Even More Twisted Fruit From A Poisionous Mind

Dake Monad Shelton

I’m hard pressed to spend any time examining the unstable thoughts bouncing around the fevered mind of Drake Shelton. It’s like trying to take the ravings of some lunatic howling in the asylum seriously. The only reason I have even ventured onto his blog was because I was shocked to learn that some men, even one or two thinking themselves Scripturalists, take this man’s ravings seriously.  It really is amazing, because besides denigrating the Son this guy is easily the vilest racist I’ve ever come across and one who dreams of deporting Blacks, along with “other necessary persons such as inter-racial spouses,” into a handful of separate self-governing Northern states. Admittedly, the logistics of his plan are a little fuzzy. For example, I wonder if Asian women in interracial relationships will be exempt from Shelton’s one-way forced busing plan since he maintains that White men like Asian women (just not Black women). I wonder too will he even employ buses to transport Blacks, inter-racial couples, and other “necessary persons” to these Northern “set-aside” enclaves or will Shelton just march them there at the end of a gun barrel in leg irons and chains? Being a “superior” White man I have to think Shelton has already thought through these questions in his master plan.

Now, I know that some sensitive souls are either offended by my even mentioning any of Shelton’s racist rants or they do not see the relevance to his so-called “triadology” and fail to make the connection. Yet, people do need to  realize that for Shelton the subjugation of the Son to the Father as his superior in being and power is foundational to his racism. He hopes that if you buy the one you’re eventually buy the other. It’s a package deal.

That said, Shelton did have a moment recently of semi-clarity, but even then he got his facts completely backasswards and for some strange reason started to make my arguments for me. I realize it was unintentional on his part, but it is just more proof (as if anyone really needed any) that Shelton has no idea what he’s talking about.  But before we get to that momentary clear spot in Shelton’s mental swamp, he prefaced some otherwise interesting quotes (made by other people of course) by arguing:

Sean Gerety demands that Orthodoxy affirms only one being shared between the three divine persons.  He demands that the Orthodox position denies that the divine persons are each individual beings. When will he admit then, that he rejects the Nicene Creed?

Of course, unlike Shelton and his tiny band of miscreant Internet followers, the Nicene creed affirms that the Three Persons of the Godhead are of one homoousios or substance. WCF II:3 affirms this too: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.”

Othodoxwiki (a source one would think would be sympathetic to Shelton’s subordinationism) has the following under their entry for homoousious:

Homoousios is a Greek word meaning “same substance” or “same essence.” It is used in the Nicene Creed to say that Jesus Christ is of one essence with the Father. Although it does not appear in the Bible, the fathers of the First Ecumenical Council ultimately decided that this was the best language to use concerning the Holy Trinity.

The competing term at that council was homoiousios meaning “similar essence”; it was favored by the moderates among the Arians, the Semi-arians. Because of how close these two words are in the Greek, it has been said that there was only “one iota” of difference between them.

Wikipedia has the same definition except it includes “ousía” and  “being”  along with “substance” and “essence” and adds that homoousios

is a technical theological term used in discussion of the Christian understanding of God as Trinity. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being homooúsios with God the Father — that is, they are of the “same substance” and are equally God. This term, adopted by the First Council of Nicaea, was intended to add clarity to the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead.

Notice, the word homoousios doesn’t mean three “individual beings” or even three “individual beings” sharing a similar essence, for that would be semi-Arian. The word means that the Father, Son, and Spirit share one being or substance and was a term “adopted by the First Council of Nicaea” to clarify the relationship between the Son and the Father “within the Godhead.” No three individual beings here.  So, it was bizarre for me to read Shelton supporting citations by authors that agree with me confirming that “Orthodoxy affirms only one being shared between the three divine persons.”

For example, he first quotes Leo Donald Davis as follows:

“However, homoousios was at the time a notoriously slippery word and could have three principal meanings. First, it could be generic; of one substance could be said of two individual men, both of whom share human nature while remaining individuals.

Secondly, it could signify numerical identity, that is, that the Father and the Son are identical in concrete being. Finally, it could refer to material things, as two pots are of the same substance because both are made of the same clay. Constantine himself explained that “homoousios was not used in the sense of bodily affections, for the Son did not derive His existence from the Father by means of division or severance, since an immaterial, intellectual and incorporeal nature could not be subject to any bodily affection. These things must be understood as bearing a divine and ineffable signification.” The point was that the third meaning of homoousios, with its connotations of materiality was not the meaning used in the creed. That left the two previous meanings. It seems that the Council, intent on stressing the equality of the Son with the Father, had the first meaning explicitly in mind. Father and Son are homoousioi in that they are equally divine (The First Seven Ecumenical Councils. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1983. Pg. 61).

Now, I appreciate this quote if only because it is a nice foil to James Anderson’s contention in Paradox in Christian Theology that Trinitarian orthodoxy necessitates numeric as opposed to generic unity whereas Davis says it’s the reverse (you can see my review of Anderson here and here). That’s because Gordon Clark’s theory of unity among the divine persons is generic. The problem for Shelton is that neither numeric or generic unity has any similarity to his Unitarian or semi-Arian scheme where only the Father is the one true God. That’s because in his subordnationist scheme there is no need to unify anything as the Son and Spirit emanate like appendages from the Father. Three equals are not unified as one, but one superior concrete person, the Father, unites the two inferior persons within himself (see Shelton’s goofy illustration above). I don’t recall who it was, but someone commenting on Shelton’s loony “triadology” called it “Monarchal modalism” and I think that is a pretty good description. Heresy is another.

Notice too that according to Davis the intent of the Council was to stress “the equality of the Son with the Father” and not the Son’s imagined subordination to the Father.   

Then there is quote by John Norman Davidson Kelly who similarly makes the argument that Clark’s preferred generic solution to the problem of the Three in One is the correct way to understand the Nicene creed and how the Persons of the Trinity are one being or homoousios:

It is reasonable to suppose, pace Eusebius, that a similar meaning, viz. ‘of the same nature’, was read into the homoousion. But if this is granted, a further question at once arises: are we to understand ‘of the same nature’ in the ‘generic’ sense in which Origen, for example, had employed ὁμοούσιος, or are we to take it as having the meaning accepted by later Catholic [i.e. Western] theology, viz. numerical identity of substance? The root word οὺσία could signify the kind of substance or stuff common to several individuals of a class, or it could connote an individual thing as such…Indeed, the doctrine of numerical identity of substance has been widely assumed to have been the specific teaching of the Nicene Council. Nevertheless there are the strongest possible reasons for doubting this. The chief of these is the history of the term ὁμοούσιος [homoousian] itself, for in both its secular and its theological usage prior to Nicaea it always conveyed, primarily at any rate, the ‘generic’ sense (Early Christian Doctrine, pages, 234-235).

I’m actually grateful to Shelton for these quotes, not because they even remotely make his subordinationist and heretical point in the slightest, but because I can used them against men like Anderson who think that only numeric unity, “accepted by later Catholic [i.e. Western] theology,” is the only acceptable and orthodox way of understanding the unity of the divine Persons. But, regardless of whether or not one holds to numeric or generic unity, all Trinitarians hold to the truth that the God of Scripture is three Persons of one being, substance, or homoousian. I confess don’t know why this is so hard for Shelton to understand, but then I’m asking a lot from a man who thinks that God gave him “an understanding into things that maybe a handful of people alive understand.”  Thankfully, I’m not one of the handful.

Finally, he provides a quote from Davis that confirms my understanding of Athanasius against claims made by Shelton’s subordinationist shill, Ryan Hedirch. However, rather than just the portions of the paragraph Shelton selectively cites on his blog, here is the paragraph in its entirety:

At first Athanasius did not much use the Nicene homoousios, but gradually he saw its full implication and became its most resolute defender. The likeness and unity of Father and Word cannot consist in just harmony and concord of mind and will, but must be in respect of essence. The divinity of the Father is identical to the divinity of the Word. The Word is other than the Father because He came forth from the Father, but as God, the Word and the Father are one and the same. What is said of the Father is said of the Son, except the Son is not called Father. Humans can be said to be homoousioi because they share human nature, but they cannot possess one and the same identical substance [homoousios]. The divine nature, however, is indivisible; possessed equally by Father and Word. God is thus the unique, indivisible monad; there is only one monarchy and supreme principle. But though Father and Word are one identical substance, “two they are because Father is Father and not Son; the Son is not the Father.” G. L. Prestige brings out very clearly how Athanasius went even beyond Nicaea. “Though Father and Son are not one but two objects as seen in relation to each other — the names denote distinct presentations of the divine being —yet their `substance’ is identical; if you analyze the meaning connoted by the word God, in whatever connection, you arrive in every case at exactly the same result, whether you are thinking of the Father or of the Son or of the Spirit. That is the point at which the creed was directed: the word God connotes precisely the same truth when you speak of God the Father as it does when you speak of God the Son. It connotes the same truth. So much the Council affirmed. But Athanasius went further. It must imply, he perceived, not only the same truth about God, but the same actual God, the same being. If you contemplate the Father, who is one distinct presentation of the deity, you obtain a mental view of the one true God. If you contemplate the Son or the Spirit, you obtain a view of the same God; though the presentation is different, the reality is identical.” Still, Athanasius has no word to express the subsistence as persons of Father and Son. For him even in 369 hypostasis which designates the three is the same as ousia which designates the one, and both signify being itself. This lingering imprecision in terminology will continue to bedevil theological discourse. – Leo Davis, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787), Their History and Theology.

What Shelton doesn’t understand (although he probably does which is why he completely butchered the above paragraph) is that what Davis is doing is showing the distinction between numeric unity (the failure to sufficiently differentiate the three hypostases from the one ousia to where the words become interchangeable per Athanasius) and generic unity (the view that the Three Persons are united under the genus or definition of God so that there are not three omnsciences, omnipotents, etc., but one per Clark).  Consequently, not only is  generic unity within the bounds of orthodoxy, but according to Davis is the view expressed in the original 325 creed. Generic unity maintains “the word God connotes precisely the same truth [or definition] when you speak of God the Father as it does when you speak of God the Son. It connotes the same truth. So much the Council affirmed.” The problem with numeric unity is that in ends in paradox because there is no clear sense in which God is three and one, which is why “Athanasius has no word to express the subsistence as persons of Father and Son” and why, for him, hypostasis and ousia “both signify being itself.”  I should add the same can be said for Augustine who is the person usually associated with the idea of numeric unity. This is why Gordon Clark writes:

Augustine finds himself unable to define various terms especially person and substance. However, he is neither confused nor trapped into a contradiction, for he clearly says that the Godhead is one in one sense and three in a different sense. (The Trinity, 52-53)

Yet, whether someone holds to numeric or generic unity, the fact remains that neither the Council of Nicaea, nor Athanasius, nor the great Augustine, held to any notion of the ontological subordination of the Son, much less did they affirm that the Father alone is the one true God while leaving the Son and the Spirit out in the cold.  All Three Persons of the Godhead are truly God and God is one.  Of course, one would think Shelton would have picked all that up from the quotes he cited on his blog that were, I assume, designed to “refute me,” but like I said it’s hard to take the ravings of some lunatic howling in the asylum seriously.

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22 Comments on “Even More Twisted Fruit From A Poisionous Mind”

  1. Hugh Says:

    I’m hard pressed to spend any time examining the unstable thoughts bouncing around the fevered mind of Drake Shelton.

    Sean,
    I’ve got an idea: LET IT GO.
    It’s pearls before piggies…
    The end.
    Love,
    Hugh

  2. Ryan Says:

    “Of course, unlike Shelton and his tiny band of miscreant Internet followers, the Nicene creed affirms that the Three Persons of the Godhead are of one homoousios or substance.”

    Drake doesn’t deny that. But, as Clark notes, “Ousia means being (a participial noun), reality, or definition,” (The Trinity, The Athanasian Creed). To say the persons are of one being is not the same as saying they are one being. If that were the case, the definition of the Father would be the same as the Son. I hope I don’t need to quote Clark for you to see that is obviously Sabellian? Or consider the phrase “human beings” (plural). Humans are homoousios, aren’t they? And yet we can there are human beings. Why, then, can’t we say there are three divine beings, so long as it is clear what “being” means?

    I think it’s rather funny that you are actually trying to lecture Drake and I about generic and numeric unity among the persons of the Trinity when not two months ago on facebook you said,”I think I would be willing to concede that perhaps Clark was arguing for a numeric rather than a generic unity and I may have confused the two above.” Good grief.

    Finally, not to beat the dead horse that is your understanding of Athanasius yet again, but take note of how Athanasius describes the eternally generation of the Son at the end of Discourse 4.1: “For as He is God from God, and Wisdom from the Wise, and Word from the Rational, and Son from Father, so is He from Subsistence Subsistent, and from Essence Essential and Substantive, and Being from Being.” Being from Being? As in, two beings? Oops.

  3. Denson Dube Says:

    Hi Hugh,
    Perhaps Sean shouldn’t just let it go! These loonies claim to be protestant or attend with historically protestant congregations. This is the fruit of what Clark called ‘non-doctrinal’ christianity. When pastors neglect teaching their congregrations doctrine, the cults fill in the void with their poison. Scott’s scripture twisting is taken from JWs, lock, stock and barell. Scott and Ray are more like toddlers that pick up just about anything and everything and put it in their mouth, while Drake is just a vile, debased mind.

  4. Denson Dube Says:

    I meant Ryan.

  5. Ryan Says:

    Denson,

    “Scott and [Ryan] are more like toddlers that pick up just about anything and everything and put it in their mouth…”

    On what grounds do you say this? If you only know me through Sean’s representations of me, I suggest you change your source.

  6. Hugh Says:

    Hey, Denson, Happy new year!
    I know, I know; I’m just tired of even seeing D.S.’s name.
    Maybe some will be swayed by Sean’s arguments and see their way clear to steer clear entirely of D.S. I pray so.
    I doubt there are many Sheltonians (Sheltonites?) out there.
    But you all are doing Jude 22f, I guess.
    Blessings in the battles,
    Hugh

  7. Sean Gerety Says:

    “Of course, unlike Shelton and his tiny band of miscreant Internet followers, the Nicene creed affirms that the Three Persons of the Godhead are of one homoousios or substance.”

    Drake doesn’t deny that. But, as Clark notes, “Ousia means being (a participial noun), reality, or definition,” (The Trinity, The Athanasian Creed).

    Of course he denies the Three Persons are of one homoousios and so do you. The Father is the Supreme Being from whom the Son and Spirit emanate and are not only lesser beings but are not God of themselves, whereas the Nicene creed affirms that all three Persons “are of the same substance and are equally God.” Obviously, if all Three were of one being (ousia) then there could be no superior being who gives birth or generates an inferior being. However, for Trinitarians how all three are equally God may be debated, but the assertion of semi-Arian/Unitarian subordinationists that the three are not equally God is heterodoxy.

    Since you boys reject that the Son is “autotheos” and wrongly claim that such an idea is foreign and even hostile to Nicene orthodoxy, it follows necessarily that you deny the persons of the Godhead are of one substance, and, ironically, you deny Nicene orthodoxy because you don’t understand it. Concerning the idea of “autotheos” Warfield writes:

    “In his assertion of the autotheos of the Son Calvin, then, was so far from supposing that he was enunciating a novelty that he was able to quote the Nicene Fathers themselves as asserting it “in so many words”. And yet in his assertion of it he marks an epoch in the history of the doctrine of the Trinity. Not that men had not before believed in the self-existence of the Son as He is God: but that the current modes of stating the doctrine of the Trinity left a door for the entrance of defective modes of conceiving the deity of the Son, to close which there was needed some such sharp assertion of His absolute deity as was supplied by the assertion of His autotheos. If we will glance over the history of the efforts of the Church to work out for itself an acceptable statement of the great mystery of the Trinity, we shall perceive that it is dominated from the beginning to the end by a single motive – to do full justice to the absolute deity of Christ. And we shall perceive that among the multitudes of great thinkers who under the pressure of this motive have laboured upon the problem, and to whom the Church looks back with gratitude for great services, in better formulation of the doctrine or better commendation of it to the people, three names stand out in high relief, as marking epochs in the advance towards the end in view. These three names are those of Tertullian, Augustine and Calvin. It is into this narrow circle of elect spirits that Calvin enters by the contribution he made to the right understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. That contribution is summed up in his clear, firm and unwavering assertion of the autotheos on the Son. By this assertion the homoousios of the Nicene Fathers at last came into its full right, and became in its fullest sense the hinge of the doctrine.

    I think it’s rather funny that you are actually trying to lecture Drake and I about generic and numeric unity among the persons of the Trinity when not two months ago on facebook you said,”I think I would be willing to concede that perhaps Clark was arguing for a numeric rather than a generic unity and I may have confused the two above.” Good grief.

    You are correct as I had given you the benefit of the doubt since as I started to think that perhaps you knew what you were talking about. As I explained on FB I had never seen the idea of generic unity employed in the way you and Drake had employed it and I started to think that perhaps I had not understood the distinction between numeric and generic unity correctly as it is a pretty nuanced distinction. I started to question myself. Not to mention that at that time I had no idea you had gotten your idea of generic unity from Drake.

    Don’t forget too, when I got involved in this “debate” on FB I had just come off a major fight defending *you* against Monty. When I started to read through your thread on the Trinity I didn’t really understand at first what you were saying. Frankly, Patrick had sent me a link to your little homage to Drake’s so-called “triadology” on your blog back in September and I really didn’t give it much thought. I guess I probably should have, but at the time I had more important things on my mind. However, even from a quick read of your blog at the time I told Patrick:

    Drake’s view tracks Clark’s pretty closely, although I don’t think Clark would agree with Drake’s Monarchialism (if that’s a word) even if he does hold to a generic unity. Actually, and while I hate to admit it, Drake’s theory is attractive (which, in itself, is unnerving ;) OTOH it seems to me that Clark thought the debate between generic and numeric unity was mostly a non-issue, for example:

    “The most obvious phase of the difficulty lies in the fact that species and genera can be counted as well as individuals. This pussy, Timothy Ticklepitches by name, and this puppy, Sport, are two numerically different animals. But feline and canine are also numerically different species. One is as numerical as the other. We can count and number species as easily as we can individuals. In the case of Shedd and federal headship, with the exception of one peculiarly worded sentence, Shedd could be numbering species rather than individuals; though Hodge does not think so. The present writer has the impression that some theologians count species, that some have no clear notion of numerical unity, that some therefore oscillate, and that many are confused. This judgment is justified because hardly any of them study the theories of individuation. (102-103)”

    I confess until I started to interact with you on FB I really didn’t grasp what it was you and Drake were advancing or how bad it really was. As you can see from the above I thought there was a certain attractiveness when I first skimmed your blog, even though I was suspicious of your source. However, when I started to cut through the “Clarkian” veneer and started to see there was nothing “Clarkian” or even Christian about it, I started to change my opinion. I think it only started to dawn on me exactly what you and he were proposing when you started to reject established exegesis of key passages of Scripture dealing with the deity of Christ, even rejecting Thomas’ confession that Jesus is God and your assertion that passages like Genesis 1:26 were not OT allusions to the Trinity but instead were examples of the so-called royal “we.” Until you and Drake I had really no contact with Unitarian semi-Arian subordinationists even though I had spent most of my life living in New England.

    Finally, not to beat the dead horse that is your understanding of Athanasius yet again, but take note of how Athanasius describes the eternally generation of the Son at the end of Discourse 4.1: “For as He is God from God, and Wisdom from the Wise, and Word from the Rational, and Son from Father, so is He from Subsistence Subsistent, and from Essence Essential and Substantive, and Being from Being.” Being from Being? As in, two beings? Oops.

    Like the phrase very God from very God you don’t understand Athanasius at all or even the meaning of Nicene creed. It really is embarrassing. Thankfully, even Drake has posted quotes by men who agree with me concerning Athanasius and the meaning of the creed. I realize he didn’t know what he was doing, but you really look foolish Ryan. May the Lord God Jesus Christ one day restore you to your senses.

  8. Hugh Says:

    “For as He is God from God, and Wisdom from the Wise, and Word from the Rational, and Son from Father, so is He from Subsistence Subsistent, and from Essence Essential and Substantive, and Being from Being.” St Ath. Hmm. I know I am a pedestrian here at the Brickyard, but…

    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made.

    And, Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit: uncreated, incomprehensible, eternal, almighty, God, Lord.*

    …The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
    The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
    The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

    …And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

    * Yet not three uncreateds, incomprehensibles, eternals, almightys, Gods, Lords.

  9. Sean Gerety Says:

    Whoa, I really had no idea how deeply disturbed and sick Shelton really is, but you should check out the reply he fired off to the above. Evidently if you reject his racism you must reject “the inerrancy of Scripture” and if you don’t agree Drake says he will bury you “6 feet under in impossible sociological and theological issues.” LOL :)

    I don’t know if I can finish reading it as this guy seriously needs profession help and probably institutionalization. At the very least the FBI needs to be notified. For example, concerning his plan for the mass segregation of blacks he writes:

    “Of course the military would be involved. This is exactly what our country does all over the world pursuant unto the Pope’s Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Why can it not do it for the well being of its own citizens?”

    Wow.

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    And, also, Hugh, Drake agrees that his anti-Christian subordinationism is logically connected with his racism. He writes: “I am utterly convinced, yes, my views of Triadology are inescapably and logically connected to my views on race and sociology….” Like I said (Ryan take note) it’s a package deal.

  11. Hugh Says:

    Having been anathematized by Drake the Metastasized (Mesmerized?), I am not too concerned about his rants. He “buried” me years ago. Yawn.

    But I didn’t know that God was white. (This sounds like The Shack ~ D.S> has recreated a god in his own imago Drakie!)

  12. Sean Gerety Says:

    Oh, I didn’t read that John and I were anathematized by Drake and that he even offers up a psalm of imprecation on our behalf (won’t have much affect on John as he’s already dead, but maybe Drake thinks that means his prayers were answered =8-). Evidently he let loose in his so-called “refutation” (LOL) of John’s little booklet on Philemon:

    Sean and John can both go to the Red-Republican circle of hell for what they have advocated. They have defended the invasion, murder, rape and destruction of everything I would want to live for in my life. They are not simply personal enemies but enemies of a religion, a culture and a way of life. Thus suitable imprecations are in order:

    Psalm 69:

    22 May their table before them become a snare;
    And when they are in peace, may it become a trap.
    23 May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see,
    And make their loins shake continually.
    24 Pour out Your indignation on them,
    And may Your burning anger overtake them.
    25 May their camp be desolate;
    May none dwell in their tents.
    26 For they have persecuted him whom You Yourself have smitten,
    And they tell of the pain of those whom You have wounded.
    27 Add iniquity to their iniquity,
    And may they not come into Your righteousness.
    28 May they be blotted out of the book of life
    And may they not be recorded with the righteous.

    Reading Drake reminded me of song I heard when I was a kid:

  13. Hugh Says:

    where’s the “like” icon?

    (just b/c you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not coming after you…)

  14. Hugh Says:

    They have defended the invasion, murder, rape and destruction of everything I would want to live for in my life.

    Wow. Kinda like the Crusades. Drake Saracen?

  15. Hugh Says:

    Sean,

    Your titles in this series on the racist are chillingly reminiscent of the Billie Holiday song ‘Strange Fruit’ ~

    Southern trees bear strange fruit;
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.
    Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze;
    Strange fruit hanging from the popular trees.

    Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
    The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth;
    Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
    Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

    Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
    For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
    For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
    Here is a strange and bitter cry.

  16. Sean Gerety Says:

    What a beautiful black woman and a really powerful song, which, sadly, has relevance today as long as hate filled racist nut bags like Shelton are around. FWIW I have a poster of her hanging in my office along with one of John Coltrane and Miles Davis (for whom my son got his middle name). I also have a piece of framed sheet music by Thelonious Monk hanging in there as well, not to mention my personally autographed picture of Jesse Helms. :)

  17. Ryan Says:

    “Of course he denies the Three Persons are of one homoousios and so do you.”

    That’s false. “Autotheos” is not a divine attribute, it is a description of how one possesses divine attributes. A human can be generated yet possess the same definition of human nature as his father. How much more can the eternally generated Son possess the same definition of divinity as the Father from whom He is, as Athanasius says, caused?

    But you’re changing the subject in any case. Clark believed the three persons were individual beings because they had individual definitions. Clark took ousia to mean definition, so for a Clarkian such as yourself it should be no problem to admit three persons are three beings. They may be “of” one being or be one “in” being without being the same being. Address this, please.

    As to your Warfied quote, Tertullian also taught the three persons were three beings:

    “For we, who by the grace of God possess an insight into both the times and the occasions of the Sacred Writings, especially we who are followers of the Paraclete, not of human teachers, do indeed definitively declare that Two Beings are God, the Father and the Son, and, with the addition of the Holy Spirit, even Three, according to the principle of the divine economy, which introduces number, in order that the Father may not, as you perversely infer, be Himself believed to have been born and to have suffered, which it is not lawful to believe, forasmuch as it has not been so handed down.” (Against Praxeus)

    Also, Tertullian was way more extreme than me:

    “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.” (Against Praxeus)

    He at least held to the subordination of the Son in the immanent Trinity. So if you think me to be a false believer, how ironic it is that you would consider to be a Christian someone more extreme than I allegedly am simply because he was an early church father who, I might add, was the first to coin the word “Trinity.”

    “Not to mention that at that time I had no idea you had gotten your idea of generic unity from Drake.”

    As if his or my definition is any different than Clark’s? I’ve written a complete review of Clark’s usage of generic and numeric unity (link), and nothing I’ve said is in disagreement with it. Try again.

    “Don’t forget too, when I got involved in this “debate” on FB I had just come off a major fight defending *you* against Monty.”

    I haven’t, and in part, that’s why I’m still bothering to reply to you. As you saw the extremism that proceeds from right intentions there (viz. the desire to maintain God as ultimate cause, sola gratia, etc.) is no excuse for imprecise definitions, I had hoped you would see the extremism that proceeded from right intentions here (viz. the desire to maintain three divine persons, one God). But you haven’t translated the logic you used in the synergism debate to the Trinitarian debate. If the three persons are only generically unity in the same sense humans are generically united, you must believe in multiple Gods as well as multiple men. It is so obvious.

    “Until you and Drake I had really no contact with Unitarian semi-Arian subordinationists even though I had spent most of my life living in New England.”

    For the last time, I have never held that the Son’s nature is different than His Father’s. It is for you to show aseity and being autotheos are divine attributes. And furthermore, when the very persons who came up with the terminology for and originally defended the Trinity are disagreeing with you, as I’ve repeatedly shown you, you should be questioning just how I can honestly be called a Unitarian. Scott is an admitted Unitarian, and just look at how different we are. He rejects the pre-existence and divinity of the Son, and he probably rejects the personhood of the Spirit. Does that sound even remotely similar to anything I’ve said? No, because it’s not remotely similar to what I believe. Calling me a Unitarian or semi-Arian is an outright lie.

    “Like the phrase very God from very God you don’t understand Athanasius at all or even the meaning of Nicene creed. It really is embarrassing.”

    Your stock reply to any citation of an early church father I provide. No objection at all, really, since you don’t even bother to explain how I am wrong. The fact you post a reply doesn’t constitute an actual reply to the substance of the post, Sean. i see right through it, and so does every other critical reader.

    “Thankfully, even Drake has posted quotes by men who agree with me concerning Athanasius and the meaning of the creed.”

    Neither Drake nor myself have ever said the divinity of the Son differs from that of the Father. They both have the same definition of divine nature predicated of them. You’re lying to imply otherwise. Now I think it’s time for you to explain why your view is not blatant tritheism given that you believe in multiple humans or, if you prefer, human beings.

  18. Hugh Says:

    I missed these typos cuttin’ & pastin’ –

    obviously it’s “Poplar trees,” not “popular’”
    also, “here is a fruit for the crows to pluck”
    lastly, “a strange and bitter crop,” not “cry”

    sorry

  19. Scott Says:

    Denson said:
    “Scott and Ray are more like toddlers that pick up just about anything and everything and put it in their mouth, while Drake is just a vile, debased mind.”

    Well, I’ve never read anything from or by JWs. I’m glad you think that I’m only foolish as opposed to “a vile, debased mind.” (BTW, I condemn Drake’s racism wholeheartedly. I think it is heretical).

    Sean Said:
    “Drake agrees that his anti-Christian subordinationism is logically connected with his racism. He writes: “I am utterly convinced, yes, my views of Triadology are inescapably and logically connected to my views on race and sociology….” Like I said (Ryan take note) it’s a package deal.”

    So all Unitarians are racists? All Jews and Muslims and Unitarians are all automatically racist? Let’s not forget that most racists in American history have been Trinitarian Christians.

  20. Denson Dube Says:

    Scott,
    “Well, I’ve never read anything from or by JWs. I’m glad you think that I’m only foolish as opposed to “a vile, debased mind.” (BTW, I condemn Drake’s racism wholeheartedly. I think it is heretical).”

    The JWs must be reading your sources then!

  21. Sean Gerety Says:

    That’s false. “Autotheos” is not a divine attribute, it is a description of how one possesses divine attributes. A human can be generated yet possess the same definition of human nature as his father.

    But a human father doesn’t claim to be God any more than does a human son (that is, unless either is completely delusional). It seems to me that what you consider an “attribute” and what you call a “personal property” is quite arbitrary and is simply dictated by your “monarchal” presupposition concerning the supposed ontological superiority of the Father stemming from a misunderstanding of the doctrine of eternal generation (something you picked up from Shelton). I don’t see why self-existence is any less an attribute of God than omniscience or omnipotence? Why couldn’t you say omniscience or omnipotence is a personal property of the Father and is something, like existence, that the Son receives by virtue of being “generated”? Also, can the Son even said to be “omnipotent” since he doesn’t exist of himself, but, per you, derives his power and authority from the Father.

    But you’re changing the subject in any case. Clark believed the three persons were individual beings because they had individual definitions. Clark took ousia to mean definition, so for a Clarkian such as yourself it should be no problem to admit three persons are three beings.

    He didn’t believe that at all. Ousia refers to what unifies God as one, not what individuates the Persons. Clark affirmed completely both the Nicene and Athanasian creeds (something you are unable to do) and he held that the “Trinity is one God in three Persons. The Persons are not to be confounded nor the Substance divided.” Now, while he had problems with the Latin “substance,” he had little problem with Athanasius who “spoke of one ousia and insisted that the Three Persons were homoousioi, the same in ousia. Ousia means being (a participle noun), reality, or definition.” Elsewhere he affirms that the three Persons have one will, something that really has no place in your theory.

    Further, he completely affirmed that Christ was and is God incarnate, whereas you can only say (as you did in your reply to Patrick on your blog), “the person He sent was the eternal Son, not the incarnate Son.” I mean, you deny not only the Trinity but the Incarnation too.

    Nowhere can you find Clark affirming anything like your subordinationism. He rejected it entirely.

    As if his or my definition is any different than Clark’s?

    It’s completely different because Clark affirms all there Persons are God and, as such, are self-existent. For Clark the three Persons are united as one being (ouisia) generically. You don’t. Clark nowhere employs the idea of generic unity to somehow unite the two lesser derived beings, son and spirit, to the Father who alone is the one true God and who alone constitutes — and apart from the other two Persons — “monotheism.” Yours is the classic definition of Unitarianism and which is why Samuel Clarke is often cited as the father of modern Unitarianism.

    Your theory resting on the Father as the concrete singular God from whom the Son and Spirit derive their divine attributes or essence is more like some sort of genetic generation or transmutation. It really doesn’t even mimic the historic Christian faith and would not be accepted in any Reformed church. Heck, you wouldn’t even be accepted as a member in a Roman Catholic church. Your view of God is not even nominally Christian that’s how far out you are.

    “Don’t forget too, when I got involved in this “debate” on FB I had just come off a major fight defending *you* against Monty.”

    I haven’t, and in part, that’s why I’m still bothering to reply to you.

    Please don’t do me any favors. I wish you would stop replying as I really can’t see we have anything more to say to each other. You know where I stand and I know where you stand. As much as it saddens me, I don’t see as we can have any fellowship since you believe in a qualitatively different God. You believe in a single person as God, I believe God consists of three Persons. Not really a lot of common ground there.

    If the three persons are only generically unity in the same sense humans are generically united, you must believe in multiple Gods as well as multiple men. It is so obvious.

    As Clark points out, there are similarities and dissimilarities. For example, different men will or purpose different things, whereas the Persons of the Godhead have one will and one purpose. Men think objectively different truths in varying degrees and at varying times, whereas the Persons of the Godhead all think all of the same objective truths all of the time as an eternal intuition. Further what God thinks is true for no other reason than God thinks it, and man can only come to know the truth discursively. God, as in all three Persons, is truth.

    For the last time, I have never held that the Son’s nature is different than His Father’s. It is for you to show aseity and being autotheos are divine attributes.

    I have show that Jesus is equal to the Father, that He and the Father are one, and that, like the Father Jesus too could say before that “before Abraham was I am.” The Son and Spirit are as self-existent as the Father simply because they are one God. I completely agree with Warfield who said that by affirming that the Son is “autotheos” (something Clark completely affirms too) that in Calvin “the homoousios of the Nicene Fathers at last came into its full right, and became in its fullest sense the hinge of the doctrine.” Whereas you prefer to capitalize on ancient ambiguities and promote even some early outright errors of the ante-Nicene fathers rather than ridding the church of unclear language and errors. Clark sought to clarify and define, you seek to obfuscate and mislead. While you pretend to be “Clarkian” in your approach, you’re actually anti-Clark.

    Scott is an admitted Unitarian, and just look at how different we are. He rejects the pre-existence and divinity of the Son, and he probably rejects the personhood of the Spirit. Does that sound even remotely similar to anything I’ve said? No, because it’s not remotely similar to what I believe. Calling me a Unitarian or semi-Arian is an outright lie.

    Unitarians and Arians come in many forms, you should know that. As I said early on, you’re Unitarianism is more in line with Samuel Clarke who said:

    “The word “God” is used in higher and lower senses, and in his view the former always refer to the Father. The God of Israel, the one true God, just is the Father of Jesus. Further, he is the main and the primary and ultimate object of Christian worship and prayer, and as the sole recipient of the highest kind of worship. In his view, the Son of God has all the divine attributes but one, that of existing a se that is, existing and not being in any sense derivative of or dependent on anything else. To the contrary, “The Father Alone is Self-existent, Underived, Unoriginated, Independent” (Clarke 1738, 123).”

    Frankly the above has been said by you. Samuel Clarke was a Unitarian too and like you he denied that God is Three Persons. Now, I know you’ll complain that you have some differences with Clarke too and perhaps even some differences with Shelton, but so what? Like you he denied the Trinity.

    Neither Drake nor myself have ever said the divinity of the Son differs from that of the Father.

    This is where you are just being disingenuous and even intentionally deceptive since the divinity of the Father includes self-existence whereas the divinity of the Son and Spirit are without this quality. For you three self-existent Persons generically united as one is either “tritheism” or “Sabellianism” take your pick.

    FWIW you may have the last word as this is my last reply to you.

  22. Ryan Says:

    Sean,

    You ask for the non-arbitrary distinction between attributes and properties. I will trace it for you one last time. My priority has been to harmonize monotheism with Trinitarianism. The only way I have been able to understand how to do that is to first affirm generic unity, real distinction of the persons of the Trinity who each possess divine nature. But you are I are really distinct persons too, and we each possess [the definition of] human nature. So if, as Clark notes there are three and thirty humans – and there are – there would be three Gods, at least if we assume “God” always means divine nature as many Reformed writers have done. Just as one definition of “person” does not solipsistically imply there is only one person, one definition of God would not monotheistically imply there is only one God.

    This bodes ill for the Reformed view until it is mentioned that in the New Testament, 99% of the time “God” refers to a [single] person, not a nature. And every time “God” is qualified with an adjective like “one” or “[only] true,” it always refers to the Father. Now, you can argue these are all references to the economic activity. But then you are left without a means of explaining how the immanent Trinity is compatible with monotheism. If, however, the Father eternally begets the Son and is likewise the metaphysical source of the Spirit – as everyone [except you] recognizes the Nicene Fathers taught – then we can say “God” has more than one possible definition.

    It is here that we can establish non-arbitrary distinctions between the divine properties and attributes. Indeed, these distinctions seem natural when added to what we already know about the [ectypal?] relationships between a human father and son. The Father alone exists – and, therefore, is divine or “God” – of Himself. For that reason, He is not subject to anyone else. The Son and Spirit differ in these respects, but rather than thinking this a slight to their divinity – as if 1) either are unwillingly subordinate or 2) that there is any reason to regard these properties to be attributes – we should understand that the distinctions in the order of the persons does not affect the co-equality they enjoy with respect to their natures. Indeed, these distinctions in the persons can explain why one person rather than another non-arbitrarily takes up certain activities in the economic Trinity. I have mentioned all of these points to you on my blog or facebook, and I reiterate them all here because it seems as though it will be my last shot to summarize why I think you aren’t directly addressing the problems of your position.

    “Ousia refers to what unifies God as one, not what individuates the Persons.”

    Again, Clark equated ousia with definition. Do the Father and Son have the exact same definition? No. They “share” parts, but because we do not collapse the persons, they have distinct definitions. So they are one in being (class), not one and the same being (subject).

    “Elsewhere he affirms that the three Persons have one will, something that really has no place in your theory.”

    You are right, and I catalogued and criticized this implicit and wrong appeal to numeric unity among the persons here. He would have been right if he had believed the persons are one in will – that they will to the same ends. But it is so obvious the Father did not will to die on the cross that a great theologian like Clark must have been at the end of his wits to accept it as a solution to the tension between monotheism and Trinitarianism. Again, this has been pointed out on my blog and on facebook numerous times. You simply haven’t answered the rebuttals.

    Also, I don’t reject the incarnation. Jesus is God in a very definite sense I have outlined many times now, and He, the eternal Son, was sent to become flesh. In Him dwells the fullness of Godhead or divinity bodily. This is not subordinationism, because I only subordinate the person of the Son to the person of the Father [in the immanent Trinity]. The point of the statement I made was that He who was sent was not already incarnate, and that is true enough. This is problematic for you, because there are several Johannine passages you tried to explain as being references to the human person of Christ. But even given your two-person theory, you would have to admit the human person was not sent, the divine person was.

    “For Clark the three Persons are united as one being (ouisia) generically. You don’t. Clark nowhere employs the idea of generic unity to somehow unite the two lesser derived beings, son and spirit, to the Father who alone is the one true God and who alone constitutes — and apart from the other two Persons — “monotheism.””

    Your mistake is to think that the fact Clark’s uses the idea generic unity differently means his definition of generic unity is different. That’s obviously false. I may classify a tomato as generically united to vegetables and you may classify it as generically united to other fruits. One of us would be wrong, but we would be using “generic unity” in the same way.

    “Yours is the classic definition of Unitarianism and which is why Samuel Clarke is often cited as the father of modern Unitarianism.”

    But I have already dispelled this myth by explaining how I differ from Samuel Clarke here. You are just ignoring my responses at this point.

    “Your theory resting on the Father as the concrete singular God from whom the Son and Spirit derive their divine attributes or essence is more like some sort of genetic generation or transmutation.”

    I.e. eternal generation? Yes. That is the Nicene view of Novatian and the lead opponent of Arius himself (Alexander of Alexandria, in case you thought it was Athanasius), as I have taken space on my blog to defend. Again, with no response from you.

    “You believe in a single person as God, I believe God consists of three Persons.”

    Rather, I believe there are different definitions of “God” (cf. Son of God =/= Son of [divinity]) and that persons cannot be predicated of natures.

    “As Clark points out, there are similarities and dissimilarities. For example, different men will or purpose different things, whereas the Persons of the Godhead have one will and one purpose.”

    Even if this were true – and in my above link I show it is not intelligible because the persons will distinctly (the Father does not will to die) – God is not “will” or “truth” on your view. God is the divine nature, and “will” and “truth” are single attributes. That there is one will doesn’t mean there is one mind. But doesn’t a subject have to have a mind to be divine? Then “mind” is a divine attribute. The point is that you would have to go the route of accepting numeric unity among the Trinity after all to make that work, but numeric unity has even more problems than your current view.

    “I have show that Jesus is equal to the Father, that He and the Father are one, and that, like the Father Jesus too could say before that “before Abraham was I am.””

    Jesus is eternal and immutable. That does not mean He is of Himself. The problems with your view vastly outweigh these arguments, which are, sadly your best.

    “Unitarians and Arians come in many forms, you should know that. As I said early on, you’re Unitarianism is more in line with Samuel Clarke…”

    But do you not you recall asserting on facebook that I am a Unitarian because I don’t believe the Son and Spirit are necessitated but rather willed? Don’t you remember that I rejected that position? Don’t you remember I distinguished my view from Clarke’s on these very grounds?

    “Frankly the above has been said by you.”

    I never said the Son and Spirit have all the divine attributes “except one.” I reject Clarke’s homoiousios for homoousios too.

    “Samuel Clarke was a Unitarian too and like you he denied that God is Three Persons.”

    I reject a nature is three persons because natures are never subjects of which persons are predicates. You have been shown that your view of the Trinity is not compatible with several early church fathers, the first defenders of the doctrine. My view is within the strain of orthodoxy whether your admit it or not.

    “This is where you are just being disingenuous and even intentionally deceptive since the divinity of the Father includes self-existence whereas the divinity of the Son and Spirit are without this quality.”

    No, persons divinity does not include properties. I might as well say you are being intentionally deceptive when you say the divinity of the Father includes Fatherhood whereas the divinity of the Son and Spirit are without this quality. Does that make sense? No. And you know I don’t accept aseity and autotheos as divine attributes, so it is you who is being deceptive in saying I believe in subordinationism or that the Son and Spirit are less divine than the Father.


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