1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured Watchtower: Jesus is not "a god"!

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by Oeste, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,501
    Ratings:
    +444
    Religion:
    Christian
    Hi @SLPCCC


    I certainly could have misunderstood your intent, certainly I have not followed much of the debate between you and @tigger2 .

    The three main issues seem to be
    #1 Whether Jesus belongs to the class of beings we call a "God" or not.
    #2 What type of God is he?
    #3 What is the nature of the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).


    YOUR THREE QUOTES HAD TO DO WITH THE NATURE OF THE TRINITY OVER TIME
    My post spoke to your claim that three specific quotes were misused.
    The first quote of the J. Witnesses simply claimed that E.W. Hopkins felt that the FINAL "orthodox" definition of the trinity WAS affected to some extent by Political considerations rather than being a purely religious definition. I agree with this claim

    YOUR first critical quote has to do with an earlier era involving "the first simple Christians" and their simple belief that "Jesus was God" and not the "Final" creed of a later era.

    These are not, historically the same thing.

    The J.W. quote simply says the "final" creed was affected by politics and your first quote tells us the earlier belief. If there is a historical connection, I missed it. However, since the doctrines in Judeo-Christianity evolved, these two claims of different eras are not necessarily connected at all.

    YOUR second critical quote says that "The beginning of the doctrine of the Trinity appears already in John.".

    While the base statement is incorrect (the trinity of three important individuals had long existed prior to John) it appears Hopkins may be trying to claim that John is describing the FINAL orthodox trinity alluded to in quote number one. If so, this isn't necessarily correct at all. (I'm not sure WHICH creed you are referring to and what it says so I can't tell if this is correct or not. I suspect Johns trinity which is described in early Judeo-Christian literature is NOT that of Hopkins. Without more data, I simply can't say...)

    I agree that I have seen what I feel is misrepresentation of ancient text, even biblical text by Jehovahs Witnesses, I simply do not see it in their use of your first quote given the data you presented.


    I agree with you that the Early Judeo-Christians saw Jesus as a "God".

    However, the various definitions of the trinity typically aim to define what SORT of God Jesus is and his relationship to the Father and to the Holy Spirit.

    For examples, the 3=1 strict trinity mostly defines jesus as THE God, the Father AND the Son AND the Holy Spirit as different manifestations of one being, while the 3=3 trinity mostly seems to define Jesus as a separate God from his Father who is a different God and as a separate individual from the Holy Ghost (who may or may not be a "God"). This second type of trinity is, in the earliest Judeo-Christian forms, henotheism, a type of monotheism where multiple beings who are qualified to be called a "God", or "God like" but they have one God over all of them, who has all authority and power and who is due the priority of worship over all other beings that can be called "Gods".

    I still agree with E.W. Hopkins that the FINAL "orthodox" definition of the trinity WAS affected to some extent by Political considerations rather than being a purely religious definition.

    In any case, I hope your journey is good and satisfying.

    Clear
    τωφισιφιω
     
    #181 Clear, Aug 7, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  2. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    First Christians and the Trinity

    “At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian .... It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in the NT [New Testament] and other early Christian writings.” - Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Hastings.

    “In this period [1st century A.D.] churches were still regarded as synagogues, whose members prayed three times a day and fasted twice a week like Jews... They professed monotheism in the same terms as did the Jews. .... Within individual congregations they continued to think, argue, and act like their Jewish counterparts.” - pp. 121-122, The Rise of Christianity, W. H. C. Frend (trinitarian), 1985, Fortress Press.

    “As we have seen, Christianity inherited the monotheism of Israel, but gradually developed it by the elaboration of the doctrine of the Trinity.” - p. 619, v. 6, 1941, Encyclopedia Americana.

    “[The Trinity Doctrine] is not ... directly and immediately the word of God.” - (p. 304) “The formulation ‘One God in three persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian Dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers [those very first Christians who had known and been taught by the Apostles and their disciples], there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.” - New Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 299, v. 14, 1967.

    “The dogma of the Trinity is of relatively recent date. There is no reference to it in the Old Testament .... One can even say that it is a conception foreign to primitive [earliest] Christianity.” - Professor Louis Reau of the Sorbonne (France’s leading university), in Iconographie de l’ Art Chretien, v. 2, Book 1, p. 14.

    “Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord [Jehovah] our God is one Lord.’ Deut. 6:4 .... The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies .... It was not until the 4th century that the distinctness of the three and their unity were brought together in a single orthodox doctrine of one essence and three persons.” - The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1985, Micropedia, vol. 11, p. 928.

    “Speculative thought began to analyze the divine nature until in the 4th century an elaborate theory of a threefoldness in God appears. In this Nicene or Athanasian form of thought God is said to consist of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all equally eternal, powerful and glorious.” - Encyclopedia Americana, 1944, v. 6, p. 619, “Christianity”.

    “Trinity, a word not found in Scripture but used to express the doctrine of the unity of God as subsisting in 3 distinct persons. Not only is the word ‘Trinity’ not in Scripture, but there is no isolated exposition on this attribute of God in either testament. It is an inferred doctrine, gathered eclectically from the entire Canon.” - p. 630 of the trinitarian publication, Today’s Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.

    The trinitarian reference work, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan, admits: “The NT does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity. ‘The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence and therefore in an equal sense God himself. And the other express declaration is also lacking, that God is God thus and only thus, i.e. as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These two express declarations which go beyond the witness of the Bible, are the twofold content of the Church doctrine of the Trinity.’.... It also lacks such terms as ‘trinity’ ... and homoousios which featured in the Creed of Nicaea (325) to denote that Christ was of the same substance as the Father.” And “All this underlines the point that primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds [after 325 A. D.] of the early church.” - p. 84, v. 2.

    “... the doctrine of the Trinity was of gradual and comparatively late formation; that it had its origin in a source entirely foreign from that of the Jewish and Christian scriptures; that it grew up, and was ingrafted on Christianity, through the hands of the Platonizing Fathers; that in the time of Justin [c. 100-165 A. D.], and long after, the distinct nature and inferiority [in comparison to the Father only, of course] of the Son were universally taught; and that only the first shadowy outline of the Trinity had then become visible.” – p. 34, The Church of the First Three Centuries, Alvan Lamson, D.D.

    “The trinity of persons within the unity of nature is defined in terms of ‘person’ and ‘nature’ which are G[reek] philosophical terms; actually the terms do not appear in the Bible. The trinitarian definitions arose as the result of long controversies in which these terms and others such as ‘essence’ and ‘substance’ were erroneously applied to God by some theologians.” - Dictionary of the Bible (Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, 1965), p. 899.

    Weigall relates many instances of the trinity concept in pre-Christian pagan religions and then states: “The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith.” And, “Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word ‘trinity’ appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan.” - The Paganism in our Christianity, pp. 197,198, Arthur Weigall.

    “Christianity did not destroy Paganism; it adopted it .... From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity, …. the adoration of the Mother and Child….” – p. 595, The Story of Civilization: vol. 3, Simon & Schuster Inc., by noted author and historian Will Durant.

    Cardinal Newman was “one of the most influential English Catholics of all time ... universally revered at the time of his death.” - The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia, 1968, v. 2, p. 758. Cardinal Newman wrote that the Christian creeds before Constantine’s time (4th century A. D.) did not make any mention of a trinity understanding. “They made mention indeed of a Three; but that there is any mystery in the doctrine, that they are coequal, co-eternal, all increate, all omnipotent, all incomprehensible, is not stated, and never could be gathered from them.” - The Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 15.

    Quotes from A Short History of the Early Church, by trinitarian scholar Dr. H. R. Boer, 1976, Eerdmans: “The Apostolic Fathers wrote between A. D. 90 and 140. Their discussion of the person of Jesus Christ simply repeated the teaching of the New Testament. None of the Apostolic Fathers presented a definite doctrine on this point. In this respect the New Testament, The Apostolic Fathers, and the Apostles’ Creed stand in one line.” - pp. 109-110, Boer.

    Therefore, admits this trinitarian historian: none of the earliest sources calls Jesus “God the Son” (or the Holy Spirit “God the Holy Spirit”) and there is no clear statement that “God is Three” or that “three (or even two) persons are equally God”! God is only spoken of as a single person, the Father of Jesus.

    The very first Christians to really discuss Jesus’ relationship with God in their writings, according to Boer, were “The Apologists.” “Justin [Justin Martyr, ‘the best known’ of the Apologists] and the other Apologists therefore taught that the Son is a creature. He is a high creature, a creature powerful enough to create the world but, nevertheless, a creature. In theology this relationship of the Son to the Father is called subordinationism. The Son is subordinate, that is, secondary to, dependent upon, and caused by the Father. The Apologists were subordinationists.” - p. 110, Boer.

    (In fact, the trinitarian Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity, 1977, pp. 112-113 admits: “Before the Council of Nicaea (A D 325) all theologians viewed the Son as in one way or another subordinate to the Father.” - also found on p. 114 in the revised 1990 ed. of The History of Christianity, Lion Publishing.)
     
    #182 tigger2, Aug 7, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  3. SLPCCC

    SLPCCC Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2020
    Messages:
    348
    Ratings:
    +50
    Religion:
    Spiritual Christian

    A Christian would not use Washburn Hopkins as a reliable source. Hopkins trashes the whole of Christianity, not just trinity. Hopkins also says,

    • "the life, temptation, miracles, parables, and even the disciples of Jesus have been derived directly from Buddhism."
    • "Christianity, though built upon the rock of Peter, utilized for the construction of its church much pagan material . . . some was inherited from Mediterranean and Grecian cults. Baptism, fast, purification, vigil, the hope of immortality and resurrection, miraculous cures, water turned into wine, all these were pre-Christian." (Origin and Evolution of Religion, E. W. Hopkins, Ch 20, The Christian Trinity).
    Hopkins is not a Christian, but a Bible hater that trashes the whole of Christianity including the JW's. He is not a reliable source that Christians would use as a resource. Yet the JW's use him as reference.
     
    #183 SLPCCC, Aug 8, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  4. SLPCCC

    SLPCCC Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2020
    Messages:
    348
    Ratings:
    +50
    Religion:
    Spiritual Christian

    Tigger2, all of the quotes you posted are misleading. The WTS leaves out parts of a quote to mislead. Take the first quote. They left out, "in the a strictly ontological reference" It's suppose to read,

    • At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the a strictly ontological reference. It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in apostolic the NT and other early Christian writings.

    This is deceptive because the word trinity is used in two senses: Economic Trinity and Ontological Trinity. But the WTS does not want you to know that. Every informed trinitarian will admit that the Ontological Trinity is not in the Bible. But Hasting agrees that the Economic Trinity is and this the WTS also leaves out.

    • When the early Christians would describe their conception of God, all the three elements-God, Christ, and the Spirit-enter into the description, and the one God is found to be revealed in a threefold way. (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)
    • Truly, if the doctrine of the Trinity appeared somewhat late in theology, it must have lived very early in devotion." (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 458)
    • In any case the orthodox doctrine in its developed form is a Trinity of essence rather than of manifestation, as having to do in the first instance with the subjective rather than the objective Being of God. (Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Trinity, p 461)
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  5. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,501
    Ratings:
    +444
    Religion:
    Christian
    @SLPCCC

    1) When you claim "A Christian would not use Washburn Hopkins as a reliable source". do I need to point out the Irony of you, yourself, having used W. Hopkins as a source when you criticized @tigger2 ? Does this mean that you are not Christian? Of course not.

    IF, a dislike of a certain religion disqualifies one as a source of valid knowledge and opinion, then this principle seems to disqualify you as a source to teach us and tell us about Jehovahs Witness theology.

    HISTORIANS AND THEIR PERSONAL BIAS : ALL OF US HAVE BIAS
    The simple truth is that ALL of us have bias. All religionists, all Athiests, All bible translators, All historians, Everyone on this forum. All of us. I am not speaking of bias in a negative sense, though bias may often keep us from looking at another incredibly valuable point of view and gaining correct understanding. I am simply saying we have bias and cannot help it.

    Some Criticisms of Historic Christianity and it's evolving theology and schisms and contaminations with cultures in which it's various movement grew do not come from Christians nor does knowledge of such history do not NEED to come from Christians. Not all of the Dead Sea Scroll team De Vaux had were Christians but instead, the athiest knew ancient language as a qualification for translation. An anti-Christian can know language or teach religious history as well as a Christian. They can "do theology" which involves knowledge. What they cannot do is "religion" which involves belief and a specific relationship with God.


    2) Regarding your criticism of Hopkins' that "Christianity, though built upon the rock of Peter, utilized for the construction of its church much pagan material . "

    CHRISTIAN MOVEMENTS : CULTURAL "CONTAMINATION" OR "APPROPRIATION"
    One can take the good bits of Historical points that W. Hopkins makes and learn from them and agree with them and dismiss the erroneous bits of history and dismiss them. For example, when Hopkins speaks of pagan "material" being used in the "construction" of the later, evolving Christian movement, is he referring to Paul who quotes pagan sources and applying these source quotes to apply in making valid Christian principles to an audience who would have understood them better than trying to use older, less familiar Jewish examples? If so, then this is an accurate example of using "pagan material" to construct a church.


    3) Regarding your criticism that W. Hopkins is suggesting "the life, temptation, miracles, parables, and even the disciples of Jesus have been derived directly from Buddhism."

    I would like to have more context than this. As it stands, it is a strange comment without any supporting context. Is he referring to parallels to Buddhism or something else. I need more context before the claim can make sense.

    JUDEO-CHRISTIAN HISTORY TELLS US THE TORAH/GOSPEL WAS SPREAD TO MANY NATIONS FROM THE BEGINNING

    For example, the early Christian literature discusses the stories of Adam and the promises made to him of a redeemer who would come later and be his redeemer. That is, Adam was taught a form of Christianity. IF these traditions are true and Adam taught these principles to his children then there SHOULD be debris of the Gospel among other nations.

    The Jewish Talmud similarly, tells us that the Torah was offed to all nations of the earth (not just Israel). While the talmud then tells us about specific rejections from other nations (which is a suspicious claim), still, if the Gospel / Torah was offered to and taught among different nations anciently, then there SHOULD be parallels and religious debris left over that parallel Judeo-Christian teachings.

    The "western world" tends to be provincial in their religious historical worldview and do not consider that the gospel and prophets in such a case would have existed among other nations but instead are simply aware of the modern, "western" Judeo-Christian version of this dispensing of Torah/gospel.

    My point is that both theology and religion are more complicated than simply calling W. Hopkins a "trasher of Christianity" and dismissing ALL of the points he makes, especially the true ones, due to some his critical or erroneous comments.

    In any case, I hope your spiritual journey is wonderful and your insights into history are helpful to you.

    Clear
    τωσετωειω
     
    #185 Clear, Aug 8, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  6. SLPCCC

    SLPCCC Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2020
    Messages:
    348
    Ratings:
    +50
    Religion:
    Spiritual Christian
    Clear, you are not thinking clearly. LOL You keep digressing and not staying focus. Go back and read what I posted.

    The WTS misquote and misrepresent their sources! Period! It sounds like you are defending them. I also stand by what I said about Hopkins. You talk about bias, but you miss the point about unreliability.

    So you are saying that Hopkins saying "the life, temptation, miracles, parables, and even the disciples of Jesus have been derived directly from Buddhism" makes him a reliable source for Christians on Jesus being God??? Well, I leave you with that. :confused:
     
    #186 SLPCCC, Aug 8, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  7. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,501
    Ratings:
    +444
    Religion:
    Christian
    1) REGARDING THE STATEMENT BY E.W. HOPKINS THAT THE DEFINITION OF THE TRINITY OF LATER YEARS WAS PARTLY A POLITICAL MATTER

    Post #170 SLPCCC said : “In their book, they quote part of E. W. Hopkins to support their argument about the Trinity saying, “The final orthodox definition of the trinity was largely a matter of church politics.”

    Post #171 Clear said : “I actually agree with E.W. Hopkins that the FINAL "orthodox" definition of the trinity WAS affected to some extent by Political considerations rather than being a purely religious definition.”
    Post #173 SLPCCC said : “My point is that the WTS misquote sources to try to prove their argument that the Trinity is false and that the early Christians did not believed that Jesus was God and that it is a fabrication made in the 4th century.”
    Post #181 Clear said : “The first quote of the J. Witnesses simply claimed that E.W. Hopkins felt that the FINAL "orthodox" definition of the trinity WAS affected to some extent by Political considerations rather than being a purely religious definition. I agree with this claim”
    Post # 183 SLPCCC said : “A Christian would not use Washburn Hopkins as a reliable source. Hopkins trashes the whole of Christianity, not just trinity.”
    Post #186 SLPCCC said : “Clear, you are not thinking clearly. LOL You keep digressing and not staying focus. Go back and read what I posted.
    The WTS misquote and misrepresent their sources! Period! It sounds like you are defending them. I also stand by what I said about Hopkins. You talk about bias, but you miss the point about unreliability.”



    Hi @SLPCCC :

    I have not disagreed with your claim that the WTS misuse and misrepresent historical data to support their doctrines. I agree with this claim. If you had said almost all Christians misuse and misrepresent historical data to support their doctrines, I would have ageed with that claim as well. I, myself have discussed changes to the bible made in the New World Translation that are obviously bogus translations meant simply to support a doctrine. This was not my point.

    If you remember, my first post (#170) simply had to do with the E.W. Hopkins quote that indicated the “orthodox” definition of the trinity that was created, become popular and then was adopted by a large part of the Christian movement of the later centuries was affected to a certain extent by political considerations (rather than being a matter of purely religious doctrine).

    I do not care if E.W. Hopkins was an atheist, or Christian or anti-christian. I simply agree with this specific historical statement.
    I do not care who quoted the statement. (e.g. if this statement was quoted by an atheist, or a Jehovahs Witness Christian or another type of christian, or a muslim or an agnostic.)
    I agree with this specific statement made by Hopkins.


    You gave examples to show E.W. Hopkins was anti-christian. The examples were irrelevant to showing his statement was incorrect. I agree with many of your points, but, they are irrelevant to this statement made by E.W. Hopkins that indicates that the Christian movement (actually, a Christian movement of a later era) adopted a definition of the trinity that was affected by political considerations. The statement is, I think, correct.


    2) REGARDING THE TENDENCY OF RELIGIONISTS TO MISQUOTE AND MISREPRESENT THEIR SOURCES
    SLPCCC said : “So you are saying that Hopkins saying "the life, temptation, miracles, parables, and even the disciples of Jesus have been derived directly from Buddhism" makes him a reliable source for Christians on Jesus being God??? Well, I leave you with that.” (post #186).

    No, this is NOT what I said. You are misquoting and misrepresenting your source (me). This is something you, yourself say we should not do.

    There are various definitions of the Christian “trinity” consisting of God/Father, Son/Messiah, and Spirit. If Hopkins is referring to the definition of the trinity that was created, became popular and was fairly widely adopted in later centuries, then I simply agree with him that it was affected by political considerations and that creating and adopting that definition and creeds that describe that version of the trinity was not purely a religious consideration.


    I hope that makes sense. In any case SLPCCC, I hope your spiritual journey is wonderful and your insights satisfying. I like the fact that you and @tigger2 are using historical quotes and data that readers can examine for themselves. Thank you for doing this.


    Clear
    τωσιτωτωω
     
    #187 Clear, Aug 9, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  8. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    From my study, "The History of the Trinity":

    “Constantine banished Arius, ordered the death penalty for those who did not conform, and commanded the burning of the books composed by Arius...” - pp. 50-51, Christianity Through the Ages, 1965, Harper ChapelBooks.

    So the small minority Western trinitarian bishops had won at the Nicene Council.

    “The decisions of Nicaea were really the work of a minority, and they were misunderstood and disliked by many [even those] who were not adherents of Arius. In particular the terms [‘out of the substance’ - exousia] and homoousios [‘of the same substance’] aroused opposition, on the grounds that they were unscriptural, novel, ... and erroneous metaphysically.” - p. 41, Documents of the Christian Church, 2nd ed., Bettenson, 1967, Oxford University Press.

    “But [the Council of Nicaea’s] formula of the Son’s ‘consubstantiality’ [homoousios] with the Father was slow to gain general acceptance,[148] despite [Emperor] Constantine’s efforts to impose it.” - p. 72, The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, John McManners, Oxford University Press, 1992.

    “Before the assembling of the council of Nice, Constantine had been persuaded that the Arian doctrine contained a blasphemy against the divinity of Christ, and that the [homoousian] was absolutely required, in order to maintain the dignity of Christ’s person. …. It was nothing but the influence of the emperor Constantine which induced the eastern bishops at the council of Nice to suffer the imposition of a doctrinal formula which they detested and from which, indeed, they sought immediately to relieve themselves.” - Neander’s History of Christianity, Vol. 3, p. 189, Bohn.

    "The Council of Nicaea, then, was not universal. Nevertheless, it is everywhere considered the first ecumenical (or universal) council of the Catholic Church. Several later gatherings would be more representative of the entire Church; one of them, the joint council of Rimini-Seleucia (359), was attended by more than five hundred bishops from both the East and West. If any meeting deserves the title "ecumenical," that one seems to qualify, but its result - the adoption of an Arian creed - was later repudiated by the Church. Councils whose products were later deemed unorthodox not only lost the "ecumenical" label but virtually disappeared from the official Church history." - p. 75, When Jesus Became God, Harcourt, 1999.

    In contrast to the conduct of the trinitarians we find the conduct of the Arians and Semi-Arians during the Nicene Council (which we must read in the extremely biased accounts of the Athanasians since their opponents’ accounts, records, and doctrinal evidence were all destroyed by the prevailing Athanasians) to be a much more proper example for those professing to be Christian:
    “The Arians .... recommended the exercise of Christian charity [love] and moderation, urged the incomprehensible nature of the controversy, disclaimed the use of any terms or definitions which could not be found in the Scriptures, and offered, by very liberal concessions, to satisfy their adversaries without renouncing the integrity of their own principles. The [trinitarians] received all their proposals with haughty suspicion and anxiously sought for some irreconcilable mark of distinction, the rejection of which might involve the Arians in the guilt and consequences of heresy. A letter was publicly read and ignominiously torn [by the trinitarians], in which [Arian] Eusebius of Nicomedia ingenuously [honestly, openly, honorably, with a superior character - Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary] confessed that the admission of the homoousion,[105-108, 110] or Consubstantial [a non-Biblical, paganistic term], a word already familiar to the platonists, was incompatible with the principles of their theological system. The fortunate opportunity [for the trinitarians] was eagerly embraced by the [minority group of Western, trinitarian] bishops, who governed the resolutions of the Synod, and, according to ... Ambrose, they used the sword, which heresy itself had drawn from the scabbard, to cut off the head of the hated monster [Arianism and semi-Arianism].” - pp. 685-686, Gibbon, vol. 1, Random House.

    In other words, trinitarian Gibbon, who admittedly dislikes the non-trinitarian Arian teaching, tells us that the Arians wished to keep peace and unity by compromising as much as they honestly could. They wanted to confine the discussion to Scripture alone and not introduce any philosophic and paganistic teachings.[15,79,107,108,143] And they wanted to conduct this Council or Synod in the spirit of Christian Love. But the trinitarians would have none of it and actually searched for a way to have the non-trinitarian majority persecuted as heretics! And when the Arian spokesman, in the spirit of Christian honesty and openness, wrote that one thing they simply could not compromise with was the use and potential meanings of the pagan non-Biblical term (“Homoousious” or “of equal substance” - a term introduced at the council by Emperor Constantine himself), the trinitarian bishops immediately and publicly tore up the letter and started the proceedings for heresy!

    “Nicaea cost the Church its independence, however, for the Church became imperial from this time and was increasingly dominated by the Emperor."[123]

    “Nevertheless ... Constantine’s unification of state and church did not please everyone. .... it had indeed required a mental and spiritual turnabout to belong to a church which, instead of being perpetually proscribed [“outlawed,” persecuted - see 2 Tim. 3:12, John 15:19-20] was subsidized and directed from the lateran palace under the guidance of the Emperor."[124]

    Up to this point Christians had been persecuted by those around them, including the government itself - just as foretold by Christ and the inspired Bible writers, but they would not persecute in return (also as commanded by Jesus). Then at this single stroke a new God was to be worshiped by all Christians, and these newly-proclaimed “orthodox” (trinitarian) Christians were no longer persecuted, proscribed. Those being persecuted in accord with Christ’s prophecy were still the non-trinitarians.

    “The Bishop of Rome (Pope) was given the royal palace of the Laterni [the Lateran Palace] and magnificent new churches. The liturgy borrowed imposing features from official and court ceremonial.” Even “episcopal [bishops’] courts were given jurisdiction in civil cases.” - Grant, pp. 220, 221.

    St. Jerome’s doubts about the desirability of such a position for the church echoed a feeling of disgust that went wide and deep among the members of the church:
    “This feeling had ancient roots. Before official recognition of the church, many Christian writers had detested not only the Roman state but the whole Greco-Roman and particularly Greek philosophical culture in which the Alexandrians and other apologists had tried to dress the Jewish doctrines of Christianity."[125]

    Yes, the religion which Christ himself had said was no part of the world (Jn 17:16; compare 1 Jn 2:15-17) was now gladly fusing itself wholly with that world. Protestant Church historian Neander noted,

    “the consequence would be a confusion of the church with the world ... whereby the church would forfeit her purity, and, while seeming to conquer, would herself be conquered.” - General History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. 2, p. 161.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    Some endnotes from my same study:

    101. “Constantine was probably attracted to Christianity ... by the political use he could make of it.”- Encyclopedia Americana, p. 555, v. 7, 1957.

    102. “Constantine’s ecumenism was not a defensive closing of the ranks, like its modern counterpart, but a universal missionary attack launched at a time when he had boldly estimated that the tide was running in Christianity’s favor. Moreover ... Constantine (as King James I of England appreciatively noted) was influenced by a political motive.” - pp. 224-225, The Ancient World: “Christianity: From Hunted Sect to State Religion”, Michael Grant, 1970, Mankind Publishing Company.

    103. Christianity Through the Centuries, E. E. Cairns, Ph.D., Zondervan Publishing House, 1977 printing, p. 143.

    104. Constantine first called the council to convene at Ancyra but then transferred “the council from Ancyra to Nicaea so that he could control the proceedings.” - The Early Church, Chadwick, p. 130, Dorset Press, NY, 1986 ed.

    105. “homo ousios: A Greek word meaning ‘consubstantial,’ ‘of the same essence,’ or ‘substance.’ It represents the formula championed by Athanasius (293-373) and adopted by the Nicaean Council (325) to express the relation of the Father and the Son. They are in substance one, numerically identical, indivisible, in contrast to the Arian view [and the Semi-Arian majority view at Nicaea - and the view of all Christian writers of the first two centuries] which subordinated the Son to the Father.” - p. 345, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), 1945.
    Although this is the interpretation that the trinitarians put on this term after the Council, “it hardly expresses the original meaning of this expression: the concept homoousios was not understood in this sense at the time [although Eusebius rightly suspected it might be taught that way by the trinitarians anyway - p. 135, Williston Walker, Hist.].” - p. 55, A Short History of Christian Doctrine by trinitarian scholar Bernard Lohse, Fortress Press, 1985. (See note #88.)

    106. “The Emperor himself presided over the critical session [at Nicaea], and it was he who proposed the reconciling word, homoousios (Greek for ‘of one essence’) to describe Christ’s relationship to the Father (though it was probably one of his ecclesiastical advisers, Ossius [Hosius] of Cordova, who suggested it to him).” - Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity, p. 134, 1977; Also The History of Christianity, p. 141, Lion Publishing, 1990.

    It is important to note that in the third century (about 50 years earlier) the Council of Antioch condemned the use of the term homoousios in describing the relationship of Jesus to God! It was proclaimed instead that the term heteras ousias (‘different essence’) must be used in describing Christ’s relationship to God!! But, of course, fifty years later at Nicaea the new trinitarians managed to reverse this and institute the previously condemned term (homoousios) as the required term. Those who would disagree with the new reversal of terms were to be persecuted, banished, and their writings burned.
    From an article in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
    "(Gr. homoousion - from homos, same, and ousia, essence; Lat. consubstantialem, of one essence or substance), the word used by the Council of Nicaea (325) to express the Divinity of Christ. [Note that the trinitarian word is homo (same) ousia not homoi (similar but different) ousia]
    ....
    "The question was brought into discussion by the Council of Antioch (264-272); and the Fathers seem to have rejected Homoousion, even going so far as to propose the phrase heteras ousias, that is, Heteroousion, "of other or different ousia [essence]". Athanasius and Basil give as the reason for this rejection of Homoousion the fact that the Sabellian Paul of Samosata took it to mean "of the same or similar substance." But Hilary says that Paul himself admitted it in the Sabellian sense "of the same substance or person", and thus compelled the council to allow him the prescriptive right to the expression. Now, if we may take Hilary's explanation, it is obvious that when, half a century afterwards, Arius denied the Son to be of the Divine ousia or substance, the situation was exactly reversed. Homoousion directly contradicted the heretic. In the conflicts which ensued, the extreme Arians persisted in the Heteroousion Symbol. But the Semi-Arians were more moderate, and consequently more plausible, in their Homoiousion (of like [similar] substance)." - CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Homoousion

    107.“’Consubstantial’ (homoousios) had been introduced to Christian theology by Gnostics who believed that the heavenly powers shared in the divine fullness. .... Its use in the Creed of Nicaea must have resulted largely from Constantine’s intimidation or overawing persuasion.” - pp. 159-160, Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity, 1977.

    108. “The [trinitarians] under the leadership of Athanasius fought for the dogma of the divinity [absolute deity] of the Son (Logos) with the conviction that in it the very essence of the Christian faith was expressed. It must be noted, however, that in attributing divinity [absolute deity] to Jesus Christ, they proceeded on the basis of the question what he must have been in view of their doctrine of salvation and not what the Gospels described him as having been. The same abstract and artificial approach ... was also that of the controversy which followed almost immediately....” - p. 166, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), 1945.

    Yes, Athanasius and his followers believed Jesus was God simply because they needed him to be God in order to satisfy their own non-scriptural concepts which were based on Neo-Platonic philosophy and paganistic Egyptian traditions:

    “Intellectually, Athanasius was a Platonist like Basil [‘the Great’], but he was also a populist, as much in sympathy with the ideas of Coptic monks as he was with those of his fellow Alexandrians. He tended, like the monks, to see salvation in terms of salvation from death and destruction by demonic powers, and as his Life of Antony shows, these were stark realities [terrors] to him. The abyss and the river of fire that the soul must cross were as vivid in Egyptian [including, of course, Alexandrian] Christian conscience as similar terrors had been to the beholders of the [ancient pagan Egyptian] Book of the Dead in the tombs of a former age. Heaven, therefore, could be gained only by a soul infused with the power of Christ, and that of necessity must be divine power. Nothing less than God could save.” - p. 633, The Rise of Christianity, W. H. C. Frend (trinitarian), Fortress Press, 1989 printing.

    So Athanasius (and his few, but influential, trinitarian followers) believed he not only needed a Savior who was God in order to sufficiently combat the terrible demonic powers that would otherwise surely bring about the hideous, unthinkable destiny of men, but, even more importantly, if men were to “become God” as he is said above to have falsely believed, surely the only one able to save them and be King over them would, himself, also have to be God. Hence, the desperate, never-ending drive to promote a false doctrine making Jesus equally God was in turn based on other false and unscriptural doctrines!

    To Be Continued
     
  10. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    109. “A large majority of the bishops of Asia appeared to support or favor his [Arius’] cause; and their measures were conducted by Eusebius of Caesarea, the most learned of the Christian prelates.” - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon, p. 374, Dell (Laurel edition).

    110. “[Eusebius of Nicomedia, a staunch non-trinitarian Arian] appears to have been agreed with Eusebius of Caesarea in placing Christ above all created beings, the only begotten of the Father, but in refusing to recognize him to be ‘of the same essence’ with the Father, who is alone in essence and absolute being.” - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 892, v. 8, 14th ed.

    111. “The largest party [at the Nicene Council] was led by the gentle scholar and Church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, whose dislike of controversy led him to propose a view that he hoped would be an acceptable compromise .... over two hundred [the Semi-Arians] of those present [about 300] followed his views at first .... His creed [Caesarean Creed] became the basis of the creed that was finally drawn [at Constantine’s and Hosius’ insistence] at Nicaea, but that one differed from his in its insistence upon the unity of essence or substance of the Father and the Son.” - Cairns, p. 144.

    112. “What is certain is ... that he [Eusebius of Caesarea] was sympathetic with Arius in the latter’s dispute with the Bishop of Alexandria, and that he was embarrassed by the final recension of his Caesarean creed adopted at Nicaea. Later also Eusebius sided with the Arian faction ... ‘his acts.’ wrote Neuman, ‘are his confession.’” - An Encyclopedia of Religion, pp. 260-261. (Also see Encyclopedia Americana, p. 250, v. 2, 1957.)

    113. “The Western [trinitarian] Church was represented by seven delegates [out of 300 attending the council], the most important of whom was Hosius, Bishop of Cordova who presided over the sittings which continued for about two months .... After much discussion of the doctrines of Arius [and Athanasius], his creed was torn in pieces and he himself [Arius] ejected from the council and the Athanasians succeeded, with the help of Constantine and the [seven] Western bishops.” - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 250, v. 2, 1957 ed.

    114. “The Nicene creed was ratified by Constantine; and his firm declaration, that those who resisted the divine judgment of the synod [council] must prepare themselves for an immediate exile, annihilated the ... opposition.” - p. 380, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon, Dell.

    115. “The interference with the Church by the temporal power [began] with the control of the Council of Nicaea by Constantine in 325.” - p. 19. And, “Constantine at Nicaea in 325 arrogated to himself the right to arbitrate the dispute in the Church, even though he was only the temporal ruler of the Empire.” - p. 137, Christianity Through the Centuries, Cairns, 1977.

    116. “[The] majority eventually acquiesced in the ruling of the Alexandrians [trinitarians]; yet this result was due ... partly to the pressure of the imperial will. .... We are compelled to the conclusion that in this point, the voting was no criterion of the inward convictions of the council. Accordingly [?] that the Caesarean creed should be modified by the insertion of the Alexandrian [Constantine-proposed trinitarian] passwords ... and by the deletion of certain portions. That he appreciated the import of these alterations, or realized that his revision was virtually the proclamation of a new doctrine [Trinity], is scarcely probable. The creed thus evolved by an artificial unity was no ratification of peace: in fact, it paved the way for a struggle which convulsed the whole empire. For it was the proclamation of the Nicene Creed that first opened the eyes of many bishops to the significance of the problem there treated; and its explanation led the Church to force herself ... into compliance with those principles, annunciated at Nicaea, to which in the year 325, she had pledged herself without genuine assent.” - Encyclopedia Britannica, pp. 410-411, v. 16, 14th ed.

    117. “the emperor sustained the trinitarian position [at the Nicene Council].” - The Outline of History, p. 438, v. 1.

    118. “During the Arian controversy [Eusebius of Caesarea] inclined to the doctrine of the subordination of the Son of God. To the charge of heresy [during the Nicene Council] Eusebius replied by renouncing [for the moment] Arius.” - Collier’s Encyclopedia, v. 9, 1975 ed.

    119. “at the Nicene Council ... there were three parties present: the strict Arians, the semi-Arians and the Alexander-Athanasian party. The latter party, with the help of Constantine and the [7] Western bishops, secured the adoption of a creed which no strict Arian could subscribe to, since it declared that the Son is identical in essence (homoousian) with the Father. The semi-Arians, although they maintained that the Son was not identical in essence, but of similar essence (homoiousian) with the Father, were finally constrained [‘to compel, force’ - Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary] to sign the document.” - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 233, v. 2, 1957 ed.

    120. “Soon after the Nicene Council had concluded its work, the semi-Arians began to assail the creed [which they had been forced to sign earlier].” - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 251, v. 2, 1957 ed.

    121. “Later [after the Council] also Eusebius [of Caesarea] sided actively with the Arian faction against ... Athanasius.” - An Encyclopedia of Religion, pp. 260-261.

    122. “[After the Nicene Council] the large party known as Semi Arians ... carried on the strife against the Nicenes [trinitarians] and especially Athanasius.” - p. 359, Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 2, 14th ed.

    123. Cairns, p. 145.

    124. “The Emperor [and his designee, Hosius] presided over the council and paid its expenses. For the first time the church found itself dominated by the political leadership of the head of state.” - Cairns, p. 143.

    125. The Ancient World: “Christianity: From Hunted Sect to State Religion” - p. 225, Mankind Publishing Company.

    126. “There is no doubt that Constantine’s signature to the decrees of the Council was gained by his religious adviser [Hosius].” - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 426, v. 14, 1957 ed.

    127. “[Hosius] powerfully influenced the judgment of the emperor.”- Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 790, v. 11, 14th ed.
     
  11. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2020
    Messages:
    2,498
    Ratings:
    +389
    Religion:
    Christian
    I cannot claim to be an expert in what happened in the 4th century in regards the divinity of Jesus belief, but I am aware that both sides of the debate played dirty political games at times, and no doubt thought that was OK in defence of what they believed to be the truth of scripture. But of course neither side was in that right in this regard.
    I do note in what you said above however that the Council of Antioch (50 years before the Council of Nicea) condemned the use of homoousios and said that heteras ousias should be used. This is interesting in that the term homoousios is condemned because it is not in the Bible but we should realise that heteras ousias is also not in the Bible.
    So whichever way the debate would end would entail the use of non biblical language.
    Also, considering these things, I cannot see how homoousios could be considered a word introduced by Constantine, as if he had not been advised on it's use.
     
    #191 Brian2, Aug 10, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  12. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2020
    Messages:
    2,498
    Ratings:
    +389
    Religion:
    Christian
    First of all I would like to point out that it seems the JW publications do misquote Dr H R Boer and offer you this site to peruse in that regard. (not that I expect a JW to want to check out the deceptiveness of the Watchtower Organisation)
    Boer, Harry R.: A Short History of the Early Church
    And of course there are many other sites available concerning the deceptiveness of the organisation.
    Nevertheless I also want to offer Apostolic and Church Father quotes which show that from very early on the Church did see Jesus as God.
    Nine Early Church Fathers Who Taught Jesus Is God
    And here is another site which speaks of Origen and what he wrote about. This site shows WatchTower deception in their use of what Origen taught, but the quote from the early church fathers site above also does that and cannot really be seen as an anti JW site when all it is giving is quotes from the Church Fathers. And I'm sure you want to find the truth.
    Origen and the Watchtower | CARM.org

    Also I would like to point out that the Son is subordinate to His Father simply because He is the Son and the Father is the Father. This is a Biblical position.
    The Father also is the source of the Son, as are all fathers of their sons. This is a Biblical position also.
    I have seen quotes where the Son seems to be called a creation of God and possibly some early church Fathers believed this but also I may have seen these quotes in WT literature and it has poisoned my mind on the subject. Here is another site which gives and tries to explain what some Early Apologists may have meant by some of the WT quotes and misquotes from them. I hope you have some time to put to reading some of this literature I am presenting and are not scared off by anything you have been told about sites that are called Anti sites, but are really just pro the truth.
    The Early Church Fathers on Jesus
     
  13. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2,501
    Ratings:
    +444
    Religion:
    Christian
    I am so busy that I really don't have time to make more that a specific point.

    Ignatious and Polycarp mentioned in @Brian2s article above are actually not "church fathers", but "apostolic fathers". (wikipedia notwithstanding....).

    The Apostolic fathers are those writings, written at a time when either an apostle was still alive or the author could have known one of the original 12 apostles. Thus these writings are very valuable in their descriptions of the earliest doctrines.

    The "church" Fathers include writings from a later age and represent the evolving doctrines of a later age when certain doctrines were still being "ironed out".

    Origen, a "church" father for example, tells us that it had not been yet "decided" in his age as to whether God the Father had a body or not. At some point in the evolution and development of church doctrines, such things were debated and, though the churches often may not have known the actual answer to such questions, the various christian churches and various christian movement developed doctrines that became popular and more widely accepted and then more widely taught.

    At any rate, I wanted to make this subtle distinction between "Apostolic" Fathers and "Church Fathers" as it is, historically, important since the doctrines between the early Judeo-Christian movement and the "apostolic" fathers and the later Christian movement with it's "church" fathers evolved and thus were not all the same doctrines.

    Also, I was under time constraints during my prior quotes and so limited myself to a specific point (the A. W. Hopkins quote).

    While I agree with SLPCCC that some of the quotes used by the WT Society are taken out of historical context, this does not mean that ALL quotes made by the WT Society are taken out of context. My point is that many of the J.W. quotes are correct historical quotes and are in perfect historical context. The point here is that some of the J.W. quotes and the underlying points they are making are correct. While each quote can be taken as a single point of data, multiple parallel points in agreement will create a pattern and enough data can support a historical theory. I LIKE some of @tigger2 s data (and I like some of SLPCCCs counter data). History is not like a "light switch" where one theory is either entirely correct or entirely incorrect. For example, a henotheistic model allows both Tigger2 and SLPCCC to have some correct underlying assumptions.

    At any rate, I wanted to make that specific clarification. Got to go.

    Clear
    τωακσεφιω
     
    #193 Clear, Aug 11, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
  14. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    Brian2 wrote:

    First of all I would like to point out that it seems the JW publications do misquote Dr H R Boer and offer you this site to peruse in that regard. (not that I expect a JW to want to check out the deceptiveness of the Watchtower Organisation)
    Boer, Harry R.: A Short History of the Early Church

    From Brian's link:

    "Boer, Harry R.: A Short History of the Early Church ....


    "Watchtower Deception exposed:

    "The first emperor to become a Christian, Constantine had basically no understanding whatsoever of the questions that were being asked in Greek theology. ... Even though he had a general antipathy to the controversies, and even though he himself had only a rudimentary "theology," he was still not entirely without sympathy for the problems which arose. In any case, he permitted himself to be more fully instructed about many things by his episcopal counselors. The decisive catchword of the Nicene confession, namely, hoinoousios [sic] ("of one substance"), comes from no less a person than the emperor himself. To the present day no one has cleared up the problem of where the emperor got the term. It seems likely that it was suggested to him by his episcopal counselor, Bishop Hosius (Ossius) of Cordova, and it was probably nothing more than a Greek translation of a term already found in Tertullian (A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Bernard Lohse, 1966, p51-53) Constantine's "episcopal counselors" were all "Jesus is God" adherents.


    [Part in blue above is quote from the JW trinity brochure. Part in red is from A Short History of Christian Doctrine, by Bernard Lohse (not from A Short History of the Early Church, by H.R. Boer as Brian and his source claim!). Also notice the misquote of the word homoousios.]

    The quote by the JW brochure is: "Hence, Constantine's role was crucial. After two months of furious religious debate, this pagan politician intervened and decided in favor of those who said that Jesus was God. But why? Certainly not because of any Biblical conviction. 'Constantine had basically no understanding of the questions that were being asked in Greek theology,' says A Short History of Christian Doctrine."

    The part quoted in red above begins a page later where the paragraph begins, "In the course of the long discussion which now took place at Nicaea the emperor intervened personally several times,".

    So how is the JW booklet misquoting by "quoting out of context"? Was the quote accurate or not? How does the red part of the quote change the meaning of the earlier quote?

    “In religious matters, ... he himself [Constantine] was not baptized until he lay on his deathbed .... Moreover, it is probable that he believed that all the monotheists in the empire could be brought eventually to worship a single god in which would be combined the Father-God of the Christians with the Sun-God of the followers of Mithras. The traditional Roman Paganism, of which, as Pontifex Maximus, he remained head, continued to be tolerated, and a modified Emperor-worship encouraged.” - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 555, v. 7, 1957.
     
    #194 tigger2, Aug 11, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  15. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    SLPCCC wrote:

    "Tigger2, all of the quotes you posted are misleading. The WTS leaves out parts of a quote to mislead. Take the first quote. They left out, "in the a [sic] strictly ontological reference" It's suppose to read,

    At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the a [sic] strictly ontological reference. It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in apostolic the NT and other early Christian writings.

    "This is deceptive because the word trinity is used in two senses: Economic Trinity and Ontological Trinity. But the WTS does not want you to know that. Every informed trinitarian will admit that the Ontological Trinity is not in the Bible. But Hasting agrees that the Economic Trinity is and this the WTS also leaves out."
    .........................

    I found the difference between the two inferred versions of the trinity to be confusing. The only explanation I found came from the same criticism of this JW quote by strongly anti-JW Robert Bowman.

    Bowman's criticism of the JW 'Trinity Brochure':

    "The JW [Trinity] booklet continues citing scholarly sources out of context to give the impression that these sources deny that the early church’s faith was trinitarian.


    "For example, the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics is quoted as follows: “At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian.... It was not so in the apostolic and subapostolic ages, as reflected in the NT [New Testament] and other early Christian writings” (pp. 6-7). The first part of this quotation is cut off in mid-sentence, and reads in full, “At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the strictly ontological reference [emphasis added].”


    "Here the point is that while the early Christians viewed God as trinitarian economically, in his activity in the world and in their experience, they did not explicitly speak of God as trinitarian ontologically, in his very essential nature or being."
    - p. 25, Bowman's Why you Should Believe in the Trinity.

    So, is the “Trinity” booklet really “citing scholarly sources out of context to give the impression that these sources deny that the early church’s faith was trinitarian”?

    Well, here is the stated purpose by the JWs for the quotes they are giving in this section of the “Trinity” booklet (p. 6):


    Taught by Early Christians?

    _____________________________

    “Did the early Christians TEACH the Trinity?

    Note the following comments by historians and theologians”

    There then followed four quotes from four different sources. Three of them are trinitarian and probably (like the trinitarian source examined by Bowman) also express some belief that the “Trinity” (in some nebulous form) was really “understood” by these Christians, but somehow they just never happened to teach it! - - - (How else is a trinitarian going to hang on to his tradition when he finds that the very first Christians did not teach a trinity? By telling himself, “Oh well, they must have been thinking it, they just never said it aloud.”)

    But the sole stated purpose for quoting these sources was to show that the earliest Christians did not teach the trinity! It is not dishonest in any sense to quote the portions of a statement that apply to your stated purpose alone!

    When you ignore the stated purpose given by someone for the quotes they use and tell your readers, in effect, that they gave those quotes for a different reason, you truly, dishonestly “quote out of context.”
     
    #195 tigger2, Aug 11, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2020
    Messages:
    2,498
    Ratings:
    +389
    Religion:
    Christian
    I can see your point and agree that the JW booklet is not misquoting in this particular case even if Constantine is said to have some understanding later in Lohse's book.
    I can also see that the site is very unclear in how it expresses itself and can be easily misunderstood to be totally about H R Boer.
    I in fact thought it was all about H R Boer. I should have looked more carefully. Sorry.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. SLPCCC

    SLPCCC Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2020
    Messages:
    348
    Ratings:
    +50
    Religion:
    Spiritual Christian
    tigger2 had a friend who was a JW and he had convinced me back then that the Trinity was made up in the 4th century and that it wasn't taught among the first-century Christians. I believed him because he was my friend and I knew that he wouldn't lie to me so I took his word. When I read the JW's "Trinity" booklet, I was even more convinced. I stopped believing in the Trinity. It wasn't until I started to compare their arguments and quotes with those of the early Christians that I found that it really isn't about arguing about whether or not the Trinity is taught in the bible and among the early Christians. They use it really as some kind of red herring. The real argument is whether or not the bible and early Christians taught that Jesus is God. I believe that this is what the WTS avoids arguing. And they do so by misquoting. Let me give you examples:

    In the “Should You believe in the Trinity” p. 7 it says, “THE ante-Nicene Fathers were acknowledged to have been leading religious teachers in the early centuries after Christ’s birth. What they taught is of interest. They quote:

    • Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., called the prehuman Jesus a created angel who is “other than the God who made all things.” He said that Jesus was inferior to God and “never did anything except what the Creator . . . willed him to do and say.”
    So here the Watchtower is teaching that Justin Martyr “called the prehuman Jesus a created angel. Justin Martyr actually taught that Christ is “the Angel of God” who conversed with Moses out of the burning bush and revealed Himself as the Jehovah God saying, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.…I AM WHO I AM.” Note the full quote:


    JUSTIN MARTYR (165 A.D.)

    • “For at that juncture, when Moses was ordered to go down into Egypt…our Christ conversed with him under the appearance of fire from a bush….‘And the Angel of God spake to Moses, in a flame of fire out of the bush, and said, I am that I am, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of thy fathers….’…the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets….in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts…. ”—The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pp. 184, 212, 213, 219

    You see the real argument is that they believe that Jesus was God. Never mind the word, "Trinity" or if it was understood as we know it today. Justin Martyr agreed with an earlier Aopostilic father that Jesus was God.


    Ignatius
    who is identified, along with his friend Polycarp, as disciples of John the Apostle. He is said to be one of the children whom Jesus Christ took in his arms and blessed. While en route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. Notice that he called Jesus, our God.

    IGNATIUS (30-107 A.D.)

    • “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia…predestinated before the beginning of time…and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Jesus Christ, our God….Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by the blood of God, ye have perfectly accomplished the work which was beseeming to you….There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible, — even Jesus Christ our Lord.” —The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pp. 49, 52
    This is the real argument which the Watchtower avoids by misquoting and focusing on only the Trinity.


    When they quote the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.”—Should You Believe in the Trinity?, pp. 6-7 they say,

    • “DID the early Christians teach the Trinity? Note the following comments by historians and theologians:… ‘At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian…It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in the N[ew] T[estament] and other early Christian writings.’
    They leave out "in the strictly ontological reference" because they want their readers to only think about the Trinity and not that Jesus was believed to be God by the early Christians. This they do throughout their booklet.




    What the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics really is saying is that
    while the early Christians had a rudimentary understanding of the nature of the Triune God as they experienced Him (“economic or dispensational Trinity”) through His dealings with mankind throughout the Old and New Testaments, it wasn’t until subsequent centuries that they were more capable of articulating ontologically their understanding of the Triune God through the formulation of the Christian creeds (“ontological Trinity”). it reads,

    • “Economic and essential trinity.—(a) The transition from the Trinity of experience to the Trinity of dogma is describable in other terms as the transition from the economic or dispensational Trinity (tropoV apokaluyewV) to the essential, immanent, or ontological Trinity (tropoV uparxewV). At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the strictly ontological reference. It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in the NT and other early Christian writings.” —Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. 12, p. 461
    So, the early Christians didn't know or use the word "Trinity" but they believe that Jesus was God economically. Eventually, as years passed the Church Fathers expressed it ontologically.
     
    #197 SLPCCC, Aug 12, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  18. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    "Justin and the other Apologists therefore taught that the Son is a creature. He is a high creature, a creature powerful enough to create the world but, nevertheless, a creature. In theology this relationship of the Son to the Father is called subordinationism. The Son is subordinate, that is, secondary to, dependent upon, and caused by the Father." - p. 110, Boer, A Short History of the Early Church, Eerdmans (trinitarian), 1976.


    “The modern popular doctrine of the Trinity ... derives no support from the language of Justin [Martyr]” - Alvan Lamson, The Church of the First Three Centuries.

    "God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, and therefore He is God, but all other things after him are created and corruptible {Justin has just concurred that the world was begotten by God} .... take your stand on one Unbegotten, and say this is the Cause of all." - The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF) 1:197 (‘Dialogue’).

    But,

    "Jesus Christ is the only proper Son who has been begotten by God, being His Word and first-begotten" - ANF 1:170 (‘Apology’).

    Justin wrote: God begat before all {other - ANF, 4:246} creatures a Beginning, [who was] a certain rational power [proceeding] from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an angel, then God {‘a god’}, and then Lord and Logos .... For He can be called by all those names, since he ministers to the Father’s will, and since He was begotten of the Father by an act of will .... The Word of Wisdom ... speaks by Solomon {Prov. 8:22-30} the following: ‘.... The Lord {‘Jehovah’, original Hebrew manuscripts - cf. ASV} made [ektise, 'created'] me the beginning of His ways for His works.’ ANF 1:227-228 (‘Dialogue’).

    "A saying of Justin Martyr indicates what lack of clarity there was with regard to the development of the doctrine of the Trinity as late as the middle of the second century .... He admits that Christians indeed reject the false pagan gods, but, he goes on to say, they do not deny the true God, who is the Father of justice and chastity and of all other virtues, and who will have nothing to do with that which is evil. He then says, ‘Both him [The Father, God alone] and the son who came forth from him and taught us these things, and the host of other good angels who follow and are made like to Him, and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, because we honor [them, anf] in reason and truth.’ As if it were not enough that in this enumeration angels are mentioned as beings which are honored and worshiped [but see the WORSHIP study] by Christians, Justin does not hesitate to mention angels before naming the Holy Spirit. The sequence in which the beings that are worshiped are mentioned (God the Father, Christ, the [OTHER] angels, the Spirit) is noteworthy." - pp. 43, 44, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Lohse (trinitarian), Fortress Press, 1985.

    Respected church historian, Robert M. Grant (trinitarian), likewise notes concerning the above:

    “[Justin] ... identifies the God whom Christians worship as ‘most true and Father of justice.... And he goes on to speak of reverencing and worshiping ‘the Son who came from him and taught us these things, and the army of other good angels who follow and resemble him, as well as the prophetic spirit.’” - p. 59 [quoting from “The First Apology of Justin,” Ch. VI]. “This is why Justin could place the ‘army of angels’ ahead of the ‘prophetic spirit,’ as we have seen: for him the Spirit was not precisely personal [in fact Grant calls the Spirit ‘it’ - p. 63].” - p. 62, Greek Apologists of the Second Century, The Westminster Press, 1988.
     
  19. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    "The term ontological Trinity focuses on who God is; the term economic Trinity focuses on what God does."
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. tigger2

    tigger2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2019
    Messages:
    272
    Ratings:
    +211
    Religion:
    JW
    So you have quoted the short form in all cases for Ignatius, however you ignore the longer version which is beside every one of your quotes. I'll give you those quotes in my next post.
     
Loading...