Monday, 6 July 2009

Holy Trinities Batman!


I have a copy of Is God a Trinity? on file, published by the WCG way back when. In those distant times there was little doubt about the answer: no!

But times have changed, and what appears to be the first booklet published under the GCI brand is titled A Brief Introduction to Trinitarian Theology.

This time round they're not even bothering to ask the question.

The kind of trinitarianism GCI promotes isn't the standard version you'd find in Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox communions, but a variety pickled with the MSG of junk theology, marketed under the labels "Barth" and "Reformed," and produced in porridge vats with the patented perichoresis ingredient by Baxter Kruger, the terrible Torrances, and their ilk. Perichoresis, you ask? How to put this delicately... God (to quote Wikipedia) enjoys "mutual interpenetration."

This particular concoction has universalist dimensions, so much so that the booklet even asks the rhetorical question Isn't this universalism? and consciously distances itself from bog Calvinism. Well, that's commendable I guess, but the fact remains that it stills build on a Calvinist foundation (as does Arminianism - which can only make sense as a reaction to Calvinism.) You buy a cheap Ford, strip it down and soup the coupe... is it still a Ford?

Well, it sure ain't a BMW.

Who's the author? There's no attribution in the online edition; GCI seems to be using the same anonymity policy as the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. Part 1 sets out the case, and part 2 is a kind of "catechism" that rehearses possible questions. If you reside in the USA, Joe & Co. will graciously send you a free copy. If you live elsewhere, you'll need to read it online.

31 comments:

Corky said...

When I heard about the WCG embracing the trinity dogma back in the day - I couldn't believe it.

After preaching against that vile dogma (that's what it was called) for fifty years and then to just go to bed with Constantine's revised churchianity like that...

Heh heh heh, the old adage appears to be true, "all roads lead to Rome".

That's almost as good as finding out that Jesus was a Zealot chieftain.

Hmmmm. Maybe that's why Jesus and his 12 buddies could travel by foot between Galilee and Judea without being molested by the brigands (Barabbas and his merry men) and other anti-Roman Zealots.

That reminds me. Did you know that the gospel of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel was the doctrine of the Zealots long before there was any such a thing as Christianity?

Dejavu all over again said...

Perichoresis; that sounds like an apt description of the kind of activity the gang of four have been engaged in for some time now. That is, when they are not otherwise engaged in having it off with their parishioners.

Bamboo_bends said...


Why is George Lucas' fictional midichlorians easier to understand than the Trinity?

Some myths never die, they just get reinvented. Virgin birthed - rising and dieing - god/men are some of the oldest myths known to mankind.

Even today our theater screens are filled with super-heros, except they are no longer written on rolls of parchment, but in the frames of graphic novels.

Someday a thousand years from now some poor sap somewhere will be reading about a man bitten by a radioactive spider who swung from building to building with his spidey strength. Pious men with funny clothes and hats with three consonants after their surnames, will offer as proof, digital files found on some DVD in some ancient landfill.

  said...

It seems a short hop from the binitarianism of the old WCG to the trinitarianism of the GCI.

larry said...

Has it ever occurred to most of you that the "nature of God" by its very definition, OUGHT to be difficult if not impossible, for humans to comprehend?

Any "god" who could be defined as "binary" or "trinary", in the sense that He/It is limited, would not BE God. I suspect that we, as humans, are on a voyage of discovery about the nature of God that may never end. And, this is probably as it should be. I can live with that.

Retired Prof said...

Larry opines that we humans "are on a voyage of discovery about the nature of God that may never end."

Yes, probably so. And if god actually consists of the sum total of the rules governing the universe, rather than a projection of human fears and desires, then scientists are making far more progress on the journey than theologians are.

Tom Mahon said...

Under Buzzard's book review thread I stated that the bible teaches the doctrine of the trinity, but I did not attempt to prove it, because understanding the bible is not the same as understanding maths, for example.

A student of mathematics could be a drunkard; a womaniser; a thief; an alcoholic and be plagued by many other vices, and still leave university with a First Class Degree; because understanding maths has nothing to do with morality.

On the other hand, the ability to understand the bible depends upon a life sanctity and obedience to the laws of God. And above all, one must be rooted and grounded in love(Eph.3:17-18). So anyone who believes that he is able to understand the doctrine of the trinity while living a life of sin, is simply joking!

However, why was Jesus risen on the 3rd day? Why did Paul only ask God 3 times to remove the thorn from his flesh? Why did Jesus ask Peter 3 times, do you love me? Why does it say in the gospel of John, "This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead?" Why does the tabernacle have 3 sections, and 3rd one is call the Holy of Holies? Why was Paul taken up to the 3rd heaven? And there are many more examples of the use of the number 3 to be found in the bible.

If anyone can begin to answer these questions, he may just be on the road to understanding how incomprehensible the nature of God really is.

Leonardo said...

I see that our pious bloggers Larry and Tom Mahon are still spouting their incomprehensible "God is beyond human comprehension" crap in order to sweep under the philosophical carpet the clear fact that they simply cannot demonstrate their god's "existence" in any way, shape or form.

Amazing how they can earnestly believe in their invisible ghost - said to be incomprehensible in nature - and yet still dogmatically preach about this ghost as if they are extremely familiar with Him, like they play golf with Him every weekend or something!

Larry and Tom, you fellows are classic textbook examples that demonstrate the nonsensical nature of your belief system - you know, the one that can only be "understood" if one is holy enough.

Corky said...

Tom Mahon, hehehehehe, you can't even prove there is a one god much less a trinity of gods.

Why did Jesus ask Peter 3 times, do you love me?.

Because Peter had denied that he knew Jesus 3 times before the cock crowed???

Unknown to most folks, the trinity was invented to eliminate all other Christian sects except for the one deemed "orthodox" by Eusebius and Constantine - mainly the Arian heresy.

Christians trust the NT canon handed down by the church of Constantine as being true copies the "inspired" originals and they're not. There may have never even been any "originals".

One thing is for sure, Jesus was not originally "God very God". Why? Because of the Shema prayer. The Jewish Christians in Acts 15 would have been more concerned about making Jesus into a god than they would have been about circumcision.

Hell, that's the reason that Jews have rejected Christianity from the time of Constantine til now.

The Jews suffered all kinds of persecution, tortures and murder from Christians for over a thousand years when they could have simply accepted Christianity.

Why didn't the Jews just give in and accept it? Because of the Shema:

"Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." The Shema is considered the most important prayer in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation is a mitzvah.

No, Paul would have been hated by the Jews for that more than any arguments over circumcision.

Anonymous said...

The Church left the organization known as WCG a long time ago. Why does it matter what WCG/GCI teaches anymore than it matters what the Baptists, Methodists, RCC, or anyone else teach? They are not part of The Church, so they cannot be expected to teach the truth.

Charmed by Tom said...

Tom preaches:
"If anyone can begin to answer these questions, he may just be on the road to understanding how incomprehensible the nature of God really is."

My answer... Threes a charm!

Anonymous said...

Who wrote it?

Possibly the scholarly Kyriacos Stavrinides. I believe he introduced Version 1.1b

Anonymous said...

Tom (this is Trader with Style who forgot his Google password), regarding the "proof of 3" text counting and the Trinity,I must respectfully ask: are you related to Dean Blackwell or what? (Blackwell was legendary for well-meaning word chases and counting)
Boxing up God in a trinity, binary solution or whatever represents at best a good faith human effort to explain in inadequate human terms the nature of God. Not going to happen in this lifetime. Rather than make some kind of dogmatic belief in a "trinity" a fulsome requirement for church admission or "salvation", how about focusing a little theological attention instead on "mercy," and "justice," and "forgiveness." Those are expressions of God's divine nature.
Further, God is described as "omniscient" (which I believe is true), and having a diving Being that possesses complete knowledge and understanding and is all-perceiving is a much harder concept for my timid cerebral faculties to embrace than a man-made trinity bit.
(By the way Gavin, that trinity blog entry was some of the best writing I have recently had the pleasure to come across. Well done.)

Bamboo_bends said...

Tom said,

However,
why was Jesus risen on the 3rd day?

Why did Paul only ask God 3 times to remove the thorn from his flesh?

Why did Jesus ask Peter 3 times...

Why does the tabernacle have 3 sections...

Why was Paul taken up to the 3rd heaven?

...there are many more examples of the use of the number 3 to be found in the bible.

If anyone can begin to answer these questions, he may just be on the road to understanding how incomprehensible the nature of God really is.

Er...perhaps the writers of the Bible were just as superstitious about numerology as HWA was?

Why were there 7 Laws of success? Why did we rest on the 7th day?
Why were there 7 seals and 7 crowns on 7 horns on the beast of Revelation?

Why 40 days and nights? Why a jubilee cycle of 50 years made up of 7, 7 year cycles + 1?

It is the nature of the human mind to look for patterns, even when none are present. The reptilian lower brain stem thrives on ritual.

Anonymous said...

Thank God CGI's quest for its own version of Constantine's imperial religion isn't backed by vast temporal power as it was in the days of the empire.

“In the years following the council at Nicaea [325CE] and the two subsequent councils at Ephesus and Chalcedon, at least one million … early ‘unitarian’ Jewish Christians were killed because of their beliefs [including that God is an indivisible Unity, as His Aramaic name, Alaha, by which they knew Him, indicated].” (The Hidden Gospel, p. 14, Neil Douglas-Klotz.)

Anonymous said...

Is God one person or many? I have no idea, because I am immoral and therefore cannot understand scripture. I wonder if I can use that excuse come tax day? Sorry Mister Revenue Person, but my immorality impedes my comprehension, therefore I thought I could deduct dog food and prostitutes on my form. On the other hand, taken to its logical extreme, my immorality could be viewed as a form of disability. I will make an attempt to apply for such and report back shortly.

As for this question, I do know the answer: “You buy a cheap Ford, strip it down and soup the coupe... is it still a Ford?”

Answer: It depends on the engine block. If it is still a Ford engine block, then it is still a Ford. If you put in a Chevy block, it becomes a Chevy. If you use a non manufactured OEM block, such as Lycoming or Pratt & Witney (and you would have to yank one from the museum or go back in time to do so) you can pretty much call your car whatever it is you like.

I picked this up during my ill fated kit car phase, wherein I received wonderful instructions on how to turn a perfectly good Camero and/or Firebird into a replica Cord 810. It could, however, not actually be registered as a Cord unless I dropped in a Lycoming V-8 which had been purchased by the Auburn Motorcar Company. You see, it doesn’t matter who makes the engine, make is conveyed not by the OEM, but rather the purchasing manufacturer. Given that in the kit car sense, I am the manufacturer, I could register the car as a Mark Lax, but not as a Cord. On the other hand, perhaps this number of Gods thing isn’t so complicated after all.

In any case, I decided to take up ‘elite rock climbing’ in the place of ‘destroying perfectly good cars.’ This too turned out to be ill fated. Had I gone through with it I would no doubt be able to answer the question about the number of Gods there are. I would not, however, probably be in much of a position to communicate it. Unless you believe in that sort of thing.

Mark Lax
Not Real Good With Tools or Climbing Gear, as it turns out.

Mel said...

Somehow I knew that Krusty the Clown having a superfluous third nipple might be of biblical proportions.

I love those threes.

I fully expect to see Jan Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network mention it as soon as she is done with her Christian Liposuction Seminars.

Tom Mahon said...

Firstly, Jesus said it was given unto his disciples to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. So anyone who is not a genuine disciple of Christ cannot understand the bible. Period!

Secondly, I dread being bracketed with Larry, as he supports Joe junior, who is patently unscrupulously and without conscience.

Thirdly, because many denominations believe God is a trinity, that does not mean that they understand what they are saying.

Finally, if people want ignore or disparage the way God reveals himself in scripture, they are free to do so. But I will not be drawn into a pointless discussion with them.

Anonymous said...

'''Thank God CGI's quest for its own version of Constantine's imperial religion isn't ''''

There is some possible confusion. CGI is COG International. GCI is the new heretical sect.

Observant Student said...

Tom Mahon said God is "incomprehensible".

That is just theological babble to parry questions for which there are no rational answers. The folks that embrace that stand are quite content.

The incomprehensible God and the non-existent God look very much alike.

Leonardo said...

Tom Mahon wrote:
"Finally, if people want [to] ignore or disparage the way God reveals himself in scripture, they are free to do so. But I will not be drawn into a pointless discussion with them."


Tom, Tom, you keep making the same mistake over and over and over again: that of ASSUMING your cherished premises to be true, rather than actually demonstrating that they indeed ARE true.

Insisting that your audience just mindlessly assume the Bible's assertions to be automatically true and beyond challenge - as you do - is the lazy man's way to presuming he possesses legitimate knowledge.

But this gets you nowhere. Any religionist of whatever persuasion can (and does) do this, but it proves nothing but the fact that they are simply unable to clearly and logically demonstrate their cherished assumptions to be factually true, and then proceed from there. Rather, such insist that their hearers/readers make the same careless assumptions that they do – and when their audiences refuse to grant this demand, they are simply declared to be heathens who just aren’t moral enough to understand the precious “revelations” - typically along with some form of threats of future punishment.

Anybody can dogmatically ASSERT that the rigorous requirements of logic, proof and evidence are nothing more than "pointless discussion." And this is exactly what you do, and have always done, on this blogsite.

Like Islam, Christianity demands to be exempt from the intellectual demands we expect from science, for example. And whenever such religions make their wild, indemonstrable assertions, they insist on being BELIEVED rather than questioned and challenged.

This may have worked in past historical times, but it will get you nowhere in the modern (western) world.

larry said...

Wow! I have never been "bracketed" before. Sounds kinky.

And I support truth, wherever it is found.

Anonymous said...

CGI may not be too far behind, what with women giving sermonetts and all.

Byker Bob said...

IMO, science fiction exists today in our modern times to help us fathom God. When you consider shape shifters, or beings that can manifest themselves in various forms, I think we can all agree that the trinity is a snap. Still, we're limited in our understanding by four dimensions: length, width, height, and time. God exists in more than those four, a fact which has been forecast by string theory.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Secondly, I dread being bracketed with Larry,"

I think that's the ONLY thing we can all agree on here!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anon 09:04:00. I meant GCI, the Grace Communion Int'l. group, nothing else.

Anonymous said...

"IMO, science fiction exists today in our modern times to help us fathom God."

Good to hear you're still reading that "pagan" skiffy, BB; keep it up, and you might just find your way out of the self-created god-sized hole you've dug yourself into.

Bamboo_bends said...

Byker Bob said...

....When you consider shape shifters, or beings that can manifest themselves in various forms, I think we can all agree that the trinity is a snap.

BB


I can't wait to hear Dr Stav preach on the shape shifting God.

On Deep Space Nine, the Vorta and Jem'Hadar considered the shape shifting Odo to be a god.

I am reminded that even green Jello will display "brain waves" on an EEG machine. But I don't think I will be worshiping green Jello anytime soon.

Byker Bob said...

Russell,

I responded to you prior to reading your post over at HMA, where you have exercised your right to disable comment.

The vile, irrationally angry content of your HMA post is typical of those who have not taken advantage of the full healing that is available. There is most definitely nothing "Sermon of the Mount" about your comments. The thing is, I've watched this type of anger persist as an integral part of numerous people's personalities over ten year stretches during which they claim to have received healing, or to have made progress. And it will. And it is beyond human repair. Perhaps after a few more decades "kicking against the pricks", you'll realize that there are certain things that we humans cannot do for ourselves. I believe you are young enough to where you still feel totally invincible, and therefore have no need for God. Once again, been there, done that.

By the way, I was arround during your early forays into WCG Alumni Forum, and Painful Truth Forum. And, indeed, I would like to compliment you on your personal growth in being able to relate to others, and participate in civilized exchanges. My recollections are that you angrily stormed off both of those forums, in spite of people reaching out to you (even atheists!). I applaud your growth, and hope it continues!

BB

Anonymous said...

"I can't wait to hear Dr Stav preach on the shape shifting God."

Funniest comment ever on AW. :-D

(BB as a reincarnated Kyriacos Stavrinedes --- well, stranger things HAVE happened, in the Church-of-God-verse......)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I participate on another forum where the Trinity and monotheism were bantered back and forth for several days, but personally have come to the conclusion, "God in 3 persons Blessed Trinity" from the church hymn, Holy Holy Holy, is to linear and humanly sound-bytish to even do the Almighty justice. God Almighty reveals God Almighty, as "I am" chooses and when we humans comprehend that we can then concur with the Apostle Shaul, Paul, who exclaimed, O that I may know Him," May that be all our desire...
Mellow Roc