But what does it mean? And what’s the response?

In my last post I responded to a rather bad exegesis of John 10:30-36 by Steve Hays, I say it’s bad with no disrespect, all trinitarians readings of this text are going to end up being bad exegesis. Steve has since replied to my response and I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t given his defense of his reading a good shot and a reply. So here it goes:

Some guy named Roman A. Montero–evidently a unitarian–attempted to respond on Tuggy’s behalf to a post of mine.

Not on Tuggy’s behalf, on my own behalf, I can only speak for myself.

Continue reading “But what does it mean? And what’s the response?”

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But what does it mean? And what’s the response?

The God of Islam, the God of Judaism and the God of Christianity – Part 2

Continuing from the last post, we will now look at Nabeel Qureshi’s argument about supposed trends in First Century Judaism toward a Multi-personal God, if you haven’t read Part 1 of this series I suggest you do to get the context of what we are talking about. Nabeel Qureshi in his discussion with Miroslav Volf (at around the 28 minute mark) says:

The Orthodox Jews today do not reflect first century Hellenistic Judaism; they reflect rabbinic Judaism, which was formed from the late second century onward, from the time of Jesus that was Hellenistic Judaism a different kind of Judaism. In that time many Jews did believe in one being God with multiple persons. Now, I suggest that, for anyone who’s shocked by that statement they read the works of two Jewish scholars one is named Alan Segal he wrote a book called two powers in heaven and another by the name of Daniel Boyarin an orthodox Jew. Both of them argue that there were beliefs of plural personhood in a single being of God during that time of Hellenistic Judaism.

Continue reading “The God of Islam, the God of Judaism and the God of Christianity – Part 2”

The God of Islam, the God of Judaism and the God of Christianity – Part 2

The Riddles of John – Part 2, false tensions

In the previous Post I introduced and began to challenge an article by Paul Anderson discussing the alleged Riddles in John that in some way led up to the Trinity. Let’s move on to the idea that there are riddles within John. I don’t’ think there are, I think that John is actually quite clear in what he means as long as we don’t read into John later categories of thought. The first of the Johannian riddles posited in the article is about the divinity of Jesus, Anderson writes:

Is Jesus Human, Divine, or Both?

The question of Jesus’ humanity and divinity is more pronounced in John than any other single writing in the New Testament. Jesus is referred to as God, who was with God from the beginning—the very source of creation (Jn 1:1-2, 18), and yet the Word also became human flesh (1:14), and water and blood flowed forth from his side (19:34). The Johannine community attests having beheld his divine glory, and yet the eyewitness attests to having witnessed his fleshly humanity.

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The Riddles of John – Part 2, false tensions

The Riddles of John – Part 1, Ignatius and Origen

Irenaeus records for us a tactic that the Gnostics had used when dealing with scripture:

When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous

An appeal to obscurity or ambiguousness is often the starting point for apologists of non-scriptural doctrines. It was true in the days of Irenaeus and its true now. This article, by Paul Anderson, makes the case that that Trinitarian theology is the logical answer to the so-called riddles found in John. Much of his case depends on the idea that within John are found dialectical tensions, that are such that something like the trinity comes to be needed in order to to resolve them. I think this is problematic.

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The Riddles of John – Part 1, Ignatius and Origen

Back to Bowman

Robert Bowman posted a challenge to non Trinitarians, I posted a 4 part series (here, here, here and here) responding to the challenge, not fully of course, but enough to, I think, dent the challenge. Then Robert Bowman responded.

Let’s get right into it. To be honest, almost all of Robert Bowman’s response had to do with procedure, or “rules of the game”, as if Theology were some sort of game where one had rules to follow in order to win, or as if Theology was something you “win.” He also has a problem with the fact that I am not defending a specific theology, or a specific doctrine. I understand why he has a problem with that, it makes it harder for him to argue. But the purpose of this blog is not apologetic. There is a time and place for everything, there is a time and place for apologetics, a time to defend specific doctrines and specific religions, and there is a time and place for exploring ideas, examining arguments outside that context and so on. This blog is one which I made to explore ideas, examine arguments and so on, not engage in apologetics and defend specific doctrines or religions. Not every theological blog has to be an apologetics blog, and not every response to an apologetic argument has to be some sort of counter apologetic. That being said I did present a possible alternative, that is absolutely better than the trinitarian option.

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Back to Bowman

Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Theology Challenge – Part 2

Continuing with Robert Bowman’s Challenge to anti-Trinitarian theology, I will be dealing with his argument for proposition 4, the proposition that The Son, Jesus Christ, is God, the LORD. In the previous post I introduced the challenge, and gave some thoughts about Robert Bowman’s requirements for anti-Trinitarian theologians, then I addressed the first proposition, the proposition that there is one God, showing that the question cannot be put so simply, and that it assumes the false assumption that the word “god” is a specific category of being. For the sake of brevity and the need to focus on the real divisive issues, I’ll skip propositions 2 and 3 and move right on to proposition 4, since 2 and 3 are propositions I can readily affirm.

Proposition 4 is really 2 propositions, one that Jesus is God, which can mean more than one thing as we saw in the previous post, and two that Jesus is the LORD, that Jesus is Jehovah himself. Both Robert Bowman and myself admit the obvious fact that in various places Jesus is given the title of God, the question is what does that mean, we cannot assume that that title demands that Jesus is Jehovah, because we know in the old testament and the new that other beings who are not God are called Gods, and not just false Gods. Some of these verses are John 1:1, John 1:18, perhaps John 20:28 (but it’s not that clear if Jesus is actually being called God here). Then there are verses where it is claimed Jesus is being called God but in fact, it’s not that clear and in some cases clearly false, for example Acts 20:28, Hebrews 1:8, Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1, 1 John 5:20, Romans 9:5 and so on. The number of verses that are at stake here don’t show anything in favour of anything until we actually look at what they say, the context they are in, and the larger picture. So let’s get into it.

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Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Theology Challenge – Part 2

John 1:1, James White and Daniel Wallace sneaking theology into grammar

In a recent episode of the Dividing Line James White along with Daniel Wallace respond to some Muslim apologists who attack a Trinitarian reading of John 1:1, honestly some of the arguments given by those Muslim apologists are rather weak. However, the response by James White, and Daniel Wallace are also quite weak. Daniel Wallace quotes from his book Greek Grammar, Beyond the Basics. I’ll just take the quote and show why I think it’s problematic.

Daniel Wallace says:

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John 1:1, James White and Daniel Wallace sneaking theology into grammar