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May 16, 2006

Comments

Derek

From Ignatius' Epistle to the Ephesians:

Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed on from this to you, having false doctrine, whom ye did not suffer to sow among you, but stopped your ears, that ye might not receive those things which were sown by them, as being stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the cross, making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to God. Ye, therefore, as well as all your fellow-travellers, are God-bearers, temple-bearers, Christ-bearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the commandments of Jesus Christ, in whom also I exult that I have been thought worthy, by means of this Epistle, to converse and rejoice with you, because with respect to your Christian life ye love nothing but God only.

Selected as just a single example from among many...

Oh yeah--Ignatius was martyred somewhere between 98 and 115 and thus a good 50 years before Tertullian was even born...

D. C.

Derek, I fear you're indulging in wishful thinking. This nice little metaphor doesn't even claim that Jesus was divine, let alone that God comprises three individual Persons in a single unified Being.

Derek

Hmmm...I think not. True, this particular quote doesn't claim that Jesus is divine--but if you're looking for early Christian sources that do that I think St Paul would do nicely. As for this not being an example of trinitarian thinking why are the three packaged together so nicely?

D. C.

Derek writes: "As for this not being an example of trinitarian thinking why are the three packaged together so nicely?"

An analogy comes to mind, in modern sports terms, about how the early Christian authors seem to have viewed what we now call the Trinity: Jesus is the All-Cosmos superstar quarterback, temporarily sitting on the bench in heaven. He's waiting for the Head Coach (the Father) to call his number, whereupon he'll go back into the game on earth to run the final, decisive plays. The Spirit is sort of a mash-up of the offensive and defensive coordinators, periodically communicating instructions from the Head Coach to selected players.

Or to use another analogy: in the early Christian writings, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are very roughly like the ghostly trio of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda, all standing together, in the very last scene of Star Wars VI, Return of the Jedi. (Hmmm; I wonder if Lucas had just such an analogy in mind?)

The only Pauline writing I can think of that even comes close to trinitarian thinking is Phil. 2.5-7, where Paul is thought to quote an existing hymn:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness. ....

Steve Jones's stronger point is that if the earliest Christians really thought that God was a Trinity, surely the New Testament would say so directly, and trinitarians wouldn't have to argue by trying to stitch together a lot of "stretch" implications. As I put it in another posting, if the earliest Christians had regarded Jesus as God incarnate, surely the NT would say so explicitly, forcefully, and repeatedly — but it doesn't.

Harry Celine

As I put it in another posting, if the earliest Christians had regarded Jesus as God incarnate, surely the NT would say so explicitly, forcefully, and repeatedly — but it doesn't.

I am not so sure about this. Christianity was promulgated by word of mouth. It was an oral tradition. None of the NT documents we have were intended to be the defining documents of the faith. What we have in Paul's letters are allusions to the oral teachings, not the definitive teachings themselves.

The earliest Christians were not sola scriptura Protestant theologians. They were a persecuted rabble of mostly illiterate peasants and slaves whose religion was more akin to a Mystery Religion than modern Protestantism. Even today, the Orthodox Liturgy proclaims that the catechumens must leave the building before the celebration of the Eucharist. (This is not enforced, but is preserved as a memory of ancient times.)

Lutheran Zephyr

You wrote:
A teaching that took so long to develop can't be an absolute requirement among the faithful

Well, it all depends on what your definition of "an absolute requirement" is . . .

But beyond that issue, I am willing to say that normative and definitive articulations of the faith have occurred since the days of the apostles. Just because a question wasn't asked in the Biblical age, doesn't mean we can't seek its answer in our age. The apostolic age didn't ask the question about the relationship of Jesus, Father and Spirit - yet that became a crucial question in a later generation, and an answer that continues to inform our understanding of God and God's relationship to humanity.

Grady Laxson

I have written a book-------GOD’S AMAZING SIGNS

The reason I believe GOD'S AMAZING SIGNS will be interesting to you is that the book is about the infant nation of Israel in Egypt. My other book THE PARALLEL STORIES OF JOSEPH AND JESUS is an informative novel about the same thing. The two books are good "go-togethers."
 
Because the infant nation of Israel was the cradle of God's theology, friends urged me to write the second book to explain more clearly the theological concepts that are indicated in the story. 

Here is what God's signs clearly indicate.

Jesus is the ONLY savior.
Jesus is NOT Jehovah. He is the SON of Jehovah.
The doctrine of the Trinity is a FALSE doctrine.
There will be NO rapture.

God’s signs make it clear that:
The nation of Israel will turn to Christ.
The end days and a spiritual famine are upon us. 
The abomination that causes desolation is standing in the Holy place.
It is time to fall down and worship God and to pray.

Grady L

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