Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware Ask if The Trinity is True

Let’s forget about ERS and EFS for now. Time for a few comments on Professor Wayne Grudem’s “Partial Revelation (of the Trinity belief) in the Old Testament” claim. Grudem’s Comment are denoted by WD.

WD: The word trinity is never found in the Bible, though the idea represented by the word is taught in many places.

I’d be interested in seeing these “many places” where the Trinity idea is taught. Remember the 3-self Trinity idea is a 3in1 idea, that’s to say an idea of God being tri-personal and all the “Persons” being consubstantial and co-equal.

Which places does Wayne Grudem have in mind? There are no places in the Bible which teach this Trinity concept. None. Zip. Zilch. Sure folk may scratch around and amalgamate a number of Biblical references and read a Trinity theory into those selected texts (i.e eisegesis) but that’s not what Grudem appears to be claiming here. He’s claiming places in the Bible teach this belief!

Perhaps his chief place is the Great Commission in Matthew 28. However, that does not teach the idea of the Trinity as outlined above.

Read it for yourself and see if it conforms with Wayne Grudem’s definition of the Trinity belief.

WD: The word trinity means “tri-unity” or “three-in-oneness.” It is used to summarize the teaching of Scripture that God is three persons yet one God.

Old Testament and old Trinitarian claims

WD: Sometimes people think the doctrine of the Trinity is found only in the New Testament, not in the Old. If God has eternally existed as three persons, it would be surprising to find no indications of that in the Old Testament.

Grudem has external motivations to argue for the Trinity in the Old Testament – for him it would not make sense for there not to be some allusion to it at the very least for purposes of consistency. One of the problems arising for his position is that of confusion; if he believes a hint was given as to the 3-self Trinity belief wouldn’t that not also mean he believes God confused people as there was no explicit teaching of the Trinity. Think about it, if hints of plurality within God were provided then that would have left people scratching their heads. Scratching their heads about fundamental ontology of God.

And why would a hint be given, why not just the full explicit teaching from the beginning – after all it is about the fundamental ontology of God? Surely a clear view of God would be expected to be given straight away rather than “hints” which would leave people confused for around 1500 years. Moses p is thought to have lived ~1500 years prior to Jesus p. Further problems arise for the Trinitarian position, Jesus did not teach the Trinity either, it was postulated by later Church Fathers from the fourth century onwards so Grudem would have folk believe God gave hints of the Trinity in the OT and thus left people confused for around 2000 years about a fundamental view of Himself.

And the Bible itself would argue against confusion of that kind by stating God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33)

WD: Although the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly found in the Old Testament, several passages suggest or even imply that God exists as more than one person.

It’s not explicitly taught in the NT either but let’s have a look at one of the texts he appeals to as an implication of the Trinity belief.

WD: For instance, according to Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” What do the plural verb (“let us”) and the plural pronoun (“our”) mean?

Plurality doesn’t necessarily denote three so to argue for plurality does not mean an argument for the Trinity belief. Plurality can be any number greater than 1. As we know the plurality of 3 did not become agreed upon by the Church until at least 381 CE. For those wondering why not 325 CE? “The Nicene Council only concluded that the Father and Son are ontologically one: it did not include the Holy Spirit in the co-substantial relationship supposedly obtaining between the Father and Son” [Edgar G Foster]

WD: Some have suggested they are plurals of majesty, a form of speech a king would use in saying, for example, “We are pleased to grant your request.” However, in Old Testament Hebrew there are no other examples of a monarch using plural verbs or plural pronouns of himself in such a “plural of majesty,” so this suggestion has no evidence to support it.

Now, this is not a major point of contention but from Jason Dulle, it appears there may be some candidates for the use of the royal plural elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures. Dulle gives possible examples from Ezra and Daniel:

The second theory is that the plural pronouns are used as a “majestic plural.” This type of language was typically used by royalty, but not exclusively. Biblical examples include Daniel’s statement to Nebuchadnezzar, “We will tell the interpretation thereof before the king” (Daniel 2:36). Daniel, however, was the only one who gave the king the interpretation of his dream. King Artaxerxes wrote in a letter, “The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me” (Ezra 4:18). The letter was sent to Artaxerxes alone (Ezra 4:11), yet he said it was sent to “us,” and was read before “me.” Clearly the letter was only sent to, and read to Artaxerxes. When Artaxerxes penned another letter to Ezra he used the first person singular pronoun “I” in one place and the first person plural pronoun “we” in another (Ezra 7:13, 24).

WD: Another suggestion is that God is here speaking to angels. But angels did not participate in the creation of man, nor was man created in the image and likeness of angels, so this suggestion is not convincing.

Firstly, would that be consistent from a 3-self Trinitarian perspective? Why are humans not tri-personal if we were created in the image of a tri-personal God? The 3-self Trinitarian has another dilemma.

Secondly, Dr Michael Heiser and others don’t see a problem with viewing Gen 1:26 as an exhortational declaration:

God announced to his council his idea to create mankind (“hey, guys, let’s do this!” – a sort of exhortational declaration), then HE (and he alone, by virtue of the GRAMMAR) created humankind in HIS own image (not theirs).

Yet, the NIV Study Bible also confirms in its commentary on Genesis 1:26:

Us… Our… Our. God speaks as the Creator-king, announcing His crowning work to the members of His heavenly court [See Rabbi Tovia Singer on the Trinity]

Edgar G Foster discusses this in his summary of Alan J. Hauser’s views on Gen 1:26, which militates against the Prof. Wayne Grudem’s conjecture and throw into question his abilities in Hebrew:

Hauser expands on this argument. He does not think that the use of the Elohim in Genesis 1:26 proves that Genesis teaches God’s triunity. One reason that Hauser concludes this has to do with the Hebrew word Elohim. Granted, Elohim is morphologically plural as are “us” and “our.” But these words, while they might seem to indicate plurality, definitely do not suggest triunity. It must also be kept in mind that in Hebrew it is common for the plural noun to cause the verb to be plural (Cf. Genesis 20:13, 35:7). E.A Speiser therefore renders Genesis 1:26 as follows: “The God said, ‘I will make man in my image, after my likeness.’”

WD: The best explanation is that already in the first chapter of Genesis we have an indication of a plurality of persons in God himself. We are not told how many persons, and we have nothing approaching a complete doctrine of the Trinity, but it is implied that more than one person is involved.

And what of the thousands of singular pronouns used in the Bible such as in Isaiah 44:24, Gen 1:5 and Gen 9:6 ? In fact the very next verse Genesis 1:27 uses a singular pronoun as to whom mankind were made in the image of

27 So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.

Does Prof. Wayne Grudem have an answer for this? If he is consistent he’d see the singular pronouns being a problem for his Trinity hypothesis. In fact if this one reference, used as a far-fetched reference to plurality, is being pushed by Grudem as a hint to the Trinity belief then it really is case closed if he uses an objective mindset on all the singular pronouns used of God in the Bible – he has to believe those to be pointers to God’s singularity in Personhood and Being if consistent.

Luis Dizon’s “Only Conclusion” on Genesis 1:26 Discussed



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Converted2Islam Refuted on Germany Islamic Axe

You may have come across a Hadith where a blind man kills his female slave with an axe after she reviles (abuses/insults) the Prophet p. There are different versions but the basis of the story is authentic.

Sadly, at least one anti-Islam critic on the internet has began to use the Hadith, which he found in Bulugh-al-Maram, for an explanation for an axe attack on people on a train in Germany by a teenaged Afghan refugee. It’s so disingenuous or ignorant to misuse such a Hadith to lend Islamic validity to such a terrorist attack.

Watch this video to see his claims and a response to his claims with regards to the motives of the terrorist and concerning the Hadith itself.


If the video does not play, this video is also uploaded here

Quick focus on the possible motives of the Afghan refugee terrorist

The critic links a flag which the refugee had in his home to his motives. The flag is not evidence for the motive of the attack. Why not focus on the more realistic speculation (i.e. he is a traumatised refugee who had mental problems)?

In fact, investigators are even speculating the man had psychological problems:

Investigators have speculated that the death of a close friend in Afghanistan may have left him traumatised and psychologically vulnerable.A psychiatrist currently treating traumatised refugees, many of whom have fled war zones and endured perilous journeys of thousands of miles, said that currently clinical evidence does not support a connection between traumatisation and vulnerability to the messages of extremists.

A 2015 report by Germany’s chamber of psychotherapists found that half of refugees who entered the country are experiencing psychological distress and mental illness resulting from trauma.

These figures are reflected in the sample Richter is working with.

More than 40% of them have psychological illnesses due to their experiences while fleeing their home countries,” she said, with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and insomnia among the most common problem [IBTIMES]

In fact, Germany has had a similar attack recently in which no evidence was found that the attacker was motivated by religion but rather it was due to his psychological and drug problems (see the video above for the news report on this event)
How about the Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud?

Looks like the critic did a key word search for “axe” in a Hadith database as the attacker used an axe.

The critic finds one Hadith, for which he completely overlooks the context, in his haste to try and link this suspected mentally disturbed person with Islamic teaching. If he had looked at the longer Hadith of the same event he would have got the context.

When the woman was found there was a public investigation into the matter in order to punish the one who killed her…
This story is indicative of the justice with which the Muslims dealt with the people of the Book, which was enjoined in the sharee’ah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who was a mercy to the worlds. The rights of the Jews who are under Muslim rule are guaranteed and protected, and it is not permissible to transgress against them by causing them any annoyance or harm. Hence when the people found a Jewish woman who had been killed they were alarmed and referred the matter to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who had made the covenant with them and guaranteed them security, and who did not take the jizyah from them. He got angry and adjured the Muslims by Allaah to find out who had done this deed, so that he could determine his punishment and judge his case. But when he found out that she had transgressed the covenant several times by reviling the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and impugning him, she forfeited all her rights and deserved the hadd punishment of execution which is imposed by sharee’ah on everyone who reviles the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), whether he is a Muslim, a dhimmi or a mu’aahid (non-Muslim living under Muslim rule), because impugning the status of the Prophets is kufr or disbelief in Allaah the Almighty, and a transgression of every sacred limit and right and covenant, and a major betrayal which deserves the greatest punishment.  [IslamQA]
When the man confessed and explained what happened the Prophet simply made a pronouncement on whether blood money/retaliation for her was due.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not choose to kill her in this manner, but because she deserved to be executed as a hadd punishment for breaking the covenant and reviling the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he did not demand qisaas* from her killer.




*Qisaas is retaliation in kind
That’s all – he was not endorsing vigilante killings and encouraging people to chop up random people on trains (it’s so ignorant/disingenuous to try and link it as such).

And in any case, think about it.

The Afghan refugee started killing random people in a non Muslim state Even if one was to try and link his act of terror to that Hadith it fails for three reasons:

1. That act was a terrorist attack on random people – terrorism is forbidden in Sharia

2. It was in a land where Sharia Hadd punishments would not apply

3. It would have been a vigilante attack (there was no trial or judge involved) – vigilantism is not allowed in Islam

Killing Dhimmis?

As for killing a dhimmi unlawfully, it is major sin, and the warning concerning that is very stern, as was proven in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (3166) from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) who narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever killed a mu’aahid will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, although its fragrance may be detected from a distance of forty years’ travel.” Imam al-Bukhaari included this report in a chapter in his Saheeh entitled “Chapter: the sin of one who kills a mu’aahid unlawfully.” [IslamQA]

Follow this discussion on IslamQA for more information:

https://islamqa.info/en/111252
Is Salafism Behind ISIS Terrorism – DR YASIR QADHI

Russell Brand: Haters of Islam Encourage Muslims towards Extremism

Sharia Law against terrorism

[QURAN MIRACLES] The Miracles of the Number 19 in Quran | Dr. Shabir Ally

Christians having dreams and converting to Islam

Learn about Islam

Email: yahyasnow@yahoo.co.uk

Using Jonathan Sacks to Disarm Atheists and Ex Muslim Critics

This claim of “freedom” is just a slogan used by the Neo-Atheist and anti-religion camps. What exactly does it mean? Nothing. It’s an empty slogan.

Islam is all about encouraging spirituality whilst giving a framework for spirituality to flourish (an example of a facet of this framework would be the prohibition of destroyers of spirituality such as alcohol, drugs, over-eating, back-biting, gambling and pornography)

So what exactly is he free from? Free from a religion that prescribes God consciousness and restrictions/prohibitions on base indulgences.

Is that really something to celebrate or sloganeer?

Analysis: Atheist and ExMuslim Slogans of Freedom After Islam (and other Religion)


This video is also uploaded under Richard Dawkins Type Slogans by JajaboarTheNomad AKA Mufassil Islam

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks touches the concept of freedom here and it is much more profound than the superficial “I am free” slogan the anti-religion camp hold up:


Even so, the costs are beginning to mount up. Levels of trust have plummeted throughout the West as one group after another — bankers, CEOs, media personalities, parliamentarians, the press — has been hit by scandal. Marriage has all but collapsed as an institution, with 40 per cent of children born outside it and 50 per cent of marriages ending in divorce. Rates of depressive illness and stress-related syndromes have rocketed especially among the young. A recent survey showed that the average 18- to 35-year-old has 237 Facebook friends. When asked how many they could rely on in a crisis, the average answer was two. A quarter said one. An eighth said none.

None of this should surprise us. This is what a society built on materialism, individualism and moral relativism looks like. It maximises personal freedom but at a cost. As Michael Walzer puts it: ‘This freedom, energising and exciting as it is, is also profoundly disintegrative, making it very difficult for individuals to find any stable communal support, very difficult for any community to count on the responsible participation of its individual members. It opens solitary men and women to the impact of a lowest common denominator, commercial culture.’

A you can see Jonathan Sacks lists ailments the West is encountering and he puts it down to this “freedom” from religion. The question one needs to ask, is this “freedom” Atheists champion truly beneficial for society and the individual?

This problem of anti-religion freedom is further explored by Sacks:


It is just that, in the words of historian Will Durant, ‘There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.’…But Durant’s point is the challenge of our time. I have not yet found a secular ethic capable of sustaining in the long run a society of strong communities and families on the one hand, altruism, virtue, self-restraint, honour, obligation and trust on the other.

Nobody is ever totally free. EVERYBODY has a worldview and set of principles which binds them.

Atheism effectively encourages nihilism and the void left in the Atheist after leaving Islam (or any other organised religion) is filled with individualism, relativism, and materialism to

certain degrees which ultimately leaves one prone to consumerism in the West – a slave to consumerism!

The anti-religion movement has no solutions but simply mindless, meaningless and empty slogans.

Let’s think beyond these.

Message of Concern: ExMuslims Come Back To Islam – Don’t Give Up on the Mercy of God

British Atheist Becomes Muslim

People converting to Islam

Sharia Law against terrorism

Christians having dreams and converting to Islam

Learn about Islam

Email: yahyasnow@yahoo.co.uk 

Pfander Centre for Apologetics: Gay Marriage Kryptonite

Jonathan McLatchie calls gay marriage “madness” yet when it comes to terrorist attacks such as the Orlando shootings, it’s not called madness. It’s called Islam – this is the message we get based on the videos of one of his colleagues, David Wood*, which he shares on his FaceBook page. All this despite there being more support from Christian authorities for gay marriage than support from Muslim authorities for terrorism!

You have the modern phenomena of indiscriminate killings of civilians which all Muslim scholastic bodies have condemned to be against the spirit of Islam. Dr Timothy Winter of Cambridge University states “terrorism is the arbitrary targeting of the innocent in order to place pressure on governments, which is something which doesn’t have origins in Islamic culture or ethics and comes out of the French revolution and certain 19th century anarchist movements that used terrorism. As a doctrine in the Muslim world it’s very recent and it’s an expression of Westernisation. Terrorism, 9/11 for instance, according to classical Islamic Law is classified as hiraba which carried the death penalty”

An excellent quote from Muhammad Asad’s book rebuking McLatchie’s fellow evangelical Christians (Jeremiah Johnston and Craig Evans) who parse terrorist attacks in a similar manner to McLatchie and his friend David Wood:

“Simply put, every Muslim scholar – whether Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Deobandi – has condemned and spoken out against Daesh. Their arguments against Daesh and its acts are derived from traditional Islamic religious texts and  based firmly in Islamic jurisprudence”.



The evangelical Christian inconsistency

 
Contrast that with the equally modern phenomena of gay marriage. Although there is a growing number of churches, Christian leaders and lay Christians accepting gay marriage as being within the spirit of Christianity, Jonathan would dismiss gay marriage as “madness”.More Christians who are involved in the CoE believe gay marriage is right rather than wrong. A recent survey by YouGov suggested 45% of Church of England followers felt same-sex marriage was right, against 37% who believed it wrong [stats sourced from Huffington Post]. According to the Huff Post, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and now the Presbytarian Church (USA) sanctify the marriage of two men or two women.

Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier, who has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1984 as a minister, theology professor, and writer states there’s an overwhelmingly positive case for gay marriage in the Bible:

Fortunately, the church across the centuries has developed guidelines for interpreting Scripture that help keep our use of particular passages in touch with the true portrait of God’s love in Christ. When we apply these guidelines, the Bible’s teaching about gay people and their relationships appears in a whole new light. In my book I show how the application of these time-tested principles of biblical interpretation produces an overwhelmingly positive biblical case in favor of gay marriage. I came to realize how my former reliance on fragmentary, out-of-context quotes from Scripture had led me to lose touch with the “big picture” of God’s love that lies at the heart of the Bible’s witness.

All this in the eyes of Jonathan McLatchie is “madness”. Yet if he would just step back for a few moments he would observe the huge inconsistency he and his evangelical colleagues operate on. There’s actually much more support for gay marriage from Christian authorities, churches and lay Christians alike than there is for terrorist acts such as Orlando.

If McLatchie was consistent he would say, that gay marriage is CHRISTIAN not “madness”. I’d imagine for him, Christian proponents of gay marriage decontextualize and rely on fragmentary readings of the Bible. BUT he and his colleagues are not even cognisant to this being the case for Muslim terrorists despite:

In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5’s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation”, the newspaper said.
[Mehdi Hasan]

I recently heard rabbi Tovia Singer, a man who has no horse in this race, say terrorists abuse texts from the Quran and Hadith. Ask yourself why a Jewish rabbi can be more scholarly, consistent and fair than Jonathan McLatchie and his evangelical Christian colleagues – a crowd who claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit?

There’s clearly an agenda at play here. Perhaps Jonathan McLatchie will enlighten us on this glaringly obvious inconsistency and why it is operated on. For now, smart and fair-minded people are not impressed.

* David Wood, in pretty much the immediate aftermath of the Orlando shootings made a video effort claiming Omar Mateen’s actions were in line with Islamic texts. Maeten’s former gay lover has now come out and said he thinks it was nothing to do with religion but a revenge attack concerning a sexual liaison with a man/men who did not inform him of  a HIV positive status – see the Independent. David Wood has a history of hurdling over facts and fair-minded analysis.

 

 

On Ignatius a Response to Dividing Line, Ad Lucem and Apologetics Academy

Dr James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries, Jonathan McLatchie of the Apologetics Academy and PS Rudolph Boshoff of Ad Lucem all appeared to respond to portions of this video which features a Speakers Corner discussion between Mansur Ahmed, Paul Williams and Jonathan along with some material edited in by yours truly.
I am toying with the idea of responding to Dr White via audio but in reality James did not interact with any of the points in the video aside from trying to argue for the Trinity from the text itself more forcefully than Jonathan did in the discussion. After what appeared to be paranoia on his part about a Muslim/s recording or watching his Dividing Line podcast and Muslims “dividing” Christians (ironic considering somebody recommended by his friend accuses Dr White of dividing Christians – not to mention him proceeding to criticise two Christians – one of which was Dr Bruce Ware – after he had finished the Dividing Line segment talking about Ignatius and the Trinity) he got on to the discussion and in all reality did not add anything that Jonathan’s article has not added. Dr White, although obviously interacting with this video, did not even interact with the material from Dr Foster and Dr Tuggy.

How can one have a meaningful dialogue when the other party fails to even attempt discussing the concerns raised? Not to mention Dr White’s avoidance in naming which Muslims he was referencing – how can his audience even see what the opposition has said if he is so cryptic and guarded in his approach to avoid giving away the identity of those he is responding to?I may address him in an audio video if I feel I have the time and encourage a more critical evaluation of the sources and a more rounded approach.

For our purposes Jonathan McLatchie’s response captures the essence of what Dr White was saying so this here goes.

Now, I’ve already written on this subject in the past. Here’s the basics you should know, basics which will take the fizz out of much  of Jonathan McLatchie’s argumentation:

Did Ignatius of Antioch believe in the Trinity idea? Some Trinitarian apologists claim Ignatius taught the Trinity idea before the 4th century (in the first or second century). Is this a valid claim? No.

Firstly, the letters of Ignatius are suspected to be highly interpolated thus cannot be used as proof of Ignatius’ beliefs as they are unreliable. See

..even the genuine epistles were greatly interpolated to lend weight to the personal views of its authors. For this reason they are incapable of bearing witness to the original form [Source]

Also:

There may be serious question whether these epistles of Ignatius have not been emended or edited by later writers. There are some words and phrases alien to early Christianity which raise suspicion that some of the works have been manipulated or added to by later church [Source]
Secondly, the quote Trinitarians use to contend Ignatius believed in the Trinity is thus:

“In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever,”

Notice there’s no mention of the Trinity idea here. Remember the Trinitarians teach 3 in 1. This verse mentions three but there’s no mention of the three being co-equal and of the same substance.

Thirdly, the Trinitarian is quite selective here in terms of which Triune formula they reference as it seems there’s Triune formula including Mary:

A “triune formula” — often used to prove the Trinity — is a phrase which includes three things or three persons. The answer to this question is yes. There is one surprising Trinitarian formulation which seems alien to early Christian. In To the Ephesians, section 7, there is a trinity of God, the Son, and Mary. Or, in section 18, the trinity of Jesus, Mary and the Holy Ghost. [Source]

OK now you’re all up to speed,  we are back looking at what Jonathan wrote. What you’ll notice is, the third point above does militate against him as he selectively grabs something which he thinks to be pointing at a triune formula (see highlighted parts of Jonathan’s text below). Before, looking at it further, notice what’s happening here. Jonathan is really just arguing via inference and speculation. He doesn’t have anything definitive. Here’s Jonathan piece:

Here is an excerpt from Ignatius’ letter to the church of Ephesus:

“There is only one Physician —
Very flesh, yet Spirit too;
Uncreated, and yet born;
God-and-Man in One agreed,
Very-Life-in-Death indeed,
Fruit of God and Mary’s seed;
At once impassible and torn
By pain and suffering here below;
Jesus Christ, whom as our Lord we know.”
[…]
Deaf as stones you were: yes, stones for the Father’s Temple, stones trimmed ready for God to build with, hoisted up by the derick of Jesus Christ (the cross) with the Holy Spirit for a cable; your faith being the winch that draws you to God, up the ramp of love.”

In this text, we have allusion to the Father, as well as the Son (who is identified as God) and mention is made of the Holy Spirit. In the very same epistle, he later writes,

“As for me, my spirit is now all humble devotion to the Cross: the Cross which so greatly offends the unbelievers, but is salvation and eternal life to us. Where is your wise man now, or your subtle debater? Where are the fine words of our so-called intellectuals? Under the divine dispensation, Jesus Christ our God was conceived by Mary of the seed of David and of the Spirit of God; He was born, and He submitted to baptism, so that by His passion He might sanctify water.”


Again, this text refers to Jesus Christ as God and speaks of the Holy Spirit as being the “Spirit of God”. Since Ignatius affirms monotheism, and affirms the deity of the Father, Son and Spirit while distinguishing them from each other as individuals, how can one assert that Ignatius does not affirm the Trinity?

As the parts of his citation he uses to allude to a triune formula is covering old ground let’s add further insight on this whole discussion with special emphasis on what calling Jesus God could have meant and whether the Trinity is viable through the descriptions of Jesus in Ignatius’ letter to the Ephesians 7:2 via Dr Edgar G Foster:

Schoedel writes that the distinctions made by Ignatius above cannot apply to the “internal relations of the Godhead” but it only applies to the incarnate Christ. However, I am puzzled over how one can apply Ignatius’ words to the immanent Trinity or the economic Trinity. Subsequent believers [at Nicaea] declared that the Son is begotten, not created and that the Father is unbegotten. But how does one consider Christ “unbegotten” in relation to the cosmos (humanity) that he came to save? It is no wonder that Bart Ehrman writes in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture that theologians would later find Ignatius’ formulation in Eph 7:2 “vague.” It does not seem to assist the Trinitarian case at all. It therefore has no theological force.
Interestingly Cyril C. Richardson plainly writes that Christ is called hO QEOS by Ignatius and he further points out that the bishop “does not explain, he only asserts that Christ is God” (Ignatius of Antioch, page 45). But Richardson goes beyond the surface structure orprima facie meaning of Ignatius’ terminology and explores “what type of picture Ignatius has in mind when he employs the signifier QEOS. His conclusion?

“Unlike Theophilus of Antioch, he has nothing to say about God as creator; His eternity and invisibility are mentioned only in Pol. 3.2, and He is never predicated with immortality, the chief attribute of the heathen ‘Gods.’ For Ignatius QEOS means essentially a superhuman, moral being” (45).
He adds: “There is never a hint in his writing that Christ was in any way absorbed in God or confused with Him. He always stands in a place secondary and inferior to him” (44).

So what are we seeing here?

The citations provided by Jonathan McLatchie and Dr James White are not being dealt with with a critical lens and a desire to understand what the author may have meant. Instead an anachronistic view is foisted upon poor Ignatius of Antioch by later Trinitarians to try and claim him as his own. As seen, the citations:

Show an incompatibility with an understanding of Jesus that fits the 3-self Trinitarian paradigm. So what did we see from this discussion on the texts cited:

Jesus is considered secondary – subordinate – to God. Jesus, when called God, is meant to be superhuman rather than God himself. As Bart Ehrman points out in Foster’s reflections later theologians found Ignatius to be vague too

Jonathan asks, how can one assert Ignatius didn’t affirm the Trinity. Later theologians did not share Jonathan’s confidence.

I’d also like to add, in my reading of Ignatius’ epistle to the Ephesians I came across a portion which indicates agency. Agency in a Jewish understanding. So, was Ignatius offering elevated reverence to Jesus due to him being an agent of God? It’s one worthy for consideration (see Ignatius’s letter to Ephesus chapter 6 to see what I am referencing)

Conclusion

The conclusion is the same as my previous one; to say Ignatius taught the Trinity would be misleading.

Note: I have noticed gentlemen on social media who are straw-manning the Muslim arguments. We aren’t saying because Ignatius didn’t use the word “Trinity” that means he didn’t believe in it. No, our contentions are he did not believe in the 3-self Trinity idea and this is apparent in his lack of Trinitarian thought coming out of his text.

Let me make a simple but extremely effective point. When Christians fraudulently added 1 John 5:7 into the text of the Bible in the 1500s the teaching was simple after outlining the 3 “Persons” of the 3-self Trinity belief it states they are one.

To convey the basic idea of the 3-self Trinity belief without the word Trinity is quite easy. Why don’t we see this in the first 3 centuries? Why don’t we not see this earlier still; in the writings of Paul, Mark and Matthew? Or earlier still, why not in the mouth of Jesus in any of the Texts? Or even earlier, why not in the Old Testament?

I think it’s obvious why. The Trinity belief is a later development.

It is my hope James, Jonathan and Rudolph will reflect on the points outlined. The same applies to other Christians.

May God guide us all. Ameen

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Calling Christians highlights a common confusion in Christian explanations of the Trinity

Blogging Theology

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 19.26.19

As someone commented under this post on Facebook:

By saying Jesus was “part Divine” & “part man”, you create a huge problem for yourself.

Did God die then? The Christian says “No, only the man died”.

But, on the same hand, “a man dying” isn’t good enough for them for remission of sins, the need a “divine man”.

The Christian can’t even explain his own position without contradicting himself somewhere…and, an explanation is not a proof, as I just showed you.

You explained HOW your theory works, & I showed you WHY it can’t be the case ; an explanation is not a proof.

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