Fortigurn wrote:I never said or implied you had never considered those passages in your broader theology. What you hadn't done in our discussion was demonstrate how you reconciled your inferences with such explicit statements as these.
That's absolutely not true. I had previously stated that you had misdefined "God." Further, it is not my job to reconcile my theology with yours. I don't hold to the inference
that you draw from the passages cited.
Fortigurn wrote:Of course I do. When the apostles baptize people as Christians with the knowledge that Jesus is a man, and no more, then I have to ask why trinitarians think that's not good enough, and why they insist that you have to believe in the trinity in order to be a Christian. I'm aware that there are trinitarians who don't believe that the trinity is necessary knowledge to be a Christian, but even almost all of them will insist that you have to at least believe that Jesus is God. But I don't find the apostles teaching that before they baptized people. So why should I believe it?
Notice the part I put in bold. This is still an argument from silence (see below). Even if I conceded (which I don't) that there is no evidence of the divinity of Christ in the disciples' teaching, it still does not necessarily follow that it was not a part of their doctrine. You must assume
that the record we have in Acts is a complete record of the apostolic doctrine. There is simply no reason to believe that is the case. In fact, there is reason to believe that is not
the case. I'll deal with that below.
Secondly, if you acknowledge that there are Trinitarians who do not believe it is necessary to be affirmed if we are to be saved, then why bring it up here? It simply has no bearing on our conversation. These threads get distracted enough as it is.
All the standard places with which you are familiar. John 1:18 (either variant, but especially NA27); 8:58; Phil 2:5-11; Col 1:15-20; 1 Tim 3:16 (Sorry, I follow Receptus here); Rev 22:13, etc. There are obviously dozens of others used as proof texts. Further, Byblos has walked through the basic argument of vocation, that is, Jesus acted in the very place of God.
Now, feel free to run through the standard Arian explanations of these texts, and while you are at it, mention a few of the others I left out. Quote some conservative scholars like Wallace who believe in the divinity of Christ to make it sound like even people from out own camp have seen the light on such verses. When you are done with all that, pat yourself on the back for the good parroting job you've done.
Fortigurn wrote:I haven't made any such argument (even though it would be valid, unless you believe that 'God' and 'man' are synonyms). I have said that since the apostles baptized people as Christians with the knowledge that Jesus is a man, and no more, I see no reason not to do the same. Why shouldn't I teach the Jesus they taught? Paul says that any gospel, and any Jesus other than the one they preached is 'another gospel' and 'another Jesus'. That means if I can't find the 'God-man Jesus' preached by the apostles, there's no reason for me to preach it. Why preach something they never did?
Sorry, not letting you get away with that. Yes, you have repeatedly argued that Jesus' humanity means He cannot, by definition
be God. That's why you brought up Ps 33 and Gen 1. I'll point out again that this is only an inference
, and a wrong one on your part.
Second, your softening of your position here isn't anything more than backpedaling. Your argument has been much more than an adherence to the apostolic teaching as recorded in Acts. While you have made that argument, it is simply a lie to say you've not gone any further than that. Regardless, the first error in this softened position is still the same: just because a doctrine is not explicitly recorded does not
mean it was not taught. That is, again, an argument from silence. If there was a statement in Acts that said that the book was intended to give an exhaustive (or even complete) record of the entire apostolic tradition, you would have a case. But, such a statement is not included, because that is not the purpose of Acts. It is entirely feasible that there was much in their preaching that was not included for a wide variety of reasons. Further, you appealed to Paul's statement in Galatians. The simple fact is that you are NOT teaching the "same Jesus" that Paul taught. If you want to know what he taught them, all you have to do is turn to Acts 13. As in the Gospels, Paul identifies Jesus as God's Son. Now, when you look at Paul's own words in Gal 1 and 2, we get a deeper idea of what Paul meant here. In 1:16, he again refers to Jesus as God's Son, this time in more personal terms, and all in a way in which the readers are familiar with. The phrase appears yet again in 2:20, and again with the article, and then again in 4:4. The point here is that Paul's preaching clearly included the Sonship of Jesus. That was central, and an idea well understood by his congregations. It isn't hard to see that in the NT, Jesus' Sonship speaks of His divinity. Now, I know you don't agree with that interpretation, but my point is this: the apostolic preaching DID include the Sonship of Christ. As we believe the Sonship of Christ includes His divinity, we believe the divinity of Christ was clearly expounded in the apostolic preaching.
As far as the "God-man" comment goes, there is no reason to deal with that further. Byblos has disposed of that nonsense well enough.
Fortigurn wrote:Well of course that's the logical fallacy of proving a negative. But I can show you were Jesus said that the Father (one person), is the only true God, and I can show you where the apostles distinguish God from Christ (they don't say 'God the Father and God the son', they say 'God and Jesus'), and I can show you where Paul says that there is one God, who is the Father, and I can show you where Paul says that there is one God, and one mediator between God (not 'God the Father'), and men, the man Christ Jesus (not the 'God-man' or 'the God', or 'God the son'). Then there's Acts 2 of course.
It is certainly not asking you to prove a negative to show me a passage where the disciples said that Jesus was not God. You are making an assertion. You have to back it up. People were worshiping Jesus as God as early as Pliny's days. Apparently, a lot of people had gotten the idea a mere forty years (at the latest) after the NT was completed that Jesus was God. The immediate disciples of the apostles were still teaching in full force at that time. You'll forgive my incredulity if you ask me to believe that no one even thought up the idea that Jesus was divine until AD 100, and that the the apostles' disciples just ignored it. The teaching likely goes all the way back to the Apostolic days. You would expect, then, if it was NOT the case, for one of the NT authors to correct it. But, alas, they don't.
So, again, it isn't asking you to prove a negative. Again, the proclamation of the humanity of Christ doesn't help you, and unless you are just going to come out and accuse me of being a polytheist, then I have no problem with the statement that there is only one God. Acts 2 doesn't help because Jesus Himself claimed divinity repeatedly by both word and action, and the Jews there were fully aware of it. His resurrection was a vindication of that claim, and therefore, it is an unnecessary addition to the sermon. It is interesting to note that the SONSHIP of Jesus is not even mentioned in that sermon. But the believe in the Sonship of Jesus is clearly stated as a requirement for salvation in John 20:31. Either, then, the sermon is incomplete, or the Jews present were already aware of those claims of Jesus concerning Himself.
Fortigurn wrote:Of course it's an inference. Your entire position is derived by inference ('Jesus performed miracles, forgave sins, can judge men, hey Jesus must be God', and syllogistic reasoning ('The Father is God, the son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but there is only one God - must be a trinity'), whereas mine isn't. I can read Acts 2 as it stands, and point to what I believe without changing a word. I can say that's the gospel and that's the Jesus I preach.
Yes, and I have no problems with inferences. You are the one who brought it up. My point is that your position IS an inference, just as mine is. You don't have the market cornered on explicit teachings. We have explicit statements concerning Christ's deity; we Jesus' actions as God; we have the early church tradition concerning the divinity of Christ which must go back to the apostolic days. I've already commented on Acts 2 above. You are simply wrong. About the only thing at all you have been right about in this thread is the use of the word Elohim
Fortigurn wrote:I didn't say you had contradicted Scripture. And it's precisely to avoid that fiasco that I raised the preaching of the apostles. It's right there in Acts. We don't have to guess about what they taught people before baptizing them as Christians. The Acts settles all the arguments. You and I can argue over our different interpretations of other passages, but the fact is that Acts stands alone. We can settle the argument over what the apostles preached simply by reading Acts. It's all there. If it's not preached in Acts as the gospel, then it's not the gospel. If it's not the Jesus preached in Acts, it's 'another Jesus'. Simple.
Of course you did. It didn't matter to you at all what arguments I was putting forward, because my arguments contradict YOUR UNDERSTANDING of the passages that declare the humanity of Christ. That is, they contradict YOUR INFERENCE that God cannot be a human. Secondly, it is absurd at best to say "Acts stands alone." That's retarded. It does NOT stand alone. It is the second of a two part work written to a BELIEVER who already understood the Gospel message
. The purpose of Acts is NOT to give the basic theological suppositions of the apostolic tradition. It is written to trace the development of Christianity from being a sect of Judaism to a religion in its own right that included Gentiles, from its origin in Jerusalem to its pathway to Rome. Simple.
Fortigurn wrote:That hasn't been my entire argument (I've presented a lot more than that). But that is a significant argument which has to be addressed. And claiming 'Well they did preach it, it's just not in the record' is begging the question.
Minus the Elohim discussion, it has been what your entire argument can be boiled down to. Once that silly little assertion is done away with, you have nothing to stand on. Second, there are two problems with the supposed counter argument you've attacked. 1) If the divinity of Christ is taught in His Sonship, then the divinity of Christ IS taught in the apostolic preaching; 2) even outside of this, the statement provided is not begging the question. You are getting sloppy with your theological labeling. There is no conclusion assumed in any premise in that sentence. Now, in fact, even IF there was no divinity of Christ in the recorded apostolic preaching, there STILL is no problem with it. Why? Because the entire argument against it is based on two more problems. First, you have misunderstood the purpose of the book of Acts. The purpose of any book must be considered when we are interpreting it: Hermeneutics 101. Second, if belief in the divinity of Christ is taught elsewhere in the NT, then the fact that people were saved during the apostolic age proves that they did teach it, recorded or not. Therefore, your argument is, again, an argument from silence. What YOU have to do is prove the claims that belief in the divinity of Christ is necessary are invalid. You gain nothing, then, by appealing to any absence of anything in Acts. Your argument is fallacious
Fortigurn wrote:Actually that wasn't my chief argument (though that is a valid argument unless like the Mormons you believe 'God' and 'man' are basically synonyms).
Actually, it was. Nothing I said about the Trinity mattered because I couldn't contradict your inference that Jesus' humanity denied his divinity. That is central. When that statement is shown to be wrong, your entire position falls.
Fortigurn wrote:It is not an argument from silence to appeal to what the apostles taught. That is not an argument from silence. It is not an argument from silence to say 'I preach the Jesus preached by the apostles'. It is not an argument from silence to say 'The apostles taught that Jesus is a man, and so do I'. The second is not based on an improper definition of God, unless you believe that 'God' and 'man' are equivalents.
I've already handled this. The disciples did not teach that Jesus was not God
. Let's use your logic a second. Acts 2 doesn't record anything about the Jesus being the Son of God. Therefore, I conclude that, based on the lack of the explicit statement, that Jesus is not the Son of God. I don't care how many verses you show me that says He IS the Son of God. It doesn't matter what you say, because you can't contradict Acts 2.
See how silly your logic is? You probably don't, but the good news is that everyone else here probably does. So, yes, it IS an argument from silence. It is, again, fallacious.
Your second statement is even worse. I do NOT have to believe that God and Man are equivalent. If you want to talk about logical fallacies, let's go ahead and classify this as a false dichotomy, aka, the fallacy of excluded middle. "God" and "Man" are not equivalents, because if they were, then every man would be God. However, there is absolutely nothing in the definition of either that excludes one from being the other. If God becomes Man, then . . . get this Fortigurn . . . God is a human! Where the Mormons are mistaken is they think that God has always been a human. That is obviously incorrect. God created humans, and then God took on flesh, becoming human. That doesn't make Him any less God. Again, you have simply misdefined God to be, "The supreme being which is not human, and cannot be, human."
We should ask ourselves this: what makes a man a human? Well . . . that's pretty obvious. If you are a member of the classification of species known as homo sapien sapien
, you are a human. Can God become a member of that class of species? I see no reason why not. OK, another question for us to ask. What makes God God? Ah, here's where you have made your mistake, Fortigurn. "God" is not a class of species. God is one of a kind. He is Himself. God is God because He is Himself. He is the Necessary Existence. Does that mean that if God becomes a member of the class called humans that He ceases to be the Necessary Existence? No. It does not. Can any human being, though, become the Necessary Existence? No, he cannot. Therefore, while God can become a man, a man can never become God.
Let me boil this down to a tl;dr -
1) Your argument that God cannot, by nature, be a man, is fallacious because it is simply a misdefinition.
2) Your argument that the lack of the divinity of Christ in the apostolic preaching is sufficient reason for you not to teach it is fallacious on several grounds:
a) it is an argument from silence;
b) it does not take into account the divinity of Christ proclaimed elsewhere in the NT;
c) it does not consider the purpose of the book of Acts;
d) it does not take into account the fact that the Jesus is declared to be God's Son (you must deal with the traditional interpretations that go with that);
e) it is further contradicted by the clear teaching of Jesus' divinity in the very early second century. For example, Ignatius (ca. 110) called Jesus Christ "our God" on several occasions; he also speaks of Christ's blood as "God's blood" (Eph 1:1); he also calls Jesus "God incarnate (Eph 7:2); he says that in Jesus "God was revealing himself as a man" (Eph 19:3). We have already mentioned Pliny's letter. Thus, the historical fact is that the early church widely believed in the divinity of Christ. The most likely historical source for this idea is the apostolic tradition. If it was a heretical idea, you would expect it to corrected in that tradition, as were many other false ideas.
So, both of your arguments are wrong, Fortigurn. All this mass of text comes down to that. Both of your primary arguments are simple fallacies. You either have to recast your arguments in non-fallacious terms, or find new ones, because these simply don't work.