Doctrine

I bow to Tradition. I bow to the Creeds.

This page has greatly changed. Just saying…

I’ve left the old comments here for a reason – got to know where you come from.

 

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316 thoughts on Doctrine

  1. Denise, the motif in Scripture is different at times, on the context. Read Ephesians 5 and Hebrew 12. The Church is the New Jerusalem

  2. Revelation21 verse 2,and i John saw the holy city ,the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.REVELATION 21 Verse 9to 10
    And there came unto to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues ,and talk with me saying ,Come hither ,I will shew thee the bride ,the lambs wife .And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain , and shewed me that great city , the holy JERUSALEM descending out of heaven from God.The new JERUSALEM is the bride of Christ not the church which is the body of Christ . T he groom cannot marry himself .He called us sons he cannot married his sons.The righteousness of the saints is what is going to adorned the city.If we are the ones who is going to be in the marriage of the lamb then it is not possible for us to be the bride .If we are the bride who is going to be in the supper?.Paul was talking to the Ephesian brethren about submitting themselves one to another in the fear of the Lord,and he use Jesus Christ and the church as an example for husbands and wives there is no where in Ephesians 5 that states that the bride is the church please asked the Lord Jesus to revelate you on who is his bride

    • Denise, Paul uses the comparison between husbands and wives to say that this is like the mystery of the Church and Christ. Further, in the OT, Israel is seen as the bride of God. In this, we know that the Church is the New Jerusalem. We are indeed the bride of Christ.

      See Hebrews 12, again
      2nd Corinthians 11.2
      Matthew 25:1-13
      Romans 7:1-4

  3. Hello, i was wondering why you don’t believe in the ressurection of Jesus Christ? it is not stated in the doctrine that you believe. In the scriptures it says you have to believe in the death, burrial, and ressurection of Jesus Christ in order to be saved.

    • I do believe in the Resurrection of Christ. If you feel it must be added, then, I’ll do it.

      • I’m sorry for saying you didn’t believe in the ressurection of Christ. I should have asked you first. Thanks for responding. I DO believe that it needs to be added to your doctrine page as I believe it is the greatest thing God ever did to show us Christians that if Jesus was ressurected so shall we be.

  4. “I believe in one substance of God in the Father, the Son, the Spirit. There is no distinction, no separation.”

    This is simply and wholly modalism, and not the doctrine of God, who is triune and eternally the “Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (John 1:1 ; 1:14 ; 1:18, and chapters 14 thru 17 of St. John).

    Fr. Robert (Anglican)

    • Historic? You mean since the councils? Because the Apostles didn’t see a separation, ousia, etc… May God help you see this important truth

  5. Wb, while you hate theological terms, you use them. ‘Person’ is a theological term, which leads greatly to the certain understandings? Is it from the Latin or the Greek?

    In Hebrew 1.3 we find ‘person’ applied only to God, and the Son is an emanation from Him, which is how the early Church saw it. Yet, coming to the end of the 4th century, we find ‘persons’ assigned to each, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

    I see one substantia, three personae, but not as the 4th Century, and nearly everyone since then as seen it.

    Is God the Father? Yes. Is He the Son? Yes. Is God the Spirit? Yes. Is the Son the Father? No.

    Which way do you see it?

    http://jimsomerville.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/trinity.jpg

    Or:

    http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-godhood2.gif

    • Polycarp,

      “you hate theological terms, you use them”

      hehe. :) I know. I hate cooking terms too, but use them when necessary as well. Doesn’t mean I dont try to put it in terms most people can understand.

      Interestingly, I think person from both the latin and the greek. persōna is Latin, prósōpa is from the Greek. If I recall my world history, some greeks had colonized parts of Italy, so it would not suprize me.

      You wrote, “I see one substantia, three personae, but not as the 4th Century, and nearly everyone since then as seen it.”

      Ok. help me understand what you are saying. Substantia = substance, personae = persons. So I’m lost in trying to understand. :)

      You wrote, “Is God the Father? Yes. Is He the Son? Yes. Is God the Spirit? Yes. Is the Son the Father? No.”

      I agree with this. So how does what you are saying differ from the doctrine of the trinity (which Athansius defended http://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/history-of-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity/ )?

      Is the Spirit the Son? Is the Spirit the Father?

      How do I see it? Of those two images, the second is probably the closest, but even that is not quite right. I dont know how to represent three complete separate and distinct personalities within one spirit being. I’d probably be spanked as being irreligious, but I see it as three complete and whole and distinct personalities within one being – my image is someone with multiple personality disorder.

      • Very nice article W, thank you! And good sources also. There is little wriggle room here, either in history or doctrine, just the variations of the Trinity in both the Eastern Orthodox and the Western Church. Which are still within the proper mystery or mysteries of God! (1 Cor. 4:1)
        Fr. R.

        • Ah, yes, ‘mystery’ which helps to say, ‘it’s just too begin to understand’ without actually using ‘mystery’ in the proper way in which it was intended.

      • Polycarp, that’s close, but still not right. I guess I’d join the first 2 images, where there are three personalities of the same essence in one spirit being.

        What do you understand Athanasius as having taught concerning the nature of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? I ask because it seems to me he basically pushed the Nicene creed – three distinct persons and one essence.

        Personally, while all doctrinal positions must be based on scripture, I do not think you can ignore the church history when considering doctrine, otherwise you might miss something critical that might lead one into error. So what error do you see in the Nicene creed?

  6. Here is a site that shows that the doctrine and understanding of the Trinity of God, was always part of the Apostles Doctrine, though it had yet to be fully explained and brought out by the Holy Spirit. (St. John 14:26…Pneuma to Hagion. The only place in John where the two articles are found. He, the Holy Spirit is the “Person’ of Love, and also “the” teacher of both the Father and the Son, in an eternal relationship of Love – Rom. 15:30 / Col.1:8) The same aspect can be said the doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ. Though the word “Incarnation” is not used in the Bible, the concept and reality certainly is.
    http://www.bible.ca/H-trinity.htm

    And as I have stated, the 1st Epistle of John, shows that there is little subordinationism in the eternal relationship of “the Father and the Son”, save the Father is always the regal, or first person in the Godhead, but what belongs to the Father in deity, belongs to the Son, and the Holy Spirit. First John shows this eternal relationship between the Father and the Son, and this is the very basis of the Incarnation of God! ( See, 1 John 1:1-3 ; 2:22-24, note verse 24..”you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.”
    Fr. Robert

    • Fr. Robert, the problem with people is that they always think they can find their doctrine with the Apostles instead of simply allowing the Apostles to speak for themselves.

      Incarnation is used in the Bible, actually.

      By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, (1Jo 4:2 NKJ)

      in hoc cognoscitur Spiritus Dei omnis spiritus qui confitetur Iesum Christum in carne venisse ex Deo est (1Jo 4:2 VUL)

      It is more than a concept mentioned, but the Anglicization of the Latin phrase, found in Greek as ἐν σαρκὶ.

      Considering that ‘person’ or substance is given only to God by the apostolic writers, and this later expanded by the Platonic philosophers such as Justin, Clement and Orgin, I’ll see with the Apostles.

      • Joel,
        Now you are using elements that came after the Apostles, like the Latin Vulgate, and people like Justin, Clement, etc. And again the concept of “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (in flesh, but not the word incarnation), but again the very word, “Incarnation” is not there (to be pickly as you would be about the word Trinity).
        And the again what is given to the Father “person” (Heb.1:3) is given to the Son, “express image of His person”.

        I can, again, only hope the readers will check out the site I have given!
        Fr. R.

          • Also what “you” are saying is that we cannot use any words that are not just from the Apostles, we cannot teach or expand on their thought, etc. This is the nature of your logic…simple. You cannot have it both ways here!
            Fr. R.

          • Fr. Robert, no, we cannot expand what the Apostles said. We are commanded not to go beyond then, and even Irenaeus knew that, the same Irenaeus who said that God was One Person.

          • Fr. Robert, you apply ‘Trinity’ every time you see ‘Father, Son, and Spirit.’ That is your choice. It’s intellectually dishonest to read them in light of developed doctrine. Even Kelly knew better than that.

          • It clearly talks about Christ being the hand of God, Wb, and considering that Christ is called the Word and Wisdom…

          • Uh… Help me out here. I see where Christ is at the right hand of God, but not where He IS the hand of God.

          • Joel,

            I understand the term sitting at the ‘right hand’ meaning being placed in a position of trust, honor, and power.

            But being at the right hand of God, which is where scripture tells us Christ is sitting, is very different from being the hand of God.

          • Polycarp,

            Actually no. to be at the right hand of someone was to be shown respect and honor (in which trust is implicit) and being shown to have equal power and authority.

            You keep claiming to be using biblical terms, yet I do not see you using scripture to support your position. Please do so.

            further evidence of the distinction between the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son:
            John 14:26.

            26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

            1 Peter 1:2

            2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
            Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

          • No to what? (The pages on this blog do not allow threaded comments, it seems, only the posts.)

            Use Scripture to explain common idioms? Considering the predominance of Psalms in understanding the Messianic Vision, Ps. 20:6; Ps. 80:14-17; Ps. 118:14-16; Ps. 80:17; Ps. 44:2-3; Isa. 62:8; Ex 15:6; Isa 63:12; If a position is intended, then you have two realities. Further, how many sit on the throne of God? If there is but one on the throne, and yet we take ‘right hand of God’ literally, then we see a position, and then in a position, subordination.

            Again, what distinction? The Father sends the Spirit, His Spirit which is the Lord. Constantly, this spirit is seen as God’s, and yet, we are supposed to believe, established long after the Apostles, that the Spirit somehow exists outside of God? As does His Word? Is God ever without His Spirit or His Wisdom or His Word? If So, then the Word too must have Wisdom, Word and Spirit, and the Spirit much have Wisdom, Word, and Spirit.

            1st Peter 1.12 described the work of the prosopons. God in the Father is Creater, God in the Son is Redeemer, God in the Spirit is the Sustainer.

            Scripture plainly declared Jesus Christ is God, the YHWH of the OT, and yet, we are supposed to be in that He stands beside the same God of the Old.

          • We are commanded to not add to the gospel, but not commanded to not explain it. Part of the gospel includes who is God.

          • True, but in explaining it, do we use pagan concepts, terms, and thoughts? Or should we remain within the pattern of sound words as Paul commended Timothy?

            http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/2008/10/does-the-apostle-paul-permit-doctrinal-progression/

            Further, in explaining, who has given you the authority to add? In Scripture, there is only one Substance, and that is God and the Son is seen as an emanation of Him. Yet, would you add another substance for the Son and yet another one for the Spirit and then introduced a platonic word, ousia (essence) to then describe God?

          • Further, we know that the Lord is the Spirit: 2 Corinthians 3:17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2Co 3:17 NLT)

            And the same Spirit is called both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8.9)

        • ‘You’ are clearly discontented with everything that I have said before. ‘I’ don’t feel the need to respond to ‘you’ on every point because ‘you’ miss the central point which ‘I’ continue to make. ‘I’ do not feel that we can go beyond the Apostles; ‘you’ do. ‘I’ feel that this opens the door to every whim of man’s Traditions; ‘you’ still adore Mary because of this notion. ‘You’ prove my point.

          “Your” theology is your own. I have never attacked you, unlike the reverse, because of it. I disagree with you, but I have made it a point to find common ground on the Deity of Christ which even Calvin agreed was the essential doctrine.

          • Joel,
            I will always attack false doctrine, and especially that against the Trinity of God! But you, here sadly is where you are at:
            “A factious (non catholic sectarian), after a first and second admonition, refuse, Knowing that such a one is perverted (lit. turned out of right the way) and is sinning though he is condemned by his own self.” (Titus 3:10-11)

            Your sin is against both the doctrine and church of God! Such has been, and will be those that press the heterodoxy of Modal Monarchianism! And I do say this with sadness, but I will man-up and say it, as I must!

            Sincerely In Christ,
            Fr. Robert

          • Fr. Robert, continue to call names at your pleasure; I will neither assault nor defend.

            The only thing that I will continue to do is to state the doctrine as I see it, and as I can prove it.

          • Gee, how did I not know that! I am the old Irishman, Royal Marine, and I do drink (brew only), but only one a day…Fosters, and yeah I like ya Coors too, Bud’s not bad either (no light beer for me however). The old Irishman is still 150lbs at 5’11, lean and Marine mean! I guess it is a good thing that all this is done on the blog. I might have already kicked some XXX! lol

            Father Robert

          • I will make a final response about Mary, since Joel has accursed me of holding a Roman position. First, like the Trinity of God, the doctrine and teaching of Mary as the Mother of our Lord, is in a certain sense a development of doctrine. But the development of doctrine is not some addition to the Apostles, but the expansion of understanding to her already given place in both the history and the providence of God. She was and is simply a “elect” vessel of grace, for the birth and incarnation of Christ, as the eternal Son of God was made or became man. The Virgin Birth, but this is more than just Mary as a mere surrogate, or agent. From her womb, and from her DNA also, somehow Christ became a fully human man, yet without sin or the sin nature. It is the belief of both the R. Catholic Church, as the E. Orthodox, as well as Luther, Calvin, Bullinger, etc. that Mary was in a state of grace during her conception and pregnancy. Yes, Rome goes further with the Immaculate Conception, but we need not, seeing only Mary in the state of grace by God for Christ. But grace does change nature, and Mary is never the same.

            In conclusion, Mary is as the Council of Ephesus (431) states, the Theotokos…the God-bearer, and the Mother of the Incarnate Christ. Of this, and to this I say also, amen! This great truth was proclaimed at Ephesus against the heresy of Nestorianism, which not only distinguished but separated the human and the divine nature of our Lord, so as in effect to make him not the full Christ. As does any position that does not see or allow our Lord’s Person: “He being one Son, dual in nature, not dual in Person. Wherefore, we do confess, preaching the truth that Christ our God is perfect God and perfect Man.” And here we also see and find the Second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God. Without this reality, as seen within the eternality of the Father and of the Son, we lose really the Incarnation of Christ, the Son of God. Thus for a proper relationship of the Incarnation we must have the Father and the Son, in this eternal relationship, ever loving and ever being the Father and the Son, in the bond of this love in the “Person” of the Holy Spirit flowing together! And Mary the Virgin and Mother of God in Christ, stands in Christology.
            Fr. R.

  7. Walter, in the end, it comes down to this:

    Is there room for doctrinal development?

    Is yes, then sure, the Trinity, of course, we should also then look to Rome and the East, and ignore the Protestants. We should burn incense, accept the Saints, and adore Mary. We should support the papacy and the real presence in the Eucharist. If we accept doctrinal development in the least part, and move past the ‘pattern of words’ which Paul commanded us to hold, then we should begin to accept the others things which were developed.

  8. Please show me in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit and the Father and the Son are not distinct. I ask because I see over and over a distinction between the three, while I also see they are one – simultaneously.

    Whether anyone in the early church wrote about seeing the trinity in the description of Jesus’ baptism or not, it is clear that God the Father sent the Holy Spirit to descend upon the Son. It is clear the separation was there. That merely described what is there.

    You can claim no one else saw it, but it does not mean it was not there.

    Recall the mystery of the church and Christ which was not shared with the Old Testament prophets (Ephesians 5:31-33) and the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:18-20), the mystery of Christ (Colossians 2:1-3), the mystery of Christ in us (Colossians 1:25-27).

    You say you do not believe in doctrinal development, rejecting it outright. If this is the case, then taking it to its logical conclusion would require you to reject the New Testament, and in fact the Old Testament. I say this because they show a developing understanding of the doctrine of God, as well as every other doctrine. This does not mean the truths themselves have developed, but what God has revealed and illumined (and so what man has understood) has progressed.

    • Wb, show me where the early Church saw them as distinct. Remember, only heretics, the Gnostics first, saw them as distinct. That is clear from the early Church writings, from the Apostles to the 4th century. Yet, it’s okay to say that they were all wrong? Remember, in our Traditions, we do backwards read.

      So, while the early Church saw this as a symbol that Christ was anointed, we can change the message of the writers to fit our doctrine? Further, considering that the passages you would quote to me and those which I would quote to you are based on our understanding, this is why I would refer to history, to show that the development of the Trinity took place over hundreds of years.

      Wb, I would suggest you understand what ‘mystery’ means before you attempt to use it as something hidden. Your use of Eph. 5.31-33 has mystery used in the way which those on the inside understand fully what it means. The same thing with Eph. 6. And 1st Tim. 3.16. The mystery is clear to those who are on the inside. We must remember that the Christ, who is the I Am, said that Abraham rejoiced to see that day. Why would we think that the nature of the Godhead would be so hidden as to be radically altered upon the Incarnation?

      Regarding you last paragraph, Wb. If this is the case, then we should dispense with the whole of written text, because the verbal word came first. Further, in Scripture, we find Scriptural progression and development, the means and methods and the end to the practice. Remember, Jude said the faith of the Apostles was the faith once for all delivered. Who gives us the right to expand it? Further, you speak of illumination. When does illumination exceed that and can be counted as addition?

      Hebrews 1.3 says that the only One who has Substance/Hypostasis is God, and that the Son emanates from Him. Further, you completely turned the reference in 2nd Co. into a notion not given in the text. Christ is the Lord who is the Spirit, yet you dismiss Christ in this passage and turn the Spirit into the Holy Spirit. Also, Christ is called the Image of God. When we see the Son, we see the Father. Is there a distinction? Is there a historical doctrinal line which states it?

      Wb, if we are to be biblically based, then let us remain so throughout. Let us put away our Traditions and read the text as it was written, then look at the first generations of interpreters.

      Finally, while I am answering your questions, you are not returning the kindness. Note the question I asked you early about Jesus Christ being the only God. This was the cause of a great controversy in Rome, about 198. The Catholics record it this way,

      The Christian common people held firmly, above all, to the Unity of God and at the same time to the true Godhead of Jesus Christ. Originally no distrust of this doctrine was felt among them. Pope Zephyrinus did not interpose authoritatively in the dispute between the two schools. The heresy of the Modalists was not at first clearly evident, and the doctrine of Hippolytus offered many difficulties as regards the tradition of the Church. Zephyrinus said simply that he acknowledged only one God, and this was the Lord Jesus Christ, but it was the Son, not the Father, Who had died. This was the doctrine of the tradition of the Church. Hippolytus urged that the pope should approve of a distinct dogma which represented the Person of Christ as actually different from that of the Father and condemned the opposing views of the Monarchians and Patripassians. However, Zephyrinus would not consent to this.

      So, I stand here, that there is but one God, Jesus Christ, but it was the Son who suffered, and not the Father. I can find that in Scripture and I can find that for several centuries afterwards. Only when we take developed doctrine and soak the Scriptures in it do we find distinctions and separations. Yet, Apostles, Bishops, Saints would say any separation creates three deities. Yet you disagree with 300 years of history, the earliest Christian history.

      If doctrinal development is Scriptural, after the Apostles, then fine, the Trinity, but so too Mary and the infallible Pope. If we declare that we remain only in Scripture, and refuse to accept anything else, then let us do so.

      Further, the history of the doctrine is fraught with pagan philosophical influences. Yet, I know we rail against such things, except when it touches something we believe in. Why?

        • Even as late as 380, Gregory Nazianzus said,

          “Of the wise among us, some consider the Holy Ghost an influence, others a creature, others God himself and again others know not which way to decide, from reverence, as they say, for the Holy Scripture, which declares nothing exact in the case. For this reason they waver between worshiping and not worshiping the Holy Spirit, and strike a middle course, which is in fact, however, a bad one.”

          • Joel,
            I don’t think you want to bring the full voice of the Orthodox in here, it will bury you and your heterodox doctrine of God. The more you write, the deeper you show your “fundamentalist” mind-set. My call from Titus 3:10 &11, was clear…you are both “factious” and “turned out of the way”, as to the doctrine of God and the Trinity of God! Very sad!
            Fr. R.

          • So, would you care to tell me where in Acts 2.42, where it says that they stayed in the Apostle’s Doctrine, that we find room to expand upon that Doctrine.

            For me, yep, I’ll say in the Apostle’s Doctrine. It was good enough for them, it is good enough for me. And frankly, Christ is God, He is the Son of God, and salvation is His gift. Yep, that’s pretty much it.

            Oh, and I still stand on the Scriptures and not on Councils of Men nor their Traditions.

          • Joel,
            I have read wb, and all of your posts also. And you have yet to deal with the real question of the whole reality of the truth that all doctrine or the teaching of doctrine has development. Wb has shown that in both the Old and NT there is a progressive revelation in the doctrine of God, (Heb.1:1-2). “in many portions” (polumeros, Gk.) only here! And, “in many ways” (polutropos,Gk.) only here! And here it is also “by” or “in” (note the Greek preposition, en. The Greek prepositions are like little eyes pointing in, above or around. In this case it is “in” or “by”. It is literally “in Son”. The point being that Christ is “the express image of His person” (verse 3). And then verse 8 of Hebrews 1, “And to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God..” There is both equality, separation and distinction. What is God’s as the regal in the Godhead, or first.. is the Son’s, and then the Spirit’s also. It is a progression of doctrine and teaching! Again, not any addition, but the futher understanding from Scripture, as Jesus said, “In Spirit and trruth” (John 4:23-24, and 14:26 / 16:13).

            Finally, it is only the reality of this truth of the development of Christian doctrine, that it would take time, years.. even after the death of the Apostles to ground and root the Church in the Judeo-Christian dogmas. This is that time from the first to the fourth centuries, and the time for the Church Catholic both East and West to settle on, which in reality we too, are still pondering. The Reformation was just that, a reforming principle to the Word and Revealtion of God. The doctrines of God did not just fall out of the sky into a Book. But the Book and Revelation of God, took time to develop. Not their being given so much, but their understanding.

            * Jude 1:3, this “faith”, and not any doctrine or teaching has been given or delivered once for all to the saints. And it is for this “faith” we should so earnesly contend (1 Tim. 6:12). Here it is the “content” of our common salvation. Jude was contending for the “common” or general salvation held by all Christians. It is “faith and grace”, as verses 3 & 4 shows.

            As to Acts 2:42, here again is the very beginning of the Apostles Doctrine. As I have said, the Book of Acts is also itself a book and revealtion of progression…showing us the unfolding of God’s OT covenant to the New, here we can see OT ground, to the New. And in many ways, people, persons.. etc. See, finally the end of the Book of Acts itself (Acts 29:23-31).

            This is quick, but I think correct and to the merit of the issue.

            Fr. R.

          • Fr. Robert, let’s point out that the East and West have also judged Wb as heterodox for his refusal to accept either Mary or the Saints, or the real presence of the Eucharist.

            You can call me as you wish, but remember, they called many of the Fathers the same things.

            Finally, I could really care less what you, or the East or the West things or declares of my and my understanding of the doctrine of monotheism. In the end, I stand before God and I always attempt to stand within the pattern of Words Delivered by Paul and the Apostles.

      • Joel,

        sigh… I wonder how much of this is semantics and how much is substance…. I go back and read what everyone has written (including most of the various links everone has posted), and what we are writing on this page all looks so similar – except for exclamations how it is not. :) This is why I hate theological discussions rather than biblical discussions – the semantics are terribly convoluted sometimes and often difficult to understand.

        You wrote, “If you have distinction, you have another God”

        I disagree with you that having distinction of persons is having different gods. You yourself show a simultaneous distinction between father and son as well as a homogeneity, when you wrote, “Is God the Father? Yes. Is He the Son? Yes. Is God the Spirit? Yes. Is the Son the Father? No.”

        You show this separation of divine persons in one God when you wrote, ” there is but one God, Jesus Christ, but it was the Son who suffered, and not the Father. ”

        So are you modalist, or binitarian or trinitarian? It seems to me you are agreeing with the church fathers who said there are three persons and one substance. It seems like you are arguing for arguments sake.

        This is how i see God: God is three in one: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Each is God. Each is separate from the others. Each has characteristics of personhood. Yet at the same time, there is only one God, one substance.

        I didn’t answer your question because they are taken out of context and I dont know what they refer to. But I can tell you this, I could agree with both

        “I know of only God, Christ Jesus, and none other Who was born and suffered”
        and
        “I acknowledge only one God, and this is the Lord Jesus Christ”

        But I would also agree with these statements:
        “I know of only God, The Father.”
        and
        “I acknowledge only one God, and this is the Holy Spirit.”

        The apostles knew that God the Father sent God the Son (John 3:16) – there is the distinction of persons. Yet, they also knew Christ was God – there is the same substance (Jn 1:1-2). Both sent the Holy Spirit – again distinction (John 14:16-17; John 15:26). They knew Christ is Spirit – again same substance. Three distinct persons in one substance. One godhead made up of three persons.

        John 14:16-17 (NLT)

        16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

        You wrote, “1st Peter 1.12 described the work of the prosopons. God in the Father is Creater, God in the Son is Redeemer, God in the Spirit is the Sustainer. ”

        You are using words which show distinction between the persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and yet you claim there is not distinction. Are these not separate persons within the godhead, or are they modes of existence/function?

        The early church fathers did not have to fight the argument of whether the Holy Spirit was God, they had to focus on other doctrrinal issues – like whether Jesus was God incarnate, fully human and fully God. But when they had to argue the issue, they did so. You call that doctrinal development. As for doctrinal development, if it is not supported in scripture, then it can not be considered biblical doctrine. But the trinity is supported in scripture.

        You keep focusing on those church fathers who seem to agree with you (but I think Athanasius was a trinitarian), rather than what scripture states. And you give reasons that you accept as valid for doing so. But what matters more, the church fathers or the word of God?

        BTW, the apostles taught more than what was taught in the synagogues – this could be considered doctrinal development (granted, I think it was developed by God, but its there none the less). In fact, it was expansion upon had been understood of God up to that point. But it did not contradict previous teaching (although some would argue a contradiction between old and new, I do not see it as such), merely expanded upon it.

          • Wb,

            It is not semantics, as our dear Anglican will tell you. Words have meanings, contrary to what most people think. You have not yet answered the question which is central to this discussion:

            When you say person, what do you mean? Hypostasis/Substantia or Prosopon/Personea?

            See, in Scripture, which is where I stand, only God has ‘Person’ but you go beyond Scripture to declare that the Son has a Person, the Father a Person, and the Spirit a Person. Now, is this the same hypostasis as Hebrews 1.3 or is the personae/prosopon of Scripture as well? These words, as the early writers tell us, have a distinct meaning. It’s up to you to know what they mean. Again, if hypostasis/Person/substantia is only given to God in Scripture, who are you to make another one for the Spirit and the Son?

            Much or your argument is made of up of this. I see a difference in the work of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. There is no distinction in being because there is but One God. If their is a distinction among the Father, the Son and the Spirit, explain them. How are they separated?

            I do agree with those who say that their is but one hypostasis/substantia and three prosopon/personae. But you take it further and say that their one essence/ousia and three hypostaseis. Do you see the difference here? The introduction of ousia into the theological language, not only is from a pagan source, but allows for the creation then of three realities of God, and as Dionysius said, it created three Gods, whether you agree or disagree. One Reality (Hypostasis) and the Works, Faces, Interactions, Manifestations.

            Actually, that term, God the Son, is not in Scripture either. Until we start to settle on definitions, Wb, it does appear to be semantics, but I assure you, it is not. Just ask our dear Anglican.

            No, not modes of existence. God is. But their is a difference in work. God in the Father, God in the Son, God in the Spirit. These are prosopons/personae. Don’t confuse Personae with Person, Wb.

            But the Trinity is supported? Then why did it take 4 centuries to fully develop it?

            Athanasius was a Trinitarian, but not like those which came out of the Council of 381. There is the difference, Wb. Let us not forget that Tertullian’s word, consubstantial, which is found in the Nicene Creed, was considered Modalist/Monarachian but it was a favorite of Athanasius. So, what Athanasius a Trinitarian? Yes. But would he have agreed with three hypostaseis? Hardly.

            Considering, Wb, that the word of God has been in the hands of post 381 Trinitarians for 1600 years, I trust the word of God and measure the understanding by those closest to the Apostles. Are you sure you are not reading your theology into the Scriptures?

            Regarding your last paragraph, it seems to me that you are arguing a Roman position, but again, the Faith which was delivered to the Apostles, which ended with their writings is called ‘once for all.’ Yes, they expanded upon the Torah and the OT, but it was the duty of their office, and it was recognized that only they could do it. What has given us the right to expand upon them?

          • Wb, let’s try it this way, which I hope shows that it is not mere semantics:

            Q. How many realities (Hypostasis) of God is there?
            A. One – Hebrews 1.3

            And He is the radiance of His (God) glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Heb 1:3 NASB)

            Q. Is there anyone to the left or right of God?
            A. No.

            “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; (Isa 45:5 NASB)

            Q. Does God have a Glory
            A. Yes

            “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. (Isa 42:8 NASB)

            Q. Did Christ have God’s glory?
            A. No

            “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (Joh 17:5 NASB)

            What do we have? We have but one Reality of God, not three. (We should note that man too has but one reality (Psalm 138.15, LXX)) God has but one Glory. There is no other God besides, apart, from the one Reality/Hypostasis of God.

            Q. Does God have a πρόσωπόν?
            A. Yes. I use the Greek, as it is the most relevant to our discussion. There are plenty of examples in the OT. I’ll use just a few. Psalm 9.32, LXX.

            He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.” (Psa 10:11 NIV)
            Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.” (Hos 5:15 NIV)

            What then of Christ?

            For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2Co 4:6 NIV)

            What then does prosopon and personae mean?

            “For the word ‘person’ seems to be borrowed from a different source, namely from the masks (personae) which in comedies and tragedies used to represent the people concerned…The Greeks, too, call these masks ‘prosopa’ from the fact that they are placed over the face and conceal the countenance in front of the eyes: παρα του προς τους ωπας τιθεσθαι (from being put up against the face). But since, as we have said, it was by the masks they put on that actors respresented the individual concerned in a tragedy or comedy – Hecuba or Medea or Simo or Chremes, – so also of all other men who could be clearly recognized by their appearance the Latins used the name ‘persona’, the Greeks ‘prosopa’.” (Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Contra Eutychen, III).

            Is personea/prosopon the same as Reality? Hardly.

            We should also not that where you see the Son, you see the Father. Why, because the Son is not merely ‘in the image’ but is the Image of God. Further, the entire Godhood dwells within that image. (2nd Co. 4.4; Col. 1.15; Col. 2.9.)

            It is more than semantics, but the truth of the matter. How do you define ‘person.’ According to the Bible, as face/mask/presence, or according the philosophy as Reality?

  9. Joel,
    As with your post on heterodox, this is not just for the Orthodox, or the Roman Church. I use it in the right sense of the Christian and Ecumenical reality. And to the doctrine of the Trinity of God. To be heterodox on the doctrine of God and the loss of the Triune and Trinity of God is serious error! The majority of the Church, Orthodox, R. Catholic, Reformed, & Lutheran, as too many independent Churches…Baptist to Pentecostal, are all Trinitarian. This is the history of the Church simply! I have noted that you have not said much about our great Latin Father, Tertullian? At least on this round. He is profound on this doctrine, as you know too well!
    * I lost a long post with your new code system, on the last issue. I am not going to repeat, just too much work. I guess the providence of God?
    Fr. R.

    • Again, Fr. Robert, even Wb is heterodox to the East and West, and as a matter of fact, so are you. So, who are you to decide that I am more heterodox than you? I have yet to see a line of Scripture declaring that one must believe the Trinity to be saved. Instead, I like Wb and you fully assent that Jesus is Lord.

      And, considering that the vast majority of Christianity is Roman, then perhaps we should look to the Pope. God is not a democracy and didn’t ask us to vote on doctrine. Even if one believes it, and 99 do not, the truth is the truth.

      • Joel,
        I think we have spent ourselves on this issue! Now “you” are wondering off track here. Again, I hate your new code system! I spent a bit of time, to lose it? Oh well, another day.
        Fr. R.

        • My 13 year old son says your code system “sucks”..lol. His word, as the youth in the US today. It is hard sometimes for us old and slow typers! Yes, I have lost a few on your system. I am sure glad I am no blogger! Just an irishanglican, now 60.
          Fr. R.

          • The reason – the only reason – that I employ this system is because it keeps loads of spammers from attached themselves to the blog, which prevents hacks and server load.

          • If you want, I can make you a user, I believe, which will allow you to skip the captcha system.

      • My “heterodoxy” would be only with the Orthodox, as my Chiliast position. And somewhat with Rome because I am Reformed on grace. But not on the doctrine of God and the Trinity of God!
        Fr. R.

        • Since there is no such thing, what is there to hate?

          What you call Christian, others call Roman and worse. I don’t get into those silly little games.

          As I have told you repeatedly – time and time and time and time and time again – , for me, the Deity of Christ is essentially. If Christ was a mere man, or a second, lesser, God, then we are lost. If we affirm that Christ is God, the Son of God, then there – there! – is that foundation of all Christianity. Even Calvin knew that.

          • Joel,
            First it is serious error to deny the eternality of the Father and the Son! This is part of the message of 1 John. And I found it funny really how you like to quote the “orthodox” churchmen, like Calvin, Tertullian, etc. Of course Tertullian is not orthodox with all, but he was a great Church Father, as Calvin is the exegete.
            Fr. R.

          • That’s because, Fr. Robert, I can recognize the value of Truth in them all, and the dialectic of men.

    • And regarding Tertullian, he is profound, and I am working on a post next week concerning him a wee bit, but that is not the only posts I have lined up.

  10. I think that the words used matter all the world.

    The Alexandrians, Clement and Origen, started to use ousia instead of hypostasis. Had the Church remained with Tertullian in both Latin and Greek, it would have been fine, yet, it did not. In the end, it was left with using, as a political compromise, ousia – not biblical – for the ‘nature of God’ and then three subsisting hypostaseis (realities), in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

    There is a wonderful book, written by a Trinitarian, which explains a lot about the development.

    • I agree words matter. People use words which are not biblical all the time. This does not make them wrong. Sometimes things are obscure and need to be clarified. This is what preachers and teachers do all the time. I’d like to see the discussion regading the change in usage, so as to understand better the thinking involved.

      • But, what if words do matter. Would you use Ba’al in describing God? Or Isa for Jesus? Or the pagan philosopher’s word ousia for nature, when the bible uses hypostasis?

        The usage started to change with Clement and the Alexandrian school, building on Justin’s tradition which anointed Christ as the second God. For Just and the philosophers, God was so transcendent that He had to make an intermediary figure, thus the Logos. (See Logos vs Wisdom Christology). This Logos, now the Son, was the God which humans interacted with, and which interacted with matter, not the transcendent God-ousia.

        • If a word can have diffrent meanings/understandings, then sometimes it is helpful to use a different word to explain the one which might be confusing. Just because a non-Christian used a word does not mean that word is bad or wrong. It owuld depend on the usage of the terms. This is why I want to look at the discussion concerning the change in language.

          • Good point – which I would return that ousia was used for a very specific reason, in uniting Christianity with paganist philosophy about God and the Logos.

          • And you may be right in terms of the motivation, but I’m not certain.

            Certainly a native speaker would use the language better than someone whose first language is not Greek. It may be the more correct usage is what we ended up with – with what was written in what we have of the Bible being correct, but it being more correct language usage. I dont know. I know we have the message God wanted transmitted. I’m not sure its different than what we have as the explanation or not. I wish I had as good an understanding of Greek as I do English. I didn’t say Spanish, because while I speak/read/write Spanish fluently, I still make mistakes and misunderstand things – and some colloquialisms escape me.

  11. You are welcome. You guys give me a lot of information to “chew” on in this discussion.

    Thank you.

    • Indeed, but define presence, biblically speaking.

      Example:

      NAU Genesis 3:8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

      BGT Genesis 3:8 καὶ ἤκουσαν τὴν φωνὴν κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ περιπατοῦντος ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ τὸ δειλινόν καὶ ἐκρύβησαν ὅ τε Αδαμ καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ προσώπου κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ ξύλου τοῦ παραδείσου

      The NASB uses the Hebrew, which in Hebrew reads,

      וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־ק֙וֹל יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ בַּגָּ֖ן לְר֣וּחַ הַיּ֑וֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּ֙א הָֽאָדָ֜ם וְאִשְׁתּ֗וֹ מִפְּנֵי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים בְּת֖וֹךְ עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃

      Presence is not a personality, but the face of interaction. The Presence of God is where we interact with Him.

  12. Would you entertain the possibility that the Heavens are open, and that God speaks to mankind through a living prophet? If so, then the ecumenical updates provided by prophecy, which God has used for centuries, might fill in for any “mysteries” and allow for a more focused and dedicated worship of our Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the witness and comfort of the Holy Ghost. As I have searched for this witness, I have come to know that God did not close the Heavens. He speaks today; and allows us to make covenants, which will provide us a path to Eternal Life. This is a blessing available to everyone on the Earth, without measure. All the best in your search!

    • No, Skip. Revelation has ended according to Hebrews 1.1-3. Further, Christ has already made a path for us to eternal life. What you are finding is not very biblical.

      • While I can agree that your quoted scripture in Hebrews explains to the Hebrews that the Word of God is in the Son, it does not, in my view, close the Heavens to man after the Son of God departs this mortality. I can agree that Christ promised all mankind immortality through the Resurrection, and many references equate immortality and eternal life, although, in my view, they are different things. I suppose I am enjoined to the open Heavens since God has had a way to correct His people since the beginnng of time. While the fragmented sects of Judaism were looking for a Messiah, they held to preconceived notions of how he would appear. Their failure to keep an open mind caused them to miss the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. Instead, they persecuted Him out of fear, and were instrumental in His trial and death. When God wants us to make a “course correction” in our path back to Him, I have to believe He will let us know. Certainly, doing all that we do in the name of the Son is important, even vital, but as Paul’s letters show, it doesn’t take long for error to creep in to the religious practices of the Church. Who is going to keep us on track? Who has the authority? I believe that authority is a prophet who speaks for God, and does all that he does in the name of Jesus Christ. In this way, we can be ready for critical “updates” in our eternal progression. Am I on to something here?

        • Skip, the Epistle to the Hebrews is titled by man, but was written to the Church as a whole. When the writer says that in the final days, God has spoke to us by His Son, that brings a totality. Further, Paul would tell the Galatians that there is no other gospel while throughout the New Testament we find that the faith is the ‘faith once for all delivered.’ This presents a totality of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. You view does not have biblical support.

          You keep referring to ‘your view’ but what about what the bible says?

          No, you are not to anything by self-adulation. The bible is clear that the Spirit of the Living God will be given to us to teach us and remind us and guide us. Further, the church is called the piller and the ground of truth. We are given the Scriptures which are God-breathed which serves as our corrector, our rebuker, and our teacher. So, we have the Spirit, which dwells in the Church and Testifies in the Scripture. To add to that is unbiblical.

          • It shows, huh? However, foremost, I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as the salvation of all mankind. I found your site quite by accident. I was looking for more information on The Church of Jesus Christ, a church headquartered in Monongahela, PA. The Book of Mormon is one of their scriptures and I was trying to find more history and doctrinal information about that Church. As you are using that same title, I thought you were affiliated with them. I’m probably what most of the world would call a Mormon, and I accept the popular moniker; but I am truly a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My belief in Jesus Christ’s creative power and ability to guide and direct the affairs of this Earth is strong. The witness of the Holy Spirit as I have gone about my responsibilities in God’s Kingdom upon the Earth have strengthened my testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah spoken of by Isaiah and other prophets. I am truly appreciative of what all Christians do to promote an understanding of Jesus as our way back to God; in His name are we saved. The work you do here is informative, important and likely undiminished by anything I write here. I reiterate my conviction that your work is important. I am not writing here to “convert”, but to understand. I am always interested in other Christians views, and I have greatly appreciated your willingness to respond.

          • Well, Skip, then your error is deeper than I first thought.

            Where do you wish to start in correcting your viewpoint? First, I suggest you discard the heresy of Smith and the BOM as it is clearly not of God. After that, we can continue in correcting what you have in error.

          • Thank you for the posts. I read them. Most of these comments I have seen in this and other forms. False prophets, polygamy, warring popes, inquisitions … religious history is replete with the errors of men. If you are seriously interested in why the early Church practiced polygamy, and why it was stopped, let me know. I have no intention of raising an argument about doctrine, just a discussion. I’m trying to see other viewpoints without belittling or innuendo. You may think I am in error, yet, in my view, you need more information. There is nothing wrong with what you’re doing. You are testifying of the same Christ; born to save all mankind. I have made sacred covenants with God, in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and I intend to keep may part. We are, as you might say and I would agree, in the same Church; but, we are in different pews. I firmly believe that if there really are Christians on the Earth today, that I am gratefully numbered among them. And you probably feel the same way about your standing before God. There are many mansions in God’s heaven and your work is likely to qualify you for one of them. Keep up the work. There’s a lot to be done.

          • Skip, the early Church didn’t practice polygamy, as that practice had died out among the Jews very early on.

            We are not in the same Church, and I encourage you to lay aside this view of yours and come to the real Church.

          • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not practice polygamy, and had not condoned polygamy for over 100 years. So what is your point about polygamy. If any perceived error in a Church or group would negate the validity and worthiness for inclusion into the body of Christ for that Church or group, why was the early Church corrected by the Apostles? Where is forgiveness? I have read your doctrinal entries again. You state, I believe in the one holy Church, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, carrying faithfully the name of her head and her husband. … I believe that apart from the Church, there is no salvation. Since I do belong to The Church of Jesus Christ, I am mystified as to why you would say that we do not belong to the same Church. You doctrinal statements are, , in my view and for the most part, broad enough to allow inclusion of most of Christianity.

            I have not sought to see the error in your ways, as I said earlier, I am looking for viewpoints. Christ does not condemn a believer and I hope you will allow me that courtesy. Please keep an open mind. Judaism fragmented the people thousands of years ago. Islam is a fragmented religion with dissenters and sects. Let’s all keep Christ in the forefront of our thoughts and actions amongst ourselves and let Him be the judge between truth and error.

            In over 35 years of military service, most of it as a Marine combat helicopter pilot, I know that Christ and His Holy Spirit work on all of us. He has not given up on any of us. Please don’t tell me that your way is the only way to God. That would lessen my view of your purpose in posting this site. I truly consider your efforts to bring the name of Christ before more of mankind an important work. The more people who know Christ as their personal Savior, the better for all mankind. Semper fidelis.

          • Skip, first, the real early Church never practiced polygamy – the Mormons did, but not the Christians.

            You belong to the LDS, which is not the Church of Jesus Christ, but one created by Joseph Smith who said that he was greater than Christ. ‘Most Christianity’ would mean Christianity, not Mormonism.

            A believe in what? Christ did condemn ‘believers’, Skip. Read Matthew 7. I am not condemning you to the consigns of hell, Skip. I am saying you are in deep error and you need Christ. This is the duty of the Christian believer. I don’t have an open mind to heresy or false doctrines. There are those who might teach differently, or use different words, but in the end, I think we would agree on generally everything; however, the same cannot be said about Mormonism. We are told just the opposite about keeping an ‘open mind’ when it comes to such things as well as judging truth and error in the Church.

            Christ is the only way to God – the real Christ, not an amalgamation of stories and heresies patchworked together to serve a temporal purpose. Part of bringing the name of Christ to others is to correct them and draw them out of false doctrines, sects, etc… Mormonism is part of the mission field.

  13. Thanks, Josh, for taking the time to write. However, your comments go the point of myopia regarding doctrinal publications. You reject Joseph Smith because, in your view, his teachings counter God’s word. You have not read widely enough. In reading The Pearl of Great Price, I see God’s word over and over again. The same is true with The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. There is a great body of scripture available. Not all of it is synchronous. I do not have “Mormon goggles” since I was not “born into” the Church. I listened to the missionaries and read the scriptures for myself. What you and Polycarp refer to as my “error”, is only a different manifestation of worship of the same God and His Son, Jesus Christ, according to the dictates of my conscience. I am fine where I am. I have an undeniable testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ had been restored to the Earth through a modern-day prophet, even Joseph Smith. I am writing here NOT to convert, but to understand other viewpoints. I don’t expect you to be in Sacrament meeting, or Sunday School or Priesthood meeting with me tomorrow, but I will be there and would welcome you with open arms. The Church of Jesus Christ is inclusionary, not exclusionary. We invite all to come unto Christ … and “let the Lord judge between me and thee.” I never said “we don’t need the Pope”. Many in my own family are Catholic, and I respect the Pope as a leader of a great Church, and a Head of State, just as he respects the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s always a little humorous to me that the Church to which I have affiliated gets picked on for baptizing for the dead, when that is in the scriptures as part of the Church established by Christ … and is now restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Are we “different?” Yes, we have differences, but we have the same goal. Joseph Smith was not God, he was not Jesus Christ, he was a prophet; and he had the faith and endurance to seal his testimony with his blood, as prophets before him have done. He saw what he saw and he could not deny it. I know what I know, and I cannot deny it … too many events have transpired in my life to affirm that what I doing is right. I do not need a course correction. I am seeking to understand the brothers and sisters who do not believe as I do; as simple as that.

    • Skip, a ‘different manifestation’ is roundly condemned by the Apostle Paul nor do we have the same goal. Because we have a different Heavenly Father, Skip, we are hardly brothers in the Lord.

      • The Savior was condemned, and those who condemned him were wrong. We have the same Heavenly Father; I would not deny Him his place as the Ftaher of all our spirits, nor should you. And we are brothers in Christ and He is the one who will save us both. Semper fidelis. Fare well.

  14. Skip,
    I suggest you go back and read your words on Dec. 5th. You did say that you don’t need the Pope…. I was in Sacrament this morning. I have a close family member who is a Mormon. I’ve read widely on your church and know its doctrine quite well. The Stake Prez this morning was talking about coming off a mission and getting married. He claimed that remaining unmarried was a sin. I can not accept this type of teaching that is counter to God’s word. See 1 Corinthians 7 and explain to me how one can claim that remaining unmarried is a sin? Joseph Smith taught that the Bible was unreliable. Also, my experience of your church is more of a fog machine than a beacon of light. For example your church uses words like eternal Father, but you really don’t mean that He has eternally existed as God. Mormon church historian and member of the 70, B. H. Roberts, admitted that secret marriages were performed by early church leaders and that this practice resulted in duplicity: “This enforced secrecy which reasonable prudence demanded gave rise to apparent contradictions between public utterances and leading brethren in the Church and their having plurality of wives.” (A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, Century II:103). This church policy of deception, called “reasonable prudence” by Roberts, shows that Apostle Widstoe was lying when he said, “The Church ever operates in full light. There is no secrecy about its doctrine or work.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, John A. Widstoe, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1943 p. 213). The prophet Hinckley bought forged Mormon documents from Mark Hoffman. The church leaders suppressed Joseph Smith’s earlier first vision accounts and the list goes on. Skip, why should I trust the Mormon church leadership? For centuries man has used the name of Christ to mislead many and I’m certain it’s the case with the Mormon church. I don’t write these things to be demeaning but as a follow of Christ we are called to speak and live in the truth.

    • Josh, I did not comment on this site in December. Perhaps someone said last December that they did not “need the Pope”, it wasn’t me. I have too many Catholics in my family to be that stupid, plus I attended the Papal election … twice … in the summer of 1978, when we lived in Rome. By the way, where do the Catholics show up on your Church’s list of who are and who are not Christians. It’s an interesting viewpoint that though I am a Christian, you would consider denying me that moniker. I will say, without reservation, that if there are any Christians left in the world, I am proud to be counted among tham. Perhaps you could broaden your view and look at the Interfaith efforts in The Soul of Kalaupapa, a compelling and timely documentary that beautifully portrays a deep interfaith friendship and cross-faith community building between Catholics, Protestants and Latter-day Saints in their leprosy settlement on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. It looks closely at the work of Saint Damien and a Hawaiian Mormon, Jonathan Napela with the patients at the settlement. Kalaupapa serves as a model of the Latin maxim: “In the essentials; unity, the non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.” Just a thought.

      I really did not come to this site to convert you, and you are certainly not going to convert me with scriptural references that you select from the parts of the Bible you choose to accept. By the way, where was an answer to my question on baptisms for the dead? Look, either Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from plates shown to him by God, or he was a fraud. You believe as you like. My testimony is that he did see God and His Son, Jesus, Christ. He did translate the Book of Mormon and the book stands as a second testament to the mission of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was no perfect man, he was a prophet and the nearly half million people joining me each year as members of The Church for Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints absolutely believe this. That you do not accept this as true, makes it no less true. Your differing view is part of God’s plan that we all choose our path in this life … and I wish you good fortune on your path. I would never say you are wrong, but I do believe you need more information. The Old Testament Hebrews were a fractured people as to the following the Law of Moses. Christ came to fulfill that Law … and many of the Hebrews missed the change to His Gospel as God’s plan for mankind. When new information comes to mankind, it should be considered. And if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I testify that he was, then we should listen to what he said … faults and all. Semper fidelis.

      • Smith was a fraud and all those who follow are are frauds, not Christians. It is easier to dialogue with Catholics because they worship the same Christ – Mormons do not. The ‘parts of the bible that we accept’? No, we just reject the fraudulent BOM. Regarding essentials, it is that there is but One God – the Mormons have plenty. No unity there and if no unity there, then no unity anywhere.

        ‘Testimony’? By what? Asking God if Smith was a prophet and finding it warm in your heart? Care to show me that in the bible? No, Skip, what you are presenting is a very false gospel of delusion, which if you believe a lie long enough, it becomes.

      • Joel, thanks for the time to respond, although you skipped to a conclusion without addressing what I wrote. You are beating a dead horse on an issue about a man who saw God and His Son. You call him a fraud. I have acknowledged that you have that right, since you do not believe. I, however, do believe. And I hope that your approach to God gives you warm feelings in your heart. You might, in passing, mention your authority for making these pronouncements. I have authority which is traceable to the Prophet Joseph Smith, who saw God and was ordained by Apostles. You write that you teach what the Apostles taught, but what is your authority to write these things and make these wild presumptions about the validity of others beliefs? I do not expect an straight answer. I didn’t get one on baptisms for the dead. You may even cite a credential, a man-made credential. Fine, believe as you will. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

    • Thanks for chiming in. You liked that “many gods” remark, huh? That’s precisely why we need a prophet on the Earth … at all times. Though we’ve only had a prophet in this dispensation since the Restoration of the Gospel … the way I see it. Again, I’m not here to defend, I’m hear to learn. And I have learned a little bit about your viewpoint on scriptural expressions. I hope that keeps working for you. I am undiminished in my hopefulness for you all. Semper fidelis.

      • Skip, you danced around that one didn’t you? So, you have no scriptural proof for either the gods remark (of which we know what you mean, that Christ has a grandfather so on and that Lucifer (not a real name) is the brother of Christ) or the idea that a ‘prophet’ is needed on earth.

        No, you are here to subversively slip in the ‘continuing revelation’ motif, which when called – and only when called – did you admit to being a Mormon. But, you are right, Mormonism is defenseless.

  15. Skip,
    First Semper Fi! I was a Royal Marine officer (recon), and we had some spl op’s stuff with you American Marines along the way (and I am 60) but still carry my same weight since I was 20 (about 150lbs at 5’11)…so lean and always mean! lol

    I have been reading and listening to this dialogue/debate. It comes back to one’s biblical presuppositions, and also how one views history. For the real biblical Christian, there simply must be “theology” (the study and doctrine of God). And here the revelation of God has been given once in Holy Scripture, though for certain there also must be the development of doctrine. This never adds to the Scripture, but seeks to unfold and explicate Judeo-Christian doctrine. Note, Rev. 22: 18-19, which is no doubt toward the Apocalypse itself, but in general we can expand the idea to the whole of the Canon.

    In Christian doctrine and theology there are three offices of Christ, or a triple office: Prophet, Priest & King. To quote Chrysostom: Also because Christ was to have three dignities: King, Prophet, Priest; but Abraham was prophet and priest . . .. David was king and prophet, but not priest. Thus HE is expressly called the son of both, that the three-fold dignity of His forefathers might be recognised by hereditary right in Christ.” Now Christian theology must ever insist that Jesus person and work interpret each other in indissoluble unity.

    But too the redemption of Christ is not only the work of Christ FOR us, but also WITH us and IN us. Christ is our Lord and “Brother”, for the redeemer is always the MAN (God-Man) Christ Jesus…the Gloried Man.

    I could get into the Mormon doctrine of tritheism, but perhaps I will leave that to Joel?

    Semper Fi!
    Fr. Robert

    • Fr. Robert – indeed, what Mormonism is has is more than real tritheism, but polytheism, as they have numerous gods, but I digress. I am still waiting to see if Skip can show us in Scripture these other ‘gods’ which were men like us and to which we aspire. Scripture, Skip.

    • Semper fidelis, Fr. Robert. I served alongside some fine Brits in my years of active duty; British Army as well as Royal Marines. I have lots of fond memories of my years as a Marine Corps aviator and staff officer with NATO and US joint staffs in Europe. All good thoughts for you and your work. I am glad we are both on God’s side.

  16. Joel,
    I would agree with you on Mormonism of course. I will read and listen as you and Skip get to it some. But remember that Skip as both a former Marine, and Mormon male.. very proud! I wonder if he has any Irish going in him? lol

    Best..

  17. Skip,
    We are at what you call a testimony stale mate. I appreciate that you don’t want to “bible bash” but God’s testimony is the final authority. Not my testimony or yours. I do focus on making Christ known to others but we also have to instruct others in true doctrine. As a follower of Christ we should emulate Him and He in fact “bible bashed.” I wouldn’t call it bible bashing but Christ quoted scripture over and over to challenge others views. He said repeatedly “it is written” or “it hath been said” referring to scripture. I’ve conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ’s view of scripture. Christians must reckon with the teaching of Jesus concerning the preservation of scripture. Jesus believed that the OT had been preserved down to His own day and that this providential preservation would continue. I do not deny that we can be lead by the Spirit but He doesn’t lead us against the evidence and He never contradicts the word of God. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33) and we are not to believe every spirit and are to test or try them because of false prophets (1 John 4:1). Joseph Smith claimed that “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, chapter 48 page 34)….and that he was once a man like us, yea, that God himself the father of us all, dwelt on an earth” (History of the Church, volume 6 Page 305). From this claim, the idea of eternal progression was born. So basically to Mormons God used to be a man on another world and He became a god through exaltation while serving under his father god. These events have been going on for an infinite amount of time and have involved an infinite amount of gods. The idea that god in turn was exalted by his god, who was exalted by his god, and so on is an example of an infinite regression of events. To have an infinite regression of events or causes would take transversing an infinite. If you transverse an infinity then it is not infinite. This violates logic or put another way, something can not be infinite and not-infinite (finite) at the same time. Therefore the idea of infinite regressions of exaltations to godhood is absurd. Based on reason and God’s testimony we know that the universe came into being by a self existent eternal being which is of course God. God is the creator not organizer of ALL things and He exists necessarily. God has revealed in His word that He has existed from everlasting to everlasting (Psalms 90:2) as God. Joseph Smith said “We have imagined and supposed that god was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea” (History of the Church, volume 6 Page 305). Good ole Joe’s statement not only contradicts what God says but it also contradicts the Book of Mormon. See Moroni 8:18 and Mormon 9:9-10. Scripture and Logic reveal that God exists as God eternally. God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6), is not man (Hosea 11:9), and does not progress in knowledge (Isaiah 40:13-14). Therefore, I do not reject Mormonism on reason alone, but also by the testimony of God. Skip, I’m not trying to “take something” from you, I’m giving you the truth.

  18. Skip,
    Also in the History of the Church, volume 6 Page 305, Joseph Smith said that he’d “show it from the Bible” that God was once a man. Did he ever actually do this? Can you show us from the Bible?

    • Muhammad as over 1 billion followers, and he is still a fraud Skip – but at least his followers can you something.

      Skip, you didn’t exactly come here to learn – you can here with ‘questioning’ words in order to get me to say, ‘Why yes, God is still speaking’ etc… which would have left you an open door to spout the J. Smith nonsense. Fortunately, I knew.

      The original language is not the KJV, Skip, which while it served it’s purpose and is a beautiful work, often contains translation errors. The ‘second witness’ is not the book of Mormon – and invention of man. Instead, we read the original languages which is the witness of the Apostle’s themselves. Considering how much the English language has changed, Helper/Comfortor is not necessarily a poor translation.

      There is plenty in the book that stands against Christ, and as we have shown you just a smallness of it, and you have yet to provide an answer, I take it that you know it as well.

  19. Personally now, I see that with the grace of God in the Incarnation and the Death of Christ (somehow God Incarnate died on the cross? Luther), and now the Risen Christ, ascended and on the Fathers throne…the redemptive power is endless! So even with all of our errors, God In Christ will no doubt redeem and save many “we” cannot conceive! But the salvation of God will always conceive of “What think ye of Christ?”

  20. The parallel between Muhammad and Joseph Smith are striking. Both claimed that the Bible became corrupt. Satan always attacks God’s Word. It started in the garden (Genesis 3) when Satan said “Ye shall not surely die” which was in response to Eve stating “God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Eve was quoting God’s Word. Both Muhammad and Joseph claimed that there was no true religion on the earth, they said they would restore truth, both claimed to be illiterate or uneducated, both wrote or interpreted scripture, both claimed to be prophets of God, both were polygamist, and well you get the picture. Why should I believe Joseph over Muhammad? Even the truth tests that Muslims and Mormons use are both subjective. Muslims challenge searchers of truth to try and reproduce a chapter in the Koran even with the help of a wise man or men. Supposedly after you’re frustrated with trying to reproduce the beauty of the Koran you’ll just “know” that the Koran is from Allah. This is purely subjective. There is objective and verifiable evidence that supports the reliability of the 66 books of the Bible. Christ’s message found in scripture is grounded in history. Truth leaves fingerprints. Things like manuscript evidence and archeology support the Biblical message. Mormonism doesn’t stand to this kind of objective scrutiny. Thomas Stuart Ferguson figured that out after looking at the evidence.

  21. I believe in One God that reveals Himself in three different ways. However, I don’t understand the verses that seperate these three aspects. Jesus communes with God the Father, He and the Father send the Spirit and Jesus says that He wants to have the glory that He had with God in the beginning. What are your thoughts here.

    • I believe that people have wrestled with this for centuries.

      I believe in John 1.1 and Hebrews 1.3, as well as several verses in Colossians, in that Christ is the Image of the Father.

      • Thank you I will look up these verses. So, is a person not saved if he/she isn’t baptised or baptised in the name of Jesus? I am wrestling with these truths also.

        • I think in reading 1st Peter 3, that baptism saves us. I do think that the baptism we see in Acts is always in the name of Christ.

          • So, where can a person find the right church? I know people who have been baptised in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit that are living their lives for God even to the point of great sacrifice. Is it that God washes away sins at baptism even if the person doesn’t fully understand but they are getting baptised with the right heart (they want to obey and follow God) I beleive that salvation is 3 fold, faith,baptism and the filling of the Holy Spirit. I do not know if I am saved. I know I believe in and Love Jesus I have not been baptised in His Name although it was to take on His Name,and I do not know if I have received the Holy Spirit.

          • Do you need a visible sign that you are saved? John Wesley wrestled with it for years. Look at Luther. When would you say that the Apostles received it? At Pentecost or when Christ breathed on them? Was it always loud or was it with the mere breath of the Lord?

            If you are baptized, live and walk in Christ. Grow in Christ. Things will be revealed to you.

  22. Joel says:
    “Essentially, I believe what Calvin said – Christ is God, He is the Son of God, and our salvation depends upon the mercy of God.”

    Mat 23:8 But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers.
    Mat 23:9 And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven.
    Mat 23:10 Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ.

    Do you ever put GOD first Joel? How is it that you put more faith in yourself and mere men with their traditions, rather than GOD himself?

    Mat 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
    Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
    Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
    Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
    Mat 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
    Mat 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
    Mat 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
    Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
    Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
    Mat 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
    Mat 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
    Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

    Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit who would teach us all things (John 14:26).

    John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
    1 John 2:27 “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit __ just as it has taught you, remain in him.”

    Don’t you also realize that the name which believers were baptised in was more likely Yehshua Ha’Mashiach.

    It is heartbreaking seeing you and others saying “your wrong, a fool, etc.” where is the love in that? Why can’t it be: I think you may be mistaken, or I’ll have to disagree?

    This at times seems to appear to be more of a juvenile squabble rather than an intelligent discussion. This is a rebuke in love made to transform the Brethren back unto righteousness

  23. So, this was a great topic to read, and I learned quite a bit, both about commentators’ positions and the topics they discussed. Unfortunately, many of the comments seem to have multiplied– there’s several identical copies of entire conversations. I don’t suppose there’s any quick, non-manual process to clean it up, is there? It’d be great, for future readers, if the duplicate comments/threads could be eliminated. Sure would help readability.

  24. What did you mean when you said on your post (comparing the NLT to the ERV), “So what’s the conclusion? This is a beautiful, short song that has changed my incorrect, evangelical way of thinking about eternal life. Eternal life is the kind of life we live together as members of God’s family. Psalm 133 has nothing to do with dying and going to heaven.”

    Were you saying outright that there is no eternal life, and that you do not identify as an evangelical? Or were you just referring to this psalm?

  25. So because the Catholic Church doctrine is not the same (although it includes) as the Apostles’, that means it’s wrong? Do you see God revealing himself continuously through history or that he just revealed himself once and only once (in Scripture)?

  26. ZH, I believe that God has allowed for us to interpret the story different. Please read my latest posts to get a more accurate view of where I am now.

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