Re: [The Truth Of God's Word] Norm needs educating
- 1Then after an interval of fourteen years I (A)went
up again to Jerusalem with (B)Barnabas, taking
(C)Titus along also.
2It was because of a (D)revelation that I went up;
and I submitted to them the (E)gospel which I preach
among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those
who were of reputation, for fear that I might be
(F)running, or had run, in vain." (Galatians 2)
Paul expressed a fear or at least a concern, that he
might discover, after submitting his gospel to the
Jerusalem apostles, that he had run in vain.
Doesn't exactly sound like original Christianity's
apostles were always harmonious and agreed with each
other on everything, as the doctrine of biblical
inerrancy implies, eh?
I'd like some inerrantist to explain how they can be
so sure that Paul didn't need to feel concerned, since
James and Paul obviously agreed on the gospel, but
that Paul himself, a much better authority on Paul
than any modern-day inerrantist, actually had concerns
about running in vain when he was about to show James
Do you ever submit your belief in the trinity to your
pastor? Probably not, since it is already a given
that your pastor agrees with you on the matter.
The implication of the analogy is that Paul would only
go to submit his gospel to someone, if that someone
had NOT heard of his gospel before.
It gets worse:
If Paul and James were equally inspired and thus
totally in agreement on the nature of the gospel, why
was Paul going up to Jerusalem to submit his gospel to
them in the first place?
Paul says "it was because of false brethren".
Wait a minute....What is the probability that the
apostles in Jerusalem would be misled by false
brothers into believing their false report about
Paul's gospel, so that Paul would feel compelled to
defend his gospel himself from that rumor? Wouldn't
you say there was NO possibility at all, given that
they were all inspired by God and teaching the same
gospel, as you believe they did?
If so, then how can Paul have been motivated by false
brothers to go confirm his gospel with James? If you
are an apostle, inspired by God and in agreement with
other inspired apostles, then obviously no false
brothers with their lies are gonna make it necessary
for you to make sure the other inspired apostles
understand your gospel, amen? Your other inspired
apostles in Christ would not need you to personally
confirm your gospel to them, they would be just as
quick to condemn there heretics lies as you, right?
So how is it that Paul was motivated by false teachers
to go submit his gospel to apostle james?
I say it is because he knew James disagreed with his
gospel, but that he couldn't exactly just wave James
aside as a nobody, but felt it a good business
decision to go and try to forge some sort of agreement
with James, an important leader of the church.
Otherwise it's like you being worried that Jehovah's
witnesses might convince your friend that you teach
falsely, so you make a special trip to go see that
friend and assure them that you believe the same
things they do. That's just stupid. And if you and
your friend are inspired apostles, then your trip to
go see them and do this is all the more unnecessary.
Would you agree with me that those who believe the
bible is inerrant, cannot rationally explain Paul's
motivation to go confirm his gospel with James, merely
because some heretics got involved?
And doesn't Acts 16 record episodes of mental
telepathy, conveniently overcoming the costly and
dangerous problem of needing to journey to see
So I believe Paul is fudging his words a bit in
Galatians. The truth is that he made the dangerous
costly journey to Jerusalem to 'submit' his gospel to
apostle James, because apostle James had never heard
that gospel, and too many people were saying James
disagreed with paul, so that it wasn't good for
business anymore. But if James surely always agreed
with Paul on the nature of the gospel, then what new
thing is he informing James of when he goes to submit
his gospel to him?
Paul's journey to James in Galatians 2 only makes
sense if he honestly felt James probably disagreed
with him, and so Paul needed to seriously deal with
this important leader face-to-face. paul uses the
excuse that this all happened because of false
brothers, but I've already demonstrated that this is a
pitifully stupid excuse that doesn't make sense if we
assume James's and Paul's divine inspiration as
Paul is fudging his words, because he says there were
some authorities he submitted his gospel to, whom he
resisted, and didn't give place by subjection to; no,
not for an hour...see Galatians 2:5.
You may say this wasn't James that he was resisting
but false brothers.
That's not my point.
My point is that Paul places this confrontation in the
context AFTER he gets to Jerusalem, in his effort to
submit his gospel to the Jerusalam apostles.
Apparantly then, he came upon false legalistic
brothers WHO WERE IN JERUSALEM (!?), who disagreed
with his gospel, and Paul didn't give in to them one
Ain't that just a bit suspicious, that Paul would
bother defending his gospel with those whom he regards
already as heretics?
Isn't it even scarier, that after all the
crowd-converting miracles and awe-inspiring power of
the apostles spoken of in Acts, that Paul finds
resistence to his gospel in the very city that was
apostle James' seat of authority...Jerusalem?
Can you seriously believe that apostle James disagreed
just as violently with his local legalist Christians
as Paul did?
Is it not more reasonable to suppose that the reason
there are legalistic Christians in Jerusalem is
because apostle James, head of that particular locale,
was himself a legalist?
Yeah, the idea that appostle James taught a legalistic
gospel may offend what you currently believe, but then
again, you are quick to move wherever the truth is, or
quick to acknowledge that you were decieved when you
become convinced you were in error, amen?
Sure, you can continue insisting that apostle James
wasn't legalistic, so as to defend your doctrine of
inerrancy, but you can only do so if you have already
read the historical information on apostle James as
being a legalist himself, information recorded by
Jerome and Eusebius, and found good reason to say the
early Church trusted in a false rumor about James.
But I'm not too sure you wanna deliver that supply of
ammo to us atheists. You go around saying the beliefs
of the early post-apostolic church about their
founders was often false, and yer gonna lose about 80%
of the material apologists regularly work with.
Because if you agree with the Church's historical
information that apostle James was a high Jewish
priest who performed animal sacrifices long after
Jesus died for sin, you will be forced to conclude
that apostle James was a legalist, and therefore a
very prime candidate for the legalist preacher who
Paul screams curses at in Galatians 1:8.
Don't be so quick to assume that James couldn't have
done animal sacrifices after Jesus died because he'd
have known that Jesus' death made them irrelevent.
That assumes, blindly, that he would agree with
apostle Paul, and assumes, blindly, that the
historical information from Eusebius and Jerome must
be false just so you don't have to give up believing
in biblical inerrancy.
Food fight? Enjoy some healthy debate
in the Yahoo! Answers Food & Drink Q&A.
Biblical inerrancy does not entail that the apostles always behaved
perfectly, that they always got along, or even that they always
agreed on everything. It does entail that what they taught *in
Scripture* is unerring and therefore consistent with each other.
Although Paul expresses the hypothetical concern that his labors
would be in vain if the Jerusalem church were to compromise the
gospel, he also states that in fact they agreed with him and backed
When Paul says that he submitted his gospel to the Jerusalem
pillars, this does not mean that they preached a different gospel.
It means that he went to make sure that they understood that the
gospel he preached was the same one that they preached, though his
field of ministry was largely different (primarily Gentiles instead
of Jews). False brethren had sowed seeds of suspicion everywhere
about Paul, and it was natural for him to go to the Jerusalem
apostles and bypass the rumor mill in order to eliminate any basis
for divisions between his ministry and theirs. Inspiration does not
mean that the apostles were omniscient and knew what each other was
preaching without ever talking to each other!
Your claim that Paul "knew James disagreed with his gospel"
contradicts what Paul himself says. It also contradicts what Luke
reports in the Book of Acts.
<< And doesn't Acts 16 record episodes of mental telepathy,
conveniently overcoming the costly and dangerous problem of needing
to journey to see someone? Yes. >>
No. Do you have a special edition of Acts that we don't?
<< So I believe Paul is fudging his words a bit in Galatians. >>
In other words, you are using Paul's own words in Galatians to prove
that Paul was being dishonest in Galatians, based on a jaundiced
reading of his words. Not very persuasive.
As for James being "a legalist," you are confusing being an
observant Jewish Christian with being a legalistic Jewish Christian.
James was the former but not the latter. If he offered animal
sacrifices at the temple, his doing so would not be inconsistent for
an observant Jewish believer in Jesus living in Jerusalem during the
transition period when the temple was still standing and the church
was itself predominantly a Jewish movement. But even if such a
practice would be inconsistent with Paul's teaching, James's
personal practice is not taught in the New Testament, and so once
again biblical inerrancy is not threatened.
Your whole approach is flat-footed; it is a two-dimensional reading
of texts that come to us within a dynamic, historical period of
transition. The earliest Christians were Jews who took the gospel to
both Jews and Gentiles. Naturally, not everyone agreed with the
leadership all of the time. Naturally, the leaders themselves were
imperfect human beings who went through a learning process. None of
this contradicts biblical inerrancy. It does contradict your
simplistic inferences from biblical inerrancy.
In Christ's service,
- Dear Rob,This is Patrick Navas. I wanted to ask you two questions, if you don't mind. I noticed in your book Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, you stated that you agree with the WT publication which argues against the term "elohim" being an evidence for "plurality" in God as it relates to the OT. In fact, I quote your comment in my book, Divine Truth or Human Tradition. My question is, why does ther plural term elohim, in your view, not support trinitarian doctrine?Also, do you agree with the argument of Robert Morey that the Hebrew term echad (Deut. 6:4) carries the connotation of "plurality in unity"? Or is this an erroneous argument in behalf of the Trinity, in your opinion?I would appreciate you expressing yourself on these matters.Patrick Navas
<< I noticed in your book Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, you
stated that you agree with the WT publication which argues against
the term "elohim" being an evidence for "plurality" in God as it
relates to the OT. In fact, I quote your comment in my book, Divine
Truth or Human Tradition. My question is, why does ther plural term
elohim, in your view, not support trinitarian doctrine? >>
This is a rather odd question. Perhaps you misunderstood me to mean
that the use of ELOHIM is somehow inconsistent with trinitarian
doctrine. That is not what I was saying. I was simply agreeing that
one cannot appeal to the plural form of ELOHIM as a proof of the
doctrine of the Trinity.
An example of the exegetical evidence for my conclusion in this
matter is the fact that the term ELOHIM applies prophetically to the
Messiah in Psalm 45:6. Obviously, this cannot mean that the Messiah
will himself be triune.
<< Also, do you agree with the argument of Robert Morey that the
Hebrew term echad (Deut. 6:4) carries the connotation of "plurality
in unity"? Or is this an erroneous argument in behalf of the
Trinity, in your opinion? >>
I disagree with that argument as well. The Hebrew word ECHAD does
not mean a plurality in unity (as Trinitarians sometimes claim); nor
does it mean a unity with no plurality (as anti-Trinitarians
sometimes claim). It just means a unity; it is the common Hebrew
word for "one." Whether a plurality is involved within that unity
must be determined from other considerations.
In Christ's service,
- Rob,Thank you for the prompt reply to my questions. Essentially, you agree with me that the commonly advanced trinitarian argument that the plural term elohim (as it applies to Jehovah in the OT) and the argument that echad carries with it the notion of "plurality" or "compound unity" (in line with the Trinity) are both in error. I would also imagine this means that you, likewise, agree with me that these two arguments in particular should be abandoned by Trinitarians, as they do nothing to advance the credibility of the Trinitarian cause.You wrote:"Perhaps you misunderstood me to mean that the use of ELOHIM is somehow inconsistent with Trinitarian doctrine. That is not what I was saying. I was simply agreeing that one cannot appeal to the plural form of ELOHIM as a proof of the doctrine of the Trinity."Thank you for raising this issue, as it allows me to provide clarification. I quote you in my book on this point because I hoped it would be helpful in terms of dispelling the still commonly advanced trinitarian argument that the plural word elohim provides support or evidence for trinitarian theology. I did not, in any way, misunderstand you. Nor was I suggesting that you were implying that elohim is somehow inconsistent, or contradictory toward, the doctrine of the Trinity.This is actually an essential part of the theme of my entire book; namely, that, in nearly every case, Trinitarians themselves will contradict and essentially refute the arguments of other Trinitarians in behalf of the doctrine, as in the examples of echad and elohim. In this light, I'm sure you are able to see how this would contribute toward further skepticism on the part of non-trinitarians with respect to the validity of the doctrine. Then, just throw the following fact into the equation and I'm sure that you would also understand why the skepticism would increase even more:"[The Trinity] is not clearly or explicitly taught anywhere in Scripture, yet it is widely regarded as a central doctrine, indispensable to the Christian faith. In this regard, it goes contrary to what is virtually an axiom [that is, a given, a self evident truth] of biblical doctrine, namely, that there is a direct correlation between the scriptural clarity of a doctrine and its cruciality to the faith and life of the church. In view of the difficulty of the subject and the great amount of effort expended to maintain this doctrine, we may well ask ourselves what might justify all this trouble." (Millard J. Erickson)Thanks again, Rob. If you are interested, I'd love to share with you my discussion on 1 Cor. 15:28 as it appears in my book. I critique the arguments of James White, who argues that "God" in 1 Cor. 15:28 means "the triune God." I believe I have demonstrated, quite clearly, that such a meaning is extremely unlikely, if not impossible to sustain, in light of a number of contextual and linguistic evidences.Best wishes,Patrick Navas
<< This is actually an essential part of the theme of my entire
book; namely, that, in nearly every case, Trinitarians themselves
will contradict and essentially refute the arguments of other
Trinitarians in behalf of the doctrine, as in the examples of echad
and elohim. In this light, I'm sure you are able to see how this
would contribute toward further skepticism on the part of non-
trinitarians with respect to the validity of the doctrine. >>
What I see is this: It is almost always possible to find someone,
somewhere, who will disagree with this or that element of a
particular argument, or who will say things that could at least be
taken in that way. But this line of critique does not overturn the
The arguments that appeal to ECHAD and ELOHIM to prove a plurality
of persons in God are widely rejected by the majority of Christian
Old Testament scholars. It is not a matter of finding one or two who
dispute it and *wham* you have called it into question. It is a
matter of widespread agreement among the professional scholars in
the specialized field that the arguments are unsound. Furthermore,
strong, persuasive reasons for abandoning those arguments have been
This is not the situation with every aspect of the case for the
doctrine of the Trinity. The evidence, for example, that Jesus
Christ preexisted his human life is pervasive in the New Testament,
and no amount of proof-texting a scholar's opinion about this verse
here or there will overturn it. The evidence that Jesus was the
recipient of divine honors is also pervasive in the New Testament
and is widely acknowledged by New Testament scholars.
I'm extraordinarily busy this month, so I won't be able to engage in
much discussion for the time being. But I will be happy to discuss
these matters with you further when I have the opportunity.
In Christ's service,
- Dear Rob,Once again, thanks for writing back. Since you are busy, the only thing I'll say at this point is that the "pre-existence" of Christ and "divine honors" attributed to Christ, as I believe you already know, can be (or are) both readily accepted in a non-trinitarian model. Also, the point is, you have a case where outspoken and influential apologists, like Dr. Morey and Matt Slick, for example, attempt to use arguments from echad or elohim (Slick) that are already known to be completely flawed, and this is definitely a problem worth trying to fix. One could also argue, the public should expect much more from intellegent scholars of this caliber (Morey: Phd), yet they continue to promote irresponsible and deceptive arguments of this kind. This is certainly an unfortunate thing.I'll look forward to talking to you more soon, since I know you're busy.Patrick Navas
While your post was directed to Rob, I just wanted to
chew on it for just a moment. I do not and have never
understood why Christians are so intent on trying to
implant a concept of a holy trinity in the Hebrew
Scriptures that simply isn't there. We can, I hope,
agree that nowhere in the Scriptures is there any
direct, identifiable reference to a father-son-Holy
Ghost trinity. There is just God. One being, one
entity, one God; not one God split into three or three
combined into one or any such thing. He is the God "I
am", not the God "We are". He says "I am the Lord
your God and there is no other". He instructs his
chosen Hebrew people to place no other Gods before
him. He is a singular God. This is the message of
the Hebrew Scriptures.
That the people who committed the Tanaq to writing on
two or three occasions mention God in a plural
connotation or association does not offset the
hundreds of times that he is mentioned as a singular
entity. On those two or three occasions that the name
is placed in a plural connotation a short reading of
the text will explain the reason for that association.
Yet, all too many people cling to those couple of
references instead of reading the entire text for
I am not here suggesting that Christians do not have
the right to see God as they choose to. Christians
have the Christian Scriptures that speak of their
multiple forms of God. They can point to their early
church fathers and to the philosophers and what have
you of the early origins of Christianity. You are
free to believe what you choose, from whatever source
gives you comfort. However, to try to read a plural
God into the Hebrew Scriptures is to take the text
entirely out of context simply to add academic support
for an argument, it is not an effort to understand the
God of the Hebrew Scriptures.
I just wanted to add my two cents. May God Bless you
and keep you.
--- Patrick Navas <patrick_navas@...> wrote:
> Dear Rob,____________________________________________________________________________________
> This is Patrick Navas. I wanted to ask you two
> questions, if you don't mind. I noticed in your book
> Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, you stated
> that you agree with the WT publication which argues
> against the term "elohim" being an evidence for
> "plurality" in God as it relates to the OT. In fact,
> I quote your comment in my book, Divine Truth or
> Human Tradition. My question is, why does ther
> plural term elohim, in your view, not support
> trinitarian doctrine?
> Also, do you agree with the argument of Robert
> Morey that the Hebrew term echad (Deut. 6:4) carries
> the connotation of "plurality in unity"? Or is this
> an erroneous argument in behalf of the Trinity, in
> your opinion?
> I would appreciate you expressing yourself on
> these matters.
> Patrick Navas
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