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Monday, July 09, 2018

7 signs of a religious charlatan

Saving Eve adapted my 7 Signs of an Intellectual Charlatan and adapted them to help detect religious charlatans.
One of my favorite bloggers to follow is Vox Day.

I follow him not necessarily because I care what he is talking about. I follow him to learn how to analyze anything.

In my reckoning, the most valuable video/post Vox ever produced is called “7 Signs of an Intellectual Charlatan.” The video is well worth watching in its entirety.

Identifying charlatans is a skill that is woefully lacking among the Body of Christ today. And I am indebted to Vox for pointing out the core patterns of charlatanry. In retrospect, it seems obvious. But until it was pointed out to me, I didn’t quite know how to tell whether I was being duped or not.

So with the aim of equipping fellow believers to avoid the craftiness of false teachers, I’d like to share some observations on how Vox’s Charlatan framework applies specifically to deception in the church.

The 7 Signs of a Religious Charlatan
  1. Uses imprecise biblical terms
  2. Does not accurately quote the Scriptures
  3. Uses theological jargon to answer simple questions
  4. Uses systematic theology and catechisms to justify his answers
  5. Quotes Bible teachers and theologians rather than the Scriptures
  6. Ignores the context
  7. Talks about the value of “theological training” instead of knowing the Scriptures
Read the rationales behind the seven signs there. But they are a few of the reasons that I don't read or pay any attention to most theologians. Unlike Thomas Aquinas and CS Lewis, the vast majority of them are, at the very least, intellectually inconsistent, and most of them strike me as downright shady. I can reliably identify some level of obvious nonsense or bafflegarble in the first chapter of any theologian I read; in the case of some, such as John Piper, it's usually in the first paragraph.

In my opinion, most theologians are rather like psychologists, disordered individuals who seek answers to their problems in credentials and authorities, who are inclined to rearrange the facts and ignore the logic in order to suit their preconceived notions. I can't tell you how many times someone has recommended one theologian or another to me as "really wise" or "truly full of the Spirit", only to see immediately in their work that they are either a) a rambling restater of the obvious or b) a spiritual con artist.

My position on matters theological is straightforward. No one knows what's truly going on and our ability to comprehend the truth is limited. If even the Apostle Paul only saw as though through a glass, darkly, then we shouldn't expect or claim to do any better. Also, most people are idiots, so it should not be a surprise that so much of our Sunday School theology is idiotic and incoherent.

Sunday School Teacher: God loves everyone!
The Bible: God hates the wicked with a passion. (Psalm 11:5)

Sunday School Teacher: God knows everything!
The Bible: Only the Father knows the day and the hour. (Matthew 24:36)

I mean, how logically deficient do you have to be in order to not be able to comprehend the way in which that teaching of divine omniscience necessarily and completely rules out the divinity of Jesus Christ? The theological blathering that will be generated in response to that previous sentence should suffice to explain why I pay no attention to theologians or theology enthusiasts.

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273 Comments:

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Blogger yoghi.llama July 09, 2018 5:52 AM  

But what about the Johannine Comma?

Blogger DJT July 09, 2018 6:05 AM  

>scripture alone

Blogger DJT July 09, 2018 6:08 AM  

But, correct on sham "theologians". There is a reason why the Orthodox Church has only ever bestowed the title "Theologian" on three saints in history.

Blogger FrankNorman July 09, 2018 6:18 AM  

IMHO there's a reason that people from certain denominational backgrounds tend to sound muddle-headed on some topics: they need to be, in order to paper over the inconsistencies within their theology. In many cases this is just due to the limitations of their intellect - they are baffled by questions to which someone of higher intelligence can see obvious explanations.
But in other cases - they do in fact hold conflicting premises, that they need to pretend can be reconciled.

Blogger Durandel July 09, 2018 6:29 AM  

Regarding point #4 - didn’t coherentism not show up among systematic theologians until the 1800’s? Point 4 does not describe Aquinas, Augustine or Anselm, but maybe I missed something when I had to read those guys years ago for a class.

Blogger Harris July 09, 2018 6:31 AM  

Among the TV Preachers, I recommend Andrew Wommack. He uses an abundance of Bible Verses to illuminate his teaching. While he does sell his teaching lessons, he also offers them absolutely free by download from his website. You can literally obtain all of his Bible Lessons absolutely free. He is very transparent about his financial dealings.

I have found his Bible teaching to be very applicable to circumstances in my life. He also insists that you trust the Bible as the final authority, not himself. Finally, he's open and honest about the mistakes he's made in his own journey following Christ. I recommend his teaching on "Hardness of Heart" and his teaching on "Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith" changed my life.

Blogger Bogey July 09, 2018 6:32 AM  

Sunday School Teacher: God knows everything!

The flesh would be pointless than as a proving ground.

Blogger SciVo July 09, 2018 6:38 AM  

The way I count it, there are three fundamental heresies:

1. Jesus was just God, not a man. It was all theater.
2. Jesus was just a man -- a good man, but nothing more.
3. Jesus was a fragment of the Divine, as are we all.

Every single thing that Jesus taught is *still* being directly contradicted by men preaching in His name, so it is necessary to know Scripture to not be led astray. But there's no need to delve deeper if they get the basics wrong about why He matters.

Blogger Rick July 09, 2018 6:53 AM  

8. Charges money for his secret knowledge.

Blogger tkatchev July 09, 2018 7:06 AM  


48 The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

49 Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me.

50 But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

51 Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever.

52 The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever.

53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself?

54 Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God.

55 And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word.

56 Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad.

57 The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

58 Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.

John 8.

Blogger Xellos July 09, 2018 7:20 AM  

>Quotes Bible teachers and theologians rather than the Scriptures

Not necessarily wrong. Writings of many saints, especially the Fathers of the Church, are very useful. It's quoting random dudes with opinions that's the problem.

Blogger Gettimothy July 09, 2018 7:21 AM  

KMac, in a three post series on Puritan thought in America*, demonstrates how it changed radically.

The takeaway is that Godly, good earnest,devout communities can be very wrong.


*
https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2018/06/28/the-puritan-intellectual-tradition-in-america-part-1-nineteenth-century-optimism-and-utopian-idealism/

Blogger traderdoc July 09, 2018 7:29 AM  

For too many people, whether theologian or pewsitter, the criteria that filters their Christianity is this: If I were God, would I do it this way? Is it possible to be even holier than God?
Charlatans are particularly prone to these.

Blogger Rick July 09, 2018 7:29 AM  

Xellos, yes. If I’d only had CS Lewis and Aquinas, I probably would not have gotten very far.
There is something to be said for temperament, chemistry, style, form, and compatibility.
Seinfeld often makes the point that he can really only talk to other comedians.

Blogger traderdoc July 09, 2018 7:30 AM  

For too many people, whether theologian or pewsitter, the criteria that filters their Christianity is this: If I were God, would I do it this way? Is it possible to be even holier than God?
Charlatans are particularly prone to these.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 7:34 AM  

Thank you for disparaging theologians and theology enthusiasts, but not theology itself, which at its simplest is the study of God, to which we should all aspire, with the scriptures being the source book of that effort.

The hardest thing in life for me and I think for a lot of people is understanding my own prejudices and the personal notions that color everything I think and as a result do.

I would like to suggest a book that has been for me seminal in helping me to attack that problem. It is free and on the web as a PDF file. It was written by CIA officer Richards J Heuer Jr. as a primer for intelligence analysts and is called the Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/PsychofIntelNew.pdf and focuses on how our inherent biases affect everything we perceive and even what we allow ourselves to see. I consider it one of the most important books I have ever read and it has helped me to begin to see more clearly what is so easily missed or distorted due to my inherent biases. It is a journey, that once begun, becomes a life long effort.

Blogger Nate July 09, 2018 7:35 AM  

I like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Preach the gospel and attempt to kill tyrants if necessary.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 7:50 AM  

My favorite theologian is the woman on TV with five blackboards who dresses up as a Catholic priest.

Blogger Avalanche July 09, 2018 7:58 AM  

I've always liked this for ... unconfusing ...

http://www.snowtao.com/family/daddy.htm#belief

Something Bill Strong said last month brought me up short. Forty years ago I had a pretty standard conversion experience, such as characterizes the life of many sixteen-year-olds, and for some time I had wings. But I lost them, and maybe twenty years ago I decided to dump the whole God Hypothesis, bag and baggage, and take, like, one world at a time. That is something like taking the top off your head. Then Bill said something about "working out your salvation in fear and trembling," a verse which I have known since I went to Sunday School, but never really thought about, because the idea of working for salvation ran counter to being saved by Grace, and that as the gift of God. You see, I didn’t notice that it says working *out*, not *for*. So perhaps that is what I have been doing. In any case I am still a doubter, holding an agnostic position, but over the years I have put many doubts to rest. It was to tell you about them, so that if you have had them you can do the same, that I accepted this invitation to speak to you.

I entitled this message "needless doubt," but I could as easily have called, it "unnecessary doubt," which is a straight synonym, or "baseless doubt," a some-what metaphorical synonym, or "doubt built on sand," a straight-out metaphor. For those of you who don't remember what a metaphor is, it's a way of describing or explaining something by calling it something else. When we say that someone isn't playing with a full deck, or isn't wrapped tightly enough, we are speaking in metaphor, we are describing the person's mental state by using metaphors from card playing or Parcel Post. We are so used to using and hearing and interpreting metaphors, that we don't even notice them except when we fail to solve one.

...

...As to the meaning of "This is my body," tens of thousands have died fighting over it. Even if you ignore the physical context -- that Jesus was standing there in his body, offering some fragments of bread, which he had just broken -- and even if you ignore the apparent intent to institute a memorial ritual: "This do in remembrance of me" -- in other words, even if you ignore two-thirds of the determinants of meaning and consider only the bare-faced content of the words, you still have a monumental problem. For "This" refers back to the bread. Thus the sentence reads: "This bread is my body."

We could spend two weeks on "is" but we don't have them. Let me suggest that Jesus was not using the literal "is" of identity, as in "This man is my father" or "This book is a dictionary." Rather, he was using the metaphorical "is" of "This man is my strong right hand" or "This show is a turkey." Perhaps if the priests hadn't been so delighted to be able to perform a genuine miracle -- transforming bread into flesh -- every time they "did this in remembrance of Him," they would have had no trouble interpreting "This is my body." After all, everyone seems to have understood "I am the vine; you are the branches." "I am the gate for the sheep." "I am the light of the world." not literal -- not literal -- not literal!

Blogger Avalanche July 09, 2018 7:58 AM  


I can't emphasize too strongly the necessity in dealing with doubts caused by problems of understanding the scripture, of trying to get all three components of meaning right. First you go from the content -- what the words say. If they say what appears to be some kind of nonsense, you can at least suspect that you have metaphorical discourse to interpret, the kind that baffled the disciples in today's scripture reading. That means that you fasten seat belts, say a prayer, and see what you can find of intent and context to help clear up the problem.

...

... What I have tried to say thus far is that much of the doubt caused by reading and quoting the Bible is the result of sloppy, uninformed, uncontexted, un-interpreted reading and quoting. It's not just that it sometimes causes doubt in the people who do it, although it can certainly do that. It also causes needless doubt in the people to whom it is done. The fact is that most people who claim to read and believe the Bible literally, word for word, haven't the faintest idea of what they're saying. They would be insulted at your blasphemy if you said to them, "Since Jesus said ' am the gate' do you suppose he had hinges?" Yet literal gates have literal hinges, if they are of any use. We must undoubtedly object to the dear, simple-minded souls who say, "Oh, I believe every single word of the Bible." or "Every word in the Bible is literally true." The only single words in the Bible are probably Amen and Selah. All the rest of them are arranged in sentences, thousands of which are metaphors and all of which are in a context. They have to be interpreted, or they will surely be mis-interpreted.
...

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 8:06 AM  

The apparent inconsistencies of Jesus being fully God and fully man will bedevil men until the end of the world. Fully God, fully man, one with the Father, I AM, but only the Father knowing the date and time.

Jesus had to voluntarily limit Himself in several ways to be incarnated as flesh. Just the simplest would be the matter of His glory. Moses couldn't see any more than God's back, otherwise he would have been instantly consumed. Jesus had to limit just that aspect of himself alone, to avoid having twelve pieces of charcoal instead of disciples.

Blogger Rick July 09, 2018 8:06 AM  

This is a common and easy mistake that can lead to trouble. Many people are awakened by genuine religious experiences. Completely unexpected and unsolicited.
This is a tough one to take, and I believe any theologian or serious seeker worth his salt will know it and teach it.
That experience you had, the experience itself, was next to meaningless. Even though it may mean everything to you, and was in fact genuine Grace, you are not special because of it, or “the one.”
That’s how some, if not most, get into trouble. One must have good intentions, but they’re not enough.
Theology is sacred ground because of its subject matter. Be attentive and exercise discernment always. Be suspicious of someone who accepts his position too eagerly... from preacher to pope.

Blogger Jon Puckett July 09, 2018 8:12 AM  

Forgive my ignorance, what is the contradiction in the 2nd example?

If God knows everything, shouldn't it follow that he also knows the day/time?

Blogger bob kek mando - ( a spew of word vomit ... ¡loosely connecting!, his ellipses ... by an eclectic assortment of randomly applied punctuation marks; within his parentheticals? ) ) July 09, 2018 8:14 AM  

VD
how logically deficient do you have to be in order to not be able to comprehend the way in which that teaching of divine omniscience necessarily and completely rules out the divinity of Jesus Christ?


fortunate then that, iirc, you don't believe that God the Father is entirely "omni" omniscient.

Blogger Avalanche July 09, 2018 8:15 AM  

@21 "Jesus had to voluntarily limit Himself in several ways to be incarnated as flesh."

Movie by Steven Moffat shows this brilliantly. It is, perhaps, a disturbing movie when looking at it as a Christian, but when the protagonist (the "Second Coming" of the title) is asked for an answer about 'timing,' he struggles to find the info: there's SO much information downloading and he's only got a 'dial-up' connection (a human brain).

I think I recommend the movie, if only for its provocation of thought. As a ... parable ... about Jesus Christ being human / God becoming human, it elicits much empathy and some understanding...

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 8:15 AM  

Jon,

The argument is that if Jesus and the Father are one, Jesus should also know the day and the hour.

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 8:16 AM  

"I mean, how logically deficient do you have to be in order to not be able to comprehend the way in which that teaching of divine omniscience necessarily and completely rules out the divinity of Jesus Christ? The theological blathering that will be generated in response to that previous sentence should suffice to explain why I pay no attention to theologians or theology enthusiasts."

Aquinas didn't seem to think so. Summa Theologiae, Part 1, Question 14, Articles 1-16. Some serious theological blathering going on there.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 8:17 AM  

If God knows everything, shouldn't it follow that he also knows the day/time?

Of course. But Jesus Christ said that he did not know the day and time.

So, what must one conclude if those two statements are both true?

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 8:18 AM  

Some serious theological blathering going on there.

Aquinas was not always above it, to be sure. But he doesn't usually start with it.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 8:20 AM  

There are a list of contradictions. God Himself didn't hang on the cross. Therefore God and Jesus are not one.
God the Father was not made flesh.
The Holy Spirit is not the Father.
The list goes on. And on.

The conclusion humans make is that Jesus is not God.

Blogger bob kek mando - ( a spew of word vomit ... ¡loosely connecting!, his ellipses ... by an eclectic assortment of randomly applied punctuation marks; within his parentheticals? ) ) July 09, 2018 8:22 AM  

23. Jon Puckett July 09, 2018 8:12 AM
If God knows everything, shouldn't it follow that he also knows the day/time?



yes.

and if the Father / the Son / the Holy Ghost are three-in-one, then shouldn't each of the individual aspects know whatever the other two aspects know?

as Animal Mother notes above, the higher dimensional aspects of God hypotheses may provide a sidewise escape from the conundrum. although, that would also be considered heretical by the Catholics. ie - it would probably be considered a form of Arianism.

Blogger The Kurgan July 09, 2018 8:22 AM  

I am still relatively agnostic on many details of Jesus’s divinity, though they don’t materially affect my actions one way or the other as far as I can tell.

The only theologian I have found that seems mostly decent from a purely logical/scientific point of view is Mike Heiser. He has a lot of stuff out both in writing and in videos.

I do think he is a bit blinkered in certain things but my overall sense is that he approaches the Bible scientifically and honestly.
He seems to me so far to lack the stench of conman that pretty much every other theologian I know has impressed on my metaphorical nostrils.

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 8:26 AM  

@32
I don't agree with everything he writes, but everyone should read him or listen to his podcast. His books are relatively affordable, his podcast is free, and anyone with a basic education will understand him quite easily. He does think God knows everything though.

On the other hand, stay away from Greg Boyd. I know VD is (used to be?) a fan, but I think even he would agree this is appalling due to its (a) absurd size and (b) its astonishing degree of equivocation and heresy.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRL77G1/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 8:26 AM  

In Isaiah 55, God states that his ways are above our ways, our thoughts are nothing his thoughts. We will never be able to square some aspects of divinity and God's nature while we are alive, such as these contradictions.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 8:28 AM  

I like Greg Boyd. I think he asks a lot of good questions. But I think he is deeply wrong about a number of his conclusions.

Also, as a writer, he is entirely unreadable.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 8:29 AM  

Never take one piece of data alone as substantive but balance data with data or as a believer would say scripture with scripture. The whole issue of the Last Supper or current Eucharist revolves around two important issues.

The first being John 6 in which Jesus first proposes that unless one eats of his flesh and drinks of his blood they will have no life in them. I have read and studied that passage uncountable times and have always come away with the fact that given the chance to moderate the extreme interpretation of what his hearers understood of what he said, he only asks his disciples if they will desert him also. He never tries to change their interpretation, something he does at other times when they get it wrong.

The second is the concept of "in remembrance of Me" and what that meant to his hearers at the time of utterance. This has a specific meaning to his Hebrew hearers, especially in context of a Passover meal in which the event occurred. It is not a mere memorial or just remembering, but an entering into the singular event. For the Hebrew, there is only one Passover, which the yearly event was a participation in that singular event.

This is not the place for a more in depth discussion, but examining those two prerequisites will assist you in gaining a better understanding of what was happening and give us some keys to understand what Jesus meant.

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 8:31 AM  

@35
That book(and the smaller one) basically argue that nothing of the way the OT talks about God is true at all, just God condescending to a people who wouldn't have worshiped him otherwise. He would say God hates nobody and nothing.

And yes, he is not a good writer at all.

I have much less antipathy toward John Piper than you do, but neither is he. Not least because he's written the same book at least twenty times.

Blogger Rick July 09, 2018 8:34 AM  

9. Where is the good fruit?

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 09, 2018 8:36 AM  

The best advice I ever received on the subject of the nature of Christ is this:

“put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 8:36 AM  

Aside from number 4 (which can be a problem but isn't necessarily always) these are all extremely accurate. Especially 3. I am a bit of a theology nerd, but even I can't stand unnecessary jargon and will abandon a book that uses too much of it--though the line between jargon and precise philosophical terminology is fuzzy sometimes.

Even number 4 is true when they are used in place of Scripture and not as a boundary marker for a specific denomination. I see this too often even in theologians I like.

Blogger traderdoc July 09, 2018 8:43 AM  

Day/time? I see time as a construct of the creation on Day 1. It doesn't mean that God is bound by time.

Blogger bob kek mando - ( a spew of word vomit ... ¡loosely connecting!, his ellipses ... by an eclectic assortment of randomly applied punctuation marks; within his parentheticals? ) ) July 09, 2018 8:49 AM  

41. traderdoc July 09, 2018 8:43 AM
It doesn't mean that God is bound by time.



that wasn't the question, much less was it an assertion about the attributes of God the Father.

Blogger Eric I. Gatera. July 09, 2018 8:49 AM  

VD: "Of course. But Jesus Christ said that he did not know the day and time. So, what must one conclude if those two statements are both true?"

Interesting question. I wonder if this could be rather a case that makes place for mystery rather than an obvious mutually exclusive concepts? I'm thinking of 1 Timothy below:

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among nations, believed on in the world, and received up into glory." - 1 Timothy 3:16 (MKJV) 

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 8:49 AM  

Day/time? I see time as a construct of the creation on Day 1. It doesn't mean that God is bound by time.

That has literally nothing to do with the subject being discussed. It also doesn't mean that God scored a touchdown.

Blogger Amy July 09, 2018 9:05 AM  

I had a personal experience with God, when I nearly died giving birth. Placental adhesion. Part of the placenta tore off from the main body and remained inside me, spilling my life’s blood over the course of many hours. White light, looking down on my body, warmth without heat, softness, surrender, until I felt — not heard, felt — a voice say “not now” and a push forcing me back down.

I went from lukewarm to burning for God from that point. I don’t know that any theologian can do for me what that moment did. I seek wisdom from learned men, but I rely on The Word above all. Nothing that is written is so complex that the faithful need it dumbed down, or further complicated, or distorted.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 09, 2018 9:07 AM  

Yep. Or Jesus was using a manner speech that simply means that, you are not to know and for me not to tell.

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 9:17 AM  

Jesus took on the humble form of a servant to accomplish His mission of saving His sheep.

But In The Beginning and In The End He is Alpha & Omega.

John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Like it says, the darkness comprehends it not, because, darkness is stupid, er something.

Blogger Br'er Shaygetz July 09, 2018 9:20 AM  

Sounds like Melissa Scott...haven't heard enough from her to say either way.

Blogger Rick July 09, 2018 9:24 AM  

Amy, yes. It was not the experience itself that had value, but the fruit.
It’s those who believe (from it) that they ought to “do something with it,” change the world, because they were “selected.” Very very few are.
It’s the leftists and activists, particularly the young ones, who make this mistake.

Blogger Joshua_D July 09, 2018 9:24 AM  

I wonder how many Believers have read the entire Bible? 5% maybe?

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 09, 2018 9:38 AM  

58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

Blogger Teleros July 09, 2018 9:39 AM  

Joshua_D wrote:I wonder how many Believers have read the entire Bible? 5% maybe?

I skipped chunks of those old genealogies and such, but I've certainly read most of it.

VD wrote:If God knows everything, shouldn't it follow that he also knows the day/time?

Of course. But Jesus Christ said that he did not know the day and time.

So, what must one conclude if those two statements are both true?


I like to think I've learned over the last few years not to disagree lightly with the Supreme Dark Lord, but here goes...

As you've pointed out before, Jesus was fine with using rhetoric to attack the Jewish elders of his day (eg Matt 23:33), so unless we want to open the whole can of worms of Jesus sinning, context matters. In the case of the Son not knowing, might this be more of a rhetorical device meant to put an end to this line of questioning?

In addition, the traditional view of the Trinity emphasises that Jesus had two natures - he was both human and divine. Is it not then possible that he speaks here of the limited, human Jesus and not the divine Jesus?

Were it just these two points in isolation then I'd be more likely to side with you in erring on the side of caution. But on the other hand, you have plenty of other evidence as well - the National Catholic Register has a nice little collection of them here:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/darmstrong/50-biblical-proofs-that-jesus-is-god

Of that collection, the one that stands out to me the most is John 10:30 - "I and the Father are one". Personally, the best way I can see of squaring the circle that's John 10:30 and Matt 24:36 (and the similar passage in Mark) is to point out the dual nature of Jesus, the obvious limitations of the flesh and blood part of that, and maybe also the use of rhetorical speech in the context of the Matthew & Mark verses.

Taking all this together, I would say that the balance of evidence favours the Trinitarian position.

Blogger Paul M July 09, 2018 9:40 AM  

CS Lewis belived that hell is basically a state of mind, and that sinners kinda make there own way by some sort of magnetic attraction. The bible teaches that hell is a burning lake of fire and that sinners are bundled up like cordwood and thrown into it.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 9:45 AM  

In the case of the Son not knowing, might this be more of a rhetorical device meant to put an end to this line of questioning?

No. That's nonsense. Rhetoric is sweeping and general, not precise and delineated. Are you seriously going to argue that all the angels know too? That maybe Hal Lindsay figured out the correct date after all?

Taking all this together, I would say that the balance of evidence favours the Trinitarian position.

And that's why I ignore everything that theology enthusiasts say. Everything is always just one long dance of citations to justify whatever their position was at the start.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 09, 2018 9:45 AM  

Every Christian ought to read the Bible, cover to cover, at least once.
It gives an immesurable insight to some issues and constraints the possible range of interpretations to passages, especially the difficult ones.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 9:46 AM  

Of that collection, the one that stands out to me the most is John 10:30 - "I and the Father are one".

Did God the Father die on the cross?

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 9:46 AM  

There is a famous story about Augustine walking along the beach contemplating the Trinity when he spies a young boy who had dug a hole in the sand and was busily using a bucket to pour water from the incoming tide into his hole. Augustine puzzled at what the boy was doing goes over asks him his purpose. The boy says he is putting the ocean into his hole. Augustine laughs and tells the boy the ocean is so vast there is not the possibility of even putting a small amount of it into his hole. The boy answers Augustine by saying that so it is with his contemplation of the Trinity and then vanishes.

Blogger RobertDWood July 09, 2018 9:48 AM  

Heiser stands alone. His naked Bible podcast is a must listen weekly for me, and the Divine council view he brings from scripture answers many questions churchanity chooses to avoid.

Blogger Gritón del Desierto July 09, 2018 9:53 AM  

Bonhoeffer was practically a marxist http://www.equip.org/article/troubling-truth-bonhoeffers-theology/

Blogger Wade R. Potts July 09, 2018 9:54 AM  

I have a problem with this article. Who precisely is he talking about? I do not know of any world class scholars that would fall into this category. That is because there is a certain way to do theology and all I have seen do it this way. I am sure there are exceptions but I have not seen any. Even Open Theists tend to do theology well in terms of mechanics. It is hard to agree with this without examples. If you are talking about people simply in the local church I might buy that. But most of them have not been taught properly to do theology and even worse most are intellectual thieves. Rather than doing theology or Biblical studies well and starting with the original languages they read a couple of theology books or commentaries and steal those ideas. The guy who wrote this article might be a charlatan. He uses a suspicious lexicon and clearly does not understand catechisms or systematic theology. This guy's article was terrible. Absolutely terrible. Any way, it would be nice to have a specific example (like a theologian) of this from him maybe to see what exactly he is talking about.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 9:59 AM  

VD wrote:Of that collection, the one that stands out to me the most is John 10:30 - "I and the Father are one".

Did God the Father die on the cross?


The passage addressing that statement in the Greek (John 10:30) has the verb (are) as masculine pointing back to the I and the Father, but the word one is neuter so literally one thing, speaking to a shared nature. That doesn't require absolute sameness in all aspects. One of the great mysteries of the crucifixion and redemption of Jesus becoming sin on the cross is the renting of God when the Son cries out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Only God could pay the debt, but how could God be forsaken of God? I don't know. No one but the Father and Son know. They experienced it. We benefit from it to our everlasting salvation. It is a mystery. We are in danger of committing the first sin again in desiring to know what God has left as a mystery. The secret things belong to God. Deuteronomy 29:29 We need to leave them there.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 10:02 AM  

Vox,

I pointed out that contradiction earlier. God the Father did not die on the cross. That doesn't make them separate beings. Each member of the Trinity has different roles. One God in three persons. Vox, the Trinity manifests itself to the human senses at least once in the New Testament, when Jesus is baptized. Your dismissal of Trinity theologians as some sort of fringe movement is crazy. You are the fringe movement.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 10:11 AM  

God the Father did not die on the cross. That doesn't make them separate beings. Each member of the Trinity has different roles. One God in three persons. Vox, the Trinity manifests itself to the human senses at least once in the New Testament, when Jesus is baptized. Your dismissal of Trinity theologians as some sort of fringe movement is crazy. You are the fringe movement.

(shakes head)

I'm not dismissing Trinity theologians as a fringe movement. I'm dismissing them as observably illogical intellectual charlatans who claim to know something they cannot possibly know. And I am not a "fringe movement". I'm not a movement at all. I'm just not a charlatan who claims to know things he does not.

It is certainly conceivable that God is beyond human logic and that He is actually three, four, or forty-two persons. After all, the most that the Trinitarians can say is that God is AT LEAST three persons; they have absolutely no cause to limit the scope and number of Hims. But I scoff at anyone who claims to actually know the truth of the matter who is not a) God or b) Jesus Christ.

Paul didn't know, but you claim to do so. I simply don't buy it.

Blogger rumpole5 July 09, 2018 10:14 AM  

What appears to be a contradiction in our created dimension may not be such in God's unlimited existence. If you were a two dimensional creature existing on a flat, piece of paper like, plane, a line would be an impassible barrier. Add the third dimension of depth, and one can step over that line easily. Bring the line up into the third dimension and it can become an impassible wall, add the fourth dimension of time, and gravity will, over that time, flatten the wall back into a passible line. From what I read God has an unlimited supply of dimensions. As Paul said in the 9th chapter of the book of Romthe: "...nor things present, nor things to come, or height, nor depth, nor any other CREATED thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord." (emphasis added)

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 09, 2018 10:14 AM  

Vox

Since scripture is the primary authority in your 7 points above, ow do you respond to the the questions, “Which scripture? What is cannon and how is it identified?” And I’m sure you know the rest. The common criticisms of sola scriptura.

I know how my fundamentalist brothers and even professors answer those questions, but you often have a unique response to “common” questions and I’m not sure I’ve read how you answer them. If you can link to a previous post for me that would be cool too.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 10:16 AM  

scholar Sir Anthony Buzzard wrote an interesting book called "The Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound". Good read, but a bit dry for people of low IQ. As best I can tell, the whole Trinity thing was a loyalty test; will the layman trust the priest, or will he do his own study and reasoning on the texts that he heard read out loud in Church.

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 10:18 AM  

Again, seems odd to hold Aquinas in such esteem seeing as how much space he dedicated to defending the Trinity.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 10:18 AM  

"After all, the most that the Trinitarians can say is that God is AT LEAST three persons; they have absolutely no cause to limit the scope and number of Hims."

There's room for debate on the rest, but this is incorrect. Jesus said "baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." That is an explicit reason for the Trinitarian minimum and maximum.

Blogger Crush Limbraw July 09, 2018 10:19 AM  

Discovering truth for us mortals is a process- not an end state. That includes the Bible.
The longer I live, the more I have discovered to be true from biblical principles - not arguing about nitpicking points about language.
After all, God gave us brains which I assume He expected us to use.
I often go to the Bible for examples of real life experiences to see if a lesson is taught or guidance is given - but I still have to figure it out!

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 10:19 AM  

Michael Heiser is a charlatan. He has written a lot of very interesting stuff, but he made some statements about God's viewpoint on slavery as expressed in the old Testament that were exactly the opposite of what the Old Testament states. Someone with his depth of study and knowledge shouldn't have made such newbie mistakes.

Blogger jamsco July 09, 2018 10:20 AM  

I scoff at anyone who claims to actually know the truth of the matter who is not a) God or b) Jesus Christ.

You mean you scoff at anyone who claims to actually know the truth of the matter beyond what is in scripture, right?

Blogger Matamoros July 09, 2018 10:20 AM  

Christ did not come to write a bible. He came to fulfill the old covenant and begin the new (i.e., found the Church). Matt. 16:18, John 21:25

Thus nos. 4 & 5 are simply protestant posturing. Since the Apostles received the Faith orally from Christ, the Church has sought to better understand and codify what that desposit of Faith (depositum) is for the Faithful. 2 Thess. 2:15

The Bible while certainly useful, and important, does not stand above the Church. Matt. 18:17

Catechisms are necessary because God is not the author of confusion, but of truth and unity of Faith. Eph. 4:5 Thus there must be within the Church a teaching authority and a hierarchy (as established by Christ) to determine who is in, and who is not in, the Church. This is done by creeds, catechisms, etc.

Blogger Quadko July 09, 2018 10:21 AM  

I resolve some of the paradoxes (Jesus and the Father are one but not identical in knowledge, God never changes but is angry and then forgives, etc.) in the interaction between God residing outside of time and interacting inside of time.

Given space and time are the same thing, and God created (and is therefore outside of) space, God is necessarily outside of time.

The interactions across that boundary are fascinating for speculation, and orders of magnitude beyond the fun time travel paradoxes in stories. Many seeming paradoxes of God seem to me to resolve across that boundary, and people who reject a god they imagine to be inside our spacetime universe aren't even meeting the intellectual challenge presented by the Bible and Christianity.

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 10:22 AM  

@70
Where are these statements?

He's also said some wrong stuff about baptism and God's foreknowledge, but that doesn't make him a charlatan.

Blogger RevDanTheMan July 09, 2018 10:24 AM  

Jesus Christ received and accepted worship before His Crucifixion while every other mortal rejected such. Only Deity can rightly accept such oblation.

Accepting Christ as "God" and observing Him limiting Himself while walking as flesh (had Christ known the secrets of the universe while attending elementary school?) is not a contradiction BUT an observation.

There is no Christianity without Jesus Christ as God in the flesh.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 10:25 AM  

Note for the "oral tradition" folks: please resolve the Chalcedonian and East-West Schisms before criticizing the rest of us.

Blogger Gritón del Desierto July 09, 2018 10:25 AM  

That's the reason why the Trinity is a mistery.Humans are finite beings with carnal and limited minds.God is an infinite being,is not carnal and is unlimited.His mind and thoughts are above us all.The Son didn't know the time,The Father knows.Both are God but they are not the same.We don't know how that's possible because of our limited nature.It's a mistery and will remain a mistery until the Day we die.Any attempt to explain more of what is revealed will end in heresy.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 10:25 AM  

VD wrote I'm not dismissing Trinity theologians as a fringe movement. I'm dismissing them as observably illogical intellectual charlatans who claim to know something they cannot possibly know. And I am not a "fringe movement". I'm not a movement at all. I'm just not a charlatan who claims to know things he does not.
One thing we can say is that scripture explicitly only argues for only three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and requires baptism in that knowledge. Matthew 28:19.

VD wrote:they have absolutely no cause to limit the scope and number of Hims. But I scoff at anyone who claims to actually know the truth of the matter who is not a) God or b) Jesus Christ.
If we are using scripture as our source book, what we can say is only three persons are revealed and in it the Hims are limited there to those three.

It is true that we cannot absolutely argue against additional possibilities from silence, but then that enters into mystery and advocating more Hims from silence is definitely a problem.

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 10:25 AM  

I think Vox has positively mentioned Edward Feser in the past for good reasons. His new book, Five Proofs of the Existence of God, defends all the classic divine attributes (omniscience, omnipotence, eternity, immutability, etc) philosophically. In traditional Catholic dogma, philosophy and theology compliment rather than contradict each other--meaning if Scripture contradicts philosophy, that philosophy is incorrect somewhere--but where a philosophical argument is valid, Scripture will not contradict it. (Note Feser does not defend the Trinity, Jesus's divinity, or any of the specifically Christian claims in the book.)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0754MJFMG/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Blogger tz July 09, 2018 10:32 AM  

It isn't up yet but Chuck Baldwin eviscerates churchians
He also doesn't care for Trump, but he explains the main problem with America is the Pulpit - Even assuming we could bring people to Christ, what church do we send them to?

Beyond that, Jesus didn't write a book, he taught Apostles and established a church. Jesus could have given us clear answers to everything but we only have bits and pieces in scripture that contradicts, e.g. add John 10:30.
Scripture is inspired, but you need philosophical techniques to approach it in depth, and even then it often says just open your eyes and don't be stupid - the Pharisees knew scripture and twisted it. Even the original USA was scripture plus natural law plus the English constitution and common law (e.g. Blacks Law Dictionary) - and many celebrated Christmas and Easter.

The main danger are the neo-zionists that somehow ignore Galatians where circumcision counts for nothing (or worse shows lack of faith and grace) and want to celebrate the sabbath on saturday, also the Passover, Day of Atonement, etc. though those were abolished by the Cross.

But even Scripture - our Lord - by their fruits ye shall know them. Obeying Christ and growing in holiness is easy to understand and simple but hard to do. Are the members of the church manly men and quiet women doing good works? Are they a community where they all know and help each other?

The main trap is that of the pharisees that instead of growing in love and holiness, people seek more and more rules and smaller commandments to obey because that is easier than ridding yourself of the least bad sinful habit. To read the obscure or philosophical parts of the bible or "praise" instead of the parts that might convict you and expose a flaw you might have to deal with using fasting and prayer. Or even the outside world - if you wish to be a tool of Christ, you must be forged and sharpened. And that is rarely done by reading more scripture.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 10:36 AM  

@74 KSC, Michael Heiser stated that tattoos are ok and that God has been opposed to slavery since the beginning. The institution of slavery is all throughout the old and new testaments; not a single peep against it. Michael told a whopper.

Blogger Ceasar July 09, 2018 10:39 AM  

"I can't tell you how many times someone has recommended one theologian or another to me as "really wise" or "truly full of the Spirit", only to see immediately in their work that they are either a) a rambling restater of the obvious or b) a spiritual con artist."

"The ass arrives, beautiful and most brave."

Blogger KSC July 09, 2018 10:39 AM  

@81
Do you remember where he said this? Was it in a podcast or one of his books?

Blogger Teleros July 09, 2018 10:40 AM  

VD wrote:No. That's nonsense. Rhetoric is sweeping and general, not precise and delineated.

Fair enough.

VD wrote:Are you seriously going to argue that all the angels know too? That maybe Hal Lindsay figured out the correct date after all?



I'm more or less indifferent as to whether the angels or even Mr Lindsay (whoever he is) knows. Jesus says they don't though, so I'd be inclined to go with what He says.

VD wrote:And that's why I ignore everything that theology enthusiasts say. Everything is always just one long dance of citations to justify whatever their position was at the start.

If someone is ignoring or dismissing contrary evidence then yes, they're just being dishonest and deceitful. But that's exactly why I talked about the balance of evidence - I don't know the answer, but if I see X amount of evidence pointing one way, and 2X pointing the opposite, then *all things being equal* I'm going to side with the bulk of the evidence. The greater the disparity, the more certain I will be that I sided correctly.

VD wrote:Did God the Father die on the cross?

I get your point, but that then raises the question of what the heck Jesus was saying in John 10:30. Is it made up of whole cloth? Did He lie? Was He mistaken here, but correct in Matthew & Mark (and if so, why the change)?

The standard Trinitarian dogma on the relationship between the Father, Son & Holy Spirit seems the least tortuous way of bringing these points together in some semblance of harmony. Of course there are mysteries and gaps in our understanding, and of course the Trinitarian position may be wrong.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 10:43 AM  

One thing we can say is that scripture explicitly only argues for only three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and requires baptism in that knowledge. Matthew 28:19.

That's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. Where does it say anything about three persons in the Godhead?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Do you not see that you are making a logical assumption there?

There's room for debate on the rest, but this is incorrect. Jesus said "baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." That is an explicit reason for the Trinitarian minimum and maximum.

It's not incorrect at all. Some of you literally cannot read, you're so caught up in your assumptions.

You mean you scoff at anyone who claims to actually know the truth of the matter beyond what is in scripture, right?

Beyond what is clearly and unambiguously stated in Scripture in a manner that no sane or reasonable individual can argue with the interpretation.

Blogger Adam Toal July 09, 2018 10:43 AM  

Couldn't it just be that Jesus didn't know the day or hour before he was resurrected? He accepted many limitations during his life on earth. Then, at his resurrection, those limitations were thrown off.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 10:46 AM  

Several points in Revelation speak about seven spirits of God. What now, septinity, or are those just something like Seraphim or parts of the Holy Ghost?

I don't know, and I don't need to.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 10:47 AM  

Have you read the Trinitarian explanations of Matthew 24:36? Here's one from St Athanasius: "Certainly, then, it is plain that as the Word he knows also the hour and the end of all things, although as man he is ignorant of it; for ignorance is proper to man, and especially in these matters. This, moreover, pertains to the Savior's love of man; for, inasmuch as he was made man, he is not ashamed, because of the ignorant flesh, to say, 'I do not know,' so that he may demonstrate that, although as God he knows, according to the flesh he is ignorant. This, then, is why he did not say, 'nor does the Son of God know,' lest the Godhead appear to be ignorant; but simply, 'nor the Son,' so that the ignorance may be of the son as born of man"

Here are some more: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/was-jesus-a-know-it-all

Basically most trinitarian arguments are based on Christ having two natures, human and divine, and that Christ was only stating that he was ignorant according to his human nature (or that if he did know it was via his divine nature).

At least VD demonstrates that you cannot get the Trinity directly from the Bible like some Protestants try to claim (implying that you need councils as Catholics or at least Orthodox claim).

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 10:47 AM  

But that's exactly why I talked about the balance of evidence - I don't know the answer, but if I see X amount of evidence pointing one way, and 2X pointing the opposite, then *all things being equal* I'm going to side with the bulk of the evidence. The greater the disparity, the more certain I will be that I sided correctly.

When you are making a logical conclusion on the basis of the balance of evidence, you do not know. That may be the reasonable conclusion, but you cannot honestly say that you know a damn thing. Because you don't.

The balance of evidence is MASSIVELY against divine omniscience. Massively. There is all of ONE verse in the Bible that directly states otherwise. And even though it is contextually clear that that singular knowledge claim is limited to a single subject, I acknowledge the possibility of divine omniscience. I simply don't think the standard claim is credible.

I think that is what intellectual honesty requires, and yet I see theology enthusiasts stacking assumption on top of assumption and declaring it to be certain knowledge. I don't accept or respect that.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 10:49 AM  

The standard Trinitarian dogma on the relationship between the Father, Son & Holy Spirit seems the least tortuous way of bringing these points together in some semblance of harmony.

Well, at least we've managed to discover the probable the intellectual heritage of the scientific fallacy of parsimony.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 10:51 AM  

I also don't get VD's argument that if God permits people to know He is Triune, then that means people can say they "know" God. "Seeing through a glass, darkly" implies you see some of the very basic details you're looking at. VD's argument implies that Paul is saying that we can know next to nothing.

Blogger Matthew McDaniel July 09, 2018 10:53 AM  

John in his revelation saw SEVEN Spirits of God. Maybe Vox is on to something....

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 11:00 AM  

VD's argument implies that Paul is saying that we can know next to nothing.

That's precisely what I believe. I think we do know almost next to nothing.

Blogger Unknown July 09, 2018 11:00 AM  

I do not understand how the Trinity works but it seems pretty clear to me that the Trinity is what is taught in Scripture. One Lord - Jesus Christ, One Savior - God the Father and One Spirit - The Holy Spirit. I am not sure what other functions more persons of the godhead would need to perform, nor do I care because that is highly speculative. I will say do not think there is any need for more persons because all the bases appear to be covered.

Scripture is everything we need to know about him. I understand God is far beyond our comprehension but he is also a bright guy and can communicate to us humans in ways we can understand.

As far as the incarnation, Christ is fully God and fully man. How this works, beats me, but that is what Scripture teaches. So did God die on the cross? Of course not. Christ's humanity did. How did this work? I have no idea nor do I need to. The point of the cross is for the salvation of sinners not for me to understand how Christ can be fully God and fully man. It is absurd to ask questions of Scripture passages they were not written to answer. That is one of the primary reasons I hate most studies on Genesis 1-2 is because that was not written as a scientific text book. It was written to tell the Wilderness Jews who God was. He was the creator of all things. That is the purpose of Genesis 1-2.

Nonetheless, I get what Vox is saying. I disagree with much of it. But some of you guys are saying a lot of words at Vox and not doing a good job of explaining anything. He most likely will not agree with you about the Trinity. He is not going to agree with me about the Trinity.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 11:03 AM  

"It's not incorrect at all. Some of you literally cannot read, you're so caught up in your assumptions."

Then I suppose we've reached a point of disagreement. I consider that verse to be complete justification for the (traditional, not modern) Trinitarian view - barring any evidence to the contrary, which I have never seen.

And it's not an assumption - I asked much the same questions as time presented here. After examining the evidence, I concluded that it all argued in favor of the Trinitarian concept.

To argue that a lack of absolute evidence against additional Members is contradictory is to enter into Flying Spaghetti Monster territory.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 11:05 AM  

It would seem kinda rude to the other supposed 4 or 39 divine persons to only baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 11:06 AM  

Then I suppose we've reached a point of disagreement. I consider that verse to be complete justification for the (traditional, not modern) Trinitarian view - barring any evidence to the contrary, which I have never seen.

Walk through your logic. Start with the verse itself, then show us how you reach the final conclusion.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 11:08 AM  

And it's not an assumption.

You're right. It requires multiple assumptions. And you observably don't even realize you're making any of them.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 09, 2018 11:09 AM  

The Supreme Dark Lord becomes bored and trums the theological waters, forgetting (very briefly) how boring arguments over unknown unknowables can be.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 11:11 AM  

Vox is correct. Trinitarian doctrine requires assumptions.

Blogger jamsco July 09, 2018 11:13 AM  

Beyond what is clearly and unambiguously stated in Scripture in a manner that no sane or reasonable individual can argue with the interpretation.

This is a reasonable statement, but I think it's a little overreaching.

For example, you say that Jesus, who called himself ignorant on at least one matter, can't be God if God is all knowing.

Whereas I think it's reasonable to point to Phil 2 where it says Jesus "emptied himself" when he was born in the likeness of men, and suggest that part of that emptying was him willingly choosing to not know at least that one fact.

So you can then say, "I don't think that's what 'emptied himself' means," but for you to say that's an unreasonable interpretation, as an answer to your suggestion of a contradiction, is overreaching.

We use the Phil 2 verse (and others) in good faith, is what I'm saying.

Blogger John Calla July 09, 2018 11:13 AM  

The primary period of theology is generally known as between 800 and 1500 AD (perhaps a little narrower). This is when all of the "grind work" was done. To see modern "theologians" come along and try to re-invent the wheel or redefine theology is as stupid as somebody trying to rediscover scientific laws that were established centuries ago.

Also, I would guess that none of us here are well-trained in theology. So in these matters we should defer to actual genius theologians like Thomas Aquinas who spent their livelihood dedicated to the studies. Any modern theologian, or anybody else for that matter, who claims they know Christian theology better than Aquinas is probably either a liar or out of his gourd.

Interestingly, the Latin Vulgate translation of the Psalm 11:5 that's quoted above (in the LV as Psalm 10:6) is completely different. Completely different meaning. I wonder which is correct?

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 11:14 AM  

You are the fringe movement.

It occurs to me that if it is nearly the entire mass of Christian theologians from the dawn of Church history against Isaac Newton and I, you know, I kind of like our odds.

Blogger jamsco July 09, 2018 11:14 AM  

Vox is correct. Trinitarian doctrine requires assumptions.

So does Vox's.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 11:17 AM  

"So does Vox's."

You mean that your knee-jerk reaction assumption of what Vox is saying does.

Blogger Teleros July 09, 2018 11:18 AM  

VD wrote:When you are making a logical conclusion on the basis of the balance of evidence, you do not know. That may be the reasonable conclusion, but you cannot honestly say that you know a damn thing.

On this we're in full agreement.

VD wrote:
The balance of evidence is MASSIVELY against divine omniscience. Massively. There is all of ONE verse in the Bible that directly states otherwise.


Given I know even less about this than I do about the debate over the Trinity... well, not even I want to read my pontificating (now ain't there a word for this discussion) on the subject :) .

VD wrote:

Well, at least we've managed to discover the probable the intellectual heritage of the scientific fallacy of parsimony.


"William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey."

Let's just say you're probably not wrong there ;) .

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 11:27 AM  

"And that's why I ignore everything that theology enthusiasts say. Everything is always just one long dance of citations to justify whatever their position was at the start."

Dear VD:

The problem with saying that is that it makes you a sort of theology enthusiast your self.

My little sister once told me that philosophy is stupid. When I told her that she must be stupid because that was a philosophical statement, she looked at me with a stupid look on her face. I think she's still trying to think about it, but, without philosophy, she ain't going to figure it out, not in a million years.

Blogger jamsco July 09, 2018 11:29 AM  

You mean that your knee-jerk reaction assumption of what Vox is saying does.

Sunday School Teacher: God knows everything!
The Bible: Only the Father knows the day and the hour. (Matthew 24:36)
Vox: This is a contradiction (or, one "necessarily and completely rules out" the other")
Vox's assumption: There is no possible facet of the nature of God that would render this not a contradiction.

Blogger Xellos July 09, 2018 11:31 AM  

Vox's god isn't omniscient. Mine is.

Blogger Brad Matthews July 09, 2018 11:32 AM  

The problem with the holy spirit is no one can define it. It's this blank slate doctrinal creation. Bible speaks of 7 spirits of God and each is an attribute. Paul speaks of fruits of those spirits. Further, those spirits are high ranking angels in rev. Multiple manifestations of the angel of the lord in scripture. Shekinah glory in tabernacle and cloud of fire in wilderness. Multple sons of God singing at creation, multiple morning stars, one fallen. Christ called a morning star, overcomers promised a morning star in rev. Trinity doctrine is what you is taught, not what you gather from an honest open look.

Blogger Brad Matthews July 09, 2018 11:34 AM  

"Are taught"

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 11:36 AM  

Let's take the verse apart:
Baptizing them in the name of the Father (whom Jesus called God - John 5:18) and the Son (who we know is Jesus and whom Thomas called Lord and God - John 20:28) and the Holy Spirit (whom Paul calls God - 1 Cor. 12:3, Ephesians 4:30).

We know that Deuteronomy 6:4 says "The Lord our God is one" and as does Jesus in Mark 12:29. The one in both cases is meant as a compound unity as the "one flesh" statement about marriage that uses the same words.

So, does scripture go any further. No. But the baptismal formula says in the name of and names identify in case persons (not things). So we baptize in the name of three persons (all of whom have a part in our new birth and salvation) and all of whom are called God in scripture.

No one else is mentioned anywhere. Why can't we just leave it at that and let God be God? We have to remember the concept of the Trinity came into being in dealing with obvious heresy, but often in trying to defend we wade into murky depths that touch the mystery that belongs to God alone.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 11:36 AM  

Meh... if you're going to argue that everything outside the Bible is absolutely off limits, then no one here can answer you as the Trinity was dogmatically defined at the Council of Nicea. This is one of the unintended consequences of Protestants pushing Sola Scriptura (and also why it should not have been a surprise when a bunch of non-Trinitarian groups appeared after the Reformation).

I do not understand why we should only be limited to the Bible and not be able to use the Church Fathers as authoritative sources, which most of the Church did especially when they unanimously agreed. At least this is so if you ask Catholics, Orthodox, and Conservative Protestants. (Some Fundamentalists agree that the Church Fathers were proto-Papists, but for some reason still say the Trinity is correct).

The idea that the Church Fathers were planning to make Christianity overly complex, either on purpose or by trying to out do each other overtime, did not come about until after the Reformation. Again, most of the Protestants and all of the Orthodox agreed that the Church Fathers were correct about the Trinity.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 11:36 AM  

Sure, except that the Holy Spirit is referred to on multiple occasions by Jesus as singular, gendered and co equal with The Father and The Son.

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 11:38 AM  

By faith we believe the plain Words of Scripture that say that Jesus, His Father, and Their Holy Spirit are One God, "These 3 are One."

I John 5:
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.


Just as by faith we believe that God spoke and the worlds were made, even though we have little if any understanding how speaking words would create and sustain a universe or a multiverse or whatever.

Hebrews 11
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 11:40 AM  

"Walk through your logic. Start with the verse itself, then show us how you reach the final conclusion."

So starting from that verse, Jesus places "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in equal standing as to the names by which man is to be baptized.

Combine this with John 1, wherein "The Word was God." In the original construction, the term "God" is actually more akin to "The Divine". The unambiguous statement here is that The Word is equal to God/is God at a fundamental level, in that they are both The Divine.

From other scriptures wherein The Spirit is equated with both The Father and The Son:

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord. There are varieties of results, but it is the same God who produces all the results in everyone."

"Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.'"

The only reasonable conclusion is that The Helper who teaches Truth (as Christ did) shares in The Divine nature.

Given that

there is no reference to any other being sharing in this nature,

that these three are equated unambiguously and repeatedly

and that the Church prayed equally to "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" from the first century

the only conclusion that can be drawn from this evidence is the Trinitarian position.

Blogger Brad Matthews July 09, 2018 11:45 AM  

Yes you do, you do it daily. Another human can't read your thoughts until you speak them into existence with words. Guard your tongue because our words, whether spoken or written, can shape reality.

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 11:46 AM  

"“Which scripture? What is cannon and how is it identified?” "
Holy Scripture has been described as a sword, but I like your characterization of it as a "cannon" better.

II Timothy 2:
14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 11:47 AM  

Guys, you literally cannot argue for the Trinity under the conditions VD is imposing. Nothing in the Bible explicitly lays out the dogma of the Trinity. VD insists that if the Bible do not explicitly state it, then we cannot know for sure that God is x (Triune, omniscient, etc.)

Councils, writings of Church Fathers (even ones that Protestants accepts like St.s Augustine, Jerome, and Anthanasius), and later theologians are supposedly too untrustworthy to use.

VD can go with Newton; I'll go with the Popes, Councils, Church Fathers, and Doctors of the Church.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 11:51 AM  

I should rephrase. VD says he also gives weight to a view if the Bible implies it in a lot of verses... which still does not help the Trinitarian view in this debate as again the Bible still does not have this.

But VD does not give one a reason to trust his interpretation of St. Paul rather than St. Thomas Aquinas' or St. Augustine's.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 11:53 AM  

"There is no possible facet of the nature of God that would render this not a contradiction."

It's pretty explicit. If God is omniscient, and Jesus is God, Jesus must be omniscient as well. ...Either that or he's not quite the same thing as God.

Jesus said quite plainly that he didn't know something, therefore he himself ruled out his being omniscient.

So, which conclusion do you prefer, that God is not necessarily omniscient, or that Jesus was not God at that point in time?


As for S1AL, your first assumption is that there are three and only three. Saying "the only conclusion that can be drawn from this evidence is the Trinitarian position" is absurd.

Blogger Dirty Duck July 09, 2018 11:53 AM  

"So starting from that verse, Jesus places "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" in equal standing as to the names by which man is to be baptized."

Ahahahahahahaha, you didn't even make it past the FIRST SENTENCE.

Blogger Seth July 09, 2018 11:54 AM  

What does Jesus know?

Matthew 24 begins with Jesus talking a lot about future events.

And ends after verse 36 to talk about how people on Earth will be surprised: 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

He doesn't explain that he himself must be ready or will be surprised at his return.

Matthew 25:12 But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I do not know you!'

Does this mean that Jesus doesn't 'know' someone?

Going back to 36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Could refer to who has authority to announce or set the day, in which the trinity are not identical in roles. The Son submits to the Father who "knows" the day, but it doesn't say Jesus will be surprised when it happens. He is declaring that the disciples shouldn't ask and no one can ever claim to be revealed the time by an angel or Christ.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 11:54 AM  

@83 KSC that was in a private communication, someone who runs a tattoo parlor was using Michael Heiser's interpretation to justify it, and when he wrote to them he added in the bit about slavery. Instantly, all his (possibly) great work to debunk Zechariah Sitchin is now very very suspect.

Blogger VD July 09, 2018 11:55 AM  

Vox's assumption: There is no possible facet of the nature of God that would render this not a contradiction.

No. Vox's assumption is that "knowing everything" cannot equal "not knowing everything". Please feel free to argue against that assumption.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 11:58 AM  

'As for S1AL, your first assumption is that there are three and only three. Saying "the only conclusion that can be drawn from this evidence is the Trinitarian position" is absurd.'

It's not an assumption. I presented evidence for the first statement and noted the total lack of contradiction to the second. That's why I called any such attack 'Flying Spaghetti Monster logic', otherwise known as 'Prove an absolute negative', a logical impossibility.

Blogger Dirty Duck July 09, 2018 11:59 AM  

This is a piss poor showing from the "smartest comment section on the web (TM)". I'm losing it over here, it's like watching a bunch of people who have never played chess tell Bobby Fisher he's doing it wrong by appealing to the rules of baseball.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:00 PM  

FWIW my commentary on the whole argument is that by (A=A) and (!A != A) obviously 1 = 1, however 1 != 3, therefore 1 = 3 is very simply inconsistent with Aristotleian logic.

Not saying that it's not possible, but if it is, it quite plainly transcends human logic at that point.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 12:00 PM  

"Ahahahahahahaha, you didn't even make it past the FIRST SENTENCE."

If you'd worked your way through the rest of it, you'd realize that that verse isn't even necessary to the conclusion - it's merely the first indication.

But, please, provide your alternative explanation for what that command means.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 12:00 PM  

TN Papist wrote:Guys, you literally cannot argue for the Trinity under the conditions VD is imposing. Nothing in the Bible explicitly lays out the dogma of the Trinity. VD insists that if the Bible do not explicitly state it, then we cannot know for sure that God is x (Triune, omniscient, etc.)
The Bible does explicitly identify three persons as God and that God is one. It does demand that we explicitly baptize in the name of those three persons. If we stop there with that understanding and accept it as biblical and revealed truth, there should be no argument.

The problem, as you stated is the extra biblical language, which is used as theological shorthand to name a concept contained in that revelation. Vox is arguing that the shorthand is limiting and explicitly sets boundaries that scripture does not set. That is true, in that scripture is silent about any other possibilities, while it is not silent about this specific understanding relating to those three.

Sometimes I think God purposely left these ambiguities as a test. He has told the secret things belong to Him. Can we accept that and go no further than He has revealed or do we continue down the tempter's path and seek to know what He has not revealed and therefore is not ours to know. Deuteronomy 29:29.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 12:01 PM  

We're all very impressed, Dirty Duck. We're also devastated we can't impress you.

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 12:02 PM  

"Catechisms are necessary because God is not the author of confusion, but of truth and unity of Faith. Eph. 4:5 Thus there must be within the Church a teaching authority and a hierarchy (as established by Christ) to determine who is in, and who is not in, the Church. This is done by creeds, catechisms, etc."

To some extent I would agree with you, but, the Church needs to also know and remember its place. Jesus said His sheep would hear His voice. And the temporal worldly carnal manifestations of the "church" in the world have made too many mistakes to allowed absolute plenary spiritual power and authority in the minds of everyone who seeks after God and thinks he hears the Voice of the Good Shepherd. We need to respect the right of each individual to their own conscience.

I like the Apostle's Creed because it is short and simple and right to the point of the truly essential concepts. I especially like it because it eschews eschatological impositions, merely stating that at this time Jesus is seated at the right hand of His Father and from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead, without controversial elaboration. I have my own specific opinions on eschatology but I don't think in terms of demanding that a person agree with me on those subjects before I accept them as an honest and sincere brother or sister in Christ.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:04 PM  

"noted the total lack of contradiction to the second."

That's nice dear.

"It's not an assumption."

Yes it is.

"This is a piss poor showing from the "smartest comment section on the web"

Even smart people often have preconceived notions they don't want to let go of.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 12:04 PM  

If VD denies that there is a visible Church with divine inspiration able to dogmatically interpret the Bible, then there is no way to get him to agree to Trinity or Divine Omniscience.

VD seems to be subscribing to the view of Gibbons, Jefferson, and Newton that Christian theology was supposedly made extra complex overtime in order to confuse and control people. If I remember correctly, VD said he subscribes to a sort of conspiratorial view of history, so this view of Christian history would fit.

Blogger Thomas Rank July 09, 2018 12:08 PM  

The Christ who is not true God (Immanuel) and true Man (born of the Virgin Mary), is useless. It is the same as the Christ of Islam. Again, useless. Why choose Matt 24 as the starting point for this? Why not, as others noted, John 1:1-3? There are paradoxes in Scripture. It is a misuse of human reason to resolve paradoxes that God allows to stand. Receiving Scripture as the authority for what is to be taught and believed in the Christian church is to put human reason in its proper, ministerial, role. To put human reason in the magisterial role is to presume to judge God, and make Him cater to what you think is reasonable.

Blogger AnvilTiger July 09, 2018 12:08 PM  

Tangential to this topic - before Vox wrote "SJWs Always Lie", Morgan Scott Peck wrote "People of the Lie". He was a psychologist who became a Christian after encountering true evil in some of his patients. He determined over time some of the defining characteristics of a truly evil person. Here is a summary:
+++
They are consistently self-deceiving, with the intent of avoiding guilt and maintaining a self-image of perfection
Deceive others as a consequence of their own self-deception
Projects his or her evils and sins onto very specific targets (scapegoats) while trying to appear "normal" with everyone else
Commonly hates with the pretense of love, for the purposes of self-deception as much as deception of others
Abuses political (emotional) power
Lies incessantly to try to appear to have a high level of respectability
Is consistent in his or her sins of destructiveness
Unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)
Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury
+++

Blogger Dirty Duck July 09, 2018 12:10 PM  

"Even smart people often have preconceived notions they don't want to let go of."

Even the one guy who actually got the light bulb turned on responded by voluntarily turning it back off.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 12:10 PM  

Peter Gent wrote:The Bible does explicitly identify three persons as God and that God is one. It does demand that we explicitly baptize in the name of those three persons. If we stop there with that understanding and accept it as biblical and revealed truth, there should be no argument.

VD seems to be arguing that we cannot be certain that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the only three divine persons. Again, the Bible never explicitly says there are not, and people in this debate are actually using verses to argue that there could be seven divine persons.

If there is no visible Church or agreed upon interpreters of what the Bibles says, then we cannot be certain. However, VD has not given any of us any proof that would make me trust his view over say St. Athanasius' view or St. Gregory the Great's view.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 12:10 PM  

"Yes it is."

Prove it.

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 12:11 PM  

"The institution of slavery is all throughout the old and new testaments; not a single peep against it. "

I think of slavery as a sort of poverty, related to it and often a function of it; an inevitable evil in a fallen sinful world.

I think it's fair to say that being a slave was pretty much thought of as a bad thing because people generally sought to avoid it for themselves and their loved ones. Were Joseph's brothers doing him a favor when they sold him in to slavery in Egypt? Maybe, but only indirectly because God was in on it with a Plan. Otherwise, no, the brothers meant it for evil, not for good.
God says to proclaim Liberty throughout the Land, not slavery and bondage.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 12:12 PM  

Another really good book is How Greek Philosophy Corrupted the Christian Concept of God, by Richard Hopkins. He shows how the Trinity got into Christianity as an attempt to reconcile the Bible with Greek philosophy, primarily Platonism, gnosticism, and Pythagoreanism. This explains why every time a theologian touches on a matter connected to the Trinity, he retreats into copious floods of diahrreous verbiage.

Trinitarians have shed a lot of non-Trinitarian Christian blood for the sake of this doctrine; so, while Vox may respect Aristotle, I think the principles of science are already enough in the Bible that Greek philosophy should just be burned with fire. Perhaps a few like Euclid, Aristotle, and Hero can be preserved, but never as authorities. Greek math and science was borrowed from Egypt and Babylon.

The allegorical nature of most Greek writing is anathema to the straight-forward writing in Scripture.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 12:14 PM  

@140 Slavery, like divorce, is a benevolent, fair and just solution to problems that would otherwise lead to bloodshed and social chaos. Surely, ideally noone would divorce or be enslaved. But a thief who steals to eat is better off as a slave. A wife who resents her husband to the point of putting arsenic in his coffee, is better off divorced.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:14 PM  

"Prove it."

You cannot strictly prove your statement. Therefore it's an assumption.

Pretty much all of human knowledge is assumptions, so you're in relatively good stead.

Blogger Eric I. Gatera. July 09, 2018 12:15 PM  

With this issue of Christ divinity, It is fair to acknowledge that the New Testament doesn't try to explain how is it possible for the Lord Jesus to be presented both as Man and as God except to point out that those canonical writers seemed to believe so, or pointed out to people who believed so without maligning them; example of St. Thomas, the Apostle,

"And Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed." - John 20:28-29

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 12:17 PM  

TN Papist,

Since we're talking about Christian values and theology, I'll extend you some grace.

Never say "Vox seems to be" or "Vox appears to be" when making a statement Trust me. Either spit it out or swallow it.

Blogger jamsco July 09, 2018 12:18 PM  

No. Vox's assumption is that "knowing everything" cannot equal "not knowing everything". Please feel free to argue against that assumption.

So if we changed it to --
Sunday School Teacher: God the Father knows everything!

... would it no longer be a contradiction? Because I'm willing to do that. I'm guessing almost everyone would.

Blogger TN Papist July 09, 2018 12:19 PM  

I remember bits and pieces of older posts so... I'll bow out here.

Blogger John Calla July 09, 2018 12:20 PM  

No. Vox's assumption is that "knowing everything" cannot equal "not knowing everything". Please feel free to argue against that assumption.

The argument of the Christian religion for that seeming contradiction is this: That the one person of Jesus has two natures. And in one nature he knows everything, and in the other nature he does not know everything. The union of these two natures into a single person and how the two natures interact is a mystery of the religion.

That is the official profession of the Christian religion on this matter.

Nobody has to agree with it, but that is the explanation.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:21 PM  

"So if we changed it to --
Sunday School Teacher: God the Father knows everything!"


Still quite possibly an overreach.

Usually the verse alluded to is that about God knowing when a sparrow falls, in the context of the great commission. Doesn't really specifically state that God knows absolutely everything.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 12:21 PM  

@138 so far noone has stopped to define terms. What does it mean for a person to be Divine? The Bible in Deuteronomy speaks of the 72 "sons of God" b'nei Elohim. Or, depending how you translate it, "sons of the gods". Are they Divine too? If not, why not? Then there is this divine spark concept, which is the earmark of Gnosticism since the beginning. If every human being has a divine spark, is everyone Divine? Gnosticism is an idea that keeps coming back.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 12:24 PM  

When I read the very earliest church fathers, they didn't make any claims about Christ being God. Even Saint Patrick, who set Ireland on the righteous path, was not a Trinitarian by any means. After the slaughter of 136 AD, then the "Jesus is God" thing started to come in forcefully, as the Greek and Roman converts started to take positions of authority in the Church.

Blogger Latigo3 July 09, 2018 12:27 PM  

Well this opened up a can of worms

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 12:28 PM  

"by appealing to the rules of baseball."
Because as we all know there IS crying in chess.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 12:29 PM  

"You cannot strictly prove your statement. Therefore it's an assumption."

This is not an accurate definition in any system of logic, assuming that you mean assumption as premise. If you're using some other, personal definition then I have no need to respond further.

The only part of my argument that can reasonably be called an assumption is that Christ's command is indicative of equal standing - and that's actually an inference, not a true assumption. And as I said, the rest of the argument does not require it.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:29 PM  

"Well this opened up a can of worms"

Anyone who's seen Vox's older posts on the subject could have told you that before the first comment was commented.

Blogger jamsco July 09, 2018 12:30 PM  

Usually the verse alluded to is that about God knowing when a sparrow falls, in the context of the great commission. Doesn't really specifically state that God knows absolutely everything.

Well, sure. I haven't proven the statement. I'm just changing it so it's not a contradiction with the other.

Blogger John Calla July 09, 2018 12:31 PM  

@151

What reliable evidence is there that St. Patrick "was not a Trinitarian"?

When I read the very earliest church fathers, they didn't make any claims about Christ being God.

St. John says it plainly in Chapter 1, and he knew Jesus personally, so he probably knew a thing or two about him.

Blogger Vaughan Williams July 09, 2018 12:35 PM  

@157 I don't have it to hand, but look in "The Celtic Church in Britain" for the citations about Saint Patrick not being Trinitarian. Puritanism goes back a LONG way in England.

As for St John Chapter 1, "And the word was god", the context doesn't give it the Trinitarian meaning. If you read the words in isolation, and someone tells you about the Trinity, you can force it to fit. Anthony Buzzard covers John 1:1 comprehensively in his book, "The Trinity, Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound". I suggest you read it. You'll be glad you did.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:36 PM  

I already stated the strictly logical, S1AL. Three does not equal one, nor does one equal three.

I don't need to step onto your strawman of assumption as premise. I did not state that. I stated that you made an assumption -- because you did.

"The only part of my argument that can reasonably be called an assumption"

... is that because you were told something, you were told absolutely everything about it, as opposed to being told only the things relevant to you, or only the things God thought you could understand, or only the things particular human language(s) are capable of expressing.

Blogger Laramie Hirsch July 09, 2018 12:37 PM  

For years, I've known VD sorta doesn't believe in the Trinity. If he's continued to believe it all this time, I doubt anyone here will convince him otherwise.

Blogger Looking Glass July 09, 2018 12:37 PM  

@149 Azure Amaranthine

We've reached "do you know what the meaning of "know" is?" levels of semantics & definition problems. What is "Knowledge", what is "Experience" and what is "Understanding"?

Jeremiah 23:23-24 is pretty clear on the Omnipresence aspect, but what is the separation between God and Sin in the concept of "knows all"?

Actually looking at it (this has honestly never been a theological topic I've thought about much), it really seems like the theological construction has been expanded by MPAI theologians to the point it's pretty anti-Biblical. Inter-related, but any time someone tries to dumb-down Theology, these things happen. There are broad explanations of God, but trying to construct a theology around always goes badly.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 09, 2018 12:40 PM  

No, we're not likely to change Vox's mind. But then things would be really boring around here. Besides, who doesn't like to match wits with him? It's healthy and you might learn something.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 12:41 PM  

Azure, reread my original statement and the statement to which I was responding. I contradicted only a specific portion of what Vox said, and I provided the reason behind it.

You are ascribing to me motives I do not hold and statements I did not make.

So cut out the spergy ankle biting.

Blogger Looking Glass July 09, 2018 12:42 PM  

Latigo3 wrote:Well this opened up a can of worms

Theological discussions always do that, haha.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:45 PM  

"We've reached "do you know what the meaning of "know" is?" levels of semantics & definition problems."

That's sadly a very relevant level, as people say they know things that just aren't so quite frequently.

"what is the separation between God and Sin in the concept of "knows all"?"

There's an interesting question. I always thought of it as God being the source of life, the motive force of all things, etc. By that, sin is missing the goal, sin is separation from life, sin is death. I wonder if it's something along the lines of sin being or leading to things that cannot exist or do not exist or should not exist, and thus God is separate from those things.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 12:55 PM  

"the only conclusion that can be drawn from this evidence is the Trinitarian position."

Is a stupid statement. It's like looking at the world through a red filter and then saying "the only conclusion that can be drawn is that everything is red."

"You are ascribing to me motives I do not hold and statements I did not make."

I don't need to. The ones you did make are adequate.

"Jesus said "baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." That is an explicit reason for the Trinitarian minimum and maximum."

"I told Mary to go to the grocer and buy cabbage and kielbasa, because that's all we need for dinner." That's all that's relevant for dinner tonight.

Do you see the comparison? The analogy could be accurate, there could be other types of food.

Blogger Starboard July 09, 2018 12:56 PM  

45. Amy. Amazing how all the argument in the world doesn't hold a candle to experience of the Person. The questions melt away.

53. Paul M. I don't remember C.S. Lewis stating that belief. If you are referring to The Great Divorce, he made sure to clarify that that particular dream was a work of fiction whose purpose was to show how normal people end up choosing not God over God. It is also set after death but before the second coming. If I understand correctly, the lake of fire is final judgement.

132/140 Alpheus. Thanks for that bit of calm.

Mark 12:30
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Keep up the good work.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 12:58 PM  

"Do you see the comparison? The analogy could be accurate, there could be other types of food."

And the Flying Spaghetti Monster could exist.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 09, 2018 1:03 PM  

"And the Flying Spaghetti Monster could exist."

Ironic that you're liking you some atheistic argument style on this one. The argument there is to try to compare God to something absurd and (from what everyone has observed) highly improbable.

You're making exactly the same argument. You seem to think it highly probable that the trinity doctrine is correct. I say that your evidence is shaky.

I don't know whether it's correct or not. I know what information is relevant to my salvation and the salvation of others, but I don't know that no further information exists.

Blogger Bradley Matthews July 09, 2018 1:04 PM  

Was Jesus baptized by John in his own name? Name = power, authority, and character. Thus not taking the 4 letter Hebrew name of God,typically translated Yahweh, in vain means not ascribing him characteristics he does not posses or misrepresenting his authority. What is the name of the Holy spirit? Just holy spirit? God has a name, Jesus has a name, holy spirit name?

You already posses a spirit, always have. You have always been a temple of God, but were unclean, and profane. In Christ, God declares you holy, washed clean and suitable for service. Power and authority ascended on Jesus at his baptism. Jesus gave the 12, then the 70 similar power and authority. Power and authority ascended on the 120 in the upper room.

Anyone here have power and authority given to them? Anyone here raised the dead, cast out demons, healed the sick or have a miraculous conversion experience?

I think this is a major error of the modern Christian church. We claim power and authority we don't posses and distort reality to fit doctrine when that power and authority fails to manifest. Is your spirit quickened to life (born again) or is a brand new spirit placed inside you? Is power and authority proof of the spirit, or only for certain people on special occasions? Do we have just "a tiny bit" of the spirit?


And the nonsense that there are only 3 divine beings. We are made sons of God. We are diving beings, an eternal part of God's family. Seen him, seen the son, seen me and reverse.

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one--
I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me...

It's a divine unity, not equality. It is a family with a similar hierarchy structure.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 1:13 PM  

Azure, I'm using that device because *you* are adopting an atheist tactic - arguing on the basis of a possibility that is entirely without evidence.

I cannot prove from scripture that there are no other persons who share in The Divine nature, because nobody can prove a negative, but you cannot provide any evidence that they *do* exist. An argument wholely without evidence is not even worthy of consideration.

The plain facts are these:

Jesus told us to baptize in the name of three Persons.

Each of those Persons is equated with the others repeatedly.

No other person is so equated.

Therefore, the only conclusion which the evidence presented indicates is the traditional Trinitarian position. This is a *revealed* truth - and necessarily so. I would, like Vox, scoff at anyone who claimed to grasp the nature of God by his own capacity. Trinitarians rely on revelation.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 1:21 PM  

Vaughan Williams wrote:When I read the very earliest church fathers, they didn't make any claims about Christ being God.
Since I consider all the Apostles Church Fathers I would argue St. Thomas did claim that very thing and Jesus accepted his worship and acclimation. That alone is argument enough.

Azure Amaranthine wrote:Usually the verse alluded to is that about God knowing when a sparrow falls, in the context of the great commission. Doesn't really specifically state that God knows absolutely everything.
Actually there are much better verses such as:
* Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5).
* For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things (1 John 3:20).
* And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever (1 Chronicles 28:9).
* Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure (Psalm 147:5).
* And they say, "How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?" Such are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches (Psalm 73:11,12).

Azure Amaranthine wrote:I already stated the strictly logical, S1AL. Three does not equal one, nor does one equal three.
You are using a mathematical equivalency for something that does not apply since the word both in Hebrew and Greek for one is not about a singularity but about a unity and is the same word used for describing a husband and wife becoming one flesh.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 09, 2018 1:23 PM  

God transcends sex/gender and yet the Bible uses the masculine pronoun when referring to God and for us to use the feminine pronoun when referring to God is problematic. Males, as a category, are allowed/given certain offices of the Church and where females are excluded.

The New Testament does explicitly allow and recognize as diety worthy of praise, worship and obedience the beings named Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. That is what is revealed and to go beyond that is, to say the least, troublesome.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 09, 2018 1:23 PM  

@170
LDS?

Blogger Weouro July 09, 2018 1:27 PM  

A big reason I joined the Catholic Church is it doesn't have the sola scriptura blind spot. It's irrational to accept the canon of scripture on faith and then demand that everything else must be stated in the Bible plainly, simply and in language that no reasonable person can argue with. The Bible isn't in the Bible any more than the Trinity.

Blogger Mr. Smith July 09, 2018 1:30 PM  

Jay Dyer, an Orthodox Christian, puts out good videos on the Orthodox Church’s essence and energy distinction vs Thomas Aquinas. Dyer is even having a debate today with a Thomist.
https://jaysanalysis.com/2018/07/09/debating-thomism-roman-catholic-absolute-simplicity-jay-dyer-vs-dr-francis-feingold/

Blogger Alphaeus July 09, 2018 1:30 PM  

"The Bible isn't in the Bible any more than the Trinity. "
Ac 1:16 Men and brethren, this SCRIPTURE must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Ac 8:32 The place of the SCRIPTURE which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
Ac 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same SCRIPTURE, and preached unto him Jesus.
Ac 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the SCRIPTUREs,
Ac 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the SCRIPTUREs daily, whether those things were so.
Ac 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the SCRIPTUREs, came to Ephesus.
Ac 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the SCRIPTUREs that Jesus was Christ.
Ro 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy SCRIPTUREs,)
Ro 4:3 For what saith the SCRIPTURE? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Ro 9:17 For the SCRIPTURE saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Ro 10:11 For the SCRIPTURE saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Ro 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the SCRIPTURE saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
Ro 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the SCRIPTUREs might have hope.
Ro 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the SCRIPTUREs of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
1co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the SCRIPTUREs;
1co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the SCRIPTUREs:
Ga 3:8 And the SCRIPTURE, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Ga 3:22 But the SCRIPTURE hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Ga 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the SCRIPTURE? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
1ti 5:18 For the SCRIPTURE saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
2ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy SCRIPTUREs, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2ti 3:16 All SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Jas 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the SCRIPTURE, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
Jas 2:23 And the SCRIPTURE was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Jas 4:5 Do ye think that the SCRIPTURE saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
1pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the SCRIPTURE, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
2pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the SCRIPTURE is of any private interpretation.
2pe 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other SCRIPTUREs, unto their own destruction.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 1:31 PM  

JaimeInTexas wrote:God transcends sex/gender and yet the Bible uses the masculine pronoun when referring to God and for us to use the feminine pronoun when referring to God is problematic
The argument is masculine initiates and feminine responds. God is the primary initiator throughout scripture and is therefore primarily masculine in his actions.

Those who like their God feminine like a responsive God who sees some essential worth in them, who they can influence as they initiate actions to get their desires fulfilled. They also want an emotional God who emotionally hugs them. At least that has been my experience.

Blogger John Calla July 09, 2018 1:31 PM  

@158 As for St John Chapter 1, "And the word was god", the context doesn't give it the Trinitarian meaning.

Well, you're moving the goal posts a bit here. You said, "they didn't make any claims about Christ being God." But John clearly made that claim in the first chapter of his gospel. I agree that doesn't imply a Trinitarian context. Of course, John also gave the formula for the Trinity in his first epistle. It's pretty plain as day.

Anthony Buzzard covers John 1:1

Anthony Buzzard? Never heard of him. When it comes to theology I'll stick with Thomas Aquinas. I tend to be a non-egalitarian snob like that.

Blogger Insight July 09, 2018 1:38 PM  

"Anthony Buzzard? Never heard of him."


Buzzard!!?? LMAO! What a name.

Blogger Insight July 09, 2018 1:44 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Peter Gent July 09, 2018 1:47 PM  

Anthony Buzzard is a Unitarian Christian theologian and if that isn't an oxymoron, I don't know what is. He is one more in a long line of people who can deal with the simple proposition of with and was.

Blogger Looking Glass July 09, 2018 1:48 PM  

@178 Peter Gent:

Feminine primacy in religious practice always devolves into mother worship & child sacrifices. The society also takes on a very feminine approach to everything, which means they do very little. This is the base issue that Anthropologist work around with "Sky Father" vs "Mother Earth".

The Lord's linguistic approach to the matter has a deep level of practicality to it, beyond the other theological contrasts.

Blogger Soap and Ham July 09, 2018 1:50 PM  

I normally sympathize with the "we don't know what we don't know." But God has allowed for revelation to the church fathers and saints time and again. Jesus's divinity is sound. The Trinity would have been corrected long ago. God is omniscient but He does allow for human free will and respects it. It's important for who and what we were created for and puts enormous weight on our decisions and actions. Otherwise we'd be called to be the passive players and NPC's that the false church holds up and Vox derides.

Lots of prayer, revelation, thought has been put into this. Theology has been leading physics and psychology on every important pursuit (whether the universe had a beginning, what is best for the development of a person etc.) and it's not just because it had a head start.

Blogger Adam Toal July 09, 2018 1:52 PM  

And now we know why we need a Church, with a capital C.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 09, 2018 1:58 PM  

The word Trinity, tri-unity, exists because it has been recognized that the Bible teaches, unequivocally, there is only one God and that the Bible reveals that the Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit are equal and possess person-hood capable of relationship.

Blogger Bradley Matthews July 09, 2018 2:07 PM  

JaimeInTexas wrote:@170

LDS?


No!

Blogger Matamoros July 09, 2018 2:11 PM  

@76 You need to look up the definition of a schism. It is similar to a heresy, but not so far away from traditional Christianity as to be ruled totally outside the Church.

Those is schism, like those in heresy, will either return to the Church and unity, or not. The Church has always reached out, but the brunt is upon those who went into schism or heresy to return.

As for protestantism in general, with 40,000 various "branches" ranging from anti-trinitarians to judaizers to churchianity it is simply impossible for them to return en masse. Many have virtually no points in common with the faith delivered to the apostles.

Blogger Wade R. Potts July 09, 2018 2:13 PM  

The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is that God the Father, Son and Spirit are different persons with one nature. I think a lot of people who are arguing for the Trinity and against the Trinity might not know that.

The doctrine of the incarnation is that Jesus exists in one person but took on a new nature when he came to save mankind. So one person, two natures, no mixture.

Blogger S1AL July 09, 2018 2:13 PM  

You're right - the Roman church really does need to return to its Orthodox roots.

Blogger FSL July 09, 2018 2:18 PM  

So Vox, tell me where my logic is faulty:

1. The Gospel of John is inerrant scripture.
2. John 1 says "The Word was with God and the Word was God."
3. Jesus is clearly "the Word"
4. Therefore Jesus is God.

In that Jesus took humanity upon himself, weakness, doesn't it make more sense to allow he could hide that knowledge from his human mind as a part of that weakness, rather than having to deny the Gospel of John?

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Blogger Matamoros July 09, 2018 2:19 PM  

@85 "Where does it say anything about three persons in the Godhead?"

It is explicit. Jesus and the Father are one. If he doesn't leave us God won't sent the Holy Ghost. There you have the three.

And, of course, 1 John 5:7, so hated by liberals -

5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. 7 And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. 8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one.

Blogger Wade R. Potts July 09, 2018 2:21 PM  

Man the gamma rays in this comment section are blinding me!

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 09, 2018 2:29 PM  

@174

"And the nonsense that there are only 3 divine beings. We are made sons of God. We are diving beings, an eternal part of God's family. Seen him, seen the son, seen me and reverse. "

You attempt to explain but fall way short.

The Trinity (keeping it short) are co-equal, infinite, not-created, self-existent, pure being. Only Jesus with the duality. But as the prophet John the baptist said, God can raise children of Israel out of these rocks. God raised to Himself a human body.

On the other hand, we are created beings out of the union of a male and a female. A spiritual/physical duality that has a beginning and can only exist as long as God allows.

You may want to read the book of Isaiah.

Blogger Lamarck Leland July 09, 2018 2:33 PM  

But if "No one knows what's truly going on" how come you know that god is not omniscient?

How logically deficient do you have to be to assert that you know the truth that is beyond our limited ability to comprehend?

Blogger Bruce July 09, 2018 2:44 PM  

Jesus accepted worship and only God is worthy of worship. See Luke 4

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 09, 2018 2:52 PM  

I think any theologian worthy of the title would advise that, should you want to understand the biblical teaching on any point, it's a mistake to build a doctrine from one text.

And in spite of their mantra about context context context and claiming to have a systematic theology, the dispensationalists building of an inverted pyramid of doctrine about the rapture, based on their stubborn misreading of a single text, is exactly the example you should avoid.

Or, you know, get left behind.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 09, 2018 2:56 PM  

Our Lord himself gave us this example on the road to Emmaus, when "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in the scriptures all the things concerning himself."

If you want to be like him, well, then be like him.

Blogger Looking Glass July 09, 2018 3:15 PM  

@197 Resident Moron™

Theology, properly done, is a lot like designing a really complex machine. It takes a lot of time, effort & great skill. And then the person has to deal honestly with the Lord, which is beyond most everyone.

Then you have to run into the limiting issues of human perspective, written information transference and the time-bound nature of human insight. There is no perfect theology, but there is a perfect God. Always be sure to ask his advice.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 09, 2018 3:24 PM  

Good counsel, LG.

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