Problems in Modern Christianity, Pt. 1: Personalism

“You just gotta have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

 

And that’s it. You’re finished. That’s all you need to do, according to Americanism. Sure, good works are nice. Throw a Mr. Five in the plate at church if you’re feeling extra lucky that day. But as long as you’ve got that personal connection down deep in your soul, you’ve punched your ticket to heaven.

 

I’m sure everyone has at least heard of this kind of religion, and many of us have experienced it firsthand. What’s wrong with it? Isn’t it true? After all, one of the defining characteristics of our Holy God is that He is in fact personal, and not an impersonal force. Christ came for sinners, individual sinners; He knows everyone of us intimately and, yes, personally. We are all different and glorious and God knows each of us and what is best for us.

So why is this personalism bad theology?

Because it is only the first half of the truth.

You were not made for you. Your purpose is not to fulfill your own desires. You were made to glorify God and bless other people. You are not defined by who you are deep down. You are defined by those around you.

If I really want to understand you, I can’t look at just you. That doesn’t even cross my mind. I want to know the music you listen to, the friends you have, the family who raised you, the church you attend, who others think you are, the books you read, the movies you watch. That is what defines you: the people you are in community with.

 

Christ does know us on an intimate level: this is what makes our God so great. No pagan even claims that their  false god is capable of this.

But what purpose does this intimate knowledge  serve? Remember what the Church is: an Army, a unified Body. An army must fight as one entity to gain any ground, yet must retain the individuality of the soldiers.

We are One Body yet many members, as Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 12 (the whole chapter). We must hold tight to unity while rejoicing in diversity.

 

And that brings me to my point: I’ve stated before that there are two errors, two ditches to fall into regarding  God. You can either say that He is One, or He is Many. The pagan mind cannot accept the Incomprehensible Glorious Mystery that is the Trinity, the Three-in-One, the ultimate marriage of plurality and singularity.

And this is how Americanism has failed: they have become far too enamored with the One aspect. They have become, in effect, Unitarians.  The Trinity, while affirmed in Word, is no longer affirmed in deed. Our churches have become caterers to the whims of individuals instead of shepherds of the whole flock.

I say again, why does our God know us personally? To what end? So that we may be strong in the Body. He raises us from dust, knows our frailty, forgives our sins, and sends us out to be warriors in the great Army of the Lord. The saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Even large armies must be made of small parts.

So while we do and should acknowledge our God’s infinite personal relationship with us, it is only the beginning of the story. If what Americanism says is true, then we could all become hermits, living alone and out of community. This is false teaching. The Christian life is about one of community. Christ died so that we might have communion with Him and the Father and the Spirit.

Do not bemean His sacrifice by only going as far as you need to for yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about others. It always has been. Do not live for yourself, live for them, as Christ does.

Advertisements

30 comments

  1. Rich

    And this is how Americanism has failed: they have become far too enamored with the One aspect.

    Interesting post. I think you are on to something here. If the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God and they are distinct persons, then surely there are 3 Gods and the ‘One aspect’ as you put it is really just good for referring to the 3 as 1 in purpose. Singular personal pronouns should really not be used of God in referring to God since there are 3 if this is true. Jesus said in John 8:17-18 that there are 2 that bear witness (not 1) when speaking of himself and the Father. When we speak about man and woman being one flesh, we still refer to the married couple as ‘them’ and ‘they’, and when they speak, they say ‘we’. How this all squares with the Old Testament could be a topic for another discussion…

    • MadDawg Scientist

      They are distinct Persons, yet one God. This is the Divine Mystery.

      So yes, good point, we should be careful what language we use to speak about the Trinity as a whole and individual Persons of the Godhead.

      “I and the Father are One.” Jesus always refers to God the Father as being the same, yet distinct from Him…it’s so hard to explain with and to the human mind, since we only have experience of multiplicity and singularity. We can’t understand or comprehend this kind of plurality and oneness together.

      So while the Oneness is important, there is a second half to the equation. God is One…but He is also Three. I think a lot of people tend to forget that, and it’s easy to do since it’s impossible to comprehend.

      • Rich

        Now when Jesus says “I and the Father are One”, do you consider it possible that he is talking about purpose? After all, Jesus later said later in the same book of John, chapter 17, that he prayed for his followers “that they may be one as we are one”. (last time I checked I didn’t find myself in the deity category). Jesus also did say “the Father is greater than I”. Of course in simple math > and < are substantially different than the = sign.

      • MadDawg Scientist

        The entire concept of the Trinity defies our explanation through “simple math.” 1+1+1=1. We say it should equal three. But it both does and doesn’t for the Trinity. Three in One. One in Three.
        All too often we find that we try and squeeze God into a box that we ourselves have created…

        Do you mean by purpose, as in “be of one mind”? If so, then yes, it is very possible, in addition to the fact of Christ’s unity in the Godhead. I don’t think it’s the main thrust of the passage, as after Christ makes the proclamation that He and the Father are One, the Jews attempt to stone Him. He had made the statement that He was God…blasphemy to their unbelieving hearts. This happens several times, especially after He says, “I AM.” Which is the covenant name of “YHWH” given to Moses. Again, Jesus states that He and the Father are the same. Of the same mind, yes, but because they are members of the Godhead (and thus will not be in disagreement).

        Are you yourself a Trinitarian?

  2. Nick House

    Yes, I’m a Trinitarian. Oh, wait, that question wasn’t directed to me, sorry. Seems to me, in my Occam’s Razor style of reasoning, that if Jesus had meant that the Father and him were one in purpose, he would have said something like “The Father and I are one in purpose.”

  3. Rich

    MadDawg,Since I am ‘sola scriptura’, I can’t seem to sync it with trinitarianism, but I’m open to being persuaded. Nick,Jesus didn’t say ‘one in purpose”, but neither did he say ‘one in essense’. When Jesus talks about his followers being one with him and the Father in John 17:21, it’s obvious he is not talking about ontological but purpose, which helps us understand what Jesus meant when he said “I and the Father are one”. We also hear Jesus saying that the Father is greater than him which has to be put in the mix.Question to any,Lets say we only had the bible (the OT) that Jesus and his disciples had, which was more than 3/4’s our current bible. Would you come to the understanding that there is one God that is one individual as the Jews over the centuries have, or would you observe and conclude that multiple persons make up who (or what) God is ?

    • MadDawg Scientist

      I also am Sola Scriptura. And the OT provides just as much validity for the Trinitarian God as the NT does. The OT has more of a focus on the Lawgiver/Judge, which is the role usually filled by the Father. However, this is not evidence AGAINST the three-in-one.
      I don’t really want to get into a Trinitarian discussion here, but neither do I want to leave this question unanswered.
      One thing that’s very important to realize is that there is no discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments. Jesus did not come to replace the Law and the Prophets. So the fact that they only had the OT as their book doesn’t change anything. The OT looks forward to the time when Christ will come, and the NT is a record of that realization of the Incarnation.

      God cannot be other than Trinitarian. A unitarian god has no frame of reference outside himself. Allah is One. No other. So in the act of Creation by a unitarian god, a new relationship is created, a relationship that did not exist before. This means that the creator is dependent on his creation in some way to define himself. And therefore he is not complete in himself and therefore not the God of the Bible, who needs no one outside Himself to exist.
      With the Trinity, in Creation, a new relationship is in fact created, but not from scratch. The fact of God being Love is that He wants to share this Love, and so created an object TO love. For the Three-in-One, the Creation is simply an act of Love from a relationship that had previously existed from all time. It did not change the nature of God in any way, because He was already complete in Himself, without need of outside confirmation.
      So why one-in-three and not three separate entities? For one, because even the Old Testament that you seem to say (unless I misunderstand?) implies One God. So we have a reason from the Text itself. “Hear, O Israel, YHVH your God, YHVH is One.” Second, three separate entities obviously defies unity, as you have influences pulling from three different directions.
      So why three-in-one and not two-in-one? Why is three the number we pick? Again, from the Text, we have numerous references to the Father, the Son (or Word), and the Spirit. In addition to this, two is not a good number for the overflowing Love of the Triune God. If there are two people, and one of them gives freely to the other, the other cannot give back to anyone but the one who originally gave to him in the first place. So it’s simply an exchange: and the whole point of sacrificial, covenant Love is that it is unrepayable. We cannot pay God for our sin, neither can we repay Christ for His Sacrifice. With three people, you can turn around to the third person and bless him out of Love and without expecting repayment, and he continues the cycle of unexpecting Love.

      A god who has only himself has no one to love outside of his creation: this makes him dependent on it. For without it, he cannot love, except selfish, reflective love. Since our God is Love and the ultimate source of Love, this means He cannot, by virtue of His attributes, be simply one-in-one.

      tl;dr: Yes, the OT provides sufficient basis for a Three-in-One divine structure.

  4. Nick House

    I know a religion that has three separate gods who rule the world-Hinduism, with it’s counterfeit Trinity of Vishnu, Shiva, and Krishna. Of course this is a vast oversimplification of Hinduism, which is so complex that even its adherents don’t understand it, but you get the point.

  5. Rich

    MD, I’m glad to hear you are ‘sola scriptura’…. or at least that is your intention. I read your bloviation about the trinity which I found interesting. Let me get back to my original question:
    Lets say we only had the bible (the OT) that Jesus and his disciples had, which was more than 3/4′s our current bible. Would you come to the understanding that there is one God that is one individual as the Jews over the centuries have, or would you observe and conclude that multiple persons make up who (or what) God is ? Nick, feel free to answer as well.

    • MadDawg Scientist

      Yes I would.

      Regardless, you seem to be holding the OT in higher regard than the NT. They are both part of our Bible, the inspired Word of God. So you can’t just take one piece of it: you have to look at the whole picture. The Old Testament does support the Trinity…but so does the NT.

  6. Rich

    Not trying to put words in your mouth but if I understand you correctly – You think if you were a 1st century Jew prior to the birth of Jesus, you would be a trinitarian based upon the OT only?

    • MadDawg Scientist

      The Jews definitely believed that the Messiah was the Son of God and God Himself…which is why they responded so strongly when Jesus claimed that He was indeed the Messiah. They believed the Messiah would come violently and sweep the Romans out of Israel by the sword. They were not prepared for the message of humbleness and peace that Jesus brought, the message of conquering by laying down your own life.
      So 1st century Jews had already turned from the truth…but prior to that, yes, I think they were Trinitarian based solely on the Word given to them…there is absolutely no disconnect between the Old and New Testaments. To be honest, really there should not even be a distinction in our printings because it creates a mental divide.

      Interestingly enough, my next post in this series will deal with how the OT is often ignored in Americanism. You seem to be swinging to the other end of the spectrum (not to imply you are ignoring the NT).

  7. Rich

    prior to that, yes, I think they were Trinitarian based solely on the Word given to them

    Wow! That is a bold claim. What are a few of those passages that Jews would have read from the OT to understand that God consists of multiple persons (especially 3)? (to counter the clear and obvious writing to the contrary). Do you really think Abraham, Moses, Daniel, David and Solomon were triniatrians? – and do you have any verse(s) to back that up?

    • MadDawg Scientist

      Using a different reference than the term usually used for God:

      And the earth was without form, and void, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters – Genesis 1:2

      An obvious reference to two people, both of whom are God and who are different from each other:

      Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name? And what is His Son’s Name? – Proverbs 30:4

      For unto us a child is given, a Son is born, and the government shall be on His shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

      Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” – Isaiah 6:8

      Psalm 2 ; the Son to whom all will be given. Also “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand.”
      Daniel 7:13-14 ; the Son of Man who has access to the Ancient of Days and will receive all power and dominion
      Psalm 45:6-7 ; Speaking of God who has been anointed BY God
      Isaiah 63:7-17 ; All Three Persons make an appearance.

      The word for God is Elohim, which a plural noun. Not singular. Not even the dual form (used for things that come in pairs, like eye and ears, so there are more than two Persons). And yet YHVH is one, and this word is used elsewhere to not only refer to the number one, but also something as a unified whole.
      When speaking, God always uses the plural. “Let US go down…”, “Let US make man in OUR image…”, etc. And it wouldn’t be a “royal we” either. In fact, there is a reason that the “royal we” means what it does: it refers to the single office of kingship which was often represented by a king and a queen acting as a single entity.

      Answer your question? I could go on.

      As a point of interest, where in the current church denominations would you affiliate yourself? Unitarian? Arian?

  8. Rich

    Thank you. Before I reply to any thing you just said (which may be another day), I had also asked if you think Abraham, Moses, etc. were trinitarians… do you ?

  9. Rich

    You are the first person that I have found to give that answer. I was expecting you to say “no, but it has been a progressive revelation”. I appreciate your opinion, although I don’t find any merit in it. I will address one of the points you made.

    When speaking, God always uses the plural.

    Yes, there are a few times when God says “let us…”, but ALWAYS? God obviously knows what plural pronouns are, so why not continue? If there are 3 persons in God, then they would use ‘we and us’ all the time. Even when we refer to a married couple that is ‘one flesh’, we use plural pronouns for them and so do they of themselves. God has one Name used some 7800+ times in the OT and is referred to with 10,000+ singular personal pronouns, which testifies to the N’th degree of God’s singular Personhood. I have zero reason to believe that you are are 3 persons since in this discussion you are using singular personal pronouns for yourself. I don’t know if you are familiar with the NetBible, but even a group of trinitarian scholars don’t look at the ‘us’ texts as trinitarian. Here are the first 2 sentences of their commentary on Gen 1:26 – The plural form of the verb has been the subject of much discussion through the years, and not surprisingly several suggestions have been put forward. Many Christian theologians interpret it as an early hint of plurality within the Godhead, but this view imposes later trinitarian concepts on the ancient text.. You can read their insightful commentary at http://bible.org/netbible/index.htm. – then refer to Gen 1:26. (footnote 47). This all gets back to my original point – I find it hard to believe that if anyone did not have the NT and never heard of the trinity, that he/she would find themselves as a trinitarian. Just wondering, do you know of any historical writings that tell of Jews in any real number being trinitarians? Good discussion. I’m not a theologian nor do I play one on TV. Since it’s your blog, have the last word unless you want to continue.

  10. MadDawg Scientist

    Good point about the plural. While I do view it as evidence, I by no means hang my entire argument on it.

    As to progressive revelation: I think the patriarchs had more of an idea of the Trinity than we ever have given them credit for, as the verses I cited show. Did they have a complete theology of the Trinity? Most likely not. Did they look forward to the time when they would? Certainly. They were by no means Unitarian, although much of modern Judaism comes across that way. The full realization of the Trinity did not come until Christ, so yes, in that sense, they did not fully understand the Three-in-One until it was made flesh.

    Most likely, the individuals most in contact with the Lord had the fullest understanding of Him. These would be the biblical authors. And remember that anything they wrote was divinely inspired. While many “common” Jews might not have had a grasp on this theology, I think that the writers had a fuller understanding that I would classify as Trinitarian, although perhaps not with COMPLETE understanding (and our understanding since Christ is far more full than theirs, although again we cannot completely understand). Is this what you mean by progressive revelation?

    No, I am not aware of any historical writing like you speak of. It would be interesting to see if anything like that existed.

    Thanks for the read and the discussion. Iron sharpening iron.

  11. David H

    If I can butt in here, while I’m probably not as well-convinced of Old Covenant Israel’s possession of the doctrine of the Trinity as MadDawg is, I definitely think he has a point.

    While perhaps not every reference to God is in the plural, every use of Elohim is. At the very least it means that there is room to interpret plurality in the singular God, though, as you pointed out, many scholars agree that other interpretations are viable. But this little bit of room suddenly makes sense in light of, as MadDawg pointed out, Isaiah 9:6 and Psalm 45:6-7. Here we find the Son is God, and also that God anoints God. This necessarily requires that God include at least two Persons, that one be the Son, and that He be anointed by the Father.

    But plurality doesn’t seem to be what you take issue with, which is reasonable since the evidence for it is found in quite a few places. Earlier you asked MadDawg whether that unity might be of purpose. But in the Old Testament Scriptures, in Deuteronomy 6:4, we see that “the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Even more conclusive in determining that there is only one God is Isaiah 43:10 “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.” This clearly means that there is only one God, and yet other verses teach that He exists in multiple persons.

    This is, of course, a mystery, just as Christ’s simultaneous Divinity and humanity within one Person is a mystery. But both doctrines are taught in Scriptures. Now distinctions between essence and substance are, of course, highly technical and less directly demonstrable from the Bible. But the basic doctrine of the Trinity is revealed in Scriptures in both Old and New Testaments, regardless of whether that information was distilled and organized in the form we have today. We do not need to understand all its inner workings to understand this. Indeed, if we understood God, that would be a good sign that He was nothing more than a figment of our imagination. Finite man should not be able to comprehend an infinite God.

    I hope my little comments here can help the discussion along. God bless you both in your endeavors to rightly divide the Word of God.

  12. Rich

    I was fine with ending the conversation until you ‘butt in’ David 🙂 LOL. Since both you and MD brought up Psalm 45:6-7, I want to address it. The word for ‘God’ here is the Hebrew word Elohim which is not exclusively used for the God of Israel. For instance, the judges are called Elohim in Psalms 82:6-7, which interestingly enough Jesus quotes in a response to distance himself of any claim of deity (John 10:33-36). So Psalm 45:6-7 is a bad idea to suggest that as you infer “…that God [YHVH] anoints God [YHVH].” As you probably know, the most quoted versed from the OT in the NT is Psalm 110:1 (I’m think some 18 times). In 110:1, we do not have YHVH speaking to YHVH, but YHVH speaking to “my lord”. “My lord” is not a reference to deity as per the common use in the OT. Thanks for your ‘little comments’ David – and amen, we all need God’s help to rightly divide the Word of God.

  13. Nick House

    If YHVH is speaking to “my lord”, and “my lord” is not YHVH, then who is it? Ktulu? Woden? Vishnu? Tom Cruise? What you say seems to indicate that there is someone who YHVH considers to be his “lord”, which would indicate that A) YHVH is a demiurge, B), YHVH is not speaking in said passage, or C) The entire fabric of Christianity is unraveled.
    What Jesus is saying in John10:33-36 can be basically condensed (in my hip new, “Message”-eque paraphrase that I concocted just now) into: “If YHVH calls mere mortals gods in the OT and that’s not blasphemous, than how is it blasphemous that I, who am God and the son of God, am calling myself the son of God?” Or, “If pagans get to be called gods, then why shouldn’t God’s son be called God?”
    Not sure on why you think Psalm 45:6-7 is not a good Trinity proof text. If YHVH is not annointing YHVH, then who is? Does YHVH need Zeus or Ba’al to annoint him? Or is YHVH annointing some other Elohim? Or maybe this passage is just talking about two separate Elohim who have nothing to do with YHVH. Maybe the Psalm writer felt the need to interpolate a completely random sentence about two separate deities, just to mix things up.
    Also, in my limited remembrance of the Old Testament, I seem to remember that a priest (or prophet) was needed to annoint a king. Considering that YHVH is prophet, priest and king, who better to annoint YHVH than YHVH himself.
    And if you take out the concept of the unity and diversity of the Trinity, the entire concept of Christ’s propitiational death makes no sense. More on that later when I have time to think about it.
    I found this site when I was looking up the Bible verses you mentioned on google
    .http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-texts-john19-7.htm
    Like Mrs. Who, I find it better to use other people’s words.
    Cheers.

    • MadDawg Scientist

      That’s a good point about the propitiational death. I hadn’t even considered that. If the Trinity is not true, then the death of Christ was just some guy who got what he deserved for causing trouble.
      My next post will be on the unnecessary and uncalled for division of the Testaments to the detriment of both one part and therefore the entire book.

  14. Rich

    If YHVH is speaking to “my lord”, and “my lord” is not YHVH, then who is it?

    . Nick, God doesn’t have multiple personalities and talk to Himself like that. It’s not YHVH’s lord, it’s David’s lord. See Acts 2:34-36.

    “Message”-eque paraphrase that I concocted just now lol, I think we better get this one quoted: Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ‘? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 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’? If that is not distancing himself from being called God, I don’t know what he would have to say to convince you. As a side note, Pilate is mentioned in Matt 27:18 and Mark 15:10 that Jesus was handed over to him because of envy which certainly wouldn’t be as a result of the Pharisees believing that Jesus honestly claimed deity. They only brought up the blasphemy comment to try and trap him and make something stick since they really didn’t have anything on him. If Jesus was claiming deity, surely the elders, priests and council would have been able to find witnesses to this (see Matt 26:59-60).
    Ok, back to Ps 45 real quick (if we have to). If you read the whole Psalm, it’s obvious that YHVH is not anointing YHVH. Elohim is used here anyway and can be used for mighty men in certain contexts (as I just talked about when Jesus quoted Ps. 82) There are not 2 YHVH’s, but one (Deut 6:4).
    I’m not sure what the diversity and unity of the Trinity has to do with Jesus’ death. I thought Jesus was “a
    man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”, and that one verse in Tim. about one mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus. (aka 2nd Adam).

    • MadDawg Scientist

      Nick’s comment, unless I misunderstand, makes the excellent point that the whole point of the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection is that it was a propitiation, an atonement, for sins. This could only be accomplished by a perfect sacrifice, and all men are sinners, attested to by the fact that the sacrifice was a necessity in the first place.
      The only one able to BE sacrificed was someone perfect. So he had to be God. But he was paying for the sins of man. So he had to be Man as well.
      There had to be a Judge, and a Law, and One who received Judgment. The diversity of God is necessary for the Death and Resurrection to have worked the way it did. Otherwise, Jesus is just a man, God has NOT forgiven our sins, and there will NOT be ANY redeemer who can intercede for us. In other words: we’re screwed.

      I think your position on the New Testament needs to be established. You seem to be well grounded in the OT, but wary of the NT, unless I’m getting the wrong vibe. What exactly is your stance?
      You keep saying, “If we didn’t have the NT, what would we believe?”
      As a matter of fact, we do have the NT, so the point seems to be irrelevant. Is it the Word of God? I think so. Do you?
      Need to clear this confusion up, at least for my sake.

  15. Rich

    Can I get a scripture reference that God is the only one that could be sacrificed for our sins? Wasn’t the 1st Adam perfect before he sinned? Could it be that Jesus being the 2nd Adam simply didn’t give in to sin, although he could have which God could never do. The dual nature of Jesus is problematic on so many levels. As far the OT and NT stance. My contention is that the OT is the foundation for the NT. I’m not going to take an obscure verse from the NT and re-interpret all of the OT by it. Why isn’t the book of mormon scripture? Couldn’t we re-interpret the NT by the b0ok of Mormon? (M0rmons do). You and I would agree that it doesn’t square with the OT/NT. The NT is best interpreted by the OT. The NT was not written in a vaccuum – there are hundreds of references to the OT texts, but no references of NT texts from the OT. The OT is simply the main context for the NT (not the other way around). God has one Name, with one will, one consciousness – He is one individual. (Deut 6:4). That is what the Jews (overall) have always beleived because simply the OT backs it up over and over. God was all alone when He created the heavens and earth (Isa 44:24). Jesus and the Father each have a will. (John 5:30, Luke 22:42). When they (notice the plural) testify, there are 2 testimonies (John 8:17-18). I guarantee you that this pseudo-monothesic view called the trinity has not nor will ever cause Jews to be jealous of Christians (as mentioned from Rom 11:13). My point from asking about what you would beleive about who God is by only having the OT, is that God made Himself crystal clear who He is in the OT (and how many He is). This is the bible that Jesus and his disciples had. There should be no doubt that Jesus and the disciples were strict monotheists (I also beleive Paul was). Hope that clears up confusion about my view on the OT/NT, and I also hope that God is using me to help you and others see things from a different angle than you may be used to.

    • MadDawg Scientist

      As reply to your first point, the entire book of Hebrews. That why it was written. For the Hebrews who indeed had lived with only the Old Testament from ages past. It explains how Jesus Christ in fact is the promised Son of God, the Messiah.

      Yes, but in Adam all sinned. From the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

      Q: Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
      A: The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.

      And the reference for that is this:

      For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. – 1 Cor 15:21-22

      I never denied the OT was the foundation. Obviously it came first. So no contention there. But the whole Bible is One Book and therefore it is allowable and encouraged to interpret it by itself because it is the only authority high enough to judge it in itself.

      The Church of Latter Day Saints holds certain irreconcilable views to Christianity. Most importantly, they reject the Trinity, but also the eternal divinity of God and the authority of the Holy Scripture. The Bible, according to them, is incorrect wherever it contradicts the Book of Mormon (which was written by Joseph Smith, not God). If the Book of Mormon was indeed a divine revelation, which it wasn’t, it would not contradict the Bible, because Scripture cannot and would not contradict itself. Yet the Book of Mormon not only contradicts the Bible (by their own admission), its word is taken at more authority than the Word of God. But you agree with this.

      That being said, the NT does not contradict the OT. At all. The OT looks forward to the NT, but it can’t exactly reference it, because the NT was written about 400 years, give or take, after the last page of the Old Testament was penned. That doesn’t seem to be a problem to me.

      Yes, that Deuteronomy passage, the Schma, does say God is One. Because He is united within Himself. The verbal construct there indicates that unity is the thrust of the passage. While God is Three, it is important to realize that He is also one.

      Monotheists, yes they were. Because they believed in One God. In Three Persons. Not three gods, but One.

      Remember, Jesus came to fulfill the Law. This means it was all fleshed out in Him (literally – He was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word became Flesh and dwelt among men).

      The fact remains – we do have the NT. Yes, all they had was the OT…so the apostles wrote the New Testament! Now we have both. And since we have both, we must take them together, not separate.

      You call this pseudo-monotheism…obviously the apostles and Paul were, then:

      1 Cor. 12
      2 Cor. 1:19
      2 Cor. 5:12-21
      2 Cor. 11:31
      2 Cor. 13:14
      Gal. 1:16
      Eph. 1:3-14
      Phil. 2:5-11 (very possibly a hymn of the early Church)
      Phil. 3:3
      Col. 1:3
      Col. 2:2
      Col. 2:9
      1 Thess. 1:10
      1 Thess. 4:8
      1 Thess. 5:19
      1 Tim. 3:16
      1 Tim. 4:1
      1 Jn 4:2-3
      1 Jn 5:1-13

      Do you think the New Testament is the infallible inspired Word of God?

  16. Nick House

    “Wasn’t The first Adam perfect before he sinned?”
    Perfect in the sense that he hadn’t sinned, but not perfect like God is perfect. Even in his most perfect state, man is still less than God. So even if a perfect man had died on the cross, he could only atone for one other man, (if that.)
    “Ok, back to Ps 45 real quick (if we have to). If you read the whole Psalm, it’s obvious that YHVH is not anointing YHVH.”
    Then what the heck is happening in the Psalm?
    I’ll deal with the rest of your comment(s) later when I have more time. Homework beckons to me right now. And FYI, Believe is spelled like that. Eve Believed.

  17. Rich

    Where do I start? I will pick a few items. I asked for a scripture reference on why God is the only one that could be sacrificed for our sins, and you answered “the book of Hebrews”. I’ve read the book of Hebrews many times and haven’t found it to give creedence to your premise. Maybe you could be more specific on a passage in Hebrews?
    I agree that the NT does not contradict the OT, but interpretations certainly can and have.
    The ‘verbal construct’ of Deut 6:4 is not that God is 3. The Hebrew word ‘echad’ works just like our number ‘one’ works, it can modify a collective noun. YHVH being a name, is certainly one person and not a collective noun and again ‘echad’ is simply the number one – OT is filled with 99.9% singular personal pronouns for YHVH. There is no plurlalism of persons hinted at and Jews who know how to interpret their own language have always understood it this way which Jesus affirms in Mark 12:28ff. Certainly you don’t think Abraham was more than 1 person described also as ‘echad’ in Eze. 33:24 ?

    Monotheists, yes they were. Because they believed in One God. In Three Persons. Not three gods, but One.

    . That is simply not backed up by historical evidence that they believed in 3 persons.
    I haven’t read through your references from the apostles and Paul, but you didn’t include any from the gospels…. ? ? I know that Paul calls God, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” on a number of occasions…. how Jesus is co-equal with his God and Father, I cannot reconcile… I’m sure Jesus himself is scratching his head on that one.
    For the purposes of this discussion – I respect all the words of the NT (except the bogus 1John 5:7) and agree with you that “the NT does not contradict the OT” – especially when it comes to who (and how many) God is. My intention 🙂 is that this will be my last post on this “Pt. 1: Personalism” Thanks for the dialogue
    1 Thess 5:21

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s