Saturday, April 02, 2011

“Ever seeing but never perceiving...”

In the arcane mind of David Waltz, my most recent post qualifies as a “rant”.

Among my other offenses:
It took John less than 20 hours to type up a response (LINK ) to my March 31st post (LINK). IMHO, John should really think about taking a bit more time digesting and reflecting upon the material that he critiques...

John has failed to give us his definitive definition of the term "liberal" which he has used in a good number of contexts; and second, John described Ratzinger/Benedict XVI as, "a full-blown pantheist", but never really tells us exactly what he means by this (instead, he provides a few quotes out of context, and then gives Michael Horton's highly debatable definition)...

Yet another prime example of John's penchant for double-standards, he isolates Rome’s presuppositions, and asks us to start without these; but then, he refuses to isolate HIS presuppositions, and Dr. Lampe's presuppositions, and start without these...
I’ll say in response to this, other than David having called Lampe a “liberal,” (and having loosely associated him with Harnack), David himself doesn’t state what Lampe’s “presuppositions” are. Assigning “guilt-by-association” is not the same thing as stating what someone’s presupposition is. As I’ve said, he is more than welcome to point these out so that I may then reject them, but no such thing is forthcoming. And I intend to look at David’s actual [and quite fluffy] objections in a forthcoming blog post.
Here is yet another example of where John has failed to give us a definition: exactly what does John mean by the early church?
Um, ok. It is really the New Testament church, and the couple hundred years after that.
Does John realize that a number of the scholars that he cites in his posts believe that it is impossible to speak of 'a church', but rather, that one must speak of 'churches'?
I’ll address this when I speak of “The Bauer Thesis”. Needless to say, I assume an “early orthodoxy,” I’ve written extensively about an “early orthodoxy,” and I’ve assumed that David Waltz also believed that such a thing existed, and so, what’s the dispute? I for one do take the New Testament at its word; I’m a member of a PCA church, whose views of church and Scripture are not hard to find.

That’s to be contrasted, by the way, with David Waltz, who has not, that I am aware of, made a positive articulation of his own faith (contrary to the title of his blog). Since he is going to characterize me, I’ll return the favor. I have seen David around for a long time, and other than that he was born in to a Jehovah’s Witness home, landed in Roman Catholicism for a while, then rejected it, I’d say it’s pretty hard to find a positive statement as to what he actually does believe.

He certainly makes no bones about the fact that he has 15,000 books, and he has a lot of leisure time to read them. But I would suggest, pending the presentation of some evidence to the contrary, that he is a lost soul and this complaint from Paul (echoing God’s complaint about Israel) is very appropriate:
“The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

“‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
Instead of sitting back and lobbing bombs – unsubstantiated bombs – why don’t you come out of the shadows and tell us who you are and what you actually believe?
JB: The effort to “understand what they knew and when they knew it” is an effort to exclude all presuppositions about what the early church believed. It is an effort [emphasis supplied] to create a “presupposition-less” understanding of what the early church believed.

DW: I sincerely believe that John is either being grossly naive here, or dishonest with us—it is impossible to approach what the 'early church' believed without presuppositions.

JB: Now, to be sure, nature abhors a vacuum, and trying to create a “presupposition-less” understanding, is to try to create a kind of vacuum.

DW: Finally some sound thoughts John's from pen.
Why did you even bother pulling this out to comment on? It’s not like I’m trying to pull a fast one on anyone.
DW: First, it is certainly not a presupposition-less world that we are dealing with; and second, John has yet to interact with 'conservative' Anglican and Catholic scholars who defend the conception of the 'early church' he cited above.
Again, I didn’t say it was a presupposition-less world; only that I am making the effort to understand that world as it was, without the lens of presuppositions.

Second, Roger Beckwith, whom I’ve cited at length, is a “conservative Anglican scholar” … who defends the conception of the “early church” which I either did, or didn’t, cite above, according to which version of David you believe.
John, have you lost your mind...can you prove to me what you think the 'early church' believed?
Can I prove to you what I think? Probably not.
And perhaps more importantly, do you honestly believe that the Reformed paradigm is devoid of significant development?
That’s no real secret around here.
JB: The thing that I am most trying to do is to provide a positive picture of what the world was like in the days of the early church. Lampe is not the only writer I’ve cited. I’ve been citing from F.F. Bruce and Roger Beckwith - not liberals at all, to be sure - and many others as well. I do this because, when you try to understand what the church, as a whole really believed (in various places and at various times), you first have to understand the world as it existed in those times and places. What it was really like.

DW: You are limiting yourself here; try reading Aland, Barker, Dunn, Hanson, Kümmel, Küng, Segal, and then get back to me.
And you’re the one calling me inconsistent? How, precisely, do the writings of these individuals fit into your paradigm of understanding? Do you inconsistently embrace them? Do you reject them? If so, why? And if you reject them, then why do you care if I have read them or not? Or are you just a name-dropper?
You make it sound as if there are no 'gaps' in the historical record and that a unified theory exists among NT scholars as to the precise nature and theology of the early church/churches...I don't buy it John, I am just too well read on this issue to do so.
Right, right, you know it all. Ever seeing, but never perceiving … and before you call that a smear, why don’t you make a positive articulation of your own faith, so that we can have some idea of what it is that you do know and perceive and believe?

But nobody ever said there was a “unified theory among NT scholars as to the precise nature and theology of the early church”. Of course there are gaps. But what I am on record as having said is that now that conservative scholars like Darrell Bock and Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger are investigating that time period of the late first century and early second century church, I have great hope about the work they will produce on this topic. I’m firmly convinced that as these individuals write more and more about the early church, Protestants will have a very clear picture of precisely why the Reformers were fully justified to reject Rome’s claims of authority.
DW: Once again, false and misleading; I do not, nor have I said, that their work is flawed in exactly the same way; your putting, “Lampe and Von Harnack both believe the Pastorals were not written by Paul. Therefore, their work is flawed in exactly the same way.”, in quotation marks and ascribing it to my pen is dishonest, and misleading. Further, it sure sounds like you are trying to smear Dr. Harnack!!! (Ooops...I forgot, it is OK for you to smear...)
Let me quote your own words back to you: “Enter Dr. Peter Lampe and John Bugay: A careful reading of Dr. Lampe demonstrates that he sides with Dr. Aland and the modern higher critical school [and that would be Von Harnack] in accepting the following presuppositions…” A school into which you lumped both Von Harnack and Aland.
I have gone on record as maintaining that John is being inconsistent, and none of my continuing research into this important issue suggests otherwise.
Right David. I’m sure that your continuing research into this important issue is of eternal value and consequence. “Take my word on it.”

74 comments:

natamllc said...

John

not nearly as long as you, I too have seen or sensed something come from D.W..

He writes about you:
"John should really think about taking a bit more time digesting and reflecting upon the material that he critiques...".

Having read most of this article, I just want to come back to that citation there and spin my comments because of it.

For me, I do not believe D.W. has the same Holy Spirit you and I have. Maybe God is giving me a sense of a familiar spirit that moves him?

D.W. reflects one who has all the fruits of the knowledge of good and evil. He always focuses on his glory not the Lord's. His rationale comes from self glory, the leisure time to read and comprehend 15,000 plus books then make distinctions based on his self centered internal data base that produces well reasoned self centered external argument responses. There really is no edification, just his own self dedication of self exaltation.

He also shows signs of being in bondage to the sin of the Nicolaitans; "nico" conqueror, "laitans" the people. He writes to juxtapose his abilities against your inabilities to comprehend the issue from his point of view. I don't see an "outside" Word from God in his arguments.

I would do as Jesus taught and beware of the sorts of people David Waltz reflects. It seems these are the sorts who will:::>

Mat 10:17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,
Mat 10:18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
Mat 10:19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.


continued:::>

natamllc said...

<::::continuing:::>

While we both know that there is nothing prohibitive or wrong with gaining knowledge through leisure time and reading books, (we all do, some read more books and others) there is something wrong when one is not filled with the Holy Spirit doing it for the Glory of God so that they can instantly give you knowledge like the knowledge Isaiah writes about, here:

Isa 11:1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
Isa 11:2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
Isa 11:3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
Isa 11:4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Isa 11:5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.


I would say you approach apologetics from an Abel approach, by way of an acceptable sacrifice, the slaughtered Lamb. It is as though D.W. approaches what he does from the unacceptable sacrifice of "works" as Cain?

With God all things are possible so D.W. is no match for Jesus' power to transform our lowly bodies to be conformed to His Glorious Body. He also is no match for you who are being led by the Holy Spirit while he engages you with the spirit of the knowledge of good and evil that comes from leisure time and 15,000 books plus of learning!

So, I continue to encourage you to stand fast in the Lord and fight knowing our wrestling is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces of wickedness.

I too pray for D.W. that the Grace we know and love and share with one another will fill his life and he will turn before he leaves this earth to burn if perchance he is not turned, "Elected"?

Finally, with regard to D.W., it seems apropos Isaiah's Words, here, that he comes like seven women, yet, the story turns another way:

Isa 4:1 And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, "We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach."
Isa 4:2 In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.
Isa 4:3 And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,
Isa 4:4 when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.
Isa 4:5 Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.
Isa 4:6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

John Bugay said...

Hi Natamllc, I appreciate your cautions, your discernment, your encouragement, and your friendship.

I would not even be engaging him -- there are a couple of specific objections that I still need to address. This material is of such a nature that there needs to be a lot of background just to get "the context" for some of the things that are being said.

One of the things I'm aware of is that this (Christianity, church history, theology, Biblical studies) is a huge subject matter. And it is so easy to get caught in the minutiae. There is a concept that I learned not long ago, too, and that is the concept of "usefulness."

So, it's good to know that Hans Kung, for example, has written the things he's written. It's a useful fact to know. But I don't ever cite Kung, because he's got so much baggage associated with him otherwise. He uncovers good facts, which can then be checked against other sources.

What David Waltz wants to say is that Lampe is in the category of Kung. But that's just not the case.

I don't sense that from Lampe. His work in question, "From Paul to Valentinus," is not a work of biblical theology. It is a work of history. And Lampe has a masterful mastery of the sources.

Waltz wants to say, "Lampe’s third presupposition: the "Catholic" concept of the ministry did not have apostolic warrant, and was an evolutionary development that took place at different times in different geographical areas, with the churches at Rome being one of the last regions to fully endorse the "Catholic" development."

But this is not a presupposition. This "evolutionary development" was even acknowledged doctrinally by the Roman Catholic Church. That's the point of the Kilmartin piece I've cited earlier.

Lampe is useful because he provides so much detail in support of the thesis he proposes. Even if you exclude Lampe from the equation, the detail exists and it exists apart from any presuppositions that Lampe may have.

I think David Waltz has a failure to have a real place to stand; with 15,000 books, it's hard to find any kind of useful place to stand, a useful set of details that he can synthesize. That comes with trusting someone who has come before us. He hasn't been able to trust anyone but himself and what he can know personally. And you are right, he is after a kind of knowledge that's just not available to us.

Here's what he's missing: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Time for some corrections of your comments; I am going to limit myself to one error per post so that you can spend some of your “leisure” time (which seems to be substantially greater mine, given the fact that in 2011 you have produced 40+ threads, and hundreds of posts, to my 15 threads), to reflect a bit before you ‘fire back’.

John Bugay: David himself doesn’t state what Lampe’s “presuppositions” are.

Me: FALSE. In YOUR “Presuppositions” thread YOU quote the following from one of my posts:

==Here is his “analysis”:

Enter Dr. Peter Lampe and John Bugay: A careful reading of Dr. Lampe demonstrates that he sides with Dr. Aland and the modern higher critical school in accepting the following presuppositions: first, the Pastorals were not written by Paul, and were composed at a much a later date; second, the original Christian ministry consisted of "charismatic offices"; third the "Catholic" concept of the ministry did not have apostolic warrant, and was an evolutionary development that took place at different times in different geographical areas, with the churches at Rome being one of the last regions to fully endorse the "Catholic" development. John accepts the last of these presuppositions, seemingly ignoring the fact that it is built upon the foundation of the other presuppositions, which John rejects. I have gone on record as maintaining that John is being inconsistent, and none of my continuing research into this important issue suggests otherwise.

“Take my word for it,” he says. This is the sum total of David Waltz’s analysis.==

Me: My goodness John, have you forgotten what you posted just one day ago, or are you purposely lying?

(FYI: In my “Assisting John Bugay – part 1” thread I provide clear, unmistakable evidence from Lampe that supports all three of the above presuppositions that I listed.)

Grace and peace,

David

P.S. I am not providing links due to the fact that every time I do so here at BA, the spam-filter captures the post.

John Bugay said...

You continue to repeat yourself, as if repeating it, and maybe saying it more slowly, makes it a more effective and cutting rebuke.

Do you really appear to think it's that simple. "Lampe doesn't believe Paul wrote the Pastoral letters. Therefore we have no reason to accept his conclusions"?

My gosh, I wonder why nobody else until you has ever discovered this.

David Waltz said...

John,

Please try and stay on track and address my previous post.


Thanks much,

David

John Bugay said...

Your "track" is nonsensical.

David Waltz said...

John, what “is nonsensical” is for you to write: “David himself doesn’t state what Lampe’s ‘presuppositions’ are”, when the day before YOU quoted from one of my posts where I listed THREE of Lampe’s presuppositions. NOW THAT IS NONSENSICAL !!!

John Bugay said...

What is nonsensical is you asserting what Lampe's "presuppositions" are, based on your own "careful analysis." In doing this, you provided two or three quotes which show that he relies what appears to be an understanding of two or three small passages of Scripture, and from this, you infer a whole thought structure and apply it to him.

In reality, you have not provided any analysis at all. You've only provided what you think.

And in my estimation, what you think regarding this work is a far cry from what, say, professional historians think about this work.

You don't give Lampe's presuppositions. You give what you think his presuppositions are. And you try to pass that off as "analysis".

That's nonsensical.

David Waltz said...

“You don't give Lampe's presuppositions. You give what you think his presuppositions are.”

Right...could I have a piece of bread to go with your baloney?

Lampe’s first presupposition: the Pastorals were not written by Paul, and were composed at a much a later date

”The Pastoral letters presuppose Aquila and Prisca still to be in Ephesus (2 Tim 4:19) while Paul is already in Rome. This is one of the historical inconsistencies found in the Pastorals…

For example, when Paul moved from Ephesus to Macedonia, by no means did Timothy remain behind in Ephesus, as 1 Tim 1:3 supposes: Acts 19:22; 20:1-4; 2 Cor 1:1; Rom 16:21…

How did the author come to the mistake regarding Aquila and Prisca?…

Conclusion: In a seach for appropriate names to create a literary fiction based in Ephesus, the prominent names of Aquila and Prisca could not miss falling into the hands of the deutero-Pauline author.” (Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus, 2003, pp. 158, 159.)

”The following study will also consider Acts and the deutero-Pauline letters Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and 1 and 2 Peter.” (Peter Lampe and Ulich Luz, "Post-Pauline Christianity and Pagan Society", in Christian Beginnings: Word and Community from Jesus to Post-Apostolic Times, ed. Jürgen Becker, p. 243)==

Yeah John, Lampe does not believe that the Pastorals are non-Pauline; it is just what I think he believes.

This would be funny if it was not so twisted.

David Waltz said...

John Bugay: “David himself doesn’t state what Lampe’s ‘presuppositions’ are. Assigning ‘guilt-by-association’ is not the same thing as stating what someone’s presupposition is. As I’ve said, he is more than welcome to point these out so that I may then reject them, but no such thing is forthcoming.”

Me: Notice John specifically asked me “to point these [what I thought Lampe’s presuppositions were] out so that” he could “then reject them”, even though I had already given them to him, and which he quoted yesterday!

John Bugay: “You don't give Lampe's presuppositions. You give what you think his presuppositions are.”

Me: That is what you asked for! Dude, what is wrong with you?

John Bugay said...

I am preparing a detailed response, including your specific "charges."

David Waltz said...

While John uses some more of his “leisure” time to respond to first error that I brought to light, I will share yet another error from his opening post.

John Bugay: “That’s to be contrasted, by the way, with David Waltz, who has not, that I am aware of, made a positive articulation of his own faith (contrary to the title of his blog).”

Me: FALSE. In a BA thread that John started and continued to participate in, I posted the following in response to natamllc:

==Any reasonable person would hold that you "clearly" are a Christian by your own words.

However, when we review your other words and arguments in various threads here and then at your own blog, there is a question now just what "always have been a Christian" means?==

Me: As I said to Rho, "always" clearly does not apply to my infancy, but rather begins when I was capable to exercise reason and understanding. From that time forward, I believe that I have been a Christian. Here are a few of my core beliefs that have not changed: one God; the Bible is the Word of God; Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, the incarnate Word of God, is the Son of Man and the Son of God, is our Lord and Savior; salvation is by faith, a faith that is not dead, but alive; Jesus Christ died on the cross for the salvation of mankind, He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday and is seated at the right hand of the Father—to shorten this list, I believe all that the Bible contains. (1:41 PM AUGUST 26, 2010 - beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/08/aquila-and-priscilla-itinerants.html)

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hi David,

I have been following this thread. Thank you for reiterating in a capsule form what you do believe. I know it was not your intention to be exhaustive in your list, but for my own sake, would you clarify a couple of things for me?

1) You do believe in the triune God, that is, that Jesus is divine?

2) The Holy Spirit as the "third" Person of the Trinity--and what is His function in the life of the believer and the Church?

Thanks and blessings in Christ,

Tim

David Waltz said...

Hi Tim,

Thanks for asking for further clarification. Our Reformed brother in Christ, Ken Temple, asked of me question #1 over at AF; without taking the time to find the exact post wherein I replied to him, I shall reproduce from memory my response: I believe that our Lord, Jesus Christ, as pertaining to His divine nature, is "God from God, light from light"; though he is one in nature with the Father, I do not subscribe to Calvin's theory that he is autotheos.

As for your second question, the HS regenerates the believer (usually, but not always, through the ordinance of baptism), such that the believer becomes a "Son of God", a "new creation" (i.e. born again). The HS also imparts grace to the believer, such that the believer can "grow in grace" (i.e. sanctification). As for the "gifts of the spirit", they are also the work of the HS, though I have not yet solidified in my mind exactly which of those gifts operated only in the apostolic period (i.e. the issue of cessation).

Sincerely hope I have been of some assistance in answering your questions.


Grace and peace,

David

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your response. In your summary statement of faith I was concerned that you were equivocating on the deity of Christ. I appreciate the clarification in your answer. I confess to ignorance over the term autotheos as used by Calvin, and would like to know more about that. It may be that I'm familiar with the doctrine but not the terminology. Anyone here is welcome to guide me on this question.

As to baptismal regeneration, have you always held this view or was your time in the RCC influential in this regard?

I hope you don't mind me asking you a few questions. I suppose I could go to your site and find out everything I'd like to know. If so, then forgive me for creating more work for you! I think I'll go there now anyway.

Blessings in Christ,

Tim

David Waltz said...

Hello again Tim,

Autotheos simply means, 'God by Himself'. I believe that the Bible (see John 5:25; 6:57), the early Church Fathers, and the Nicene Creed speak against such a view—the Son's divinity (not just His person) is from the Father; hence "God from God" and "light from light".

As for baptismal regeneration (accepted by Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox churches, Lutherans, many Anglicans and some smaller sola scriptura sects), the early consensus of the Church Fathers on this issue was/is the most influential component in my acceptance of the doctrine.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Now for errors #3 and #4...

John Bugay: I’ll say in response to this, other than David having called Lampe a “liberal,” (and having loosely associated him with Harnack), David himself doesn’t state what Lampe’s “presuppositions” are. Assigning “guilt-by-association” is not the same thing as stating what someone’s presupposition is.

And from an earlier thread:

John Bugay: Into this mix, David Waltz wants to inject the illegitimate method of “smear by association” and suggest that “Lampe’s presuppositions caused him to misunderstand that world.” And in an effort to try to somehow to “prove” this, Waltz, in his most recent post, takes a long selection from the writings of the most well-known of the German liberals, Adolph von Harnack, and says, “Lampe and Von Harnack both believe the Pastorals were not written by Paul. Therefore, their work is flawed in exactly the same way.”

Me: First, I have never said that, "their work is flawed in exactly the same way" (another invention from John's mind); and second, to suggest that Dr. Lampe accepts some of Dr. Harnack's assessments is hardly a "smear". If there is any "smearing" going on, it is from John's pen, for I suspect that Dr. Lampe would cheerfully welcome certain comparisons with Dr. Harnack. Harnack is recognized by modern scholars as one of the foremost scholars of his day. Harnack's influence continues to heavily influence not only the German Lutheran tradition (which, btw, is Lampe's tradition), but also a number of other Protestant traditions. In the bibliography of Lampe's From Paul to Valentius, he lists no less thirteen of Harnack's works! Note the following from The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church:

"In many ways Harnack was positive. Though liberal in theology (later clashing with his former pupil Barth), he was conservative and perceptive in his studies on the NT. Held that Acts was written by Luke while Paul was a prisoner in Rome, assigning an early date to "Q", the synoptic gospels, and Acts. Such views would undermine much contemporary liberal and radical scholarship." (Revised 1978 ed., 3rd printing, p. 452).

From the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church we read:

"In the range of his achievements Harnack was prob. the most outstanding Patristic scholar of his generation. He made himself a complete master of the early Christian literature, esp. of the pre-Nicene period, and published innumerable contributions to history." (Second edition, p. 620.)

To suggest that it is to "smear by association" when I make SOME comparisons between Harnack and Lampe is ludicrous and irresponsible.

James Swan said...

I believe that our Lord, Jesus Christ, as pertaining to His divine nature, is "God from God, light from light"; though he is one in nature with the Father, I do not subscribe to Calvin's theory that he is autotheos.

Calvin's view on this, if I recall correctly is found in book 1:13-29. In 1:13:23, Calvin argues against those who assert the Father is true God, but inserts deity into the Son and Spirit. Those who do this therefore make a distinction in the essence of God. Calvin rejects this, noting that those who distinguish Christ from the Father in the distinctive of essence reduce Christ's true deity to nothing. In 1:13:24, Calvin asserts Christ as the eternal word, always true God. In 1:13:25, Calvin argues the divine nature is common to all three persons, God is one in essence.

Calvin's argument therefore is against those mentioned in 1:13:23. Perhaps Mr. Waltz finds himself among those in this section? For Mr. Waltz goes on to assert:

the Son's divinity (not just His person) is from the Father; hence "God from God" and "light from light".

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hi James,

Thank you. Yes, I would find it troubling to think of Christ as having been in some way "infused" with divinity by the Father. In David's brief statement...

"...the Son's divinity (not just His person) is from the Father..."

...I'm now not certain I understand the Nicene Creed in this regard if David is correct. This strikes me as anti-trinitarian. Is this really what the creed means by this?

Blessings in Christ,

Tim

dtking said...

Mr. Waltz asserts: Autotheos simply means, 'God by Himself'. I believe that the Bible (see John 5:25; 6:57), the early Church Fathers, and the Nicene Creed speak against such a view—the Son's divinity (not just His person) is from the Father; hence "God from God" and "light from light".

Mr. Waltz is speaking out of ignorance when he, in simplistic fashion, asserts what the position of the early church Fathers was, and that the Nicene Creed speaks against Christ as αὐτοθεὸς. There were different views among the fathers respecting the understanding of the Son as αὐτοθεὸς.

For example, Epiphanius adhered to the Nicene Creed, and yet describes Christ as αὐτοθεὸς. Calvin was not introducing a novel view...

Epiphanius (310/320-403): Hence, on the exact analogy, it will make no difference if we assume this of Christ as well. For surely, even though Christ, who is mind in himself, shared the human mind as he shared flesh and blood and had the human soul, he was not the prisoner of the [human] mind. For if the apostle who had the human mind as his own by nature, and the mind [of Christ] by participation in the gift, benefit and grace, no longer lived in accordance with his own mind but was directed, by a guidance transcending nature, by the mind of Christ, how much more the divine Word! He possessed all perfection in himself and was absolute perfection, absolute God, absolute power, absolute light, and the Completer, or rather, Perfecter, both of the mind and of the whole body, and wrought our salvation in all things by his advent in the flesh. Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide), 77. Against Dimoerites, called Apolinarians by some, 35,1-2 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 597.
Greek text: Ἄρα οὖν οὐδὲν διοίσει ἀπὸ τοῦ κατάντικρυς ὁμοιώματος τὸ καὶ ἐπὶ Χριστοῦ τοῦτο λαμβάνειν, ὅτι Χριστὸς ὢν ἐν ἑαυτῷ νοῦς, εἰ καὶ μετεῖχε νοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου, ὡς καὶ σαρκὸς μετέσχε καὶ αἵματος καὶ ψυχὴν εἶχε τὴν ἀνθρωπείαν, οὐ πάντως ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς ᾐχμαλωτεύετο. εἰ γὰρ ὁ κατὰ φύσιν ἴδιον νοῦν κεκτημένος ἀπόστολος τὸν ἀνθρώπινον καὶ τὸν ἐκ συμμετοχῆς δωρεᾶς καὶ χαρίσματος καὶ χάριτος, οὐκέτι κατὰ τὸν νοῦν τὸν ἴδιον ἐπολιτεύετο, ἀλλʼ ὑπερβαινούσῃ τινὶ φύσεως ἀγωγῇ τῷ Χριστοῦ νῷ κατεκοσμεῖτο, πόσῳ γε μᾶλλον ὁ θεὸς λόγος ἐν ἑαυτῷ ἔχων τὴν πᾶσαν τελειότητα, αὐτοτέλειος ὤν, αὐτόθεος ὤν, αὐτοδύναμις, αὐτόνους, αὐτόφως, καὶ τοῦ νοῦ καὶ παντὸς τοῦ σώματος πληρωτὴς ἐγένετο, μᾶλλον δὲ τελειωτής, καὶ ἐν ἅπασι διὰ τῆς αὐτοῦ ἐνσάρκου παρουσίας ἡμῖν τὸ σωτήριον ἐξειργάσατο; Adversus Haereses, Liber III, Tom. II, LXXVII, §35, PG 42:693A-B.

While this is a fascinating subject, I do not have time to pursue it further. For my Reformed brethren, I recommend the following read, Douglas F. Kelly, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, The God Who Is: The Holy Trinity (Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2008), pp. 540ff.

David Waltz said...

B. B. Warfield, whom I suspect has done a bit more research into this issue than Mr. King, speaks of a "certain subordination of the Son to the Father", concerning "the traditional Nicene orthodoxy". Below is the broader context:

"And all those who, while prepared to allow true deity to Christ, yet were accustomed to think of the Trinitarian relations along the lines of the traditional Nicene orthodoxy, with its assertion of a certain subordination of the Son to the Father, at least in mode of subsistence, were thrown into more or less confusion of mind and compelled to resort to nice distinctions in order to reconcile the two apparently contradictory confessions of autotheotēs and of theos ek theou of our Lord. It is not surprising, then, that the controversy roused by Caroli and carried on by Chaponneau and Courtois did not die out with their refutation; but prolonged itself through the years and has indeed come down even to our own day. Calvin's so-called innovation with regard to the Trinity has, in point of fact, been made the object of attack through three centuries, not only by Unitarians of all types, nor only by professed Subordinationists, but also by Athanasians, puzzled to adjust their confession of Christ as "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God" to the at least verbally contradictory assertion that in respect of His deity He is not of another but of Himself". (B. B. Warfield, “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Trinity”, in Calvin and Calvinsim, volume V of The Works of Benjamin B. Warifield – Baker Book House, 1981 reprint, pages 251, 252; note: I have transliterated all Greek terms for my readers.)

As for the following:

Mr. King: "There were different views among the fathers respecting the understanding of the Son as αὐτοθεὸς."

Mr. King makes the assumption that even though I placed the phrase "the early Church Fathers" before "the Nicene Creed" that I was also including Church Fathers after Nicea—for the record I was not. Later today, the Lord willing, I begin to present selections from "the early Church Fathers" who wrote before Nicea, and some scholarly assessments of those Fathers, that clearly support my earlier statement on this issue.

David Waltz said...

Now, before I proceed onto the early Church Fathers who wrote before Nicea, I want to make it clear that B. B. Warfield accepted the concept of αὐτοθεὸς, (he uses the equivalent term of autotheotēs). In the same essay I cited above, Warfield then goes on to say:

"In his assertion of the autotheotēs of the Son Calvin, then, was so far from supposing that he was enunciating a novelty that he was able to quote the Nicene Fathers themselves as asserting it 'in so many words.' And yet in his assertion of it he marks an epoch in the history of the doctrine of the Trinity. Not that men had not before believed in the self-existence of the Son as He is God: but that the current modes of stating the doctrine of the Trinity left a door open for the entrance of defective modes of conceiving the deity of the Son, to close which there was needed some such sharp assertion of His absolute deity as was supplied by the assertion of His autotheotēs. If we will glance over the history of the efforts of the Church to work out for itself an acceptable statement of the great mystery of the Trinity, we shall perceive that it is dominated from the beginning to the end by a single motive - to do full justice to the absolute deity of Christ. And we shall perceive that among the multitudes of great thinkers who under the pressure of this motive have labored upon the problem, and to whom the Church looks back with gratitude for great services, in the better formulation of the doctrine or the better commendation of it to the people, three names stand out in high relief, as marking epochs in the advance towards the end in view. These three names are those of Tertullian, Augustine and Calvin. It is into this narrow circle of elect spirits that Calvin enters by the contribution he made to the right understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. That contribution is summed up in his clear, firm and unwavering assertion of the autotheotēs of the Son. By this assertion the homoousiotēs of the Nicene Fathers at last came to its full right, and became in its fullest sense the hinge of the doctrine." (Ibid. pages 283, 284.)

Warfield points out, "In his assertion of the autotheotēs of the Son Calvin, then, was so far from supposing that he was enunciating a novelty that he was able to quote the Nicene Fathers themselves as asserting it 'in so many words.'" However, to borrow a term from Mr. King, this is where the esteemed Warfield gets a bit "simplistic", for the "traditional Nicene Orthodoxy" was interpreted by a consensus of Church Fathers with a "a certain subordination of the Son to the Father". In other words "God from God", "Light from Light", "True God from True God" spoke to the derivation of the Son's divinity from the Father, not of Himself (i.e. the Son received His life/being from the Father as taught by John 5:26).

dtking said...

Mr. King makes the assumption that even though I placed the phrase "the early Church Fathers" before "the Nicene Creed" that I was also including Church Fathers after Nicea...

Folks, please notice the attempted sophistry by way of misdirection here. Now, we all know what Mr. Waltz intended, but this is how the sophist attempts to cover one's tracks, once he gets caught with his "theological" britches down.

Oh, and patristic studies ended with Warfield, didn't you hear? :)

James Swan said...

Now, before I proceed onto the early Church Fathers who wrote before Nicea, I want to make it clear that B. B. Warfield accepted the concept of αὐτοθεὸς, (he uses the equivalent term of autotheotēs).

By the way, I'm still not sure what David Waltz believes about the Trinity.

David Waltz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Bugay said...

David Waltz, perhaps you could make your point without the personal comments.

David Waltz said...

Hello James,

My view of the Trinity has many points of contact with the following from the later CF, John of Damascus:

"(We believe) in one Father, the beginning, and cause of all: begotten of no one: without cause or generation, alone subsisting…All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being: and unless the Father is, neither the Son nor the Spirit is…because of the Father’s existence, the Son and the Spirit exist." (John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, I.8, in NPNF2, IX.6, 9.)

Sincerely hope this helps. (And by the way, thanks much for asking for clarification!)


Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

David, after reviewing Calvin, I would side with him against you if you assert the Father is true God, but inserts deity into the Son and Spirit.

James Swan said...

And by the way, you should review the section I mentioned from Calvin as well.

David Waltz said...

Mr. King: "Folks, please notice the attempted sophistry by way of misdirection here. Now, we all know what Mr. Waltz intended, but this is how the sophist attempts to cover one's tracks, once he gets caught with his 'theological' britches down.

Oh, and patristic studies ended with Warfield, didn't you hear? :)"

Me: Some patristic scholars have differentiated between "the early Church Fathers" (a few prefer the phrase "the early Christian Fathers") and "the later Church Fathers" (or "later Christian Fathers"), with some minor differences concerning the precise 'breaking' point between the two periods, I have for decades now utilized this distinction.

Further, and more to the present charge of Mr. King, anyone familiar with my numerous contributions on the topic of patristics, should be able to discern that I have consistently equated "the early Church Fathers" with the pre-Nicene Fathers.

James Swan said...

Frankly David, I find it odd you quoted Warfield at all, considering you also mention he doesn't have a problem with the term you deny. Given the choice between you and Calvin/Warfield, I think you know which side I'll be on.

David Waltz said...

James,

I do not believe that the Father, "inserts deity into the Son and Spirit"; but rather, once again, concur with the following:

""(We believe) in one Father, the beginning, and cause of all: begotten of no one: without cause or generation, alone subsisting…All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being: and unless the Father is, neither the Son nor the Spirit is…because of the Father’s existence, the Son and the Spirit exist." (John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, I.8, in NPNF2, IX.6, 9.)"


Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being

That's the problem as I see it.

David Waltz said...

Hello again James,

I cited Warfield because he is held in high regard within Reformed circles, and because he provided the "traditional" understanding of "Nicene Orthodoxy"; which, IMO, carried forward certain subordinationist overtones found in the Bible and the early CFs (i.e. pre-Nicene Christian Fathers), as pertaining to the derivation of the Son and the Spirit from the Father.

But there was an extremely important theological development adopted by the Council at Nicea, the elimination of the notion that the Son and the Spirit were not of the same nature as the Father.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being

That's the problem as I see it.

Me: Fair enough, you agree with Calvin, and I with a good number of early and later Christian Fathers.

IMO it was not without good reason that Warfield stated:

"And yet in his assertion of it he marks an epoch in the history of the doctrine of the Trinity."

(BTW, another Reformed theologian has written that Trinitarian subordinationism did not end until Calvin—will try to find the exact quote.)

Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

David Waltz, I think that the sorts of things that Cullmann and Kostenberger are saying about the canonization of the NT goes a long way toward explaining why some of the later fathers had a clearer understanding of the Trinity than some of the earlier ones did.

That is, the establishment of a New Testament canon, and the exclusion of some of the other works, brought the person of the "One God" into clearer focus.

But there was an extremely important theological development adopted by the Council at Nicea, the elimination of the notion that the Son and the Spirit were not of the same nature as the Father.

My understanding is that the notion of "substance" was a foreign one to the Hebrew mindset of the Apostles (though the understanding of "One God" was not). And the Greek concept of "homoousious" was used not as a way of introducing a new concept, but rather, to safeguard that the Father, Son, and Spirit, each recognized as "God" in the New Testament, are in fact the "One God".

What I'm saying is that the Apostles knew something that the "Apostolic Fathers" lost, which was regained again when the New Testament canon was more sharply delineated around the time of Irenaeus. Nicea was not a "development" in the sense of an addition to a doctrine.

dtking said...

Given the fact that it went right past him (I don't think he even got the point), and the subsequent attempt at misdirection on his part, I want to remind folks of what Mr. Waltz claimed...

Mr. Waltz asserted: Autotheos simply means, 'God by Himself'. I believe that the Bible (see John 5:25; 6:57), the early Church Fathers, and the Nicene Creed speak against such a view—the Son's divinity (not just His person) is from the Father; hence "God from God" and "light from light".

My point is that Mr. Waltz's attempt to construe the Nicene Creed as precluding the Αὐτοθεὸς of the Son of God is simply wrong.

Now, for all his insistence otherwise that I've set myself up to be a patristics scholar on this matter is simply another attempt at misdirection. The fact is that patristic scholars such as T. F. Torrance and Douglas F. Kelly have demonstrated that this was not precluded by the Nicene Creed. Now, Mr. Waltz wants it so to be because of his tendency to want to read into the Nicene Creed a subordinationist view of certain members of the Trinity. In other words, Mr. Waltz has this tendency to want to return to His Arian roots (He is a former Jehovah's Witness), and while he knows too much (hopefully) to return there, he knows too little to move beyond this tendency.

Kelly (and Torrance as well) shows that there were basically two positions regarding the Nicene Creed...

Douglas F. Kelly: We have seen that the Council of Nicea (325) affirmed the full deity of the Son of God (in the homoousios), and following that, the Council of Constantinople (381) made clear the full deity of the Holy Spirit, especially on the basis of the earlier work of Athanasius in his Letters on the Holy Spirit to Serapion. But this question remained to be worked out: granted the coequality of the three divine Persons, where is the oneness of the Being of God to be anchored?
We find two different lines of approach amongst the Orthodox Fathers of the fourth dentury: (a) Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, and Amphilocius on the one hand, and (b) Gregory Nazianzus, Cyril of Alexandria and Epiphanius on the other. We shall see, that (c) over one thousand years later, Gregory of Nazianzus, Cyril and Epiphanius were followed by the sixteenth-century Reformer, John Calvin. Douglas F. Kelly, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, The God Who Is: The Holy Trinity (Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2008), p. 540.

Kelly then shows that while group (a) "anchored the deity of the Son and the Spirit in the Person of the Father" (p. 540), that group (b) "understood the unity of the substance to be anchored in the Being of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, rather than in the Person of the Father" (p. 542). This is what Mr. Waltz has overlooked in his simplistic pontification that the Nicene Creed precluded the Αὐτοθεὸς of the Son.

Now, I don't think this is going to benefit Mr. Waltz, but I did want to show that the Nicene Creed did not accomplish his claim.

James Swan said...

Thank you Pastor King.

I'm not sure if Mr. Waltz is under the direction of church leadership, but he should be. I'm sure any of us here would gladly help him find a solid church to be held accountable to.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

James,

I covet your new "bookshelf" terribly. I'd love to grab it but fear looking like some kind of lame copycat blogger.

What do you say? Just your permission will alleviate my anxiety about this.

Tell me it's all right, James. Give me the order!

David Waltz said...

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 1, 1976 reprint.

"Now the Son receives all from the Father, and the Father nothing from the Son. Whatever belongs unto the person of the Son, as the person of the Son, he receives it all from the Father by eternal generation: “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given unto the Son to have life in himself:” John v. 26. He is therefore the essential image of the Father, because all the properties of the divine nature are communicated unto him together with personality—from the Father." (pp. 71, 72.)

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 12, 1976 reprint.

"He who is the true, proper, only-begotten Son of God, of the living God, he is begotten of the essence of God his Father, and is his Son by virtue of that generation…" (p. 184)

"The same truth may have farther evidence given unto it from the consideration of what kind of Son of God Jesus Christ is. He who is such a son as equal to his father in essence and properties is a son begotten of the essence of his father. Nothing can give such an equality but a communication of essence." (p. 186)

"That Christ’s filiation ariseth from his eternal generation, or he is the Son of God upon the account of his being begotten of the essence of his Father from eternity." (p. 190)

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Volume 1, 1992 English edition.

"TWENTY-NINTH QUESTION: THE ETERNAL GENERATION OF THE SON
Was the Son of God begotten of the Father from eternity? We affirm
. (p. 292)

As all generation indicates a communication of essence on the part of the begetter to the begotten (by which the begotten becomes like the begetter and partakes of the same nature with him), so this wonderful generation is rightly expressed as a communication of essence from the Father (by which the Son possesses indivisibly the same essence with him and is made perfectly like him.)" (pp. 292, 293)

Jonathan Edwards, “An Essay On the Trinity”, in Treatise On Grace and other posthumously published writings (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1971)

"The Father is the deity subsisting in the prime, unoriginated and most absolute manner, or the deity in its direct existence. The Son is the deity generated by God’s understanding, or having an idea of Himself and subsisting in that idea…Hereby we see how the Father is the fountain of the Godhead, and why when He is spoken of in Scripture He is so often, without any addition or distinction, called God which has led some to think that He only was truly and properly God." (pp 118, 122.)

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Volume 1, 1981 reprint.

"The Nicene fathers, instead of leaving the matter where the Scriptures leave it, undertake to explain what is meant by sonship, and teach that it is a derivation of essence. The First Person of the Trinity is Father, because He communicates the essence of the Godhead to the Second Person; and the Second Person is Son, because He derives that essence from the First Person. This is what they mean by Eternal Generation." (p. 468)

David Waltz said...

Mr. King: “My point is that Mr. Waltz's attempt to construe the Nicene Creed as precluding the Αὐτοθεὸς of the Son of God is simply wrong.”

Me: I am going to proceed point by point, such that no misunderstanding can be perpetuated. The ESSENTIAL difference that divides those Trinitarians who affirm the αὐτοθεός of the Son of God from those who deny it is this: those who affirm maintain that it is only the person of the Son which is begotten from the Father, while those who deny believe that it is both the person and the essence that is begotten (via eternal generation).

The following is the pertinent section from the Nicene Creed of 325 (not to be confused with the Nicæno-Constantinopolitan creed of 381):

Καὶ εἰς ἕνα κύριον ἸΗΣΟΥΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΝ, τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς μονογενῆ, τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός, θεὸν ἐκ θεοῦ, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα, οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρί· (Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Baker 1983 reprint, vol. 2, p. 60.)

And in one Lord JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God], Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (ὁμοούσιον) with the Father…(Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Baker 1983 reprint, vol. 1, p. 29.)

A more literal translation of ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός is: out of/from the essence of the Father.

To DENY that the Son’s essence is not begotten out of/from the Father’s essence, which is necessary to maintain the αὐτοθεός of the Son, is a seriously flawed reading of the original text.

Ken said...

I have been out of town lately preaching and teaching and have not been able to contribute much to this until now.

I appreciate Pastor King's contribution from Douglas Kelly. That looks like a worthwhile book for me to purchase!

That helps! Thanks Pastor King!

I wish I knew all that kind of information in my discussions with David Waltz on this very issue at his website. I have been trying to understand him and his belief in this.

The quotes from Hodge and Owen and Turretin are also significant.

They are both true; the eternal generation of the Son, the auto-theos (that each person of the Trinity is God in essence/ousia from within Himself by nature from all eternity), and yet some sort of subordination in the roles of persons of the Trinity.

Isn't this why we say Jesus is the "Son of God"(affirming some sort of subordination to the Father in role) AND, "God the Son" (affirming the equality of the three persons in their essence in the Trinity)?

One of the difficulties I have had in discussing this with David is that he seems to believe that "the only true God" (John 17:3) is reserved only for the Father and that Yahweh is reserved only for the Father; and the LXX rendering for Yahweh as "Kurios" was a Christian recension. (this is not based on any actual evidence, except for the opinion of one scholar, as I recall).

He beleives that Nicaea developed the original subordinationism into "same substance" (homo-ousia) and then Augustine developed the "same substance" into "one substance" and then Calvin into the "auto-theos".
Right David?

I have asked him if his Jehovah's Witness background has affected his beliefs in this and he denies that.

But openness to the Bahai Faith as a possibility that the Bahai'ollah is the second coming of Christ is indeed weird and strange to me. It would mean a radical re-interpretaion of everything; and it would make that belief not Christian at all. In fact, the mere entertainment of such a possibility indicates something is missing in one's soul - because Jesus is the Truth and Life and Joy and once one has truly known Him, they don't go looking for something new.

My exhortation to David Waltz still stands.

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/08/exhortation-to-david-waltz.html


It is hard to figure out why any one who claims to be a Christian and has tasted and experienced the new birth and the joy of knowing the true God of the Bible (The Trinity) would want to entertain these possibilites, like Bahai'ism might be true and a further development. That would also mean that David Waltz does not beleive that "the faith was delivered once for all to the saints" (Jude 3) and also, according to Bahai'ism, Islam is another stage of revelation between Chistianity and Bahaism.

John Bugay said...

Ken, I appreciate you bringing this all together for us. I had remembered some of it from past conversations, but this helps to put it all together.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

It is great to see you back! Sincerely hope that your recent preaching and teaching efforts were both a blessing to you and those you were reaching out to.

In your post you wrote:

"The quotes from Hodge and Owen and Turretin are also significant.

They are both true; the eternal generation of the Son, the auto-theos (that each person of the Trinity is God in essence/ousia from within Himself by nature from all eternity), and yet some sort of subordination in the roles of persons of the Trinity."

Me: The quotes from Hodge, Owen, Turretin and Edwards are affirmations of eternal generation, but not of autotheos (of the Son). Do not forget that autotheos as delineated by Calvin and his supporters explicitly rules out the eternal generation of God's essence to His beloved Son, it only allows for the eternal generation of the PERSON of the Son. Hodge, Owen, Turretin and Edwards affirm both the eternal generation of the essence and the person. I side with Hodge, Owen, Turretin and Edwards, contra Calvin.


Grace and peace,

David

BTW, I recommended Kelly's Systematic Theology - Volume one to you about three months ago.

Ken said...

David,
sorry I forgot your recommendation of Kelly to me three months ago. Where was that? (if not too much trouble to find it)

But since there is only one God, one essence/nature/substance, the development of the biblical texts on the Deity of Christ, to Nicaea and "homo-ousias", to "mono-ousias" (Augustine) to "auto-theos"(Calvin) is all the same. there is no contradiction or conflict in this issue; the way you seemingly try to make it. they are both true.

David Waltz said...

Ken,

First, I mentioned this in one of the comboxes at AF; unfortunately, Google seach only searches the opening post of a thread, and none of the comments.

Second, you wrote:

"But since there is only one God, one essence/nature/substance, the development of the biblical texts on the Deity of Christ, to Nicaea and "homo-ousias", to "mono-ousias" (Augustine) to "auto-theos"(Calvin) is all the same. there is no contradiction or conflict in this issue; the way you seemingly try to make it. they are both true."

Me: No they are not. Calvin clearly defined for us what he meant by autotheos, and in his definition he clearly stated the Son did not derive his essence/deity/Godhood from the Father, but rather, only his personhood. PLEASE, note the following from Dr. John Murray:

"There have been the periods of epochal contribution and advance. The reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is without question the most notable. It was then that the opus magnum of Christian theology was given to the church. It was then that creedal formulation reached its zenith." (John Murray, Collected Writings, 4.7)

A bit later in the next paragraph we read:

"However epochal have been the advances made at certain periods and however great the contributions of particular men we may not suppose that theological construction ever reaches definitive finality. There is the danger of a stagnant traditionalism and we must be alert to this danger, on the one hand, as to that of discarding our historical moorings, on the other. Students of historical theology are acquainted with the furore which Calvin's insistence upon the self-existence of the Son as to his deity [i.e. autotheos] aroused at the time of the Reformation. Calvin was too much of a student of Scripture to be content to follow the lines of what had been regarded as Nicene orthodoxy on this particular issue. He was too jealous for the implications of the homoousion clause of the Nicene creed to be willing to accede to the interpretation to which the Nicene fathers, including Athanasius, placed upon another expression in the same creed, namely, 'very God of very God' (θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ θεὸῦ
ἀληθινοῦ). No doubt this expression is repeated by orthodox people without any thought of suggesting what the evidence derived from the writings of the Nicene Fathers would indicate the intent to have been. This evidence shows that the meaning intended is that the Son derived his deity from the Father and that the Son was not therefore ἀυτόθεος.[1] It was precisely this position that Calvin controverted with vigour. He maintained that as respects as respects personal distinction the Son was of the Father but as respects deity he was self-existent (ex se ipso).[2] This position ran counter to the Nicene tradition.

[1] Cf., for example, Athanasius' Expositio Fidei where it is clearly stated that the Father has being from himself...whereas the Son derives his Godhood from the Father...

[2] Cf. Inst. I, xiii, 19-29." (John Murray, Collected Writings, 4.7, 8 bold emphasis mine.)


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

David,
Thanks for the continuing quotes - I always learn a lot from you!

I think that since
1. There is only one creator, eternal, invisible Almighty God - Monotheism. (Mark 12:29; Deut. 6:4; I Timothy 2:5; John 17:3)

2. And the doctrine of the Trinity is that the One Essence/Being/nature/ousia/substance is eternal into the past without beginning, and at the same time the 3 persons are eternal into the past, above time, before time, etc.

3. and Since there is only One Divine Essence, (One God) and the three persons are eternal; there is no time in which the Father was alone and somehow “injected” His Deity into another person, the Son – as if there was a time that He did not have the Divine nature, etc.; that just does not make sense.

4. and the 3 persons are all eternal into the past above time, without beginning, etc.

5. and since the eternal generation of the Son means that the Son always was back in time no matter how far you go - into eternity past - In the beginning was the word and the word was God, etc. John 1:1, etc.

therefore, it is a mystery, and ultimately this argument does not matter, as long as we affirm the points above; since both the Father and the Son (and the Spirit) are all three eternal into the past, and at the same time one substance. If they are all eternal, and One, and there is no Arianism, then what does your point matter?

Calvin did not believe in 2 or 3 ousias, or “gods” so he cannot be accused of "thri-theism" as one of your articles suggests.

"one God in nature/substance; and three in persons or personal relationships" is true for both views - Calvin vs. Owen/Hodges/Turretin, (as you are pitting them against one another), etc.

Otherwise, your kind of “subordinationism” sounds like some kind of modified Arian/Jehovah’s Witness type of belief.

Ken said...

The self-existence of the Son, His aseity is communicated to us in John 5:26, but it does not mean that there was a time when only the Father had "self existence" and the Son did not; rather Jesus is saying that "just as the Father is self-existent", so the Son also is". "gave" is not meant to communicate a temporal idea, I don't think.

As Dr. White says, something like, "these texts show the unity of the Son with the Father and that Jesus is not some kind of a renegade separate god". This is not a direct quote mind you, but my recall from memory from his DL and videos in trying to communicate these truths to Muslims.

Remember, ultimately, we both admitted there is some mystery here. (in the comboxes at your blog, somewhere.)

natamllc said...

David,

I am coming in late in the game with this suggestion to you?

I started my comments, the first two in this series pointing out what I sense is a great gulf between us and you with regard to the Holy Spirit.

I would recommend that you do something?

Would you kindly refrain from referencing any author's thoughts about the Trinity and just quote "one" verse from the Bible that clearly identifies the Father; "one" verse from the Bible that clearly identifies the Lord Jesus; and, "one" verse that clearly establishes the Holy Spirit as He is, the Third person of the Trinity?

I would think by doing that you would settle once and for all that you are a firm believer in the Trinity, a trinitarian yourself based on the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ Himself and God Our Heavenly Father as each can clearly be established to exist from the Scriptures and not based on your great book learning and intellect.

David Waltz said...

FYI: please note that I double typed the phrase, "as respects", in the above quote from Murray; as most know, Blogger/Google does not allow the editing of combox posts, so rather than delete my original post, I have added this note.

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi natamllc,

You posted:

"Would you kindly refrain from referencing any author's thoughts about the Trinity and just quote "one" verse from the Bible that clearly identifies the Father; "one" verse from the Bible that clearly identifies the Lord Jesus; and, "one" verse that clearly establishes the Holy Spirit as He is, the Third person of the Trinity?"

Me: Please forgive me, but I honestly find your request confusing: how does quoting "one" verse from the Bible that identifies the Father, and ; "one" verse from the Bible that clearly identifies the Lord Jesus "one" verse that clearly establishes the Holy Spirit as He is, establish the doctrine of the Trinity? Can you explain a bit further?

[Ken: do you understand natamllc's request???]


Grace and peace,

David

John Bugay said...

You are the one who is being vague. You seem all too eager to be able to say "there was a time when he was not" (the undefined "he" in this statement being applicable, in your case, both to "the Word" and to the Holy Spirit".)

Ken said...

David wrote:
[Ken: do you understand natamllc's request???]

I confess I did not completely understand natamllc's request either; but I think he means,
"show me one verse for each person of the Trinity that teaches that each one is God/Deity".

Natmallc - can you clarify?

I do understand that he wants your interaction with Scripture more than your interaction with scholars and long quotes from books, etc.

At the same time, John's statement is getting to the point - you seem to want to have some kind of modified Arian/JW doctrine; by the way you don't want the Son and the Spirit to be "full Deity".

natamllc said...

Ken, John and David,

yes, I would like David Waltz under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to cite a verse that clearly is about or points to God Our Heavenly Father.

And one for the Lord Jesus Christ.

And one for the Holy Spirit.

John Bugay said...

That should not be too difficult for our esteemed Mr. Waltz, given the amount of research he says he has done on the topic.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks much for responding; you wrote:

I confess I did not completely understand natamllc's request either; but I think he means,
"show me one verse for each person of the Trinity that teaches that each one is God/Deity".

Natmallc - can you clarify?

I do understand that he wants your interaction with Scripture more than your interaction with scholars and long quotes from books, etc.


Me: You need to back up a bit in this thread to understand why I took the direction that I did; the trajectory concerning the interpersonal relationships of the three persons of the Godhead began with Tim’s following questions:

“1) You do believe in the triune God, that is, that Jesus is divine?

2) The Holy Spirit as the "third" Person of the Trinity--and what is His function in the life of the believer and the Church?

Thanks and blessings in Christ,

Tim”

I responded with:

“Thanks for asking for further clarification. Our Reformed brother in Christ, Ken Temple, asked of me question #1 over at AF; without taking the time to find the exact post wherein I replied to him, I shall reproduce from memory my response: I believe that our Lord, Jesus Christ, as pertaining to His divine nature, is "God from God, light from light"; though he is one in nature with the Father, I do not subscribe to Calvin's theory that he is autotheos.”

And a bit later:

“My view of the Trinity has many points of contact with the following from the later CF, John of Damascus:

’(We believe) in one Father, the beginning, and cause of all: begotten of no one: without cause or generation, alone subsisting…All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being: and unless the Father is, neither the Son nor the Spirit is…because of the Father’s existence, the Son and the Spirit exist.’ (John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, I.8, in NPNF2, IX.6, 9.)”

Ken: “At the same time, John's statement is getting to the point - you seem to want to have some kind of modified Arian/JW doctrine; by the way you don't want the Son and the Spirit to be "full Deity".”

Me: I think by now you should know that I do not believe that the DOCTRINE of the Trinity is EXPLICIT in the Bible, but rather, it is IMPLICIT and needed to be ‘developed’ (which doctrinal history clearly attests to).

And further, what I wrote above, and in the many conversations that you and I have had in the past, you should know that my personal position on the Trinity is not Arianism; the subordinationism taught by the ECF's and the later Eastern CFs IS NOT Arianism.

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Now, to natamllc ’s ‘clarification’:

natamllc: “yes, I would like David Waltz under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to cite a verse that clearly is about or points to God Our Heavenly Father.

And one for the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Me: One verse should address the above request:

Sacred Scripture: “ἀλλ' ἡμῖν εἷς θεὸς ὁ πατήρ, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν, καὶ εἷς κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς δι' αὐτοῦ.”

natamllc: “And one for the Holy Spirit.”

Sacred Scripture: “πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος”


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

John posted:

“You are the one who is being vague. You seem all too eager to be able to say "there was a time when he was not" (the undefined "he" in this statement being applicable, in your case, both to "the Word" and to the Holy Spirit".)

Me: I really wish you would cease attributing to me things that I do not believe, and have EMPHATICALLY DENIED ON MY BLOG. In conversations with Ken, I have specifically stated that our Lord Jesus Christ created time, space and the universe—this makes your charge ludicrous.

David Waltz said...

Ken and natamllc,

A thought just now came to me; to set the matter ‘straight’ once and for all (hopefully), perhaps each of you could state exactly what you think one must believe to be saved (i.e. a true member of the body/church of our Lord Christ), USING SCRIPTURE ONLY to phrase each belief you deem to be necessary. I will then respond to each of your lists.


Grace and peace,

David

Joe said...

Hi David.

Can you clarify for someone who does not know Greek what specific scriptural passages these are? I do not know Greek, and would like to know.

Is the reason for putting them in Greek because of the question phrased (ie "under the annointing of the Holy Spirit")?

Thank you.

-Joe

“ἀλλ' ἡμῖν εἷς θεὸς ὁ πατήρ, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν, καὶ εἷς κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς δι' αὐτοῦ.”

“πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος”

Joe said...

Hi David.

As one who is not nearly intellectually gifted as those who post here...I am trying to follow the actual point of difference between what your view is and anyone else holding to a Trinitarian view on the blog.

Perhaps you have said it elsewhere, and I apologize for not grasping it...but what do you see as the main difference between the Trinitarian views expressed in this thread.

Going up to Ken's post above...he says,

"therefore, it is a mystery, and ultimately this argument does not matter, as long as we affirm the points above; since both the Father and the Son (and the Spirit) are all three eternal into the past, and at the same time one substance. If they are all eternal, and One, and there is no Arianism, then what does your point matter?"/

The "points above" he refers to are,

"1. There is only one creator, eternal, invisible Almighty God - Monotheism. (Mark 12:29; Deut. 6:4; I Timothy 2:5; John 17:3)

2. And the doctrine of the Trinity is that the One Essence/Being/nature/ousia/substance is eternal into the past without beginning, and at the same time the 3 persons are eternal into the past, above time, before time, etc.

3. and Since there is only One Divine Essence, (One God) and the three persons are eternal; there is no time in which the Father was alone and somehow “injected” His Deity into another person, the Son – as if there was a time that He did not have the Divine nature, etc.; that just does not make sense.

4. and the 3 persons are all eternal into the past above time, without beginning, etc.

5. and since the eternal generation of the Son means that the Son always was back in time no matter how far you go - into eternity past - In the beginning was the word and the word was God, etc. John 1:1, etc."


(I do apologize if this is against blog etiquette when quoting much of a prior post by Ken)

In Him,

-Joe

John Bugay said...

I really wish you would cease attributing to me things that I do not believe, and have EMPHATICALLY DENIED ON MY BLOG. In conversations with Ken, I have specifically stated that our Lord Jesus Christ created time, space and the universe—this makes your charge ludicrous.

I really wish you would cease attributing to other people, things which they have not actually said, but for which you find "presuppositions."

I did not actually SAY you believed these things; only that you SEEM to want to be moving in that direction.

This reminds me of YOUR tactic of ATTRIBUTING to someone THINGS THEY HAVEN'T ACTUALLY SAID in such a way that you can attribute what SEEMS to be a PRESUPPOSITION in such a way that it THEN ENABLES you to DISMISS EVERYTHING ELSE THAT WAS REALLY SAID.

And then, for the people who WANT to deal with WHAT IS ACTUALLY SAID, there is no point with you, because you have already ATTRIBUTED presuppositions to those people and YOU ACTUALLY DISMISS WHAT IS ACTUALLY SAID.

Based on something you have imagined.

John Bugay said...

Oh, and how about that Caragounis? Do you throw him out there just because he seems to disagree with Lampe? Or do you actually agree with the things he says?

Ken said...

David W. wrote:

In conversations with Ken, I have specifically stated that our Lord Jesus Christ created time, space and the universe—this makes your charge ludicrous.

Very good. This is actually clearer than anything else I have seen; sorry if I don't remember that.

But, do you believe that Jesus is Yahweh? John 8:24. Do you believe that the LXX rendering of Yahweh as "kurios" is original?

As I recall, you said Jesus is not "full Deity".

And your emphasis is that the phrases "the only true God" and "the one God" are reserved only for the Father alone. John 17:3; I Cor. 8:6; and John 5:44.

I tried to understand this and read a lot of the Eastern Orthodox stuff and interactions with J.Norman and others that you cited, etc.

The struggle I have is with your hesitancy to affirm "one God in substance/nature in three persons" as the truth that was always there in the text - the Trinity.

Another struggle I was having is that you were emphasizing this "subordination" so much that our Muslim friend GV19 was enjoying it and using it for his own anti-Trinitarian mind and comments.

I am just saying - why the hesitancy and entertainment of a theory of one ( ?) scholar that the LXX that we have is a recension of the original? Why not believe that the inspired Scriptures have "kurios" for Yahweh?

And why the emphasis so strongly - so many articles that seem to me to be deliberately provacative as causing doubts on the Trinity; and your emphasis on "the one God" is for the Father alone - you have to admit that it takes a long time for someone like me (or John or Natmallc or Joe) to understand where you are coming from.

I don't understand your mindset.

Are you saying that the doctrine of the Trinity is a human thing that was developed and drawn out of the text, but was not God's original intention?

All of the passages in the NT calling Jesus "Lord" (kurios) are calling Him, "LORD and God". Psalm 110:1 (matthew 22; Mark 10, Acts 2, 13, Hebrews 1, 5) etc.

You hesitate to go that far, it seems. Why?

John 8:24

All of the "I am" statements, He is claiming to be "yahweh"; but you told me He was not. (as I recall)

also, you have lots of posts on "gods" and "elohim" - that there are other "gods" - but they are lesser "divine beings" - angels, both good and evil spirits (demons), etc.

I still struggle to understand you, honestly; but your above statement is the clearest yet.

Ken said...

David,
I think John 8:24 may be the clearest verse that teaches that one must believe that Jesus is Yahweh (God by nature, from all eternity, self-existant; full Deity) in order to be saved.

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am (ego eimi), you will die in your sins."


24 εἶπον οὖν ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν· ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι, ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν.

Is Jesus "God the Son" ?
Is Jesus "God the Word"?

Turretinfan said...

David Waltz wrote: "A thought just now came to me; to set the matter ‘straight’ once and for all (hopefully), perhaps each of you could state exactly what you think one must believe to be saved (i.e. a true member of the body/church of our Lord Christ), USING SCRIPTURE ONLY to phrase each belief you deem to be necessary. I will then respond to each of your lists."

What do you think these guys are, the Roman magisterium? Why on earth would they need or want to make such a list?

-TurretinFan

David Waltz said...

Hi Joe,

So nice to have you engaging in this discussion; you requested:

Joe: "Can you clarify for someone who does not know Greek what specific scriptural passages these are? I do not know Greek, and would like to know."

Me: The first verse is 1 Cor. 8:6, and the second Matt. 28:19.

Joe: " Is the reason for putting them in Greek because of the question phrased (ie "under the annointing of the Holy Spirit")?"

Me: Yes! And it refreshing that someone was able to discern this—thanks much!


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Joe,

In your second post you wrote:

Joe: "As one who is not nearly intellectually gifted as those who post here...I am trying to follow the actual point of difference between what your view is and anyone else holding to a Trinitarian view on the blog.

Perhaps you have said it elsewhere, and I apologize for not grasping it...but what do you see as the main difference between the Trinitarian views expressed in this thread."

Me: To my knowledge, Ken and I are the only ones so far (at least in this particular thread) who have attempted described which form/type of Trinitarianism that one holds to.

I specifically stated that I reject Calvin's notion of authotheos, which I believe to be a novel concept not held by anyone prior to him IN THE SAME SENSE THAT HE DESCRIBES IT—i.e. a denial that the eternal begetting/generation of the Son from the Father excludes the divine essence. I then cited a number of Reformed theologians who affirm, contra Calvin, that both the essence and the person of the Son is begotten by the Father.

I also cited a passage from John of Damascus which further reflects key elements of my current understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.

Joe : ==Going up to Ken's post above...he says,

"therefore, it is a mystery, and ultimately this argument does not matter, as long as we affirm the points above; since both the Father and the Son (and the Spirit) are all three eternal into the past, and at the same time one substance. If they are all eternal, and One, and there is no Arianism, then what does your point matter?"

The "points above" he refers to are,

"1. There is only one creator, eternal, invisible Almighty God - Monotheism. (Mark 12:29; Deut. 6:4; I Timothy 2:5; John 17:3)

2. And the doctrine of the Trinity is that the One Essence/Being/nature/ousia/substance is eternal into the past without beginning, and at the same time the 3 persons are eternal into the past, above time, before time, etc.

3. and Since there is only One Divine Essence, (One God) and the three persons are eternal; there is no time in which the Father was alone and somehow “injected” His Deity into another person, the Son – as if there was a time that He did not have the Divine nature, etc.; that just does not make sense.

4. and the 3 persons are all eternal into the past above time, without beginning, etc.

5. and since the eternal generation of the Son means that the Son always was back in time no matter how far you go - into eternity past - In the beginning was the word and the word was God, etc. John 1:1, etc."==

I affirm pretty much all that Ken expounded above except, that the "One Divine Essence" is "the one God" of the Bible. The phrase "the one God" is reserved for God the Father alone; it is a title that is never given to the Son or the Holy Spirit. Now, if one uses the term "God" (theos) as an equivalent for Godhead (theotēs), then I have no problem ascribing the phrase "the one God" to the "One Divine Essence".

I discuss this issue at length in the following thread:

articulifidei.blogspot.com/search/label/Trinity



Sincerely hope I have been of some assistance in answering your questions.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

" What do you think these guys are, the Roman magisterium? Why on earth would they need or want to make such a list?"

"They", certain persons posting in this thread who have questioned whether or not I am a Christian, need to "make such a list" because they must have a certain set of criteria (i.e. a list of beliefs that one must accept) which is used as a standard to make such a judgment.

David Waltz said...

To all participants,

I have an important appointment that need to head out for; as such, though there are some other points that have been raised I would like to address, they will have to wait, and it may be Monday before I can get back to this thread, for I have out of town guests arriving this afternoon. Please do not try and construe this as an attempt to avoid your questions...

I am looking forward to more dialogue on these issues in the near future (the Lord willing).


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

FYI!!!

My second post to Joe has been deleted after appearing for a few moments. Hopefully one of BA's moderators can restore the post ASAP so that continuity can be maintained.

James Swan said...

David,

Since you get caught in the spam filter more than anyone, here's a few tips.

First, don't use all caps for certain phrase. Don't use symbols like === and //, use words.

natamllc said...

David

while I am disappointed with your response, I am mindful of my own failings and ignorant shortcomings so I am not judging you:

"Now, to natamllc ’s ‘clarification’:

I regret you missed my point.

I am sorrowful for you.

With that, all I can do is continue doing what I am called to do, and parenthetically, in this instance it's to point out your lack of "spiritual" fellowship with me because I do not sense it, but rather, I sense there is a lack of "kindredness" of Spirit with me and with many others who post in here.

I am glad you know enough Greek so as to post a couple of verses in Greek as your response to my request above.

You did not, however, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in my view, provide a verse that clearly is solely the Father Himself or about the Father, or, the Son, or, of the Holy Spirit as I would think one could do if they were filled with the same Holy Spirit?

Again, I am not God and you won't have to answer to me on Judgment Day just like I won't have to answer to you on Judgment Day.

Here is Scripture that clearly establishes and embraces all Three in communion with the Saints, we "four" and no more:

2Co 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2Co 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2Co 13:13 All the saints greet you.
2Co 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.