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Patrick Navas vs. James White

  

I recently listened to Patrick Navas’ debate against James White over whether or not Jesus is God. The specific debate topic was: “The deity of Christ is taught in the following texts or families of texts: John 12:41 (cf. Isa. 6 and 53), 1 Cor. 8:5-6, Heb. 1, Col. 1:15-17, and the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus (John 8:24/58, 13:19, 18:5-6).” Navas argued for a one-God position whereas White defended the doctrine of the Trinity. These two are among the best advocates of their respective positions.

James White is the Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries and the author of The Forgotten Trinity. White has debate dozens of people on many subjects, including Anthony Buzzard and Greg Stafford on the Trinity. He is tenacious, well-trained at debating, and probably one of the best Trinity defenders in the world.

Patrick Navas is the author of Divine Truth or Human Tradition?: A Reconsideration of the Orthodox Doctrine of the Trinity in Light of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. I’ve listened to a few of Navas’ debates and he exemplifies a Christ-like respect and gentleness combined with strength and confidence. If you would like to listen to my own interview with Navas on the subject of the Trinity, click here.

The two faced off on Chris Date’s Theopologetics podcast.

part one: opening statements; John 12.41; 1 Corinthians 8.6
part two: Hebrews 1; Colossians 1; the “I Am” statements of John

Overall the debate was collegial yet lively. Navas should have used a timer to avoid going over his time. Also, Navas’ phone connection was distorted at times, which I found distracting. Chris Date did a great job moderating. White was a bit over confident and often made unsubstantiated allegations while constantly reading into the text his own Trinitarian bias. Navas, to his credit, never diverted from the text at hand, no matter how hard White pressed him to get off track. Even so, I would have like to have heard Navas engage White more on Jesus being a creature.

Also the texts were clearly stacked in Whites’ favor. I’m sure Navas would have liked to interact on John 17.3; Mark 12.28-34; 1 Timothy 2.5; and Mark 13.32, just to name a few. With the exception of 1 Corinthians 8.6, the five chosen texts repeatedly forced Navas into a defensive posture, an unfair starting point. I would have preferred a more general approach, where each side can chose which texts to mention as they see fit. Even so, it was really a fantastic debate.

I learned a lot from both sides and find myself more convinced to remain on the unitarian side of the fence. Navas’ case rested on the plain meaning of language and the face-value interpretation of Scripture while White often had to assume the Trinity as a starting point in order to explain the text. Ironically, though White constantly claimed Navas imported the “presupposition of unitarianism” into the text, it was not he but White who constantly committed eisegesis, reading complex Trinitarian philosophy into the New Testament documents (the fallacy of anachronism).

90 Responses to “Patrick Navas vs. James White”

  1. on 27 Sep 2012 at 7:50 pmSarah

    This was an excellent debate, shaky phone connection notwithstanding. I highly recommend it to anyone investigating the differences between a trinitarian and unitarian approach to scripture.

  2. on 29 Sep 2012 at 10:15 amSheryl

    I enjoyed the debate as well. Patrick’s connection was annoying, but not so much that I didn’t want to listen to the debate (both parts) all the way through. I heard what Patrick was saying despite the electronic distortion so don’t let that hold you back.

    I do wish, however, that they would have talked more about Jesus being either a “creation” or eternal. I find scripture very clear that Jesus had an absolute physical beginning. Either that or we can’t define the words “begotten” and “son” in any real way. I also find it difficult to believe that Jesus had an eternal existence. I don’t know what Patrick’s position is on this.

    Although I am well convinced that the trinity is wrong doctrine, I still am open to be shown where I might be in error…and Dr. White did not persuade me in this debate.

  3. on 29 Sep 2012 at 5:03 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    I listened to about half of it, then quite frankly, got bored with the minutae. Is it just me, or is there something wrong when we have to cross analyze related verses, making sure we have ‘correct’ interpretation (2000+ years after they were written), understand the greek words at issue and how they are used elsewhere in the bible, etc… to understand what God is telling us about himself? Where does that leave 90% of the population of Christians who aren’t wired for this type of research (not to mention the rest of the non-believing world)?

    I think God has provided those who are so inclined with a wealth of topics to explore and discuss, and in that vein, it is great to have debates like that above. But what is most troubling to me about this whole trinity doctrine is that the orthodox use it as a means to exclude what otherwise are God fearing, Jesus following believers. How in the world can they be so certain of that teaching from the bible when it is at best a syllogism? Is God only speaking to those who are smart enough and lucky enough to live in a time where they are able to study the bible to the extent you have to in order to even begin to see the justification for this doctrine? Does any trinitarian really believe that the great orthodox mass does anything but shrug their shoulders when trying to make sense of a tri-personal yet monotheistic God?

    Even without all the verse by verse analysis, the whole concept is absurd on just that basis alone. Is God’s message for us simple or does it require scholarship? I hope we unitarians never seek to divide in the same way if the roles are ever reversed.

  4. on 29 Sep 2012 at 5:20 pmDoubting Thomas

    Tim (aka Antioch),
    You said, “Does any trinitarian really believe that the great orthodox mass does anything but shrug their shoulders when trying to make sense of a tri-personal yet monotheistic God?”

    I agree completely. The Trinity doctrine is so incredibly complicated.

    You also said, “Is God’s message for us simple or does it require scholarship?”

    Y’shua said the following in Luke 10:21, “In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will’.”

    God’s word (message) is suppose to be something that is so simple that a child can understand it. Unfortunately today we have religious leaders that claim it is so complicated that only the very well educated (elite leaders) can possibly understand it… 🙁

  5. on 30 Sep 2012 at 8:52 amSarah

    Tim (aka Antioch),

    Does any trinitarian really believe that the great orthodox mass does anything but shrug their shoulders when trying to make sense of a tri-personal yet monotheistic God?

    So true. But the great orthodox mass is also afraid to question what they don’t understand, especially when it is so ingrained in Christian culture as a salvation requirement.

    I think Patrick graciously came to the debate on Trinitarian terms. He dealt with the minutiae that has been cemented into orthodoxy and needs to be untangled if anyone is ever going to see the simple truth about the Son of God.

    Doubting Thomas,

    Unfortunately today we have religious leaders that claim it is so complicated that only the very well educated (elite leaders) can possibly understand it…

    But you know, the truth can only be suppressed for so long. There is a Christological storm on the horizon, and any doctrine built on sinking sand is not going to fare well against hurricane Truth.

  6. on 30 Sep 2012 at 10:02 amtimothy

    Hello Tim akaA & Doubting Thomas,

    I am in concert with you both.

    Sheryl…IMHO I do not go along with: “I don’t, but, maybe I will” as you have written *Although I am well convinced that the trinity is wrong doctrine, I still am open to be shown where I might be in error*

    We continually hear “we need to be like the Bereans and search the scriptures to see if these thing are so”. Whoa! Hold your horses. The idea of a Trinity did not come till about three hundred years later.

    Acts 17: (kjv)
    1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

    2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

    3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

    4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

    The Apostle Paul’s manner was to go to the Jews synagogue and witness from the scriptures about Jesus Christ and all he had accomplished and fulfilled of OT prophesy. He was not trying to get the monotheistic Jews to believe in another god or anything like today’s trinity. Why? Because there was no such idolatrous doctrine lie.

    5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

    6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;

    7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

    Paul and Silas were preaching the coming Kingdom of GOD where Jesus would be the ruling king.

    8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.

    9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

    10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

    Again, Paul and Silas went to the Jews synagogue, at Berea and taught from the scriptures to an audience who heard, understood, accepted and checked and searched the scriptures to make sure they were telling the truth. No trinity was found in the scripture to teach.

    11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

    The Jews of Thessaloniki did not HUAH to Pauls teaching and now wanted to upset the Bereans who did.

    13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

    The point, now is, that Paul, Silas, Peter and the rest did not ever show from the OT that there was a trinity and that this trinity was necessary for citizenship in the Kingdom of GOD.

    Now, some two thousand years later, we personally have witnessed the confusion some are bringing to our small fellowship with “untrue, profane myths that are a bitterness to our logical minds. It is so easy to see and experience GODs love from the simple revealed word of GOD. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that it took a real, red blooded, born and raised, human being to be an equal(isos) sacrifice for human kind.

    http://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/isosceles-triangle.html

    Jesus Christ is the son of GOD, by adoption we are sons(daughters too) of GOD. GOD in Jesus in us and we in Jesus in GOD.

    PS….Sarah….sorry, I just noticed your post # 5 and as always I agree with you. I just think that there are more long term profitable thing to study and do. And for us to benifit from this online fellowship by washing each others feets.

    Timothy 🙂

  7. on 30 Sep 2012 at 10:30 amBrett

    This isn’t meant to be an attack, but am I the only one who thinks Mr. White has a bit of a condescending attitude toward the folks he debates? I noticed it in a debate with Anthony Buzzard and again in this debate with Patrick Navas. Maybe it is just me and I’m too sensitive about things like this?

  8. on 30 Sep 2012 at 11:30 amTim (aka Antioch)

    Sarah,

    So true. But the great orthodox mass is also afraid to question what they don’t understand, especially when it is so ingrained in Christian culture as a salvation requirement.

    I think Patrick graciously came to the debate on Trinitarian terms. He dealt with the minutiae that has been cemented into orthodoxy and needs to be untangled if anyone is ever going to see the simple truth about the Son of God.

    I agree that there needs to be the Anthony’s, Sean’s, and Patrick’s out there doing these debates. We do need to be able to respond to the key points of trinitarianism, that is simply knowing scripture and every real Christian will have at least a grasp on that and just seeing that we can answer everything and make our own salient points leaves a mark. But I don’t think debates really reach the ‘average Christian’ and until we can do that, the statement of faith that you see on just about every church’s website will still profess the trinity and people like us are going to continue to be on the outside and dismissed as malcontents or conspiracy theorists.

    There has got to be a ‘pebble in the shoe’ that the average Christian will go ‘hmm’. I like the five questions approach that christianmonotheism.com has, but think that might need tweaked a bit. In my younger years, I remember the ‘Rice Purity Test’ went around like wildfire – perhaps something in a similar vein. Still processing…

    Sarah, Tom, Timothy, Sheryl and others, thanks for your continued presence on this site. A mustard seed, perhaps?

  9. on 30 Sep 2012 at 12:13 pmSarah

    Tim (aka Antioch),

    But I don’t think debates really reach the ‘average Christian’ and until we can do that, the statement of faith that you see on just about every church’s website will still profess the trinity and people like us are going to continue to be on the outside and dismissed as malcontents or conspiracy theorists.

    You’re right, the average Christian may get lost in the more technical discussions of scripture. But I still see these debates as an element of that “mustard seed” you mentioned. Let’s say a prominent Trinitarian pastor stumbles upon a debate such as this one. And let’s say he is just convicted enough to dig a little deeper and follow the trail of evidence. And then the lightbulb goes on and he is changed…so changed that he is compelled to risk his reputation and his ministry to speak out. This would surely cause a widespread controversy that would eventually trickle down to the average Christian.

    But yeah, a more basic presentation for the average believer is needed too. The internet seems like the best platform for this. Personally I’d like to see more creative You Tube presentations that could be shared on various social media outlets. I’m thinking of the kind of eye-catching multimedia presentations that mainstream ministries use these days. On my Facebook page Timothy posted a great example of the sort of video I’m thinking of (in terms of style and quality):

    http://ourburninghearts.com/featured/burned-by-the-church/

  10. on 30 Sep 2012 at 1:12 pmRay

    Have you ever heard the story about a farmer who had a barn with a bird in it and he wondered how to get it out of the barn, so he thought that if he could only become a bird, he could lead it out of the barn?

    Are there two versions of the gospel that go around today, one that says that God became a man to redeem man from sin, and another one that says that God sent his Son into this world to remeem mankind?

    Sometimes it looks like that to me.

    The version of the gospel I go with is that Jesus was with God from eternity. All things the Father made were made by his Son Jesus, and he (Jesus) is the one the Father sent into this world to redeem us.

  11. on 30 Sep 2012 at 3:59 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Brett,
    I’ve never noticed you posting here before. So welcome to KR!!! I have found that intellectuals very often have a habit of having a condescending attitude toward people that hold different beliefs than they do… 🙁

  12. on 30 Sep 2012 at 4:42 pmBrett

    Hi DT. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted before. I’ve checked in from time-to-time over the past year or so. Have to go somewhere sometimes to remind myself that there are still some people out there who haven’t accepted the trinity doctrine 🙂

  13. on 30 Sep 2012 at 5:57 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Brett,
    Now that I think about it. I think that I may have already welcomed you a few months ago. Your name sounds familiar. There are so many people that just post once and then we never hear from them again that it’s hard to remember everybody’s name. I know what you mean about it being great to fellowship with people that share similar beliefs to what you do. I consider this to be my on-line church since I don’t have any Unitarian churches anywhere near where I live up here in Canada… 🙂

  14. on 30 Sep 2012 at 7:19 pmMike

    Doubting Thomas,

    Where are you from in Canada? I’m in Nova Scotia.

  15. on 30 Sep 2012 at 8:03 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Mike,
    My sister lives in Nova Scotia. I live in small city called St. Catharines. It’s in Southern Ontario about 8 km from Niagara Falls. I’ve been to Nova Scotia a few times. It is a beautiful province… 🙂

  16. on 30 Sep 2012 at 10:46 pmMike

    DT,

    I hope to see Niagra Falls someday. Next time you’re in Nova Scotia let me know, it would be great to meet you.

  17. on 30 Sep 2012 at 10:53 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mike,
    Niagara Falls is very beautiful. Especially if you have never seen it before. I don’t have any plans on going out east right now, but if I do I will let you know… 🙂

  18. on 30 Sep 2012 at 11:49 pmSean

    DT,

    Have you heard of this church?

    Fonthill
    Glad Tidings Church
    1 Pancake Lane
    Box 293
    Fonthill, ON CANADA L0S 1E0
    (905) 892-5122

  19. on 01 Oct 2012 at 10:56 amSheryl

    Hi Ray,

    I have heard of the bird and the barn story. In fact, I know some who cling to that story because of the emotional impact and won’t let go of the Trinity teaching. Who wouldn’t any Christian want to believe that God was such a loving caring Father? However, I personally reject that story and the teaching behind it. It is nice and warm, but it is not biblical. I can’t believe that God came to us as a man. See Hosea 11:9 …For I am God, and not man–the Holy One among you….

    God is a loving caring Father who gave his only begotten (meaning he had a beginning, ie not eternal) son so that whoever believes in the son (and thereby the one true God) will not perish, but gain eternal life. At least that’s the simple childlike truth I glean from the bible.

    I agree that Mr. White is a bit condescending, but then it occurred to me that he could just as easily shun us, who don’t hold to Trinitarian teaching, as heretical. However he chooses to engage our spokesmen (God bless them all!) in what I believe is Christian love. He in convinced he has “the truth” just as much as we believe we have the truth. …He just happens to hold on to and affirm traditional orthodoxy.

    Timothy, I am really struggling with knowing what I know and closing up to all other ideas, and remaining open and ready for correction. On the one hand, I cannot envision ever returning to trinitarian teaching. On the other hand, an open mind was what led me out of trinitarian teaching. So how do you know for sure that we few are right, and the vast majority is wrong? That is why debates such as this one are invaluable to me. Why are “they” so absolutely convinced that they are right and consider themselves firmly backed by scripture? And i also am concerned that if I say, “Ok, this is what I believe now and I’m not ever changing my mind” is coming from pride and not a humble spirit.

    ….just my thoughts. 🙂 By they way, this site is my “church” as well.

  20. on 01 Oct 2012 at 11:31 amSarah

    Sheryl,

    Sure is great to have a little corner of the Net where we can fellowship with like-minded people, isn’t it?

  21. on 01 Oct 2012 at 1:04 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Sarah,

    That is a great video – thanks.

    I do think you have a point as well about reaching the pastors. I think that is what happened in that church in Canada that we have seen some posters on here talk about (Eric Chang’s church). And perhaps that will be the most effective way to reach the flock since I think the bulk of the ‘average Christians’ I have in mind pretty much go with what their pastors tell them. So, touche!

    I’ve asked the guy at my church who I am going over this with the question “when did the apostles come to realize Jesus was God?” I really like that question because there is no definite answer but there really should be if it is true. That would be an incredible ‘transfiguration’ like moment but yet we are not told. And my friend didn’t have an immediate answer but said he will get back to me.

  22. on 01 Oct 2012 at 1:14 pmSarah

    Tim,

    I’ve asked the guy at my church who I am going over this with the question “when did the apostles come to realize Jesus was God?” I really like that question because there is no definite answer but there really should be if it is true.

    That’s a fantastic question. As I recall, Sean asked something similar in one of his debates: “Who was the first trinitarian?”

    I could see either of those questions made into a 2-3 minute eye-catching video presentation that would make people think…

  23. on 01 Oct 2012 at 1:15 pmSheryl

    Sarah…..you have no idea! I pray for you guys …. for this little seed of ours to grow and bloom. Perhaps the seed that grew into the trinity tree of false doctrine has dropped its seeds and they are dying to produce the tree of truth that people like us are propagating?

  24. on 01 Oct 2012 at 1:54 pmDoubting Thomas

    Hi Sean,
    No I have never heard of that church. I actually know where Pancake Lane is. It’s about a 25 minute drive from my house. Is it a Unitarian church???

  25. on 01 Oct 2012 at 2:34 pmSean

    DT,

    Yeah, it’s one of the oldest Church of God, Abrahamic Faith churches around. A friend of mine grew up in that church. I’ve never been there, but it should be worth checking out.

  26. on 01 Oct 2012 at 2:42 pmDoubting Thomas

    Thanks Sean,
    I’ve never actually met a Biblical Unitarian in person before. I am looking forward to checking it out… 🙂

  27. on 01 Oct 2012 at 2:56 pmtimothy

    Sheryl,

    I do understand what your heart is and respect your caution.

    John 8:32
    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    John 14:17
    Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    Romans 8:
    16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

    (by this you know that “he dwelleth with you, and is in you”)

    17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

    27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

    These few verses are about benefits of manifesting your personal holy spirit/Paraclete.

    Each ‘One’ has their own way to GUARD the heart. I just will not *entertain* any thing that is contrary to my belief:

    http://lhim.org/aboutus/statementofbeliefs.php

    There have been three stages for my believing. Being without GOD and his son Jesus Christ(no trinity). At thirty nine I began with receiving holy spirit into manifestation and doctrines based on an ultra dispensational ministry(no trinity). And about five years ago began with following LHIM where dispensationalism has been abandoned(and no trinity).

    Now I am seventy and just will not *entertain* anyone attempting to undermine, talk me out of or change what I believe and practice. Today, we have “click away” teachings and research/study classes that allow for a continuing growth/mind renewing.

    My KR friends here are online from California, Florida, Germany and Canada(HQ being in New York)–West, South, East and North.

    Here is another:

    James 4:7
    Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    agapao se’ Sheryl

    Timothy 8)

  28. on 01 Oct 2012 at 3:22 pmtimothy

    add….South Afrika

  29. on 01 Oct 2012 at 6:35 pmSheryl

    Timothy, you can add a friend from Colorado as well! 😉

  30. on 02 Oct 2012 at 4:23 amtimothy

    Sheryl,

    Check! Added!

    Just a simple BibleGateway.com search for “one another” in KJV NT:

    Romans 12:
    5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

    Romans 12:
    16) Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

    Romans 13:
    8) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    Romans 14:
    13) Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

    Romans 14:
    19) Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

    Romans 15:
    5) Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

    Romans 15:
    7) Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

    Romans 15:14
    14) And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

    1 Corinthians 12:
    25) That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

    Galatians 5:
    13) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

    Ephesians 4:
    32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

    Colossians 3:
    13) Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

    1 Thessalonians 4:
    18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

    RED LETTER VERSES

    John 13:
    14) If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

    John 13:
    34) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye *love one another*; as I have loved you, that ye also *love one another*.

    John 13:
    35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    John 15:
    170) These things I command you, that ye *love one another*.

    Just a handful of the verses with “one another”.

    agapao se’

    Timothy

  31. on 02 Oct 2012 at 2:23 pmSean

    DT and others,

    Just to let you all know, I’ve just put up some links on the sidebar under “Find Others” with three sources to find people in your own area. Take a look, because you might find some like-minded believers near you. Also, feel free to contact Robin Todd (robinsings4u@comcast.net) of the Scattered Brethren Network to add yourself to his list.

  32. on 02 Oct 2012 at 7:54 pmRay

    Questions about John 1:1,2:

    1. In verse 1 does John make a comparison between God and the Word?

    2. In verse 2 then, is John making a comparison again by use of the word “same”, or is he using the word “same” here only for the purpose of giving identity to the Word?

  33. on 04 Oct 2012 at 3:31 pmSarah

    For my fellow KR friends who don’t receive the 21st Century Reformation email newsletter, I just wanted to share this very encouraging message from J. Dan Gill:

    What an absolutely splendid day to be alive! I would not trade places with any other era in the past 1000 years– longer! While there is much in our time over which we can mourn—I am excited about what God is do­ing!

    I regularly receive messages from people around the world who are com­ing to this One God understanding. There is no single background that these folks are from. They are Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Evangelical, Re­formed, Pentecostal and many others. It is a particular pleasure for me to so often hear from people from my own “Oneness” Pentecostal back­ground. I also hear from people who are not from Christian backgrounds at all.

    The messages I receive often carry words such as: “For the first time the matter of “God” is making sense to me” or, “I am loving this understand­ing about God, but can you help me explain to my friend about…” (insert a verse).

    It is just such mail that makes all of our time and effort here at 21st Cen­tury Reformation worthwhile.

    So, rather than look down because of the melee of our times—I am look­ing up! With people around the world gaining understanding about the One True God of heaven and earth—how can I not be encouraged? I am thanking God for letting me see the extraordinary things that we are see­ing today. And, I think that we are just seeing the beginning of what God is going to do.

    Don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited!

  34. on 04 Oct 2012 at 7:16 pmSheryl

    Thank you sharing that Sarah, exciting news indeed! I’m glad you posted this because it does get frustrating when one can’t even shake the traditional teaching off their own family members. …but that won’t stop me!

  35. on 05 Oct 2012 at 10:14 amRay

    I believe Jesus is to be the one true God who will rule heaven and earth and I don’t think I offend God by saying so.

    I find that interesting considering that God is a jealous God.

    It must be because that was what his plan from the very beginning always was.

  36. on 05 Oct 2012 at 9:07 pmDavis

    Some are so rooted in the false doctrines of men.They refuse to even believe the words of Christ .

    “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent,” (John 17:3, NASB).

    Christ is called the mighty God in the scriptures. In the scriptures the Father is called the almighty and the God Most High.He is above all.There is nothing the Father can not do.
    Christ said, John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
    John 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

    How can anyone read those verses and believe Christ is equal to his father?

    1Corinthians 1:8 There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

  37. on 06 Oct 2012 at 4:20 amDr Ali

    Good debate , thanks Patric Navas for your logical and thoughtful insight .

    Coming on to Gospel of John, whether it is John 12:41 or the high Christology in other verses as the ‘IAM’ statements of Jesus Christ ,they are according to all Scholars whether liberal or conservative represent the view of the author of the Gospel .They are not the words of Jesus

    So Gospel of John represents a high Christology and puts into the mouth of Jesus words which Jesus Christ himself did not said

    WHAT SCHOLARS SAY

    “Nevertheless the nature of the Gospel tradition means that we cannot simply take everything recorded in all the Gospels as unquestionably genuine reports about what Jesus said or did in a pre-Easter situation.”

    (Christopher M. Tuckett, Christology and the New Testament: Jesus and His Earliest Followers, 2001, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 203.)

    “It is impossible to think that Jesus spent his short ministry teaching in two such completely different ways, conveying such different contents, and there were simply two traditions, each going back to Jesus, one transmitting 50 per cent of what he said and another one the other 50 per cent, with almost no overlaps. Consequently, for the last 150 or so years scholars have had to choose. They have almost unanimously, and I think entirely correctly, concluded that the teaching of the historical Jesus is to be sought in the synoptic gospels and that John represents an advanced theological development, in which meditations on the person and work of Christ are presented in the first person, as if Jesus said them.”

    (E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure Of Jesus, 1993, Penguin Books, pp. 70-71.)

    “While the synoptics preserve the sayings of Jesus more exactly in their original language and form, the fourth evangelist employs more freely his own modes of thought and language in reporting and interpreting the discourses of Jesus.”

    (Bruce M. Metzger, The New Testament, its background, growth and content, 2nd edition, enlarged, Abingdon Press Nashville, p. 96.)

    “While all four gospels contain factual fictive elements, the fourth gospel appears to have a greater preponderance of the latter. ”

    (John Drane, Introducing the New Testament, Lion Publishing Plc. Revised Edition. 1999 pp. 210-211)

    “In all four Gospels we have the history of Jesus only in the form of testimony, the testimony of involved participants who responded in faith to the disclosure of God in these events. In testimony fact and interpretation are inextricable; in this testimony empirical sight and spiritual perception are inseparable. ”

    (Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, 2006, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., p. 411.)

    Regarding the gospel of John specifically, Bauckham says:

    “All scholars, whatever their views of the redactional work of the Synoptic Evangelists and of the historical reliability of the Gospel of John, agree that the latter presents a much more thoroughly and extensively interpreted version of the story of Jesus. ”

    (Ibid. p. 410.)

    SO THE ‘IAM’ STATEMENTS IN GOSPEL OF JOHN ARE NOT THE ACTUAL SAYINGS OF JESUS CHRIST AND WE CANT ASCRIBE DIVINITY TO HIM BASED ON THESE .

    What Jesus was actually and what he thought about himself and what he preached can be known upto an extant from the synoptics and as we read the synoptic Gospels we clearly see a human Jesus preaching the gospel of kingdom of God , we see Jesus as a very human prophet of God and not God himself.

  38. on 06 Oct 2012 at 8:30 amSean

    Coming on to Gospel of John, whether it is John 12:41 or the high Christology in other verses as the ‘IAM’ statements of Jesus Christ ,they are according to all Scholars whether liberal or conservative represent the view of the author of the Gospel .They are not the words of Jesus.

    This is a false statement. Conservative scholars, i.e. Bible-believing scholars, do not believe John’s Gospel was made up. Navas has demonstrated, John does not diverge from the synoptics regarding christology either.

  39. on 06 Oct 2012 at 6:00 pmSheryl

    Has anyone studied the Nag Hammadi writings? I’m not sure if it was there, but somewhere I read an extra-biblical writing of John which was….well, bizarre. It contained a narrative of John meeting Jesus and receiving some strange revelations. That reading has somewhat tainted ever so slightly my view of John’s gospel. If anything, I view John as much more poetical and less literal.

  40. on 06 Oct 2012 at 7:39 pmtimothy

    Dr Ali, (kjv)

    Hello again!

    I arose before daylight this morning and rejoiced to see your handle on KR blog. Then after thinking about how to reply, Sean made a short reply which I agree with. And now for my reply.

    My respect to/for you as a scholar and Medical doctor is over the top. Being a Vietnam/cold war veteran my instruction for First Aid was more than the normal GI received. My MOS(military occupational specialty) required being able to 1) clear the airway(even wiith improvised, cut hoses fron jeep to use as an airway) 2) stop the bleeding(we had spray superglue to seal wounds) and to treat for shock.

    These were first aid and the Doctors were near to continue the process.

    With the word of GOD there is also unconditional basic knowledge required to save the soul. It has to start with the word of GOD OT/NT. Knowing and believing that the Bible has one author, GOD, and many writers to whom GOD gave revelation about what to write.

    2 Timothy 3:
    16 All(without exception) scripture is given by inspiration of God[theopneumatos], and is profitable for doctrine(didaskalia), for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    [theopneumatos=GOD breathed=GOD is the author]

    17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    2 Peter 1:
    20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any
    *private interpretation*[idios epilusis].

    [idios(ones own) epilusis(letting loose upon like hunting dogs)]

    21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    The word of GOD was the seed sown in Jesus Christ’ parable of the sower.

    Mark 4:
    4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

    5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

    6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

    7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

    IMHO(in my humble opinion), That vast libraries of biblical commentaries are like thorn seeds. The birds and stony ground take enough toll of the sown word of GOD by themselves. There is a quiver full of fiery darts for the devil to discourage hearers from HUAHB the gospel of Jesus Christ, *the kingdom of GOD*. Some, rather than learning how to read the scriptures, rely on commentaries which have as many different views as carter has little liver pills.

    Perhaps these scholars are to caught up in their physiological DSM lV and ungodly doctrines that can hold no water.

    Jeremiah 2:
    13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

    To throw out the gospel of John is so unsound that it need to be taught that several non negotiable Truths are there for the potential Christian.

    8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

    These received the seed and were watered with more word and GOD gave the increase.

    *HUAHB(hear understand accept hold fast bring forth fruit)*!

    9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    John 15:
    10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

    We are to keep Jesus Christ/and GODs commandment and abide in their love.

    11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

    Joy is a big fruit of the spirit and being full of joy is wunderbar.

    12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

    Now we have four commandment from Jesus. 1st) love GOD, 2nd) love yourself as GOD loves you, 3) love you fellow man as you love yourself
    4th) to love one another as Jesus loves us.

    John 16:
    13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    All of this information is here in the gospel of John:

    New commandment to love one another as Jesus loved by washing the disciples feet.

    And in formation about what they would receive when baptized with holy spirit. And can one even fathom the joy Jesus feels because he conquered death and has rescued human kind, his fellow man. The christian can have the same spiritual joy.

    Acts 1:
    5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

    8 But ye shall receive power(dunamis), after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

    Acts 2:
    3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

    4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    Jesus Christ, before his passion taught his 12 disciples about what they should expect to be coming. After his resurrection he taught them more and that they would be receiving power[dunamis].

    [dunamis=power=word dynamite=explosive invented by Nobel, who gives the Dynamite Nobel inc., Nobel Peace Prize.

    I am offering this exhortation to you Dr. Ali. Take a class from KR LHIM on line and just consider it as a refresher course about the Love of GOD, his son Jesus Christ and being ready for the coming Kingdom.

    Method one: watch/listen, no bible
    Method two: watch/listen with NASB version of bible
    Method three: watch/listen, read along with NASB, read colaterial books

    http://lhim.org/resources/classes.php?id=31

    GOD bless you and yours,

    Timothy

  41. on 07 Oct 2012 at 6:01 pmSheryl

    May I add to your third method? Pray hard with the help of our God’s Holy Spirit as you delve into his word. Every time I read or re-read a chapter or book in the Bible I receive brand new lessons which I attribute to the influence of the Holy Spirit. The lessons on IHIM are a great blessing to me. May God bless us all in our individual journeys as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

  42. on 08 Oct 2012 at 2:33 amDr Ali

    Thank you Timothy for welcoming me again and speaking kindly .

    I will watch the lhim.org classes , thanks for providing links to them .

    Coming onto Gospel of John , iam not rejecting it .

    According to me it has the most Unitarian passages in it and depicts Jesus Christ as a humble messenger of God in a better way than the synoptics .

    But Scholars are of the view that Jesus was claiming divinity when he uttered the ‘IAM’ , the ‘IAM THE TRUTH AND LIFE ‘ and similar statements in John but they also agree that these were not actually uttered by Jesus .

    Even conservative scholars agree on this , i have cited F.F Bruce ,John Drane and Richard Bauckham all of them are highly revered conservative scholars

    E.P Sanders considered to be Americas leading scholar on New Testament also says the same as i cited in previous post , so do Bruce Metzeger .

    Now i will cite Ben Wethrington 3 another conservative evangelical scholar on this .

    “Most of my material, with rare exception, is taken from Mark or Q. Thus, I will start with what are probably our earliest sources and go into later material, if it confirms hints in the authentic synoptic material or if it helps make sense of that data. I will not be dealing with material such as the “I Am” discourses on the Fourth Gospel because it is difficult to argue on the basis of the historical-critical method that they go back to a Sitz im Leben Jesu. Even when we can get back to such a Sitz im Leben from Mark or Q, what can be recovered is often only the substance of what Jesus said or did, although sometimes we are able to recover his very words.”

    (The Christology of Jesus by Ben Witherington III, was published by Augsburg Fortress Publishers in October 2001 p.30 )

  43. on 08 Oct 2012 at 4:33 amtimothy

    Dr Ali,

    Good morning and GOD bless you.

    Stop! Take a deep breath and let the eyes of your understanding follow.

    Jesus Christ taught:

    Matthew 18: (kjv)
    3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 19:13
    13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

    14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

    and again:

    Mark 10:
    14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

    Matthew 5:
    5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

    Being like a child, meek to learn and having a ziel to learn is a requirement for understanding GODs word. The 12 discipals were simple tradesmen, sailmakers, net makers and fishermen. I do not know how much education they had compared to modern Gymnasium standards.

    In my post # 40, the basics that GODs word is not a comentary and of not written for private interpretation, need to be adhered to.

    You, in your above response, have fast forwarded to more references to commentaries.

    Being a student of Christ is a matter of some sound instruction and reading for yourself. The LHIM class “GODs purpose of the ages” expounds the scriptures Genesis to Revelations, short hand. It is not a commentary but a teaching for one to learn what GODs plan is and what that one must do to be ready for the coming kingdom.

    1 Corinthians 2:
    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    All your commentaries are probably “MANS WISDOM” and will not get you anywhere. You are an intelligent man and who knows that knowledge puffs up a person.

    1 Corinthians 4:
    19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.

    Colossians 2:18
    18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

    2 Peter 2:18
    For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

    Having all these scolars opinions is “excess baggage” and best to not bring that to the LHIM class because you will have a red herring in the for front of your mind and miss the score. This might convey what I am suggesting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exdK7Lirngg

    You wrote:
    “But Scholars are of the view that Jesus was claiming divinity when he uttered the ‘IAM’ , the ‘IAM THE TRUTH AND LIFE ‘ and similar statements in John but they also agree that these were not actually uttered by Jesus.”

    to follow>

  44. on 08 Oct 2012 at 5:28 amtimothy

    Dr Ali,

    A change of thought.

    1) What is the verb “to be” in Hebrew?

    “להיות (Lihiyot) is the verb “to be” in Hebrew, and it (probably) has the same root as “yhvh”.

    One of the interpretations of the name (yhvh) is that it is a combination of three Hebrew words:
    Haya- was
    Hove- is
    Yihiye- will be” (google copy/paste)

    How about?…*Abraham was I is!*

    2) You wrote: ‘IAM THE TRUTH AND LIFE ‘ and left out *the way*

    John 14:
    6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    Here(I hope this works):

    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=tabernacle+way+truth+life&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=38m53bTKMp_hQM:&imgrefurl=http://possessthevision.wordpress.com/seeking-jesus/passing-from-the-way-and-into-the-truth/&docid=

    The only way to GOD….by sacrifice of Jesus Christ an equal(isos) man human being for the human race of mankind…..the first tabernacle doorways = The Way-The Truth-The Life….later Solomons temple and still later Herods temple.

    There were no commentaries used to supply this information.

    The LHIM class will bring you, while you believe, to receiving holy spirit into manifestation and able to have your personal Paracleate to teach you as you later read the scriptures…session 13, 14.

    Just remember GOD is the author of his written word. In NT Jesus Christ in the writers gave those writers revelations from GOD who is in him. GODs word is spiritual for his children.

    apostle Paul wrote by revelation:

    Galatians 1:
    12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    apostle John wrote by revelation in Revelations:

    Revelation 1:1
    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

    Have a great week.

    Timothy 🙂

  45. on 08 Oct 2012 at 8:30 amSarah

    Hi Dr. Ali,

    According to me it has the most Unitarian passages in it and depicts Jesus Christ as a humble messenger of God in a better way than the synoptics .

    I am curious to know whether you accept Jesus’ claim to be not only a prophet but also the Messiah and Son of God?

  46. on 08 Oct 2012 at 9:25 amDr Ali

    Hi Timothy thanks for the post . Also i started seeing the links of lhim.org one by one thanks for them too.

    Hi Sarah , yes i accept Jesus as he is in the New Testament . As a Prophet ,as Messiah and son of God (special selected person of God ). I accept Jesus as his disciples accepted him as way to God . I accept gospel which Jesus Christ preached as a revelation from God .

  47. on 08 Oct 2012 at 10:12 amSarah

    Thanks, Dr. Ali. If I recall correctly, you mentioned in a prior conversation that you are also Muslim. Do you see any conflict between Muslim beliefs and Unitarian Christian beliefs?

  48. on 08 Oct 2012 at 6:57 pmRay

    Jesus, though distinct from the Father is his equal in so many ways.

  49. on 19 Oct 2012 at 4:34 pmXavier

    Thanks for the links Sean.

    Also, check out Navas’ volumous work, Divine Truth or Human Tradition?, where he deals with White’s incredibly weak handling of 1 Cor 15.28 by meticulously looking at the way theos is used by Paul throughout the letter:

    There is not one case where “God” means, or can be fairly argued to mean, “the triune God” in 1 Corinthians (and no place known in all 66 books of the Bible for that matter). App. 5, p 547-552.

    Just to be specific ho theos in the NT is used only 3 times of someone else other than the Father: of Jesus [John 20.28; Heb 1.8] and the Satan [2 Cor 4.4].

  50. on 19 Oct 2012 at 4:44 pmXavier

    CORRECTION: voluminous 😉

  51. on 19 Feb 2013 at 10:28 pmjohn marshall

    When listeners take time to entertain the navas vs white debate, they are not getting all the truth. We want to know and learn from you guys. Get your heads together and give us something to think about rather than twisting the debate to your advantage.We are not
    interested in who wins but rather look to scholars like these to teach and engage all points put forth. White is a skilled debater but not an honest one.He is more interested in notariety

  52. on 20 Feb 2013 at 2:34 amO12

    I agree with the comment above, white pompously over exaggerates his claims and uses subtle rhetoric to cover up problems in his own arguments, seeing the arrogance and the deception the trinitarians need to employ only helps me to see what’s actually true.

  53. […] Ably reviewed by Sean Finnegan. I would add a few philosophical comments: […]

  54. on 14 May 2013 at 6:39 amJohn B

    Xavier
    Sorry to come into this debate somewhat late!

    Just two points
    (i) Regarding John 12:11
    I’m sure the readers will be aware of the fact that with Isaiah
    much of the substance is ‘poetry’ rather than ‘prose’

    (ii) Regarding the use of ‘ho theos’ in connection with John 20:28

    I am far from an expert on the subject , but I believe that the
    Granville Sharp rules say that if we have two nouns, which are
    not proper names and which are joined by a conjunction , and
    which are each preceeded by the definite article. then we have
    two subjects in view.
    So in John 20:28 the Greek reads “the Lord of me and the God
    of me” – so we have two persons present! Christ- and God.

    Is it too much to imagine the following scene – Thomas sees
    the newly risen Christ and addresses him as ‘my Lord’ – he then
    raises his eyes to the ceiling/heavens and acknowledges God’s
    hand in this miracle. I would have reacted in this way if
    confronted with this situation.

    (iii)In connection with the use of ‘ho theos’ in Hebrews 1:8
    -the verse is ‘plucked’ directly from Psalm 45.
    Trinitarians fail to interpret Hebrews 1 correctly.

    As I understand things the writer of Hebrews is SURMISING
    what the resurrected Christs arrival in heaven was like.
    Christ would have been an honoured guest ans so would have
    been invited to sit on Gods right side.
    Hebrew tradition held the angels were superior to humans, so
    the newly ‘elevated’ Christ would now he ‘higher than the
    angels’
    Christ would have been treated using the words and imagery
    applicable to a Hebrew coronation. In this the newly appointed
    king was
    -made God’s adoptive son
    -crowned
    – anointed as a priest

    We see all of this at work in Hebrews 1 – the readers should
    of course have noted that in Psalm 45 verse 10 the newly
    married king was said to have the daughters of kings as his
    lovely wives (NAB bible) That should have been the
    ‘give-away’!!

    Note that in most bibles the word ‘god’ in Psalms – has been
    capitalised by the (unknown) author of Hebrews.

    So we really have no examples of Christ being called ‘ho theos’.

    Every Blessing
    John B

  55. on 15 May 2013 at 11:48 amJohn B

    I have noted how perplexed many people are at the ‘tone’ of the Navas vs White debate.
    So many people simply cannot understand the complexities of James Whites submission. He speaks rapidly and quotes Hebrew and Greek words with great authority and gives the impression that he ‘knows it all’.
    Fear not!
    The deeper one gets into his thesis, the more hollow it becomes.!

    (i) He continually states that the ‘words must speak for themselves,but continually indulges in ‘gymnastics’ to make them fit!
    (ii) He accuses Unitarians of being ‘Rationalists’ -while he himself is guilty of this charge .
    Consider two points of view
    (a) There is one supreme God, the Father, and Jesus Christ is his
    Son. and…
    (b) God consists of three persons sharing one substance, one
    of whom has a double nature. Trinitarians disagree over the
    definition of the words (persons, substance) and forward
    what I can only describe as ‘gobbledygook’ to support their
    flimsy case.
    WHO ARE THE RATIONALISTS?

    Readers should revert for just one minute to the debate on
    1 Corinthians 8:6.
    Listen to the way in white White flies through the portion of the dialogue which discusses the (alleged) reference to Christ in the Shema.

    It is instructive to go back to the reference in Hebrew in Deuteronomy 6:4
    “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord”
    The Hebrew word for ‘one’ is ‘echad’
    This is a ‘counting’ number among other things.
    It can be used to describe a single entity or a multiple entity – for example ‘one grape’ or ‘one bunch of grapes’
    The precise meaning is determined by context.
    The one thing the Jews were certain of was that their God was ONE Lord.
    There is another word ‘yashid’ which means ‘only’ or ‘lonely’ etc
    It is used to add precision where required e.g.’ She is an only (one) daughter”
    Yashid is NEVER used in the scriptures to describe the Lord God Almighty.

    We may look to the Greek scriptures, written many hundreds of years later.

    The Greek word for ‘one’ is ‘heis’.

    Consider its use in 1 Corinthians 9:24
    “Do you not know that the runners in a stadium run a race but only one (heis) wins the race”

    We don’t have a ‘heard’ of people winning a race!!

    Good people, ONE MEANS ONE and not what James White says.

    Please understand that James White is fighting a rearguard action to defend what cannot be ,and ultimately will not be defended.

    Unitarianism is an idea whose time has finally come!

    Every Blessing
    John B

  56. on 15 May 2013 at 1:05 pmXavier

    John B

    I believe that the Granville Sharp rules say that if we have two nouns…then we have two subjects in view.

    Yes, I believe that is what the rule states but the problem for that view is that Thomas is addressing 1 subject, Jesus.

    I think a better explanation would be to say that in light of Jesus question to Thomas and the others in John 14.9 he finally gets it in chapter 20.

    For another view of Heb 1 see http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2010/11/hebrews-110-and-age-to-come-reload.html

  57. on 15 May 2013 at 4:03 pmJohn B

    Xavier
    I stick with my interpretation of John 20:29- there are two subjects in view.
    To see Christ is to see the Father since they are ‘one’ in agreement and purpose.
    In John 10:30 the ‘oneness’ refers to purpose and agreement.
    The word ‘hen’ used to denote ‘one’ also appears in Philippians 2:2 and 1 Corinthians 3:8.
    Check your Greek interlinear!

    Christ is God’s divine agent!

    Obviously you have a different opinion!

    Will revert tomorrow re Hebrews. !
    Blessings
    John B

  58. on 15 May 2013 at 5:56 pmXavier

    John B

    Thomas is addressing 1 subject, Jesus. This is clearly seen in the text. And we agree that their ‘oneness’ is not meant to be an ontological one.

  59. on 16 May 2013 at 4:41 amJohn B

    Xaview
    Regarding John 20:29
    We will have to disagree with Thomas’s addressing one subject.!
    To me it is NOT clear from the text – and I stick with my comments regarding the Granville Sharp Rules .

    Your reference to Sir Anthonys paper on Hebrews 1:10 was useful and I thank you for that!

    Hebrews 1 is a key scripture in the Trinitarian repertoire and while I agree with the gist of Sir Anthonys article I maintain that
    (i) The unknown author of Hebrews had no ‘window into heaven’
    through which to witness Christ’s arrival
    (ii) He used information which was in the public domain at that
    time and used it to SURMISE on what Christ’s arrival in heaven
    was like..
    (iii) Much of Hebrews 1 vs 1-13 looks like a ‘cut and paste’ job to
    me… verses from Psalms 2, 45 and 110 being used to
    justify his description.
    (iv) I have no problem with certain prophetic aspects but I would
    wager all, that the words used are not the words used by God
    to greet the newly risen Christ. They were the TYPE of words.

    We can get into the anthropomorphic arguments – but enough!

    Blessings
    John

  60. on 19 May 2013 at 10:16 amJohn B

    Xavier/ Anthony
    I am indebted to both of you!
    First of all Sir Anthony an excellent paper on Hebrews 1 – and secondly to Xavier for bringing my attention to it.

    I have had another look at it this afternoon and came accross two interesting things!

    (i) Hebrews 1:7 misquotes the Tanakh -not in a serious way.

    (ii) Hebrews 1:10 misquotes the Tanakh – as you noted Sir Anthony.

    Patrick Navas could have used the latter to devastating effect against James White – but I suspect that White being a consumate ‘literalist’ would have rejected this discrepancy!
    The fact remains that the Septuagint Bible is meant to be an accurate translation of the Tanakh .
    One notices that discrepancies arise from time to time – and always favour the Trinitarian way of thinking.

    Blessings
    John

  61. on 19 May 2013 at 3:59 pmXavier

    JB

    Glad the study helped. But let me clear up some things.

    Anthony and other scholars note that the Hebrews writer was using the Septuagint and not MT text. So it is not a matter of “misquoting” or “accuracy”, its simply a fact that the LXX is a translation of the Hebrew text with obvious differences. Such as Heb 1. Scholars even say that around 60-70% of the NT writers are quoting from the LXX.

    Furthermore, substantively I agree with you regarding the meaning of John 20.28. But the Granville Sharp rule does not apply to this verse for grammatical reasons. In Greek “my Lord and my God” is “the Lord of me and the God of me”. So the grammar demands that the article [“the”] is repeated.

    Sharp himself said that this verse was an exception to his rule.

  62. on 19 May 2013 at 4:31 pmJas

    Xavier
    It is not disputed that a large percentage of quotes follow the LXX but is disputed that the original hebrew MS used quotes from LXX. While translating and applying proper greek the LXX provided a shortcut in translation. It is Jerome who claimed that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew and all quotes followed the Hebrew OT not the greek but as you see the greek Matthew follows the quotes of LXX. It is also held by many experts of ancient languages that Hebrews was originally written in Hebrew then translated and interpretated into greek form. Our english version bear no distinction of ever existing in greek literary even though we know they were translated and interpreted into proper english from Greek .

  63. on 20 May 2013 at 3:05 amJohn B

    XAVIER

    (i) It is interesting to note that the editors of the Catholic NAB Bible translate Hebrews 1:7 in exactly the same way that the Tanakh translates Psalm 102 vs 25 and 26.
    (see Tanakh – Jewish Virtual Library)
    You will have noted that the editors of NAB Bible exhibit great integrity in scriptural matters… unlike most !

    There is a great deal of difference between the NAB Bible rendering and most of those commonly in use.

    (ii)In post 50 above you misquoted me.
    “I believe that the Granville Sharp rules say that if we have two
    nouns then we have two subjects in view”

    This is not what I said –

    I said-

    G.S. Rule number 6 says

    “If we have two nouns
    not being proper names
    and joined by a conjunction
    and each noun is preceeded by the definite article
    –then we have two subjects in view.”

    I know that G.S. admitted that there were instances where his rules may not apply… and i have seen instances where Trinitarians in particular, selectively apply the rules.

    If you think about it, Rule 6 looks rather likethe English way of expressing things.

    If John had wished to say “My Lord and my God” – one person in view, he would have omitted the definite article relating to ‘God’.
    He did not.

    Have you ever Googled “Angelfire -the trinity delusion”?
    Some good stuff there!

    Blessings
    John

  64. on 20 May 2013 at 9:16 amXavier

    JB

    Yes, I am very familiar with Stovra’s TrinityDelusion site and YouTube. One of the first sites I found when I became a Christian 7 years ago.

    In Greek you cannot write “my God” without the definitive article. Anyway, we’ll agree substantively like I said.

  65. on 27 Jun 2013 at 12:09 amScott

    James White is absolutely hilariously wrong on Colossians. “Either Jesus is eternal or he is part of all things . . . if Jesus is a creator, he cannot be a creature . . . ‘by him all things hold together’ . . . does he hold himself together? . . . these words could not be said about a creature.” Way to argue in a circle.

  66. on 27 Jun 2013 at 8:56 amXavier

    Scott

    Good quote. Do you see Jesus’ role as creator as we do?

    http://youtu.be/S0XF9QM_hVU

  67. on 27 Jun 2013 at 7:32 pmScott

    Xavier,

    With regard to the video that you linked, while I have respect for Anthony Buzzard, and believe him to be a sincere Christian and competent scholar, I think he is off the mark on the issue of preexistence.

    First, we know that for the most part all early second-century Christians, who knew more about the Apostles and the early church than we do, believed in a pre-existent Jesus.

    Second, many obvious statements in Scripture indicate that Jesus was the “firstborn”—and not one of the last-born—“of all creation” who preexisted with the Father, “the only true God,” before the world was (Proverbs 8:22-31; John 1:10,15,30; 6:62; 8:58; 13:3; 17:1,3,5; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Colossians 1:15; Philippians 2:6-11; Revelation 3:14).

    How would you, Xavier, deal with the above verses, and with John 8:58? Nowhere did Jesus speak more clearly with reference to his preexistence than when he uttered the words (translated) prin Abraam genesthai ego eimi (“I have been in existence since before Abraham was born”). Viewing Jesus as ‘not yet 50 years old,’ the Jews wondered how Jesus could have seen Abraham in person to have known that Abraham rejoiced to see his day. Thus, Jesus was thus not answering a question about who he was, but about how old he was. His response was that he was in existence before Abraham was.

    Buzzard: “Jesus was six months younger than John the Baptist.” And yet John the Baptist himself clearly proclaimed that Christ “was first, before me” (John 1:15,30). To use the virginal conception and birth of Jesus to argue against his preexistence is an irrelevant non sequitur.

    Buzzard: “In Isaiah 44:24, God was unaccompanied at creation.” But at the creation of what though? Isaiah deals with the original creation of the heavens and the earth themselves (at which point God was unaccompanied), whereas Colossians deals with the creation of the “thrones, lordships, ruler-ships, and authorities” therein.

    Also, it would certainly be an irrelevant objection to ancient proto-Gnosticism for Paul to argue that everything was created “with Jesus in mind.” Paul was arguing about Jesus’ position in the order of creation, not his position in the importance of creation, concerning which the Gnostics would have been in perfect agreement with Paul.

  68. on 27 Jun 2013 at 7:45 pmJas

    Scott
    Can you provide reference to these 2nd century christians . I am truly unaware of clear passages or authors that state that except for one (Justin) who believe Jesus to be the word mentioned by Plato and Philo. Justin was more interested in proving he was a christian even before he converted from pagananity which believed the son pre existed as his own father and was born of human virgin.

  69. on 27 Jun 2013 at 7:51 pmScott

    Xavier,

    That being said, I would again like to emphasize that I believe that the Socinian reading of scripture is much to be preferred to Trinitarian polymonotritheism.

  70. on 27 Jun 2013 at 8:15 pmScott

    Jas,

    Justin Martyr is the most obvious example of a Christian in the 2nd century who argued for a literal pre-existence of Jesus. However, there are many others.

    . . . in one faith in one God the Father, and of Jesus Christ His only-begotten Son, and “the first-born of every creature,” . . . (p. 122, vol. I, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, “The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians”)

    . . . Christ, who was begotten by the Father before all ages, but was afterwards born . . . He made known the one and only true God, His Father . . . (p. 134, vol. I, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, “The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians”)

    On page 100 of the 2nd century work The Shepherd of Hermas: “Listen,” he said, “and understand, O ignorant man. The Son of God is older than all other creatures, so that He was a fellow-councilor with the Father in His work of creation: for this reason is He old.”

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to look at all the times that they quote John 1, Colossians 1, and Genesis 1 “let us make man in our own image.”

  71. on 27 Jun 2013 at 8:37 pmJas

    Scott
    You do realize the The Epistles of Ignatius are all late 3rd century early 4th century forgeries .
    Plus be carful of doctrine being inserted into english translations

  72. on 27 Jun 2013 at 9:02 pmSarah

    Jas,

    Regarding your question in post #68, Irenaeus is another 2nd century proponent of Logos Christology:

    “But the Word of God did not accept of the friendship of Abraham, as though He stood in need of it, for He was perfect from the beginning (“Before Abraham was,” He says, “I am”), but that He in His goodness might bestow eternal life upon Abraham himself, inasmuch as the friendship of God imparts immortality to those who embrace it.” – Against Heresies, Book IV

  73. on 27 Jun 2013 at 9:17 pmJas

    Sarah
    Yes but a very late 2nd century very possibly influenced by Justin. Plus there is no witness by early Ms that it was there in this in 180AD.
    But thanks for reminding me.

  74. on 27 Jun 2013 at 10:20 pmScott

    Jas,

    I knew that many epistles of Ignatius were forgeries. I did not think that ALL are forgeries. Do you have a reference for this assertion?

  75. on 27 Jun 2013 at 10:53 pmJas

    Scott
    While I made my own conclusion from reading them and from understanding the roman based church structure at different periods of time of which All these letters mention structure of the leadership of the church which can not be placed any earlier then mid 3rd century.
    Yes the letters bare witness to a belief but not an early witness unless you are content with Mid 3rd century instead of late 1st early 2nd.

    Sarah just scanned over Against Heresies, Book IV and Irenaeus would have used your kitchen sink to prove that God of the NT was the same God of the Hebrews ,that the marconite heresy was false Which it was but Irenaeus also used false witness in his attempts in this and few other writings
    He really was not a very good person.

  76. on 27 Jun 2013 at 11:24 pmXavier

    Scott

    If you visit our site and have time to watch the rest of our YouTube videos you will get our answers.

    And I don’t think the “origin” and “coming into existence” of the Son in Mary (Mat 1.1,18-20; Luke 1.35) is a non sequitur. :/

  77. on 28 Jun 2013 at 12:03 amScott

    Jas,

    Thank you for your viewpoint on Ignatius’ letters, which I have never heard before. Most scholars believe that his epistle to Ephesians and Magnesians are among his authentic epistles, and those are the ones that I cited. I will give these epistles and the majority of scholars the benefit of the doubt on this issue.

    I am not overly fond of the personalities of Justin Martyr and Irenaeus myself either, but I do not think that how nice they were is relevant to the discussion at hand.

  78. on 28 Jun 2013 at 9:06 amJas

    Scott
    Your not going to hear it publically from most but there are still some who do not allow doctrine to dictate their opinion. If I were you I would study them in the historical and cultural context of the time they belong to but you are free to choose.

  79. on 28 Jun 2013 at 3:07 pmScott

    Xavier,

    The fact that Jesus’ body “originated” and was “brought into existence” in the womb of his mother does not mean that his consciousness did as well. It is a non sequitur. What is your site?

  80. on 28 Jun 2013 at 5:39 pmXavier

    Scott

    Where are you reading that it was the body only? The subject in the virgin birth narratives is of the Christ, the begotten Son of God.

    Our site is: http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/

  81. on 28 Jun 2013 at 8:42 pmScott

    Xavier

    To answer your question: “Where are you reading that it was the body only?” I deduce it from the New Testament as a whole.

    “The subject in the virgin birth narratives is of the Christ, the begotten Son of God.” I don’t see what your point is exactly.

    Thank you for the website. I will check it out.

    How do you explain the following scriptures:

    Jews: “You are not fifty years old, and still you have seen Abraham?”
    Jesus said to them: “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am [from] before Abraham ever was” (John 8:56-58).

    Luke 10:18: “I beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven,” which happened eons before his birth, cf. Ezekiel 28 & Isaiah 14.

    John 1:10: “He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him, but the world did not know him.”

  82. on 28 Jun 2013 at 9:00 pmXavier

    Scott

    Again, we have dealt with those and many other trini verses/passages extensively. When you have the time read/watch our stuff.

    My point about what the virgin birth accounts describe is the origin/coming into existence of the person of Jesus and not just an empty body that is inhabited by some preexietent “Son”. Your conclusion is wholly outside the scope of the biblical fact that by definition the Messiah is an anointed human being. This cannot be the case if we’re dealing with some kind of avatar, Gnostic-Redeemer type being.

  83. on 29 Jun 2013 at 2:11 amScott

    Xavier,

    As a fellow Non-Trinitarian, I will gladly read the info on your site. However, I have read Socinian material in the past and have always found it wanting.

    Have you seen this response to Anthony Buzzard’s video on John 17:5? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJzd40rRWkw

  84. on 29 Jun 2013 at 8:26 amXavier

    Scott

    Yes, we are very familiar with Mr. Barron.

    Again, the problem with a preexistent Messiah is that that would disqualify him as the human representative/agent, prophet and Son of God which the Hebrew scriptures prophesied about and the Greek scriptures describe in terms of an “origin” and “coming into existence”. If you had a “pre-human” existence how can you be truly human?

    The term preexistence also contradicts the biblical teaching regarding foreknowledge, as Robert Hach has pointed out:

    The biblical concept of foreknowledge is not compatible with the concept of personal pre-existence. If the Son existed as a person from “the beginning,” how was his existence a matter of God’s foreknowledge? That God foreknew the Messiah would seem to preclude the possibility that God also knew him in some pre-existent other-than-human form…

    God’s foreknowledge of the Messiah, then, is the biblical alternative to the doctrine of personal pre-existence. Biblical foreknowledge is, in the terminology of pre-existence, best represented in terms of prophetic pre-existence. That is to say, the existence of the Messiah was, prior to his birth, a matter of prophecy. And, from a biblical standpoint, to believe that God had made a promise, conveyed by the words of the prophets (that is, in the form of prophecy), was to believe that what God had promised (and, therefore, previously purposed) had been an inevitable reality from the instant God purposed it. (The literary-rhetorical term for this figure of speech is prolepsis: to speak of a future event as a present reality.) The Prophetic Pre-existence of the Messiah

  85. on 26 Aug 2014 at 2:09 amAndrew Graham

    I am a JW apologst, and have debated with the likes of Prof A. Buzzard and Robert M. Bowman, the above ‘website’ (blog) touches on texts you have mentioned; I have found the arguments presented by White and Bowman, et al to be simple matters to answer, please check out my ‘website’ (blog) for examples!

    Regards.

    Andrew Graham (JW)

  86. on 26 Aug 2014 at 2:11 amAndrew Graham

    Apologies, forgot to include: letusreason/thoughts.com

  87. on 31 Aug 2015 at 4:22 pmGreat Bread

    I also would have liked Patrick to touch on the “creature” topic.

    A wonderful scripture that makes this clear is Colossians 1:15′ “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation”.

    Let’s break this down

    ‘Firstborn’ means “Born”, as in ‘brought into existence.’ Clearly, to be brought into existence means that prior he did not exist. God (Jehovah/Yahweh) always existed, so the two are not the same.

    Then there is ‘creation’, to which the Son of God was the first. To be of creation is to be a creature. Thus, Jesus is in fact a creature, the first of many, but unique in position (ie Only begotten, The messiah, etc.)’ the Master worker through whom God has all other creations completed. Being the firstborn creature of all creation, he was there from the beginning of all (other) creation.

    Now here is something many never think about. He is the IMAGE of the invisible God.

    When we think or talk about an image, we are talking about what? A facsimile, a reflection, not the original or the actual. To say that Jesus is an ‘image’ of God is a clear statement that he is not God himself.

    Recall what God and Jesus in Heaven stated in Genesis: “Let US make man in our image.” Was man made equal to God? No, of course not. We were created as an image, which means we ‘reflect’ the qualities of God (in limited form due to sin and imperfection, although not the original condition of man).

    When Jesus said “If you have seen the Father you have seen me also”, he was not saying he was God, but rather the reflection (image) of God.” If you spent billions of years close to someone you greatly love and respected, you would reflect that person’s wonderful qualities, much like people being able to see the father through the actions of a loving son.

    Keep in mind, when you take a picture of, paint or draw an image of, someone or something, we know it is not the original.

    That one scripture alone is packed with powerful truths about Jesus.

  88. on 31 Aug 2015 at 10:35 pmJas

    GB
    Jesus was exalted to firstborn status and it is over all not of all . Israel was called firstborn and so was Ephraim . Were they also there with God during creation. Jesus was born of a women from the sperm of the son of David. Like you said above being “Born”, as in ‘brought into existence,Clearly, to be brought into existence means that prior he did not exist.
    The rest of what you wrote shows a lot better understanding.

  89. on 01 Sep 2015 at 8:14 amTimoteo

    GB

    Thank you for your wonderful post chocked full of many things for further comments.

    First, I wish to point out the *MAJESTIC PLURAL*.

    #87 you write:

    “Recall what God and Jesus in Heaven stated in Genesis: “Let US make man in our image.”

    This “LET US” has caused too much private interpretation leading to doctrines that have Jesus being in existence before he was conceived and born as a human being.

    “In the Bible, we find four verses in which God refers to Himself using plural pronouns. The most well-known passage is Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.’” See also Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:7; and Isaiah 6:8. The One God is speaking of Himself in plural form: us and our. This is a perfect example of the majestic plural. God’s divine greatness and transcendence are emphasized through the simple use of pronouns.”

    quoted from here:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/majestic-plural.html

    Thanks for your consideration.

  90. on 01 Sep 2015 at 8:23 amTimoteo

    GB,

    Another *ROYAL WE* explanation:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_we

  

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