Church History Loose Ends
Irenaeus was giant of the 2nd century church.
He taught during the persecution and developed his theology under fire.
In “Against Heresies” he wrote against Gnosticism…and most importantly for our loose ends today, against the leaders of the various Gnostic sects.
Heretics like Marcion claimed to have received their doctrines straight from either Christ or the Apostles and while Irenaeus refuted that, he also drew distinct lines linking the bishops of the various cities back to the Apostles.
Irenaeus himself was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John…thus the apostolic teachings were handed down from the apostles to the bishops in an unbroken chain of custody.
Thus, began the doctrine of apostolic succession.
The intent was to assure that we could trust that there was an unbroken chain from Jesus and the Apostles to the current time.
The concept of the rule of faith was also introduced to preserve sound doctrine.
Irenaeus pointed to Rome as an example of how that apostolic succession of doctrine and bishops worked…while he was the bishop of Lyons in France.
Why did the early medieval church take the Bible out of the hands of the people?
The motives weren’t evil…the objective was to protect the people from false interpretations of scripture such as the Gnostic heresies. The church pulled the Bible in and gave the clergy authority to preach it under it’s authority to protect it from heretics and ensure that doctrine and traditions remained consistent.
As Dr. Frank James points out, when the Reformation returned the Bible to the masses a lot of guys ran through that door.
Where does the soul come from?
There were three views:
1. Creationism was the view that each soul was individually created by God in the womb.
2. Origen held that the souls of men were preexistent before creation.
3. Tertullian held a view called traducianism that believed that the child got its soul from the parent just as it gets its body. Some Lutherans and a few Reformed hold to a type of this view.
Cyprian said a couple controversial things that took things even beyond Irenaeus.
“Rebellion against the bishop is rebellion against the church.”
“There is no salvation outside the church.”
I’m trying to get stuff cleaned up before we tackle Augustine and the incredible 5th century of the church…
If you have questions or there are areas that you would like to see us write on, let us know.
“Thus, began the doctrine of apostolic succession.”
Yes, the crux of this article. I think you did a reasonable summary. “God’s Word!” very quickly in church history became “This is what our Group linked to the Apostles says God’s word means”
That is very very very different from presenting “God’s word!” as some sort of quantifiable absolute.
Is it correct to pronounce his name ear-a-nay-us ?
I agree the motive was not evil, (about the Bible and the people) but would argue it was erroneous all the same. Not all mistakes are evil.
I again commend you, Michael, for the effort and the study of church history on your blog.
Also, until the invention of the printing press, Bibles were hand-copied and extremely valuable and expensive. Churches couldn’t risk having them stolen and or taken home and not brought back in time for the next service.
The Roman Catholics point to the writings of St. Irenaeus as proof of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, overlooking the fact the Lyons, France was in the territory of Rome, so it is natural that he would point to his own bishop.
There were five “sees,” or ancient patriarchates: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Rome was considered the first among equals but in no way supreme. Rome parted company with the other five sees, which still exist to this day although Alexandria belongs to the Coptic Christians.
… that should read “Rome parted company from the other *four* sees.”
Xenia, what is the proper pronunciation of Irenaeus? Am I correct in my breakdown above?
I hate reading a word or name and never really getting the chance to hear it pronounced.
I think you have it right. ear uh NAY us is how I have always heard it pronounced.
Lent is coming up right quick and I usually pick out a book to be my traveling companion during the fast and this year I am going to read St. Augustine’s Confessions.
Thanks, Xenia. And yes, I have been accenting the NAY syllable.
…b/c the pronunciation is so important.
Gnat, camel, CC Steve.
“2. Origen held that the souls of men were preexistent before creation.”
Yes, basically the Mormons believe this as well.
The doctrine is called “pre-existence” and you are correct that Origen believe in it. It was an early church concept and Mormons believe it today.
Origen: “The earliest surviving Christian writings on the pre-existence were from Origen. Origen posited in a speculative work that the soul was assigned a body as a penalty for its sin of looking downward toward the corrupt earth. He also taught that Jesus Christ was actually born of the Father before the world began or before any other creatures existed.
“Jesus Christ Himself, who came, was born of the Father before all creatures; and after He had ministered to the Father in the creation of all things, for through Him all things were made.”
First Mormon, LOL.
Xenia, correct me if I’m wrong here but isn’t traducianism a view within Eastern Orthodoxy? I familiarized myself a bit with it 12 years ago but a relative of mine took an interest in it after converting to Orthodoxy.
Any number of Origen’s views would probably not be construed as normative for either the East or West. 🙂
Origen was quite the philosopher btw. Was he an official Christian* or is he burning in hell? If he’s burning in hell, with what body? Isn’t he in the ground still?
Irenaeus = Eye ra nay us.
Like Ath an A she us 🙂
Hi Wenatchee, I was not familiar with the term traducianism so I Googled it and saw that my very own teacher had written a short answer to this question and his answer was that it’s not really a doctrine in Orthodoxy and that some hold this view and some don’t. I think the prevailing view is that the mother, the father, and the Holy Spirit produce the soul.
On Origen: “Origen did not believe in the eternal suffering of sinners in hell. For him, all souls, including the devil himself, will eventually achieve salvation, even if it takes innumerable ages to do so; for Origen believed that God’s love is so powerful as to soften even the hardest heart, and that the human intellect – being the image of God – will never freely choose oblivion over proximity to God, the font of Wisdom Himself. “
Sounds like you’ve found a friend in Origen, RiBo.
“when all things shall be subdued unto him [Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all”
panta en pasin
Does all mean all? If so, apokatastasis (restoration of all beings) is as solid a theological concept as any (appealing to the bible)
I like Marcion, Origen, Aquinas, Martyr…heck all the early church fathers were philosophers, much better than today’s excuses for pastors.
You like Marcion because like you, he didn’t like the OT God, didn’t think He could be Jesus.
You like Origen because of his universalism.
You like Aquinas because of his love of logic.
Why do you like Justin Martyr? (His efforts to salvage what he could from philosophy?)
How’d I do?
Michael once told me that Philosophy had no business in Theology. I laughed out loud.
Philosophy IS theology. It’s why I think Critical Thinking, Logic, Reason, Philosophy are better disciplines than standard Seminary…or at least in conjunction with.
X, very well. You’ve always been bright and can connect the dots.
I like Martyr b/c of his view of Jesus.
“I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things…above whom there is no other God…wishes to announce to them.”–Justin Martyr to Trypho the Jew.
Pronunciation is important for those of us who have influence beyond what they feign off their keyboard….and those who don’t wish to sound ignorant on the people we discuss.
Both issues which I know you can’t relate to…but since you brought it up, figured I would address your snark from above – some of us can ask a legitimate question of the community, admitting when we don’t know something.
The fact Hellenistic philosophy is such an integral part in forming early church doctrine and theology that I told michael early on that I was well equipped to have theological discussions even though I had no seminary. I had better than that. I’m a student of hellenistic philosophical logic.
Now my question is should I listen to Papias or Xenia – both of whom own the “church history knowledge” category of this community. 🙂
Listen to Papias!!!
I went for “ear” over “eye” because my advisor’s name is a variation on Ireneaus and he uses “ear” and I think I’ve heard him say ear uh Nay us. He has a British accent, which might explain it.
One more and you’re done.
I work hard to get these threads up and have interesting content.
The last one got blown to hell and this one is proceeding the same way.
I’ve been patient and I’ve tried to be gracious, but I’ve had all I can take.
You should hear how he says Isaiah!
You just want to throw gas on the fire…and I’ve had enough of that too.
I wish you two would go make your own blog and hate on each other to your hearts content.
Xenia, I reference Irenaeus in my Masters Thesis and butchered the pronunciation with my advisor (I think I said something like i-WREN-ee-us) – he graciously corrected me with the ‘ear’ pronunciation and I have gone with that since.
But he was wrong on other things… 😉 So thought I would double-check.
Steve, what was your Masters Thesis about?
I thought he was less than revered among the Orthodox…
Michael, Augustine is much admired for his personal piety. We are not too crazy about some of his theological ideas. We still call him “Saint” Augustine. Well, most of us do. He’s a controversial figure. Debating the pros and cons of Augustine is the kind of thing people argue about on EO forums all the time.
I just heard a church historian basically say that after Augustine all theologians were Augustinian in the medieval period.
Would the Orthodox object to that?
All the western theologians might have been Augustinian, but he was not widely read in the East at all. We had our Cappadocians 🙂
This is why I want to read Confessions and also City of God. I want to read for myself what Augustine said and believed.
I’m still working through it all, but it looks like the church changes a lot post Augustine.
Augustine is another philosopher. Argument by analogy.
Michael and others,
While I believe RiBo often has ulterior motives in his posts one of the things he keeps bringing up about Irenaeus is his education and background. I believe one can’t ignore these very early church fathers and the things they cut their teeth on, the culture which surrounded them and how it effect the theologies, doctrines and practices they promoted.
By this time it appears the separation between the earliest first followers of Jesus and their Jewish traditions is complete and are being replaced by men whose traditions and upbringing are as far from the Jewish mind as a Twinky is from health food. BTW that is not a critique of their teachings but rather an analogy of the chasm which had grown. The readers of the blog can decide which side is junk food or health food.
So in spite of his crass behavior RiBo has a few points worth considering in the study of ancient church history.
One of the areas I believe the EO/Greek church preserved correctly through these men is the teaching on original sin. It has been my observation most of the Western church flavors owe their doctrines (and modifications of it) on this subject to the RCC position. But in my studies I find the EO position is the same, if not the closest to that, of the 1st Century Church.
Another area the EO I believe has preserved correctly is the idea of faith and works. When I was ignorant of their position I too probably would have said they were a “works based” faith, but after study I learned how wrong I was. But refer back to Xenia’s posts on the subject, she has done it justice.
BTW Did I miss you introduction of John Chrysostom? I know you made a short sentence or two about him in that last thread. But I believe his history is huge and worthy of a closer look.
I have limited time and I’m dealing with limited attention spans.
Blogging can really only lightly touch on these matters and I’m trying to hit the high spots that might encourage people to study on their own.
I would have loved to go more in depth on Chrysostom…he was a huge influence on my tribe via the Reformers.
Feel free to post why you think he was important and what we can take from his work today.
You guys do realize that all the early church fathers who constructed your doctrinal boxes were philosophers, all trained in the school of hellenistic philosophical logic…yet none of you have studied philosophical logic.
To use an analogy (thanks Augustine) it’s like learning to do engineering by taking english classes.
I’ll be out most of the night…please keep it on topic and civil.
Everyone is a philosopher – if you wonder about things and expound on them, you are a philosopher. There are books on the Philosophy of Religion – the Philosophy of the Christian faith.
There is nothing wrong with philosophy, except by those who corrupt it. In modern times, philosophy has a bad name in religious circles because it is so warped from it’s origins.
It like when you call someone a Humanist today. A Humanist at the time of the Reformation was very honorable and did not conflict with religion at all.
So, the accusation of “philosophy’ or ‘philosopher’ is totally unfounded.
“Everyone is a philosopher ”
True in a sense…but like with everything, some are better than others.
Philosophical logic is a discipline that has quantifiable metrics. As such, some practice “good” logic, most bad. I’d put you in the bad camp.
LOL – if that were true, there would be only one good philosophy book in the world for all times.
Can people use the same “quantifiable metrics” and come to different conclusions? How could that be? Perhaps the metrics are not as quantifiable as one might imagine.
“So, the accusation of “philosophy’ or ‘philosopher’ is totally unfounded.”
Wrong. It is a scientific discipline. It’s kind of like math in the sense it has rules.
You don’t understand it and don’t know the rules yet you pontificate regarding theology.
The early church fathers understood the rules of that day (with regards to philosophical logic) and they constructed their arguments from within that discipline.
Philosophy is still largely connected to the Greek Philosophical logic of Aristotle, even the logic we get “math” from is connected to Aristotle.
“LOL – if that were true, there would be only one good philosophy book in the world for all times.”
You don’t get out much do you? There are such books.
One is called Mathematics, or more specifically Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus etc.
Others are called Classical Logic, Computer Logic, Syllogism, Philosophical Logic etc.
You are confusing “Conclusions” with Process.
There is a very quantifiable process…and you don’t even know there is LOL.
The Greek word “Logos” attributed to Jesus himself is an key word in religion, philosophy, rhetoric, psychology.
Logos means literally “reason”, “utterance”, “logic”, “computation”
It’s the Greek word used in John 1:1
Here’s an alternative view to the idea that the ECF’s embraced Greek philosophy whole-heartedly:
Just offering it as more information.
I would love to hear one of PP’s participants from the past weigh in here. Remember Stan the Man? A great thinker!
Xenia – It was on the validity of all the Spiritual gifts for the present dispensation – basically going against MacArthur (and my seminary’s official belief statement)
I used a quote from Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Origen and a couple others to show the early fathers were not silent on the gifts, and certainly did not support an “apostolic era only” argument.
From X’s link (X you always add value IMO):
“Because not much on Orthodox Theology was easily available in English until the mid-1940’s, of the emphasis by the Roman Catholic scholastics on Plato and Aristotle, as well as of the emphasis on the Greek language in the Greek Orthodox Church, it is not surprising that some have the impression that the Theology of our Church is derived from Greek Philosophy. Actually this is not the case; most of the Patristic Fathers of our Church, even as early as Clement (150-215 AD), have emphasized that there is absolutely no similarity between God and His creatures. God is unique and can in no way be described by comparison with anything that any creature may be, may know or may imagine. Since God transcends all human concepts, the god of the brilliant Greek philosophers, who thought anthropomorphically, is not in any way connected to the Biblical God and the God of Apostolic Tradition, the God of the Orthodox Church.”
I actually agree with this conclusion above.
The author is wrong in the sense that the church father’s did use greek philosophy to form their conclusions…that is undeniable fact.
However, the larger truth and conclusion is that the author says, “God transcends human concepts” and basically that man can’t really understand God b/c God is not logical (something I asserted early on with the Theo-logos discussion with Dave Rolph).
Theology is more a function of man’s logic than God’s…all boxes lead to man.
We don’t know, we don’t understand….we CAN’T understand God’s Logos.
“So, the accusation of “philosophy’ or ‘philosopher’ is totally unfounded.”
“Wrong. It is a scientific discipline. It’s kind of like math in the sense it has rules.”
Talk about missing the mark – you make the accusation of philosophy to discredit biblical thinking – I am saying that your charge of “philosophy” is inaccurate.Just as people try to discredit by calling out a ‘humanist’.
And your well defined metrics remain undefined.
“the god of the brilliant Greek philosophers, who thought anthropomorphically, is not in any way connected to the Biblical God and the God of Apostolic Tradition, the God of the Orthodox Church”
This part is incorrect. The church fathers and the apostles, even Jesus, utilized greek philosophy to utter the words in a manner that has meaning and provide arguments and philosophical assertions based largely on hellenistic greek philosophy construct. Can’t remove philosophy from communication and thought…and the church fathers and apostles all used language, thought, ideas and expressed them within the philosophical construct of their day.
The trick is, we can’t understand perfectly what it all means. The church fathers tried to make sense of the words as best they could using their philosophical logic in preparing their arguments.
We do the same today.
But, as the author laments (accurately) we simply cannot know for sure “God is unique…there is no similarity between God and his creatures”…to which I agree.
The similarity we impose on God is through the anthropomorphism the author describes. We put skin and bone and mind and impose it onto God.
“However, the larger truth and conclusion is that the author says, “God transcends human concepts” and basically that man can’t really understand God b/c God is not logical (something I asserted early on with the Theo-logos discussion with Dave Rolph).
However, what if, just think, what if God came to earth as a man and revealed parts of himself to his creation? That would upset the apple cart to your metrics.
the church father’s did use greek philosophy to form their conclusions<<<
I think this is true.
What I've been taught is that Greek philosophy paved the way for the Gospel. It was a forerunner to the Forerunner. It gave the Christian writers a way to express themselves clearly and provided useful vocabulary words. As to the content of Greek philosophy, there would be considerable differences between that and Christianity.
Divine revelation is the sum and total difference between your stated philosophies and Biblical truth. I don’t expect you to understand it – so carry on.
Without divine revelation, you are correct … so has there been divine revelation or not?
“And your well defined metrics remain undefined.”
No. My turn to tell you to read some books and take some classes. Study Rhetorical Criticism, Critical Thinking, Logic, Philosophy. Read Aristotle, read Plato, read Godel, etc.
Read up on modern analytic philosophy.
It’s defined, very defined.
Reason filtered through Conscience…it’s as quantifiable a metric as can be had (though conclusions will still vary, but probably not as much as the 9,000 to 30,000 flavors of Christian*)
Read up on modern analytic philosophy.
Actually I was a philosophy minor in college behind a Sociology major – but it’s been a while – but my philosophy was in college with real books and instructors – not just web pages.
But I find that the divine revelation trumps the philosophers – non Christian people don’t think so.
X said, “As to the content of Greek philosophy, there would be considerable differences between that and Christianity.”
Agreed, but only in that Greek Philosophers came to different conclusions. The process used by early church fathers was same/similar to the process of the secular Greek Philosophers of the day…just different conclusions, sometimes nuanced, sometimes vastly different.
Again, my assertion further above is that the Process is quantifiable and the same/similar…the Conclusions after filtering the information through the Process can be vastly different based on what the particular philosopher views as more pre-eminent.
Greek philosophers didn’t view the sacred texts or bible as authoritative (most of them) they simply viewed it as rhetorical work of largely fiction.
It is the church fathers who held a high view of the texts and verbal tradition and applied what they learned from the Greek Philosophers in terms of Process to try and make sense of it and to form their Doctrines and Theology and codify it and systematize it etc.
Steve, how was your paper received?
MLD said, “but my philosophy was in college with real books and instructors”
You don’t demonstrate a grasp of it.
I studied under a PhD who got her doctorate from USC…but I’ve learned more over the past 20 years of reading and studying, though I got the foundation from her in a college setting.
I guess I could go on, but I don’t want Michael upset – so i will concede to you that you know the ways of man. (damn, I wished I had known to keep track of who my professors were and where they got their doctorates.) … but it’s been almost 45 yrs.
Xenia – I didn’t change any minds of the faculty 🙂 However, I definitely solidified my view in my own heart.
I always point out that the seminary deserves credit and respect for allowing a grad student to write his thesis on a topic that went against the belief statement of the seminary – and graduated me with it. Today, that book sits in their library with the other theses written by students over the years. They didn’t put it in the special ‘heretic’ section. 🙂
I can email you a copy if you are interested.
The difference today is that philosophy has evolved as we’ve discovered more and more about our Universe etc whereas the “church”…unless in the liberal ends of the Tent…hasn’t progressed much.
Though, we don’t endorse slavery any longer, we mostly don’t beat our kids with rods, the misogyny is less than it was, etc.
Well good luck using philosophy to get you saved. Let me know how that works.
But I will butt out since I see you are going to erupt again with the meanie god stuff. – I tried to keep it on track that the element you are missing is divine revelation and the fact that the God of the universe became man and walked with us. A game changer to all philosophers.
I am going to drive home now. 🙂
MLD, I give no weight to someone who has studied under a PhD or is self taught. I judge them by their acumen and ability. I know a lot of idiots who have a long list of credentials. I know some very bright folks who don’t…and everything in between. There are some very very bright folks with credentials and without.
Einstein didn’t do well in school b/c he was too curious and got bored with rote memorization of old ideas.
Tesla got bored in college as well, started gambling and dropped out. He might be the most brilliant of all to date.
Yes, but you judge yourself the judge of others. That disqualifies you right there – you are the philosopher of the absolutes …
MLD said, “Well good luck using philosophy to get you saved. Let me know how that works.”
I don’t, I rely on faith. It is your boxes you’ve created that all use philosophy to create a certainty you necessarily cannot have…yet you express it.
Again, you don’t have a faith, you have a doctrinal box and apologetic.
I judge the philosophical boxes (belief systems) of others b/c I understand and “see” the discipline well. I know when someone makes an error in logic and I see how all their dots connect (but don’t).
I acknowledge this dynamic. It’s why I don’t fit into a box and admire a brian and a G who are intellectually honest (or rather have the capacity to be intellectually honest).
God, in fact, does not fit in a philosophically created man-made doctrinal/theological Sect’s box.
I deconstruct each of your boxes to prove such. If I am ever confronted with a box that makes complete sense from a philosophical logic perspective, then I’ll give and follow that particular Sect.
Or, if a particular Sect can demonstrate a supernatural miracle.
Either one, and I’m on board. I’ll be a full fledged disciple of that Sect.
All the church fathers did was do what we’ve all been doing for years (only much better). They all read “the bible” and said, “this is what it really means!” and then argued their angle with others of their day trying to convince them they were right and the other guy was wrong.
Those who won the consensus were the winners and orthodox. Those who didn’t gain enough consensus were the heretics and losers.
It’s pretty much as simple as that.
Winners write the rules. Victors write the history.
Now Christianity* has splintered so much, you can barely get agreement on how to arrange the chairs (reference to Chuck Smith’s distinktives and his rationale for creating his own Sect and the Moses Model).
Does the Group think belief in a theory like Preexistence is disqualifying with regards to Salvation?
Is Origens view and Martyrs view of Jesus disqualifying with regards to Salvation?
Steve and Papias, just now I was participating in a video conference with my school and the aforementioned adviser, in the course of his lecture, happened to mention Ireneaus and he said eye ruh Nay us. Eye, not ear. Papias was right.
Shwew, glad we got that settled. I think I’ll convert now.
Regarding Justin Martyr, I don’t think he is saying what you think he is saying. If he was really saying that Jesus was a created being (as the later Arians and JWs say) then he would never have been made an official Saint of the Church. Origen and Tertullian are not “Saints,” for example. (This is not to say they aren’t Christians, though.) I don’t like proof texting so I am just going to have to read St. Justin for myself. I have read him (I think all his works) but it was a few years ago and I wasn’t looking for evidence that he did or didn’t believe in the Trinity. I’ll give it another go and see what I find.
The question I have is has anyone done a serious study and comparison of the common Greek/Roman beliefs and eventually the theologies these men taught? If you know if any good scholarly texts, not some antagonist trying to prove an anti-Christian idea, on this subject.
One of the problems I hear/read is a conflict when people discover these early church fathers had their roots outside Christianity in many cases. What these protagonist fail to remember is the fathers were sold out to Christ 100%.
I can already see where the problem lies….. more later.
I think the Greeks and Romans serve us better to study their politics as foundational for America, rather than their polytheism and idolatry as foundational to Christianity.
I will say that any Bible student is well served by an in depth look at either Greek or Roman history from purely a secular standpoint. It does aid in understanding the New Testament.
Steve you’re wrong as usual.
The “Trinity” (which is an extra-biblical term) has its roots in Greek Philosophy. It preceded the New Testament. It was around before Jesus.
Steve, the fact is Plato and Aristotle had more to do with the theology of the early church fathers than the bible itself.
Plato was the first to posit a “One God” “three substances”.
Plato is the father of the “trinity” concept.
It was co-opted much later by early church fathers who tried to make sense of the bible and were heavily influenced by Plato and Aristotle and hellenistic philosophy.
In my secular university years we had to study the political and cultural effects of the Greek and Roman cultures on the Western mind and ideologies. I would disagree with you and say it would be very revealing about how the traditions and practices of the growing were established.
Do not forget that very shortly after the time periods in these past threads the RCC basically replaced the Emperor as the head of the Roman led world. I believe we would find a substantial diversion from the Hebrew roots and traditions of the faith and a firm synchronization with the pagan practices of the day.
Of course to me the goal isn’t to tear down the institutions but rather to help find the heart of God and to know Him fully in Jesus Christ. It is also why I treasure these kind of topics over the dull repetition of arguing over communion and baptism. I like to know how we came to such diverse ideas within such a simple faith rather than chest thumping of who’s right!
Aristotle’s metaphysics and “ousia”…another biggie in early church fathers coming up with an explanation of “God” as the “trinity”
When you say that Plato had such an influence on the early fathers all I hear is an opinion. What I would like to see is a reference to the writings of these fathers and where they may have plagiarized their knowledge of Plato.
You see I have an opinion about a lot of things but they don’t really matter beyond myself. So if you have text from these church fathers which would indicate such direct plagiarism and synchronization lay them on us. But please let each person decide for themselves what’s true or not.
BTW I am interested in such references or studies so a text recitation would be appreciated greatly.
Bob, I’ve footnoted my assertions in the past, then I get yelled at and threatened for banning for long posts.
But, okey dokey, you asked for it.
Yep I asked for it in kindness and honest interest. I enjoy particularly books from legit scholars on either side of the religious fence and I love reading the actual words of the fathers involved.
Augustine Confessions VIII: “3. I went, therefore, to Simplicianus, the spiritual father of Ambrose (then a bishop), whom Ambrose truly loved as a father. I recounted to him all the mazes of my wanderings, but when I mentioned to him that I had read certain books of the Platonists which Victorinus — formerly professor of rhetoric at Rome, who died a Christian, as I had been told — had translated into Latin, Simplicianus congratulated me that I had not fallen upon the writings of other philosophers, which were full of fallacies and deceit, “after the beggarly elements of this world,” whereas in the Platonists, at every turn, the pathway led to belief in God and his Word.”
He had a high regard for the Platonists (Plato) “whereas in the Platonists, at every turn, the pathway led to belief in God and his Word”
Ok there’s a connection which adds to the puzzle, but I also clearly read how he and his teacher lived in an environment of rhetoric, something we do not understand fully today.
But why is it these men adapted or converted to Christianity from their Platonic backgrounds more easily than others? Obviously they found something in the teachings of the scriptures which pointed them to a risen Christ. This seems in contrast to those who are today pointing at these influences as negative or proof of the fallacy of such belief.
Thanks for the quote it’s late where I Amanda it’s time to sleep.
Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho: “”I will tell you,” said I, “what seems to me; for philosophy is, in fact, the greatest possession, and most honourable before God, to whom it leads us and alone commends us; and these are truly holy men who have bestowed attention on philosophy. What philosophy is, however, and the reason why it has been sent down to men, have escaped the observation of most; for there would be neither Platonists, nor Stoics, nor Peripatetics, nor Theoretics, nor Pythagoreans, this knowledge being one. I wish to tell you why it has become many-headed. It has happened that those who first handled it [i.e., philosophy], and who were therefore esteemed illustrious men, were succeeded by those who made no investigations concerning truth, but only admired the perseverance and self-discipline of the former, as well as the novelty of the doctrines; and each thought that to be true which he learned from his teacher: then, moreover, those latter persons handed down to their successors such things, and others similar to them; and this system was called by the name of him who was styled the father of the doctrine. Being at first desirous of personally conversing with one of these men, I surrendered myself to a certain Stoic; and having spent a considerable time with him, when I had not acquired any further knowledge of God (for he did not know himself, and said such instruction was unnecessary), I left him and betook myself to another, who was called a Peripatetic, and as he fancied, shrewd. And this man, after having entertained me for the first few days, requested me to settle the fee, in order that our intercourse might not be unprofitable. Him, too, for this reason I abandoned, believing him to be no philosopher at all. But when my soul was eagerly desirous to hear the peculiar and choice philosophy, I came to a Pythagorean, very celebrated–a man who thought much of his own wisdom. And then, when I had an interview with him, willing to become his hearer and disciple, he said, ‘What then? Are you acquainted with music, astronomy, and geometry? Do you expect to perceive any of those things which conduce to a happy life, if you have not been first informed on those points which wean the soul from sensible objects, and render it fitted for objects which appertain to the mind, so that it can contemplate that which is honourable in its essence and that which is good in its essence?’ Having commended many of these branches of learning, and telling me that they were necessary, he dismissed me when I confessed to him my ignorance. Accordingly I took it rather impatiently, as was to be expected when I failed in my hope, the more so because I deemed the man had some knowledge; but reflecting again on the space of time during which I would have to linger over those branches of learning, I was not able to endure longer procrastination. In my helpless condition it occurred to me to have a meeting with the Platonists, for their fame was great. I thereupon spent as much of my time as possible with one who had lately settled in our city,–a sagacious man, holding a high position among the Platonists,–and I progressed, and made the greatest improvements daily. And the perception of immaterial things quite overpowered me, and the contemplation of ideas furnished my mind with wings, so that in a little while I supposed that I had become wise; and such was my stupidity, I expected forthwith to look upon God, for this is the end of Plato’s philosophy.”
Not a word in either quote about Trinitarian doctrine. Nor will we ever read one from RiBo. Of course he might quote us a nice humanist, JW, or unitarian
Look, every group from atheists to Trinity-denying pseudo-Christian groups will argue that Plato invented The Trinity as they seek to make the point that The Trinity is (as RiBo put it) “extra-Biblical”
Now, you will not find one Christian scholar who affirms The Trinity that gives credit to Plato for its revelation. Not one.
So the choice before us as always is either RiBo is the only “intellectually honest” Christian in the history of history
Or he is basically no different than all those Trinity-deniers lumped in the first group mentioned above.
Find me one Trinity-affirming Christian scholar giving the credit to Plato and I will gladly retract everything I said. Of course, not some vague reference to God for that was not the charge to which I was called wrong – The Trinity is the issue. One Living and True God (and only one) who exists in Three Persons.
Plotinus (a Neoplatonist greek philosopher) first introduced the concept of hypostases and describes their sameness using “homoousios”.
“Homoousios” is declared in 325, “father” and “son” are the same essence. Later on the holy spirit is thrown in.
This concept of “Homoousios” is championed by Athanasius and others.
Too much to cut and paste, just research “homoousios” and Plonitus who preceded Athanasius and the others.
It’s a greek philosophical concept that was co-opted by early christianity.
Tertullian was heavily influenced by the Greek Stoic philosophers. He also leans heavy on “Reason” and the Greek philosophical influences are evident from his philosophizing in Against Praxeas:
“For before all things God was alone — being in Himself and for Himself universe, and space, and all things. Moreover, He was alone, because there was nothing external to Him but Himself. Yet even not then was He alone; for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Yought (or Consciousness) which the Greeks call logos, by which term we also designate Word or Discourse and therefore it is now usual with our people, owing to the mere simple interpretation of the term, to say that the Word was in the beginning with God; although it would be more suitable to regard Reason as the more ancient; because God had not Word from the beginning, but He had Reason even before the beginning; because also Word itself consists of Reason, which it thus proves to have been the prior existence as being its own substance. Not that this distinction is of any practical moment. For although God had not yet sent out His Word, He still had Him within Himself, both in company with and included within His very Reason, as He silently planned and arranged within Himself everything which He was afterwards about to utter through His Word. Now, whilst He was thus planning and arranging with His own Reason, He was actually causing that to become Word which He was dealing with in the way of Word or Discourse. And that you may the more readily understand this, consider first of all, from your own self, who are made “in the image and likeness of God,” for what purpose it is that you also possess reason in yourself, who are a rational creature, as being not only made by a rational Artificer, but actually animated out of His substance. Observe, then, that when you are silently conversing with yourself, this very process is carried on within you by your reason, which meets you with a word at every movement of your thought, at every impulse of your conception. Whatever you think, there is a word; whatever you conceive, there is reason. You must needs speak it in your mind; and while you are speaking, you admit speech as an interlocutor with you, involved in which there is this very reason, whereby, while in thought you are holding converse with your word, you are (by reciprocal action) producing thought by means of that converse with your word. Thus, in a certain sense, the word is a second person within you, through which in thinking you utter speech, and through which also, (by reciprocity of process,) in uttering speech you generate thought. The word is itself a different thing from yourself. Now how much more fully is all this transacted in God, whose image and likeness even you are regarded as being, inasmuch as He has reason within Himself even while He is silent, and involved in that Reason His Word! I may therefore without rashness first lay this down (as a fixed principle) that even then before the creation of the universe God was not alone, since He had within Himself both Reason, and, inherent in Reason, His Word, which He made second to Himself by agitating it within Himself.”–Tertullian, Against Praxeas
Steve, you’re wrong again. The church fathers themselves give credit to Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, the Stoics and many others not only by affirming them in some cases, but also by co-opting their concepts and merging them into christianity.
It’s undeniable fact, read the words.
Steve, I know this is a shock to your system b/c you have only ventured in a very tightly controlled box and didn’t get taught this stuff in seminary…but it’s true. Don’t be skeered.
Gregory of Nyssa’s “hypostasis” and “ousia” explanations of the trinity…preceded by Plotinus (Neoplatonist greek philosopher) who posited the concepts first…and Gregory of Nyssa borrowed them in explaining his philosophy of trinity.
So you’re going to talk about things besides The Trinity, quote me everyone BUT Plato, and then simply add “this guy was influenced by Plato”….while continuing to insult me when all I asked is proof of your direct claim..
Michael – I repeat that the history posts are really good. In my opinion, the best series you have had since the Anglican Articles series. And I know those were just jumping off points for discussion while these require a lot of work on your part to write.
Bless you as you go forward with these articles. Many of us will glean much.
Haha. Paul and Jesus weren’t speaking in a societal vacuum. Terms such as “energeo”, “teleo”, these ideas of “Logos” and “Tetelestai”…. All deeply founded from Greek Philosophy. Neo Platonism is Christianity at it’s core in many ways. I see Plato and Aristotle as Christians before Christ if based on only their thoughts and writings. To say those things only have an auxiliary influence on our Christian faith, like something that might aid in our Bible Study and little more than that is BS.
Steve. Your Calvary Chapel approach to these things is out dated and losing relevance in our Christianity at warp speed. I’d advice you to switch course as quick as you can but knowing the tribe you are in the chances of that are slim and none.
And as such, Calvary Chapel is a blessing to certain economic and racial groups at this time we live in…..and absolutely irrelevant to many more (and growing). It is what it is.
Steve, I’m getting there. I’m re-processing a ton of info. You are asking for quotes and I’m going to get them for you.
Neo, agreed. Well put.
Here’s what the guy taught who wrote almost two centuries AFTER the New Testament was completed: The go-to guy for RiBo. (I of course am still waiting for an actual reference from Plato himself)
Plotinus’ metaphysics is based on three hypostases that together form reality: the One (or Plato’s “Good”), the Intellect, and the Soul. According to him, all existence is created from the unity of these three hypostases. It is through dialectics that this hierarchy is maintained and thus reality, as the eternal return to the origin, the One, is understood.
Now, Neo and RiBo might get excited about seeing three things listed and jump to nonsense that The Trinity has no basis in 1st Century Biblical revelation and a bunch of Roman Catholics just put a Christian layer over it all like they did with December 25th after reading stuff like this a couple centuries after Christ. That The Trinity is an “extra-Biblical” idea and that Plato is its founder..
And since this is when the goalposts usually get moved, I will state the obvious. That Greek culture, influence and teachings – and of course, language, had a large influence upon the early Church. The whole issue about the Hellenists hits us right at the start of Acts, and Paul’s writings, as well as the other NT writers speak of that influence on the early Christians.
But hey, like I said, if Xenia, Papias, Sarah, Michael, or any of the other scholars here can point me to a work by a Trinity-affirming, Bible-believing scholar which argues that Trinitarian doctrine was formed in the Church because of Plato and NOT because of the revelation of the New Testament – then I will rush out to buy it and read it cover to cover.
So far all I seem to get are insults to my person and my tribe, and a few vague quotes that have nothing to do with the Truth of God as revealed to us in Scripture. God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.
Frankly, this argument is little different from the virgin birth deniers who seek to point to pre-Christ legends among the pagans – concluding Jesus’ virgin birth is either a) a legend or b) not unique but one of many God did in the past when He wanted someone special to show up down here.
Steve, you missed my point(s). Oh well.
Fun Fact: Legos comes from the word Logos.
LOL – Neo returns to his racist comments – “And as such, Calvary Chapel is a blessing to certain economic and racial groups at this time we live in…..and absolutely irrelevant to many more (and growing). It is what it is.”
and RB says “Neo, agreed. Well put.”
Well…I got your insults loud and clear. That was 2 of your 3 posts.
And I read your being Christians apart from Christ stuff. About what you see as the core of Christianity – which most of us think is Christ crucified but hey, you are entitled to an opinion.
If your larger point was the no societal vacuum thing, yeah, I’ve affirmed that multiple times. If you lived in the 1st Century or shortly thereafter you would be steeped in terms like logos and so along comes Biblical revelation to explain the truth of what (or more specifically Who) the Logos is. There is value in that study and to get the context of what the NT writers are dealing in a variety of other areas too. We read plainly about Epicureans and Stoics in the Scriptures and the apostles interaction with them
That has nothing to do with what RiBo is peddling to the readers here though, as he parrots the arguments of Trinity denying unbelievers and heretics.
You guys should study ancient Egypt and really knock yourself out with all the threes incorporated with creation, the gods and so forth. Pharaoh being a mediator between man and the gods…stuff like that. That stuff predates Plato by centuries.
Or…we recognize there is One God. All truth is God’s truth and is revealed by God through general or specific revelation. There is a spiritual enemy of man’s souls who perverts the truth of God, and this battle has raged since the beginning of creation and shows itself in a variety of ways, some obvious, some more subtle.
Well I hate to be the one who keeps interfering with talk of divine revelation or divine intervention, but the Bible talks about “the fullness of time.”
Part of that fulness of time was God developing a language in man, that had words and thoughts that could handle his message … not to just a small area like Israel, but to bring it to a more global time and space..
So God work through people like Plato hundreds of years earlier to develop the language and thought patterns. These were used to write the Bible and used for hundreds of years later as the Fathers developed the thoughts, and doctrines through the church.
Whoever said it was right – this language and philosophies were not created in a vacuum – they were developed through God.
I know, it’s not as heady sounding as some would want, but it’s the truth – small t and large T.
No legitimate scholar of the bible, and church history can deny the influences of culture, external religious thought and practice on any religion, let alone Christianity. Additionally it can’t be denied those who oppose Christianity will point to the influences as a proofs of the error and unreliability of both the institutions and the faith. Like other debates the problem isn’t the material and evidences it is the questions that are being asked.
I asked the question last night, why would these men who are raised in an environment filled with rhetoric, philosophy, logic, and filled with popular religions choose to accept Jesus as the risen from the dead Christ (Messiah)? Most of these fathers of the church did not have to follow Christianity and yet, in spite of their training, teachers influences and other external pressures they chose Jesus and the bible as the primary sources of faith. Why?
Of course the mystical minded will point to the Holy Spirit and His power, but I believe there’s more. Could it be that the most logical outcome, after careful consideration of the scriptures, of these men was to receive Him and reject the ‘Cave?’
By examining the writings of these men and the cultural influences behind them; is the goal of some to disprove Christian traditions and therefore reject the risen Jesus or is it to seek God and worship Him in spirit and truth and Jesus told the Samaritan woman?
MLD – your 114 is spot on. The role of Rome and the Pax Romana were also part of that fullness of time
I certainly am not arguing against the sovereignty of God here
You’re secure in your faith and practice, while others aren’t. Sometimes simple answers aren’t what is needed. I believe these church fathers struggled greatly, as many do today, and simple answers weren’t good enough. It was through these struggles men like Irenaeus, and even Luther set their worlds on fire and became the fathers of many.
Yep the fullness of time.
BTW in that fullness He will return. Maybe we can get another end times rabbit trail started.
No bad idea!!!!!
Oh and think how many MLDs there were who were just happy and content with their religious practices of the day.
“Oh and think how many MLDs there were who were just happy and content with their religious practices of the day.”
Well I am not going to fight again the battles. Are you putting the christian basics back up for reconsideration. Do we have these wrong and need to rethink them?
The Deity of Christ?
The Virgin Birth?
Jesus’ death, resurrection from the dead?
The substitutionary atonement?
The Return of Jesus to judge?
Look, you may be unsure about those – call me bull headed but I AM secure in what I know to be truth ion these topics.
Bob, reinvent the wheel – go knock yourself out and report back on your new theology. 😉
OK, Steve-o, I re-read Plato’s works last night (ironically translated by Ben Jowett a liberal Anglican I admire). I remembered that Plato had first introduced the concept pre-christian era. You challenged me to produce it. Well, it’s there. Plato introduced the general concept, Plotinus (a disciple of Plato) expanded on it as a neoplatonic. Early church fathers borrowed the concept and adapted to the “trinity” to explain the “Godhead” of the bible.
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes, b/c you will certainly not understand it if you read it b/c you have no background in Hellenistic Philosophy and no foundation and context to draw from…it would be like, well, “Greek” to you.
Plato’s “God” was “The One” and his concept of God as “One” consisted of God, Ideas/Ideals and the World Spirit. They were all “God”…yet One.
Plotinus, a student of Platonism, developed this concept further (prior to the “trinity” consensus of the church fathers….who borrowed from Plato and Plotinus’s “hypostasis” and “ousia” and “homoousios”.
The “triad” of “God” became a common theme in middle Platonism as well (see Moderatus and Numenius, both who preceded the church councils).
Plato started the discussion, came up with his concept of “God” as “One” yet made of three, God, Ideas, World Spirit…or “The Good”. Other Platonists picked up the philosophical torch and came up with the “triad” of God and Plotinus came up with the trinity in the form of “hypostasis” and “ousia” and “homoousios” which became the official terms used to described the trinity (later) by the early church fathers.
You miss the point of my statement. You are content and have expressed that in so many ways.
But how many people were content with Plato, the rhetoric and philosophy of the day? Yet here comes many men who drop that, search the scriptures for truth and find it. A new religion or faith? Nope, but the love for Jesus became new.
So if you think I’m searching for a new religion or trying to start one then you have forgotten the years before your conversion and aren’t listening to the young of this generation. They are searching (well some of them) and aren’t happy with the traditions of their elders (us).
Why do you think Michael puts these historic threads up? Because people are searching for the truth. Not everyone is content with their Sunday practice.
“Of course the mystical minded will point to the Holy Spirit and His power, but I believe there’s more.”
Call me mystical then.
Last time I checked God was the active agent in conversion.
In my ignorant, intellectually dishonest, tribe we actually believe that God superintended history and in the fullness of time made the complete revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ.
God used all the tools and knowledge He had already equipped us with to understand that revelation.
He points us to His living word, not to philosophers who had but little light in comparison.
For once, I’m with MLD…the foundations of the faith are set and I’m secure in them.
In my ignorant, intellectually dishonest, tribe we actually believe that God superintended history and in the fullness of time made the complete revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ.
God used all the tools and knowledge He had already equipped us with to understand that revelation.
He points us to His living word, not to philosophers who had but little light in comparison.
Michael, that “tribe” you speak of here is also known as the Body of Christ. 🙂
Read Timaeus and The Republic, but I would recommend you read all of Plato’s works to get the full picture of his concept of “God” and “The One” being made up of God, Idea/Ideal and the Spirit.
Here’s The Republic.
You can access all of Plato’s writings from that resource.
All your 119 delivered, RiBo, is more insults. Researching all night you still offer no citations, but now your excuse is I am too stupid to understand them – not that you searched in vain. So you’re just repeating yourself now.
You’ve said the Trinity is not in the Bible (extra-Biblical)
You’ve said it IS in Plato.
You’ve said the early Church used Plato, not the Scriptures to explain God.
You have provided no proof of any of it – choosing to get excited about threes and certain Greek words.
You are making declarations that only heretics and unbelievers make about the Trinity. There is no ‘seeking’ here, but in case a true seeker has been reading the blog, they see clearly your claims are vain – while seeing that actual Christians from different doctrinal views as Michael, MLD and myself all proclaim the same thing.
So I am done now. No honest seeker who might be reading is going to buy what you are trying to peddle. That’s good enough for me.
Oddly enough, I was planning on a series on “The Republic” after this this one…led by a CC pastor who is well acquainted with the work and who has shared many insights with me about it.
Plotinus on “Hypostasis”: http://classics.mit.edu/Plotinus/enneads.5.fifth.html
I re-read Plotinus’s works as well. Much of what the church fathers drew from in terms of trying to describe “God” (you see it from Augustine, Martyr, Gregory of Nyssa, Aquinas, etc) was developed due to their knowledge of the greek philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and others.
Even Tertullian leaned heavily on the Stoics and Aristotle and much of his reasoning is similar.
In order to understand the fathers of the Church you have to actually read them from beginning to end. The patristic mind certainly does get imput from Greek philosophy- and that’s where “in the fullness of time” comes to play. God, in His infinite wisdom, prepared the world to receive the Messiah and part of that preparation, which no one here is denying, is the development of the tool (and it is only a tool and nothing more) of Greek ways of categorizing complex ideas. The main focus, actually the only focus, of the writings of the fathers is Jesus Christ.
Some of the writings are debates with heretics. These heretics lived in the Greek world and thought like Greeks. It is not surprising that apologists like St. Justin would use the language and philosophy of the people they were debating in order to explain the Gospel message, being all things to all people so that by all means they might win some.
Here is a poor analogy. The Internet runs on the English language. HTML, the mark up language behind every single page on the web, is written in English. I think the same is true for most computer languages used on the web. The Chinese cannot write HTML using their Chinese characters. (I’m not talking about the content of the web pages but the source code that’s underneath.) Yet even though the Chinese use the English language and English symbols (and American thought patterns) to produce web pages, this does not mean the Chinese base their beliefs on Americanism. The English language is a useful tool that the Chinese can use to produce their own web sites that are entirely about the Chinese, not American, way of thinking.
Ok, not a very good analogy.
You have to read the fathers from beginning to end. Plucking a paragraph from a work and saying “This proves ________” is going to result in error. Just reading the chapter from St. Justin to Trypho was enough to show that St. Justin isn’t saying what RiBo is thinking he’s saying. (Quite the opposite, in fact.) In patristics, Google is not your friend.
So yeah, there’s Greek influence. But the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit is what has produced the Scriptures and informed the mind of the Church.
Steve, I presented the actual writings. I’ve read them many times in the past (I studied the stuff in college and have studied many times over the following 20 years, it’s part of who I am).
I already pulled the main pieces out for you earlier in the thread, now you have the actual writings to read to see where those pieces come from.
You’re not very bright if you are asserting I didn’t make an assertion and then provide the source info to back it up. It’s right there. Read it all. Re-read my posts, read the links, read the snippets I pulled in my many comments above.
You wonder why I post so much, b/c it’s like talking to 5 year olds sometimes. I feel like I’ve got to explain that 1+1 does in fact equal 2.
X said, “In order to understand the fathers of the Church you have to actually read them from beginning to end.”
Well, I’ve read a ton of it and most of the “church fathers” you guys discuss here. I’ve read the greek philosophers (in general, most of them) and the “church fathers” (in general, most of them)…and my conclusion is that the church fathers were heavily influenced by Greek Philosophy.
X said, “You have to read the fathers from beginning to end. Plucking a paragraph from a work and saying “This proves ________” is going to result in error. Just reading the chapter from St. Justin to Trypho was enough to show that St. Justin isn’t saying what RiBo is thinking he’s saying. (Quite the opposite, in fact.) In patristics, Google is not your friend.
So yeah, there’s Greek influence. But the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit is what has produced the Scriptures and informed the mind of the Church.”
I’ve read pretty much all I can find on Martyr, I only posted Trypho b/c as always if I posted everything on Martyr I’d “dominate the thread!” and get banned. I can post all I know about Martyr and all the sources if you’d like, it’ll take awhile and will fill up the thread something fierce.
I won’t, but my point is “not fair” you guys set parameters on me and then critique me for going Cliff’s Notes.
And, you are presenting a Straw Man…I am not arguing that there was no such “inspiration” of the church fathers, just that they were heavily influenced by Greek Philosophy (which is fact).
I personally believe God is “truth” and that he inspired the Greek Philosophers.
No problem, but you do bring up these subjects and have often stated your struggles with application of them into life.
Now the mystical comment I made;
I believe, and I make this statement after years of being involved with and claiming to be Pentecostal, people seek the easy answer often and just say, “its spiritual.” I have also observed additions to tradition and thought by holding up the “God spoke to me card.” It’s not just the Christians who are guilty of this practice. The Jews have the kabbalahist, Plato had his cave, Buddhist their samsara and I would submit every religion would put their mystics and shamans into high position of truth and practice while ignoring empirical external information.
Now do not doubt my resolve on God, His Spirit and Jesus, and the divine spirituality that He is. Without His Spirit nothing would exist nor be able to remain together and while I rest in His perfect work I do not find rest in the works and practices of men. I will always point to the miracle of Jesus and the qualification to be identified with Him, He is risen from the dead and is Lord! (Pretty out there to believe a man rose from the dead).
My question still stands, “why did these men receive the scriptures and the Jesus contained in them as the truth?” I could also ask, “Why did you Michael do the same or why did I?”
Of course we know MLD’s wife is responsible, be his own admission she drug him to church. 😉
BTW Michael the question could also be asked why did you decide Calvin and the Reform theology best explain the doctrines and theology of Christianity to you? I’m sure it didn’t happen one night after eating a bad pizza combination.
Sir these are things which make up each person’s faith, not some hard dogma or church rules. Faith to me is about loving and relying on Him, not our practices. But I ask (and remind myself), “How did I get to this place?” And then I remember what it was and thank Him!
“Oddly enough, I was planning on a series on “The Republic” after this this one…led by a CC pastor who is well acquainted with the work and who has shared many insights with me about it.”
That would be really cool. I am surprised there is a CC guy who even knows that it exists.
I’d include Timaeus in that one as well. They kind of dove-tail a bit (pardon the CC reference).
“I re-read Plotinus’s works as well. Much of what the church fathers drew from in terms of trying to describe “God”
So what does that mean? I use the Thesaurus to draw out terms to describe God. Did the author of the Thesaurus invent God or the Trinity?
I will be like you – I read and re read the Thesaurus and I find that the Trinity was taken from an ancient version of this Thesaurus.
You still have not shown Steve, the quote from the Father saying “Eureka! I found the trinity reading Plato.”
Yeah, where is that quote? Are there no highlighters where you come from?
#129 – Thank you for that comment, I just added a couple of texts I anxious to read. “Christian Antioch, A Study of Early Christian Though in the East.’
Antioch was a hot bed, filled with philosophy, thought, rhetoric and the place where the term “Christian” appears to have first been coined, Acts 11:26. Amazing!
X said, “So yeah, there’s Greek influence. But the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit is what has produced the Scriptures and informed the mind of the Church.”
I think that man doesn’t hear perfectly….and even the little he hears he can’t understand…which explains the broad range of disagreement as to what is ‘truth’…even more so in Christianity*
If the “Holy Spirit” was speaking clearly, you wouldn’t have 9,000 to 30,000 denominations and all the various Sects and opinions and Joseph Smiths and Chuck Smiths etc.
The Greek Philosophers were similar, but not quite as diverse…but still differing Camps.
“Logos”….”reason”, “computation”, “utterance”…like I’ve asserted many times…man has attempted to understand and articulate the “logos of God” or Theo-Logos or Theology…and he simply cannot, not with any certainty…yet you construct tightly defined boxes that you say are “God” and then you claim, “THUS SAYETH THE LORD!”…yet you can’t explain a concept like the Trinity, a core belief.
It’s like watching a monkey humping a football.
Here’s the kind of solid stuff we should (ok it’s nice to) know, Ignatius is probably the one who made the first day of the week (he called it “the Lord’s Day”) the practice of meeting to study and worship our Lord Jesus Christ. The why portion is because he rejected the Jewish practice of the last day of the week being Sabbath. He considered it antiquated and in the newness of knowing Jesus not a worthy practice.
I’m not sure I agree with Ignatius but it sure helps me rest in the Lord to know it’s not some commandment of God to meet on Sunday. Unless one considers it a sin to disagree with Ignatius. BTW I do not forsake the fellowship of Christians on Sunday. I consider it a privileged and a blessing (not an obligation) to do so and hardly ever miss one.
Thank you all for the inputs, it does help me more than you can imagine. I actually have some work to do.
Oh and RiBo can you take the personal stuff down with Steve a notch or two?
Derek, MLD, I already addressed those issue:
God as “The One” and “God, Idea/Ideal, World Spirit” of Plato (see his works, specifically Timaeus and The Republic)
Moderatus and Numenius expanded on this as Platonists: “Triad of God”
Plotinus (as a Platonist) coined “Hypostasis” “Ousia” and “Homoousios” all the words used by the church fathers in to codify their final “trinity” explanation of their concept of God.
Undeniable fact in the historical record.
Before I run, RiBo you still haven’t made the connection on the trinity yet.
I know it’s probably as big as the lights of Time Square to you, it’s just you haven’t shown anyone the switch yet which shows the influence or direct plagiarism from Plato or any of the philosophers of the day.
Got to work.
The practice of the church meeting on Sunday is recorded in Scripture and predates Ignatius.
Add Xenia to the mix of Christians from different denominations who are all in agreement here about the proper understanding of the role of Greek influence.
Again, no innocent reader who is truly seeking is going to embrace RiBo’s heretical claims. So we’re good. That’s all I care about…certainly not debating RiBo.
We’ve moved to the pathetic stage now.
Imagine Michael linking to the entire Institutes when he wants to make a point about Calvin. No, he actually quotes the relevant passage from Calvin, as Michael is in fact familiar with his work (I don’t know if you consider yourself an expert on Calvin, Michael, but certainly you know more than anyone here on the man and his writings)
The pathetic part is the continued insistence on being a trained expert with 20 years of study in the field and yet without the ability to point us to even a general direction in the primary sources. The repeated claims of not just being the most educated on the subject, but that actually we are incapable of reading all this evidence alleged to exist (so no effort to even post it)
It’s like the JW leader who somehow found himself under oath in a court of law and shown to be a fraud when he could not answer even the simplest of questions that he had duped his followers into believing he was an expert in.
Of course, the JWs live on…and the lies continue to be believed by many. So too here…but the innocent are warned…that’s all that matters.
OK, you asked for it. When I’m done working today, I’ll be posting up a storm of specific quotes and prove the thesis.
Michael, I don’t want to hear calls for banning and you cannot moderate me for responding.
I will give a thorough explanation and many specific quotes and many specific quotes of Plato, Plotinus and the other Greek Philosophers and quotes from the Church Fathers who affirm them and use their ideas.
Careful what you wish for, I’m happy to oblige. Buckle up. This will take all week.
….then, I’ll get accused of “proof-texting!” etc. LOL
So, you’ll have the full articles and the pull-quotes to support my thesis.
You’ll still find an excuse to be lazy and intellectually dishonest b/c you don’t have a faith, you have an apologetic.
Bob, I didn’t make an assertion that they plagiarized, but they heavily borrowed and were certainly influenced. I believe I qualified it with “in essence” but in fact they did use the exact terms “hypostasis” and “ousia” and “homoousios” of Plonitus…so in that sense I guess “plagiarize” is a bit more appropriate than ‘in essence”
Gotta go earn some drachmas. I look forward to the opportunity to respond FULLY 😉
I think RB misses the point entirely in trying to link words and ideas to the origination of a concept.
Look, someone in the distant past came up with the concept of letter delivery. Someone then COINED the word mail. So, when email was invented, someone went back to the concept and words of “mail” … AOL “you’ve got mail”
But the person who coined the word did not invent the internet and the person who went back in history to find an appropriate term “mail” did not look to the person of history to learn anything about email. It’s about looking to a common language to explain things.
Baptism was used to describe washing dishes etc – when the church started sprinkling people 😉 they went back and grabbed a common language word.
Do you think the dishwasher at the ancient Greek Gyro joint invented biblical baptism?
“The pathetic part is the continued insistence on being a trained expert with 20 years of study in the field and yet without the ability to point us to even a general direction in the primary sources. The repeated claims of not just being the most educated on the subject, but that actually we are incapable of reading all this evidence alleged to exist (so no effort to even post it)”
I did post it. You are asking me to provide you, in essence, with a Thesis paper or a Formal Argument. That takes a lot of time and work and a ton of posts.
Like I said, i gave you Cliff’s Notes above and linked some of the main source materials.
But, you asked for it and you’ll get the full monty. I appreciate the provocation, it’s a good motivator to make me do some more formal work.
I just expect the Group to be fair and hear me out when I’m done. Usually what happens is I get accused of “dominating” and “bullying” and clogging up threads…when in fact, I am defending a Position after being told I’m wrong or didn’t prove it or didn’t provide the right source info etc…b/c you guys are largely interested in dismissing anything that challenged your Apologetic which is your personal salvation and not a real faith.
#144 Oh Boy! I can hardly wait!
All you have to do is quote the Father who was working on the Trinity saying “yes, I was reading Plato and I saw he wrote this and that passage described exactly what I wanted to say about the One God who is Three.”
You don’t need to wear yourself out publishing 1,000 pages of documents. All anyone has asked in that you link The Trinitarian Father to Plato … directly.
Before you waste a lot of time and blind us with cut and pastes. You are being asked a clear and simple thing. To show that Plato taught the truth of the Trinity – the Biblical understanding of God
One True and Living God who exists in Three Persons. These Three Persons are not lesser or greater to each other in any way. They share equally, fully, simultaneously in all the attributes and essence of God.
You have charged the Trinity is NOT taught in the Bible. That early fathers did not use the Scriptures to develop the doctrine but used Plato and his followers to do so and forced it on the Church and so all of us who affirm the Trinity do so without Biblical justification.
You have also been asked to show me one scholar who AFFIRMS the truth of the Trinity and says something to the point of “We are indebted to Plato for this discovery of the Nature of the True and Living God”
So please do not show us a litany of terms and words, triads of various sorts, and a couple quotes where some church father simply says “God was at work in Plato’s life” or any such thing….and then raise your hands in victory because you moved your goalposts to fit the flight of your field goal attempt.
Back up your original claim..the one you claimed I was wrong as usual about.
I am sincere in my desire to know if what you are saying is true. I don’t believe it is, and have never seen evidence for your specific claim, but if you have the evidence then I will gladly receive it.
I remember seeing a 3 headed dragon in a movie when I was a kid based on Homer’s Iliad. Perhaps it was Homer who came up with the trinity. But, then again in the Odyssey, he did have a cyclops – so perhaps he was also the inventor on Oneness Pentecostalism
RB- may I suggest you post links to the info you will share instead of full texts? It slows down the thread re-loading for us who own ancient of days ‘puters. Whether or not those questioning your sources will read the info is about equal whether you post references or full texts. Thanks for your consideration in this!
If the “Holy Spirit” was speaking clearly, you wouldn’t have 9,000 to 30,000 denominations and all the various Sects and opinions and Joseph Smiths and Chuck Smiths etc.<<<
This is why the scriptures must be interpreted within the Church.
There are two scenarios being presented here:
1. Christianity is a vegetable soup of ideas and got most of its major doctrines, in non-supernatural way, from the Greeks who no doubt got their ideas from the Egyptians who no doubt got their ideas from the space aliens who built the pyramids. (Just kidding about the space aliens.) The major doctrines of Christianity can all be called into question because pagans thought them up first. Therefore, everything can be doubted. No Holy Spirit involved, just a theft of ideas and we poor saps are at the end of 2000 years of delusional thinking.
2. God sent His Son in the fullness of time, which happened to be during the flowering of hellenic thought. The Greek language is more useful than Hebrew in describing complex theological ideas such as the Trinity and the two natures of Christ. A few centuries prior to the incarnation, the Greek version of the Old Testament was prepared and was (is) used by the Church. The Holy Spirit inspired and guided all this thinking and writing within the confines of the Church. All the Church fathers (Justin, Ireneaus, Ignatius, etc.) were part of the Church.The Lord loves the Church as has not left it to flounder.
I believe scenario #2 is correct.
There is no point Googling Justin Martyr and any of the other ECF’s for evidence of non-Trinitarian thoughts. If they were heretical, they would never have been canonized. People have been reading the ECF for 1700 years and if there were any heretical ideas they would have been discovered long ago. That, with the aid of Google, one can find sentences taken out of context that appear to be heretical just indicates that the Googler needs to do some more serious reading.
RE: Steve Wright @ # 35,
I’m with you on this one Steve. It also annoys me to no end when we Americans butcher and mispronounce German names and places.
Anne, yes, I guess I’ll just write a paper/article and post a link but I fully expect those of poor character like MLD and Steve will simply dismiss it and not follow through on engaging it, b/c 1. they can’t hang and 2. they are dogmatists who have no interest in intellectual honesty..it’s all about defending an apologetic and for Steve, it’s literally his business as the corporate ceo of his franchise.
Fullness of time.
The reason we have a Koine Greek language and the reason it was so widespread and still being used even after the Roman Empire had over a century of power is directly due to Alexander the Great. Not just his massive conquests of territory but the need for this ‘common’ Greek in order to have effective communication across his empire. It developed after Plato
So yeah, God used Alexander the Great for His purposes in bringing Christ to the earth in “the fullness of time” – he was just as important (if not more) for God’s purpose as anyone else.
Doesn’t make him a Christian though in any way whatsoever.
All you can do is insult, RiBo. All I am asking you to do is backup your claim. And the insults keep coming.
The other thing I’ll predict is that Steve and MLD will not offer any thoughts of their own on the issues I’ll assert and support…they’ll have “faith” the apologetic and claim that some other of their sect’s gurus has answered it already and they won’t engage with their own thoughts and rationale of why my position is incorrect.
…that’s how it usually goes.
But, we’ll give it a try anyway.
See you in about a week.
This would almost be an interesting conversation if you could remove the posturing, insults, and chest-thumping.
I’m not so interested in if the fathers were inspired by Greek-thought, but I’m curious as to why that is a problem. I’ve also never understood why multiple denominations do anything to discount God. I’ve never seen a large group of people fully agree on anything, so it doesn’t shock me that Christians have differing views.
Not joining the fight, just pointing out two apparent problems that don’t trouble me at all. To the point that I can’t even imagine why they would be troubling. But apparently, they are.
Where are you going for a week?
G, Brian…does this all make sense to someone other than me?
Ok, since Ribo is gone for a week (huh?), maybe someone else can tell me why it would be a problem if early Christian thought was inspired by Plato. I just don’t see an issue. Anyone?
Josh, you’re late to the party. The assertion by RiBo is the Bible does not teach The Trinity but Plato did.
The fathers were influenced by Plato, not the Bible, in forming the Trinity which they foisted on us all. (Xenia’s 156 does a good summary.)
It is an assertion made constantly by heretics like JWs and the garden variety atheists and unbelievers. To my knowledge not one Trinity-affirming man or woman in history has pointed to Plato and not the Bible for the origination of the doctrine.
There is total agreement among the variety of posters here about an “influence” from Plato on early Christian thought. That is not the issue whatsoever.
It is funny though.
Christians, if asked could find verses to support the Trinity.
Christians present them here and are straightaway pointed to how that was “a later concept introduced into the church” by certain commenters and treated to a 20 comment vomit of why they are wrong.
A Trinity denier though, just tells you how you need years of study and read this philosopher and that philosopher to see how the Trinity was borrowed from Plato. Without ever showing how. You just have to take his word for it.
This all comes from someone who says he read the entire works of Plato and Plotinus, in a night, all to prove his point today supposedly, but was too intellectually lazy to take any notes or highlights so he could present his case.
Is there such a thing as a Greek philosophy fundamentalist?
This all went as expected.
Sound and fury, signifying nothing.
1 Corinthians 1:20 keeps coming to mind a lot in this thread.
I have come to a conclusion. These history posts sounded like a good idea at first and are actually interesting to read if you stick to the commenters who actually have some knowledge, but they quickly get sidetracked and end up as a hot mess.
I see why some people who come on here and say they only need the bible say that after seeing all this in the last few history threads.
And I like history….sad.
Oh, and don’t forget to throw “undeniable fact” in there a lot while never giving any evidence.
Being removed from the back and forth, trying to make sense of this conversation is truly bizarre.
I am working my way through Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, which was referenced above as an example that Christianity is based on Greek philosophy. So far:
1. Justin tells Trypho (a Jew) how he tried various forms of Greek philosophy (Stoicism, etc) and found them wanting. He then tried Platonism.
2. While out in a field thinking Platonist thoughts. Justin encounters an elderly Christian man who totally demolishes Greek philosophy. Justin is convinced and finally says that the only philosophy he is going to adhere to from now on is that of Christ.
3. He does some back and forth, then, with Trypho. Trypho asks rather insulting questions about Christianity and Justin blasts back with huge (huge!) quotes from Isaiah. Another question from Trypho, another blast from the Old Testament. So far (and I’ve been reading for about and hour) Justin has not used one single argument from Greek philosophy and a huge amount of Old Testament.
1. Justin believes in (what is sometimes called) “replacement theology.” (The Church is Israel.)
2. He believes in baptismal regeneration.
3. And, in light of recent attacks made here against Luther, Justin goes on an anti-Jewish tirade. So maybe RiBo would like to rethink his fondness for Justin Martyr, eh?
So far, the only things I can find relate to philosophy is (1) Justin’s repudiation of it and (2) the Q and A method. But I still have a bit more reading to do. Maybe Justin will do a 100 degree about face, who knows.
I’m not sure RiBo was arguing that there is no basis for the Trinity in Scripture, per his #87, just that the term is not found in Scripture, and that our current understanding is influenced by Platonic thought. (Now, in the back and forth, who knows what he said, but I think that was his jumping off point.)
There really is a communication gap for some reason. I don’t know the reason, but there is a lot of bluster and not much real interaction. I think Ribo truly believes that we are being dishonest about something, but I’m not sure what it is that we are being dishonest about. It is just a completely different paradigm, but we have similar words that mean different things. It’s like he couldn’t fathom that we honestly believe the things we believe, and we can’t fathom that he doesn’t.
Then we just fight back and forth a lot.
I *think* Ribo had some point about Plato, but i don’t know what it is or why it was supposed to be significant.
If he is just saying that the concept of the Trinity cannot be found in scripture, then he is wrong and easily refuted by posting a few bible verses. I don’t think that was his point, but again, I am not sure what his point was.
Josh said, “I’m not sure RiBo was arguing that there is no basis for the Trinity in Scripture, per his #87, just that the term is not found in Scripture, and that our current understanding is influenced by Platonic thought. (Now, in the back and forth, who knows what he said, but I think that was his jumping off point.)”
Correct, thank you.
Oh, good. Now, do you see that as problematic, and if so, why?
The point about Plato and Plotinus etc is that they developed a similar three-tiered concept of God prior to the church fathers and the church fathers read this stuff and were influenced by it. I am not asserting that that disqualifies the “trinity” construct (even though trinity doesn’t appear in the bible anywhere, it is a man-made term) but the fact is the thought-process and even the terms to describe what became know as the “trinity” were hypostases, ousia, homoousios (all concepts fleshed out by Plotinus who was building upon Plato) and “logos” of Plato along with Platonic thought was appealed to by none other than Martyr, Athanasius, Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa (via Plotinus).
I’ll prove the above in a week in a more formal article/paper and link it.
Steve, the fact is Plato and Aristotle had more to do with the theology of the early church fathers than the bible itself.
Plato is the father of the “trinity” concept.
It was co-opted much later by early church fathers who tried to make sense of the bible and were heavily influenced by Plato and Aristotle and hellenistic philosophy.
This was what was written. It is almost verbatim with multiple heretical claims and that is why (and the only reason why) I engaged – because of possible readers and seekers to the site.
Please note the 2nd sentence above. More to do with the theology of the early church fathers than the Bible itself??? “The FACT is…” This is a fact? Even if one denies the Holy Spirit in “making sense of the Bible” one ought to be able to defend such “facts” when called upon to do so – especially when he is the only Christian in the history of history making the claim.
Now, if RiBo wants to duck out on what he wrote before and use the same terms the rest of us have used throughout (like “influenced”) then I will file this under “goalposts successfully moved” and leave the discussion. I won’t even claim a prophetic victory because as, like the late Chick Hearn used to say “You could call that one with braille” 🙂
I can spare you the effort.
All church historians are aware that Platonic and Neo-Platonic thought influenced the early church.
The theology came from Scriptures…aided and abetted in understanding by both Greek and Jewish thought.
I think God set it up that way and it does not challenge my faith in the least…it actually strengthens my understanding of the providence of God in all things, including history.
“The point about Plato and Plotinus etc is that they developed a similar three-tiered concept of God prior to the church fathers and the church fathers read this stuff and were influenced by it.”
Ok, I *think* most here agree with this, or at least don’t find the idea problematic.
What Michael said @175….
I believe it’s worth the effort to see what RiBo can legitimately put together.
The exercise of study and presentation isn’t always for the readers or hearers, but probably benefits the writer a lot more. I’m all for seeing what RiBo can piece together and to find out if he can build a legit and understandable presentation of his ideas that goes beyond all the opinions and popular secular sound bites he so often posts.
His focus seems to be narrowing down to the theology of the trinity, which continues to be the single and most debated doctrine in the history of the church. I say let him go after it.
One recommendation though, can you encourage RiBo to not post his thesis in its entirety here on PP. What would be nice is if he provided a link to a .pdf file we can download and examine in our own time.
PS. Michael my post about the Church meeting on the first day of the week is not about what we read in Acts, but rather the replacement of the Jewish Sabbath day practice.
Ok, I’ve come to the passage from Trypho (chapter 56) that RiBo quoted:
“I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things…above whom there is no other God…wishes to announce to them.”
In context, Justin is going through all the stories and practices of the Old Testament to prove to the Jew Trypho that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Trypho asks “Why do you say that your Jesus is God?” (In other words, “prove the deity of Christ.”) One of the proofs Justin gives is the story of the three angels appearing to Abraham under the Oaks of Mamre. (We call this story “The Hospitality of Abraham.”) In the ensuing conversation, it becomes apparent that one of the angels is none other than the Lord Himself. Justin isn’t saying Christ is a created angel, such as the JWs claim; he is saying that Christ appeared as an angel to Abraham.
Justin calls Christ “another God.” This could be perplexing (sounds Mormonish) until you realize that the proper vocabulary for describing the Trinity hadn’t been developed yet. Justin knew Christ was God (and the Son of God) and did not say He was the Father, but didn’t have the proper vocab to say He was the 2nd Person of the Trinity. That will come later.
Xenia, do you have access to this in the Greek? (online) I am trying to find a source online and seem to be coming up empty except for one that I can’t figure out how to access.
Steve, no. Just English.
The Internet Archive has it here in PDF, kindle, epub and also an online version.
Look to the side bar on the left for the different versions to access or download.
I ask because Greek has two main words for “another” – one usually means another of the same kind…one means another of a different kind. Kind of curious which word was used there.
My favorite Bible example is:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
The first another is the different kind word, the next is the same kind word. A different gospel which is not the same in other words…
Justin calls Christ “another God.”
Xenia, is this in chapter 56? A direct quote?
(Thanks Derek. I found that before but was not sure how to navigate it)
Michael and Steve. Amen to 175. All the way!
This is just me. The issue is getting beyond what the Bible says. Many of us can damn near quote it verbatim :). But rather getting into what it means.
Found it. It’s allos – another of the same kind. Jesus is of the same kind as the Father in heaven yet “another” – .That’s what Justin wrote.
Which is perfect orthodoxy
Steve. yes, and exact quote.
There is a brief footnote:
Some, “besides;” but probably as above.
Like John 14:16?
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…
Ok, well that’s all solved, then. “Angel” and “another” are perfectly explained.
Later he uses the second word in connection to “another” Lord subject to the Maker of all things. Which is also fascinating
Steve quoted, “Plato is the father of the “trinity” concept.”
True. He spawned the thought that Plotinus (and others) built upon that led to “hypostasis” and “ousia” and “homoouios” which became the terms of the church fathers concept of the “trinity” (an extrabiblical term)
Steve quoted, “Steve, the fact is Plato and Aristotle had more to do with the theology of the early church fathers than the bible itself.”
This is true because the concepts and the process to come to the conclusions of the church fathers and their consensus was borrowed from the Greek Philosophers.
The bible is a text that requires conceptualization and interpretation. The church fathers were not approaching the bible through a Hebrew philosophical lens, for instance.
Steve quoted, “It was co-opted much later by early church fathers who tried to make sense of the bible and were heavily influenced by Plato and Aristotle and hellenistic philosophy.”
This is fact.
The church fathers explicitly borrowed (and appealed to) the concepts and philosophical processes of the Greek Philosophers in making sense of the text of the bible.
Bob, agreed above. it will benefit me to put it to paper (or cyber paper) b/c it will force me to try to explain what I already know in terms that (hopefully if I’m successful) are more easily digested and understandable.
Hopefully we can all get above the in-fighting and discuss it when I’m done. I’ll try to exercise some self-control with Steve and MLD.
Josh, I appreciate your peace-making, it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
No comment on Trypho?
Josh said, “Ok, I *think* most here agree with this, or at least don’t find the idea problematic.”
Well, I personally don’t find it problematic, just that it’s fact.
Steve seems to find it problematic.
I have a lot of comments on Trypho 🙂
Martyr’s stuff needs to be held in tension with his other stuff.
Well, you challenged us with Trypho. I read Trypho and (with the help of Steve) proved it didn’t mean what you claimed it meant. Since you are going to waffle out on us, I think I am pretty much done with this topic.
And no one calls him “Martyr,” for crying out loud.
Martyr knew Plato had previously covered most of this ground before the church fathers in terms of concepts of God.
Martyr addressed this by saying Plato got it from Moses.
“Plato’s doctrine of the cross.
And the physiological discussion concerning the Son of God in the Timæus of Plato, where he says, “He placed him crosswise in the universe,” he borrowed in like manner from Moses; for in the writings of Moses it is related how at that time, when the Israelites went out of Egypt and were in the wilderness, they fell in with poisonous beasts, both vipers and asps, and every kind of serpent, which slew the people; and that Moses, by the inspiration and influence of God, took brass, and made it into the figure of a cross, and set it in the holy tabernacle, and said to the people, “If ye look to this figure, and believe, ye shall be saved thereby.”
And when this was done, it is recorded that the serpents died, and it is handed down that the people thus escaped death. Which things Plato reading, and not accurately understanding, and not apprehending that it was the figure of the cross, but taking it to be a placing crosswise, he said that the power next to the first God was placed crosswise in the universe. And as to his speaking of a third, he did this because he read, as we said above, that which was spoken by Moses, “that the Spirit of God moved over the waters.” For he gives the second place to the Logos which is with God, who he said was placed crosswise in the universe; and the third place to the Spirit who was said to be borne upon the water, saying, “And the third around the third.”
And hear how the Spirit of prophecy signified through Moses that there should be a conflagration. He spoke thus: “Everlasting fire shall descend, and shall devour to the pit beneath.” It is not, then, that we hold the same opinions as others, but that all speak in imitation of ours. Among us these things can be heard and learned from persons who do not even know the forms of the letters, who are uneducated and barbarous in speech, though wise and believing in mind; some, indeed, even maimed and deprived of eyesight; so that you may understand that these things are not the effect of human wisdom, but are uttered by the power of God.”–Justin Martyr, First Apology
Basically, Justin Martyr gives credit to Plato for articulating the concept of God as triune well before the church fathers. Martyr actually appeals to Plato in his Apology for Christians*
I didn’t read his First Apology today. You challenged us with Trypho. You don’t want to talk about Trypho because we blew your ducks out of the water so you are going to talk about the First Apology. I am not going to play bait and switch. Adios.
So, you’ve got a church father appealing to Plato to apologize for the Christian concept of God and establishing the foundation for the “trinity” concept of God that is later fleshed out by other church fathers like Athanasius and especially Nyssa who then directly uses the terms and concepts from a Plato disciple, Plotinus, using the same concepts of “hypostasis”, “ousia” and “homoousios”
Can’t really be intellectually honest and say that my assertions are not well-founded, but again, I’ll put it in a very thorough thesis paper/formal argument.
X, no not at all, I’d love to talk about Trypho and will respond to your posts above concerning Trypho. I brought up the Apology b/c it provides context for Trypho.
X said regarding Trypho: “In context, Justin is going through all the stories and practices of the Old Testament to prove to the Jew Trypho that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Trypho asks “Why do you say that your Jesus is God?” (In other words, “prove the deity of Christ.”) One of the proofs Justin gives is the story of the three angels appearing to Abraham under the Oaks of Mamre. (We call this story “The Hospitality of Abraham.”) In the ensuing conversation, it becomes apparent that one of the angels is none other than the Lord Himself. Justin isn’t saying Christ is a created angel, such as the JWs claim; he is saying that Christ appeared as an angel to Abraham.
Justin calls Christ “another God.” This could be perplexing (sounds Mormonish) until you realize that the proper vocabulary for describing the Trinity hadn’t been developed yet. Justin knew Christ was God (and the Son of God) and did not say He was the Father, but didn’t have the proper vocab to say He was the 2nd Person of the Trinity. That will come later.”
No, in context Justin is agreeing with Plato about the concept of God.
Justin wrote Trypho after he wrote his First Apology so it is important to read the First Apology to understand Trypho…aren’t you the guys that always say you have to read all the stuff to know the context?
As such, First Apology provides the Platonistic flavor and context for the terms Martyr uses in Trypho.
As such, the concept of the “the one” God creator and the “logos” Son is not exactly trinitarian, not in the way it is explained today as “orthodox”
Martyr says, “the power next to the first God” of Plato is the “logos” or Christ.
Martyr says, “no one with even the slightest intelligence would dare to assert that the Creator of all things left his super-celestial realms to make himself visible in a little spot on earth.”
Martyr is arguing a hierarchical order of God and appeals to the concept of God of Plato in establishing this order of God.
It is not orthodox trinitarian, but it is close to what the Mormons assert. Instead of “One God, three persons”…Martyr agrees with Plato and Platonists “One God, three forms” in a hierarchy.
Regarding Plato’s Timaeus, Martyr agrees, “For he gives the second place to the Logos which is with God, who he said was placed crosswise in the universe; and the third place to the Spirit who was said to be borne upon the water, saying, “And the third around the third.”–Justin Martyr, First Apology
In Trypho, Martyr simply explains his Platonistic view of the concept of God, only from the Old Testament bible, and lays out his rationale to the Trypho the Jew in an effort to convince him that Christ, or the Logos, is a form of God in the Godhead hierarchy.
X said, “Justin calls Christ “another God.” This could be perplexing (sounds Mormonish) until you realize that the proper vocabulary for describing the Trinity hadn’t been developed yet. Justin knew Christ was God (and the Son of God) and did not say He was the Father, but didn’t have the proper vocab to say He was the 2nd Person of the Trinity. That will come later.””
Yah, it came when Plotinus expanded on Plato’s concept of God and came up with “hypostasis” and “ousia” and “homoouios” and then the church fathers took Martyr’s Plato inspired concepts and borrowed from Plotinus to flesh out the rest of the “trinity” concept of God.
No disputing that Nyssa and others used the same terms as Plotinus, no disputing that Martyr directly appeals to Plato in laying out his own concept of God.
No one here has ever said that there was no Greek influence in early Christianity. We may quibble on *how* influential Greek philosophy was but since most of us believe that Christ came “in the fullness of time,” we believe that hellenic culture and philosophy is part of the fullness of time. We have already mentioned the value of the Greek language, Greek categories of thought and the Septuagint.
However, most of us believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the NT writers and I personally believe, the early church fathers and especially the bishops who attended the Church Councils. Do you believe this too? If you do, then we have no quarrel.
That’s the crux of the biscuit.
By the way, it looks, from your First Apology quote, that Justin Martyr believed that Plato read Moses and that where he got his ideas. Do you believe Plato read Moses?
No one calls St. Gregory of Nyssa “Nyssa.” It would be like calling you “Boise.”
Well, at least one person does so it’s not a universal absolute 🙂
I don’t know if Plato read Moses or not.
It is very clear that Martyr thought Plato and the Greek Philosophers were inspired by God. Seems the bulk of the church fathers felt that way b/c they were all steeped in Greek Philosophy and they all appealed to it in forming their systems and concepts.
Who do you think was inspired by God?
Martyr sure thought Plato read Moses, though. I imagine Plato did as his account of Creation has a rather Genesis flavor to it, probably as much as Plato’s flavor and Plotinus’s flavor is on the “trinity” concepts of the early church fathers.
X, I think human reason is inspired by God, I think Order and Logic are inspired by God, I think the philosophers and even the church fathers were inspired by God.
I think scientists today are inspired by God, many of today’s thinkers like a Rowan Williams and others.
I don’t think Steve is inspired by God.
I think “inspiration” is far different, however, from infallibility and inerrancy.
If God is “good” then I think anything that is good comes from God.
I think there’s even a bible verse that says that.
“Anything” good. Even when it’s not a “correct doctrine!” Christian*
That was a joke above about Steve. 🙂
RB will not stop to address an issue when you give him the facts. His tactic is to steamroll you with 6 posts to your one. As Xenia pointed out, Steve stopped RB’s nonsense in his tracks with the interpretation of the word allos – RB will not address it – you could offer to pay him a million bucks and he ain’t touchin’ it.
The other day he said my theology would cast most people into hell because most people we non christians and had not heard of Jesus – how could I put up with such a theology? I then pointed out that Jesus himself was the one who preached on the narrow road / the narrow gate and the wide path and the wide gate which both led to destruction.
RB never addressed my answer to his charge – but kept on at his 6 posts to my one post. I brought it up 3 more times to remind him he was avoiding the topic / challenge he brought up … and he upped his comments to 8 to 1 trying to steamroll me on another topic.
That’s why I’m now very liberal theologically.
I don’t think God has stopped speaking and I don’t think God speaks only to the “correct doctrine” dogmatists, especially the fundamentalist conservatives who are trapped in either the 1500’s or the early 1900’s.
We’re asked to believe that the bible stopped at Revelation. Then we’re asked to believe that God stopped speaking and settled everything perfectly and concretely after the church fathers spend a few hundred years hashing the stuff out using their Greek Philosophically based rationales to argue and argue and argue and fight a consensus into place…first for the West, then another century or so for the East.
Then supposedly the door is closed…but it didn’t close…it reopened in the Reformation, then in the Enlightenment…and you’ve got a bunch of guys like the Smith brothers (Chuck and Joseph) that pop up all the time with their own take on things to one degree or another.
Dunno. I just know that what I asserted early in this thread is a sound argument (but I acknowledge your “degrees” of influence comment X, which is valid and point taken).
MLD said, “Steve stopped RB’s nonsense in his tracks with the interpretation of the word allos – RB will not address it”
No, I just didn’t think it was significant and worth responding to, I thought X’s push-back required a a response.
Steve said, “Found it. It’s allos – another of the same kind. Jesus is of the same kind as the Father in heaven yet “another” – .That’s what Justin wrote.
Which is perfect orthodoxy”
Yes, that’s basically what the Mormons assert. Well done.
Happy MLD? Your buddy pretty much just agreed with the Mormons LOL 😆
…that has got to go down as one of the most ironic things that’s ever happened on this blog. Thanks for bringing me back to it MLD.
You know less of Mormon beliefs of who Jesus is than you do about Plato. The only thing you know about Plato is where to go to get the cut and paste.
Back to the Mormon Jesus, that was another point you never answered – the fact that Jesus was the product of Adam and Mary – that’s enough to make him a different Jesus from the Bible Jesus.
Steve, so you know, Mormons appeal to Justin Martyr’s articulation of the Godhead pre-trinity all the time.
You did, in fact, do a very good job of articulating their position and then calling it orthodox.
Wait a minute – why would the Mormon’s appeal to any greek person. The Mormon’s claim to fame is that they were here in America in 600 BC and that jesus came to them here.
The Mormons have no ties to the Greek Fathers – they have direct revelation from Jesus and the Golden tablets. The only thing the Mormons picked up from the greeks was human deification.
I think you just stepped on your you know what – and revealed that you know nothing of the Mormons neither
The big mormon complaint against christianity is that it was hellenized.
Gotta love ya RB – you are like the energizer bunny – you just keep going and going and going … wrong 🙂
MLD, Justin Martyr is probably the Mormon’s favorite church father b/c of his view and articulation of the Godhead.
Steve noting the “same kind” but “another” and then stamping it orthodox is very amusing.
I have theological discussions with Mormons a lot, I’m fairly knowledgable of their appeals and their major arguments. Obviously Steve is not or I don’t think he would make such a huge blunder…but I’m glad he did b/c it illustrates how murky the issue of “trinity” really is.
All roads lead to Mormonism. For fun I googled Justin Martyr and Mormonism and the very first link was some guy quoting from Trypho chapter 56. Now it all makes sense why RiBo has been so focused with certain examples.
Like I have said repeatedly, this is the heretics argument. Mormons are heretics. That is not an insult, it is a descriptive term of their belief system.
RiBo, very simple question for you. Do you affirm the Trinity. One God, Three Persons of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. – no trick question. The same Trinity accepted by Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Reformers, Evangelicals….
The same Trinity specifically denied by the Mormon religion. So please don’t do the Mormon dance on this one. “http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/the-only-true-god-and-jesus-christ-whom-he-hath-sent?lang=eng&query=trinity
(from the article) “They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance, a Trinitarian notion never set forth in the scriptures because it is not true.”
It’s a yes or no RiBo. I think everyone who has commented on this thread is a “yes” – what say you?
Steve, so you understand your error above b/c I know you say you believe an “orthodox” trinitarian position, even though you don’t recognize it when you see it:
“same kind” yet “another” IS the mormon position.
“same substance” or “homoousios” yet different persons is the “orthodox” position.
I’ll give you a metaphor:
You and your child are the “same kind”…yet your child is “another”.
Steve, now your just butt-hurt and can’t admit you don’t know that much.
Yes or no, RiBo
Red Herring Steve.
I made a very clear set of Assertions early in this thread.
You vehemently challenged them.
You told me to put up or shut up.
I put up. I’ve been supporting my thesis.
You then called Martyr’s explanation of the trinity “orthodox” even though it is essentially the Mormon position and Mormon’s appeal to it all the time in their apologetic.
Steve, my answer is “I don’t know for sure”
I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I believe there’s a spirit.
I don’t know how it all works, but I do know that my assertions above in this thread are correct (to one degree or another) and I know that you affirmed the Mormon position regarding the Godhead without even realizing it b/c the issue is so nuanced and semantic.
Ok…we’ll stop now. You don’t affirm the Trinity but you affirm all sorts of things against it as Biblical revelation and you affirm the arguments of Mormons online.
As you continue to rant that my little comment about the Trypho letter was me affirming the Mormon position of the Godhead – you show the community once more that you are incapable of actually processing and expressing back reality as it is – and can only express reality as you see it to be. As you INSIST it to be.
You’re the 2nd guy I had to deal with today doing the same thing. In fact, the only 2 guys in the world I know who do it.
Have a good night.
Steve, that is not correct, i don’t affirm Mormon arguments nor do I affirm “against the trinity”…I point out the facts and say, “I don’t know for sure and you claim to know for sure, but you necessarily cannot and here’s why”
It is your certainty in your apologetic that I dispute b/c I don’t think that is what “faith” is.
Steve said, “As you continue to rant that my little comment about the Trypho letter was me affirming the Mormon position of the Godhead – you show the community once more that you are incapable of actually processing and expressing back reality as it is – and can only express reality as you see it to be. As you INSIST it to be.”
No, I think it’s pretty clear above that I took a position, you called me out on it, I supported my thesis and then pointed out where you made some mistakes.
Well, I for one can know for sure. God has revealed as much as he wants me to know from scripture. What I don’t understand is waiting for me on the other side of death.
This gets ridiculous with someone trying to tell me that I must yell “uncle” and admit that I don’t know what scripture shows me of God’s triune nature. I may not understand God completely, but I know what He has revealed to me.
I think it is clear – and Michael will try to shut this down as me hating RB. But I think RB has made it abundantly clear that he does not believe what any of us believe – or for that matter what the Church has held as fundamental orthodoxy concerning Jesus Christ.
What RB believes isn’t a different option in the Christian faith that has equal footing in a discussion of Christian history – it is rank heresy and RB is trying to rewrite history.
But what do you do when you are dealing with a narcissistic ego maniac who continually spouts that he not only knows more, but is never wrong.
RB is wrong about Jesus Christ – he is wrong about Plato and he is wrong about Mormons.
I would have no issues if he would just man up and say “I am a RBite and I think you and Christianity are wrong and here is why.”
I said it the other day, and Derek confirms – RB says we cannot know, which is only true for himself, as he is the only one here who denies divine revelation and divine intervention.
As I said, RB might be right had it not been for the fact that God became a man and walked on this earth.
Now he will come on and say that he does not deny them – but he will be lying because he never allows for them in his discussions.
Wow, I hung up my spurs for the night and come back to this???
RiBo, you won’t win (or even impress) anyone with this type of display. I was hoping you would put your ideas into a well documented series of annotated work and we get this.
Come on, stop reacting to the bait and spend some quality time with your texts and produce your works.
I had hoped for better.
I may have missed it but the isn’t the Justin Martyr Trypho dialog is a literary device and not an actual conversation?
Bob, you are right, not an actual conversation, probably.
Well…I’m not going to go back and repeat all that was said in prior posts just because RiBo ignores the request to provide proof from the primary sources of his claims and now simply wants to raise hands in rhetorical triumph.
I did support my thesis though. That no Trinity affirming person gives the credit to Plato and NOT to the Scriptures for the Trinity, as RiBo has done here. (Again, we all agree on influence and the ‘fullness of time’ issue – but we also agree on the primacy of Scripture not Greek philosophy – well, all except RiBo who have bothered to share so far)
RiBo does not affirm the Trinity. As long as everyone knows that they are reading a heretic and not a Christian with some fresh insights, we’re good.
And I think we can drop the whole “honest seeker with questions looking for answers” charade – not when we are all insulted and told that none of us here have any answers about the truth of God. So why look for answers at this website?
Everyone have a nice day. Blessings.
There’s also the fact (read it for yourself!) that in Trypho, Justin Martyr talks about his efforts to find happiness in the various philosophical schools and found them wanting. He takes up Platonism but gives that up when he is converted to Christianity. He says the only philosophy he plans to follow now is Christianity.
I read over half of Dialogue w/ Trypho yesterday to practice what I preach: Read the whole thing, don’t google for proof texts. And what I read so far was this: Justin repudiated Greek philosophy and didn’t use any of it in his argument with Trypho.
I’ll finish it up today.
Well, most scholars disagree X. It’s pretty much the consensus of scholars, Mormons, and many many others that Justin Martyr did not have an orthodox “trinity” position and it is also consensus that his position much more resembles that of the “three kinds” “yet another” which is what he in fact states.
But, as always, you are entitled to your personal opinion, but not the opinion of the academic world (and much of the religious world as well).
this is where either intellecual honesty comes into question OR the inability to properly judge philosophical assertions…which is why I have stated that it’s as much or more important to understand Philosophical Logic etc. if you are going to discuss theology…than it is to simply study theology.
You cannot remove the Greek Philosophical influence and lens that the church fathers looked through and then form an opinion that doesn’t recognize the rules of such a construct and lens they used in forming their opinions and making their assertions.
X said, “There’s also the fact (read it for yourself!) that in Trypho, Justin Martyr talks about his efforts to find happiness in the various philosophical schools and found them wanting. He takes up Platonism but gives that up when he is converted to Christianity. He says the only philosophy he plans to follow now is Christianity.”
Yes, I essentially agree with this. It does not change the fact that Martyr’s “Godhead” concept of God is more similar to Mormons than “orthodox christian” today.
Again, reading Trypho without reading the First Apology is like reading the rest of the Pauline Epistles without reading Romans.
“Well, most scholars…”
How have YOU measured that?
Is that like 4 out of 5 doctors recommend Chesterfield cigarettes? You are too young, but that used to be the advertisement.
Steve said, “Well…I’m not going to go back and repeat all that was said in prior posts just because RiBo ignores the request to provide proof from the primary sources of his claims and now simply wants to raise hands in rhetorical triumph.”
Incorrect. I have supported many of the assertions from the primary sources already (read the thread, see the quotes and citations).
I am writing a cohesive paper/article that will be more thorough, but to say I haven’t presented a strong case citing source material already is either intellectualy dishonest or uninformed.
It’s not about “winning”…it’s about finding truth, being trutfhul and stating the facts.
I have, in recent years, read all of Justin Martyr’s works, the three that we still have.
I’ve been reviewing the consensus of scholars regarding this discussion….and so far, the consnesus is with me….even among many religious experts on philosophy/theology. I’ll cite their opinions in the paper/article as well.
I have read all (every word and took notes) of both his Apologies and Dialogue w/ Trypho. I am re-reading Trypho for the sake of this discussion.
“I have, in recent years, read all of Justin Martyr’s works, the three that we still have.”
i don’t doubt you, you have a grasp of what he said, my contention is you don’t understand the terms he’s using that are nuanced in Greek Philosophy so you are coming to a conclusion that is not the consensus of those who understand his words through Martyr’s Greek Philosophical influence.
The nuance and semantics is so much so that a guy like Steve confused it with “orthodox” when in fact Martyr’s Godhead is the same/similar to Mormons who appeal to it as part of their apologetic,
To the person who doesn’t understand the nuance, you could insert the Mormon position for Martyr’s and if it wasn’t called “mormon” you would endorse it as “orthodox” which is what happened above when Steve did that.
That’s good X. I appreciate it. It’s church history and important IMO to consider Martyr and the nuance of what he asserted.
Martyr appeals so much to Plato that it is also to read and understand what Plato asserts in Timaeus and The Republic.
Again, it goes to “context” which is preached on here ad nauseum.
RiBo, you can take pleasure in your little punching bag remarks. I wrote something very simple as to Jesus and the Father being of the same kind – which no Mormon believes and I showed a direct quote from some LDS hotshot from their own website.
But what matters is that I affirm the Trinity.
The Mormons do not affirm the Trinity. You do not affirm the Trinity.
You can proceed to publish all you want that Steve Wright of Calvary Chapel actually holds to a Mormon view on Jesus – have fun with it. Like I said, it is so divorced from reality and the clear truth of Steve Wright’s own statements to the contrary (not to mention years of teaching in the archives) that it simply shows you to be a dishonest man – someone who will twist and say anything they need to in order to slander and vainly attempt to discredit and hurt the people they don’t happen to like.
and as was said with Bill Clinton, if we know someone to be a proven liar in one area, willing to abandon the truth in search of an agenda, then how can anyone ever be sure they are telling the truth in any other area.
That’s my last word. Have fun now.
MLD said, “Is that like 4 out of 5 doctors recommend Chesterfield cigarettes? You are too young, but that used to be the advertisement.”
Same principle of Consensus as the councils of the early church. The leading view of Scholars is presented after much arguing…it is presented by Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Oxford University etc.
” I showed a direct quote from some LDS hotshot from their own website.”
Dang, RB has been quoting from some LSD website 🙂
Steve said, “I wrote something very simple as to Jesus and the Father being of the same kind – which no Mormon believes and I showed a direct quote from some LDS hotshot from their own website.”
Incorrect. “same kind” is not same “substance” or homoousios of Nyssa.
“Same kind” is the same kind of the Mormon who asserts similar: Father and Son analogy, same “kind” but another (separate).
Here is one of zillion Mormon appeals to Martyr: http://ldsdoctrine.blogspot.com/2009/10/justin-martyr-father-and-son.html
“On the other hand, Justin sees the Logos as a separate being from God and subordinate to him:
“For next to God, we worship and love the Logos who is out of the unbegotten and ineffable God, since also He became man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing.”
(Second Apology, 13)
“There is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things, above whom there is no other God, wishes to announce to them…. I shall endeavour to persuade you, that He who is said to have appeared to Abraham, and to Jacob, and to Moses, and who is called God, is distinct from Him who made all things, I mean numerically, not in will.”
(Dialogue with Trypho, 56)
In chapter 129 of his Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew, Justin makes a clear distinction, indicating that the “God” he refers to as Christ, is numerically distinct, but ‘…not (different) in will…’, from another, who is “Lord of the Lord”, and causes the “God” Christ to have his power and authority. This would seem to indicate emphatically that Justin’s use of the term “God” when referring to Christ is not the same usage when referring to the Father – the Creator, and only true God, as Justin calls him in other chapters of his writings.
“And now I shall again recite the words which I have spoken in proof of this point. When Scripture says, ‘The Lord rained fire from the Lord out of heaven,’ the prophetic word indicates that there were two in number: One upon the earth, who, it says, descended to behold the cry of Sodom; Another in heaven, who also is Lord of the Lord on earth, as He is Father and God; the cause of His power and of His being Lord and God.”
(Dialogue with Trypho, 129)
Justin very clearly distinguishes the Son, or Logos, as being an Angel and an Apostle of God, but not the one true God himself, the Maker of all things, as Justin calls him. Justin confers the title of Creator only to the Father in all of his writings. There is no indication of the trinitarian doctrine, or of Christ being the “one true God”, as Justin gives this title only to the Father.”
There’s some more “source material” for you Steve, along with the rationale that supports a thesis that Martyr’s Godhead more resembles the Mormon Gohead concept, which you confused for “orthodox” which is easy to do b/c the argument is really semantic and splitting hairs as the “trinity” concept is very murky.
But, technically, Martyr presents a more Mormon Godhead.
The sub title of the blog you linked to is called;
“Unofficial and unauthoritative opinion on LDS, Latter-Day Saint, or Mormon Doctrine concerning the Nature of God, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, the Apostasy and Restoration, and Priesthood Authority.
Why would you source something that by it’s own admission is both “unofficial” and “unauthoritative” –
unofficial = not mormon
unauthoritative = he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
It doesn’t have to be either/or concerning Greek influence on the Faith. I’m proud that some of the most erudite reasoning the world has seen wasn’t dismissed but embraced by Paul and John in the first century. Further, the semantic hair splitting concerning “allos” in Jesus’ upper room discourse concerning the Helper isn’t going to resolve the issue of the Trinity.
My personal opinion is in Heaven, The Father will be around is, The Spirit within us, and the Son will be physically with us. There it is to me.
MLD, typical Red Herring from you. I can link to a zillion other Mormon blogs, threads, etc that assert the same/similar. It is a consistent Mormon position. The Mormons I dialogue with appeal to Martyr as well.
You’re simply using the fallacy of Red Herring to distract from the main issue. The Consensus Mormon position is an appeal to Martyr’s version of Godhead, so-much-so that Cahtolic and Christian apologests are forced to specifically address the Mormon assertions and appeals in an effort to make more orthodox Martyr’s position.
It doesn’t have to be either/or concerning Greek influence on the Faith
Everyone here agrees and affirms this, Neo. Nobody once has made that false choice of either/or. Nobody has argued a lack of Greek influence…not once.
And while “resolve” is a strong word, observing the actual words of the inspired text is not hair-splitting in any way. The beauty of the Greek language (especially compared to something like English) is in its wide vocabulary as well as many other things. To affirm the Greek influence while diminishing the importance of the Greek language specifics seems like a disconnect to me.
RB – you miss the whole Mormon Jesus thing. The creators of Mormonism never looked back to the church fathers for directions as to who Jesus was. They made up their Jesus out of whole cloth. The Jesus of the Mormon Church for the 1st 150 yrs was a total stranger to Christianity and the Mormons, both lay and leaders were honest enough to say that they were different and they had the right Jesus … which on it’s own implies that “regular” christianity” has the false Jesus
But 20 yrs ago they changes – just like evangelical churches who had already stopped using mission and message to form their church and doctrine, replacing it with marketing – well lo and behold the mormons have done the same thing.
The Greek Fathers meant nothing to the original Mormon church – their church didn’t start in the east – not even in Europe, but here in the Americas. Their learning was not by reading the past – but directly from revelation.
Now these moderns are trying to fit in – instead of insisting on being correct and the right christians, they have thrown that all out the window and now want to be the cool kid. So, now after almost 200 yrs they say they read the fathers …as if that’s cool.
Steve you dismissed the importance of Greek influence and you challenged my assertions early in thread. You’ve since moderated your position since it’s been shown I am more correct.
That’s how we learn. Our Boxes get challenged and we are often persuaded to moderate our positions when it’s been demonstrated that we may have not considered all the facts available.
I moderated my boxes 8 yrs ago after a 10 yr process. But I do need to admit, I have not once – never, not even ever appealed to a church father in my discussions over the years with cults (ie Mormons) or non believers.
I always appeal to the scriptures – if they do not believe what i am showing them in the scriptures, why would they listen to some 2nd – 3rd century guy.
The Mormons also (nowadays) look back to Athanasius to back up a pet Mormon doctrine, never reading all that Athanasius said, just pouncining on one phrase, oblivious (I think this has to be intentional) that Athanasius does not mean what they claim he means at all.
THIS is dishonesty.
I would agree that Athanasius’s expression of early-trinity was more orthodox than Martyr’s version.
I was not talking about his teachings on the Trinity.
MLD, if Mormon “Godhead” is cult, then you pretty much just put Justin Martyr in hell.
That’s why it’s hard to do “hell by doctrine” on very nuanced and semantic issues.
I try really hard not to resort to ad hominens when I post here but the temptation is becoming almost more than I can resist.
I’m going to go do something else for the rest of the day.
MLD, do you think Origen is in hell?
MLD, do you think Origen is in hell?
Why do you keep changing the conversation?
“MLD, if Mormon “Godhead” is cult, then you pretty much just put Justin Martyr in hell.”
Let me see if I can put this in a simple and clear way that you can understand – you are totally uneducated when it comes to what mormons believe. Their “God head” is nothing like what justin states.
First off, they are a godhead only in the sense that they are one of many gods? Id this what Justin is advocating? Do you realize that mormons believe in more gods that do the hindus – and they are up to like 300,000.
You have no idea how out of whack the mormons are. Their so called God hea is only responsible for only the planet earth … not everything like the chiristian godhead. Do you think Justin was talking of a god head of the earth (mormon god head) or god head of everything?
You have got to stop youself or the monkey is going to win again.
So, let’s reboot – was Justin speaking of the mormon godhead as described above?
MLD said, “Their “God head” is nothing like what justin states.”
Well, the Catholics disagree as well as the Mormons as well as much of Academia and scholars.
From the Catholics acknowledging that Martyr’s position Is “unfortunate”:
“The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia notes: Specific points Justin addressed include that the Logos is “numerically distinct from the “Father” though “born of the very substance of the Father”, and that through the “through the Word, God has made everything”. Justin used a metaphor of fire, to describe the Logos as spreading like a flame, rather than “dividing” the substance of the father. He also defended the Holy Spirit as a member of the Trinity, as well as the birth of Jesus to his mother Mary when she was a virgin. The Encyclopedia states that Justin places the genesis of the Logos as a voluntary act of the Father at the beginning of creation, noting that this is an “unfortunate” conflict with later Christian teachings”
1913 Old Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Justin Martyr”
The Word is numerically distinct from the Father (Dial., cxxviii, cxxix; cf. lvi, lxii). He was born of the very substance of the Father, not that this substance was divided, but He proceeds from it as one fire does from another at which it is lit (cxxviii, lxi); this form of production (procession) is compared also with that of human speech (lxi). The Word (Logos) is therefore the Son: much more, He alone may properly be called Son (II Apol., vi, 3); He is the monogenes, the unigenitus (Dial., cv). Elsewhere, however, Justin, like St. Paul, calls Him the eldest Son, prototokos (I Apol., xxxiii; xlvi; lxiii; Dial., lxxxiv, lxxxv, cxxv). The Word is God (I Apol., lxiii; Dial., xxxiv, xxxvi, xxxvii, lvi, lxiii, lxxvi, lxxxvi, lxxxvii, cxiii, cxv, cxxv, cxxvi, cxviii). His Divinity, however, seems subordinate, as does the worship which is rendered to Him (I Apol., vi; cf. lxi, 13; Teder, “Justins des Märtyrers Lehre von Jesus Christus”, Freiburg im Br., 1906, 103-19). The Father engendered Him by a free and voluntary act (Dial., lxi, c, cxxvii, cxxviii; cf. Teder, op. cit., 104), at the beginning of all His works (Dial., lxi, lxii, II Apol., vi, 3); in this last text certain authors thought they distinguished in the Word two states of being, one intimate, the other outspoken, but this distinction, though found in some other apologists, is in Justin very doubtful. Through the Word God has made everything (II Apol., vi; Dial., cxiv). The Word is diffused through all humanity (I Apol., vi; II, viii; xiii); it was He who appeared to the patriarchs (I Apol., lxii; lxiii; Dial., lvi, lix, lx etc.). Two influences are plainly discernible in the aforesaid body of doctrine. It is, of course, to Christian revelation that Justin owes his concept of the distinct personality of the Word, His Divinity and Incarnation; but philosophic speculation is responsible for his unfortunate concepts of the temporal and voluntary generation of the Word, and for the subordinationism of Justin’s theology. It must be recognized, moreover, that the latter ideas stand out more boldly in the “Apology” than in the “Dialogue.”
The Catholics acknowledge that Justin’s Godhead is “unfortunate” and not completely orthodox, Mormons and Scholarship within the School of Philosophy disagree with the whitewash of other of the Catholic assertion in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, but it is important to note that even the Catholics had to aknowledge that Martyr’s position and concept was “unfortunate” in their opinion because it was not purely orthodox….yet you would assume Justin Martyr is in heaven today…even though he held an “unfortunate” belief regarding a CORE theological issue.
You continue to just jabber on and not address the issues. Did Justin teach a god head that was only responsible for the earth? Did Justin teach a god head that was part of a polytheistic system? Did Justin teach that Jesus, this 2nd person was the son of Adam god who actually had sexual relations with Mary?
You remain silent because you have no answer.
Catholic Encyclopedia: “but philosophic speculation is responsible for his unfortunate concepts of the temporal and voluntary generation of the Word, and for the subordinationism of Justin’s theology.”
This acknowledges that Justin Martyr’s theology is not orthodox on the Trinity. I make this point because it is the crux of my Macro-Argument on here: “Salvation by perfect orthodoxy on all supposed core issues” is false.
You would not assume that Justin Martyr is in hell. You would probably not assume Origen is in hell either.
Yet you would assume that many are in hell who demonstrate similar theology of nuance and semantics based on appeals to the bible that you say are not perfect orthodoxy.
MLD, I do not think Mormon theology is perfectly “orthodox” if that’s what you are asking.
Neither was Martyr’s, neither was Origens, neither is yours.
MLD, you aren’t answering: Do you think Martyr and Origen are in heaven or hell?
Well you are wrong on that last comment – I never advocate that a person is saved by what they believe and I don’t think that has ever been an issue. So I don’t know all that Justin believed or what Origen believed and frankly I don’t care much about the fathers except it only shows that we all wrestle with the same things throughout time..
People are saved long before they “believe” much of anything. As you should know with me, because I have only expressed it many, many times – people are condemned by what they believe, but by what they deny.
I was saved long before I knew of a trinity let alone understood it and believed it.
But if i came along these 30 some years later and declare that I have now made up my mind and Jesus Christ is not God and he is not even a god – well, I put myself at risk.
So, if people are fuzzy in their beliefs but not denying them, I think they are fine.
Now, Mormons by their actual teachings outright deny, (not “I don’t understand”) but they totally deny the person and work of Jesus Christ.
“MLD, I do not think Mormon theology is perfectly “orthodox” if that’s what you are asking.”
It’s not a matter of “orthodoxy” Mormonism is a whole different religion – in the same way Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam are totally different religions. The only thing they did different was they included a character in their religion named jesus – who is not related to the Jesus of the Bible at all.
OK, if you don’t know whether or not Martyr and Origen were officially saved…and they didn’t have perfect orthodoxy on CORE essential doctrine…how can you say definitively that another who appeals to the bible and Jesus and God of the bible, even if their doctrine is not perfectly orthodox….is not saved?
You don’t know and you can’t know.
I have never ventured a guess as to whether a person is saved or not and in the end I don’t care.. However, many folks eliminate themselves by outright denial.Folks like Christopher Hitchens eliminate themselves by outward denials.
You are the one who says Jesus lied when he taught about the narrow path / gate that leads to eternal life and few there be. And you also deny his teaching about the wide path / gate that leads to destruction and that there, many be.
You say everyone is on the same path.
OK, then how can I know for sure I’m officially saved, if not believing in perfect orthodoxy?
Why is there such an emphasis on perfect orthodoxy on core issues, if that is not the Standard for Salvation?
…this is where you guys claim “mystery” b/c there is no good answer (like I’ve stated many times is the result of these discussion to wit no one has proven my assertion and prediction incorrect).
In one breath you guys claim “orthodoxy!” and in the next breath, “Umm, I don’t say it’s orthodoxy, it’s some mystery which I can’t explain”
…yet you spend your life defending an apologetic that says it explains it all and is “orthodox”
Big disconnect and contradiction and double-speak.
It is, as they say, what it is.
Don’t shoot the critical thinking messenger.
“OK, then how can I know for sure I’m officially saved, if not believing in perfect orthodoxy?”
I am glad you asked – can I consider this your official altar call? 🙂
Do like me – I know that I am saved because I believe the promises of Jesus. he told me that he died for my sins and that I will have eternal life with him.
RB, if you read this and you truely believe what I just said with all your heart (oh wait, I don’t even require with all your heart, because what the hell does that mean?) but if you believe that, then repeat after me ….:-)
RB, see I did that without appealing to mystery – i told you how in a concrete solid way.
MLD said, “Do like me – I know that I am saved because I believe the promises of Jesus. he told me that he died for my sins and that I will have eternal life with him.”
Yes, my Mormon friends say verbatim the same thing.
MLD, LOL on the altar call!
I’ve walked forward many times, raised my hand many times. Prayed the sinner’s prayer too many times to count.
I must be officially saved 🙂
Hey, what can I say – I tried to help you get saved and you rejected the offer. One day you will stand before God on your way to hell and you will ask God, “why am I going to hell – I was a good boy?” and god will say “remember on Feb 12, 2014, and MLD tried to tell you to just believe the promises of my son and you rejected his message? … that’s why.?
After all that failed evangelizing, I worked up an appetite. I’m going to Costco for a Hot Dog.
But I believe the promises, I believe God is good and loving and that “I give you a new law, love your enemy…as your father in heaven is perfect”—Jesus Christ and “God is all in all” –Apostle
I must be saved then, no?
This is a legitimate issue that others reading may ponder so I am jumping in.
There is not a religion on earth that does not recognize Jesus of Nazareth in some way. Muslims, Hindus, Jews as well as heretical pseudo-Christian groups like Mormons, JWs, Unity School, Christian Scientists It’s not like He is someone that can be ignored in the history of mankind. Even most atheists grudgingly admit that there probably was a guy named Jesus who lived 2000 years ago. Not too many folks see Him as a myth, and anyone stupid enough to make that argument (and stay firm in it after some brief discussion) is really someone to simply pray for and leave in God’s hands to break of such prideful ignorance.
That said, the gospel is simple and the gospel saves. And a saved person is someone now indwelt by God’s Spirit. Such a person when given further information about the Person of Jesus – like the virgin birth, like His role in the Triune Godhead..will Amen all of it if they have been converted. Maybe they will wrestle with it. Maybe they will have a lot of questions. God works through honest seeking. However, a converted person will NOT deny the essential truths about God. The other side is that someone who begins to say “Wait a minute, that’s crazy” and remains fixed in their unbelief and rebellion demonstrates that conversion by God’s Spirit has not taken place. For example, every practicing Mormon (at least if they have bothered to read what their group teaches)
The Bible warns about “another Jesus” – and that is what every heretic and false religion has to offer. Jesus is respected in Islam, but not the True Jesus but rather “another Jesus” of their invention. This is all the more true when speaking of Mormons and JWs and others. They can say the name “Jesus” all they want – but it is another Jesus. Just talk to them about the whole Lucifer’s brother thing and they will say “It just shows you are not educated in latter day revelation” (sound familiar??)
The problem here throughout this thread is a refusal to acknowledge the work of God in the lives of the converted. God gave us the Bible through the pen of humanity, God confirmed doctrine through the mind of humanity, God preserved both doctrine and Scripture through the efforts of humanity.
These are not points to debate for anyone in Christ. Those who are not, will debate and harden themselves in their pride and rebellion against the truth of God and thus fall further and further away from Him and His leading and voice.
I have faith that God is good and love and he promises to love his enemies as Jesus said.
Steve said, “That said, the gospel is simple and the gospel saves.”
Then Steve says, “And a saved person is someone now indwelt by God’s Spirit. Such a person when given further information about the Person of Jesus – like the virgin birth, like His role in the Triune Godhead..will Amen all of it if they have been converted”
No, that is not simple, you are requiring a belief and understanding of a confusing concept like the “trinity” that even you called Martyr’s position on the trinity as “orthodox” when in fact the consensus, even among the catholic church encyclopedia said was “unfortunate” b/c it wasn’t orthodox.
It is intellectually dishonest to claim a doctrine like the trinity is “simple”
I focus on the “trinity” b/c it is a CORE doctrine and it is in no way nearly “simple”
I do not believe a good and loving God will torture a person in hell forever b/c they don’t amen a “trinity” concept as you define it b/c it is very confusing and semantic and nuanced.
Even Steve got it wrong when he saw it as “same kind” yet “another” and called it orthodox.
If Steve held this belief, he would be in hell according to his apologetic.
Steve, you assume you are indwelled by “god’s spirit”…so why did you call “same kind” yet “another” orthodox?
Was the holy spirit taking a nap when you read and responsed to Martyr’s trinity?
BTW, Chuck Smith, your Guru, believed in “spirit bodies” and not the literal resurrection of the flesh, which isn’t orthodox on a CORE issue either.
Is Chuck in hell?
Doug did a great job documenting Chuck Smith’s words and teachings on the Resurrection, a CORE doctrine, that are not orthodox.
Yet, you would assume Chuck is in heaven, correct Steve?
RB is still fighting with his own mind on this issue. Because he places reason above revelation, he will continue to fight – even though on a spiritual realm man’s reason has been corrupted by the fall.
So when God says something, the spiritual mind accepts it. The mind filled instead with man’s reason says, I don’t see it, I don’t smell it, I don’t understand it … hence I reject it.
X, MLD, Steve, would you call this position on the Trinity “orthodox”?:
The Father was not put in subject to the Son, but the Son willingly to the Father. Now, when this purpose is accomplished then Jesus will once again take His place in the Triune Godhead. And no longer will there be that, uh, position of a little lower than the angels, but now returned in the glory and as he prayed Father, glorify me with the glory I had with thee before the world ever was. When God said “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness”. And so, uh that’s the way that things are going to progress until there is just one God, the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ruling over the universe. All things then in subjection to Him. That God may be all and in all.
Did Jesus leave his place in the Triune Godhead as the author states above? Is that the orthodox position?
You still miss the point – even if Chuck Smith is wrong with that statement, it does not mean that he is denying the trinity … it just means that he misspoke at this time.
I do not understand how the trinity works – and i don’t have to, I just accept it and will wait for furthe information.
Your position is, I don’t understand it therefore I reject it.
I find it hard to listen to a guy who claims so much learning, but can’t figure out that “Martyr” is a title referring to the death Justin suffered and not a last name. Also, that Nyssa is where Gregory was bishop and also not a last name.
If you are reading this and don’t regularly read here, just think on this
If RiBo can’t figure that out, why should you trust anything else he says.
Derek, Xenia corrected him yesterday about the name. But i think RB consulted a Mormon friend who assured him that martyr was his last name.
I saw where she corrected him….it was bothering me too.
It’s stylistic Derek. I know that, I just like using it like it’s his last name, similar to when I call Gregory of Nyssa…Nyssa for short.
Martyr, Martyr, Martyr, Nyssa! 😆
“If you are reading this and don’t regularly read here, just think on this”
Ya, think on it. Think how Derek’s only input is to come up with something this inane and not realize I am intentionally doing it in a stylistic informal manner like when I say “that dude” etc.
MLD said, “You still miss the point – even if Chuck Smith is wrong with that statement, it does not mean that he is denying the trinity … it just means that he misspoke at this time.”
Mormons don’t necessarily deny the trinity either, they just have similar views to Martyr and even Chuck Smith in a sense from Chuck’s expressed belief about the trinity above.
My apologies to those who were interested in this series on church history.
It’s obvious that it’s senseless to try to continue as they require too much work to end up as one persons unending diatribe against the faith.
My hope was to engage the community in this research, but that is not going to be possible.