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

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  • Patrick Navas
    To all those interested, The following is in response to Rob Bowman s latest post on 1 Corinthians 8:6: Best wishes, Patrick Navas ... Rob, Thank you for
    Message 1 of 23 , Oct 7, 2007
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      To all those interested,
       
      The following is in response to Rob Bowman's latest post on 1 Corinthians 8:6:
       
      Best wishes,
       
      Patrick Navas
       
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
       
      Rob,
       
      Thank you for taking the time to interact with my critique. The following is in response to your latest post on the subject of 1 Corinthians 8:6. The statements made in your last correspondence (including my own statements you responded to) will appear below in italics. My most current responses will appear after.
       
      Patrick: In my opinion, the strangest thing attempted in your writings is in reference to Corinthians 8:6. First you start off by overlooking the obvious, namely, that Paul is positively and definitively proclaiming who he believed the one God to be. Rob: Patrick, you will get absolutely nowhere with me, or with other knowledgeable Trinitarians, by claiming that we overlook something that we do not in fact overlook.
       
      With all due respect, Rob, when the theological significance of the creed you promote in the name of Scripture is fully grasped (the Trinitarian), it is clear that you—and all Trinitarian apologists—do in fact overlook, ignore, gloss over, or trivialize, the fact that Paul’s “creed” (his definition of the ‘one God’) is not Trinitarian. Paul’s creed is explicitly and purposefully “one God = the Father”—and, for Paul, the “one Lord Jesus…” is someone other than the “one God.”
      There is nothing ambiguous about such statements, and there is nothing controversial or debatable in what I am pointing out. How could you deny, after all,—in the face of Paul’s own creed—that the Lord Jesus is a figure distinct from the “one God”? Unfortunately, for your position in this debate, you can’t, because he is. In fact, that is how we know Paul’s identification of Jesus as the “one Lord” of the Christian community is not identical in meaning to the “one Lord/Jehovah” of Deuteronomy 6:4; because, in 1 Corinthians 8:6, when Paul articulates his and the entire Christian community’s faith in the role and identity of the Christ, he is no longer talking about the “one God,” Jehovah, the God described in Deuteronomy 6:4.
       
      That is, according to the apostle, Christians recognize “one God,” and, in addition to this “one God” (the same God identified in the Shema), Christians recognize “one Lord”—that is, Jesus, the one who holds an exclusive, highly exalted status and authority at the right hand of God, a status and authority that the “one God” (someone who Jesus is not) has given to him (Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36). This is the clear teaching of Scripture and the plain, most natural sense of 1 Corinthians 8:6, not a “theological” inference.
       
      The importance of this text (1 Cor. 8:6), in my opinion, and for this debate, cannot be emphasized enough. Because the very question we (and countless Bible readers throughout the centuries) have wrestled with is in fact given a careful answer—in the same way that Jesus’ identity is clearly and definitively presented in Peter’s well-known confession at Matthew 16:13-17 (‘you are the Christ, the Son of the living God’), so that one wonders why there would ever even be a dispute among Bible believers regarding these questions, as if there was some kind of ambiguity (or variety of interpretive options) present in texts like these.
       
      That is why I say, “Here is the big moment we’ve all been waiting for!” (‘Drum-roll please….’) What does the Bible teach about God’s identity? What did the apostle Paul believe and teach? Is the true God of the Bible a “Trinity” (Father, Son and Spirit), “three persons in one being” as the orthodox claim? Or, is he, exclusively, and, in the ultimate sense, “the Father,” as I believe?
       
      Well, we both know that, formally, Paul’s creed is that the “one God” is “the Father.” This is not the entirety of Paul’s proclamation, but it is as far as Paul goes in terms of defining the one God’s identity. The creed of Trinitarianism, on the other hand, is explicitly and ultimately “one God = Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” But Paul is neither—at this point or at any other—teaching the doctrine of the Trinity or using the language of Trinitarianism. And the real point is that if we, as professed Christians, were to simply accept and reiterate the Bible’s own unambiguous “creedal” statements,—including Paul’s creed (1 Cor. 8:6), Jesus’ creed (John 17:3; Mark 12:28), and Israel’s creed (Deut. 6:4)—our creed would not be Trinitarian, simply because none of these definitional and central-to-the faith proclamations teach, reflect, or resemble Trinitarianism, in any way, shape or form—yet they are the clearest and most important “creedal” statements in the Bible having to do with the one God’s identity. He is, for Christians, exclusively, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And Jesus Christ is, to us, “the image of the invisible God,” “the exact representation of God’s very being” (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3), the one whom the “one God” has made “Lord
       
      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.
       
      Patrick: He does not teach or say “to us there is one God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which he could have done and which he, arguably, should have done if he believed it, especially so in light of the fact that such a highly significant fact (if we assume it to be a fact) is never stated elsewhere in the Bible. Rob: Your argument here assumes that there is only one way to articulate a Trinitarian understanding and that Paul’s expression is incompatible with the doctrine of the Trinity.
       
      The point is, Rob, even if there are—as you seem to suggest—a variety of ways Paul could have theoretically articulated a “Trinitarian understanding” of God at this point (1 Cor. 8:6), he used none of them. So in what way does your response answer or impact the significance of the point? And my point was not as much about Paul teaching something incompatible with Trinitarianism (since the unfalsifiable nature of Trinitarianism is such that it can, in the minds of its proponents, be accommodated to virtually any statement), as it was about Paul teaching something other than Trinitarianism.
       
      Personally, if I truly believed that the “one God” of the Bible was a “tri-unity” of persons, and that the Bible writers believed the same, I’d be very uncomfortable with the fact that they never said so, even when they had so many appropriate opportunities to make such a uniquely important concept known—1 Corinthians 8:6, Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:28, John 17:3, and 1 Timothy 2:5 being among them.
       
      I would be even more uncomfortable if I was expected to maintain and defend the historic, creedalized position which says that acceptance of the dogma is essential to salvation itself—but that’s just me…
       
      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. If the writers of Scripture wanted us to understand that Jesus was “God” (in the sense that you mean), why did they so often speak of him (and why did he so often speak of himself) as God’s Son? Do you find this to be a naïve, unreasonable, or surprising, question? If so, I would kindly suggest that something has distorted and complicated your grasp of the original Christian message (John 3:16), and that you should rethink the matter through carefully.
       
      Unfortunately, the implication not quite grasped by Trinitarian apologists is that the creeds “…there is one God, the Father,…and one Lord, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 8:6), “…the Lord/Jehovah our God is one” (Deut. 6:4), “there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus…” (1 Tim. 2:5) and John 17:3, are among the Bible’s clearest, most important, and formally expressed “creedal statements”—yet neither of them are Trinitarian; nor do they reflect Trinitarianism, in any way imaginable.
       
      So why not, as professed Christians, simply accept and limit ourselves to those creeds, for what they are, including the language that they use (and what the language most naturally implies), and not go beyond them? (and, please, let us be realistic and candid enough to acknowledge what the statements most naturally imply, namely, that Jesus is not the ‘one God’ and that God is ‘one,’ not ‘three in one’ or ‘one being, three persons’) And why not (as those who profess to hold to the Bible as our supreme authority) let the Bible itself—and the Bible’s own language—inform us as to the underlying connotations of these expressions and terms contained therein?
       
      Speaking personally, I find these ‘creeds’ (1 Cor. 8:6; Deut. 6:4; 1 Tim. 2:5; John 17:3) quite satisfactory and feel no need to formulate anything beyond them. Committed Trinitarians do not—and cannot—do this; because, if they did, we would not have “Trinitarianism.” Of course, all that Trinitarian apologists want to do, in these instances, is “have their cake and eat it too” so to speak. That is, they want to give the impression that they accept the Bible’s creedal statements (sola scriptura), but then they attempt to somehow integrate them (as you clearly want to do) into the overall framework of the Trinitarian formula, a formula never given in Scripture, but based on a series of subjective inferences, highly questionable interpretations, and debatable translations.
       
      Of course, you are certainly at liberty to argue that Paul’s creed is somehow “compatible” with Trinitarianism, something I would expect you to do as an apologist, but the one thing you cannot legitimately claim is that Paul is teaching Trinitarianism. Again, I can only repeat and reemphasize the fact: Paul’s doctrine of God (which most certainly embodies and reflects all of biblical doctrine) is not “to us there is one God, the Father, Son and Spirit” (your doctrine), but “there is one God, the Father.” And it really is that simple.
      Notice, Rob, the very doctrine I am defending is explicitly affirmed in Scripture, in more than one place, in more than one way, and necessarily implied and presumed true at all relevant instances.
       
      In Scripture, a deliberate point is made to identify the “one God” (and ‘the only true God’, John 17:3) as “the Father” (Compare 1 Timothy 2:5). Yet no one in Scripture ever affirms the doctrine of the Trinity, or a doctrine of God’s identity that comes close to it.
       
      I realize, of course, that you believe Scripture explicitly identifies the Father as “God,” the Son as “God,” and the Holy Spirit as “God” (in the ‘Trinitarian’ sense), and that the doctrine of the Trinity is simply an integration of these three key theological and interpretive points. However, what isn’t quite recognized by you (or acknowledged in one of your earlier outlines) is that, aside from the indisputable identifications of the one God as “the Father,” the interpretive means through which Trinitarians arrive at the notion that the Son and Spirit are God in the same sense (‘of the same substance’) as the Father are well known to be highly questionable and, in fact, can be demonstrated to be in error, or, at least,—on an objective interpretive level—far from conclusive, in every instance. We know this to be true especially when we appreciate (and not casually gloss over) the fact that respected Trinitarians themselves—throughout history and into our modern time—debate and disagree about the meaning of nearly every text you could potentially point to in an attempt to establish the propositions “Jesus is (Almighty and ‘ontologically’) God” and “the Holy Spirit (as a distinct person from the Father and Son) is God.”
       
      It isn’t, of course. I say “of course” because the Nicene Creed, which all Trinitarians affirm, begins with the words, “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” How can words quoted verbatim in the Nicene Creed, the hallmark of Trinitarianism, be inconsistent with the doctrine of the Trinity?
       
      Because the Nicene Creed is a garble of biblical statements and non-biblical, theological and metaphysical formulas. The Nicene Creed begins with a genuinely biblical statement (identifying God as one person), and then integrates or superimposes a “Trinitarian” creed onto its introductory declaration.
       
      Portions of the Nicene Creed:
       
      “We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible
       
      This is a thoroughly biblical statement.
       
      “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (‘ages’ Bible)
       
      The language here is likewise biblical.
       
      Then, we have non-biblical statements, ones that incorporate philosophically and metaphysically loaded language and concepts quite foreign to the Bible:
       
      “God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God…being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made…And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life…”
       
      In Scripture Jesus is never identified as “God of God…Very God of Very God” or as “being one substance with the Father.” The language is ambiguous, speculative and, most of all, totally unnecessary for Christians.
       
      Patrick, you have a responsibility—an obligation—to get this much right. You have taken it upon yourself to write a book criticizing the doctrine of the Trinity. You therefore present yourself as someone who is knowledgeable on the subject. Yet you repeatedly attack the doctrine of the Trinity on the basis of misunderstandings or caricatures of what Trinitarianism supposedly should say.
       
      At no point have I misrepresented the Trinitarian doctrine. Nor can my comments be properly characterized as an “attack” on the Trinity. And, for the record, I am not, in any way, “attacking” a doctrine, but attempting to demonstrate that it has no basis in the Bible. Trinitarians have a right to believe in their doctrinal interpretation. But they are in error if they claim that the Bible “teaches” it and that it is necessary to accept in order to be saved, from a scriptural perspective. That is unquestionably the error I am attempting to expose. But I am definitely not trying to attack a belief for its own sake. That’s certainly not the spirit or motivation behind my writings.
       
      Although you disagree with my belief (one God= ‘the Father’), and argue vehemently against it, I feel no need to characterize your arguments as an “attack,” but as a genuine disagreement, and an attempt on your part to show why I am wrong and why you are right, based on Scripture. So, please, let us be realistic and fair with the language we use.
       
      Patrick: And, instead of articulating the doctrine of the Trinity at this point (what the modern-day orthodox tell us is the very `heart of the Christian faith'), Paul expressly articulates the very doctrine I happen to be defending and reiterating, namely, that the one God is “the Father,” period. And this also happens to agree with Jesus' teaching that the Father is “the only true God and that Jesus is the “one sent forth” by “the only true God,” and the one whom “the only true God,” the Father, “made” and “exalted” as “Lord” when had “given” him “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:4-11; Matthew 28:18). Rob: These statements also happen to agree with Trinitarianism.
       
      Your statement above precisely illustrates what I meant earlier about the falsifiable nature of Trinitarian theology, particularly in reference to the “God-man” concept.
       
      The reality is, in the overall doctrinal system you defend, Jesus himself could have very well said, “I am not God, the second person of the Trinity, do not refer to me as such…,”—yet Trinitarians could simply reason (as they essentially do in several instances), “Yes, this statement agrees with Trinitarianism, because we believe that Jesus became a true man. So, as a man, he would not claim to be God, or a member of a triune Godhead, but, he is God at the same time, so this agrees with Trinitarianism
       
      This is, truly, the underlying nature and spirit of your argumentation in so many instances. It has no substance and no legitimate, logical force or scriptural basis. It is, however, one of the most common tactics of debate; because Trinitarian apologists fully recognize that the “God-man” notion they have constructed can, as a type of religiously mystical/metaphysical concept, stand immune and exempt from any type of criticism. It can absorb, neutralize, and accommodate itself to anything; because—in the Trinitarian mind—Jesus is two things at once. He possesses two completely different natures, that of Almighty God and man (so that he even ‘knows all things’ and ‘does not know all things’—at the same time!); therefore, nothing in Scripture could say anything to contradict or compromise the argument that Jesus is Almighty God, even if the doctrine is truly wrong! This is, undeniably, how the “God-man” concept functions in Trinitarian apologetics; and this is most definitely something that you, as a seasoned debater and apologist, certainly realize and attempt to use to your advantage in these exchanges. Yet you are, in these instances, assuming the very thing that is in question (the ‘God-man’ concept) in order to explain away what, on the most basic and common-sense-level, contradicts your overall claim, that Jesus is “God Almighty, the second person of the Trinity.”
       
      This reveals why it is likely that a debate of this kind will continue to go on unresolved. This is so because one side cunningly and tactfully presents itself as not even being subject to the ordinary principles of language and logic: “Jesus is one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God at the same time.” “When ‘God, the Son, the second person of the Trinity’ became human, the two natures (divine and human) became united in the one ‘person’ of the ‘God-man.’” But notice, first, how unlike the teaching and language of Scriptures this is. Notice, secondly, how the very concept functions for you and all Trinitarian apologists as a deflector of all scripturally-based criticism that could potentially be brought forth. Every argument from the other side is “neutralized” via the ‘God-man’ concept. Yet, it is an illusion, existing only in the minds and in the theology of Trinitarian apologists.
       
      Therefore, if we hold to such a concept (which is articulated nowhere in the Bible, so why would we?), it follows that our position can never be falsified or refuted, even if it is false and unbiblical to begin with; for it can—in the minds of its defenders—accommodate anything that could potentially compromise the overall Trinitarian system.
       
      But beyond the fact that it is simply unscriptural, such a concept is, in the ordinary realms of logic and reason, completely devoid of substance. It is no different than saying something like: “this pulpit is one hundred percent wood and one hundred percent gold at the same time,” or “this shape is a square and a circle at the same time” or “this glass is one hundred percent full of water and one hundred percent devoid of water at the same time,”—things we know to be nonsensical and, in fact, impossible.
       
      We can, of course, present and advance such contradictory and incoherent concepts with language, but they do not, and cannot, exist in the real world. But such notions certainly afford Trinitarians an excellent debating advantage, a kind of doctrinal and conceptual “safety net” they can always fall back on, in spite of the fact that the very doctrine itself is absent from Scripture, not to mention, realistically incongruous. But the fact that it is realistically (and logically) incongruous is the very thing that gives it its (illusory) power, the power—in the minds of apologists and sympathizers—to cancel out all argumentation against a cherished tradition.
       
      In this I am not suggesting by any means that it is theoretically or metaphysically “impossible” for God to inhabit a human body. I suppose he could if he chose to do so. But to suggest that a “God-man” can exist with attributes such as “knowing all things” and “not knowing all things” simultaneously is simply a meaningless proposition. Really, how can a real debate even take place if one side can hold to a position that essentially says, “It is impossible for my opponent to present evidence that contradicts my position, for there is nothing my position cannot absorb and accommodate.”?
       
      Patrick: … whether or not Paul is alluding to the shema here is irrelevant to the actual fact, that which you simply ignore. In fact, what is so surprising is that you make all these arguments regarding the language of Deuteronomy 6:4 as if there was no distinction present in the text between the figures “one God” and “one Lord.” You simply conflate two distinct figures into one. It is actually difficult to believe that anyone, especially a Bible scholar, would simply gloss over the self-evident fact. Rob: What you find “bewildering” and “surprising” and “difficult to believe” is not what I (or Bauckham) said. We are not “merging” the two expressions “one God” and “one Lord” into one reference to one divine figure. We are saying that Paul took a statement referring to the one Lord God and spliced it into affirmations of two divine persons, the Father and Jesus Christ. Your four paragraphs that I quote above were all criticizing an argument I did not use and a claim I did not make.
       
      You are, at this point, postulating a distinction without any real difference. And you are absolutely trying to merge two figures into one, for in your paper, The Biblical Basis for the Doctrine of the Trinity, you explicitly stated that the terms “God” (in reference to the Father) and “Lord” (in reference to Jesus) are “synonymous” at 1 Corinthians 8:6. That is, you believe there is no substantial difference in meaning between the terms/titles in this text, so that Paul might as well have said, in your thinking, “to us there is one God/Lord/Jehovah, the Father and Jesus Christ
       
      That is the meaning you are undeniably trying to arrive at (since that is what Trinitariansm actually teaches, along with the Spirit), even though it is impossible to extract such a notion from the language of the text in question. What you claim you and Bauckham were not trying to do is, in fact, what Trinitarianism holds—that Jesus and the Father (and Spirit) are distinct persons who constitute one divine figure or being, the Triune God. So when you suggest that you are not trying to conflate or merge the Father and Son into one figure, this goes against what you as a Trinitarian believes anyway, so what exactly are you arguing against?
       
      In your book you even make the following argument regarding 1 Corinthians 8:6:
       
      “Paul has taken the words of the Shema (Deut. 6:4), the classic Jewish creedal affirmation of monotheism, and redefined it to refer to the Father and the Son. Paul has just echoed the Shema in his comment that “there is no God but one” (1 Cor. 8:4). …he reasserts Jewish monotheism in a distinctively Christian way: ‘The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deut. 6:4 ESV) becomes ‘for us there is one God…one Lord,” with the Father identified as the ‘one God’ and the Lord Jesus identified as the ‘one Lord.’ As Bauckham points out, ‘Paul has in fact reproduced all the words of the statement about YHWH in the Shema …but Paul has rearranged the words in such a way as to produce an affirmation of both one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ…Paul is not adding to the one God of the Shema a ‘Lord’ the Shema does not mention. He is identifying Jesus as the ‘Lord’ whom the Shema affirms to be one.’ …[Paul] is distinguishing within the identity of the one Lord God of Judaism two persons, the Father and Jesus Christ.” —Bowman, Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place, p. 189
       
      This paragraph from your book is filled with so many unfounded and grossly inaccurate statements that it is staggering. Where does Paul say that he has “reasserted Jewish monotheism in a different (Christian) way? Where does Paul state or imply that Deuteronomy 6:4 “becomes” 1 Corinthians 8:6?
       
      You quote Bauckham who (strangely) claims,
       
      “Paul is not adding to the one God of the Shema a ‘Lord’ the Shema does not mention
       
      Frankly, I couldn’t imagine a more bizarre or more absurd statement because this is exactly what Paul has done.
       
      Bauckham’s claim is comparable to saying, “Paul’s statement in Romans 10:17 about God raising Jesus from the dead does not mean that God raised Jesus from the dead.”
       
      It is a statement that flatly contradicts what Paul has explicitly stated. In the very same way, to state, as Bauckham has stated (with your approval), that Paul has not added a “Lord” to the one God of the Shema simply contradicts the very thing that Paul indisputably has done. To Paul, there is “one God,” and that “one God” is “the Father.” And, in addition to this “one God,” Paul acknowledges “one Lord, Jesus Christ.” This is not even a point that needs to be argued. For Paul, Jesus is not the “one God,” but someone (the ‘one Lord’) in addition to him. Just as in John 17:3, Jesus does not portray himself as “the only true God,” but as someone in addition to “the only true God.” (‘This means eternal life, their knowing you, the only true God, and [that is, in addition to the ‘only true God], Jesus Christ, the one whom you sent forth’). Both texts are equally clear and explicit in terms of distinguishing the “one God” and “the only true God” from the “one Lord” and “the one whom [the only true God] sent forth
       
      You also claim: “[Paul] is distinguishing within the identity of the one Lord God of Judaism two persons, the Father and Jesus Christ.” How has he done so? The truth is that Paul could easily have done what you claim he has done by simply using language that would precisely communicate this, like: “To us, there is one Lord God, the Father, out of whom all things are, and Jesus Christ, through whom all things are
       
      Unfortunately, for your argument, Paul says nothing at all like this. It even looks like you purposefully tried to make it seem like Paul was saying something comparable when you quoted the text using ellipsis (…) ‘for us there is one God…one Lord”—as if you could just simply gloss over or convolute the distinction between the “one God” and the “one Lord” in this text, which clearly reveals that Jesus is not the “one God,” but someone in addition to him. To deny such is to deny a clear reality. What more can be said?
       
      The expressions “one God” and “one Lord”—contrary to what you originally argued—are not “synonymous,” and the words (as they are used in reference to the Father and Son) certainly do not carry with them identical connotations; for, as it has been repeatedly pointed out to you, the one “God” (the Father) is the one who “made” and “exalted” Jesus as “Lord” when he “gave” Jesus “all authority in heaven and on earth.” 
       
      That is, the status Jesus rightly holds as the “one Lord” of the Christian congregation is a status that was given to him by the “one God,” someone who is “greater” than he is (John 14:28). Jesus is not being identified by Paul as the “one Lord [Jehovah]” of the Shema (based on the Septuagint), but as the “one Lord” who was given his authoritative status, the one who currently (for Paul) is stationed exalted at the right hand of the God of the Shema.
       
      We are saying that Paul took a statement referring to the one Lord God and spliced it into affirmations of two divine persons, the Father and Jesus Christ. Your four paragraphs that I quote above were all criticizing an argument I did not use and a claim I did not make.
       
      What you and Bauckham are saying then at this point is wrong either way. Paul did not “take a statement referring to the one Lord God and splice it into affirmations of two divine persons.” What Paul unmistakably did was identify the “one God” (a reference to Jehovah, the God of Jesus Christ) as “the Father.” And he identified Jesus Christ—someone distinct from the “one God”—as the “one Lord,” whom he and all the apostles indisputably accepted as the “Lord” of Psalm 110:1, the one who was “made Lord” by Jehovah, and exalted to (and told to sit at) Jehovah’s right hand. And although I am once again stating the obvious, the one who sits at Jehovah’s right hand and who was made Lord by Jehovah is not Jehovah, but “the one who sits at Jehovah’s right hand” and the “one who was made Lord by Jehovah.”
       
      Again, you continue to make your argument as if there were no distinction present between the “one God” and the “one Lord.” You can only do this by conveniently and clumsily ignoring the real distinction (kai) present.
       
      Your argument would have merit if Paul had said, “…to us there is one Lord (or God), the Father, and Jesus, the Messiah.”
       
      That is the real outcome of what you’re saying, but it simply ignores that the “one God” is not the “one Lord” and the “one Lord” is not the “one God.” Really, how difficult of a point is this to accept and acknowledge? It is certainly not based on any opinion or interpretation of my own. Whenever the conjunction “and” is used of two distinct objects or persons (or beings, divine or human), it always means “in addition to” not “the same as.” Just as in the statement “the Father and Son” or “God and man” or “Christ and the apostles.” In each instance, the purpose of the word “and” is to distinguish the two subjects or set of subjects in view. In the phrase “the Father and Son” it goes without saying that “the Father” is not the “Son” and the “Son” is not the “Father,” or “God” is not “man” and “man” is not “God,” or “Christ” is not “the apostles” and “the apostles” are not “Christ.”
       
      The same point applies to 1 Corinthians 8:6. Jesus is not the “one God.” Neither is the Father the “one Lord” in the sense meant by this text; just as in Acts 2:36 the Father (whose Lordship is supreme and unqualified) is not the “Lord” who was “made” such by “God.”
       
      Paul defined the “one God” (Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus, and the God of Christians) as “the Father.” When Paul goes on to speak about Jesus, the “one Lord,” he is—contrary to Bauckham—no longer speaking about the “one God,” but a figure in addition to the “one God.” This is the most important point and it is, gladly, one that even you and Bauckham can’t deny or convolute by the art of persuasion or theological inference. It is simply a fact of the text.
       
      But denying or distorting the explicit facts of scriptural language is common among Trinitarians. What Bauckham claims regarding 1 Cor. 8:6 is simply a contradiction of what is specifically stated in 1 Cor. 8:6. This reminds me of the claim of Geisler and Howe, in their book, When Critics Ask, A Popular Handbook On Bible Difficulties (Victor Books, p. 336), where they bewilderingly claim:
       
      “In [Matthew 8:29], Jesus is citing Daniel 7:13 where the Messiah is described as the ‘Ancient of Days,’ a phrase used to indicate His deity (cf. Dan. 7:9).”
       
      Just look up Daniel 7:9, 13 and ask yourself: “Is the Messiah depicted as the ‘Ancient of Days,’ or is he depicted as the ‘one like a son of man’ who gained access to and approached (or was ‘presented before,’ ESV) the ‘Ancient of Days?’”
       
      It is the same type of phenomenon—that of denying what a text specifically states, or claiming that the text says something it specifically does not.
       
      What you and Bauckham both imply and claim, that Paul has made one reference to “the Lord God” and placed the Father and Son (two ‘persons’) under that same category, is wrong. This doesn’t even resemble Paul’s language.
       
      In addition to recognizing “one God,” who, for Christians, is “the Father,” Christians also recognize “one Lord

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    • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
      Patrick, 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
      Message 2 of 23 , Oct 7, 2007
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        Patrick,

        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
        creatures.

        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
      • Paul Leonard
        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
        Message 3 of 23 , 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:
          Patrick,

          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
          creatures.

          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


        • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
          Paul, You wrote: *************** 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
          Message 4 of 23 , Oct 8, 2007
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            Paul,

            You wrote:

            ***************
            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.
            ****************

            Perhaps you have not been following this exchange for long enough.
            Most of what Patrick said in his most recent post simply repeats
            arguments or objections he raised earlier. I have answered Patrick in
            detail, point for point, in earlier posts in this exchange.

            Furthermore, Patrick has yet to put his objections to Trinitarianism
            into a context of what he personally believes. All I really know for
            sure about his theology is that he does not believe in the Trinity,
            and that he holds that Jesus is the "Son of God" and therefore cannot
            be God. I don't know much at all about what Patrick positively
            believes. I can't very well refute a position that has not been
            presented. Mostly, I know what Patrick is *against*; I am unclear as
            to what he is *for*. Surely it is reasonable for me to ask for such
            larger context.

            The response I did give to his post focused on the major criticisms
            he presented in his previous post. His main arguments in rebuttal to
            me are in fact addressed in my response.

            In Christ's service,
            Rob Bowman
          • Patrick Navas
            For Rob Bowman: You wrote: Furthermore, Patrick has yet to put his objections to Trinitarianism into a context of what he personally believes. All I really
            Message 5 of 23 , Oct 8, 2007
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              For Rob Bowman:
               
              You wrote:
               
              Furthermore, Patrick has yet to put his objections to Trinitarianism into a context of what he personally believes. All I really know for sure about his theology is that he does not believe in the Trinity, and that he holds that Jesus is the "Son of God" and therefore cannot
              be God. I don't know much at all about what Patrick positively believes. I can't very well refute a position that has not been presented.
               
              Rob, I have already given you a free electronic copy of my book that you said you were going to review. You also said that you have already read the intro and first chapter published on my website. My book (and everything I have written in these exchanges thus far) clearly articulates my positive belief about God and Christ. But for the record (again), I believe, with Paul that the one God is "the Father." Since Paul (Jesus, and the ancient prophets) did not affirm belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, neither do I. I believe what Paul said, and what Jesus said (John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6) and simply do not go beyond the simple and straightforward concepts these texts communicate.
               
              I also believe that Jesus is "the Messiah (the annointed), the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16) in the sense that this expression communicates at face value. That is, I believe there is a living God (the Father) and that Jesus is the Son of that living God. The true God, in my view, is "the Father of" my "Lord Jesus Christ" not the "Trinity."
               
              Mostly, I know what Patrick is *against*; I am unclear as
              to what he is *for*. Surely it is reasonable for me to ask for such larger context.
               
              Surely, you have at least read the intro and first chapter of my book (and all of my comments and observations in these dialogues so far) which make crystal clear what I am "for."
              Patrick
               




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

              You wrote:

              ************ ***
              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.
              ************ ****

              Perhaps you have not been following this exchange for long enough.
              Most of what Patrick said in his most recent post simply repeats
              arguments or objections he raised earlier. I have answered Patrick in
              detail, point for point, in earlier posts in this exchange.

              Furthermore, Patrick has yet to put his objections to Trinitarianism
              into a context of what he personally believes. All I really know for
              sure about his theology is that he does not believe in the Trinity,
              and that he holds that Jesus is the "Son of God" and therefore cannot
              be God. I don't know much at all about what Patrick positively
              believes. I can't very well refute a position that has not been
              presented. Mostly, I know what Patrick is *against*; I am unclear as
              to what he is *for*. Surely it is reasonable for me to ask for such
              larger context.

              The response I did give to his post focused on the major criticisms
              he presented in his previous post. His main arguments in rebuttal to
              me are in fact addressed in my response.

              In Christ's service,
              Rob Bowman


            • Paul Leonard
              Hi Rob, I have been following and most answers you give are like this one. You say you have answered and then divert attention to another issue. In this case
              Message 6 of 23 , Oct 8, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                Hi Rob,

                I have been following and most answers you give are like this one. You say you have answered and then divert attention to another issue. In this case what Patrick believes.

                That is only an issue if you wish to address something else he believes as a secondary subject. Right now he is discussing what YOU believe about 1 Cor. In other words, you are trying to put him on the defensive, without any in depth defense on your part of what YOU believe.

                While it may be a typical apologetic tactic it really is not proper in a discussion of this nature. The scriptures require that each one make a defense for THEIR faith when called on to do so. He is asking for your defense.

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

                You wrote:

                ************ ***
                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.
                ************ ****

                Perhaps you have not been following this exchange for long enough.
                Most of what Patrick said in his most recent post simply repeats
                arguments or objections he raised earlier. I have answered Patrick in
                detail, point for point, in earlier posts in this exchange.

                Furthermore, Patrick has yet to put his objections to Trinitarianism
                into a context of what he personally believes. All I really know for
                sure about his theology is that he does not believe in the Trinity,
                and that he holds that Jesus is the "Son of God" and therefore cannot
                be God. I don't know much at all about what Patrick positively
                believes. I can't very well refute a position that has not been
                presented. Mostly, I know what Patrick is *against*; I am unclear as
                to what he is *for*. Surely it is reasonable for me to ask for such
                larger context.

                The response I did give to his post focused on the major criticisms
                he presented in his previous post. His main arguments in rebuttal to
                me are in fact addressed in my response.

                In Christ's service,
                Rob Bowman


              • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                Paul, It is very curious that you are so concerned about my asking Patrick to elaborate on his own beliefs. What is there to fear from him answering my
                Message 7 of 23 , Oct 8, 2007
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                  Paul,

                  It is very curious that you are so concerned about my asking Patrick
                  to elaborate on his own beliefs. What is there to fear from him
                  answering my questions?

                  Your claim that my questions are a diversion is ridiculous. It is
                  also ridiculous for you to claim that I have given no "in depth
                  defense" of what I believe!

                  I'm not going to treat such off-the-wall criticisms with kid gloves.

                  The purpose of this list is not to discuss only what *I* believe,
                  with everyone else free to challenge and criticize my beliefs while
                  I must remain on the defensive. Anyone who participates here and
                  opposes what someone else on the list says (whether me or anyone
                  else) should be prepared to give his own positive alternative to the
                  view he is criticizing.

                  In Christ's service,
                  Rob Bowman
                • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                  Patrick, You wrote: I have checked my files and
                  Message 8 of 23 , Oct 9, 2007
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                    Patrick,

                    You wrote:

                    << Rob, I have already given you a free electronic copy of my book
                    that you said you were going to review. >>

                    I have checked my files and could find only two chapters of your
                    book, the first one and the one on "I am" sayings. I'm not saying
                    you didn't send me the entire book, but I just don't seem to have it.

                    Feel free to send it to me (again?) and I will try to look at it.

                    May I infer from your response, then, that I will find the answers
                    to my questions about what you believe in the book? I ask, because
                    the following paragraph from your post does not. You wrote:

                    << You also said that you have already read the intro and first
                    chapter published on my website. My book (and everything I have
                    written in these exchanges thus far) clearly articulates my positive
                    belief about God and Christ. But for the record (again), I believe,
                    with Paul that the one God is "the Father." Since Paul (Jesus, and
                    the ancient prophets) did not affirm belief in the doctrine of the
                    Trinity, neither do I. I believe what Paul said, and what Jesus said
                    (John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6) and simply do not go beyond the simple and
                    straightforward concepts these texts communicate.

                    I also believe that Jesus is "the Messiah (the annointed), the Son
                    of the living God" (Matthew 16) in the sense that this expression
                    communicates at face value. That is, I believe there is a living God
                    (the Father) and that Jesus is the Son of that living God. The true
                    God, in my view, is "the Father of" my "Lord Jesus Christ" not
                    the "Trinity." >>

                    From my perspective, Patrick, you seem to be avoiding answering my
                    questions. I know you believe that the "one God" is "the Father." I
                    know you do not affirm the Trinity. I know you affirm that Jesus
                    is "the Messiah" and "the Son of God." I don't know what you think
                    this means. Saying that you take these expressions "at face value"
                    does not help, because different religions have different opinions
                    as to the "face value" significance of these expressions.

                    As I said before, I want to know if you believe Jesus existed before
                    creation, participated in the creation of all things, sustains the
                    universe by the word of his power, is present with his disciples
                    whenever and wherever they gather in his name, knows the hearts of
                    all people, is the proper recipient of worship, religious service,
                    doxological praise, petitionary prayer, holy reverence or fear,
                    spiritual songs of adoration, and the like. If you are telling me
                    that your book answers these questions, fine. I look forward to
                    reading it and seeing your answers. (I don't recall the material I
                    did read addressing these questions at all.) If not, I would
                    appreciate it if you would answer these questions.

                    In Christ's service,
                    Rob Bowman
                  • Patrick Navas
                    Rob, Please email me with your personal email address so I can send my entire book to you again in electronic format/attachment. I will also briefly respond to
                    Message 9 of 23 , Oct 9, 2007
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                      Rob,
                       
                      Please email me with your personal email address so I can send my entire book to you again in electronic format/attachment.
                       
                      I will also briefly respond to your inquiry the next time I get a chance, in order to clarify my beliefs. 
                       
                      I have an extremely busy schedule righ now, unfortunately.
                       
                      Patrick

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

                      You wrote:

                      << Rob, I have already given you a free electronic copy of my book
                      that you said you were going to review. >>

                      I have checked my files and could find only two chapters of your
                      book, the first one and the one on "I am" sayings. I'm not saying
                      you didn't send me the entire book, but I just don't seem to have it.

                      Feel free to send it to me (again?) and I will try to look at it.

                      May I infer from your response, then, that I will find the answers
                      to my questions about what you believe in the book? I ask, because
                      the following paragraph from your post does not. You wrote:

                      << You also said that you have already read the intro and first
                      chapter published on my website. My book (and everything I have
                      written in these exchanges thus far) clearly articulates my positive
                      belief about God and Christ. But for the record (again), I believe,
                      with Paul that the one God is "the Father." Since Paul (Jesus, and
                      the ancient prophets) did not affirm belief in the doctrine of the
                      Trinity, neither do I. I believe what Paul said, and what Jesus said
                      (John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6) and simply do not go beyond the simple and
                      straightforward concepts these texts communicate.

                      I also believe that Jesus is "the Messiah (the annointed), the Son
                      of the living God" (Matthew 16) in the sense that this expression
                      communicates at face value. That is, I believe there is a living God
                      (the Father) and that Jesus is the Son of that living God. The true
                      God, in my view, is "the Father of" my "Lord Jesus Christ" not
                      the "Trinity." >>

                      From my perspective, Patrick, you seem to be avoiding answering my
                      questions. I know you believe that the "one God" is "the Father." I
                      know you do not affirm the Trinity. I know you affirm that Jesus
                      is "the Messiah" and "the Son of God." I don't know what you think
                      this means. Saying that you take these expressions "at face value"
                      does not help, because different religions have different opinions
                      as to the "face value" significance of these expressions.

                      As I said before, I want to know if you believe Jesus existed before
                      creation, participated in the creation of all things, sustains the
                      universe by the word of his power, is present with his disciples
                      whenever and wherever they gather in his name, knows the hearts of
                      all people, is the proper recipient of worship, religious service,
                      doxological praise, petitionary prayer, holy reverence or fear,
                      spiritual songs of adoration, and the like. If you are telling me
                      that your book answers these questions, fine. I look forward to
                      reading it and seeing your answers. (I don't recall the material I
                      did read addressing these questions at all.) If not, I would
                      appreciate it if you would answer these questions.

                      In Christ's service,
                      Rob Bowman


                    • Paul Leonard
                      Hi Rob, See below: Robert M. Bowman, Jr. wrote: Paul, It is very curious that you are so
                      Message 10 of 23 , Oct 9, 2007
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                        Hi Rob,

                        See below:

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

                        It is very curious that you are so concerned about my asking Patrick
                        to elaborate on his own beliefs. What is there to fear from him
                        answering my questions?

                        A.P. Nothing as far as I can see. I simply am pointing out you are asking for him to answer you, but you are giving no definitive answers to him. What do you fear in answering?

                        Rob: Your claim that my questions are a diversion is ridiculous. It is
                        also ridiculous for you to claim that I have given no "in depth
                        defense" of what I believe!
                        A.P. OK, please provide the links to where you gave detailed answers using scripture and grammar. Not simple put offs and questions to Patrick, but REAL answers. Maybe I missed them , so please show me where they are, as I can't find them in the forum.

                        Bob: I'm not going to treat such off-the-wall criticisms with kid gloves.

                        The purpose of this list is not to discuss only what *I* believe,
                        with everyone else free to challenge and criticize my beliefs while
                        I must remain on the defensive. Anyone who participates here and
                        opposes what someone else on the list says (whether me or anyone
                        else) should be prepared to give his own positive alternative to the
                        view he is criticizing.

                        A.P. I have no problem with that.  It makes perfect sense and I agree with that policy.

                        Start a new thread on Patrick's beliefs, but don't use that as an excuse NOT to answer his questions in reasonable detail, which is what I see happening.
                        Why should he answer if you don't???

                      • Paul Leonard
                        It is a great book. I have it and I bought it. Patrick Navas wrote: Rob, Please email me with your personal email address so I can
                        Message 11 of 23 , Oct 9, 2007
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                          It is a great book. I have it and I bought it.

                          Patrick Navas <patrick_navas@...> wrote:
                          Rob,
                           
                          Please email me with your personal email address so I can send my entire book to you again in electronic format/attachment.
                           
                          I will also briefly respond to your inquiry the next time I get a chance, in order to clarify my beliefs. 
                           
                          I have an extremely busy schedule righ now, unfortunately.
                           
                          Patrick

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

                          You wrote:

                          << Rob, I have already given you a free electronic copy of my book
                          that you said you were going to review. >>

                          I have checked my files and could find only two chapters of your
                          book, the first one and the one on "I am" sayings. I'm not saying
                          you didn't send me the entire book, but I just don't seem to have it.

                          Feel free to send it to me (again?) and I will try to look at it.

                          May I infer from your response, then, that I will find the answers
                          to my questions about what you believe in the book? I ask, because
                          the following paragraph from your post does not. You wrote:

                          << You also said that you have already read the intro and first
                          chapter published on my website. My book (and everything I have
                          written in these exchanges thus far) clearly articulates my positive
                          belief about God and Christ. But for the record (again), I believe,
                          with Paul that the one God is "the Father." Since Paul (Jesus, and
                          the ancient prophets) did not affirm belief in the doctrine of the
                          Trinity, neither do I. I believe what Paul said, and what Jesus said
                          (John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6) and simply do not go beyond the simple and
                          straightforward concepts these texts communicate.

                          I also believe that Jesus is "the Messiah (the annointed), the Son
                          of the living God" (Matthew 16) in the sense that this expression
                          communicates at face value. That is, I believe there is a living God
                          (the Father) and that Jesus is the Son of that living God. The true
                          God, in my view, is "the Father of" my "Lord Jesus Christ" not
                          the "Trinity." >>

                          From my perspective, Patrick, you seem to be avoiding answering my
                          questions. I know you believe that the "one God" is "the Father." I
                          know you do not affirm the Trinity. I know you affirm that Jesus
                          is "the Messiah" and "the Son of God." I don't know what you think
                          this means. Saying that you take these expressions "at face value"
                          does not help, because different religions have different opinions
                          as to the "face value" significance of these expressions.

                          As I said before, I want to know if you believe Jesus existed before
                          creation, participated in the creation of all things, sustains the
                          universe by the word of his power, is present with his disciples
                          whenever and wherever they gather in his name, knows the hearts of
                          all people, is the proper recipient of worship, religious service,
                          doxological praise, petitionary prayer, holy reverence or fear,
                          spiritual songs of adoration, and the like. If you are telling me
                          that your book answers these questions, fine. I look forward to
                          reading it and seeing your answers. (I don't recall the material I
                          did read addressing these questions at all.) If not, I would
                          appreciate it if you would answer these questions.

                          In Christ's service,
                          Rob Bowman



                        • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                          Paul, You claim to have followed my discussion with Patrick, yet you ask me to provide links to where I gave Patrick detailed answers using scripture and
                          Message 12 of 23 , Oct 11, 2007
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                            Paul,

                            You claim to have followed my discussion with Patrick, yet you ask me
                            to provide links to where I gave Patrick "detailed answers using
                            scripture and grammar." Sorry, I don't feel inclined to do this
                            homework for you. It's not hard to do a search of my posts responding
                            to Patrick.

                            In Christ's service,
                            Rob Bowman
                          • Patrick Navas
                            Rob, I read this on your Deity of Christ blog/page. Did you post this? If not, are you an advocate or promoter of what follows? Answer Someone If You Have No
                            Message 13 of 23 , Oct 11, 2007
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                              Rob,
                               
                              I read this on your Deity of Christ blog/page. Did you post this? If not, are you an advocate or promoter of what follows?
                               
                              Answer Someone If You Have No Case
                              Finding someone’s argument too tough to handle? Over your head in a matter of biblical exegesis, scientific evidence, or logical validity? Don’t despair. Now you can always respond to those smart-alecks and put them in their place. These are field-tested methods for diverting attention from the lack of substance in your argument. Never be stuck again for a snappy comeback! 
                              1. The Devil-in-the-Details Device: If the opponent appealed to specific details, accuse him of nitpicking. If he didn’t go into as much detail as possible, accuse him of ignoring glaring difficulties with his position. Note that this strategy is viable in all situations. 
                              2. The Editor’s Gotcha: Point out an isolated spelling or grammatical error in your opponent’s writing as evidence of his unreliability. 
                              3. The Evil Nun / Mad Scientist Defense: Assert that it’s obvious to anyone who is not blinded by (religious or secular) indoctrination that you’re right and your opponent is wrong. 
                              4. The Fideist Finagle: Piously intone that religion is a matter of faith, not reason, and that the opponent’s problem is that he is too intellectual in his approach to the subject. (Skilled practitioners reserve this stratagem as a last resort, to be used after they have tried presenting rational arguments for their position that didn’t hold up.) 
                              5. Flat-Earthing: Tell an anecdote about a stupid statement on the subject made by someone else who is (at least supposedly) on the opponent’s side. 
                              6. The Hoagland Hustle: Find a scholar or scientist who supports your position and conclude that your view is therefore just as good as your opponent’s. 
                              7. Kirk’s Kobayashi Maru Gambit: Redefine the parameters of the debate so you will win. 
                              8. Lenin’s Law: Repeat your already refuted argument, even more emphatically and confidently, as though your opponent had not even challenged it. 
                              9. The Moroni Maneuver: Appeal to your private religious experience, even though doing so does not answer the argument at hand. See also The Fideist Finagle. 
                              10. Owl’s Retort: Offer vacuous comments or criticisms using big words. A strategy associated with one of Winnie the Pooh’s friends. 
                              11. The Persecution Complex Pity Party: Accuse the opponent of picking on you, or of being “anti—(your religion or belief here),” or of being the kind of person who hundreds of years ago would have happily consented to your being burned at the stake. 
                              12. The Sextus Empiricus Switch: Put the burden of proof on the opponent to show that his conclusion is absolutely, mathematically, deductively certain and that there is no possibility in any potential universe of any other explanation turning out to be right.
                            • Paul Leonard
                              Sure sounds like some of the answers (non) given here in response to your questions. I am surprised it didn t have one about sending the questioner back to the
                              Message 14 of 23 , Oct 11, 2007
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                                Sure sounds like some of the answers (non) given here in response to your questions.

                                I am surprised it didn't have one about sending the questioner back to the archives to see where you really did answer it.

                                Patrick Navas <patrick_navas@...> wrote:
                                Rob,
                                 
                                I read this on your Deity of Christ blog/page. Did you post this? If not, are you an advocate or promoter of what follows?
                                 
                                Answer Someone If You Have No Case
                                Finding someone’s argument too tough to handle? Over your head in a matter of biblical exegesis, scientific evidence, or logical validity? Don’t despair. Now you can always respond to those smart-alecks and put them in their place. These are field-tested methods for diverting attention from the lack of substance in your argument. Never be stuck again for a snappy comeback! 
                                1. The Devil-in-the- Details Device: If the opponent appealed to specific details, accuse him of nitpicking. If he didn’t go into as much detail as possible, accuse him of ignoring glaring difficulties with his position. Note that this strategy is viable in all situations. 
                                2. The Editor’s Gotcha: Point out an isolated spelling or grammatical error in your opponent’s writing as evidence of his unreliability. 
                                3. The Evil Nun / Mad Scientist Defense: Assert that it’s obvious to anyone who is not blinded by (religious or secular) indoctrination that you’re right and your opponent is wrong. 
                                4. The Fideist Finagle: Piously intone that religion is a matter of faith, not reason, and that the opponent’s problem is that he is too intellectual in his approach to the subject. (Skilled practitioners reserve this stratagem as a last resort, to be used after they have tried presenting rational arguments for their position that didn’t hold up.) 
                                5. Flat-Earthing: Tell an anecdote about a stupid statement on the subject made by someone else who is (at least supposedly) on the opponent’s side. 
                                6. The Hoagland Hustle: Find a scholar or scientist who supports your position and conclude that your view is therefore just as good as your opponent’s. 
                                7. Kirk’s Kobayashi Maru Gambit: Redefine the parameters of the debate so you will win. 
                                8. Lenin’s Law: Repeat your already refuted argument, even more emphatically and confidently, as though your opponent had not even challenged it. 
                                9. The Moroni Maneuver: Appeal to your private religious experience, even though doing so does not answer the argument at hand. See also The Fideist Finagle. 
                                10. Owl’s Retort: Offer vacuous comments or criticisms using big words. A strategy associated with one of Winnie the Pooh’s friends. 
                                11. The Persecution Complex Pity Party: Accuse the opponent of picking on you, or of being “anti—(your religion or belief here),” or of being the kind of person who hundreds of years ago would have happily consented to your being burned at the stake. 
                                12. The Sextus Empiricus Switch: Put the burden of proof on the opponent to show that his conclusion is absolutely, mathematically, deductively certain and that there is no possibility in any potential universe of any other explanation turning out to be right.

                              • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                                Patrick, I did post it. The introduction is satirical. Surely you didn t think I seriously advocated using those fallacies? I m leaving on a business trip. In
                                Message 15 of 23 , Oct 12, 2007
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                                  Patrick,

                                  I did post it. The introduction is satirical. Surely you didn't
                                  think I seriously advocated using those fallacies?

                                  I'm leaving on a business trip.

                                  In Christ's service,
                                  Rob Bowman


                                  --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Patrick Navas
                                  <patrick_navas@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Rob,
                                  >
                                  > I read this on your Deity of Christ blog/page. Did you post
                                  this? If not, are you an advocate or promoter of what follows?
                                  >
                                  > Answer Someone If You Have No Case
                                  >
                                  > Finding someone's argument too tough to handle? Over your head
                                  in a matter of biblical exegesis, scientific evidence, or logical
                                  validity? Don't despair. Now you can always respond to those smart-
                                  alecks and put them in their place. These are field-tested methods
                                  for diverting attention from the lack of substance in your argument.
                                  Never be stuck again for a snappy comeback!
                                • Patrick Navas
                                  Rob, It s a relief to know that you do not promote tactics of that sort. They are awful. But I don t know if it will be clear to all that you posted that list
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Oct 12, 2007
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                                    Rob,
                                     
                                    It's a relief to know that you do not promote tactics of that sort. They are awful. But I don't know if it will be clear to all that you posted that list in jest. I couldn't tell. That's why I asked.
                                     
                                    I'll be in touch soon with some short responses on Hebrews 1, your last posts, and then I will get to work on my review of your book. I finished reading it, and I am now half way through the footnotes. But my review/critique will take some time (probably a few months) to put together.
                                     
                                    Patrick
                                     


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

                                    I did post it. The introduction is satirical. Surely you didn't
                                    think I seriously advocated using those fallacies?

                                    I'm leaving on a business trip.

                                    In Christ's service,
                                    Rob Bowman

                                    --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Patrick Navas
                                    <patrick_navas@ ...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Rob,
                                    >
                                    > I read this on your Deity of Christ blog/page. Did you post
                                    this? If not, are you an advocate or promoter of what follows?
                                    >
                                    > Answer Someone If You Have No Case
                                    >
                                    > Finding someone's argument too tough to handle? Over your head
                                    in a matter of biblical exegesis, scientific evidence, or logical
                                    validity? Don't despair. Now you can always respond to those smart-
                                    alecks and put them in their place. These are field-tested methods
                                    for diverting attention from the lack of substance in your argument.
                                    Never be stuck again for a snappy comeback!


                                  • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
                                    Patrick, You wrote:
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Oct 13, 2007
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                                      Patrick,

                                      You wrote:

                                      << It's a relief to know that you do not promote tactics of that sort.
                                      They are awful. But I don't know if it will be clear to all that you
                                      posted that list in jest. I couldn't tell. That's why I asked. >>

                                      You are the only person, at least so far, who has suggested that
                                      anyone might misunderstand the post to be seriously proposing that
                                      people use such fallacious forms of reasoning. I have had about a
                                      dozen people comment on the post, and they all "got it" right away.

                                      In Christ's service,
                                      Rob Bowman
                                    • Patrick Navas
                                      Okay, Rob, then I guess I was the only one that misunderstood it. There wasn t anything that I saw on the web site to indicate that it was intended as a joke,
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Oct 13, 2007
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                                        Okay, Rob, then I guess I was the only one that misunderstood it. There wasn't anything that I saw on the web site to indicate that it was intended as a joke, so I was confused, and that's why I asked for clarification.
                                         
                                        Patrick

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

                                        You wrote:

                                        << It's a relief to know that you do not promote tactics of that sort.
                                        They are awful. But I don't know if it will be clear to all that you
                                        posted that list in jest. I couldn't tell. That's why I asked. >>

                                        You are the only person, at least so far, who has suggested that
                                        anyone might misunderstand the post to be seriously proposing that
                                        people use such fallacious forms of reasoning. I have had about a
                                        dozen people comment on the post, and they all "got it" right away.

                                        In Christ's service,
                                        Rob Bowman


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