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Monday, September 30, 2013

Mailvox: a creedal correction

In which my religious views are somewhat mischaracterized on Twitter:
Avenging Red Hand: Vox is amusing, but highly arrogant, and heterodox, if not outright heretical, on his views of the Trinity.

Uilesmiselani: Yes, he's a heretic. Not even Nicene.
As it happens, my views are entirely Nicene in the proper sense, they simply do not happen to be in line with what should be technically considered Constantinoplene rather than Nicene.  Consider the actual Nicene Creed of 325:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

By whom all things were made;

Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;

He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven;

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

And in the Holy Ghost.

I readily affirm all of that. Now, one can certainly quibble over the "one substance with the Father" aspect, as it can be interpreted in various ways and I do not accept it means that "the Father Almighty" and "the Son of God" are exactly equal and wholly interchangeable at all times because this is an explicitly anti-Biblical position; how can God the Father have abandoned Himself?

What I take exception to is the addition made by the First Council of Constaninople 56 years later, in which the simple belief in the existence of the Holy Ghost is raised to a quasi-equal status with both God the Father and the Son of God alike.

"And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets."

How can the Helper, who came after the Son, be considered the Giver of life when not only life, but life eternal, had already been given? And if the Father and the Son are wholly equal, how can the Holy Ghost proceed solely from the Father and not the Son, especially if the Son is the one by whom all things are made? Is proceeding more akin to being begotten or being made?

It seems to me that the true Nicene Creed is not only more fundamentally Christian, but more coherent than the later Constantinoplene Creed for which it is so readily confused. These questions don't trouble me in the slightest, as we know perfectly well how dark the glass is through which we see these things, but I do think it is inaccurate to describe me as "not even Nicene" or a heretic in the Scriptural sense as opposed to one based on whatever the post-Scriptural dogma happens to be at the moment.

"Heterodoxically Nicene" would, I think, be a more judicious description of my Christian theological perspective.

Labels:

291 Comments:

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Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 9:15 AM  

So you are on Team Filioque.

Freaking Papist.

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 9:20 AM  


How can the Helper, who came after the Son, be considered the Giver of life when not only life, but life eternal, had already been given? And if the Father and the Son are wholly equal, how can the Holy Ghost proceed solely from the Father and not the Son, especially if the Son is the one by whom all things are made? Is proceeding more akin to being begotten or being made?


Vox, you're confusing two different things. "Giving" life in the sense of granting it to you, and "giving" in it in the sense of actually making you alive.

When someone living now, someone who didn't even exist at the time Jesus was on the earth, comes to faith in Him, he qualifies to have eternal life on the basis of what the Father has granted - but the Holy Spirit is the One who actually makes him alive.

What I recommend here, is that you refresh your mind on what the Bible actually says about the Holy Spirit, rather than being preoccupied by the clumsy verbal formulations of a few centuries later.

Let's follow Luther's advice and go for Scripture and plain reason, not popes and councils. :-)

Romans chapter 8, and 1 Corinthians chapter 2 might be a good place to start.

Anonymous bob k. mando September 30, 2013 9:24 AM  

but, but, God kills chillins!

this post brought to you by Ann Morgan.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 9:27 AM  

Also consider Luke 3:22, when Jesus is baptized by John. The Trinity is there physically. God the Father Speaks, Jesus is present, and The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.

How can The Father abandon himself, indeed? This is one of the great mysteries we won't know until we die. I don't think because we don't understand this concept we should reject Jesus and God the Father being one God.

God the Father wills, Jesus the Son executes the Father's will, and the Holy Ghost applies it to our daily lives, including regeneration. The Holy Spirit also has a gender: He. Not it.

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma September 30, 2013 9:30 AM  

Even mongoloids, with limited mental capacity for abstract thought, can be saved.

So salvation is a matter of the heart, of being born again by the Holy Spirit, not necessarily of the intellect.

Thus, I consider Vox a Christian brother, to whom I always warmly extend the right hand of fellowship, despite the fact that I hold the orthodox view that the H.S. is a co-equal member of the Trinity.

Even Super-Intelligences cannot be expected to be able to parse the divine mystery of the Trinity!

And then there's that foolish assertion denying the moon landings . . . but we forgive him, for he knows not what he does. ;-)

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 9:33 AM  

Requiring someone to have a cognitive knowledge of God, and/or saying the sinners' prayer as the means of eternal salvation would send billions to hell.

Saying the sinners' prayer, belief and good works are evidence, not the cause, of eternal salvation.

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 9:34 AM  

Personally, I think a lot of the time the people drawing up those creeds didn't know what they were talking about.
Here's an example - that whole "eternally begotten" nonsense. It confuses the role Jesus has within creation, as one Person who unites two natures, with His eternal nature from before the world began.

Anonymous zen0 September 30, 2013 9:34 AM  

Stg58/Animal Mother embraces the mysterium:

How can The Father abandon himself, indeed? This is one of the great mysteries we won't know until we die. I don't think because we don't understand this concept we should reject Jesus and God the Father being one God.

Yes, by all means throw God-given reason to the winds. Make an atheist happy today.

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 9:38 AM  

Of course no one needs to believe in the official Doctrine of the Trinity in order to be saved - since that developed doctrine was only drawn up long after Pentecost, long after people were already getting forgiven by the Father and regenerated by the Spirit, through faith in Jesus' death and resurrection.

Contrary to what "The Church" would have you believe, they don't have the power to change God's conditions for salvation.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 9:39 AM  

It's not about throwing reason to the wind. Jesus himself claims that He and the Father are one. And yet, they are clearly distinct. So either Jesus lied, or there is something else going on.

Anonymous Other Josh September 30, 2013 9:40 AM  

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. - Philippians 2:5-6

I'm having trouble discerning your issues. It seems you think that claiming Jesus is God is the same thing as saying Jesus is God the Father.

No where does Jesus claim to be the Father. No where in scripture does it say Jesus = God the Father. However, scripture does say He is God.

Confusing, isn't it! He is God, but He is not God the Father. Now you see how the doctrine of the trinity was born.

Almighty God is not one person. He is three separate persons/personalities. This is the only reasonable conclusion as you see the Father described as God, Jesus described as God, and the Spirit described as God in the Bible. It's obvious they are different people/personalities, but yet they are all God.

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma September 30, 2013 9:42 AM  

@zen0: I suspect you and Vox are in the same boat. If it doesn't make sense to your mind, if you cannot wrap your brain around it, you reject it.

Sometimes, man, you just gotta let go and be free from the prison of your intellect.

It's not that you and Vox are not smart. Yes, you are. Very smart. I'm a National Merit Scholar myself. But it gets to what Vox mentioned in his post: We see through a glass darkly.

At one time perhaps, we didn't know the principles of flight, how an airplane worked, how 250 tons of metal could "float" in the sky. Then we learned.

At the moment, your mind, my mind, cannot comprehend the essence of the Trinity. Simply because our brains do not happen to understand it at the moment does not make it false.

Jesus put it something like this: "You see the wind, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with the Spirit."

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 9:42 AM  

One God in three persons. That doesn't make sense to non Christians, and is partly why biblical truth becomes evident through the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous Roundtine September 30, 2013 9:45 AM  

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well, are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, "Baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 9:46 AM  

God also exists outside of our reality, so we are a bit like the residents of flat land trying to comprehend three dimensions.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 9:46 AM  

Other Josh:

Jesus most definitely claimed to be the same person. Read John 8.

"Before Abraham was, I am."

"I and my Father are one."

That whole chapter is a gold mine.

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma September 30, 2013 9:46 AM  

@Other Josh at 9:40 AM: Nicely done! Quite "reasonable."

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 9:49 AM  

Roundtine,

Two can play that game! I am Primitive Baptist, so I outrank your pathetic 1879. Die, heretic scum!

Anonymous Other Josh September 30, 2013 9:49 AM  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. - John 1:1-3

As you read the above passage, remember "The Word" = Jesus. Jesus was with God, but yet He also was God, Himself.

Anonymous Ten41 September 30, 2013 9:49 AM  

Just to throw fuel on the fire; The Trinity Delusion

Blogger James Dixon September 30, 2013 9:50 AM  

There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit exists, or that it is currently at work in the world. It's exact nature is clearly beyond our ability to either perceive or conceptualize.

Given the sheer scope of our created universe, it's not surprising there are things about its creator we would be incapable of understanding.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 September 30, 2013 9:50 AM  

When Jesus said that He and the Father are one, he may very well have been referring to Jesus being entirely submissive to the Father's Will.

However, if Jesus was the same as the Father, then all could all authority have been given to Him following his death and return?

These are great mysteries that are hard to understand. I agree with Vox's logic, though, and it seems that the revised Nicene Creed was really more a political revision than a Godly one.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 9:50 AM  

The Bible says Jesus and the Father are one.

The Bible also says that a man and his wife are one.

Anonymous Agnostic September 30, 2013 9:50 AM  

So ... for those of us who know almost zero about Christianity....can you answer a simple question?

Holy Ghost = God?

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 9:51 AM  

The Trinity is there physically.

No, the (in Trinitarian terms) three persons are there. There is nothing to indicate that they they are one entity, unless when Archie visits an Eli vs. Peyton game, you consider them to be one Manning in three quarterbacks.

Appeals to the divine mystery are bunk: Jesus came to resolve mysteries, Paul revealed mysteries. Are there complex issues? Sure, but the notion that new "Divine Mysteries" were implemented as a result of Christianity is terrible teaching - absolutely terrible. Jesus revealed the mystery of his parables to the Disciples. Paul not only broke down myths, he also carefully explained a number of hidden things that had been revealed at the resurrection. There is a reason why you aren't handed a new tarot deck at baptism.

This is not a guessing game. Elohim is a family name - the name of the Father and His only Begotten Son. Trinitarianism is a solution in search of a problem. It isn't a problem that the Father begot a Son, and that they then made man in their image. It just didn't make a ton of sense to some of the Catholics at the time, so they supermonotheized things.

Christians don't worship monotheism. We worship the Father, through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. No matter how you define that family of supernatural godhood, it is not, and never will be, classically monotheistic. If it were, there would be no need for such a term as Trinitarianism.

Anonymous Stg/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 9:51 AM  

OJ,

So we are on the same page.

Anonymous Other Josh September 30, 2013 9:51 AM  

Stg58/Animal Mother, read John 17. This gives a good explanation as to what it means to be "one".

Jesus asks the Father that we (i.e. the church) be one with Him (Jesus) just as He is one with the Father. Does that means we are now Jesus? No. It means we are one with Him just as He is one with the Father.

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma September 30, 2013 9:51 AM  

@Stg58 at 9:46 AM: Also true. Thus, the confusion.

I would clarify that while Jesus said he was one with the Father, to your point, he did not negate the separate, uh, "personhood" of the Father, to Other Josh's point.

I'm guessing you two agree in the substance of what you're trying to say.

Anonymous ROB BELL September 30, 2013 9:52 AM  

But... the word "TRINITY" is NOT in the Bible!!!!11

Anonymous jay c September 30, 2013 9:52 AM  

People have always thrown around the "heretic" label far too easily.

Anonymous zen0 September 30, 2013 9:52 AM  

BluntForceTrauma esplains:

@zen0: I suspect you and Vox are in the same boat. If it doesn't make sense to your mind, if you cannot wrap your brain around it, you reject it.

Sometimes, man, you just gotta let go and be free from the prison of your intellect.


Similar to Eve with the fruit of the tree?

False conceptions and doctrines are created for a reason. A little leaven makes the whole loaf ritually impure.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 9:53 AM  

However, if Jesus was the same as the Father, then all could all authority have been given to Him following his death and return?

The reason all authority had been given to him: Jesus, as Adam's heir, recaptured the authority over earth that Adam and his descendents had ceded to Satan. Only a man could make that claim. God could not, because he had already given away that authority to Adam when He created man.

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma September 30, 2013 9:54 AM  

@Agnostic at 9:50 AM: Yes, orthodox Christian teaching will tell you that Holy Ghost = God.

Anonymous Catan September 30, 2013 9:55 AM  

If you insist on the primacy of reason over spirit, that the Father is the only interpretation of God, mind superior to the spirit, you are veering quite close to the perspective of the Unitarian Puritans, whose belief in the superiority of reason led them to first do away with "superstition", and then God altogether.


What do you think the predecessor to modern Secular Humanism in New England was? Read what early Puritans wrote about the supremacy of reason. Much of it could come out verbatim from a modern leftist.

Mind, body, and spirit are coequal and the interactions between them are the great mystery, just as the great mystery of how the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are. It is the three major aspects that make up our existence, and asserting the primacy of one over the others is how our fellow man has went so wrong.

Anonymous Joseph Smith dba Mormans September 30, 2013 9:55 AM  

DUH!

Anonymous Toby Temple September 30, 2013 9:55 AM  

My favorite can of worms has been opened. Again.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 9:55 AM  

unless when Archie visits an Eli vs. Peyton game, you consider them to be one Manning in three quarterbacks.

Blessed be their holy name. Peace be upon them and all who bear witness to their greatness.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 9:57 AM  

OJ,

We will be found in Jesus, but Jesus emphatically claims to be indistinguishable from the Father in John 8.

I think you are putting a little too much meaning into your interpretation of John 17, also contexts can change as well. Look at how many ways the words "world" and "all" are used.

We are also "one" with Jesus in the spirit of adoption, but not Jesus himself.

When Jesus says "I and my father are one" and "Before Abraham was, I am" I feel very comfortable taking them at face value, especially given the context of the conversation Jesus was having with the Pharisees.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 9:57 AM  

Christians don't worship monotheism. We worship the Father, through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We also worship Jesus.

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 9:58 AM  

Agnostic September 30, 2013 9:50 AM

So ... for those of us who know almost zero about Christianity....can you answer a simple question?

Holy Ghost = God?


Yes.

Blogger jamsco September 30, 2013 9:59 AM  

So Vox, would you say that you are a Trinitarian from a Nicene perspective?

If so I need to change an element of my Vox theology post.

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma September 30, 2013 9:59 AM  

@zen0: No, comprehending the essence of the Trinity is not similar at all to Eve obeying a simple command.

It is similar to a frog trying to understand trigonometry. Doesn't mean the frog is somehow deficient in his nature, nor does it mean trigonometry is sophistry.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 10:00 AM  

Toby Temple,

I do it only because I care about you.

Anonymous Other Josh September 30, 2013 10:01 AM  

Josh:

Matthew 28:18, Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."

You mentioned Jesus authority on earth, which is absolutely correct, but I must mention His authority in heaven. He is Lord over both realms, to the glory of God the Father. It must be this way if He is to be a savior who is mighty to save. Just imagine what it would be like if He was not Lord over heaven and earth... He would be a powerless savior. Satan would be able to hinder and stop His saving efforts. However, this is not the case, and He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God thru Him... and no angel, devil, principality, or power is able to keep Him from doing it.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 10:03 AM  

I think we can hit five hundred today. I can feel it.

Anonymous Toby Temple September 30, 2013 10:04 AM  

I raise you 1 Corinthians 15, emphasis on these 2 verses:

27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

From these 2 alone, it is clear that the Almighty is the God the Father and no one else.

Now try to rationalize where the Holy Spirit is ranked based on 1 Corinthians 15.

Blogger szook September 30, 2013 10:05 AM  

My feeling on this has grown to be the belief that some formulation of the Trinity is the best understanding of what God is trying to communicate through scripture. But the "glass darkly" that Paul talks about is more akin to cataracts, thus, God may either be reveling things perfectly in scripture, or He may in fact be holding back some information of His nature due to our inability to comprehend.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 10:05 AM  

Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to him, and they can only come to him if drawn by the Father.

Anonymous Other Josh September 30, 2013 10:05 AM  

Dang it. I gotta go back to work. This thing is gonna make me lose my job...

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 10:06 AM  

You mentioned Jesus authority on earth, which is absolutely correct, but I must mention His authority in heaven. 

He never gave his authority over heaven to man.

Anonymous Ten41 September 30, 2013 10:07 AM  

Agnostic September 30, 2013 9:50 AM

So ... for those of us who know almost zero about Christianity....can you answer a simple question?

Holy Ghost = God?


Or no... The Trinity Delusion

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma September 30, 2013 10:08 AM  

@Stg58: If you've got a bunch of smart guys who've already made up their minds on the issue, it's better not to quibble about divisive issues.

Much better to just go golfing together, or, better yet, shooting. ;-)

Y'all have a great day, gotta go clean the garage.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 10:08 AM  

Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to him, and they can only come to him if drawn by the Father.

And God draws everyone.

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 10:12 AM  

Toby Temple September 30, 2013 10:04 AM

I raise you 1 Corinthians 15, emphasis on these 2 verses:

27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

From these 2 alone, it is clear that the Almighty is the God the Father and no one else.

Now try to rationalize where the Holy Spirit is ranked based on 1 Corinthians 15.


Toby, Jesus is both Divine and human, Its as a resurrected, glorified man that He has been taken up to Heaven to sit at the Father's right hand.

God the Father will make everything in heaven and earth subject to the will of Jesus, and then Jesus will hand it all back.

Athanasius had this covered - the Son is equal to the Father in regard to his Deity, but subordinate to Him in regard to His humanity.
Its Augustine, Calvin and following who get this muddled up.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 10:13 AM  

Holy Ghost = God?

You will discover that Christians do not agree on this issue of whether the Holy Spirit is a person equal to God (as part of a Trinity), or is a supernatural power stemming from the relationship of the Father and His only begotten Son, or a special, undefined power - a channel that enables Christians to worship the Father through the intercession of Jesus.

I think the simplest description of the Holy Spirit comes from Jesus: he promises another "advocate" to follow him - and calls it the spirit of truth. Jesus also refers to this spirit in the masculine sense - calls it "he", for example. So he - the Holy Spirit - is a powerful, eternal spiritual advocate that comes directly from the Father. It is this unseen power that is the source of healings, the knowing of unknown languages, baptismal rebirth, etc.

This, I believe, is a description that nearly all Christians agree on - where they begin to disagree is where the Holy Spirit stands in relationship to God the Father and His Son - basically, whether he is simply a member of a Trinity, simply a separate divine being, or whether he is one of three deities in the family "Elohim," subject both to The Father and Son.

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 10:15 AM  

Josh September 30, 2013 10:08 AM

Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to him, and they can only come to him if drawn by the Father.

And God draws everyone.


People, can we leave the Calvin vs Arminius stuff for another day?

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 September 30, 2013 10:15 AM  

@Josh:

If Jesus was given all authority in heaven and Satan only had authority on Earth, then how could Jesus have been given authority over all heaven if he had it to begin with?

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 10:19 AM  

swiftfoxmark2 September 30, 2013 10:15 AM

@Josh:

If Jesus was given all authority in heaven and Satan only had authority on Earth, then how could Jesus have been given authority over all heaven if he had it to begin with?


Jesus as a human being received that authority from God the Father. Its got nothing to do with His own innate rights or power.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 10:20 AM  

I like to think of Jesus like with giant eagles wings, and singin' lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band and I'm in the front row and I'm hammered drunk

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 10:23 AM  

FrankNorman,

I was just quoting John 6:44. But if we are going to hit 500 comments today, we will need to hit the Trinity and Sovereign Grace vs Arminianism.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 10:26 AM  

If Jesus was given all authority in heaven and Satan only had authority on Earth, then how could Jesus have been given authority over all heaven if he had it to begin with?

swiftfoxmark2, you are forgetting someone. The Father had authority over all heaven, and had allowed Satan his authority on Earth. Thus Jesus was given all authority in heaven and earth - and did not have all authority before that - by His Father.

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 10:28 AM  

Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 10:23 AM

FrankNorman,

I was just quoting John 6:44. But if we are going to hit 500 comments today, we will need to hit the Trinity and Sovereign Grace vs Arminianism.


I think its not a coincidence that its the Reformed and the Presbyterians who seem to spawn off so many Trinity-denying sects.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 10:33 AM  

I didn't know that about Presbyterians.

Anonymous Cajin September 30, 2013 10:33 AM  

It is a case of our grasp exceeding our reach. We can say that the Trinity doctrine is incorrect without having to provide an alternative.

1 Timothy 3:16 - And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

And no, you didn't solve it.

That the concept is beyond what we can comprehend should be an acceptable stance. Someone shouldn't be labeled a heretic (with all it's negative connotations) just because they don't subscribe to the Trinity doctrine.

Blogger Brad Andrews September 30, 2013 10:35 AM  

I would agree with the admonition to not put creeds of men before the Scriptures. A number of Scriptures refer to each of the members of God as God. I believe even reading the story of Annanias and Saphira (sp?) indicates this. They conspired to lie against the Holy Spirit at one point, God in another. Those are consistent.

I have heard the idea that it is like a corporation, where several act as a single unit. Not ideal, since a corporation is a construct of man, but it makes the point to me. They are one "God," but distinct.

It is also important to keep in mind that "God" is a title, not an individual. I also compare the definition of "gods" from other religions and note that they were often at great odds with each others, in their description. The Christian trinity is not at odds.

I would also challenge VD that saying that "all things were created by Jesus" does not include the Father either, yet remains a true statement. The Holy Spirit was not created. What Scripture are you using to claim that the Holy Spirit was created?

Anonymous Cajin September 30, 2013 10:36 AM  

Eh, dang it. I got the grasp/reach thing backwards. Well, you know what I mean. Unleash the quote-nazis!

Blogger Nate September 30, 2013 10:36 AM  

Vox... facing his enormous laptop with a very full plate is thinking to himself...

"I need to keep the ilk busy today. ... hrm... gun post? no no... they'll just start talking about 1911s and M14s and calling each other gay for using 9mms... oh wait... I know..."

Vox starts typing...

Mailvox:

Anonymous Anonymous September 30, 2013 10:37 AM  

Christians believe that God is a logical paradox, that is, Three Persons and Yet One God. External arguments, such as How can a "Son" be "Begotten" of a "Father" if the "Son" has been and ever was eternal? are only resolved by matters of faith. However, the Trinity as a concept must still possess an internal logical coherency. The Orthodox positions--that is, original and authentic Christianity--holds that properties held by the members of the Trinity must either be a) shared by all or b) particular to one Person. Thus, the Filioque, by proceeding the Spirit from both Father and Son, confers a particular property on two of the members of the Trinity and not the third. this has led to an imbalance in how non-Orthodox Christians- view the Trinity. As a result, in the Western Churches, the Holy Spirit has been neglected in the past due to this seemingly small error, which has grown in proportion as a small deviation off course will over time become nearly a journey in the opposite direction. Today, in our ultra-rational age, a turn toward the Spirit has resulted, and in reckless fashion, as today's Charismatics, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals attest.

Blogger Brad Andrews September 30, 2013 10:38 AM  

I would add that I am not sure that much of this is not arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Key questions I would ask are what exactly does it mean to be "born again"? What is reborn? How is one reborn? (John 3, Rom 10:9-10. II Cor 5:17-21 are good sources for these.)

Exactly what it means to put Jesus in Lordship of your life is something we work out, but that is clearly a key part of this inner transformation.

Anonymous Ten41 September 30, 2013 10:42 AM  

Nate

Vox... facing his enormous laptop with a very full plate is thinking to himself...


Truth...

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 10:43 AM  

Today, in our ultra-rational age, a turn toward the Spirit has resulted, and in reckless fashion, as today's Charismatics, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals attest.

Hey not all of us are reckless.

Anonymous VD September 30, 2013 10:46 AM  

So Vox, would you say that you are a Trinitarian from a Nicene perspective?

I think that is pushing it a little too far. Acknowledging the existence of the Holy Spirit is not tantamount to elevating him to equal status with God the Father. I wasn't actually addressing the Trinitarian question here, merely the Nicene one.

Blogger jamsco September 30, 2013 10:51 AM  

"Acknowledging the existence of the Holy Spirit is not tantamount to elevating him to equal status with God the Father."

You mean you wouldn't consider the Holy Spirit to be God? Or a part of the Godhead?

Anonymous paradox September 30, 2013 10:56 AM  

The Nicene Creed... the first Turing test for each essence of God.

All explanations of the Trinity breakdown, but I've always viewed Jesus as a paradox. Jesus has a "beginning" with His birth... but it's also a time paradox... so He really doesn't and has existed eternally.

He's a man that God (The Father) is always with. He has full authority from the Father. Jesus has all the power of the Father, all authority and is eternal... Jesus is God.

Now the Holy Spirit is a person (Turing test) which is the Father and Son acting together giving a third Person to God.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 10:57 AM  

You mean you wouldn't consider the Holy Spirit to be God? Or a part of the Godhead?

Jamsco, you and your wife are one. Are you equal?

Both the Holy Spirit and Jesus can be part of the godhead, but subordinate to God the Father.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 10:59 AM  

Jesus has a "beginning" with His birth... but it's also a time paradox... so He really doesn't and has existed eternally.

If Jesus is the Word made flesh, then in the beginning was the Word

Anonymous FrankNorman September 30, 2013 11:00 AM  

Josh September 30, 2013 10:57 AM

You mean you wouldn't consider the Holy Spirit to be God? Or a part of the Godhead?

Jamsco, you and your wife are one. Are you equal?

Both the Holy Spirit and Jesus can be part of the godhead, but subordinate to God the Father


What do you actually mean here, by "subordinate"?

Anonymous bw September 30, 2013 11:04 AM  

People have always thrown around the "heretic" label far too easily. jay c

Indeed. Nothing funnier than claiming someone else is arrogant while claiming to know exactly what/who is heretical.
Ironically, they're actually quite weak in their (supposed) belief - they feel they must know, spiritually ignorant and blind to the necessary, contrasting, definitive gulf between faith and perfect knowledge.
They make good cultists.

Blogger jamsco September 30, 2013 11:04 AM  

"Jamsco, you and your wife are one. Are you equal?"

No, no. I'd be fine with Vox saying that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Godhead, but not equal in status.

But it's my fear that Vox doesn't think the Holy Spirit is God.

Blogger JartStar September 30, 2013 11:07 AM  

So ... for those of us who know almost zero about Christianity....can you answer a simple question?

Holy Ghost = God?


In general, yes. For around 1500+ years the vast majority of Christians everywhere have accepted the Trinity and that the Holy Ghost is God. Certainly there are some whom do not, and they are here in this discussion. But the traditional, century old view of the matter is that the Trinity is a correct and the Holy Ghost is God.

Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants have a long list of complaints against each other, but this is not one of them except for the fringe. The fringe may very well be correct, but they go against what could be considered the whole of orthodox Christianity.

Blogger IM2L844 September 30, 2013 11:07 AM  

It's interesting to contemplate Matthew 28:18 in light of John 14:28, but atemporal mechanics, where time and space do not mean what we think they mean, are beyond our capacity to expatiate. It's not, by necessity, a deal breaker.

Anonymous Anonymous September 30, 2013 11:09 AM  

2 Thessalonians 2:3 — Let no one seduce YOU in any manner, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.

The council IS part of this Apostasy
The trinity IS part of this Apostasy

The Bible shows this
History shows this
Logic shows this
VD alludes to this

The trinity is a God dishonoring belief that predates Christ the King, go to a museum.

It steals God's sacrifice

Many would die for a loved one, who would allow their only child to die for a stranger. None of you. God did.

Finally, those who believe the trinity are willing to get violent in support of this falsehood. Why?

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 11:11 AM  

If anyone claims that they have the complete and correct understanding of the nature of God, He is God himself.

Re. the Holy Spirit:
Here are samples that give a clue as to His nature, presence and office.

Genesis 1
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Psalm 51
11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Matthew 12
28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Mark 12(Psalm 110:1)
36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

John 14
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Acts 5
4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

Acts 5
32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 11:14 AM  

All persons in the Godhead are equal. If by status you mean roles in the salvation and life of a believer, then, yes, there is a difference.

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 11:18 AM  

I left out a portion of Acts 5:3

3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?

Anonymous Anonymous September 30, 2013 11:19 AM  

My guess is Vox is testing whether or not he will lose readers by admitting he doesn't believe in the Holy Trinity.

Blogger jamsco September 30, 2013 11:22 AM  

No, he's already stated that he doesn't. Sort of.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 11:26 AM  

a) Jesus is clearly begotten or birthed of God the Father in scripture. b) "In the Beginning" is a reference to Genesis - as in, "In the Beginning God created..." The Beginning refers to the beginning of creation, therefore. c) "In the beginning was the Word" demonstrates only that the Word pre-dates creation - but in other words, Jesus, begotten of the Father, does not necessarily need to be co-eternal (no beginning) with the Father.

Elohim is a family of gods, separate from the angels (Satan, faithful angels and "other gods") that somehow includes the Holy Spirit - who is nonetheless not begotten. Considering his position in the Elohim (below the Father and Christ), I'm led to suspect that the Holy Spirit is someone who is an outcome of the interrelationship of Father and Son.

As in: In the 20th century, Archie created the Manning family. Sega Genesis 1:1. (New Madden Translation)

In the 1980s was the Peyton, and the Peyton was with Manning, and the Peyton was Manning. The Gospel According to St. Cooper 1:1-2

Thus in the above scenario, Peyton could pre-exist the 1980s, but did not have to have perfectly co-existed with Archie. The spiritual seed potential for a Peyton to exist, of course, existed for all of Archie's life (though, obviously, not the physical seed) and then came to fruition when Peyton was physically begotten.

Of course, this does not eliminate the argument of some Christians that Jesus is co-eternal with the father (i.e. has no beginning), or that God's "begotting" of His Son is as chronologically different than typical "begotting" as it is physically and supernaturally different.

I just don't see grounds for charges of heresy against Christians who don't buy into the full buffet of Trinitarian creeds.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 11:28 AM  

Vox,

The Spirit is equal to the Son and the Father. This has been affirmed always.

We do not accept the additional filioque, which introduces a contradiction of time into the existence of the Trinity by making the Spirit 'proceed' from both Father and Son. If this was so, the Son would need to pre-exist the Spirit, when all Orthodox theologians proclaim that the Trinity is simultaneous in its existence and self-existent.

Do not fight against the spirit.

Anonymous paradox September 30, 2013 11:29 AM  

Josh

If Jesus is the Word made flesh, then in the beginning was the Word


Yes of course. The ability to travel back and forth through time... (eternal) The Word would be at the beginning.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 11:36 AM  

Food for thought is, if the Spirit is not God, then how can you blaspheme Him and be subject to condemnation?

And what are the constant references to the Seven Spirits of God, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and so forth, and to the Spirit which rested upon [whomever]? If this was not the Spirit of God and God himself, then what was it?

There was a conflict between East and West regarding energy and essence. The West, because it conflated essence and energy (work) it required that the grace of God (his actions in the world) to be 'created', otherwise you would be experiencing or witnessing God 'whom no one has seen.' In the East it was affirmed that God's energies are God in the same sense that a person's words are them: genuinely their own and not different from them, proceeding from them, but also not their essence. The essence of God is beyond knowing. Thus because of the distinction between essence and energy, the acts of God in creation need not be created and thus 'less-than-God'.

A blog where some of this is discussed at your level, Vox is

https://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 11:38 AM  

What do you actually mean here, by "subordinate"?

God the Father is boss. Jesus himself said that he only does what he sees the Father doing. Jesus submitted himself to the will of the Father.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 11:43 AM  

For around 1500+ years the vast majority of Christians everywhere have accepted the Trinity and that the Holy Ghost is God.

Leaving aside the fact that faith in Christ is not a democracy, the vast majority of Christians everywhere also accepted infant baptism. This does not make it scriptural doctrine. Christians, in general, are almost as dumb as regular people!

Anonymous Gaffe Pro September 30, 2013 11:43 AM  

Show me the word "Trinity" in the Bible... (HINT" You won't find it)

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 11:43 AM  

They can be subordinate in action without being subordinate in essence. In other words, the Son submits to the Father without being unequal to the Father. This paradox is communicated by Paul who notes that despite being God, the Son did not consider his Godhead something to be 'grasped at' i.e. held onto and took on the form of a servant, something that would be lowly for the formless and eternally perfect to do. But the result is that the Father gives all power to the Son, because of his subordination.

A similar version of this paradox was expressed about Abraham and Sarah: "Sarah called Abraham 'lord', and therefore he did all that she asked of him."

All of this is always done 'In The Spirit', who is ever-present and filling all things. And because the Spirit is filling all things, so is the presence of the Son and the Father as well.

Something of this can be seen where two equal ranking officers have to work together; they both cannot be in command, so one must subordinate himself to the other voluntarily.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 11:44 AM  

@Daniel

There is nothing amiss with infant baptism. They would be correct in accepting this doctrine.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 11:50 AM  

There is nothing amiss with infant baptism. They would be correct in accepting this doctrine.

On what grounds?

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 11:51 AM  

That Baptism grants the gift of the Holy Spirit and the remission of sins, we who were 'born in sin', we should be glad to receive this gift as soon as we are able.

Anonymous dh September 30, 2013 11:52 AM  

This thread is oddly interesting.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 11:54 AM  

This is a dangerous topic and not merely in the 'P.C' sense...

Anonymous Anonagain September 30, 2013 11:55 AM  

This discussion is on the level of a dog watching television and trying to figure out why he can't smell the dogs he can so clearly see and hear through that "one special window".

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 11:59 AM  

There is nothing amiss with infant baptism. They would be correct in accepting this doctrine.

"On what grounds?"

It's not taught clearly either way, but the idea of infant baptism as simply being a covenantal sign akin to the OT practice of circumcision convinced me to leave my traditional Anabaptist upbringing and have my children baptized. Francis Shaeffer did me in:

http://www.fivesolas.com/fs_bapt.htm

Blogger JartStar September 30, 2013 12:04 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:05 PM  

Actually, Baptism is a separate practice from the 'circumcision on the eighth day'. Baptism on the fourtieth is usually the practice, and proceeded from the first century to our own. I was baptized as an infant and so have been my children. Baptism does not mean you 'own' your faith (in fact when I was a Protestant they even joked about 'just getting wet') - that is not a sacrament but the act of the human will submitting to God.

Baptism however involves the action of God as well as men, which marks it as one of the mysteries (mysterion) of the faith.

Anonymous Anonagain September 30, 2013 12:06 PM  

God the Father is boss. Jesus himself said that he only does what he sees the Father doing. Jesus submitted himself to the will of the Father.

Sounds like a shadow which is created from a solid object. The 2-D shadow is not the boss of the 3-D object, but it is the same thing, rendered in 2-D. Only in Jesus' case, He's a 3-D object rendered from a God dimensional object.

A God that exists out of time and space cannot interact fully (He spoke to Moses and others) with beings that do. Jesus is probably a rendering of God Himself in this dimension. The Holy Spirit is another rendering. Same being, different forms for different purposes.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 12:08 PM  

That Baptism grants the gift of the Holy Spirit and the remission of sins, we who were 'born in sin', we should be glad to receive this gift as soon as we are able.

Then why wasn't Augustine baptized as an infant? Why not Basil? Why not Chrysostrom? Why doesn't anyone even mention infant baptism until the 100s, and then, as something of an oddity? Why are only adults baptized in the New Testament? Why is infant baptism, if it is such a fundamental doctrine (and not a later option), only become a majority view about half-a millenium after the birth of Christ? Why did Tertullian fight the growing desire for infant baptism so ferociously?

My point isn't that you can't baptize infants if you really want to, just that upholding it as some doctrinal fundamental for centuries didn't make it any more biblical. What the majority of Christians have done at any given time is a terrible barometer for what is right and true.

After all, we are also commanded to remember Christ in communion, but that doesn't mean you should shove some bread in a baby's mouth. I don't care how glad that makes a believer. Baby won't be too happy. And if there's no infant Communion, there's no grounds for infant baptism.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:10 PM  

@Daniel

What do you mean? Why don't the monks mention that they are unmarried?

For the same reason: Everyone was baptized as an infant - it was assumed. If you were born a pagan you of course could not be baptized as an infant.

Tertullian became a sectarian/heretic, so I don't think you can trust his actions and words as much as say, St. Ignatius or St. Iraneaus.

Blogger JartStar September 30, 2013 12:11 PM  

Leaving aside the fact that faith in Christ is not a democracy, the vast majority of Christians everywhere also accepted infant baptism. This does not make it scriptural doctrine. Christians, in general, are almost as dumb as regular people!

Actually the councils were a form of democracy in a representative style as they most certainly debated the theology at hand and then voted on the issue. Now you are free to reject the councils as invalid specifically because they cast a vote at all, but once again for centuries this was the accepted practice by Christians to decide important theological matters. The first seven councils are accepted by nearly all Christians, everywhere, throughout history--including Protestants and even Luther.

Keep in mind too that the Episcopalian can use the exact same form of argument against you in support of homosexuality you are using against the Trinity--that the whole of Christianity has been in grave error from nearly the very beginning and a vote in any church is meaningless in theological matters.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 12:12 PM  

Sounds like a shadow which is created from a solid object.

Not really. Sounds more like a son who obeys and honors his dad. Jesus isn't dependent on perfectly "shadowing" His Father. He merely joins His dad in the work. His dad has given him authority, yet the son honors the father, never even considering grasping for the dad's position. They really just love each other like that. Out of that authority transfer, Jesus sends the Spirit.

Anonymous civilServant September 30, 2013 12:13 PM  

I do not accept it means that "the Father Almighty" and "the Son of God" are exactly equal and wholly interchangeable at all times because this is an explicitly anti-Biblical position

"Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”" John 8:58

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 12:15 PM  

River,

Peter ( Your big boss) said in 1 Peter that baptism is NOT the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God. Otherwise, Jesus' baptism would be a pointless act, since he had no sins to put away. It did make a perfect answer to God and confession of faith, as evidenced by The Spirit descending upon him like a dove, and God proclaiming Jesus to be his beloved son.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:15 PM  

@Jart

Even in non-democracies, the people still get a veto. Consider that if 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against [the church]' then Christians must not have fallen into apostasy during the period between Christ and now. Given that, the ratification of belief by the body of Christians is as important as the correct profession and passing-down of the teaching (kerygma) by the Bishops and other teachers.

Anonymous Anonagain September 30, 2013 12:16 PM  

Yes, Daniel, you've certainly got it all figured out.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 12:16 PM  

Actually the councils were a form of democracy in a representative style as they most certainly debated the theology at hand and then voted on the issue.

I know. Faith in Christ is not a council. Councils are certainly important for a lot of reasons, but in identifying the proper substantial form of doctrine for all ways and all days? You are much better off just consulting scripture among your own fellowship. Councils can, and have, calcify bad ideas so that no one has to think about them anymore. Vatican II is an excellent model. Just because they do it under Church auspices, doesn't mean it is perfect teaching from the Lord.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:18 PM  

@stg58

Ever seen an infant baptism? Who is answering in good conscience but the godparents and parents. Remember that even someone 'of age' in our modern notion might not have been yet considered separate from their family in those days - whole households were converted and baptized, even if those households had infants.

As for that saying, certainly baptism is not a bath.

Peter is not my boss, babe. I'm not Roman Catholic. I'm Eastern Orthodox.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 12:19 PM  

Daniel,

My kids would love it if you shoved bread in their mouths. Just be sure to coat it in peanut butter first.

Blogger Lawrence September 30, 2013 12:20 PM  

Not sure what the term would be... but personally, I view the Trinity as something of a distraction. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there is some value in that sort of theological speculation. But to me, it is enough to know that God, Christ and the Holy Spirit exist. One can go back to the theological politics of the late Roman/early Byzantine period to see just how rabid some people (like those who would refer to Mr. Beale as a heretic) actually are.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:20 PM  

@Daniel

There is a difference between a council and an ecumenical council. Councils are only recognized as ecumenical in retrospect; that is, if they end up having affirmed that which is common and true for Christians for all time. There has not been an ecumenical council in a long time. Vatican II will never be recognized as one as for one, it excluded all of the other Bishops in the East.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:21 PM  

@stg58

Infants are usually given wine only until they are old enough to receive solid food (~6 mo) and in Eastern practice, the bread is soaked in the wine and served by the deacon or priest to the faithful via a spoon.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 12:21 PM  

Jesus is probably a rendering of God Himself in this dimension. The Holy Spirit is another rendering. Same being, different forms for different purposes.

Not sure that's supported Biblically.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 12:22 PM  

River,

Sorry, I thought only Catholics did the infant baptism.

How can parents or godparents answer for the child's conscience? So now you agree with me on the topic of the answer of a good conscience towards God?

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 12:23 PM  

Stg58, your babies are way tougher than mine. Mine couldn't even eat oatmeal until they were 9 months old or so.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:24 PM  

@stg58

Because they will raise and form that child. The child has no reason of its own, its reason must be formed by the good will and conscience of the parents and godparents, so that it might be raised to be a Christian. Yes, certain things are out of the control of the parents and godparents, but that they are established before the assembly as being responsible to raise this child in Christ - if this is not the answer of a good conscience towards God, then what is it?

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 12:25 PM  

"Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”" John 8:58

Here, so that y'all can really grasp what Jesus was calling himself:

Exodus 3

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:25 PM  

@stg58

No, I don't - but certainly that is a part of Baptism, as the apostle affirms. It is also 'baptism for the remission of sins' as the scriptures elsewhere affirm.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 12:26 PM  

I've always viewed infant baptism as a sign of the covenant, a more formal baby dedication.

Not just catholics baptize infants. Orthodox and some high church protestants do.

Blogger JartStar September 30, 2013 12:29 PM  

You are much better off just consulting scripture among your own fellowship.

And what is an ecumenical council but a larger fellowship? Or is there a limit on the size of a fellowship before it becomes invalid?

but in identifying the proper substantial form of doctrine for all ways and all days?

So your smaller fellowship could at any time be overridden by any other small fellowship on some or all doctrinal matters with the same weight? Some Episcopalians are ringing about an important issue... hang on I'll get the phone for you.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 12:29 PM  

There is a difference between a council and an ecumenical council.

Very true, but the perfect doctrine question is still very much a problem. Otherwise, there would be no ecumenical councils that reversed previous teaching (such as iconoclasm). Councils are fallible, ecumenical or not. This also explains the revisions to creeds: either the earlier ones were not good enough, or the later ones are changing with the times, but either way, "all ways and all days" is not the historic record of the ecumenical councils.

Don't get me wrong: I'd be strongly in favor of a new (and likely rhetorically bloody) ecumenical council, if for no other reason, to see what the High Church can shake out. But I wouldn't want it under the conceit that it was somehow infallible, by virtue of the faith of its participants.

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 12:30 PM  

Infant baptism as a tradition is not a problem. But, baptism is a call of obedience on a believer. Not a requirement for salvation but as an act of public proclamation (redundant?). Baptisms should really be done at parks, beaches ... public places.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:30 PM  

@Josh

No, it is for the remission of sins. As some of the fathers note, while a baby is not guilty of any sin, nor is that baby guilty of the sins of its fathers, yet will it sin nonetheless because it lives in the world which is fallen and corrupted by sin. Baptism is not merely a juridicial removal of guilt for certain acts. It is a cleansing of the soul.

Our (Eastern Orthodox) baptisms involve an exorcism. They also involve Chrismation, which is the sealing of the person with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

These are all ancient practices, some of which fully were formed even in the time of the apostles. Others were nascent or merely informal at that time.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 12:31 PM  

"I've always viewed infant baptism as a sign of the covenant, a more formal baby dedication."

Yes. My point is mainly that even baptism is not a cut-and-dried doctrine. I'm no Catholic, I didn't grow up with infant baptism, yet I accepted it as plausible and even a likely rite based on reason.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 12:31 PM  

Sorry - I really didn't mean to toss this in the direction of baptism - I meant it is an example, but made it into a bigger issue. I'll redirect myself back to the creed, with apologies.

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 12:34 PM  

"But, baptism is a call of obedience on a believer. Not a requirement for salvation but as an act of public proclamation (redundant?). Baptisms should really be done at parks, beaches ... public places."

Yet was not circumcision "a call of obedience on a believer" in the Old Testament? Yet the Jews circumcised their infants. The idea is: if you're outside the circle of faith, you jump through this hoop when you come in. If you're inside the circle of faith, you put the sign on your children.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:34 PM  

@Daniel

and yet Sobornost is important (conciliarity). Those who have experienced God ARE THOSE WHO VOTE on what constitutes that reality. It is not something the 'chosen one' declares from on high nor is it whatever makes the most the logical sense.

Councils are important, but only time tells if they made the right decisions. This process is not simply autocratic nor is it democratic either. The fragmentation of Protestant groups especially in America is a vote - the vote of history - against their doctrines and practices.

A way to think of it is that the faith is democratic in that all orthodox believers from all time get a vote - whether living or dead at the moment.

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 12:36 PM  

@Daniel

Heh. Everything little thing here turns into a big deal. That's what you get when the average IQ of Vox's commenters is probably around 150...

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 12:37 PM  

River,

Where else in the scriptures is New Testament baptism described as putting away sins, and if so, we have a problem. Peter specifically said baptism is not for the putting away of the filth of the flesh. You are telling me a verse says it is for that purpose?

On the question of conscience, you are loading this up with a lot of extraneous reasoning, far beyond what is actually in scripture itself. Every person answers for his own conscience, especially in this matter to God himself.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 12:38 PM  

Daniel, what is one rabbit out of many? Especially in a thread like this one?

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 12:39 PM  

Oh boy. I'm finding myself on the same side as the Orthodox, then something like this pops in:

"Our (Eastern Orthodox) baptisms involve an exorcism. They also involve Chrismation, which is the sealing of the person with the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Hey... exorcism and baptism in the same day? Sounds like a party. If it wasn't for those darned icons, I could almost jump in...

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 12:42 PM  

The idea is: if you're outside the circle of faith, you jump through this hoop when you come in. If you're inside the circle of faith, you put the sign on your children.

I like this, especially when looked at in context of Abraham Kuyper's quote about the sovereignty of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:45 PM  

As for the rejection of the Constantinopolitan (what a horrifying word to spell) definition of the Spirit, this particular clause was added because there were those who were claiming the Holy Spirit is not God. As for the ramifications of this error, they are manifold (but I think someone above started enumerating them.) In order for the scripture to be coherent and the history of the faith to be coherent, the Spirit must be God and equally so in essence, for God is simple and does have multiple essences (that would be bizarre) so the Spirit must be equally God. You cannot argue the spirit's 'spiration' means that it must not be equal to God - for was your son any less human for having come forth from you? No - he was equally human to you and your wife. The sending of the Spirit and his appellations (Spirit of Christ, Spirit of God, etc...) refer to the dispensation or economy of God - the Son and Spirit subordinate themselves to the Father, who in turn glorifies them (as Christ explains.)

The error is in attributing this procession to both the Son and Father, which forces the Son to pre-exist the Father rather than all of them being able to differentiate, as it were, outside of time.

It also doesn't make sense for a being to have two origins - therefore either the distinction between the son and father is false (they are not really different hypostases) or it is merely an absurd speculation that we have no way of affirming in scripture or in life. Take your pick.

Blogger Lawrence September 30, 2013 12:47 PM  

Heh. Everything little thing here turns into a big deal. That's what you get when the average IQ of Vox's commenters is probably around 150...

I wonder what the average IQ is for Scalzi's following?

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 September 30, 2013 12:47 PM  

This all reminds of Paul before the council:

"6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all."

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:48 PM  

Er, correction

The error forces the Son to pre-exist the Spirit, which is honkin' wacky.

In human birthgiving, even though a child might be thought to have 'two origins', in terms of begetting (which is what the father does) it does not. It does not have two fathers.

What I'm trying to say is that the filioque is gay.

I'm done here.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:50 PM  

stg58

"Repent," Peter said to them, "and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." -Acts 2:38,

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 12:50 PM  

"I wonder what the average IQ is for Scalzi's following?"

I dunno, but I'll take odds that the is average reader's BMI is higher.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 12:51 PM  

I wonder what the average IQ is for Scalzi's following?

That question is racis, sexis, homophobis, transphobis, and genderqueerphobis.

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 12:52 PM  

"I wonder what the average IQ is for Scalzi's following?"

I dunno, but I'll take odds that his average reader's BMI exceeds their IQ.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 12:54 PM  

So your smaller fellowship could at any time be overridden by any other small fellowship on some or all doctrinal matters with the same weight? Some Episcopalians are ringing about an important issue... hang on I'll get the phone for you.

Of course not. a) that would be a very tiny fellowship indeed and b) scripture is the authority. Church teachings are to be practiced in light of that authority. In other words, in practice, the individual must engage God on God's terms, and that necessarily means subjecting to your fellowship, however big or small that may be. This then, is how one can tell (by his own God-given conscience) that, say, the authority of John Calvin had gone wildly out of control in his persecution and execution of Servetus. Although he was technically correct in doctrine (opposing infant baptism and questioning the Trinity was a church crime in those days), a simple review of the original meanings of scripture would have provided non-council-doctrinal room for forgiveness, or, at worst, exile and excommunication.

After all, there is no death penalty for heresy in the New Testament that is not executed by the Holy Spirit himself. It should have been clear, but for the doctrine, to John Calvin that pursuing the trial and death of Servetus, then forcefully defending it on doctrinal grounds, that the doctrine was in error and Christ's words were correct and sufficient.

Just as bad facts make for bad law, bad doctrine makes for all manner of antichrist. It is the principled individual follower of Christ who must be salt and light, and not the good institutions of men.

It isn't an either/or thing. The councils have done much to identify error in thought and deed, and are grossly misunderstood. They've done very much to keep our scriptures and to provide many tools necessary to access and apply them. But the creedal changes alone should be enough to recognize that councils don't take issues off the table such as the Trinity - they highlight controversies. Heck, when even the relatively uncontroverted things such as the Nicene 325 can raise hackles, I think it becomes very obvious that, for all the good councils may provide, infallibility on issues such as the Trinity, infant baptism, eternal torment, etc. is not one of them.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 12:55 PM  

What I'm trying to say is that the filioque is gay.

Thread winner.

What's always bothered me about the filioque is that it can lead Christians to imply that the holy spirit is some how two levels down from God.

God the Father > Jesus > Holy Spirit

Whereas without the filioque, the order is

God the Father > Jesus + Holy Spirit

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 12:58 PM  

@Daniel

No, but it takes one awhile to be convinced of their correctness.

Also, the ecumenical councils did not change the creed, they added a clause which specified something that was previously unspecified. This was part of how the west got away with inserting the filioque (which rhymes with gay) - the creed did not say that the Spirit do NOT proceed from the Son, did it?

You will find that after its establishment and the amendment in Constantinople, the creed has not just been unchanged but also untouched since then. Despite the fact that icons are so important to worship, they DID NOT amend or alter the creed when they affirmed it.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 12:58 PM  

I dunno, but I'll take odds that his average reader's BMI exceeds their IQ.

A combination of the extraordinarily fat and the extraordinarily dumb.

Anonymous Daniel September 30, 2013 1:00 PM  

I wonder what the average IQ is for Scalzi's following?

Up to 50,000 a day.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 1:02 PM  

Btw, Vidad, Schaefer is a great example of why calvinists frustrate me so.

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 1:06 PM  

"Schaefer is a great example of why calvinists frustrate me so."

How so?

Personally, I suppose I'm more Calvinist than most folks here, but again, it's a product of reasoning rather than actual conviction. Some parts of it I cannot accept, like the idea that prayer is ordered for the personal edification of the person praying, rather than as a way to draw God's attention to a particular thing and get Him to maybe fix it.

I also don't think man is totally and utterly depraved. I don't believe he can choose God on his own, but I do believe he can create things that are "good," such as Wagner's symphonies.

Anonymous Megabrain September 30, 2013 1:06 PM  

I wonder what the average IQ is for Scalzi's following?

Pretty high, in their humble opinion.

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 1:07 PM  

Of course, I also don't have any big part of my ego wrapped up in a particular church tradition. I'm skeptical by nature.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 1:10 PM  

How so?

Because they are so good in a great many areas...but they end up calling God a devil...

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 1:11 PM  

"You didn't build those tornadoes!"

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 1:15 PM  

Hey... Scalzi has a puppet.

Why don't we have puppets here?

Oh wait... this comes back to Calvinism again, doesn't it...

Anonymous Outlaw X September 30, 2013 1:18 PM  

Thank God he only requires us to believe in him and not understand him and his ways. Even the speed of light is too slow to explore the universe, and the human mind is like the little dot called Earth in a vast universe when it considers God and that analogy can't even do it justice.

Anonymous civilServant September 30, 2013 1:18 PM  

I also don't think man is totally and utterly depraved.

"Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children...."

Anonymous Jack Amok September 30, 2013 1:21 PM  

That's what you get when the average IQ of Vox's commenters is probably around 150...

Frankly, this debate strikes me as rampant mid-wittery. Trying to one-up each other arguing about something none of you (or me, or anyone else for that matter) really understands.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 1:21 PM  

Vidad

https://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/free-will-and-virtue-in-athanasius/

This has some thoughts on that particular subject.

1. Humans are by nature good, which is to say virtuous, but being free may depart from virtue and become evil.
2. It is not enough to do good to be saved, for both the good and evil die and lie in the ground quite the same.

It was once said, "God did not die to make bad men good, but to make dead men live."

'On the Incarnation' talks about this problem at some length, although the treatment is 'antique', you might say!

Anonymous Credo in Unum Deum September 30, 2013 1:23 PM  

He never gave his authority over heaven to man.

Yes He did.

Matthew 16:19.

For a group of heretical protestants who follow "sola scriptura" you guys seem to cherry-pick parts of the Bible.

None of you will EVER come to ANY CONCLUSION on this matter, because you have abandoned The Church.

"the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." 1 Tim. 3:15.

I predict that VD will continue to espouse his heretical viewpoints on this site, and some of you will agree with him, and some of you will try in vain to change his mind, but without a final arbiter that you can all agree upon you will never come to any sort of conclusion.

And, yes, for the record, VD does have it totally wrong. He states "I readily affirm all of that." No he does not. His understanding of the The Holy Trinity is flawed, much in the way the Mormon's understanding of the Holy Trinity is flawed.

VD states: "I do not accept it means that "the Father Almighty" and "the Son of God" are exactly equal and wholly interchangeable at all times because this is an explicitly anti-Biblical position..."

I am sorry, but when it comes down to it, if VD says that, and Jesus says "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) my trust will fall on the side of Jesus.

I am on the side of Hilaire Belloc, who said (I am paraphrasing): "There is no such thing as a Christian, it doesn't exist. There are only those who are in the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and there are those who aren't."

That is the only Biblically-sound, and logically-consistent position to take. Jesus founded ONE and Only One Church (Matthew 16:18), that Church is headed by His Holiness Pope Francis the rightful successor to Saint Peter, and that is it.

Either accept that fact, or do what Jesus' followers did: "After this, many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him."

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 1:24 PM  

Vidad, baptism is not equal to circumcision. It is similar but not the same. Under the Law of Moses, yes, a Jew or a God-fearer must circumcise. But we are talking about Judaism, are we?

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 1:26 PM  

Credo in Unum Deum, who is the chief apostle? What is an apostle?

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 30, 2013 1:31 PM  

Credo in Unum Deum, what are the parameters of the authority/power?

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 30, 2013 1:32 PM  

I was waiting for Torquemada to show up. Surprised it took him this long.

Anonymous ZhukovG September 30, 2013 1:34 PM  

As a Roman Catholic, I agree that we throw the heretic word around too easily. From my interactions with Protestant, Orthodox and RCC I would say that the net of salvation is cast widely and when drawn in at the judgment seat of Christ will contain any number of odd and exotic fish.

That said I pray most earnestly that the Holy Spirit will heal of The Great Schism between East and West. It seems such a small thing, a little humility on both sides could close the wound.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 1:34 PM  

Credo In Unum Deum

So, even if what you say is true, it doesn't answer the question you pose (or imply)

Which Church?

For at least three groups can lay claim to all you state, The Roman Catholics, the Chalcedonian Eastern Orthodox and the Non-Chalcedonian Oriental Orthodox. These all can trace continuance through the apostles themselves and have not, or at least have some claim to have not, departed from their teachings.

Sounds like Catholic! Attack! Returns!

Blogger Nate September 30, 2013 1:35 PM  

"Frankly, this debate strikes me as rampant mid-wittery."

Yep. Notice that there are plenty of us not participating in it.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 1:36 PM  

"There is no such thing as a Christian, it doesn't exist. There are only those who are in the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and there are those who aren't."

So why aren't you orthodox?

Anonymous Anonymous September 30, 2013 1:39 PM  

Quote from Outlaw X: Thank God he only requires us to believe in him and not understand him and his ways.

You sir get a big fat, juicy, succulent Amen to that.

Blogger Nate September 30, 2013 1:40 PM  

" It seems such a small thing, a little humility on both sides could close the wound."

Suggesting that your church is the one and only church and all churches should submit to your strange fellow in the funny hat is no small thing. Its bloody daft.

Anonymous civilServant September 30, 2013 1:40 PM  

"There is no such thing as a Christian, it doesn't exist. There are only those who are in the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and there are those who aren't."

This sounds like "We have Abraham for our father."

Anonymous Secular Rightest September 30, 2013 1:44 PM  

" that Church is headed by His Holiness Pope Francis the rightful successor to Saint Peter, and that is it."

Oh dear are you guys in trouble with Pope Pinko.

Your "Church" = NWO

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 1:45 PM  

Well, the logic for his assertion is simple: If salvation is being joined to Christ in his body, which is the Church, being outside the body does not constitute salvation regardless of credo or identity. Now certainly it's dishonest to pretend that this problem has somehow not been dealt with; Protestants have leaned more on the invisible aspects of church membership whereas the Romans have leaned more on the organizational aspects of church membership (united around the papacy, as it were.)

Either way, Christ himself says, "he who does not eat my body and drink my blood does not have life in him."

So there is more to it than intellectual assent, theophagy is involved.

Theophagy is a thing. Deal with it.

Anonymous Toby Temple September 30, 2013 1:45 PM  

Toby, Jesus is both Divine and human, Its as a resurrected, glorified man that He has been taken up to Heaven to sit at the Father's right hand.

God the Father will make everything in heaven and earth subject to the will of Jesus, and then Jesus will hand it all back.

Athanasius had this covered - the Son is equal to the Father in regard to his Deity, but subordinate to Him in regard to His humanity.


That is one hell of a rationalization there.

Here, let me requote 1 Cor 15:27 again, since I think you missed that part, I assume:

27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.

Bolded to make it clearer.

Anonymous ZhukovG September 30, 2013 1:49 PM  

@Nate

There is only one catholic church. It is obvious that it contains Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants and possibly even some Methodists.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 1:50 PM  

@Toby

Well, I don't think he said that somehow God the Father is going to be subordinated to the Son.

It still follows that the Son has willingly subordinated himself to the Father. His kenosis, or self-emptying, goes further than we are capable of comprehending; for the deathless and immortal one even subjected himself to death.

"When thou didst submit thyself unto death, thou deathless and immortal One, thou didst destroy hell by thy Godly power, and when thou didst raise the dead from beneath the earth, all of the powers of heaven didst cry aloud unto thee: Christ, thou giver of life, glory to Thee."

"Hell" in this case is Hades, not Gehenna.

Anonymous Tallen September 30, 2013 1:57 PM  

We are called specifically to be one with the Church in the same way Jesus is one with the Father. We are also called to be one with the Father in spirit in the same way a man becomes one flesh with his wife.

Don't things become contradictory with other parts of the New Testament if you assume God = Jesus = Holy Spirit? If so, how can the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be that which is maintained by traditional trinitarians.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 2:02 PM  

Tallen

They are distinct but equal in essence.

So you can't say 'Father = Son = Spirit'

But all three are God. Three persons. One God.

This is a mystery and you're not going to suss it out. Geniuses from two millenia have not actually succeeded but to either give up or make themselves insane.

As Samuel Johnson put it, "clearly they are not three in the same sense that they are one."

That much is certain, isn't it?

Anonymous Vidad September 30, 2013 2:04 PM  

"Yep. Notice that there are plenty of us not participating in it."

You so smart, Nate. One day me leave cave, learn fire like you.

Anonymous Anonymous September 30, 2013 2:05 PM  

General question, not directed at anyone in particular: as it relates to the Trinity - do your prayers include direct petitions to the Holy Spirit?

Blogger JartStar September 30, 2013 2:07 PM  

Nate, you are caught up with the periphery now. I never argued for the Trinity directly but rather supported the notion we should listen to ancients on the matter. From what I can tell as a group they are much smarter, better educated, more dedicated Christians than I, and they put their lives on the line for their beliefs. I'm very reluctant to use my limited knowledge of history and theology and life of comparatively easy Christian living to contradict them.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 2:08 PM  

@JDC

At least on our tradition (Eastern Orthodox) the first prayer in any set of prayers will be an invocation of the Holy Spirit:

"O heavenly king, O comforter, O Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things, treasury of good things and giver of life, come abide in us and cleanse us from every stain and save our souls, O gracious Lord."

Anonymous Outlaw X September 30, 2013 2:09 PM  

The Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion, yet it seem there is quite a bit. Take it for what it's worth.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 2:09 PM  

do your prayers include direct petitions to the Holy Spirit?

Yes

Anonymous Toby Temple September 30, 2013 2:09 PM  

It still follows that the Son has willingly subordinated himself to the Father.

Christ did not said "I have allowed myself to become lesser than the Father". He said "The Father is greater than I."

It is not something dependent upon Christ.

But all three are God. Three persons. One God.

Where in the NT does it say that the Holy Spirit is God?


Blogger Rhology September 30, 2013 2:09 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 2:14 PM  

Toby

The Spirit of God -- ? How is it that the Spirit of God isn't God? Sorry but, if the Spirit is a person and is the Spirit of God, he's God.

I'd like an explanation of how we start from him not being God - how can we even justify that? The Trinity is merely a term created to handle the paradox of these distinct persons being distinct (relating to one another as persons) and yet all being God and none being lesser or greater in essence than one another.

In my view, your assertion is first, that somehow the Spirit is not God. The position I hold is the default Christian position; I'd like a justification for a deviation from the kergyma.

You can choose not to waste your time, though. I'd just like to hear what your reasoning is, I'm not yielding my position.

Blogger Nate September 30, 2013 2:18 PM  

"Nate, you are caught up with the periphery now"

Nah... I'm just poking at a specific subset of captial C catholics.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 2:20 PM  

@Nate

Don't poke them too hard, sometimes they swing St. Maximus at you!

Blogger Nate September 30, 2013 2:27 PM  

"Don't poke them too hard, sometimes they swing St. Maximus at you!"

really? normally their to pre-occupied with worries about sheathing it.

Anonymous allyn71 September 30, 2013 2:29 PM  

"Yep. Notice that there are plenty of us not participating in it."

Figure that if the Great Schism and 30 Years War didn't settle the issue....

Those of you so inclined have fun though.

Anonymous Toby Temple September 30, 2013 2:33 PM  

The Spirit of God -- ? How is it that the Spirit of God isn't God? Sorry but, if the Spirit is a person and is the Spirit of God, he's God.

You can choose not to waste your time, though. I'd just like to hear what your reasoning is, I'm not yielding my position.


John 14:15-17
15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. 17 That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.


Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 2:39 PM  

Toby

"another" in the Greek there is 'another corresponding to" or "another like" - implying that the other helper is like the first, ergo, that if Christ is God, so is the 'other helper', the Spirit of Truth.

Any others?

Anonymous Toby Temple September 30, 2013 2:44 PM  

implying that the other helper is like the first, ergo, that if Christ is God, so is the 'other helper', the Spirit of Truth.

No, it isn't. Your logic is faulty.

Your logic also suggests that, since Christ is the Word of God, the Spirit of Truth is also the Word of God.

Anonymous Josh September 30, 2013 2:48 PM  

John 14:15-1715 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. 17 That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.

Another helper. If Jesus is a helper, than the Holy Spirit is like him. Which would make the Holy Spirit Divine.

Also, Jesus says that they already know him. That sounds very close to "if you have seen me, you have seen the father"

How did they know the holy spirit? Because they knew Jesus.

Blogger River Cocytus September 30, 2013 2:48 PM  

Toby

That verse cannot be considered in isolation to the rest of scripture, which is where the context I'm working in comes from.

Proof texting is useless because a verse alone can be twisted to mean a variety of things that contradict the rest of the body of scripture.

I merely am pointing out that what you think it means isn't necessarily what it must mean; it can easily support the classical trinitarian position without any kind of twisting.

That it is 'another' helper suggests that there is 'another' - a who, (a person, in our terms) and that other person is like the first (Christ) - in what manner is this Spirit of Truth like him? This verse ALONE cannot answer that question of course - but it does also not say what you think it does, either, namely that the Spirit of Truth is not God.

There is a difference between necessity and sufficiency.

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