fredag 27. april 2012

Nr. 293: Confessed Jesus to be God the Father?

Nr. 293:

Confessed Jesus to be God the Father?

By Fred Vidar Hjortland

It was Swedish Pelle Karlsson (on Hedemarktoppen, I think in 1972) which was the first I know of here in the Nordic region as emphasized and encouraged to worship and pray to the Holy Spirit. It is with horror, dismay and sorrow that I see what this has caused among the faithful. Where one believes that the spirit frees one from following God's word. It is God's word to guide us and correct us, that God by his spirit guide us is a fact, but always in accordance with God's word. Here Christianity gone wrong, especially the Pentecostal \ Charismatic Christians!

Let us now as a first point in our reality check see if it really is true that Jesus repeatedly proclaims or explains the triune God for the people around them. If we find a host of Trinity texts in the four gospels? The answer is no. We do not find many, and not a few. We are actually no! Not one verse! None of the Gospels ever put something Trinity claims made in Jesus' mouth! Jesus never says that God is triune! Let me emphasize that I do not hang me up in the word "Trinity". What I mean when I say that Jesus never ever said that God is triune, is that he never tries - either with the word or, in other words - to describe God as a mysterious entity composed of three entities. There is no hint of any such doctrine from Jesus' mouth. God is for him always one person, and it is the Father (see eg. John 17:3). Never three! The number three has absolutely no place in Jesus' mention of God.

If anyone should doubt the veracity of these claims, it is just to begin to examine yourself!

In order that no one should believe that they have found a trinity text when they read the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), I shall briefly comment on this. In this scripture passage is three "players" mentioned. But nothing is said about their particular relations to each other! It will be such. not said that they are equal! It is not said that they are all God. And it is certainly not said that they together constitute the one true God. So how can this verse, when read as a trinity text when it is demonstrably not make any attempt to describe God as triune? Why not rather think that the word "Father" has the same content and value elsewhere in the NT, namely, the one true God? And why not rather believe that the word "Son" - so this word does otherwise - is a description of the Messiah? And why not let the word "spirit" get carry its usual meaning of the Jewish God's prophetic and active presence? (PS - we'll talk about the spirit later). If we in fact the words be allowed to carry their usual meanings of these are not Matt 28:19 a description of the baptism of a triune God, but rather a baptism to God, to his Messiah, and his prophetic and active force. I can not see anything but that this must be the most plausible way to read this verse on. The usual meaning of words is invoked, and the author Matthew - who was himself a Jew - is not given a strange trinity understanding of the Godhead, which he does not give the slightest indication of any other places in his Gospel. It is in this context also interesting to notice all the baptisms described in Acts. None of those who were baptized had no prior instruction on the necessity of believing in a Triune God. We do not hear about one paid attention baptismal candidates who sit a Trinity confession before, during or after his baptism! In fact, used the apostles did not even Matthew's three-part formula when people were baptized - all of which were only baptized in Jesus' name! This is not at all with the fact that Jesus would have given his apostles commanded to baptize people into the Triune God! It must therefore be completely misguided and unacceptable to the Great Commission a trinity content. Many theologians endorses this assessment. Here is a bunch of interesting comments: Triadic formulations (formulations where the Father, Son and Spirit are mentioned together) in the New Testament is often understood as descriptions of a developed Trinitarian doctrine, but it is to read too much into them. (The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company., 1987, p.1020) The New Testament speaks of the reality of no three-unit. We seek in vain for anything like that in the New Testament's triadic formulations. (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, oath. Gerhard Kittel, (10 vol.), Vol III, p.108) Matthew 28:19: The baptizing them of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Here are the three mentioned together, but note the expression. Will it be said that the three persons? No, it is said that they are persons in all. If it is determined that they constitute one God? No. It is said that each of them is God? We hear of no such thing. Will it be said that they all are equal? We hear not about anything like that. It is said that they all be worshiped? No. When not preaching this verse a Trinitarian doctrine. If it does not proclaim them for three people, three that are equal to each other, three each of which is God, or three to be worshiped, then do not preach this verse Trinity. (IR Butts, Testimony of Scripture against the trinity, Boston, 1827)

G.F. Moore (Judaism, New York, 1971, Vol.1, p.188) notes that it is anachronistic to understand the phrase "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" as a Trinitarian expression, and that it is completely unnecessary to suspect this term to be the result of influence from hedningekristent hold. He considers it to be a statement of the (Jewish) Christians aimed at those who were converted from the Gentiles. As regards this expression as it occurs in the Didache 7:1-3, says Moore, that it is a statement of monotheism, messianism and prophetic community. Jewish believers considered it proper and fitting that converts from paganism were to confess their faith in the one true God, the Father and His Son - the Messiah, and the inspiration, the Holy Spirit in the faith community, especially as it was in force in their prophets. At the same time it was considered adequate when it came to Jews and Samaritans (who did not need to profess monotheism), that these were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus or Jesus Christ. (Dissertation Series, ed. William Baird, No. 61, "The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit ", Jane Schaberg, Scholars Press, 1982, p.10-11) For there to be baptized in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost means to be baptized into the confession of faith in one God, the Almighty Father, faith in one Lord Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, sent by the Father to reveal His will; and belief in God's Holy Spirit, who helped to inspire the holy scriptures. (Dr. Daniel Whitby, The Last Thoughts of Dr. Whitby, London, 1841, p.54) Although there are several triadic formulas in the New Testament, there is not one word anywhere in the New Testament that speaks of a "unit" of these very different entities, a unit of the "same" divine level .... We hear about faith in God the Father, faith in Jesus Christ, "Son," and believe in God's holy spirit, but we never hear of one God in three persons (værensmåter), never about the Triune God, a trinity. (Hans Küng, Christianity - Essence, History and Future, 1996, p.95) There are triadic formulations in the New Testament, for instance. command to baptize "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19), and the blessing of the prayer "Lord Jesus Christ's grace, the love of God and the Holy Spirit, be with you all" (2 Corinthians 1:13 p.m. ). But all these have to do with how God relates to the church. None of them explain how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit being in terms relate to each other. The task to say whether such a correlation fell on a particularly influential group "heretikere" - the Gnostic Christians of the second century. (Gregory J. Riley, The River of God, 2001, p.62) It is impossible to conclude from this Scripture passage (Matthew 28:18-20) that the Holy Spirit is a person. Jesus' opinion may have been this: Those who were baptized were in connection with baptism profess that they believed in the Father and the Son and of all the teachings of the Holy Spirit had inspired and conveyed. (J. D. Michaelis, The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, London, 1827, p.325-327) Sometimes it is argued that since the Son and the Spirit are mentioned together with the Father, and since baptism is commanded conducted on an equal footing in the names of all three, we can on this basis conclude that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are mutually completely equal, and that each of them, therefore, is as much God as worthy of worship. The weakness of such a conclusion is obvious from the many parallel passage in Scripture. See, for example. 1 Timothy 5:21: "I charge you for God and Jesus Christ's face and of the elect angels that you will comply with this." The fact that angels are mentioned here with God and Christ, shows that even a very formal style of research together by God and other beings does not imply that these are essentially equal with God. In short, we can not - based on the fact that the Son and the Holy Spirit is mentioned here with the Father - join us for something else or something more than what otherwise scripture teaches us about them. (Theophilus Lindsey, "The Apology of Theophilus Lindsey, MA, on resigning the vicarage of Catterick, Yorkshire, in 1773," 4.ed., London, 1888, p.85-87) This text (Mt 28:18-20) provides in itself no conclusive evidence for either the personality of the three that are mentioned, or their equality or their divinity. (McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 1981 reprint, Volume X, p.552 - commentary two Matt.28 :18-20) This will keep about Matt.28: 19 I guess it is satisfied that this verse does not teach any trinity. Therefore, we can bluntly repeat what we stated above, namely that Jesus never ever describe God as a triune being! And this - for some perhaps quite surprising - the fact is it is certainly not the only one who holds forth. Here you can hear some other voices:

Jesus never preached any doctrine of the Trinity. (John Hick, ed., HG Wood Professor of Theology at Birmingham University, The Myth of God Incarnate, SCM Press, 1977) Trinity doctrine was apparently unknown to Jesus and Paul ... they say nothing about it. (E. Washburn Hopkins, a professor at Yale University, Origin and Evolution of Religion) We will never find any Trinitarian doctrine of Jesus 'mouth, and this doctrine has not the authority, it must have had on the Apostles' time if it came directly from Jesus himself. (Adolph Harnack, History of Dogma, (7 Volumes), Vol.1, p.79, footnote 2) Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament we encounter the word trinity. The idea was first thought of the church three hundred years after our Lord's death. (A. Weigall, The Paganism in our Christianity, GP Putnam and Sons, 1928, p.198) No responsible scientist Testament would argue that the Trinity was taught by Jesus, was proclaimed by the early Christians, or were deliberately held up by some of the New Testament writers. The fact is that this doctrine slowly and gradually developed during the first centuries in an attempt to provide an understandable learning about God. (AT Hanson (Professor of Theology at the University of Hull), The Image of the Invisible God, London, SCM Press Ltd., 1982, p.87) It (ie the Trinity) is a mystery which the Church presents for their faithful members of his theology .... but this doctrine has no connection with the message of Jesus and his apostles. (Emil Brunner, (former professor of systematic and practical theology at the University of Zurich), Christian Doctrine of God, Dogmatics: Vol 1, The Westminster Press, 1949, p.226) Jesus himself knew only God of Israel, whom he called Father. .... Trinity doctrine ... has no biblical foundation at all. (Prof. Karl-Heinz Ohlig, One or Three? (Saarbrucken Theologische Forschungen), English Publisher: Peter Lang, 2003, p.129-130) How is it that whenever there arose an opportunity to discuss the identity of the one true God, speaking writers and actors in Scripture always about him as "Father", and never as "the triune God"? Time and again you will notice that when opportunities to introduce or defend the trinity idea was so used of God's faithful servants - Jesus himself included - these opportunities to say a single word to this doctrine defense. (Patrick Navas, Divine Truth or Human Tradition?, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, Bloomington, Indiana: Author House, 2007, p.152) If the Trinity is a New Testament teachings, one should expect to find at least one verse which states that the one God is "Father, Son and Holy Spirit." But any such verses are not found in any of the Bible pages. (Sir Anthony F. Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound, Oxford: International Scholars Publications, 1998, p.332) Both Jesus and the apostles have a vision of who and what God is like involves an affirmation of the Old Testament monotheism. (William Wachtel, Christian monotheism: Reality or Illusion? Vol 1, Issue 1, 1992) It is clear from Jesus' own teaching that he believed that God certainly was still in heaven! (Alister E. McGrath, Understanding the Trinity, Zondervan, 1988, p.122)

What, above all, brings the church in embarrassment, the difficulties it has to prove any of these doctrinal statements from the New Testament writings. One simply can not find the Trinity set out anywhere in the Bible. Paul has the most exalted view of Jesus' person and role, but nowhere does he call him God. Nor did Jesus himself ever said straight out that he is the second person of the Trinity, fully equal to his heavenly father. As a devout Jew he would have been shocked and felt hurt by such a thought. (Tom Harpur (Anglican Priest), For Christ's Sake, Beacon Press, 1987, p.11) The second theme of Jesus' preaching was all about the fundamental validity of the doctrine was laid down in Scripture and tradition. Jesus repeated the Shema (5.Mos.6: 4, cited in Mark.12: 29) and recognized the law of the Old Testament as the source of knowledge about God's will concerning human behavior. ... The third theme of Jesus' preaching was a special emphasis of God as Father (a pure unitarian emphasis). His preaching confirmed the traditional Israelite view of God .... Yahweh was still the only deity and that it had chosen Israel. (Joseph Fitzmyer, A Christological Catechism, Paulist Press, 1991, p.47)

The Old Testament is strictly monotheistic. God is a simple, personal nature. The idea that one could find some trinity there, or even images or shadows of a trinity, an assumption that has long prevailed in theology, but such an assumption has been completely unjustified and unfounded. The Jews were a people who - because of the preaching the ever suffered - has evolved to be strong opponents of all polytheistic tendencies, and they have remained invariable monotheists to this day. At this point there is no break between the Old Testament and New. The monotheistic tradition continues. Jesus had been trained by Jewish parents in the Old Testament Scriptures. His teaching was Jewish right to the marrow. He came with a new gospel, but not with any new theology. He said he had come "to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill them." He accepted that his own faith in the important text of Jewish monotheism: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one God!" What he claimed about himself, was always in line with the Old Testament prophecies. He was the Messiah who would rule over the coming kingdom of promise, the Son of man, which the Jews hoped for. .... When he is sometimes asked, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?", So he was never an answer that suggested more than messianitet. (LL Paine, (one time professor of ecclesiastical history that the Bangor Theological Seminary), A Critical History of the Evolution of Trinitarianism, 1900, p.4-5) It is ordinary enighed about, that there in some New Testament finder learn about treenigheden and exegetical questions oneness, therefore, if there finder New Testament evidence for this formulation af the Christian gudsbegreb. (Gad Danish Bible Dictionary, 2nd Edition, Copenhagen 1982, article Treenihed) Many teachings are accepted by evangelical Christians who clearly biblical, but there is no proof texts. Trinity doctrine is the best example of this. We provide only justice to the biblical witness, if we say that the Bible has no clear doctrine of a trinity. In reality, there is not a single proof text for this doctrine, if one believes in proof text a verse or a paragraph that "clearly" states that there is one God existing in three persons. (Prof. Charles C. Ryrie (Respected Trinitarian Evangelical Biblical scholar), Basic Theology, p.89) Trinity doctrine is not found in the Bible, it is a result of the church work. (Karl Barth, Grundlinien Dec Glauber, p.244fn) Some say .... that Jesus should have given us a new image of God. This view is as wrong as it gets. Jesus Christ is the father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ... (Bishop Erling Utnem, Sure to be a new earth, Luther Publishing, 1987, s.170)

Neither the word Trinity or the doctrine as such occurs in the New Testament. Jesus and his followers did not intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one God" (5.Mos.6: 4). (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 2003, vol. XI, p.928) Our initial observation at the beginning of this chapter that Jesus never preached a triune God, the words - as we have seen above - solid theological support! That many Orthodox theologians admit this, to say the least is said to be interesting! Otherwise, is not the case more difficult than anyone can browse through the four Gospels and for himself a few noted that they do not contain a single statement from Trinity Jesus's mouth!

But the situation is the case, then Jesus can not possibly have been an Earl!

In his high priest prayer, he said it was vital for people to get to know the true God to share in eternal life (Joh.17: 3). But if God is a Trinity and Jesus knew this, how could he have failed to tell the people this great truth? He chose to hide the essential knowledge and just keep it for themselves? He did not care that the people around him were lost because they were not aware of the true God? If he did, then, he was neither good nor true! But it was not Jesus! More obvious and it is to assume that Jesus preached a triune God simply because he did not know any triune God!

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