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Patrick's supposedly unanswered post

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  • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
    Patrick, You wrote:
    Message 1 of 15 , Oct 6, 2008
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      Patrick,

      You wrote:

      << Thanks for the reply. I can respond to each of your points, in
      time. And feel free to offer a more complete response, but, I'm still
      waiting for your answers to my original post. >>

      This seems to be your constant claim, no matter how many times I
      answer. Which original post exactly do you mean, and what precisely
      did you ask that I didn't answer? Please provide the post number of
      the "original post" you think I didn't answer.

      You wrote:
       
      << The point I made about scriptural language is the entire basis of
      my faith and practice. I would never use or defend the language you
      used to characterize Christ. Trinitarians unquestionably go beyond
      the language of Scripture in their offical teachings. All my
      officially-held teachings are limited to the langauge of Scripture. >>

      Huh? What official position do you have that allows you to refer to
      your "officially-held teachings"?

      Would you agree that Jehovah's Witnesses also "go beyond the language
      of Scripture in their official teachings"?

      You wrote:
       
      << You tried to argue that you could do something similar in
      reference to Christ. (I gladly embrace all those texts by the way,
      even though you don't mention that several of them are in
      fact debateable as far as translation is concerned, no matter how
      strongly you argue for your preferred translations, as in the case of
      Rom. 9:5, or interpretations, as in the case of 1 John 5:20). >>

      The fact that there is debate over the translation or interpretation
      of a text does not mean that we should ignore that text. You seem to
      feel that we can simply ignore texts like Romans 9:5 and 1 John 5:20
      in forming our doctrinal positions.

      I should point out that there are debates about the translations of
      some pet anti-Trinitarian proof texts (e.g., should ARXH in
      Revelation 3:14 be translated "beginning" or "ruler" or "origin"?) as
      well as the interpretation of other stock anti-Trinitarian proof
      texts (e.g., does Colossians 1:15 mean that Christ is a created
      being?). Thus, your comment applies equally to your own proof texts.

      You wrote:

      << But I am not taking issue so much with your belief in the "deity"
      of Christ. Although I'd be glad to discuss it. Right now I'm talking
      about the doctrine of the Trinity. That is one tendency I've noticed
      in your dialogues. You tend to want to limit the discussion to
      Christ. >>

      Not at all. I'm happy to talk about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

      You wrote:

      << Yet my original line of questioning is in regard to the Trinity.
      Where is the truine God in the Bible? Where is this God mentioned?
      proclaimed? worshiped? discussed? Why does our salvation depend upon
      faith in it if it's never mentioned in Scripture, once? Instead of
      teaching "God is three in one" why not just stick to Jesus'
      creed, "God is one"? >>

      This is a facile objection. Jesus also said, "Unless you believe that
      I am [he], you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). Whatever this
      means exactly, it certainly means that we need to know and believe
      who Jesus is. Merely affirming that "God is one" is not sufficient.
      If that's all that is required, then Jews and Muslims have an
      acceptable theology. Is that your claim?

      The whole point of the doctrine of the Trinity is simply to "stick
      to" the teachings of the Bible concerning the identity and nature of
      the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. See the Introduction to my outline
      study on this point.

      You wrote:

      << See my original post. I'll be awaiting a response. >>

      Again, I don't know what "original post" you think I did not answer.

      In Christ's service,
      Rob Bowman
      Executive Director
      Institute for Religious Research
      Online: http://www.irr org/
    • Patrick Navas
      Rob, You wrote: This seems to be your constant claim, no matter how many times I answer. Which original post exactly do you mean, and what precisely did you
      Message 2 of 15 , Oct 6, 2008
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        Rob,

        You wrote:

        This seems to be your constant claim, no matter how many times I
        answer. Which original post exactly do you mean, and what precisely
        did you ask that I didn't answer? Please provide the post number of
        the "original post" you think I didn't answer.

         

        You yourself said that you were tired from your long trip and that you were offering a partial response. All I meant is that I'm waiting your complete response. You specifically said:


        "It's very late, I just got back from a trip, and so this will not be
        quite a complete reply."

         

        I am awaiting for your answer to the questions I originally asked. You said you would answer them if I answered yours. I have answered yours. Now it's your turn. Here is my question again?

         

        Assuming that the Trinity is a true, biblical doctrine--Why, in your opinion, did the writers of Scripture, essentially, "hold back" from simply declaring the truthfulness of the doctrine of the Trinity, in forthright terms? If the scriptural writers' intention was to proclaim the plain truth about God's nature and identity, why not something like, "to us there is one God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--three persons one God"? (1 Cor. 8:6). Or why not, "You have heard it said, "'Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One,' but I say to you, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is three in one," or "this means eternal life, their knowing you, the only true God--Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (John 17:3)? Or, "For there is one God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and one mediator between the Father and man, the God-man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth."? (1 Tim. 2:5)
         
        In other words, why do the scriptural writes not give at least one forthright declaration of the triune God when they had the opportunity to do so and if that is how Jesus and his apostles conceived of God? What is your honest explanation as a Trinitarian?
         
        Huh? What official position do you have that allows you to refer to
        your "officially- held teachings"?
         
        My official position is explicitly articulated by in these texts, "there is one God, the Father...and one Lord Jesus Christ." "There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus." "Jesus is the Christ." "Jesus is the son of the living God." "God is one." "This is eternal life, their knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent." "God is love." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." "God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah." "God has exalted Jesus to his right hand."

        Would you agree that Jehovah's Witnesses also "go beyond the language
        of Scripture in their official teachings"?
         
        Yes. I completely agree with this. That's why I'm not a Jehovah's Witness.

        You wrote:
         
        << You tried to argue that you could do something similar in
        reference to Christ. (I gladly embrace all those texts by the way,
        even though you don't mention that several of them are in
        fact debateable as far as translation is concerned, no matter how
        strongly you argue for your preferred translations, as in the case of
        Rom. 9:5, or interpretations, as in the case of 1 John 5:20). >>

        The fact that there is debate over the translation or interpretation
        of a text does not mean that we should ignore that text. You seem to
        feel that we can simply ignore texts like Romans 9:5 and 1 John 5:20
        in forming our doctrinal positions.
         
        You seem to feel that we can simply ignore the alternative translations and interpretations of these texts. My research shows that the majority of Evangelicals agree with the my view on 1 John 5:20. Romans 9:5 is simply ambibuous. I can accept it either way it's translated. Even if Jesus is called "God over all" I have no problem with this. Since I recognize that although he is fittingly called "God" based on his authority (a clearly established biblical practice, he has one who is God above him.
         
        Andy why "form" doctrinal positions. As Christians, let's just allow Jesus and his apostles to tell us what they are.

        I should point out that there are debates about the translations of
        some pet anti-Trinitarian proof texts (e.g., should ARXH in
        Revelation 3:14 be translated "beginning" or "ruler" or "origin"?) as
        well as the interpretation of other stock anti-Trinitarian proof
        texts (e.g., does Colossians 1:15 mean that Christ is a created
        being?). Thus, your comment applies equally to your own proof texts.
         
        That's a fair point.

        You wrote:

        << But I am not taking issue so much with your belief in the "deity"
        of Christ. Although I'd be glad to discuss it. Right now I'm talking
        about the doctrine of the Trinity. That is one tendency I've noticed
        in your dialogues. You tend to want to limit the discussion to
        Christ. >>

        Not at all. I'm happy to talk about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
         
        That was the issue I brought up. Yet you limited the discussion and the bulk of argumentation to Christ. I'm asking you questions specifically about the concept of the "triune God" of the post-biblical creeds.

        Jesus also said, "Unless you believe that
        I am [he], you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). Whatever this
        means exactly, it certainly means that we need to know and believe
        who Jesus is.
         
        I agree. And the answer is clear, scripturally: "These things were written so that you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believeing you may have life in his name." Jesus is "the Christ." That is the scriptural answer. That is how men are born of God, through this belief. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." That's what we must believe about Jesus to be Christian. Confessing that Jesus is "God the Son," "the God-man" or "the second person of the Trinity" is foreign to true Christianity.
         
         Merely affirming that "God is one" is not sufficient.
         
        The affirmation that God is "one" is part of the "greatest" of all commandments. God is "one." That is the true Christian creed. "God is three in one" is a creed that doesn't appear in the Bible, so why use it?

        If that's all that is required, then Jews and Muslims have an
        acceptable theology.
         
        No. Because they deny that Jesus is "the Christ." But God is "one." That is the only "numerical" formula given in Scripture in regard to God. It is the creed of Jews and the creed of Jesus, and my creed. I find no need to go beyond this, in reference to my concept of God.

        Again, I don't know what "original post" you think I did not answer.

        My original post is my question about the Trinity included in this email.
         
        Patrick
      • Patrick Navas
        Rob,   I wrote: It functions for Trinitarianism as an all-powerful mechanism, since it is not subject to logic or vulnerable to refutation, in their minds of
        Message 3 of 15 , Oct 6, 2008
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          Rob,

           

          I wrote:

          It functions for Trinitarianism as an all-powerful mechanism, since it is not subject to logic or vulnerable to refutation, in their minds of course.

           

          You responded:

          Straw-man argument, this. If you can refute the doctrine biblically,
          have at it. But what you actually argue against is a straw-man,
          caricatured version of the doctrine.

           

          Not at all. The "God-man" doctrine is no different than saying "this pulpit is one hundred percent gold and one hundred percent wood at the same time." If we take a position like that, the position is not longer in the realm where normal principles of logic and argumentaion apply. It is, like the Trinity, a "mystery," a "paradox" (however you choose to label it).

           

          If I am right, and Jesus is not "God" (but "God's Son"), there really isn't any scriptural evidence I can point to to prove this, as long as I'm going up against the "God-man" concept. Jesus is constantly presented as distinct from "God," even "the only true God." He is presented as "a man" accredited by God and the one whom God raised. He even says that his Father, God, is greater than he is, that he lives because of him, and that he does not know the day or hour, as God does and should, since he's God.

          When the Jews accuse him of making himself out to be "God" or "a god," he responds by telling them that he's God's Son. When a man goes up to him and calls him "good teacher," he responds by pointing to someone else, God, as the only one who is really "good." But that is okay, for Trinitarians, he is "one hundred percent man," yet, he is "God" at the same time.

           

          In terms of refutation, the simplest thing I can do is point out that the "God-man" concept is nowhere articulated in Scripture. The term "God-man" itself is foreign to Scripture. The apostles did not use it or know it. They did not teach it or proclaim it. So neither do I.

          Not true at all. As I explained in my previous post, you are assuming
          that the Trinitarian view thinks of Jesus as two persons, a divine
          person and a human person.

           

          Not at all. I already knew and understood quite well that Trinitarians claim that Jesus, the "person," is God and man at the same time. I already knew that Trinitarians will use the language, "Jesus could say this in virtue of his humanity" or "Jesus could say that, by virtue of his deity." I never assumed that the Trinitarian view thinks of Jesus as two persons, in any way, shape or form.

           

          I wrote:

          << It is a great advantage as far as debating tactics are concerned—
          since you are, when appealing to this concept, not even subject to
          refutation, something that can only be accomplished through the tools
          of logic and persuasive discourse! >>

          To which you responded:

          If we actually held the position you think, your criticism would have
          merit.

           

          As I said, I already know exactly what Trinitarians believe on the "God-man" concept, not because I'm a scholar, but because I've read what Trinitarians believe. I read every page of your book, every page of Dr. Morey's book, every page of Dr. White's book, and several other books by Trinitarians. I'm not confused about this.

           

          I wrote:


          << But the truth of the matter is, Scripture never says or implies
          that Jesus is a "God-man." A "God-man" never even makes an appearance
          in the pages of Scripture; only the "Son of God" who obeys and
          reveals the things that were taught to him by his Father. >>

           

          To which you responded.

          You can get away with this statement only by ignoring the mountain of
          evidence against it, summarized in my outline study and argued in
          detail in _Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the
          Deity of
          Christ
          _. The Bible plainly and explicitly affirms both that Jesus is
          God and that he is man.


          I can get away with this statement because it is a fact. No verse in Scripture teaches Jesus is a "God-man" and the term "God-man" itself is unbiblical. Why even use it, other terms like "Trinity" "God the Son," etc.? Doesn't the Scripture already give us satisfying terms to describe Jesus and God? For me personally, one plain scriptural teaching on the "Trinity" or the "God-man" would do so much more than your "theology" or your "mountain of evidence." 

           

          Why do your most cherished doctrines depend on "theology" and interpretation rather than plain scriptural statements? You would think that a person who loves Scripture would give primacy to the language used and the doctrines that are specifically articulated in Scripture.

           

          Jesus was a man acredited by God. If you're acredited by God, you're not God.

           If you're God's representative (Heb. 1:3), you are not God, but God's representative. In the texts where the term "God" applies to Jesus, he never stops being "the exact representation of God's being." He is "the exact representation of God's being" all across the board, at all times, and in every verse in Scripture where he is spoken of. This never changes.

           

          Patrick Navas

        • Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
          Patrick, This is in reply to your post #2169 (using the numbering in the archive). Quotations from our posts are given with the name and post number following
          Message 4 of 15 , Oct 6, 2008
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            Patrick,

            This is in reply to your post #2169 (using the numbering in the
            archive). Quotations from our posts are given with the name and post
            number following so as to clear up some apparent confusion.

            I began a post responding to your post #2160 as follows:

            It's very late, I just got back from a trip, and so this will not be
            quite a complete reply. (Rob #2161)

            You began your response to the above post #2161 as follows:

            Thanks for the reply. I can respond to each of your points, in time.
            And feel free to offer a more complete response, but, I'm still
            waiting for your answers to my original post. (Patrick #2162)

            I replied to the above claim as follows:

            This seems to be your constant claim, no matter how many times I
            answer. Which original post exactly do you mean, and what precisely
            did you ask that I didn't answer? Please provide the post number of
            the "original post" you think I didn't answer. (Rob #2168)

            You quoted the above paragraph from #2168 and then replied:

            You yourself said that you were tired from your long trip and that
            you were offering a partial response. All I meant is that I'm waiting
            your complete response. You specifically said:
            "It's very late, I just got back from a trip, and so this will not be
            quite a complete reply." (Patrick #2169)

            This makes it appear as though the "original post" to which I
            supposedly had not responded was your post #2160, to which I offered
            what I acknowledged was a partial response. It turns out, however,
            that this wasn't the post you went on to claim I had not answered.
            You neglected to give me the post number as I had asked, making it
            more difficult to track the confusion inherent in your claim that you
            were "still waiting" for a reply to some supposedly unanswered post.
            However, you wrote:

            I am awaiting for your answer to the questions I originally asked.
            You said you would answer them if I answered yours. I have answered
            yours. Now it's your turn. Here is my question again? (Patrick #2169)

            You then quoted the following, indicating that it was the question in
            the "original post" for which you were "still waiting" to hear an
            answer from me:

            Assuming that the Trinity is a true, biblical doctrine--Why, in your
            opinion, did the writers of Scripture, essentially, "hold back" from
            simply declaring the truthfulness of the doctrine of the Trinity, in
            forthright terms? If the scriptural writers' intention was to
            proclaim the plain truth about God's nature and identity, why not
            something like, "to us there is one God, the Father, Son, and Holy
            Spirit--three persons one God"? (1 Cor. 8:6). Or why not, "You have
            heard it said, "'Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One,' but I say
            to you, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is three in one," or "this
            means eternal life, their knowing you, the only true God--Father, the
            Son, and the Holy Spirit" (John 17:3)? Or, "For there is one God, the
            Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and one mediator between the
            Father and man, the God-man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a
            ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For
            this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the
            truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and
            truth."? (1 Tim. 2:5)
            In other words, why do the scriptural writes not give at least one
            forthright declaration of the triune God when they had the
            opportunity to do so and if that is how Jesus and his apostles
            conceived of God? What is your honest explanation as a Trinitarian?
            (Patrick #2157)

            As I have indicated here, the above quotation came from your post
            #2157. You posted that message Friday night. I had posted later that
            night a couple of questions for you to answer first (post #2158), and
            you answered them Saturday afternoon (post #2159, revised in #2160).
            About twelve hours later I posted a reply to that post (#2161) and
            acknowledged that I had not replied completely. So I am puzzled as to
            why you felt it necessary to say that you were "still waiting" for
            answers to a post that was only four posts previous to my most recent
            post to that point and that had been posted only thirty hours
            previously.

            Well, let's move on. The answer to your question is that the biblical
            writers do state everything that is essential to the doctrine of the
            Trinity in plain terms. They stated that there is one God, the Lord
            Jehovah. They identified the Father as Jehovah, the Son as Jehovah,
            and the Holy Spirit as Jehovah. They distinguished the Father, Son,
            and Holy Spirit from one another in personal ways. So the doctrine
            follows directly from what the biblical writers said. The
            terms "Trinity" and "three persons" are not what is essential to the
            doctrine. Those expressions, as everyone on our side acknowledges
            (your own book quotes Trinitarians making this point!), are
            postbiblical ways of articulating what the Bible says. We need no
            breathless announcement from anti-Trinitarians informing us that the
            specific articulations found in the creeds and in confessional
            theology are not in the Bible. You surprise only the uninitiated and
            the theologically illiterate by pointing this out.

            The biblical writers do not use these specific articulations because
            they were addressing the relevant issues concerning the identity of
            the Son and the person of the Holy Spirit in language and thought-
            forms native to their own immediate religious and philosophical
            cultural contexts. The creedal language develops over time as
            believers wrestled with the biblical information and sought to
            express it in ways that would address the sorts of questions that
            arose as deficient understandings of the biblical revelation arose in
            church history. The fact that the biblical writers spoke in the idiom
            of their day shows that there is nothing wrong with Christians of a
            later period restating the same truths in language and thought-forms
            of their own cultural contexts. The Bible certainly never discourages
            this process of intellectual translation of its teachings.

            Your claim is that you do not deviate from the explicit biblical
            statements. You won't even answer the question of whether Jesus is
            only a created being. But Patrick, you do use unbiblical expressions,
            and in doing so actually contradict the Bible. For example, in
            another post you write:

            If I am right, and Jesus is not "God" (but "God's Son"), there really
            isn't any scriptural evidence I can point to to prove this, as long
            as I'm going up against the "God-man" concept. Jesus is constantly
            presented as distinct from "God," even "the only true God." (Patrick
            #2170)

            According to Patrick, "Jesus is not 'God'"--even though the Bible
            refers to Jesus explicitly as "God" (by your own admission
            elsewhere). Furthermore, no biblical text states that "Jesus is
            not 'God'"; you are therefore guilty here of an extrabiblical
            articulation, one not found anywhere in the Bible (as well as one
            that contradicts various biblical texts that explicitly call
            Jesus "God"). According to Patrick, "Jesus is constantly presented as
            distinct from 'God,'" whereas this is not "constantly" so since there
            are texts that explicitly call him "God." Furthermore, no biblical
            text states that Jesus is "distinct from 'God'"; your use of the
            word "distinct" here is an extrabiblical linguistic element, every
            bit as much as the term "person."

            You are therefore hoisted with your own petard--as all anti-
            Trinitarians inevitably are.

            In Christ's service,
            Rob Bowman
            Executive Director
            Institute for Religious Research
            http://www.irr.org/
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