Sunday, December 9, 2018

Dale Tuggy vs. Beau Branson: "Dueling Definitions"

It had literally been a number of months since I last checked in on Dr. Dale Tuggy's website, Trinities - Theories About the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This last weekend—almost as an afterthought—while engaged in some online research for an upcoming post on the issue of polytheism and the Church Fathers, I clicked on the Trinities link in the right side-bar of AF. The first displayed item was 'Podcast 245 - Response to Branson Part 3 - Dueling Definitions'. This immediately caught my interest given the past conversations I have had with Dr. Branson. Turns out that Podcast 245 was actually the seventh in series focusing on Dr. Branson. The following are the links to all seven podcasts:

The first four podcasts are edited versions of Dr. Branson's presentation/PowerPoint series, "Monarchy of the Father". Links to the original series HERE.

In part 1 of Dr. Branson's presentation, he contrasts his definitions of trinitarianism and unitarianism with those of Dr. Tuggy. Note the following:


(TB) A Trinitarian Theology says that:

● (1) There are exactly three divine "persons" or individuals. Nevertheless,

● There is exactly one God.

● (So, the persons can't all = the One God).

● (Presumably each one bears some important relation to the one God or has a "claim" to being called "God," but our definition won't settle how that works.)

(UB) A Unitarian Theology says that:

● (1) There is eactly one divine "person" or individual, and

● (2) There is exactly one God.

● (Presumably these will just be identical, or at least, "numerically one," but again we won't rule on that point in our definition.


(TT) "A trinitarian christian theology says that

● (1) there is one God,

● (2) which or who in some sense contains or consists of three "persons," namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

● (3) who are equally divine, and

● (4) (1)-(3) are eternally the case."

(UT) "A unitarian Christian theology asserts that

● (1) there is one God,

● (2) who is numerically identical to the one Jesus called "Father,"

● (3) and is not numerically identical to anyone else

● (4) and (1)-(3) are eternally the case."

Running the risk of over-simplification, it seems to me that the foundational divergence between Dr. Branson and Dr. Tuggy concerns how broad and/or narrow one is to define both trinitarianism and unitarianism. Branson believes that Tuggy's definition of trinitarianism is too narrow, and that his definition of unitarianism is too broad. Tuggy's assessment is just the opposite—he believes that Branson's definition of trinitarianism is too broad, whilst his definition of unitarianism is too narrow.

It subsequent posts, I hope to offer some of my own musings concerning our topic at hand (the Lord willing). For now, I am going to 'stick my neck out' by stating that I believe history offers more support for Branson's views than Tuggy's.

Grace and peace,


UPDATE: On 12-10-18, Dr. Tuggy, posted another podcast in his series on Dr. Branson. This eighth installment—podcast 246—can be accessed via THIS LINK


The Potato Philosopher said...

Not related, but since I didn't feel like signing into my other gmail account, where I have your email address, I'll tell you this way:

Here is my newest blog:

Ken Temple said...

Michael Brown debated Dale Tuggy last night

David Waltz said...

Hi Sean,

Thanks much for the link to your new blog. I will be checking in on a regularly basis.

Grace and peace,


David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the heads-up. Were you able to attend the debate? Also, is the debate available online?

I have the first four volumes of Brown's five volume set, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus; but apart from those volumes, have not read anything else by him.

Do you have any recommendations?

Grace and peace,


Ken Temple said...

The Debate is here:

I have Michael Browns 5 volume set of "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus"

He has written other books on Homosexuality, prayer, Spiritual Gifts (He is Charismatic) issues; and contributed to a book on Isaiah 53

He also wrote a commentary on Jeremiah. (in the new revised Expositor's commentary set)

He defends the Deity of Christ and Trinity against Unitarians, etc.