Infinite payment of sin by the son of God

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Jesus, the only way to God

Jeanie Shepard says she has dedicated her life to serving God, and being an example of the love of Christ. As a passionate Bible teacher, committed to inspiring and encouraging people to live their best lives now, to face their fears, and to grow stronger in the holy things of God, she believes that no other religion teaches the depth or seriousness of sin and its consequences.

We are afraid we can not agree with that, because in this world of many religious groups we can find more than one religion where the followers look at good and evil. After man came to get knowledge of good and evil that knowledge went from one to an other generation and even non-religious people thought about people going bad, what in Christendom is called sinning.

she also writes

No other religion offers the infinite payment of sin that only Christ could provide. {The Only Way}

Sculpture - head of Jesus Christ

Sculpture – head of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When she means “Christ” the Kristos or Messiah delivering people she is again missing the promise to and the believe of the Jews, and in some aspect also the Muslims. Jews and Muslims look also to the Messiah. In the Islam it is also taught that Ishi/Jesus will come back and that at his return he shall come to judge the living and the dead. For the Jews, they too wait for their Messiah to come, though for them, we do agree, they look (perhaps) for an other person than we and Jeanie Shepard are looking for. Many of them shall be surprised to find out that rabbi Jeshua is really that promised one from God.

With the writer of JSM Grow in God’s Word we too believe we should look to that Christ, though her idea of that Christ is not the biblical view nor our view. She considers that Christ to be God having come to the earth and having done as if he died, because God can not die and is an eternal Spirit. Though she says to

believe we are saved by God’s grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. {The Only Way}

she contradict in a certain way what she says, because she does not seem to accept the personality Jesus Christ. This is a general problem with a lot of people who call themselves Christian. Instead of accepting the words of Jesus Christ and the Words of his heavenly Father they prefer to believe the human doctrines and to make Jesus into their god.
Such idea undermines the position of Jesus Christ, the man who is called by the Word of God to be the son of man and the son of God.

We all should know that God is bigger than anything that we go through; but that He is also greater than Jesus. Rabbi Jeshua knew very well his position and never claimed to be God, but made it very clear where he was standing, not able to do anything without God.

Christians should take those words of Jesus at heart. They should believe that Jesus, the sent one from God, his heavenly Father works in him and still works today. Christians should understand Jesus his position, being under God, even not able to do anything of himself. Jesus like all the people who saw the miracles could see what God the Father did. It is this God of Abraham Who authorised rabbi Jeshua, Christ Jesus, to do all these things. For all that Jesus does is done by the Power of God.

Because of God having given the authority to speak and act in His Name, this son does together with the Elohim Hashem Jehovah out of love for mankind.  Everything Jesus did was out of love for God Whose Will he wanted to do, and not his own will (which he would have done when he is God). First Jesus was lower than angels, but after his ransom offering he was made higher, though God always stays the Most High.

This Most High Eternal God is the Father Who loves His only begotten beloved Son and shows him all the things that He does, and He will show him greater works than these that we may marvel. For as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life; even so God His son gives life unto whom he will. Therefore we should take heed and look at this sent one from God who may judge the living and the dead and is at the moment seated at the right hand of God (and not on God‘s throne) to be a mediator between God and man.  For the Father judges no man but has committed all judgement unto the son that everyone should honour the son, even as they honour the Father.

We should take the Words of God, given in the Holy Scriptures very serious. In the New Testament we are warned that he that does not honour the son does not honour the Father Who has sent him, plus that believe in him is important for man’s salvation.

Jesus also warns the people around him that those who hear his words and believes Him (Jehovah God) that sent him (Jesus Christ, the Messiah) has eternal life and shall not come into judgement but has passed from death unto life. But you could also read this as an implication that the ones who do not want to believe God and Jesus their words shall not pass from death to life and shall not be able to enter the small gate of the Kingdom of God.

First of all we should have to look up to the One Who sent Jesus, secondly we should look at the one sent by God.  For as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the son to have life in himself and has also given him power and authority to execute judgement because Jeshua (Jesus Christ) is Son of man and the son of God in whom we should put our hope.

“17  But Jesus answered them, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
18 Therefor the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, “Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things that He Himself doeth; and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, 23 that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father who hath sent Him.

24 Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth My Word and believeth in Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. 25 “Verily, verily I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice 29 and shall come forth—they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30 “I can of Mine own self do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father who hath sent Me.

31  If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. 32 There is Another that beareth witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true. 33 “Ye sent unto John, and he bore witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man, but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light, and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me that the Father hath sent Me.” (John 5:17-36 KJ21)

We may not let our mind being filled with false human thoughts, but should listen to the Word God has given us. We may also not let our heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid, by wondering what others might think if we do not follow the mainstream or do not take part in the many human traditions.

The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation, but through Christ. Jesus is the way to God and the path to eternal salvation for those who believe in him. No one comes to the Father except through the son, and Jesus is the only begotten son of the Father. He is the only acceptable sacrifice by which man’s sins are forgiven.

“”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJ21)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 KJ21)

All people should come to hear what Jesus has taught. He left the earth but he shall come again unto us. Those who accepted Jesus for what or who he is and love him, there can be rejoicement because they know and believe that Jesus went unto the Father, and not to himself or to take back his place as God; for his Father is greater than himself (Jesus Christ). Christians also should tell others about this son of man who is the son of God, and not a god-son, that the world may know that Jesus does not love himself but loves the Father; and as the Father gave him commandment, even so does Jeshua (Jesus Christ).

 “27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

28  Ye have heard how I said unto you, ‘I go away and come again unto you.’ If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because I said, ‘I go unto the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30 “Hereafter I will not talk much with you, for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” (John 14:27-31 KJ21)

When you believe those things, then you should be able to accept and believe that

Through Jesus everyone who believes is set free from every sin; (Acts 13:38-39; 1st John 2:12). Sin has a penalty that must be paid, if not through the shed blood of Jesus finish work on the cross,

not that

the only other option is the eternal torment in hell’s unquenchable fire. {The Only Way}

because by dying all payment is given for the sins done. God does not want any other payment and tells us that when we die it is finished.

Though we may not forget that

To receive the free gift of eternal salvation, we must look to Jesus alone. We must place our trust in the finished work of the cross as our payment for sin and in his resurrection.

Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved; (Acts 4:12).

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Preceding articles

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be

Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom

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Additional reading:

  1. Do you believe in One god
  2. Sinning because being a sinner
  3. God of gods
  4. Attributes to God
  5. Jehovah God Almighty greater than all gods
  6. The very very beginning 2 The Word and words
  7. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  8. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  9. Jesus begotten Son of God #10 Coming down spirit or flesh seed of Eve
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  11. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  12. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  13. Jesus begotten Son of God #15 Son of God Originating in Mary
  14. Jesus begotten Son of God #16 Prophet to be heard
  15. Jesus begotten Son of God #17 Adam, Eve, Mary and Christianity’s central figure
  16. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  17. Jesus begotten Son of God #20 Before and After
  18. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  19. The meek one riding on an ass
  20. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  21. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  22. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  23. God has not destined us for wrath
  24. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #18 Fulfilment
  25. Believing what Jesus says
  26. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  27. Preparing for the Kingdom
  28. Blindness in the Christian world
  29. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  30. For those who believe Jesus is God
  31. For Getting to know Jesus
  32. That everyone may honour the Son and sent one from God
  33. Blinkered minds
  34. Philippians 1 – 2
  35. After darkness a moment of life renewal
  36. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

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Further reading

  1. Trying to explain Sin
  2. Sins are destructive.
  3. Sinning less will not save you from hell
  4. Sinning has consequences!
  5. Commentary for Nitzavim
  6. You Have Eternal Life
  7. Failing as a Christian
  8. “Looking For Jesus” – “Dead Works”
  9. (Part 2) Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation?
  10. When salvation comes: context
  11. October 24 – Jesus And Me
  12. 31st Sunday of the Year – The Lord comes to seek and save what was lost
  13. Daily Bread – Take Heed
  14. Don’t Wait!
  15. Sermon Recording- We’re Off to See the Wizard (Psalm 115; Exodus 20)
  16. Justified!
  17. Instantly Healed, Saved and Baptized
  18. Professing But Not Born Again
  19. Reblog: Professing But not Born Again
  20. To Be A True Christian Will Cost You
  21. 5 Dangers For Young Men
  22. A New Life of Righteousness
  23. The Power to Change
  24. A Psalm of Praise . . . .
  25. Grace
  26. saved to serve
  27. Finding Strength
  28. Truth; a Treasure to share…
  29. Lighthouse
  30. Let a man receive the truths of the doctrines of the Grace of God and he will say, “God has saved me”
  31. Time…
  32. Oct 22, 2016 Stay at the Ready, Soon you’ll see Him coming in the clouds, I will shake the Heavens and the Earth, Many are still stubborn and proud to ask Jesus to forgive them, They will find out the hard way but it will be TOO LATE, Repent while you’re still on Planet Earth
  33. Breathe in, out!
  34. Not Sure
  35. The Reckoning
  36. October 21, 2016 – cannot enter
  37. God, the Word of God, and humanity. Also, iPhones. (Reading Athanasius)
  38. Knowing and Understanding the Times!
  39. It’s All About Him!
  40. Salvation – He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through it
  41. Day 294 Covered By The Robe Of Righteousness 
  42. Blind trust in rumors will cause you to lose God’s salvation of the last days
  43. He’s Calling Out
  44. From Lost to Found
  45. Day 12: Are you ready?
  46. How Vulnerability Can Bring Us Beyond Ourselves
  47. The Wheels are Turning
  48. Meditations on TULIP, Part three
  49. Who I Am, Alone
  50. Heaven’s Delight
  51. The Deification of Man
  52. Prosperity or Poverty–God’s Opinion

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Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord

Palm Sunday

 For the Catholics it was yesterday Palm Sunday which could be considered by some of them as a great and holy day, as “it commemorates the last triumph of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth and opens the Holy Week“.

They do not follow the Jewish calendar for remembering what Christ has done. They prefer to fit in the events of Jesus his life with the heathen calendar, wanting the high feast on the day of Estra the goddess of fertility. One week before the celebration of fertility, with Easter-bunnies and chocolate eggs, as signs of the procreation they want to take time to think about the man who entered the city Jerusalem on a donkey.

Triumphant entry

English: Description: Left Apsis: Jesus enteri...For them on Palm Sunday, their Church celebrates the triumphant entry of their Lord into Jerusalem, when the multitude, going before and following after him, cut off branches from the trees and strewed in his way, shouting:

 “Hosanna [glory and praise] to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.”

It is in commemoration of this triumph that palms are blessed and borne in solemn procession.

The principal ceremonies of the day are the blessing of the palms, the procession, and the Mass with the reading of the Passion. The blessing of the palms follows a ritual similar to that of the Mass, — having an Epistle, a Gospel, a Preface, and a Sanctus. The Epistle refers to the murmuring of the Israelites in the desert, and their sighing for the flesh-pots of Egypt. The Gospel describes the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The prayers which follow the Sanctus ask God to

“bless the branches of palm . . . that whoever receives them may find protection of soul and body . . . that into whatever place they shall be brought, the inhabitants may obtain His blessing; that the devout faithful may understand the mystical meaning of the ceremony, that is, that the palms represent the triumph over the prince of death . . . and therefore, the issue thereof declares both the greatness of the victory, and the riches of God’s mercy.”

Singing “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

By singing “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they should remember in which lineage that man came. By singing “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.” they should hear the voices that sing he came in the Name of the Most High. The evangelic reading should also make it clear that people greeted a man which they recognised as a king. He had to be the “King of Israel”

When the people in the congregation hear the readings about the death of that man, they should become more aware that this man from Nazareth really died. At the collect they even sing:

O God, whom to love above all is righteousness, multiply in us the gifts of Thine ineffable grace: and since Thou hast given us in the death of Thy Son to hope for those things which we believe, grant us by the Resurrection of the same to attain the end to which we aspire. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.

Not Hearing words spoken by prophets

The people coming to the mass of that Sunday hear not the important story of those days when the children of Israel before they came into Elim, where there were twelve fountains of water, and seventy palm trees; and they encamped by the waters. How they could come out of the land of Egypt is not told on that day. The church goers hear about the chief priests and the Pharisees who gathered a council and said:

What do we, for this man doth many miracles? If we let Him alone so, all will believe in Him;  and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation.

At that time, when Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and was come to Bethphage, unto Mount Olivet, then he sent two disciples, saying to them:

“Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them and bring them to me; and if any man shall say anything to you, say ye that the lord hath need of them; and forthwith he will let them go.”

 

The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sund...

The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All those who call themselves ‘Christian’ should remember that all those things which Jesus asked had to be done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets.

In the Old Writings was also written that the daughter of Sion had to be told that her King was going to come to thee meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke.

Jesus his disciples went looking for the animal and did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way, and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way, and the multitudes that went before and that followed cried, saying:

Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

Thanking God

The priest asks people to lift up their hearts and to give thanks to their “Lord our God”. they also say:

 It is meet and just.
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God. Who dost glory in the assembly of Thy Saints. For Thy creatures serve Thee, because they acknowledge Thee as their only Creator and God; and Thy whole creation praiseth Thee, and Thy Saints bless Thee. For with free voice they confess that great Name of Thine only-begotten Son before the kings and powers of this world. Around whom the Angels and Archangels, the Thrones and Dominions stand; and with all the host of the heavenly army, sing the hymn of Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Talking about whom coming in the Name of God

Who is it they are talking about? Who “cometh in the Name of the Lord”? To whom do they want to look up as their Creator and Divine God?

On such a day as Palm Sunday people should not only  look at the many processions which strangely enough still keep attracting lots of people in many countries. In Belgium we find some which are even protected by the Unesco inheritance fund.

You may wonder if people do want to take time to think about the One Who was all behind the events. How many do see Whom is spoken of when they say:

We beseech Thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless + and hallow + this creature of the olive tree, which Thou didst cause to shoot out of the substance of the wood, and which the dove when returning to the ark brought in its mouth: that whosoever shall receive it may find protection of soul and body; and that it may be to us, O Lord, a saving remedy and the sacred sign of Thy grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God for ever and ever.

Feelings and degradation

Because they take Jesus as their god you might wonder how much value they give to the feelings that Nazarene man must have gone through when first he was jubilated as a king and afterwards degraded to the worst thief and murderer.

In his lifetime Jesus nearing his end as a servant of his Father in heaven, had taught his followers also to become servants for the Most High. That day he received faithfully in honour of God His Name; that into whatsoever place they shall be brought, those who dwell in that place may obtain God His blessing, and all adversities being removed. Those believing in a Tri-Une or Three-Une God better would think about what Catholics pray on Palm Sunday:

“Thy right hand may protect those who have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God for ever and ever.”

Who is that Right Hand from? Who is that Protector they are speaking of? They also clearly say there is their Lord Jesus Christ, who is the son of that Owner of the ‘right hand‘.

Faithful redeemer

The Catholics continue their prayer:

O God, who, by the wonderful order of Thy disposition, hast been pleased to manifest the dispensation of our salvation even from things insensible: grant, we beseech Thee, that the devout hearts of Thy faithful may understand to their benefit what is mystically signified by the fact that on this day the multitude, taught by a heavenly illumination, went forth to meet their Redeemer, and strewed branches of palms and olive at His feet.

Who has been faithful to Whom? Who is the Redeemer to been met? Whose triumphs over the prince of death are they speaking of?

From the Old Testament we do know that God can not die but those Catholics say themselves

For that pious multitude understood that these things were then prefigured; that our Redeemer, compassionating human miseries, was about to fight with the prince of death for the life of the whole world, and, by dying, to triumph. For which cause they dutifully ministered such things as signified in him the triumphs of victory and the richness of mercy.
And we also, with full faith, retaining this as done and signified, humbly beseech Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, that in him and through him, whose members Thou hast been pleased to make us, we may become victorious over the empire of death, and may deserve to be partakers of His glorious Resurrection. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God for ever and ever.

They speak about the dying one and look at Christ Jesus. And yes it was that man from Nazareth who was the one coming from the God above. It was that man of flesh and blood, who only wanted to do the Will of his Father in heaven, who was willing to speak for his Father and let His name be known. It was that man who was impaled on a piece of wood until death overtook him, for the prise of sin of many.

Salvation send into the world

This Nazarene Jew wanted not only that we got to know his heavenly Father, but that we also got to know ourselves and that we would choose the way we wanted to go.

In the Sunday service of the Catholics the people in the congregation also pray.

 O God, who for our salvation didst send into this world Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, that He might humble Himself unto our state, and call us back to Thee; for whom also, as he entered into Jerusalem to fulfill the Scriptures, a multitude of faithful people, with zealous devotion, strewed their garments, with palm branches, in the way: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may prepare for him the way of faith, from which the stone of offense and rock of scandal being removed, our works may flourish before Thee with branches of justice, that so we may be found worthy to follow his footsteps.

They say that God sent His son into this world, but in which way do they believe that? They also say they want to be worthy to follow his footsteps. But what do we have to do to follow his footsteps? Is it not in the first place accepting who Jesus really was and willing to follow his teachings?

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  1. The son of David and the first day of the feast of unleavened bread
  2. The Divine name of the Creator
  3. Importance of the only proper name of God
  4. Archeological Findings the name of God YHWH
  5. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  6. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  7. Jesus begotten Son of God #16 Prophet to be heard
  8. Jesus begotten Son of God #18 Believing in inhuman or human person
  9. Impaled until death overtook him
  10. Servant of his Father
  11. The Trinity – true or false?
  12. The Trinity – the Truth
  13. Altered to fit a Trinityod of gods
  14. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  15. Christianity without the Trinity
  16. Sitting at the right hand of God
  17. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  18. Choose you this day whom ye will serve

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Additional reading:

  1. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  2. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  3. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  6. Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7
  7. Anyone Who Goes Too Far and Does Not Abide in the Teaching of Christ, Does Not Have God
  8. Is Jesus God?
  9. If the Father is the “only true God” (John 17:3) , does that mean that Jesus is a false god?
  10. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  11. Massacre of children leaves many asking, ‘Where’s God?’

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  • Christ’s Humble Entrance into Jerusalem (biltrix.com)
    First, we have 2 Gospel readings today and in both of them, we identify with the crowds more so that in any other reading of the year. We begin by imitating the Jews in Jerusalem by processing into the church with palm branches while singing “Hosanna!” just like the crowds did when Jesus made his “Triumphant” entry into the city. Second, during the reading of the passion, we cry for Jesus to be crucified, just like those same crowds in Jerusalem.
    I believe the Church is trying to make a point here. Who’s the real sign of contradiction? Jesus, the crowds in Jerusalem, or us?
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    Have you ever tried to view this scene through the donkey’s eyes? Or hear it with his big ol’ donkey ears? Palm and olive branches, cloaks of different colors strewn all over the place, debris flying in the air, shouts and cheers… This was the biggest day of that donkey’s life! After that, he just went back to being a humble donkey.
    The lesson for today is so easily missed. It’s about humility. The donkey is there to remind us of that.
  • Palm Sunday – “o Gates, Lift High Your Heads” (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
  • Devotional 14.04.14 (thelifeofastrangercalledme.wordpress.com)
  • Palm/passion (prayersforeveryday.wordpress.com)
  • Blessed is He… (encourageandteach.wordpress.com)
  • Hosanna to Hallelujah (my52sundays.wordpress.com)
  • Palm Sunday 2014: Top Ten Quotes to Remember Jesus’ Triumphant Entry Into Jerusalem (ibtimes.co.uk)
    Scroll down to take a look at Top Ten Palm Sunday Quotes to mark the beginning of Holy Week.
    “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you; righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” – Zechariah 9:9
    “Jesus found a donkey and sat upon it, as Scripture says: Do not fear, city of Zion! See, your king is coming, sitting on the colt of a donkey!” – John 12:14
    “Then I saw heaven opened and a white horse appeared. Its rider is the Faithful and True; he judges and wages just wars.”- Revelation 19:11
    “But Palm Sunday tells us that … it is the cross that is the true tree of life.” – Pope Benedict XVI
    “Ride on, ride on in majesty!
    In lowly pomp ride on to die;
    O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
    O’er captive death and conquered sin” – Henry Hart Milman
    “Palm Sunday is like a glimpse of Easter. It’s a little bit joyful after being sombre during Lent.” – Laura Gale
    “Lord, we lift up your name. With hearts full of praise; Be exalted, O Lord my God! Hosanna in the highest!” – Carl Tuttle
    “Palm Sunday’s thought; Life is full of ups and downs. Glorify God during the ups and fully trust in Him during the downs.” – Unknown
    “Have a blessed Palm Sunday. Remember a week before he was crucified like a criminal, he rode into the city a king.” – Unknown
  • Welcomed…but not Wanted (Mark 11:1-11) (graceportland.org)
    Centuries earlier, when Simon Maccabeus entered into Jerusalem after defeating the occupying Greeks, he entered with “…with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs: because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Israel.”  There was clearly a strong militaristic spirit in this crowd—they felt that their Messiah, the King, was coming to do battle with the Romans who occupied their beloved country.

 

 

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Christianity without the Trinity

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the Council of Constantinople (381) the concept that God exists as three Persons in one Substance has been affirmed has formed a central part of the Christian confession. Though perhaps neglected in Protestant theology, the modern evangelical movement has given considerable emphasis to the doctrine of the Trinity as fundamental constituent of Christianity. Nevertheless a number of groups, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, have from biblical foundations developed a trinity-less theology. In their book The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting presented the argument that the doctrine of the Trinity is both a misrepresentation of the biblical doctrine of God and a liability that weakens Christianity’s power.[1] The controversy caused by The Myth of God Incarnate opened up to scrutiny the doubts of ‘respectable’ theologians about the ideas surrounding the divinity of Christ.[2]

The question I wish to consider in this article is what would Christianity without the Trinity look like, and is such a Christianity desirable? This can only be a cursory survey of the issues involved nevertheless I hope that this review prompts a reconsideration of the centrality ascribed to the doctrine of the Trinity in Christian theology.

A Platonic Doctrine

English: Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on ...

Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on the Hebrew word רוח “air, wind, spirit” having feminine grammatical gender in the Hebrew language (though in fact in a significant minority of its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, the word actually has masculine grammatical gender). Could be considered “non-orthodox” by the criteria of the traditional mainstream of Christian doctrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When theologians write about the doctrine of the Trinity they cite great luminaries like Augustine and Karl Barth, and, occasionally, the Bible.[3] But rarely will one pause to consider the theological pioneers of later Christian doctrine, such as the early apologists. Yet any scholar who deigns to do so will come against the awkward fact that the concept of a triune god is not Christian at all, but has the Platonists as its progenitors.[4] If Justin Martyr held a doctrine of three divine principles (First Apology 13), it is because Middle Platonists like Numenius of Apamea held this doctrine first. And the first thinker to propose three co-ordinate divine members of a trinity was not one of the Cappadocian Fathers[5] but a bitter enemy of Christianity, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry.[6]

The Platonic doctrine of a triune god is an imposition upon Christianity and an imposition that diverts Christianity from its original message and purpose. The simplicity of Christ’s teaching was supplanted by philosophic complexities that are seldom consistently defined. And thus too, the Bible was, in part, supplanted, because where in the Bible can one go to find theological definitions about the Trinity? It is noticeable that the Nicene Creed quotes verbatim from the New Testament regarding almost every aspect of belief except its definitions of the nature and trinity of God, where philosophic terms are supplied instead.[7]

A return to the teaching of Christ and the apostles would necessitate a reversal of the Platonic influence upon Christianity and thus require the revoking of the doctrine of Trinity.

The Role of Christ

In early Christian thought Christ was understood as a mediator. Paul writes ‘there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim 2:5). This relationship between to God and Jesus was seen through the role of high priest, Paul describing Christ as ‘making intercession’ for believers (Rom 8:34). Paul does not connect the intercession of Christ to any supposed divinity but to his ascension to the right hand of God. We find the same concept used in Acts when Peter says of Christ ‘God has exalted him to his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 5:31).

The writer to the Hebrews makes this concept his own, repeatedly naming Jesus ‘High Priest’. As with Paul, this intercession is linked to the literal ascension of Jesus from the earth to the right hand of God, ‘passing into the heavens’, as the writer puts it (Heb 4:14). Christ’s entry into the presence of God is described as a high priest entering the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:11-12). And, unequivocally, Christ becomes High Priest, not by intrinsic divinity but by the calling of God (Heb 5:5-6, 10, 6:20).

Other early Christian writers also view Christ has a mediator between God and men. Clement of Rome describes Jesus as ‘High Priest’, saying that he was ‘chosen’ by God (1 Clem 64). Ignatius too uses the term ‘High Priest’ but also describes Christ’s intercession through another figure, saying ‘he is the doorway to the Father’ (Ign.Phil 9). Also see Polycarp’s letter to Smyrna, where he too says Christ is ‘High Priest’ (12).

If Christ is promoted to the Godhead (and the Holy Spirit too), who then intercedes on behalf of believers? Historically, this problem was ‘solved’ by the introduction of a series of other go-betweens, namely the Saints and the clergy. In modern evangelical theology can alternative ‘solution’ has been posited, namely that Christ, whilst ontologically co-equal with the Father, remains subordinate and can thus perform his scripturally defined duties of intercession.[8] Yet this fudge simply results in the conundrum that Jesus is neither fully co-equal, nor fully mediator.

Sola Scriptura

Luther Bible, 1534

Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw both the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into the common tongues of the people of Europe. And following almost immediately on the heels of these developments was the emergence of groups that denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The Socinians, the Brüder in Christo and other unitarian groups were founded across Europe, teaching that the Bible alone was authoritative and that the Bible knew nothing of the Trinity. The problem for the Protestants was clear. The Reformation was founded on the principle of sola scriptura, and yet these groups, who also held the principle of sola scriptura, denied the doctrine of the Trinity.

English Protestant theologians wrestled with this problem throughout the seventeenth century. They urged that the believer needs both scripture and reason, and hoped that reason itself would be sufficient to safeguard the Trinity. Catholic theologians pounced upon the dilemma, challenging the Protestants to meet the objections of the Socinians by scripture alone or else return to the Catholic rule of faith.[9] The consequence of these disputes led English Protestants to neglect the doctrine of Trinity, passing over it in silence, a tacit admission that with scripture alone as the rule of faith the Trinity could not be sustained.[10]

Vickers bemoans the demise of the Trinity as the impact of an emphasis on the Trinity as a set of propositions (the immanent Trinity), and urges a return to the invocation of the Trinity in the believer’s encounter with God (the economic Trinity).[11] Yet, as Karl Rahner declares, the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity; it would make little sense to invoke God as Trinity if that set of propositions cannot be assented to. Given then the failure of Protestant theologians to defend the doctrine of the Trinity by scripture alone, it seems we must either abandon the Trinity or the founding principle of the Reformation, sola scriptura.

Modern evangelicals attempt to hold both sola scriptura and the Trinity, and yet it seems no evangelical can preach about the Trinity without reference to the creeds.[12] Though evangelicals may claim that the bible alone is authoritative, there is implicit in many evangelical writings a retreat to tradition to defend the doctrine of the Trinity.

Interfaith Dialogue

Christianity is oft categorized as one of the three great monotheistic faiths, alongside Judaism and Islam. Yet the Trinitarian conception of monotheism is determinedly different from that of either Jews or Muslims. Inasmuch as the Trinity is three Persons in one Substance, the Trinitarian claim to monotheism is an ontological one. However, viewed from a liturgical perspective it is hard to escape the fact that Trinitarian Christians claim to experience God in plurality, worshipping three Persons as God. This feels very different from the Jewish experience of a uni-personal God, and seems to have more in common with Hinduism’s conception of Brahman.

The upshot of this is that in dialogue with other monotheistic faiths the Trinitarian brings to the table a plural conception of God. However carefully the theologian may define the Trinity ontologically as one God, the bread-and-butter of traditional Christian liturgy is hopelessly poly-personal. Christians may claim to be monotheists but they appear for all world to practice polylatry. This hampers interfaith dialogue (and ultimately evangelism).

The issue is not simply that Christians experience God differently from other faiths, but that they define God differently. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to adherence to the God of Abraham, and yet the Trinitarian definition of God is simply alien to both Jews and Muslims (and, one must assume, would have been alien to Abraham himself). Therefore Christianity’s most primitive form of evangelism, preaching the coming of Jewish Messiah, is robbed from it by a doctrine that fundamentally alters the conception of the God of Abraham.

The Atonement

One proposition above any other motivates the continued emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity in modern evangelical theology: that only God could be sufficient substitute to bear the punishment due to mankind. It therefore becomes necessary that Jesus was fully God to bring about the atonement and to question the Trinity is treated as tantamount to denying the salvation of believers.[13] Yet this doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is a relatively new doctrine; it certainly did not motivate the doctrinal innovations that led to the formulation of the notion of the Trinity.

It is beyond the scope of this article to digress into a full rebuttal of the notion of penal substitutionary atonement but, in brief, there are at least two reasons why Christianity would be better off without such a doctrine.

Firstly, none of the New Testament writers appeal to the idea of a substitute to explain the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The analogy to the brazen serpent speaks of a representative icon (John 3:14-15); the analogy to the Passover lamb speaks of a representative offering (1 Cor 5:7); even the analogy to the Day of Atonement speaks of a representative death (Heb 9:11-14). The recapitulation theory that Paul develops at length (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:20-22; Phil 2:5-11) knows nothing of a substitutionary death, rather an offering of obedience to God (Rom 5:19). Even the very words of the NT writers presuppose a representative understanding of the Christ’s death, using huper (‘on behalf of’) in preference to anti (‘instead of’) in almost every instance where the death of Christ is described (cf. Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51; Rom 5:6-8; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:14; Gal 1:4; Eph 5:2; 1 Thes 5:10; 1 Tim 2:6; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:21; 1 John 3:16).[14]

Secondly, the notion of penal subtitutionary atonement skews our notion of God. The psalms describe a God who does not desire sacrifices (Ps 40:6; 51:16). Hosea states that God prizes mercy above sacrifice (Hos 6:6; cf. Matt 9:13, 12:7). The idea of a God who requires sacrifice as a prerequisite for mercy seems inconsistent with this picture. Rather the biblical concept of forgiveness is one without price or condition; the king in the parable, moved with compassion, writes off the debt of his servant without any requirement of some other source of remittance (Matt 18:22-27). Followers of Christ are instructed to forgive freely; are we then more righteous than God, who only forgives at cost? This notion would seem to annul the very idea of grace and portray God as limited and constricted by the requirements of Justice, unable to act freely upon His compassion. This is not the God of the Bible.

Christianity without the Trinity

Christ Church

Christ Church (Photo credit: Nathan Kavumbura)

There are some that feel that without the doctrines of the Trinity and of the incarnation Christianity is doomed to failure. It is claimed that robbing Christ of his divinity makes his message and mission of null affect, and ultimately leads to a denial of the atonement, the resurrection and miracles in general.[15] Unfortunately in some cases, such as the Unitarians (capital ‘U’), this has been the result, Jesus being treated as just a righteous teacher. However there is no reason why the reductive process of removing the doctrine of the Trinity from Christianity should be a purely negative process. Rather it is, I am arguing, a restoration of the primitive Christian faith.

What, then, would Christianity without the Trinity look like? A unitarian creed might look something like this:

  1. There is one God (Mark 12:32), who is the Creator of all things (Eph 4:6) and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; 2 Cor 1:3).
  2. There is one Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:5), the Son of God (Rom 1:4) born of a virgin (Gal 4:4; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27f), who lived a sinless life of obedience to God (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; Rom 5:19), was crucified and rose the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4). Through his death Christ reconciled man to God (Rom 5:10).
  3. There is one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4), the power of God (Luke 1:35), by which God inspired the prophets (2 Pet 1:21) and works miracles (Gal 3:5).

What would Christianity without the Trinity feel like? It would feel more reminiscent of its Jewish roots, more consistent with its claims to monolatry, more reflective of scriptural language, and more intelligible to its adherents.

It has oft been claimed that those who deny the Trinity aren’t real Christians. Yet a ‘Christian’ (Greek christianos) by definition is a follower of Christ, and if this is to be anything more than a nominal title then those who claim to be Christian should follow Christ, in both his teaching and mode of life. Jesus Christ preached the God of Abraham (Matt 22:32) as his Father and as the one true God (John 17:3). Isn’t it time for the teaching of Christians to reflect the teaching of Christ?


[1] A. F. Buzzard & C. F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (New York: International Scholars Publications, 1998).

[2] The Myth of God Incarnate (ed. J. Hick; London: SCM Press, 1977).

[3] Cf. M. A. McIntosh, Divine Teaching: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell 2008), 111-178

[4] T. E. Gaston, The Influence of Platonism on the Early Apologists, The Heythrop Journal 50.4 (2009), 573-580.

[5] Pace I. S. Markham, Understanding Christian Doctrine (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 76-7.

[6] J. Dillon, ‘Logos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity’, in The Philosophy in Christianity, (G. Vesey ed.; Cambridge University Press, 1989).

[7] E.g. “Light of Light, very God of very God”, “being of one substance with the Father”, etc.

[8] R. M. Bowman, Why you should believe in the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 78-81.

[9] J. E. Vickers, Invocation and Assent: The Making and Remaking of Trinitarian Theology, (Grand Rapinds: Eerdmans, 2008), 69-101.

[10] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 165-7

[11] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 191-2

[12] cf. S. Olyott, The Three are One (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1979), 101-2; N. Gumbel [Alpha Course], Is the Trinity Unbiblical, Unbelievable and Irrelvant? (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2004), 7;

[13] cf. J. I Packer, Knowing God (Leicester: IVP, 1984)166-170.

[14] The single exception to this rule is Matt 20:28 (cf. Mark 10:45), “to give his life a ransom for (anti) many”.

[15] Cf. Packer, Knowing God, 46+

Please do find to read:

  1. Did the Inspirator exist
  2. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  3. God of gods
  4. A god between many gods
  5. Only One God
  6. God is One
  7. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  8. The Divine name of the Creator
  9. God about His name “יהוה“
  10. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  11. Sayings around God
  12. Attributes of God
  13. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  14. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  15. God Helper and Deliverer
  16. God is Spirit
  17. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  18. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  19. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  20. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  21. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  22. Seeing Jesus
  23. Jesus Messiah
  24. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  25. Who was Jesus?
  26. Jesus spitting image of his father
  27. Jesus and his God
  28. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  29. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  30. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  31. On the Nature of Christ
  32. Jesus spitting image of his father
  33. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  34. A man with an outstanding personality
  35. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  36. The wrong hero
  37. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  38. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apsotle, High Priest and King
  39. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  40. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  41. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  42. One Mediator
  43. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data
  44. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  45. Politics and power first priority #2
  46. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  47. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  48. 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
  49. Christ Versus the Trinity
  50. Is God a Trinity?
  51. The Trinity – true or false?
  52. The Trinity – the Truth
  53. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  54. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  55. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  56. How did the doctrine of the Trinity arise?
  57. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  58. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  59. Altered to fit a Trinity
  60. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  61. The Great Trinity Debate
  62. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’
  63. Compromise and accomodation
  64. Written to recognise the Promised One
  65. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  66. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  67. About a man who changed history of humankind
  68. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  69. Doesn’t the name “Immanuel” show that Jesus is God, and therefore proves the Trinity? (Isa. 7:14, Mat. 1:23)
  70. Is Isaiah 9:6′s “Wonderful counselor” related to Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8′s “Immanuel”?
  71. Why does Isaiah 9:6 call Jesus “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”?
  72. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  73. One Mediator between God and man
  74. Philippians 1 – 2
  75. Worshipping Jesus
  76. Idolatry or idol worship
  77. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  78. People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
  79. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  80. Science and God’s existence
  81. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  82. Blackness, nothingness, something, void
  83. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  84. Joseph Priestley To the Point
  85. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  86. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  87. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  88. The professor, God, Faith and the student
  89. Concerning gospelfaith
  90. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  91. Apologetics (23) – The Hard Questions: Which God? The Exclusivity Issue (7) The Resurrection and Exclusivity
  92. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  93. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  94. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  95. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  96. Edward Wightman
  97. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  98. Book of Mormon (5): God and Jesus
  99. The Book of Mormon: (7) Right First Principles are Essential to Getting it Right
  100. What the Qur’an Says About…(2): Jesus
  101. Creation’s Gospel: (12) The Veiled Glory

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  2. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  3. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  6. Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7
  7. Anyone Who Goes Too Far and Does Not Abide in the Teaching of Christ, Does Not Have God
  8. Is Jesus God?

+++

Also of interest:

  1. Trinity Proof Texts Considered
  2. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  3. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  4. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  5. The Unholy Trinity
  6. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  7. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  8. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  9. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  10. What About Those Who Do Not Know The Name of God?
  11. The Existence of Jesus Christ
  12. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  13. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  14. Cult or True Religion
  15. Reimagining the Historicity of the Bible
  16. Bishop T. D. Jakes says he now embraces the Trinity Doctrine: T. D. Jakes was interviewed by pastor Mark Driscoll and pastor James MacDonald on January 27, 2012 at Harvest Bible Chapel
  17. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’ By Nicola Menzie
  18. T.D. Jakes is Heretical Concerning Modalism Whether he Believes it or Not
  19. Changed Heart for @StevenFurtick & @BishopJakes: Conviction in The #ElephantRoom. Lessons for dads?
  20. An Elephant Room Roundup
  21. Mark Driscoll And The Mars Hill Churches: When Discipline Becomes Control Becomes … ?
  22. Heretical Modalism and T.D. Jakes Doctrine On the Trinity
  23. The Leader of the Episcopal Church is a Heretic
  24. Critiquing N.T. Wright’s monotheism
  25. God, the Trinity
  26. This Is That – 1
  27. Dwell
  28. A brief visit to the Father of Revolution and Evolution
  29. Who Are You Really Slandering?
  30. On Union with God
  31. By the oaks of Mamre

+++

  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
    +
    Immanuel Kant, a German Idealist continuing the exegesis of the Socinians, saw no need for the doctrine of the Trinity. It was this idea of “necessity” mixed with speculative interpretation that led many like Kant to dismiss it altogether. Questions addressing God’s being, volition, and self-consciousness brought to light some of the supposed weak spots in the Trinitarian doctrine. Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’

    All this should have made it clear that according to the New Testament the key quesiton in the doctrine of the Trinity is not the question which is declared an impenetrable ‘mystery’ (mysterium stricte dictum), how three such different entities can be ontologically one, but the christological question how the relationship of Jesus (and consequently also of the Spirit) to God is to be expressed. Here the belief in the one God which Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam may not be put in question for a moment. There no other God but God! But what is decisive for the dialogue with Jews and Christians in particular is the insight that according to the New Testament the principle of unity is clearly not the one divine ‘nature’ (physis) common to several entities, as people were to think after the ne0-Nicene theology of the fourth century. For the New Testament, as for the Hebrew Bible, the principle of unity is clearly the one God (ho theos: the God = the Father), from whom are all things and to whom are all things.

  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.

    I can name at least three churches in my immediate area (i.e., within 25 miles of my home) who have either had to turn away prospective new members because they wouldn’t affirm the Nicene formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or who have only found out that a new member denied the Trinity after the individual had already been received as a member (in this case, it was kept hidden from the elders).

    What’s more, I know of at least two seminary students (at Presbyterian and Reformed seminaries, no less!) who have informed their professors that they don’t out and out deny the Nicene Creed, but they’re not sure they can affirm it, either.

  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com)
    Giving recognition to the Holy Trinity is an important aspect of the Holy Orthodox Church.  When we pray we make the sign of the cross.  The thumb and first two fingers represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The bringing of these three fingers together signifies that we do not believe in three gods, only ONE GOD.  Everything we do is in the name of the trinity: baptism, forgiveness, marriage, the confession of our faith (Nicene Creed) etc. The Trinity expresses the essence of our faith.  The work of salvation begins with the Father who created the world, is realized by the Son through His death and resurrection, and is completed through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.

    “Catholics believe (X), but (X) isn’t in the Bible”

    First off, let me put this out there and get it over with — Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which translates to “Scripture alone.” Unlike many Protestant beliefs, Catholics do not accept the Bible as the highest authority on doctrine. This may sound like a heresy to some, but it isn’t. The Church isn’t derived from the Bible. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is precisely because of the Catholic Church that the Bible even exists

  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
    +
    Scripture is God-breathed, making one spiritually complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  If Scripture is sufficient, what need is there for anything beyond it?  On what basis would we accept anything more or less than or different from the Bible?  How could fallible man be equal to or co-authorize with the perfect law of the Lord?  Let us accept no substitute or rival to the Bible!
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown. But to the glory of God, He rekindled the fire of the Gospel, and it spread like a fire in a barn of hay. The Reformation has given us such a wealth of knowledge of the truth of Christ’s teaching that I personally will never be able to ingest all of.
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