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Memo to Anti-Trinitarians

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  • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
    HOW TO DISPROVE THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY If you want to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity, you must disprove one of the following propositions: 1. There
    Message 1 of 61 , May 22 10:48 PM

      If you want to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity, you must
      disprove one of the following propositions:

      1. There is one God (i.e., one proper object of religious devotion).
      2. The one God is a single divine being, the LORD (Jehovah, Yahweh).
      3. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is God.
      4. The Son, Jesus Christ, is God.
      5. The Holy Spirit is God.
      6. The Father is not the Son.
      7. The Father is not the Holy Spirit.
      8. The Son is not the Holy Spirit.

      Anyone who affirms all eight of these propositions without
      equivocation is affirming the doctrine of the Trinity, since this is
      just what the doctrine of the Trinity says.

      In order to dispute the doctrine of the Trinity, then, you *must*
      take issue with one or more of the propositions stated above.
      Anything else is tangential to the issue.

      This may help you in deciding if a particular thread or post is
      relevant to the truth or falsity of the doctrine. If it doesn't
      address one or more of these propositions, it isn't relevant.


      In addition to refuting the propositions that constitute the
      doctrinal content of the doctrine of the Trinity, anti-Trinitarians
      have some work to do in order to show that a superior alternative

      1. Present a clear alternative.

      Constantly carping at things about the Trinity that you don't like,
      can't understand, and won't accept is not enough. You must tell us
      what we should believe instead.

      2. Identify the religion associated with that alternative.

      It's no good telling us that you believe X, Y, and Z instead of the
      Trinity, if this "alternative" is your own private confection of
      beliefs. I say this because the true doctrine of God will be held by
      a community of believers in Jesus Christ, the EKKLHSIA ("church").
      Theologies do not exist in a vacuum, or in isolation. You are either
      part of a church that teaches the theology you espouse, or you are
      picking and choosing what you will believe from others and not
      committing yourself to a _way of life_ that puts a set of teachings
      into practice. Jesus Christ said that he would be with his people
      until the end of the age as they engaged in the work of making
      disciples, baptizing and teaching them (Matt. 28:19-20). So, what
      people today are Christ's people?

      3. Show that your alternative theology does not suffer from the
      defects you claim to find in Trinitarianism.

      For example:

      a. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for developing in
      the fourth century, identify the religious tradition or movement
      that predated the fourth century that you think had--and has--the

      b. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for its use of
      extrabiblical language, show that your theology consistently avoids
      the use of all extrabiblical words.

      c. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for being influenced
      by non-Christian philosophy or religion, show that your theology is
      completely free of such influences.

      d. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for being difficult
      to understand, show that your theology is free of anything
      incoherent, confusing, paradoxical, or mysterious.

      4. Demonstrate that your theology explains the full range of
      biblical information better than the doctrine of the Trinity.

      This means showing that your view accounts for a wider range of
      biblical material, based on sound exegesis of the texts, with a
      minimum of ad hoc reasoning. In other words, it is not enough to
      argue that certain texts *might* be translated so as to avoid the
      Trinity, or that other texts *need not* be interpreted in a
      Trinitarian fashion. Rather, you must show that your non-Trinitarian
      view is the *best* reading of more biblical texts than can be
      claimed on the Trinitarian side.

      Of course, everyone is likely to run into a text or two that is more
      difficult to cohere with their position, but the right view will
      have fewer of these difficulties.

      Note: All such argumentation will have to contrast the anti-
      Trinitarian alternative with the doctrine of the Trinity as it is
      actually taught in serious works of theology, not your own
      oversimplistic or fractured impression of what the doctrine means.

      In Christ's service,
      Rob Bowman
    • Dave Wave
      ... detestable
      Message 61 of 61 , Sep 20, 2007
        --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "wglmp"
        <mtillman@...> wrote:
        > >>He'd wish the death penalty on anybody who was
        > Not really part of this conversation, but you might
        remember that God
        > judges justly, and accepts repentence (see the Book
        of Job and the
        > case of Ninevah).

        Since we agree that God punishes out of hope to bring
        a change of heart, we can assume that when God sends
        punishment, he is looking for a change of heart.
        Ezekiel 8, NASB --
        15 And He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man?
        Yet you will see still greater abominations than
        16 Then He brought me into the inner court of the LORD
        's house. And behold, at the entrance to the temple of
        the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about
        twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the
        LORD and their faces toward the east; and they were
        prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun.
        17 And He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? Is
        it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit
        the abominations which they have committed here, that
        they have filled the land with violence and provoked
        Me repeatedly? For behold, they are putting the twig
        to their nose.
        18 "Therefore, I indeed shall deal in wrath. My eye
        will have no pity nor shall I spare; and though they
        cry in My ears with a loud voice, yet I shall not
        listen to them."

        We can also safely assume that many of those who
        endured this punishment, cried out not just because of
        the punishment itself, but also because the punishment
        made them realize the error of their way.

        Unfortunately, God specifically says that he will not
        listen to their cries.

        This then is a case of God sending punishment and
        making up his mind not to listen to any cries that
        result, when in fact it's no great leap to assume some
        of those crying did so in real repentence.

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