Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dr. Dale Tuggy vs. Steve Hays

It seems that my self-imposed, two month hiatus from the internet (apart from emails and sports) has come to an end—I am replacing my 'cloistered', 8-10 hours of intense off-line reading/study, with my more customary 4 hours.

My entry back into cyberspace began with a look at the Beggars All blog (see the previous thread here at AF). Yesterday, I peeked in on the Triablogue blog, and immediately noticed a large number of threads (authored by Steve Hays), dedicated to a specific individual named Dale Tuggy. The name sounded familiar, but for awhile, I could not pinpoint where I had come across the name (I later realized that back in January 2011, I had read Dale's essay, "The Trinitarian Dilemma", published in The Trinity - East/West Dialogue, 2003—I had purchased the book in January 2011 for Dr. Alfeyev's essay, "The Trinitarian Teaching of St. Gregory of Nazianzen").

It seems that Steve has developed an obsession, he has devoted no less than 23 threads (between June 10 - July 7), to Dr. Tuggy; here are the threads in chronological order:

Dr. Tuggy has produced the following related threads at his blog:

Seems that a lot has transpired on this topic (i.e. the doctrine/nature of the Christian God) during my hiatus...

I would now like to go back to Steve's first thread (, and provide a few of my own reflections. Steve wrote:

Dale Tuggy wrote the entry on the Trinity for the Stanford encylopedia. That's unfortunately inasmuch as Tuggy is an anti-Trinitarian.

In the combox, Dr. Tuggy denies the charge that he is "an anti-Trinitarian" (LINK), clarifying why he believes the charge to be false:

First, I wouldn't call myself an anti-trinitarian. I'm not from any such denomination or group, and I think believers ought to believe what seems true to them, and that they have the right to speculate. Thus, I would not break fellowship with someone, or accuse them of misc. bad stuff because they accept some Trinity theory or other. I am certainly a non-trinitarian, i.e. a small-u unitarian. I've been dragged there by the texts, and by the desperate problem faced by every Trinity theory out there.

I think one can see that Steve's charge is false—one can be a non-Trinitarian, without being an anti-Trinitarian—but no apology and/or acknowledgment is offered by Steve.

[FYI: Dr. Tuggy's entry on the Trinity in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy can be accessed online HERE.]

Steve then proceeds to throw a number of other baseless assertions at Dr. Tuggy throughout his opening post, and Dr. Tuggy responds to those charges in the combox. One of those assertions in particular stood out to me:

ii) There's no reason to equate Yahweh with God the Father. That's highly anachronistic.

Wow, I mean WOW; IMO, Steve needs to read the Bible a bit more. Note the following:

Ye do the works of your father. They said unto him, We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me. (John 8:41, 42 - ASV)

For those Jews contesting with Jesus in the above passage, who were they referring to as "one Father, even God"? Clearly, they were referring to Yahweh/Jehovah.

The concept of Yahweh/Jehovah as Father (i.e. the Fatherhood of God) to His chosen people was clearly taught in the OT (e.g. Is. 63:16; 64:8; Hos. 1:10)—equating God the Father with Yahweh is certainly not "anachronistic".

[For some extended reflections from my pen on this issue, see the following thread:]

I would like to wrap up this opening post by pointing out that Steve's thread title, Arianism redux, is seriously flawed, for neither Dr. Tuggy nor Dr. Samuel Clarke (the two individuals he specifically castigates therein) are Arian; but then, those familiar with Steve's polemic are cognizant that he does not let facts get in the way of his caustic and skewed polemics.

Grace and peace,



C. Andiron said...

"For those Jews contesting with Jesus in the above passage, who were they referring to as "one Father, even God"? Clearly, they were referring to Yahweh/Jehovah."

You've made a rather elementary blunder here...

You've confused what characters in the Bible say on a matter, with what the Bible itself says on that matter. It's like saying that because Lot committed incest, therefore the Bible condones incest.

You strike me as one who starts out with the desire to prove Hays wrong, and then goes off in search of an excuse, whether or not it is valid.

Why behave this way? Tuggy clearly was adding things to the text that were not there in order to shore up his theories. He ought to be taken to task for this. Christology is not adiaphora, and Christological heresy is a serious matter.

David Waltz said...

Hello C. Andiron,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>>You strike me as one who starts out with the desire to prove Hays wrong, and then goes off in search of an excuse, whether or not it is valid.>>

Me: My desire to correct error(s), whether from the pen of Steve, or anyone else.

Steve, in his June 1oth, 2011 thread, wrote:

>>We have to begin with concepts, not words. We then find suitable words to label the concepts.

ii) There's no reason to equate Yahweh with God the Father. That's highly anachronistic.

In most OT usage, Yahweh (as well as Elohim) is simply the name of the divine character in the story, just as the human characters (or angelic characters) are also given names. You can't write a narrative without naming some of the characters–especially major and/or recurring characters. The divine character has to be called something.>>

But then, in his July 7, 2011 thread, he penned:

>>i) The question at issue is not whether God the Father is Yahweh. The question, rather, is whether that identification is exclusive to God the Father.>>

Back in June, “There's no reason to equate Yahweh with God the Father”, but a month later God the Father is Yahweh, just not exclusively. I doubt that I am the only one who discerns inconsistency here.

But let’s now backup a bit and “begin with concepts, not words”. Steve begins with one of the concepts of the Trinity (I don’t know if it is the Latin/Augustinian form; John Calvin’s form; the Greek/Eastern Orthodox form; the original Nicene form, etc.), a doctrine which in its first form was not articulated until the 4th century; I prefer to begin with the Biblical concept that there “is but one God, the Father”, and I extensively development this concept in the following threads:

Back to the Bible

The Messiah: King, Prophet, Priest, Lord and God

The Trinity: a ‘clear’ Biblical teaching, or a post-Biblical development?

Is “the one God” of the Bible the Trinity, or God the Father?

“The Monarchy”: God the Father of the Essence/Godhead?

Sincerely hope I have been of some assistance in this matter.

Grace and peace,


thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of Allah,

Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

Nice to see you back in form David!!!

David Waltz said...

Hi GV19,

It is nice to see you checking in here; sincerely hope that all is well with you and yours.

As for my 'return', it is 'bitter-sweet'...I like keeping abreast with the cyberspace apologetics scene, but sometimes wonder if my efforts are worth the time it takes away from my other interests...

Grace and peace,