Saturday, April 7, 2012

Divine Power and Spirit of Truth - A Conversation between Friends on the Unity of God

I hope you can follow this conversation between two friends.

Question from Trinitarian friend (TF) in BLACK.
Reply from Biblical Monotheist (MF) in BLUE
Response from Trinitarian Friend (TF) in RED
TF: I appreciate you answering my questions by quoting scripture. I have been careless in my understanding of the divine family (the word divine family does not appear in the scripture but it is implied so i assumed you would accept is as a more accurate description than the word trinity) and your questions and answers have sharpened my mind and heart. MF: I still prefer using our Heavenly Father (or God, our Father) and his Son Jesus. The word “divine” is only used twice in scripture and once it’s referring to US being partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
TF: I'll use your terms since things that are mentioned only once or twice in scripture are less the word translated Godhead in Col.2:9; this is the only time it appears so you cannot build a doctrine around it. In the same light Thomas is the only disciple that called Jesus " my Lord and my God" (and Thomas the least of the disciples doubter that he was...) Thomas' single references among all the references made by apostles is not one to build a doctrine on. --I'm not being sarcastic I'm hoping that you will affirm or correct my understanding of your viewpoint.

TF: I have looked over your response to my I Peter 1:3 question and I do not see an answer perhaps this is a question that should be asked in person:
2 Peter 1:3 says "His divine power..." What does the context say to you? Whose divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness by our knowledge of Him.....? MF: I did answer on the previous email. It was this:
I believe Scripture shows us that any power Jesus has is from God, hence, divine. “. . .but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” John 14:10. TF: Agreed
Any power we have is from God. All comes from God through Jesus (Jesus is the mediator between God and man 1 Tim 2:5). So whether you say the context is Jesus or God (giving the divine power) in 2 Pet 1:3, both ways— it originates from God. Jesus said, “. . . I send the promise of my Father.” Luke 24:49 TF:Agreed
All authority and power is ultimately from God. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matt 28:18 TF:Agreed
Everything originates from God. Jesus actually said that whoever believes on him, doesn’t believe on him but rather, believes on him that sent him. John 12:44 TF:Agreed
TF: Perhaps 2 Peter 1:3 is an instance where it is ok to ignore the context but if not and you read the verse in the context it seems that one must choose a hermeneutical principle upon which one will discern whose divine power is being spoken of in vs. 2. Then again perhaps this is one of those one time references that can be ignored.

TF: Here is another question: in John 16:13 who is the Spirit of truth? These require short answers.
MF: Short answer (which was from previous email): I believe that Scripture shows us that the Spirit of Truth, Spirit of God, Spirit of your Father, the Holy Ghost are all phrases that are used interchangeably.
Scriptural backup:
“. . .For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” Matt 10:20
“. . .for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy GhostMark 13:11
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” Luke 24:49
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” John 15:26
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh . . . .in those days of my Spirit.” Acts 2:17-18
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor 2:12)
Through Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost, Spirit of truth, God’s spirit), God’s divine power that works in us (“. . .according to the power that worketh in us” Eph 3:20), the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49). Praise God!
TF: I'm sorry for being so vague here but if I'm hearing you correctly what you are saying is that all references to Jesus coming forth from the father teach that the Father and the Son are separate beings but all references that indicate and discuss how the Spirit comes forth from the Father should be not be understood as teaching that the Spirit and the Father are referring to the same person?

TF: I think we agree that the church is in a sad state but it is a stretch (for me) to connect the sad state of the church to trinitarianism. It seems more likely that the sad state of the church has more to do with their irresponsible/proud/weak leaders, pastors and fathers.
MF: (From previous email & applicable here too) I never meant to imply that a Unitarian/non-Trinitarian church was somehow more perfect than other churches. I believe the sad state is due to “lay” people in addition to pastors for passively and blindly sitting in the pews and not reading and searching the scriptures for themselves. I believe there are many pastors that Satan has put into the pulpits. They are false brethren teaching the words of men and not the words of God.
TF: So you do not believe that trinitarianism (specifically) is the cause of the death of many believers. You would agree with me that it was the evil hearts of men who were bent on controlling others rather than a specific doctrine that led them to perpetrate evil on people in and out of the body of Christ? You agree that these evil men would have used (and did) method of baptism, use of statues and other "tools" of worship, and anything else they could to gain control and silence those who would oppose them?

TF: What is most curious to me about your "monotheism" is that it seems to relish the separateness or individuality of the divine family members while I delight in what they share and their unity; you seem to believe that the divine family has something to gain by maintaining their individuality and I just don't see it. MF: These are all your words, not mine. God is ONE and Jesus is his son. I, too, delight in their unity, as I delight in MY unity with them (John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”) and as I delight in my unity with my wife. But we’re all still different people. “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Cor 8:6
There’s no relishing in the individuality of God and his Son, Jesus, nor do I believe either of them have anything to gain by maintaining their individuality. Rather, I believe us, as believers in Jesus, do have something to LOSE (not salvation) by believing in a trinity that was taught by Plato almost 400 years before Jesus was born. But that can be discussed in person if you’d like.
I have much more to say about this but it will have to wait until we’re in person, just to save from typing.
TF:I look forward to the more.
TF: My hope is that at the end of these email discussions I will be able to print out these emails and sit down with you and clarify your beliefs so that I am not assuming anything. Perhaps when we have a good understanding of one anothers beliefs we can continue these conversations in a blog that would bring encouragement to others who are in your respective situations. MF: There’s already a blog (and now this blog too) where people have conversations back and forth regarding One God. I don’t use it, I prefer talking rather than typing. There is always a large discussion going on over there by people who really dig into the scriptures. They always enjoy someone asking questions or trying to prove them wrong. : )
Thanks for listening,
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