Update on Tuesday Night’s Trinity Debate, and Some Thoughts on the Tea Party

James White Interviews Apologist Sam Shamoun About the Trinity Debate (airing online at 7:00 PM, EST, Sept. 16)

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  1. Genesis 18 Abraham sees The LORD and speaks with him. Jacob in Gen 32, Manoah Judges 13:22. Its interesting how the angel of the Lord is identified as God in the first person. Exodus 24 they see God and His feet. An apparent contradiction lies here, no man can see God and live and yet they Saw God. They saw the invisible, infinite God who dwells in unapproachable light. yet it was the mediator ship of an angel a separate entity. God so manifests himself through this angel, that people identify the God of Israel when he appears.

    Moses Could only see the back part of God. Humans can only see the God of israel as he manifests Himself in limited ways, through fire, clouds, angels, humans, Messiah Jesus the Word. The Son is the exact representation of the nature of God. The God of Israel the Father dwells in fullness in the Son.
    The angel of the Lord is not the pre existent Christ. Hebrews 1:2, 1 Pet 1:20 God spoke through the Son in the last days and he appeared in these last times not in the OT dispensation.

    The angel of the Lord is an angel a separate entity, we have no right to twist that and make it something else especially when it suits our doctrinal belief.

    God is identified and addressed in the first person when this angel appears as seen in the above verses of scripture. God uses this angel in a very unique way.

    I find it interesting that most will deny this angel of Lord is of the angelic order and a separate entity.

  2. Very well, I submit to the fact that my argument wasn’t phrased well enough to be understood. You both clearly mistake my intention and my rationale, but I will chalk this up to poor explanation on my part and move on.

  3. Ray

    To some this may appear that God is there with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and appear to Abraham as three men.

    What’s funny about this view is the fact that 2 of the 3 figures [“messengers/angels”] leave Abraham to go down to Sodom and the 1 who remains identifies himself as “the LORD/YHWH” [v.22]. So if we’re dealing with a triune “LORD/GOD/YHWH” how do you account for this? How about the singular personal pronouns used in reference to YHWH whenever “He” speaks?

  4. I have gone in-depth regarding exegetical examples of certain passages [virgin birth etc.] and have proven the contradiction when it comes to quotes by supposed Trinitarian scholars who really seem to be hiding a unitarian findings. Do not know how else to paint this picture for you.

    Yes, on those well-known synoptic passages you have certainly interacted. Problem is, you have in no way demonstrated that these passages exclude the possibility of a pre-incarnate Christ. I’m having trouble understanding your rationale that the Logos becoming flesh (as spoken of in said passages) in no way reflects that very pre-incarnate state of being.

    Regarding your Trinitarian quotes, you’ve really established nothing more than the fact that there are a variety of oppinions regarding the particular mechanics of the Trinity and how the doctrine can best be explained in human terms (surprise, surprise). Certainly your Unitarian scholars face similar discrepencies, especially where the denial of the Diety of Jesus is concerned. Seems there are endless varieties of ways they use to get around the clear passages (Hebrews 1 certainly has a confounding pedigree in this regard), so the point is essentially moot.

    Maybe you could explain your position on:
    1) The nature of the Logos
    2) The nature of Christ

    That would make for an excellent painting so I don’t misrepresent your views in my own mind.

    WHO [and not WHAT, according to Dr. White] God is, is sufficiently expressed in simple, black and white words Tom.

    Sufficiently, sure, but completely, never. God is bigger and more mysterious than we both know, and I do not exclude the Trinity because of my inability to define the Eternal.

    Again, if the Trinity is not taught in the Bible, it’s finished. If it is, I’m willing to lay aside any presuppositions and believe in the truth of God’s word.

    What Trinitarians suggest goes against the clear, grammatical structure that expresses the only immortal, invisible God the Father [YHWH].

    I fail to follow the logic that the Eternal INFINITE YHWH must exist in a way that can be expressed in a clear grammatical structure by a noneternal, FINITE human being with only the faintest glimpse of the Divine nature. If He ain’t beyond my capacity to comprehend; if the infinite truth of Him does not stretch my frail and finite mind; if the infinite reality of His Being can be summarized in one statement (for which you’ve chosen, “God is One” – though certainly you could have chosen something else like “God is a Mighty Man of War”); then is He really God? That is to say: the existence of the Trinity is not subject to my ability to comprehend or grammatically assert the Trinity. It stands or falls on the witness of Scripture alone. Any other foundation (even “logic” – which I might point out is a humanistic construction to begin with) is sinking sand.

    Tell me: can you explain to me how Jesus fed 5000 with a single basket of food? Or better yet, please define for me in no uncertain terms how Jesus walked on water?

    The question about God’s wonders is never: “how is it?” Only: “is it?”

    When Jesus, the Jew, himself quotes the Shema and a Jewish teacher of the law agrees with this statement you have a supposed trinitarian [Jesus] agreeing with a staunch unitarian [the teacher].

    Again, you are assuming Unitarianism in your exegesis. The teacher was certainly shown to be a monotheist, but to call him a unitarian is to go beyond the text.

    Besides, I can say there’s only one God. You would agree with this. Doesn’t make me a unitarian.

  5. Tom

    Maybe you could explain your position on:
    1) The nature of the Logos
    2) The nature of Christ

    1) According to the New Dictionary of Theology:

    From the OT perspective, the concept evoked God’s word that called creation into being (Gn. 1:1–3; Ps. 33:6, 9), the revelatory word that came to the prophets (Je. 1:4, 11; 2:1) and was preached by them (Je. 2:4; 7:2), the word as equivalent to the law (Ps. 119:9, 105) and the word as God’s agent of salvation (Ps. 107:20), or of judgment (Je. 23:29; Ho. 6:5), that would accomplish its purpose (Is. 55:11). It probably also contained echoes of the concept of Wisdom in Pr. 8:22–31.

    2) Christ means the anointed one from Heb. mashiak, Messiah. Designation for human beings who were said to be anointed by prophets in the OT.

    I do not exclude the Trinity because of my inability to define the Eternal.

    The Jewish-Christian creed, the Shema, defines how many God is. Of course there are many many many things we are yet to know from our 1 YHWH and Father.

    …can you explain to me how Jesus fed 5000 with a single basket of food? Or better yet, please define for me in no uncertain terms how Jesus walked on water?


    Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. Acts 2.22

    Jesus himself attests that it was “by the spirit [finger] of God” [Mat 12.28} that he was able to do whatever God the Father empowered him to do.

  6. 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Mathew 1;18-19
    according to this “The Father” is not the one who is the father of Jesus but the “Holy Spirit” so when Jesus said I come in my Fathers name is he referring to The “Holy Spirit” or to ” The Father”?

  7. Chuck,

    Thanks for the link. I noticed that the Foreword is by Anthony Buzzard. How telling!

    Of course, the bottom line is: What does the Word say about this, not what later Church teaching or non-Christian philosophy say. And that, of course, is where you and I and others here so profoundly disagree. With that, I’m back out of this thread, but thanks for the link.

  8. Dr. Brown

    Are you getting the book? A bit expensive but might be worth it methinks.

    Are you familiar with the author Marian Hillar? He is a world-reknowned expert on Servetus. I highly recommend you and anyone else interested to seek out his other books.

    PS: Mr. Hillar is a humanist so its a good way to read these topics from an objective POV.

  9. Dr Brown

    …my interest is in the biblical evidence, not later developments either way.

    I do not understand what you mean by that since your beliefs concerning this subject are based on the much later Nicene-Chalcedonian creeds of the nascent Catholic Church of the 4th-5th century, are they not?

    You are after all a trinitarian.

  10. Chuck,
    He already addressed this: “there was already, among the early church fathers” the belief in the Triune God.

  11. Chuck,

    As I stated a few posts back, I was making a comment on the book you referenced and not getting into a discussion here, so this is my last post, and if you have a question for me, please email it privately through the website but do NOT post it here, OK?

    So here’s the answer to your question (which, by the way, doesn’t seem sincere or honest in the least, since in all my discussion of this subject in every setting imaginable, I never once cite the creeds). Still, you ask: “I do not understand what you mean by that since your beliefs concerning this subject are based on the much later Nicene-Chalcedonian creeds of the nascent Catholic Church of the 4th-5th century, are they not?”

    No, they are not. I am a Jewish follower of Jesus and I base my beliefs about God’s nature and the deity of the Messiah on the Scriptures alone. End of subject. I’ve made that clear many times before — in my books, in my debates, on my radio show, and here — so there’s no reason to ask me about it again, unless you are trying to be contentious or obstinate, which I hope is not the case.

    Once again, please do honor my request, as time and priorities do not allow me to continue the discussion here, and if you’d like to ask me for clarification privately, feel free to do so, but not here.

  12. Trying to understand the Trinity doctrine has always been to me like trying to figure out a puzzle or a riddle.

    When they say Jesus is God, is it that they are saying so by comparison, or is it something more?

  13. Chuck,

    What is a “Trinitarian” to you? In either objection or affirmation of God? All three references, as such, were exhibited at the baptism of Jesus, happening in a short time to “fulfill all righteousness”. An affirmation of Jesus came with the Father’s voice from heaven, and the descent from above of the visible Holy Spirit. What more could one ask as to confirmation of the intention of Jesus to bring His revelation of God to His own? What more could his followers require, after he went away, where, “it is better that I go away,” “in order that the Father and I send the Spirit”? Tarry in Jerusalem.

    This attitude of waiting and receiving is based on who God is, and what He promised through first sending His Son, as Father, Son, and Spirit.

  14. Jabez H.

    What is a “Trinitarian” to you? In either objection or affirmation of God?

    Someone whose belief of a triune God is defined by the Nicene-Chalcedonian creeds of the 4th-5th centuries. As any history book or commentary will tell you…

    …no one clearly and fully asserted the doctrine of the Trinity…until around the end of the so-called Arian Controversy [c.300s].

    No trinitarian doctrine is explicitly taught in the Old Testament. Trinitarians normally grant this, holding that the doctrine was revealed by God only later…The New Testament contains no explicit trinitarian doctrine. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Trinity.

  15. There are likely many strict adherents to the doctrine that may end up in hell. It could be a part of the broad way that leads to destruction. It might not be so straight, or at the very least, it’s not what’s going to get a man to heaven, necessarily.

    I don’t see it as a doctrine that every Christian must be a strict adherent to.

    At best it seems to me to be a representation of the Word, a way of explaining something from, or about the Word.

    To some it’s like a hollandaise sauce that to their taste is just a bit off.

    Maybe it has just a bit of something added in that they’re just not quite sure what it is, or maybe it’s something that it lacks.

    To some it’s like a food that’s been a bit more processed than they prefer.

    I don’t think it’s something that will necessarily keep a man out of heaven, nor is it something that will keep a man in.

    It seems to me that there are some who will not be proponents of the doctrine that will enter heaven, while there are proponents of the doctrine that will not enter heaven, just as there will be those who are not proponents of the doctrine that will enter hell and not be allowed into heaven.

    There may be something within the doctrine that will bring a man to Christ.

    Now I think of the law, but that’s another subject I don’t want to get into here.

  16. PS: Mr. Hillar is a humanist so its a good way to read these topics from an objective POV.—Chuck

    Is this a serious quote? Mr. Hillar being a humanist completely eliminates the possibility of him being biased?

    Unlike people like Calvin and many other so-called ‘Christians’ through the ages, such men are not forcing nor persecuting people to the point of murder.—Xavier

    Okay Xavier, can you please prove (with facts) that Calvin murdered Servetus? Accusing someone of murder is a very serious charge.

  17. Chuck, I did check out the links you provided, but we’ll be pulling your posts because we don’t allow personal attacks like this on our site. I am surprised, however, that you would post a link from a hostile, anti-Christian, Islamic YouTube video to attack a brother in the Lord, whether you like his conduct or not. Very surprising and troubling, far more than anything I saw on the video.

  18. EDH: The charge is grave, and the lack of logical consistency behind the argument it virtually removes it from serious consideration. I actually took this deal on in a post I did back in March – http://thechifiles.com/2011/03/13/modus-ponens-attack-a-lesson-in-consistency/

    Chuck: I thought this board was about the Trinity debate – when did it become ad hominem express? Oh, that’s right, back in post #21. Seriously, appealing to emotional argumentation does not make a valid case for your position.

  19. EDH

    Mr. Hillar being a humanist completely eliminates the possibility of him being biased?

    It should. Unless you can tell us how an objective observer can be biased to any view. BTW this is Mr. Hillar’s new book: http://www.cambridge.org/aus/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9781107013308

    …can you please prove (with facts) that Calvin murdered Servetus?

    Perhaps this video might help: http://vimeo.com/16735435

    Also, check out Did Calvin Murder Servetus? free on GoogleBooks.

    Dr Brown

    It was not my intention to “attack” anyone, I am simply asking if you were aware of this man’s “extracurriculum activities” on other sites and forums. That is all.

  20. Dr Brown

    I happened upon many links and websites like it with a lot more profanity. I apologize if I offended anyone but just wanted to know from you if you were aware of this. That is all.

  21. Chuck, again all clear, and apologies accepted. Again, I have no problem with you raising a concern to me, but as stated, it’s best to do so privately. I don’t catch many posts here, especially in times of active discussion, and our moderators may miss things at times as well. You were certainly not being singled out.

  22. Dr Brown

    Thank you.

    But I feel the public, especially your audience, should know these things.

    Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning….Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed.

  23. Chuck,

    You’re welcome.

    It appears, though, that you’re still missing the point, so this will be the last post on this subject. This is not the place to accuse others or bring charges against others regarding their alleged conduct. Plain and simple. End of subject.

  24. Dr Brown

    Seems we are ‘typing’ past each other Dr. Brown. I just wanted to know if you knew about this facts. They are not “allegations” without a shred of evidence. I personally have been in contact with the man and he was insulting and judgmental to say the least.

    Again, no one is accusing anyone. Just pointing to the facts and whether you are privy to them and if so, what will you do about it if anything. It is only fair to the public at hand and ESPECIALLY your audience.

  25. Chuck,

    Please spare having to delete further posts, but I’m asking you to drop this subject and not to continue to defend or justify your previous posts. Facts, allegations, whatever — this is NOT the place to be making these posts. If you want the public to know, you can find other formats.

    Thanks for complying, and as always, your posts are welcome on regular subjects covered here, regardless of our disagreements.

  26. Isn’t it something how we so often see two different camps that will each defend their position and yet they don’t seem to come to an agreement, the one defending the Lord’s diety and the other defending his sonship?

    In the end will the Lord commend them both, one for defending his sonship while the other has defending his diety?

    If so, I wonder where the rest of us would fit in.

    Will he give each of those two a kingdom to rule, a unitarian city, and the other a trinitarian one, or is it only one of them that will get a city to rule and be a delivering judge over?

    I noticed a strange thing. It was a man who saw a certain truth, and something that was something other than the particular truth he saw, though the thing was true, he regarded it as being false.

  27. Hello, Dr Michael Brown, there is a book online regarding this issue and I’m wondering if you have seen this book:

    “The Only True God: A Study of Biblical Monotheism” by Pastor Eric H.H. Chang


    Apparently I was with Eric Chang’s church for 10 years. But in later years ( in year 2000 or so)he came up with his book which I find it confusing.

    I would like to know what is your stand on this with him. Do you agree on all that he said and is true?

    This is the final truth he gave his churches.
    They no longer pray in Jesus name.

    Would you be kind enough to help me on this?
    Is it the truth or is it questionable?

    Can you comment on it and reply to my email address?

    Thank you.
    From Malaysia.

  28. I ran into debate with Dr. Brown and Dr. White where they defended the Biblical doctrine of Trinity on youtube. Good job. The video was very informative and helpful. Is it for sale anywhere on DVD?

  29. crystal lee

    Interesting story. E-mail me with further information please.

    I know an off-shoot of Chang’s movement.

  30. I am a firm believer in the Trinity myself. I was wondering Mr Brown if you could if the LORD wills if you can deal with this website on one of the line of fire shows.
    I have a written an article myself (although not finished) but I was wondering if you could tackle the tricky parts where Merrell cites so called Catholic and Protestant sources and uses them as a pretext against the Trinity. Thanks muchly sir.

  31. I also have this conclusion about the Shema being misused. It doesn’t talk about how many persons in the Godhead. I remember Mr Brown mentioning something like this (Forgive me for any misrepresentation or mishearing). Do you suppose that the Shema debunking the Trinity argument came from Maimonedes?

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