Saturday, 23 May 2009

New Buzzy Book

Former Ambassador College teacher Sir Anthony Buzzard has moved on from his earlier treatment of the Trinity in a jointly authored volume with fellow Armstrong refugee Charles Hunting (currently unavailable on Amazon, but procurable from Atlanta Bible College), to a solo title of 400 pages called Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian.

The newer book appears to avoid some of the clangers that plagued the earlier tome. Buzzard is, of course, not arguing from a place of scholarly objectivity, but making a case for a biblical unitarianism. This is the perspective that is aired in the One God seminars organized by Ken Westby, and influential in unexpected corners of the WCG diaspora.

For a critical pro-trinitarian review of the book, click here. It appears however that the reviewer is every bit as one-eyed as the author he critiques. Provided you share the same assumptions Buzzard does - about the inspiration of the Bible and the factual status of the gospel accounts for example - he seems to make reasonable good sense.

51 comments:

Tom Mahon said...

About 3 years ago, I briefly debated this subject with Mr. Buzzard in The Journal, published by Dixon Cartwright. It was clear to me then, that since Mr.Buzzard had repudiated much of what he once believed to be true, that he didn't know what he was talking about. At that time, his argument was, "Jesus was not God." When I quoted the following: "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory"(1 Tim.3:16), he replied that the text had been corrupted in translation. What folly!

In addition, there are many other scriptural texts that support the doctrine of the trinity, even though the term is not employed in the bible. But Mr. Buzzard has either conveniently choose to ignore these texts or are unaware of their existence, which is more likely.

So, Mr Buzzard's latest book is another addition to the widespread ignorance and confusion that abounds about the nature of God, which the bible describes as a mystery.

Gavin said...

Tom, art thou a trinitarian???

Lyle said...

I have yet to see an anti-trinitarian explain Acts 13:2 without performing scriptural gymnastics worthy of the Olympics. The verse has the Holy Spirit speaking and in speaking, He refers to Himself as 'I' and 'me'. I simply ask, "Who is the 'I' and 'me' in the sentence?" Can't squirm out of this one in the Greek.

Once someone admits that the Holy Spirit is a person, all their other arguments come crashing down.

Baywolfe said...

Isn't debating the trinity a bit like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

And, doesn't the fact that various Christian organizations agree on what should be the most fundamental of truths cast a dim light on the validity of Christianity as a whole?

Baywolfe said...

Sorry, that should be DISagree.

Richard said...

The author used to have a daily radio program called "Focus on the Kingdom." I heard it in Atlanta; don't know if he's still doing it.

But he pronounced his last name like Buzz Buzzard, in the old Woody Woodpecker cartoons. With a British accent, but that way.

  said...

Tom seems a bit confused.
To grow in grace and knowledge requires a repudiation of prior beliefs.
As for the "mystery" of God's nature, it's not the Bible but the traditions codified in the fourth century that drive conflicted men to grasp at some refuge (“it's a mystery”) to maintain a semblance of intellectual integrity.
Perhaps Tom can tell us in which manuscripts of 1 Tim 3:16 he has found "theos" or which translations, other than the KJV, include “God?”

Bamboo_bends said...

What kind of God will you be?

Find out! Pocket God!

Tom Mahon said...

Gavin said...

>>Tom, art thou a trinitarian???<<

Yes, because the bible teaches it.

After reading Saint Augustine's De Trinitate, I came to understand that Mr. Armstrong was wrong in his teaching against the trinity. De Trinitate consists of 15 books and is very difficult reading. So I won't attempt the difficult task of trying to summarise the main points here. Suffice to say, Augustine begins by saying that, "father, son and Holy Spirit mean a divine unity in an inseparable equality of one and the same substance, and therefore are not three Gods but one God: though father has begotten the Son, and therefore he who is Father is not Son; the Son is begotten from the Father, and therefore he who is Son is not Father; the Holy Spirit is neither Father nor Son, but only Spirit of Father and Son, himself co-equal with both and belonging to the unity of the trinity."

If you can get your head around these concepts, it might be worth buy De Trinitate or downloading it from here.

Byker Bob said...

There are a couple of different ways of looking at these grand theological concepts. A person can examine them from an intellectual perspective, or can observe the effects that the diverse viewpoints have on groups of people.

From my somewhat limited point of view, it would appear that if one does not properly understand the significance of Jesus Christ, one becomes locked or mired in the Old Covenant. Additionally, one who does not properly understand the personality and workings of the Holy Spirit will need to create substitutes for what the HS does. As we've already experienced, such substitutes can involve an authoritarian structure of church government, and efforts to "fake" the gifts of prophecy and healing.

This "One God" movement simply takes one of the precepts of Armstrongism a step or two further, by reverting to the Old Testament Hebrew concept, or understanding of God. It is a cousin of the picking and choosing which takes place when one attempts to patch an old garment with new material, or fill old wineskins with new wine. It is yet another pair of Old Covenant sunglasses through which to view the New Covenant.

BB

Mary Lane said...

It is soooo interesting how the COGs can arbitrarily assign positions to the Godhead. Wonder if God knows that He has been limited to their assignments?(LOL)

Anonymous said...

Tom, why are you reading tractates from the Church of the Great Whore of Babylon?!?!?

And I find it exceedingly odd that you feel Armstrong was mistaken on trinitarianism --- and yet, in your worldview, he got everything else right.

Huh?!

Chumley said...

Acts 13:2

How did the "difficult scripture" teams at WCG handle that hot potato?

Corky said...

Lyle said...
I have yet to see an anti-trinitarian explain Acts 13:2 without performing scriptural gymnastics worthy of the Olympics. The verse has the Holy Spirit speaking and in speaking, He refers to Himself as 'I' and 'me'. I simply ask, "Who is the 'I' and 'me' in the sentence?" Can't squirm out of this one in the Greek.-----------------------------------
Do you realize that you are talking about a religious book written by priestly caste theologians who understood what "personification" means and were a lot smarter than the average first century preacherman?

If you would like to know what "personification" means, here are a couple of examples:

Pro 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

Isa 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Bamboo_bends said...

Tom Mahon said...

>>Tom, art thou a trinitarian???<<

Yes, because the bible teaches it.

After reading Saint Augustine's De Trinitate.....
Being one who embraced Dr Stav's teachings, or at least attempted to understand it, I understand your point of view.

However, those who didn't raised some valuable questions, which I had to address, and which led me to view God from a Unitarian standpoint.

I couldn't quite pinpoint what bothered me about the Trinity teaching.

Later I realized that the whole argument depends on Aristotelian binary logic. Dr. Stav bathed his trinity explanations in binary logic. And the critics correctly saw the paradoxes and contradictions. Which Dr. Stav (and the Tkach's) dismissed outright. It was a muddled mess.

All of western religion (Christian, Judaism, Islam),civil law and philosophy is steeped in binary logic. As were the early Church fathers like St. Augustine.

And there lies the problem. If one represents true as the number 1, and false as the number zero, or perhaps better represented in words as white and black, one misses the range of colors in between that apply to any description of God. Its called "the law of the excluded middle". And its the source of much of the sectarianism we see today.

In binary logic, one faith can see their teaching as God revealed, and by logical extension any other teaching is its opposite and of the Devil. The problem IS the logic. Not the calculation done in logic. Binary logic is only half complete.

In the 21st century optical computing scientists and quantum researchers have discovered the quantum world, which underlays all physical reality, has a richer and more robust logic system, Multi-form logic, identical to that of the Buddhist teacher Naragjuna (between 150 and 200 CE). Buddhists have long had a 4 value logic system, TRUE, NEITHER TRUE NOR NOT TRUE, NEITHER FALSE NOR NOT FALSE, and FALSE.

If one takes the same scriptures used to justify the trinity, and uses 4 value logic, you can only assume God is one. Which of course is the position of Unitarians since the 18th century. Imagine that! Its already been done!

The number 1 has unique math and logical properties. To insist that Jesus is also God, is really to insist that if he is God, then the rest of us are too in same sense. I don't pretend to have the answer about Jesus status, but I have my doubts the popular one is correct.

But that is anathema to Trinitarians, but perhaps not to the Armstrongite who expects to be a son of God.

Don't ask me to explain what that means if Jesus really is God, because I don't know what it would mean myself. But I know the implications of the logic.

I do think it implies that we have grossly overlooked the divine spark that lives in all humans. Could you kill another human if you believed they carried a spark of God within? I don't think so. Perhaps evil exists in the world not because humans think they are God but because they don't?

The corollary to the above would be that what we call "the Holy Spirit" is the same thing we often refer to as the Human Spirit.
God is one, God is a Spirit, and something that is one is not divided and can never be divided.

Ironically this is the way Buddhist's look at people. They view western human individual separation as an illusion, that we are all really connected (thru or in God?). I'm not promoting Buddhism here, that belief system has as many cultural barnacles as Christianity does. But truth can be found in curious places.

The only thing I feel comfortable believing is that God is one. I have long ago given up pronouns for God and anthropomorphic parental roles for God.

Doug Ward said...

Boo-zard?? Reminds me of Hyacinth Bucket in "Keeping up Appearances".

But I agree with Richard that he uses the carrion bird pronunciation.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the current debate raging on the subject of Hobbit daywear. Did Frodo sport a waistcoat, or a simple undershirt?


The Apostate Paul

  said...

A question for Gavin.
In rereading your post I was struck by the term "scholarly objectivity."
Can you identify some theologians who have practiced scholarly objectivity?
Do they dwell the the land of non-partisan politicians?

Tom Mahon said...

Anon said...

>>To grow in grace and knowledge requires a repudiation of prior beliefs.<<

Does it really? By your logic, to grow in literary appreciation would mean the repudiation of the alphabet.

I thought that "to grow in grace and knowledge" meant, to add increasing layers of kindness and knowledge to what you already know.

>>As for the "mystery" of God's nature, it's not the Bible but the traditions codified in the fourth century that drive conflicted men to grasp at some refuge (“it's a mystery”) to maintain a semblance of intellectual integrity.<<

Well, my bible in Rev.10:7 and else where calls God a mystery. Is it not a mystery to you that God always existed, never had a beginning and will never have an end? If you can explain this, please go ahead?

>>Perhaps Tom can tell us in which manuscripts of 1 Tim 3:16 he has found "theos" or which translations, other than the KJV, include “God?”<<

People will always find manuscripts and translations to support their preconceived opinions, but the theos translation in 1 Tim.3:16 is supported by by John 1:1 and verse 14, in particular, where it says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” Here the Word is described as God. Also, in Hebrews 10, Paul quoted from Psalms 40 thus: “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body has thou prepared me”(Hebs.10:5). The text in Hebrews clearly supports John 1:1 and verse 14, which says that the Word, which is God and was God became Jesus Christ.

In addition, sometimes the Christian is told, “Christ dwells in you,” and other times, “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” and finally, God says, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” So here we have a summary of the trinity, which is the one true God.

Unless, of course, you believe that there are three Gods dwelling in a Christian.

In spite of the above, Mr. Buzzard continues to stubbornly argue that Jesus was not God, and that the doctrine of the trinity denies the doctrine of one God. Well, if Mr. Buzzard is right, the Apostle Paul was insane.

Gavin said...

Tom, I honestly have to say you've taken me by surprise by moving away from binatarian to trinitarian doctrine. From Armstrong to Augustine! Quite a journey.

Anonymous said...

"Acts 13:2

How did the "difficult scripture" teams at WCG handle that hot potato?"

Hallucinations induced by low blood sugar?

Quaker business meeting?

Of all the scriptures in the new testament, why does THAT one have to be literalized, Chumley? Why can't it be a case of six guys having a good hard think??

Sorry, trinitarians, your proof-texts are just as flimsy as the church's binitarian ones are.

Anonymous said...

"I do think it implies that we have grossly overlooked the divine spark that lives in all humans."

Amen and a round of applause for Bamboo_Bends!!

By the way, Bamboo_Bends is referring to the latest in quantum physics theory, E-finity theory or something of a similar name (I can't locate the bookmark off hand right now), and it basically blows string theory right out of the water --- or encompasses string theory, in a much, much bigger "big picture" sort of way. There was a video on TEDTalks about it, but I can't locate the URL for that either.

So, Bamboo_Bends, you're a unitarian? Not asked in a criticizing way, just curious. It's interesting to see how many flavours of god ex-members of the church have cooked up, as a result of exiting; it brings home that passage from the Gospel of Philip even more, for me.

"To insist that Jesus is also God, is really to insist that if he is God, then the rest of us are too in same sense."

But in the church, that meant the god family doctrine/nonsense. In this universe, that thinking agrees with a panentheistic worldview. Hell, that thinking even agrees with an atheistic worldview! ("The god that wasn't there.")

"Ironically this is the way Buddhist's look at people. They view western human individual separation as an illusion, that we are all really connected (thru or in God?)."

Some of the Buddhist thought-forms do. And some agree with an atheist worldview. ("There is no spoon.") As you point out, Buddhism has a lot of splits and splinters and factions themselves.

That the Buddhists were beginning to think along the same lines as the Christians, at roughly around the same time, points to the development of the neocortex in human civilization/evolution, regardless of the religious trappings it was dressed up in, to explain it. Not quite the bicameral mind theory, rather the tri-cameral mind theory, with the paleocortex, the cerebrocortex, and finally, the neocortex, being the REAL source for the "holy trinity" of the ancient mystics' mythologies.

"I have long ago given up pronouns for God and anthropomorphic parental roles for God."

This is asked with the utmost of respect, Bamboo_Bends, and I hope you take it in that light: If you've given up both pronouns and anthropomorphism of deity, then why do you have a belief in deity at all? Or are you a hard panentheist/Deist? Again, asked with the utmost of respect.

"Is it not a mystery to you that God always existed, never had a beginning and will never have an end? If you can explain this, please go ahead?"

All right, I'll take a crack at it, Tom; this is a reference to the G/gnostic mindset one gets into, when one is engaged in gnostic praxis, a non-linear consciousness that subjectively appears to place the observer "outside of time".

This is true for many many many other forms of prayer, worship, and meditation as well, but it is particularly why most Gnostic rosary prayers end with "as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, unto the aeons of aeons". (They tack "amen" on the end. I don't.)

As I say, it's a subjective experience for the observer, however, so it is not literally real, in the sense that the observer is actually placed outside of time.

"Unless, of course, you believe that there are three Gods dwelling in a Christian."

Mainstream (the church used to call them "professing") Christians do believe this, though, and most would (and have, in the past) defend that belief to the death. Most often, the death of the unbelievers.

"Well, if Mr. Buzzard is right, the Apostle Paul was insane."

Temporal lobe epilepsy. Not insanity.

Mark said...

Like so many of Armstrong's doctrines, it is difficult to peel back the layers when you are faced with "the trinity is another example of Satan influencing the early church to set up his great counterfeit religion". Let's just put that nonsense aside.

First, the personality of the Holy Spirit didn't come until later, because He wasn't sent until after Christ's death.

Second, God is a mystery. Setting the trinity aside, our minds can't even begin to grasp things like eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, etc. Yet, anti-trinitarians jump up and down over how absurd it is that God could be three in one! If that blows their minds, then please describe how God came to earth and impregnated a young woman? Ah, but that is a great mystery too, and we cannot understand it, but we believe it.
My point is, we acknowledge so many aspects of the mystery of God, yet cannot allow the mystery of the trinity to be a mystery.
In reading scripture, the easiest conclusion is that God is three in one. God is one, yet also revealed as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Heck, even Armstrongites were baptized in ALL THREE's name.

Anonymous said...

The Unitarians usually ignore scriptures like: Matthew one where it is said Emmanuel or God with us and where Thomas calls Jesus my Lord and my God in the book of John.

Corky said...

What is "the Word" (John 1:1) that was made flesh?

Well, it was "the word of God", which most people think of as the Bible. But, if you look up references to the phrase, "the word of God", in the Bible it is clearly not the Bible.

The "word of God" increased with the apostle's teaching and "the word of God" came upon so-and-so, etc., all through the Bible.

Therefore, the word of God is not the Bible but the Bible represents the word that came to or upon those men writing it.

According to John chapter one, the word of God is God himself. Therefore, the Scriptures represents God in writings and Jesus represents God in flesh. That is not to say that Jesus was literally God himself but merely represented God in much the same way that Scripture represented God - except Jesus represented God in flesh rather than in writing.

Understand?

SmilinJackSprat said...

"The Unitarians usually ignore scriptures like: Matthew one where it is said Emmanuel or God with us and where Thomas calls Jesus my Lord and my God in the book of John."

Manuel, Emanuele and Emmanuel are three forms of a popular name. They all mean "God with us," and never meant that the person bearing the name was God. I assure you, my uncle Manny was never God. Nor was the King of Italy, Victor Emanuel. But you're saying the "King of the Jews" was -- because his name was Emanuel? His name wasn't Emanuel; it was Jesus.

Thomas never said Jesus was his lord and God. Thomas was Jewish, like Jesus. Jews flatly don't recognize any God other than God. Someone put these words in Thomas's mouth. Jews know that God alone is God. Nor is God human. Samuel said, "the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man...".

Thomas may (but I tend to doubt it) have said something like, "My God!" or "Oh my God!" We hear those expressions every day, by people who aren't praying or addressing God.

Jesus quoted the Sh'ma, that God is One, indivisible, profoundly unified God, and said the statement is the most important commandment. Who could think that Jesus, an observant Jew who recited the Sh'ma twice every day of his adult life, could secretly believe that he, himself, were God? John quotes Jesus praying to his Father (and our Father), and referring to him as the "only true God." Do Jesus' followers know better?

It's no mystery why people have doubts about God, his existence, his teachings. If they're willing to stretch, twist and contort their minds to accept nonsense as truth, in the name of lofty mysteries, then they'll have to wait for the next life to let reason regain her sway. For them, God is beyond reach, too mysterious, inaccessible.

You're telling me that Moses, on Mt. Sinai, got the ten commandments from a Trinity?

Mr. Scribe said...

Mark said......"even Armstrongites were baptized in ALL THREE's name."

You right. I had forgotten that.

Anonymous said...

"'even Armstrongites were baptized in ALL THREE's name.'

You right. I had forgotten that."

Well, I never got dunked, but I remember that part of the verse from Go Ye Therefore Into All the World.

I dunno, I kind of like the idea of the holy spirit being a force or a power, an underlying generative agent for life, the universe and everything (yeah yeah yeah I know, "the answer is 42"). Armstrong lifted that particular theology from the Quakers he grew up with, believe it or not.

Now, some Quakers believe(d) that underlying force or power or agent for good or however someone wants to define it or doesn't define it at all, is present in everything. And by everything, I mean E V E R Y T H I N G. Which I'm onboard with.

Hell, even if it's a delusion, at least I feel more connected to the rest of the world, and it mitigates the anxiety some. So there's that. By their fruits, etcetera.

That said, I'm still an atheist in the same sense that Bamboo_Bends is, in that "god" is not an anthropomorphized nor pronoun-specific deity somewhere "up there". As a matter of fact, the partial Quaker holy spirit theology of the church is pretty much the only "god" I can get behind, as that mythos supports the panentheism that I lean towards, anyway.

Works for me. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

Concerning Sir Anthony Buzzard's name, when he was a student at AC, he pronounced his name as we might learn from a standard English dictionary, but with an Oxford accent. There was some talk of moving the accent to the second syllable, but nothing much came of that during his tenure there. Perhaps he changed it years later...

Fine fellow, quintessentially English, bright, sensible, a gentleman, scholar and able musician. I wouldn't too-lightly dismiss anything he might say or write.

Tom Mahon said...

Gavin said...

>>Tom, I honestly have to say you've taken me by surprise by moving away from binatarian to trinitarian doctrine. From Armstrong to Augustine! Quite a journey.<<

It will be a surprise to many others, except, perhaps, The Third Witness. But like Saul, who went to find his father's asses, and ended up being crown king of Israel; my journey to understanding the true God and many of the fundamental doctrines of the bible began in 1969 after reading a biography of Blaise Pascal. I was fascinated with the life of Pascal, without knowing why!

However, after was I called by God in 1974, I reread Pascal's, especially the section on the Pansees, and was shocked by what I had missed in 1969.

Anyway, Pascal led me to the writings of Cicero and Augustine. So before I started attending WCG in early May 1975, I already understood that WCG's teaching on the trinity, born again, the binding of the devil, the first resurrection and an earthly Millennium was wrong.

Nevertheless, I still believe that WCG was God's one true church, and that Mr. Armstrong was a servant of God. WCG was obviously Laodicean, with the emphasis on materialism, but it was spiritually naked and blind. So God spewed it out of his mouth, scattering the few faithful to the four winds of the earth.

So, you see, my journey was not a sudden volte-face! Like Saul, I was led by God every step of way. Saul's destiny was to meet Samuel; mine was to read Pascal and Augustine.

Tom Mahon said...

Anon said...

>>Fine fellow, quintessentially English, bright, sensible, a gentleman, scholar and able musician. I wouldn't too-lightly dismiss anything he might say or write.<<

If you had added your name to this unsolicited reference, it would carry much more weight.

Jared Olar said...

Buddhists have long had a 4 value logic system, TRUE, NEITHER TRUE NOR NOT TRUE, NEITHER FALSE NOR NOT FALSE, and FALSE.Bah. "Neither true nor not true," and "neither false nor not false" are just wordy ways of saying "gibberish." "Not true" = "false" and "not false" = "true." Thus, it's "neither true nor false" and "neither false nor true" -- and our experience knows no such categories.

The Law of Noncontradiction might help you clear your head a little, Bamboo Bends.

The basis for the Christian doctrine of the Triune God is not Aristotelian logic, but the experienced revelation that Christians received from and through and with Jesus and the Apostles. The disciples received the doctrines of monotheism and of the divinity of the Man Jesus, and experienced the divinity of the Holy Spirit through His indwelling -- that faith is expressed in the New Testament. The language and concepts of trinitarian theology developed as the Church explored the proper ways to express the truths they had received that God is one while the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each fully divine. Sir Anthony wrestles manfully with the Church's scriptures in an attempt to explain why they don't really say what it sure sounds like they say (he couldn't adequately explain St. Thomas' "my Lord and my God" when I asked him about that text), but in the end those who wish to be disciples of Christ will assent to receive the testimony that the Church received from her Lord and chose to preserve in her sacred scriptures.

Anonymous said...

"So before I started attending WCG in early May 1975, I already understood that WCG's teaching on the trinity, born again, the binding of the devil, the first resurrection and an earthly Millennium was wrong."

Riddle me this, Tom, I can't quite wrap my head around it:

Given your above statement, what reason did you have to keep attending the church?? Those are core doctrines right there, and I daresay you kept your "hypocrisy" (not really hypocrisy since it's all mythology no matter which way you slice it) to yourself, otherwise you wouldn't have been in the church as long as you (claim you) were, if the ministers had gotten wind of what you believed.

And, by your own admission, you read Augustine and Pascal before you joined the church.

So how does the church even figure in to your journey, if you never believed anything the church ever taught? And how do you reconcile your refutation of core church doctrines above, and the fact that you considered the church "god's true church"?

I don't get it......

Anonymous said...

"Thomas never said Jesus was his lord and God. Thomas was Jewish, like Jesus. Jews flatly don't recognize any God other than God. Someone put these words in Thomas's mouth."

Interesting that what Thomas said was and is in the scriptures. So you make your assumption that Thomas' words were not his, so what about the rest. Also, you mention Emmanuel, Manny, etc. So if someone is names Jesus, he is not a savior, so by your logic then, the Jesus of the NT is what? Your logic is flawed, so is your conclusion.

Anonymous said...

"I already understood that WCG's teaching on the trinity, born again, the binding of the devil, the first resurrection and an earthly Millennium was wrong.."

You disagreed with HWA on the Millennium? Really? I always found that to be one of the more straightfoward doctrines. I mean, it was one of the few doctrines of the WWCG you could actually back up with scripture.

If you are Tom, the real Tom, I must say I am also intrigued by your beliefs. Did this cause trouble for you in the WWCG and LCG?

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"First, the personality of the Holy Spirit didn't come until later, because He wasn't sent until after Christ's death."

This should read "She wasn't sent..."
The Holy Spirit is feminine.

Anonymous said...

"....on the Millennium? Really? I always found that to be one of the more straightfoward doctrines. I mean, it was one of the few doctrines of the WWCG you could actually back up with scripture."

Not exactly. It actually came from Cerinthus:

"He taught that Jesus would establish a thousand-year reign of sensuous pleasure after the Second Coming but before the General Resurrection, a view that was declared heretical by the Council of Nicaea."Although the wiki does note, "Cerinthus used a version of the gospel of Matthew as scripture." [emphasis mine]

Some of the other parallels are likewise creepy.

"This should read 'She wasn't sent...' The Holy Spirit is feminine."Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Wisdom is feminine. The "holy spirit" (or, if you like, the christos) is masculine.

"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter the kingdom." Gos. of Thomas, log. 22

"Truth didn't come into the world naked but in types and images. Truth is received only that way. There is rebirth and its image. They must be reborn through image. What is the resurrection? Image must rise again through image." Gos. of Philip

SmilinJackSprat said...

Anon May 26, 08:19:00, you say, of my logic, that "Interesting that what Thomas said was and is in the scriptures. So you make your assumption that Thomas' words were not his, so what about the rest. Also, you mention Emmanuel, Manny, etc. So if someone is named Jesus, he is not a savior, so by your logic then, the Jesus of the NT is what? Your logic is flawed, so is your conclusion."

No, my logic isn't flawed; it's in accord with the books of Moses, which form the benchmark for all the subsequent Biblical books. Jesus mentioned them: the Law, Prophets and Psalms (Writings). But inclusion of the Prophets and Writings had to be decided on the basis of conformity with the Torah. Consequences for abandoning Torah are outlined in Deut. 13.

Since the Torah and the Prophets constantly state that "I alone am God and there is no one else," then there is no possibility that observant, Torah savvy Jews like Jesus' disciples, could have thought of Jesus as God. It simply is not possible. Jews don't follow "other gods."

For Jesus to have been Messiah, he had to be a patrilineal descendant of King Solomon. Since a vast number of Jews accepted Jesus as their king, then his genealogy must have been known. Two NT genealogies for Jesus attest to the king lists. The fact that long lines of kings leading down to the Jesus generation are interrupted, ostensibly by God, either proves Jesus' ineligibility for the throne, or testifies to tampering with the records. If Jesus' royal line had been interrupted by God, at the last possible juncture, then there is no chance that he was their King Messiah because God is not descended from David through Solomon.

So what was Jesus? His contemporaries thought he was the messiah they were looking for. They shouted Hosanna (Hoshia na)! Save us, now! They wanted freedom from Rome, provided by an anointed king descended from David. They thought they'd found their man.

The opening of John says, "He came unto his own and his own received him not." Now, this isn't true at all. Here is another text that does not properly reflect the rest of the story. He was enthusiastically received by his own. There were some corrupt priests and Pharisees who were threatened by his popularity, but the people wanted Jesus as their heroic deliverer, their savior -- their David.

Instead, Herod executed him. There could only be one king of the Jews, and Rome approved of Herod. Crucifixion was the legal penalty for sedition. To go on living, Jesus should not have gone into Jerusalem on a royal steed, to be accepted by vast throngs, in the tradition of the Jewish kings.

Make what you will of the story, but absolutely nothing in Jesus' Jewish world, from Abraham forward, including all the messiahs (christs in Gk.), whether priestly, royal -- or even Gentile, like Cyrus -- would ever have allowed a true messiah to be recognized as God.

Corky said...

One of the main reasons that Jews usually don't convert to Christianity is because of the trinity doctrine.

In the beginning of the gospel, the followers of Jesus were all Jews. Even after the preaching of Paul to the gentiles, they were mostly still all Jews and gentiles who attended Jewish synogogues.

So, what happened?

The doctrine of the trinity was invented. That's what happened.

Anthony Buzzard said...

Thanks for the discussion of our second book on the Trinity. The first, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound (1998) has never been out of print and is available from 800-347-4261. Secondly, my name is pronounced like the bird. I cannot imagine what the writer was thinking when he alluded to any variation!

Biblical unitarians across the centuries including Isaac Newton, John Milton and John Locke, have maintained that Jesus' own belief about God is what counts. In Mark 12:29 Jesus gives us this proposition, reported as quoting LXX: YHWH our God is one YHWH. Hebrew echad, Greek eis mean "one single." To say that Jesus is YHWH and the Father is YHWH would of course be 2 YHWH's which is not biblical monotheism. Thousands of singular personal pronouns denote the God of the Bible as a single Divine Person.

Psalm 110:1 exercises a controlling hand over the NT and the Messiah there is David's lord, adoni, a title invariably not for God but for a non-Deity superior.

Gavin said...

Appreciate your feedback. Apologies for the confusion over pronunciation (I'm aware that at least some Britons with that surname do pronounce it that way.) I'll amend the posting.

"Self Inflicted Wound" is unavailable at Amazon, which led me to assume it is out of print. Again, I'll amend the post.

Anonymous said...

"Biblical unitarians across the centuries including Isaac Newton, John Milton and John Locke, have maintained that Jesus' own belief about God is what counts."

Dunno about Milton, and not certain about Newton, but wasn't Locke a Deist?? Well, that's unitarian enough, I suppose.

"To say that Jesus is YHWH and the Father is YHWH would of course be 2 YHWH's which is not biblical monotheism."

So your explanation for the christos allegory is what, exactly? That the christological figure was merely another prophet? Or that there was divinity present? Or not? Additionally, have you read Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus"? I highly recommend it.

By the way, I'm not so confused on the topic, as to be interested in purchasing the book, my apologies. ;-)

"and the Messiah there is David's lord, adoni,"

Adonai. An alleged (self-professing?) "biblical" scholar who can't spell, does not make a very good impression, you know.

Tom Mahon said...

Anthony Buzzard said...

>>Psalm 110:1 exercises a controlling hand over the NT...<<

It would be helpful if you could explain it what way it exercises "a controlling hand?"

  said...

"and the Messiah there is David's lord, adoni,"

Adonai. An alleged (self-professing?) "biblical" scholar who can't spell, does not make a very good impression, you know.

Please, PH, the whole point is that Adonai and adoni are two different words.

Anonymous said...

"Please, PH, the whole point is that Adonai and adoni are two different words."

I realize that. My point is this: Deliberately misspelling (or creatively "translating") the word adonai as a way of bolstering one's own apologetics, does nothing to make the apologetic in question, seem very credible. IMO.

SmilinJackSprat said...

Concerning Psalm 110:1, during the famous disputation at Barcelona, 1263, Nachmanides, a great Sage, explained it this way. "The LORD said to my Lord" was written by King David to be sung by Levitical choirs. The singers therefore sang of God as Y-H-V-H and of David as "My Lord." Jews no longer pronounce Y-H-V-H when referring to God, but at that time they quite apparently did, at least during Temple services.

One addresses the British House of Lords as "My Lords." Israeli wives refer to their husbands as Ba'ali, or "My Lord," after Sarah's example. But Moses addressed God as Adonai. He didn't use Adoni, as in Ps. 110.

Concerning those Levitical singers, God had said to their Lord, King David, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." At that time David was the royal messiah of Israel. As such he sat at God's right hand, metaphorically speaking, and God (Y-H-V-H) had promised him victory over many enemies.

Byker Bob said...

"I realize that. My point is this: Deliberately misspelling (or creatively "translating") the word adonai as a way of bolstering one's own apologetics, does nothing to make the apologetic in question, seem very credible. IMO."

Boy! Don't we all! If I have to see you refer to Jesus Christ as "Jebus" (the early name for Jerusalem) one more time, I believe I'll have to puke!

BB

Byker Bob said...

"Concerning Psalm 110:1, during the famous disputation at Barcelona, 1263, Nachmanides, a great Sage, explained it this way."

I don't know how many people know about Nahmanides, or Maimonides, although I've seen their names sporadically on some of these forums. Apparently, these two sages wrote some of the early commentaries on the Torah.

Jack, I took up your challenge, and have been reading the book "Genesis and the Big Bang", by Dr. Schroeder. I like the fact that one does not need to surrender one's intelligence to become a believer. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

The most convincing elements of this book in articulating the need for the presence of God in the evolutionary process have been the cross checking of evolution against mathematical probability, and the harmony of the astrophysical explanations and descriptions of the Big Bang, not only with Torah, but also with the deep understandings which Maimonides and Nahmanides expressed in their commentaries.

Much knowledge was lost and repressed during the Dark Ages, and also when the Alexandrian Library was destroyed. This left much to be rediscovered during our own era. I believe that as science and theology progress, if common ground is sought, the two disciplines will eventually harmonize with one another. The problem now is that people with agendas are too often using one to discredit the other. Genesis 1 was rarely contested prior to Darwin's alternative and theoretical explanation.

BB

Gavin said...

Just a reminder to the "anonymous" who keeps trying to post Bible texts on this thread... most of us have Bibles of our own thanks. Feel free to submit references along with your own thoughts, but chucking naked proof texts around is not netiquette on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Would Gavin also like to elucidate on what, exactly, constitutes in his opinion an ad hominem attack?

Just curious.

Imperio School Alumni said...

Last night, the US National Spelling Bee was won by a young lady who spelled "Laodicean", is there a former COGer in the word selection committee?