Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Apostasy That Wasn't - an interesting, multi-dimensional book by Rod Bennett



The Apostasy That Wasn't was published back in 2015, and though I own, and have read Bennett's earlier work, Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words (link), I did not become aware of The Apostasy That Wasn't until November 2018, whilst I was engaged in research for my Unity and the Christian Church series.

The Apostasy That Wasn't is fairly unique in that it is a multi-dimensional contribution. In one sense, it is in part a more traditional historical work; in another, it is a historical narrative with some speculative material; and lastly, it has apologetic elements. The historical aspect of the book primarily covers a period of history from Diocletian's persecution (303 A.D.) through first Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (381 A. D.), though it also touches on certain events in the third century prior to Diocletian's persecution. The more traditional historical part takes it's form in extensive quotations from the extant works of ancient Christian historians. The historical narrative comes via the use of a number of historical persons in the period being covered. As for the apologetic dimension of the book, it is a defense of the historic Catholic Church against the claims advanced by a number of sects that this historic Catholic Church became apostate. In the introduction (pages 13-27), some of the sects he mentions include: Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventists, The Church of God of Prophecy, and Bennett's former "Baptist church".

The balance between the three aforementioned dimensions is quite good—keeping in mind that the book is not an in depth historical treatment—with the flow of the book making it very readable. (But with that said, I found the interaction between the footnotes and endnotes to be a bit cumbersome at times.) Bennett's narrative format 'brings to life' a number of key historical figures—e.g. Anthony of the Desert, Athanasius, emperors Constantine and Julian (the Apostate), Basil the Great—prompting one to engage in more extensive research via the extant, ancient sources provided in the footnotes and endnotes.

I suspect a number of AF's readers would benefit from reading this engaging contribution. For those folk who have some interest in the topic, but do not wish to obtain book, I recommend the following YouTube video:





Grace and peace,

David


113 comments:

TOm said...

This NEVER happens.
I read this book before you did.
I read it back in Dec 2015.
I do not remember thinking it was particularly scholarly. It was very much a popular treatment with a lot of speculative narrative thrown in. Athanasius growing up with St. Anthony and their rural existence. Arius the brilliant less faith-filled logician.
Athanasius is very much a hero.
I do have the correct book in mind, right?
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks much for taking the time to comment. You wrote:

==I do have the correct book in mind, right?==

Yes.

==I read it back in Dec 2015.
I do not remember thinking it was particularly scholarly. It was very much a popular treatment with a lot of speculative narrative thrown in.==

It is definitely a 'popular treatment', though a well written one (IMO). The speculative narratives are his interpretations based on the historical writings found in Athanasius' corpus, the histories of the early Catholic historians—e.g. Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret—and the Arian history by Philostorgius. (He also utilizes some of the interpretations included in John Henry Newman's, The History of the Arians.)

==Athanasius growing up with St. Anthony and their rural existence. Arius the brilliant less faith-filled logician.
Athanasius is very much a hero.==

All the above are plausible interpretations of the extant historical sources, and Bennett is certainly not the first to propose them.

Now, with that said, I generally do not read many historical narratives. If memory serves me correctly, Bennett's book is only the fourth one—Lund's multi-volume series, The Work and the Glory, Saints - The Standard of Truth, and JW book, Jehovah's Witnesses In the Divine Purpose being the other three.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Rod was a great friend and one of the smartest persons I have ever known. We had a lot of good times. I have great memories of our discussions of the Bible, science fiction (Star Wars & Star Trek & other books and movies), C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, the Beatles, good movies with a moral message, etc.

He was one of my groomsmen at my wedding in 1988.

We went to the same Baptist church - First Baptist Church of Atlanta. (Charles Stanley was our pastor back then).

He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1996 and then we debated for about 8 years. (emails, phone calls, long lunch meetings, a few heated debates and discussions) In 2004 he told me he will not debate me anymore, go to websites like Dave Armstrong ("he likes to debate), etc.

That is what led me to Dave Armstrong's website and debating Roman Catholic and church history issues.

Rod moved back to Tennessee around 2009 or 2010 (?). Since then, I lost touch.

I wrote some articles on his first book and some of his You Tube lectures at "apologetics and agape" and also earlier at "Beggar's All"

Ken Temple said...

Rod got his Roman Emperors mixed up and I think, accidentally said "Vespasian" instead of Aurelian as the Emperor who made the religion of Sol Invictus official in 274 AD.

On 25 December AD 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults.[2] Scholars disagree about whether the new deity was a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol,[3] a revival of the cult of Elagabalus,[4] or completely new.[5]

Ken Temple said...

My comments on one of Rod's lectures up on You Tube.
A lot of my comments relate to his general idea that later became his book, "The Apostasy that Wasn't".
He mentions the "Fields of the Woods" and the great apostasy theory. I think his book (The Apostasy that Wasn't) grew out of that lecture idea.

Overall, I don't think it is right to equate or try to associate the Great Apostasy theories of the Mormons, JWs, Tomlinson and Pentecostals, the Seventh Day Adventists, etc. with the more nuanced understanding of church history of informed Protestants.

https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/rod-bennetts-lecture-the-four-witnesses-brought-me-home/

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

So good to see you back. Thank you so much for sharing some of your personal history with Rod. I knew from one of our phone conservations that his was a good friend and former fellow Baptist, but not the details you related in today's post—very interesting !!!

(FYI, Charles Stanley's radio program (In Touch ?)—along with John MacArthur's and D. James Kennedy's—was one of my favorites in the 80s and 90s.)

== Overall, I don't think it is right to equate or try to associate the Great Apostasy theories of the Mormons, JWs, Tomlinson and Pentecostals, the Seventh Day Adventists, etc. with the more nuanced understanding of church history of informed Protestants.==

Certainly not with the Mormon theory, though the JW theory shares a lot of common elements with "the" Baptist theory (non-Landmark, of course).


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...

Hello Ken and David,
I thought I would add in some thoughts here.

It is clear to me that the Bible does not lead one to the theology present in modern Christianity.

David’s thread on homoousian vs. monoousian vs. … should make that clear enough.

And yet, for some reason Protestants and Catholics accept that God the Father and God the Son are monoousian (or rather homoousian in the numeric sense). Why?

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ prayed for His followers to become one as He and His Father were one. Does this mean they are to become homoousian in the numeric sense (I don’t think ANYONE believes this)? Does this mean they are to become homoousian in the generic sense (they already are so I don’t think anyone can assert this)? Is there any Biblical passage that has MORE information on HOW God the Father and God the Son are ONE than in John 17?

So my question for Ken is if you believe that God the Father and God the Son are homoousian as the creeds state, why? If this is the “mark” that designates me, a LDS, as non-Christian why? I remember a long time ago before Chris Smith walked out of Christianity into I think agnosticism his somewhat consistent “liberal Christianity.” The Bible was not inerant, theological definitions were not certain, and …. Of course I don’t think this ultimately lead to a great place.

I commented briefly on Rod Bennett’s book and have thought about it for a while since then. I now remember that it starts on some hill in North Carolina where some guy proposed that he was going to restore Christianity undefiled by Catholic Councils or something like this. My recollection is that he did feel called to do this by God, but his course was very similar to that of the Protestant reformers, the Anglican divines, and other non-Catholic scholars. He would use his Bible and the Holy Spirit and maybe some research. I do not think this bears much similarity to the LDS restoration.

I am a LDS for many reasons. I see many valid apostasy concepts in ancient Christian history, but as I have told Rory a number of times, I would not be “Restorationist in waiting” if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suddenly disappeared. I increasingly believe that Newman’s development theory cannot carry the weight it is asked to carry, but it seems to me that one MUST embrace some authority to get to any modern Christian structure. I don’t believe in Baptist remnant theories and I don’t see authority in those anyway. If the greater than four centuries (maybe greater than five centuries) it took to get to an understanding of homoousian that is orthodox represents progress to truth; I do not think you can argue this is some sola scriptura guided endeavor. It is a Bishop guided evolution and if it is truth it is also somehow guided by the Holy Spirit. But while these Bishops defined their path to become Metropolitans, Patriarchs, and Popes; they also defined the theology embraced by most Christians. What possible reason is there to believe that the Holy Spirit perfectly guided the Christian theology and was totally uninvolved in the development of an ecclesiastic structure.

So Ken, do you believe that Jesus Christ is homoousian in the numeric sense with God the Father? Am I not a Christian because I do not believe this? What possible basis do you have for this assertion?

cont...

TOm said...

David, in addition to his North Carolina genesis (in Bennett’s book) which I think short changes educated LDS concepts of the great apostasy, I have thought of another problem with Bennett’s book. His point is the Constantine did not CHANGE Christianity. But he is MOSTLY wrong. Constantine called the Council of Nicea. Constantine made it clear that there would be a conclusion and enforced this conclusion with state power. The simple faith of Antony and Athanasius is not PRESERVED through Nicea and Chalcedon and ..., but DEVELOPED radically by an authority that may or may not come from God. Constantine is not a theological innovator, but his concept of holding a Council to determine what truth is and then moving forward from there with the power of the state is in many ways the genesis of God’s words to Joseph Smith, “their creeds are an abomination.” This abomination is not because Christ is declared the Son of God or declared born of a virgin or even declared homoousian, IMO. This abomination is setting “up stakes, and say hitherto shalt thou come, and no further.” And the separation of those who believe wrongly.

I have shared this before and I find this to be a simple apostasy paradigm that most LDS nod in understanding. God leads His church through men who receive pubic revelation. He did this in the Old Testament, but there were ends of dispensations. He did this in the New Testament, but there were ends of dispensations. He in the last dispensation again leads His church through men who receive revelation.

This is the last dispensation not because of the quality of the men who lead (and perhaps not because the immediacy of the second coming), but primarily because of the ideas and attitudes of those who CHOOSE to be lead.

Anyway, I hope to read more on your homoousian vs. monoousian thread, but thought I would offer some comments here. I suspect they are worth the cost paid to me for them. I offer a money back guarantee.
Charity, TOm

TOm said...

BTW, I should note that the denial of public revelation within the Catholic Church is more complex than the above few sentences illustrate.
Charity, TOm

TOm said...

Hello again Ken,
I was intrigued by your friendship with Bennett and wondered if you visited North Carolina and Tennessee with him so I followed your link. I guess the answer is no that was not you, but I found a few comments that seemed important to me.

Ken:
Fortunately, I had gone off to seminary a few years earlier than Rod’s New Vision Bible study, and studied church history some, so I was not so shocked at the apostolic fathers as Rod was when he first encountered them.

TOm:
I could not help but think, fortunately I picked up Todd Compton’s book on perhaps my first foray into an LDS bookstore.
It would seem that you find Rod’s anti-Protestant polemics are simplistic from your point of view. His conclusion that the Catholic Church is God’s church stems from poor formation. I have two thoughts on this.
First, it is clear from our previous interactions that you judge the faith you reject, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with simplistic uninformed arguments. Perhaps if you can see flaws in Rod’s assessment of your faith you might be inclined to recognize that perhaps you have partaken of flaws in your assessment of my faith.
Second, I hope to avoid flaws in assessing faiths I reject. I have never considered myself as good at this as our host David is, but I try. I commented in my previous comments to you about what flaws I see in Protestantism. I am not sure if the self-conception of Catholicism supports what I consider to be radical development from pre-Nicea to modern day, but without strong authority I cannot even get past the 2nd century. It is the rejection of this authority that I find untenable within Protestant circles.

Ken:
Whatever “went bust” means, it means different things to a Presbyterian and a knowledgeable Baptist than to a Mormon, JW, or Seventh Day Adventist.

TOm:
A similar comment here. LDS do not have any authoritative statements concerning what “went bust” means. It is clear that authority needed to be restored in 1830, but if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a proper understanding of authority, there was no single loss of authority event. As I mentioned before, I consider the declaration that public revelation ended to be a problem that needed to be restored. I have pointed to God’s world authority not passing from Peter to Linus, Cletus, or Clement. I also think pointing to difficulties within Catholic self-conception to be fruitful. But, none of this is as important as the fact that I cannot explain the coming forth of the Book of Mormon without an appeal to the supernatural. The rest is just theorizing.
More directly to you however, do you not see your “Mormon” “went bust” ideas are just as simplistic as you claim Rod’s Protestant “went bust” ideas?

Ken:
Historical Protestants greatly appreciate the homo-ousias (same substance) principle of the Nicean Creed and Nicean Council of 325 AD, as accurately reflecting what the New Testament teaches about the nature of Jesus Christ with the Father, and the 3 persons / hypostasis of the Cappodician fathers and the Council of Constantinople of 381 AD.

TOm:
If you “greatly appreciate” this, you might look at just how LATE it was in its genesis and ultimate triumph. David intends to argue that St. Athanasius does not believe what modern scholars believe concerning homoousias (or so I think he will argue that). You should participate in these discussion and explain to me how sola scriptura gets us to this place. Also what happens to the soul of Athanasius, the Fathers at Chalcedon, and the bulk of heretical folks before Christianity got this right?

Finally, I think I see your answer to some of my questions in my previous post. I just do not think it works. The Bible does not teach monoousia and yet you embrace it. The Bible can be said to teach episcopal succession, and yet you reject it. How can you know what to accept and reject? What STRETCH of the Biblical words is exegesis and what is eisegesis? I don’t think there is a Protestant way to know.

Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

Wow, you were certainly quite busy yesterday. Thanks much for your continuing participation. You wrote:

==It is clear to me that the Bible does not lead one to the theology present in modern Christianity.==

I would argue that there are dozens of theologies "present in modern Christianity."

==...for some reason Protestants and Catholics accept that God the Father and God the Son are monoousian (or rather homoousian in the numeric sense).==

I think this is true of many Prots and Catholics, but certainly not all. The fairly recent dialogue of a number of Protestant and Catholic theologians with Eastern Orthodox writers has given them cause for reflection and change.

== David, in addition to his North Carolina genesis (in Bennett’s book) which I think short changes educated LDS concepts of the great apostasy, I have thought of another problem with Bennett’s book. His point is the Constantine did not CHANGE Christianity. But he is MOSTLY wrong. Constantine called the Council of Nicea. Constantine made it clear that there would be a conclusion and enforced this conclusion with state power.==

I would like to add a couple of important points: first, there were at least 20 regional councils held before the Nicene Council of 325 (not counting the council in Acts 15 ); as such, the convening of councils was not novel introduction by Constantine. Second, one should not diminish the impact of the legalization of Christianity by Constantine, and adoption of it as his religion. With this in mind, I would argue that Constantine did not "CHANGE Christianity" doctrinally speaking, but his actions certainly changed the relationship between Church and State.

You go on to correctly point out that, "Constantine is not a theological innovator", adding:

==but his concept of holding a Council to determine what truth is and then moving forward from there with the power of the state is in many ways the genesis of God’s words to Joseph Smith, “their creeds are an abomination.”==

Creeds existed before the one formulated at the Nicene Council. If two or more belief systems are claiming to be faithful representations of apostolic teaching, what is wrong with making sure that those who are be baptized (and those already baptized) are being taught the correct view? Does not the making of creeds fall under the command to bishops to teach the faithful?

Anyway, just a few musings from the beachbum...

I sincerely hope that Ken returns, and shares some of his thoughts on your posts.


Grace and peace.

David

Rory said...

Tom
but his [Constantine's] concept of holding a Council to determine what truth is and then moving forward from there with the power of the state is in many ways the genesis of God’s words to Joseph Smith, “their creeds are an abomination.”

Rory
Yeah, Constantine was almost as bad at not following the revealed truths of the American Revolution as King David or Hezekiah.

Rory said...

I was in a hurry and made a critical punctuation error on the deleted post.

David
I would argue that Constantine did not "CHANGE Christianity" doctrinally speaking, but his actions certainly changed the relationship between Church and State.

Rory
Historically, the Church has always been experiencing changes. But you are correct, the Church cannot be doing flip-flops depending on her political situation.

What did the Apostles teach about relations between church and state that should have prompted the bishops to object when the Emperor freely accepts the faith and uses the resources of the Empire to build churches? It was discovered during the reign of Constantine that a Temple dedicated to Venus was on the site of the very Sepulchre of the Lord Himself. Presumably, the bishops should have been very concerned when, with disrespect for Venus, and outright preference for Jesus, the Empire demolishes that temple and builds the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?

Maybe modern day Christians with their so-called "religious liberty" should think about this when they plan their trips to the Holy Land. Unholy Land is more like it for Christian lovers of the neutrality of the State in matters of religion. After all, those nasty ancient Christians, disregarding all respect for human dignity and freedom of worship, conspired to virtually assure the destruction of the cult of Venus in Jerusalem. It would have been more according to divine revelation for the bishops to have explained to Constantine that the Apostles clearly taught respect for all religions, and insist that to be Christian, Constantine should leave the Temple of Venus as it was found. Right? That is what you would say to Constantine if you think it is wrong for the State to favor any particular religion.

Where in Scripture or Tradition do we learn that the State is supposed to withhold support for any particular religion? The Old Testament teaches the opposite. What about the New Testament? The Temple that existed in the days of Christ was called Herod's Temple, because of extensive renovations made by one of the kings in the 1st Century BC. Was that wrong of the Jews to accept the patronage of a non-Jewish king? What in revelation should have made the bishops at the time of Constantine know that it was wrong to accept the patronage of a Christian king when it was okay for the Jews to accept the patronage of a pagan king? Further, Jesus called Herod's Temple, "My Father's house".

Rory

Rory said...

It seems to be conceded, that "Former-day Revelation", allows Constantine to suppress the worship of Venus, in preference to his own Christian beliefs. Neither he nor the bishops had access, but does Latter-day Revelation explain what was wrong with the decisions of the Emperor in this matter?

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

I suspect that your last couple of posts are primarily directed towards Tom; yet with that said, they have given me much ponder over. As you well know, I spent a number of years examining the theonomy movement propagated by Rushooney, North, Bahnsen, DeMar, Jordan, and others—a movement that maintains that Christians need promote and enforce all the Mosaic laws that were not explicitly abrogated in the New Testament. Even to this day, I have yet to read a definitive critique of Dr. Bahnsen's Theonomy In Christian Ethics. Theonomists certainly believe that "Former-day Revelation" remains valid in our day, and it sure seems to me that until the 20th century, most faithful Catholics did so too.

With the above in mind, how could I ever entertain the notion that Constantine was at fault attempting to remove false worship from his realm?

Thanks much for your reflections; back to the French Open and Socci's book...


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Pope St. Pius IX issued the Encyclical Quanta Cura on Dec. 8, 1864. It was about the subject of "Current Errors" and earned him the disfavor of all progressive, modern, evolving thinkers in the 19th Century. An addendum to the Encyclical is better known as "The Syllabus of Errors". in it, there are eighty propositions that are declared false and incompatible with the Catholic faith. One of the Cardinals of Vatican II is reported to have complacently referred once to Vatican II, as the "Anti-Syllabus". In other words, Vatican II accepts what the Syllabus condemns. The Cardinal and I would be in perfect agreement about the incompatibility of the two proclamations of official Catholic teaching.

Dave, there is one camp in the Church that doesn't agree with liberals and Traditionalists about the incompatibility of the two documents. That would be the conservative Catholics who are disturbed by Pope Francis, but in no way would advocate a reevaluation of the Second Vatican Council. This would be those who ignore the negative sides of the pontificates of Pope John Paul II, as well as Pope Benedict XVI. This might help explain why Traditionalists did not get on board with the recent condemnations of Pope Francis. Those signatories have watered down aspirations for the Church that leave us married to the modernist tendencies which are reflected in the Second Vatican Council, the post-conciliar pontificates, and every episcopal conference in the world.

Time allowing, I would like to show how two of the errors condemned by Pius IX, are mirrored in the foundations for the precepts of the Council document on the subject of religious liberty, Dignitatis Humanae. I think it shows that Traditionalists and Modernists are correct about the incompatibility of Vatican II with the Syllabus, (and with Constantine's suppressing of the cult of Venus). Its not merely that Religious Liberty cannot be strained out of divine revelation, but that it is impossible to defend apologetically as a Catholic. How does a Catholic deal with the fact that 18th Century Freemasons, Deists, and Protestants taught truths that are supposedly in the Catholic Bible before the Catholic Church figured it out in 1965?

I believe this is partly why Tom, an astute outside observer, is beginning to perceive that the middle ground between Tradition and Modernism cannot survive in the Catholic Church.

Rory

PS: For purpose of discussion I have used the words "Tradition" and "Traditionalist" to describe those Catholics who believe the Second Vatican Council should be reevaluated, in light of the condemnations of modernism by the pre-conciliar popes. The words "Modernism" and "Modernist" are reflective of a mindset that is not concerned about apologetics or historical continuity. They don't care much for pre-conciliar Catholicism. They are progressives theologically and believe the Church should change with the times.

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Before I get to your post, I wanted to point out that I left the 'd' out of Rushdoony's name and added an 'e', in my previous comment.

Now to your post. I am going to place myself into the shoes of the "conservative Catholic" who attempts to maintain "the middle ground between Tradition and Modernism". In that role, I would argue that an Ecumenical Council trumps an Encyclical. With that said, do you believe that there exists explicit contradictions between the dogmatic and moral teachings contained within the Vatican II documents and the previous Ecumenical Councils?

Also, are you aware of the current feud between Dave Armstrong and Taylor Marshall over Marshall's new book, Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within (link) ???

Dave Armstrong's website

Taylor Marshall's website

Previous to this feud I would have placed both Armstrong and Marshall in the 'conservative' camp; but now, I am wondering if Marshall is moving towards the 'Traditionalist' view—or maybe it is just that there exists significant differences between the 'conservatives'...

I ordered the book a couple of days ago, and should receive it early next week.


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...

Hello Rory and David,
Sorry to take so long to respond. I think this will be long and convoluted, but I hope that there is consistency in my thoughts and (if that is the case) I will be able to convey them.

I do not think theocracy is a direct cause of apostasy. I am not even sure it is a symptom. I think theocracy can be acceptable as long as there is a recognition of the equality of mankind. Prophets and priests and kings are not MORE than Sunday School teachers and Ward Building Representatives. I hope to get to this later.



I think there are two problems with the ancient world that are at play in my understanding of the apostasy AND why this is “the last dispensation.”

1.
LDS believe that God said to Joseph Smith, “their creeds are an abomination.”
I think this article does a good job of elaborating upon that:
https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/prelude-restoration-apostasy-restored-church/all-their-creeds-were-abomination-brief-look

This article points out that post-biblical creedal statement definitely preceded Nicea. I wish to acknowledge that my statement (or underlying thoughts as I was not thinking about this) concerning Constantine didn’t acknowledge this. It is however true that Nicea was the first infallible declaration sealed by the authority of the church (with help from the state) that modern Catholics, Protestants, and LDS would not claim was the product of direct public revelation from God.

Creeds create non revealed “stakes” and say, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further”
The Articles of Faith IMO are basically creeds, but they are divinely revealed and simple in their assertions. The way one must understand homoousian to not be a polytheist is anything but simple and in the opinion of Catholic scholars, Protestant scholars, and LDS is not divinely revealed.
The theological fragmentation produced through Nicea, Chalcedon, Vatican II, and other councils is IMO part of the abomination that God referenced when he claimed their creeds were an abomination.
LDS have fragmentation, but I think it is more about following God’s instructions through God’s prophets concerning practice than about understanding of doctrine. I suspect there are exceptions to this general trend and I would not even suggest those exceptions are all divinely sanctioned.

cont...

TOm said...

2.
Next, let me again offer this link:
https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/a-mormon-theodicy-jacob-and-the-problem-of-evil/

I maintain that Nathan (you mentioned King David) was a Prophet and David was a King and I can acknowledge that their theocracy ideas are at odds with the American Constitution. But, their “dispensation” didn’t continue in that at the very least ANYONE who could be thought of as the head of God’s church on earth at the coming of Christ (or John the Baptist) rejected them (Ciaphus would be the most likely candidate). I do not believe that the dispensation headed by St. Peter continued and thus Joseph Smith stands with St. Peter (and at odds with those who claim to be St. Peter’s successors).

It is clear to me that no “dispensation” has ever claimed to be the 2nd to last dispensation, so before reading Val Larsen’s article, I was always leery of the bold declaration that this was the last dispensation.

Nathan was a Prophet of God. St. Peter was also a Prophet (one who speaks for God). I maintain that one thing LDS must acknowledge is present in this dispensation, all previous dispensation, and absent (needed to be restored) when Joseph had his first vision; is the ability to receive revelation for the world, to speak God’s words as a prophet (perhaps least controversially to write inspired scripture).

But, God is omnipotent. Surely He could raise up a prophet in every age and yet LDS, Catholics, and all Christians (and Muslims too) believe there was no prophet for many centuries prior to 1830. Why? And if these previous dispensation could fail why not now?

As I read Larsen’s article it seemed to me that a plausible reason for this is contained in Jacob’s vision with the strength of the roots, branches, …. It took the Biblical teaching that “God is no respecter of persons,” and centuries of Christian reflection to strengthen those who are not prophets or priests to the point where they could embrace God’s revelation and still check human abuses. There are LDS leaders who abuse their power, but they are checked by the “liaty.” It is my position that this is part of the message Jacob gives in the Book of Mormon and it can explain why this dispensation can sustain (in many meanings of this word) a Prophet AND prevent the natural man (present in the Prophet) from corrupting today or tomorrow or many tomorrows (and successors) from now.


I hope that makes some sense. I think #1 is more of a direct response to your “how dare Constantine not follow the U.S. Constitution,” but I think #2 is related.
Charity, TOm

Rory said...

Hey Tom! Good to see you.

I can only make a quick post while my wife is on the phone with one of our daughters who is moving across the country again. So it will be for Dave to whom I owe one.

-------

David
Now to your post. I am going to place myself into the shoes of the "conservative Catholic" who attempts to maintain "the middle ground between Tradition and Modernism". In that role, I would argue that an Ecumenical Council trumps an Encyclical. With that said, do you believe that there exists explicit contradictions between the dogmatic and moral teachings contained within the Vatican II documents and the previous Ecumenical Councils?

Rory
The answer to your question as asked is that I will get back to you on that.

Thanks for your patience. Feel free to develop further if you like.

Rory

Rory said...

Hi Dave.

You remarked that in the role of the "conservative Catholic that you would argue that "an Ecumenical Council trumps an Encyclical."

Of course, you knew I would have to agree with that proposition as it stands. A Catholic cannot lightly brush away the proclamations of an Ecumenical Council. But it cannot be that simple. The document on religious liberty doesn't explain why or how the popes could have been so "behind the times" when they condemned that particular modern error. Pius IX goes so far as to refer to the condemnation of "religious liberty" as being inaptly titled. Citing St. Augustine, he argues that it is actually "liberty of perdition". His predecessor, Pope Gregory XVI, spoke out in equally strong terms, and so did the rest of the popes until 1960, when coincidentally, a Catholic, John F. Kennedy became President of the United States. Maybe this puts things in to a little perspective. There is a reason why Kennedy was constantly asked how he could be a Catholic and President without confusion of authority since he was bound to uphold Catholic moral teachings as they related to society. These were very fair questions.

These facts are connected. Obviously, previous Ecumenical Councils did not have to deal with what are "modern errors". But the Church was way too late at Vatican II, and can't sweep under the rug what the Church had been saying for the previous 150 years, or what the Church practised from the times of Constantine. In answer to your question, I do not think it is wise to assume that since previous Councils did not condemn "modern errors" we should assume that it is safe to rest on the authority of the Second Vatican Council when it accepts that which had been condemned so roundly in everyone's memory.

I have concluded that in order to believe what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about modern errors, one cannot accept all of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

I am taking a break from chores to check the blog, and saw your new post. Thanks much for the response—at the end, you wrote:

==I have concluded that in order to believe what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about modern errors, one cannot accept all of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.==

Could you list a few of those teachings that you find most pernicious ???


Grace and peace,

David

P.S. Tom, if you are reading this post, I want to let you know that I will attempt to address some of the issues you raised, in your last couple of posts, tomorrow morning. This weekend, I plan to focus on the sequel to the monoousios vs. homoousios thread.

Rory said...

Hi Tom.

I would like to offer you a different perspective on a couple of problems you presented above regarding creeds in general, and particularly that of Nicea.

You wrote:
"This article points out that post-biblical creedal statement definitely preceded Nicea. I wish to acknowledge that my statement (or underlying thoughts as I was not thinking about this) concerning Constantine didn’t acknowledge this. It is however true that Nicea was the first infallible declaration sealed by the authority of the church (with help from the state) that modern Catholics, Protestants, and LDS would not claim was the product of direct public revelation from God."

I don't think it has been defined by a pope or an ecumenical council why or when an ecumenical council is speaking infallibly. Some have said that only the canons are infallible. Some have pointed to at least one Council (before Vatican II) that allegedly erred. If it took the Church until 1870 to define that the pope can speak infallibly under certain conditions, it seems probable that the Church will take a look at ecumenical councils to determine the conditions that make them infallible sometime soon. At the same time, it could be analyzed in the light of revelation, other ways in which the Church teaches infallibly.

You mention about the Council of Nicea that it was making the "first infallible declaration sealed by the authority of the church (with help from the state)". You still find it scandalous that the state helped facilitate a gathering of Christian bishops for the purpose of dogmatic unification. But Catholic Tradition teaches that the state that fails to recognize the reign of Christ the King, through the authority of His Mystical Body on earth, is defective. It is not a sin for the State to offer, or for the Church to accept cooperation from the State for the glory of God and the salvation of souls in their care.

If I understand you, part of your final objection about the Council of Nicea is that it is conceded by all parties that it was not "the product of direct public revelation from God." One of the errors condemned by Pope Pius IX in his Syllabus reminds me of LDS claims about the continuing need for more and more Scripture. In Syllabus #5, Pope Pius condemns the following proposal: "Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress..."

Maybe I know why LDS feel that it is so unfitting that Catholics believe divine public revelation should cease with the deaths of the Apostles. I don't think you fully understand our position. We think Christ and the Apostles left us super-abundant information. We think it is perfectly complete, in every way satisfying, and altogether suited to give glory to the Son of Man who trained His disciples and sent them in to the world "teaching all things..." Christ commanded. This is why we must prize the teachings of the Apostles above anything that could follow. To say that Apostolic revelation is inadequate, imperfect, or incomplete seems to us like saying the Apostles failed in their mission, and their Teacher failed in His. Impossible of course. It is true that we can not "despise" post-apostolic prophecy. Surely you can see in the Messages of Fatima that we treasure the continuing help of heaven for guidance to the problems of our times. But it is unthinkable that Fatima should be elevated to a level of authority with the traditions and written words of Christ's Apostles.

to be continued...

Rory said...

Hi Again Tome.

The Apostles gave the Church sufficient information about Christ for the Church to know that He was fully God. He could not be created. He could not be ontologically inferior to the Father. "God from God. "Light from Light." "True God from true God." The deity of Jesus Christ was being attacked by the followers of Arius and it was direct public revelation given by the Apostles that made the Church avow the teachings that were proposed at the Council. They believed from the Apostles that Christ was God's Son. What is compatible and what is incompatible with this truth? The proposals of the Council were designed to try to proscribe the teaching of the Arians which cast a shadow on the stupendous truth of the fully divine nature which Christ received from His Father, Who willed to have His Son be all that He is, except for His Paternity.

I don't know how LDS could have a more sadly false picture of the purpose of the Nicene Creed or dogmatic definitions in general. You say that it makes a situation where the Church says "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further”. LDS err if they assume the Creed is intended to propose limits. They err if they assume we believe that the Apostolic revelation has "run out". No. NO. The Creed is a minimum requirement, a jumping off point. "Hitherto thou must come, if you seek to have the Apostolic faith of the Catholic Church." It is always commendable to ponder and meditate on the inexhaustible mysteries of Apostolic revelation and the defined faith with a hunger to reach more and more understanding. Not simply for intellectual satisfaction, but that we will be ravished with the loveliness of God's truth that will be translated into good works of supernatural charity. Heh. Deification!

A creedal definition is never the conclusion of a mystery of the faith. But it has to be at least a boundary for the Catholic who would..."comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God."

---Ep. 3:18, 19

Rory said...

Tom
The way one must understand homoousian to not be a polytheist is anything but simple and in the opinion of Catholic scholars, Protestant scholars, and LDS is not divinely revealed.
The theological fragmentation produced through Nicea, Chalcedon, Vatican II, and other councils is IMO part of the abomination that God referenced when he claimed their creeds were an abomination.

Rory
Its easy. Not complicated. Goats have goats, birds have birds, and God has God. "God from God". "Light from Light". "True God from true God." Catholics do not think that looking the other way and allowing Her children to have communion with those who deny Jesus was fully God or that Jesus was fully man is the way to preserve unity. Unity is already shattered.

I've heard some of your bunch declare that we are the same species as God. Well...I disagree. But if Mormons believe that they are the same species as God, how can they fault Catholics when they confronted beliefs that said that Jesus Himself was not the same species as God the Father. Further along, another erroneous doctrine arose that said Jesus wasn't even the same species as Adam, whose children He came to save? You really think that for the sake of unity we should raise our children in an environment to believe that there is fraternal unity between those who disagree about whether Jesus was God or disagreement about whether Jesus was man?

Can you be a Mormon and believe that Jesus wasn't fully God, consubstantial with His Father? That's okay? That is what Nicea was about for Catholics. Can you be a Mormon and believe that Jesus wasn't a man? God the Father is a man for you guys. We get in trouble with you guys for denying the humanity of the Father. But we are supposed to allow that even Jesus wasn't fully human? That is what Chalcedon was about. You really think the Church should not have been concerned about maintaining that Christ was fully God and fully man?

The homo word will have to wait. And Vatican II. G'nite, all.

TOm said...

Hello Rory!
I do not think it is so simple and that is what I am pointing too.
Rory:
Its easy. Not complicated. Goats have goats, birds have birds, and God has God.
TOm:
If it were simple the parallel of “have x’s” would be “God has Gods,” but you cannot say that. I don’t even say that though I would be happy to say with qualifiers that “God has gods.”
Would you be in communion with someone who said that God did not create everything “ex nihilo.” That was when the philosophically minded priest Arius lost the debate in the very beginning of Nicea. He insisted that God created EVERYTHING ex nihilo and thus there was a time when Christ was not. This is some pretty simple logic. If Christ is not the most high God who the scriptures claim created (and all at Nicea believed this meant created everything ex nihilo), then Christ must be among that which was created.
So in the very beginning the priest Arius was rebuked for claiming that there was a time when Christ did not exist. As a LDS I believe he was wrong. But that was not the end of Nicea, the discussion continued. There were Bishops who came to Nicea convinced that Arius had articulated simple truths. If the most high God was not Jesus Christ then saying anything that sounded like equating Christ with the most high God must be avoided or it would bring down the greatness/uniqueness/all-powerful-ness of God. Athanasius (who was also just a priest at the time I think) would not allow these Bishops to emerge from Nicea without their correction too. When Eusebius of Caesarea offered his church’s creed those “Arian” Bishops looked like they could embrace it, so it was unacceptable. When a creed using only scriptural language was formulated, those Bishops looked like they could embrace it, so it was unacceptable. It is MOST likely the one who gauged the reaction to various creedal statements and advocated against them because these Bishops were comfortable with them was the hero of the book we began our thread about. At the very least Athanasius, the hero, celebrated the wisdom and perceptiveness associated with this “gauging of reaction” and then rejecting of creedal statements that were acceptable to the scoundrels who must be brought to heel.
No, it was not simple. And yes, I do find it easy enough to suggest that God told Joseph Smith “their creeds are an abomination” for precisely this reason. There is much abominable to condemn without condemning creedal truths like Christ was born of a virgin.
Furthermore, the idea that God the Son was God from God is fine. My original point was that the idea that Eusebius of Caesarea (not among the Bishops who were “brought to heel,”) is condemned by Bryan Cross in his anti-Social Trinity post and that Bryan Cross represents the predominate theological position on this issue is a problem.
I have seen you discuss theological particulars before and while I suspect you might be tempted to embrace the “softer” line as opposed to the Bryan Cross line here, the softer line is a product of Vatican II and the liberality introduced into Catholic thought over the last century or so. Pre-20th century the position outlined by Bryan Cross was the position of most if not all Catholic theologians (I suspect David will know of a pre-20th century Catholic theologian in dialogue with an Eastern thinker who advocated for the monarchy of God the Father and said, “…” but I think the overwhelming majority of Catholic theologians before the 20th century would find Bryan Cross’s position obviously correct).
cont...

TOm said...

May get to more later, but thought I should say this about your last paragraph.
I would encourage a LDS to recognize that Jesus Christ was fully God. If, God forbid, I was Bishop and one of my congregation taught Christ was merely a prophet, I will seek to convince them they were wrong. If that didn’t work, I would tell them they couldn’t teach this and I would give them a non-teaching calling. If they still continued to teach this, I would consider further disciplinary discussions and if such continued and the leaders above me concurred, I would not find it problematic to have them sanctioned for disobedience. That being said while they could cease to be a member, they would not be forbidden from worshiping with us and they certainly would not be banished.
I suspect there are LDS who would find my position here to be fairly draconian (too harsh) and perhaps a few who would more forcibly squash such things (not harsh enough). Joseph Smith did not squash heretical teachings. There was a time when he laughed at the theological ideas presented by a member, but defended this member’s right to present them. I might be more harsh than Joseph Smith, but I seek to not be too far afield.
Charity, TOm

Ken said...

Hi Tom and others,
I just saw your comments late last night, June 15.
Wow, lots of interaction since May 27.
Lord willing, I will try to respond another day. No time right now.

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

Forgive my somewhat tardy response to your June 10th posts, but this last week has been a very busy one, though I did manage to finally get the sequel to the monoousios vs homoousios up yesterday.

I would first like to thank you for the link to John Welch's essay. I own the book, Prelude to the Restoration: Apostasy to the Restored Church, purchasing it when it first came out, so it had been over a decade since I last read it. I reread Welch's essay (which I had heavily highlighted during the first reading), and was struck by the absence of interaction with the early heresies that the LDS paradigm must also consider to be heretical—e.g. adoptionism, modalism, gnosticism, Arianism.

Moving on, I am a bit confused by the following you wrote:

==The theological fragmentation produced through Nicea, Chalcedon, Vatican II, and other councils is IMO part of the abomination that God referenced when he claimed their creeds were an abomination.==

It seems to me that it was "theological fragmentation" which already existed that gave rise to most of the pre-Protestant councils and creeds. Have I missed something ???

Now, while on the topic of creeds and apostasy, are you aware of the following book:

Standing Apart

It contains a number of excellent essays that I suspect you will find quite interesting; one of my favorites being Blumell's, "Rereading the Council of Nicaea and Its Creed" (chapter 8, pages 196-217).

Hope to here from you soon...


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Tom. hi.

First, Happy Father's Day.

Second, What we do here.

Tom
If it were simple the parallel of “have x’s” would be “God has Gods,” but you cannot say that. I don’t even say that though I would be happy to say with qualifiers that “God has gods.”

Rory
There is only One Person that is begotten of the Father. Of course He would be the One identified as the Son. Therefore, it would not seem appropriate to say that God has Gods in the plural.

Tom
Would you be in communion with someone who said that God did not create everything “ex nihilo.” That was when the philosophically minded priest Arius lost the debate in the very beginning of Nicea. He insisted that God created EVERYTHING ex nihilo and thus there was a time when Christ was not. This is some pretty simple logic. If Christ is not the most high God who the scriptures claim created (and all at Nicea believed this meant created everything ex nihilo), then Christ must be among that which was created.

Rory
I would not be in communion with anyone who insists that God created everything "ex nihilo". That would be to commit the heresy of making the Son and the Holy Ghost in to creatures as well as denying that the begotten Son came from nothing and the Holy Ghost from nothing when they begotten from and proceed from The Essence of the Father.

Tom
So in the very beginning the priest Arius was rebuked for claiming that there was a time when Christ did not exist. As a LDS I believe he was wrong. But that was not the end of Nicea, the discussion continued. There were Bishops who came to Nicea convinced that Arius had articulated simple truths.

Rory
Arius and his doctrine were an infection in the Body of Christ. It was obviously a "communicable infection", easy to contract, because of its apparent reasonableness. You have heard me talk on other occasions of what I call the "successful error". Successful error is never stupid. There is always an intellectual appeal. In this case, because of a mistaken belief that God created everything that exists from nothing, they had to deny that Christ was eternally God. I accept your word for it that bishops of the Church came to the Council having been influenced and even perhaps convinced by Arian thought.

Rory said...

Tom
If the most high God was not Jesus Christ then saying anything that sounded like equating Christ with the most high God must be avoided or it would bring down the greatness/uniqueness/all-powerful-ness of God. Athanasius (who was also just a priest at the time I think) would not allow these Bishops to emerge from Nicea without their correction too. When Eusebius of Caesarea offered his church’s creed those “Arian” Bishops looked like they could embrace it, so it was unacceptable. When a creed using only scriptural language was formulated, those Bishops looked like they could embrace it, so it was unacceptable.

Rory
I see. I am sorry. You find it scandalous that extra-biblical terms were used so as to expose the impious heresy. Strictly biblical vocabulary is inadequate to describe the implications of the sum total of simple truths expressed in Scripture. Deification is not a Bible word either. Do we therefore deny that "deification" is in the Bible?

Theology needs an enlarged and precise vocabulary to express the systematic truths of the faith. Once this is accepted, it is natural to expect that the faith be expressed in extra-biblical language, and also that heresy be exposed in the same way.

TOm said...

Hello Rory (and David)!
I spent yesterday at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. This was my second time, but my family got me a year membership. This means that I can take a guest with me. I am not sure that either of you would learn a lot of new facts, but there are some neat exhibits and it is pretty well done. The first floor has a temporary (it has been there for over a year) display on loan from the Vatican. The piece I took note of was the Urbino Bible. Anyway, if either of you with family or without want a place to stay near DC and perhaps a trip to the Museum of the Bible, you are welcome to come!
As I recall on the way to the museum, but perhaps in the museum, I was hit with the need to qualify my second to last post. I think God did in fact say, “Their creeds are an abomination.” As such, I have thought about what God meant when he said that and my previous post explains my thoughts on this. That being said, I hope that in 1810 before God said this to Joseph Smith, I would be worshiping in a Catholic Church with many faith-filled, loving Christians. I do not see absence of abominations in my faith and I do not expect an absence of abomination in the faiths I do not choose to embrace.
One of my main takeaways from Larsen’s article is that the pondering of “all men are created equal” within Catholic and Protestant circles lead to a culture in which the root and the branches could support the fullness of the gospel. “God’s scope for action extends only to the point where it impinges negatively upon the agency of the autonomous beings who are his spirit children. Human beings cannot be sanctified without the atonement that God has provided, but neither can God save them against their will. Thus, he cannot permit his gospel root to wholly determine the worth of the fruit.”
Charity, TOm

TOm said...

Hello again.
I am not “scandalized” by extra Biblical language. I am pointing to the drive to define out of communion a group of folks who were previously in communion. I am pointing to the glee and self-congratulatory nature of the choice of the word homoousian. And I do not know where you think the word homoousian should/MUST exist today, but I am pointing to the exclusionary ideas from Bryan Cross that would define out of communion most of the 318 Bishops who attended Nicea.
And, I am first and foremost trying to defend the idea that God did in fact say to Joseph Smith that their creeds were an abomination. The purpose is not to express scandalization at extra Biblical language, but to explain why I think this statement happened and what it likely means.
Perhaps it is best for me to state that if Orthodoxy is as important to God as I think it must be for Catholicism to be the fullest representation of God’s church (and really for traditional Protestantism to be God’s church), then distinctions made during Nicea and probably by Bryan Cross are VITAL to God and Christianity.
But, if God said, “their creeds are an abomination” and it means what I think it means within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then the distinctions made during Nicea are not of huge importance and the way these distinctions were put forth is worth calling out as problematic.
Ultimately, I think that the Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformation paved the way for God to restore a church lead by supernatural public revelation.
Charity, TOm

Rory said...

Hi again Tom.

Thank you for sharing your reflections. I do not know anything about Bryan Cross and his necessary condemnation of not just the dozen or so Arian bishops, but of the more than 300 others present at the Council of Nicea. So I am hard put to argue further. Thank you for being the impetus to my seeing the need for more and more study if I would be able to contend on an equal basis with your objections to the Council of Nicea and the use of that "H" word which is subject to our discussion.

I take serious note of your sympathy to the Arians against the "glee" and "self-congratulation" to what may be called the "Athanasian party" which had thought to vanquish them. Again, I acknowledge that you probably have the jump on me as far as your apparent knowledge of the uncharitable spirit which viciously attacked a reasonable position that should have been tolerated by the Church. I would agree that if this historical perspective is true, that the word "abominable" to characterize such a creed would probably be appropriate.

Of course, I am not able to easily believe that it is the way you, and the historians you have consulted, describe it. For the purpose of understanding the historical context of the controversy, last night I began reading Cardinal Newman's comprehensive history of the case. I wonder if your historians take Cardinal Newman's work to task for being too soft on, and apologetic, about the way the Church ultimately dealt with Arianism both before and after the Council?

It will not be a shock that I cannot agree at all with your suggestion that "the distinctions made during Nicea are not of huge importance". I know you are not speaking of historical importance. Rather, you think that the Arian viewpoint could have been tolerated without any harm to the Church. My only objection to that is not very sophisticated. It is an instinctual reaction that causes me to have used the word "impious" above to describe what I called "an infection". If the the Arian doctrine should have been compatible with the exterior life of the Church in 325 AD, I find it incompatible with my interior life in 2019.

My question about Cardinal Newman's work was serious. I am getting too old to study materials that have already been dismissed by better scholarship. Thanks as always for your serious and respectful interest in my faith and its origins. May God bless you and Our Blessed Mother (in a hidden manner, heh.) guide you.

In Jesus and Mary,

Rory



Ken Temple said...


TOm wrote:
And yet, for some reason Protestants and Catholics accept that God the Father and God the Son are monoousian (or rather homoousian in the numeric sense). Why?

Because there is only ONE God - homo-ousias of the Son with the Father And the Spirit with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; the Deity of Christ, the Deity of the Holy Spirit, etc.) automatically leads to "one essence" ( mono-ousia) -

That is why true Christianity starts with Mono-theism - one God who created all things, visible and invisible; the whole universe.

That there is only one God automatically and easily makes Mormonism, a false religion, because it is polytheism. Full stop.

TOm:
I am curious as to why you type your name TOm rather than Tom?

Ken Temple said...


The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ prayed for His followers to become one as He and His Father were one.

Obviously, since we are creatures / creations - we are not God or "gods" or the Creator, so He does not mean becoming one in essence but a fellowship / relationship of communion as adoptive sons. We are sons and daughters of God by adoption, not essence. (Ephesians chapter 1, Galatians 4, Romans 8, etc.

We become "conformed to the image of His Son" Romans 8:29, as we grow in sanctification and holiness - in character in the communicable attributes of God, not His incommunicable attributes. 2 Peter 1:4 is talking about holiness through the Holy Spirit and growing in character (holiness and love), not some kind of a deification, etc.

Rory has written some proper things about the need for theological language as one harmonizes all of Scripture together, this becomes necessary.

John Piper has an excellent article on Athanasius on those issues, and also a great quote from Athanasius on what he meant by what the EO and Mormons take as "Deificiation", though each respectively have different definitions for what they mean by that term.

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/contending-for-our-all

Ken Temple said...

From John Piper's lecture on Athanasius, "Contending for Our All" :

4. The truth of biblical language must be vigorously protected with non-biblical language.

Athanasius’ experience was critically illuminating to something I have come to see over the years, especially in liberally minded baptistic and pietistic traditions, namely, that the slogan, “the Bible is our only creed” is often used as a cloak to conceal the fact that Bible language is used to affirm falsehood. This is what Athanasius encountered so insidiously at the Council of Nicaea. The Arians affirmed biblical sentences. Listen to this description of the proceedings:

The Alexandrians . . . confronted the Arians with the traditional Scriptural phrases which appeared to leave no doubt as to the eternal Godhead of the Son. But to their surprise they were met with perfect acquiescence. Only as each test was propounded, it was observed that the suspected party whispered and gesticulated to one another, evidently hinting that each could be safely accepted, since it admitted of evasion. If their assent was asked to the formula “like to the Father in all things,” it was given with the reservation that man as such is “the image and glory of God.” The “power of God” elicited the whispered explanation that the host of Israel was spoken of as dunamis kuriou, and that even the locust and caterpillar are called the “power of God.” The “eternity” of the Son was countered by the text, “We that live are alway (2 Corinthians 4:11)!” The fathers were baffled, and the test of homoosion, with which the minority had been ready from the first, was being forced (p. 172) upon the majority by the evasions of the Arians.38

R. P. C. Hanson explained the process like this: “Theologians of the Christian Church were slowly driven to a realization that the deepest questions which face Christianity cannot be answered in purely biblical language, because the questions are about the meaning of biblical language itself.”39 The Arians railed against the unbiblical language being forced on them. They tried to seize the biblical high ground and claim to be the truly biblical people—the pietists, the simple Bible-believers—because they wanted to stay with biblical language only—and by it smuggle in their non-biblical meanings.

But Athanasius saw through this “post-modern,”post-conservative,” “post-propositional” strategy and saved for us not just Bible words, but Bible truth. May God grant us the discernment of Athanasius for our day. Very precious things are at stake.40

Ken Temple said...


David Waltz made a great point here:

"I would like to add a couple of important points: first, there were at least 20 regional councils held before the Nicene Council of 325 (not counting the council in Acts 15 ); as such, the convening of councils was not novel introduction by Constantine. Second, one should not diminish the impact of the legalization of Christianity by Constantine, and adoption of it as his religion. With this in mind, I would argue that Constantine did not "CHANGE Christianity" doctrinally speaking, but his actions certainly changed the relationship between Church and State."

I agree.

But it bears repeating that Constantine did not make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, that was later under Theodosius around 380-392 AD.

Ken Temple said...

. . . the genesis of God’s words to Joseph Smith, “their creeds are an abomination.”

They are not God's words. Joseph Smith was a false prophet and con-man / charlatan. All his "revelations" were and are false.

This is very easy to see.

Revelation stopped with the 27 books of the NT.

Jude 3
Hebrews 1:1-3
Revelation 22

John 14 and 16
2 Peter 1:12-21; 3:1; 3:15-16

2 Timothy 3:16-17 by principle.

verse 16 expands from the OT in verse 15 to All Scripture, which is by principle, the NT canon. Paul already showed that the law and gospel were "holy Scripture" in 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Ken Temple said...

So Ken, do you believe that Jesus Christ is homoousian in the numeric sense with God the Father? Am I not a Christian because I do not believe this? What possible basis do you have for this assertion?

Since there is only ONE creator God, it seems easy to me, with all the Biblical data and historical Christian theology of the doctrine of the Trinity, that "homo-ousias" naturally and automatically means "mono-ousias" - that the three persons share the same one essence / substance. (since there is only one God.) "for all the gods of the nations are idols" - Psalm 96:5 (idols - whether stones or wood or statues or wrong images in the mind and false ideas of gods in animism, secular humanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, materialism, self, etc.

Do you think I have to re-produce all the standard works that demonstrate Mormonism is a false religion and polytheism and that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were false prophets and false teachers?

Ken Temple said...

there were at least 20 regional councils held before the Nicene Council of 325

do you have a list of those and where they were located?

Why is the North African council or synod of 287-258 AD, where Cyprian has that famous line, "for no one sets himself up as the bishop of bishops . . . " etc. called "the Seventh Council of Carthage" ?

how do they distinguish those 7 local councils of those days (258 and earlier AD) vs. the famous ones in 393-397 - 400s about the canon of Scripture?

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iv.vi.i.html

Ken Temple said...

Rory:
Its easy. Not complicated. Goats have goats, birds have birds, and God has God.


That sounds crude and like heretical teachers like Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar. Google them and "dawgs beget dawgs, cats beget cats; God begets gods; ye are little gods."

"God has God" sounds antithetical to the eternal generation of the Son / Word / logos out from the Father from eternity past.
John 1:1-5

John 17:5

Philippians 2:5-8

Ken Temple said...

More directly to you however, do you not see your “Mormon” “went bust” ideas are just as simplistic as you claim Rod’s Protestant “went bust” ideas?

No.

Ken:
Historical Protestants greatly appreciate the homo-ousias (same substance) principle of the Nicean Creed and Nicean Council of 325 AD, as accurately reflecting what the New Testament teaches about the nature of Jesus Christ with the Father, and the 3 persons / hypostasis of the Cappodician fathers and the Council of Constantinople of 381 AD.

TOm:
If you “greatly appreciate” this, you might look at just how LATE it was in its genesis and ultimate triumph.


David W. already addressed this in the pre-Nicean theology - Deity of Christ is clearly there in as early as Ignatius, with Trinitarian formulas also; and local councils in 2nd, 3rd centuries before Nicea.

David intends to argue that St. Athanasius does not believe what modern scholars believe concerning homoousias (or so I think he will argue that). You should participate in these discussion and explain to me how sola scriptura gets us to this place.

See again, John Piper's lecture on Athanasius, James White's chapter on "the early church and Sola Scriptura" in "Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible" edited by Don Kistler; and many whole books on the Trinity:

Robert Bowman: "Why You Should believe in the Trinity"
James White: "The Forgotten Trinity"
Robert Letham: The Holy Trinity
Timothy George: "Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?"
Michael Reeves: "Delighting in the Trinity"
B. B. Warfield: "The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit"
Bruce Ware & John Starke: "One God in Three Persons"
Fred Sanders: "The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity changes everything"

Michael R. Burgos, Jr., editor, "Our God is Triune: Essays in Biblical Theology" (has chapters on the OT data for the Trinity, the angel of the Lord, theophanies, Christophanies, etc. )

Ken Temple said...

Also what happens to the soul of Athanasius, the Fathers at Chalcedon, and the bulk of heretical folks before Christianity got this right?

they were right on the Trinity, and many before them had the right trajectory. but many people have real faith in Christ without being able to articulate the precise theology that was forced later by heretics like the Modalists (Sabellianism) and Arius.

Finally, I think I see your answer to some of my questions in my previous post. I just do not think it works.

It works fine for me.

The Bible does not teach mono-ousia and yet you embrace it.

It is a natural conclusion to homo-ousia (me agreeing with early church, Nicea, Constantinople, Chalcedon, Athanasian Creed) of the three persons and the dogma/truth that there is only true Creator God of all things.

The Bible can be said to teach episcopal succession,

I cannot see the Roman Catholic anachronistic way they see that concept; but churches were suppossed to ordain elders/overseers for new churches as the gospel goes out and churches are planted. (Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Timothy 3:1 ff. especially verses 14-15) - true apostolic succession is passing on correct doctrine, not some kind of a magical ex opere operato into the person who is ordained. They are not infallible nor guaranteed to hold on to sound doctrine. The whole Roman Catholic idea is false.

and yet you reject it. How can you know what to accept and reject?

Standard Protestant apologetics in many works that is too much for the com boxes.
See James White's material (website, books, debates with RCs), King and Webster's 3 volume "Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith", Webster's "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History"; Keith Matthison, "The Shape of Sola Scriptura"; Timothy Kauffman's website (though I don't agree with his understanding of Daniel and Revelation of prophesy that sees most or all of the anti-Christ stuff as about Roman Catholic Church starting with the Marian dogmas and taking "Theotokos" too far.)

http://www.whitehorseblog.com/category/baptismal-regeneration/

I think he poked a lot of holes in the common understanding of thinking the early church taught 'baptismal regeneration" from the beginning, although it may SEEM that they did in many passages; he poked a lot of holes in that dogmatic claim.


What STRETCH of the Biblical words is exegesis and what is eisegesis? I don’t think there is a Protestant way to know.

again, see Piper's lecture on Athanasius, and all the other books and websites that I already mentioned.

Ken Temple said...

David wrote:

As you well know, I spent a number of years examining the theonomy movement propagated by Rushooney, North, Bahnsen, DeMar, Jordan, and others—a movement that maintains that Christians need promote and enforce all the Mosaic laws that were not explicitly abrogated in the New Testament. Even to this day, I have yet to read a definitive critique of Dr. Bahnsen's Theonomy In Christian Ethics.

since you are familiar with their writings, what do they do with Deuteronomy 25:11-12 ?

Do they believe that punishment is for today? (the church age after Jesus took the kingdom away from Theocratic Israel - Matthew 21:33-46)

Ken Temple said...

Another great Piper section from his lecture on Athanasius (see link above):

6. Don’t aim to preach only in categories of thought that can be readily understood by this generation. Aim at creating biblical categories of thought that are not present.

Another way to put it is to use the terminology of Andrew Walls: Don’t embrace the indigenous principle of Christianity at the expense of the pilgrim principle.41 The indigenous principle says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). The pilgrim principle says, “Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).

Some of the most crucial and precious truths of the Scripture are counter-intuitive to the fallen human mind. They don’t fit easily into our heads. The orthodox understanding of the Trinity is one of those.

Ken Temple said...


More from Piper and the issue of what Athanasius meant by what is referred to now as "deification".

For example, Athanasius says some startling things about human deification that we would probably never say. Is that because one of us is wrong? Or is it because the language and the categories of thought that he uses are so different from ours that we have to get inside his head before we make judgments about the truth of what he says? And might we discover something great by this effort to see what he saw?

For example, he says, “[The Son] was made man that we might be made God (theopoiëthõmen).”44 Or: “He was not man, and then became God, but He was God, and then became man, and that to deify us.”45 The issue here is whether the word “make God” or “deify” (theopoieõ) means something unbiblical or whether it means what 2 Peter 1:4 means when it says, “that you may become partakers of the divine nature” (hina genësthe theias koinõnoi phuseõs)? Athanasius explains like this:

John then thus writes; ‘Hereby know we that we dwell in Him and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. . . . And the Son is in the Father, as His own Word and Radiance; but we, apart from the Spirit, are strange and distant from God, and by the participation of the Spirit we are knit into the Godhead; so that our being in the Father is not ours, but is the Spirit’s which is in us and abides in us, . . . What then is our likeness and equality to the Son? . . . The Son is in the Father in one way, and we become in Him in another, and that neither we shall ever be as He, nor is the Word as we.46

[Athanasius, Discourse against the Arians, 3:24, quoting 1 John 4:13 and 3:24 - so Athanasius uses Scripture and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to define what he means by "being made God"]
(my bolding emphasis and comment in brackets.)

What becomes clear when all is taken into account is that Athanasius is pressing on a reality in the Scriptures that we today usually call “glorification” but is using the terminology of 2 Peter 1:4 and Romans 8:29, “Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” He is pressing the destiny and the glory of being a brother of the second person of the Trinity, and “sharing in his nature.”47

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

So good to see you back. An impressive amount of posting yesterday morning! In your first morning post, you wrote:

==Because there is only ONE God - homo-ousias of the Son with the Father And the Spirit with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; the Deity of Christ, the Deity of the Holy Spirit, etc.) automatically leads to "one essence" ( mono-ousia)==

Don't know if you read Athanasius' position on monoousios that I provided in my first monoousios vs. homoousios thread, but it is very important to keep in mind that Athanasius emphatically refused to use the term monoousios. Note the following:

>>For neither do we hold a Son-Father, as do the Sabellians, calling Him of one but not of the same essence, and thus destroying the existence of the Son. (Statement of Faith, 2.2 - A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers - Second Series, Vol. 4.84)

The phrase, "calling Him of one but not of the same essence", is a non-literal translation of the Greek, and a bit misleading. The Greek reads as follows:

λέγοντες μονοούσιον καὶ οὐχ ὁμοούσιον (legontes monoousion kai ouch homoousion)

My translation: saying [he is of] one essence and not [of the] same essence>>

Further, Athanasius reserved the phrase, "the One God" for the Father, never using the phrase for either the Son, nor the Trinity.

I have two older threads that provide germane quotations from Athanasius concerning this issue:

Athanasius: on God, His Son/Word and the Godhead - part 1

Athanasius: on God, His Son/Word and the Godhead - part 2

From the first of those threads we read:

>>1. THE Word is from God ; for the Word was God, and again, Of whom are the Fathers, and of whom Christ, who, is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen. And since Christ is God from God, and God's Word, Wisdom, Son, and Power, therefore but One God is declared in the divine Scriptures. For the Word, being Son of the One God, is referred to ; Him of whom also He is; so that Father and Son are two, yet the Unity [μονάδα] of the Godhead [θεότητος] is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve One Origin of Godhead and not two Origins, whence there is properly a divine Monarchy. And of this very Origin the Word is by nature Son, not as if' another origin, subsisting by Himself, nor having come into being externally to that Origin, lest from that diversity a Dyarchy and Polyarchy should ensue ; but of the one Origin He is proper Son, proper Wisdom, proper Word, existing from It. For, according to John, in that Origin was the Word, and the Word was with God, for the Origin was God ; and since He is from It, therefore also the Word as God.


2. And as there is one Origin and therefore one God ... (Discourses/Orations Against the Arians, Book IV.1-2a - English translation by John Henry Newman from A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church series, volume 19, Saint Athanasius: Select treatises in controversy with the Arians, Pt. 2, 1842, pp. 512, 513 - bold emphasis mine.)

cont'd

David Waltz said...

Another important selection from Athanasius that I did not include in the above referenced threads follows:

>>However, you are false even in this assertion, for 'He made us, and not we ourselves.' He it is who through His Word made all things small and great, and we may not divide the creation, and says this is the Father's, and this the Son's, but they are of one God, who uses His proper Word as a Hand, and in Him does all things. This God Himself shews us, when He says, 'All these things hath My Hand made;' while Paul taught us as he had learned, that ' There is one God, from whom all things ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things. (Defense of the Nicene Definition, chapter 4 - NPNF 4.155 - bold emphasis mine.)>>

Many more examples can be provided if you feel the need that I do so.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

The following is from another of morning posts:

==there were at least 20 regional councils held before the Nicene Council of 325

do you have a list of those and where they were located?>>

The most extensive list of early councils that I am aware of is found in Ramsy's MacMullen's book, Voting About God (pages 2-4).

His list has the location, year, and when available, the number of attending bishops. The locations before Nicaea were Carthage, Antioch, Cirta, Elvira, Rome, Arles, Ancrya, Bithynia, Pontus, Alexandria and Caesarea.

BTW, blogged about this book in THIS THREAD.

==Why is the North African council or synod of 287-258 AD, where Cyprian has that famous line, "for no one sets himself up as the bishop of bishops . . . " etc. called "the Seventh Council of Carthage" ?==

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that during Cyprian's presidency six or seven councils were held, and that this information comes from his letters. (See THIS LINK).

==how do they distinguish those 7 local councils of those days (258 and earlier AD) vs. the famous ones in 393-397 - 400s about the canon of Scripture?==

Those 7 were all held during Cyprian's presidency.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

On Athanasius,
it seems he is coming against the Sabellian / Modalistic understanding of "mono-ousias", which in that understanding, is that the persons are one, rather than three.

All Trinitarians agree that Sabellian Modalism is wrong - that the Father became the Son and then the Son became the Holy Spirit - it destroys the three persons aspect of the Trinity.

But if we keep the 3 persons distinct, then homo-ousias naturally leads to "mono-ousias", because there is only One God. (which seems like, if I understand your past articles on this issue, is what Augustine and Calvin developed.)

The doctrine of the Trinity is One God by substance / essence / nature, in three persons / hupostasis / persona.
eternally existing in a perfect love spiritual relationship.

Ken Temple said...

on Cyprian and Augustine's councils of Carthage.

Seems that writers need to make clearer by some thing like

"the seven councils of Carthage in the 250s AD under Cyprian, are different from the council of Carthage of 397 AD (the famous one about the canon of Scripture) under Augustine."

Ken Temple said...

IMO, your many posts on the Monarchy of God the Father is very confusing.

Because if you dogmatically keep saying "the one God" is only about God the Father, and yet the Word / Son and the Holy Spirit are also of the same essence ( homo-ousias), then the concept that that communicates is a triangle of the One God the Father at the top and with 2 lower gods at the bottom.

I think one of the EO contributors made a comment similar to that.

The only solution, IMO, is that there is One God by substance, in three eternal persons. Which is what Augustine rightly developed out of homo-ousias, based on what I remember you posting and commenting.

the debates over the eternal subordination of the Son also relate to this.
those quotes seem to say in different language what you have been communicating about "the Monarchy of the Father" -
the Father as father is eternal and the Son as the Son is eternal; (my understanding of their roles in relationship / hupostasis aspect.)
http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/06/another-thirteen-evangelical-t.php

Ken Temple said...

I clicked on your link about your post about Ramsy's MacMullen's book, Voting About God, and see that I participated in the com boxes way back then in 2010.

Lots of reminders of those days. I had forgotten that completely. I did not know much about the previous councils, though I knew there were some, (Elvira (against icons and statues in worship) Synod of Arles (314 AD vs. Donatism - I remember that one from seminary days in 1984-1985), Carthage, Hippo, Ancyra, etc.) I did not know how many.

Seems like we don't have much evidence for all six of the previous councils of Carthage under Cyprian - I only saw 2 of them mentioned by a quick google search.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks much for taking the time to respond to my comments from yesterday. You wrote:

==IMO, your many posts on the Monarchy of God the Father is very confusing.

Because if you dogmatically keep saying "the one God" is only about God the Father, and yet the Word / Son and the Holy Spirit are also of the same essence ( homo-ousias), then the concept that that communicates is a triangle of the One God the Father at the top and with 2 lower gods at the bottom.==

I believe that much of the 'confusion' concerning the doctrine of the Trinity stems primarily from three issues: first, failure to provide concise definitions to the terminology being used; second, attempts to force developed theologies into the Bible, and/or writings of the early CFs; and third, failure to acknowledge that the term "God" is used in different senses.

I am convinced that there is one sense in which it is the Father alone who is "the one God", for the Father alone is the single, sole fount/source of Divinity. This sense is explicitly used in the Bible, Nicene Creed, and many post-Nicene Church Fathers.

There is another sense where the term "God" is used as a synonym for "Divinity". When used in this sense, "God" is being used in a qualitative sense, and is linked with the term "nature".

A third sense, first used by Augustine, is to term the Trinity "one God". When God is used in this sense, it is an abstract use of the term.

Interestingly enough, Augustine uses all three senses throughout his writings; but, unfortunately, most folk who comment on Augustine's thoughts concerning the Trinity, tend to ignore at least one of the three senses, which leads to misconceptions.

Now, with all that said, I have a question for you—do you believe that "the one God" is:

1. the Divine substance/essence

2. the Trinity

3. God the Father

???


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

the first two choices are the same thing - the Divine essence shared between the three persons is the Trinity.

But # 3 - I grant that there are verses (that you have written about before) - John 5:44; 17:3 that seem to say that only the Father is the one true God (but with John 17:3 is verse 5 - which points to the Son being eternally with the Father and sharing the same glory - along with John 1:1 - point to the eternality of the Son / Word - but both are also Jesus speaking on earth in relation to God the Father in heaven.

I remember William Lane Craig, along time ago, when I heard him on the Bible Answer Man program, when I used to listen regularly, sometime between 1985 to 1993 (?) emphasize that the NT usually reserves Theos / θεος for God the Father, and kurios for the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to emphasize monotheism.

I don't really understand why it is so important to keep saying "only God the Father is the one true God"; and yet the Word/Son and the Holy Spirit have the same nature = homo-ousias - seems obvious that they necessarily leads to the three persons and one substance, since there is only one God.

Ken Temple said...

Bible Answer Man program - I listened from 1985 (?)-1992 and 1995 to around 1999 (?) - could not have been in 1993, as I was overseas then.

Ken Temple said...

David W. wrote:
I believe that much of the 'confusion' concerning the doctrine of the Trinity stems primarily from three issues: first, failure to provide concise definitions to the terminology being used; second, attempts to force developed theologies into the Bible, and/or writings of the early CFs; and third, failure to acknowledge that the term "God" is used in different senses.

Rather than seeing the Trinity as "attempts to force developed theologies into the Bible" as far as the doctrine of the Trinity is concerned

(that is true in other areas - the RC theology forces it's man-made traditions back into the text; that is true about other centuries later developments of Roman Catholic distinctives such as Purgatory (and all that goes with it), Transubstantiation, Marian piety and dogmas, and Papal doctrines and dogmas)

But when you look at how the theology of the Trinity developed out of the Biblical text, combined with heresies and questions that arose in the first 4-5 centuries, the doctrine of the Trinity arose from the text and subsequent heresies, rebellious spirits (the original meaning of "heresy" is a factious spirit of always wanting to "fight". - why the apostle wrote, "it is necessary for factions / heresies to be among you, in order that those who are approved (confirmed, right) might be manifest / obvious" 1 Corinthians 11:19

The development from OT Monotheism, the Deity of Christ, the Deity of the Holy Spirit, the triad texts, and the personal relational texts in Scripture, and then the clear Deity of Christ in the earliest writings after canonical texts, such as Ignatius, and the development of Tertullian, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athansisus, the Cappadocian fathers, Augustine, Hillary - on the Trinity, it seems clear that it was proper theological development.

But other things are improper theological development - as I mentioned above, the Roman Catholic distinctives from Protestantism and their centuries later dogmas and doctrines.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Yesterday afternoon, you responded to my question with the following:

==the first two choices are the same thing - the Divine essence shared between the three persons is the Trinity.==

I disagree—persons have a nature, but are not the nature itself—i.e. the Three (trias, trinitas) have a divine nature, but their personhood is not the Divine nature itself.

You then wrote:

==I don't really understand why it is so important to keep saying "only God the Father is the one true God";==

I emphasize this because the Bible, many Church Fathers and the Nicene Creed do so.

==and yet the Word/Son and the Holy Spirit have the same nature = homo-ousias - seems obvious that they necessarily leads to the three persons and one substance, since there is only one God.==

Earlier you said that the Divine nature and the Trinity is/are the one God. Jesus Christ is the Son of God—i.e. Son of the one God—as such, following your assertion, this would mean that Jesus is the Son of the Divine nature and the Trinity!!!

I affirm the Biblical teaching that Jesus is the Son of the "one God, the Father" (1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6).

This morning, you posted:

==But when you look at how the theology of the Trinity developed out of the Biblical text, combined with heresies and questions that arose in the first 4-5 centuries, the doctrine of the Trinity arose from the text and subsequent heresies, rebellious spirits (the original meaning of "heresy" is a factious spirit of always wanting to "fight". - why the apostle wrote, "it is necessary for factions / heresies to be among you, in order that those who are approved (confirmed, right) might be manifest / obvious" 1 Corinthians 11:19==

I am in agreement with everything you said in the above selection. I am not aware of any Church Father in those "first 4-5 centuries" who denied the opening words of the Nicene Creed—"We believe in one God, the Father". I am not aware of any Church Father in those "first 4-5 centuries" who denied that the Father is the fount of Divinity, and that the Son and Holy Spirit owe their existence to Him.

I have more to say, but it will have to wait until this afternoon, the Lord willing.


Grace and peace

David

Ken Temple said...

—as such, following your assertion, this would mean that Jesus is the Son of the Divine nature and the Trinity!!!

No, obviously Jesus is the eternal Son of God the Father. (John 17:5)


David,
I think what you are getting at concerning the Monarchy of the Father is what the debate is about within Protestant circles in the last few years, over the eternal subordination of the Son and the eternal generation of the Son. (see the link)
That link is easier to understand than your many articles on the Monarchy of the Father. Whenever I started to read them; I eventually give up because they are too etherial or mysterious to understand. (Maybe I am just not that smart.)

I am amazed at your knowledge of church history and historical theology, so you are indeed a rare person; and also gracious in your demeanor, so I appreciate that about you.

The Father as Father and the Son as the Son are eternal characteristics of their personhood into the past.

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/06/another-thirteen-evangelical-t.php

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks much for the kind words and the link. Wayne Grudem wrote:

==My response is to say that I have simply understood the Nicene Creed in the sense that many widely-respected evangelical scholars have understood it, including the great Princeton theologian Charles Hodge, the great church historian Philip Schaff, and the highly regarded historian Geoffrey Bromiley (see the quotations at the end of this article). They all used the language of "subordination" of the Son to the Father in relationship, but not in essence or deity.==

To the above, I would add the issue of etiology (i.e. causality) and autotheos. The Son and HS owe their existence to the Father, and the Father alone is God in and of Himself.

In one of my more recent threads on Augustine, I wrote:

>>Though Augustine does in fact term the Trinity "one God", it is not to the exclusion that the Father is in a unique sense "one God", "God alone", "God only", "the Supreme One", "sole Principle", "Principle without principle", et al. Augustine also repeatedly informs us that it is the Father alone, who is the beginning/source of the Son of God.>> [LINK]

In another thread concerning Augustine, I provide a number of quotes from his writings which clearly demonstrate the importance of causality in his Trinitarian thought:

Augustine - on the causality of the Son from the Father and the monarchy of God the Father

As for the issue of authotheos, I would like to remind you of an older AF thread that you participated in:

The Early Church Fathers on autotheos

Hope you have the time to read through the above threads. If you have any questions, please let me know.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Hi Dave...Ken...

Autotheos...Do we agree on a meaning? I think it means any divine Person whose divine existence is independent of any other person.

In no way does reserving autotheos to the Father, alone diminish the divine nature of other Persons to whom the Father communicated His own nature. I think this is the crux of what makes some stumble at one Autotheos. They have a fear that this make the Son and Spirit in some respect, "less God" than the Father. Rather than thinking of the Son and Spirit being less, we should ponder the love and generosity of the Father who communicates His Own Fulness to the other Two.

And from this derives the fantastic truths of the Holy Catholic faith, wherein we are wonderstruck at what the Son and Spirit do in order that we may be adopted as children of the Father. The only purpose for creation is so that God can continue to communicate His own divine nature, only this time to creatures whose capacity to receive it are limited, but who receive as much as they are able. God delights to be with the children of men? It boggles the mind.

In the link, I was impressed with how "Ryan" explained the problems with attributing autotheos to the 2nd and 3rd Persons of the Trinity. Ken, because you thought it was helpful at the time, I would like to quote part of it in my next post which will follow immediately...

Rory

Rory said...

From the link about Autotheos and the Early Fathers, Ryan explains:

Is there an appropriate sense in which the Son and Spirit can be called "God"? Sure. That's also Scripturally attested. But the reason they can be called God isn't because they are God of themselves, it's because they, like the Father, are divine persons (or distinct but inseparable deities, if you prefer). Hence, Trinitarianism. That's only one half of the equation, though. The Father alone can be referred to as God of Himself, and that's the other half - i.e. monotheism. That's a distinct meaning of "God" in Scripture, or so the argument goes.

Also, if you don't deny eternal Sonship, then regardless of the meanings of those passages, you must have an explanation - if you accept the Son is autotheos and thus reject that the divinity of the Son is eternally received from the Father - as to why the second person of the Trinity is the "Son" and the first person is the "Father." What is it about their relationship which demands we view one as the Father and the other as the Son, if both really are, contrary to the ECFs, autotheos? Is the relationship arbitrary? Is the view a kind of eternal adoptionism in which the persons just assume these properties? Or what?

Hope that clarifies matters on our side a bit.
September 2, 2015 at 3:41 PM
Ken said...

Yes, that is helpful and clarifies.

But, it is a difficult concept to explain.


Rory
If you still think autotheos is hard to explain, you should try explaining a plurality of autotheos in light of Apostolic revelation and the Creed of Nicea, since it seems that you accept it!

Rory said...

St. Ambrose is a monumental figure in the Catholic Church. He was St. Augustine's mentor and I am developing a bit of a devotion to him. My wife and I were privileged to visit the archaeological digs beneath the beautiful Cathedral of Milan a couple of years ago, and we saw the baptistery where Augustine had received the Sacrament from Ambrose.

Anyway...Ambrose wrote a beautiful hymn that in the first part I want to share because it clearly teaches autotheos for the Father exclusively in the first verse. First in Latin...because the translation is necessarily prosy, but I will give the English after.

He begins by singing praise to the Son, before appealing to the Son to help us to invoke His true Father:

Splendor Paternae gloriae,
De luce lucem proferens,
Lux lucis et fons luminis,
Diem dies illuminans.

O brightness of the Father's glory! bringing light from the light. Thou light of light and fount of light, and day that illuminest the day!

I need this to be able to understand how St. Paul could say..."Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (I Cor. 8:6)

Paul has been criticising polytheism in the context. Why does Paul single out the Father when He speaks in the context of monotheism? I would suggest it is because it is from the Father that the other Persons of the Trinity derive, not their own unique divinity, but rather the same divinity as is the Father's in its fulness with no diminution. If the other two persons are also autotheos, how can St. Paul say to us there is but one God, and it is the Father?

Rory

TOm said...

Ken, you are a polytheist because (if) you adopt the view that Christ is autotheos that means that you believe in multiple independent deities AND are at odds with the original understanding of Christianity for many centuries. I am not sure if it was mentioned in the link, but I am pretty sure David discussed it elsewhere; Calvin was the first to posit that Christ was autotheos; he is a polytheist too. Rory’s quote of Ryan is appropriate here. I suspect your response will be, “but I believe in monoousian!” This is mere words. There is “no homoousian is monoousian but is not modalism” explanation that works. The best you can do is say “it is a mystery.” Well, I do not resort to such a claim when I say I am a monotheist, but if such a claim is valid argumentation, then “I am a monotheist. How is a mystery!” Truth is, I am a monotheist because I believe God the Father is the “fount of divinity,” AND because I believe “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one.” But I am sure there are aspects of this that are beyond my ability to understand or explain so “mystery.” But not a mystery that can be shown to violate the law of non-contradiction (I do not believe your position can be shown to not violate the law of non-contradiction).

Over the last couple of years, it has become clear to me that monoousian was not the position of the bulk of folks at Nicea. It was not the position of the Fathers at Chalcedon. David’s recent threads have further suggested that not even Athanasius, the hero of Bennet’s book, held this view. There are many modern Catholic and Protestant scholars who claim that the Father’s at Chalcedon believed that Christ was homoousian with the Father in the “numeric sense” and Christ was homoousian with us in the “generic” sense. I further submit that the change in creed said by Catholics in 2011 is further evidence that the authority of the Catholic Church insists upon homoousian in the numeric sense when it relates to the Father and Son.

This position should be rejected by:
1. Those who believe the deposit of faith (scripture and Tradition) contained ALL truth. David is showing that the Tradition holds that Father and Son are at most homoousian in the generic sense and it was MUCH later that it became a mark of orthodoxy (for Bryan Cross and MANY others) that the numeric sense must be embraced.
2. Those who do not believe the Bishops as successors of the Apostles can DEVELOP/CHANGE theology. The introduction of the word homoousian was a DEVELOPMENT produced by folks who claimed authority through their link to the Apostles (not because they were intellectually superior or had a degree).
3. And those who believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. And I do reject it.

Speaking of authority. I do not recognize Piper as an authority. I have read many of the ECF. I have studied translation effects and read secondary sources. Piper does not get to tell me that “up is down.” I actually lost track of what Piper was to show me, but I cannot fathom he can show me that the Bible demands that Father and Son are homoousian in the numeric sense.


Cont…

TOm said...

Finally, what does the Bible say?
You briefly quoted me and then responded.


Ken:
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ prayed for His followers to become one as He and His Father were one.
Obviously, since we are creatures / creations - we are not God or "gods" or the Creator, so He does not mean becoming one in essence but a fellowship / relationship of communion as adoptive sons. We are sons and daughters of God by adoption, not essence. (Ephesians chapter 1, Galatians 4, Romans 8, etc.
We become "conformed to the image of His Son" Romans 8:29, as we grow in sanctification and holiness - in character in the communicable attributes of God, not His incommunicable attributes. 2 Peter 1:4 is talking about holiness through the Holy Spirit and growing in character (holiness and love), not some kind of a deification, etc.



TOm:
No, it is not an argument to claim “obviously …”
There is no passage in the Bible that offers MORE information on HOW God the Father and God the Son are ONE than the 2 places (I think) in John 17.
We agree that:
1. According to the Bible there is one God!
2. According to the Bible Christ is divine (I think this is the best read of the Bible, but this PURELY from the Bible is less strong than some suppose, but I believe it so I only mention this to be ornery and to show that Bible does not create a theology via sola scriptura).
3. According to the Bible Christ and the Father are not the same person (again, I think this is less well supported PURELY from the Bible than you must, but we agree).
From the above 3 things if one is interested in theology (or making creedal statements) we must ask “How can the Son be divine (and the Father is divine) and yet there is one God.” HOW this ONENESS exists is never explained in the Bible, but the passages in John 17 give MORE information for HOW this oneness exists than ANY OTHER PASSAGE in the Bible.

John 17 makes it clear that whatever ONENESS that exists between the Father and the Son can also exist between Christ’s disciples. The Bible never speaks of a ONENESS that exists between God the Father and God the Son that mankind is not INVITED into. NEVER. One could argue that there are divine attributes that are contrasted with human attributes and the perhaps we will NEVER have this or that divine attribute, but God’s oneness with Christ IS NOT AMONG any possibly incommunicable divine attributes.

Also, if the Bible says Christ is in the “image” of the Father and we are to be conformed to the “image” of Christ, it is most consistent to believe that we are in relation to the Father just as Christ is in relation to the Father. I believe two things:
1. Christ’s perfect union with the Father has never been compromised by sin as has our union with Christ and the Father has. It will be factually true to state that Christ perfect union with the Father has never been compromised by sin as our future perfect union with Christ and the Father was in the PAST been compromised by forgiven/atone/graced-away sin.
2. In some future union with the Father and the Son, it will be true that we were lifted up and were not eternally sinless, but it will not be discussed, mentioned, thought about. Just like those accepted by Grace within in God-fearing Church, our past sins will be as far as the East is from the West. This is full-deification. This is what we are called to enter into and to become. Christ became what we are so we may become what He is. Not some flawed knock-off image, but what He is (omnipotent, omniscient, one with the Father, …).

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Yes, I remember that discussion.

Let's just say that because of this ongoing discussion on these issues, I see more clearly the problem with Calvin's "autotheos" for the Son and the Holy Spirit.

if one affirms the eternal generation of the Son /Word out from the Father, and the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit out from the Father, then the full Deity of the other 2 persons is protected; against Arianism and Modalism and Tropici (the group that Athanasius wrote against who denied the Deity of the Holy Spirit).

I see more and more what David means by the Monarchy of the Father; but my brain hurts when I try to read too much of this stuff.

Do any Reformed theologians discuss these issues of Calvin's "autotheos" of the Son and HS vs. the Monarchy of the Father?

Rory said...

Tom...

How did the Church change the Creed in 2011? I believe you. But it doesn't affect users of the old missal and I missed it.

Rory said...

Ken,

I know how you feel. I can't understand that generic/numeric business and the homo word. I know I believe one of them, but I don't know which.

TOm said...

My 7:34AM post should have began:


Hello Ken and Rory and David …

A lot to comment on (mostly to Ken, a little to Rory, and David should moderate the finality/certainty with which I state my case as I am sure it has chinks in it).
First, an easy one.
TOm was a typo in 1996 when I first started doing email for work. I decided that being TOm was a good way to distinguish myself from all the other Tom’s at work.

Next, I have said I am a monotheist and I am.


Then I would jump in to being obnoxious and saying the rest beginning with:
Ken, you are a polytheist because (if) you adopt the view that Christ is autotheos that means that you believe in multiple independent deities AND are at odds with the original understanding of Christianity for many centuries.

Charity, TOm

TOm said...

Rory,
"One in being with"
was changed to
"consubstantial with."

You would have always used the Latin term that is almost "consubstantial" (it is a cognate).

If the Catholic Chruch meant that Christ was consubstantial with the Father in the same way that Christ is consubstantial with mankind, there would be easier ways of clarifying it that adding in a Latin word nobody understands (remember these are post-Vatican II folks who want that mass in the vernacular).

I do not think many modern Catholics reject the idea that Christ is consubstantial with the Father in the numeric sense.
Charity, TOm

Here is article I quickly found there are probably better ones:
https://www.ncronline.org/news/new-missal-overview-changes

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Earlier today, you asked:

==Do any Reformed theologians discuss these issues of Calvin's "autotheos" of the Son and HS vs. the Monarchy of the Father?==

The Reformed Baptist professor, Sam Waldron, has a series of 18 articles which are germane to the monarchy of God the Father; see THIS LINK.

In my three part series, "John Calvin on the Trinity" 'an epoch in the history of the doctrine of the Trinity' ???", I cite a few Reformed folk who delve into the issue of autotheos and the related issue of whether or not the Father communicates the divine essence to the Son: PART ONE; PART TWO; PART THREE.

Those who take the time to read through the material referenced above (and the essays linked to therein) will discern two distinct schools of thought within the Reformed tradition: one that sides with B.B. Warfield's in depth research which maintains that Calvin did not believe that God the Father communicated the divine essence to the Son; and a second, which rejects Warfield's assessment.

I think Warfield's reading of Calvin on this issue is the correct one...


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Thanks David,
I remember now that you mentioned those 2 before - Sam Waldron and B.B. Warfield.
They were quite daunting for me, and then I forgot about them for a while.
Lord willing, I am going to be working through that material.

I seem to always get stopped by life and work - because it is so deep and requires so much time and effort and also probably some money to get the printed / book materials.

Ken

Ken Temple said...

First, an easy one.
TOm was a typo in 1996 when I first started doing email for work. I decided that being TOm was a good way to distinguish myself from all the other Tom’s at work.


Thanks for explaining that.

Next, I have said I am a monotheist and I am.

That does not make sense; as Mormonism is a polytheistic religion - millions of "gods" through eternal progression. The leaders of Mormonism said God (Elohim) once had a body and was from the planet Kolob, etc. - lots of Mormon writers over the years implied the "god" had sex with Mary and procreated Jesus, etc.
That Jesus and Lucifer are "spirit brothers".


Then I would jump in to being obnoxious and saying the rest beginning with:
Ken, you are a polytheist because (if) you adopt the view that Christ is autotheos that means that you believe in multiple independent deities AND are at odds with the original understanding of Christianity for many centuries.


I never even heard of "autheos" until I first encountered the discussion here and David Waltz' material.

I believe the Word / Son as the Son is eternal (John 1:1 and 17:5) and always has been eternally generated out of the Father, the Spirit also eternally proceeding. Three persons in relationships, roles, function; in one essence / substance/ being - One God in three persons.

Even those that believe that (from what I can gather to the deeper levels of what David is reporting on), still believe in One God (one nature/ substance/essence) in three eternal persons.
Trinitarian Monotheism.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Don't know if you read the comments in the last AF thread, but Tom mentioned the following:

==I will be heading to Europe in a couple of days. Last time I was in Europe I didn’t see any evidence they even knew what the Internet was (ok it was 1991 and I only knew how to send emails and telnet to other colleges). Still, I have no idea what I will find and it will not be my first or second priority to post here. I hope to say hello again in the last week of July or first week of August if I do not find any time or good access. I find it a little more likely I will be able to read here, but at the very least I will catch up when I am back.==


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...

Hello Ken and all from Italy!
Two quick responses.
1. You are inconsistent when you suggest my monotheism is impacted by Mormonism, Joseph Smith, and (especially) your perception of Mormonism/Joseph. You believe salvation is dedicated upon accepting the real Jesus, the real Trinity. I have defined my understanding of the Trinity and you seem blinded by your hatred of Mormonism. You do not believe "there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church," or any other tenet that results in judging my orthodox by some authority you accept or reject.
2. You seem to be willing to let John Calvin invent structures that are polytheistic according to Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and some Protestant scholars and yet blindly defend his monotheism will claiming to not understand what he believes. When I explain what I believe you just say, "you are a Polytheist because Mormonism ..." Why do you "worship" Calvin such that you defend his monotheism even when he says polytheistic things and condemn my monotheism despite me saying monotheistic things. Something is amiss here!
I believe about the Trinity what the ECF believes. I believe about the Trinity what many EO theologians believe.
I should mention that your assessment of my monotheistic bonafides does not IMO have an impact upon my salvation, but I want to jar/shake you from what appears inconsistent to me.
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

Hi TOm,
Thanks for your response.

Does Mormonism teach that God was once a man with a physical body and later became a god?

I have heard that Mormonism rejects the Nicean Creed aspect of creation by God ex nihilo (out of nothing) - Is that not true?

What about all the teachings of your leaders, especially both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, that God was once a man, etc. and that males evolve into "gods" and what about the planet Kolab and other related doctrines, etc. ?

As I wrote before, I did not even know about "autoTheos" and Calvin's view until I first saw it here at David's blog. (a few years ago)
The Trinity is one God, eternal, by substance/nature/essence, in three divine eternal persons. (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

There seems to be nuance between how one understands the differences between "the Monarchy of the Father", "the eternal generation of the Son", and "eternal functional subordination".

Before getting into the issues you raise, I cannot understand how Mormonism is monotheistic, since there are millions of "gods" into eternity past, that men evolve into "gods" and planets, etc. - eternal intelligences, "spirits" (gods) etc. and the teachings of distinctions between Elohim, Jehovah, and Lucifer and Jesus as spirit brothers, and God having sex with Mary - these things were all taught by all of your leaders (combining and mixing all of your leaders and statements together, not all teachings from all of your prophets all at one time, but rather the cumulative effect of Mormonism, since it believes in living prophets and ongoing revelation and ability to change it's past "revelations" (for example, the change about blacks being able to be in the priest hood and the change from polygamy being central to the early practice of Mormonism and part of the doctrinal structure that males evolve into "gods" and will procreate a planet in the future and have celestial wives (plural), etc. - to be being forced to give up polygamy by the US. Government), etc.

to claim that all those polytheistic teachings, etc. are not official doctrine, seems to be a tricky disingenuous thing, (sorry, I mean no personal offense; it is just that the claim that Mormonism is not polytheism does not pass the smell test), since Mormonism for pretty much 100 years was built upon ongoing revelation, living prophets / leaders / and polytheism and males evolving into "gods", etc.

Ken Temple said...

David,
In reading your post of Calvin and the Trinity, autotheos, etc.

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2015/10/john-calvin-on-trinity-epoch-in-history.html

Overall, it is very deep and takes a while to chew and cogitate on it . . .

This quote struck me -

Far from being more or less the same as its Catholic counterpart, Reformation theology is distinguished from it by a number of characteristics, of which the following are the most significant. First, the Reformers believed that the essence of God is of secondary importance in Christian theology. (Gerald Bray, The Doctrine of God, 1993, pp. 197, 198 - bold emphasis mine.)

The Reformers believed the essence of God is of secondary importance ??? What was first in importance? Is that a misquote?

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Yesterday, you asked the following:

==The Reformers believed the essence of God is of secondary importance ??? What was first in importance? Is that a misquote?==

It is not a misquote. Here is a bit more context:

>>First, the Reformers believed that the essence of God is of secondary importance in Christian theology. They did not deny that God has an essence, or reject the type of description found in John of Damascus or the mediaeval Scholastics. They certainly did not speculate that God is a dipolar source of energy, in the in the manner of process theology. They said only that God speaks sparingly of his essence, because he wants us to focus our attention and our worship elsewhere (Calvin, Institutes, I.13.1).>> [The Doctrine of God, p. 199.]

Dr. Bray continues with:

<<...the Reformers reacted against Scholasticism from a mystical, or semi-mystical background, the details of which are still only imperfectly understood. But although there is a good deal of truth in this assumption, one very important qualification has been made. Unlike the mystics, the Reformers did not preach a transcendent union of the soul with God by way of ecstatic experience(s). >> [Ibid. p. 199.]

I get the impression that Dr. Bray is writing under the assumption that his readers have a solid understanding of Scholasticism—unfortunately, I sincerely doubt that this is actually the case for a good number of folk who purchased and read his book.

With that said, I think the main point one can come away with is that Reformers did not want to speculate as much as some of the Scholastics had done concerning the Divine essence, placing their emphasis instead on the Divine persons.

Hope this has been helpful. Please feel free to ask more questions on this important topic if you are led to do so.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello Tom and Ken,

First, so good to hear from you Tom. Hope your European adventure is going well. Second, don't want to interfere with the dialogue you two are having, but I did want to share a couple of important contributions concerning creatio ex nihilo:

Creatio ex Nihilo - James Noel Hubler

Creatio Ex Nihilo - Gerhard May


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

I admit I have had a hard time understanding "scholasticism", when I look up explanations and definitions of it. It demands too much delving deeply into it in order to understand it.

thanks for your answer. I had no idea he was referring to scholasticism or mystical experience. The quote by itself does not give any clues towards those things.

Ken Temple said...

When I read all the quotes from all the Mormon sources and leaders throughout history, and listened and watched these 2 presentations, and read these books, it is crazy to claim that Mormonism is somehow Monotheistic.

You cannot claim, "those are not canonical / infallible", etc. because the whole Mormon religion is based on ongoing revelation and ability to change and update and it claims to have living prophets and apostles.

You cannot disassociate from Joseph Smith's words nor Brigham Young nor Alonso Snow, Talmage, Kimbal, Ezra Taft Benson, etc.


https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/understanding-mormonism/

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I suspect that Tom is quite busy with his family in Europe, so until he returns, thought I would share a few my thoughts on your last few posts.

You wrote:

==Does Mormonism teach that God was once a man with a physical body and later became a god?==

First, the CoJCoLDS teaches that Jesus Christ was fully God (i.e. one of the members of the Godhead) before his birth on Earth via the Virgin Mary.

Second, the CoJCoLDS takes John 5:19 quite literally, such that they believe:

"The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."

This means the CoJCoLDS maintains that though the Father is God, he too in the past took on a human body in the manner his Son did.

== I have heard that Mormonism rejects the Nicean Creed aspect of creation by God ex nihilo (out of nothing) - Is that not true?==

Yes, the CoJCoLDS rejects creatio ex nihilo.

-- What about all the teachings of your leaders, especially both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, that God was once a man, etc. and that males evolve into "gods"...==

The CoJCoLDS emphatically affirms the doctrine of deification, accepting as a truism the following from Lorenzo Snow:

"As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be."

Many folk (LDS and non-LDS), have discerned a similarity between the above and the following from Athanasius:

"For He was made man that we might be made God." (On the Incarnation, 54 - NPNF, second series, 4.65).

== The Trinity is one God, eternal, by substance/nature/essence, in three divine eternal persons. (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)==

Note the following from the LDS quad:

1 John 5:7 - For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

2 Nephi 31:21b - ...this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

Alma 11:44b - ...and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

3 Nephi 11:36 - And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

Mormon 7:7 - And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.

D&C 20: 27, 28 - As well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son; Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.

Time for a run on the beach and a workout. More later, the Lord willing...


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

This means the CoJCoLDS maintains that though the Father is God, he too in the past took on a human body in the manner his Son did.

Thanks David for answering my questions.

I will say more, later, about other statements, Lord willing, but this statement alone proves that that Mormonism (CJC of LDS) is a false religion, heresy, and not Christianity at all.


TOm said...

Hello Ken and David.

I woke up in Paris yesterday morning (well, now it has been a few days, but started this post a while ago), and arrived in Maryland about 24 hours ago! It is good to be able to sleep in my bed and I have missed ice (simple ice in my drinks). Other than this (and really including this as neither of these are horrible things), I think I could stay on vacation for much longer (if I could afford it, if our French hosts didn’t get sick of us, if my family and I didn’t need to get back to our lives, and …). It was wonderful!



As usual, I do not think I could answer Ken’s questions to me better than David did. Let me explain what I see. I am intentionally provocative and I really do not think I will change Ken’s mind, but he bangs upon my church in areas were we are not weak at all, just different from his “God is as Ken thinks God must be” perception. Provocative begins one sentence ago {grin}.



In response to me suggesting to Ken that he is inconsistent (and likely grossly biased) when he rejects my claim to be a monotheist and without understanding the claims of folks like John Calvin is fully confident that he is sufficiently monotheistic; Ken asked a number of question about positions LDS leaders (and in many cases I myself) embrace. David responded to most of these questions with comments that in MY ESTIMATION defused much of the intended, “Mormons are polytheists” aspects of the questions.



Ken picked out a small section of David’s response that IMO has little to do with polytheism or monotheism and then quoted it.



David said and Ken quoted:

This means the CoJCoLDS maintains that though the Father is God, he too in the past took on a human body in the manner his Son did.

Ken replied:

Thanks David for answering my questions.
I will say more, later, about other statements, Lord willing, but this statement alone proves that that Mormonism (CJC of LDS) is a false religion, heresy, and not Christianity at all.





TOm’s response:

No, the above aspect of the teachings of the CoJCoLDS as understood by Blake Ostler and me ONLY means that we do not conform to the Christianity as developed over centuries. It is my position that Ken’s version of Christianity departed from the truth God offered to the inspired writers of the Bible. I believe the author of John 5:19 was inspired by the same divine source Joseph Smith was when he used that scripture to explain that God the Father “in the past took on a human body in the manner his Son did.” I believe that Blake Ostler’s understanding of the King Follett Discourse and the Sermon in the Grove is more consistent with what I view (and LDS general authorities have explained) as the binding revelations of the CoJCoLDS than is some of the other interpretation of the KFD and SitG (other interpretations here being those embraced by faithful believing LDS as those matter MUCH more when trying to understanding what the CoJCoLDS believes rather than what is imputed upon us by critics).



I have no desire to remake the CoJCoLDS into some form of Protestantism or some form of Catholicism. I believe that there are divine truths only understood by LDS because we have more scriptures and respect for the divine inspiration of past LDS leaders. That being said, the Bible is inspired scripture and when LDS thought is inconsistent with the Bible there needs to be some kind of reconciliation. Catholic, Protestant, EO, and all Bible believing Christians have theological teachings that are not supported in the text of the Bible but must instead be reconciled through some extra Biblical arguments or explanations. The Bible vs. the Bible has these problems too. One of the BIG DIFFERENCES for LDS and Catholics when we offer these "reconciliations" is that we believe that the source of our theology is not ONLY that Bible. Protestants have no good IMO reason to depart from the clear teaching of the Bible and yet they do.

An example of this departure from the Bible .... cont ....

TOm said...

Concerning our current monotheism discussion:

I find the WAY Catholics and Protestants believe God to be ONE to be more at odds with the Bible than almost anything I believe as a LDS. The Bible has a SINGLE phrase (repeated 2x I think) that gives us more information about HOW God the Father and God the Son are one and yet Catholics and Protestants insist upon relegating John 19 to an irrelevant status when it comes to defining HOW God the Father and God the Son are one. John 19 is IGNORED and philosophical ideas are elevated in its place (at least the Catholics claim Tradition and divine authority to do this, Protestants just follow the Catholics while rejecting the importance of authority and Tradition).



Anyway, I submit that when Ken says, “this statement alone proves that that Mormonism (CoJCoLDS) is a false religion, heresy, and not Christianity at all,” what he really means is that the CoJCoLDS does not conform to HIS views of what “religion, orthodoxy, and Christianity” should be. Furthermore, his views are more informed by the theological decisions of the first 7 centuries than by the Bible despite what is claimed by non-Catholic Christians. And it has little to do with how monotheistic my concept of God is!

Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

TOm wrote:
. . . yet Catholics and Protestants insist upon relegating John 19 to an irrelevant status when it comes to defining HOW God the Father and God the Son are one. John 19 is IGNORED and philosophical ideas are elevated in its place . . .

How is John 19 ignored or relegated to an irrelevant status?


Did you mean John 5:19 both times?

Ken Temple said...

From Joseph Smith's King Follet Discourse:

(commenting on Genesis 1:1 and the Hebrew phrase, "in the beginning" בְּרֵאשִׁית (Be-Rosh-it)

he takes out the word, Rosh and butchers it into polytheism:


"I should not have introduced this testimony were it not to back up the word Rosh, the head, Father of the Gods."

There you have it. Mormonism is polytheism. Full stop. period. boom!

David Waltz said...

Hi Tom,

So good to hear that you have returned home safely—welcome back !!!

I suspect that you are going to be quite busy over the next few days. But, with that said, after you have had a chance to respond to Ken, I would like to suggest that you take a look at my last post here at AF:

Seer Stone v. Urim and Thummim

And a related thread I recently started over at MDDB:

The paradigm shift concerning the translation of the Book of Mormon


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You mentioned a phrase from the BOA: "the head, Father of the Gods".

You seem to suggest that this type of phrase is not to be found in the Bible. However, it sure seems to me that near equivalents permeate the Bible. Note the following:

"For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:" (Deut. 10:17)

"O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalm 136:2)

"I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." (Psalm 82:6 - see also John 10:34)

"Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God..." (Acts 17:29)


Grace and peace,

David

TOm said...

Sorry. I ment John 17.

In two places, the oneness of the Father and the Son are referenced. This is a oneness that the disciples COULD achieve.

Theologians who care to use the Bible to understand truths about God have no other scripture that gives us info (more info perhaps) on HOW God is one.

Protestant and Catholic theologians insisted on a Trinitarian oneness that ignores this scripture. I think this is wrong in principle and perverting of the truth.
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

"For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:" (Deut. 10:17)

same for Psalm 136:2

Obviously, according to reason, logic, and the rest of Scripture, according to proper exegesis and hermeneutics, he does not mean that those "gods" are real gods that exist, but the false gods / idols / idols of the mind / creations of man in false religions (animism, Greek mythology, paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) - God is the one true Creator God over the false gods / idols of humans.

Psalm 96:5 (and I Chronicles 16:26)

"For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens."

a note on that verse in my NASB even says that idols means: "non-existent things"

ESV says "worthless idols"

Ken Temple said...

Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34 is not affirming that other gods exist, rather it is a rebuke to the judges and leaders of the world who are unjust - unjust rulers / dictators - leaders whose pride makes them think they are gods.

God takes His stand in His own congregation;
He judges in the midst of the rulers.

2 How long will you judge unjustly
And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.
3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.


Obviously God is rebuking these rulers in the world, including and especially rulers in Israel, who are so proud and look down on others and do not do justice nor help the weak or orphans or the needy or the poor.
Obviously God is rebuking political leaders / judges.

5 They do not know nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are sons of the Most High.

"I said" shows God is mocking them by calling them that, even though they are not really gods.

7 “Nevertheless you will die like men
And fall like any one of the princes.”


This proves that God is mocking and rebuking humans - they will die - because they are men / human, like any other prince (political leader, son of a king, warrior in a war, etc.)


8 Arise, O God, judge the earth!
For it is You who possesses all the nations.

Shows God is talking about not only Israel, but the whole earth and all the nations - rebuking political leaders of all the nations.

John 10:34
Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6 to show that He is the true Son of God, but shows that God sometimes mocks unjust leaders by calling them "gods" - Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees and leaders of Israel.

30 I and the Father are one.”

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”

33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?

35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.

John 10:30-39

35 If he called them gods,

[ He called them "gods", but they really are not gods.]

to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),

[The Scriptures came to Israelites, A Psalm of Asaph, etc. - revelation came to them - Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees and Jewish leaders - in the context - from John 10:24 - So the Jews gathered around Him . . . ]

36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

God called them "gods", but the true Son of God, that the Father truly sanctified / set apart and sent into the world - shows He is saying He is the Messiah, the Son of God. John 10:24 - "if you are the Messiah, tell us plainly"

Jesus is saying it is not blasphemy to call Himself the Son of God, since He truly is (as the rest of the gospel of John demonstrates) since the Scriptures called others, other humans (unjust leaders / judges) as "gods"

TOm said...

As a LDS I welcome plural and singular expressions concerning God / Gods.
I am as polytheistic as is/was the one who inspired Genesis. I am as monotheistic as the one who inspired Isaiah.
You are arguing with the Bible which uses a PLURAL noun.
Charity, TOm

Ken Temple said...

That is a crazy interpretation of John 5:19

(that the Father had a body, was a man before, then evolved into a god, etc.)

Jesus is saying He depends on the Father and looks to the Father for His actions on earth. - He does what the Father does on earth - that is while Jesus is on the earth - His actions and character are harmonious with the perfect character of God the Father in heaven. Jesus looks to the Father and depends on the Father.



Ken Temple said...

Jesus is saying He depends on the Father and looks to the Father who is in heaven, for His (Jesus') actions on earth (while Jesus is on the earth in the incarnation and life, death, resurrection, etc.)

TOm said...

Hello Ken!
Color me crazy! Or maybe you are? How could you possibly know.

John 5:19 says that Christ only does what He saw His Father do. I would consider that a WEAK reason to postulate that God the Father once had a body, but that is not what is at stake here. Joseph Smith receives revelation from the same source that inspired John 5:19. Thus, when Joseph Smith used John 5:19 to make a point it was a supporting source not the ONLY source. You deny extra-Biblical revelation so what you think is crazy may or may not be, but you flitting through the Bible with your personal prejudices never to be grounded by any solid knowledge.


The John 17 discussion (again not John 19 sorry) is different than the above. If the Bible is the sole source of revelation from God, my understanding of John 5:19 could be correct as could yours. But for John 17, concerning monotheism, you have inconsistently abandoned the idea that the Bible is the sole source of revelation and instead embraced philosophical speculations offered by ordained clergy from ancient days. John 17 has two passages that say that the Father and the Son are ONE in a way that the disciples can become ONE. Nobody in this discussion disputes that the Father and the Son are one. I merely assert that the “philosophical speculations” are NOT a product of the Bible and are inconsistent with the Bible (or at least not aligned without much extra-Biblical “reconciliation” with the Bible).
Charity, TOm

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Thanks for your responses. I have a very busy day planned, with little time for the internet; but before I head out of town, wanted to bring to your attention the thoughts of one of the leading Evangelical Hebrew scholars of our day—Dr. Michael S. Heiser—concerning the interpretation of Psalm 82. See the following 15 page treatment:

Should the Plural אלהים [elohim]of Psalm 82 Be Understood as Men or Divine Beings? [LINK]

See also Dr. Heiser numerous contributions concerning the "divine council" in the Bible: LINK


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

I have looked at his material before. he does not make sense, IMO. (from what I remember - "divine beings" means angels, demons, and disembodied dead humans) I confess I will need to go back and read it again, even though I don’t want to waste my time on him or his material.

I went back and read the paper you linked to. I had read it before. It gives the impression of depth and scholarly qualities, but because it does not deal at all with the context of Psalm 82 or the content of verses 2-8, it is a very shallow and inadequate study, IMO.

His other attitudes about his work, that I have seen him in interaction with others on line, made me think he is not very credible. After I looked into his views, it was overall a waste of time for me.

What does Heisner mean by “divine beings”? Is he a Monotheist?

Even if all Heisner means is "angels and demons"; that is not the LDS view that we are talking about, and gives them no real substance to substantiate their heretical views and polytheism and males being about to evolve into gods and get planets and have multiple celestial wives and populate another planet. What a crazy religion!!

“Divine beings” = ? ; angels ?, angels and demons ? if so, they are created beings and not literally “gods”.

Why does he put forth and emphasize "divine beings" rather than the more clear terms of "angels and demons" ?

He seems to want to just get people to read his whole argument. He goes into a deep word study of the Hebrew word of Elohim and it's uses of plurality, etc. and canaanite parallels, YET he avoided any contextual study of verses 2-8 !!!

In John 10:35, he seems to ignore or downplay the phrase "to/ toward whom the word of God came".

εἰ ἐκείνους εἶπεν θεοὺς πρὸς οὓς ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐγένετο καὶ οὐ δύναται λυθῆναι ἡ γραφή
“If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),

Revelation came to the Jews -not just the law /Torah / 5 books of Moses (Jesus is calling Psalm 82 "law" (τῷ νόμῳ) there in John 10:34, so He means all of the OT written revelation - 10:34 - "written in your law" - Scriptures, the writings) but also the Psalms and the prophets - Jesus is alluding that the Pharisees should understand that they are the problem - their pride, arrogance, hypocrisy and lack of good leadership - injustice, oppression, etc.

John 10:34 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς οὐκ ἔστιν γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν ὅτι ἐγὼ εἶπα θεοί ἐστε
Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?

Heiser also does not say anything about "I said" you are gods. The text does not say they are indeed gods in reality, it says that God says / calls (mocks) them as "gods" because of their arrogance and injustice.

Heiser's view does not make sense, as the whole Psalm is a rebuke to injustice and oppression. verses 3-4 are commands to do justice. Why would God be making those kinds of ethical commands to angels and demons? Angels always obey and demons always disobey.

And Angels and demons will not die like men. (verse 7)

However, it does seem that demons are behind a lot of political powers in the world in Scripture. (Isaiah 14 (the spirit behind the arrogance of the king of Babylon), Ezekiel 28 (the spirit behind the king of Tyre - the cherub in the garden of Eden (Satan), Daniel 10, Ephesians 6:10-20)

Even that though, just makes Psalm 82 inclusive of both evil men / evil, oppressive human leaders, dictators, and demons; and it does not give any help to Mormon interpretation or theology.

It seems to be about humans who are arrogant - judges, leaders, political leaders, dictators, etc.

I am wondering David, why you are always so quick to defend Mormonism?

Ken Temple said...


This is a good review of Heiser's book, "The Unseen Realm"

https://knowingscripture.com/articles/book-review-the-unseen-realm-heiser

Ken Temple said...

Joseph Smith receives revelation from the same source that inspired John 5:19. Thus, when Joseph Smith used John 5:19 to make a point it was a supporting source not the ONLY source.

Except he did not. He was a bad character; a charlatan. Not credible.

Joseph Smith did not receive revelation from God.

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

One of the most detailed exegesis' of Psalm 8:1-8 I have read to-date is in volume 20 of The Word Biblical Commentary - Psalms 51-100, by Dr. Marvin E. Tate—who was Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY when the book was first published in 1990. His exegesis and commentary of Psalms 8:1-8 is found on pages 328-342 of the 1990 edition of which I own.

The Google Books preview of the 2018 edition (link) does not have those pages. However, a word search brought up this snippet (page 335 of the 1990 edition).

Dr. Tate fully concurs with Dr. Heiser's view that the אלהים spoken of in Psalms 8:1-8 are "divine beings" and not human judges.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Thanks for the links.

What does he mean by "divine beings"?

angels?

demons?

angels and demons?

Those are created beings, angels and fallen angels, and if he means those (angels and demons), then they are not "divine" - especially since only demons are disobedient to God.

Good angels always obey God.

If they are demons, why not just say "demons" rather than "divine beings"?

There is only one God.

"all the gods of the nations are idols" - Psalm 96:5 - that is more clear than implying some kind of polytheism or giving credence to Mormon theology.

"Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol [another god] in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
[that the unbelieving pagans and nations have created in their own minds and make idols of them - per Psalm 96:5; even modern man making other things like food, sex, lust, ambition for power, worldly success into "gods". see Colossians 3:5 . . . covetousness, greed, which amounts to idolatry."]
6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him."

I Corinthians 8:4-6 (with my comments)

Ken Temple said...

Good angels always obey God, so if it is about good angels, how can they be rebuked for the injustice, oppression, and injustice in Psalm 82:2-6 ?


Ken Temple said...

19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.

I Corinthians 10:19-20

So, there is no substanstantiation for the Mormon view of other gods. The gods of the nations are idols and behind idols are demons.

If that is what Heiser and Marvin Tate mean, then they should call them demons clearly, rather than "divine beings" - "divine" sounds too good for them.

But as I wrote earlier, there is good Scriptural evidence that demonic forces / spirits are being dictators and evil and proud political leaders (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28; Daniel 10; Ephesians 6:10-18; Luke 4:6)

"And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish."

Luke 4:6

Seems there an indication that political kingdoms have Satan behind them, as in Ezekiel 28, the fallen cherub that was in the garden of God was behind the king of Tyre.





Ken Temple said...

The demons are God's "counselors" ??

I don't think so.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? (see further: Isaiah 40:13-14; Job chapters 38-42:6) 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? (see Job 41:11) 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the responses. You wrote:

==What does he mean by "divine beings"?

angels?

demons?

angels and demons?

Those are created beings, angels and fallen angels, and if he means those (angels and demons), then they are not "divine" - especially since only demons are disobedient to God.==

"divine beings" = angels. Satan and the angels that follow him are angels.

=If they are demons, why not just say "demons" rather than "divine beings"?=

I suspect because demons are angels. Keep in mind that in the OT period ALL angels (elect and fallen) are part of the heavenly host/realm. Note the following from Job:

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them." (Job 1:6)

"Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD." (Job 2:1)

The "sons of God" are the angels; and when they assemble before Yahweh, this assembly includes both the elect and fallen angels. We know from the book of Revelation, that at some time (scholars disagree over the when) the fallen angels are banished from the heavenly assembly. I know of no scholar who argues that this banishment happened before the writing of the Psalms; as such, the "divine beings" (אלהים) spoken of in the Psalms include the elect and fallen angels.

Moving on, one the scholarly works cited by Dr. Tate in his commentary is: The Divine Council as a Type-Scene in the Hebrew Bible by D. M. Fleming. This work is Fleming's Ph.D. diss. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1989. I have tried to hunt down a digital copy of this dissertation, but have not been able to locate one online. Since you are a member of the SBC, and if I remember correctly, employed by the SBC, I am wondering if you can obtain a digital copy ?


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

I am not employed by SBC.

But I am a member of a SBC church that is Calvinistic.

I may comment on other things later.


Ken Temple said...

So if the "divine beings" are angels and demons - that does not give any weight or help to the LDS concepts of "gods" at all.

God does not take counsel from them at all. (see above Scripture)

Yes, I know about Job chapter 1 and the "sons of God" and Satan coming with them to appear before God and talk to Him.

You have seemed to try and give credence to the LDS view, but Heiser and Tate and probably others give no help for a plurality of gods.

There is only one God - those NT verses and Psalm 96:5, etc. are too clear.

Ken Temple said...

David,
No comments?

All Heisner seems to be saying is that God created angels and (some of them later became) demons - but he calls them "divine beings" - ? It gives no weight at all to the LDS theology of plurality of gods.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I am in the middle of a 10 day cruise. Will not be able to respond at length until my return. Check back in Monday evening.

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

Back from the cruise, and trying to adjust back to ‘normal life’. On 09-01-19, you posted:

==David,
No comments?

All Heisner seems to be saying is that God created angels and (some of them later became) demons - but he calls them "divine beings" - ? It gives no weight at all to the LDS theology of plurality of gods.==

Though Dr. Heiser repeatedly refers to the angels as ‘gods’ and ‘divine beings’, he also clearly does not place them on the same level as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The same holds true for the LDS Quad.

Now, with that said, I think it is important to point out that the only extant systematic treatment on theology proper by an LDS author—Blake Ostler—recognizes and affirms the distinction between the three members of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Ghost), and the other beings termed ‘gods’ in the LDS Quad. Only the Father, Son and Holy Ghost possess divinity in its fullness—those three being termed “the one God” a number of times in the LDS Quad.

Ostler’s book length treatment on this subject is his Exploring Mormon Thought – The Attributes of God - see this LINK.

Ostler also has a published essay which is an excellent summation of this thoughts on this issue - LINK.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Hey David,
Thanks,

but that still gives no weight to the plurality of gods of Mormonism, that males evolve into gods and get a planet and pro-create through plural marriage and populate planets.

You still bend over backwards to try to give credibility to this outrageous hideous false religion - that God once had a body; against creation ex nihilo, that Jesus and Lucifer were "spirit-brothers"; the planet Kolob, etc. and the problems with Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's actions and statements; and the implication of decades of "living prophets" statements that seem to clearly imply (and seemed to assert) that God the Father had sex with Mary and procreated Jesus.

The mythology type of theology that characterizes historic Mormonism (males evolving into gods, plural marriage, secret temple ceremonies, special anointed clothing, etc.), almost like Greek Mythology paganism, the millions of gods, etc. = paganism - that stuff is so incredible that it hard to want to go deeper - your method is to constantly encourage someone to read lots of stuff; and avoid the obvious ridiculous beliefs of historic Mormonism.

Why would anyone want to read Ostler when there are too many clear outrageous things that you seem to downplay and avoid?