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Featured Is there an official Trinity doctrine?

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Israel Khan, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    I have been having discussions recently involving the Trinity. Many people have various views regarding the details of it.

    I have said that the Trinity is a specific set of ideas. So saying that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is God does not mean that one is a Trinitarian.

    The reason why I say this is because James White says that the Trinity is a specific set of beliefs and the various councils came to official conclusions from what I have read.

    The question I would like Trinitarians and those who know church doctrine and history to answer is this:

    In order for one to be a Trinitarian, must they have specific beliefs about the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit apart from them being God?

    For instance Modalists belief that all three persons are God, yet they aren't Trinitarian. Also I believe there is a difference between the Catholic view and the Greek Orthodox view?
     
  2. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    .

    Who is James White and why should we care what says?

    .
     
  3. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    He is a known Christian apologist and scholar. He wrote a book called "The Forgotten Trinity". Anyway, his viewpoint could be wrong for all i know. I am interested in if anybody knows if there is an official Trinity doctrine to stick to.
     
  4. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    Indeed. Three colors one cotton candy! (I believe, i dont believe, i am agnostic).. Below is the meat and potatoes of the intellect and the goofy trinity who believes that everything starts with EYE. Or I. Strange bunch.

    Cotton-Candy.jpg
     
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  5. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    WHAT?!!!!
     
  6. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    A Reformed Baptist professor, debater, radio show host, etc. He's actually a pretty alright guy. I don't agree with his theology, but I do appreciate the fact that he keeps things above the belt when dealing with opponents, doesn't engage in ad hominem, does his homework and makes very logically sound arguments.
     
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  7. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    Yes, we Orthodox do have a slightly different take on the Trinity than Western Christians. If you want to know what it is to be a Trinitarian, I can give you some primary-source documents from the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople, and some of the Church Fathers. The Trinity is a BIG topic to cover, so I'll just let you ask questions about it and I'll answer to the best of my ability.
     
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  8. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    Awesome. That would be great. Primary source documents would be cool to look at.

    My first question would be:

    Is just believing that the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit is God all that is needed to be a Trinitarian?
     
  9. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    Sure thing. Fair warning: This stuff linked below is dense. We're talking theologians who lived during the first thousand years of Christianity.

    Here's a link to read the Seven Ecumenical Councils online--your main target in here is to click the table of contents (left corner of the grey title bar up top) and find the First Ecumenical Council (First Council of Nicaea) and the Second Ecumenical Council (First Council of Constantinople). NPNF2-14. The Seven Ecumenical Councils - Christian Classics Ethereal Library You can skip reading the canons if you want to; those canons are mainly administrative things, but the excursuses, historical introductions, synodal letters and other things are all relevant.

    St. Gregory of Nyssa has a treatise called "On 'Not Three Gods'", which explains how the Trinity is monotheism and not tritheism. http://newadvent.org/fathers/2905.htm
    He has another work called "On the Holy Trinity": CHURCH FATHERS: On the Holy Trinity (Gregory of Nyssa)

    St. John of Damascus talks about the Trinity in his "Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith". Chapters 5 through 8 in Book 1 are relevant: CHURCH FATHERS: An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book I (John of Damascus)

    Not quite. Sabellians/Modalists (different words, same thing) also believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God, but they think it's just God putting on different masks or acting in different roles. What sets the Trinitarians apart from the Modalists is that we believe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons, yet one God--i.e. they all share the same Divine Essence. The Father is the origin of the Trinity; He begets the Son and it is from the Father that the Spirit eternally proceeds. It is also from the Father that the Son and the Spirit have their Divine Nature. Trinitarians assert that the Son is eternally begotten; in other words, there was never a time that the Son was not. The same is true of the Spirit. Just as there was never a time where our sun wasn't radiating heat and light, there was never a time in which the Son was not yet begotten or in which the Spirit had not yet proceeded. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

    It is also important that the three Persons of the Trinity are united not only in their same Divine Nature, but also in their interactions with one another. There is a relationship among the three, and the Father reigns supreme as the origin and anchoring point of the Trinity. The Son and the Spirit are co-equal with the Father in divinity, power and majesty, and the Trinity is properly called "one God" because of their shared divine nature and their shared action. But when Jesus called the Father "the only true God" in John 17, this is also a true statement, because the Father reigns supreme, not in terms of having greater divinity or greater power, but because He is supreme in terms of relationship.

    One thing to note is that, when God the Word (AKA God the Son) became incarnate as Jesus Christ, it was only God the Son Who became incarnate and thus united our human nature to His Divine Nature, not the Father and the Spirit. This is readily seen in the Gospels when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist; Jesus came up out of the water, the Father bore testimony to Him, and the Spirit alighted upon Him.
     
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  10. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    You are awesome. This is highly informative stuff. Stuff that I am looking for :)

    The Father being the anchor point I understand. That is how I see it as well.

    What is meant by proceed from the Father, and what is meant by him being the anchor point?

    Would the Father being supreme in relationship mean that the three are not co-equal in relationship? So the Son and the Holy Spirit would be subordinate to the Father?
     
  11. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    Well it depends all on ones eye or I sight. But the the I and the EYE can get very confused.

    A long time ago a crazy man said "you are a bit confused and now the items you created are now your worship." They of course thought him crazy but that story was written down into into a book..


    Thousands of years later, people gazed upon that book and they woud say "the bible says" do not worship your creations this golden calf thing in your brain is stupid"

    So it says, in the book that people say "the bible says".. Who knows. Talking book very wierd.

    I checked for lips i see none.
     
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  12. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    Quite simply, without the Father, there is no Trinity. The Trinity is one God because there is one Father. The Son is begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father, but the Father is utterly Unoriginate; He is neither begotten nor does He proceed from another. He is the source of the unity of the Trinity because both the Son and the Spirit have the Divine Essence from the Father. They all share in the same Divine Essence because the Son and the Spirit receive it from the Father.

    Yes. This is why the Son says of the Father "My God" in the Gospel of John and in the Book of Revelation. The Jehovah's Witnesses think Jesus said "My God" because they think that Jesus is a creature like us, but this is not what we Trinitarians believe, and this is not what the first Christians believed--all the Saints of the Church from St. Ignatius of Antioch in 105 AD (who was the second Bishop of Antioch and who personally knew the Apostle Peter who founded the church at Antioch) and Polycarp (a student of St. John the Apostle), right on down the line. It wasn't until the early 300's that a deacon of Alexandria named Arius broke from this teaching, and even he eventually realized the error of his ways and actually died on his way to recant his beliefs and be received back into the Church.
     
  13. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    So what you are saying is that how people interpret what the book says now is different to what the the original intention of writing it was?
     
  14. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    Now your illustration of light and heat proceeding from the sun makes sense.

    Great. So if someone who claims to be a Trinitarian says that the three are equal in relationship, and none is superior to the other, would they still be considered a Trinitarian?

    Jehovah's Witnesses consider the Great Apostasy to have happened immediately after John died. So if those after the apostles who do not align with their current interpretation of scripture would not be considered as having the truth. In fact, we hardly ever referenced the church fathers at all. Most Witnesses don't even know who they were.
     
  15. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    Many Christians do, yes. The Orthodox Church has kept the faith in the Trinity the same as it always was; we still adhere to the writings of the early Christians and the Scriptures on the subject. If you have any questions about how Rome and the Protestant West came to develop a different kind of Trinitarian theology, I can do my best to explain.

    They'd still be a Trinitarian, yes, as long as they assert the real distinction in the Persons, the co-eternality of the Son and the Spirit with the Father, the relationship between the Three Persons, and the unity in the Divine Essence. In fact, I know many Trinitarians who may be hesitant to say that the Son and the Spirit are subordinate to the Father relationally, if only because many of us are used to seeing a resurgence of Arianism in certain parts of Western Christianity (particularly the Jehovah's Witnesses and people who cook up odd conspiracy theories about the Council of Nicaea and Constantine which don't bear any resemblance to historical reality). There may be some fine minutiae to critique about people who say that the three Persons are completely equal in relationship to be explored, depending on their rationale for saying so.
     
  16. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    It probably was misinterpeted the monment it was written! The word of gods says" no talking books".
    That would beninterpeted into "this is not a book its the word of god" everything else would be books.

    What it says is determined before we read it and that phenomea as we read it determines our response without realizing it. Leaf bug.

    Like staring at statistics! Or quantum mechanics. Same thing. this is literature and writers were aware of it. the story golden calf would not exist otherwise. Leaf. leaf-tailed-gecko.jpg
     
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  17. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    In a world of antiquity there was no direct posiility of expressing the 'relationality' of the triadic form of revelation together with constituents of the biblical messge. In the last analysis, the early Councils are stages in the elaboration of a regula loquendi (rule of speech) in which these scriptural contents could b e expressed. The early heresies are the resistance of human language and thought to those same contents. Our situation is defined in part by the fact that this movement of dogmatic construction has already taken place. Yet at the same time we are not exonerated from all further effort. Language has broadened its compass in the countinous explicative endeavours of the human spirit. Because of this, the presuppositions for the understanding of dogma are different now. And so we are obliged to penetrate anew, in language and concept, what the patristic dogmas truly signify.

    The separating out of the two planes of eusia and hypostasis and the counterposing of persona to esssenthia enabled what had hitherto been inaccessible to thought in the divine revelation to become both attainable and capable of expression. The particular manner in which this feat was executed was in itself fortuitous. Had the main missionary drive of the Church been to the Indian sub-continent, rather than the Greco-Roman world, the articulation of the tri-parsonal nature of God would have happened quite differently. Yet it is only because the process of articulation has been conserved in the patristic dogmas that out own permanent task of comprehending anew is possible. excerpts Ratzinger's development of dogma.

    The goal of all creation is to participate in the trinitarian mystery of love. Wherever the human heart is healed, justice is done, peace holds sway, liberation breaks through, the earth flourishes—wherever sin abounding is embraced by grace superabounding—there the human and earth community already reflect, in fragments, the visage of the trinitarian God.
    The entire doctrine of the Trinity is an enormous gloss on that phrase in the First Letter of John that God is self-gift. From that metaphor spins out the whole of Trinitarian theology.
     
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  18. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    From what I understand, the Orthodox church and the Western Holy Roman Empire split because the east didn't agree with the idea of having a Pope? Then they had a patriarch instead? I have also read that the Orthodox church disagrees with the Western Holy Roman Empires view of the Trinity because apparently they disagree with the relationships of the three slightly. I always understood that the Protestants had the same Trinity as the Western Catholics. Is there any truth in this?

    OK. I think that would make the standard broader than what I thought it was.

    I have had to deal with the conspiracies a lot when chatting to sunni muslims specifically. Many don't only believe that Constantine invented the Trinity, they also believe that the Bible was compiled by the council of Nicaea. It is frustrating.

    The reason why Arianism is rising (I actually don't think JW's are Arians. I looked it up and they have quite a few differences.) is because Trinitarians actually struggle to explain their viewpoint as a whole (obviously not you. you are explaining it exceptionally).
     
  19. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    I have experienced this myself. Only recently have I realised that most of my interpretation of the bible was based on preconceived notions from the start. Plus I was arrogant to think that I could know the truth based on so little knowledge of the history of the text, the church, the various interpretations etc.
     
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  20. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    I thought it is the Eastern Orthodox position is that of subordination and the Western of equality among the 'Persons'.
     
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