Presbyterians and the Holy Trinity

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Aubre, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. Aubre

    Aubre
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    What are they thinking?

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2006-06-19-presbyterians_x.htm

    Presbyterians allow experimenting with alternatives to 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit'

    Posted 6/19/2006 4:16 PM ET
    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The divine Trinity — "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" — could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.

    Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

    "This does not alter the church's theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership," legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during Monday's debate on the Trinity.

    The assembly narrowly defeated a conservative bid to refer the paper back for further study.

    A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder."

    One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women," the panel said.

    Conservatives responded that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible and noted that Jesus' most famous prayer was addressed to "Our Father."

    Besides "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," proposed Trinity options drawn from biblical material include:

    —"Lover, Beloved, Love"

    —"Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"

    —"King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

    Early in Monday's business session, the Presbyterian assembly sang a revised version of a familiar doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" that avoided male nouns and pronouns for God.

    Youth delegate Dorothy Hill, a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, was uncomfortable with changing the Trinity wording. She said the paper "suggests viewpoints that seem to be in tension with what our church has always held to be true about our Trinitarian God."

    Hill reminded delegates that the Ten Commandments say "the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

    The Rev. Deborah Funke of Montana warned that the paper would be "theologically confusing and divisive" at a time when the denomination of 2.3 million members faces other troublesome issues.

    On Tuesday, the assembly will vote on a proposal to give local congregations and regional "presbyteries" some leeway on ordaining clergy and lay officers living in gay relationships.

    Ten conservative Presbyterian groups have warned jointly that approval of what they call "local option" would "promote schism by permitting the disregard of clear standards of Scripture."
     
  2. BD17

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    I am not surprised at this coming from the PC(USA) who seems to have adapted the "If it makes you happy we will do it approach to theology and doctrine.
     
  3. webdog

    webdog
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    Isn't it ironic how in the same week the episcopalian, presbyterians and catholics all have accepted change...and not for the better? This is just the beginning of the "apostacy" the Bible mentions.
     
  4. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Ever since Augustine attempted to explain the Trinity people have sought for metaphors and alternatives, but nothing ever quite works. We need to face the fact that here we are in the realm of ineffable mystery, and tinkering with language neither clarifies concepts nor heightens reverence.
     
  5. tragic_pizza

    tragic_pizza
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    I fail to see how this is apostasy. The general Assembly is niether requiring their members and/or pastors to use alternative terminology in referring to the Trinity, nor are they denying the truth of the Trinity. Reformed Theology is decidedly Trinitarian, and recognizes that in relation to Christ, the first Person is always the Father (Nicene Creed). However, as the first Person of the Trinity relates to humankind, He has no gender, and is referred to in the Scriptures in ways inclusive of parenthood as a whole.

    Since language is as limited as humanity's ability to comprehend and relate mystery and revelation, too much emphasis can be placed upon language as a means of that relating. Words mean things, but in matters theological words mean more than that.

    The Trinitarian God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In function, also, the Trinitarian God is also Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer; Parent, Child, Comforter; Fortress, Rock, Guide... the list can go on, and any list would be incolmplete no matter how exhaustively pursued.

    Finally, throwing up your hands at people who confess the Risen Christ as Lord, yet don't see everything precisely as you do, defeats the purpose for the Church that Jesus spoke in John 17.
     
  6. tragic_pizza

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    But does it enhance understanding, which (since when God comes to us God accepts all of us, including our minds) leads to reverence?
     
  7. webdog

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    You must have missed the main parts I was getting at. Last week a catholic priest ended a mass in the name of "Allah", the presbyterians said God the Father is not necessarily "Father" (gender neutral), but can be "Mother" (something I see you adhere to, which BTW, is heresy), and the openly homosexual loving episcopalians. If this isn't apostacy, what is?
     
  8. tragic_pizza

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    Interesting that when Palestinian Christians say "God," the word they use is "Allah." It's called "language," and in theirs "Allah" means "God." Simple, huh?

    Please prove your allegation that I am a heretic because I claim that God has no gender. I would allege that assigning anthropomorphic qualities to God, then insisting that the assignation is sacrosanct, is idolatrous.
     
  9. webdog

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    I have yet to hear a palestinian christian call God "allah", do you have a link I can read? This is a name reserved for muslims for their god. Allah is not God.
    Mat 5:48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    Mat 6:14"For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.
    Mat 6:26Look at the birds of the sky: they don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet yourheavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they?
    Mat 6:32For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
    Mat 15:13 He replied, "Every plant that My heavenly Father didn't plant will be uprooted.
    Mat 18:35So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart."
    Luk 11:13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
    Luk 10:21 In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure.
    Luk 10:22All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him."

    There are about 50 or so more verses, you can look them up for yourself. Our Heavenly Father is referred to as "Him". To deny this is to call Christ a liar.
    You, my friend, have just called Christ an idolater:tear:
     
    #9 webdog, Jun 22, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2006
  10. tragic_pizza

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    The Arabic word for "God" is "Allah." Look it up.

    Again, and emphatically, in relation to Jesus Christ, God is the Father.

    How about where the Old Testament refers to God in terms better typified of a mother figure? Were the writers of the Old Tesament heretics?
     
  11. webdog

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    ...which is the term used by Islam for their god. A true palestinian Christian would not confuse the two and say they worship "allah".
    And what does Ephesians 1 tell us about ALL christians? We are "in Christ", meaning that God is not only Christ's Father relationally, but OURS!
    :confused: Where in the OT do the Israelites refer to God as "mother"? If they did, they would be considered heretics.
    Psalm 89:26 He will call to Me, 'You are my Father, my God, the rock of my salvation.'
     
  12. Eric B

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    And I have yet to see what English Christians who make such an issue of the word "allah" would have such Arabic speaking Christians call God. The word is a contraction of 'al ilah'; THE God, and is directly akin to the Hebrew el/eloah/elohim, and the Aramaic elah.

    All ths stuff about allah being a 'moon god' chosen out of a pantheon is a misunderstanding. The "other gods" were attributes of the true God that the earlier Arabs came to worship as separate deities.

    Of course, it is false as the Muslims define him, but that's not because of the name. Islam uses "allah" because it is Arabic; not the other way around.
     
  13. webdog

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    You just answered your own question, they don't use the contraction of the word (allah), but instead use al ilaha.
     
  14. Eric B

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    Oh, I never heard that before.
    Still, it means the same thing. (Like us always writing or speaking out two words instead of our contractions).
     

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