Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity

Recently there was a debate between James White and Ustadh Adnan Rashid, or Adnan as he is referred to (the actual debate YouTube is found at the bottom of this article).  The title/theme/thesis of the debate was "The Doctrine of the Trinity, Man-Made or Divinely Stipulate?"  THAT and ONLY THAT question is the point of the debate.  Rationalizations and deductive reasoning for scriptural support of the Blessed Trinity are not acceptable material for THIS debate.  I believe that Adnan either established this thesis or agreed to debate this thesis because based upon this premise, Adnan has already won the debate.  It is my humble opinion, or not-so-humble, that it was foolish of James to accept this debate.  Keeping in mind, on the ACTUAL DOCTRINE/DOGMA James White agrees with the Catholic Church!  

Fundamentally, I believe the reason White engages this debate is because he is trying (and failing) to establish a sola scriptura position on the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.  In the end, the objective reader is forced to conclude that this doctrine was not "divinely stipulated" by Scripture alone.  The Dogma of the Blessed Trinity, while scripturally sound, was not explicitly defined until late in the 4th century.  

Here is a discussion I have been having on Beggars All on this topic too:



1 – 8 of 8
Blogger Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
I watched the debate and found it very interesting. For the most part I do agree with White on the Trinity, but I must agree with Adnan, that James did not answer the challenge of the debate. The challenge was to present where Scripture stipulates the precise formula of the doctrine of the Trinity. While I agree with James, the teaching can be gleaned from Scripture - we must agree with Adnan - the formula is NOT explicitly stipulated in Scripture. The definition of the doctrine of the Trinity came from the Catholic Church, centuries after Scripture was written. I felt Adnan permitted the debate to be sidetracked by introducing and even challenging James to produce Early Church Fathers over the first 300 years of the Catholic Church's existence, but again - that was not the point of the debate and to spend so much time on that distraction was disappointing, to say the least.
2:29 PM, May 21, 2016
Blogger Ken said...
No one that I know of, has ever claimed that the precise formula for the doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible in one verse. (that is what the Muslims demand)

Rather, it is a proper theological development, based on sound exegesis, of putting all the verses on all the related issues of the Deity of Christ, the Deity of the Holy Spirit, the Oneness of God (Monotheism) and the interaction and relationship content between the 3 persons of the Trinity.

Protestants, Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox have always agreed with this.

But, as I showed, in the Tertullian quotes, it is there in much earlier history in the Christian church than what Adnan was claiming.
3:59 PM, May 21, 2016
Blogger Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
Ken said:No one that I know of, has ever claimed that the precise formula for the doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible in one verse. (that is what the Muslims demand)

And, since THAT was the challenge of the debate James had two options, 1) Refuse to debate on that premise or 2) Concede the debate, as you just have. James lost that debate before it began precisely for the reason you cite above.

Ken continues:Rather, it is a proper theological development

And that was and remains Adnan's point.

Ken adds: Protestants, Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox have always agreed with this.

I agree with you on this too - and if the word "proper" were removed, Adnan would too.
2:31 PM, May 22, 2016

Blogger Ken said...
James seems to see "divinely stipulated" there in Scripture based on three truths:
1. Verses on Monotheism
2. Verses on the Deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
3. Verses on the Personal relationship verses between the Father and Son and Spirit.

Since those three truths are divinely stipulated in Scripture, James defended it.

But Adnan wants the exact formula in 2nd Century (Tertullian, Theolophilus of Antioch), 3rd (Origen, Cyprian) and 4th - 5th (Nicea, Athanasius, Augustine, Hillary, Jerome) century words all in one verse, back in 1st Century.
3:45 PM, May 22, 2016
Blogger Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
Hi Ken,
While I am sure James appreciates your support of him, he really did not answer to the subject/title of the debate nor Adnan's insistence that he had not.
1. Verses on Monotheism Those do not teach "Trinity." Virtually all non-trinitarian beliefs base their beliefs in Scripture too.

2. Verses on the Deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Again, these do not stipulate "Trinity."

3. Verses on the Personal relationship between the Father and the Son and the Spirit (addition "verses" removed from quote). Again, "relationship" does not "stipulate" the teaching of "Trinity."

The closest we come to said "stipulation" in Scripture comes from two references:

Matthew 28:19 - Go therefore into all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

1 John 5:7 - And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.

The former, while close - does not "stipulate" the Trinity. It uses the trinitarian formula - but is not an explicit definition of the Blessed Trinity.

The latter, IS a GREAT example of scriptural stipulation of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity - however - it is also (as I'm sure you're aware) known as the "Johannine Comma" - as it is not found in the oldest examples we have of the scriptural texts, implying it was a latter addition.

Do you have more?
4:43 PM, May 22, 2016

Blogger Ken said...
I would not use 1 John 5:7, for the reason you gave.

2 Cor. 13:14 is good one, close to Matthew 28:19
and
Matthew 3:13-17
Jesus the Son on earth
The voice of the Father from heaven
The Spirit coming down in the form of a dove.

Those 3 doctrines have to put together.
6:55 PM, May 22, 2016
Blogger Ken said...
by "those 3 doctrine have to be put together", I mean these 3 doctrines.

James seems to see "divinely stipulated" there in Scripture based on three truths:
1. Verses on Monotheism
2. Verses on the Deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
3. Verses on the Personal relationship verses between the Father and Son and Spirit.
6:56 PM, May 22, 2016
Blogger Scott Windsor, Sr. said...
Ken said...
I would not use 1 John 5:7, for the reason you gave.

2 Cor. 13:14 is good one, close to Matthew 28:19
and
Matthew 3:13-17
Jesus the Son on earth
The voice of the Father from heaven
The Spirit coming down in the form of a dove.

Those 3 doctrines have to put together.

6:55 PM, May 22, 2016


sw: Let's see...

Matthew 28:19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,


sw: Yes, the trinitarian formula for the Sacrament of Baptism is stated and the Holy Trinity can be deduced from this verse, but three divine persons in one God is not clearly "stipulated" here. The "name" being singular, yet three names, SEEMS to indicate the leaning toward the Trinity, however, as Adnan points out this too, like the Johannine Comma, is believed to be a later addition to the text of the Gospel of Matthew. I am not saying I agree with Adnan on that point - but the point is there. Where I would sympathize with Adnan is that the explicit teaching of the Trinity, One God in Three Divine Persons, is not "stipulated" in that passage. Implied, I give you - but not "stipulated," and THAT is the point of the debate - which James does not address and therefore Adnan wins.

2 Corinthians 13:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.


sw: Again, merely using the Three Divine Persons in one sentence does not "stipulate" that those Three are One. This verse does not answer the challenge of the debate.

Matthew 3:13-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”


sw: Again, though the presence of the Three Divine Persons is present in this singular event - there is nothing here "stipulating" that the Three are One. This verse does not answer the challenge of the debate.

sw: Ken says "those three doctrines have to be put together..." Taken separately OR together, the three passages do not "stipulate" the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. You have not answered the challenge of the debate, Adnan still wins.

Ken adds...

by "those 3 doctrine have to be put together", I mean these 3 doctrines.

James seems to see "divinely stipulated" there in Scripture based on three truths:
1. Verses on Monotheism
2. Verses on the Deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
3. Verses on the Personal relationship verses between the Father and Son and Spirit.

6:56 PM, May 22, 2016


sw: Whether or not James "seems to see" this - is not the point of the debate. Finding IN Scripture where the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is clearly "stipulated" is the point. What James did and what you are doing here is the presentation of deductive reasoning for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity being scripturally BASED. Keep in mind, I AGREE with the doctrine of the Trinity and profess it! My point in responding here is only to show that Adnan is right - this "doctrine" is not "defined" or "stipulated" clearly until late in the 4th Century by the Catholic Church.
12:58 PM, May 28, 2016 

(End of quoted text from Beggars All)
This is why Ustadh Adnan Rashid "wins" this debate.  Adnan has not assailed the TRUTH of the Blessed Trinity in the least - but he has demonstrated another weakness in the sola scriptura debate.  Keep this fact in mind as you watch the debate.  One of the things I was disappointed in was that Adnan himself deviated from the theme/thesis of the debate in introducing arguments about the Early Church Fathers.  Whether or not they supported the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is immaterial to this debate - and thus a distraction - which just gives James more room for distraction from the main point.

I believe James and his followers, like Ken above, truly believe James was able to "stipulate" the doctrine of the Trinity from Scripture - but I also believe the objective listener/watcher of that debate will agree with me - that James fails to do so because the premise of this debate is stacked against him.  Watch and listen, see if you agree with me.

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