In the comments section of the Tilting at Windmills? thread, Kepha wrote:
David, you ask if I realize that "all [development theories] have one or more representatives among the early Church Fathers, or if he is just unaware of this." I wonder if you realize that I don't take your personal contributions on the development of the trinity, or on the issue of development in general, as authoritative because I've not found any scholars supporting your assertions. So, it's not that I'm ignoring what you say. Honestly, I keep it in mind, but nothing more until I see scholarly authorities confirming your views. Obviously, as of right now, I don't. I am not trying to be disrespectful, I honestly am not. I'm just stating it like it is. Let me leave you with just one reason why I choose scholars over David Waltz:
David Waltz: "While reading Gregory Nazianzen’s 'Fifth Theological Oration – On The Holy Spirit', I noticed something I had previously overlooked: a theory of doctrinal development."
John Thiel: "Drey’s Brief Introduction was influenced in both organization and content by Schleiermacher’s 1811 Brief Presentation of the Study of Theology, in which one finds the first explicit theory of doctrinal development in the history of Christian theology” (Senses of Tradition, p. 61; emphasis mine).
The next morning, I responded to his musings, clearly demonstrating that I have scholarly support for my assessment of Gregory Nazianzen’s nascent theory of doctrinal development, and also for my “personal contributions on the development of the trinity”. To date, Kepha has not responded.
Now, I have brought up this issue anew for an important reason: the ‘discovery’ of yet another scholar who supports my position on the pre-Nicene Church Fathers—and perhaps most importantly it is from the very scholar that Kepha had invoked earlier—John Thiel. From Thiel’s book, Senses of Tradition, we read:
Study of pre-Nicene Christianity with regard to this most important item on the conciliar agenda shows that subordinationism not only was prevalent in the early Christian centuries but also possessed, by virtue of its prevalence, a normativeness that only gradual—first, in the third century and definitively in the fourth—came to be challenged by many as heterodox belief. One can turn for examples to the early apologist Justin Martyr, whose reliance on the Middle Platonism of his day led him to portray Christ as a "second God"; or Theophilus of Antioch, whose strongly Jewish Christianity avowed the creation of the logos by God; or Tertullian, who still spoke of the created generation of the Son from the Father even as he struggled to maintain the unity of the Father and Son and creaturely difference between the Son and the universe; or Origen of Alexandria, who maintained the uniqueness of the Father by affirming the creaturely status of all other existence, including the Son and the Spirit, albeit a creaturely existence eternally crated by the Father. In each case, christological subordinationism of one form or another seemed to be a tacit rule of faith, undoubtedly because such subordinationism preserved the transcendence of the Father and thus the crucial distinguish-ability of the Father and Son for any faith did not err on the side of modalism or Sabellianism. (Page 135 – bold emphasis mine.)
For my part, it is my sincere hope that Kepha revisits Articuli Fidei and carefully ponders Thiel’s reflections on the subordinationism of the pre-Nicene Church Fathers. Perhaps then, he will take the views of the previous patristic scholars I have cited a bit more seriously…
Grace and peace,