to reject that YHWH is the one through whom all creation exists.

Let us recap.
1) Lord and God are divine titles used in the Shema.
2) Paul applies the titles to two different persons, affirming them as the one true God of Deuteronomy 6:4
3) Paul uses the divine name emphasized in the Shema itself for Jesus.
4) Paul maintains the distinction of persons by attributing certain aspects of Creation to the Father and the Son.
5) According to the Old Testament only YHWH creates and sustains creation and does not share that glory with another.
QED: Jesus and the Father are YHWH but Jesus is not the Father.

 
At 7/13/2010 9:56 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt seems to be in denial that others in the Bible are have the title "god" even when those scriptures are quoted for him. That is sad. I am not sure why Matt is reading the Quran but he seems to adhere to some of their doctrine. That should stop.
In the Bible, only YHWH is the "most high" God, while others may only be referred to as "a" god, as has been explained again and again.
Matt also doesn't seem to grasp the idea of "agency" in the Bible when God acts though others who act on His behalf. Matt says: "Furthermore acts only God can do are not ascribed to mortal men." Matt seems to think that God cannot delegate when scripture teaches that He can and does, as Jesus told his disciples:
"And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;" (Luke 22:29)
Back to 1 Cor. 8:6. Matt thinks that I am afraid to quote the entire verse as the translators have deemed to convert the text to verses for the purposes of referrence. Here, I will quote the entire verse for Matt so that his sensibilities will not be so affected: "But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him."
Paul names the Father as "God" while acknowledging that Jesus is "lord". It is laughable that Matt somehow associates this verse with the Shema. I am not sure why Matt thinks that I am excluding the "Father from Lordship". I acknowledge the "Lordship" of the Father. And I acknowledge the "lordship" of Jesus as well in accordance with Psalms 110:1. Even David was called lord, so is Christ who sits on the throne of David. See 2 Sam. 4:8:
"...and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed." Both YHWH and David are called "lord", I doubt if Matt would argue that David a "one of the persons" of God simply because he has the title of "lord". Why then would he argue that Jesus is YHWH for the same reason. The answer is that his ideology blinds him. I truly wish Trinitarians could see how ridiculous they sound when they try to convince us that YHWH is "more than one person." If that kind of Biblical explanation were not so pathetic it would be hilarious! But, we will no longer stand idly by while the truth is dragged through the mud by Plato's cousins who purport to be the representatives of Christ!

 
At 7/13/2010 4:46 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
I am sorry you do not understand my argument from this mornings post, nor the list given on July 8, 2010.

The list given was what one would expect to find if certain conceptions of God were true. Namely a Unitarian/Arian God (these sects differ in Christology but not on this issue) who wanted to make it known that he was the only person who was God verses what one ought to expect to find in scripture if there were a Triune God. The lists were an effort to allow readers to see which doctrine of God was more consistent with scripture.

Both Unitarianism/Arianism and Islam teach that God is one single person and one being. The Muslims do this consistently from the Quran and indeed adhere to the list of what one ought to find given the Monolithic view of God(Allah). Unitarians and Arians are inconsistent in their view of God(YHWH) because their Scripture (the Bible) does not support this view. This is called a comparison. When one reads all of the Quran one understands that God is Monolithic. When one reads all of the Bible one does not understands God is not monolithic but complex. Thus one who supports a monolithic view of God yet holds the bible as scripture does so inconsistently. It should also be noted that one who holds a polytheistic view of God yet holds the bible as scripture does so inconsistently as well.

Creation, has a mortal man ever created out of nothing? Is this one of the attributes that can be agentivally granted to men? In Luke 22:29 Jesus grants men the privilege of entering the kingdom of God, I am not sure how this is agentival but even if it is it does not get at the arguments from Isaiah and other prophets that YHWH does not share or agentivally create but does so alone.

 
At 7/13/2010 4:47 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

As to 1 Corinthians 8:6, first Larry inserts words not found in the original text for the sake of tradition. Here is the text in the original language translated word for word.
αλλ(but) ημιν([for] us) εις(one) θεος(god) ο(the) πατηρ(father) εξ(from) ου(whom) τα(the) παντα(all things) και(and) ημεις(we) εις(for) αυτον(him) και(and) εις(one) κυριος(lord) ιησους(Jesus) χριστος(Christ) δι(through) ου(whom) τα(the) παντα(all things) και(and) ημεις(we) δι(through) αυτου(him)

The phrase "There is but" that Larry inserts into the first half of this verse is not necessarily wrong, is we are using it for the word εις in this verse. However when looking consistently at the verse we would also have to include the "there is but" in the second half of the verse since the identical εις is used of Jesus as Lord. Larry's insertion betrays his love of tradition, not truth. To be consistent however the Father is the One God, Jesus is the One Lord. So if one is using the verse to say that the Father is the only God then by that note the Son must be the only Lord.

Also, if we ignore the context these verse are written in it could say that there are many gods and lords but our god is the Father and our lord is Jesus. Unfortunately the context of the statement is contrasting the biblical God against the "so-called gods", the "many gods", and "many lords". Why include the "many lords" statement if Christ is simply a Lord as David or Solomon? Wouldn't Christ being the one Lord differentiate him from David and Solomon who would be among the "many lords" along with other kings? David is never called the One Lord, Solomon is never called the One Lord, only YHWH is called the One Lord.

As to the Shema, lets, just for kicks, show what that looks like in the Greek Septuagint, which is the Old Testament Greek speakers like the Corinthian Church would have been using.
ἄκουε(Hear) Iσραηλ(Israel) κύριος(Lord) ὁ(the) θεὸς(God) ἡμῶν(I) κύριος(Lord) εἷς(one) ἐστιν(am, is)
It is interesting to note the parallels between this and 1 Corinthians 8:6. We clearly see the words being used for God, Lord, and one being used here, it indeed seems quite reasonable that Paul was drawing from this text when he wrote 1 Corinthians 8:6 especially considering the fore-stated parallels in context, one Lord, One God, against many lords, many gods. The context of Deuteronomy 6:4 is YHWH against the many gods of Egypt.

Larry simply wants to ignore the text and context so he can twist it to say what his tradition would require of him. We see this very clearly in the inconsistent translation he gave of 1 Corinthians 8:6.

 
At 7/13/2010 5:22 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Just a note Matt; My quote of 1 Cor. 8:6 was taken directly from the King James Version of the Bible. I am sorry it was not to your liking. It is odd to me that you think this somehow "betrays" my supposed "love of tradition." This was simply a sarcastic remark on your part, so I will otherwise ignore it. I do not feel compelled to answer on every point made by Matt. To me, most of them are self-evidentially wrong.
Matt cannot be convinced of the truth so we will leave him to his fate. Let the readers decide.

 
At 7/13/2010 10:46 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

There is indeed ample evidence to show that the God of the Scripture is Triune. One can only speculate as to why the well intentioned men translating the KJV inserted the term "there is but" however this is one of the places the KJV is misleading. The translators also noted that this was an interpretation read into the text by placing it in italics in your bibles. Larry would point out places like 1 John 5:7 the KJV are wrong yet trusts this verse as being accurate and creates a doctrine by words clearly added to the text, indeed they are referenced as such.

Furthermore the comment about using this translation was not snide nor sarcastic, simply a statement of fact. Picking and choosing translations based upon how they line up with doctrine betrays tradition.

This once again brings us to the issue of consistency, Larry cites verses in different translations so that they might fit his doctrinal scheme. His reason for citing the KJV here and the RSV and other translations elsewhere is so he can pick and choose translations not based upon the actual language of scripture but his preconceived doctrinal stance.

One other thing to note is that whenever Larry is taken to the text of scripture, specifically in the original languages he doesn't "feel compelled to answer on every point made" because "most of them are self-evidentially wrong." Please Larry show me from the text and/or context of 1 Corinthians 8:6 how my exegesis is wrong. It should be quite simple since my point is probably self-evidentially wrong. Show me how the way in which the Father is the One God should be different from the way Jesus is the One Lord. If by One God, the Father Paul meant only the Father is God, then he must mean that only Jesus is Lord since he uses the exact same words to describe Jesus as the One Lord. Sure there are so called gods and lords but The Father alone is God and Jesus alone is Lord. There is no reason to believe that Paul meant Jesus was one lord but the Father was a different lord, if such were the case he would not bring up the concept of "many lords" in the context. Again this should be easy to refute since it is probably be self-evidentally wrong.

 
At 7/15/2010 11:52 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
The men who translated the KJV of the Bible were all Trinitarians, there were no so-called Arians!! I do NOT see any advantage to me to put in or leave out the "there is but" comment in 1 Cor. 8:6 and I had said nothing about them that would seem to bolster my point of veiw. Those three words do nothing to help me "create a doctrine", however, I have looked at several other translations and the wording doesn't change the meaning for me, even if you leave out those three words altogether. You insult me when you accuse me of picking the translation that suits me best, all i did was pull the scripture you mentioned from the KJV! You are making an issue out of nothing. Here is the same scripture from the RSV
"yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." (1 Cor. 8:6)
Matt asks me to, "Please Larry show me from the text and/or context of 1 Corinthians 8:6 how my exegesis is wrong." I would be happy to.

 
At 7/16/2010 1:40 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

I wonder if Matt will serve up some more soft balls that we can hit out of the park?

 
At 7/16/2010 2:43 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/16/2010 2:57 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

On 7/6/10 Matt slams me as a schizophrenic when he said:

(As to the comment "the same source that has convinced him of the Trinity also hides from his eyes the truth about 2 Thes. 2." This brings quite a paradox because according to 2 Thessalonians 2:11 it is "God who hides from my eyes this truth" so according to Larry, God who is not Triune has convinced me that he is Triune... and Larry says my God is schizophrenic.)

I apologize to Matt for having failed to respond to him in this regard, so, for the information of the readers of this blog, my reference was not to 2 Thes. 2:11 but to 2 Cor. 4:4 which says:

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

Sorry, Matt. No "paradox" or "schizophrenia" here.
But, as far as Matt's "god" being schizophrenic, well, He thinks He is more than one person doesn't HE! Isn't that, more or less, the very definition of schizophrenia?

 
At 7/16/2010 3:50 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Is waiting for Larry to actually interact with the text of scripture. If he refuses then there really isn't much left to talk about since one of us wants to exegete scripture and apparently the other does not. Perhaps he cannot find in his secondary sources anything interacting with my presentation of 1 Cor 8:6 perhaps he is simply holding on to his belief in spite of scripture. Whatever the reason why he has not interacted with my single question is irrelevant. However unless we are speaking on the toic of the trinity from scripture I care little what insults Larry hurls since they are the empty remarks of a God hating man. (Romans 1:18ff, Romans 8:7-8)

Grace and Peace.
Matthew

 
At 7/16/2010 4:21 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Apparently Matt lacks both a sense of humor and a knowledge of the truth. Bad combination. Anyway, Matt must NOT have read my blogs written on 7/15/10 that address his questions about 1 Cor. 8:6.
His insults about a God hating man are humorous but do not belong on a blog such as this.
We know God will forgive him. So will I.

 
At 7/17/2010 5:17 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
you have failed to give a reason that Paul would use the terms one god and one lord if he meant one god and one of a few lords. However the father is the one god is how Jesus is the one lord. Until you show that this claim is inaccurate from the text and context we have nothin further to speak about.

 
At 7/18/2010 10:28 AM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt,
You must have failed to read my blogs where I put your little thoughts about 1 Cor. 8:6 to rest for all eternity since you claim that I supposedly failed to respond. Do you read my blogs? It appears to me that you do not. Matt, you have failed to show me where my explanation of 1 Cor. 8:6 is wrong. Instead you deny that i addressed the issue at all. You have failed also, to see the truth of the Bible.
However, according to Matt's logic concerning 1 Cor. 8:6 if I said, "There is only one man who rushed for over 2000 yards in the NFL last year," we would somehow have to conclude that there was only "ONE MAN" in the NFL.
It seems to me that Mr. Lautensack cares more about his ego and winning an argument than he does about getting to the truth.
So Matt says, "Until you show that this claim is inaccurate from the text and context we have nothing further to speak about." And so I repeat: "Matt must NOT have read my blogs written on 7/15/10 that address his questions about 1 Cor. 8:6." And furthermore, I could not care less if Matt ever writes this blog again. He can take his ball and go home if he wants to. I can blog away at will with or without him. I would like to say that I also show these blogs to several of my Trinitarian friends, and, thanks to Mr. Lautensack, they have serious doubts about their doctrine. For that I thank you, Matthew! Keep up the good work. Because you come off as an angry, arrogant, and unreasonable Trinitarian, you are an "Arian's" dream come true. You can trust me on that!
Now, from here on out I will introduce new information on the illogicality and unscriptural nature of the so-called Trinity and ignore Mr. Lautenstock's insults and misinformation.

 
At 7/18/2010 3:53 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry wrote:
according to Matt's logic concerning 1 Cor. 8:6 if I said, "There is only one man who rushed for over 2000 yards in the NFL last year," we would somehow have to conclude that there was only "ONE MAN" in the NFL.

This is of course not a parallel to 1 corinthians 8:6 in any way, nor is it what follows from my argument. Lets put the phrase in the form of 1 Corinthians 8:5-6.

"For although there may be many rushers in the NFL as indeed there are many "rushers" and many "score touchdowns"— yet there is one man who rushed for over 2000 yards in the NFL last year, and one man who rushed for 39 touchdowns in the NFL last year."

Now Larry's argument would say that yes there is of course only one man who rushed for 2000 yards of all the men in the NFL. But then he would apply the word one in a different sense with no linguistically reason, there is one man who rushed for 39 touchdowns in the NFL last year, but this man is one of at least two who did this, the other being the man who rushed for 2000 yards. How much sense does this make? Wouldn't it make much more sense to write: "For although there may be many rushers in the NFL as indeed there are many "rushers" and many "score touchdowns"— yet there is one man who rushed for over 2000 yards in the NFL last year, and two man who rushed for 39 touchdowns in the NFL last year." If both the men rushed for 39 touchdowns?


This is what Larry is saying when he says he agrees that Jesus is Lord and the Father is Lord but only the Father is God. Now I am saying that both Lord and God are titles for God most High, one (God) is being applied to the Father and the stronger title (Lord) is being applied to the Son. Both of these persons are the one Lord God. This is the objection to his Arianism he has yet to answer. His interpretation of 1 Corinthians 8:6 makes no sense whatsoever in the contexts of 1 Corinthians 8 nor is there a textual reason for his rendering in 1 Corinthians 8:6. Furthermore when he asserts from this verse that only the Father is God if he were consistent he must affirm that only Jesus is Lord! The interpretations given of this verse either provides us with inconsistent Arianism or consistent Trinitarianism.

 
At 7/19/2010 7:52 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

It looks like Matt wants to continue to discuss 1 Cor. 8:6. I am not sure it will do anyone any good. Obviously, it will not do Matt any good, since he obviously does not comprehend what I had written. First, Matt denied that I had responded at all, now he responds in a way that demonstrates that he did not really read what I wrote. It doesn't really matter. Let the readers decide for themselves.
Matt pretends that the titles of "god" and "lord" can be applied exclusively to YHWH despite the much quoted biblical evidence to the contrary. In the verse just before 1 Cor. 8:6 Paul confesses that there are "gods many and lords many"!! Matt thinks I am confused but he thinks the Father and the son of God are the same God! It would be impossible to be more confused than that. Matt also has yet to answer why Paul leaves out any mention of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 8:6. He ignores this question because he has no intelligent answer. Just as he has no intelligent answer for my commentary on 1 Cor. 8:6. He has no answers, just rambling.
cont...

 
At 7/19/2010 8:35 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

We know from both the testimony of Paul and the many Biblical examples quoted above that there "be gods many and lords many" (1 Cor. 8:5). There are certainly others who have those titles besides YHWH (the Most High God)and Yeshua of Nazareth (His Messiah). The notion that there is only one god and one lord is demonstrably untrue. This is NOT debatable.
What is true is that there is only ONE God (identified by Paul as the "father") "...FROM whom all things have their being". (NEB)
As I said earlier, when I said that there is only one man in the NFL who rushed for over 2000 yards last year, this does NOT mean that there is only ONE MAN in the NFL. In exactly the same way, Paul does NOT say that there is only ONE God, rather that there is only ONE God "...FROM whom all things have their being." This means that YHWH is the starting point of all creation (as opposed to other gods about whom this cannot be said).
Then Paul tells us that there is only ONE Lord (Jesus Christ) "...THROUGH whom all things have their being." Paul does not tell us that there is only one "lord" (quite the contrary, 1 Cor. 8:5) but he does tell us that there is only one lord "...THROUGH" whom all things have their being or existence. Jesus, therefore, is NOT the "starting point", he is NOT "God" but he is a "lord" and more specifically, he is the "one lord THROUGH whom all things have their being" (as opposed to other lords about whom this cannot be said including YHWH Himself) and he is the mediator between God and His creation (1 Tim. 2:5) This agrees with John who says "all things were made "THROUGH" him." (John 1:3) Though YHWH is also a "lord", He is NOT the "lord" "THROUGH" whom all things have their being. That distinction belongs solely to the lord Jesus Christ, the son of YHWH.
Jesus himself said, "I am the real vine, and my father is the gardener." (John 15:1). We get grapes FROM the gardener. But, we get grapes THROUGH (or by the agency of) the grape vine. Matt would have us believe that there is no difference or distinction between the gardener and the vine upon which he grows his grapes. But, in Christ's simple metaphor the whole structure of the Medieval Trinitarian Myth falls to the ground and is shown to be both illogical and unbiblical.

 
At 7/20/2010 11:21 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Once again Larry has shown that he does not understand the Trinity nor does he understand Trinitarian theology. He simply refuses to look at the Trinity nor anything I say without the blinders of his Unitarianism on. He likewise does not acknowledge that there are so-called gods but there is only one true God. (1 Cor 8:4) So in opposition to these false gods we have the one true God. Paul is contrasting these idols with the true God, is this really that difficult to see? The Father is God, the Son is God. Larry continually ignores this portion of the context. Allow me to post it in its entirety so we can see how Paul is contrasting the One God with the many false or so-called gods.
[4] Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” [5] For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— [6] yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Please note how Larry's football analogy falls apart here since it is merely a strawman argument that does not make sense in context. If we look carefully Paul tells us that these so-called gods have "no real existence" contrasted with the one God who does, as "there is no God but one." Larry's analogy saying "there is only one man in the NFL who rushed for over 2000 yards last year, this does NOT mean that there is only ONE MAN in the NFL" would be an admission that there are other true Gods, we simply have a creator God who created through a creation, but there are other real Gods in existence, other real Gods exist, they just did not create us nor do we live through them. I am unsure if Larry knows he is adopting a Mormon hermeneutic, but this is what the text would mean if his analogy were accurate. Fortunately for us Paul put this silly notion to rest by stating that these so-called gods and lords "has no real existence." Paul is not contrasting true gods with true gods, but the One True God with all false gods. If Larry refuses to accept this then he is disagreeing with Paul not me and that is fine but he ought not claim to be Christian when he disagrees with the bible.

We now see from the fuller context Paul is contrasting the false idols, and so-called gods with the True God. (Remember “there is no God but one.") Why would Paul contrast the Lord, Jesus Christ, with the false gods? If Unitarianism or Arianism were true Jesus wouldn't have a place in this conversation. Why would Paul contrast Jesus with false gods, with idols? He wouldn't unless Jesus were truly God.

Furthermore Larry seems to be under the impression that if Jesus were God, He and the Father would have to be identical. Do we see what is wrong with this statement? If we were to bring it down to the creaturely level, this would be like saying in order for both Joe Smith and Jane Smith to be human they must be identical. Now Joe and Jane are both human, but they function as human differently. Jane for instance carries and has children, Joe does not. This is a functional difference but not an ontological difference. Likewise just because everything was made from and for the Father and everything was made through (and for Him(Col 1:16)) Jesus does not mean that Jesus is not God. Indeed if the Son himself is a creation then all things cannot be created through him, furthermore he himself must be through the Father. Either Paul is lying in scripture or we must twist scripture to say that all things are from and for the Father and all things (other than Jesus himself) are through Jesus. There is no textual reason whatsoever to believe Paul meant all things (τα παντα) in different ways. This only occurs when one's presuppositions regarding God enter into ones interpretation of the text.

 
At 7/20/2010 11:22 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Again one has to say that when Paul said all things in regards to how and why creation happened he must not actually be referring to all created things, only some of them, perhaps even most but not all, since according to Unitarianism/Arianism Jesus is a creation.

As to the final myriad of texts Larry cites, a quick look at the context of these does not prove Jesus is not God, rather they show the Deity of Christ.
John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Jesus (the Word) is God in this passage. Furthermore all things, not all things other than himself were made, indeed nothing that was made was made without him. How can this be true if He himself is a creature? Furthermore do we remember what YHWH himself said about creation? "Thus says the LORD (YHWH), your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb:“I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself," Isaiah 44:24 Yet if the Father and the Son made the world, and only the Father is YHWH then it seems YHWH was lying.

1 Tim 2:5
This text in a vacuum does seem to indicate that Christ is merely a man, however only Nine verses earlier he is called the "Only God." Furthermore in the context, (Prayer for all men) this verse does affirm that Christ is a man, and that Christ is the only way to the Father. Trinitarians affirm that Christ is fully man (post incarnation) to accept that Christ is fully man does not deny that he is fully God when Trinitarian theology is rightly understood.

John 15:1
This of course is the Final Metaphorical I AM (ego eimi) statement of Jesus in the Gospel according to John. Jesus is using the I Am statements identical to the one YHWH uses in Isaiah. (See post from 7/06/2010 1:39 AM for more on the Ego Eimi statements in the Gospel of John). As to the additional assertion, "and my father is the vinedresser." This is basic functional subordination or differing functions of the persons of God. The Father trims and prunes the branches, the Son holds the branches. This verse does not have anything to do with through and from. Indeed we could say we get grapes from a vine, yet we get them through a store or vinedresser. So his analogy simply misses the point of the passage. These are different functions yet these different functions in no way detract from the deity of Christ. Larry simply misunderstands Trinitarianism if he believes that Trinitarianism states that the Father functions as the Son or the Son functions as the Father. Trinitarianism has never made that claim and indeed has gone to great lengths to reject such a claim. Larry has applied the heresy of Sabellianism to Trinitarianism in order to state that Trinitarianism believes "that there is no difference or distinction between the gardener and the vine upon which he grows his grapes" and show "the whole structure of the Medieval Trinitarian Myth falls to the ground and is shown to be both illogical and unbiblical." Unfortunately for Larry he has simply crushed Sabellianism, something that Trinitarains did over 1500 years ago. His current argument is against Sabellianism not Trinitarianism, and in condemning Sabellianism I will gladly join Larry in denouncing it as both Illogical and Unbiblical.

 
At 7/21/2010 12:17 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt's mischaracterizations of what I am saying and his contempt of the word of God demonstrate beyond any doubt the futile nature of this discussion. This debate has been going on, more or less, since and before 325 A.D.

It should be obvious to all by now that this back and forth could go on forever. Most of this stuff is already on the internet somewhere. I suggest those who have questions do your own research.
All Matt's old tire arguments are just so many flies to be swatted with facts and reason.

 
At 7/21/2010 4:36 PM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
Indeed this debate has been going on since Arias went against the doctrine of the Trinity, specifically against the Deity of Christ. Prior to that the Church Fathers did not deny the Deity of Christ.

As noted earlier, Larry refuses to engage in biblical exegesis rather is a fan of proof-texting. Proof-texting in and of itself is not wrong, if the text actually teaches what is being cited. Unfortunately for Larry he does not understand the Doctrine of the Trinity as historically held, thus he sees arguments about how the Father isn't the Son, or how the Father functions differently than the Son as kill texts when that is exactly what Trinitarians have been saying since the writing of the NT.

Also it would be good to note that when a more complete context of any text he uses regarding his Heresy is cited it often leaves his exegesis and analogies lacking. (See his NFL analogy.)

Indeed this conversation could go on for days, and I would be more than happy to continue it with Larry. If he wishes to stop I will honor that. I would like to make it clear that I have never intentionally attacked Larry personally, though I have insulted his methods, and arguments. I do hope there are no hard feelings between us. I would however suggest that if Larry were to discuss the Trinity again he take a look at the following Free Resources so he can accurately describe what it is he is condemning. Links are in order by length, shortest to longest.

http://vintage.aomin.org/trinitydef.html

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/warfield/warfield_trinity.html

http://www.irr.org/trinity-outline.html

http://www.crossway.org/product/1581346689/browse

 
At 7/22/2010 5:37 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt makes a false statement when he says: "the Church Fathers did not deny the Deity of Christ." and it is easily refuted.
The Rev. John A. O’Brien, Ph. D. attempts to convince us that the doctrine of the Trinity was taught by the apostles: “In a desperate effort to escape the compelling evidence of the testimony of the Scriptures as to the divine Sonship of Jesus, certain so-called Higher Critics and modernists in general contend that the early Church did not have any definite teaching on this point. For the first three centuries, they claim, the Church did not know her own mind, or rather, had not as yet made it up, concerning the personality of Christ. Her members were permitted to look upon Christ as a sort of inferior deity, who was above all men but lower than the Father, and therefore, not strictly divine. This dogma, they allege reflects the results of three centuries of evolution, not reaching its crystallized form until the Council of Nice in 325, when belief in Christ’s absolute divinity became a necessary condition for membership in the Church. If this view were true, it would constitute one of the insoluble riddles of the world.” The Faith of Millions, The Credentials of the Catholic Religion, page 112, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Ind.
But, now that the history of the early church is more widely known, the facts of the matter cannot be so easily hidden and Trinitarian theologians and clergy have been forced and shamed into admitting that the early church did not believe in the deity of Christ or the Trinity, thus solving the so-called “insoluble riddle.”
Amazingly, in another Roman Catholic publication, The Catholic Encyclopedia refutes the Rev. John A. O’Brien, Ph. D. quoted above when we read the following admission to the fact: “It is difficult, in the second half of the 20th century, to offer a clear, objective, and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and theological elaboration of the mystery of the Trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, presents a somewhat unsteady silhouette. Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegetes (those who give explanations or critical interpretations of a text) and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma ‘one God in three Persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought. ...the (Trinitarian) formula itself does not reflect the immediate consciousness of the period or origins; it was the product of three centuries of doctrinal development. ...From what has been seen thus far, the impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th century invention. In a sense this is true... The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. ...New Testament exegesis is now accepted as having shown that not only the verbal idiom but even the patterns of thought characteristic of the patristic and conciliar development would have been quite foreign to the mind and culture of the New Testament writers.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, pg. 295 - 305.

cont...

 
At 7/22/2010 6:31 PM , Blogger Larry T. said...

Matt's next false statement is: "Larry ...does not understand the Doctrine of the Trinity..." and "...he sees arguments about how the Father isn't the Son".
My dear Matt, there are few people in this world who know more about the Trinity doctrine than the person to whom you are now speaking. I dare say, I know your doctrine better than you do. I spend no time trying to prove that the Son is not the Father, as you allege. I am educated in the Sabellian (Jesus only) doctrine also. I do, however, plainly demonstrate the fact that the son is not "God" (that is to say YHWH) and that only the Father is the most high "God". Such ill conceived accusations by Matt do nothing be demonstrate the fact that he does not really read my blogs but would rather write wild accusations about "proof texting" and the like. Matt likes to think of himself as some elitist, we would simply call him a modern day Pharisee of sorts, pretending to represent God while all the time teaching the "tradition of men". (Mark 7:8)
I would warn all trinitarians that the majority opinion is rarely an earmark of the truth in the Bible and that that fact, among many others, are on my side of the argument.
Can anyone in this blog make sense of Matt when he writes: "Also it would be good to note that when a more complete context of any text he uses regarding his Heresy is cited it often leaves his exegesis and analogies lacking."?? What is "lacking" my dear friend is any coherent thought patterns in what you are attempting to communicate. What is lacking is any reason or logic or biblical evidence for the existence of the doctrine of the Trinity. Even the word itself (Trinity) is NEVER mentioned or defined in the Bible. This fact is also very disconcerting to many Trinitarians.
Has anyone noticed how careful Matt is to avoid all my questions and comments in regards to the holy spirit.
Matt claims: "I have never intentionally attacked Larry personally." C'mon Matt. We all know the truth. Else why would you have felt the tinge of guilt that would make you say such a statement. The truth is that Matt, and his ilk, would gladly burn me and my kind at the stake if they had control of the civil government. Of this, there is no doubt.

 
At 7/23/2010 1:52 AM , Blogger Matthew Lautensack said...

Larry,
The first thing that I must again point out is that I am not Catholic and do not hold myself subservient to the authority of the Rome, and I certainly do not subscribe to a book that would condemn me just as fast as you to the fires. If you don't believe me, simply look up Reformation in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Second I would, as stated before be fully willing to engage in a debate on the Trinity, even did the Anti-Nicean Fathers believe in the Deity of Christ. As you like to say allow the readers to decide, I would suggest http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html as a starting point. Within these pages you will find fathers such as Justin Martyr calling Jesus the I AM of Exodus 3:14, Ignatius showing that Jesus was both God and Man, Irenaeus saying Jesus created all things, yet neither gods nor angels had any share in this work of creation. Indeed the only people who would deny that the early church believed in the Deity of Christ, are those with a theological agenda or those who have not read the Ante-Nicene Fathers themselves.

Third, difference in function does not imply inferiority of being. Denying this principle is the main thrust of a majority of your argumentation seems to be that because there are functional differences, the Son willingly submitting to the Father, that the Son cannot be God. When we get down to it here is where your recent arguments have been. Again I must state that this would be akin to saying your boss is human and you are less than human because your function is different than his. Do you see the problem with this form of argumentation? This is where you misunderstand my statement "he sees arguments about how the Father isn't the Son, or how the Father functions differently than the Son as kill texts." I am not saying you are trying to prove the Father isn't the Son but that because the Son is not the Father the Son cannot be YHWH. However the problem here is that Trinitarians believe that the Father is not the Son, yet believe both are God. Again putting this in human terms it would be akin to saying Jack is Joe's son, therefore Joe is not Human. Of course this is an over simplification but it is easy to see that this line of argumentation is not as strong as Larry hopes, especially in light of texts that claim Christ is divine, (e.g. John 1:1,20:28, Col 2:9, 1 Tim 1:17, Rev 1:17,22:12, etc.) Furthermore this line of argumentation presupposes something Larry did not prove from earlier discussions, namely that there is no distinction between being and person as used by the Trinitarian.

 

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