The Trinity

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by bound, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. bound

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    Knowing that this teaching derived from Neo-Platonist Philosophy (Plotinus) are we, as Baptists, open to entertain other understandings of the nature of Father, Son and Holy Ghost?
     
    #1 bound, Feb 5, 2007
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  2. preachinjesus

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    We should understand the Trinity as the early Christians stated it and not be open to other ways of "understanding" imho.
     
  3. Benjamin

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    I try to dig out more understanding of God’s ways in the nature of Trinity, though would never deny that His being exists within the characterization. I think as Baptist/Christians we should be open to further our understandings. I would not however entertain an Oneness doctrine as a philosophical truth.
     
  4. Martin

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    The Trinity is a Biblical teaching. Any denial of this doctrine should be viewed as heresy.
     
  5. bound

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    Thank you both. I'll admit that I'm struggling with this, at the moment. After doing a little study on it I'm concerned that this teaching was ultimately influenced more from philosophies of men than the Word of God.

    I get the impression that we have greater liberty with this than history would afford us.

    Any further thoughts? I'm really open to anyone offering their views as I feel a bit heretical at the moment...
     
  6. Pipedude

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    The multi-personhood of the Godhead is a doctrine that attempts to believe three things: there is one God, Jesus is God, and Jesus is not the Father. Deny the first and you're a polytheist (Mormon), deny the second and you're an Arian (JW), deny the third and you're a modalist (UP).

    It's like trying to carry three watermelons. You can get two into your hands pretty readily; but when you try to pick up the third, one of the first two falls out. Any two of the above propositions seems to preclude the third. But all three are taught in the Bible. To get them together, we posit a single essence manifested in multiple persons. If you can come up with a better formula, go for it.

    Once multi-personhood is established, the fact that the Spirit is presented as a divine person means that he also is a part of this Godhead. No others appearing, we stop at three and call it the Trinity.

    God, by definition, should be expected to be a little complicated.
     
  7. Benjamin

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    As Martin stated denial of the Trinity is heresy, and this is for good reason, the Trinity is an undeniable Biblical truth. The attacks on this truth can be a powerful lie when generated by very scholarly philosophers, but a lie is a lie, and it is of the Devil, the truth of God's nature in Trinity is seen throughout the Bible. You may hear some outrages claims against the Trinity, but it gets into whether God can preserve His truths, which He can, and the truth is that God has preserved His Word and our forefathers have kept this truth, in faith, by His hand.
     
    #7 Benjamin, Feb 5, 2007
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  8. donnA

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    Instead of studying secular writtings that deny God, try studying scripture, because it teaches the Trinity, clearly. Anything else is from satan.
     
  9. Rufus_1611

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    If you're getting your worldview from the Word of God, then how do you believe that Baptists are getting the following verse wrong?

    "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." - 1 John 5:7
     
  10. Brandon C. Jones

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    It is certainly begging the question that Neo-Platonism added more to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity than Scripture. After all, interpreting Scripture was what the old debates were all about. The best secondary English source on the Arian controversy is R. P. C. Hanson's "The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God." It is lengthy, but well worth it and now in paperback.

    Another good secondary source on the Trinity in general is this symposium from '98 published by Oxford press: you can see the table of contents here

    Of course, systematic theologies can help you a little here if you have some good ones in your library.

    The best thing to do is read the primary sources. I would recommend acquainting yourself with the Cappadocians (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nanzianzus). A very accessible volume with some of their stuff in English (along with some Athanasius I think) is the Library of Christian Classics's "Christology of the Later Fathers," which is edited by Hardy. St. Vladimir's Press has a good English translation of Basil the Great's "On the Holy Spirit" and also Athanasius's "On the Incarnation."

    However, to save some money the older English versions of the Fathers are available for free even in .pdf format at www.ccel.org

    One other thought would be to also revisit the controversy among Baptists in the seventeenth century regarding the Trinity (i.e., Samuel Clarke's work and its aftermath). Baptists explored this stuff before and the results weren't pretty in the past.

    I hope some of that helps and feel free to PM me or contact me if some things interest you or confound you in this regard. I'm always willing to help someone who's honestly learning with what little I know (I too am always learning).
    BJ
     
    #10 Brandon C. Jones, Feb 5, 2007
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  11. bound

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    How many Baptists do we believe were present at the Council of Nicea? Any?
     
  12. Martin

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    What does this question have to do with the OP? I ask simply because I am curious where you are heading with this.

    If you are interested in the Biblical support for the doctrine of the Trinity I would suggest you check out James White's little book "The Forgotten Trinity". He lays out a good Biblical case.

    I am concerned because it seems like you are wanting to approach the issue of the Trinity from a philisophical point of view. That is dangerous. You must approach it from a Biblical point of view. Look to the Scriptures and dig into it's teaching on this subject.

    Just a thought: Jesus was not talking to Himself when He prayed at the tomb of his good friend Lazurus.
     
  13. bound

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    No, I'm not attempting to approach The Trinity philosophically but I am getting the herectical impression that it was an exercise of eisegesis and not exegesis with the Council of Nicea.

    PS: I know this position is heretical but I'm just offering up on position to get shot down.
     
  14. Rufus_1611

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    If you're not trying to approach the Godhead philosophically then why do you speak of many things other than the Bible? What scripture causes you to believe the doctrine of the trinity to be in error?
     
  15. Amy.G

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    I'm not really sure of the purpose of this thread, but the Bible is clear that there is one God in whom are 3 persons.
    There's so much scripture on this, but here are a few.

    Isaiah 48:16 (New King James Version)
    16 “ Come near to Me, hear this:
    I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
    From the time that it was, I was there.
    And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit
    Have[a] sent Me.”

    Matthew 3:16-17 (New King James Version)
    16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
    17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am will pleased."

    Matthew 28:19 (New King James Version)
    19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
     
  16. rbell

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    So...what's "not right" regarding trinitarian doctrine?

    -Is Jesus not God?
    -Is God the Father not God?
    -Is the Holy Spirit not God?

    Or are you struggling with persons:
    -Is it not One God, three Persons?

    The scriptural testament makes an unquestionable case for the Trinity. And since the Word of God is true, denial of the Trinity is therefore denial of the Word.

    Exactly how did you come to the idea that the Nicean Council committed "eisegesis" with regards to the Trinity?
     
  17. bound

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    Because the doctrine of The Trinity was established at the Council of Nicea and had more to do with harmonizing with Pagan Philosophy than it did with harmonizing with the revelation of Jesus the Christ.

    The Trinity looks more like a marriage of Hellenist Jews harmonizing their Scripture with that of Pagan Philosophy of the day (Neo-Platonism) and this creating a school of thought in Alexandria by pagan elites whom converted.

    This council was the beginning of the takeover of Christianity by pagan elites and the oppression of the true Christians.

    That has always been the teaching of Baptists from the beginning but now we can see what was oppressed.
     
  18. Brandon C. Jones

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    Which Baptists "from the beginning" taught this bilge? My mistake in taking you for a learner. I still urge you to read Hanson's book and acquaint yourself with some good history on the matter instead of this broadbrushed mythology that someone's told you.
     
    #18 Brandon C. Jones, Feb 5, 2007
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  19. preachinjesus

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    There were none, that's obvious.

    There also weren't any Presbyterians, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, Mennonites, Pentecostals, Assembly of God, etc. denominations of Christians.

    Baptist belief is one which was received and created out of the Reformation. (Nothing wrong with that) Depending on your belief on this, it came from the anabaptists or the English Christian separatists. Regardless, Baptist theology and function was borne out of a delivered set of foundational elements which all orthodox Christians have affirmed since the beginning of the NT Church.

    The Trinity is a central foundational belief to properly orthodox (and properly understood) Christianity. Without it you have no proper understanding of the roles of the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit in our world. Poorly understood it leads to further error, rightly understood it leads to Kingdom growth.

    The heretics of te early church were discreditted properly, their case was flawed and they went away. There are some things in our doctrinal schema which are undebateable, this is certainly one of them.
     
  20. Rufus_1611

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    Again sir, I will ask you for scripture. I'm not expert on the things you speak but I know what's in the Bible and the Bible speaks of the Godhead and the Bible speaks of three bearing record in heaven. If you have an argument for discounting the scripture that makes the triune God manifest, then I'll entertain that. All of the other stuff is high-sounding noise and vain philosophy and I would exhort you to set that aside in favor of believing on the Word of God.
     

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