Digging In The Mud

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

No one who denies the Son has the Father (1 John 2:23).

Departing from the faith is an ever present danger. False teachers are everywhere and their ability to sow the seeds of error, even among those who ought to know better, can never be underestimated. However, I would have thought that for Christians everywhere the essential deity of Christ was an issue that was beyond dispute. Silly me. God is, after all, three Persons of one essence or substance; not three Persons of three essences or substances. So why would some men who profess to be Christians say that: “The Father is divine of Himself. The Son and Spirit are divine in virtue of the communication of a divine essence from the Father to them in eternal generation and procession.” And, “the meaning of ‘God’ is peculiar to the Father in the sense He alone is auto-theos. The other persons are subordinate to the Father, not because they have inferior divine natures, but because they possess their divine natures on account of the Father.” Or, more simply; “The Son and Spirit are not ‘autotheos.'” Certainly, Jesus Christ is autotheos, divine of Himself. From Jesus’ confession that he is the self-existent I AM and the Almighty Jehovah of the Old Testament, to John’s insistence that the Word was God and dwelt among us, to doubting Thomas’ confession that Jesus is his Lord and His God, even to Jesus’ own testimony that he is the Alpha and the Omega of Revelation, the biblical and exegetical evidence is overwhelming that Jesus Christ is very God of very God.  Yet, it seems that some men, even those calling themselves Christian Scripturalists, think all this is doubtful and Jesus’ confessions concerning his own essential equality with the Father are really confessions of the Father’s unique divine nature and who alone can properly be called God.

I first stumbled on this strange subordinationism where the Son is said to derive his divine essence from the Father as He lacks self-existence in himself on a supposedly “Clark” Facebook discussion page in series of posts by Ryan Hedrich.  I should add that Hedrich is a former Trinity Foundation Worldview Contest winner.  However, the theory he is advancing is not unique to Hedrich as he picked it up from Drake Shelton who has evidently been very busy sowing the seeds of an 18th century Unitarian subordinanist heresy for quite some time,  along with some other very rotten seeds.

So, given Hedrich’s interest in this unusual theology, I stopped by Shelton’s blog “Uncreated Light.” I confess I have not spent much time on Shelton’s blog, and when I have it was usually the result of someone sending me a link while commenting on what a loon he is. However, in addition to his usual theological lunacy, I was shocked at the depth Shelton’s pathological hatred and bitter racism and I don’t shock easily.  Given the sheer number of Shelton’s racist screeds on his blog it amazed me that any Christian, let alone anyone calling themselves a “Scriptularist,” would spend any time actually searching this site for some digestible kernel buried in so much dung.  After all, John Robbins warned his readers about the resurgence of racism cloaked the guise of Christianity in his piece “Christians and the Civil War.”  John wrote:

Living in the South for the past ten years has made it clear to me that many citizens of the South, even in the 21st century, are still fighting a guerrilla war with disinformation, wishful thinking, and propaganda. Some of these Latter Day Confederates seem to be people who were born and reared in the North and now feel they must prove their fidelity to the Lost Cause. Apparently their Northern roots have given them a guilty conscience. What is worse, many of these men profess to be Christians and mix their religion with their love for the Confederacy, making the two inseparable. … Because of this compound of Confederate ideology and counterfeit Christianity, a lot of hooey has been written, published, and reprinted about the Christian nobility and character of the Old South. Even Presbyterian Robert L. Dabney’s 1867 book Defense of Virginia and the South, which purports to defend Southern slavery from the Bible, has been reprinted. This embarrassing and inexcusable association of Christian theology with Southern slavery has been a stain on Christianity in the South and a hindrance to the proclamation of the Gospel for two centuries.

Needless to say, and a short perusal of “Uncreated Light” will bear this out, Shelton has been following in this detestable tradition for some time.  Here’s a sample from just one of Shelton’s hate filled posts that are littered throughout his blog:

My white Southern reader, your government does not want you to identify with your Ancestors. It doesn’t want you to read their history and understand that they were being murdered by the hundreds of thousands in Europe before they fled here to North America. It doesn’t want you to know that later they were murdered, raped and pillaged for decades under this Yankee Government…. And it sure doesn’t want you to know that the Multi-Cultural Integration that you experience today was forced on your parents or your grandparents at the end of a Bayonet.

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are to be Negroized. Your ancestors demonized and their history twisted and scarred, all for one purpose: To turn the greatest Protestant lands, the most powerful enemy of the Roman Catholic Church, into an impoverished, negroized, atheistized, savagized body of confused ignorant political slaves.

What is worse is that Shelton has even setup a phony website purporting to be a “Scripturalist” church, complete with an image of Gordon Clark prominently displayed where he writes:

The Protestant Scripturalist Church of Louisville is not only intended to nurture individual souls for Christ, it is meant to rescue and preserve the Anglo-Protestant Culture. Since before the Civil War, we have seen an all out attack on our way of life and on the peoples who rescued the world from Roman Catholic tyranny… A Protestant, on the other hand, rejects global government in the pursuit of a divinely ordained Nationalism governed by indigenous or ethnic peoples striving to maintain their distinct ancient cultures.

I have to think Trinity Foundation lawyers might have something to say about having Clark’s name and image associated with such a vile man and his website even claiming to be a Christian church (of course, it’s probably news to Shelton that a webpage does not a church make).

This has all been a roundabout way to see if Ryan Hedrich was able to find any edibles buried in Shelton’s bowel movements. Since I didn’t have the stomach to spend any time searching Shelton’s blog myself, as I couldn’t get past his many posts on “anti-white racism,” I restricted myself to Hedrich’s defense of Shelton’s sub-trinitarianism on the Clark Facebook page and on his own blog, Unapologetica.

It is first important to remember that with any false teaching there is always mixed in a grain of truth and thread of orthodoxy. For example, Hedrich writes quoting Shelton: 

There is a subordination of persons but not of nature. The nature in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is the same in character. However, the Father is the source of the Son and Spirit and all operation.

The above sounds perfectly fine as John Gill writes:

The Son has life in himself, essentially, originally, and inderivatively as the Father has, being equally the living God, the fountain of life, and donor of it, as he; and therefore this is not a life which he gives, or communicates to him; but eternal life is what the one gives, and the other receives, according to the economy of salvation settled between them… (Exposition of the Bible, John 5:26)

And, Gordon Clark similarly writes:

This Christ, the Logos or Wisdom of the Father, is the instrument He used in creation. The persons of the Trinity are *essentially* equal, and Christ is *authotheos* — God in His own right. However, there is a functional subordination. (First Corinthians, 132).

While there might be a legitimate debate on whether or not this “functional subordination” is a matter restricted to “the economy of salvation” as God’s plan of redemption works itself out in history or if it is a revelation of the eternal relationship between the self-existent Persons themselves, there is no legitimate debate on whether there is any ontological subornation among the divine Persons because, at least among Reformed Christians, there isn’t.

So, how then did Hedrich arrive at:

The Father is divine of Himself. The Son and Spirit are divine in virtue of the communication of a divine essence from the Father to them in eternal generation and procession…. the meaning of “God” is peculiar to the Father in the sense He alone is auto-theos. The other persons are subordinate to the Father, not because they have inferior divine natures, but because they possess their divine natures on account of the Father.

And,

The Son and Spirit are not “autotheos.”

The way Hedrich and Shelton get around this juxtaposition of orthodoxy and glaring heterodoxy is through a clever use of redefinition. When it’s argued that self-existence is a distinguishing attribute of the divine nature and is central to God’s essence, self-existence is magically redefined as a “personal property”;  a “personal property” unique to the Father and to the exclusion of the other two Persons (or should that be lower case ‘persons”). But, what can the “personal property” of self-existence be except a divine attribute.   On the one hand there is a subordination of persons not of nature, on the other there is a subordination of both persons and nature.  In Shelton’s anti-trinitarianism the Father is an ontologically superior being who the other two Persons are united to in limited and derivative way. And, while this unity is limited and derivative (limited since self-existence is not an attribute of deity – or so we’re told) is said to avoid tri-theism, it seems that Unitarianism very much looms on the horizon and it does.

You see, Shelton’s ontological subordination of the Son and Spirit to the ontologically superior Father is not unique to Shelton. Frankly, I should not have been surprised since it was hard for me to imagine him having even one original thought. It seems he arrived at his view from one of the originators of 18th Century Unitarianism, Samuel Clarke, who, if you can hold your nose long enough, you’ll see is a prominent figure on Shelton’s blog. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in an entry dealing with Clarke written by a fellow Unitarian, Dale Tuggy:

The core of Clarke’s subordinationism is as follows. Certain names or titles in the Bible, including “God”, always are nearly always refer to the Father, giving him a kind of primacy among the three. 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). It is contradictory to suppose that something has this property in any sense because of another thing. In his view the Son and the Holy Spirit (like the Son, a personal agent or self distinct from the Father) exist and have their perfections because of the Father. Both are functionally and ontologically subordinate to him, and in the Spirit is at least functionally subordinate to the Son. What sort of dependence relations are these? The Son and Spirit derive their being from the Father as from a “Supreme Cause”, but we are not to infer from this that the Father existed before them. The Bible doesn’t enlighten us on the nature of this dependence relationship, but seems to presuppose that it always was (i.e., that infinitely back in time, the Son and Spirit existed in dependence on the Father). Thus, “Arian” subordinationists … are speculating groundlessly when they say there was a time when the Son didn’t exist. And if a “creature” must at some time begin to exist, then neither Son nor Spirit are creatures. Still, Clarke thinks that we should affirm with some of the early church fathers that this derivation of the Son from the Father is “not by mere Necessity of Nature, (which would be in reality Self-existence, not Filiation;) But by an Act of the Father’s incomprehensible Power and Will” (141, original emphases). Clarke argues that the New Testament teaches the eternal existence of the Son, and that he is (co-) creator of the world. Further, it teaches that the Holy Spirit is a personal agent distinct from God (and not a power of God, or an exercise of such). And against the mainstream tradition, “The word God, in Scripture, never signifies a complex Notion of more Persons (or Intelligent Agents) than One; but always means One Person only, viz., either the Person of the Father singly, or the Person of the Son singly.” (emphasis mine).

Yet, in spite of all this (and considerably more), Hedrich remains increasingly entrenched in his new found Unitarianism.

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150 Comments on “Digging In The Mud”

  1. Lauren Says:

    Well, this is bizarre…our former church is full of neo-Confederates. They even led studies on the lives of some of the confederate generals. But,unlike this bizarre church they have embraced a lot of the Roman Catholic liturgy and ceremonies along with the neo-legalism of Judaism. In other words, they’re a mess. What is it about Louisville that attracts this nonsense? I know the Roman Catholic church is predominant here in Louisville so I guess this new “church” is a weird attempt to counteract it.

    By the way, do you want to know why these PCA-Federal Vision ordained ministers wear clerical collars and white robes? This explanation can be found in their weekly church bulletin:

    Throughout Scripture a man’s calling is identified by his clothing. For example, when God set apart Aaron and his sons to be priests, he distinguished them by giving them special clothes to wear (Lev 8). Just before Aaron’s death, these clothes were taken off of him and put on his son, Eliezar, indicating that there was a new high priest (Num 20.22ff.). We are not unfamiliar with this correlation between a man’s job and his clothing. We identify policemen, judges, doctors, postal workers and many others by the clothes that they wear. While it is not absolutely necessary for the pastor to wear these particular types of clothing, it is beneficial. The pastor has been set apart or ordained to perform specific tasks in the church as Christ’s representative. The white robe in worship and the clerical collar throughout the week identify him and his calling.

  2. olivianus Says:

    Sean, I removed the Clark image and the mention of Clark from my proposed Church’s website almost 2 weeks ago.

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    Good. That is around the same time I brought your racist so-called “church” to the Trinity Foundation’s attention.

    I’m glad to see Foundation attorneys were doing their job.


  4. The eternal generation of the Son and the proceeding of the Spirit from the Father and the Son does not imply what the two heresiarchs in your article said. The Son and the Spirit are in and of themselves fully divine and fully in possession of aseity. I don’t think even Robert L. Reymond would say that this is what the creeds intended. Reymond’s objection is that the eternal generation “implies” that the Son and the Spirit are not equal to the Father. Their divine nature is NOT derived from the Father. Rather the eternal generation of the Logos and the dual procession of the Spirit are meant to explain the relationship of the Persons in how they relate to one another in agency within the divine nature or Godhead. As Clark said, each Person is distinguished from the others by the propositions they think. Yet all three are the same God. Different and distinct Persons within the Godhead makes the one God a personal God, not one Person as Van Til said. All three Persons share the same Divine Nature and therefore all three are eternally self-existent, and auto theos.


  5. Clark: “The starting point is the fact that Scripture distinguished between the Father and the Son. That they are distinct Persons was sufficiently supported by the Biblical data very early in this treatise. Here we note that the term Father and the term Son imply a generation and a filiation. To put it in the simplest possible words, why is the first Person called Father and the second called Son? Since they are both eternal, their relationship must be eternal also. But though eternal it is still the relationship of Father to Son. In theological language this becomes the doctrine of eternal generation.”

    Gordon H. Clark. The Trinity (Kindle Locations 2036-2040). The Trinity Foundation.

    “Of course that is an absurdity, but it is not applicable to an eternal will with respect to which there was no “before.” Though Gill is here speaking of the existence of God, the considerations apply equally to the generation of the Son. It is an eternal generation. If Christian theologians cannot understand this and think of the divine will as temporal, they ought to accept Spinoza’s criticism and agree that God has no will at all.

    Gordon H. Clark. The Trinity (Kindle Locations 2076-2079). The Trinity Foundation.


  6. Clark: “The orthodox doctrine, expressed in traditional language, teaches that it is the Person of the Son, not the essence of the Son, that is generated. There is not a second and generated essence. Nor is it the essence that does the generating. The generation is a generation of a Person by a Person, a position incompatible with all Arianism. As Calvin says in the Institutes, I, xiii, 19, “We justly represent him as originating from the Father.” The word “originating,” however, may result in some confusion.”

    Gordon H. Clark. The Trinity (Kindle Locations 2088-2092). The Trinity Foundation.

    In short, the two men you mentioned do not understand Clark or the orthodox doctrine. Their view is Arian, not the traditional doctrine.

  7. Ryan Says:

    “As Clark said, each Person is distinguished from the others by the propositions they think. Yet all three are the same God. Different and distinct Persons within the Godhead makes the one God a personal God, not one Person as Van Til said.”

    You and I are distinguished by the propositions we think. Are we the same human? Of course not. You are confusing numeric unity with generic unity. Clark held the latter, not the former. The three persons are no more the same God than you, I, and Clark are the same human. Rather, Clark argued there was one definition of God which functions as a genus under which the Father, Son, and Spirit are species. This one definition is the basis on which Clark claimed to be a monotheist.

    “Their view is Arian, not the traditional doctrine.”

    Pointing out that I disagree with Clark’s view and that Clark’s view is not Arian no more shows me to be an Arian than pointing out that Richard Dawkins disagrees with Christianity shows that he is a Muslim. You are presenting a false dilemma.

  8. Lauren Says:

    Just remember that western thinking is linear; eastern thinking is circular.

  9. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    You said, “You and I are distinguished by the propositions we think.”

    Me: So far so good.

    Ryan: “Are we the same human? Of course not.”

    Me: Ryan and RC are both included in the category known as humanity. They share the attributes necessary to belong to that category of being. They are not in perfect agreement as are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I don’t know that it is possible to find any three human persons that are in perfect unity. I think Ryan’s illustration is pointless.

    Ryan: “The three persons are no more the same God than you, I, and Clark are the same human.”

    Me: If Ryan, RC and Gordon H Clark are not the same human (being), then The Father, Son and Holy Spirit (who are in perfect unity with each other) cannot be one Divine Being. Sorry, Ryan, it doesn’t follow.

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    Note to Drake. Don’t bother trying to post here. You’re not welcome.


  11. I would be interested to hear your thoughts interacting with Robert Reymond’s New Systematic Theology on this topic as he refers to Calvin and Warfield. I know he’s gotten some heat for it, but I haven’t been convinced that the criticisms have been fair (after reading Warfield and Calvin in their full contexts, I think he seems to have it right and a right understanding of them).

    I also appreciate that article on the Civil War very much (I keep it in my “arsenal” when appropriate along with a project I’m thankful to have worked on while at Seminary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5H9Ly8g6dk )

  12. Ryan Says:

    Steve said:

    “I think Ryan’s illustration is pointless.”

    Lol. Well, you certainly don’t pull punches. But you will have to excuse me if the fact I think the point that we are different species of the same genus is relevant to whether or not we are the same human.

    “If Ryan, RC and Gordon H Clark are not the same human (being), then The Father, Son and Holy Spirit (who are in perfect unity with each other) cannot be one Divine Being. Sorry, Ryan, it doesn’t follow.”

    It does given that the unity is generic rather than numeric.

  13. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    Please explain to me what a non-numeric oneness is. Perhaps I am am just dense.

  14. Ryan Says:

    Steve,

    I don’t know what a “non-numeric oneness” is either. If you are asking for the difference between numeric and generic unity, generic unity is unity according to the genus under which various species, individuals, or particulars may be subsumed. You and I are generically united insofar as of each of us may be univocally but distinctly predicated a rational faculty, moral character, physical body, etc. These attributes mean the same thing when predicated of Steve and Ryan, but Steve has a rational faculty et. al. that is numerically distinct from Ryan’s. That is, when we speak of Steve and Ryan, we speak of two rational faculties et. al., not one.

    The idea that “the Father, Son, and Spirit are one divine being” (numeric unity), on the other hand, collapses the persons into one or mere parts of one in the same way that saying “Steve and Ryan are one human being” would, for there would only be one being of whom the set of divine attributes could be predicated. Rather, when we speak of the Trinity, there are three minds, three wills, etc.

    Clark himself taught generic unity rather than this idea of numeric unity. In his chapter on Individuation in his book on the Trinity, for example, he writes:

    “Naturally, human beings are mutable: Their ***thoughts or minds*** change. The three Persons of the Godhead are immutable because their thoughts never change. They never forget what they now know, they never learn something new, in fact they have never learned anything. Their thought is eternal. Since also ***the three Persons do not have precisely the same set of thoughts,*** they are not one Person, but three.”

    Distinct thoughts implies distinct minds. Later, in his chapter on the Holy Spirit, he writes:

    “The first of these verses says that the Holy Spirit teaches; therefore he must know something; therefore ***he is a person, a mind,*** an intelligence.”

    This seems to me to be clear evidence that Clark thought every person has a distinct mind. But then, the three persons cannot be one divine being; they must be three.

  15. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    As I understand it you are apparently not asserting that generic unity is non-numeric. I thought you were.

    You said, “This seems to me to be clear evidence that Clark thought every person has a distinct mind. But then, the three persons cannot be one divine being; they must be three.”

    It simply isn’t so that three persons cannot be one divine being or that this is what Clark thought despite your double talk.

    Steve and Ryan are not one human being. This is true not only because we each have minds, but because the attributes that make us members of the human race do not amount to a perfect agreement or unity. The attributes that the three persons of the Trinity share are attributes that can only be predicated of Deity and do amount to perfect agreement or unity. Your illustrations miss the point. I think you purposely miss the point. You are correct that my mind and yours are not in unity. You are not correct that three minds in perfect unity cannot be one Being. You simply assert it, you do not demonstrate it from applying logic to Scripture.

  16. Ryan Says:

    “It simply isn’t so that three persons cannot be one divine being or that this is what Clark thought despite your double talk.”

    True. But that is simply a matter of consistency. Sean and I both agree Clark held to generic unity.

    “You are correct that my mind and yours are not in unity. You are not correct that three minds in perfect unity cannot be one Being. You simply assert it, you do not demonstrate it from applying logic to Scripture.”

    No, it is you who misses the point. You cannot define what it means to be “one being” without contradicting yourself.

    Even if my mind and your mind were in complete agreement, we would still have different minds. I could know everything you know and vice versa, but because we have different egos, we will still necessarily entertain different thoughts, the most obvious being “I am Steve” vs. “I am Ryan.” There is not one mind, and any unity we have or don’t have cannot change that fact.

    Likewise with will. In the covenant of redemption, for example, the Father and Son came to an agreement. But such an agreement presupposes distinct wills. The wills have the same end or purpose in mind, but they are numerically distinct wills.

    When we speak of the Trinity, we speak of three minds, three wills, etc. Thus, three divine persons who are generically – not numerically – united. If numeric unity is false, then the idea there is one divine being or that the Father, Son, and Spirit are the same God is false.

  17. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Grant Van Leuven.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts interacting with Robert Reymond’s New Systematic Theology on this topic as he refers to Calvin and Warfield. I know he’s gotten some heat for it, but I haven’t been convinced that the criticisms have been fair (after reading Warfield and Calvin in their full contexts, I think he seems to have it right and a right understanding of them).

    I confess Grant, I didn’t pay much attention to the controversy surrounding the first edition of his NST. Looking at it now, I can only guess that those objecting to Reymond were concerned that he might be giving away some well established Nicene ground to militant Unitarians and Arians by even asking the question, Westminster Trinitarianism: Nicene or Reformed?

    It seems to me, and I haven’t studied the history in much detail, that Clark was probably right (he usually is) in his criticisms of the traditional language particularly if Unitarians can even remotely claim that they alone have the correct understanding of the creedal language, which is queer on its face since the creed was written as a reaction against Arianism which shares common metaphysical ground with Unitarianism. I would have to think Reymond’s critics would me much more concerned with a potential rise in militant Unitarianism claiming to be the true Nicene heirs than anything Reymond or Clark might have said. As for Calvin and Warfield, I only started to revisit Calvin in light of some of the weird statements being made by Ryan and I can’t recall ever reading the Warfield piece.

    FWIW I consider the history a secondary matter to the theology involved. My concern is when those calling themselves Christians are denying the essential divinity of the Son. For example, I would have thought that Thomas confession that Jesus is his Lord and his God was indisputable and is as clear as any NT passage that Jesus is God. Instead, Ryan reject this well established understanding of John 20:28 and writes on his blog:

    1) Granville Sharp’s sixth rule would imply that the “God” to whom Thomas referred was someone other than the “Lord” [Jesus]

    In response to his rejection that Jesus is God I responded with the following that I had stumbled on:

    As with some of Sharp’s other rules, there is an exception to the sixth rule. It is as follows:

    Except distinct and different actions are intended to be attributed to one and the same person; in which case, if the sentence is not expressed agreeable to the three first rules, but appears as an exception to this sixth rule . . . the context must explain or point out plainly the person to whom the two nouns relate.

    One such exception that is commonly agreed upon, and that is offered by Sharp himself, is John 20:28. In this text, Thomas says to Jesus, “Ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou.” A literal translation would be “the [ho] Lord [kurios] of me [mou] and [kai] the [ho] God [theos] of me [mou].” Even though this conforms to Sharp’s sixth rule (two nouns, Lord and God, are joined by “and,” and both are preceded by the article), Sharp rightly determined that this is an exception to the rule. The reason for this is that the context clearly indicates that Thomas was speaking to one person, Jesus, and that he was identifying Jesus as both Lord and God.”

    So, what was Ryan’s response?

    If Granville Sharp’s 6th rule is not arbitrarily ruled out, he would be saying “My Lord [Jesus] and my [Father],” following the first possible definition of God I describe in the post.

    While I would expect that type of response from a Jehovah Witness cult member programed to filter every biblical objection through a predetermined Arian sieve, I didn’t expect this kind of response from someone I assumed was a Christian and even a Trinity Foundation Worldview contest winner. In every case the standard issue exegetical territory used by Christians everywhere to demonstrate the deity of Christ Ryan rejects and accepts only the most strained interpretation that ends with a similarly predetermined outcome; that is the Father alone is the one true God. I suppose that’s because Unitarianism is just as much an anti-Christian cult as is the JWs.

    I also appreciate that article on the Civil War very much

    I agree, it’s a great piece. John’s booklet, “Slavery & Christianity” if you haven’t already read it is also highly recommend.

  18. Ryan Says:

    I never understood why you thought it strained to follow a grammatical rule. The two contextual indicators Sharp mentioned just don’t appear to be sufficient. The first doesn’t explain why Thomas couldn’t reference someone other than the person to whom he spoke, and the second begs the very question at hand.

    I have not been very impressed with several of your interpretations either, Sean. Do you remember your response to John 17:3?

    Me: //John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

    The “only true God” is clearly distinguished from Jesus. The former sent the latter. Saying the Son is the only true God, the Father is the only true God, and the Son and Father are distinct butchers the meaning of the word “only.”//

    You: //Really, Ryan? This is your understanding of the verse? It hangs on the primary particle *kai* which can and is often translated as even as in; “And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, *even* Jesus Christ.//

    Me: //What is that supposed to prove? That the person the only true God sent was Jesus Christ? Who said otherwise? The point is that it is the person whom Jesus is addressing (“thee”) who is “the only true God.” Who is Jesus addressing? The Father (17:1). So the Father is the only true God.//

    We can focus on single passages if you like, but it’s a two-way street.

  19. Steve M Says:

    Ryan:
    “Steve,
    I don’t know what a “non-numeric oneness” is either.”

    “Thus, three divine persons who are generically – not numerically – united.”

    Me: Are you saying that generic oneness is non-numeric oneness?

    If that is not what you are saying then I don’t understand what you are saying.

  20. Ryan Says:

    I am saying generic unity is not numeric unity. Numeric unity suggests that the way in which the persons of the Trinity relate to the divine attributes is such that there is only one mind, will, etc. The persons are therefore united because they somehow “share” this singular set of attributes. Generic unity, on the other hand, suggests that there are three minds, wills, etc. The persons are united because they are all species of the same genus: divinity. Generic unity, not numeric unity, is true; therefore, the idea that there is only “one divine being” or that the persons of the Trinity are the “same God” is false, as such statements presuppose numeric unity.

  21. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    You either know what non-numeric oneness is or you don’t. You said you don’t. Now you are claiming that you do. Make up your mind.

  22. Ryan Says:

    “You either know what non-numeric oneness is or you don’t. You said you don’t. Now you are claiming that you do.”

    Try reading carefully. I never said I knew what “non-numeric oneness” is. I never have used that phrase, nor have I used the phrase “numeric oneness,” so where you got it from I don’t know.

    I’m dealing in historical terms: numeric unity and generic unity. If you couldn’t understand what I mean by these terms by now, I’m probably not the person you should be askng

  23. Steve M Says:

    u·ni·ty   [yoo-ni-tee]
    noun,
    1. the state of being one; oneness.
    2. a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.
    3. the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
    4. absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.
    5. oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.

  24. Ryan Says:

    When we speak of the persons of the Trinity, we speak of multiple minds, wills, etc., not one mind, will, etc. But the persons can be and are united in other senses: the predicates mean the same thing (univocality); the source of these predicates is ultimately to be found in the Father who has them of Himself and communicates them to the other persons (origin); the predicates themselves suggest the same end goals (purpose).

    There is no non-numeric oneness if by “oneness” you mean unity, only different senses in which the persons are “one” (i.e. united). Obviously, you would agree that to say the Father and Son are one does not imply they are one person. I would agree but also point out that it doesn’t mean they are one being either. I already showed why this is problematic. Rather, they can be one in purpose, origin, or type of genus.

  25. alpha079er Says:

    If I grant you that a Christian god exists, how do you know that Jesus was actually divine and not just a prophet. Perhaps he let the prophet thing go to his head and falsely claimed divinity.


  26. A suggestion:

    Could it be that certain properties such as self-existent are properly applicable to the Godhead as a whole?

    When apply to each member of the Trinity, self-existent is used derivatively and its meaning is constrained by its being properly applicable to the Godhead as a whole.

    Also, while the concepts “generation” and “procession” suggest events and have temporal connotation, “eternal generation” and “eternal procession” are timeless concepts and have no temporal connotation.

  27. Ryan Says:

    alpha079er,

    While this probably is not the correct thread for this discussion, I think everyone here agrees that we don’t need you to concede God exists. It and Jesus’ divinity are facts entailed by our epistemic presupposition that the Bible is the extant extent of divine revelation.

  28. Pht Says:

    I find that the area I live in is, indeed, properly called “the end of the south” – and I live further south than probably about 75-80% of the people living in the classic “south.”

    The neo-confederacy Robbins has mentioned in that paper is actually something I have never encountered in a person… only in print… and there fairly rarely, which I count as a happy thing.

    Florida … yep, it’s part of the “south” .. but it is a different place indeed.

    —–

    alpha079er : as ryan has already pointed out … Our belief that Christ was God incarnate is not a belief based upon an argument – it is a foundational axiom (not maxim) of the christian faith.

    Every human *must* choose an axiom to base his thinking on.

    Maybe you should rather be asking “is your axiom logical or not?”

    ——

    On all the rest: the more I read, the more I wish that those before us who made the creeds and confessions had bothered to come up with a biblical definition of the word “person.”

    I believe that as Islam grows in the west we may well be forced to do so, as Islam directly attacks the trinity. In fact, I have heard at least once –

    (on an MP3 of the Iron Sharpens Iron radio show, say, does anyone know if Chris A. is still doing his show?)

    – directly ask on the topic “how do you define the word “person?”

  29. alpha079er Says:

    My understanding is that you believe that Jesus was god because it says so in the bible. So the next logical question is why is the bible considered true? You are making significant life decisions based off that book, so you must have some kind of logic or evidence to back up this claim.

  30. alpha079er Says:

    Pht –

    An axiom is a proposition that is accepted without evidence. Why would you believe something without evidence?

    If you made decisions like that in your day to day life, you would end up getting scammed.

    I am not really sure that many axioms govern my life… I can’t even think of one right now.

  31. Sean Gerety Says:

    Alpha – you certainly operate on certain underlying assumptions or presuppositions, one seems to be the need for evidence. Now, that evidence might entail is hard to say without more information, but every philosophy to start must start somewhere and that somewhere is that system’s axiomatic starting point. It is an unproved assumption. Of course, Christians don’t disparage evidence, only that evidence, in and of itself, can never give rise to saving belief.

    That said, Gordon Clark argued:

    Archaeology, of course, can contribute little or nothing toward proving that the doctrines, as distinct from the historical events, of the Bible are true . . . The literary style of some parts of the Bible is majestic, but Paul’s epistles are not models of style. The consent or logical consistency of the whole is important; for if the Bible contradicted itself, we would know that some of it would be false.

    – What Do Presbyterians Believe p. 17,18.

    And,

    If, nonetheless, it can be shown that the Bible — in spite of having been written by more than thirty-five authors over a period of fifteen hundred years — is logically consistent, then the unbeliever would have to regard it as a most remarkable accident . . . Logical consistency, therefore, is evidence of inspiration.

    – God’s Hammer p. 16.

  32. alpha079er Says:

    Sean –

    I see your point. I would just take the biggest issue with this:

    “If, nonetheless, it can be shown that the Bible — in spite of having been written by more than thirty-five authors over a period of fifteen hundred years — is logically consistent, then the unbeliever would have to regard it as a most remarkable accident . . . Logical consistency, therefore, is evidence of inspiration.”

    First, even if the bible was consistent, it wouldn’t be proof that god existed. The later writers of scripture would have read the previous writers’ works, and therefore could have made elements consistent. Also, the bible was purposefully compiled by men, with many ‘holy scriptures’ eliminated from inclusion into the good book because of inconsistent messages.

    Second, the bible isn’t consistent. It also isn’t timeless. Much of the bible has not aged well, which would be an expectation of a tome that was supposedly inspired by an omniscient being.

  33. Pht Says:

    ———-
    alpha079er Says:

    November 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Pht –

    An axiom is a proposition that is accepted without evidence. Why would you believe something without evidence?
    ———-

    I would ask … what evidence do you have that you shouldn’t believe anything without evidence?

    Using “must have evidence” as a standard leads literally to nowhere, as it renders it impossible to form a first belief – you must always ask for underlying evidences.

    ———-
    If you made decisions like that in your day to day life, you would end up getting scammed.
    ———-
    Everyone ultimately bases their thinking upon axioms. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make judgements – it just means that we judge things based upon our foundational beliefs.

    ———-
    I am not really sure that many axioms govern my life… I can’t even think of one right now.
    ———-
    You likely believe that you exist as an axiom; also other people exist… you possibly believe that reality actually exists; and if you fit western culture, you might well think that your physical senses are capable of revealing the truth of a situation to you.

    Many very basic things are usually assumed as axioms.

    Well said Sean.

    These are just a few common axiomatic beliefs that many people hold.

  34. Pht Says:

    Wow… I have GOT to figure out how to get my bold tags sorted out.

  35. Sean Gerety Says:

    First, even if the bible was consistent, it wouldn’t be proof that god existed.

    Of course not, it could just be an historical anomaly. Further, I don’t think a proof of God is possible because that would require something greater than God from which God could be deduced which is impossible. To know God would seem to require His self-revelation. Actually, to get to know you or anyone else requires some degree of self-revelation. I just accept that God has revealed His mind in the propositions of the Bible.

    The later writers of scripture would have read the previous writers’ works, and therefore could have made elements consistent. Also, the bible was purposefully compiled by men, with many ‘holy scriptures’ eliminated from inclusion into the good book because of inconsistent messages.

    I understood the first part. After the “also” not so much. I don’t think the canon is something determined by men, but rather is something the church received providentially. For example, concerning the OT Scriptures Paul says; “unto them were committed the oracles of God (Rom. 3.2).” They didn’t determine what was or was not part of the canon. Same for NT believers. While there may have been some books that were at times in dispute, the overall consensus is in itself evidence. Of course, Romanists have a different opinion, but then I think your objection would be better aimed at them, not me.

    Second, the bible isn’t consistent.

    Because you say so? I think, as do all Protestants at least historically, that in the Scriptures there is a logical consent of all the parts (WCF 1).

    It also isn’t timeless. Much of the bible has not aged well, which would be an expectation of a tome that was supposedly inspired by an omniscient being.

    You lost me again. Sorry, I don’t know what you mean.

  36. Hugh Says:

    FWIW, I even have a problem with “eternal generation,” if generation means
    a: the action or process of producing offspring: procreation
    b: the process of coming or bringing into being
    c: origination by a generating process: production; especially : formation of a geometric figure by motion of another

    Even though Wong claims, “eternal generation” and “eternal procession” are timeless concepts and have no temporal connotation.

    And even if Clark liked the fun (as referenced by C. Ray):

    Clark: “The starting point is the fact that Scripture distinguished between the Father and the Son. That they are distinct Persons was sufficiently supported by the Biblical data very early in this treatise. Here we note that the term Father and the term Son IMPLY A GENERATION AND A FILIATION.* To put it in the simplest possible words, why is the first Person called Father and the second called Son? Since they are both eternal, their relationship must be eternal also. But though eternal it is still the relationship of Father to Son. In theological language this becomes the doctrine of eternal generation.”

    Gordon H. Clark. The Trinity (Kindle Locations 2036-2040). The Trinity Foundation.

    * CAPITALS added for emphasis (HM).

    Or how about Filiation:
    1 a: filial relationship especially of a son to his father
    b: the adjudication of paternity
    2 a: descent or derivation especially from a culture or language
    b: the act or process of determining such relationship

    Clark: “The orthodox doctrine, expressed in traditional language, teaches that it is the Person of the Son, not the essence of the Son, that is generated. There is not a second and generated essence. Nor is it the essence that does the generating. The generation is a generation of a Person by a Person, a position incompatible with all Arianism. As Calvin says in the Institutes, I, xiii, 19, “We justly represent him as originating from the Father.” The word “originating,” however, may result in some confusion.”

    Gordon H. Clark. The Trinity (Kindle Locations 2088-2092). The Trinity Foundation.

    “It certainly does!” to quote Oliver Hardy.

    I tire of the cute contradictions
    But who wants definitions?
    “Person,” anyone?

  37. Hugh Says:

    These are FUN!~

    “If I grant you that a Christian god exists, how do you know that Jesus was actually divine and not just a prophet. Perhaps he let the prophet thing go to his head and falsely claimed divinity.”

    ~ And perhaps it’s all a sham and nonsense.
    ~ I am he as you are he as you are we and we are all together?
    ~ Or perhaps he is divine, and “the prophet thing” came from his head/ mind…

    “My understanding is that you believe that Jesus was god because it says so in the bible. So the next logical question is why is the bible considered true?”

    ~ Uh… because it says so?

    “An axiom is a proposition that is accepted without evidence. Why would you believe something without evidence?”

    ~ There is an evidence, the witness to Scripture borne of the Holy Spirit in the minds of those whom he enlightens.

  38. Hugh Says:

    “Walrus” correction:

    I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

    Thank you


  39. Dear Hugh:

    1. I do not profess to understand all the intricacies of the Trinity.

    But if “eternal generation” is indeed a timeless concept, then it does not mean:

    (a) the action or process of producing offspring: procreation, or

    (b) the process of coming or bringing into being.

    As far as I am able to tell, what exactly “eternal generation” means and entails has not be spell out by theologians even now, after 20 centuries of theologizing.

    2. One of the reasons I admired Gordon H. Clark so is because he saw very clearly what the function of “eternal generation” is (and this is in the paragraph you quoted):

    (a) It is a concept imply by the Father-Son relationship within the Trinity, and

    (b) It distinguishes the Father from the Son within the Trinity.

    3. One of the fundamental insights of Gordon H. Clark is that he used certain propositions a person thinks as an essence of that person and so uniquely identify that person.

    When God the Son thinks:

    The Father has sent me to die in the world

    this proposition already presupposes the Father-Son relationship within the Trinity.

    The Father-Son relationship is “logically prior” to the Son thinking:

    The Father has sent me to die in the world.

    4. When I became a Christian in my teens, I have wondered why the Holy Spirit is not called God the Grandson of God the Father.

    If God the Son is called “Son” because the Son is eternally generated from the Father, then why the Holy Spirit is not called “Grandson” when the Holy Spirit is eternally processed from both God the Father and God the Son?

    I accept what the Bible has revealed concerning the Trinity.

    But just wondering.

    5. A correction regarding my previous suggestion.

    I should have written:

    Could it be that certain properties such as self-existent are properly applicable “only” to the Godhead as a whole?

    Benjamin


  40. Dear Sean:

    When I make the suggestion concerning the property “self-existent” being properly applicable only to the Trinity as a whole, I have gone off-topic from this Blog post.

    Another suggestion that is more on topic: Can it be that the reason why certain people are attracted to Gordon H. Clark is because Clark is a very small minority within North American Reformed Christianity, and an oppressed one at that?

    I cannot count all the snipe remarks directed at Clark that I have encountered over the years while surfing the Web.

    I am alarm by the news that some people are talking about seceding from the US union.

    Although still the majority, some white people see themselves as the “oppressed majority”.

    And it is this sense of oppression that attracted certain people to Clark.

    Sociologically, psychologically and theologically, they share in the oppression Clark’s suffered.

    Benjamin

  41. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Benjamin. Glad you stepped in. Self-existence being applicable to the Trinity as a whole is the whole point of the blog post. It’s the denial of this that leads to all sorts of speculative heresies and in the case of Shelton and Hedrich it’s Unitarianism.

    Frankly, when I see men calling themselves Christians, even “Clarkians,” denying the essential deity of Christ in order to fit with some preconceived sub-trinitarian notion or his image plastered on some racist website, I can see why some refuse to take Clark seriously. Of course, even without this, the fact that Clark’s work is not taught in virtually any seminary in the entire country doesn’t help either. Certainly a man who Carl Henry, Ronald Nash, A.J. Carnell, and many others held in very high esteem deserves a hearing, but the Van Til controversy took care of that.

    As for the secession thing following the election, I don’t think it was driven by white racists as much as it was by Libertarians and Conservatives who are sick of our country’s slide into more and more socialism (which would have continued regardless of who was elected). There is a view,, one that Ron Paul even espouses, that thinks the right of a state to freely secede puts a break on the overreach of the fed gov’t. John Robbins was of a different opinion as you can see from the piece linked above. I’ve kinda swung between both positions but I did sign the VA petition to secede just out of protest. .

  42. Steve M Says:

    Alpha: “So the next logical question is why is the bible considered true?”

    I have a more basic question for you, Alpha: Does truth exist?

  43. alpha079er Says:

    Steve,

    Yes truth exists.

    Sean,

    The Councils of Hippo and Carthage were the big events that lead to the creation of the bible as we know it. There were several other changes after this, most notably during the protestant reformation. Some scriptures were not included in the final bible. In fact, the books of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and additions to Esther and Daniel, still remain contentions today. They are contained in Catholic bibles but not protestant bibles.

    So you can see, the bible wasn’t just handed down from on high. Men (literally) compiled it – and didn’t agree with what should be included.

    The bible also makes hundreds, if not thousands, of inconsistent statements. Such as this one:

    1) God creates light and separates light from darkness, and day from night, on the first day. Yet he didn’t make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day.

    The 10 commandments are also listed in several different places in the bible, and they are different! (Check out Exodus and Deuteronomy for example). Come on fellas! If the bible can’t be consistent on the 10 commandments, how can you possibly trust it?

  44. Hugh Says:

    Alpha: “So the next logical question is why is the bible considered true?”
    I have a more basic question for you, Alpha: Does truth exist?

    Nothing is real; and nothing to get hung about. (Except others’ claims to truth!)

  45. Steve M Says:

    Alpha:
    “Steve,
    Yes truth exists.”

    What is your evidence?

  46. alpha079er Says:

    Steve,

    1+1 = 2 (True)

    I just tried it out with some apples, it works. Wish I could say the same for the bible, or for the existence of god, but I can’t.

  47. Sean Gerety Says:

    So you can see, the bible wasn’t just handed down from on high. Men (literally) compiled it – and didn’t agree with what should be included.

    I think you give the councils too much credit. Yet, in God’s providence there is no debate at all concerning the canonicity of the books of the OT among Jews, Roman Catholics and Protestants. Issues only arise as it relates to the deuterocanonical books, what Protestants rightly call the Apocryphal books. The Roman state/church added some some of the Apocryphal books at Trent which is why the RCC doesn’t have the Christian bible (and, also, there is no “consent of all the parts” for Roman Catholics). Like I said, your objection is better laid at their feet.

    The bible also makes hundreds, if not thousands, of inconsistent statements. Such as this one:
    1) God creates light and separates light from darkness, and day from night, on the first day. Yet he didn’t make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day.

    Not sure what that is suppose to prove as God is light and there will be light long after the sun and the moon are long (Revelation 21:23; The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.). I think your naturalistic assumptions that light is dependent upon the sun is misplaced (see how presuppositions work).

    The 10 commandments are also listed in several different places in the bible, and they are different! (Check out Exodus and Deuteronomy for example). Come on fellas! If the bible can’t be consistent on the 10 commandments, how can you possibly trust it?

    What do you mean “come on fellas”? Since you didn’t actually present an argument but rather made an assertion I have to assume it has to do with the explanation for the Sabbath. See here for example of a perfectly reasonable harmonization: http://www.tektonics.org/qt/tentab.html. Maybe that’s not what you meant, but then I can’t read your mind. You need to reveal it. 🙂

  48. Sean Gerety Says:

    A much better reply to your 10 Commandment objection is from Ronald Hanko that you can find here: http://www.lyndenprc.org/jm/PDF/Fourth%20Commandment.pdf I think he covers all the possible objections atheists have raised, but all in all easily overcome.

  49. Ryan Says:

    Sean,

    “Self-existence being applicable to the Trinity as a whole is the whole point of the blog post. It’s the denial of this that leads to all sorts of speculative heresies and in the case of Shelton and Hedrich it’s Unitarianism.”

    Were the Nicene fathers Unitarians? Have I denied Christ’s pre-existence? Have I denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit? Have I denied the deity of the Son or Holy Spirit?

    No. That Unitarians do not consider the Son or Spirit autotheos or self-existent does not imply that anyone who does not consider the Son and Spirit autotheos or self-existent is a Unitarian. That’s plainly affirming the consequent.

  50. Hugh Says:

    Benjamin @ 1:42am:

    what exactly “eternal generation” means and entails has not be[en] spell out by theologians even now, after 20 centuries of theologizing.
    > Amen!

    The Father-Son relationship is “logically prior” to the Son thinking: The Father has sent me to die in the world.
    > Perhaps…

    Thanks for thoughts!
    Hugh

  51. Hugh Says:

    I just tried it out with some apples, it works. Wish I could say the same for the bible, or for the existence of god, but I can’t.

    Amen, alpha079er; one cannot manipulate, “try,” or prove God.

    Nice toothy grin, there! Seen this one?:
    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/The%20Trinity%20Review%200068b%20TheSaganofScience.pdf

  52. Steve M Says:

    Alpha
    I had one dream last night and later I had another one. Is it true that equals two dreams?

  53. Sean Gerety Says:

    That Unitarians do not consider the Son or Spirit autotheos or self-existent does not imply that anyone who does not consider the Son and Spirit autotheos or self-existent is a Unitarian.

    True and I didn’t say Unitarians are the only ones to hold to your speculative theology only that Unitarianism, particularly that of Samuel Clarke, most accurately mirrors your particular form of anti-trinitarianism. Drake says it does.

  54. Ryan Says:

    I have pointed out to Drake that Clarke held that the Son is not generated necessarily but by the Father’s free will, a position with which I disagree and, if you will recall, was what I used to distinguish myself from those of the American Unitarian Conference you cited on facebook. I believe you did not reply to that point.

    In any case, I do not follow Clarke on every point just as I do not follow Drake on every point, despite your attempts to paint me that way.

  55. Ryan Says:

    To clarify the previous comment, neither Drake nor myself accept the idea that the Son’s existence is the result of a free willing. But that we both disagree with Clarke on that issue does not mean Clarke cannot be trusted or cited in other places where his arguments are well-grounded, which is more often than not.

  56. Denson Dube Says:

    @Sean/Ben,
    Perhaps “Eternal generation” is just another pious nonsense term?
    Why can’t “Son” and “Father” be used as titles to two of the persons of the Godhead, without necessarily “fillial” and “generation” being dragged in? Even amongst humans, a couple may legally adopt a child. The adopted child has a mom and dad, which is not to be taken as implying that the couple biologically “generated” the child. “Mom” and “dad” or “child” would be essentially legal relationships, not biological.
    The same applies to our “sonship”. It is a legal term in view of the inheritance/blessing God bestows on those who are elect unto salvation.

  57. Sean Gerety Says:

    Why can’t “Son” and “Father” be used as titles to two of the persons of the Godhead, without necessarily “fillial” and “generation” being dragged in?

    I hope to have another post on this question soon, but the short answer is that the Scriptures reveal a filial relationship between Father and Son and generation was a term used to distinguish the Christian view of God from Arianism and any form of emanationism.

    Even amongst humans, a couple may legally adopt a child. The adopted child has a mom and dad, which is not to be taken as implying that the couple biologically “generated” the child. “Mom” and “dad” or “child” would be essentially legal relationships, not biological.

    The same applies to our “sonship”. It is a legal term in view of the inheritance/blessing God bestows on those who are elect unto salvation.

    Yes, but you’re not suggesting the Son was adopted as we are. See for example Psalm 2:7 repeated again in Hebrews 5:5 and in Acts 13.,

  58. Steve M Says:

    Ryan: “Rather, when we speak of the Trinity, there are three minds, three wills, etc.”

    Are you proposing that the mind and the will are separate faculties of the persons of the Trinity? Do you disagree with Jonathan Edwards characterization of the will as” the mind choosing”?

  59. louiskbb Says:

    For the sort of racist nonsense being punted by kinests (among whom are apartheid lovers from South Africa) and endorsed by Shelton (See his commentary at the end of the piece):
    http://faithandheritage.com/2011/01/a-biblical-defense-of-ethno-nationalism/ en

  60. Ryan Says:

    Steve, yes and no, respectively.

  61. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Louis. Why am I not surprised.

  62. justbybelief Says:

    Sean,

    “After all, John Robbins warned his readers about the resurgence of racism cloaked the guise of Christianity in his piece ‘“Christians and the Civil War.”

    I don’t really want hijack your post about the Trinity, but I think it necessary to address John Robbin’s piece ‘Christians and the Civil War’ since you mentioned it above which I believe is problematic in some areas (not all). Here is were I find problems:

    1) State secession being wrong
    2) The secessionists being blameworthy for the deaths of ~700,000 Americans.
    3) Slaves being freed by Lincoln
    4) Current federal abuses (Marxism) being the fruit of southern policy.

    I counter Robbin’s assertion that states may not secede in that the Declaration of Independence (DI) states otherwise. Since the DI states otherwise the blame is on Lincoln for the murder of ~700,000 Americans. Moreover, how can this be a free country if association is coerced? Lincoln freed no slaves but subjected all Americans black and white under unjust federal authority (making us forced tax slaves) and set the precedence (force) for every other president’s (and federal) usurpation of power. The Constitution GRANTS the federal government very limited powers and leaves to the states and the people the rest of those powers. This is what the Civil War was really about.

    Thomas Di Lorenzo (whom Robbin’s condemns as a papist though never addressing his arguments) states many of the abuses of Lincoln quite well in his open letter to Glen Beck. http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo181.html

    I happen to agree with southern secession but disagree adamantly with slavery and the thinking, as well as the supposed biblical justification, behind it. I also believe that the church should have been active in disciplining regarding this in the south. If I agree with secession could it be possible that I am a racist, sinning, or anti-Trinitarian? I suppose. The resurgence of racism that Robbin’s suggests seems to me to be coming more from the subculture, though this assertion flies in the face of the leftist talking point that racism comes only from the dominant culture.

    Eric

  63. Sean Gerety Says:

    Eric, I think you raise legitimate questions. As I’ve said above I’ve waffled between both positions re the right of secession. But whether or not states have that right is really a secondary issue. My only intent on highlighting Shelton’s racism is that I have no idea why any Christian would take such a hate-filled bigot seriously, much less think he has something to offer in regards to Trinitarianism and as it turns out he doesn’t. He’s not a Trinitarian in the slightest, but rather is an apostate and a Unitarian.

    As for the secession question, I did think John’s quote of Lee was helpful as he expresses the less heard these days counter opinion that there is no such right and says:

    “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken up by every member of the Confederacy at will. It is intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession.”

  64. justbybelief Says:

    Sean,

    No doubt that Shelton is not a Trinitarian and secession is a secondary issue to your post. But, Robbin’s article publically charges the secessionist with murder. This is a weighty charge and was one thing among several that raised my ire.

    Again, I don’t want to belabor this and will make this my last post on the issue, but I think that Lee was in error regarding secession.

    Here’s the preamble to the Constitution which states nothing about a Lee’s perpetual union:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    .
    .
    .

    Below is the preamble to the Articles of Confederation which does discuss ‘perpetual union’ with Article II which discusses state sovereignty. The Articles define what a ‘perpetual union’ is. Once the Articles are violated there can be NO ‘perpetual union.’

    “To all to whom these Presents shall come, we, the undersigned, Delegates of the States affixed to our Names, send greeting: Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled, did on the fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven, and in the second year of the Independence of America, agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, in the words following, viz. Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsyl-vania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.”

    ARTICLE II (Articles of Confederation)

    Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

    Again, if the Articles of Confederation are violated by one or any number of states against another (a violation of sovereignty, perhaps) there remains NO ‘perpetual union.’ In other words, agreement in the Articles is the basis of ‘perpetual union.’ This is in agreement, in my mind, to the Biblical principal, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The answer to this rhetorical device is that two cannot walk together unless they’re agreed.

    Anyway, thanks for bearing with me, Sean.

    Eric

  65. Sean Gerety Says:

    Not a problem Eric. Like I said, I don’t have a strong opinion either way although we both know John did as does his opponents. I tend to think that the idea of a perpetual union more in terms of a marriage which can only be dissolved by death. That seems to be to be more in line with Lee’s opinion rather than an agreeable stroll. Regardless, that is certainly how it turned out. Further, I don’t blame all our woes concerning the ever expansion of the fed gov’t on Lincoln, although I know many people who share your view do (and, BTW, I read Di Lorenzo and I admit I found him pretty persuasive even if I ultimately questioned some of his conclusions. They were a little too pat. I think I tend more towards McPherson’s history in Battle Cry only because it was more nuanced and messy as these things normally are).

  66. LJ Says:

    Not a Trinitarian comment, which is of course more important and more interesting, but since I saw “Lincoln” last week at the theater I was motivated to comment.

    I highly recommend the movie for its artistic quality – likely it’ll sweep the Oscars – but it is definitely pro Lincoln. D. D. Lewis is a terrific actor and the supporting cast is great. The costumes, settings, screenplay, direction, etc., etc., are impressive.

    I also read Di Lorenzo and suspect, but don’t really know, that the truth lies somewhere in-between the movie as a pro-Lincoln propaganda piece and J. Rob’s essay. But it seems pretty clear to me we would all be better off if the United States of America had a vastly more limited federal government and the states had more sovereignty.

    My two cents,

    LJ

  67. LJ Says:

    I also sat by a black woman during the movie. I’m not sure why I’m mentioning this, but it just struck me odd while watching the movie. One hundred forty-seven years ago such social interaction would have been unheard of. Slavery was a blight on the Southern Presbyterians – they should have known better.

    LJ

  68. justbybelief Says:

    LJ,

    “Slavery was a blight on the Southern Presbyterians – they should have known better.”

    I agree (it all springs from false doctrines being embraced), although I loathe the feigned multiculturalism of those trying to create certain outcomes and demographics.

    Eric

  69. Hugh Says:

    FWIW from the BCP 39 Articles:

    II. Of the Word, or Son of God, which was made very man.
    The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.

  70. Hugh Says:

    And from the Athanasian Creed:
    “…the Catholick Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
    Neither confounding the Persons : nor dividing the Substance.
    For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son : and another of the Holy Ghost.
    But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one : the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
    Such as the Father is, such is the Son : and such is the Holy Ghost.
    The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate : and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
    The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible : and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
    The Father eternal, the Son eternal : and the Holy Ghost eternal.
    And yet they are not three eternals : but one eternal.
    As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated : but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.
    So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty : and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
    And yet they are not three Almighties : but one Almighty.
    So the Father is God, the Son is God : and the Holy Ghost is God.
    And yet they are not three Gods : but one God.
    So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord : and the Holy Ghost Lord.
    And yet not three Lords : but one Lord.
    For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be both God and Lord;
    So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion : to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
    The Father is made of none : neither created, nor begotten.
    The Son is of the Father alone : not made, nor created, but begotten…
    “Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation : that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess : that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;
    God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds : and Man of the substance of his Mother, born in the world;
    Perfect God and perfect Man : of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
    Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead : and inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood;
    Who, although he be God and Man : yet he is not two, but one Christ;
    One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh : but by taking of the Manhood into God;
    One altogether; not by confusion of Substance : but by unity of Person.
    For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man : so God and Man is one Christ…”

  71. Steve M Says:

    I asked Ryan, “Are you proposing that the mind and the will are separate faculties of the persons of the Trinity? Do you disagree with Jonathan Edwards characterization of the will as ”the mind choosing”?”

    Ryan answered, “Steve, yes and no, respectively.”

    You both acknowledge that it is the mind that wills (chooses), and maintain that “the mind” and “the will” are separate faculties? I am confused.

  72. Ryan Says:

    “You both acknowledge that it is the mind that wills (chooses), and maintain that “the mind” and “the will” are separate faculties? I am confused.”

    The mind is not the will, the mind is that which wills. I thought you were asking if each Trinitarian person had His own separate mind and will; the answer to that would be yes. If you were aiming at something else, you will have to clarify your original question.

  73. Steve M Says:

    “the mind is that which wills.”

    What then is “the will”?.

  74. Pht Says:

    tag testing, tag testing

  75. Pht Says:

    alpha079er Says:

    November 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    First, even if the bible was consistent, it wouldn’t be proof that god existed.

    The argument wasn’t put fort that if the bible is consistent, therefore, God must exist. In fact, I suspect that the vast majority of people making comments on this blog wouldn’t make that argument. Further, as Sean posted, it’s actually impossible for man to prove that God (as he is described in the bible) exists – it would require us to have knowledge that we cannot by our very human nature have.

    The later writers of scripture would have read the previous writers’ works, and therefore could have made elements consistent. Also, the bible was purposefully compiled by men, with many ‘holy scriptures’ eliminated from inclusion into the good book because of inconsistent messages.

    Neither of which in any way make it necessary to conclude that the Bible is not a God inspired true document.

    alpha079er Says:

    November 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    The Councils of Hippo and Carthage were the big events that lead to the creation of the bible as we know it.

    The third council of Carthage (A.D. 397) did not form the canon. Nor did the Synod of hippo (A.D. 393). In fact, no single human institution has or has had control over what should and should not be in the canon. The list of which books were and and were not canonical was arrived at by a church community-wide consensus.

    There were several other changes after this, most notably during the protestant reformation. Some scriptures were not included in the final bible. In fact, the books of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and additions to Esther and Daniel, still remain contentions today. They are contained in Catholic bibles but not protestant bibles.

    The apocryphal books have not been and are not now considered to be inspired scriptures by the Jews. Nor did the early church fathers, or virtually anyone besides the church of rome, consider them inspired and true… and rome did not even accept these books as inspired until they started having to resort to referring to them as references to justify certain un-biblical teachings that they could not justify out of the scriptures – teachings such as purgatory, for instance.

    So you can see, the bible wasn’t just handed down from on high. Men (literally) compiled it – and didn’t agree with what should be included.

    So:
    The Councils of Hippo and Carthage were the big events that lead to the creation of the bible as we know it;
    The inspiration of the apocrypha is not agreed on;

    Therefore, the bible can not have been inspired by God

    Or:

    Men compiled the texts that form the bible;

    Men do not agree on which texts belong in the bible:

    Therefore, the bible can not have been inspired by God

    Your conclusion is not required by any of your premises, regardless of how they’re arranged; so nobody should accept what you’ve posted here as being true.

    The bible also makes hundreds, if not thousands, of inconsistent statements. Such as this one:
    1) God creates light and separates light from darkness, and day from night, on the first day. Yet he didn’t make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day.

    This is not an inconsistency (a logical fallacy). You also seem to be presuming that God as he is described in the bible is incapable of making light without making the sun and the stars – which is a false presumption.

    The 10 commandments are also listed in several different places in the bible, and they are different! (Check out Exodus and Deuteronomy for example).

    Mere difference does not equate to actual contradiction; and the passages you’re referring to here do not contradict each other; and the PDF that Sean linked to in his earlier reply does indeed do a good job of explaining the differences.

    alpha079er Says:

    November 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm
    Steve,
    1+1 = 2 (True)

    Why do you say that this is true? … is it because you accept 1+1=2 as an axiom?

    … If you do accept this as an axiom, it carries certain things with it – the laws of identity (A is A), non-contradiction (A is not non-A), and the excluded middle (A cannot be non-A and A) – and these laws carry with them everything that can be validly deduced from them.

    If you say you don’t accept that 1+1=2 as an axiom, than what is the argument that upholds your belief that 1+1=2?

  76. Ryan Says:

    “What then is “the will”?.”

    In the abstract, the will is the capacity for choice. To will is to choose. What does this have to do with the topic?

  77. Hugh Says:

    Steve M @ 6:01pm,

    The will is that which the mind does.

    Next question, please.

  78. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    You speak of “the will” and the mind as if they are two separate things. Then you say:

    “In the abstract, the will is the capacity for choice. To will is to choose.”

    Isn’t the capacity for choice a capacity of the mind?

    You ask, “What does this have to do with the topic?”

    So far our discussion has been you contending that three persons cannot be one being (no matter how I define being) and me saying, “Can so!” You have stated that the Three Persons of the Trinity have three minds and three wills. If willing is a function of the mind, more than one mind can can choose one option. I think this is relevant to the topic.

  79. Ryan Says:

    “Isn’t the capacity for choice a capacity of the mind?”

    Yes.

    “So far our discussion has been you contending that three persons cannot be one being (no matter how I define being) and me saying, “Can so!” You have stated that the Three Persons of the Trinity have three minds and three wills. If willing is a function of the mind, more than one mind can can choose one option. I think this is relevant to the topic.”

    How? The wills of the persons of the Trinity are determined by the other aspects of their nature, principally their goodness. They do all things to maximize the manifestation of the glory of God. How each functions toward this purpose, however, is distinct. Recall that I said the persons can be united or one in senses other than they share one single mind and will:

    //But the persons can be and are united in other senses: the predicates mean the same thing (univocality); the source of these predicates is ultimately to be found in the Father who has them of Himself and communicates them to the other persons (origin); the predicates themselves suggest the same end goals (purpose).//

    The covenant of redemption is a clear example of the fact the Father and Son must have distinct wills. The differences in egos and thoughts among the persons are clear examples of the fact they must have distinct minds.

    My replies to you have been to show that it is incoherent to state the persons are the same God or divine being just as it is incoherent to state you and I are the same human [being]. It’s really not complicated unless you make it be so. I might add that Sean and I agree about this generic rather than numeric unity.

  80. Sean Gerety Says:

    Be careful there Ryan. As I told you on the FB Clark and Unitarian discussion page I do not agree with your use of numeric and generic as they are terms that apply to Trinitarians, not Unitarians. Generic unity is denied in your scheme because only the Father is truly God and the son (*notice lower case) is His mere messenger or as Drake calls him, His “icon.”

  81. Steve M Says:

    “The wills of the persons of the Trinity are determined by the other aspects of their nature, principally their goodness.”

    There you go again: “The wills”. Are you saying that an attribute (i.e. Goodness) determines the choices of the Persons. I thought you denied that an attribute (or set of attributes) could “declare” anything. Why would you suggest that an attribute could “determine” something. Maybe I have misread you or maybe you are just inconsistent.

    “Does a set of attributes “declare”? Is Scripture the “word” of a set of attributes? Of course not”

    Is truth an attribute?

  82. Ryan Says:

    Sean,

    You have ignored my replies in which I explain why I am a Trinitarian rather than a Unitarian. So I have no further comment on that here, though I will on my blog.

    Also, even if you reject the fact that “God” is a word which has different meanings, we should be in agreement that one of those meanings pertains to divinity: The Father, Son, and Spirit are each divine. What that means may be an area of disagreement, but we at least agree that because generic unity is true, there are three minds, wills, etc. in question, not one mind, will, etc.

  83. Ryan Says:

    Steve,

    “There you go again: “The wills”. Are you saying that an attribute (i.e. Goodness) determines the choices of the Persons. I thought you denied that an attribute (or set of attributes) could “declare” anything.”

    Yes, and I did. And? Read the statement in its context. When I referred to a “set of attributes,” I was referring to the divine nature. But the divine nature is not the subject of the persons of the Trinity, it is predicated of the persons of the Trinity. Natures don’t declare, persons do. Natures don’t act, though insofar as they are predicated of persons, they can determine the actions of the persons; hence, goodness only determines will insofar as each are predicated of a person.

    “Is truth an attribute?”

    Yes (John 14:6).

  84. Steve M Says:

    Does truth “declare”? Is Scripture the “word” of truth?

  85. Ryan Says:

    “Does truth “declare”?”

    Properly speaking, no. Improperly, yes.

    Analogously, I might indirectly quote you as follows: “this blog post says such and such.” Now, did the blog post qua blog post actually say such and such? No. It was the medium through which the *author* of the blog post, you, communicated. Saying that “this blog post says such and such” is shorthand.

    Do you think the divine nature qua divine nature can act, think, and will? If so, you’re a Van Tilian who believes God is one person in three persons, or some such contradiction.

    “Is Scripture the “word” of truth?”

    Of course. I’m not sure why you put quotations around “word,” though.

  86. Sean Gerety Says:

    I am a Trinitarian rather than a Unitarian.

    No, you’re not Trinitarian for you say only the Father is God and the Son and the Spirit derive their existence from the Father and do not exist in themselves. BTW what is the difference between a contingent being that derives its existence from a superior being and a creature?

    So I have no further comment on that here, though I will on my blog.

    Good. Take it there.

    Also, even if you reject the fact that “God” is a word which has different meanings, we should be in agreement that one of those meanings pertains to divinity: The Father, Son, and Spirit are each divine.

    No, per you while the Son and Spirit in some lesser sense might be called “divine,” lacking self-existence they cannot be considered divine in the full sense of the word. The Son and Spirit far from being co-equal with the Father in your Unitarian scheme are down the chain of being. You have to parse your terms in order to create a trinitarian facade so the unaware and uneducated will not run from you as they should. Have you not watched Drake’s video filmed in his parent’s basement where he’s sitting on a bucket next to the staircase while holding diagrams he scribbled with a felt tip pen up to his forehead that explains all this? David Waltz has high praise for Drake’s presentation in the comments. You should check it out. He really does a great job showing how utterly irrational Trinitarianism is and explains it is a Roman Catholic conspiracy designed to justify the papacy. Besides, think about all the Muslims and JWs that might become “Christians” who are now repulsed by what Drake calls the “Trinitarian monad.” Maybe you can become a missionary to the Muslims in Drake’s new phony web church?

    What that means may be an area of disagreement, but we at least agree that because generic unity is true, there are three minds, wills, etc. in question, not one mind, will, etc.

    No, we don’t agree. Generic unity pertains to Trinitarianism. Your scheme has no generic unity because it doesn’t need it. The Son and Spirit are lesser beings united to the numerically singular and concrete superior person of the Father. Have you forgotten that the Son in your scheme is just a cosmic messenger?

  87. Hugh Says:

    Maybe you can become a missionary to the Muslims in Drake’s new phony web church?

    But they need also to keep up the online anti-monadic monasticism.

    Then write a proper liturgy after formulating the requisite creed (with its due anthemas). Hmmm – why does sound like the popish evil it was all meant to combat?

    Maybe b/c the root isn’t actually Scripture alone and a humble attempt to rethink theology?

    (Sean, did you deliberately drop the “h” in the description of Drake’s bucket theology? 🙂 Very funny, BTW.)

  88. Ryan Says:

    “No, you’re not Trinitarian for you say only the Father is God and the Son and the Spirit derive their existence from the Father and do not exist in themselves. BTW what is the difference between a contingent being that derives its existence from a superior being and a creature?”

    You already asked this question on facebook. My answer was that creatures are not eternal or, more generally, divine. Surely you recognize that there are attributes other than aseity which the Son and Spirit possess that we do not.

    Also, the Son and Spirit can be considered God when God means divine person. You can’t seriously think “God” means just one thing. We’ve been over this. That Jesus is the Son of God does not mean He’s the Son of divine nature. He’s the Son of a person with a divine nature. Surely you recognize that “God” doesn’t always – if ever – refer to the divine nature abstract from the persons in which it is exemplified. But if so, the fact that I say the Father alone is God in one sense does not preclude me from saying the Father, Son, and Spirit are God in another sense. It is you who is currently creating a facade of my position so as to avoid actually engaging it.

    “No, per you while the Son and Spirit in some lesser sense might be called “divine,” lacking self-existence they cannot be considered divine in the full sense of the word.”

    Aseity is not a divine attribute. It’s a blatant contradiction to believe in eternal generation and in the self-existence of the Son.

    “The Son and Spirit far from being co-equal with the Father in your Unitarian scheme are down the chain of being. You have to parse your terms in order to create a trinitarian facade so the unaware and uneducated will not run from you as they should.”

    People should run from Nicene orthodoxy? Clark would disagree.

    “No, we don’t agree. Generic unity pertains to Trinitarianism. Your scheme has no generic unity because it doesn’t need it. The Son and Spirit are lesser beings united to the numerically singular and concrete superior person of the Father. Have you forgotten that the Son in your scheme is just a cosmic messenger?”

    Generic unity is necessary to avoid collapsing the persons into one. Generic unity is simply unity according to a genus. One meaning of “God” can function as a genus according to which the Father, Son, and Spirit are species. Therefore, the Father, Son, and Spirit are generically united by the fact each is a divine person.

    Sean, I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. That’s all.

  89. Sean Gerety Says:

    You already asked this question on facebook. My answer was that creatures are not eternal or, more generally, divine. Surely you recognize that there are attributes other than aseity which the Son and Spirit possess that we do not.

    Yeah, I wasn’t impressed there either. A contingent being is still a creature, eternality notwithstanding . Why not just an eternal creature?

    One meaning of “God” can function as a genus according to which the Father, Son, and Spirit are species. Therefore, the Father, Son, and Spirit are generically united by the fact each is a divine person.

    That’s not generic unity. I don’t know why that’s so hard for you to grasp. Further, the Father is not a genus, he is a particular person. You don’t have a generic unity because per you the Father alone is properly called God and, again per you, all the montheistic passages you say are all references to the Father.

  90. Mark Says:

    “Yeah, I wasn’t impressed there either. A contingent being is still a creature, eternality notwithstanding . Why not just an eternal creature?

    Sean, the matter is not whether or not a contingent being is a creature or not, or whether a contingent eternal being is but an eternal creature. The matter is what the Bible has to say, we know the Son is the only begotten of the Father, and he is in the bossom of the Father. He is called the only begotten God. ”

    If you think all three person are contained in all the scripture text where the word God is used, you may try to replace the word God with He who is the Trinity or He who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the sense of the scripture will not be preserved.

    It is not Ryan who invented that the Father alone is properlly called God, it is how Paul and Jesus said. Ryan asked in what sense the Father is called these unique titles, but never the Son, nor the Holy Spirit, who is never called theos in the Bible period.

  91. Ryan Says:

    The person of the Son is contingent. Does that mean His person is created? Didn’t think so.

    I already explained “God” can mean more than one thing. One meaning is “divine person,” a genus. I’m surprised you think you have generic unity figured out after denying it initially. Did you read Clark’s discussion of it in The Biblical Doctrine of Man yet? If so, please tell me how I am wrong.

  92. Sean Gerety Says:

    I don’t accept your definition and various “senses.” They’re not biblical and are nothing more than a denial of the deity of Christ.

  93. Ryan Says:

    Only one of us has been citing Scripture to support his definition[s] of “God,” and it’s not been you.

  94. Sean Gerety Says:

    I beg to differ Thomas.

  95. Ryan Says:

    As I pointed out to you earlier, “My Lord and my [divine nature]” makes nonsense of what Thomas means.

  96. Hugh Says:

    the gloves are off…

    ouch!

  97. Hugh Says:

    Ryan,
    Pardon my ignorance, but — to you — is Jesus the eternal God?

  98. Ryan Says:

    Hugh,

    Well, Jesus is eternal, He is a divine person, and “God” can mean “divine person,” but whenever Scripture refers to the “one God” (Romans 3:30, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 4:6, 1 Timothy 2:5) or “[only] true God” (John 17:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 John 5:20), it’s always in reference to the Father.

    This is how we maintain monotheism and Trinitarianism; not by imputing to “God” a meaning never found in Scripture (i.e. “divine nature”), but rather by distinguishing which which meaning of “God” is being used. In monotheistic contexts, “God” refers to the Father alone, the only unoriginate divine person. In other contexts, the Son and Spirit may be referred to as “God” wherein such connotes the fact they are divine person consubstantial with the Father from whom they are begotten or spirated. There is a Trinity of divine persons.

    So is Jesus “the eternal God”? Well, what do you mean by God? Is Jesus the eternal [divine nature]? No. Is Jesus the eternal [unoriginate Father]? No. Is Jesus the eternal [divine person]? Well, He is certainly *a* eternal [divine person], but the article “the” instead of “a” suggests there is only one “God.” If so, then no – the Father alone is the [one] eternal God.

    In any case, I can’t really answer your question until I know which possible meaning of the predicate you are using.

  99. Hugh Says:

    gutsy, out there, & forthright – thanks, Ryan

  100. Ryan Says:

    You’re welcome.

  101. Ryan Says:

    You’re welcome 🙂

  102. Sean Gerety Says:

    As I pointed out to you earlier, “My Lord and my [divine nature]” makes nonsense of what Thomas means.

    Notice what you can’t say that Thomas confessed that Jesus is his Lord and his God. But, really old turf at this point. Of course, that also means that you don’t say that Jesus Christ is your Lord and your God. And to think you take offense at being called a Unitarian. What a joke.

  103. Ryan Says:

    “Notice what you can’t say that Thomas confessed that Jesus is his Lord and his God.”

    Notice you’re evading the fact you still haven’t provided one verse to support your definition of “God” as “the divine attributes.”

    “Of course, that also means that you don’t say that Jesus Christ is your Lord and your God.”

    Obviously false. I just told you that “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ… and the head of Christ is God,” and I’ve already explained how Christ can be God: He is a divine person, the perfect image of the only self-existent Father. He’s Lord because all authority over us has been given to Him by the Father.

    Speaking of which, are we images of God in respect to our personal properties or according to our nature? Our nature: we possess a rational and a moral faculty by nature. What does that and the fact Christ is the eternally begotten suggest it means to say Christ perfect image of God (the Father, not some abstract set of divine attributes)? That Christ’s nature perfectly reflects that of the Father’s is not due to His own alleged self-existence (whence then “image”?) but because He has been generated by the Father who communicates His essence to His Son.

  104. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    Define divine.

  105. Ryan Says:

    Steve,

    Divine is an adjective describing the nature of particular persons. A person who is divine is a person of whom a certain set of what we call “attributes” can be predicated. The following would be a small sample of these attributes: eternality, goodness, omniscience, mind, will. I’m not going to try to state a comprehensive definition here, only enough to distinguish it from any other subject.

    When used as a subject, “divine” is an abstract class or genus. It doesn’t refer to any of its members or species in particular, which is why the idea Thomas was saying “my Lord and my divine [nature]” is simply ridiculous.

    The predicates which belong to the category of “divine” is what is in question. Sean says two of these predicates are self-existence (aseity) and being God-of-oneself (autotheos). I say those two predicates are personal properties rather than attributes; that is, they don’t pertain to the generically common nature of the Father, Son, or Spirit but rather only pertain to the person of the Father in accordance with the fact He alone is the only person who is underived (cf. eternal generation and procession).

  106. Sean Gerety Says:

    He’s Lord because all authority over us has been given to Him by the Father.

    Yeah, I get it, Jesus is Lord just not God. Not good enough Ryan.

    That Christ’s nature perfectly reflects that of the Father’s is not due to His own alleged self-existence (whence then “image”?) but because He has been generated by the Father who communicates His essence to His Son.

    First, notice that per you Christ doesn’t posses the same nature as the Father, he merely “reflects” it. Second, as I explained to you you on FB you’re understanding of what it means to communicate is absolutely contrary to the intent of the Nicene fathers. They absolutely opposed the type of ontological subordination you and that whack-job Drake are advocating.

  107. Ryan Says:

    “Yeah, I get it, Jesus is Lord just not God. Not good enough Ryan.”

    Your responses which fail to address the distinct possible meanings of “God” are not good enough, Sean.

    “First, notice that per you Christ doesn’t posses the same nature as the Father, he merely “reflects” it.”

    Wrong. The *person* of Christ perfectly images the *person* of the Father in virtue of His having the *exact same nature* as His Father. We may be images of God, but Jesus is truly the perfect image because His nature is in every respect equal or univocal with His Father’s.

    “Second, as I explained to you you on FB you’re understanding of what it means to communicate is absolutely contrary to the intent of the Nicene fathers.”

    Anyone who reads the Nicene Creed can see that Jesus is said to be “God of God,” not “God of Himself.”

    “They absolutely opposed the type of ontological subordination you and that whack-job Drake are advocating.”

    Exactly how many Nicene fathers have you read, Sean? Novatian? Athanasius? Alexander of Alexandria? Cyril? Tertullian? Obviously not, but I will prove that soon enough.

  108. Sean Gerety Says:

    Your responses which fail to address the distinct possible meanings of “God” are not good enough, Sean.

    I mean God in the fullest biblical sense of the word. You do not, but then you’re a Unitarian.

    Christ perfectly images the *person* of the Father in virtue of His having the *exact same nature* as His Father.

    That’s a lie as you have argued that the Christ is ontologically inferior to the Father.

    Anyone who reads the Nicene Creed can see that Jesus is said to be “God of God,” not “God of Himself.”

    You mean read it through Unitarian and cultic glasses.

    Obviously not, but I will prove that soon enough.

    The young arrogant Unitarian is going to prove it to me. Uh oh, I’m scared now.

  109. Ryan Says:

    “I mean God in the fullest biblical sense of the word. You do not, but then you’re a Unitarian.”

    “Divine attributes” is not the fullest biblical sense of God. You have not shown it is even one sense. But no, the Son is not unbegotten, self-existent, or God-of-Himself, so the Son is not ever referred to as the one or only true God. That’s true.

    “That’s a lie as you have argued that the Christ is ontologically inferior to the Father.”

    A lie? If you had bothered to read my reply to this post, you would see what I think “ontologically subordinate” means:

    //Firstly, I want to make clear that if and when I have stated the Son is ontologically subordinate to the Father, I do not mean that the Son’s divine nature is lesser than that of the Father’s. What I mean is that the Father and Son [and Spirit] have their own, unique definitions, and these definitions include more than the fact each are divine; that is, they include the individuating principles or predicates unique to the persons. Given that Sean believes in eternal generation, he should recognize a personal property of the Father is the fact He is unoriginate. A personal property of the Son is that He is eternally begotten. A personal property of the Spirit is that He is eternally spirated. Etc. With this clarification, there should be no confusion as to what it means when I assert that self-existence and being autotheos are personal properties or unique predicates of the Father.

    Now, if this view is true, it should be obvious that the definition of the Father has one or more preeminent properties as compared to the definitions Son and Spirit such that although the latter would not have lesser divine natures, their persons would be subordinate to the Father’s person…//

    If essence = definition per Clark, and the Father, Son, and Spirit have unique definitions, then they would, per Clark, have unique essences. To subordinate one definition to the other is to subordinate one essence to the other. Hence, ontologically subordinate. What I wish to avoid is saying that the Son is arbitrarily subordinate in respect to the economic activity of the Trinity. The *ontological* Trinity refers to the intra-Trinitarian *relationships,* not merely the divine nature qua divine nature.

    “You mean read it through Unitarian and cultic glasses.”

    Lol. So are you disputing the fact the Creed refers to the Son as God of God?

  110. Sean Gerety Says:

    So are you disputing the fact the Creed refers to the Son as God of God?

    Seeing you haven’t been paying attention, what I’m disputing is your warped understanding of the creed and your twisting of Scripture to justify your Unitarian reading.

  111. Ryan Says:

    What am I supposed to be paying attention to, as you have neither explained what “God of God” means nor addressed my point that Scripture only refers to the Father alone as the “one” and “[only] true” God?

  112. Paul Liberati Says:

    Sean, on what basis do you assume the authority to hurl accusations of “heresy” and call Ryan a “false teacher” saying that because of his perspective he has somehow “departed from the faith?”

    As far as I can tell he affirms both the divinity of Jesus Christ and His eternal Sonship, while at the same time affirming the Divinity and Personality of the Holy Spirit. Where is the heresy worthy of condemnation?

    The Nicene Creed has set forth the boundaries, beyond which no man may go if he is to remain orthodox in his doctrine. Those boundaries are stated thus, “But those who say, ‘There was a time when he was not,’ and ‘He was not before he was made,’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance or essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’ – they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

    Which of these has Ryan asserted? To my knowledge – none.

    I understand that you differ in your trinitarian perspective, but the accusation of heresy is not even something that the late Dr. John Gill was willing to put forth against those who held Ryan’s view. He simply states that he felt it was safer not to affirm certain propositions concerning the communication of the divine nature from Father to Son. Here is a quote from his Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book I, section IV, paragraph II:

    “This [divine] nature is common to the three Persons in God, but not communicated from one to another; they each of them partake of it, and possess it as one undivided nature; they all enjoy it; it is not a part of it that is enjoyed by one, and a part of it by another, but the whole by each; as “all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ”, so in the holy Spirit; and of the Father, there will be no doubt; these equally subsist in the unity of the divine essence, and that without any derivation or communication of it from one to another. I know it is represented by some, who, otherwise, are sound in the doctrine of the Trinity, that the divine nature is communicated from the Father to the Son and Spirit, and that he is “fons Deitatis”, “the fountain of Deity”; which, I think, are unsafe phrases . . . It is better to say, that they are self-existent, and exist together in the same undivided essence; and jointly, equally, and as early one as the other, possess the same nature.”

    Without deconstructing Gill on his personal misunderstandings of the position with which he disagrees, my point in citing him is to amplify the point that even with his explicit disagreement of the position alluded to – there is no hint of condemnation toward those who hold it. Therefore Sean, do you not suppose that your condemnation of Ryan and his position is out of line?

  113. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    What is your opinion of the New World Translation of John 1:1?

  114. Mark Says:

    Sean,

    Note, the anathema also include those that say “the Son is of another person or essence”. This means assert the positive, namely the Son is of BOTH the person and essence of the Father, in the negative, if you say the Son is of HIMSELF, you are anathemetized. Because, by going over-orthordox to assert aseity to the Son, you robbed him of his very existence.

    You also condemned Ryan as Unitarian, what is your authority? I am not using ecumenical councils as authority, they err, anything without the plane scripture support, is of no authority and is not bounding on our conscience, and cannot be required of anyone to believe.

  115. Sean Gerety Says:

    “Subordinationism is an heretical view that God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are not merely relationally subordinate to God the Father, but also subordinate in nature and being. In other words, this view maintains that, within the Trinity, the Son and the Spirit are ontologically inferior to the Father. ” — http://www.theopedia.com/Subordinationism

  116. Sean Gerety Says:

    From the Unitarian Dale Tuggy:

    “Subordinationists hold that the Son is in some sense ontologically dependent on God, that is, the Father. (Some also allege a similar dependence of the Holy Spirit on the Father.) Its proponents argue that there is a strong strain of subordinationist thinking about the Son in most of the church fathers prior to the 4th century. (Anti-subordinationists often counter that this strain is exaggerated or partly due to misinterpretation of those ancient writers.) Current patristic scholars tend to hold that this early subordinationism has been downplayed by church historians because it is unorthodox relative to later standards, although they sometimes find counterbalancing themes in many writers inconsistent with subordinationism.” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trinity/unitarianism.html

  117. Paul Liberati Says:

    So basically, your authority is theopedia?

    And then you decide to quote a unitarian? Note that Dale Tuggy simply said that subordinationists hold that the Son “is in some sense” ontologically dependent on God.

    But that doesn’t really help – its too vague.

    This only means that there are various degrees of subordinationism, as there are different senses in which the Son could be said to be ontologically dependent upon God.

    So then what does that quotation actually prove Sean?

    And what does it mean that the Son is only “relationally subordinate” to the Father? Can you explain this in very simple terms for us?

  118. Ryan Says:

    Steve,

    If we remember that translations are interpretative and consider the NWT in its context – it considers Christ a creature, for instance – what they mean by “a god” is clearly a rejection of the divinity of the Son. No, I do not agree with the NWT, and I see no reason to disagree with the long list of translations which render John 1:1 as saying “the Word was God.” If there were any clear instance that “God” can have distinct meanings, this passage is it, for surely it is obvious the Word was not with [Himself], and yet the Word Himself is also able to be called God.

  119. Ryan Says:

    Sean,

    Instead of giving me links which have nothing to do with anything, as I’ve already clarified what I mean by ontological subordination, why don’t you answer my question?

  120. Mark Says:

    Sean,

    Ryan never said the Son’s subordination is at the level of nature, he distinguishes nature and person, at least logically. The subordination is at the level or person, the Son’s whole person is subordinate to the Father, whatsoever His essence maybe, is not relevant. An abstract divinity can not perform action, only a person can. Remember, our Lord said ” My FATHER is greater than I”, the clear biblical teaching is not to be debated, nor to be explained, BUT to be BELIEVED.

    Paul said when all enemies are subdued, the Son will subject himself to the Father, so GOD will be all in all.

    Quoting the apostasy passage is not helpful, because you fail to explain why you think we fall under the apostasy in Paul’s warning, the writing pertains to the Roman apostasy, which is exact the origin of this corruption of the doctrine of God.

  121. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    I didn’t ask your opinion of the entire NWT, nor was I suggesting that you share the JW view of Christ, but I think they would agree that Christ is “a” divine person.
    I was asking what you opinion was of the translation of that one verse. Their translation seems to be consistent with your view.
    They make the same argument that the word cannot be the same God whom he was with. They also argue that “god” has several meanings. I have listened to a JW (Greg Stafford) argue that nouns must be either definite or indefinite. However a noun may also be qualitative, which would make John 1:1c not contradictary to 1:1b at all.

  122. Ryan Says:

    I gave you my opinion: “I see no reason to disagree with the long list of translations which render John 1:1 as saying “the Word was God.””

  123. Sean Gerety Says:

    on what basis do you assume the authority to hurl accusations of “heresy” and call Ryan a “false teacher” saying that because of his perspective he has somehow “departed from the faith?”

    On the basis of Ryan’s own statements that it is false to say “God is three persons,” “God is Triune,” “Jesus is God,” and similar denials of Trinitarianism and the deity of Christ. For Ryan to say “I believe in God” means he believes in the Father as monotheism is not an “abstraction” (Ryan’s word) but a singular and supreme Person. Ryan is not an Arian, so far as I can tell, as he has not yet drawn the necessary implication that a contingent being is a created being. Ryan asserts that while the Son and Spirit derive their existence from the Father, they are eternal and are subordinate to the Father both ontologically and in authority.

    I call him a Unitarian because only the Father can properly be called God and, along with that apostate hate filled racist Drake Shelton from whom he received this doctrine, he rejects the Trinity as irrational.

    As for Gill, what does that prove? Calvin called those who shared Ryan’s view “fanatics” along with some other colorful and fitting phrases.

  124. Paul Liberati Says:

    Sean, get a hold of yourself.

    The position that Ryan holds is not Unitarian. It is Trinitarian. There is a Trinity of Divine Persons. Three Unified Divine Persons. The point of Unity among them, however, is not some abstract set of attributes, but the Father.

    This position upholds Monotheism and the Deity of Christ (as well as the Spirit). Only it sets forth the doctrine in a much more coherent way than yours does. Jesus is God in this position – there is no question about it, and Ryan has said so. In his nature, he is equal with the Father. But then when he goes on to point out the distinctions between the Father and the Son you lose your mind.

    The fact is, they each have personal properties unique to themselves. The Son is begotten and the Father is unbegotten. Why is it so hard to understand that its in this sense, and in this sense alone that the Father is said to be the “ontological superior” of the Son. This is the only logical and biblical conclusion we can draw.

    This is Paul’s argument when he says that the head of every woman is the man. His argument was not convenantal and restricted to the economy of marriage. His argument was ontological. Paul would argue that his position on male headship was because “The man did not come from woman, but woman from man.”

    This ontological subordination in no way – however – contradicts the equality of men and women, but simply sets all things in their divine order. So it is within the Godhead.

  125. Mark Says:

    Sean,

    You commented that Ryan denied the statement that “God is tree persons, or God is triune”. And it is becaue this denial, you put on the label of heresy.

    However, it is exactly the orthodox belief to deny your proposition. God is not three persons, this breaks all the commandments, God is One, and there is no other but HIM, no other person of the same or different essence, just no other whatsoever.

    To say God is three person you are saying three person are really only One Person, this is nothing but Sabellienism.

    God is not triune, but Godhead is triune, in the Godhead there are three persons.

    It is not according to your fancy, but according to the scripture and the teaching of catholic fathers before the 4th century, that monotheism is safeguarded by only one autotheos, the Father.

    N.B.

    Three real persons with supreme power and dominion and worship, even if metaphysically they are but ont numerical essence, you have three Gods. This is to break all the Christian commandements and is not following the teaching of Jesus.

    Can you quote just one quotation from catholic fathers before the 4th century who said the Son is autotheos?


  126. Paul, it is interesting that you bring up the male/female issue. Kevin Giles argues for egalitarianism from his understanding of the Trinity.

  127. Paul Liberati Says:

    Patrick – (that’s a good ‘ol Italian name eh?)

    Yes, although I am not familiar with Kevin Giles, I assume he holds to the popular trinitarian view. If so, then your point is well taken.

    He seems to have a logical consistency going for him – unfortunately – its in the wrong direction.

  128. Sean Gerety Says:

    What does that mean, “the popular trinitarian view”? Don’t you mean the historic and orthodoxy view?

  129. Paul Liberati Says:

    The term “historic” means nothing. It proves nothing. Is a doctrine correct just because it is “historic?” How about historic Pelagianism?

    And the term “orthodox” also becomes useless in debate, for that is the issue at hand. The biblical position is always orthodox, no matter what other men may say. So maybe we should just quit the small talk and get down to some exegesis.

    Here is a fair exegetical question for you Sean:

    Who is God in 1 Cor. 8:6?

    a) The abstract divine essence, under which the three persons “subsist.”

    b) The Father

    Hint: The answer is explicit in the text.

  130. Mark Says:

    To add to the question of Paul, commentators like to say the word Father in 1 Cor. 8:6 is speaking essentially, that is calling the divine essence Father, how is this not a quaternity?

  131. Sean Gerety Says:

    Every heresy has its prooftext and it seems you boys have yours.

  132. Michael Aguirre Says:

    “Every heresy has its prooftext and it seems you boys have yours.”

    You must modify your singular “prooftext” to a plural if this assertion is to be applicable at all. For Ryan has presented multiple texts of which you have had no answer (let us not forget your desperate “kai” interpretation of John 17:3). Even if 1 Cor. 8:6 was our only exegetical support, do you get to avoid addressing it by identifying it as a “prooftext”? How many passages must we muster before you stop deflecting and avoiding our argumentation and engage? What is the standard? Further, it would seem we get to chuck at least one “prooftext” for your position as well.

    “On the basis of Ryan’s own statements that it is false to say… “Jesus is God,””

    Try reading again.

    “…he rejects the Trinity as irrational.”

    Please be specific in your assertions less any passerby get a wrong impression and you become guilty of “bearing false witness”. Ryan (myself, and others) reject the Augustinian/Western/Latin (AWL) construction of the Trinity as irrational, more specifically your construction of the Trinity. Why the lot of of us hold it to be irrational has been made explicit in detailed argumentation by Ryan, but you have failed to address much of it. We affirm a Trinitarian construction, in fact the “Tri-” is secured well beyond anything the AWL can yield for we affirm three distinct numeric natures in consort with a generic unity. Opposed to losing a numeric distinction amongst the three by affirming one numeric nature. Although I suppose I am now just repeating what has already been argued for numerous times.

  133. Sean Gerety Says:

    Ryan (myself, and others) reject the Augustinian/Western/Latin (AWL) construction of the Trinity as irrational, more specifically your construction of the Trinity.

    I appreciate you’re forthrightness in your rejection of Western traditional Trinitarianism. However, my construction of the Trinity is the same as Clark’s. Are you saying Clark was irrational?


  134. Notice he said //the Augustinian/Western/Latin (AWL) construction of the Trinity as irrational//

    and NO answer was given regarding 1 Cor 8:6/John 17:3.

    I guess this is a one way street where no answers are given but many assertions are made, eh?

  135. Ryan Says:

    Sean said,

    “On the basis of Ryan’s own statements that it is false to say “God is three persons,” “God is Triune”…”

    But of course. Persons are not predicates of natures. What kind of nonsense is that?

    “For Ryan to say “I believe in God” means he believes in the Father as monotheism is not an “abstraction” (Ryan’s word) but a singular and supreme Person.”

    That’s ambiguous. I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. Sound familiar?

  136. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Rommel. I’m not sure to whom your question is addressed, but I would agree that my opponents here put a distinctly Arian spin on these verses and frankly it is at times hard to distinguish their understanding from your standard issue Jehovah Witness. For example, concerning 1 Cor. 8:6 JW Greg Stafford argues:

    Jehovah Witnesses do believe that the description of the Father as the ‘one God’ in this verse shows that Jesus cannot be the ‘one God.’ Simply put, the ‘one God’ is one person, the Father.

    Or, if you think I’m being unfair comparing my opponent’s sloppy (mis)handling of Scripture to Watchtower cult members, this is from the Biblical Unitarian website concerning this verse:

    Trinitarians say that this verse supports their position because of the final phrase in the verse, i.e., that all things came through Jesus Christ. But what the verse actually says is that all things came “from” God, “through” Jesus. This testimony stands in contradiction to Trinitarian doctrine because it places Jesus in subordinate role to God. According to this verse, he is not “co-equal’ with the Father.

    Sounds eerily similar to the argument made by my subordinatinist interlocutors. However, as Richard Bauckham notes concerning this passage:

    Paul has reproduced all the words of the statement about YHWH in the Shema…but Paul has rearranged the words in such as way as to produce an affirmation of both one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ. It should be quite clear that Paul is including the Lord Jesus Christ in the unique divine identity. He is redefining monotheism as christological monotheism. If he were understood as adding the one Lord to the one God of whom the Shema speaks, from the perspective of Jewish monotheism, he would certainly be producing not christological monotheism but outright ditheism (God Crucified: Monotheism & Christology in the New Testament, 38)

    As for John 17:3 (And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent) we find a interesting if not complementary verse in Jude; ” For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” If the Father is the only true God to the exclusion of the Son , and if Jesus Christ is to understood as something less than “true God” in himself, how then can Jesus be our only Master and Lord? Further, the title Lord is used interchangeably of the Father and the Son as we see Jesus referring to the Father as Lord in Matthew 11:25. Similarly we see Jesus referred to as God in passages like Titus 2:13 (looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ) and 2 Peter 1:1 (To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ), not to mention John 1:1. Of course, and despite the doubters here, Jesus is referred to as both Lord and God in John 20:28. Hardly controversial to Christians who everywhere profess that Jesus Christ is God without qualification and without subordinating the Son in being and power to the Father. I can’t say the same anti-Trinitarians who crassly maintain that only the Father is the one true Lord and God.

  137. Paul Liberati Says:

    Sean you are committing a fallacy, and you know it. Just because Ryan’s posiion would render the same interpretation of a passage as a Jehovah’s Witness, does not mean that he is Arian. C’mon, I would expect this line of reasoning from many men – but not a reformed Scripturalist!

    Why do you not compare Ryan’s position on John 1:1 with a Jehovah’s Witness – and let that be the test of whether or not he is an Arian? Points of agreement do not prove consistency – or perfect harmony.

    If I were to use your kind of reasoning here, I would say that your agreement with the baptism of infants is “a distinctly Roman Catholic spin” on the ordinance. Then I would quote a few Romish commentators who advocate the sprinkling of babies, and whala! You have now become a proponent of the heresy of baptismal regeneration! But that kind of reasoning is foolish and you know it.

    You embarrass yourself with those kinds of posts.

  138. Paul Liberati Says:

    “If the Father is the only true God to the exclusion of the Son , and if Jesus Christ is to understood as something less than “true God” in himself, how then can Jesus be our only Master and Lord?”

    1) It was never said that Jesus was not “true God.” He certainly is. Even the creed says he is “true God of true God.”

    2) It was never said that Jesus was not true God “in himself.” He certainly is. Do you suppose that we hold he is true God “outside of himself?” This is foolishness.

    When the definite article appears, (“the” true God) Scripture demonstrates that this is in reference to the Father alone.

    It is never said that Christ is not true God in himself, only that he is not God “of” himself. There is a big difference, for the term “of” speaks with reference to origin. But the Son did not originate himself, for he is not unbegotten. Only the Father is.


  139. Again, the need for absolute clarity of terms is seen. This time, it’s autotheos.

  140. Paul Liberati Says:

    “My construction of the Trinity is the same as Clark’s. Are you saying Clark was irrational?”

    The Trinity of Divine Persons Alone are exempt from irrational thougts and inconsistencies. Not Clark, nor anyone else.

  141. Sean Gerety Says:

    That’s not an answer to the question.

  142. Sean Gerety Says:

    Why do you not compare Ryan’s position on John 1:1 with a Jehovah’s Witness – and let that be the test of whether or not he is an Arian? Points of agreement do not prove consistency – or perfect harmony.

    Liberati, I’m sorry for you limitations, but I never said Ryan was a Arian. However, one subordinationist certainly deserves another as Nicene orthodoxy was a repudiation of all forms of subordinationism including Ryan’s and that whack job racist Ryan follows. They both occupy the exact same exegetical turf.

  143. Paul Liberati Says:

    If you do not say that Ryan is arian, then which heresy does he teach?

    And please do not apologize for my limitations, for God Himself determines the boundaries of my intellectual capacity. There is nothing to pity here. Thanks.

  144. Sean Gerety Says:

    If you do not say that Ryan is arian, then which heresy does he teach?

    Unitarianism. From Wikipedia:

    “Unitarianism is a religious theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being. Thus, Unitarians contend that main-line Christianity does not adhere to strict monotheism as they do, maintaining that Jesus was a prophet, and in some sense the “son” of God, but not God himself.”

    And, if you don’t like Wikipedia, Dale Tuggy explains the Unitarianism of Samuel Clarke, the person Drake says he most identifies with, as follows:

    “The core of Clarke’s subordinationism is as follows. Certain names or titles in the Bible, including “God”, always are nearly always refer to the Father, giving him a kind of primacy among the three. 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). It is contradictory to suppose that something has this property in any sense because of another thing. In his view the Son and the Holy Spirit (like the Son, a personal agent or self distinct from the Father) exist and have their perfections because of the Father. Both are functionally and ontologically subordinate to him, and in the Spirit is at least functionally subordinate to the Son. What sort of dependence relations are these? The Son and Spirit derive their being from the Father as from a “Supreme Cause”, but we are not to infer from this that the Father existed before them. The Bible doesn’t enlighten us on the nature of this dependence relationship, but seems to presuppose that it always was (i.e., that infinitely back in time, the Son and Spirit existed in dependence on the Father).”

  145. Paul Liberati Says:

    Sean Ryan’s position is not unitarian – he does not hold that the Jesus was a (mere) prophet, not would he define Christ as “in some sense” the son of God while denying that he is God.

    You are not reading carefully.

    Jesus is the Son of God, equal with the Father according to his nature, and subordinate to the Father according to his person.

    If you disagree that the term “God” can be used in different senses in Scripture, then what is your interpretation of John 1:1?

  146. Sean Gerety Says:

    Sean Ryan’s position is not unitarian – he does not hold that the Jesus was a (mere) prophet, not would he define Christ as “in some sense” the son of God while denying that he is God.

    I realize you haven’t been keeping up and I suspect you haven’t read Ryan’s regurgitation of Drake, but Ryan very much holds that Christ is God “in some sense,” just not in every sense. He’s a Unitarian.

    Jesus is the Son of God, equal with the Father according to his nature, and subordinate to the Father according to his person.

    It seems it is you who is the one who is not reading carefully. Ryan maintains that the Son is subordinate in being and in power. The Father and Son do not share the same essence, the Son derives his existence and emanates from the Father. Drake is very insistent on this point as is Ryan.

    If you disagree that the term “God” can be used in different senses in Scripture, then what is your interpretation of John 1:1?

    Here is Jn 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” What are the different senses that the word God is being used in this passage? Is your point that there are distinctions between the Persons of the Godhead Paul? Well, of course there is, the Son is not the Father and the Father is not the Son. Yet, the two (actually three) are one God. As Calvin writes in his Sermons on the Deity of Christ:

    This passage has been poorly understood by some. Someone has foolishly translated it, saying, “God is the Word.” For if we said that God was the Word, the Father would no longer be God and the Holy Spirit would no longer be God. But St. John wished on the contrary to say that the Word is God, as if he said that Jesus Christ is, with respect to His Deity, of one same essence with the Father. Thus he does not exclude the Father from the Deity, but he shows that there is only one essence in God. Although there was a distinction of God from His Word, yet we must always come back to this simple proposition, that They are one God Whom we must adore. To be sure, ancient heretics have worked hard to pervert this passage so as not to be constrained to confess that Jesus Christ was our true God.

    I realize now that you haven’t been following too closely, or perhaps you don’t grasp the depth of Ryan’s subordinationism that includes the being and power of Christ, otherwise you wouldn’t be shooting from the hip, but I highlighted that last sentence for your benefit.

  147. Paul Liberati Says:

    no sean. You are not reading carefully. You misread the very quotations you post. Here is what you posted from Wikipedia:

    “Unitarians contend that main-line Christianity does not adhere to strict monotheism as they do, maintaining that Jesus was a prophet, AND IN SOME SENSE THE “SON” OF GOD, but not God himself.”

    I responded that Ryan would not “define Christ as “in some sense” the son of God,” but rather would affirm that he is the Son of God in the fullest sense of the word!

    And at the same time he maintains that the Son is God. He is God of God, Light of Light – True God of True God. Will you deny that Ryan has explicitly affirmed these truths? If you do – your readers will have to be very disappointed at the level of your reading comprehension – not mine.

  148. Sean Gerety Says:

    Yes, I will deny that Ryan has affirmed “these” truths as he has denied that Christ can be properly called God. That is a name reserved without qualification and in the full sense to the Father. According to Ryan the Son may be called “God” in a derivative and contingent sense otherwise, according to Ryan, it is a denial of eternal generation. So, Paul, let me assure you the disappointment in your theological abilities is all mine.

  149. Jon Says:

    There definately seems to be a connection between neo-confederatism and the FV.


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