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1790Re: [biblicalapologetics] Re: Response to Rob Bowman on 1 Cor. 8:6

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  • Paul Leonard
    Oct 7, 2007
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      Hi Rob,

      I have been following this for a bit. One thing missing is any actual refutation by you. Yes you say what you believe, yet you do not give any substance to your beliefs.

      You do not answer Patrick's direct questions based on scripture and history. You appear to divert attention to Patrick's methods, beliefs or association, rather than give substantive answers to the scriptural points. It is kind of like you can't/won't commit yourself to a direct answer and in this way dodge the real issues.

      I am disappointed as this is not the way you have answered others in the past. Those reading the posts may well draw the conclusion that you cannot answer. I am sure that is not the impression you wish to give. Remember Patrick and I do not see eye to eye on all issues, so I am not being excessively partisan here.

      "Robert M. Bowman, Jr." <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:

      There is a law of diminishing returns in discussions of this type.
      It would be highly unwieldy and likely unprofitable for me to
      attempt a line-by-line reply to your recent post on 1 Corinthians
      8:6. I will have to be content with a very brief response to what I
      consider key points.

      You continue to claim that Trinitarians "overlook" and "ignore" what
      1 Corinthians 8:6 says when it speaks of "one God, the Father."
      Despite the lengths of your comments on this point, you have really
      said nothing new. Contrary to your claim, Trinitarians do not
      overlook what Paul says, nor do we "gloss over" or "trivialize" it.
      Indeed, we have enshrined it boldly in our creeds. 1 Corinthians 8:6
      actually represents an early creed (as you yourself noted); and the
      Apostles Creed and, later, the Nicene Creed are both elaborations on
      this early creed. 1 Corinthians 8:6 is, as it were, the bare-bones
      outline of what later became those creeds. It could hardly be given
      a more prominent place in the history of Christian theology than
      that. Yet you claim we ignore or overlook it.

      You wrote:

      << For Christians, the language and substance of these declarations
      are sufficiently clear and definitional. We find no need—even 2000
      years later—to formulate or synthesize our own distinctive and
      scripturally unprecedented creed regarding God's identity and nature
      (or that of Christ's) based on a series of debatable and subjective
      biblical interpretations, since the Bible already spells one out for
      us, at several instances, in no uncertain terms. >>

      Then please spell out for us what you believe, positively, about
      Jesus Christ. We want to know if you can affirm, with the New
      Testament, that Jesus Christ is your Lord and your God, your great
      God and Savior. We want to know if you believe that the Son existed
      before the creation of the universe. We want to know if you believe
      that the Son laid the foundations of the earth and that the heavens
      are the works of his hands. We want to know if you believe that the
      Son upholds all things by the word of his power. We want to know if
      you believe that it was the Son who led the Israelites out of Egypt
      and through the wilderness and judged them when they rebelled
      against him. We want to know if you believe that Christ is present
      with any group of his disciples, wherever they may be on the earth,
      at the same time, as they meet in his name. We want to know if you
      call on him as Lord in order to be saved. We want to know if you
      honor the Son just as you honor the Father. We want to know if you
      worship him, call on him, ask him for anything. We want to know if
      you fear him, hallow him or regard him as sacred, love him more than
      you love your own family, make melody in your heart to him, and
      serve him. We want to know if you acknowledge that he sits on God's
      throne, exercising God's prerogatives of ruling over and judging all

      Notice that everything I have said in the above paragraph comes
      straight from the New Testament. I have not needed to use any
      Trinitarian language to articulate my view of Jesus Christ.

      We also want to know, Patrick, who these "Christians" are with whom
      you associate yourself. What association, church, fellowship, or
      otherwise identifiable group of Christians believes as you do? With
      whom are you joined as a member of the body of Christ, working
      together with them, ministering alongside them?

      You wrote:

      << In my interpretation of things, the real burden faced by
      Trinitarian apologists is to satisfactorily explain why—in the face
      of so many fitting opportunities— did the writers and participants of
      Scripture, essentially, "hold back" from fully disclosing what they
      _really_ believed, using misleading language that would naturally
      make people think that the "one/only true God" and Jesus were two
      distinct figures, and that the "one" and "only true God" was,
      exclusively, "*the Father*"—in a class completely by himself. >>

      I might ask why the NT writers so frequently applied the language of
      OT passages about YHWH to Jesus Christ without any explanation that
      would qualify or disavow the apparent identity those applications
      implied. I might ask why they never "held back" from according to
      Jesus Christ every divine honor—worship, love, fear, faith, service,
      obedience, prayer, religious song—or ever warned against exalting
      Jesus too highly. I might ask why, if the NT writers were committed
      to the belief that the Father was in a different class of being than
      the Son, they were apparently so careless as to make numerous
      statements easily understood as putting him in the same class.

      You complain that the Trinitarian position is so elastic as to be
      nonfalsifiable. I really don't see how your view escapes the same
      criticism. Indeed, the heart of your criticism of the doctrine of
      the Trinity is not that it is nonfalsifiable, but that it is
      unintelligible. You impose certain implications that you think a
      Trinitarian reading of a text like 1 Corinthians 8:6 would have to
      bear, and then triumphantly insist that the text then becomes
      unintelligible. That criticism won't work unless you hold that the
      doctrine of the Trinity itself is unintelligible. Clearly, that is
      your position. Just as clearly, then, nothing the NT could ever say
      would ever be considered in your mind to be supportive of the
      Trinitarian position, because the NT could not mean what it said and
      be intelligible from your perspective.

      You say that you are nearly finished reading my book and will post a
      review soon on your web site. If your review is along the same lines
      as your posts, I will have very little to add.

      In Christ's service,
      Rob Bowman

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