951753

Archive for the 'The Trinity' Category

An evangelical, a unitarian, and a Muslim discuss the identity of Jesus at a forum held in Melbourne, Australia, on 17th July 2013. This was a discussion jointly hosted by City Bible Forum and CrossCulture Church of Christ between three different views on Jesus.

The evening started with 8 minute opening statements by each presenter, then moderated discussion followed by a 2 minute closing.

A Trinitarian Christian – Dr. Bernie Power (Melbourne School of Theology).
A Muslim – Shahir Naga (1God.com.au)
A Unitarian Christian – Steve Katsaras (Red Words Church).

This is the complete presentation. You can download the audio here or subscribe to the christianmonotheism podcast.

The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and How it Died by Philip Jenkins is a fascinating book outlining the history of Christianity outside of Europe, especially during the first thousand years. This is an extremely important perspective on Christian history that is strangely absent from most books of Christian history, which focus solely on Europe.

Introduction

Tucked away at the end of the Gospel of Matthew is the great commission. It reads, “Therefore, go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit” (Mat 28.19). Oftentimes modalists and unitarians question the validity of this verse because of its trinitarian flavor. Typically, the questioner makes the point that we do not have manuscripts of Matthew 28.19 before a.d 325 when the church ratified the Trinitarian creed at Nicea and that they were all corrupted at that time. Furthermore, they refer to Eusebius, the famous church historian, because he quotes an alternative version of Matthew 28.19 (i.e. “Go and make disciples of all the nations in my name”) in his writings. Although it certainly wouldn’t ruin my day if Matthew 28.19 turned out to be spurious, I am wary of textual arguments motivated by theology. As a result, I want to lay out for you the reasons why every handwritten and printed Greek text contains the full version of Matthew 28.19.

The following is a response by Jaco van Zyl of South Africa to Daniel Wallace’s arguments for the Trinity on a radio show. If you would like to listen to the show, click here (the interview starts at about 5 minutes in). Jaco wrote this response independently from Patrick Navas’ earlier response. To watch Jaco’s fine explanation of Psalm 110.1, given at last year’s Theological Conference near Atlanta Georgia, click here.

On January 19th an interview was held with Daniel Wallace on an ex-JW radio programme and the discussion was mainly around arguments around Trinitarian proof-texts. As I listened I made notes and decided to write a response to some of the points Wallace made in defence of the Nicean/Chalcedonian doctrine of the Trinity. Patrick Navas has also written a response and comparing arguments will be interesting indeed.

Famed New Testament scholar and manuscript expert, Daniel Wallace, recently appeared in the healing xJWs radio program. He made quite a few arguments regarding the Trinity–especially on John 17:3, 1 Cor. 8:6, Rom. 9:5, and 1 John 5:20. If you would like to listen to the show, click here (the interview starts at about 5 minutes in). Below is a written response by Patrick Navas, author of Divine Truth or Human Tradition, explaining the reasons why Wallace’s arguments fail to convince.

read other articles in this series »

“From the perspective of our own time, it may seem strange to think of Arian “heretics” as conservatives, but emphasizing Jesus’ humanity and God’s transcendent otherness had never seemed heretical in the East.”7

–Richard Rubenstein

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.

Did Jesus have a beginning or has he always existed? This simple question was at the heart of the controversy that broke out between Christians in Egypt in the early fourth century. Alexander, the powerful bishop of Alexandria, began teaching Jesus was eternal like the Father while a number of his clergy strongly disagreed with him, arguing that the Son was begotten, and thus had a beginning. Before long, the dispute in Egypt spilled over into the surrounding regions of the eastern half of the Roman Empire and continued to escalate until the Roman government officially endorsed one perspective while outlawing all others in A.D. 381. Although most informed Christians are taught that it was Arius that caused all the trouble, in fact, the historical record reveals a quite different perspective. To better understand what happened back then, we need to acquaint ourselves with Arius and the early years of the struggle, before the emperors started getting involved.

The stereotype of pious, respectful theologians working together to understand and articulate the doctrine of the Trinity looms large in the collective imagination of countless Christians. However, the truth is that defenders of the Trinity doctrine in the fourth and fifth centuries were guilty of hypocrisy, embezzlement, slander, hatred, beatings, kidnappings, and even murder in their herculean effort to force others, content with simpler ideas about God, to believe that Jesus really was on the same level as the almighty, supreme God and that he really was both divine and human at the same time. In the course of this series of articles, we will see bishops and priests act like children, vying for the attention of their emperor in an effort to use their privileged position as their patron’s favorite to undermine, discredit, and exile their theological opponents. As we journey through the historical record, we will look on as myth after myth evaporate like mirages on a desert trek that are convincing illusions when viewed from a distance, but suddenly disappear when one draws near. We will discover why many church history textbooks omit the juicy stories of chicanery, politicking, and megalomania in an effort to cloak this formative period in a conspiracy of silence rather than tell the whole story, warts and all.

“When modern readers are introduced to the theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are sometimes shocked by the atmosphere in which they took place. Those debates were not carried on by calm scholars sitting in their manuscript-lined studies. From one perspective, the story is one of misunderstandings, vicious personal attacks, distortions, violence, bribes, mutual excommunication, intervention by emperors, and the deposition and exile of bishops and others who lost in the struggle. From another perspective, the story is one of theological creativity that has shaped Christian beliefs for about fifteen centuries.” –Joseph H. Lynch, Early Christianity: A Brief History (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010), 161.

We will begin our investigation in the early days of the conflict between Alexander and Arius in A.D. 318 at Alexandria, and end in A.D. 451 when the dual-natures’ doctrine was set in stone at Chalcedon. Along the way, I will not be able to cover every important person engaging in the various issues that arose during the time, but will instead focus my attention on the players who most flagrantly flouted Christ’s command to love their enemies in an effort to bolster and impose their own belief on others. I intend to restore some balance to the current, one-sided version of the events students of church history are typically spoon fed. I contend much of what is out there represents only the most digestible chunk of a very fatty piece of meat, which is often pre-chewed and partially digested. So, rather than focusing on the good, what follows will expose the bad and the ugly so that truth-seekers may find themselves better equipped to make informed decisions about the Trinity idea.

Below is a two-part YouTube presentation by Dr. Dale Tuggy, professor of philosophy at the State University of NY at Fredonia. This is a slightly modified version of the talk he gave at the recent Theological Conference near Atlanta, GA a few weeks ago. In it Tuggy’s razor sharp logic slices through many of the erroneous and unsound arguments commonly made by both trinitarians and unitarians. He argues that Jesus should be worshiped, and not just in a civic sense, but in a religious context. He employs careful reasoning to show that such an act is not idolatry. For Tuggy idolatry is not merely defined as worshiping a creature or worshiping anyone other than God, but worshiping someone or something in disobedience to God. Since God has exalted Jesus to his right hand and he has approved and wills that Jesus be honored, sung to, bowed to, etc., it is right to worship him. Worshiping Jesus is always done to the glory of God and so even if he is the direct object of worship, his Father is always the indirect object. This presentation deconstructed my previous position on this subject and erected in its place an understanding that is more robust, less pedantic, and quite freeing. Anyone interested in the question, “Should Christians Worship Jesus?” should watch these videos. If you prefer to get the audio instead, you can find the mp3s here.

Next »