Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

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RoosterOnAStick
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:25 pm

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Trinity doctrine was hardly universal in the early days. It wasn't until centuries after Christ's time on Earth that the church councils settled on the Trinity doctrine. Prior to that, there was a fairly even split.
I partially agree with this. Even in the earliest years following Christ there were divergent views not just on God but the nature of Christ Himself. I wouldn't say for sure that it was a fairly even split though, depending on which groups we are talking about. The problem here is not just competing or diverse views on what eventually developed into the trinitarian doctrine we see today, but quasi Christian groups so fundamentally different from today's forms of both trinitarian and non trinitarian views that I am not sure if they can be taken as reliable sources. First you had the gnostics which was a mystery secretive religion that was more neoplatonic in nature. There were the Donatists which taught Christ never had a physical form, Marcionites who believed God of the Old Testament was not the same as the New and tried to strike the Old Testament from Biblical canon around the year 150 AD (Marcion himself also being somewhat of an anti semite), and later on there were groups like the Arians who did not even believe in the divinity of Christ (and that Christ was a created being instead). So really to me for any fruitful exploration of this issue we need to focus on some of these less radical divergent views in the early centuries. Where people would draw that line is probably the subject of debate in itself. For example, in my mind the above mentioned groups are not even worth considering and thus not part of the conversation, while say a secular scholar coming in with a different bias than my own may decide to include them as legitimate Christian theologies.

It is also true that the doctrine of the Trinity as we know it today was not finalized until the ecumenical councils. It was not explicitly spelled out this way until that point. It should also be noted though that the canon of scripture, while also coming together unofficially in centuries prior, was not made official (and even then not entirely completed) until those same councils.

I make note of this because the same I believe is true of the Trinity doctrine. I remember the first mention of it or a precursor to it was Ignatius of Antioch in the early 2nd century. There were others as well in later centuries prior to the ecumenical councils but it was not fully developed and yes in some cases not trinitarian proper. Whether one thinks it was a trinitarian view in its infancy or evidence of a far greater prevalence of non trinitarian views is a matter of what we out our faith in.

I put my faith in the former because the early church as a whole did begin to coalesce over the next few centuries into an increasingly coherent entity as believers dug further into the Christian revelation as revealed by Christ and the Apostles. Though there were perhaps more variances amongst the local churches, there was a lot more unity in spirit, tradition, doctrine, and scripture as time went on, more than some historians give them credit for in my opinion. All these things we are discussing came together in the same time period and none of them came about in a vacuum.

So from all this the question is again (as Sstavix said earlier), a question of faith. Do you believe this represents an unbroken line of faith and teaching from Christ down to today, that the traditional Christian teachings were not correct but the early church fathers did the best they could with what they had, or were they just some ancient old guys making this stuff up as they went along?

I believe of course in the first. I believe that the revelation received from Christ and the Apostles and handed down through the generations was the ultimate revelation and standard by which all further revelations, commentaries, biblical scholarship, visions, apparitions, miracles, prophecies, etc., are held up against. There are no new outpourings of the Holy Spirit, for Pentecost in the book of Acts already takes care of it since the Holy Spirit never left us and never ceased to continue working. There are no new revelations other than ones that deepen our understanding of the original one once delivered to the saints, and certainly none that run counter to it or replace it.

For me personally it goes well beyond that. It was the search of truth, and not just in the sense of merely being "right", but also to know deep down what is fully Christian, what is Christian but perhaps incomplete or a bit mistaken, and what is just completely out of left field. I never had any experiences with the Mormon Church, as mine were Lutheran, Evangelical and later Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches. I had considered Catholic at some points but there were some doctrines I just couldn't accept. I confess I always did have a thing for tradition regardless of my changing stance on it over the years.

Empty traditions are to be avoided at all costs, but I realized not all of them are empty (in recent years I find it more of a stereotype of more traditionalist churches) and done right can actually anchor ones faith. Later on in life I came to the conclusion that the Bible alone could not be enough. Too many interpretations, too many contradictory views, and too many times did it become a shouting match. There for me was no stability in doctrine, no discernibility, and no certainty if you were even a Christian or even remotely close to one. It was always about who sounded the most convincing or which viewpoint made " the most sense" to them. This permeated everything. My friends and I always had a good sense of knowing that there was a very key difference between when the Holy Spirit spoke to us in prayer or Bible study and when it was just us projecting our own ideas as if it were His. It was never easy to tell where those differences were however. Oftentimes even those answers were somewhat contradictory and often dictated by whoever sounded most convincing, had enough influence or authority to dictate it, or had just received a powerful enough "vision" or prayer experience which vindicated it. Sometimes what was Christian changed with the times based on what was popular and fashionable, other times it changed when leadership changed hands, other times it would change just because someone simply did not like what someone else said in either a bible study or casual conversation. All these factions and schisms that could form at a moments notice and without warning could not be what Paul meant when he wrote against factions in Scripture. When studying Christian History in college I had realized there was a lot more to the story than I had thought, and it was these things that later in life led me to where I am today.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:34 pm

Incidentally, I found an interesting link about the history of trinitarian doctrine in the Stanford University encyclopedia. I'm using this one for two reasons. First it shows the arguments for and against it, mostly from antiquity and middle ages. Second, while there is some bias it doesn't seem to be definitively pro or anti trinitarian. Certainly worth a read.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trini ... story.html
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby BlockHeadLewie » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:49 pm

None of the churches had the fulness of His gospel.
To this day this is still true which is a main part of the ministry God gave me to start.
People, communities, cities, governments and yes even doctrines change over time, this is a given fact. Another given fact is God was, is and always stays the same. Because the ways people communicate have changed over the centuries people believe we've moved too far from understanding God. God never moved, we did, we just got to move back. Don't believe the hype that "never the two shall meet!"
If we continue to seek His Face we will understand better all that we struggle to discuss! Not to forget we will have better understanding of ourselves and each other!
Peace!
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:55 pm

I've been sort of holding onto this particular point in order to let an example build as the thread progressed.

Arguments favoring the Trinity are almost universally complex, requiring all sorts of intellectual and philosophical gymnastics, citing details on translations, languages, contexts, quotes, conferences, archetypes, etc. A quick read of this thread shows a few examples of this approach. To me, this is a big red flag.

The truth should be simple. It should point to itself. It should be plain. The problem with Trinitarian arguments is that there's one key feature they lack, and that is:

Nowhere in the Bible does it describe the Trinity. Nowhere.

Sure, people will cite chapters and verses that they claim describes it, but they don't. Not if you leave out all the erudite constructs described above. Nowhere does the word "trinity" appear. Not one single time.
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ccgr » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:52 am

It's not the word it's the concept. That same argument can be applied to the words porn or videogames not appearing int he Bible either. ;)

On that silly thought, here's tonight's meme on my twitter -

Image

On a serious note, how do you view John 1:1? I see it as God the father and the Word being Jesus. And it says that they are the same.

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby BlockHeadLewie » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:28 pm

It's not the word it's the concept. That same argument can be applied to the words porn or videogames not appearing int he Bible either. ;)

On that silly thought, here's tonight's meme on my twitter -

Image

On a serious note, how do you view John 1:1? I see it as God the father and the Word being Jesus. And it says that they are the same.

EPIC!
Woot! Woot!
Go Father! Go Son! Go Spirit!
Woot! Woot!
Peace!
8)
If God is my Pilot and fully in control of the flight, I guess that makes me a Steward on the plane. How may I serve you?

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:14 pm

It's not the word it's the concept. That same argument can be applied to the words porn or videogames not appearing int he Bible either. ;)
I think I see what you're saying, though I'd argue that those are different. Porn is sinful because it causes us to do something that is expressly forbidden in the Bible, namely, looking lustfully at a woman. Videogames aren't mentioned, you're right, but it's not like there's a bunch of official church doctrine about them, as there is with the Trinity. In other words, the Bible is silent on the matter of videogames and so most churches also are. The Bible is silent on the matter of the Trinity and yet most Christian denominations feature that as a very important part of doctrine.
On a serious note, how do you view John 1:1? I see it as God the father and the Word being Jesus. And it says that they are the same.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I agree that the "Word" refers to Jesus Christ. He was there at the beginning. "the Words was with God" makes perfect sense in that He dwelt with Heavenly Father. "the Word was God." proclaims the divinity of Jesus Christ. There are a lot of ways to look at this and none of this, to me, defines the Trinity. In fact, unless I'm mistaken the Jehovah's Witnesses look at this verse to support a doctrine that Jesus and God the Father are one in the same, but that the Holy Spirit is not. (Thus, they're not Trinitarian either.)

So it seems to me that to go from "the Word was God" to the Doctrine of a Trinity is a very big leap that just doesn't follow.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ccgr » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:58 pm

My pastor is currently doing a series on the Holy Spirit being the forgotten God ;) - http://www.clcbc.com/index.php/our-church/messages

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:10 pm

That's your pastor on the recording?

Interesting sermon. Quite edifying!
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ccgr » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:28 am

Yeah Pastor Kerry is great, we call him the weeping pastor since he can get teary eyed during some of his sermons ;)

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:32 am

I had a Bishop who was like that. It really makes them relatable, doesn't it?
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby ccgr » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:02 am

Yeah, I really like this church. Before CLCBC we attended Harvest Bible Church which would classify as a megachurch. Pastor James MacDonald is an excellent preacher and earns his radio spot. After his sermons he was quickly flanked by his deacons and was distant. Our current pastors are very humble and approachable, having a meal with them is quite possible. At Harvest, pastor James splurged on his wife's birthday and treated her to an AUDI. I was disappointed that my tithes went towards that. Last I heard he demands a 300K salary and lives in an expensive gated community. I prefer my pastors to be more reasonable/humble/relatable.

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Re: Shall We Discuss the Trinity?

Postby Sstavix » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:30 pm

I was disappointed that my tithes went towards that. Last I heard he demands a 300K salary and lives in an expensive gated community. I prefer my pastors to be more reasonable/humble/relatable.
As the Bible says, "by their fruits ye shall know them." It's sad how many church leaders end up being swayed away through power or wealth.

Let's face it - Jesus was a homeless drifter who relied on the kindness of those that wanted to receive His message. How many church leaders seek to follow that example? There are a few, but not many.


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