Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Theology from a biblical approach. Topics posted should have a direct relationship to scripture.

Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:34 am

In the final three verses of Matthew, all translations read much like that of the ESV as follows:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If this is what Jesus said, why is it that his disciples did not obey? In each of the four instances recorded in the book of Acts, people were baptized or instructed to be baptized in the name of Jesus only:

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness [or "forsaking"] of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
Acts 19:5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.


I wanted to look up the final verses of Matthew in the existing manuscripts that were copied prior to A.D. 300, but unfortunately no extant manuscript from before A.D. 300, contains the words. A unitarian site suggests that Matthew may have actually written, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in my name"—especially since "name" is in the singular, indicating just one name. They suggest that Trinitarians later changed "my name" to "the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." What are your thoughts on the matter?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:28 pm

Hmmmm... Nobody has any thoughts at all about this?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby qaz » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:42 pm

I'm a trinitarian. This doesn't sway me. But that is an interesting point about baptisms in Acts.
qaz
 
Posts: 1140
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:51 am

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby steve7150 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:01 pm

I wanted to look up the final verses of Matthew in the existing manuscripts that were copied prior to A.D. 300, but unfortunately no extant manuscript from before A.D. 300, contains the words. A unitarian site suggests that Matthew may have actually written, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in my name"—especially since "name" is in the singular, indicating just one name. They suggest that Trinitarians later changed "my name" to "the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." What are your thoughts on the matter?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion






But the Unitarian site has no evidence and is just speculating to make it fit their theology. According to gotquestions.org they claim that 3 Church Fathers , Irenaious,Origen and Eusubious said that Matthew wrote his gospel while he was still in Israel which was for 12 years after Jesus death, so that would be 45AD. So you say that the earliest manuscript available is from 300AD now that has these words? Is it that earlier manuscripts simply don't have this entire expression? Is it blank?
steve7150
 
Posts: 826
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:01 am

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby davo » Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:23 pm

Paidion wrote:And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If this is what Jesus said, why is it that his disciples did not obey? In each of the four instances recorded in the book of Acts, people were baptized or instructed to be baptized in the name of Jesus only:

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness [or "forsaking"] of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
Acts 19:5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

I think the Acts texts can stand as they are, i.e., I don’t think they clash as such with Matthew’s account… I think it is possible however to have an alternative understanding of Matthew’s words in terms of…“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” could simply mean… to be immersing the nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, i.e., preaching the gospel.

    IOW, Matthew’s account isn’t about the literal practice of baptism per sé, as per Acts; but rather carries this broader meaning.
It could also be that this *baptizing* Jesus speaks of actually had “the nations” (note the definite article) of Israel in view, i.e., the tribes of Israel. There are a number of texts where *nations* IS a direct reference to Israel’s tribes. This, of course, is not to preclude *nations* beyond Israel, but the biblical pattern as always was… Israel first and then the rest following etc.

Just a thought, that I won’t die for. :mrgreen:
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:54 am

Steve 7150, you wrote:So you say that the earliest manuscript available is from 300AD now that has these words? Is it that earlier manuscripts simply don't have this entire expression? Is it blank?


Of course the earlier manuscripts have the sentence that we know as Matthew 28:19. It's just that those manuscripts do not presently exist. No extant manuscript earlier than A.D. 300 contains Matthew 28:19. In fact, no extant manuscript earlier than A.D. 300 contains any part of Matthew chapter 27 or 28.

How do I know this? I happen to possess a book called "The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts." This book contains transcripts of every existing papyrus or uncial (prior to A.D. 300) of passages from the New Testament .
Last edited by Paidion on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby steve7150 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:45 pm

How do I know this? I happen to possess a book called "The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts." This book contains transcripts of every existing papyrus or uncial (prior to A.D. 300) of passages from the New Testament .







OK and do you have any thoughts on the point Davo made about this verse in that it may not be referring to a literal water baptism about individual people? To me it sounds plausible because it seems to mesh better with the context.
steve7150
 
Posts: 826
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:01 am

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:10 am

No, Steve, I have no thoughts about that. I can't see judging everything we don't understand in the New Testament to be figurative language.
A plain reading of the text indicates that it is about literal baptism.

As the wise old Mennonite once said, "If the literal sense makes sense, then it makes no sense to take it in any other sense."

However, Steve, notice that Davo concluded with the words "Just a thought." He is welcome to entertain that thought.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby davo » Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:45 pm

Well… if one hankers after and is restricted in their mental processing in terms of the literal, then this option may suffice.

To be baptised (as a literal event) in the name of the Father / Son / Holy Spirit may have been known as individual experiences, as the fuller context of one of the verses Don quotes, e.g., Acts 8:16 suggests.
Acts 8:14-17 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Given that Samaria had thus received Jesus as “the word of God” i.e., one representing the Father (Jn 14:9-11), being baptised into Jesus equated to being baptised into the Father, then there remained only to be baptised into the Holy Spirit.

I think it is possible to spin it in whatever direction one wants. BUT it is the nature of the literalistic mindset that ASSUMES the whole ‘Jesus only’ debate of baptism to be an issue of disobedience; or in this instance, such logic being transferred to the Trinity controversy, which IMO likewise strains the gnat somewhat.

The options are there, which is why I don’t feel the need to die for such. But when Scripture is broken down to *formulas* it inevitably (IMO) loses the woods for the trees and straight-jackets so much to the detriment of freedom. IOW… IF such a “t” isn’t crossed or “i” dotted, well sorry, you haven’t arrived… bah humbug!

I might add… as a non-Trinitarian, the whole thing is a bit of a non-issue. ;)
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:46 am

I might add… as a non-Trinitarian, the whole thing is a bit of a non-issue.


Well, I'm a non-Trinitarian also. Yet it's a bit of an issue for me since Trinitarians use the last three verses of Matthew as a proof text. Modalists explain it as indicating that since there's just one name mentioned, that one name is the name of the one God with reference to His three modes of existence, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I'm not a Modalist either, and I find these verses just don't jive with the apostles' practice of baptism in the name of Jesus only. That's why I am inclined to think that Matthew's original words were different from that which has come down to us, and that early Trinitarians may have tampered with the text.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby qaz » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:42 pm

Luke 8:39
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
qaz
 
Posts: 1140
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:51 am

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby davo » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:17 pm

If you understand Jesus being appointed as ‘God’s Man’ or as Acts has it… “both Lord and Christ” i.e., the one through whom Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel was to be secured and thus ultimately the world, then surely it’s not hard to think of Jesus in such divine terms WITHOUT needing to attribute the theological construct of ontological sameness; which is then taken further in terms of trinitarian conclusions.

In relation to Pharaoh Moses was declared to be “God” WITHOUT any attached ontological sameness, and yet for all intents and purposes HE, Moses, WAS God to Pharaoh, i.e., ‘God’s Man’ — as was Jesus (1Tim 2:5).

It became common practice in the Greco-Roman world, especially under the Caesars, for them to claim divinity… thus any son of Caesar was “son of God”. Jesus was charged (wrongly) with claiming his own kingship/kingdom and so opposing Caesar.
Last edited by davo on Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby davo » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:44 pm

I might just add another aspect to this, quoting my thought above…

    In relation to Pharaoh Moses was declared to be “God” WITHOUT any attached ontological sameness, and yet for all intents and purposes HE, Moses, WAS God to Pharaoh, i.e., ‘God’s Man’ — as was Jesus (1Tim 2:5).
Noting Moses’ divine station, albeit appointed (like Jesus), and yet UNLIKE Jesus who didn’t see such *equality* as “something to be grasped” as per Phil 2:6, Moses on the other hand fell short of this mark (sinned), again, albeit in exacerbation, exclaiming “Must we…!! Num 20:10 — such intemperance cost him dearly… Num 20:12; Deut 32:48-53.

And with regards to the last sentence from my previous post above…

    It became common practice in the Greco-Roman world, especially under the Caesars, for them to claim divinity… thus any son of Caesar was “son of God”. Jesus was charged (wrongly) with claiming his own kingship/kingdom and so opposing Caesar.
This the apostles, however, did NOT find it too hard a challenge to Caesar’s divine claim, and so attributing such divinity (without ontological sameness) to Christ… this verse below actually reflects a very common notion held in the day (historical context).
Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Now, knowing Peter’s words above, consider this below, from HERE
According to the German historian, Ethelbert Stauffer, the religious principle of the Roman Empire, from the days of Augustus on, was salvation by Caesar: “Salvation is to be found in none other save Augustus, and there is no other name given to men in which they can be saved.”

This helps us to understand the boldness of St. Peter, and the total power he declared rested in Christ, when he said of Jesus Christ, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

8-)
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:25 am

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)


Could Moses or Augustus Caesar have truthfully made such a statement?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby DaveB » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:49 am

No. But there is another way to look at it:

"Jesus’ use of the divine title “I AM” [Gk., ego eimi] in John 8, verses 24 and 58 proves
his deity.
Response: At John 8:58 Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I
am.” Trinitarians relate this statement to the account of Exodus 3:14 where “God said to
Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent
me to you.”’” Was Jesus applying the title I AM to himself? Interestingly, someone other
than Jesus uses this exact same Greek phrase only ten verses later. At John 9:9 a man
whom Jesus had healed also says “I am.”8
[ego eimi] Should we conclude that this man is
part of a triune God? Certainly not, so the simple statement I am does not prove deity.
The I AM title was not revealed to Abraham, the ancestor mentioned by Jesus, but to
Moses hundreds of years after Abraham’s death. In his statement Jesus was expressing
his pre-eminence over Abraham in the plan of God. Why, then, did the Jews want to
stone him for what he said? To the Jews this self-exaltation by someone they considered
a nobody was a blasphemous degradation of Abraham’s position as a prophet in special
covenant with God, and they wanted to stone him for it. (Compare to the situation at
Acts 6:11.)
In John 8:24 Jesus proclaimed, “If you do not believe that I am, you shall die in your
sins.” Was he now alluding to the divine title? Twelve verses earlier he said, “I am the
light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of
life.” So what Jesus meant in verse 24 was simply, ‘If you do not believe that I am [who I
claim to be, namely, the light of the world], you shall die in your sins.’ "

from http://christianmonotheism.com/php/medi ... e&data=480
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3489
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:06 pm

DaveB, I am aware of all that. I was not suggesting that Jesus said "I am" in order to affirm that He was the great I AM.
I was merely indicating that by saying, "Before Abraham was, I am," Jesus affirmed that He existed before Abraham. I was responding to Davo's statement that Moses was God in relation to Pharoah, and that Augustus was God of the Roman Empire, and Davo's suggestion that Jesus was God merely in the sense of being God's man.

However, Jesus' affirmation that He existed before Abraham clearly sets him apart from "Gods" such as Moses and Augustus, since they had no pre-existence.

It is my contention that Jesus is God in the sense of having been begotten by God as the first of God's acts. Your son is man because you are man. The one and only Son of God is God because his Father is God. He is not the same divine Individual as the Father but yet is divine, just as your son is not the same human individual as you, but yet is human.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby davo » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:42 pm

Paidion wrote:I was merely indicating that by saying, "Before Abraham was, I am," Jesus affirmed that He existed before Abraham.

THAT is simply your logic *affirming* what you want to believe. I think Dave’s quote is closer to the mark, i.e.,
    In his statement Jesus was expressing his pre-eminence over Abraham in the plan of God.
Paidion wrote:I was responding to Davo's statement that Moses was God in relation to Pharoah,…

And I’m only relating WHAT the Greek text ACTUALLY states… and thus accept it plainly as such.

Paidion wrote:…and that Augustus was God of the Roman Empire, and Davo's suggestion that Jesus was God merely in the sense of being God's man.

Being ‘God’s man’ was a great deal more than just “merely” — this “second man from heaven” that is, another way of saying from God, being fully obedient, was thereby appointed Lord of all (Act 2:36)… Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon never were.

Again, Peter’s words as recorded in Acts 4:12 were far more political than is often appreciated (Acts 17:7) and were a direct challenge to the errant claim of the Caesars.
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:16 am

Davo wrote:
Paidion wrote:I was merely indicating that by saying, "Before Abraham was, I am," Jesus affirmed that He existed before Abraham.


THAT is simply your logic *affirming* what you want to believe. I think Dave’s quote is closer to the mark, i.e.,

“In his statement Jesus was expressing his pre-eminence over Abraham in the plan of God.”


Clearly it was the Pharisees' "logic" too.

John 8:
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby davo » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:18 am

Paidion wrote:Clearly it was the Pharisees' "logic" too.

If the cap fits :mrgreen: :lol:
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby DaveB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:12 am

I think they wanted to stone him because he was claiming pre-eminence over Abe, not pre-existence.
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3489
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:08 pm

Dave let's see if "pre-eminence over Abe" fits:

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”
59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.


As soon as Jesus said that Abraham saw his day, their first thought was that Jesus was claiming to have seen Abraham, and how could He since He wasn't even 50 years old? So in response to their question as to whether He had seen Abraham, Jesus said, "“Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” Isn't that tantamount to saying that since He existed before Abraham, then of course, He had seen Abraham?

If Jesus had meant that He had pre-eminence over Abraham, in what way would that be a response to the Pharisees' question?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby DaveB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:22 pm

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”
59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

56. Jesus did NOT say that He had seen Abraham. Nor did Abe see HIm - Abe did prophetically see His 'day'; no doubt it was the Messiah whose day he saw.
57. I think the Jews intentionally perverted what Jesus had stated. Maybe they were hoping for a 'Yes" answer, which would have given them a good excuse for stoning?
58. Jesus did not answer Yes. He did not answer their fabricated question. He did, imo, state that as Messiah, He had been in the Father's plans from the very beginning. Something like: "“Before Abraham was, I was already, in God’s plan, the Messiah.”

If He was speaking of his pre-existence, he could have said Yes. If he had spoken of his pre-existence, one would think that one or more of the other Gospels might have mentioned that, oh by the way, Jesus is very God of very God, or something to that effect? It would seem to be an important point.
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3489
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby DaveB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:36 pm

Forgive the length of this, but here is a (fairly short) essay by Larry Furtado:

Questioning a Common Assumption
May 13, 2014
First, a quote: “The Church cannot indefinitely continue to believe about Jesus what he did not know to be true about himself,” J. W. Bowman, The Intention of Jesus (London: SCM, 1945), p. 108.

This is not really a historical claim but a theological one, and it reflects a common assumption: The assumption that the theological/religious validity of claims about Jesus rest upon what Jesus believed and taught about himself. In my book, Lord Jesus Christ (pp. 5-9), I’ve noted the irony of how this assumption has been shared by critics and advocates of Christian faith, and also how it has worked mischief in the historical investigation of Christian origins.

Operating on this assumption, apologists of traditional christological claims have striven to argue that Jesus really did teach them, e.g., that he is divine and worthy of worship. Typically, this has meant trying to show, for example, that the distinctive discourse that we find in the Gospel of John really is the best index of Jesus’ own self-perception and teaching about himself (thereby distorting this remarkable text and making it serve a purpose for which it was never intended).

Also, and ironically, operating on the same theological assumption, critics of traditional Christian faith have often argued that Jesus didn’t actually make direct claims for divinity and make himself worthy of worship. Instead, they have emphasized (with greater plausibility), it appears that these “high” claims about Jesus emerged only after Jesus’ execution (in what is sometimes called the “post-Easter” period). It is this sort of argument that is the burden of Bart Ehrman’s most recent book: How Jesus Became God (HarperOne, 2014). (Yeah, I know. Bart repeatedly claims that he’s not trying to “dis” Christian faith, and he generally maintains a respectful tone, but at times he slips and his disinterested claims seem a bit coy.)

So, how is it that this assumption came to be held as self-evident truth, shared both by apologists and critics of Christian faith? Well, it seems to derive from a very clever and historically successful move made in the 18th century by people now referred to as “Deists”. As Jonathan Z. Smith showed in his little tome, Drudgery Divine (1990), the Deists set out to drive a wedge between the “historical” Jesus and the NT (and traditional Christian faith). Taking a cue from the Protestant argument that church teaching had to be based in the NT, Deists argued in turn that NT christological claims had to be based in Jesus’ own teaching. They then further argued that a critical approach toward the “historical” Jesus did not provide a sufficient basis for traditional christological beliefs.

Now the interesting bit is that this (originally Deist) argument was wildly successful, at least in setting the terms of the ensuing theological and scholarly debate. That is, even those (e.g., advocates of traditional Christian faith) who opposed the Deists’ conclusions accepted their terms for the debate that followed (right down to our day): Jesus’ own teaching about himself was the criterion of legitimacy for any claims about him.

So, what you have is a fundamentally theological issue becoming the shared assumption for a great deal of subsequent historical investigation. And the result, as I’ve said, was a great deal of mischief: Christian apologists producing contorted historical arguments trying to pump up maximally what might be attributed to Jesus, and critics of traditional Christian faith (e.g., the Deists, the old religionsgeschichtliche Schule scholars and their intellectual descendants) contending that these claims were invalidated by the evident historical events/process through which they had emerged.

But I’d like to make two observations. First, the earliest extant Christian texts themselves make it perfectly clear that the “high” notions about Jesus sharing in divine glory, exalted to heavenly status, worthy of worship, etc., all erupted after Jesus’ ministry, not during it, and that the crucial impetus for these notions was what earliest believers saw as God’s actions, particularly their belief that God had raised Jesus from death to heavenly glory. (See, e.g., Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 2:36).

To be sure, Jesus generated a devoted following during his ministry, and (as I have argued in Lord Jesus Christ, 53-64) also generated a strong polarization of opinion about himself, which led to him being crucified. Indeed, as numerous scholars judge, Jesus (whether intentionally or not) likely generated the claim that he was (or was to be) Messiah, which seems to have been the cause of him being executed. But Messiah isn’t necessarily a “divine” figure in any real sense of that term, and certainly not typically a figure who receives the sort of devotion that was given to the “risen/exalted” Jesus in earliest Christian circles. (See my discussion of the question of how Jesus was reverenced during his ministry in my book, How on Earth did Jesus Become a God? esp. pp. 134-51).

To underscore the point, the remarkable escalation in the status/significance of Jesus to the “right hand” of God, to sharing the divine name and glory, and to the central and programmatic place he held in earliest Christian devotional practice all rested on the fundamental conviction that God has exalted him and now required that Jesus’ exalted status be recognized, and that he should be reverenced accordingly.

My second observation is this: Why should this be taken as some kind of threat to the theological legitimacy of traditional Christian faith? Why should the clever Deist tactic of the 18th century continue to be treated as a self-evident truth and the basis for apologists and critics of Christian faith in their continuing wrangles and debates? The fundamental theological basis given in the NT for treating Jesus in the “high” terms advocated is a theo-centric one: God’s actions form the basis of the responding christological claims and devotional practices. Considering this might be a really helpful move for all sides in any theological debate.

And setting aside the assumption that the validity of Christian faith can be weighed on the basis of the historical process by which it emerged could also make for better (or at least less antagonistic) historical work on Christian origins too.
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3489
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:31 pm

Dave, what do you make of this account in John 20 (ESV):

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”


Was Thomas addressing the risen Jesus as "My Lord and my God"? Or was He just expressing surprise to find that Jesus was actually alive again, as some people express surprise by exclaiming, "My God!" But if the latter, why did he include "My Lord" as part of the expression? By exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!" he seems to have regarded "My Lord" and "My God" as the same person.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby DaveB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:59 pm

Unless Thomas was actually making a Trinitarian claim, then there are 2 alternatives, I think.

1. Thomas really thought that Jesus was in fact God the Father.
or
2. Thomas recognized Jesus as the Father's true expression of what He Himself is like.

I opt for number 2.
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3489
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby davo » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:45 pm

DaveB wrote:2. Thomas recognized Jesus as the Father's true expression of what He Himself is like.

I opt for number 2.

Yep likewise. I suspect this would be one reason Jesus could say with all confidence… “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” i.e., Jesus was without doubt “the express image of His person…” etc.
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
User avatar
davo
 
Posts: 1386
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:10 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:34 am

I accept number 2 as well. Nonetheless, Thomas was calling Jesus both "Lord" and "God."
That Jesus was the unique Son of God (there was no other) and the exact expression of the Father's essence, implies that He was and is divine, and therefore qualifies Him to be called "God" without claiming Him to be the Father Himself.

Jesus often said that He was the son of man. The son of man is man. Jesus was a man. Although He didn't go around saying that He was the Son of God, when asked the question, He didn't deny it. Just as a son of man is man, so the Son of God is God.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby DaveB » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:21 pm

I respect the position you have presented, Paidion - like everything you say, you have actual reasons and have put thought into them.

I've gotten to the point on this and other discussions - with all kinds of members here - where I have to stop and ask myself: What, in my striving to be found worthy in God's judgment, does drawing a line in the sand actually accomplish? :

-the Deity of Christ
-the pre-existence of Christ
-the Trinity
-libertarian free will
-original sin

1. Those topics have never been settled to everyone's satisfaction but I have to believe : none of them are necessary for salvation, for Christian growth in grace, for bearing the fruits of the Spirit.
2. Equally God-loving and God-honoring men/women have confessed those topics negatively and positively, agreeing or disagreeing.
3. Such a magnificent doctrine as the Atonement is still not a settled matter; how much less important are distinctions such as those topics above, which can devolve into analytic philosophy or minutiae of Greek/Hebrew grammar?
4. Those topics listed above are HUGE in evangelical circles. So HUGE that they tend to hide other rather large topics, that are more to the heart of the matter: the sovereign Love of God, the merciful and loving Grace of Jesus Christ, the fellowship and comfort of our Advocate, the Holy Spirit.

5. I guess I'm saying that for fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, those topics are not decisive. A broken and contrite heart , love for God and one's neighbor is worth more than all the disputes on those issues.
6, The ARE, unfortunately, important for Christian 'fellowship". More important than the REALLY BIG STUFF, to many.

I enjoy discussions with the members here, and it is worthwhile to discuss Scripture in a way that we learn from one another. Sometimes, I just lose sight of the really big picture, though.
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3489
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Eaglesway » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:27 pm

Dont we all.
Eaglesway
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:01 am

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:32 am

From my perspective, I see it the way Paidion does. I think the burden of proof rests on the Trinitarians. Though for me it is a non-issue. that said, I have an issue when people try and push trinitiarianism on other people. In our church, I heard our elder worship the Holy Trinity and make it into some huge doctrine that was crucial to the Christian faith. I don't think it is so crucial.

I suppose I am against dogmatic approaches to illogical and ambiguous things in the Bible. Hell, being a great example and and also the Trinity. Both defy logic of the known world. God created us to use logic and while logic could, in theory, fail us, it is clearly been given to us as a gift by God to use it.The people who claim logic is dangerous use logic to conclude that, which makes it altogether a ridiculous position in my mind.

Just to be clear, I have no issues with someone saying "I believe in the Trinity" - great. But when someone cross the lines and says "The Trinity is the Biblical position" or "True Christian's must believe in the Trinity", I have a problem with that. That said, since I don't see any man as in authority over me, I don't really care if someone is dogmatic over it in relation to my own opinion. But pushing it on the congregation to get more on your side is pretty messed up, in my opinion.

MacDonald said it best... People are better off with God teaching them and taking daring risks than sitting in the pew doing nothing but taking in traditional doctrines that are fed them by those who have been fed them without challenge or thought.

BTW - The ancient world is such a great example of this. The violence is perpetuated because their parents taught them that way, because they were taught that way, whose parents were also taught that way and so forth... The cycle will break eventually, when someone challenges the traditional approach and beliefs. But until then, violence perpetuates. Luckily we can see civilizations rise above this behavior. We see, at least in the civilized world, peace and pro peace and not to return violence for violence. As a general rule the 1st world as whole has rejected the 'eye for eye' mentality. It took some generation with great courage to challenge it for society to have progressed to where it is today in the 1st world. But in the 3rd world? It is still ruled by violence and cruelty. Not enough people have challenged what they were taught to change those cultures/nations to be what the rest of the 1st world is at this point. I see this exactly like traditional teachings passed on from religion. Most people only believe them because the were taught them at a young age and the kicker is... the people that taught them were also taught them at a young age and it goes forth back all the way to the beginning of when those traditions ensued. That is not to say I am anti-tradition, but I am when it comes to forcing beliefs and systems onto other people and claiming tradition as authority on the matter.
Gabe Grinstead
 
Posts: 608
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby DaveB » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:01 am

Well said, Gabe.
I really have lived in books. Books are friends. They are some of the friends that make you who you are.
stanley hauerwas
DaveB
 
Posts: 3489
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Paidion » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:21 am

I don't have a problem with Trinitarians either, Bob. I fellowship with Trinitarians every Sunday. The problem lies with some Trinitarians who insist that one cannot be a true Christian unless they believe that God is a Trinity. I have also occasionally fellowshipped with a group of Modalists some of whom believed that unless a person believes that God is a single divine Individual who expresses Himself in three modes of existence: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he is not a true Christian.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3605
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Did Jesus teach the Trinity?

Postby Eaglesway » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:44 pm

Paidion wrote:I don't have a problem with Trinitarians either, Bob. I fellowship with Trinitarians every Sunday. The problem lies with some Trinitarians who insist that one cannot be a true Christian unless they believe that God is a Trinity. I have also occasionally fellowshipped with a group of Modalists some of whom believed that unless a person believes that God is a single divine Individual who expresses Himself in three modes of existence: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he is not a true Christian.


Exactly, I would even say that what I believe could be described as a blend of trinitarianism and modalism. Alas, I am bound for the fire wherever I turn :lol:

I have taught in Modalist churches and Trintarian churches and received in fellowship by both. I have also ministered at the Biblical Unitarian bible college in Atlanta, and argued with Sir Anthony Buzzard, one of the main proponents of that view- but we also had sweet fellowship in Christ.. In all those places I found more diversity of belief than any of the leadership would have been comfortable with. Too bad I cant quite figure it all out perfectly, my questions always get me expelled in the long run..... it is the company line that gets the nod eventually, and you dont want to run afoul of it, until you are so assured in God of the delightful extent of the unfathomable mystery, that you no longer care if you are identified as a heretic, or wishy washy, or deceived :)

Who has known the mind of the Lord,
Who has been His counselor.
Eaglesway
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:01 am


Return to Biblical Theology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 6 guests

cron