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Apologetic discussions Apologetic Discussions Regarding the Teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee

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09-25-2019 10:10 AM
Sons to Glory!
Re: Lee's Trinity

Another thoughtful post bro OBW! I certainly can see where you are coming from. Most here in Scottsdale don't read and/or bring up Lee's stuff any more, probably for many of the same reasons. Occasionally there may be something brought up of Lee's, by one brother in particular, but I think it is well filtered and certainly not any silly MOTA emphasis. This brother is pretty mature and experienced, I think, in "getting the chicken and spitting out the bones." Personally, I can't remember the last time I referred to or even read any of Lee's stuff, and also stopped using the RV NT some time ago (even though it was the one without footnotes). It is something the Lord led me to do, because of how certain things were translated. Not really big things, but in the end, the Greek is a better/safer reference in my opinion.

I may not be as far on the anti-Lee spectrum as some. But shoot, I can find issues with something in just about any Christian speaker/author! However, these things bother me less and less as I go on. In other words, I'm not blown about as much as I once was, due to better grounding in His love and His word. This also helps me be open to others and other groups, who don't do things exactly as I might think they should - I'm not threatened in any way, and can accept them more in love as beloved believers regardless.

Regarding the "taste & see" song - there is nothing wrong with that, bro! But again, I understand where yer coming from. Yes, many things are way emotional in Christendom. I will just say that while I certainly appreciate the "meatiness" of a good hymn (and the more the older I get), there is also a place for simple love songs to Jesus! For instance, sometimes Thursday morning we may break into a rousing vocalization of "Jesus loves me this I know!"

Be blessed.

(PS - You do bring up a good point about others who may be lurking and reading these things, who have some interaction with the LCs now. So let me say to any reading that I do believe there is serious error in the LC/LSM system. It is a system that is well built-up over time, and not in a good way. The extreme exclusivity of this group is a sin, period and I see that clearly now. And there is an organization in place to protect from and exclude other blood-washed believers who are not in the LC system. The teaching that was supposed to be "The Answer" and provide oneness in the body of Christ has become a entrenched system of error. It is an example of the church in Laodicea (Rev 3) I believe - calling themselves rich, but are actually anything but (because they have not held to the one main thing - Christ alone). Any glory of Christ that was once there back in the 1960s & 70s has left, and it is now an empty shell system, a kingdom being propagated and defended by men.)
09-25-2019 09:20 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
Okay and well said!

I don't think theology matters as much as a living relationship with the Lord - can't add much to that. I don't know any place in scripture that we are told, "Know accurate theology," but how many places say something about knowing the Lord? (although I guess some might say this includes accurate theology - but the word, to my knowledge, doesn't seem to emphasize knowing theology) However, if I had my druthers (interesting word . . .), I would prefer to also have accurate theology!

Was God closer to me when I thought He was 3-in-1 than when I thought He was more 1-in-3? I firmly doubt it.

In any case, I appreciate those that strive for accurate theology. I hope they also "taste and see that the Lord is good." (BTW: we enjoyed singing that old song just this morning at brothers' breakfast!)
SoG

I was perusing several old threads and noticed that there was some recent activity on this otherwise old thread.

I agree that theology is not our basis for salvation, knowing the Lord, oneness, etc. But when it comes to getting spiritual nourishment, not everything that sounds "spiritual" is fit for consumption. We recognize some of the New Age garbage easily since it generally falls outside of anything in the Bible. But then there are some who claim a veneer of Christianity but provide a lot of nonsense wrapped in Christiany terms. Several TV personalities and self-help gurus come to mind.

But what is worse is when someone who is allegedly staying strictly within the bounds of acceptable Christian teaching is providing garbage. It might not keep the followers from being able to claim true Christian belief. But so much of what they consume spiritually may be quite tainted.

And when that tainted "food" results in their bondage to a system that . . . .

You get the picture.

In various places, Jesus, then later Paul and others, provided markers for true spiritual leadership. Jesus contrasted the ways of the Pharisees with the servant-leaders that are to be the mark of Christian leadership. Paul provided additional markers that ranged from variations in teaching to evidence in their personal lives that such persons should be refused the opportunity to teach.

Therefore, when there begins to be a significant collection of variant teachings (especially if they stand in contrast to the very scripture from which they are presumably derived), and there is evidence of personal, financial, etc., misconduct (especially if it drags the Christian followers into the problems), and there is evidence that efforts are being made to "collect" people to themselves (such as making followers fear that leaving would be spiritually or even physically dangerous), then it is time to shine the light on such teachers. Give the followers the opportunity to see more than the one side they have been given.

There have been various positions taken here about how to deal with Lee's teachings. Some think that we can safely take it all except where we come to find error. Sort of following one of Lee's lines from way back about eating the chicken and rejecting the bones and feathers. Others (like me) go so far as to say that if you can't find it as something fairly regular inside of the rest of Christianity, you should reject it.

For me, the problem is that trying to pick out the bones means that I suddenly need to be able to see what I could not for so many years while inside that system. That is seldom what happens. They did some studies and discovered that (especially in a religious context) that if you learn something incorrectly because the context was omitted, that introducing the context (which shows the error in the prior teaching) only convinces about 50% of people. In other words, because you heard it first, you are more likely to believe it no matter how wrong it turns out to be, and how obvious the error is.

For this reason, when it comes to some of the more egregious doctrinal errors of Lee, it is important to chink away at the nonsense. To point at the lack of actual evidence over and over. People like Drake and Evangelical may be too indoctrinated to ever see the nonsense in what they say. But maybe someone else will.

And while I cannot remember enough of the words of the "taste and see" song to comment on it, I am prone to refraining from the old LC songs, especially in the supplement, since too many of them are emotional rather than substantive even when not doctrinally incorrect. The LC (and a lot of modern Christianity for that matter) are too caught up in feelings. How something moves me. How I feel. Unless you are in a more "traditional" service, even the songs that seem to speak of God's attributes are too often more about how I am emotionally affected by them than who and what God is. And the traditional services can sometimes fall into "by-and-by" kinds of songs that tug at heartstrings of seeing family again, or avoiding suffering.

There's going to be suffering in this world. Jesus said it would be.

But it should not come from being trapped in Lee's system of error. When you put the warnings of Jesus and Paul together, neither Nee nor Lee could be seen as viable sources for spiritual teaching. They fail on too many levels. Lack of true theological training is just one. (I like to point out that I was an accountant just like Lee.) Immorality. Making money off the flock. Teachings that do not constitute sound doctrine. And if you reject them, you should fully reject them. That is why I say that nothing should be kept that is not found somewhere else. (And just because something sort of like it is said somewhere by one person does not really qualify.)

The guys we are arguing with — Drake, Evangelical, and others, past and present — may never budge an inch. But there are many lurkers who will see and some will consider.

Or that is our hope.
09-05-2019 11:17 AM
Sons to Glory!
Re: Lee's Trinity

Okay and well said!

I don't think theology matters as much as a living relationship with the Lord - can't add much to that. I don't know any place in scripture that we are told, "Know accurate theology," but how many places say something about knowing the Lord? (although I guess some might say this includes accurate theology - but the word, to my knowledge, doesn't seem to emphasize knowing theology) However, if I had my druthers (interesting word . . .), I would prefer to also have accurate theology!

Was God closer to me when I thought He was 3-in-1 than when I thought He was more 1-in-3? I firmly doubt it.

In any case, I appreciate those that strive for accurate theology. I hope they also "taste and see that the Lord is good." (BTW: we enjoyed singing that old song just this morning at brothers' breakfast!)
09-05-2019 10:59 AM
UntoHim
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
What would I rather have - perfect knowledge about God's nature and not have a living relationship with Him; or have imperfect knowledge of God's nature, yet have a living relationship with Him?
You have created a false dilemma. Who has ever said we need to have "perfect knowledge about God's nature?" In the past 50 years, I cannot recall anyone ever saying anything like this. I guess one could easily think that Witness Lee thought such things...Lord knows he taught such things. This kind of thinking is what led Lee to say: "The traditional explanation of the Trinity is grossly inadequate and borders on tritheism". Of course he never considered the opposite side of the coin: His "processed triune God" teaching is grossly overstated and borders on modalism.

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:3
I would posit that it is virtually impossible to "experience" someone that you don't know. The Lord Jesus did not say "that they may have perfect knowledge of you", he said "that they know you". I think that he means intimate knowledge. Knowledge that issues in love and grace. Love and demonstrable grace towards our neighbor - our fellow man. Does the knowledge come before love, or love before knowledge? The answer to this one is way above my paygrade, but at the end of the day, I will simply believe and say amen to the Lord Jesus' prayer to the Father: "that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Quote:
It's the old "Would you rather know the book or the Author?" question. (of course, having both - knowing the Author and accurately knowing His book - is best) If I know the Author, He will show me what I need to know about Him. But if I just know the book, without understanding - that's as far as my knowledge goes.
Ah, "accurately knowing his book". I think you mean biblical theology, right? I mean, all of us have a theology. For some of us, our theology has gotten bent, twisted and turned every which way by some misguided, yet well-meaning "Bible teachers". The most dangerous ones, in my observation and experience, are teachers who say things like "people have been getting this all wrong for these 2,000 years....God has shown me the way it was from the beginning...What I teach is recovered truth!". (sound familiar?)

Theology does matter. Correct and accurate teaching does matter. I question anyone who says they know the Author but cannot accurately articulate the most basic tenets of the Christian faith, and basic historical, orthodox Christian theology. And yes, I also question someone who has all the things I've just listed, yet displays no grace towards their fellow man - believers and non believers. Anyone who knows the Author, and has a relationship with the Author, will treat others, love others and serve others just as we see the Author did in the Gospels.

-
09-04-2019 02:23 PM
Sons to Glory!
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
This all sounds so good, and normally should be, but in the hands of Lee and the Blendeds, even this is dangerous stuff. Lee taught his followers to "follow the sense of life" as he was filing lawsuits, quarantining insiders, shaming leaders, abusing his authority, covering sin, and judging everyone.

Any "sense of life" within us must be tested and governed by righteousness and scripture. The fact is our conscience can be trained wrongly.
Agree. That is why the Father has equipped us with both: The indwelling Christ within & His word with out - plus the body. But as you say, the conscience can be trained wrongly. What a mercy that He caused us to escape this error!

"God has sent for the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying Daddy, Father!"
09-04-2019 02:00 PM
awareness
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
This all sounds so good, and normally should be, but in the hands of Lee and the Blendeds, even this is dangerous stuff.
The suicide of Greg Cansteel is just one example of how dangerous Lee and the local church is. It seriously screws with saints heads. This is no light matter.

I know there are those out here that don't like to call it a cult. But it is. And it's as dangerous as any other cult. And the training's are nothing but an initiation into the cult, and into the group-think of the personality cult of Witness Lee.
09-04-2019 10:46 AM
Ohio
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
And regarding your question, I would say the sense of life bro - a living relationship. Things are fresh and not dead. There is energy to pursue Him, get into His word and to get with others pursuing Him. "I've set before you this day life and death. Therefore choose life."
This all sounds so good, and normally should be, but in the hands of Lee and the Blendeds, even this is dangerous stuff. Lee taught his followers to "follow the sense of life" as he was filing lawsuits, quarantining insiders, shaming leaders, abusing his authority, covering sin, and judging everyone.

Any "sense of life" within us must be tested and governed by righteousness and scripture. The fact is our conscience can be trained wrongly.
09-04-2019 10:26 AM
Ohio
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
The point is, it's pretty much pointless - at least for me. What would I rather have - perfect knowledge about God's nature and not have a living relationship with Him; or have imperfect knowledge of God's nature, yet have a living relationship with Him?
I agree with you both!

No one has a "perfect knowledge" about God. I think a wide diversity of "God knowledge" is expected. For years I felt that Lee's "modalistic" tendencies were not worth fighting over -- Lee obviously did it to prove the rest of Christianity was off, and only he was the standard bearer for the truth. He poked the bear in the eye, and the bear reacted. Lee loved it! His adherents rallied around him.

That's not to say that "diversity is our strength" and we are all free to compose our own theology. Most of us draw a line with the deity of Christ (think JW's), His death, and His resurrection. Heresies often start right here with these.

For all the talk about high peaks theology at LSM, it's readily apparent that their relationship with God is sorely lacking. How can they do what they do, often with Lee's teachings and actions as their only justification, if their relationship with God was healthy?
09-04-2019 10:03 AM
Sons to Glory!
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
SO What..What? So I guess you don't believe that there is such a thing as heresy? There is no correct teaching....only one person's "perception of this mystery" as opposed to another persons perception of this mystery? So really it boils down to your guess is as good as mine?

So when I'm reading my Bible, how do I know if I'm experiencing God or just mentally dissecting him? Serious question. How do I know?
The point is, it's pretty much pointless - at least for me. What would I rather have - perfect knowledge about God's nature and not have a living relationship with Him; or have imperfect knowledge of God's nature, yet have a living relationship with Him? It's the old "Would you rather know the book or the Author?" question. (of course, having both - knowing the Author and accurately knowing His book - is best) If I know the Author, He will show me what I need to know about Him. But if I just know the book, without understanding - that's as far as my knowledge goes.

Just to put things in proper perspective . . . I've just seen myself spend hours, days, weeks, years going around and around this subject. If I added up all I gained in knowledge from studying the Trinity and put it on one side of the scale, then put one little flash of light from Him concerning His nature - guess which side would weigh more by far? (although some might say I was brought to the point of that flash of light by all the study)

And regarding your question, I would say the sense of life bro - a living relationship. Things are fresh and not dead. There is energy to pursue Him, get into His word and to get with others pursuing Him. "I've set before you this day life and death. Therefore choose life."
09-04-2019 07:59 AM
UntoHim
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
But yet brothers rail against others and call them heretics (and maybe worse), because they perceive that the other is off somewhere in describing their perception of this mystery (i.e., Modalism vs Trinitarianism).
Dare I say it - SO WHAT!?
SO What..What? So I guess you don't believe that there is such a thing as heresy? There is no correct teaching....only one person's "perception of this mystery" as opposed to another persons perception of this mystery? So really it boils down to your guess is as good as mine?

Quote:
In other words, it doesn't really make any difference in the end, and misses the point, namely - GOD WANTS TO BE EXPERIENCED BY US AND HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH US! (and not to be mentally dissected by us)
So when I'm reading my Bible, how do I know if I'm experiencing God or just mentally dissecting him? Serious question. How do I know?
-
09-03-2019 08:06 PM
awareness
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbles! View Post
Any connection to the Purple Flying Spaghetti Monster? ( play Twilight Zone theme )
Hey, hey, now. There's been sightings of the flying spaghetti monster. Not a one of the trinity.
09-03-2019 04:03 PM
Bubbles!
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
(Modalism has been brought up a few times recently in various threads on this forum recently, and I thought to start a discussion about it. But then I found this thread and thought to just comment here . . .)

This was a good opening post by OBW back in 2017, and this thread had stretched into the spring of this year. So here's my buck-two-ninety-eight on the subject.

Trying to definitively describe the triune God, as my dad likes to say, "Is like trying to corner Jello!" People go forth and back and forth with each other, trying to nail this down. It's perhaps worse than an amoeba trying to describe a flying eagle to another amoeba (picture that!). But yet brothers rail against others and call them heretics (and maybe worse), because they perceive that the other is off somewhere in describing their perception of this mystery (i.e., Modalism vs Trinitarianism).

Dare I say it - SO WHAT!?

I read a book by Bill Freeman from 1994 titled, "The Triune God in Experience (The Testimony of Church History)." It is the best thing I've read on the subject (BTW - out of print) as its main thesis is that, "The utterance selected by the Holy Spirit to convey the fact of God's triune existence as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is consistent within the text of experience. . . . the way He has chosen to make His triune being known is in the context of man's experience." (from pg. 1-2) Therefore all the back and forth humans have in trying to pin down exactly how this One exists, is akin to the proverbial "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" argument. In other words, it doesn't really make any difference in the end, and misses the point, namely - GOD WANTS TO BE EXPERIENCED BY US AND HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH US! (and not to be mentally dissected by us)

I believe if someone is in perceived error regarding the exact nature of God, it is His job to point that out, not mine. And who am I really to say that I (amoeba) have an accurate view of God's (eagle) nature any way? The important thing conveyed in the New Covenant is that we are to go boldly to Him, and He will then let us know what we need to know. (this is, of course, unless the person thinks God is like the Purple Flying Spaghetti Monster or some such nonsense)

There, I feel better now . . . (and it's all about me )
There are a few bugs in this site, so, I hope that you received my private email I sent earlier.
But, it's quite a coincidence that you write this today! ( The Holy Ghost says that it's ''mystical!'' )
It amazes me that some claim to have such an esoteric knowledge of the Trinity. ( this amazement came from the Son! ) Even some of the things I read on here make my head spin! I also know that the angels on that pin spin too! Sometimes they do a ''twin spin'' just like the ol' 60s disc jockeys did! ( the Father hath revealed it! ) Exactly 4501 angels can fit on that pin! ( but I heard that the extra one got kicked off! )
I think I could profit by studying in ''cemetery.'' ( not a bad coining by Bro. Lee! )
Hey, I had spaghetti for lunch today! Any connection to the Purple Flying Spaghetti Monster? ( play Twilight Zone theme )
09-03-2019 12:32 PM
Sons to Glory!
Re: Are Modalists really to be attacked as heretics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I do not dismiss the Bible from the discussion. But it is clear that defining the Trinity and the precise relationship of the Three as One God was never its goal. It was not made a lynchpin of Christian theology. Why? I don’t know. But it was not.

I still don’t know what kind of oneness that is because other than “You in me and I in them” nothing is said to describe it. And if it is just about the fact that Jesus is in us, then still no need to pray about it. That is the way it is Jesus is in us (unless we are reprobates).

Thoughts?
(Modalism has been brought up a few times recently in various threads on this forum recently, and I thought to start a discussion about it. But then I found this thread and thought to just comment here . . .)

This was a good opening post by OBW back in 2017, and this thread had stretched into the spring of this year. So here's my buck-two-ninety-eight on the subject.

Trying to definitively describe the triune God, as my dad likes to say, "Is like trying to corner Jello!" People go forth and back and forth with each other, trying to nail this down. It's perhaps worse than an amoeba trying to describe a flying eagle to another amoeba (picture that!). But yet brothers rail against others and call them heretics (and maybe worse), because they perceive that the other is off somewhere in describing their perception of this mystery (i.e., Modalism vs Trinitarianism).

Dare I say it - SO WHAT!?

I read a book by Bill Freeman from 1994 titled, "The Triune God in Experience (The Testimony of Church History)." It is the best thing I've read on the subject (BTW - out of print) as its main thesis is that, "The utterance selected by the Holy Spirit to convey the fact of God's triune existence as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is consistent within the text of experience. . . . the way He has chosen to make His triune being known is in the context of man's experience." (from pg. 1-2) Therefore all the back and forth humans have in trying to pin down exactly how this One exists, is akin to the proverbial "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" argument. In other words, it doesn't really make any difference in the end, and misses the point, namely - GOD WANTS TO BE EXPERIENCED BY US AND HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH US! (and not to be mentally dissected by us)

I believe if someone is in perceived error regarding the exact nature of God, it is His job to point that out, not mine. And who am I really to say that I (amoeba) have an accurate view of God's (eagle) nature any way? The important thing conveyed in the New Covenant is that we are to go boldly to Him, and He will then let us know what we need to know. (this is, of course, unless the person thinks God is like the Purple Flying Spaghetti Monster or some such nonsense)

There, I feel better now . . . (and it's all about me )
03-25-2019 01:53 PM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
... it still confounds me that all these people don't realize that is what they are doing!

I think the existing members have just stopped listening, so they don't see or hear the illogic.

I don't understand how intelligent new people come in though. I guess this is why the LCs focus on freshmen.....they are young kids who haven't had much chance to flex their critical thinking muscles yet. Sigh.
The mental conditioning process is pernicious because it is incessant and has several mutually reinforcing lines.

First off, people are allowed fee reign to think in other areas, and can excel in engineering or mathematics or biology, and seem to have critical faculties. (But so can the Mormons.) Thinking is allowed, but not thinking about religion. You can pick your breakfast cereal, but not this morning's HWMR verses, or what they mean for us today. "This means that", and that is that.

Not thinking about their religion is their religion. It is all, "amen, amen, amen..." Being "one with leadership" and "one with the brothers" and "one with the Lord's current speaking" yada yada. Whatever the oracle says today is the religion. Try to read someone a "wrong" verse sometime, and they look at you blankly. It's spooky, actually.

Second, part of the conditioning process is the mantra, "We're not being conditioned! We're enjoying! We are not being conditioned!" A comic from Igzy (not yet published) shows one man leaning forward on the dais, looking out at a sea of upturned faces. He says, "Who among you have I controlled? Who?" The crowd says in unison, "You have controlled no one, MOTA!"

Third, the system injects them with pride, as Ohio says. They are "God's best", in the "central lane of the divine economy", on the "proper ground", with the "top teachings" and "high peak truths". So when leadership starts putting out questionable assertions, nobody questions because that might infer that the teaching isn't so "high peak" after all, and we've already agreed it is. So don't put down the ministry of the age.

Another thing injected into them is fear. Over and over they're told of those who questioned, who spoke out. Ambitious men. Divisive. Negative. Rebellious. You don't want to be negative, do you? Leprous people, people who "got poisoned". Better not go on the internet, you might get poisoned. People who "drew others after themselves." The fact that the LC leader also drew others after himself is irrelevant. If any one else tries - terrible! So all that negative conditioning is tacitly received. And it is constant. The mind gets terrified of being cut off from God, so leadership is abjectly followed.

And then it has 5,000 years of development behind it, of fallen humanity conditioning itself (culture, mores, values, shared expectations) hard at work. Do not ever question Big Boss... as a current Blended put it so well, "He doesn't tell you what he wants, you have to be able to read between the lines". The line in this case is a questionable assertion on the Trinity (Jesus is the Father), and between the lines is, "Don't question". There is a strong cultural component at work behind the scenes: don't ever make group leaders publicly lose face. Even when they're wrong, they're right. The existence of the Hive depends on it.

At it's core, that's what you get in the LC: Jesus is the Father. God's oracle has spoken. End of discussion. Look for ways to prop it up and ignore all the ways it's nonsensical.
03-22-2019 12:31 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weighingin View Post
With the Trinity, God in His essence, is Spirit.
Are you sure? It might be correct to say that His essence is "spirit." But "Spirit"?

The place where we get "God is spirit" (John 4) does not refer to the identification of either the entirety of the One God, or of the Father in specific, as the person of the Spirit, but as an essence that is spirit. This is the very kind of confusion that Athanasius warned against.

That one of the Three of the Trinity has the name "The Spirit" does not cause it to subsume everything that has the nature as spirit. That is an exercise in equivocation.
03-22-2019 12:14 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

It's not unusual for Christians of all stripes to forget the contents of messages, and just remember the pleasant experience of a church service. I recall reading about a pastor who gave a message which included a funny story about his cat falling into the washing machine. When questioned later, most listeners could only remember the story about the cat.

Actually, in a way, it's encouraging that the saints are more interested in their relationships and social experiences than the messages. It shows they are human, and possibly avoiding indoctrination.
03-22-2019 11:24 AM
Weighingin
Re: Lee's Trinity

With the Trinity, God in His essence, is Spirit. Christ,,as the Son, is in the image and likeness of God, and humanity was created according to this Christ. The Father seems to me to be the overall description or source of God. The Son and the Spirit provide the details.

Regarding the last post, I think it's correct that many of us, while there may be some profit and enjoyment in the speaking, more fondly recall the food, and hospitality and time with the believers.
I went to a conference a while back and I don't recall the messages, yet I can fondly recall the family I stayed with, even certain details.
03-22-2019 10:57 AM
Trapped
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
The real question is, how so many otherwise-intelligent folk allowed themselves to be captured by such illogic? Because it appeared "mystical"?

This is what I have grappled with for a long time about the LCs in general. I know the wide range of types of people in the churches, and you can't say it's an intelligence thing. These are college graduates, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, PhD's ....... how are they missing what I'm seeing?

How do they handle the us vs them? How do they reconcile the put downs of "other" Christians? How do they reason away only using Lee's materials? How do they rationalize the differences between what is printed and what is practiced? How do they make Lee's extra-Biblical concepts a died-in-the-wool rule? How are they okay giving up lawful things because Lee said they were sinful? How do they keep going to meetings and conferences and trainings hearing the same 100 buzzwords over and over and over again?

A sister walked up to me recently glowing about how wonderful a conference she had attended was. One of my personal inner beefs is how everyone in the LCs automatically responds with "good! It was good!" when you ask how anything [meeting/conf/training/college conference/anything] was, and then they stop there and say nothing else. Occasionally I like to push people past the "auto-good" to see if there is actually anything behind it. This usually gets them flustered.

Our conversation went like this:

Me: Oh, how was the conference?
Her: Oh it was good, it was SOOO awesome!
Me: Really? That's great! What made it so awesome?
Her: Oh, haha, uh, um, I didn't expect you to ask that.
Me: [smiles]
Her: Uhmm.....well.....like the brother was awesome, the sharing was so so awesome, the hospitality was awesome!
Me: [laughing a little because she hasn't given me any other details] Well that's good.
Her: Like the hospitality fed us such great food! And told us about this great restaurant that we went to after the last meeting! The saints we ate with were really funny and we had a good time! (and she continues talking about the food and the conversations)

My point in relaying this is that every time I have pushed past the auto-good, no one EVER actually shares something from the conference itself. If they do, it is after the pick up the outlines and read directly from the title to tell me what the subject is, and that's it, followed by "it was so good" again. Any explanation of what a good time they had always involves non-conference details - it involves people. I have realized that the conferences are simply what most people endure to have the excuse to be able to see and hang out with people afterward.

But it still confounds me that all these people don't realize that is what they are doing!

I think the existing members have just stopped listening, so they don't see or hear the illogic.

I don't understand how intelligent new people come in though. I guess this is why the LCs focus on freshmen.....they are young kids who haven't had much chance to flex their critical thinking muscles yet. Sigh.
03-22-2019 06:37 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
The real question is, how so many otherwise-intelligent folk allowed themselves to be captured by such illogic? Because it appeared "mystical"?
Subtly we were injected with pride from WL, thinking that all other Christians had failed, and we alone "were rich." (Revel 3.17)
03-22-2019 04:17 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

"Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." Again and again the psalmist lays the framework for the relationship of the Son on earth with his Father in heaven, mediated through the word which proceeded out from the Father's mouth. See, e.g. "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

"I (the Christ) come to do thy (the Father) will, O God, behold in the scroll of the book is written concerning me". The relationship of the First and Second of the Trinity is outlined in the scroll. If the Second is actually the First then those words "I" and "your" have no meaning, and have become nonsensical. I say rather that the idea is illogical.

The real question is, how so many otherwise-intelligent folk allowed themselves to be captured by such illogic? Because it appeared "mystical"?
03-21-2019 07:28 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
The Bible and God are enough to wrestle with. There has to be a modicum of rationality.

I try to say these things to LCers sometimes and they are staunch defenders of Lee's view without the ability to even entertain anything else. I just got "you just don't see" as if I was short of the vision.
I was trying to address this in my last post (#242) but was "enjoying a verse" from Psalm 119 and got side-tracked. So I'll tag an addendum.

It's a lot believing into God; then, we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day. We repent of our sins and confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour. That alone makes us nuts in the eyes of the world.

But beyond that 'foolishness of faith' we reserve the right to think and take ownership of our thoughts. So a manifesto follows:

1. We should be able to critique Witness Lee even as he critiques others (e.g., "Affirmation and Critique"). And that goes for the Blendeds in Anaheim. They get an opinion just like everyone else. But it's an opinion, not "the present recovered truth".

2. We should be able to think aloud without being labeled "independent" or "rebellious" or "ambitious". Maybe we're wrong. Okay. But we can still think. Again, look at the invitation in 1 Corinthians 14. We can function in our mind and in our spirit. Period. Paul doesn't just give permission, but he encourages.

3. People should have the option of independent course of action, following the Voice of the Shepherd ("My sheep hear my voice") and not only expecting this Voice to come from HQ. What do you think this does to a younger generation, who are conditioned reflexively not to consider anything without "fellowship"? Or if they see something wrong they can't speak up because then they are "negative"?

Basically the younger ones are forced to make a choice: either become a ministry drone or go "into the world". Surprise, surprise, they're leaving... I know of a "locality" that has about 5% of the children that were there 30 years ago. Some have "migrated" and are meeting elsewhere in the LC, some are "serving the ministry" on the front lines of recruiting and indoctrination, but many have left, either indifferent or negative toward God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ. They rejected the baggage that comes with the LC, and can't go to the Bible, being so heavily conditioned in childhood by all-or-nothing propositions. So they throw out the Baby with the Bathwater. They are still reflexive - now they want no part of the Christian message in any shape or form.

You'd be surprised how many "church kids" were immersed the LC their whole childhood & now no longer are professing Christians, and have even become adversarial to the faith. Gee, I wonder why.
03-21-2019 03:31 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
This is my problem too...I try to say these things to LCers sometimes and they are staunch defenders of Lee's view without the ability to even entertain anything else. I just got "you just don't see" as if I was short of the vision. I just thought, "I don't want to see if it means I have to suspend all logical thought".
Psalm 119:88 "In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth". What I see in scripture is the Son of Man receiving the words of the Heavenly Father. The Son receives the word because it proceeds from the Father's mouth. The Son loves the Father and thus loves the Father's word. The Son then inhabits the Father's word to the extent that his disciples even refer to him as the Logos, the Word. We see the Obedient Son, the Lamb of God, and we are brought back to life - previously our disobedience had wiped us out.

Now, this is my interpretation, this is me saying, "this means that", which is precisely what Lee did, following Luther, Calvin, Darby et al. Interpreting scripture isn't wrong - Paul said that we each could do it (1 Cor 14:26). So I just interpreted Psalm 119:88.

But to receive Lee's interpretation as unquestionable precludes our own experience of 1 Cor 14:26. Paul said, "each one of you has", and that means me, and the person next to me. And if I want them to respect and consider my interpretation then I have to respectfully receive theirs. So any interpretation that doesn't allow other voices to come alongside doesn't deserve much respect.

When I see the law, I don't see a portrait of the law-giver, as Lee taught, but a picture of the conditions that the law addressed. If there weren't murderers and thieves running around, then the law wouldn't need to address this. Paul taught that the law entered alongside because of our transgressions.

But what I see in the Psalms, and elsewhere, is a small and despised Man, from Galilee of the gentiles, who loved God's law because it came from the Father, and this one Man's obedience then became the pathway home for the rest of us. I the disobedient gentile don't have to convert to Judaism, rather I believe into the Christ. I see Jesus before me, calling me home to the Father.

"In my Father's house there are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you this".

What does this have to do with the Trinity? Igzy called it the relational aspect of God's own love. Love has a subject and an object. And love binds the two into one, and brings coherence, and even co-inherence. In the Psalmists' declaration of love for the law, not as an object in and of itself but as something from the Father's mouth to us, I see the heart of Jesus Christ. Psalm 119 alone has probably a dozen such utterances. Based on such love, Jesus' love for the disciples was not vain, but led them to eternal life.

"Peter, I have prayed for you, and you will turn, and strengthen the brothers".
03-20-2019 10:25 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
I try to say these things to LCers sometimes and they are staunch defenders of Lee's view without the ability to even entertain anything else. I just got "you just don't see" as if I was short of the vision. I just thought, "I don't want to see if it means I have to suspend all logical thought".
That's the mentality of abusive religious groups, aka cults. It's all based on the idea that their beliefs can't be wrong and that their leaders define their beliefs. So the leaders have ultimate power. If their beliefs include the idea that they alone have the truth, then there is really nothing you can say to them or about them other than they are crazy, because reason won't help. Their logic is circular, but it makes sense to them.

Actually, either they are right or delusional. But they are probably delusional, because I doubt God would disguise his "one pure move" as an abusive religious group. To protect his people from such groups, he set up the New Testament age based on servant-leadership and freedom of conscience, both of which the LR severely violates.

If God legitimized the LR model of "we are it, no one else is," then he would have been legitimizing the approach of every abusive group and cult that could come along--just claim you are IT and close your mind to any objection. Does anyone really think that's how God would choose to go about things?
03-20-2019 10:02 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
I try to say these things to LCers sometimes and they are staunch defenders of Lee's view without the ability to even entertain anything else. I just got "you just don't see" as if I was short of the vision. I just thought, "I don't want to see if it means I have to suspend all logical thought".
Back in the early 90's W. Lee came out with all this "High Peak" stuff. I struggled to get that, reading messages with others, and PSRPeeing like everyone else.

It did nothing for me, nor anyone else, but I arrived, after "climbing" this Mt. Everest, to the point where I could preach it to others, given my 1 minute allotment in the trainings. Supposedly everything was better up here on the "mountain top," or so he said.

Then one day it dawned on me that all the "High Peak" stuff was just a ruse to distract us from what really happened during that "vast global conspiracy orchestrated by rebellious leper John Ingalls." It took me only seconds to slide down from that "mountain top" back to earth.

And such has become my conclusion about all of LSM's exclusive "bathwater" teachings -- like Lee's Trinity -- what was he covering up? What was his real motive?
03-20-2019 09:34 AM
Trapped
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
You'll have to bear with me, but I've been communicating with other humans for all my life and have built up patterns and understandings that are hard to shake at this point. If I'm speaking with Joe, and he says, "Yesterday I was with Bill, and I gave him a coat", then that has a certain meaning. If then, they tell me, that really Joe is Bill and also the coat, then the sentence has no meaning.

The person, and the other and the object that passes between them are given distinctions.

Likewise, if I see, "I do the Father's will", then "I" and "the Father" are assumed by convention to be distinct. Or, "He sat down at the right hand of the Father", or "God raised him and gave him glory", or "This is My Son in whom I delight". In all these cases, if both parties are one and the same, the sentences have lost any conventional meaning.

How can Jesus sit on the throne as the Father, and walk about in the midst of the seven lampstands, which hold himself as the Sevenfold Spirit? It simply makes no sense.

"Well it's a mystery". Why even write words then if they have no meaning?

This is my problem too. If the Son IS the Father, then "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me" 1) doesn't mean anything and 2) isn't special or amazing or noteworthy at all. If the Son is the Father, then God's coinherence is meaningless. There have to be two distinct things, otherwise if you blend two things together that ARE each other, there is no realistic blending because it's the same thing. The CO of CO-inherence by its very nature implies two different things, otherwise you are just babbling.

"That they all may be one even as we are one" also loses its impact since there is nothing special about being one with yourself. And by extenstion this this means "that we would all be each other". It devolves into one big "HUH?"

The Bible and God are enough to wrestle with. There has to be a modicum of rationality.

I try to say these things to LCers sometimes and they are staunch defenders of Lee's view without the ability to even entertain anything else. I just got "you just don't see" as if I was short of the vision. I just thought, "I don't want to see if it means I have to suspend all logical thought".
03-20-2019 09:14 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
"Well it's a mystery". Why even write words then if they have no meaning?
They have meaning. You just don't understand the meaning yet. And are possibly looking in the wrong direction for answers.

You can just as well be talking about someone who says, "Light is a particle and light is a wave." Science tells us light has characteristics of both. But the two are incompatible in our conceptualization. Perhaps the problem is that we really don't understand what "particle" and "wave" really imply.

The problem is not that such statements are absurd, but that we don't understand what they are are actually implying. Sometimes words and ideas fall short to describe phenomenon that we have few points of reference for. For example, four dimensions are possible. But we can't visualize four dimensions.

I think one reason the Trinity is such puzzle for some is that they are looking in the wrong places for answers. They try to figure it out in spatial terms, when it is really explained, I believe, in relational terms. God is not spatial. Everything he is about is about persons and relationships. When we say the Son is at the right hand of God we mean he shares God's throne of authority, not that he is physically sitting there. When we say the Son is walking among the lampstands, we mean that he is closely concerned for them, not that he's actually walking around.

When I started to picture the Trinity from the perspective of a self-conscious person who has a relationship with himself, it began to make much more sense to me.
03-20-2019 05:50 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

You'll have to bear with me, but I've been communicating with other humans for all my life and have built up patterns and understandings that are hard to shake at this point. If I'm speaking with Joe, and he says, "Yesterday I was with Bill, and I gave him a coat", then that has a certain meaning. If then, they tell me, that really Joe is Bill and also the coat, then the sentence has no meaning.

The person, and the other and the object that passes between them are given distinctions.

Likewise, if I see, "I do the Father's will", then "I" and "the Father" are assumed by convention to be distinct. Or, "He sat down at the right hand of the Father", or "God raised him and gave him glory", or "This is My Son in whom I delight". In all these cases, if both parties are one and the same, the sentences have lost any conventional meaning.

How can Jesus sit on the throne as the Father, and walk about in the midst of the seven lampstands, which hold himself as the Sevenfold Spirit? It simply makes no sense.

"Well it's a mystery". Why even write words then if they have no meaning?
03-19-2019 10:53 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Continuing with your thought . . .

Perhaps then 7 Golden Lampstands in Revelations 2-3 are the same Golden Lampstand in the heavens duplicated in those 7 different towns with assemblies in the name of Jesus?

If Jesus, the Son of Man, walked in the 7 towns of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, etc. does that mean there were 7 Jesus's, or just the same Son of Man walking in the midst of every assembly gathered in His name?
In my previous post I was combining issues because they seem related: WL held that there are no distinctions in the Godhead but that "the Father" means "the Son" means "the Spirit"; similarly that all the local churches (and all the saints) must be "absolutely identical with no differences [notable distinctions]" among them. So Trapped summed it up with the word "uniformity", saying that unity doesn't mean bland, undifferentiated uniformity, or loss of distinction (diversity). Neither scripture nor common human experience supports that. The universe isn't an undifferentiated mass but is full distinctions which don't stem from Satan's rebellion. Star differs from star in glory, not in shame. And then, I asked, how can the Father sit at His own right hand? How does anyone read scripture thus?

And along with Ohio's point above, how can the Father be on the throne and walking in the midst of His seven-fold intensified self? Does that make any sense? Would any first-century reader have surmised this from the text? And to add insult to injury, to make such tortured readings the basis for our Christian unity or "practical oneness"... (insert scrunched-up-face icon here)...
03-19-2019 08:43 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
There is a verse that says, "The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire" Psa 29:7 KJV

God divides, and it's okay. There are seven distinct flames sitting before God. Moses saw them on the mountain, I daresay, because God told him, "See that you build everything as you saw it" and he built a candlestick with seven flames. Multiplicity is good, in this regard. Division is not bad, but really what we'd call "multiplication". One flame became seven. But the light was one. God divided the flames and it was good. (and, did you ever see lightning?)

Answer: we don't know if they looked identical or not. We see star differ from star in glory and evidently that's okay (1 Cor 15:41). Let's not presume identical appearance if it isn't stated or even inferred from common, everyday sense of the words as they were written.
Continuing with your thought . . .

Perhaps then 7 Golden Lampstands in Revelations 2-3 are the same Golden Lampstand in the heavens duplicated in those 7 different towns with assemblies in the name of Jesus?

If Jesus, the Son of Man, walked in the 7 towns of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, etc. does that mean there were 7 Jesus's, or just the same Son of Man walking in the midst of every assembly gathered in His name?
03-19-2019 08:17 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
And this is how the church should be. If God is unity and diversity, so should the church be. Lee wanted a church that was unified and uniform, but with no diversity. That is not God.
There is a verse that says, "The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire" Psa 29:7 KJV

God divides, and it's okay. There are seven distinct flames sitting before God. Moses saw them on the mountain, I daresay, because God told him, "See that you build everything as you saw it" and he built a candlestick with seven flames. Multiplicity is good, in this regard. Division is not bad, but really what we'd call "multiplication". One flame became seven. But the light was one. God divided the flames and it was good. (and, did you ever see lightning?)

Those flames dancing over the heads on Pentecost, did they look "exactly identical, with no differences whatsoever"? Really? How do you know? 120 flames dancing. What a sight.

Answer: we don't know if they looked identical or not. We see star differ from star in glory and evidently that's okay (1 Cor 15:41). Let's not presume identical appearance if it isn't stated or even inferred from common, everyday sense of the words as they were written.

Regarding the Trinity: Does "the Son sits at the Father's right hand" mean anything if the Son is actually the Father? I daresay, no. Let's not change words as they were written, or ignore them, and then make that change or avoidance a pre-condition for fellowship.

As I get older, my reading of scripture "hardens" as meanings derived from one passage carry over to other sections. Gradually a picture emerges. I become convinced that I "see" a meta-narrative emerging in the Word of God. Okay, that fine, but suppose I insisted on everyone agreeing with my emerging vision as necessary for all Christian fellowship? What kind of person would I be then? Not very receiving, nor charitable. Jesus met people where they were.

If my readings cut others off from fellowship, then what good are my readings? If I insist that all Christian fellowship is dependent upon everyone being "absolutely identical, with no differences whatever" with my peculiar vision, what am I setting us up for? Slavish imitation followed by 'storms' and 'rebellions'.
03-19-2019 12:02 AM
Trapped
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
To me the Trinity shows two main things: One, life is about relationships. Two, unity does not trump diversity, nor vice versa. Both should co-exist equally.
And this is how the church should be. If God is unity and diversity, so should the church be. Lee wanted a church that was unified and uniform, but with no diversity. That is not God.
02-22-2017 09:11 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
1 John 5:20

BTW John 17:3 is one of the key verses used to support the Arian doctrine. So does 1 John 5:20 if we do not interpret "the true God" as applying to Christ. The verse read in isolation does not really support or deny the Trinity doctrine.

I still believe it is about the image of God and the Triune God.

The image of God = Christ. Another way to write the verse would be "We must believe in the true God and His image, Jesus Christ"

It must be about the Triune God because the Father and the Son are part of the Triune God.
Failing eyesight. Great at 20+ feet. Horrible up close. And reading glasses don't completely make up for the early stages of cataracts. So I missed the "1" or misread it. Can't say which now.

I really don't care if John 17:3 was used to support Arian doctrine. Cherry-picking verses to create claims of specific meaning without reference to the rest of the scripture that may also be described differently (but are conveniently ignored or dismissed) is a popular practice for those who want to create specific doctrine that is not acceptable to the majority. John 17:3 says what it says. It does not say that Jesus is not "the true God." It just does not specify that he is in this verse.

As for saying that Christ is the image of the invisible God, there is no quarrel with that. But the fact does not mean that any particular verse with the word "Christ" in it, or "his Son," or even "Jesus" is about that fact, or is about the Triune God (meaning that the reference to any particular one or two of the Trinity can be restated to mean all three).

I have no problem with you thinking, or even believing that "about the image of God and the Triune God." But it doesn't say it. It is saying something else. So you can't insist that what it does say is to be ignored and an altered reading inserted such that the Triune God is the subject and the actual reference to the two is about all three — even though it is not.

Each verse that tells of the qualities of God, of the Father, of the Son, and/or of the Spirit are saying what they say, not something else. Every verse that indicates something of separation and/or unity or oneness, or that seems to dole out functions to one or more of the three, or to God as a whole, are not intended to say something different than what they say. They are not contradictory. Unless they make statements of exclusion, verses about one are not necessarily exclusionary with respect to the others. At least not where there is nothing said about it.

Then you can take this jigsaw puzzle of attributes, functions, statements, and try to piece together a complete picture of the Three-One God. But it isn't all there. So we make up stuff like "essence." And we declare that it is the essence that is the "being." But we cannot obscure the Three so some would argue "being" is also applicable at the Three level, though not in the same way that it is at the One. And we find that there are inferences of the various verses describing a distinct Three, and a unified One. No matter what kind of terms you try to use to reconcile these, it is inadequate and leaves those who need answers trying to force round pegs in square holes, or square pegs in round holes — or both.

My conclusion is that each verse is provided as it is written for a purpose. And that purpose is not to test people to see if they have been keeping up with all the other nuances (or have read ahead to some of the epistles that were not written when Jesus or the OT spoke, therefore NOT presuming any of that) and can figure it all out. That purpose was to make a current statement with the particular words given. Jesus is talking with the disciples in John 17. He has already made a comment some time back (chapters back as far as the written gospel goes) that he is the image of the Father ("if you've seen me . . ."). So there is no reason to obscure the statement now to the core of his team. If that was what he was trying to say, he would have just said it rather than burying it in code.

So I cannot accept that John 17:3 must be understood as having anything to do with the Triune God (meaning all 3 of the godhead) or with restating that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. That is just not here. And to force it here is to reject what it does say.

I will not reject you for thinking that it could. But we will have a hard time "discussing" if you insist upon what isn't there and ignoring what is and cannot equally allow for a difference perspective.
02-21-2017 06:21 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I see that you are slowly backing away from the claim that the verse is about the image of God, or about the Triune God.

"Put down the nonsense and slowly back away."

But it is difficult to comment on your second paragraph because John 5:20 does not say anything like "the true God and eternal life" in it. Try again.
1 John 5:20

BTW John 17:3 is one of the key verses used to support the Arian doctrine. So does 1 John 5:20 if we do not interpret "the true God" as applying to Christ. The verse read in isolation does not really support or deny the Trinity doctrine.

I still believe it is about the image of God and the Triune God.

The image of God = Christ. Another way to write the verse would be "We must believe in the true God and His image, Jesus Christ"

It must be about the Triune God because the Father and the Son are part of the Triune God.
02-21-2017 05:33 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW) "But it is difficult to comment on your second paragraph because John 5:20 does not say anything like "the true God and eternal life" in it. Try again."

If you are going to get snarky at least get it right!

Try again!
02-21-2017 05:24 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The point of the verse is to show that God and His Son Jesus Christ is the true God, in contrast to all the pagan deities at the time.

The only true God means "The only God, in opposition to all false gods. What is said here is in opposition to idols, not to Jesus himself, who, in 1 John 5:20, is called "the true God and eternal life." ~ Barne's notes on the Bible.
I see that you are slowly backing away from the claim that the verse is about the image of God, or about the Triune God.

"Put down the nonsense and slowly back away."

But it is difficult to comment on your second paragraph because John 5:20 does not say anything like "the true God and eternal life" in it. Try again.
02-21-2017 04:51 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I suggest that you read the verse again. There is nothing about the image of the Father. That was a statement in a different verse in response to a different request. And it does not imply that to know the Son is to know the Father. Instead it says you need to know the Father and know the Son. Why is it said this way? Just to give us something to change or declare that it means something else?

I don't think so.

The problem with too much of the alleged "clear understanding" of the Trinity is that it is typically wrapped-up in trying to tie a lot of different verses together into a single message when each verse was provided to make a particular statement without the goal of providing another bread crumb to figuring it all out. This verse makes a clear statement about our need to know God, and specifically to know the Father and the Son. It is not about the image of the invisible God. It is not about including or excluding the Spirit.

I would assert that if you know the Father and the Son, you know the Spirit. But that is not stated here. For whatever reason — possibly because of the point in time — the Spirit was not mentioned. Getting all worked-up to include what Jesus, through John, did not include seems to be an exercise in second-guessing the God of the universe.

How's that workin' for ya?
The point of the verse is to show that God and His Son Jesus Christ is the true God, in contrast to all the pagan deities at the time.

The only true God means "The only God, in opposition to all false gods. What is said here is in opposition to idols, not to Jesus himself, who, in 1 John 5:20, is called "the true God and eternal life." ~ Barne's notes on the Bible.
02-21-2017 09:31 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
However the purpose of this verse is to show that to know Jesus Christ, as the exact image of the Father, is to know the Father.
I suggest that you read the verse again. There is nothing about the image of the Father. That was a statement in a different verse in response to a different request. And it does not imply that to know the Son is to know the Father. Instead it says you need to know the Father and know the Son. Why is it said this way? Just to give us something to change or declare that it means something else?

I don't think so.

The problem with too much of the alleged "clear understanding" of the Trinity is that it is typically wrapped-up in trying to tie a lot of different verses together into a single message when each verse was provided to make a particular statement without the goal of providing another bread crumb to figuring it all out. This verse makes a clear statement about our need to know God, and specifically to know the Father and the Son. It is not about the image of the invisible God. It is not about including or excluding the Spirit.

I would assert that if you know the Father and the Son, you know the Spirit. But that is not stated here. For whatever reason — possibly because of the point in time — the Spirit was not mentioned. Getting all worked-up to include what Jesus, through John, did not include seems to be an exercise in second-guessing the God of the universe.

How's that workin' for ya?
02-20-2017 05:11 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
That is the reason that Lee's teachings are poor. He had to have everything represented everywhere. The verse in question refers to the Father because it is part of a prayer by Jesus to the Father. It goes like this:

To know the Father and the Son is sufficient. It is correct to declare that if they know the one true God, they will know the whole of Him — Father, Son, and Spirit. But that is not what is said here. It is not important to ignore the significance of the words spoken and instead add others or replace some. If the Father is to be known, and also the Son, does that mean that the Spirit has to be known in the same sense? Jesus did not infer that. This does not relegate the Spirit to subservient status, or mean that the Spirit is left out. But to always insist on forcing al three into every verse that mentions one is to ignore that the Father is the Father. The Son is not. Neither is the Spirit. That means something. I will admit that I am not entirely sure what. But it is not meaningless.

So rather than trying to redefine God the way you like it, why not deal with what is actually written for us. Eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son. Doesn't mean that we don't know the Spirit. But the particular statement did not say that we do. Why? I don't know. And neither do you. And to presume to restate it to be all-inclusive is to presume that the omission was an error in drafting the scripture.
The purpose of quoting that verse was no doubt to show, somehow, that we must believe in the Father and the Son. However the purpose of this verse is to show that to know Jesus Christ, as the exact image of the Father, is to know the Father.

This verse shows that knowledge of Jesus Christ is sufficient. Just like you say, knowing the Father and the Son does not mean we don't know the Spirit. I said the same thing before, knowing the Son does not mean we don't know the Father and the Spirit. That is why I say belief in the Trinity is not necessary for salvation. If we believe in the Son we believe in the whole Triune God. Some Trinitarians worship, pray and think like tritheists - they treat each person of the Godhead as a separate entity.
02-20-2017 04:30 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
And where is the Holy Spirit? Your interpretation means that to know the Father and the Son is sufficient, according to that verse. I am being all-inclusive when I say it is the Triune God - I don't leave the Holy Spirit out of the equation.
That is the reason that Lee's teachings are poor. He had to have everything represented everywhere. The verse in question refers to the Father because it is part of a prayer by Jesus to the Father. It goes like this:

Quote:
Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you . . . . Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
To know the Father and the Son is sufficient. It is correct to declare that if they know the one true God, they will know the whole of Him — Father, Son, and Spirit. But that is not what is said here. It is not important to ignore the significance of the words spoken and instead add others or replace some. If the Father is to be known, and also the Son, does that mean that the Spirit has to be known in the same sense? Jesus did not infer that. This does not relegate the Spirit to subservient status, or mean that the Spirit is left out. But to always insist on forcing al three into every verse that mentions one is to ignore that the Father is the Father. The Son is not. Neither is the Spirit. That means something. I will admit that I am not entirely sure what. But it is not meaningless.

So rather than trying to redefine God the way you like it, why not deal with what is actually written for us. Eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son. Doesn't mean that we don't know the Spirit. But the particular statement did not say that we do. Why? I don't know. And neither do you. And to presume to restate it to be all-inclusive is to presume that the omission was an error in drafting the scripture.
02-20-2017 02:45 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
The "you" in this verse is our Heavenly Father.
And where is the Holy Spirit? Your interpretation means that to know the Father and the Son is sufficient, according to that verse. I am being all-inclusive when I say it is the Triune God - I don't leave the Holy Spirit out of the equation.
02-20-2017 07:25 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

And reading through the various other posts that I will not quote, and few of the comments by theologians, it is clear that there is no absolute certainty as to what to make of the use of the various words. And if to make it work in the tenuous way that they want, they have to make statements like "we use the term 'Person' differently than we generally use it in everyday life" then they are not really trying to make something clearly known. It is meaningless to start by redefining the terms. It allows you to say two things every time you say only one.

Persons, beings, entities, etc., are the added terms. They are not in the scripture. In fact, the scripture never puts the Father, Son, and/or Spirit together in such a way as to define anything like what we call the Trinity. But it clearly refers to One God. And Jesus clearly refers to himself as God when he said "I am" (among others). Yet he also called the Father "God" and referred to him as separate from himself. (I do what he does. What he commands. What I see him doing. etc.) So they are described as One God (even saying so many times). Yet other than saying things like "I and the Father are one" (something that does not simply mean that they are the same person with two names) they are never described as simply a singular other than being One God.

You don't like the term "being" used in terms of the three persons. And show that others have said the same thing. But if you read what they describe, they are essentially running an asymptote right up to "being" with their description. "Not separate beings but you really couldn't tell by the evidence" is what they should be saying.

Meanwhile, you are darn sure that it cannot be separate beings. You are happy to say something less than that. But the doctrines on the subject that are primary in your teaching is that they are not hardly even persons. They are just each other. I would argue that your are running the asymptote right up to modalist. Not quite there. But the rhetoric is so "One" sided that it is hard to tell the difference.

For me, I am less impressed with the alleged precision of definition in the Trinity than in what is revealed about God in the scripture. He is clearly three, yet clearly One. I really don't care whether you want to say the term "being" can't apply to the three. They are not simply each other according to the accounts. And there is surely something that makes them very "One." But no so much that they are not three. Yet not three separate gods.

The truth of the scripture is that there are not three gods, and there is not just one God appearing in different costume, or changing or "processing" into a different form over time. Beyond that is the land of committees who haggle over what variations in terms will be accepted by the vast community of believers that don't see every aspect in exactly the same way. It may not be the phraseology of choice, but three beings joined into a singular God by a common essence is not inconsistent with the Trinity as described. Just not said with the preferred terms. But the preferred terms would appear to be using less-than common definitions which makes any alleged precision when spoken to the masses of little value. It makes the definition of the Trinity like an inside joke. Only the theologians have any idea what they just said.

Meanwhile, the shade-trees, like us, come along and try to be precise with a lexicon that isn't even one we are familiar with. Better to be general.

And when you get through with all this nit-licking over the terms, you are left with Lee primarily teaching that the Trinity is not really meaningful because they three are simply each other. Dismissing the meat of all the passages that give meaning to the Father, Son, and Spirit as other than "each other."

That is why a definition like in the Athanasian creed is probably better. It acknowledges the truth of the three without terms and the One without terms. Instead, it says that the three are not to be confused into each other, or one, and the One is not to be separated into three. It bounds a mystery rather than insisting that it is not a mystery and can be defined with the precision of words.
02-20-2017 06:46 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Ugh, Drake. Come on. You are assuming OBW's definition of "being" is the same as yours. This is sematics. Please do not go there, it just wrecks a conversation like this. Define your terms and make sure the other party agrees with your definitions before hurling accusations.

Same advice to OBW.
The fun thing about all of this is that it is about placing terms not used and therefore not clearly relevant into a definition never given. To argue the concept of "being" as somehow not relevant to a "person" is (to me) to clearly be using a definition of either being or person that does not jive. When a theologian says that "person" should not be understood as we understand the word "person," then why not a different term? I believe that the bound in Trinigy on the side of three is that they not be three gods, but only One God. If you don't like how I say that, then you have a problem with what the scripture reveals.

It does not reveal that the Father died on the cross with the Son. So there is such complete separation in person as to make the distinction of "but no separate beings" virtually ridiculous. We may fear that the term "three beings" is dangerously close to a heresy. But only if in doing so we turn the unity of essence in an agreement of equal independents rather than a bond that unifies beyond what could be among truly independents. In other words, they are separate, yet not simply independent. They are truly one, but not in person.

If you want to declare that this thing that makes them effectively dependent, or a unit also defines the being, they you are using the term differently than I am. But if in using it as applying to the unity and not the persons you cause the persons to merge beyond the evidence (that they never simply were, or became each other) then you are misusing the term as egregiously as you think I have. Actually much more so. I am using it for the purpose of establishing the true separation what is described in the scriptural accounts without separating them into three gods. But in conjunction with such teachings as "Christ became the Holy Spirit" it would appear that you are using "being" as a means to support the mocking of the true separation and merging them into a singular in which the alleged separation is of no real purpose other than the accomplishment of some brief purpose in which a certain aspect or "person" is propped-up to act.

You fight against a claim of modalism from the more extreme opponents, but then espouse a view of the trinity in which the three are not denied, but are essentially of no consequence. It is just the amorphous singular that means anything. I actually have limited problem with chosing to understand that was as a personal matter. But to make it is significant doctrine of your group and decry those who do not agree as some kind of heretic is just too much. It clearly shows the lack of any true oneness or unity with regards t the family of faith.
02-20-2017 06:31 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The You is the Triune God.
The "you" in this verse is our Heavenly Father.
02-20-2017 12:04 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Nice dodge. Who is the "You" in this verse Evangelical?
-
The You is the Triune God.
02-19-2017 08:56 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Nice dodge. Who is the "You" in this verse Evangelical?
-
02-19-2017 08:40 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
I simply quoted from the words of the Lord Jesus: John 17:3 "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." Again, what part of "this is eternal life" do you not understand? Salvation = Eternal Life - Eternal Life = Salvation. Who is the "YOU" in this verse Evangelical? Please take a deep breath and take your time. I am not speaking of any "dogma" here, only quoting the DIRECT WORDS of the Lord Jesus Christ. I REPEAT - Who is the "YOU" in this verse? I know that your teacher taught you that Jesus Christ WAS THE FATHER, but this myth has already been dispelled on our forum and other places on the Internet for years (and for about 2,000 years before that)

Nobody on this forum has EVER said that "belief in the Trinity is necessary for salvation". Not me, not anybody. This is not a meeting of the Local Church of Witness Lee where you can just spout off any unproven, wild myth and we will all shout out "Amen!". This is the real world apart from the bubble of your little sect.

WHO was the "You" in this verse Evangelical?

-

Your post #172, you said the Trinity was essential, and linked to our salvation:

I will quote it again for you:

I must tell all concerned, however, that those who say that these matters regarding the nature of God, as pertains to the Trinity, do not fall into the "essentials" category are mistaken in my estimation. Next to our very salvation, nothing can be more important. In fact, this matter is directly linked to our salvation - According to our Lord in John 17:3 "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent".


You disagreed with me about this statement I made:

Linking the Trinity dogma to salvation is an error in my view.
02-19-2017 08:04 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
But to say that belief in the Trinity is necessary for salvation is wrong.
I simply quoted from the words of the Lord Jesus: John 17:3 "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." Again, what part of "this is eternal life" do you not understand? Salvation = Eternal Life - Eternal Life = Salvation. Who is the "YOU" in this verse Evangelical? Please take a deep breath and take your time. I am not speaking of any "dogma" here, only quoting the DIRECT WORDS of the Lord Jesus Christ. I REPEAT - Who is the "YOU" in this verse? I know that your teacher taught you that Jesus Christ WAS THE FATHER, but this myth has already been dispelled on our forum and other places on the Internet for years (and for about 2,000 years before that)

Nobody on this forum has EVER said that "belief in the Trinity is necessary for salvation". Not me, not anybody. This is not a meeting of the Local Church of Witness Lee where you can just spout off any unproven, wild myth and we will all shout out "Amen!". This is the real world apart from the bubble of your little sect.

WHO was the "You" in this verse Evangelical?

-
02-19-2017 05:32 PM
HERn
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Apologies if I thought you also ascribed to the error that UntoHim believes in. Still, the Trinity is not evident in John 17:3. Just the Father and the Son. I believe a truly saved person will believe in the Trinity, just as they will believe in taking the Lord's Table or being baptized. But to say that belief in the Trinity is necessary for salvation is wrong.
I'm with E on this one. I got saved as a teenager on drugs and I did not disbelieve or believe in the trinity, I just needed and wanted Jesus.
02-18-2017 10:44 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Yes. I know what he did. But the response was not to that, but do demand that we show how there are TWO "one true Gods." I showed you how Jesus could say to believe in the Father, who is the one true God, and to believe in him without the requirement that there be TWO one true Gods.

You and Drake are stuck on an incorrect definition of tritheism. The true definition is to worship or believe in three gods. But to believe in three persons that are one God is not believing in three gods. It is believing in One God.

So you ignore the fact that we believe in One God and declare that because we understand God to be in three persons (which can only imply three beings) that we are believing in three gods. But that is false. It is a lie.

It makes you guilty of equivocation — using a different definition without actually saying so.

One God in Three Persons is not three gods. Therefore no tritheism.

And because Drake is foolishly doing the same thing. I will say it again to him.
Drake and I are trying to convince you of your error when you say or imply that God is three beings. We should be more precise. We are only really allowed to say "three persons". You cannot say three beings, three entitities, or three essences.

If you think that a person is a being, then there is a flaw in your understanding of what "person" means. A "person" means a centre of consciousness, or a personality, with thoughts, emotions, and a will. A person is not a being (as tritheism believes) and is not merely a role or a manifestation (as modalism believes). A person is somewhere in the middle between the two extremes.

The classical doctrine of the Trinity says "one being in three persons". Look it up, Google it, you will find that this is fairly consistent terminology across different Christian websites, particularly apologetics like CARM.

See here:
https://carm.org/trinity

"They are not three gods and not three beings. "


http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/...of-the-trinity says
"He is one Being in three Persons (centers of consciousness), not merely three roles."


We can say one Being, one God, one entity, or one essence, in three Persons. But if we say three beings, or three gods, or three entities, or three essences, that is tritheism.

"God is one in essence, three in Person"

I think of the three persons as three "Personalities", using the terminology that the Pulpit commentary used that I quoted last time.

There is one being, and He has three personalities or "Centres of consciousness". That is the Trinity.

As I said before, I don't even have to quote Witness Lee when discussing with some of you. I just quote CARM or gotquestions or bible commentaries, because you aren't even believing the orthodox doctrines you think you are.
02-18-2017 10:33 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I never said that. I never made any reference to what is required for salvation. I will accept this as a mistake on your part. But if you persist in it, I will have to dismiss you as a liar.
Apologies if I thought you also ascribed to the error that UntoHim believes in. Still, the Trinity is not evident in John 17:3. Just the Father and the Son. I believe a truly saved person will believe in the Trinity, just as they will believe in taking the Lord's Table or being baptized. But to say that belief in the Trinity is necessary for salvation is wrong.
02-18-2017 11:16 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Here is an excerpt from an article posted on John Piper's DesiringGod.Org site. I have bolded that parts that I feel are most applicable to our discussion here. I am not posting this article because I agree with every jot and tittle, but rather as a catalyst to maybe sharpen up our understanding of some of the rather esoteric theological terms being thrown around.

I personally favor starting with the lowest common denominator frequently enunciated as "God is three persons in one being". I favor the term "being" over "essence" for the simple reason being seems to be more personal, or subjective as it were. "Essence" seems to be a little more objective. I must say, however, I'm not willing to attempt to win the battle of semantics over these terms, and risk loosing the goal of the war, which is coming to the full knowledge of the truth regarding the nature, character and marvelous works of our wonderful, mysterious and glorious God.


What is the Doctrine of the Trintiy
Article by Matt Perman


Carrying this concept over to the Trinity, it is not a contradiction for God to be both three and one because he is not three and one in the same way. He is three in a different way than he is one. Thus, we are not speaking with a forked tongue — we are not saying that God is one and then denying that he is one by saying that he is three. This is very important: God is one and three at the same time, but not in the same way.

How is God one? He is one in essence. How is God three? He is three in Person. Essence and person are not the same thing. God is one in a certain way (essence) and three in a different way (person). Since God is one in a different way than he is three, the Trinity is not a contradiction. There would only be a contradiction if we said that God is three in the same way that he is one.

So a closer look at the fact that God is one in essence but three in person has helped to show why the Trinity is not a contradiction. But how does it show us why there is only one God instead of three? It is very simple: All three Persons are one God because, as we saw above, they are all the same essence. “Essence” means the same thing as “being.” Thus, since God is only one essence; he is only one being, not three. This should make it clear why it is so important to understand that all three Persons are the same essence. For if we deny this, we have denied God’s unity and affirmed that there is more than one being of God (i.e., that there is more than one God).

Essence and Person

Essence.
What does essence mean? As I said earlier, it means the same thing as being. God’s essence is his being. To be even more precise, essence is what you are. At the risk of sounding too physical, essence can be understood as the “stuff” that you “consist of.” Of course we are speaking by analogy here, for we cannot understand this in a physical way about God. “God is spirit” (John 4:24).

Person.
In regards to the Trinity, we use the term “Person” differently than we generally use it in everyday life. Therefore it is often difficult to have a concrete definition of Person as we use it in regards to the Trinity. What we do not mean by Person is an “independent individual” in the sense that both I and another human are separate, independent individuals who can exist apart from one another.

Wayne Grudem explains:
But if each person is fully God and has all of God’s being, then we also should not think that the personal distinctions are any kind of additional attributes added on to the being of God. . . . Rather, each person of the Trinity has all of the attributes of God, and no one Person has any attributes that are not possessed by the others. On the other hand, we must say that the Persons are real, that they are not just different ways of looking at the one being of God . . . the only way it seems possible to do this is to say that the distinction between the persons is not a difference of ‘being’ but a difference of ‘relationships.’ This is something far removed from our human experience, where every different human ‘person’ is a different being as well. Somehow God’s being is so much greater than ours that within his one undivided being there can be an unfolding into interpersonal relationships, so that there can be three distinct persons.

-
02-18-2017 09:32 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy)". It think it is self, self-image, spirit."

It is interesting idea Igzy. But what is the biblical justification?

Drake
One, that the Son is the express image of the Father. God is not physical. He is, in a sense, a soul like us. So God's image of himself began with a thought. A thought of what? Himself. Did he need more than the thought to have the Son? I believe the thinking of himself was the begetting of the Only-begotten.

Since God is perfect and all-knowing his thought image of himself is perfect and complete and, unlike our self-images, with no details missing. It's so complete it is, in some sense, another. Since the Father thought from the beginning the Son was in the beginning as well. In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.

Another evidence is how the seeming relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit, and what they do economically matches this model very well. The Father and the Son have a relationship, but the Bible does not indicate either have the same kind of relationship with the Spirit. The Father loves and the Son and vice versa. The Spirit almost seems like the odd man out. With Lee's model, I never understood why the Spirit existed essentially in eternity past. What was he "for?" Yet if you see the Spirit as the relationship, the fellowship, between the Father and the Son, he fits. And the Bible always associates the Spirit with fellowship and experience. The Father is always the source, the Son the reflection, the Spirit the realization.

Also, this model shows how each is distinct, but not separate, and how one being can have all three, yet remain one being. It shows how one can be three and three can be one. It also shows how each is the whole God. Assuming perfection, one's self is the whole being, one's self-image is the whole being, and the relationship between the two is the whole being, yet each are distinct.

Further, it matches us and our experience of ourselves, and we are supposed to be in the image of God.

The self, self-image and their relationship are not separate beings, but they are distinct hypostases which exist in one self-conscious being, from beginning to end, co-existing and co-inhering.

Simply put, everything fits. That can't be insignificant or coincidental.
02-18-2017 09:12 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Igzy)". It think it is self, self-image, spirit."

It is interesting idea Igzy. But what is the biblical justification?

Drake
02-18-2017 08:57 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Oh, lets do go there! Vigorously!

If OBW has orthodox references that uses "three beings" to describe the One being of God he should present them. I know of none so he should educate us.

Earlier in the conversation I hoped for a coomon understanding using the RC Sproul definition and offered the link to his lecture. It is up to OBW to defend his insistence on using the term "three beings" if he means it differently than what it obviously means.

Drake
Fair enough. Just don't take advantage of misunderstandings by pretending someone means something you know he doesn't. I.e. give people the benefit of the doubt and clarify.
02-18-2017 08:46 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Ugh, Drake. Come on. You are assuming OBW's definition of "being" is the same as yours. This is sematics. Please do not go there, it just wrecks a conversation like this. Define your terms and make sure the other party agrees with your definitions before hurling accusations.
Oh, lets do go there! Vigorously!

If OBW has orthodox references that uses "three beings" to describe the One being of God he should present them. I know of none so he should educate us.

Earlier in the conversation I hoped for a coomon understanding using the RC Sproul definition and offered the link to his lecture. It is up to OBW to defend his insistence on using the term "three beings" if he means it differently than what it obviously means.

Drake
02-18-2017 08:29 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake;56985
That is why when OBW insists on three beings as he did here again "[I
To deny that there are three beings places you outside the mainstream or orthodoxy.[/I]" he is embracing a heresy. God is not three beings. Never was, is not, and never will be!
Ugh, Drake. Come on. You are assuming OBW's definition of "being" is the same as yours. This is sematics. Please do not go there, it just wrecks a conversation like this. Define your terms and make sure the other party agrees with your definitions before hurling accusations.

Same advice to OBW.
02-18-2017 08:26 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy,

I only know how to quote everything in a post such as above. I don't know how to quote part of a post other than cut and paste like I usually do.
Just delete the part of the quote you don't want. I use Chrome which shows the {QUOTE} tags. NOTE: The tags actually need square not curly brackets. You can add a close quote tag {/QUOTE} to break off a part of a quote, and comment on it as I have done here. You then can add a open quote tag {QUOTE} to continue the quote as I have done below.

Also you can highlight any text and click the quote button (speech balloon) in the editor to wrap it in quote tags.

Quote:

I understand Brother Lee's meaning this way: in eternity past God purposed and planned to join Himself to and express Himself through the man He would create. Because He is Triune everything follows from that. He creates a man to dispense Himself into. A physical rock will not do. The glove is a better illustration of man to contain and express God as the hand.
I understand the glove analogy, but I think God's relationship with man is meant to express God through more than him shining through us and us being like him. I think he is also expressed through our relationship with him and our relationship with each other. God is mainly expressed through how we treat him, others and ourselves. This is why the two greatest commandments are love God and love people, and why Jesus say when we love our neighbor (as ourselves) we've fulfilled the law.


Quote:
Since we were talking about the Father, Son, and Spirit it occurred to me to think of a triangular peg. A corresponding triangular hole was needed. Frankly, my initial thought was that man is tripartite to match the Triune God. It's not a very good analogy because a triangular hole does not express the triangular peg as a glove would. Thrrefore, I took it no further thinking its probably a dead end.
I think we are triangular because we have a self (father) and self-image (son) and a relationship between the two (spirit). This matches the triuneness of God. We are all little trinities like him. We are more like God than we thought.

Note that when God created man he specifically summoned the whole Trinity in on creation, showing that man was to himself be an expression of the Trinity. I don't think the body, soul, spirit collection is it. It think it is self, self-image, spirit. Where we really live is where we really know and connect with ourselves in the holy way God intended. That's our spirit. (I will wrap the following quote in quote tags.)

Quote:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;
Pretty cool stuff.

It seems I'm talking about a person with a split personality. But that only happens when the self and self-image are in conflict, which does not happen in God, nor in us when we are in sync with God. But we all have relationship with ourselves, as does God. A person is completely healthy and happy when his self and self-image are in perfect sync, i.e. his spirit approves of both, which means they are in sync with God. This is what it means to have a saved soul.

A person in hell is in complete conflict with himself, with no hope for reconciliation, which makes the conflict worse, and on and on. Which is why his soul is lost.
02-18-2017 08:17 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

In an earlier post UntoHim quoted from the genuine, bona-fide and renowned theologian RC Sproul. It's a great article and this sentence from it well states the orthodox view:

"In the Trinity, there are three persons —the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being".

One being. Not three beings. I also like Sproul's explanation of the Father, Son, and Spirit as three subsistences of the One being of God. Very relevant to this dialogue. Listen here:

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/rc-spro...oes-not-exist/

That is why when OBW insists on three beings as he did here again "To deny that there are three beings places you outside the mainstream or orthodoxy." he is embracing a heresy. God is not three beings. Never was, is not, and never will be!

Drake
02-18-2017 07:47 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
OBW says: ...Belief in both is required for salvation. Just believing in Jesus as the good master is not enough. You must believe in him as God. And not just some god. But of the God that is Three.

But they are not able to produce any verse which says or implies that belief in the "God that is Three" is necessary for the salvation experience.
I never said that. I never made any reference to what is required for salvation. I will accept this as a mistake on your part. But if you persist in it, I will have to dismiss you as a liar.

I did respond to a particular thing you said in response to Unto's quotation of Jesus in John 17:3 "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." This verse says what it says. But it does not say anything about belief. It only speaks of knowing. And while we can be saved with little knowing, there is much to come to know after that.

And I do not recall that anyone has ever said that belief in the Trinity as espoused by the mainstream of Christians is required for salvation. I know some people who will start to question what it is that you may have put your faith in if you don't believe in the "right" God. But they usually are sort of tentative about it. As they should be.

I honestly think that you and Drake are following one of the "soft" "heresies" surrounding the unclear and vaguely defined Trinity. And that is why I call it "soft." I don't think your version is the better synthesizer of the totality of the available material. Instead, yours latches onto one side, needs to understand the other side and can't, so you marginalize it or reject it.

And I put "heresy" in quotes because it is not a damnable heresy worthy of being expelled from the body of faith. It is simply a difference of opinion concerning undefined aspects of our God. It is all conjecture.


While I reject your version, I do not suppose that you are not saved as a result of the "error." But the more serious error in it is the decision to declare those who are in the mainstream as heretics because they don't hold to your version. It is just too much in keeping with the separatist (the opposite of unity or unifying or being one) positions of the man who claimed his followers were the most "one" among all Christians.

History is bearing out that there is no unity, even within your group. Only conformity or rejection.
02-18-2017 07:27 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
As you insist repeatedly that God is three beings then you clearly embrace tritheism. God as three beings places your beliefs completely outside the mainstream of orthodoxy.
Actually, no. To deny that there are three beings places you outside the mainstream or orthodoxy.

As I said to Egangelical just a moment ago (and I will repeat for your feeble (or devious) mind, the true definition of tritheism is to worship or believe in three gods. But to believe in three persons that are one God is not believing in three gods. It is believing in One God.

So you ignore the fact that we believe in One God and declare that because we understand God to be in three persons (which can only imply three beings) that we are believing in three gods. But that is false. It is a lie.

It makes you guilty of equivocation — using a different definition without actually saying so.

One God in Three Persons is not three gods. Therefore no tritheism. That is the mainstream of orthodoxy.

It is rather your "not really three persons" definition of God that is not in the mainstream. Anything short of three persons and the thee is an illusion.

The Athanasian creed, partly quote some time back, say is very well.
d
We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

This is the understanding of mainstream thinking on the Trinity in Christianity. There are three persons, not three aspects, mental states, phases, or stages of God. You should look and see your version in one or more of the heresies in this video.
02-18-2017 07:04 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
UntoHim was using John 17:3 to try and link the Trinity doctrine to eternal salvation. His implication is that if one does not believe in the "only true God" *and* Jesus Christ, then they are not saved. But they are both the one true God, so belief in one implies belief in the other. To believe in Christ is to believe in the only true God, the whole Triune God, in fact.

There is no where in the book of Acts where it says "believe in the true God and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved". This is because there is only one true God and to know the one true God faith in Christ alone is sufficient. Not faith in Christ plus the Trinity doctrine.
Yes. I know what he did. But the response was not to that, but do demand that we show how there are TWO "one true Gods." I showed you how Jesus could say to believe in the Father, who is the one true God, and to believe in him without the requirement that there be TWO one true Gods.

You and Drake are stuck on an incorrect definition of tritheism. The true definition is to worship or believe in three gods. But to believe in three persons that are one God is not believing in three gods. It is believing in One God.

So you ignore the fact that we believe in One God and declare that because we understand God to be in three persons (which can only imply three beings) that we are believing in three gods. But that is false. It is a lie.

It makes you guilty of equivocation — using a different definition without actually saying so.

One God in Three Persons is not three gods. Therefore no tritheism.

And because Drake is foolishly doing the same thing. I will say it again to him.
02-17-2017 08:15 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW says: ...Belief in both is required for salvation. Just believing in Jesus as the good master is not enough. You must believe in him as God. And not just some god. But of the God that is Three.

But they are not able to produce any verse which says or implies that belief in the "God that is Three" is necessary for the salvation experience.

However the Bible says that belief that Jesus is the Son of God is sufficient, and 1 John 4:15 confirms that belief in Jesus as the Son is sufficient because belief in Jesus as the Son of God brings the whole Triune God.

Acts 8:37 ""I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.""

1 John 4:15 "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God."

1 John 5:5 "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."

Acts 9:20 "At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God."

John 1:34 "And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."


The following wikipedia article on Arianism explains how one orthodox view came out of what was initially" two equally orthodox interpretations", and the two-ing and fro-ing over the issue, and that "The great majority of Christians had no clear views on the Trinity and did not understand what was at stake in the issues".


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianism
There was a dispute between two interpretations (Arianism and Trinitarianism) based upon the theological orthodoxy of the time, both of them attempted to solve its theological dilemmas.[2] So there were, initially, two equally orthodox interpretations which initiated a conflict in order to attract adepts and define the new orthodoxy.[2] Homoousianism was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical Councils. All mainstream branches[citation needed] of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical. The Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325 deemed it to be a heresy. At the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335, Arius was exonerated.[3] Constantine the Great was baptized by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia.[4][5] After the deaths of both Arius and Constantine, Arius was again anathemised and pronounced a heretic again at the Ecumenical First Council of Constantinople of 381.[6] The Roman Emperors Constantius II (337–361) and Valens (364–378) were Arians or Semi-Arians, as was the first King of Italy, Odoacer (433?–493), and the Lombards till the 7th century. According to Everett Ferguson, "The great majority of Christians had no clear views on the Trinity and did not understand what was at stake in the issues.

Ferguson, Everett (26 November 2013). Church History, Volume One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context. Zondervan. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-310-51657-6.


Christianity has fallen away from faith in Christ the son of God for salvation and changed it into a man made doctrine for salvation.
The following article says so plainly:
"The reason for this is that, to put it as concisely as possible, the Trinity is the gospel. "
http://www.str.org/blog/trinity-salvation#.WKe_5PmGNPY

This is clearly "another gospel" which says "the Trinity is the gospel, believe in it and you will be saved".

This is in contrast to the true gospel which says ""If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God". If a person believes that Jesus is the Son of God then they automatically believe and receive the "one true Triune God".
02-17-2017 07:58 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
But Lee's statement does imply that God is triune only for dispensing into man, which implies there is no purpose for his being triune other than dispensing into man. This seems backwards. It implies that God had to create us because he had no other use for his triuneness. I say this triuneness always had meaning within himself, but he decided to let us in on the fun. I don't see why God needs to be triune to dispense. I do see how being conscious and completely self-knowing causes him to be triune.

Also, I see how you could say God is a three-sided peg, but please explain how exactly we are three-sided hole, other than by saying the three-sided peg fits into us. I don't see the three sides to our "hole." What are they?


BTW, Drake have you not figured out how to click the quote button to get a quote? You seem to do them by hand and that seems tedious. Just trying to help.
Igzy,

I only know how to quote everything in a post such as above. I don't know how to quote part of a post other than cut and paste like I usually do.

I understand Brother Lee's meaning this way: in eternity past God purposed and planned to join Himself to and express Himself through the man He would create. Because He is Triune everything follows from that. He creates a man to dispense Himself into. A physical rock will not do. The glove is a better illustration of man to contain and express God as the hand.

Since we were talking about the Father, Son, and Spirit it occurred to me to think of a triangular peg. A corresponding triangular hole was needed. Frankly, my initial thought was that man is tripartite to match the Triune God. It's not a very good analogy because a triangular hole does not express the triangular peg as a glove would. Thrrefore, I took it no further thinking its probably a dead end.
02-17-2017 07:41 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
This one is too easy.
  • If the Father is not the Son, and not the Spirit, but is God . . .
  • If the Son is not the Father, and not the Spirit, but is God . . .
  • If the Spirit is not the Father, and not the Son, but is God . . .
And since there is One God, therefore only ONE true God, then:
  • The Father is not the Son, and not the Spirit, but is the one true God . . .
  • The Son is not the Father, and not the Spirit, but is the one true God . . .
  • The Spirit is not the Father, and not the Son, but is the one true God . . .
Of course there are not two "true Gods." Or three "true Gods." It is not something that we expect to be able to produce. To do so would be completely in opposition to the belief that there are Three Persons (Father, Son, and Spirit) that are One God (or One True God). How do you presume from anything we have said that we would even pretend to need to dig for two "true Gods"?

What are you smoking?
UntoHim was using John 17:3 to try and link the Trinity doctrine to eternal salvation. His implication is that if one does not believe in the "only true God" *and* Jesus Christ, then they are not saved. But they are both the one true God, so belief in one implies belief in the other. To believe in Christ is to believe in the only true God, the whole Triune God, in fact.

There is no where in the book of Acts where it says "believe in the true God and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved". This is because there is only one true God and to know the one true God faith in Christ alone is sufficient. Not faith in Christ plus the Trinity doctrine.

No where in the book of Acts does it say "believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Spirit, and you will be saved".- only Christ, in Acts 16:31. In fact there is no recorded conversion in the scriptures which involves belief in three persons of God for salvation.

Belief in the Trinity for salvation is the error that Catholics and Orthodox believe, this is the similar doctrine that UntoHim is preaching. Better tell that to the Ethiopian official who said

Acts 8:37 "And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.""
02-17-2017 07:33 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW)"When we say "One God in Three Persons" we are declaring that there is one God, but three beings or persons."

OK OBW.

As you insist repeatedly that God is three beings then you clearly embrace tritheism. God as three beings places your beliefs completely outside the mainstream of orthodoxy.

I had hoped to find common ground and settle on "Persons" as a framework to continue our dialogue as long as by Persons you did not mean "beings". Or even RC SPROUL'S definition that UntoHim provided would have been fine as a working definition. You refuse both so I think we are at an impasse in our conversation.

Nevertheless, I just want to say thanks for the dialogue. Though I disagree with your conclusions, still your thoughtful and lengthy responses forced me to consider your beliefs and understand your thought process. Thanks for that.

Drake
02-17-2017 05:02 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
God is One Being. That is what He is.
That is not necessarily so. He is one God. But that is something outside of human existence. When we say "One God in Three Persons" we are declaring that there is one God, but three beings or persons.

As Igzy has stated, to say there are persons but not beings is to effectively say that there are persons, but there are not persons.

It is the error of both being and not being and is, by definition, a false statement.

The rest of your post is predicated on the presumption that persons are not beings. We differ in a serious way on this. So you can howl at the moon about it. There is no analysis of English that arrives at that conclusion.
02-17-2017 04:53 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Then we have a difference in definition. As I understand it (based on looking it up earlier), Tritheism is the belief in three gods. The mere presence of three separate beings who are One God does not constitute three gods, therefore does not constitute tritheism.

As I understand the term, you would appear to be misrepresenting the meaning of tritheism. Why?

Maybe for the purpose of driving wedges between the brethren? To give support to the shoddy faux theology of the man you so diligently follow?

Care to justify your definition of tritheism?
There are no boogeymen out to trip you up.

Okay, lets work on definitions, perhaps that will help us.

God is One Being. That is what He is.

God is Father, Son, and Spirit. That is who He is.

Tritheism conflates the two. It sees Father, Son, and Spirit and concludes there are three beings. That is an error and a heresy.

You also conflate the two and that us why I keep coming back to this.

Drake
02-17-2017 04:04 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
OBW)"You consistently have stated that believing that there are three distinct persons is tritheism"

Clarification on my view.

No, I said three beings or entities is Tritheism. I accept the term Persons providing beings is not meant when used.

Thanks
Drake

So a person is neither an entity nor a being? So what are you?

Don't mean to make fun of you, but you have to admit it's pretty silly stuff. What you are saying is a person is what one of the Trinity is, and a being or entity is what the whole Trinity is. But that's just a tautology.

And it doesn't account for the fact that you and I are both all three: beings, entities and persons. But since the Son is neither a being or an entity, does that make us more than him in some way?
02-17-2017 03:43 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
No, I said three beings or entities is Tritheism. I accept the term Persons providing beings is not meant when used.
Then we have a difference in definition. As I understand it (based on looking it up earlier), Tritheism is the belief in three gods. The mere presence of three separate beings who are One God does not constitute three gods, therefore does not constitute tritheism.

As I understand the term, you would appear to be misrepresenting the meaning of tritheism. Why?

Maybe for the purpose of driving wedges between the brethren? To give support to the shoddy faux theology of the man you so diligently follow?

Care to justify your definition of tritheism?
02-17-2017 03:36 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
But "the only true God" refers also to Christ Himself based upon 1 John 5:20:

1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Now where is the verse that says there are TWO "true God's" ? Produce it please.
This one is too easy.
  • If the Father is not the Son, and not the Spirit, but is God . . .
  • If the Son is not the Father, and not the Spirit, but is God . . .
  • If the Spirit is not the Father, and not the Son, but is God . . .
And since there is One God, therefore only ONE true God, then:
  • The Father is not the Son, and not the Spirit, but is the one true God . . .
  • The Son is not the Father, and not the Spirit, but is the one true God . . .
  • The Spirit is not the Father, and not the Son, but is the one true God . . .
Of course there are not two "true Gods." Or three "true Gods." It is not something that we expect to be able to produce. To do so would be completely in opposition to the belief that there are Three Persons (Father, Son, and Spirit) that are One God (or One True God). How do you presume from anything we have said that we would even pretend to need to dig for two "true Gods"?

What are you smoking?
02-17-2017 03:30 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW)"You consistently have stated that believing that there are three distinct persons is tritheism"

Clarification on my view.

No, I said three beings or entities is Tritheism. I accept the term Persons providing beings is not meant when used.

Thanks
Drake
02-17-2017 03:27 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
If speaking of God's essence then i do not see how this is an example. The Father, Son, and Spirit are coequal in the Godhead. Caesar is the authority over the centurion. They are not coequals.
Like any analogy, it has weaknesses. But it does demonstrate an aspect of oneness that is attributed to God. Since we are directed (and prayed about) to be "one" as the Father and Son are one, then the manner in which any two or more humans can be one is related to (though not necessarily descriptive of all aspects of) the way God is one yet two/three.
02-17-2017 03:20 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
God is Triune. Three One. Really three. Really one. Not three masks. Not three modes.

The three (Father, Son, Spirit) are not three entities nor three beings. Period. They are Three Persons if by Persons you do not mean three beings. Earlier you said they were three beings or entities. They are not.

There is One God. Three Persons but One God.

If you agree with that then you and I agree on the definition of the Trinity. And if you hold that view you also agree with RC Sproul. And as distasteful as you will find this, you also will be in agreement with Witness Lee's view.

And that my colleague is where you will stumble and prefer to drive into the ditch of tritheism in a vain attempt to distance yourself from that "little sect".
I would say that we mostly agree.

Our disagreement comes at your inability to accept that three persons (beings) can be a single God rather than three gods. And you trot out the "tritheism" charge when I say that.

But the Trinitarian belief is that tritheism is the belief in three separate gods while the Trinitarian belief is that there are Three Persons that constitute one God. And in saying that, it is specific that:
  • The Father is not the Son nor the Spirit, but is God.
  • The Son is not the Father nor the Spirit, but is God.
  • The Spirit is not the Father nor the Son, but is God.
  • These three constitute a single God that is joined through the substance of their being, not the uniting into one "person." That substance is referred to as "essence." (this is my paraphrase)
You consistently have stated that believing that there are three distinct persons is tritheism. You may think that this is true, but in doing so, you accept a different definition of tritheism because the Trinitarian doctrine specifically believes in three distinct persons who are One God. Not One God who is three "almost persons."

The problem with your definition is that it is different from what has been provided since at least the 3rd century (roughly the time of the first use of the term "Trinity" to refer to the Three nature of the One God). Therefore you may like your definition better, but just because you like it better and declare it to be correct, you can't just tell everyone else that they are wrong because you don't like their definition. If there is something wrong with the definitions that already exist, you need to provide convincing evidence that our definition is wrong. Otherwise you need to go home and rethink it all.
02-17-2017 03:20 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy)"
But to say God is Triune for dispensing is to say God has no reason to be Triune except to dispense into us, which is to say God has no meaning without us. Simply put, no."

Not a logical progression so not how I see it .

I think of it this way. God is a triangular peg. Always was, always will be. According to His good pleasure He desires a resting place in His creation. As such in creation He creates triangular hole.. To the peg the hole is a counterpart. To the hole the peg must have created it in a certain way for the purpose of holding the peg, The hole knows the peg is still the peg whether the hole exists or not.

To bring it back, the Triune is for dispensing because He created us to contain Him. We can see that now. That does not lead to "God has no meaning without us". Brother Lee never said that.

Drake
But Lee's statement does imply that God is triune only for dispensing into man, which implies there is no purpose for his being triune other than dispensing into man. This seems backwards. It implies that God had to create us because he had no other use for his triuneness. I say this triuneness always had meaning within himself, but he decided to let us in on the fun. I don't see why God needs to be triune to dispense. I do see how being conscious and completely self-knowing causes him to be triune.

Also, I see how you could say God is a three-sided peg, but please explain how exactly we are three-sided hole, other than by saying the three-sided peg fits into us. I don't see the three sides to our "hole." What are they?


BTW, Drake have you not figured out how to click the quote button to get a quote? You seem to do them by hand and that seems tedious. Just trying to help.
02-17-2017 03:08 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Igzy)"
But to say God is Triune for dispensing is to say God has no reason to be Triune except to dispense into us, which is to say God has no meaning without us. Simply put, no."

Not a logical progression so not how I see it .

I think of it this way. God is a triangular peg. Always was, always will be. According to His good pleasure He desires a resting place in His creation. As such in creation He creates triangular hole.. To the peg the hole is a counterpart. To the hole the peg must have created it in a certain way for the purpose of holding the peg, The hole knows the peg is still the peg whether the hole exists or not.

To bring it back, the Triune is for dispensing because He created us to contain Him. We can see that now. That does not lead to "God has no meaning without us". Brother Lee never said that.

Drake
02-17-2017 02:45 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Are you saying that our Lord Jesus Christ was in error? I quoted directly from John 17:3. What part of "this is eternal life" do you not understand? If you have a New Testament that uses red letters for the direct words of the Lord Jesus then this statement would be in red. Accept or reject any or all of the "Trinity dogma" as you wish, but I would beg you to consider the pure, unassailable, direct words of our Savior "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent".
-
But "the only true God" refers also to Christ Himself based upon 1 John 5:20:

1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Now where is the verse that says there are TWO "true God's" ? Produce it please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Sure. Could you point me to a particular widely accepted, renown teacher, scholar or apologist who doesn't teach the Trinity alongside the Bible? Oh, you might find some infamous heretics, charlatans and apostle wannabes who wander far afield from the Bible, but this would be true when they speak of the Trinity as well as many other things. I wish to God that Witness Lee's followers had held him to the standard you expect others to follow.
-
If they teach it alongside the bible how can you say it is "from the bible alone"? Even you did not think the bible sufficient when you posted the Athanasian Creed to help you explain the "orthodox Trinity".


Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
You make it sound as if God was not involved in this "process", or the Holy Spirit had no influence over these men. My friend, "heated debate" is something that God has used since the beginning. Some of these heated debates were actually recorded for us in the New Testament. As a matter of fact, the stark absence of debate, heated or otherwise, in the Local Church of Witness Lee, has contributed to the demise of the movement. Those of us who were around while Lee was alive, especially those of us who lived in So.Calif or Taipei, can testify of Witness Lee's harsh quashing of ANY debate regarding the teachings and practices he personally established. This dynamic continued after Lee's death, and it is most exemplified in "The One Publication" Bull.
-
I am sure God was sovereign in this situation. But it's a weak argument to declare that whatever God permit under God's sovereign hand God also approves of.

Unlike Lee, it was very much a socio-political process, I believe Constantine was somehow involved. Then there is the matter of Christians killing Christians, which could never be sanctioned by God.
02-17-2017 02:45 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
I've already apologetically signed off on discussions of the Trinity or the "godhead" or "person(s) of God" and thus will refrain from adding my ideas. But I'll add a point to understanding the text of the Bible, here. OBW has a point about being "operationally one", i.e. representing someone else. The Roman Centurion was operationally one with Caesar, and when he said, "Go there" it was Caesar speaking through him. Thus, his servants obeyed. But the Centurion never said, "I am Caesar". It was enough that he was under authority ("I also am a man under authority") and Jesus marveled at his faith. Jesus didn't give him a remedial lecture on the Trinity.

When Jesus spoke, the Father spoke. Just like the Centurion with Caesar. The Son fully expressed and represented the Father's will, and the Father delighted in Him (cf Psalm 18's 'He [the Father] rescued Me [the Son] because He delighted in Me"). This was true operational oneness. And we also should be one, even as He was one with the Father. One is here taken as a state of being, not a number.
Aron,

If speaking of God's essence then i do not see how this is an example. The Father, Son, and Spirit are coequal in the Godhead. Caesar is the authority over the centurion. They are not coequals.

As a man the Son subjected Himself so the example appears to fit better if that is what you meant.

Drake
02-17-2017 01:14 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
But the Bible never says God is three, neither does it even use the word three in the same sentence as God.
Good point, and just some more evidence that the three persons of the Godhead are indeed ONE in substance and nature. One Being in three Persons. Glory, glory to the Father! Glory, glory to the Son! Glory, glory to the Spirit! Glory to the three in One!

I would point out that although the Word never uses the word "three", it does use the word "We"...and from none other than our Lord Jesus himself: "Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."(John 14:23)

There is a very good reason why EVERY translation of this passage, from the most literal to the loosest paraphrase, use the pronoun "We" in translating this Greek word ἔρχομαι erchomai (most render "we will come"), and the reason is the plain context of where the word appears dictates that it be translated "We will come". Regarding this common phrase, BlueLetterBible.Com has the following entry: "to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning"

Then, when taken in the general context of the 14th Chapter of John, I think most serious students of the New Testament would strongly infer that the "we" actually includes the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

-
02-17-2017 12:02 PM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
God is Triune. Three One. Really three. Really one. Not three masks. Not three modes.

The three (Father, Son, Spirit) are not three entities nor three beings. Period. They are Three Persons if by Persons you do not mean three beings. Earlier you said they were three beings or entities. They are not.

There is One God. Three Persons but One God.

If you agree with that then you and I agree on the definition of the Trinity. And if you hold that view you also agree with RC Sproul. And as distasteful as you will find this, you also will be in agreement with Witness Lee's view.

And that my colleague is where you will stumble and prefer to drive into the ditch of tritheism in a vain attempt to distance yourself from that "little sect".

Drake
But the Bible never says God is three, neither does it even use the word three in the same sentence as God.

(Except for the KJV from the TR in I John 5 which all scholars readily dismiss.)
02-17-2017 10:19 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Lee taught that "God is Triune for dispensing." This is something we all accepted as profound and true.

But, really, why does God need to be Triune to dispense? If God was a monolithic Spirit, why couldn't he just get into us as the Spirit he was? To say "God is triune for dispensing" is to say "God could not dispense if he was not triune." But how do we know this? We don't. Where does the Bible say God could not get into us if he wasn't triune? It doesn't, and simple reflection says there is no reason to assume that.

All we really know is that God is triune and God dispenses (assuming you accept the concept of dispensing). Lee is the one who made the connection. He liked the idea of dispensing so he connected it to the very nature of God.

Lee saw the Trinity as a kind of progression. This isn't totally wrong. As you go from the Father to the Son to the Spirit, God becomes more practical and experiential to us. This is reflected in 2 Cor 13:14 where it says the grace of Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you. Grace is more practical than love and fellowship is more practical than grace, but they all have the same source and nature.

However the Trinity within God is not a progression but reflective of his own inner relationship with himself. The Spirit flows between the Father and Son. The Spirit is the reality of God is in that it is where he "really lives," what he is really about. And he is really about relationship, starting with his relationship with himself, which is the relationship between the Father and the Son, and going on to his relationships with us, and from there our relationships with each other, which we give back to God as our corporate relationship, which is an expression of his relational nature, which gives glory to him.

He lets us in on his inner relationship so when we experience the Spirit we experience fellowship with the Father and the Son, because the Spirit is their fellowship.

But to say God is Triune for dispensing is to say God has no reason to be Triune except to dispense into us, which is to say God has no meaning without us. Simply put, no.

I realize some of the stuff I say here is speculative. But "God is triune for dispensing" is speculative too. And for my money what I'm saying makes a lot more sense than that.
02-17-2017 08:21 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I would disagree. I tend to give the words there more weight than those supplied by others. If "I and the Father are one" and I have also heard the Son pray to the Father, then I must assume that the definition of "one" that is in play is not about number, but about unity. Unity does not change number. .
I've already apologetically signed off on discussions of the Trinity or the "godhead" or "person(s) of God" and thus will refrain from adding my ideas. But I'll add a point to understanding the text of the Bible, here. OBW has a point about being "operationally one", i.e. representing someone else. The Roman Centurion was operationally one with Caesar, and when he said, "Go there" it was Caesar speaking through him. Thus, his servants obeyed. But the Centurion never said, "I am Caesar". It was enough that he was under authority ("I also am a man under authority") and Jesus marveled at his faith. Jesus didn't give him a remedial lecture on the Trinity.

When Jesus spoke, the Father spoke. Just like the Centurion with Caesar. The Son fully expressed and represented the Father's will, and the Father delighted in Him (cf Psalm 18's 'He [the Father] rescued Me [the Son] because He delighted in Me"). This was true operational oneness. And we also should be one, even as He was one with the Father. One is here taken as a state of being, not a number.
02-17-2017 07:30 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Linking the Trinity dogma to salvation is an error in my view.
Are you saying that our Lord Jesus Christ was in error? I quoted directly from John 17:3. What part of "this is eternal life" do you not understand? If you have a New Testament that uses red letters for the direct words of the Lord Jesus then this statement would be in red. Accept or reject any or all of the "Trinity dogma" as you wish, but I would beg you to consider the pure, unassailable, direct words of our Savior "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent".

Quote:
The Trinity has to be taught alongside the bible.
Sure. Could you point me to a particular widely accepted, renown teacher, scholar or apologist who doesn't teach the Trinity alongside the Bible? Oh, you might find some infamous heretics, charlatans and apostle wannabes who wander far afield from the Bible, but this would be true when they speak of the Trinity as well as many other things. I wish to God that Witness Lee's followers had held him to the standard you expect others to follow.

Quote:
Anyone who knows their church history knows it evolved from a process of heated debate over a long period of time. You make it sound as if one day a group of Christians got together and decided to develop a doctrine of the Trinity by studying their bibles.
You make it sound as if God was not involved in this "process", or the Holy Spirit had no influence over these men. My friend, "heated debate" is something that God has used since the beginning. Some of these heated debates were actually recorded for us in the New Testament. As a matter of fact, the stark absence of debate, heated or otherwise, in the Local Church of Witness Lee, has contributed to the demise of the movement. Those of us who were around while Lee was alive, especially those of us who lived in So.Calif or Taipei, can testify of Witness Lee's harsh quashing of ANY debate regarding the teachings and practices he personally established. This dynamic continued after Lee's death, and it is most exemplified in "The One Publication" Bull.
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02-17-2017 07:18 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy)"We could just as easily say you have tendencies toward the ditch of modalism. But let's not go there, okay? "

It's fine to go there Igzy, yet you will need to show exactly what I said to prove your point,

Drake
Open question to anyone.

The Father is a he and the son is a he. That's two hes. These two hes talk to each other and love each other. One prays to the other.

Please explain this in light of the one God: Why does God have a situation inside of himself where one something pray to another something?

I say it is actually reflective of God's relationship with himself, yet it is more than that.

What do you say? Simply hammering the side of the one doesn't help anyone.

If the Son and the Father are the same Person, what does it really mean to say the Son prays to the Father? Why would God even bother with that?
02-17-2017 07:10 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBw)" There is God and the one he sent."

Whoa, hold on here, OBW.

Did you say "he"?

A singular personal pronoun referring to God?

Watch it, that be modalistic speak.
02-17-2017 07:01 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
You give lip service to the definition then gut it by declaring that they really are just each other, therefore not three. Just one. You won't say it, but it is effectively to say that they are one using masks to be the Father, Son, and Spirit at the appropriate times.

Not really three. You say you believe in three. But not really. You declare it for the camera, then deny it with the bulk of your rhetoric.
God is Triune. Three One. Really three. Really one. Not three masks. Not three modes.

The three (Father, Son, Spirit) are not three entities nor three beings. Period. They are Three Persons if by Persons you do not mean three beings. Earlier you said they were three beings or entities. They are not.

There is One God. Three Persons but One God.

If you agree with that then you and I agree on the definition of the Trinity. And if you hold that view you also agree with RC Sproul. And as distasteful as you will find this, you also will be in agreement with Witness Lee's view.

And that my colleague is where you will stumble and prefer to drive into the ditch of tritheism in a vain attempt to distance yourself from that "little sect".

Drake
02-17-2017 06:21 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Linking the Trinity dogma to salvation is an error in my view. The aspect of the Trinity dogma that is linked to our salvation is the doctrine regarding Christ's divine or human nature.
Once you dismiss what the verse said.

Of course the verse does not define a trinity. Only two. But it does it very well. There is God and the one he sent. Belief in both is required for salvation. Just believing in Jesus as the good master is not enough. You must believe in him as God. And not just some god. But of the God that is Three.
02-17-2017 06:18 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
IgzyI am willing to accept RC Sproul's definition . How is that modalism?
You give lip service to the definition then gut it by declaring that they really are just each other, therefore not three. Just one. You won't say it, but it is effectively to say that they are one using masks to be the Father, Son, and Spirit at the appropriate times.

Not really three. You say you believe in three. But not really. You declare it for the camera, then deny it with the bulk of your rhetoric.
02-17-2017 06:14 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Three entities or beings is the ditch of tritheism. Three Persons could be the ditch of tritheism if by Persons you mean entities.
This is where you at seriously mistaken. And how your little sect errs in dismissing so much of Christianity as inferior.

Tritheism is not just having three gods, but worshipping three gods. We do not worship three gods. We worship One God that is in Three Persons. We do not pray to different persons for different things. We were instructed that we were to ask (pray to) the Father and to do it in "my name" (the Son, Jesus Christ).

You are OK with "persons" but not with "entity." They really are the same in common usage. In the world in which I work, an entity is a variety of person. So is an individual. We usually use the word "entity" to refer to a "body corporate" such as a corporation, an association, a trust, etc., while an individual is a natural person.

Lee decided that he could define the edge if the 'three" side of the equation tighter than everyone else and thereby define out a huge portion of those who didn't follow him. Drive a wedge between you and everyone else. But there is nothing in the Bible that denies the fact of three true persons (as we understand persons) who are Father, Son, and Spirit as three persons yet One God in terms of the whole of the being of God. Your problem (and likely Lee's before you) is that you cannot reconcile applying the term "being" or "person" as applying to the One God and also the Three that constitute that God.

Your version speaks fondly of an aspect of three, but denies that they really are three. There is no actual "we" that can make man in "our" singular image. You falter when you hear "I and the Father are one" and declare that they must simply be the same person. But only in the sense of One God. Not in the sense of the person that the Son is. "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father" is not the same as saying "I am the Father." It is confirmation that "we" have one image and it is right here in front of you. There is nothing else to see.

In short, you do not believe in a God that is "we." Or you can't understand it when there is only One God. So you marginalize the aspects of three. Declare that they are just processes of the One God. The One God gets processed and there is now the Son. Then he gest processed some more and now there is the Spirit.

But even after your processing, you just morph one into the next, leaving the simultaneous existence of the three as an unexplained phenomenon in a world in which the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are simply a singular being only. The Father is just the Son. The Son is just the Spirit.

The scripture does not ever say anything like that.
02-17-2017 03:59 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Igzy)"We could just as easily say you have tendencies toward the ditch of modalism. But let's not go there, okay? "

It's fine to go there Igzy, yet you will need to show exactly what I said to prove your point,

I am willing to accept RC Sproul's definition . How is that modalism?

Drake
02-17-2017 03:54 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
But even though the God we serve is in Three (whether persons, or something else, the scripture is too clear that they are not simply each other), therefore it is not as simple as "if you say three then you are a tritheist."

Tritheism is the worship of three gods. We do not worship three gods. We worship One God that is in three "persons." We do not worship the three separately though we do acknowledge their unique attributes as described in the scripture. But they are not worshipped as separate beings to be separately appeased. Rather we worship One God who is a unified three. Therefore we "appease" only God, not the Spirit separately from the Son or the Father (and so on). (I realize that there is nothing that we do to appease God, but my point is to make a comparison between the worship of three who are three and three who are One.)
OBW,

Had you said the above and stuck with it I would not have said you had veered into the ditch of tritheism . You said three entities or beings so you went too far. Three entities or beings is the ditch of tritheism. Three Persons could be the ditch of tritheism if by Persons you mean entities. If you say three Persons yet you maintain that God is one being then that is not the ditch but is the road, yet as soon as you start thinking three entities or beings you may be on the shoulder and when you say three entities or beings you are in the ditch. So "Persons" could go either way depending what you mean by it. Therefore, the conversation of Persons pivots on what you mean by it. Three beings is clearly the ditch.

Thanks
Drake
02-16-2017 11:50 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Linking the Trinity dogma to salvation is an error in my view. The aspect of the Trinity dogma that is linked to our salvation is the doctrine regarding Christ's divine or human nature. That is, if we don't believe certain things about Christ, such as His divinity and humanity, then we do not know Him. However, this is quite different from saying we must believe the Trinity dogma in all respects. Once we start down that path then we keep adding to the "requirements", such as baptism in the Catholic church, and weekly church attendance etc. There is nothing in the bible about a Trinity dogma being essential to salvation. When new converts were made in the book of Acts, Peter simply said "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household." I am sure the new converts had little concept of the Trinity dogma, particularly if they were just converted from Judaism. I am sure the apostle Paul at his conversion did not have any concept of the Trinity. He only had experienced the risen Christ.

Getting doctrines and dogmas from "the bible alone" is not how the Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches operate. That is not how the Council of Nicea etc operated. It was largely a socio-political process involving much debate. The Trinity has to be taught alongside the bible. Anyone who knows their church history knows it evolved from a process of heated debate over a long period of time. You make it sound as if one day a group of Christians got together and decided to develop a doctrine of the Trinity by studying their bibles. But the reality was far from this. There was a lot of conflict and two and fro between both sides, blood was shed, Christians were killing Christians.
02-16-2017 09:07 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Take away the Creeds and the Trinitarian dogma it is hard to argue from the bible alone that for Jesus to say he is one with the Father does not mean he is the Father.
What you're not taking into account is that "the creeds and the trinitarian dogma" are, for the most part, derived from the Bible alone. I understand that Witness Lee (and Nee) spent a lot of their time and energy trying to convince their followers otherwise, but they were in the minority regarding this matter. When all the dust settles, the vast majority of Christian teachers, scholars and apologists spanning the 2,000+ years of church history have agreed upon the proposition that God is "one in nature and three in Person" or "three Persons in one being or one nature". This simple axiom has never been good enough for some, and I'm quite sure it never will be for some. So be it.

I must tell all concerned, however, that those who say that these matters regarding the nature of God, as pertains to the Trinity, do not fall into the "essentials" category are mistaken in my estimation. Next to our very salvation, nothing can be more important. In fact, this matter is directly linked to our salvation - According to our Lord in John 17:3 "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent".

So I am very happy to see this matter being discussed in the forefront of our little forum. Don't we all want to know, revere and worship "the only true God"?

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02-16-2017 05:11 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Take away the Creeds and the Trinitarian dogma it is hard to argue from the bible alone that for Jesus to say he is one with the Father does not mean he is the Father.
I would disagree. I tend to give the words there more weight than those supplied by others. If "I and the Father are one" and I have also heard the Son pray to the Father, then I must assume that the definition of "one" that is in play is not about number, but about unity. Unity does not change number. As blunt as Jesus was on several occasions, he would have at least told the disciples in private something like "I am simply the God of the universe, therefore I am the Father" it that was all it was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The reason for this is that the Trinity doctrine itself is illogical. To make 1+1+1 = 1 work, we have to do some adjusting. We cannot fit a square peg in a round hole. Something must give, either we can make the square smaller or the hole bigger. It is the same with the Trinity, either we lean to the ditch of modalism, or the ditch of tritheism, to make it logical for us. Or we simply accept the caveat that "it is a mystery".
And this is the reason that you, and Lee before you, have such a hard time with the Trinity. You are correct that the Trinity doctrine is illogical. But to think that it makes the idea that is hinted at in its illogic wrong is to presume that the God that gave us intellect cannot be something more than what we are able to understand. So a single God/being could do it all. He could even send part of himself to die on the cross. We think that would be impossible. But when we say that, we are denying the deity of God.

Of course, God, through his written word, describes something different from that. He describes Three that are in perfect unity. That stand together as God, not as Gods. That take different functions, yet are not simply aspects of a singular. That are more one/unified than most of us are with ourselves on a really clear-headed day, yet not obliterated into a singular for all meaningful purposes.

Is any of that logical? Not according to what humans can consider. They can only accept that as something of faith in a God beyond their own ability to describe in a coherent way.

Nothing must give. Except our insistence on forcing God to fit into one man-understandable model or the other. Lee's need to push God to be "simply each other" is evidence that he could not accept what he could not understand. So he created God according to what he could understand. Others have done it to the other side.

Do they still believe in the God of the Bible? I think so. Some are not so generous. I worry about those who declare that the Son is not God. Or that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer. I have my opinions as to their status as Christian. (And we just might agree on it.)

But Lee's problem is not just that he is moving toward the line of one extreme. It is that he teaches his followers to be dismissive of those who disagree. To label them as following a heresy. To refuse to break the bread of the Table with them (unless they come to your table and you decide to allow them to participate). This is a problem with respect to the unity of the church. This little sect has defined everyone but themselves outside of the "fellowship" and are happy to think they are the only ones really communing with God.
02-16-2017 04:49 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
I believe a reasonable statement for a person who hears or reads John 10:30 and has no knowledge of the Trinity or bible commentaries is that "the Father and Jesus are one Person". This reasonableness is evident by the Jew's reaction to Christ's words.
That might be a reasonable assumption for someone who has insufficient knowledge of the vast array of statements in scripture concerning the persons and nature of the Godhead to arrive at that conclusion.

But for someone who is well-versed in all of that, it is not reasonable to think that the oneness is so complete as to subsume the three into a single being denying what is clearly separate about them. Neither is it reasonable to conclude that they are simply Three that work in committee, or are the leaders of an array of gods that have their roles with the need to pray to each of them as something separate with the task of handling different issues. Like fertility, crops, rain, health, etc.

You provide a simplistic assumption as to what constitutes tritheism that would tend to make the fact of God speaking of his Son that is coming out of the water as the Spirit descends upon him into either evidence of three which would constitute tritheism, or parlor tricks by a singular for the appreciation of the masses. You are unable to get your mind around the concept of Three that should not be confused, that are one that should not be separated. As One, God is clearly understood as completely in harmony in all things. But that is not to the exclusion of the reality of the "us" that makes man in "our" image. In this one statement we dispel the notion that they really are just each other. If that were true, then there is no reality to Three. Just a smokescreen. If you need to reconcile it in human terms, you cannot get to Trinity. You can only get to either three totally independent gods, or one unified and undivided god.

But that is not the God revealed in the Bible. Our God is not defined in terms of persons, beings, or entities. He is One God that is "us" and "I." He is both. Not only one way or the other. To dismiss the reality of the Three is to dismiss most of the NT account. There is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You pray to the Father. You ask the Father "in my name." (Not "ask the Father in his own name.")

It is a mystery that must be left as such. To insist that words have to mean only one possible thing, or to accept the added words of something other than what is in the scripture is to defy the mystery and force God into the image that you have for him.

As someone once said, "In the beginning, God made man in His image, and we have been returning the favor ever since."

The God that better fits one aspect of the scripture's revelation than the others is not the God that the Bible reveals. I am not trying to bring up that "another Christ" kind of complaint. Some throw those terms around to thump their chests at their superiority. It is enough that you already do that as you herald your "It's the oneness, stupid" kind of mantra and declare the others to be tritheists.

But when you argue that people are taking Lee's few remarks about God's "One" side out of context or ignoring what he says about the Three, I beg to differ. It is true that he would diligently declare that God is Three, citing the event at Jesus' baptism. And I don't think he was being false there. But it is evident that he didn't really have any use for the Three because he spent most of his serious teaching time declaring that they were just one. That they were simply each other. And misrepresenting verses like in John 4 when he declares that "God is Spirit."

I think he believed that God was Trinity, or Triune, but he lad little use for the Three. They were little more than aspects of One, not a true three. Show me where he really said that there were Three in a more meaningful way than as a quick rebuttal of the claims that he was modalist.

Besides, once we were to the point that there was the Father, Son, and Spirit to be considered (in other words, in the NT) The speaking of the Father, Son, and Spirit as separate from each other was predominant. Even the verses that have reference to their unity do not deny their separateness. Jesus never says "I am the Father." Neither does he say "I will be the Spirit" (or "I am the Spirit"). He speaks of the deep relationship between them, even the connection that is beyond what we understand as possible for two humans, without dismissing that he is the Son and the Father is the Father. We are not talking math here. we are not saying that 1 = 1. We are saying that A and B are more together than the "become one flesh" that occurs upon marriage of man and woman. Yet when A and B are that joined, they do not cease to be A and B (say "C" for example), but remain as A and B.
02-16-2017 03:48 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
"Didn't start from the Bible means that you did not take a verse and use it to make a reasonable statement. Rather, it would appear that you went shopping for statements that met with your criteria.
I literally went to biblehub.com to find the verse, then read the commentary. Not the other way around.

I believe a reasonable statement for a person who hears or reads John 10:30 and has no knowledge of the Trinity or bible commentaries is that "the Father and Jesus are one Person". This reasonableness is evident by the Jew's reaction to Christ's words. The Jews had no concept of the Trinity. Let's use their reaction as the best example of a reasonable (though fallen, human) understanding of Christ's words. Jesus had just told them that he is the Father, by saying "I and the Father are one". They heard "I am God, I am the same as God, I am the Father". That's why they wanted to kill Him. I am confident that the Jews were not stoning Jesus because he said "I am co-equal with the Father but am not the Father but the Son". Notice that in John 10:33 it says:"....because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.". Jesus "called Himself God" by saying "I and the Father are one".
Jesus did it again when he called Himself "I AM".

Take away the Creeds and the Trinitarian dogma it is hard to argue from the bible alone that for Jesus to say he is one with the Father does not mean he is the Father. Christ's Fatherly nature is also evident in Matthew 23:37 when he calls the people "children". Also in Matthew 23:37 when he describes himself like a motherly hen.

What the Pulpit commentary is saying - is that the Scripture truly does say Jesus is the Father because the Trinity has not yet been revealed. Now that the Trinity has been revealed, it is a "sin" to say that "Jesus is the Father". So the difference in interpretation is whether or not we have been indoctrinated by the Trinity doctrine. I do not think it is a "sin" to say that Jesus is the Father because the Scripture says, and the Jews understood so, and Christ did not correct them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
And as I mentioned yesterday, just finding a word is not the same as finding something that agrees with you. You provided entirely too little of the commentary to establish that it was in any way suggesting that by putting the word "entity" in with respect to the unity of God that it was denying the separateness. This had been a common problem that I have seen. When people get talking about things like the Trinity where the language is not truly sufficient to describe what is revealed, the terminology starts to step on itself. We call the Three "persons" yet recognize that there is something more One about them than three entirely separate persons could ever be. At least as far as we understand the ability for separate persons to be one.

So we end out effectively using the same word to describe the Three and the One. We write songs that speak of "God in three persons" yet refer to "them" in the singular. The God in three persons is a "thee," not a "you guys."

And you want to hang your hat on the use of a word in describing what we all admit that is not truly defined anywhere.
Not saying there isn't truth in this, but where does it say this? Or is this a presumption because they are "one" or because someone else (Lee or any other commentator) ever said something like it.

Please note that I am skeptical of the value of the illusion of precision in the speaking of anyone, including the most revered theologians of any era, when it comes to adding definition to the Trinity beyond what the Bible says (which is nearly nothing).

So you found a verse a propped up someone's comments beside it? Was the commentator actually referring to that verse (you didn't say that I can see)? Was this the whole of his comments? One-liners are too subject to misinterpretation.

While I have already provided by take on statements concerning the nature of the Trinity, I will restate it here. There is a lot of "slop" in any viable definition of the Trinity. It is not because God is sloppy, or that we are just being sloppy. It is that there is insufficient evidence to go beyond some very high-level statements. Trying to be more specific than that is to make statements for which there is no sound support. Plenty of supposition. And those that want to see it one way v the other (either way) will tend to be swayed in the way they want to go, but without solid ground for it.

The result is a significant band of understanding that is neither all in agreement, nor clearly wrong. And as long as we understand that we don't understand — at make the effort to keep the differences from standing in the way of meaningful study of scripture and fellowship among believers — we can move forward together.

But once you start labeling everyone else in terms of types of heresy, then you have created your own problem. And when your version of what is right is so close to the acceptable extremes — even apparently over the line in some ways — then there is something to be said about your theology. When you teach your members to feel superior because they hold a somewhat unique position and look down your noses at those who disagree, calling them some kind of heretic (like tritheist), then you have likely moved outside of the norm.

You like to take a sentence from one writer and declare that because he used terms the way you would, you are orthodox. But you don't look at the whole of his work. Just the sentence. So you do not actually present his view. Just enough of it to be subject to misapplication or misattribution.

I am faced with scripture that describes God in ways that do not align with rational analysis. He (singular) is three — Father, Son, and Spirit — yet he is One God. I could argue a simple committee, but that would be insufficient because committees are never "One." They are always "by committee" and therefore the lowest common denominator. God is not the lowest common denominator between three separate beings. He is full-on God at the extremes, yet in three.

How far do we understand the "person/being/entity" side of this? Hard to say. But I would suggest that to say that all the ink given to the separate references requires a different approach than "they are just each other" as Lee has, in so many words, said. If they are just each other, then are there really three? Can you actually make the argument that there is a Son that became man that is anything other than the whole of God? And if that is how you want to make it, then isn't praying to the Father just a ruse to impress the disciples and others?

Obviously even you don't believe that kind of singleness. Yet you want to make the singleness so strong that much of the ink spent (and inspiration provided by the Spirit to) the human writers was effectively a waste. It really doesn't mean what it says.

How can we be one as the Father and Son are one if they are simply each other? (Well, maybe that is why Lee had to go with that "God in life and nature but not Godhead" teaching. Even he saw the problem with such an extreme dismissal of the Three.)

And you have a post within the last 48 hours from me to nullify that statement.

But as long as you do not provide actual support for your positions, you will get push-back. Single verses are poor support, if any.

And Nee or Lee are not authorities in this forum. If you intend to make an un-credited statement, the it is assumed to be either your own (and we have a pretty good idea where you learned what you speak) or that of Nee or Lee. It is a reasonable assumption. So slipping in an un-credited quote from some other writer is pointless. We have no basis to accept it as either sound or correctly quoted. And without significant reference, we can't even tell if you have provided the statement such that it actually says what the writer was trying to say. One-liners just have that kind of problem. For example, "the last Adam [became] a life-giving spirit" cannot be understood as having any reference to the Holy Spirit if the context of the entire discussion is included. But in isolation, it is ripe for misleading and mishandling. And Lee did one or the other (or both). But he did not deal with what the verse said, rather with something it could have said if it had been part of a different discussion.
But from where I stand it is the same tactic employed against Lee. Lee is frequently misunderstood to be a modalist by taking one or two of his statements out of the whole context of his chapter or book. He may simply be emphasizing the "oneness" of the Trinity. Any orthodox theologian can easily be misunderstood to be modalist on the subject of the Trinity. As Augustine said, it was hard for him to not appear a modalist. The reason for this is that the Trinity doctrine itself is illogical. To make 1+1+1 = 1 work, we have to do some adjusting. We cannot fit a square peg in a round hole. Something must give, either we can make the square smaller or the hole bigger. It is the same with the Trinity, either we lean to the ditch of modalism, or the ditch of tritheism, to make it logical for us. Or we simply accept the caveat that "it is a mystery".
02-16-2017 03:26 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I had a few moments and went hunting for the Pulpit Commentary. First, I looked for Rawlinson and discovered that he was only one of many contributors. And when I go to the portion that you quoted, it is not evident (from the source I found) who specifically wrote it.

But I will accept that you at least have a source that does give that attribution.

When I read the whole passage, I find a sea of flowing back and forth between the separateness of the Father and the Son, and the idea that they are sort of a unity that we are incapable of being. And this is exactly what I would expect from any kind of grappling with the incomplete descriptions of the Father and the Son and their Oneness as God.

I say incomplete because none of the descriptions were intended to provide sufficient details to answer the question that we are grappling with here.

But after reading all of it, I see someone who has pondered so many possibilities and then makes this one statement as follows:

This is at least partly nothing more than spiritual-sounding fluff. Not saying it is bad analogy. But it is statements as if fact that are not supported by anything other than the fact that they are said in this sentence. And I do note that it ends with the word "entity." Yet that fact is not supported as simply true by even all that he has said (in the rest of the write-up on the verse). And given that lack of support (at least at the level of meaning you presume) it would seem from the context that using the word was not intended to negate the separateness of the Godhead, but rather to indicate that in their unity a singleness of "entity" might be a reasonable statement.

But that is not a singleness of entity in all aspects. Just a singleness of entity in the sense of God being One.

This sentence is immediately followed by the last sentence in the comment:

And the answer is simple. Jesus effectively stated that he was God. And unless you were already fully behind that idea, to say that to a Jew was to utter blasphemy. Of course they were going to start gathering stones.

And Jesus was/is God. It doesn't matter whether you think of it in terms of a single being in modes, like a modalist, or as three separate gods of the true tritheist. Jesus was claiming to be God. That would rile up a good Jew. So the question raised really does not provide any clarity on the subject.

And after reading the statement provided, if it is truly attributable to George Rawlinson, it might reasonably explain how he was so prolific in so many arenas of writing and study, including being a theologian. Maybe he wasn't as strong a theologian as you might want on your committee. Not saying this as a certainty. But definitely questioning whether it might be true.
You are right there were many contributors, I read the front page it says:

THE
PULPIT COMMENTARY
EDITED BY THE
VERY REV. H. D. M. SPENCE, D.D.,
DEAN OF GLOUCESTER;
AND BY THE
REV. JOSEPH S. EXELL, M.A.
INTRODUCTIONS
BY THE
VEN. AECHDEACON F. W. FAEEAH, D.D., P.E.S.—EIGHT EEV. H. COTTEEILL, D.D., F.R.S E —VEEY EEV. PRINCIPAL J. TULLOCH, D.D.-EEV. CANON G. RAWLINSON, M.A. —EEV. A. PLUMMEE, M.A., D.D

The word entity means "a thing with distinct and independent existence". So if we say God is three entities, that is tri-theism in my view, because the persons of the Trinity are not independent.

I think there is confusion over the words entity and person. You disagree with the word entity it seems. We can say that the Trinity doctrine is Three distinct Persons in one entity. So it is correct to say that the Father and the Son are one entity. A number of Trinitarian resources say God is one entity. For example you can read the wikipedia article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity
where it says

"because three persons exist in God as one entity"
and cites

Thomas, and Anton Charles Pegis. 1997. Basic writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Pub. Pages 307–9.

So many orthodox Trinitarians say God is one entity, nothing wrong with that.
The issue with Witness Lee is that he said God is one Person.

Now we have to differentiate between the meaning of entity and Person.
02-16-2017 02:47 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

I had a few moments and went hunting for the Pulpit Commentary. First, I looked for Rawlinson and discovered that he was only one of many contributors. And when I go to the portion that you quoted, it is not evident (from the source I found) who specifically wrote it.

But I will accept that you at least have a source that does give that attribution.

When I read the whole passage, I find a sea of flowing back and forth between the separateness of the Father and the Son, and the idea that they are sort of a unity that we are incapable of being. And this is exactly what I would expect from any kind of grappling with the incomplete descriptions of the Father and the Son and their Oneness as God.

I say incomplete because none of the descriptions were intended to provide sufficient details to answer the question that we are grappling with here.

But after reading all of it, I see someone who has pondered so many possibilities and then makes this one statement as follows:

Quote:
He bases the claim on the fact that the Father's hands are behind his, and that the Father's eternal power and Godhead sustain his mediatorial functions and, more than all, that the Father's Personality and his own Personality are merged in one essence and entity.
This is at least partly nothing more than spiritual-sounding fluff. Not saying it is bad analogy. But it is statements as if fact that are not supported by anything other than the fact that they are said in this sentence. And I do note that it ends with the word "entity." Yet that fact is not supported as simply true by even all that he has said (in the rest of the write-up on the verse). And given that lack of support (at least at the level of meaning you presume) it would seem from the context that using the word was not intended to negate the separateness of the Godhead, but rather to indicate that in their unity a singleness of "entity" might be a reasonable statement.


But that is not a singleness of entity in all aspects. Just a singleness of entity in the sense of God being One.

This sentence is immediately followed by the last sentence in the comment:

Quote:
If he merely meant to imply moral and spiritual union with the Father, or completeness of revelation of the Divine mind, why should the utterance have provoked such fierce resentment?
And the answer is simple. Jesus effectively stated that he was God. And unless you were already fully behind that idea, to say that to a Jew was to utter blasphemy. Of course they were going to start gathering stones.


And Jesus was/is God. It doesn't matter whether you think of it in terms of a single being in modes, like a modalist, or as three separate gods of the true tritheist. Jesus was claiming to be God. That would rile up a good Jew. So the question raised really does not provide any clarity on the subject.

And after reading the statement provided, if it is truly attributable to George Rawlinson, it might reasonably explain how he was so prolific in so many arenas of writing and study, including being a theologian. Maybe he wasn't as strong a theologian as you might want on your committee. Not saying this as a certainty. But definitely questioning whether it might be true.
02-16-2017 01:38 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
What do you mean "didn't start with the Bible, but with their statement"?

I posted both the bible verse and the commentary. You were fooled into thinking it was from Lee when it was not, it was from Pulpit commentary. This proves that you don't know the difference.
"Didn't start from the Bible means that you did not take a verse and use it to make a reasonable statement. Rather, it would appear that you went shopping for statements that met with your criteria.

And as I mentioned yesterday, just finding a word is not the same as finding something that agrees with you. You provided entirely too little of the commentary to establish that it was in any way suggesting that by putting the word "entity" in with respect to the unity of God that it was denying the separateness. This had been a common problem that I have seen. When people get talking about things like the Trinity where the language is not truly sufficient to describe what is revealed, the terminology starts to step on itself. We call the Three "persons" yet recognize that there is something more One about them than three entirely separate persons could ever be. At least as far as we understand the ability for separate persons to be one.

So we end out effectively using the same word to describe the Three and the One. We write songs that speak of "God in three persons" yet refer to "them" in the singular. The God in three persons is a "thee," not a "you guys."

And you want to hang your hat on the use of a word in describing what we all admit that is not truly defined anywhere.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
My post stated clearly that it was one entity in Personality. The Father's and the Son's Personality is the same.
Not saying there isn't truth in this, but where does it say this? Or is this a presumption because they are "one" or because someone else (Lee or any other commentator) ever said something like it.

Please note that I am skeptical of the value of the illusion of precision in the speaking of anyone, including the most revered theologians of any era, when it comes to adding definition to the Trinity beyond what the Bible says (which is nearly nothing).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
I first found the verse, John 10:30 "I and the Father are one". I then read the commentary. I posted both.
So you found a verse a propped up someone's comments beside it? Was the commentator actually referring to that verse (you didn't say that I can see)? Was this the whole of his comments? One-liners are too subject to misinterpretation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The irony is you reject Lee and say he is not a theologian. Yet when I do post from stock standard theological resources you reject these as well.
While I have already provided by take on statements concerning the nature of the Trinity, I will restate it here. There is a lot of "slop" in any viable definition of the Trinity. It is not because God is sloppy, or that we are just being sloppy. It is that there is insufficient evidence to go beyond some very high-level statements. Trying to be more specific than that is to make statements for which there is no sound support. Plenty of supposition. And those that want to see it one way v the other (either way) will tend to be swayed in the way they want to go, but without solid ground for it.

The result is a significant band of understanding that is neither all in agreement, nor clearly wrong. And as long as we understand that we don't understand — at make the effort to keep the differences from standing in the way of meaningful study of scripture and fellowship among believers — we can move forward together.

But once you start labeling everyone else in terms of types of heresy, then you have created your own problem. And when your version of what is right is so close to the acceptable extremes — even apparently over the line in some ways — then there is something to be said about your theology. When you teach your members to feel superior because they hold a somewhat unique position and look down your noses at those who disagree, calling them some kind of heretic (like tritheist), then you have likely moved outside of the norm.

You like to take a sentence from one writer and declare that because he used terms the way you would, you are orthodox. But you don't look at the whole of his work. Just the sentence. So you do not actually present his view. Just enough of it to be subject to misapplication or misattribution.

I am faced with scripture that describes God in ways that do not align with rational analysis. He (singular) is three — Father, Son, and Spirit — yet he is One God. I could argue a simple committee, but that would be insufficient because committees are never "One." They are always "by committee" and therefore the lowest common denominator. God is not the lowest common denominator between three separate beings. He is full-on God at the extremes, yet in three.

How far do we understand the "person/being/entity" side of this? Hard to say. But I would suggest that to say that all the ink given to the separate references requires a different approach than "they are just each other" as Lee has, in so many words, said. If they are just each other, then are there really three? Can you actually make the argument that there is a Son that became man that is anything other than the whole of God? And if that is how you want to make it, then isn't praying to the Father just a ruse to impress the disciples and others?

Obviously even you don't believe that kind of singleness. Yet you want to make the singleness so strong that much of the ink spent (and inspiration provided by the Spirit to) the human writers was effectively a waste. It really doesn't mean what it says.

How can we be one as the Father and Son are one if they are simply each other? (Well, maybe that is why Lee had to go with that "God in life and nature but not Godhead" teaching. Even he saw the problem with such an extreme dismissal of the Three.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Like I said you are just arguing against anything that Drake or I post.
And you have a post within the last 48 hours from me to nullify that statement.

But as long as you do not provide actual support for your positions, you will get push-back. Single verses are poor support, if any.

And Nee or Lee are not authorities in this forum. If you intend to make an un-credited statement, the it is assumed to be either your own (and we have a pretty good idea where you learned what you speak) or that of Nee or Lee. It is a reasonable assumption. So slipping in an un-credited quote from some other writer is pointless. We have no basis to accept it as either sound or correctly quoted. And without significant reference, we can't even tell if you have provided the statement such that it actually says what the writer was trying to say. One-liners just have that kind of problem. For example, "the last Adam [became] a life-giving spirit" cannot be understood as having any reference to the Holy Spirit if the context of the entire discussion is included. But in isolation, it is ripe for misleading and mishandling. And Lee did one or the other (or both). But he did not deal with what the verse said, rather with something it could have said if it had been part of a different discussion.
02-16-2017 10:54 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
But even though the God se serve is in Three (whether persons, or something else, the scripture is too clear that they are not simply each other), therefore it is not as simple as "if you say three then you are a tritheist."

Tritheism is the worship of three gods. We doe not worship three gods. We worship One God that is in three "persons." We do not worship the three separately though we do acknowledge their unique attributes as described in the scripture. But they are not worshipped as separate beings to be separately appeased. Rather we worship One God who is a unified three. Therefore we "appease" only God, not the Spirit separately from the Son or the Father (and so on). (I realize that there is nothing that we do to appease God, but my point is to make a comparison between the worship of three who are three and three who are One.)
Well said.


Look at it this way, Drake. Everyone acknowledges that we are separate entities apart from God, as are the angels. We know that God created us to have relationships with us and so we could have relationships with each other. But how would God think to have a relationship with anyone else if the essence of relationship did not exist within him from the beginning? If there was not a initial, divine, only-begotten relationship within God before all, then you would have to conclude God had a terrible lack within himself to have to create the idea of relationship after the initial fact of himself. Thus this "lonely God" idea is deeply flawed.

Therefore, consensus says that the essence of Relationship--that is an actual, full relationship--existed within God from the beginning. This is the relationship between the Father and the Son. Jesus speaks of this in John 17:5 where he prays, "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

I believe the relationship of the Father and Son is in some way God's relationship with himself. But because he is God it is more than that. It is somehow also a relationship between two persons. Why otherwise would Jesus talk of the Father as if he was another person? Why would he bother to pray to him? It could not just be to set an example for us. It has to be there is an actual relationship going on.

Don't you see? God is so great that his relationship with himself 'blossomed' into something more, the relationship between two persons, which became the model for all other relationships, which we were created to have, and without which we would not have even been created.
02-16-2017 08:55 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
OBW,

Tritheism is the belief that cosmic divinity is composed of three powerful entities.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritheism

Drake
But even though the God we serve is in Three (whether persons, or something else, the scripture is too clear that they are not simply each other), therefore it is not as simple as "if you say three then you are a tritheist."

Tritheism is the worship of three gods. We do not worship three gods. We worship One God that is in three "persons." We do not worship the three separately though we do acknowledge their unique attributes as described in the scripture. But they are not worshipped as separate beings to be separately appeased. Rather we worship One God who is a unified three. Therefore we "appease" only God, not the Spirit separately from the Son or the Father (and so on). (I realize that there is nothing that we do to appease God, but my point is to make a comparison between the worship of three who are three and three who are One.)
02-16-2017 07:26 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Nell,

My experience differs from most here. Do I not have the right to share that in this forum?

Yet, this conversation is about the definition of the Trinity, the orthodox teaching on it, and whether Witness Lee's teaching aligns with it. His teaching is orthodox but it is evident that some in this forum express tendencies toward the ditch of tritheism. Evangelical has done a service to us all by bringing in the views of several independent theologians to state the orthodox view. Regardless of your opinion of Witness Lee's teaching, everyone should care to understand the orthodox teaching.

I don't find fault with not understanding. We are all striving to understand. However, It is disconcerting when Christians purposely misrepresent Witness Lee's actual teaching in hopes to gain what only God knows.

Drake
Drake,

We could just as easily say you have tendencies toward the ditch of modalism. But let's not go there, okay?

Let's be honest, God presents us with a baffling mystery, the Trinity.

Personally, I think rather than asking how it can be, the better question is to ask what it means and what it implies about God and reality.

Another question should be, what is the advantage of Lee's interpretation, and what is the advantage of a different one.

I would say the advantage of Lee's is that it facilitates a more free-flowing experience of God. If you are not hung up on differentiating between the three you are content to know you are experiencing the one God in different forms, whether the source of God, the Father; the expression of God, the Son; or the realization of God, the Spirit. That's good stuff. I think many Christians experience a kind of mental "hiccup" in their experience of and prayer to God, because they are trying to consciously differentiate between the three to match their theology. This just brings in confusion.

But Lee's model has a problem too in that it tends to lose sight of the relational aspect of God. If the Father and Son don't truly "have fellowship" in the way we consider having fellowship with another person, then all fellowship is actually a illusion, even a sham.

So I would say to you, don't be so intent on defending Lee that you reject views of the Trinity which might help your realization of who and what God is. One of these is the model of the fellowship between the Father and the Son, realized as the Spirit. This is the fellowship that existed before God planned to have fellowship with us, and without which he never would have thought to have fellowship with us.
02-16-2017 02:23 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Most Christians when they read this verse accept Jesus being Wonderful, Counseller, mighty God, and Prince of Peace. But they reject "everlasting Father" and say "it means Jesus is like a father, He is not the Father". Why? Because they are following the traditions of man, they are taught to believe that. They did not come to that revelation through private study of scripture or the Spirit's revelation. They are being "extra-biblical" in the sense of not believing what the bible plainly says.

Although there are a number of theologians who take that view that Father means "father", or "Father", not all do.

The Pulpit Commentary by Dr. George Rawlinson on Isaiah 9:6 affirms that there is only one "Everlasting Father" -

The Everlasting Father; rather, Everlasting or Eternal Father. But here, again, there is a singularity in the idea, which makes the omission of the article unimportant; for how could there be more than one Everlasting Father, one Creator, Preserver, Protector of mankind who was absolutely eternal?[If the term “Father,” applied to our Lord grates our ears, we must remember that the distinctions of Persons in the Godhead has not yet been revealed.

The commentary seems to be saying that the verse does truly say that Jesus is the Everlasting Father from eternity because the doctrine of the Trinity was not yet clearly established. However by the time of the New Testament and after, the distinctions of Persons in the Godhead were revealed, and hence comes the doctrine that Jesus is *not* the Father. If it is acceptable for the Old Testament to say Jesus is the Father I do not see how it could be a problem to say Jesus is the Father in the new Testament. Afterall the Old is just as much Scripture as the New testament.

Now for some light hearted humor:

Jesus said, Whom do men say that I am?

And his disciples answered and said, Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.

And Jesus answered and said, But whom do you say that I am?

And Peter answered,

Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit. Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separantes. Alia est enim persona Patris alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti: Sed Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coeterna maiestas. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeternus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres aeterni, sed unus aeternus. Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus. Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens. Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est Deus. Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus [est] Dominus. Quia, sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri christiana veritate compellimur: Ita tres Deos aut [tres] Dominos dicere catholica religione prohibemur. Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens. Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres: unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti. Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil maius aut minus: Sed totae tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt et coaequales. Ita, ut per omnia, sicut iam supra dictum est, et unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit. Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat.
Sed necessarium est ad aeternam salutem, ut incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Iesu Christi fideliter credat. Est ergo fides recta ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus [pariter] et homo est. Deus [est] ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus. Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens. Aequalis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem. Qui licet Deus sit et homo, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus. Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae. Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo: ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos: tertia die resurrexit a mortuis. Ascendit ad [in] caelos, sedet ad dexteram [Dei] Patris [omnipotentis]. Inde venturus [est] judicare vivos et mortuos. Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis; Et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum. Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit.

And answering, Jesus said, "What?"
02-15-2017 11:57 PM
Nell
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Nell,

My experience differs from most here. Do I not have the right to share that in this forum?

Yet, this conversation is about the definition of the Trinity, the orthodox teaching on it, and whether Witness Lee's teaching aligns with it. His teaching is orthodox but it is evident that some in this forum express tendencies toward the ditch of tritheism. Evangelical has done a service to us all by bringing in the views of several independent theologians to state the orthodox view. Regardless of your opinion of Witness Lee's teaching, everyone should care to understand the orthodox teaching.

I don't find fault with not understanding. We are all striving to understand. However, It is disconcerting when Christians purposely misrepresent Witness Lee's actual teaching in hopes to gain what only God knows.

Drake
Drake,

You have the right to "share". So do we.

Our experience is different from yours. We have the right to share our experiences. We also have the right to rebut what is contrary to our beliefs and experience. I believe that's what this forum is about.

With all due respect to Evangelical's hard work, the orthodox teachings on the trinity are not "orthodox" because someone does some research and declares said teachings to be "orthodox." We don't look to any man as an authoritative source. Neither do we look to ourselves. In all matters, we look to God.

At best, opinions and teachings are based on the interpretation of Scripture by fallen men. We pray for enlightenment by the Holy Spirit and look for the same in anything we read written by men. We accept or reject based on the Lord's leading.

I believe that purposely misrepresenting other posters on this forum is also disconcerting.

Nell
02-15-2017 08:32 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
Since you asked, why do you and Drake reject and contradict 99% of everything we post? You imply that we are liars when we post what we have seen and heard first hand. Your attitude is frequently arrogant and condescending. You construct straw-man arguments and twist our posts into something we did not say. You write so much crapola that you cannot be taken seriously, even when quoting scripture. If you want respect, try showing some yourself.

Nell
Nell,

My experience differs from most here. Do I not have the right to share that in this forum?

Yet, this conversation is about the definition of the Trinity, the orthodox teaching on it, and whether Witness Lee's teaching aligns with it. His teaching is orthodox but it is evident that some in this forum express tendencies toward the ditch of tritheism. Evangelical has done a service to us all by bringing in the views of several independent theologians to state the orthodox view. Regardless of your opinion of Witness Lee's teaching, everyone should care to understand the orthodox teaching.

I don't find fault with not understanding. We are all striving to understand. However, It is disconcerting when Christians purposely misrepresent Witness Lee's actual teaching in hopes to gain what only God knows.

Drake
02-15-2017 07:11 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
Since you asked, why do you and Drake reject and contradict 99% of everything we post? You imply that we are liars when we post what we have seen and heard first hand. Your attitude is frequently arrogant and condescending. You construct straw-man arguments and twist our posts into something we did not say. You write so much crapola that you cannot be taken seriously, even when quoting scripture. If you want respect, try showing some yourself.

Nell
This is hilarious given what you wrote a few posts ago and contains more "crapola" than anyone else has written. Straw-man's are part and parcel of this sort of discussion - grow up and get over it. I'm not asking for respect, I'm questioning why people who say Lee was not a theologian don't know basic theology themselves.
02-15-2017 06:43 PM
Nell
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Why are members of this forum rejecting the stock standard theological resources I am posting. If they truly are orthodox I should expect a hearty "amen". But they are even disagree with these. I am quoting them word for word. You seem to reject both Lee and "orthodox" theological resources at the same time. To me it seems you are somewhere still on the journey between Lee and "orthodoxy". I believe "the faith once delivered to the saints" does not include the Catholic or Orthodox dogmas of the 5th Century AD.
Since you asked, why do you and Drake reject and contradict 99% of everything we post? You imply that we are liars when we post what we have seen and heard first hand. Your attitude is frequently arrogant and condescending. You construct straw-man arguments and twist our posts into something we did not say. You write so much crapola that you cannot be taken seriously, even when quoting scripture. If you want respect, try showing some yourself.

Nell
02-15-2017 06:18 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Quoting someone does not make it worthy of being a rock to stand on. You and others have been quoting Lee for years as if it is the third testament. And the sloppiness with which many speak when it comes to the Trinity is sometimes atrocious given the tenuous nature of the whole definition/doctrine anyway.

So I am not impressed that you managed to quote somebody that appeared to agree with you. (At least appeared that way when a single sentence is ripped from the pages.)

The problem is that neither Lee, nor Sproul, nor the writers of the Pulpit Commentary are scripture and their statements, even if carefully construed, constitute actual evidence. They can only be understood as support for something that is first found in the Bible. And you didn't start with the Bible, but with their statement. So you really don't have scriptural evidence of anything. You have a context-less statement that might not even be saying what you are claiming.

And if the "entity" that is being referenced is "God," then I would agree. If the entity is the Father, the Son, or the Spirit, then I doubt that he would be saying that and would argue that where you are taking his statement (solely with respect to the completeness of their unity, not the reality of their separateness) is not what he was saying.
What do you mean "didn't start with the Bible, but with their statement"?

I posted both the bible verse and the commentary. You were fooled into thinking it was from Lee when it was not, it was from Pulpit commentary. This proves that you don't know the difference.

My post stated clearly that it was one entity in Personality. The Father's and the Son's Personality is the same.

I first found the verse, John 10:30 "I and the Father are one". I then read the commentary. I posted both.

The irony is you reject Lee and say he is not a theologian. Yet when I do post from stock standard theological resources you reject these as well.

Most of the time on this forum I don't even have to quote Lee to refute what I say. I just quote gotquestions or CARM or the commentaries from Biblehub.

Like I said you are just arguing against anything that Drake or I post.
02-15-2017 06:11 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
My dear brother you can quote from reliable theological resources 'till all the mooing cows come home, but if what Witness Lee taught doesn't come even close to what these sources say (and in many cases Lee teaches quite the opposite) then even when all your mooing cows do come home they won't have any legs to stand on. There was a very good reason Witness Lee attempted to steer his followers away from most theological teachers and scholars - he didn't want any of his followers to discover the blatant departure he had taken from "the faith once delivered to the saints". His story was that he had assimilated anything worth while and discarded the "bones and feathers". Some of you dear saints are still choking on them bones and feathers to this day...except that you don't call them bones and feathers, you call them "high peak truths".
-

Why are members of this forum rejecting the stock standard theological resources I am posting. If they truly are orthodox I should expect a hearty "amen". But they are even disagree with these. I am quoting them word for word. You seem to reject both Lee and "orthodox" theological resources at the same time. To me it seems you are somewhere still on the journey between Lee and "orthodoxy". I believe "the faith once delivered to the saints" does not include the Catholic or Orthodox dogmas of the 5th Century AD.
02-15-2017 06:03 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Yet they are also three. Sproul (or "Pulpit") notwithstanding, the very use of the term "being," entity," or "person" as being exclusive domain of One or Three is the problem. You presume that the fact that he said this means that he thinks that they are simply one being and that the "three" side cannot be described in the same way or with the same term.

Now I admit that using the same term for the One and the Three is problematic (at least to us finite beings). But that does not mean that I, you, Sproul, or Lee has the wherewithal to say where the "being" is and where it is not.

I know that you don't like that creed. But it made more sense of the Trinity than the arguments over where "being" should be attributed. They are Three, not to be morphed into one. And they are One, not to be separated into Three. Both are true. Is there anywhere that the term "being" or "entity" should exclusively apply? We really don't know. But people like Lee demand that they have the answer and it is mostly opposite of what everyone else says.
.
OBW,

Tritheism is the belief that cosmic divinity is composed of three powerful entities.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritheism

Drake
02-15-2017 05:59 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Ok Nell, ya got me again.

I guess what we should be asking these guys is....
WHERE'S THE BEEF???



*Apologies to all you youngins and non-Americans out there. Here's one of the "Where's the beef?"commercials for your viewing enjoyment:
Wendy's Where's The Beef Commercial
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02-15-2017 05:38 PM
Nell
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
My dear brother you can quote from reliable theological resources 'till all the mooing cows come home, but if what Witness Lee taught doesn't come even close to what these sources say (and in many cases Lee teaches quite the opposite) then even when all your mooing cows do come home they won't have any legs to stand on. There was a very good reason Witness Lee attempted to steer his followers away from most theological teachers and scholars - he didn't want any of his followers to discover the blatant departure he had taken from "the faith once delivered to the saints". His story was that he had assimilated anything worth while and discarded the "bones and feathers". Some of you dear saints are still choking on them bones and feathers to this day...except that you don't call them bones and feathers, you call them "high peak truths".
-
I call Lee's strategy a bunch of bull.

Sorry Unto but you left the gate open and I got hoof and mouth. Must have something to do with my location.

Nell
02-15-2017 05:34 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
I actually quoted from Pulpit Commentary, almost word for word to see if someone would "take the bait", and you did!
Quoting someone does not make it worthy of being a rock to stand on. You and others have been quoting Lee for years as if it is the third testament. And the sloppiness with which many speak when it comes to the Trinity is sometimes atrocious given the tenuous nature of the whole definition/doctrine anyway.

So I am not impressed that you managed to quote somebody that appeared to agree with you. (At least appeared that way when a single sentence is ripped from the pages.)

The problem is that neither Lee, nor Sproul, nor the writers of the Pulpit Commentary are scripture and their statements, even if carefully construed, constitute actual evidence. They can only be understood as support for something that is first found in the Bible. And you didn't start with the Bible, but with their statement. So you really don't have scriptural evidence of anything. You have a context-less statement that might not even be saying what you are claiming.

And if the "entity" that is being referenced is "God," then I would agree. If the entity is the Father, the Son, or the Spirit, then I doubt that he would be saying that and would argue that where you are taking his statement (solely with respect to the completeness of their unity, not the reality of their separateness) is not what he was saying.
02-15-2017 05:25 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
It just proves that even if Drake or I post from reliable theological resources the "orthodox" position, you will still disagree with it possibly because you have departed from the orthodox position yourself, or do not understand what you are talking about.
My dear brother you can quote from reliable theological resources 'till all the mooing cows come home, but if what Witness Lee taught doesn't come even close to what these sources say (and in many cases Lee teaches quite the opposite) then even when all your mooing cows do come home they won't have any legs to stand on. There was a very good reason Witness Lee attempted to steer his followers away from most theological teachers and scholars - he didn't want any of his followers to discover the blatant departure he had taken from "the faith once delivered to the saints". His story was that he had assimilated anything worth while and discarded the "bones and feathers". Some of you dear saints are still choking on them bones and feathers to this day...except that you don't call them bones and feathers, you call them "high peak truths".
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02-15-2017 05:24 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
OBW,

It appears in your quest to disagree with Witness Lee as much as possible you are departing from orthodoxy. Of course, the Father, Son, and Spirit are one entity, one being.

Re-read UntoHim's R.C. Sproul clip.

" In the Trinity, there are three persons —the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being. "

Drake
Yet they are also three. Sproul (or "Pulpit") notwithstanding, the very use of the term "being," entity," or "person" as being exclusive domain of One or Three is the problem. You presume that the fact that he said this means that he thinks that they are simply one being and that the "three" side cannot be described in the same way or with the same term.

Now I admit that using the same term for the One and the Three is problematic (at least to us finite beings). But that does not mean that I, you, Sproul, or Lee has the wherewithal to say where the "being" is and where it is not.

I know that you don't like that creed. But it made more sense of the Trinity than the arguments over where "being" should be attributed. They are Three, not to be morphed into one. And they are One, not to be separated into Three. Both are true. Is there anywhere that the term "being" or "entity" should exclusively apply? We really don't know. But people like Lee demand that they have the answer and it is mostly opposite of what everyone else says.

You complain about us seeming to be going after Lee. Well it is more likely that the one who bucks the history of theology for his own personal ideas that he can't even substantiate with a scripture is the one who is wrong in the debate. You can't argue with that. Lee really doesn't provide any support for his "they are just one" theology. He just says it is true. Whole chapters of whole books doing just like that.

Then grossly misrepresenting the little scripture he really uses. Like "God is Spirit." It doesn't say that.
02-15-2017 04:32 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
False statements and fortune cookie proof-texting.

Yes, they are one essence.

Wrong. They are not one entity.

And we talk about humans being "one." They are not simply each other, so this verse cannot be simply understood as meaning that the Father and the Son are simply the same being (entity). That is a claim that the words do not support. And so much of the account in the scripture clearly contradicts.
I actually quoted from Pulpit Commentary, almost word for word to see if someone would "take the bait", and you did!

Pulpit Commentary on John 10:30 says:
that the Father's Personality and his own Personality are merged in one essence and entity. If be merely meant to imply moral and spiritual union with the Father, or completeness of revelation of the Divine mind, why should the utterance have provoked such fierce resentment?

The Pulpit Commentary is a homiletic commentary on the Bible created during the nineteenth century under the direction of Rev. Joseph S. Exell and Henry Donald Maurice Spence-Jones. It consists of 23 volumes with 22,000 pages and 95,000 entries, and was written over a 30 year period with 100 contributors. Rev. Joseph S. Exell M.A. served as the editor of Clerical World, The Homiletical Quarterly and the Monthly Interpreter. Exell was also the editor for several other large commentary sets like The Men of the Bible, The Preacher's Homiletic Library and The Biblical Illustrator. Henry Donald Maurice Spence-Jones was the Vicar and Rural Dean of St. Pancras, London and the principal of Gloucester Theological College.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulpit_Commentary

It just proves that even if Drake or I post from reliable theological resources the "orthodox" position, you will still disagree with it possibly because you have departed from the orthodox position yourself, or do not understand what you are talking about.
02-15-2017 03:57 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
You got us all wrong (again) Drake. Mike can speak for himself, but I can tell you that we are not on a "quest to disagree with Witness Lee as much as possible", rather we have found our way back to the orthodox, evangelical, historic Christian faith, which, when compared and contrasted to the teachings and practices of the Local Church, established by Lee himself, one finds many of them at odds with said Christian faith.

In short, it is Witness Lee and his followers who have decidedly departed from the historic Christian faith and orthodox teachings. Lee calls them "recovered truth", but they have recovered nothing but many of the ancient heresies of the first few centuries of the church. Turns out, thee is nothing new under the sun.

-
The orthodox, evangelical, and historic Christian faith does not teach that God is more than one being!
02-15-2017 03:41 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

You got us all wrong (again) Drake. Mike can speak for himself, but I can tell you that we are not on a "quest to disagree with Witness Lee as much as possible", rather we have found our way back to the orthodox, evangelical, historic Christian faith, which, when compared and contrasted to the teachings and practices of the Local Church, established by Lee himself, one finds many of them at odds with said Christian faith.

In short, it is Witness Lee and his followers who have decidedly departed from the historic Christian faith and orthodox teachings. Lee calls them "recovered truth", but they have recovered nothing but many of the ancient heresies of the first few centuries of the church. Turns out, thee is nothing new under the sun.

-
02-15-2017 03:34 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW)" God does not have to be Triune, or Trinity. But he is"

True, but in the context of coming into us, or dispensing Himself into man, man must be a compatible receptacle. God must be triune and man must be tripartite. I think it was Igzy that said something along this line with different terms earlier in this thread.

Drake
02-15-2017 03:26 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
False statements and fortune cookie proof-texting.

Yes, they are one essence.

Wrong. They are not one entity.

And we talk about humans being "one." They are not simply each other, so this verse cannot be simply understood as meaning that the Father and the Son are simply the same being (entity). That is a claim that the words do not support. And so much of the account in the scripture clearly contradicts.
OBW,

It appears in your quest to disagree with Witness Lee as much as possible you are departing from orthodoxy. Of course, the Father, Son, and Spirit are one entity, one being.

Re-read UntoHim's R.C. Sproul clip.

" In the Trinity, there are three persons —the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being. "

Drake
02-15-2017 02:53 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The Father's Personality and his own Personality are merged in one essence and entity:

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
False statements and fortune cookie proof-texting.

Yes, they are one essence.

Wrong. They are not one entity.

And we talk about humans being "one." They are not simply each other, so this verse cannot be simply understood as meaning that the Father and the Son are simply the same being (entity). That is a claim that the words do not support. And so much of the account in the scripture clearly contradicts.
02-15-2017 02:49 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Thanks Unto.

Just two paragraphs before the part you quoted comes this paragraph

Quote:
The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one God. First Peter 1:2 tells us that the Father is God; Hebrews 1:8 tells us that the Son is God; and Acts 5:3-4 tells us that the Spirit is God. If you read the Bible in a superficial way, you may believe that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three separate persons. But if you read even only the Gospel of John carefully, getting into the depth of the truth, you will see that the Son came in the Father’s name, He worked out the Father’s will, He worked the Father’s work with the Father and in the Father’s name, He spoke the Father’s word, and He sought the Father’s glory. If you touch the depth in the verses that cover these points, you will realize that the Son and the Father are one. You cannot separate them
Here is more of the typical Lee fantasizing. Let me paraphrase:


"Peter tells us the Father is God. Hebrews tells the Son is God. And Acts tells us the Spirit is God. . . . You will realize that the Son and the Father are one."

Genius. There is One God. How did we miss this???

Continuing: "You cannot separate them."

Really? While they are "one" they are also two. And they separated themselves very nicely, thank you. Jesus prays to the Father. He does the will of the Father. They look pretty separated to me.

Continuing with the beginning of the next paragraph. . . "Likewise, the Spirit is not separated from the Son. . . ."

A lot of talk after the three verses at the beginning of the first paragraph (that don't support the "they are one" theory) without a single verse. Just Lee's conjecture, or more like opinion, about what it must be despite nothing that supports his opinion. The only support found is that the Father, Son and Spirit are all God.

A few paragraphs later, he turns to John 4:24 "God is spirit." But he quotes it as "God is Spirit." John 4:24 does not comment on the whole of God being "the Spirit." Rather it comments on the nature of God as spirit. The fact of the nature does not cause all three to become one of them simply because that one has personified that word as his name. The Father is spirit, not The Spirit. The Son is spirit, but not The Spirit. The Spirit is spirit, and is also The Spirit (redundant?).

This is just a little of the scriptural mishandling performed by Lee in this one chapter of this one book. And it speaks volumes about the theological, logical, and spiritual incompetence of the man. He was never worthy of having any people following him to learn his understanding of the Bible. He didn't understand it. Or he was corrupt enough to bankrupt what he might know by turning out the pig food that this book provides. (And almost every other one I have taken the time to review)

The funny thing is that I do not have to go looking for places he goes wrong. Someone points to a quote or reference, or I simply start reading at a place and it is just there. I can't have just happened to have found the few really bad parts by bum luck. It has to be that full of garbage for the refuse of it to be found right where I start every time.

And every time that someone points to a particular place, I find it right there. Not pages later. Or somewhere else after exhausting the general vicinity where I started.

In this case, it is chapter 14 of The Divine Dispensing of the Divine Trinity. Messages given over several months in 1983. A good part of them in Irving where I lived at the time. I probably was there for at least some of them.

And yes, I was a willing participant at the time. But I was awakened from the stupor. Got some true "spiritual oxygen" to clear my from the garlic fog that I has lost in while there.

But Lee says it just like Charlie Brown commiserating about losing at baseball ("How can we lose when we're so sincere?"). In this case, the statement is "So they just have to be one, unable to be separated."

Really? On what basis? How is it that the God that made everything can't do it in a different way than you imagine?

Just a chapter earlier, Lee asks "God were only God, how could He enter into us?" How? Because he is God. That he is instead Three does not deny him any capabilities or attributes. Just changes how he operates. God does not have to be Triune, or Trinity. But he is. Why do we accept that Lee's near incredulity at the idea that they could be separated has any bearing on the subject? Where is the evidence? He constantly tells that X means Y, but never identifies how that is so.
02-15-2017 02:03 PM
Evangelical The Father's Personality and his own Personality are merged in one essence and entity:

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

If is meant to imply merely moral and spiritual union with the Father, or completeness of revelation of the Divine mind, why should Christ's words have caused such fierce reaction?:

John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
02-15-2017 01:22 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
As Evangelical has clearly shown the essential or ontological Trinity and the economical Trinity are theological terms and concepts. They were not invented by Brother Lee. I believe I first read economical in Bunyan's works.
I never said they were invented by Witness Lee, only that he misused and misapplied them, as Lee was wont to do with many advanced theological terms and concepts. It doesn't take a theological scholar to quickly understand that Lee mixed and confused the two terms, and also misapplied them in a really weak attempt to affirm and justify his "processed Triune God" teachings, which have been tagged as at least slightly modalistic by more than one biblical teacher or scholar.

Of course Lee also taught a relatively orthodox/biblical version of the Trinity, sometimes in the very same page or paragraph! The problem is that he clearly "confounds the persons", thus scrambling the eggs as it were, then he quickly tries to unscramble them by popping out some orthodox/biblical speaking. Lee's attempts were, of course, in vain. Once you teach that "the Son and the Father are really not two separate persons", you have already confounded the persons...you've scrambled the eggs.


Quote:
But let's not get hung up on terms. What term do you prefer to describe how divinity entered humanity in incarnation and how humanity entered divinity in ascension? If not "economical" then what term do you offer to describe our God's great doings?
Firstly, any of us are probably just as susceptible to scramble the eggs as Witness Lee, me included. But since you asked, I prefer to just stick with what is giving to us in the Bible - "And the Word became flesh". Amen! Thank you Father, the Word became flesh and even dwelt among us, full of grace and truth! I guess I'm just a simpleton, yokel who's satisfied with the basics.

As far as the rest of your concerns, I would point you to a genuine, bonafide, world renowned theologian, R.C. Sproul.


What’s the Difference between the Ontological and the Economic Trinity?

Do you know the meaning of the word Trinity? In all likelihood, most of those reading this are familiar with this word and its meaning in theology. But what if I were to ask you to distinguish between the “ontological Trinity” and the “economic Trinity”? If I said, “Please describe for me the difference between the ontological Trinity and the economic Trinity,” could you do it? The distinction is very important.

Ontology is the study of being. When we talk about the ontological Trinity, or as some theologians term it, the “immanent Trinity,” we are referring to the Trinity in itself, without regard to God’s works of creation and redemption. In the Trinity, there are three persons —the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being. The ontological structure of the Trinity is a unity (Deut. 6:4). When we speak of the economic Trinity, on the other hand, we are dealing with the activity of God and the roles of the three persons with regard to creation and redemption.

In terms of the ontological Trinity, the three persons are distinguished by what the Westminster Larger Catechism calls “their personal properties” (WLC 9). It then goes on to define these personal properties: “It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity” (WLC 10). With regard to the economic Trinity, we distinguish among the three persons of the Godhead in terms of their roles in creation and redemption. It is the Father who sends the Son into the world for our redemption. It is the Son who acquires our redemption for us. It is the Spirit who applies that redemption to us. We do not have three gods. We have one God in three persons, and the three persons are distinguished in the economy of redemption in terms of what They do.

In orthodox Christianity, we say that the Son is equal to the Father in power, in glory, and in being. This discussion rests heavily on John 1:1, where we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This verse indicates that the Father and the Word (the Son) are different and are one. In one sense, the Son and the Father are identical. In another sense, They are distinguished. From all eternity, within the ontological Trinity, the Father begets the Son, and the Son is begotten of the Father. From all eternity, God also freely decrees the salvation of yet to be created human beings in what theologians refer to as the “covenant of redemption.” This covenant of redemption among the Persons of the Trinity is the eternal foundation for the work of the three Persons in the history of redemption. From all eternity the Father agrees to send the Son, and the Son is willingly sent. The Son doesn’t send the Father; the Father sends the Son. So even though the Father and the Son are equal in power, glory, and being, and even though there is no eternal subordination within the ontological Trinity, nevertheless there is a subordination of the Son to the Father in the economy of redemption.

That is what Jesus said in John 5:19–23. He declared: “I don’t do anything on My own. I do what the Father tells Me to do. I do what the Father sent Me to do. I watch the Father, and I do what the Father does. The Father is preeminent. The Father is the One to whom I am obedient and subordinate.” He even affirmed that He could not do anything of Himself, only what He saw the Father do. Out of His love for the Son, the Father showed Him all the things that He Himself did. Then Jesus stated that the Father would show Him even greater things, so they should expect His works to become greater. In this context, Jesus specifically mentioned the raising of the dead.


This excerpt is taken from R.C. Sproul’s commentary on John.
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02-15-2017 12:02 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Where is that quote found in Lee's book?
The Book is: "The Divine Dispensing of the Divine Trinity"

Supposedly this quote can be found on "139-140", however a direct link to this portion of the book was not given by on the website "Triune.Org"

Here is a link to the book at Barnes and Noble:
"The Divine Dispensing of the Divine Trinity"
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02-15-2017 11:47 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
See, that's what so weird. You are suggesting that at the moment you agree with Lee completely, or at least that you always give him the benefit of the doubt, which is bad enough.

A "normal" person would have just acknowledged that they probably don't agree on everything. No human deserves the amount of credulity LCMers give Lee, and God doesn't give brownie points for being a brown-noser.
But by all accounts Witness Lee surely did.
02-15-2017 08:47 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy)"I'm just trying to get you to a place where you are willing to admit Lee did not contain all the crucial truth and light you need. "

Igzy,

If that is your purpose then no wonder you are so frequentky frustrated with me!

I will give you a clue about me that may help.

Present an alternative view that is compelling from the Scriptures and in so doing accurately represent what Brother Lee taught and how it differs. If it is convincing then I will change my view.

My views evolve through light from the Scriptures, the Lord's speaking, and experiences of Christ.., usually some combination.

Drake
See, that's what so weird. You are suggesting that at the moment you agree with Lee completely, or at least that you always give him the benefit of the doubt, which is bad enough.

A "normal" person would have just acknowledged that they probably don't agree on everything. No human deserves the amount of credulity LCMers give Lee, and God doesn't give brownie points for being a brown-noser.
02-15-2017 08:36 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy,

The distinction you are trying to define is similar to that which brother Lee made. He used the essential Trinity where you call it substantially. Your last sentence begins to poke at whar Brother Lee referred to as God"s actions with man, or the economical Trinity.

Drake
So I guess the question is what is meant by "change"?

If you mean God experienced new things, this is true.

If you mean that changed him fundamentally, I would say no.

But the interesting thing about experience is you've either had it or you haven't. This is true even for God. So though God knew what the experience would be like he hadn't actually had it until he had it.

I don't know enough to know what exactly this difference would be like to God. What is the internal cognitive difference between to fully understand what something would be like to experience and to actually experience it?

So of these ideas are just over our heads?

One of my favorite LCD members and LCM sympathizer, SpeakersCorner, who is missed, once said that God "needed" us to know what it was like to be weak. That idea has grown on me and I think it is confirmed by Scripture, for example when it says that Jesus had to "learn obedience."
02-15-2017 08:07 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Unto,

Where is that quote found in Lee's book?
02-15-2017 07:51 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

As Unto has posted on the sidebar today, Lee was full of hollow statements about what the Bible says.

Quote:
Likewise, the Spirit is not separate from the Son. From these two titles it seems They are two separate persons. But when you get into the depth of the details in the verses that cover this matter, you see that the Spirit comes in the name of the Son, He comes to testify concerning the Son, and He glorifies the Son. Furthermore, the Son has given everything He is and has to the Spirit. These points indicate that the Spirit and the Son are one.
Time to go into the online LSM books and see how much actual evidence he brings out v how much he says that verses not presented or hinted at support him. Maybe he thinks he has some. But his track record is poor.
02-15-2017 07:45 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Yes! This was God"s work in incarnation. And it is wonderful!
Sounding like a training meeting. Get everybody worked up to a lather with true things. Stir it higher by pushing them with your own excited words.

Then slip in something ridiculous and they mistake that "Oh NO" in their minds for more exuberance and they just take it without another thought.

Yes. This is God's work in incarnation. And it is wonderful.

But you didn't cause that statement to even infer anything about a change in the Son.

It is not evidence that God changed, or that at this point the fullness of the Godhead came to be on the Son. (And you may have judiciously avoided saying that — I'm not sure.) He was already fully the Godhead. As are the Father and Spirit. The only thing that changed was a collection of human tissue and the life that was within it. All that came into that human.

Of course it had to because the Son was living there. It was/is unavoidable. The Son had the fullness of the Godhead and now lived in a human body, so that body, and the person known to the humans who came in contact with him, now had the fullness of the Godhead. Now in a body, so "bodily."

No change in God. Not even a change in you or me (at that point). But a change in that one human. A very significant change at that.

But not a change in God.
02-15-2017 07:26 AM
Nell
Re: Lee's Trinity

When discussing "God changed" it should be noted that God is eternal, while man is constrained by the limits of time. Men are ill equipped to understand the "eternal God", and to propose that the Eternal God "changed" is like the clay expounding it's finite understanding of the nature and workings of the eternal Potter.

God began addressing the topic with Job in Job 38:4, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" God's blistering rebuke continues in Job chapters 38-42.

Nell
02-15-2017 06:22 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
You are right. Humanity changed. Or at least one human did. But God did not. The Son, before incarnation, had the fullness of the Godhead, therefore God did not change in this fact. The only change was to a single man.
Yes! This was God"s work in incarnation. And it is wonderful!

Drake
02-15-2017 06:04 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
It is clear from colossians 2:9 that through incarnation the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Jesus bodily. This was a change and one that never happened before incarnation. There can be no denying this was a change. Divinity entered humanity.
You are right. Humanity changed. Or at least one human did. But God did not. The Son, before incarnation, had the fullness of the Godhead, therefore God did not change in this fact. The only change was to a single man.
02-15-2017 04:32 AM
aron
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
I wouldn't say Lee's concept is impersonal. It is very personal for liquid God to get inside us. .
The "dispensing" (oikonomia) is about obedience. God gives (dispenses) then expects His agent to comply with His will in dispensing. See Jesus' parable where He uses this very word. It is translated "stewardship".

If I give a truck full of chickens to a driver, and tell him to deliver them to Fort Wayne, and the driver makes it half-way and then sells them by the roadside and buys a plane ticket to Acapulco, then the half-way obedience of the driver doesn't count. You can see this again and again in the NT. 1 Corinthians and Hebrews come specifically to mind. It's not about masticating the Processed and Consummated Triune God and becoming God in life and nature, but the economy of God is about continual obedience.

Only the Son can make this claim. "I come to do Thy will". The Father is love, but from Adam and Eve on down, His human agents failed. Only one Sent One, the Messiah or Christ, fulfilled the Father's will. And now our faith is not in ourselves but in Him. The obedience of the Christ becomes the foundation of our faith, and this faith is now reckoned as righteousness, and now the Son says, "Obey My commands, even as I have obeyed the Father".

Relations are built on behavior. Continual behavior. Not one thing one day and another thing the next. Teachers like Lee distracted us from our responsibility to obey the Son, with ideas of supercharged grace. "Merely eat God, and you will become God in life and nature." Get the liquid God poured into your human (God-shaped) vessel. Very little about obedience.
02-15-2017 03:10 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
What is clear is that our friend Drake is using the false dichotomy of the supposed "essential/economical" aspects of God as a not-so-veiled cover for Witness Lee's unscriptural, modalistic processed Triune God theology. Of course Igzy, as well as many of us former residents of Lee-Lee land, will never fall for this shell game....fool me once.....

There is a very good reason why one would be hard pressed to find any noted evangelical/orthodox scholar who subscribes to this essential/economical notion as a foundational basis in understanding the nature, character or even actions of God the way that Witness Lee does. The reasons for this are quite simple - it just ain't there in the holy Scriptures. Oh, if ones twists, tweaks and massages the black and white letters and words, well then anything is possible...including that the three Persons of the Godhead become each other

-
As Evangelical has clearly shown the essential or ontological Trinity and the economical Trinity are theological terms and concepts. They were not invented by Brother Lee. I believe I first read economical in Bunyan's works.

But let's not get hung up on terms. What term do you prefer to describe how divinity entered humanity in incarnation and how humanity entered divinity in ascension? If not "economical" then what term do you offer to describe our God's great doings?

Drake
02-14-2017 09:25 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
What is clear is that our friend Drake is using the false dichotomy of the supposed "essential/economical" aspects of God as a not-so-veiled cover for Witness Lee's unscriptural, modalistic processed Triune God theology. Of course Igzy, as well as many of us former residents of Lee-Lee land, will never fall for this shell game....fool me once.....

There is a very good reason why one would be hard pressed to find any noted evangelical/orthodox scholar who subscribes to this essential/economical notion as a foundational basis in understanding the nature, character or even actions of God the way that Witness Lee does. The reasons for this are quite simple - it just ain't there in the holy Scriptures. Oh, if ones twists, tweaks and massages the black and white letters and words, well then anything is possible...including that the three Persons of the Godhead become each other

-
Why do you say " supposed "essential/economical" aspects of God"?

You really have shown yourselves ignorant on matters of theology when you say "would be hard pressed to find any noted evangelical/orthodox scholar who subscribes to this essential/economical notion as a foundational basis in understanding the nature, character or even actions of God"

The "essential/economical" aspects of God are in theology known as the ontological Trinity and the economical Trinity and is basic foundational Christian doctrine. Perhaps if you spent more time reading theological resources you would know that.

See here:

https://carm.org/ontological-and-economic-trinity

https://www.gotquestions.org/ontological-Trinity.html

In their discussion of the Trinity, theologians have developed a number of terms to help explain, as precisely as possible, what God is like. When someone speaks of the “ontological Trinity,” also known as the “immanent Trinity,” it is in reference to the nature of God.

The ontological Trinity is also sometimes called the “essential Trinity.” It is often mentioned in conjunction with the “economic Trinity,” a term which focuses on the relationships within the Trinity and each Person’s role in creation and salvation. The term “ontological Trinity” focuses on who God is; the term “economic Trinity” focuses on what God does.

John 10:30 says that Jesus and the Father are one, by which it is meant that they are of one nature. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells us to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” clearly equating the three Persons of the Godhead.
02-14-2017 08:41 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

What is clear is that our friend Drake is using the false dichotomy of the supposed "essential/economical" aspects of God as a not-so-veiled cover for Witness Lee's unscriptural, modalistic processed Triune God theology. Of course Igzy, as well as many of us former residents of Lee-Lee land, will never fall for this shell game....fool me once.....

There is a very good reason why one would be hard pressed to find any noted evangelical/orthodox scholar who subscribes to this essential/economical notion as a foundational basis in understanding the nature, character or even actions of God in the way that Witness Lee does. The reasons for this are quite simple - it just ain't there in the holy Scriptures. Oh, if ones twists, tweaks and massages the black and white letters and words, well then anything is possible...including that the three Persons of the Godhead become each other

-
02-14-2017 08:34 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

It is clear from colossians 2:9 that through incarnation the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Jesus bodily. This was a change and one that never happened before incarnation. There can be no denying this was a change. Divinity entered humanity.

A second major change occurred in ascension. Humanity entered divinity. Economically.

The essential Trinity is unchanged from eternity past to eternity future but as pertains to God's interaction and actions with man there have been changes. Other marvelous changes included the inauguration of a God-man as the Head of a Body made up of all believers.

The New Testament is a record of all the wonderful changes our Triune God made, is making, and will make.

Drake
02-14-2017 08:16 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Igzy)"I'm just trying to get you to a place where you are willing to admit Lee did not contain all the crucial truth and light you need. "

Igzy,

If that is your purpose then no wonder you are so frequentky frustrated with me!

I will give you a clue about me that may help.

Present an alternative view that is compelling from the Scriptures and in so doing accurately represent what Brother Lee taught and how it differs. If it is convincing then I will change my view.

My views evolve through light from the Scriptures, the Lord's speaking, and experiences of Christ.., usually some combination.

Drake
02-14-2017 08:01 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Technically, yes, but not substantially. At the most God put himself in position to experience things in a way he could not have otherwise. But taking on the nature of man did not cause a change to his nature. I believe this is because the nature of man was made to comfortably contain the nature of God.
Igzy,

The distinction you are trying to define is similar to that which brother Lee made. He used the essential Trinity where you call it substantially. Your last sentence begins to poke at whar Brother Lee referred to as God"s actions with man, or the economical Trinity.

Drake
02-14-2017 06:49 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Actually, CS Lewis was a scholar of the English language, and if he wanted to say "God changes" he would have said God changes. That aside, he was admittedly a lay theologian, loosely paraphrasing from a number of fallible ancient sources, and not the infallible Word of God.
-
For something to become something means a change must take place. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly. A frog becomes a prince. etc. "God became a man" means God changed.

The "be" prefix in English means "to turn into" or "make into".

e.g. to befriend somebody means to turn somebody into a friend. To beget something means to produce something. To "belong" means to make someone a part of something. To "believe" something means to make something beloved or dear to you.
02-14-2017 06:37 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Technically, yes, but not substantially. At the most God put himself in position to experience things in a way he could not have otherwise. But taking on the nature of man did not cause a change to his nature. I believe this is because the nature of man was made to comfortably contain the nature of God.

The change that occurred was the divine and human natures coming together to produce a third entity, Jesus Christ who is fully God. God's nature did not change, we agree with that. There are two clear, distinct natures, divine and human, that are not confused or blended together to produce a third nature.
02-14-2017 04:15 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
CS. Lewis (quoting an early church person) said it best: "The Son of God became a man that men might become sons of God.". We could rephrase that to say - "God changed so that we might change".
Actually, CS Lewis was a scholar of the English language, and if he wanted to say "God changes" he would have said God changes. That aside, he was admittedly a lay theologian, loosely paraphrasing from a number of fallible ancient sources, and not the infallible Word of God.

Quote:
They take the Old Testament and use it to disprove the New Testament.
Interesting you should bring this up. It was Witness Lee who attempted to use an Old Testament prophesy, which was a really poor way to confirm/affirm a very questionable New Testament theological thesis, as a proof text for his modalistic teaching that the Father became the Son. Again, this showed Lee's decidedly ignorant and amateurish approach to biblical theology. If historical Christianity's teachings regarding the Trinity "border on tritheism", then Witness Lee's teachings certainly border on rank modalism.

Quote:
One key change or process that God went through was that humanity was added to divinity. Before Jesus, God had no human element. After Jesus, God has a human element. Everyone might accept that Christ was fully God, divine, before His birth.
"Mingle, mingle, hallelujah!" "God mingled with humanity lives in me, my all to be". Yes I remember all too well. To say that "humanity was added to divinity" is not an accurate way to speak of the incarnation, in my opinion. The term "added" smacks way to much of the notion that God was missing or insufficient in one sense or another. Also, I would note that this term "mingle" is not an term or notion used by many noted theologians and scholars through the years, and the main reason for their lack of employing such terms as "mingle" is that such terms imply a change in God himself - again a notion which is foreign to Scripture when taken as "the whole council of God".

Thanks for your thoughtful response.

-
02-14-2017 03:55 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

I will be the first to declare that the simple statement "God never changes" is not so simple. Where it is found in scripture has a context. "Yesterday, today, and forever . . . " is not an absolute, context-less statement. God changed his mind several times. And was talked-down from a course of action on more than one occasion (one that he had the right to take).

But saying that does not open God up for presumptions of changes that are not actually stated or supported by the scripture.

The Father did not "become" the Son. The Son did not "become" the Spirit. I'm getting tired of people like Drake and Evangelical trotting out the same miss-readings of scripture and not even acknowledging the holes in their logic. And the prior understanding tends to dismiss their errors as just that — error. All of these errors by the accountant and the child prodigy are evidence that real theologians (and a lot of them) need to be part of any discussion that pretends to change the understanding of the scripture and of God. Especially after 1,900 years. If it is "new" it is almost certainly not valid. Instead, it is more likely a system of error.

I could argue the same for dispensational theology. I grew up in, and still "live" within a dispensational way of dealing with scripture. But because of its relative newness, and its questionable source, I have a hard time being a very good dispensationalist. Evangelical? Generally "yes." Dispensational? Not so much.
02-14-2017 02:30 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Christ was God, fully divine, Christ became human, a God-man. Now, Christ, who is God, is fully God and fully human. God went through a process, a change - God changed.
Technically, yes, but not substantially. At the most God put himself in position to experience things in a way he could not have otherwise. But taking on the nature of man did not cause a change to his nature. I believe this is because the nature of man was made to comfortably contain the nature of God.
02-14-2017 02:04 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
From reading the last number of posts over the past few days, I am reminded of the real heart of the matter when it comes to "Lee's Trinity". The real problem, such as it is, is that Witness Lee put the emphasis on God changing - God needing to change, rather than the great and undeniable need for change in his fallen creation...
Disagree, I think you are wrong. Both God and man went (or will go through) a change. Christianity itself is based upon a belief that God changed - "God became a man". S. Lewis (quoting an early church person) said it best: "The Son of God became a man that men might become sons of God.". We could rephrase that to say - "God changed so that we might change".

I like your approach to focus on the core matter. But it's possible you are making the same mistake that Jews or Muslims take, and some Christians. They don't believe God changes or becomes anything - not human, not rock, not animal, not "another god". etc. They take the Old Testament and use it to disprove the New Testament. For example, they say because the Old Testament says "God is One", then God cannot be Trinity. They also say "God does not have sons", so Jesus cannot be His Son. And now you are saying, "God does not change", therefore God cannot change. But the Revelation of the New Testament turns that logic on its head. The Jewish converts themselves had to re-think their concept of God - he was now a Trinity, he had a Son, and this is God in the flesh - God became human.

One key change or process that God went through was that humanity was added to divinity. Before Jesus, God had no human element. After Jesus, God has a human element. Everyone might accept that Christ was fully God, divine, before His birth.

But do we believe that Christ is now fully God *and* fully human, not creating a third substance, and not being two persons but one person?

Christ was God, fully divine, Christ became human, a God-man. Now, Christ, who is God, is fully God and fully human. God went through a process, a change - God changed.
02-14-2017 09:49 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

From reading the last number of posts over the past few days, I am reminded of the real heart of the matter when it comes to "Lee's Trinity". The real problem, such as it is, is that Witness Lee put the emphasis on God changing - God needing to change, rather than the great and undeniable need for change in his fallen creation. This is not an accurate or complete reflection of what is presented to us in the Word of God.

God was always light - this is why he could proclaim "let there by light!" It was us, even the chosen, who "loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil". (John 3:19) God was always love - this is why the apostle John could proclaim "God is Love" (1 John 4:8) It is man, from the beginning, who fell into darkness and needed to get back to the light. It is man, from the beginning who fell under the deception of the devil and became one who "hates his brother and is in the darkness and walks in the darkness"

In the story of the "prodigal son", it was not the Father who changed - the Father was always there. The Father was there when the son left the safety and love of the Father's house. The Father was there while the son was squandering away all the Father's wealth. The Father was there waiting for his son to repent and come to his senses. The Father was there waiting when the son finally did repent and come to his senses. The son came back in humble repentance and expected to be treated as one of the hired servants. What the son didn't realize is that the Father had never changed - He was always the Father - His Father in the house of the Father, all along. It was the son who changed. It was the son who changed his position as a son of the wealthy Father. It was the son who left the love, mercy, grace and security provided by the Father and his house. It was the son who needed to change - Change his position (from his wondering in a foreign land) and change his attitude (as being a hired servant to a beloved son)

Witness Lee taught that God was "processed", or went through some process as it were. (what part of change did we not understand??) The first change was that of the Father becoming the Son. Using the Old Testament prophesy of Isaiah 9:6, and ignoring centuries of accepted orthodox biblical theology and hermeneutical standard, Lee wondered aloud "If the Son is called the Father, he must be the Father!". Once one concedes to " confounding the persons and dividing the substance", the floodgates open wide for all manner of aberrational and even heretical notions. The confounding of the persons continued with Lee's declaration that "This Christ...became a life-giving Spirit". Again, Lee questioned aloud before his captive audience "can there be two life-giving Spirits?". This is where Lee's lack of formal theological and linguistic education failed him (and by extension his followers), and the consequences were devastating.

Of course the debate about the orthodoxy, and lack thereof, of Witness Lee's "processed Triune God" will (and should) rage on in this forum. However, in my view, if we can't agree upon this basic, fundamental, foundational principle that it is fallen man who is in need of change, and not the One who declared "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6), then I fear we will be treading water for the foreseeable future. Of course this beats the alternative of not entering into honest, open dialogue. May the Lord extend to all concerned a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.

-
02-14-2017 07:14 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy,

I learn from you but not in the same way as perhaps might be possible in a different setting. Mostly in this forum your characterizations do not match my experience. So we disagree a lot. And vice-versa I am sure. A forum is not conducive to have a conversation like we would face to face.

Drake
I'm just trying to get you to a place where you are willing to admit Lee did not contain all the crucial truth and light you need. Of course, that's a tough assignment, even in the best setting.

Did you know Benson Phillips once said there is "nothing" outside of the LCM, meaning in Christianity, that anyone needs? That's a quote. I personally heard him say it. And I heard him say that kind of thing more than once. He didn't mean that there was no good in Christianity, he just meant if you had what the LCM has to offer you didn't need any of it. That kind of talk is just stupefying and I hope you can appreciate how difficult it is to talk to a group of people who tend to believe that kind of thing.

Ask yourself, Drake. Why did Benson say things like that? Because it was true? No, he did it to marry people to Lee and Lee alone.

Do you really think that is the way God goes about things? Raising up an obscure teacher and bestowing to him exclusively all the truth his people need to the point they do not need the teaching of any other, to the point of emboldening associates of the leader to say stuff like Benson says?

That's how God does things? Really?

That's just kooky. That's the kind of thing weird groups like Objectivists (Ayn Rand) believe, or the Mormons (Joseph Smith), or the Church Universal Triumphant (Elizabeth Clare Prophet) which a relative of mine once belonged to. Kooks all.
02-13-2017 08:32 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
"Just how personal" huh? I guess you've seen it all then and have nothing to learn from me.
Igzy,

I learn from you but not in the same way as perhaps might be possible in a different setting. Mostly in this forum your characterizations do not match my experience. So we disagree a lot. And vice-versa I am sure. A forum is not conducive to have a conversation like we would face to face.

Drake
02-13-2017 08:16 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
I think the relation between the persons of the Trinity is primarily a spiritual one than emotional. For example, God sent His only Son to die without any hesitation.
"Spiritual?" So you think being spiritual means being unemotional? Are you are a Christian or a Vulcan?

Seriously, there is nothing unholy about emotions controlled by the Spirit. Truly spiritual people are emotional people. They are full of feeling. Dead people are quite unemotional. Are you certain you aren't one of them?

Really, Evangelical. To be unemotional is to be impersonal. I think you have a mistaken view of spirituality. This is Lee's view. It's really a kind of Asian stoicism. It isn't New Testament truth. Strong emotions don't have to be fake or mauldin. It's not a matter of fuzzy feelings, it's a matter of being truly alive.

Again you are presenting the fallacy of the false alternative.
02-13-2017 08:10 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Igzy)"All the LCM sees about the Trinity is it is some sort of cascading aquaduct to pour liquid God stuff into us. Not very personal."

Igzy,

Quite the opposite. A brother once gave some messages on the two sons of oil in zechariah becoming channels to dispense God as liquid gold into us.The imagery showed me just how personal our God is with us and how personal we can be with each other in the work of God's building.

Never forgot it.

Drake
"Just how personal" huh? I guess you've seen it all then and have nothing to learn from me.
02-13-2017 08:04 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Igzy)"All the LCM sees about the Trinity is it is some sort of cascading aquaduct to pour liquid God stuff into us. Not very personal."

Igzy,

Quite the opposite. A brother once gave some messages on the two sons of oil in zechariah becoming channels to dispense God as liquid gold into us.The imagery showed me just how personal our God is with us and how personal we can be with each other in the work of God's building.

Never forgot it.

Drake
02-13-2017 04:43 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I agree. The Lee version of the Trinity depersonalizes God himself and relationships in general. Ironically, an "impersonal relationship" is actually an oxymoron. If God is interested in anything he is interested in being intimate with us. How could he be interested in such a thing if it did not exist within him from the beginning? The reality of the Trinity confirms that it did.

All the LCM sees about the Trinity is it is some sort of cascading aquaduct to pour liquid God stuff into us. Not very personal. So I do not think it is any coincidence that the LCM discouraged personal relationships between people. Their God model is one of a God who is impersonal even within Himself.

Now I know those in the LCM may experience a sweet relationship with God. I'm just saying their Trinity model works against that some. It misses the deep interpersonal aspect of God which the Trinity implies.
I wouldn't say Lee's concept is impersonal. It is very personal for liquid God to get inside us. It is more personal than thinking a relationship is about having an occasional chat with God. But Lee did put the focus more on the spirit, and I guess that is why you think it is impersonal. I think practically, relationships built on the spirit are stronger, deeper, longer lasting and not subject to waxing and waning emotions.

I think the relation between the persons of the Trinity is primarily a spiritual one than emotional. For example, God sent His only Son to die without any hesitation. Do you think He needed to ask someone for a box of tissues? I doubt it. Although the story does appeal to our human side ,considering a Father giving up His Son for us, I doubt that God was very emotional about it. Afterall ,God who can do anything knew he would just raise Him from the dead again. Abraham, also, did not seem too emotional about sacrificing Isaac, the Bible does not describe what sort of emotions he might have been feeling. Abraham had faith in God's power.

I believe Lee's focus on the spirit is helpful to countless Christians who doubt their salvation or their standing with God because they don't have warm fuzzy feelings. It is also helpful in matters of relationship with other people.
02-13-2017 04:31 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
But this is not what anyone has said. It is what you have been trained to claim we said so that you can attack a strawman.

The problem is not whether Christ lost his divine nature. He most definitely did not. It is whether having divine nature means that the Father is actually present just because Christ retains his divine nature. You would appear to claim such a thing, but cannot establish it as true. Instead, you have to resort to unsubstantiated claims about what presuming the other side "must" mean which you then presume forces your premise to be true.

What an interesting (though unsubstantiated) construct. Christ does not have divine nature but must get it from the Father and the Spirit. Your logic presumes that what is received at birth can be reclaimed at will. That your father could reclaim what he imparted to you through his DNA. The example in nature does not support such a position. And the scripture does not (that I can see) support it. Rather, it is an illogical falsehood masquerading as a spiritual truth.
No one said that but that is what it implies - Christ was conceived by the Spirit, he has the Spirit's DNA. He also has the Father's DNA. Jesus was not just a man who received the Spirit at his baptism, like us. Unlike us, Jesus had the Spirit from birth.

If you say that the Father can forsake Christ (as in, actually leave), then what is stopping you from saying that the Spirit can too? If the Spirit can actually leave Christ, then Christ himself was not fully divine, but only human.

Anyway changing tack, I can use the Old Testament to show the true meaning of Christ's words on the cross is not what you suppose.

Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 when he said "why have you forsaken me". So Psalm 22 gives us insight to the context.

If we read the whole Psalm 22, we can find this verse:

Psalm 22:24
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 for the benefit of his hearers. As a man, separated from God because of the world's sin, his was the human cry to God "why have you forsaken me?".

Based upon this one statement you have concluded that this was the spiritual reality. But what you have missed is that this was not the spiritual reality. This was Christ as a man wondering where God was. It is humanity saying "God where are you?". God withdrew His manifest presence and comforts.

But Psalm 22:24 shows us clearly that the Father did *not* leave Christ.

I am sure you have heard of the "Footprints in the Sand" story. A man is walking with God and questions why there is only one set of footprints in the sand during his most difficult times. For the man it seems as if God forsook him in the difficult moments. But the Father was with Him all along.

I hope you can see that based upon Psalm 22, Jesus wondering why the Father had forsaken Him is like the Footprints in the Sand story.

Humanity cries "God, where are you?", and God replies "I will never leave nor forsake you".

The first half of Psalm 22 is about death and Christ's crucifixion, and the last half of it is about life and resurrection.
02-13-2017 01:41 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post

In terms of an out-of-favor phrase, it is works. Not to gain salvation, but to engage in the reality of abiding.
It is an active doing, of listening for the command of God and doing what he says.

I will say it is a Word->Faith->Spirit->Speaking->Obedience progression. Without the Spirit we cannot know what "love one another" specifically means in a situation. Though we can have a general idea. Surely love your neighbor doesn't mean hit him over the head with a baseball bat, but it may not either mean kiss his cheek. Love is an inner attitude expressed as gracious actions.

But I'm off-topic too.
02-13-2017 12:52 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

BTW. I like Unto's quote from John 14 (below). While not intended as such, it underscores that "abiding" is not about sitting in advance of doing something, but the result of doing something.
Quote:
"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him"
Here, the beginning of abiding (some translations use the term "make our abode with him" rather than "make our home with him") is in "keep[ing] my word."

And unless you think that keeping the Word of God is about studying it, knowing it, and fighting about its meaning, then you realize that you have to obey it before the abiding that is spoken of here occurs. And since this aspect of abiding precedes the whole vine-and-branches discourse on abiding, it is hard to understand that as being about waiting, but rather about engaging in the activity of the vine as a whole.

In terms of an out-of-favor phrase, it is works. Not to gain salvation, but to engage in the reality of abiding.

- - - -

OK. Off topic. I will report myself to the originator of the thread.
02-13-2017 10:20 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
One of my favorite shorthand explanations of the Trinity comes from Ravi Zacharias, posted here:
The Trinity Beautifully Explained by Ravi Zacharias
-
Incredible thoughts here on love and communication with the "I-You" relationship within God Himself.

This also explains why the monotheistic religion of Islam has no relationship of love nor communication between them and their God.
02-13-2017 09:38 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I'm also NOT suggesting that God is Triune primarily for relationship with (dispensing into) man, as Lee suggested. On the contrary, I'm saying that God is Triune primarily for relationship with (dispensing into) Himself. This is what I've been saying all along--that God experiences a relationship with himself, that is God experiences the Spirit with his Son
Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
My comment is mainly for those who come here buried in the Leeology of the LRC and presume that it is all about dispensing. That dispensing is the purpose and goal of God's economy, and that dispensing is something that we need more of before we can "do" anything, especially the non-spiritual things like actually living the righteousness of God. There is too much wrapped into that in their minds. And that God is in relationship within the Trinity is seen as almost pointless since they are not separate, but are each other.
It is more than easy to get lost in a sea of theological words and concepts - ontological/existential - economical/essential - and somehow miss what is right there before us in the Word. God is a being in relationship, firstly with himself. When God said "let there be light", who was he speaking to? If God is Love, who is he loving? "The Father loves the Son" (John 3:35) - This should be the beginning of our understanding of the Trinity. But this relationship is only the beginning, eventually it is "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you...and then the ultimate consummation of the relationship "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him " (John 14:20,23)

One of my favorite shorthand explanations of the Trinity comes from Ravi Zacharias, posted here:

The Trinity Beautifully Explained by Ravi Zacharias
-
02-13-2017 08:23 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
My comment is mainly for those who come here buried in the Leeology of the LRC and presume that it is all about dispensing. That dispensing is the purpose and goal of God's economy, and that dispensing is something that we need more of before we can "do" anything, especially the non-spiritual things like actually living the righteousness of God. There is too much wrapped into that in their minds. And that God is in relationship within the Trinity is seen as almost pointless since they are not separate, but are each other.

Maybe it is just that from my perspective, whatever positive you might find in the word "dispensing," it has been buried in something entirely different by Lee's theology and is therefore what is heard when you use the word.
I agree. The Lee version of the Trinity depersonalizes God himself and relationships in general. Ironically, an "impersonal relationship" is actually an oxymoron. If God is interested in anything he is interested in being intimate with us. How could he be interested in such a thing if it did not exist within him from the beginning? The reality of the Trinity confirms that it did.

All the LCM sees about the Trinity is it is some sort of cascading aquaduct to pour liquid God stuff into us. Not very personal. So I do not think it is any coincidence that the LCM discouraged personal relationships between people. Their God model is one of a God who is impersonal even within Himself.

Now I know those in the LCM may experience a sweet relationship with God. I'm just saying their Trinity model works against that some. It misses the deep interpersonal aspect of God which the Trinity implies.
02-13-2017 08:12 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
I'm simply saying that the word "dispensing" could be used to suggest what goes on in a relationship--something of each person being sent to and received by the other. I do not really like the word "dispensing" because it sounds clinical and impersonal, which is exactly the opposite of what it is. It is very personal--it is one Person giving of himself to another in a complete way. It is the essence of a personal relationship--the pouring of oneself into another.

I'm also NOT suggesting that God is Triune primarily for relationship with (dispensing into) man, as Lee suggested. On the contrary, I'm saying that God is Triune primarily for relationship with (dispensing into) Himself. This is what I've been saying all along--that God experiences a relationship with himself, that is God experiences the Spirit with his Son.

Our blessing is he invites us into this relationship he has with himself. The Spirit has always been the experience of God within himself--that is the Spirit has always been the fellowship between the Father and the Son. Now we get to experience it too.
My comment is mainly for those who come here buried in the Leeology of the LRC and presume that it is all about dispensing. That dispensing is the purpose and goal of God's economy, and that dispensing is something that we need more of before we can "do" anything, especially the non-spiritual things like actually living the righteousness of God. There is too much wrapped into that in their minds. And that God is in relationship within the Trinity is seen as almost pointless since they are not separate, but are each other.

Maybe it is just that from my perspective, whatever positive you might find in the word "dispensing," it has been buried in something entirely different by Lee's theology and is therefore what is heard when you use the word.
02-13-2017 07:53 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I'm not sure I can fully buy even this. To say such a thing would at least imply that the Trinity had no purpose prior to the creation of the universe, and more specifically the creation of man. I would presume that God was Trinity before any of this came to be.

While there is something that could be called dispensing, I am not sure that this idea is anything like the major construct that we have been lead to believe. Rather it is an overlay onto scripture which can be said to fit some of it. Could it be at least partly true? Surely. But is it some major emphasis of scripture? I am not so sure.
I'm simply saying that the word "dispensing" could be used to suggest what goes on in a relationship--something of each person being sent to and received by the other. I do not really like the word "dispensing" because it sounds clinical and impersonal, which is exactly the opposite of what it is. It is very personal--it is one Person giving of himself to another in a complete way. It is the essence of a personal relationship--the pouring of oneself into another.

I'm also NOT suggesting that God is Triune primarily for relationship with (dispensing into) man, as Lee suggested. On the contrary, I'm saying that God is Triune primarily for relationship with (dispensing into) Himself. This is what I've been saying all along--that God experiences a relationship with himself, that is God experiences the Spirit with his Son.

Our blessing is he invites us into this relationship he has with himself. The Spirit has always been the experience of God within himself--that is the Spirit has always been the fellowship between the Father and the Son. Now we get to experience it too.
02-13-2017 06:30 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
So in one sense the LCM is correct, the Trinity is for dispensing. But it is more accurate to say that the Trinity is for relationship.
I'm not sure I can fully buy even this. To say such a thing would at least imply that the Trinity had no purpose prior to the creation of the universe, and more specifically the creation of man. I would presume that God was Trinity before any of this came to be.

While there is something that could be called dispensing, I am not sure that this idea is anything like the major construct that we have been lead to believe. Rather it is an overlay onto scripture which can be said to fit some of it. Could it be at least partly true? Surely. But is it some major emphasis of scripture? I am not so sure.
02-13-2017 06:25 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
If Christ lost his divine nature on the cross then only a man died on the cross.
But this is not what anyone has said. It is what you have been trained to claim we said so that you can attack a strawman.

The problem is not whether Christ lost his divine nature. He most definitely did not. It is whether having divine nature means that the Father is actually present just because Christ retains his divine nature. You would appear to claim such a thing, but cannot establish it as true. Instead, you have to resort to unsubstantiated claims about what presuming the other side "must" mean which you then presume forces your premise to be true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Now we could say that the Father could leave Christ and Christ still retain His divinity on the cross (but it still seems like a step towards Nestorianism to me). But this is not possible, because Christ's divinity came from its divine source - the Father and the Holy Spirit. Christ's Father was divinity and His mother was humanity. Take away the Father and it takes away from Christ's divinity.
What an interesting (though unsubstantiated) construct. Christ does not have divine nature but must get it from the Father and the Spirit. Your logic presumes that what is received at birth can be reclaimed at will. That your father could reclaim what he imparted to you through his DNA. The example in nature does not support such a position. And the scripture does not (that I can see) support it. Rather, it is an illogical falsehood masquerading as a spiritual truth.
02-12-2017 09:05 PM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Then Gill and Clarke's commentaries must be wrong then.
"Let God be true and every man a liar."
02-12-2017 08:56 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
This is nonsense.

Even though God forsook Him on the cross, our Lord Jesus "always did what pleases Him."
Then Gill and Clarke's commentaries must be wrong then.
02-12-2017 07:57 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

The Trinity is a mystery in which there is room for our interpretation. It can be viewed from many sides and no side tells the whole story.

The Bible never says that believing properly about the Trinity is a requirement for salvation. However, it does seem that heretical beliefs about essentials and about the Trinity go hand in hand.

Personally I think the proper way to look at the Trinity is to ask, What does it tell us about God? And in so doing ask, What does it tell us about ourselves?

I think the Trinity tells us two basic things: That God is essentially a relational being and that diversity and unity go hand in hand. LCMers think in terms of "dispensing," but really since God is a conscious being, we experience his dispensing in personal relationship with him. There is no such thing as an impersonal experience of God's dispensing. To be saturated with God is simply to be in very close personal relationship with him.

So in one sense the LCM is correct, the Trinity is for dispensing. But it is more accurate to say that the Trinity is for relationship.
02-12-2017 07:45 PM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Blessed Theo said not just some energy or power.., but deity. The word is theotes referring to God's Godhead and Person.
In other words, Jesus Christ is the God-Man. In Christ the God-man, two natures have been united: the divine and the human, without confusion, distinct, separate, and independent, each unchanged by the other.

The Fourth Ecumenical, Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, declares: "one and the same Son, perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man ... acknowledged in two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably: the difference between the natures is in no way removed because of the union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature is preserved, and both combine in one person and in one hypostasis." (Definition of Chalcedon, in T. Ware, The Orthodox Church).

God bless.
02-12-2017 01:22 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by InChristAlone View Post
I also agree with him but he doesn't say that Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Blessed Theophylactus speaks about deity of Christ who is fully man and fully God ie the Word of God, Logos.


Then the first salvation is not salvation at all since it doesn't save completely. It is neither union with God nor the deliverance from sin and its consequences.

Anyway, I like your attitude, Drake. God bless you.
Blessed InChristAlone,

Blessed Theo said not just some energy or power.., but deity. The word is theotes referring to God's Godhead and Person.

Drake
02-12-2017 12:32 PM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
InChristAlone) "So, Blessed Theophylactus says that the verse means that Jesus Christ is Logos, deity dwells in Him, not just some power or energy. Christ is fully God and fully man."I think I agree with Blessed Theophylactus.
I also agree with him but he doesn't say that Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Blessed Theophylactus speaks about deity of Christ who is fully man and fully God ie the Word of God, Logos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
The Bible. Because there are two judgements there is a need for two salvations.
Then the first salvation is not salvation at all since it doesn't save completely. It is neither union with God nor the deliverance from sin and its consequences.

Anyway, I like your attitude, Drake. God bless you.
02-12-2017 12:18 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

InChristAlone) "So, Blessed Theophylactus says that the verse means that Jesus Christ is Logos, deity dwells in Him, not just some power or energy. Christ is fully God and fully man."

I think I agree with Blessed Theophylactus.

Drake
02-12-2017 11:56 AM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Colossians 2:9 "For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily".
Another version of Colossians 2:9: "For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." I believe it is a more correct translation since it sounds the same in Greek and in my native language.

I checked out the commentaries of Blessed Theophylactus of Ochrid (ca . 1050/60-ca. 1108). (His commentaries are based on the commentaries of the early Christians). So, Blessed Theophylactus says that the verse means that Jesus Christ is Logos, deity dwells in Him, not just some power or energy. Christ is fully God and fully man.

May I use Google Translate?

"That is what God is - Word (Logos), in him dwelleth. But to hear the word "lives", you don't not think that He was under the influence of the prophets because God instills in those, according to the word: "I will dwell in them, and walk in them" (Cor.6 16), - so he added: "bodily", that is, that he - not some energy (power), but the essence of how to embody and constitute one hypostasis with perceived. Or, in the words of St. Cyril, so he lives as the soul in the body; and she dwells in the body significantly, inseparably and without confusion. But the soul separates from the body at death. The Logos (Word) is never separated from the resurrected flesh and in the tomb was with it, keeping it from corruption, and in hell was with the soul, proclaiming and giving liberty to the captives, and all the unity of body and soul was and when they split during His voluntary death."

God bless.
02-12-2017 11:31 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

InChristAlone)"I wonder who and when came up with the theory of two types of salvation? "

The Bible. Because there are two judgements there is a need for two salvations.

Drake
02-12-2017 11:19 AM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
The guarantee of our eternal salvation is based on the redemption of Christ Who already paid the price on the cross. When we believe into Him we are joined to Him in His death .The payment being made in full by Christ is our assurance of salvation. As pertains to our eternal state, our eternal salvation our faith in His redemptive work settled the problem of sin and separation from God once and for all.. As we were joined to Him in death so also in His resurrection . God' accepts us because He accepts Christ. Therefore, God gave us the guarantee of our personal salvation based on His work and our faith in it, not on our works.
Drake, It is a very time-consuming topic. Protestant and Lee's understanding of sin has been inherited from Roman Catholicism. Orthodox Church has a different view on sin. What you describe is similar to the process in a courtroom where the criminal is forgiven but still stays the same criminal by His nature. Orthodox Church doesn't hold to the juridical view. For Orthodox Christians, sin is illness and salvation is union with God when the "criminal's" sick nature is being purified and healed by the Great Physician, Jesus Christ.

Please check out these two articles:

1 Orthodox incarnational theology, which is at the core of the original Gospel, teaches that God Himself, the second Person of the Trinity, became incarnate, not in order to pay a debt to the devil or to God the Father, nor to be a substitutionary offering to appease a just God, but in order to rescue us from our fallen condition and transform us, enabling us to become godlike. The way God chose to deliver us from our condition—our illness, fallenness, mortality, corruption, and sin—was by taking upon Himself our human nature and participating with us in the limitations that creaturehood encompasses. Forgiving our sins is part and parcel of a much larger whole, as forgiveness in itself is not enough to ensure healing, purification, illumination, wholeness, and transfiguration. Actual organic participation in the life of the Incarnate God is required, in addition to being forgiven.

The original biblical Gospel often speaks of salvation as an organic experience that is preeminently non-juridical.

The original Gospel emphasizes that Jesus takes upon Himself our humanity in order to purify, heal, illumine, and transfigure it. We are saved from something (namely, death, sin, and the devil) in order to be saved for something else (union and communion with God). Union and communion with God is a journey of ever-deepening love that begins in this life, and—because God is infinite—continues forever...


2

Instead of viewing the atonement as Christ paying the price for sin in order to satisfy a wrathful God, Recapitulation teaches that Christ became human to heal mankind by perfectly uniting the human nature to the Divine Nature in His person. Through the Incarnation, Christ took on human nature, becoming the Second Adam, and entered into every stage of humanity, from infancy to adulthood, uniting it to God. He then suffered death to enter Hades and destroy it. After three days, He resurrected and completed His task by destroying death.

By entering each of these stages and remaining perfectly obedient to the Father, Christ recapitulated every aspect of human nature. He said “Yes” where Adam said “No” and healed what Adam’s actions had damaged. This enables all of those who are willing to say yes to God to be perfectly united with the Holy Trinity through Christ’s person....



Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
There is a salvation related to our daily living and entrance into the kingdom as a reward to the believers who are faithful in this life.
Drake, why do you do such a difference? I can hardly call the first thing salvation. It is not salvation at all. At least according to my poor understanding. I wonder who and when came up with the theory of two types of salvation?

God bless.
02-12-2017 10:11 AM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Do you believe a Muslim who has not accepted Christ can be saved then if their life is full of good works and love towards others?
I believe it can be problematic for such a Muslim to be saved but I leave it for the Lord to judge. Will the Lord save him or not? I don't know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Then the apostle Paul must be deluded, because he seemed rather confident:

2 Tim 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Tim 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Do you consider yourself equal to the apostle Paul? Or do you want to say that you can't be deluded?

Earlier in life, even Paul did not claim an infallible assurance, either of his present justification or of his remaining in grace in the future. Concerning his present state, he wrote, "I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby justified. It is the Lord who judges me" 1 Cor. 4:4

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27

Paul saw that, in spite of his faith, there was a danger of his "disqualification". What about you? You seem to be assured to be qualified.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Please read your bible, does Romans 10:9 and Acts 16:31 say "might be saved", or "will be saved" ? According to you, the apostles must have been deluding people to say that they will be saved.
Actually, you are doing the same thing when you are explaining Lee's Trinity. You don't consider the New Testament as the whole thing. You choose certain verses and neglect others. Are the verses below of less importance?

‘Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord" shall enter the kingdom of heaven’ Matt. 7:21

"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?" James 2:19-20

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12

"You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." James 2:24

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 22:14-17

"He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Luke 13:22-24

"On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’' Matthew 7:22-23

"And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”' Mark 3:11

Even demons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God but their faith doesn't save them. Faith must be active, not mental or intellectual.

My wife and her fellow brothers and sisters like to go "door-knocking" and urge people to shout "Jesus is Lord!" Do you think this can save those folks? What kind of faith is it? One can say, "Yes, I believe that Jesus is Lord." What's then? Is it the end? Can such a man be assured in his salvation?
02-12-2017 09:50 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?

By the time Charles Wesley penned this masterpiece, Christians had already been "exploring His strange design" for about 1700 years, and now we've been at it another 300+, and we're still no closer than brother Wesley!

Thankfully, we have the ultimate road map to assist us in our exploration - the living and abiding Word of God, with which we can rightly divide the truth. This Word of Truth, when rightly divided, reveals our wonderful and mysterious God - Who is One glorious being, and at the very same time, Three wonderful Persons. 'Tis mystery all!

Glory glory to the Father
Glory glory to the Son
Glory glory to the Spirit
Glory to the three in One!

Yes, praise him for his wonderful doings!

I often enjoy another masterpiece by the late Keith Green and his wife Melody:

Thank you oh my Father
For giving us your Son
And leaving us your Spirit
'til the work on earth is done!

Part of our "work on earth" is exploring, enjoying, worshiping and praising our wonderful three in One God!

-
02-12-2017 08:23 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
OBW)"But it would seem that you (and Lee, and a few others before him) are determined to fill in the gaps beyond what the descriptions provide.".

OBW,

Lets look at some of the descriptions for major events of God's work concerning man.

Keeping in mind the essence of a God, what He is, the essential Trinity, remains the same from eternity past to eternity future.

Perhaps we can agree on this: Through incarnation something special happened that never happened before. Divinity entered humanity.


Drake
Dear brothers,

Considering this matter this morning I am struck with awe at the great and wonderful doings of our God.

Through incarnation not only did divinity enter humanity but the very Godhead entered humanity.

Colossians 2:9 "For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily".

From that time, to this day, and forever all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily.

Drake
02-12-2017 07:38 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
I can easily show you are wrong by pointing to the whole of verse 29:

John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."

The Father was always with Christ, never leaving Him alone, because Christ always did what pleased him.

If the Father ever left Christ alone, it would mean that Christ did something displeasing to God.
This is nonsense.

Even though God forsook Him on the cross, our Lord Jesus "always did what pleases Him."
02-12-2017 04:54 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by InChristAlone View Post
It is not for us to judge people outside the Church. We want salvation of all people and we leave the judgment to the Lord. Will He save or not some people: who, why and how? - we do not know.
Do you believe a Muslim who has not accepted Christ can be saved then if their life is full of good works and love towards others? There are many Muslims like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InChristAlone View Post

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?" (James 2:14)

I think the faith in God and the certainty of one's posthumous destiny are two different things. We can claim anything but the Lord looks at our hearts.

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2)

Do you really have works? Do you really have love? Do you really think that you are worthy of the Kingdom of God? I believe only a deluded person can answer "yes, I do".

We can believe whatever we like about our posthumous life but only God knows our destiny.

I think it is Mormons who "know" that they will become a god or a goddess on his or her own personal planet... but who gave them the guaranty?
Then the apostle Paul must be deluded, because he seemed rather confident:

2 Tim 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Tim 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.




Quote:
Originally Posted by InChristAlone View Post
Do you know where your soul will go after you die? Will it be Bosom of Abraham? Are you 100% sure that you will be able to unite with Christ? Do you think that you deserve the Kingdom of God where the Lord prepared a nice place for you?

An Orthodox Christian has hope that he will be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and achieve a union with God. But rejecting the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the man cuts himself off Christ. Thefore, his posthumous life in the Kingdom of Heaven will be impossible.

One can't know his destiny until he dies. Well, we can delude ourselves, expecting a cosy place in Paradise, but will it help us out?



The Church is the Ark of salvation. Its goal is to bring and unite people to Christ. I have more chances to be saved when I am in the Ark than without it.

God bless.
Please read your bible, does Romans 10:9 and Acts 16:31 say "might be saved", or "will be saved" ? According to you, the apostles must have been deluding people to say that they will be saved.
02-12-2017 04:46 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Spoken concerning his 3.5 year mission of speaking to the people of Israel. Does not say "will not leave me alone."

Even this verse is past tense. It does not prove or disprove that there ever was or was not a period or time when something might have been different. Neither does it declare that the unity of the Godhead has overcome and confused the three of the trinity.

Once again, "I am not alone," not "I will never be alone." Present tense. Not a claim of always true or will always be true. You ignore that Jesus spoke rather clearly and without question that the Father had forsaken him on the cross, therefore you have a rather clear indication that this state of being "not alone" was not at all times true.

This verse says nothing about being one or being in Christ at any time, least of all at the crucifixion.
I can easily show you are wrong by pointing to the whole of verse 29:

John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."

The Father was always with Christ, never leaving Him alone, because Christ always did what pleased him.

If the Father ever left Christ alone, it would mean that Christ did something displeasing to God.

Because we know that Christ always pleased the Father (even the act of going to the cross was pleasing to the Father), we can know that the Father never left Him. The Father was on the cross with Him, and even in the tomb.

It is like Psalm 139 says:

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 138:8 ......... If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

Why would the Father forsake His Son during His most pleasing act?

The Father forsook Christ's humanity in the sense of removing his manifest presence and comfort. However Christ was still very much "God in the flesh".

As Matthew Poole's commentary says, - "it must be understood with respect to God’s consolatory manifestations".
02-12-2017 02:25 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
You found one commentator that says what Lee said. Got more? I do not presume that any of them are correct all the time. And when it comes to the nature of God, it is all theoretical to us humans. Everyone has a declaration about what things mean.

And in your case, it is to insist that the "hypostatic union" of the Godhead causes the three to be part of and within each other than the undefined thing that unifies them without mixing them up in each other. You have not bothered to provide anything that indicates that Gill thinks that the hypostatic union caused the Father to be on the cross with Christ. Rather, you have read into a term of art not found in the scripture a characteristic of the Godhead that the actual verses do not support. You have presumed that defining hypostatic union provides a better and more clear understanding of the Godhead than the scripture provides. Rather, "hypostatic union" gives an undefined term as the definition of the unity of three that is greater than a round of handshakes. It does not create knowledge about the Godhead that is not provided in scripture. It only gives a name to things that are seen so that rather than trying to define it, we just say this term and understand that we don't really understand.

Not acceptable proof of anything. Lee cannot defend himself with his own writings.

The quotation I gave from Gill says:

the fulness of the Godhead still dwelt bodily in him.

It means that God (the Father, and the Son) was with Christ on the cross. The Father never stopped indwelling Christ on the cross. Now please don't try to argue that the fulness of the Godhead dwelling bodily in Him is not the Father.... I don't think you can take that position while retaining an appearance of sanity.

In case this does not convince you, there are other commentaries, in fact, I invite you to read the whole of Clarke's commentary on Matthew 27:46. Adam Clarke (1762 - 1832) was a British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar.

http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/27-46.htm

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible says:
he well knew why he was come unto that hour; nor could he be forsaken of God, in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.


I have read a number of commentaries on this verse. Gill and Clarke are the most obvious in relation to this matter. One notable thing I found is that no commentary denies that God was with Christ on the cross. Many of the commentaries have expressed doubt that the verse means that God the Father literally left Christ.

Pulpit commentary does not seem to take this verse literally, rather, they say Jesus was more or less quoting the Psalms for the benefit of his hearers:

Verse 34. - Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani? St. Mark here uses the Aramaic form St. Matthew refers to the original Hebrew. St. Mark in all probability took his form from St. Peter. It seems from hence that our Lord was in the habit of using the vernacular speech. Why hast thou forsaken me? (εἰς τί με ἐγκατέλιπες. This might be rendered, Why didst thou forsake me? It is generally supposed that our blessed Lord, continually praying upon his cross, and offering himself a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, recited the whole of the psalm (22.) of which these are the first words, that he might show himself to be the very Being to whom the words refer; so that the Jewish scribes and people might examine and see the cause why he would not descend from the cross; namely, because this very psalm showed that it was appointed that he should suffer these things.


Matthew Poole's commentary says that it was impossible that God would totally withdraw from Him on the cross, the withdrawal related to "God’s consolatory manifestations":

The forsaking which Christ therefore here complains of, was not the total withdrawing of Divine favour and assistance from him; that was impossible, and incompetent with the first words testifying his relation to God, and assistance in him; but it must be understood with respect to God’s consolatory manifestations, and that is testified by his other words, related by Luke, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Which words having said, he gave up the ghost, say Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John addeth, that he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost: words added, to confirm what he elsewhere said, that he laid down his life, none took it from him. His crying twice at this instant with a loud voice, argued his spirits not so spent, but he might have lived a few minutes longer, but he freely laid down his life.
02-12-2017 12:59 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
And that is what I have been doing. The descriptions given would point to three that have a unity that we cannot comprehend. But it would seem that you (and Lee, and a few others before him) are determined to fill in the gaps beyond what the descriptions provide.

I do not disagree that the terms have been used for hundreds of years. But I notice that when someone manages to use a word that is more like what Lee used, it is presumed that they mean what Lee meant. But I find nothing that makes that true.

And the trend continues. When the portions from the Gill article said things like "hypostatic[al] union" either you or Evangelical swept in to further define that by saying that it meant that the three could not be so separate as for the Father to not be present at the crucifixion as a participant on the cross, not just observing. But there is nothing that makes that so. Nothing found in the scripture. No matter how one we are, if either of us goes out at rush hour and is run over by a truck, the other does not even know it happened until told. We do not feel the pain.

Of course I admit that on a good day we may have not arrived at the oneness that Jesus prayed about. But if he felt the need to pray about it, it should be something that we expect to happen at a point in which prayer for it is important. If it is only about the age to come, then why pray. It will come to be. So if it is for this age, then oneness is not likely something that extreme no matter what term you want o use to label it.

Why do we insist that the oneness of the Godhead be such that they are "simply" each other. That is what Lee would say. That is why he pushed that misreading of 1 Cor. 15:45 to declare that Christ became the Holy Spirit. He was going where the scripture did not go. Not even in that particular verse. The accounts in the scripture provide a rational understanding of "if you've seen me you've seen the Father" without declaring that the Son is simply the Father. (And I have already pointed those out so I will not bother again. If you really want to feign ignorance, ask.)

As I said before, when I take the preponderance of the evidence, I find that there are three that have a unity that is greater than man can achieve. And that unity is not transient or temporal. It is constant and forever. But it does not reach so far as to deny the separation of the three. It would seem that while they are equally capable, they also tend to have their roles to "play." God the Father is not the one who was to come to earth as a man, live, die, and resurrect. That was the Son. And the primary interface with man after the ascension of the Son was through the Spirit. There is nothing in that to deny any of them a part in anything. But the part they take is not forced on them because of hypostatic union, or essence, or some other intrinsic element. That is not supported by any of the verses that I see, including the ones that you and/or Evangelical have brought out for consideration.

Instead, I notice that each verse says something in a context and you or EVG are determined to deny the context and force it into permanent service in all cases and all situations. Your paradigm for how to read the Bible is excessively rigid with regard to words. And Lee pushed that kind of thinking. If there is a word, he would find the first mention, determine its meaning in that place (and in some cases, tell a story to cause it to mean something it really didn't mean) and then declare that it must mean the same thing everywhere it is found.

That is a trap for the ignorant. The only question is whether Lee was truly that ignorant or just his followers.

As for the quotation from John 17, that is not the way all translations read. I will not try to defend one over another except to say that it must not be so certain as to the meaning or they would agree.
Perhaps you have not thought this through enough to its logical end, to realize that the belief you hold is in error.

If Christ lost his divine nature on the cross then only a man died on the cross. Consider the implications of such a doctrine in regards to eternal salvation and Christ's once for all sacrifice for all mankind. Rather than believing that just a perfect man died on the cross, we believe that a perfect God-man died on the cross. The humanity and the divinity together accomplished salvation for all eternity - it was not an act of humanity alone, or of God alone, but of both the human and divine.

Now we could say that the Father could leave Christ and Christ still retain His divinity on the cross (but it still seems like a step towards Nestorianism to me). But this is not possible, because Christ's divinity came from its divine source - the Father and the Holy Spirit. Christ's Father was divinity and His mother was humanity. Take away the Father and it takes away from Christ's divinity.
02-12-2017 12:51 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Just as Witness Lee used the extra-biblical terms "essential" and "economical" to go beyond what is written in the actual text, our friends Drake and Evangelical use extra-biblical terms (hypostatic, etc) to go beyond what is written. Witness Lee was not a trained theologian, and it showed big time in his make-it-up-as-he-went-along "recovered" teachings.

I'm glad to see that Evangelical (Drake too?) are using other bible helps, such as Gill, when studying these theological matters. But, please, don't try to use the theological musings of legitimate scholars to bolster the teachings of Witness Lee. Even Lee himself would rarely reference the works of others (although he occasionally plagiarized them without giving credit), and he certainly gave little to no credit to anyone but himself for his "high peak truths".

-
You say that Drake and I use extra-biblical sources yet you used the Athanasian creed to support your version of the Trinity, written about 500 hundred years after Christ...

I believe that if we quote only the Bible without resorting to extra-biblical sources, then Lee's version of the Trinity is the one that would result. Afterall, Lee's methods of interpretation is to let the Bible explain the bible, in a simplistic and literal way - we accept that Jesus is the Spirit and Jesus is the Father because the Bible says so. Lee and us are possibly the only ones who are letting the Bible speak for itself.

You and others say this is wrong, not because the bible says so, but because the Athanasian Creed says so. Who is using extra-biblical sources now?

What you are constrained to do, is refer to extra-biblical sources such as the Athanasian Creed to defend your version of the Trinity. In this respect you are no different to the Catholics who point to the Church traditions and early church fathers to support their teachings and practices. The version of the Trinity that you hold onto is a version which depends upon extra-biblical sources, and the large religious institutions such as the Catholic church which enforce and uphold them.

If we reject the Creeds and let the bible speak for itself then Lee's version of the Trinity is the result. If you had no prior knowledge of the Creed's and had only your bible then I believe you would believe the same as Lee about the Trinity.

The word hypostatic is no more extra biblical than the term Trinity.
It means a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypostatic_union

Although Lee does not often use that terminology, whenever Lee refers to Christ as the God-man, he is essentially referring to the hypostatic union.

I am not using theological resources to bolster the teachings of Lee. Rather I am showing that there are multiple ways to interpret God "forsaking" Christ on the cross, and most bible commentaries I have read agree with me (and Lee etc) that the Father departing Christ, was likely not one of them. At least two bible commentaries - Gill and Clarke show that the Father did not *leave* Christ on the cross. The leaving was in regards to God's manifest presence, but the Father still indwelt Christ the whole time.
02-11-2017 04:53 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW)"But it would seem that you (and Lee, and a few others before him) are determined to fill in the gaps beyond what the descriptions provide.".

OBW,

Lets look at some of the descriptions for major events of God's work concerning man.

Keeping in mind the essence of a God, what He is, the essential Trinity, remains the same from eternity past to eternity future.

Perhaps we can agree on this: Through incarnation something special happened that never happened before. Divinity entered humanity.


Drake
02-10-2017 04:45 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
These are terms that have been used for hundreds of years... sometimes thousands. They are not Bro Lee's or Evangelicals, or mine. In trying to describe something as grand and mysterious as God the human language is inadequate but that is no excuse for not trying to understand and describe what is revealed in the Holy Scriptures."
And that is what I have been doing. The descriptions given would point to three that have a unity that we cannot comprehend. But it would seem that you (and Lee, and a few others before him) are determined to fill in the gaps beyond what the descriptions provide.

I do not disagree that the terms have been used for hundreds of years. But I notice that when someone manages to use a word that is more like what Lee used, it is presumed that they mean what Lee meant. But I find nothing that makes that true.

And the trend continues. When the portions from the Gill article said things like "hypostatic[al] union" either you or Evangelical swept in to further define that by saying that it meant that the three could not be so separate as for the Father to not be present at the crucifixion as a participant on the cross, not just observing. But there is nothing that makes that so. Nothing found in the scripture. No matter how one we are, if either of us goes out at rush hour and is run over by a truck, the other does not even know it happened until told. We do not feel the pain.

Of course I admit that on a good day we may have not arrived at the oneness that Jesus prayed about. But if he felt the need to pray about it, it should be something that we expect to happen at a point in which prayer for it is important. If it is only about the age to come, then why pray. It will come to be. So if it is for this age, then oneness is not likely something that extreme no matter what term you want o use to label it.

Why do we insist that the oneness of the Godhead be such that they are "simply" each other. That is what Lee would say. That is why he pushed that misreading of 1 Cor. 15:45 to declare that Christ became the Holy Spirit. He was going where the scripture did not go. Not even in that particular verse. The accounts in the scripture provide a rational understanding of "if you've seen me you've seen the Father" without declaring that the Son is simply the Father. (And I have already pointed those out so I will not bother again. If you really want to feign ignorance, ask.)

As I said before, when I take the preponderance of the evidence, I find that there are three that have a unity that is greater than man can achieve. And that unity is not transient or temporal. It is constant and forever. But it does not reach so far as to deny the separation of the three. It would seem that while they are equally capable, they also tend to have their roles to "play." God the Father is not the one who was to come to earth as a man, live, die, and resurrect. That was the Son. And the primary interface with man after the ascension of the Son was through the Spirit. There is nothing in that to deny any of them a part in anything. But the part they take is not forced on them because of hypostatic union, or essence, or some other intrinsic element. That is not supported by any of the verses that I see, including the ones that you and/or Evangelical have brought out for consideration.

Instead, I notice that each verse says something in a context and you or EVG are determined to deny the context and force it into permanent service in all cases and all situations. Your paradigm for how to read the Bible is excessively rigid with regard to words. And Lee pushed that kind of thinking. If there is a word, he would find the first mention, determine its meaning in that place (and in some cases, tell a story to cause it to mean something it really didn't mean) and then declare that it must mean the same thing everywhere it is found.

That is a trap for the ignorant. The only question is whether Lee was truly that ignorant or just his followers.

As for the quotation from John 17, that is not the way all translations read. I will not try to defend one over another except to say that it must not be so certain as to the meaning or they would agree.
02-10-2017 03:55 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW) "And what exactly is "instrinsisc"?"

Intrinsic is just the essential nature of a thing.

OBW) I am using the John verse here — there is no mention of in us"

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.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:


OBW) "the manner in which Jesus spoke of his relationship with the Father would seem to infer more nearly two (and ultimately three) that have an everlasting unity rather than one that has some sense in which there are three" "How three could be truly one is not rational. It is a mystery."

The descriptors three in unison and one that are three is a imprecise definition of "Triune" because it is, as you say, a mystery and we all grapple with it.

OBW) "We give the oneness funny terms like essence, hypostatic union, intrinsic. But these words do not define how it works. They are placeholders for what we cannot understand. But you, and Lee before you, and a few others before that, have tried to take some natural understanding of these terms and force it to define the unity of God. I will admit that there is a chance that it could actually be right. But there is nothing that makes it simply so. And nothing that supports that as more than conjecture."

These are terms that have been used for hundreds of years... sometimes thousands. They are not Bro Lee's or Evangelicals, or mine. In trying to describe something as grand and mysterious as God the human language is inadequate but that is no excuse for not trying to understand and describe what is revealed in the Holy Scriptures."

OBW)" Could you say that the Father had a sense of the pain and suffering of Christ on the cross. Plausibly so."

I don't know about that one if you mean physical pain. I think not.

OBW, you do not appear to make a distinction concerning the Lord's humanity on this topic. As I read all your notes this seems to be missing. Jesus got His humanity from Mary. That humanity was subject to all the same temptations and weaknesses as ours. The divine life is indestructible and so God could not die unless as a man. It is okay to say that God died on the cross. He did.

Drake
02-10-2017 02:28 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
When Jesus referred to I in You, You in Me, they is Us ... He obviously was not referring to His physical body. He was apparently referring to something deeper. more intrinsic. We know now in retrospect that this refers to Christ's spiritual Body.
But if it is part of something "intrinsic," then it is not simply anything.

And what exactly is "instrinsisc"? Yet another extra-biblical term added into the discussion which covers for something we really don't know much about. But you are quite clear that it is beyond what the description actually provided infers.

And when it comes to inferring, if there is something "intrinsic" between us that is "as" the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father" (I am using the John verse here — there is no mention of in us) then intrinsic does not cause the Father to be "in the Son" in a manner that makes him actually experience what the Son experiences in the crucifixion.

I know that you will rush to warn about tritheism, but it would appear that the manner in which Jesus spoke of his relationship with the Father would seem to infer more nearly two (and ultimately three) that have an everlasting unity rather than one that has some sense in which there are three. But the God you try to force through the added terms is inconsistent with the God actually revealed. He is revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit, But also as One God.

The real evidence presents us with a mystery. One in which three are so one that there is never the opportunity to play one against the other (like one parent against another). There is no place in which they are at odds with each other. They are one. To take it to your extreme is to need it to fit within human understanding of one. Tritheism would be to worship three Gods that are not one in the manner that our God is one. But how that oneness comes to be is a mystery. How three could be truly one is not rational. It is a mystery.

We give the oneness funny terms like essence, hypostatic union, intrinsic. But these words do not define how it works. They are placeholders for what we cannot understand. But you, and Lee before you, and a few others before that, have tried to take some natural understanding of these terms and force it to define the unity of God. I will admit that there is a chance that it could actually be right. But there is nothing that makes it simply so. And nothing that supports that as more than conjecture.

However, there are some aspects of how God is revealed as three that makes that kind of thinking much more likely wrong than right. If the Father is there on the cross with Christ, then he can't turn his face because he would turn his face on himself. There isn't even a mystery in which that would be considered possible. Just because it would be a mystery if it were true does not make it a rational mystery. The trinity does not present us with something that is simply ludicrous to say out loud. It is just so ill-defined (if at all) and outside of our realm of reasoning that we cannot grasp the how. But it is still not an unreasonable premise. But determining that someone would turn his face from himself is to suggest a kind of schizophrenia in which two disparate minds take turns ruling a body. Sort of like the two-headed president of the galaxy in The Hitchhiker's Guide.

And if your insistence on the presence of the Father being with Christ on the cross is just about that intrinsic, hypostatic, essential unity, then you are missing that these are more like bonds that unite than factors in which they are physically inseparable. It is about the nature of their unity and not the obscuring of the separateness.

Could you say that the Father had a sense of the pain and suffering of Christ on the cross. Plausibly so. But can you say that the Father was there? Even in the death and burial? Not if he is going to turn his face from it. Not if he is going to be active during that time in which Christ was not present outside the tomb living and breathing.
02-10-2017 11:33 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW)"And you seek a verse, so here it is.

John 17:20-21. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

Here Jesus said that we are to be one just as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. We like to take this to extremes. And you have done so in a manner than puts the Father in Christ being crucified and therefore being there. But if the oneness that we human Christians can experience is likened to the kind of oneness that is described as "you in me and I in you" then maybe we aren't so clear about how far that goes, or exactly what it means. If it means that we are to be unified like the Father being present inside the Son as he is crucified, then there is an obvious extent in which we are simply not capable of being that "one.
"

OBW,

I am glad you brought this verse up. Perhaps it will provide clarity.

When Jesus referred to I in You, You in Me, they is Us ... He obviously was not referring to His physical body. He was apparently referring to something deeper. more intrinsic. We know now in retrospect that this refers to Christ's spiritual Body.

If we can be part of something intrinsic, like His Body, but not part of His physical Body nor share in His Godhead, then it is plausible, more than probable, that there is a distinction that can, and needs to made, concerning these lines of demarcation. That also applies to events on the cross as it does every other event such as incarnation. Clearly, the man Jesus, who became sin itself on the cross was abandoned by the Father, and He as the Son as that Man really died, but that does not alter in anyway the eternal status of the Father and Son and Spirit as coinhering, co-existing, and co-equals. That divine and holy relationship is maintained throughout. If you are willing (and maybe you are) to affirm that the essence of God and the Godhead (all the co's) never change then the explanation for the Father forsaking the Son must be understood apart from mentally tampering with a change in the Godhead. The ditch of Trithesim awaits those who try to explain a separation of the Son from the Father on the cross as in anyway related to the essential Trinity. To make that assertion and to make it stick would mean you have to trace that separation at the cross (if that is where you think the separation occurred) and then back through His human living, incarnation, and ultimately back into the Godhead. Or else, you have to show where along that same path a separation occurred.

Drake
02-10-2017 11:26 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
UntoHim, its also known as communication through the medium of language. ;-)

But to our point I have removed all the extra-biblical terms in your post above. Would that be clearer now?

UntoHim's post without the extra-biblical terms:

"Just as Witness used the and to go beyond what is written in the actual, our friends and use to go beyond what is written. Witness was not a, and it showed big time in his teachings.

I'm glad to see that (too?) are using other such as l, when studying these . But, please, don't try to use the of to the teachings of Witness. Even himself would rarely the works of others (although he occasionally them without giving), and he certainly gave little to no to anyone but himself for his "high peak truths".
"

Actually, I kind of like better,,,, much more succinct (I will have to see if succinct is in the bible... next time).

Drake
More word games by the master wordsmiths at LSM.

All of a sudden our dear brother Drake has become a literalist, and a "pure wordist," I knew he could do it!

As for the so-called heretical "high-peak" truths promoted by Witness Lee back in the early-90's, one should note the urgent timing of this diversionary ruse. At the height of scandal, with numerous men of God around the globe crying out for repentance and righteous action concerning immoral actions of the acting head at LSM, the profligate and unsaved son of Witness Lee, who took great pleasure molesting the volunteer help and lording over church leaders, Lee launched a two-prong attack:

Firstly, throw all these "rebellious" leaders under the bus, labeling them lepers and worse, publicly and in writing. (Notice how he dared not use LSM as a publisher, since he then would be accountable for libelous falsehoods. As it turned out, those he attacked never sued him, because they were limited by the Spirit and the plain words of I Cor. 6)

Secondly, claim to receive new "revelation" from the God of "recovery," resuscitating comments made by Athanasius almost two millennia ago.
02-10-2017 10:50 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Just as Witness Lee used the extra-biblical terms "essential" and "economical" to go beyond what is written in the actual text, our friends Drake and Evangelical use extra-biblical terms (hypostatic, etc) to go beyond what is written. Witness Lee was not a trained theologian, and it showed big time in his make-it-up-as-he-went-along "recovered" teachings.

I'm glad to see that Evangelical (Drake too?) are using other bible helps, such as Gill, when studying these theological matters. But, please, don't try to use the theological musings of legitimate scholars to bolster the teachings of Witness Lee. Even Lee himself would rarely reference the works of others (although he occasionally plagiarized them without giving credit), and he certainly gave little to no credit to anyone but himself for his "high peak truths".

-
UntoHim, its also known as communication through the medium of language. ;-)

But to your point I have removed all the extra-biblical terms in your post above. Would that be clearer now?

UntoHim's post without the extra-biblical terms:

"Just as Witness used the and to go beyond what is written in the actual, our friends and use to go beyond what is written. Witness was not a, and it showed big time in his teachings.

I'm glad to see that (too?) are using other such as l, when studying these . But, please, don't try to use the of to the teachings of Witness. Even himself would rarely the works of others (although he occasionally them without giving), and he certainly gave little to no to anyone but himself for his "high peak truths".
"

Actually, I kind of like better,,,, much more succinct (I will have to see if succinct is in the bible... next time).

Drake
02-10-2017 09:39 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
For example, when I inferred that the Godhead dwelt in Christ on the cross, I was paraphrasing John Gill's exposition of the Bible which says:

"When he is said to be "forsaken" of God; the meaning is not, that the hypostatical union was dissolved, which was not even by death itself; the fulness of the Godhead still dwelt bodily in him"
You found one commentator that says what Lee said. Got more? I do not presume that any of them are correct all the time. And when it comes to the nature of God, it is all theoretical to us humans. Everyone has a declaration about what things mean.

And in your case, it is to insist that the "hypostatic union" of the Godhead causes the three to be part of and within each other than the undefined thing that unifies them without mixing them up in each other. You have not bothered to provide anything that indicates that Gill thinks that the hypostatic union caused the Father to be on the cross with Christ. Rather, you have read into a term of art not found in the scripture a characteristic of the Godhead that the actual verses do not support. You have presumed that defining hypostatic union provides a better and more clear understanding of the Godhead than the scripture provides. Rather, "hypostatic union" gives an undefined term as the definition of the unity of three that is greater than a round of handshakes. It does not create knowledge about the Godhead that is not provided in scripture. It only gives a name to things that are seen so that rather than trying to define it, we just say this term and understand that we don't really understand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The footnote in Matthew 27:46

. . .

But in LIFE-STUDY OF MARK,MESSAGE FORTY-EIGHT . . .
Not acceptable proof of anything. Lee cannot defend himself with his own writings.
02-10-2017 09:26 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
John 8:29 He has not left me alone, because I always do those things that please him." - because the cross pleased the Father, the Father never left Jesus alone on that cross.
Spoken concerning his 3.5 year mission of speaking to the people of Israel. Does not say "will not leave me alone."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
2 Corinthians 5:19. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
Even this verse is past tense. It does not prove or disprove that there ever was or was not a period or time when something might have been different. Neither does it declare that the unity of the Godhead has overcome and confused the three of the trinity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
John 16:32. “You [disciples] will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”
Once again, "I am not alone," not "I will never be alone." Present tense. Not a claim of always true or will always be true. You ignore that Jesus spoke rather clearly and without question that the Father had forsaken him on the cross, therefore you have a rather clear indication that this state of being "not alone" was not at all times true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
This verse says nothing about being one or being in Christ at any time, least of all at the crucifixion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The whole Godhead, the Triune God indwelt Jesus's body on the cross and even while Jesus was in that tomb. The Father was with Him, never leaving Him alone nor forsaking Him, because Christ had accomplished the most obedient and pleasing act possible. The Spirit was with Him, dwelling in Christ's mortal body, ready to raise Christ from the dead 3 days later.
Pure conjecture based upon the mishandling of the scripture, and by example the four you quoted above.

Quote:
So, would it have been possible that Jesus, through His divine nature, even while His human body lay dead, could have displayed His power through resurrection? Absolutely. Jesus, speaking of His body said “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) Certainly, it was “God” who raised His body (Rom. 10:9, 1 Pet. 1:21), and Jesus is God. But Scripture also teaches that the Father raised Him (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:17,20). Even the Holy Spirit is said to have raised Him (Romans 8:11). So, the act of raising Jesus from the dead was not the operation merely of one person within the Trinity, but was a cooperative act done by the power of the divine substance. The fact that the Bible teaches that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that Jesus raised Himself is yet another testament to Christ’s divinity.
Yet this does not force that God, as in the fullness of the Godhead, was on the cross and died there. That is a presumption not supported by any of the scripture or even this article.

And when the article says "Jesus is God," that is not the same as saying God is Jesus. You cannot declare that Jesus, who was on the cross, was God, and by making that declaration, now drag the other two back onto the cross with Christ because they are all God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
If the resurrection was a cooperative act, could the crucifixion not also be a cooperative act?
I will confess that it "could" be true. But there is nothing that makes it so, therefore I cannot (and you should not) insist that it simply is so. "Could" is a long way from "is."

And given so much of the totality of the accounts (including those that you have quoted) I cannot find a reason to think that it is more likely that it is true, rather that it is more likely that it is not. If the Father forsook Christ, and if he turned his face away (according to the scripture), then to argue that the Father was actually there on the cross being forsaken by himself is a fallacy of being true and not being true. An illogic. It is far less likely that it is true than that it is false. I realize that statistics and probabilities are not the basis for truth. But they should temper our insistence when we find that what we believe is too thoroughly contraindicated to be even close to a certainty.

And you are holding to it as a certainty.
02-10-2017 09:01 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.


This verse is clear that the Father and the Son indwelt one another when this was stated. That the words that Jesus spoke were not His own but the Father's and it was the Father doing the works. If the Father and Son indwelt one another and the Father did the works, what change occurred on the cross? Of course the Son died on the cross but where is the verse that indicates the essential bond was broken in the Godhead?
You must understand that the aspect of being "in" one another is a way of speaking of their oneness and unity in different terms than the popular Trinitarian term of "essence." As I said before, spending time talking about the humanity of Jesus is failing when you cause the aspects of the one (the "une") to confuse the three. Insisting that the "tri" were participants in receiving nails in the hands (wrists?) and feet, and then a sword in the side, death and burial is to do just that — confuse the three.

You have provided no verse that places the Father on the cross with Christ. Rather, you have taken verses that speak of the oneness of God (the "une") and insist that they dismiss the "tri" and place them all on the cross.

The cross was Christ's to bear alone. The turning of the face of the Father is the completeness of the separation. The Father condemned Jesus as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. And while the time of death was 3 days according to the prophecy, the Father was busy from the moment of the exhale of Christ's last breath. It began with the tearing of the veil from the top to the bottom to break the separation between God and man.

Then when Jesus appeared to the women on the morning of his resurrection, he said that he had to go to the Father. Under your "they are all there" theory, there is nowhere to go. Yet he had to ascend to accomplish that. How do you deal with that other than to admit that their oneness is not in being, but in something else. If it was in being, there would be no one to go to. There would be no one else to pray to.

And you seek a verse, so here it is.

John 17:20-21. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

Here Jesus said that we are to be one just as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. We like to take this to extremes. And you have done so in a manner than puts the Father in Christ being crucified and therefore being there. But if the oneness that we human Christians can experience is likened to the kind of oneness that is described as "you in me and I in you" then maybe we aren't so clear about how far that goes, or exactly what it means. If it means that we are to be unified like the Father being present inside the Son as he is crucified, then there is an obvious extent in which we are simply not capable of being that "one."

I can never truly see and experience your life from within you. But I can have the experience of a oneness that transcends whether I voted for Hillary (I didn't) and you voted for Trump. (Obviously I have no idea whether you are even in the U.S., so it is just an example.) Whether I came to believe in Christ through a creedal system while you were approached on a campus by some who through their speaking (and the Holy Spirit's working through their words) came to believe in Christ is of no consequence because we are one. Whether your calling is to carry the gospel to tribes in the jungles of Kalimantan while mine is simply to grow in righteousness as an image bearer of God showing those around me something not understood as normal for humans. Whether you worship in a demonstrative way in some kind of semi-charismatic assembly while I sing hymns, pray, confess (with a Kyrie Eleison), etc. we should be one.

And since the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father is how Jesus described the oneness between us that he prayed for concerning us, then I would suggest that your understanding of the meaning of the Father begin in the Son is not consistent with what little we have as evidence of what that is about. Not as simple as The Father is crawling around inside the Son and visa versa.
02-10-2017 08:56 AM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
To summarize your ideas:

"Strictly speaking, a person not in the church is not saved, but they might or could be".
It is not for us to judge people outside the Church. We want salvation of all people and we leave the judgment to the Lord. Will He save or not some people: who, why and how? - we do not know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
"I don't know if I am saved" - how you can call that faith, I don't know, because uncertainty is the exact opposite of faith.
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?" (James 2:14)

I think the faith in God and the certainty of one's posthumous destiny are two different things. We can claim anything but the Lord looks at our hearts.

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2)

Do you really have works? Do you really have love? Do you really think that you are worthy of the Kingdom of God? I believe only a deluded person can answer "yes, I do".

We can believe whatever we like about our posthumous life but only God knows our destiny.

I think it is Mormons who "know" that they will become a god or a goddess on his or her own personal planet... but who gave them the guaranty?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
"If you leave Orthodoxy you will lose salvation". How can you be so confident to lose something that you are unsure of having in the first place?
Do you know where your soul will go after you die? Will it be Bosom of Abraham? Are you 100% sure that you will be able to unite with Christ? Do you think that you deserve the Kingdom of God where the Lord prepared a nice place for you?

An Orthodox Christian has hope that he will be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and achieve a union with God. But rejecting the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the man cuts himself off Christ. Thefore, his posthumous life in the Kingdom of Heaven will be impossible.

One can't know his destiny until he dies. Well, we can delude ourselves, expecting a cosy place in Paradise, but will it help us out?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
If you don't know whether you will be saved, being in the church, or out of it, why bother being in the church at all?
The Church is the Ark of salvation. Its goal is to bring and unite people to Christ. I have more chances to be saved when I am in the Ark than without it.

God bless.
02-10-2017 08:43 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Just as Witness Lee used the extra-biblical terms "essential" and "economical" to go beyond what is written in the actual text, our friends Drake and Evangelical use extra-biblical terms (hypostatic, etc) to go beyond what is written. Witness Lee was not a trained theologian, and it showed big time in his make-it-up-as-he-went-along "recovered" teachings.

I'm glad to see that Evangelical (Drake too?) are using other bible helps, such as Gill, when studying these theological matters. But, please, don't try to use the theological musings of legitimate scholars to bolster the teachings of Witness Lee. Even Lee himself would rarely reference the works of others (although he occasionally plagiarized them without giving credit), and he certainly gave little to no credit to anyone but himself for his "high peak truths".

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02-10-2017 08:16 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

UntoHim)"Where did I use this term "separation in the Godhead". I said no such thing. I implied no such thing".

UntoHim, of course you implied it. Here again:

"So the Father didn't actually forsake him? So he was dreaming? "This" is what the Father forsook? "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin" (2 Cor 5:21) It wasn't a "this" or an "it" that got forsaken by God, it was a "HE", and the HE was the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father forsook (the was the point of the Father's giving - "for God so loved the world that HE GAVE his only begotten Son") and the Son did the sacrifice. There is no need to introduce the essential or economical Trinity or any other extra-biblical terms...the actual words related to us in the bible should be good enough. "

Unless you limit the forsaking to the Sons humanity then the only forsaking left is the hypostatic union! What other forsaking could there have been?

Of course God forsook HIM. The HIM that He forsook was a man of sin. Do you really believe that the Father forsook the Son in Their eternal union?

Drake
02-10-2017 07:59 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
When you do quote a verse in context (a somewhat rare occasion) you seem to be confused, as if the supposed "contradictions" are something to revel in. If you don't want to be accused of a lack of knowledge then I suggest you don't make ignorant statements such as "the Father... never forsaking him" - the exact words which are recording for us in said verse. That must of been an embarrassing slip for you.

But then you made a nice recovery with this:

See, I knew you could do it!
-

That is not my recovery or embarrassing to me, that has been my position all along - my view respects the hypostatic union, Christ as the Son of God and also as the Son of Man.

How can you say I am ignorant about Matthew 27:46, when in my post #2 I present both sides - the Father not leaving Christ, but also the Father forsaking Him. I said this:

Not only is this denying the omnipresence of God, but Christ's own words: "John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.". I believe Lee is right when he says the Father sent the Son but also was present with the Son. Christ also said "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" indicating that the Father's presence departed from him.

You accused me of lack of knowledge, thinking that I did not know about Matthew 27:46, when in fact I had mentioned it in post #2 and again in post #47. That is embarrassing for you. I knew about this verse and its meaning, and was discussing it from the beginning.

Then again in post #47 I referred to God forsaking Christ as the Son of Man:

Matt 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

After this point, Jesus was like any other condemned sinner - completely separated from God.

Some, may think that God forsaking Christ, was not an actual departure of the Father and the Spirit's presence. But other passages in scripture prove that to be forsaken is for God to leave - e.g. Hebrews 13:5.


Then a few posts ago I emphasized the fact that the hypostatic union was not broken when Christ died on the cross and that Christ did not stop being the Godhead in the flesh when he went to the grave.

What makes you and others on here look ignorant is the fact that I am not even quoting from Lee/Nee here, but using freely available online bible commentaries.

For example, when I inferred that the Godhead dwelt in Christ on the cross, I was paraphrasing John Gill's exposition of the Bible which says:

"When he is said to be "forsaken" of God; the meaning is not, that the hypostatical union was dissolved, which was not even by death itself; the fulness of the Godhead still dwelt bodily in him"

When I mentioned the Father not forsaking Christ because Christ always pleased the Father I was paraphrasing Barnes's notes on the Bible:

This expression is one denoting intense suffering. It has been difficult to understand in what sense Jesus was "forsaken by God." It is certain that God approved his work. It is certain that he was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favor of God. As his own Son - holy, harmless, undefiled, and obedient - God still loved him.In either of these senses God could not have forsaken him.

It must be embarrassing for you that a "Lee-follower" is beating you at your own game, using the words of freely available bible commentaries to show that the matter of God "forsaking" Christ is not so clear cut, and to show what is essentially the same doctrine as Lee's.

The footnote in Matthew 27:46 Recovery Version, says "God forsook Christ on the cross".

But in LIFE-STUDY OF MARK,MESSAGE FORTY-EIGHT THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SLAVE-SAVIOR FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT
OF GOD’S REDEMPTION Lee explains how Christ was never separated from the God, yet in some sense God left him. Lee explains that it was the anointing of the Spirit that left Christ, not the divine essence. God forsaking Christ does not mean that Christ no longer had the divine nature. That is similar to what Gill's commentary says.

All good bible scholars admit the difficulty in explaining the exact nature of God forsaking Christ on the cross and its implications in regards to the Trinity.
02-10-2017 07:22 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
You believe that this shows separation in the Godhead to the extent that only the Son died on the cross.
Where did I use this term "separation in the Godhead". I said no such thing. I implied no such thing. I believe no such thing. The reason I believe no such thing is that the Bible teaches no such thing. When the Lord Jesus cried out to the Father "My God, My God why have you forsaken me" I don't think he was just dreaming about this, do you? Do you think he was just reciting the opening verse of Psalm 22 because it seemed appropriate at the time? I believe that only the Son died on the cross because that's what the actual words say. If you want to add to the Word of God with the fanciful teachings of a man who says "forget about what the bible says...I know better...THE ENTIRE TRIUNE GOD DIED ON THE CROSS!" then you do so at your own peril.

Quote:
If you believe like I do that the essential Trinity , what God is in His essence, cannot be changed from eternity past to eternity future then the Son's cry on the cross has everything to do with His pefect humanity becoming complete sin. This what the Father forsook.
So the Father didn't actually forsake him? So he was dreaming? "This" is what the Father forsook? "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin" (2 Cor 5:21) It wasn't a "this" or an "it" that got forsaken by God, it was a "HE", and the HE was the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father forsook (the was the point of the Father's giving - "for God so loved the world that HE GAVE his only begotten Son") and the Son did the sacrifice. There is no need to introduce the essential or economical Trinity or any other extra-biblical terms...the actual words related to us in the bible should be good enough.
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02-10-2017 07:13 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

InChristAlone) "I wonder who gave you the guarantee of your personal salvation. How do you know the Lord's judgement on you?"

InChristAlone,

The guarantee of our eternal salvation is based on the redemption of Christ Who already paid the price on the cross. When we believe into Him we are joined to Him in His death .The payment being made in full by Christ is our assurance of salvation. As pertains to our eternal state, our eternal salvation our faith in His redemptive work settled the problem of sin and separation from God once and for all.. As we were joined to Him in death so also in His resurrection . God' accepts us because He accepts Christ. Therefore, God gave us the guarantee of our personal salvation based on His work and our faith in it, not on our works.

There is a salvation related to our daily living and entrance into the kingdom as a reward to the believers who are faithful in this life. Several verses you cited such as Philippians are related to this working out of our daily salvation. Not all believers will recieve the reward of the kingdom. Nevertheless, this does not negate our eternal salvation. Conflating the two will lead to confusion about salvation in the Bible..

Drake
02-10-2017 06:37 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
This verse is plain for all to see as well...
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46 Recovery Version)

My friend, I must tell you, that your lack of knowledge of some of the basics of the teachings and history related to us in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament is quite revealing. It is apparent that you study and value the words of a man above and beyond the Word of God. In your rush to confirm/affirm Witness Lee's teaching that "the whole Triune God died on the cross" you couldn't even remember one of the seminal passages in the Gospels.

Please, I beg you, turn back to the Word of God, and to "the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation" (Rom 1:16) Forget about the creeds if you must. Forget about anything anybody posts on this forum if you must. Lay aside, at least for a season, the person and work of Witness Lee. The Word of God is eagerly waiting for your heart and mind to washed in the water of it's truth and grace.

-
UntoHim,

This verse does not provide any clarification to this debate. No matter what view is held, with this verse both sides of the debate would have some splainin to do.

You believe that this shows separation in the Godhead to the extent that only the Son died on the cross. Yet, why would the Son say that on the cross if the Father and Son were already separated? Your separation argument would also apply to incarnation and human living. It is just as obvious by the statements our Lord made about the mutual indwelling between the Father and the Son that there is no separation from the Father during His earthly ministry.

If you believe like I do that the essential Trinity , what God is in His essence, cannot be changed from eternity past to eternity future then the Son's cry on the cross has everything to do with His pefect humanity becoming complete sin. This what the Father forsook.

Drake
02-10-2017 06:25 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
it is funny when you say I have a lack of knowledge and not being able to remember one of the seminal passages in the Gospels. I was actually the one who introduced the idea of Matthew 27:46 to this thread, as far back as post #2. I quoted it again in a later post #47.
When you do quote a verse in context (a somewhat rare occasion) you seem to be confused, as if the supposed "contradictions" are something to revel in. If you don't want to be accused of a lack of knowledge then I suggest you don't make ignorant statements such as "the Father... never forsaking him" - the exact words which are recording for us in said verse. That must of been an embarrassing slip for you.

But then you made a nice recovery with this:

Quote:
There is a way to reconcile both the Father leaving Christ on the cross, yet also the Father never leaving Him, if we consider Christ as both the Son of God and also the Son of Man. As the Son of Man the Father left Him, as the Son of God, the Father did not leave Him, the cross did not break the hypostatic union.
See, I knew you could do it!
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02-10-2017 04:33 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by InChristAlone View Post
Evangelical, I don't think that Muslims are saved because there is no salvation without Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Salvation demands faith in Jesus Christ. It is only through Christ we are able to achieve a union with God and to be brought into Christ's eternal Kingdom). And I don't know if I am already saved or not because I am still on this Earth and, as the apostle says, we work out our salvation. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". (Philippians 2:12) In other words, we are being saved, not already saved.
To summarize your ideas:

"Strictly speaking, a person not in the church is not saved, but they might or could be"

"I don't know if I am saved" - how you can call that faith, I don't know, because uncertainty is the exact opposite of faith.

"If you leave Orthodoxy you will lose salvation". How can you be so confident to lose something that you are unsure of having in the first place?

If you don't know whether you will be saved, being in the church, or out of it, why bother being in the church at all?
02-10-2017 04:14 AM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
This verse is plain for all to see as well...
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46 Recovery Version)

My friend, I must tell you, that your lack of knowledge of some of the basics of the teachings and history related to us in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament is quite revealing. It is apparent that you study and value the words of a man above and beyond the Word of God. In your rush to confirm/affirm Witness Lee's teaching that "the whole Triune God died on the cross" you couldn't even remember one of the seminal passages in the Gospels.

Please, I beg you, turn back to the Word of God, and to "the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation" (Rom 1:16) Forget about the creeds if you must. Forget about anything anybody posts on this forum if you must. Lay aside, at least for a season, the person and work of Witness Lee. The Word of God is eagerly waiting for your heart and mind to washed in the water of it's truth and grace.

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it is funny when you say I have a lack of knowledge and not being able to remember one of the seminal passages in the Gospels.

I was actually the one who introduced the idea of Matthew 27:46 to this thread, as far back as post #2. I quoted it again in a later post #47.

This must be an embarrassing slip up for you.

It is not so simple as drawing a conclusion from this one verse - how can we reconcile the fact that Jesus said the Father never leaves Him, he was always obedient, always pleasing the Father, with this utterance of God forsaking him? This is an apparent contradiction in the Bible.

This difficulty with the passage is mentioned in Barne's commentary on the Bible:

My God, my God ... - This expression is one denoting intense suffering. It has been difficult to understand in what sense Jesus was "forsaken by God." It is certain that God approved his work. It is certain that he was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favor of God. As his own Son - holy, harmless, undefiled, and obedient - God still loved him. In either of these senses God could not have forsaken him. But the expression was probably used in reference to the following circumstances, namely:

There is a way to reconcile both the Father leaving Christ on the cross, yet also the Father never leaving Him, if we consider Christ as both the Son of God and also the Son of Man. As the Son of Man the Father left Him, as the Son of God, the Father did not leave Him, the cross did not break the hypostatic union.
02-10-2017 02:58 AM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
I also think you are just repeating standard accusations about the so-called "modalism" of Witness Lee without explaining what the man actually and fully taught.
Drake, thank you for your kind reply.

I think you know the infamous quotes of WL:

Although He is one God, yet there is the matter of three-foldness, that is, the threefold Person--the Father, the Son, and Spirit.
He (the Father) is the One hidden within, the Son is the One manifested without; yet the One who is manifested without is the One who is hidden within--the two are just one!
Thank the Lord, He also has two ends: at the end in heaven He is the Father, and at the end on the earth He is the Son; at the end in heaven He is the One who listens to the prayer, and at the end on earth He is the One who prays. He is both the One who prays on earth and the One who listens in heaven.
The Son who prays is the Father who listens.
Therefore the Bible clearly reveals to us that the Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit. Otherwise, how could these three be one God?
The Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit.
. . . The Lord Jesus is the Holy Spirit . . .


It's possible to explain them but I am afraid that the explanation will be similar to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The Father killed Christ - the Father sent His Son to die, it was a purposeful act
The Son killed Himself - he offered up his own life willingly, always knowing he would die on the cross
The Spirit killed Christ - by the Spirit taking the breath of life from Him. The Spirit of God could have miraculously sustained Christ on the cross for as long as He wanted.
Is it just a wordplay or something else? Lord, have mercy on us!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
I too am puzzled by your Muslim comment. If you mean that a Muslim repents and accepts Christ then of course one can be saved. If you mean that a Muslim might be saved though rejecting Christ well I hope you mean to say an emphatic no.
I hope I replied your question below. Please don't hesitate to ask me if I left something unclear. English is not my native language. So, I am always struggling to articulate. (But I am very good at copy-and-pasting. )

God bless.
02-09-2017 10:13 PM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
InChristAlone, if you don't know you are saved, then you are not saved. If you think Muslims are saved, then you are not saved. A truly saved person knows they are saved. A truly saved person knows that Muslims cannot be saved. If you don't know that you are saved, then no correct understanding of the Trinity doctrine can save you.
Evangelical, I don't think that Muslims are saved because there is no salvation without Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Salvation demands faith in Jesus Christ. It is only through Christ we are able to achieve a union with God and to be brought into Christ's eternal Kingdom). And I don't know if I am already saved or not because I am still on this Earth and, as the apostle says, we work out our salvation. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". (Philippians 2:12) In other words, we are being saved, not already saved.

I am not a holy man but a great sinner. How can I trust my feelings, emotions or self-confidence? Will I really be united with Christ after my death? Will I be worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Right now, I am not even worthy to stand before the face of the Lord. Therefore, I still need Him as my Savior. I believe in the Lord, and I do want to be saved but I don't have the guarantee.

One day, we will know the outcome for sure. Meanwhile, we can only hope for our salvation.

I wonder who gave you the guarantee of your personal salvation. How do you know the Lord's judgement on you? Didn't the Lord warn us, "On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’'

You can delude yourself about your salvation but only God knows if you are really saved or not.

Orthodox monastics are very sober people. So, they give us a wise advice and a warning against delusion: "Do not trust yourself until you go to last home." You cannot say better that that.

Quote:
The early Church did not believe that baptism guarantees one salvation: “…After we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation.” (St. Justin the Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 65). Again, it is worth noting that the everlasting salvation is linked to one’s works.

Even Apostle Paul himself did not feel that his salvation was guaranteed: “…Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11) – “nearer” but not a “done deal”. “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). We notice immediately that for the Apostle the possibility of his salvation was tied to his ascetic feats. “…If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended…” (Philippians 3:11-13).

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46463.htm
Salvation is "faith working through love." It is an ongoing, lifelong process. Salvation is past tense in that, through the death and Resurrection of Christ, we have been saved. It is present tense, for we must also be being saved by our active participation through faith in our union with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is also future tense, for we must yet be saved at His glorious Second Coming.

As for Muslims, of course, if they repent and accept the Lord, they can be saved in this life. (But only God knows that for sure). We don't know what is going on after death. Will Muslims be able to accept the Lord? Will the Lord save them? I don't know. "For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Rom. 9:15-16) Thus, I leave it for the Lord to judge. "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside." (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) God "will have mercy on whom He will have mercy" (Rom 9:18).

St. Cyprian of Carthage says that "outside the Church (which is the Body of Christ) there is no salvation." Strictly speaking, it means that you Evangelical are not saved, no matter what you "know" about your salvation. Will you be saved? I don't know. It is between you and God. (How can I judge you and talk about your salvation, when I don't even know my lot?) Anyway, I wish you to be saved. I wish my wife and all my friends and relatives, who don't belong to the Church, to be saved as well. But the only thing I can do is to pray for my and their salvation.

In Orthodoxy, salvation is a mystery. You and I can talk about it a lot but it is only for God to judge who is saved and who is not. All your "proofs" and "assurances" of your salvation may cost nothing before the Lord. We will have our final "proofs" only after we die.

God "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (I Tim. 2:4). I would like to believe that God is leading all of us towards salvation. At least I am sure He knows what He is doing.

Here is a popular quote that belongs to Theophan the Recluse: "You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."

Another author says:

"Individuals within Orthodoxy might give you all sorts of different answers, but the most uniform response you will get about who God will save outside of the Church is that we simply do not know. Christ as God, and King and Judge can save whoever He wants to save, and condemn whoever He wants to condemn. Even being in the Church is no guarantee of salvation."

Please check out these two links:

Will the Heterodox Be Saved?

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/me...heterodox.aspx

The Orthodox Teaching on Salvation

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46463.htm

God bless.
02-09-2017 09:05 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The Father was with Him, never leaving Him alone nor forsaking Him, because Christ had accomplished the most obedient and pleasing act possible. The Spirit was with Him, dwelling in Christ's mortal body, ready to raise Christ from the dead 3 days later.

This is all in the Bible, plain for all to see,...
This verse is plain for all to see as well...
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46 Recovery Version)

My friend, I must tell you, that your lack of knowledge of some of the basics of the teachings and history related to us in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament is quite revealing. It is apparent that you study and value the words of a man above and beyond the Word of God. In your rush to confirm/affirm Witness Lee's teaching that "the whole Triune God died on the cross" you couldn't even remember one of the seminal passages in the Gospels.

Please, I beg you, turn back to the Word of God, and to "the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation" (Rom 1:16) Forget about the creeds if you must. Forget about anything anybody posts on this forum if you must. Lay aside, at least for a season, the person and work of Witness Lee. The Word of God is eagerly waiting for your heart and mind to washed in the water of it's truth and grace.

-
02-09-2017 05:31 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
OBW) "You need a verse to establish that what you are saying is true. You are asking me to disprove what has not been tentatively established as true."

I thought Evangelical gave a good explanation about the Lord's humanity and the Lord's divinity in regards to His dying on the cross. I am surprised you and others did not see it as the right balance and opportunity to find some ground. Perhaps tritheism is indeed a hidden tendency with many here.

But you asked for a verse. Very well, there are many. Here is one:

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.


This verse is clear that the Father and the Son indwelt one another when this was stated. That the words that Jesus spoke were not His own but the Father's and it was the Father doing the works. If the Father and Son indwelt one another and the Father did the works, what change occurred on the cross? Of course the Son died on the cross but where is the verse that indicates the essential bond was broken in the Godhead?

Drake
And this one:

John 8:29 He has not left me alone, because I always do those things that please him." - because the cross pleased the Father, the Father never left Jesus alone on that cross.

and this:

2 Corinthians 5:19
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.


John 16:32
“You [disciples] will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”


Many Christians have the wrong concept that Jesus was alone on that cross, the Father was in Heaven and the Spirit was floating around somewhere. The biggest proponents of this lie are the "historical Jesus" proponents - that Jesus was merely a great historical human figure, and not God in human flesh. But actually the bible says that God the Father dwelt in him and was with Him even to the highest and most glorious act of obedience in pleasing the Father's will - death on the cross. The Spirit was also indwelling Christ for the Spirit had to raise Jesus from the dead, 3 days later:

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

The whole Godhead, the Triune God indwelt Jesus's body on the cross and even while Jesus was in that tomb. The Father was with Him, never leaving Him alone nor forsaking Him, because Christ had accomplished the most obedient and pleasing act possible. The Spirit was with Him, dwelling in Christ's mortal body, ready to raise Christ from the dead 3 days later.

This is all in the Bible, plain for all to see, that a concept of three separate persons of the Trinity in different places and time during the crucifixion is wrong.

I found this article gives a good explanation about the involvement of all three Person's of the Trinity in Christ's resurrection:

https://carm.org/jesus-raise-himself

So, would it have been possible that Jesus, through His divine nature, even while His human body lay dead, could have displayed His power through resurrection? Absolutely. Jesus, speaking of His body said “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) Certainly, it was “God” who raised His body (Rom. 10:9, 1 Pet. 1:21), and Jesus is God. But Scripture also teaches that the Father raised Him (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:17,20). Even the Holy Spirit is said to have raised Him (Romans 8:11). So, the act of raising Jesus from the dead was not the operation merely of one person within the Trinity, but was a cooperative act done by the power of the divine substance. The fact that the Bible teaches that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that Jesus raised Himself is yet another testament to Christ’s divinity.

It is correct to say that Jesus raised Himself from the dead,and that the Spirit raised Him, and also that the Father raised Him. All these three statements are true and are not to the exclusion of the other. It was cooperative.

If the resurrection was a cooperative act, could the crucifixion not also be a cooperative act?-
The Father killed Christ - the Father sent His Son to die, it was a purposeful act
The Son killed Himself - he offered up his own life willingly, always knowing he would die on the cross
The Spirit killed Christ - by the Spirit taking the breath of life from Him. The Spirit of God could have miraculously sustained Christ on the cross for as long as He wanted.

There is also the involvement of the betrayer, the Jews, the Romans, etc.
02-09-2017 05:12 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW) "You need a verse to establish that what you are saying is true. You are asking me to disprove what has not been tentatively established as true."

I thought Evangelical gave a good explanation about the Lord's humanity and the Lord's divinity in regards to His dying on the cross. I am surprised you and others did not see it as the right balance and opportunity to find some ground. Perhaps tritheism is indeed a hidden tendency with many here.

But you asked for a verse. Very well, there are many. Here is one:

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.


This verse is clear that the Father and the Son indwelt one another when this was stated. That the words that Jesus spoke were not His own but the Father's and it was the Father doing the works. If the Father and Son indwelt one another and the Father did the works, what change occurred on the cross? Of course the Son died on the cross but where is the verse that indicates the essential bond was broken in the Godhead?

Drake
02-09-2017 05:10 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
I did not say that Muslims are saved because they ostensibly follow-on to the God of Abraham. And neither did you.

But you said (and resaid) that "Muslims cannot be saved." By what means are Muslims refused the right to believe in Christ and be saved? That is the only way that they "cannot be saved." I did not say that they are saved. I did not say that they will eventually be saved because of some after-the-end-of-times end of "forever." I only said that that they CAN be saved while you said they CANNOT.

I declare that you are wrong.

Care to back down now?

- - - -

If English is your second or third language, I can accept the error of grammar and you can write this off as too much complaining about a typo. But if it is your primary language, I suggest you read and think about the implications of what you post before you hit "Submit."

Either way, If you want to be taken seriously, then be sure you are at least up to the task of being serious. I gave you two chances to read your post and reconsider but you just came back without any thought. If English is not your first language, when you get a response that you do not expect, it is always worthwhile to reread what you posted and see if you really said what you think you did.

Of course we all tend to see what we want to see. So we all get into this kind of problem at times. But rather than just digging in your heels, restate whatever it is that appears to be misunderstood. You might find that the second time you actually say something different than the first time and the crisis is averted.

(Man's thinking: The foot is down! Disaster Averted!
Wife silent response: Well that was a disaster.)
My statement that "Muslims cannot be saved" was in reply to this post by InChristAlone #43:

Can a Muslim be saved? I don't know. It is for God to decide.

The context is clearly Muslims who have not accepted Christ (which would make them Christians, wouldn't it?).

The context was Muslims, period, not Muslims who have converted to Christ. InChristAlone did not say , "can a Muslim who has accepted Christ be saved"?. The answer to that is yes, of course. That's a no brainer.

If you want to be taken seriously, please don't jump into something without first understanding the context of the discussion, but your 3 paragraphs about English not being my first language are hilarious given you missed the discussion's context.
02-09-2017 04:56 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
I fully stand by it, what is your problem with it? You don't believe that Muslims cannot be saved?
I did not say that Muslims are saved because they ostensibly follow-on to the God of Abraham. And neither did you.

But you said (and resaid) that "Muslims cannot be saved." By what means are Muslims refused the right to believe in Christ and be saved? That is the only way that they "cannot be saved." I did not say that they are saved. I did not say that they will eventually be saved because of some after-the-end-of-times end of "forever." I only said that that they CAN be saved while you said they CANNOT.

I declare that you are wrong.

Care to back down now?

- - - -

If English is your second or third language, I can accept the error of grammar and you can write this off as too much complaining about a typo. But if it is your primary language, I suggest you read and think about the implications of what you post before you hit "Submit."

Either way, If you want to be taken seriously, then be sure you are at least up to the task of being serious. I gave you two chances to read your post and reconsider but you just came back without any thought. If English is not your first language, when you get a response that you do not expect, it is always worthwhile to reread what you posted and see if you really said what you think you did.

Of course we all tend to see what we want to see. So we all get into this kind of problem at times. But rather than just digging in your heels, restate whatever it is that appears to be misunderstood. You might find that the second time you actually say something different than the first time and the crisis is averted.

(Man's thinking: The foot is down! Disaster Averted!
Wife silent response: Well that was a disaster.)
02-09-2017 04:53 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

In Christ Alone)"Can a Muslim be saved? I don't know"

First I appreciate your thoughtful response though I don't agree with all of your post.

I also think you are just repeating standard accusations about the so-called "modalism" of Witness Lee without explaining what the man actually and fully taught. Witness Lee has spoken about the three nature of God more than all the folks on on this forum many times over and so much so that he spent extensive time on each of the three. That alone could open him to charges of thinking too much about there being three.

Even though you and others don't claim to be a tritheist yet the hard push toward the "three" while not folding in the balance of the "one" indicates a tendency toward tritheism. If Witness Lee does not believe in both the three and one of the Godhead then he never used the word "Triune God". Yet if he said it once, he said it ten thousand times. And he did.

I too am puzzled by your Muslim comment. If you mean that a Muslim repents and accepts Christ then of course one can be saved. If you mean that a Muslim might be saved though rejecting Christ well I hope you mean to say an emphatic no.

Drake
02-09-2017 04:43 PM
Evangelical
Re: What the Bible reveals about who died on the cross

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
With the possible exception of the small portion "were in no way afflicted by" I find that your statement is not only marginal within what is available to be read in the Bible, but can only be understood as whimsical or otherwise not based upon the Bible, but wholly upon a human notion. Or the insisting that things said in other contexts about other things must force their way into this discussion.

Sort of like declaring that leaven is always bad. Metaphorically and figuratively it is used by Jesus as both good and bad. Therefore the use of the word has no obvious meaning as to the status of the thing that it is likened to. Rather it is the context that supplies the status. "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees" is clearly bad. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which . . ." is clearly the opposite. So "leaven" does not control the nature of the thing being talked about. But it does describe how that thing, whether good or bad, disappears into something else and causes changes that are vastly beyond what would be imagined from such a small bit of substance.

As for the little part about being "in no way afflicted" it is reasonable to assume that a God who is not simply a cold, heartless being (cold-hearted orb that rules the night . . .) that cannot be moved, I could never imagine that the Father was not affected. Afflicted might be a little much, but arguably similar and therefore plausible.

But part of the one that died on the cross? It just isn't a reasonable conclusion from any of the information available.

And I don't need a new verse to tell you that the unsupported things you are saying are wrong. You need a verse to establish that what you are saying is true. You are asking me to disprove what has not been tentatively established as true.

And this is the place where it should be pointed out that this forum is at least partly about discussing the errors (or at least potential errors) of Nee and Lee. Therefore the fact that they said something is not a valid point in their favor. Since there is, and has been, a significant body of study and agreement (even among groups that don't entirely agree on everything) that have disagreed with the marginal positions since the beginning, and since Lee is effectively resurrecting a variant on an ancient heresy, the weight is on you to prove that it is true. And "Lee said" is not proof. If that is all it takes to have a fact, then I can simply say that "I said" and you are foiled. But then you would say "But I say" and we would be at an impass.

The thing is that since the controversy concerns the teachings of your favorite theologian (or more correctly, non-theologian) his bare statements about what things mean other than what they say is not a defense of their position. I admit that I have made statements about what certain things mean. But I have at least been thoughtful and am willing to allow you to look at the passages and tell me how I am wrong. And I can show you how I think I am right. I don't need Swindol or Ryrie or Piper or any other in most cases. The Bible is really quite readable if you just read it rather than study its jots and tiddles for coded messages. You need something more than a lot of pray-reading to cause something that is not there to suddenly be what it is talking about.

So, without resorting to quotes from Nee or Lee, what is it that causes the Father to be on the cross with Jesus the Christ? The extra-biblical terms co-exist, co-inhere, as well as the others do not suffice. They do not force there to be an absolute unity of "persons" for lack of a better word. They do not obscure and obliterate the "tri" of triune. They only describe something of the "une." Your version says "triune" but effectively means "une." There is One God. Period, Amen. I can hear that God saying "I know you talk about three stuff, but you should forget it because it is really parlor tricks. 'We' are little more than a series of schizophrenic episodes."

Don't think I am insulting God. rather I am acknowledging that he is much more than the limitations that such an extreme understanding of "une" puts on him. It's as if there is no three. It was a waste of ink and scroll. There was no reason to end letters with references to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. "We" really are just one with one name. I don't know what those human scribes were thinking. They messed it all up. Thank myself that Lee came along and straightened it out. That Bible is just not very accurate or meaningful.
I have not quoted Lee at all in my past posts.

My post said this:

Matt 27:46 is my biblical proof that the Spirit was with Christ on the cross until the 9th hour. The Spirit leaving Christ means that the Spirit was with Christ up until that moment which included a significant portion of Christ's crucifixion journey, most of it, except his darkest hour and death.

Is there any clearer proof from the bible that the Spirit was truly with Christ on the cross?

From Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:

When he is said to be "forsaken" of God; the meaning is not, that the hypostatical union was dissolved, which was not even by death itself; the fulness of the Godhead still dwelt bodily in him:

The fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Christ on the cross and even to his death. The cross did not dissolve the hypostatical union.

When you say that *only* the Son died on the cross you are correct, the Father and the Spirit cannot die, but you are also incorrect, if you think it meant the Godhead was not dwelling in Christ's body in those moments. If you think that the Son dying on the cross was anything less than the Godhead, Elohim, indwelling human flesh, you are wrong. Christ was not the Godhead in human flesh for only some of the time, and not all of the time. In that sense, we can say that the whole Godhead experienced what it was like to die on the cross.

We all know the ant analogy - Just as a person would have to become an ant to understand what its like to be an ant, God became a man to understand what it's like to be a man. This idea must extend to the whole Godhead. It is not that only one third or two thirds of God understood what its like to be a man, but the whole Triune God.

If that concept is heretical then is it any more heretical than saying that only a third of God understood what it was like to be a human? Do we really believe that only a third of God, the Son of God, understands humanity and the Father and the Spirit are in ignorance and denial?

I believe this is the erroneous idea in many Christians heads - the Son is the only one who understands them and pleads their human case before the Father in Heaven who does not understand humans. And the Spirit is just an impersonal power or force who does miraculous stuff. They do not realize that the Father was in the Son on the cross, and that the Holy Spirit is the same as the Spirit of Christ who experienced the crucifixion. The cross did not change the oneness between the Father and the Son that Jesus talked about in John 10:30, particularly since Christ's death on the cross was an act of obedience and in fulfillment of the Father's will.

John 8:29 He has not left me alone, because I always do those things that please him." - because the cross pleased the Father, the Father never left Jesus alone on that cross.
02-09-2017 04:41 PM
OBW
Re: What the Bible reveals about who died on the cross

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
But it is incorrect to say that the Father and the Spirit were not with Christ when he died on the cross, or they were in no way afflicted with Christ's suffering. It is incorrect to say that the whole Godhead did not indwell Christ's flesh when he was on the cross. But they did not die.
With the possible exception of the small portion "were in no way afflicted by" I find that your statement is not only marginal within what is available to be read in the Bible, but can only be understood as whimsical or otherwise not based upon the Bible, but wholly upon a human notion. Or the insisting that things said in other contexts about other things must force their way into this discussion.

Sort of like declaring that leaven is always bad. Metaphorically and figuratively it is used by Jesus as both good and bad. Therefore the use of the word has no obvious meaning as to the status of the thing that it is likened to. Rather it is the context that supplies the status. "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees" is clearly bad. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which . . ." is clearly the opposite. So "leaven" does not control the nature of the thing being talked about. But it does describe how that thing, whether good or bad, disappears into something else and causes changes that are vastly beyond what would be imagined from such a small bit of substance.

As for the little part about being "in no way afflicted" it is reasonable to assume that a God who is not simply a cold, heartless being (cold-hearted orb that rules the night . . .) that cannot be moved, I could never imagine that the Father was not affected. Afflicted might be a little much, but arguably similar and therefore plausible.

But part of the one that died on the cross? It just isn't a reasonable conclusion from any of the information available.

And I don't need a new verse to tell you that the unsupported things you are saying are wrong. You need a verse to establish that what you are saying is true. You are asking me to disprove what has not been tentatively established as true.

And this is the place where it should be pointed out that this forum is at least partly about discussing the errors (or at least potential errors) of Nee and Lee. Therefore the fact that they said something is not a valid point in their favor. Since there is, and has been, a significant body of study and agreement (even among groups that don't entirely agree on everything) that have disagreed with the marginal positions since the beginning, and since Lee is effectively resurrecting a variant on an ancient heresy, the weight is on you to prove that it is true. And "Lee said" is not proof. If that is all it takes to have a fact, then I can simply say that "I said" and you are foiled. But then you would say "But I say" and we would be at an impass.

The thing is that since the controversy concerns the teachings of your favorite theologian (or more correctly, non-theologian) his bare statements about what things mean other than what they say is not a defense of their position. I admit that I have made statements about what certain things mean. But I have at least been thoughtful and am willing to allow you to look at the passages and tell me how I am wrong. And I can show you how I think I am right. I don't need Swindol or Ryrie or Piper or any other in most cases. The Bible is really quite readable if you just read it rather than study its jots and tiddles for coded messages. You need something more than a lot of pray-reading to cause something that is not there to suddenly be what it is talking about.

So, without resorting to quotes from Nee or Lee, what is it that causes the Father to be on the cross with Jesus the Christ? The extra-biblical terms co-exist, co-inhere, as well as the others do not suffice. They do not force there to be an absolute unity of "persons" for lack of a better word. They do not obscure and obliterate the "tri" of triune. They only describe something of the "une." Your version says "triune" but effectively means "une." There is One God. Period, Amen. I can hear that God saying "I know you talk about three stuff, but you should forget it because it is really parlor tricks. 'We' are little more than a series of schizophrenic episodes."

Don't think I am insulting God. rather I am acknowledging that he is much more than the limitations that such an extreme understanding of "une" puts on him. It's as if there is no three. It was a waste of ink and scroll. There was no reason to end letters with references to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. "We" really are just one with one name. I don't know what those human scribes were thinking. They messed it all up. Thank myself that Lee came along and straightened it out. That Bible is just not very accurate or meaningful.
02-09-2017 04:19 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Care to restate that? Do you fully stand by it as written?

If so, then you add proof to the lack of care in the use of language by the whole of the apologetics arm of the LRC. It is incapable of truly having a conversation in which it really says what it means. Or is alternately incapable of really believing what the Bible actually says.
I fully stand by it, what is your problem with it? You don't believe that Muslims cannot be saved? It's another way of saying that a truly saved person knows that Jesus is the only salvation, not Islam etc. A person who does not know that Jesus is the only salvation has never met the Savior or been saved themselves, because, if a person had truly found salvation in Christ they would know that is the only way.

The bible reveals that a saved person knows they are saved and that Jesus is the only way. This is found in 1 John 5:12-13.

Ask any Catholic or Orthodox and they will tell you they are unsure if they are saved or not, and furthermore, they believe that non-Christians like Muslims can be saved. They believe that in the name of love and tolerance, sugar and spice and all things nice.

Catechism of the Catholic Church,1 paragraph 841, says Muslims together with the Catholics, "adore the one, merciful God."

So the Catholic do not really believe in the Trinity, they believe in the "Allah" of Islam, the anti-Christ counterfeit to the true and living Triune God. The Muslim do not believe in the Trinity, therefore for Catholic to say they worship the same God, is to say that Catholic's worship Allah, not the Trinity. Can read about that on CARM here:
https://carm.org/catholic-catechisms...slim-god-wrong
02-09-2017 04:09 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
A truly saved person knows that Muslims cannot be saved.
Care to restate that? Do you fully stand by it as written?

If so, then you add proof to the lack of care in the use of language by the whole of the apologetics arm of the LRC. It is incapable of truly having a conversation in which it really says what it means. Or is alternately incapable of really believing what the Bible actually says.
02-09-2017 04:05 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Yeah but.... its easy to dismiss one's own view as orthodox while asserting someone else's is unscriptural and yet not be able to substantiate your view from the Bible. You, me, we, at least have to do that much. It's a false argument to say "If its in the Bible its the truth, my views are based on the Bible, therefore my views are the truth." No sir, it does not work that way. Even the three gods Mormons or the one God Jehovah Witnesses will claim their teachings are right off the pages of the Bible though they are clearly past the ditch, over the cliff, and at the bottom of the river.
But what you are missing is that I have quoted from the Bible. Verses or portions that you know very well. I did not dutifully open an online Bible and look it up so I could give you chapter and verse, but you know what it says. I have not referred to anything obscure.

Besides, every time I start posting in the forum and open any other Explorer window, or refresh one that is already open, it messes up all of my links to the unread posts. So I generally stick to the forum until I am done then log out and do other things.

You make this broad sweeping statement about me saying that there is something in the Bible that I did not actually define, but just claimed it is there. What exactly are you talking about? That God said "let us make man in our image"? That the Father turned his back (or his it face) away during the crucifixion? (I dare you to think that not remembering which is a point in your favor.) Or that my characterization of the overall discussion in which ". . . the last Adam became . . ." is found is dismissable because I didn't go to BibleGateways.com and post the entire thing in there. I suppose that you are fully capable of finding it without any help from me, and are fully capable of reading it and understanding the flow of the discussion. Now on that last point, it is not clear whether you really are willing to deal with the discussion as it is or must read into it a sudden ADHD phrase about something entirely different (as Lee did).

I refuse to waste time and space in my already too-long posts giving you what you already know to be true without reference, or know sufficiently to at least look it up and determine if I am characterizing it correctly. If I am not, then you should tell me how. Don't just say "you didn't actually use the Bible" because there was a lot of Bible there and you know it. But you don't like where it is going so you hide behind feigned ignorance.
02-09-2017 03:13 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
This is one of the most easy errors to refute. Start your reading several verses before 45 and see what Paul was talking about. He was discussing the nature of the body that Christ received in resurrection. Paul, in referring to a body that is touchable, yet can be invisible and move into and out of locked room, he said that it was "spiritual" meaning that it was not simply physical.

When he gets to verse 45, he has not changed subjects. He compares the nature of the body that man receives at birth (as represented by Adam) to what Jesus received in resurrection. That body was "spiritual" and he called it "spirit." In no part of the discussion, which continues on for a few more verses, is there any reference to the Holy Spirit or to the Father, or to the Triune God in general. It just isn't there. It is forced into the verse by removing it from its context and forcing false understanding onto the words.

God is spirit. But God isn't the Holy Spirit. Jesus is spirit. But Jesus isn't the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also spirit.

The nature of God is spirit. The fact that the name of one of the three uses the word "spirit" in it does not deny the nature of being "spirit" to the other two unless they simply become that one.

And the whole "there is only one life giving spirit" mantra is something Lee made up. He didn't find it in the scripture. Jesus gives life. He is spirit. So he is a life giving spirit. The same can be said of the Father. These are facts you can find in the scripture. Lee conveniently ignored them and fabricated this false construct to push the envelope — the discussion of the Trinity — into the ditch of modalism.

And since Lee was fond of saying that it is in the Bible and suggesting that you can look it up for yourself, I think it might do you some good to look for references that support what I just said and only if you can't find them come back and try to hint that I am wrong. Don't just look for the ones that support your position. I've read them many times. And you started your post with one of the most popular ones — and one of the most ridiculous ones at that.

The fact that you can continue to spout that one as a proof text is evidence that you will look no further than where Lee wanted you to look. You will not even consider evidence from the Bible that refutes it.

Says a lot for the theological integrity of your teachings.
Sorry, but I can tell you are heading down the wrong path as soon as you said:

"God is Spirit but not the Holy Spirit"

What sort of a confused mind would say such a thing?

There are two life giving spirits? There are two "Spirits of life"? Again, what sort of a confused mind would say such a thing?

I understand there are various kinds of spirits in the universe. But more than one life-giving, creative spirit is a bit of a stretch.
02-09-2017 03:09 PM
Evangelical
What the Bible reveals about who died on the cross

It is correct that only the Son died on the cross. The Triune God did not die on the cross. The Father and the Spirit did not die, only the Son did, and we understand that to be the Son's human element dying on the cross, not His eternal, divine element.

But it is incorrect to say that the Father and the Spirit were not with Christ when he died on the cross, or they were in no way afflicted with Christ's suffering. It is incorrect to say that the whole Godhead did not indwell Christ's flesh when he was on the cross. But they did not die.

The Bible reveals that the Father and the Spirit stayed on the cross with Jesus only until the 9th hour:

Matt 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

After this point, Jesus was like any other condemned sinner - completely separated from God.

Some, may think that God forsaking Christ, was not an actual departure of the Father and the Spirit's presence. But other passages in scripture prove that to be forsaken is for God to leave - e.g. Hebrews 13:5.

Matt 27:46 proves that the Father and the Spirit were with Christ when he went to the cross, but only until the 9th hour.
02-09-2017 03:00 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by InChristAlone View Post
Evangelical, that's not true. Why do you often speak of the things that you don't know? You just show how little you read about the Orthodox Church and her teachings...
InChristAlone, if you don't know you are saved, then you are not saved. If you think Muslims are saved, then you are not saved. A truly saved person knows they are saved. A truly saved person knows that Muslims cannot be saved. If you don't know that you are saved, then no correct understanding of the Trinity doctrine can save you.
02-09-2017 02:57 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
I didn't quote that part of the Anthanasian creed for a reason, but you had to dig that up because you have no argument against what I actually posted. The problem for you my friend is that you are so used to applying the extra biblical words of a man and making them equal to the holy writ, that you end up confusing the argument, or even worse, making up a whole new argument out of thin air.
Firstly, the Athanasian creed you posted is extra-biblical and written by man. That means you are basically doing the same thing that you say we do.

Secondly, you use such a creed to confirm biblical orthodoxy and making it equal to "holy writ". You are using the Athanasian creed to interpret the Bible, rather than let the Bible speak for itself. This is no different to a Catholic referencing any early church writing to uphold a church tradition or doctrine.
02-09-2017 11:56 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Not so fast!

If the Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist and coinhere as co-equals from eternity past to eternity future how is it possible that "The Triune God did not become flesh. The Son did. The Triune God did not die on the cross or resurrect. The Son did".

Please advise.

Thanks
Drake
Drake, do you really want us to advise you? I doubt.

The Bible never says "The Triune God became flesh." The Bible says the Word became flesh. The Word, who was with God, and was God. Neither did the "Triune God die on the cross."

These are all Lee's illogical and extra-biblical speculations and inferences. Using the same tools, some of his followers even proclaimed Lee was #4, right after the Spirit, and that he was the "acting God," as well as a "god-man."

If the Father died on the cross, then who did Jesus pray to. And who was judging the Son on the cross for all of our sins.

I really wish you would return to the pure word of God. Didn't you once say that the "Triune God was your favorite subject." Kindly limit your teachings to scripture.
02-09-2017 10:27 AM
InChristAlone
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Athanasian creed is widely used in Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
Evangelical, that's not true. Why do you often speak of the things that you don't know? You just show how little you read about the Orthodox Church and her teachings.

The Orthodox Church has never used the Athanasian creed. (Even Wikipedia knows that). Here is the Creed we use:

The Confession of our Faith
(The Nicene Creed)
I believe in One God, Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary and became Man. He was crucified for our salvation under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried. And he rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures. He ascended into Heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. His Kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets. In one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the ages to come. Amen.


As for salvation, in Orthodoxy, salvation is a process, not a once-and-done event. It is the process of our union with God. Orthodox Christianity understands that we are “being saved,” not “already saved.”

One doesn't need to know much to be saved. But you need to establish a union with Christ. Yes, we are saved by faith. But the faith must be active, not mental. Active faith is synergy, cooperation with God, through prayer, repentance, humility, the Holy Sacraments of the Church, reading the Scriptures, fulfilling the Gospel commandments, and spiritual warfare against our passions.

There is a difference between the active, living faith and mental, demonic, dead faith. Demons have all the intellectual knowledge and information about the dogmas but still stay demons. They don't have a union with God because they are doing nothing to establish this union. They have knowledge but reject Christ. That's the difference between "to know about God" and "to know God". "To know about God" means to have an information about Him. "To know God" means to share His life, to be in union with God.

From my experience, the teaching of WL is that dry knowledge about God. This mental faith can hardly help to know God. Why?.. For several reasons. As the Fathers say, "wrong spiritual life begets wrong theology." The wrong spiritual life leads man into a delusion. Such a man, with the heart full of passions, starts to think that he is the chosen one who knows the faith better than others. Probably, he even thinks that he got a revelation from God. That's how many sects and cults started. No wonder so many herodox reject orthodox teachings of the early Church. But how can one have a union with the Trinity when he or she is promoting a wrong teaching about the Trinity? A delusion about God is still a delusion. It cannot help to establish a union with the real God. Cult members delude themselves thinking that they worship the God while they are worshipping the image, fantasy which they created. In other words, they worship a false image of God.

Can a Muslim be saved? I don't know. It is for God to decide. But for a Muslim, to establish a union with God, -- it must be a pretty hard thing to do because Muslim teachings about God are false. Muslims don't worship the Holy Trinity. They worship a false image of God, according to Muhammad's imagination and understanding. It is the same with Jehovah's Witness. Again, it must be very hard to have a union with the Holy Trinity if you reject the Trinity and worship a false image of God.

Evangelical, dear brother, If I am not mistaken, you are promoting a modification of Modalism, a heresy that was condemned by the early Church. Thus, it wasn't original Witness Lee's understanding of God. WL really "recovered" something ancient. Unfortunately, this ancient "recovery" is just another false image of God.

Modalism/Sabellianism: Belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three characterizations of one God, rather than three distinct "persons" in one God. First formally stated by Noetus of Smyrna c.190, refined by Sabellius c.210 who applied the names merely to different roles of God in the history and economy of salvation. Noetus was condemned by the presbyters of Smyrna. Tertullian wrote Adversus Praxeam against this tendency and Sabellius was condemned by Pope Callistus.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List...stian_heresies

Cyprian wrote - "...how, when God the Father is not known, nay, is even blasphemed, can they who among the heretics are said to be baptized in the name of Christ, be judged to have obtained the remission of sins?

Hippolytus (A.D. 170–236) referred to them - "And some of these assent to the heresy of the Noetians, and affirm that the Father himself is the Son..."

Pope Dionysius, Bishop of Rome from A.D. 259–269 wrote - "Sabellius...blasphemes in saying that the Son Himself is the Father and vice versa."

Tertullian states - "He commands them to baptize into the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, not into a unipersonal God. And indeed it is not once only, but three times, that we are immersed into three persons, at each several mention of their names.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabellianism

I might be mistaken but from my point of view, we cannot rely on our or modern teachers' understanding of the Holy Trinity. We may end up worshipping a false image of God, not the God Who revealed Himself in the Holy Scripture. The only orthodox understanding of the Holy Trinity is the understanding of the early Church. I believe so, because I don't think that I, WL or any modern pastor or professor can understand the Christian faith and Christian dogmas better than the early Christians.

God bless.
02-09-2017 10:06 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Drake,

Igzy has said it well here. The Bible says what it says. To argue something else is to create something that is not in the Bible. A singular Triunity that all died on the cross is not inferred in any way in the scripture. That is a fantasy from someone trying to be better than anyone else at discovering the "truth about God."

"Truth" that is not found in the Bible and therefore suspect at its best.
Yeah but.... its easy to declare one's own view as orthodox while asserting someone else's is unscriptural and yet not be able to substantiate your view from the Bible. You, me, we, at least have to do that much. It's a false argument to say "If its in the Bible its the truth, my views are based on the Bible, therefore my views are the truth." No sir, it does not work that way. Even the three gods Mormons or the one God Jehovah Witnesses will claim their teachings are right off the pages of the Bible though they are clearly past the ditch, over the cliff, and at the bottom of the river.

Drake
02-09-2017 09:51 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Anytime we approach the Trinity if we jump to conclusion based on human reasoning we can easily fall into error.

The point is not that the co-inherence argument doesn't seem to suggest that somehow all of the Trinity died on the cross. The point is the Bible never suggests anyone died on the cross but the Son, so we should stick with that.
Here is where the divinity and humanity of Christ are relevant to the conversation.

According to His divinity the Son was, is, and always will be co-existing, coinhering, and co-equal in the Godhead. John 6:46, 7:29, and 16:27 testify that the eternal status of the essential Trinity is maintained even during the Lord's sojourn on the bridge of time. That is orthodox.

Further explanations must not abandon that basic orthodox view else you end up in a ditch.

The teaching of "only the Son died on the cross" suggests that the essential Trinity does not coinhere uninterrupted from eternity past to eternity future. That is not an orthodox view but veers toward the ditch of tritheism.

To say when the Son died on the cross the Triune God died on the cross maintains the orthodox view of the "co's" in the Godhead. OBW, this is not veering towards the ditch of modalism as Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist, co-active, simultaneously, collaborate from eternity past to eternity future.

Drake
02-09-2017 09:51 AM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
There is nothing "biblically orthodox" about saying one must believe in the Trinity doctrine to be saved. The Athanasian creed, written in 500 AD, claims that to be saved one must believe in the Trinity doctrine as stated, in addition to believing in Christ.
I didn't quote that part of the Anthanasian creed for a reason, but you had to dig that up because you have no argument against what I actually posted. The problem for you my friend is that you are so used to applying the extra biblical words of a man and making them equal to the holy writ, that you end up confusing the argument, or even worse, making up a whole new argument out of thin air.

I understand that you were trained to approach theology and apologetic in such a manner from Witness Lee. I know this because I was trained in such a way myself for about 20 years. The results of this kind of mindset are plain for all to see. This is why people in your sect think that Witness Lee was the only person speaking as God's oracle on earth. This is why the one of the current leaders of your movement can boldly proclaim that the only place where one can go through the process of sanctification is in the tiny little sect of the Local Church of Witness Lee. This is why people in the Local Church actually believe that their local church of 50 or 60 people is the only legitimate Christian church in a city of millions of people.

Witness Lee never sought to be biblically orthodox, especially when it came to the Trinity. He insisted that his make-it-up-as-you-go-along, home-brewed theology was "higher" than the common, orthodox teachings of the previous 2000 years, and actually convinced a very sizable lot of sincere Christian people that this was actually true.

-
02-09-2017 08:41 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
The point is the Bible never suggests anyone died on the cross but the Son, so we should stick with that.
Drake,

Igzy has said it well here. The Bible says what it says. To argue something else is to create something that is not in the Bible. A singular Triunity that all died on the cross is not inferred in any way in the scripture. That is a fantasy from someone trying to be better than anyone else at discovering the "truth about God."

"Truth" that is not found in the Bible and therefore suspect at its best.
02-09-2017 08:38 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
But you have over complicated the question. I really wanted to understand how you , OBW, explain, in whatever terms you prefer, how only the Son died on the cross though co-existing, co-inhering, and being co-equal in divine Trinity from eternity past to eternity future.
And, as I said, you have defined one aspect of the Trinity in such terms that would appear not to mean what you think they mean.

Co-existing does not mean Siamese twins. It is actually so vague as to be reasonably applicable to you and me. You and I both exist. That is, in a sense, to co-exist. And the term is used often to refer to two persons, or groups of persons who are able to live in relative peace despite differences.

Yes, that is not what they mean when they use those terms for the Trinity. But what they don't mean is that the prefix "co" ceases to imply at least two and instead insists on a singular. Co-leaders both lead, not singularly lead. Co-inhabitants live together, not morph into a single being. Co-existing is to exist together. While the intent of those who decided to use this term for the Trinity was to infer a stronger connection than I have been referring to here, it was never intended to imply nothing but connection — in other words, no separation.

Your argument is one of semantics. You want to use a term and insist on how to understand it in a context in which the definition you insist upon is not implied or even reasonable.

Your argument is almost as bad as "there is only one life giving spirit." That is a falsehood constructed to drive wedges between the followers of the one who spoke the error and everyone else.

- - - -

To answer your question is truly simple. God is not simply one as is understood by modalists. He is some sort of triumvirate. Not like the three that took over after Julius Caesar. But there are three and they are also truly one. But as three they are not to be confused with each other.

As three, the Son was born in human flesh, lived a life confined to the foibles of physics, time, space, and the evil that dwells in men. He then was crucified, died, was buried, resurrected, and ascended to the heavens. During this period, he prayed to the Father. And while on the cross, the Father turned away and darkness came over the land. Jesus did not turn his face away, neither did the Father hang on the cross.

Jesus said that if you have seen him you have seen the father. How is this if they are not simply the same person? It is because the three only have one image. One representation. If Jesus is there to be seen, you have seen all there is to see physically. If you have observed how Jesus lived and spoke, you have observed how the Father and the Spirit live and speak. There is one image of the invisible God.

But that invisible God is not a singular. God did not think in his private thoughts "I will make man in my image . . . ." No, God said "Let us make man in our image." One God. One image. But a plurality of thought such that he can say "us" and "we" concerning that One God.

No. It is not necessary to understand and agree with the Athanasian creed to be saved. Agreement with it does not save you nor does disagreement with it infer you are not saved. But in its verbose way it acknowledges that the full understanding of the nature of God is not simply one way or the other. It is truly three that are truly One God. We cannot understand that. If we insist on it being fully understandable, we end out with either three Gods that manage to get along, or with one God that plays parlor tricks. Neither is correct.

The sparse accounts we get in scripture are not intended to create the meat of a trinity doctrine. They are intended to say the specific thing that they are saying at that point.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God, therefore if you have seen him you have seen God.

If you are instead wanting to talk about seeing what God is like, it is really the same. If you have seen Jesus living and speaking, you have seen and heard God in action.

Yet Jesus prays to the Father. And he does what he sees the Father doing. I will not get into a discussion of a hierarchy within the Godhead. I am satisfied that there are aspects in which they are not identical. Among them is the fact that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Not the Father and not the Spirit.

At the same time, God is spirit. As such, he is unified. Not just by decision, but fully. There is no argument within the Godhead followed by a vote in which a vote of 2 carries and the other goes along because that is what a God that is "one" does. That is truly tritheism. And that is how we got Satan. Lucifer was a completely separate being who refused his place under God and rebelled. A God that is not truly one would always be at risk of this kind of thing happening.

But the fact of that oneness, however it should properly be understood, does not remove the separateness. Jesus still prays to the Father. And to this day we approach the throne of God through Jesus, not approach the throne of Jesus. Jesus said to pray to the Father and to ask "in my name." (Not tack on an ending of words, but to truly be a representative of Christ in prayer.)

Your version of the Godhead makes so many verses meaningless or useless. It makes the words of Jesus nonsensical. ". . .pray to the Father that he send another comforter. . . ." Nonsense if they are so singular and one that the crucifixion of Jesus was the crucifixion of the Triune God and God in his entirety died on the cross.

Your definition of what it means to be Triune when speaking of the crucifixion nullifies the "tri" and makes it just a solo God. No matter how much you argue that you believe in the three, you have nullified them and made them into nothing but a singular.

Does that make you unsaved? I do not believe so. But there are many who would say so.
02-09-2017 08:29 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post

But you have over complicated the question. I really wanted to understand how you , OBW, explain, in whatever terms you prefer, how only the Son died on the cross though co-existing, co-inhering, and being co-equal in divine Trinity from eternity past to eternity future.

Drake
Anytime we approach the Trinity if we jump to conclusion based on human reasoning we can easily fall into error.

The point is not that the co-inherence argument doesn't seem to suggest that somehow all of the Trinity died on the cross. The point is the Bible never suggests anyone died on the cross but the Son, so we should stick with that.
02-09-2017 07:29 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW) "Now you are relying on human terms added to the extra-scriptural definition of the Trinity to make it so iron-clad that it cannot wiggle from your definition."

Why of course OBW we use human terms because how else do we communicate or how else could we advance our understanding of the Trinity? "Trinity" itself is an extra biblical term and a definition or formula is not stated in Scripture explicitly. Based on activities and statements made in the Bible we understand God in Triune terms. Very thoughtful and intelligent people have been grappling with this topic for almost 1700 years. And apparently still do.

But you have over complicated the question. I really wanted to understand how you , OBW, explain, in whatever terms you prefer, how only the Son died on the cross though co-existing, co-inhering, and being co-equal in divine Trinity from eternity past to eternity future.

Drake
02-09-2017 06:42 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
There is nothing "biblically orthodox" about saying one must believe in the Trinity doctrine to be saved. The Athanasian creed, written in 500 AD, claims that to be saved one must believe in the Trinity doctrine as stated, in addition to believing in Christ. That doesn't seem like much of a protection or "border" to me.
And on this you would be correct. For all that this or any other creed says, it is only belief in Christ that brings salvation. It is not in the doctrines.

However, there has always been some who will question salvation based on what it believed. If the "error" or heresy is too extreme, we declare them to be unsaved because they don't believe in the Jesus we think the Bible is describing.

And to insist that it must be understood in the detail that this particular creed states it is too much.

But at the same time, this creed is interesting in that it does not truly define much. Rather it gives characteristics to the Father, Son, and Spirit, then insists that those characteristics also belong to them jointly as one. Less a clear definition than an admission that there is something beyond human understanding. So its holdings are less certain than you might like to say they are.

But your argument is that it is "simply" one way and not the other. That there can be only one [fill in the blank]. But there are also three. It is not so simple and to say more than it is a mystery is to be caught excluding part of the whole because we don't understand it.
02-09-2017 06:33 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
The Bible says:

1 Cor 15:45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul”; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.

If the last Adam i.e. Christ did not become the Spirit, then we have a problem - there are TWO life giving spirits in the universe. How can there be two Holy Spirits? This is equivalent to saying there is more than one God. Christ is one life giving spirit, and the Holy Spirit is another. How can the life-giving spirit which Christ became, be any different from the Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of Christ" ?
This is one of the most easy errors to refute. Start your reading several verses before 45 and see what Paul was talking about. He was discussing the nature of the body that Christ received in resurrection. Paul, in referring to a body that is touchable, yet can be invisible and move into and out of locked room, he said that it was "spiritual" meaning that it was not simply physical.

When he gets to verse 45, he has not changed subjects. He compares the nature of the body that man receives at birth (as represented by Adam) to what Jesus received in resurrection. That body was "spiritual" and he called it "spirit." In no part of the discussion, which continues on for a few more verses, is there any reference to the Holy Spirit or to the Father, or to the Triune God in general. It just isn't there. It is forced into the verse by removing it from its context and forcing false understanding onto the words.

God is spirit. But God isn't the Holy Spirit. Jesus is spirit. But Jesus isn't the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also spirit.

The nature of God is spirit. The fact that the name of one of the three uses the word "spirit" in it does not deny the nature of being "spirit" to the other two unless they simply become that one.

And the whole "there is only one life giving spirit" mantra is something Lee made up. He didn't find it in the scripture. Jesus gives life. He is spirit. So he is a life giving spirit. The same can be said of the Father. These are facts you can find in the scripture. Lee conveniently ignored them and fabricated this false construct to push the envelope — the discussion of the Trinity — into the ditch of modalism.

And since Lee was fond of saying that it is in the Bible and suggesting that you can look it up for yourself, I think it might do you some good to look for references that support what I just said and only if you can't find them come back and try to hint that I am wrong. Don't just look for the ones that support your position. I've read them many times. And you started your post with one of the most popular ones — and one of the most ridiculous ones at that.

The fact that you can continue to spout that one as a proof text is evidence that you will look no further than where Lee wanted you to look. You will not even consider evidence from the Bible that refutes it.

Says a lot for the theological integrity of your teachings.
02-09-2017 06:10 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Not so fast!

If the Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist and coinhere as co-equals from eternity past to eternity future how is it possible that "The Triune God did not become flesh. The Son did. The Triune God did not die on the cross or resurrect. The Son did".
Now you are relying on human terms added to the extra-scriptural definition of the Trinity to make it so iron-clad that it cannot wiggle from your definition.

Co-exist does not mean totally and completely the same. Neither does co-equal. You are inferring beyond the definitions to arrive at something never stated. And the definitions are not as "stated in scripture" but as added as part of the efforts of humans to understand something that was not written to be understood in all ways.

If you think that the term "co-exist" is added for the purpose of making God an indivisible unit, then you are misreading the scripture. Jesus died on the cross while the Father turned his back. There is no account in which the Triune God died on the cross and simultaneously turned His back on the whole scene. It is a fabricated construct designed to arrive at a false conclusion about the nature of God. You think it sounds "logical" but only with respect to a small portion of the descriptive references to God. You force a terse understanding of the One God and dismiss the clear statements that contradict your understanding.

Either you or Evangelical made the comment about the extremes being a ditch with the truth somewhere in the middle. But this argument that the Triune God died on the cross is clearly in the ditch of the Modalist. It is an extreme that is deep into the ditch.
02-08-2017 09:36 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

There is nothing "biblically orthodox" about saying one must believe in the Trinity doctrine to be saved. The Athanasian creed, written in 500 AD, claims that to be saved one must believe in the Trinity doctrine as stated, in addition to believing in Christ. That doesn't seem like much of a protection or "border" to me.

Therefore it does not trust in Christ alone for salvation but places trust in doctrines of men. Athanasian creed is widely used in Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Both of these denominations think a person must believe in many doctrines to be saved as well as do many things. The Creed says there are 41 things you need to believe in, in order to be saved.

If you want to be saved, you must believe in the Trinity doctrine as stated, you must be baptized, attend mass regularly, plus plus plus, i.e. salvation by grace in Christ alone is not enough.

The Bible says salvation by faith in Christ alone - Athanasian Creed says salvation by faith in Christ plus belief in Trinity doctrine.

The Creeds stand contrary to the simple faith described in Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, etc. where there is no mention of any sort of Trinity doctrine.

So when you talk about the major doctrines of the faith, are you talking about the faith of the apostles, Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, or are you talking about "the faith" of the Catholic church in 500 AD which says "believe in the Trinity or die" ?
02-08-2017 07:38 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

***I wrote this post yesterday, and it's pretty much a day late and a dollar short at this point, but I'm going to put it up here anyway because it fits in with the general theme of the thread.****

Excerpts from the Athanasian Creed:
We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

Thankfully, many Christian churches and ministries over the past number of decades have returned to giving more dependence upon, and emphases in the major Christian creeds. It was only during the "liberal" period of the 19th and early 20th centuries that mainstream Protestantism turned away from these creeds, and this turning away resulted in many of the aberrational and heretical forms of liberalism so prevalent to this day.

What many of our brothers and sisters today don't seem to realize is that these creeds were not an attempt to formalize or codify the major teachings/doctrines of the faith per se, but rather as a reaction to so many of the aberrational and heretical theachings that had taken hold in the first couple of centuries of the church. Most of these heresies were some form of perversion of the biblical revelations of the Trinity and the Person of Jesus Christ, as related to us by the Lord Jesus himself in the gospels, and the Scripture writing apostles in the balance of the New Testament. By the dawn of the third century, there were already numerous "apostles" wanting to "recover the original meaning of the scriptures" (sound familiar?)

Subscription to (I use this term loosely) the major Christian creeds can serve as a protection against many of the common heresies, especially those against the Gospel, the biblical view of the Trinity and the Person of Christ. They are not designed to answer any and all deep theological question regarding the nature of the Trinity (NO extra biblical writing can do this), however they can serve as a fencing, as it were, keeping our teachings and beliefs within the pale of sound biblical borders.

It should be noted, especially for our purposes on this forum, that most aberrational or heretical teachers attempt to lead their followers as far away from the orthodox view of the Trinity as related in the major creeds, and Witness Lee was no exception. What part of "We stand outside of and apart from historical, organized, institutionalized Christianity" did anybody not understand? (from localchurch.org) Not only did Lee attempt to "stand outside of and apart" from the orthodox teachings of historical Christianity, he lead his followers to believe that he, and he alone, could bring his followers back to a "recovered" understanding of the major doctrines of the Faith, including, and especially, the understanding of the nature of the Trinity.

The bottom line, at least insofar as can be related in this short post, is that one only need to compare and contrast Witness Lee's teachings regarding the Trinity with the biblically orthodox view as related to us in the major creeds, for one to come to the conclusion that Lee's teachings do not reflect a biblically orthodox revelation or sound understanding of what was related to us in the Gospels, or in the writings of the original apostles.
-
02-08-2017 05:28 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
Brother Evangelical,
The quote you provided does not back up Witness Lee's non biblical teachings, in fact this quote backs up the orthodox, biblical understanding.

Let me ask you a question. If God is Spirit (John 4:24 - The Recovery Version uses a Capitol "S" as do most modern versions), then why did Jesus Christ have to "become" the Spirit? Are there two Holy Spirits...one that God already was, and one that Jesus became? This is not a trick question, and it is open book...you can sneak a peek at the Live Study of John if you want!

No hurry, get back to us whenever.

-
Like Lee believes, the quote says that the Godhead, Elohim, became flesh. To say that only the Son became flesh is incorrect.

I know the answer to your question without looking at the life study, and it is simple common sense - it is because for Jesus to get inside of us He had to become the Spirit. Think about this logically - the only way the Spirit of Christ could dwell in us is if the Spirit became the Spirit of Christ. If Christ did not become the Spirit then it would not be Christ indwelling us but the pre-Christ, "old testament" Holy Spirit. Paul could not have said "Christ dwelleth in me" unless Christ became the Spirit. Think about it.

Many Christians implicitly acknowledge that Christ became the Spirit whenever they say that "Jesus lives in my heart". It does not make logical sense to say that "Jesus lives in me", if the Father and Jesus are in Heaven and the "Spirit which is not Christ" is on Earth indwelling people. I have come across "Christians" who believe the Spirit lives in them but they cannot say that this Spirit is the Spirit of Christ because they are afflicted by a deceiving anti-Christ new age "Spirit of the Universe" or something like that. This false doctrine is the fruit of a doctrine which says that Christ is not the Spirit.

The anti-Christ movement loves to spread the false doctrine that the Spirit and Christ are separated. Another false doctrine is the belief that the "Spirit of Christ" is just a metaphor. But the spirit of a person is not a metaphor but the person themselves.
02-08-2017 03:09 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Brother Evangelical,
The quote you provided does not back up Witness Lee's non biblical teachings, in fact this quote backs up the orthodox, biblical understanding.

Let me ask you a question. If God is Spirit (John 4:24 - The Recovery Version uses a Capitol "S" as do most modern versions), then why did Jesus Christ have to "become" the Spirit? Are there two Holy Spirits...one that God already was, and one that Jesus became? This is not a trick question, and it is open book...you can sneak a peek at the Live Study of John if you want!

No hurry, get back to us whenever.

-
02-08-2017 02:56 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
OBW,

Not so fast!

If the Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist and coinhere as co-equals from eternity past to eternity future how is it possible that "The Triune God did not become flesh. The Son did. The Triune God did not die on the cross or resurrect. The Son did".

Please advise.

Thanks
Drake
That's right. It is wrong to say that *only* the Son became flesh - that is the heresy of tri-theism, that the Son is separated from the Father and the Spirit. We only need to look into the conception of Christ to realize that the Spirit of the Father, even the Father Himself, conceived Christ. The Father did not create a third thing, but clothed Himself with human flesh. Therefore the Spirit of the Father, and the Father Himself were present in Christ's life even to the cross.

http://biblehub.com/sermons/pub/chri...uman_flesh.htm
The pure Godhead is terrible to behold; we could not see it and live; but clothing Himself with our flesh, makes the Divine nature more amiable and delightful to us. Now we need not be afraid to look upon God, seeing Him through Christ's human nature. It was a custom of old among the shepherds, they were wont to clothe themselves with sheep-skins, to be more pleasing to the sheep; so Christ clothed Himself with our flesh, that the Divine nature may be more pleasing to us. The human nature is a glass, through which we may see the love and wisdom and glory of God clearly represented to us. Through the lantern of Christ's humanity, we may behold the light of the Deity shining.
02-08-2017 02:30 PM
UntoHim
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
If the Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist and coinhere as co-equals from eternity past to eternity future how is it possible that "The Triune God did not become flesh. The Son did. The Triune God did not die on the cross or resurrect. The Son did".
Silly man! For the same reason that the Lord Jesus prayed "Our Father who art IN HEAVEN" and also proclaimed "if you have seen me you have seen the Father". For the same reason the Lord Jesus said "where I am going you cannot follow" and also proclaimed "lo, I am with you always". If you would spend less time pray-reading the words of a dead guy and more time reading the living and abiding Word of God, you wouldn't be filled up with so many "ifs", "why?s" and "how come?s".
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02-08-2017 02:17 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

The Bible says:

1 Cor 15:45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul”; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.

If the last Adam i.e. Christ did not become the Spirit, then we have a problem - there are TWO life giving spirits in the universe. How can there be two Holy Spirits? This is equivalent to saying there is more than one God. Christ is one life giving spirit, and the Holy Spirit is another. How can the life-giving spirit which Christ became, be any different from the Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of Christ" ?
02-08-2017 01:47 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

OBW,

Not so fast!

If the Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist and coinhere as co-equals from eternity past to eternity future how is it possible that "The Triune God did not become flesh. The Son did. The Triune God did not die on the cross or resurrect. The Son did".

Please advise.

Thanks
Drake
02-08-2017 08:01 AM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

From what I can see, the problem is that the views that create the "ditch" on either side are presuming a singular view of some aspect of humanity layered over God.

Saying that God is one person as we understand a person as being a single individual (not in the legal sense of either an individual or a body corporate), then there are problems with there being a Father of a Son that can pray back to the Father.

Saying that they are simply three persons creates a cloud over the claim to be "One God." At least as far as we can understand it.

Yet it would appear that God discussed the creation of man and said "let us make man in our image. . . ." So there is clearly a plurality. Yet only one image. Only one representation. Diversity that can discuss and unity in image.

The best (and still pathetic) comparison I can dream up looks like a joint venture of three that faces the universe as one. The problem with that is that our understanding of such a thing never has the three truly "one" in much of anything other than that first decision to join together.

But there is something solidly described showing three throughout the scripture. And yet they are so one that they have only one image. One likeness. Saying they are one person is not adequate. Neither is simply saying they are three persons. Yet they are more "one" internally that most of us are within ourselves on a good day. Yet that oneness does not lose the three into one, nor cause any one to be the other. Rather it defines the completeness with which they are unified and therefore "one."

But oneness does not create sameness. The Triune God did not become flesh. The Son did. The Triune God did not die on the cross or resurrect. The Son did. Neither the Triune God nor the Son "turned his face away." The Father did.

In no way does any one of them "become" the other. Any reading of scripture to say such a thing is a gross misreading and a prime example of proof texting, the fine art of using small portions of biblical text without concern for its context to impose understanding onto it rather than reading from it. I have come to refer to this method of scripture reading as the "fortune cookie" method of understanding the Bible in which small snippets not much longer than the little sayings on fortune cookies are used to create the impression of something being said that could not be fathomed if the rest of the context was considered.

Both Nee and Lee were masters at this. Now they were not the first, nor will they be the last to use such methods. But they excelled in it. And a system of error grew from it such that the adherents of that method are incapable of seeing beyond their pabulum of spiritual nonsense.

Do I think that Nee and or Lee willfully deceived through this kind of error? I must admit that I am not sure. But the signs that they should not be trusted as spiritual leaders or teachers are there to help us be wary of their teachings.
02-07-2017 06:10 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Igzy)" If you try to see it as three persons who are somehow one person it doesn't make sense.

If you try to see it as three persons you get three gods.

If you try to see it as one person who plays different roles you get modalism.

I'm not satisfied with that classic approach because it leaves so many questions unanswered."


On the left side of the road is the ditch called tritheism.... or three Gods of you prefer.

On the right side is the ditch of modalism. One God in three modes.

Down the center is the truth. Challenge is explaining it without falling into either ditch.

Drake
02-07-2017 05:53 PM
Freedom
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Freedom,

At what point in time did the Triune God co-existing and co-inhering from eternity past to eternity future become separated?

Are you saying that in incarnation, when the Word become flesh, the co-inherence of the Triune God changed?

I believe the definition of "Para" as may be found in John 6:46, 7:29, and 16:27 maintains the eternal status of the essential Trinity. That is orthodox is it not?

Drake
No one is trying to 'separate' God into three gods, and it seems like you are misrepresenting the arguments that have been made. Even the supposed 'tritheism' of Christians at large was a straw man constructed by Lee. The distinction that the vast majority of Christians make between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not made in err, it’s as simple as people following the pattern that the Bible presents us with. Consider what kind of language the Apostle Paul used when referring to God, particularly in his salutation at the beginning of each epistle. He used phrases like "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus." Actually, probably a majority of these greetings mention both the Father and Son. When faced with such distinct language as a pattern, upon what basis would we move to a more general terminology like “the Triune God”?

As Igzy has pointed out, I do think there is some leeway in how we develop an understanding of who God is, but I take issue with how Lee handled things. The Trinity represents an understanding of God which has deemed to be orthodox. It's perfectly acceptable to have a common understanding by which to compare teachings that could be heretical. I don't think that Lee was purposely trying to teach anything heretical (albeit maybe he liked saying things for shock value), but heretical was exactly the perception that outsiders got. And of course he wasn't willing to retract or revise anything he said, he only doubled down, and the problem increased. Ultimately, statements like the "Triune God became flesh" or "the Son is the Father" neither reflect the language used to refer to God in the Bible, nor is something that most people would be comfortable with. So why was Lee so insistent on his own terminology?
02-07-2017 02:16 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

That classic approach to the Godhead always ends in a conundrum.

If you try to see it as three persons who are somehow one person it doesn't make sense.

If you try to see it as three persons you get three gods.

If you try to see it as one person who plays different roles you get modalism.

I'm not satisfied with that classic approach because it leaves so many questions unanswered. Such as:

How can each be distinct, but also each be the whole God?

How can the three be one and the one be three?

Why is the Father's and Son's relationship with the Spirit so different than their relationship with each other? Why do we hear about their love for each other but not of their love for the Spirit?

If we are in God's image and God is triune, how are we triune like he is?


But the Edwards/Piper approach seems to answer nicely these questions.

For a perfect being, his self and self-image would each be perfect and complete. And the relationship between the two would be also. Each would be the whole him in its own way, yet each would be distinct. Each would co-exist and co-inhere from eternity to eternity.

It also shows how the Father and Son can be the same, yet different. The self and self-image of God are really the same thing, yet they are not. Also, in God the relationship between the two is the same as both, yet distinct. Each are God, the whole God, yet each are different.

And in our own imperfect and shadowy way, we can see how we are in the image of this triune being.

I believe, ultimately, that "finding our soul" will be when we come to have the kind of healthy relationship with ourselves that God has with himself. Of course, this will only come by the grace of God.

I think the way of looking at it fits too well for there to be nothing to it. But, again, it's just a theory, not a matter for contention.
02-07-2017 01:03 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
The essential/economical separation is how the LC attempts to defend Lee's views, but that still doesn't validate certain things that WL taught. For example, he stated that "the entire Godhead, the Triune God, became flesh." There is no mistaking what WL said and was intending to imply. The distinction between essential/economical can't account for statements like these.
Freedom,

At what point in time did the Triune God co-existing and co-inhering from eternity past to eternity future become separated?

Are you saying that in incarnation, when the Word become flesh, the co-inherence of the Triune God changed?

I believe the definition of "Para" as may be found in John 6:46, 7:29, and 16:27 maintains the eternal status of the essential Trinity. That is orthodox is it not?

Drake
02-07-2017 11:59 AM
Freedom
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
Freedom,

I think of it this way. There is a distinction between the Father, Son, and Spirit in the Godhead yet not a separation. The Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist, are co-equal, and coinhere from eternity past to eternity future though they have different "roles". Igzy used "roles" and for lack of a better word at this moment I believe that is where any distinction lies. So the Son declares the Father as part of His (the Son's) role.

Subordination of the Son to the Father is related to the Son's position as a man. Though a perfect man, as God originally intended, and a man without sin. yet, His humanity stood in the position of death as indicated by His baptism. So subordination is not in the Godhead (the essential Trinity) but in the economical Trinity (the work of God for, with, in, and related to man).

Drake
The essential/economical separation is how the LC attempts to defend Lee's views, but that still doesn't validate certain things that WL taught. For example, he stated that "the entire Godhead, the Triune God, became flesh." There is no mistaking what WL said and was intending to imply. The distinction between essential/economical can't account for statements like these.
02-06-2017 05:23 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
Jesus chose to act and exist as someone who was subordinate to the Father. I wouldn’t speculate if he could disobey the Father (that would have likely created a paradox), but the important thing here is that the view of Jesus being subordinate to the Father necessitates a fundamental distinction between the Father and the Son.
Freedom,

I think of it this way. There is a distinction between the Father, Son, and Spirit in the Godhead yet not a separation. The Father, Son, and Spirit co-exist, are co-equal, and coinhere from eternity past to eternity future though they have different "roles". Igzy used "roles" and for lack of a better word at this moment I believe that is where any distinction lies. So the Son declares the Father as part of His (the Son's) role.

Subordination of the Son to the Father is related to the Son's position as a man. Though a perfect man, as God originally intended, and a man without sin. yet, His humanity stood in the position of death as indicated by His baptism. So subordination is not in the Godhead (the essential Trinity) but in the economical Trinity (the work of God for, with, in, and related to man).

Drake
02-05-2017 10:58 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
The Trinity—God’s Relationship with Himself

The Bible reveals a fascinating and baffling fact about God—that he is triune. Triune simply means three-one. God is revealed in the Bible to be three Persons—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—while remaining one God. This is a difficult concept for all of us. The Triune God, or Trinity, is such a challenging idea that many Christians just choose to downplay it. Yet an appreciation of the Trinity greatly enriches our relationship with God.

The Persons of the Trinity are more than roles the one God plays or hats he wears. Each is eternal, co-existing, and has a relationship with the other, and each is fully God. The relationship between the Father and the Son is shown to be a full-blown personal love relationship of two conscious beings. Yet there are not three Gods, there is only one. So how can God be three Persons, yet remain one God, and what does that mean?

The Bible doesn’t explain the Trinity; it simply presents it as a reality. In the Trinity the three are shown to have certain roles—the Father conceives, the Son reflects, and the Spirit communicates. The Father is the source of God, the Son is the expression of God, and the Spirit is the reality or experience of God.
Igzy, I believe I agree with everything here. It is orthodox and some of the sentence architecture is precisely what and how Brother Lee would often say it (best example is the last sentence above).

Only one thing I am not comfortable with thus far is the statement about "two conscious beings". Two beings suggests a step further of separation than "Persons". Beings might lead one to think of God as three separate entities or three gods. Beings may be an unwitting step in the direction of tritheism even though you clearly do not mean that in your defintion because you say so right after. I might then think, how can God be made up of beings but not three gods?

Also, you did not use the term coinhere. I think the coherence in the Triune God is relevant and important to any defintion.

Drake
02-05-2017 10:35 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

That's okay Drake. I was just throwing something out that maybe some people haven't thought of. I really don't want to discuss it cuz you're right it can just go round and round and get to nowhere. No one has the final word on the Trinity economical or otherwise.
02-05-2017 10:24 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Yes. Something similar was held by Jonathan Edwards and now by John Piper.
Okay Igzy.. I think it is also important to acknowledge that for us to describe the Triune God, or Trinity if you prefer, is extremely difficult because we are like ants trying to grasp the concept of humans. In this life we will never understand the Triune God beyond the limitations of our human capacity, both mental and spiritual. We will struggle for the words to describe sonething we see darkly at best.

On balance, we also have a responsibility to pursue an understanding of all matters delivered to us in the Holy Writ. To neglect striving to understand the Triune God as revealed in the Bible would be irresponsible and despising a birthright God has given to us. As believers we need to exercise due diligence to explore every verse that would give us greater insight into God's essence and God's direct actions with man. Or said differently, the essential Trinity and the economical Trinity.

Only a careful, thoughtful, and prayerful consideration of this will yield any meaningful result. Otherwise we are guity of just wasting our time and vainly considering the things of God. Yet, perhaps while explaining the Triune God we will venture afield from what is revealed in the Word. Let's just agree to reel each other back in when that happens without the backbiting.

Still, I have doubt that this forum is capable of rationally discussing this topic. It's a relevant topic for sure but almost every topic devolves rapidly into what some believe are the roots of all evil. It is a serious topic but personal agendas will hinder critical analysis and the handling this topic deserves. But, we'll see.

This title below of the Igzy piece indicates the challenge of understanding the essential Trinity.

Igzy) "The Trinity—God’s Relationship with Himself"

The essential Trinity exists from eternity past to eternity future. What can we, from our limited vantage point, understand about God's relationship with Himself? There is far more in the Bible that defines the economical Trinity, where Brother Lee focused his ministry, than the essential Trinity.

Drake
02-05-2017 08:26 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Yes. Something similar was held by Jonathan Edwards and now by John Piper.
02-04-2017 09:18 PM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

-1

Igzy,

Are you trying to describe the essential Trinity?

Drake
02-04-2017 05:21 PM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Drake, Lee did indeed focus on the economical side of the Trinity. In fact he said the reason God was triune was for his economy. Now that that's an ontological mouthful when you think about it.

At the risk of tooting my own horn, here is part of something I've been working on:


The Trinity—God’s Relationship with Himself


The Bible reveals a fascinating and baffling fact about God—that he is triune. Triune simply means three-one. God is revealed in the Bible to be three Persons—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—while remaining one God. This is a difficult concept for all of us. The Triune God, or Trinity, is such a challenging idea that many Christians just choose to downplay it. Yet an appreciation of the Trinity greatly enriches our relationship with God.

The Persons of the Trinity are more than roles the one God plays or hats he wears. Each is eternal, co-existing, and has a relationship with the other, and each is fully God. The relationship between the Father and the Son is shown to be a full-blown personal love relationship of two conscious beings. Yet there are not three Gods, there is only one. So how can God be three Persons, yet remain one God, and what does that mean?

The Bible doesn’t explain the Trinity; it simply presents it as a reality. In the Trinity the three are shown to have certain roles—the Father conceives, the Son reflects, and the Spirit communicates. The Father is the source of God, the Son is the expression of God, and the Spirit is the reality or experience of God.

But how can one be three, and vice versa? Here’s one way of looking at it. Every self-conscious being has three unavoidable aspects of consciousness—what it is, what it thinks it is, and the relationship between the two. God has these aspects as well. God the Father can be viewed as God in himself, God the Son as God’s idea of himself, and God the Spirit as the relationship between the two.

Human beings also have a self, a self-image and the relationship between the two. But we are not perfect, and our self-knowledge is neither complete nor perfect, thus our self-images are not perfect, and so our relationships with ourselves are incomplete and rocky. But God’s self-knowledge is perfect, as is his self-image. He has no problems with himself, there is nothing about himself that he doesn’t know, accept and love. So his relationship with himself is also perfect. This relationship is the essence of God, the Holy Spirit.

God the Son is God’s idea of himself, and since God’s idea of himself is perfect and without error, the Son is the absolute perfect image of God, even to the point of being a person unto himself. The Father and the Son have a perfect relationship, a flow of love and light between each other, which is just the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, then, is the essence of God, the reality of who he is. Isn’t how you relate to yourself ultimately the essence of who you are?

Now it goes to another level. God’s self-love is so pure and holy that it can be manifested as sacrificial love for himself. Thus when the Son Jesus sacrificed himself to do the Father’s will it was real sacrificial love in every way.

Since being triune is a necessary aspect of any intelligent, self-aware being, it turns out that each of us is a trinity. So we are more in the image of God than we might have thought.

Finally, if God exists he must be Triune. Thus the Christian model of God is not only correct, it is the only one possible.
02-04-2017 10:57 AM
Drake
Re: Lee's Trinity

Good discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Lee stressed the essential oneness of the Trinity, so it's probably no coincidence that is what he stressed in the Church.
Not accurate.

Brother Lee affirmed the essential oneness of the Trinity but stressed the economical Trinity. Conflating the two led to a lot of misunderstanding.

"Lee's Trinity" cannot be understood without the distinction he made.

Nevertheless, I agree with the sentiment that it is a conceptually challenging topic.

Drake
02-04-2017 09:51 AM
Ohio
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Igzy View Post
Many Christians think the doctrine of the Trinity doesn't matter. But what's interesting is that many aberrant groups tend to have aberrant views of the Trinity.
That's right.

The New Testament provides us with very little emphasis on Trinitarian theology. When things do get addressed it is in the form of rebuttals. In other words, when aberrant groups began to spread their heretical teachings in the church, whether they be gnostics, Catholics, JDubs, or Mormons, at that point the apostles and teachers must step in to rightly divide the word of God in order to shepherd the church of God.

Apart from that, the N.T. exhorts us to pay our attention, not to theology and endless doctrinal discussions, but to the works of faith and labors of love.
02-04-2017 07:22 AM
Cal
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
I don't claim to understand 'oneness' but one thing I do know is that the LC has got it all wrong.
Many Christians think the doctrine of the Trinity doesn't matter. But what's interesting is that many aberrant groups tend to have aberrant views of the Trinity. That doesn't prove anything but it might suggest that our view of the dynamic between the one and the many in the Trinity informs our view of the same dynamic among people.

Lee stressed the essential oneness of the Trinity, so it's probably no coincidence that is what he stressed in the Church. Lee had no interest in diversity. He wasn't always that extreme. But as he got older he more and more insisted on uniformity. In his view if we were all like Christ we should more or less be identical. And he believed local churches should be identical. But that stands in stark contrast to God's expression in creation. Look at the many different ways God manifests himself in thousand and thousands of different types of creatures and plants. But Lee thought when it came to people we should all strive to be the same, even down to the same white shirts, dark pants and black shoes.

Again this is evidence of his abusive, over-controlling approach.

To me the Trinity shows two main things: One, life is about relationships. Two, unity does not trump diversity, nor vice versa. Both should co-exist equally.
02-03-2017 11:10 PM
Freedom
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
But as it often the case, the goal of this thread was not to discuss modes of prayer, or whether Lee was a modalist. Rather to analyze the notion of the oneness of the Godhead in terms of some words found in the Bible. Words such as "be one as we are one." This is a statement that is not commenting on whether God is omnipresent. Rather it suggests something about the oneness of God that is not consistent with a "one God = one person" theology. It actually supports a theology that approaches three separates that are unified in a manner that we can likewise be unified. "Essence" doesn't even quite get it. It would seem to transcend. There should be something among the Christians that overcomes race, nationality, gender, political affiliation, and so much more. It is not something simply conferred upon us because we are Christian. It is something that needs action. Probably a change of heart and mind.
The concept of oneness found in the Bible is one of the things that WL was very unclear about. His concept of oneness was uniformity, and I think he went so far as to project such a view on God, by saying that each of the Trinity is synonymous with the other.

In the NT, Jesus speaks about being one with the Father, and he also speaks about doing the Father’s will. The former could have an implication of the Father and Son being the same, but that whole possibility is easily tossed out the window, because Jesus talks about doing the Father’s will.

Jesus chose to act and exist as someone who was subordinate to the Father. I wouldn’t speculate if he could disobey the Father (that would have likely created a paradox), but the important thing here is that the view of Jesus being subordinate to the Father necessitates a fundamental distinction between the Father and the Son. WL’s view simply doesn't make sense. The ‘oneness’ couldn’t possibly be any kind of uniform or conglomerate view of God. Rather, it is a oneness in purpose. Of course our understanding of God involves an understanding of the Trinity and some sort of essential ‘oneness’, but that doesn't mean that God operates or acts as a singular entity in everything he does. The Bible doesn't present us with that view.

I don't claim to understand 'oneness' but one thing I do know is that the LC has got it all wrong.
02-02-2017 01:02 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
My thoughts on the trinity, don't try to explain it nor comprehend. It's mysterious. At best it's a descriptive word. Should it be used as a proper noun?
Or should we consider "he" or "him" to be a proper pronoun?

My goal is not to arrive at a better explanation, but to understand the variability that bounds the discussion. And the "nearly tritheist" position would appear to not be so nearly heretical as some have suggested.

It is clear that there is no viable formula for practice that creates oneness. Nee and Lee offered "church boundary = city" and their own group is busy excommunicating its own members, including entire assemblies, over things as petty as how much LSM materials will be used in its meetings and agreement (or disagreement) with the excommunication of TC.

So no matter how hard they claim that their fantasy is the key to oneness, it is clear that they cannot be one within their own group because of it.

And it might be that part of what causes this oneness that Jesus prayed about would be reducing the amount of doctrinal certainty that we hold to. The very opposite of many — especially those who try to claim to be "the one" or otherwise consider themselves to be spiritually superior to all others.

And like my own journey of "recovery" with respect to LRC doctrine, small opportunities to rethink old positions is better than just lambasting the whole thing. Each conclusion that there is some single error chinks the armor. Eventually, you realize that there are better sources of good Christian thought.
02-02-2017 12:00 PM
OBW
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Like Witness Lee, Augustine believed a version of the Trinity that some would say borders on modalism, that the 3 Persons are different aspects of the one Person.
Don't presume that making any kind of equation between Lee and anyone else makes any position reasonable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
We should realize what the Trinity doctrine is. The Trinity doctrine is a model invented by humans. A model is something that humans use to more easily explain and analyze complex things, such as God. As a model, it can never be 100% accurate or detailed in every respect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
. . . Not only is this denying the omnipresence of God, but Christ's own words . . .
Nothing in what I said denied the omnipresence of God. There is nothing in declaring the Godhead to be 3 persons in some kind of unity that is beyond our concept, or 1 person with more than parlor tricks (modalism) to be understood in three that is contrary to scripture except to the extent that it clearly contradicts something clearly stated.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
Although Jesus taught the Lord's prayer to pray to the Father, this is not to the exclusion of praying to the Son.
I find that examples where there is some kind of prayer to Christ to be non-compelling when it comes to the fact that this was the only method taught by Christ, or observed of him by others. I am not saying that those others are wrong. Rather that, if anything, they are allowed despite the obvious statements that it should be according to a general format that was not like those prayers.

So if the goal is to use the scripture to insist on something, then it would seem that the insistence is on the way Jesus taught, not on the way some may have done it.

But when it comes to the teachings of Lee, he took great joy in describing the "low" prayers of poor Christians who just pray to the Father and pray about their needs, including the need for forgiveness. Lee insisted on praying only for the "high" things like the kingdom and the church.

Funny that this is not how Jesus taught us to pray.


But as it often the case, the goal of this thread was not to discuss modes of prayer, or whether Lee was a modalist. Rather to analyze the notion of the oneness of the Godhead in terms of some words found in the Bible. Words such as "be one as we are one." This is a statement that is not commenting on whether God is omnipresent. Rather it suggests something about the oneness of God that is not consistent with a "one God = one person" theology. It actually supports a theology that approaches three separates that are unified in a manner that we can likewise be unified. "Essence" doesn't even quite get it. It would seem to transcend. There should be something among the Christians that overcomes race, nationality, gender, political affiliation, and so much more. It is not something simply conferred upon us because we are Christian. It is something that needs action. Probably a change of heart and mind.

Yet it is, at least at some level, how Jesus declares he and the Father to be one. I will admit that their oneness does not require prayer to possibly happen. It simply is. Yet it is stated as being possible for us in this life.

Something that ignores whether you voted for Trump, Hillary, or some write-in. That is above your personal understanding of the best way to do communion or to baptize. Or whether you can lose your salvation or cannot. (Seems that if you are moving forward in Christ the issue is irrelevant.)

Yes, the decision of where to meet would be much easier if we were all that kind of one. We would not despise those who do not think like us.

The issue ceases to be whether our version of a particular doctrine is right but whether we are Christian. And no declaration of name or no name will make that right or wrong. It is beyond the identification of the assembly. it is in the heart of each Christian that must be one with all others. Those who separate will do so for themselves. Those who do not will be one no matter how or where they generally meet.

But then, once more, does that one statement by Jesus suggest something about the "One" of God that is more like three that are unified than one that is understood and experienced as three. I believe that it supports the former, not the latter.

Something more like the nearly tritheist position of the standard Trinity doctrine.
02-01-2017 08:41 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
You are correct, though I wouldn't use the word ‘invent’. The support for the doctrine comes directly from the Bible.

I was thinking about this whole topic and a certain peculiarity of the LC struck me. It is not uncommon for LC members to refer to God as the Triune God or the processed and consummated Triune God. I even remember hearing proclamations like praise the Triune God! So in the LC, this doctrine of the Trinity is more of a construct than anything else. There is a song they sing, it goes something like this: “Now the Triune God has come to dwell within, as the wonderful Spirit in us…” We both agree that the “Triune God” (Trinity) is a doctrine. According to this song, a doctrine comes to dwell within, no?

I’m not really trying to be sarcastic, but I do think it’s worth pointing out some of these absurdities. Lee’s teaching on the Trinity serves as ‘container’ which he tried to squeeze God into. Notably, he taught that each of the Trinity is synonymous with the other. Instead of following the distinctions found in the Bible (like Jesus praying to the Father), Lee chose to blur everything into his own construct of God. It makes sense then why LC members prefer to use terminology like Triune God instead of being more specific as to what they're talking about.
I should have said develop I suppose, couldn't think of the right word at the time. You make a good point. Also consider that many in denominations will just say "God", referring to either the Father, Son or Spirit, or all three. I find it better to use "Triune God" to emphasize the whole 3-persons of the Trinity. Also, the use of the word Triune God often, should prove that Lee is a Trinitarian.
02-01-2017 07:23 PM
Terry
Re: Lee's Trinity

My thoughts on the trinity, don't try to explain it nor comprehend. It's mysterious. At best it's a descriptive word. Should it be used as a proper noun?
02-01-2017 07:11 PM
Freedom
Re: Lee's Trinity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evangelical View Post
We should realize what the Trinity doctrine is. The Trinity doctrine is a model invented by humans. A model is something that humans use to more easily explain and analyze complex things, such as God. As a model, it can never be 100% accurate or detailed in every respect. The limitation on the model's accuracy is what we do not know or cannot explain or understand.
You are correct, though I wouldn't use the word ‘invent’. The support for the doctrine comes directly from the Bible.

I was thinking about this whole topic and a certain peculiarity of the LC struck me. It is not uncommon for LC members to refer to God as the Triune God or the processed and consummated Triune God. I even remember hearing proclamations like praise the Triune God! So in the LC, this doctrine of the Trinity is more of a construct than anything else. There is a song they sing, it goes something like this: “Now the Triune God has come to dwell within, as the wonderful Spirit in us…” We both agree that the “Triune God” (Trinity) is a doctrine. According to this song, a doctrine comes to dwell within, no?

I’m not really trying to be sarcastic, but I do think it’s worth pointing out some of these absurdities. Lee’s teaching on the Trinity serves as ‘container’ which he tried to squeeze God into. Notably, he taught that each of the Trinity is synonymous with the other. Instead of following the distinctions found in the Bible (like Jesus praying to the Father), Lee chose to blur everything into his own construct of God. It makes sense then why LC members prefer to use terminology like Triune God instead of being more specific as to what they're talking about.
02-01-2017 06:16 PM
Evangelical
Re: Lee's Trinity

Some people get touchy when you question or try to refine the Trinity doctrine. Roman Catholic and Orthodox people are like that, even many Protestants. They are still ruled by the fear that they will be outcast as heretics (or even put to death as some were) if they are perceived to deny a central tenet of the faith.

When Lee says "The traditional explanation of the Trinity is grossly inadequate and borders on tritheism", he is not arguing for discarding the Trinity doctrine and embracing modalism. He is shifting the balance away from a model which borders on tritheism. As this website says there are different models of the Trinity -
http://reknew.org/2007/12/what-are-t...f-the-trinity/

Like Witness Lee, Augustine believed a version of the Trinity that some would say borders on modalism, that the 3 Persons are different aspects of the one Person. Yet Augustine is still a widely respected early church Father in Protestantism. Based on this, to say Augustine was a modalist is silly, he clearly affirms the 3 person Godhead, as Lee does also.

We should also note that the Trinity doctrine took years to evolve. If we look into early church writings we will discover that the formulaic version of the Trinity "in the Father, Son and Spirit", was not common place. Sometimes only one of the 3 was used, or two of the three. Sometimes they would just say "God", which can refer to either one of the 3 persons, or to the whole Godhead. If we lived in the time of the apostles and asked them about the Trinity they would not know what we are talking about - they had not yet formulated or specified an exact doctrine about it. However many years later the Trinity doctrine was formulated from all of the evidence available - the apostles and early Christians held the ideas and beliefs that form the basis of the Trinity doctrine that we know today.

We should realize what the Trinity doctrine is. The Trinity doctrine is a model invented by humans. A model is something that humans use to more easily explain and analyze complex things, such as God. As a model, it can never be 100% accurate or detailed in every respect. The limitation on the model's accuracy is what we do not know or cannot explain or understand. In the early days of the church, people's faith in God was judged by whether or not they accepted the model, some were even killed for it. The reason for that was not just because they wanted to be right about the nature of God, but because the alternative models (modalism etc), denied the Lord Jesus's divinity and rightful place as the son of God, even God Himself in human form. As it is just a model I do not see why it is a problem to refine it or question it as long as we maintain the reasons why it was developed in the first place - to defend Christ's nature. Jews, Muslims, JW's, and others who deny the Trinity, do so because they do not accept the divinity of the Son. However there is still room for improvement in the Trinity model. What many Christians may not know is that the exact relationship between the 3 Persons of the Trinity was never accurately defined. I suppose this was because the main purpose of defining the Trinity in the first place was to counter heresies at the time to do with the nature of Christ and whether or not he was God or just a man, or was he fully God or just half a God.

One aspect of the relationship between the 3 Persons, is about whether they are all present with 1, or whether they can separate themselves in space and time.
For one reason or another it is a common belief in Christianity that the Father stayed in heaven and he sent Christ to Earth. This view says that it is possible for them to be separated.

Not only is this denying the omnipresence of God, but Christ's own words: "John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.". I believe Lee is right when he says the Father sent the Son but also was present with the Son. Christ also said "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" indicating that the Father's presence departed from him.

Although Jesus taught the Lord's prayer to pray to the Father, this is not to the exclusion of praying to the Son. There are examples in the Bible of the disciples praying to Christ. The name of Christ was upheld and used often. The "it is wrong to pray to Jesus" movement is clearly wrong. To not pray to Jesus says that he is not really God. For example the Jehovah’s Witnesses will not pray to Jesus because they think that He is not worthy of worship.

The Bible never goes into great detail about whether or not all 3 were present on the cross, or whether only 2 are is heaven and 1 is on earth, etc. From the Bible it is possible to construct a doctrine that the Father was in Heaven, the Son was on Earth and the Spirit came to Earth only after Pentecost. It is also possible to construct a doctrine which says that all three were present on the Earth at the same time - God is omniscient.
02-01-2017 09:34 AM
OBW
Lee's Trinity

I note the quote from Lee on today's (2/1/2017) sidebar and it is one of the more controversial aspects of his teaching. It was the major factor that provoked the letter from 70 biblical scholars. It is the place where he equivocates and dances all over the spectrum more than any other.

Let's start with the quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WLee
The traditional explanation of the Trinity is grossly inadequate and borders on tritheism. When the Spirit of God is joined with us, God is not left behind, nor does Christ remain on the throne. This is the impression Christianity gives. They think of the Father as one Person, sending the Son, another Person, to accomplish redemption, after which the Son sends the Spirit, yet another Person. The Spirit, in traditional thinking, comes into the believers, while the Father and Son are left on the throne. When believers pray, they are taught to bow before the Father and pray in the name of the Son. To split the Godhead into these separate Persons is not the revelation of the Bible.
I find this kind of speaking to be overly simplistic and naïve. To declare that in human terms there is simply only one person is to presume something not in the record (the scripture).

There was a discussion (here or the BARM) several years ago concerning the crucifixion and whether all of the Godhead was “present” in the death of Jesus. (Not just present at the death, but also died there.) I recall a fair bit of thought that based on the general presumption of one person that God the Father felt the pain but did not die. But I wonder if we are simply taking a different form of Human perspective to arrive at that conclusion.

Maybe the issue is not with there being only one person, but with the manner in which they are one. I note that Abugian and his crew at the BARM were pretty stuck on the “oneness is in essence” idea. I cannot say that it is right or wrong. But I do note that it is essentially what has been taught by the non-modalist side of Christianity as far back as there are writings outside of the Bible itself.

I do not dismiss the Bible from the discussion. But it is clear that defining the Trinity and the precise relationship of the Three as One God was never its goal. It was not made a lynchpin of Christian theology. Why? I don’t know. But it was not.

But when we start to look at the evidence that is in the Bible, it really doesn’t support Lee as much as we often think it does. It is in Lee’s statement (above, last sentence) declaring the traditional form of prayer — bow and pray to the Father in the name of the Son — to be “not the revelation of the Bible.” But I find that the very manner in which Jesus taught the disciples to pray to support this in a significant way. “Our Father in heaven . . . .” There is never a switch in direction of the prayer. It is to the Father. Not the Son or the Spirit. No, it does not end with “in Jesus name.” But while not exactly the same thing, Jesus did direct us to ask in his name. Not to ritualistically tack it on the prayer, but to be one with Him in our request and therefore an agent of his in prayer.

But that does not change that it is “in His name,” not to him or to the Spirit. It remains to the Father. I think the verse may even say something like "whatever you ask the Father in my name . . . ."


Prayer is to the Father. That is the record in the scripture.

And I am struck by Jesus’ prayer that we would be “one as we are one . . . .” I don’t care how you parse what follows. We are not one among ourselves in the way that a one-person God would be. That is a oneness beyond attainment at a time that it needs to be prayed about. If Jesus was only referring to oneness in the next age, then there is no need to pray about it. At that time things will be as they are intended to be. No need to earnestly pray to the Father about it.

I still don’t know what kind of oneness that is because other than “You in me and I in them” nothing is said to describe it. And if it is just about the fact that Jesus is in us, then still no need to pray about it. That is the way it is Jesus is in us (unless we are reprobates).



Thoughts?

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