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Old 05-25-2020, 09:29 AM   #1
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Default Modalism

One of the theological problems with the Local Church is being accused of modalism. A website I found says "Modalism and Monarchianism are two false views of the nature of God and of Jesus Christ that appeared in the second and third centuries AD. A modalist views God as one Person instead of three Persons and believes that the Father, Son, and Spirit are simply different modes or forms of the same divine Person."

Now I did hear Brother Lee say "Jesus became the life - giving Spirit"

"Became" has modalist connotations. But Scripture is plain: God exists in three co-eternal, co-equal Persons. What do you all think?
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Modalism

I've tried to figure out their position on this in the past and given up. In the very same paper the LC will say the Father, Son and Spirit are eternally distinct and then in the next paragraph stalwartly affirm that they are each other.

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Old 05-25-2020, 12:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Modalism

Personally, I just steer clear of most conversations about the nature of the Triune God. I don't think I've ever participated in a satisfactory and profitable conversation about that! Human beings exist in a physical universe consisting of three dimensions (plus time and the psychological and spiritual realms), and I suppose God occupies many more dimensions. So what human can ascertain this kind of limitless Being!?

One can present a plethora of verses supporting the three aspect of the Almighty, while a multitude of scripture same can also be stated for the one aspect. Where does that leave us? If I could evoke our moderator's (UntoHim) wisdom from another thread and apply it here, what does knowing this do for us practically? Not much from my standpoint!
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Old 05-25-2020, 12:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Modalism

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Originally Posted by HBJ View Post
One of the theological problems with the LC is being accused of modalism.
The theological problem is not that they are accused of modalism, but that they do espouse a form of modalism.

Yet at the same time they declare that the three are co-eternal and co-equal.

And given the complexity of what is described in the scripture that most of us have distilled into what we call the doctrine of the Trinity, it is not surprising that there are variations.

The real problem is that Lee, while believing in the doctrine of the trinity, couldn't see the use for the "three" and therefore over-argued the "One."

Now surely they are One and they are Three. And it is not entirely understood, even though we have devised a rather detailed doctrine to explain it. Go view the Lutheran Satire episode where St. Patrick tries to explain the trinity to a couple of Irish yokels. The point (well made) is that there is no simple way to understand it. So if you think you have distilled it to something "simple," you have failed and have only part of the truth (at best).
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Old 05-25-2020, 05:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Modalism

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Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
I've tried to figure out their position on this in the past and given up. In the very same paper the LC will say the Father, Son and Spirit are eternally distinct and then in the next paragraph stalwartly affirm that they are each other.
I concluded long ago that the Bible "contradicts" itself, saying God is one, yet revealing 3 distinct identities. So I decided long ago that I could know God and yet not completely understand God.

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Personally, I just steer clear of most conversations about the nature of the Triune God. I don't think I've ever participated in a satisfactory and profitable conversation about that! Human beings exist in a physical universe consisting of three dimensions (plus time and the psychological and spiritual realms), and I suppose God occupies many more dimensions. So what human can ascertain this kind of limitless Being!?
Me too! The only "argument" or discussion about God that I think is valuable is believing in the deity of Christ.

I have long believed that the modalism accusations are bogus and inconsequential. If we deem these charges of modalism against the Recovery are essential, then we must also view the tri-theism charges against Catholics and others as equally essential.
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Modalism

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Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
In the very same paper the LC will say the Father, Son and Spirit are eternally distinct and then in the next paragraph stalwartly affirm that they are each other.
It's simple - Christ is the Father (God made flesh) now as the Spirit in you, crying Abba Father back to Him. Since you also are the Father (not as an object of worship, though- that would be heretical), because you are the Body of Christ (remember, the Church is Christ) then you can see here the Father, in the Father, crying out to the Father. It's very clear.

And not only, but since Jesus prayed that we'd all be one even as he's one with the Father, then Trapped is really aron the Father and vice versa...

...but seriously, true religion is more about what James said, to visit those who need help. This is in accord with Jesus' life and teachings, and is to follow Jesus, and the apostles. Not disputations over words and logical leaps which go to the realm of rapidly diminishing returns.
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:14 AM   #7
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The theological problem is not that they are accused of modalism, but that they do espouse a form of modalism. Yet at the same time they declare that the three are co-eternal and co-equal.
This goes to a crucial point - just because a genuine Christian is taught heresy does not make them a heretic - it only makes them deceived when it comes to that particular doctrine, teaching or standing. Witness Lee taught a form of modalism, which makes him a heretic. Modalism has been condemned by the church since the earliest days, and has crept up from time to time ever since. Lee also taught a form of the orthodox doctrine of the trinity along side of the heretical (and so did a number of other heretical teachers throughout history), however it should go without saying that teaching heresy in one breath, while teaching and espousing orthodoxy in the next, in no way mitigates, much less excuses the heresy.

For centuries the genuine Christian church has taught and espoused a view of the Trinity which holds that "God is one being in three Persons". Heretics like Witness Lee usually end up doing one or both of the issues addressed in the Athanasian Creed: "Confounding the persons" and "Dividing the substance" of God. Most orthodox Christian teachers, scholars and apologist would tell you that Lee's "processed Triune God" teaching is heretical because it is a form of modalism in which the Persons of God are confounded and/or the substance of God is divided.


I think the late Nabeel Quareshi does an excellent job of "explaining the Trinity" in this short YouTube video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JpwOSKRC0
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:38 AM   #8
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And not only, but since Jesus prayed that we'd all be one even as he's one with the Father, then Trapped is really aron the Father and vice versa...
Wow, you have taken inferential Leeisms into outer space!
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This goes to a crucial point - just because a genuine Christian is taught heresy does not make them a heretic - it only makes them deceived when it comes to that particular doctrine, teaching or standing.
The real problem of Lee's teachings here is not the over-emphasis of the Oneness side of theology to counteract the over-emphasis of the Threeness side of theology but the loss of our loving and obedient relationship with God as Igzy/Cal has so often posted.
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Modalism

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Originally Posted by OBW View Post
Now surely they are One and they are Three. And it is not entirely understood, even though we have devised a rather detailed doctrine to explain it. Go view the Lutheran Satire episode where St. Patrick tries to explain the trinity to a couple of Irish yokels. The point (well made) is that there is no simple way to understand it. So if you think you have distilled it to something "simple," you have failed and have only part of the truth (at best).
This silly little satire video you linked to, to me shows the absurdity of us, in our so very limited human thinking, of trying to grasp the nature of God! Yet that won't stop us from going around & around trying to "corner this Jello." And though it is impossible for us to do, that also won't stop us from declaring that someone else hasn't done a good job of cornering the Jello either. (remember, we are called "sheep" for a reason)

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The real problem of Lee's teachings here is not the over-emphasis of the Oneness side of theology to counteract the over-emphasis of the Threeness side of theology but the loss of our loving and obedient relationship with God as Igzy/Cal has so often posted.
And that's a great observation! Like the study of food without actually eating it. The purpose of it all is to know this One and that He wants to have a loving relationship with us. Lee, by so much focus on the nature of the Triune God, was most likely guilty of leaving out the critical aspect of love (which, don't forget, he confessed at the end of his life). That is, God is like a giant steamroller when it comes to getting His purpose! No, He loves us and will be Our Guide, even unto death.
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Old 05-26-2020, 09:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: Modalism

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Originally Posted by HBJ View Post
One of the theological problems with the Local Church is being accused of modalism. A website I found says "Modalism and Monarchianism are two false views of the nature of God and of Jesus Christ that appeared in the second and third centuries AD. A modalist views God as one Person instead of three Persons and believes that the Father, Son, and Spirit are simply different modes or forms of the same divine Person."

Now I did hear Brother Lee say "Jesus became the life - giving Spirit"

"Became" has modalist connotations. But Scripture is plain: God exists in three co-eternal, co-equal Persons. What do you all think?
I don´t see where WL teaches modalism. 1 Cor. 15:45 says, "So also it is written, "The first Man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (NASB). Of course, that is not the only verse in the Bible about God , but that is what that verse says. So what does it mean, and why (it seems) so few books or sermons or whatever talk about this?

What I do feel I learned very wrongly in the Recovery is the lack of emphasis in the knowledge, experience, praise, worship, fellowsip, relationship, (please add more words) with the Father. Jesus constantly refererred to the Father; Jesus said He would reveal the Father to whom He would choose to. Paul prayed to the Father all the time. As far as I can remember the Father is barely mentioned in the Recovery except for the last 15 minutes of the table meeting on Sundays. I cannot remember one single time that somebody addressed prayers to the Father in the prayer meeting or any meeting. (that is different than teaching modalism, though).

Also, I remember being taught to shy away from strongly or bolding considering God as 3 Persons, because that could lead to tritheism. WL would say that many in christianity unconciously believe there are 3 gods. So he would teach instead that we should not emphasize that they are 3 Persons, but they are rather a hypostasis, i.e. from Wikipedia "In Christian theology, a hypostasis is one of the three hypostases (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) of the Trinity". He would say that they are like the 3 feet of a stool,---that is one stool, three feet. As a hypostasis, they are supporting elements.

After leaving the Recovery, one day I think I was reading a post from somebody here in LCD, addressing the matter of how the teachings about the TG in the Reoovery depersonalized the Godhead. As I read I felt the presence of the Lord move in me and in prayer I wept and repented and came back to realize my Triune God, is three living, real, personable, dear Persons!!!!

Yes they are one and three, no earthly math or logic applies here. I do see there are "overlaps", though, many times their name or place overlaps with one another, or are "switched" for one another. How could it be surprising if there is only one God? There has to be overlap, they are one. But wait, they are also three...it´s not for analysis, it´s for extasis! It´s awesome, but rather HE is awesome!!!!
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:50 AM   #11
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I don´t see where WL teaches modalism. 1 Cor. 15:45 says, "So also it is written, "The first Man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (NASB). Of course, that is not the only verse in the Bible about God , but that is what that verse says. So what does it mean, and why (it seems) so few books or sermons or whatever talk about this?
Good points Raptor. What I can tell you from my personal experience that I didn't see where Lee taught modalism either...that is for the 20 years I sat at the man's feet. I also thought that 1 Cor. 15:45 was teaching that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became the Holy Spirit. I believed that with my whole heart and soul. What I also believed was that Witness Lee was the only person speaking as God's oracle, and was essentially infallible when it came to the interpretation of Scripture, and because of this, I never cracked the pages of the writings of any other Christian teacher. Why would I? I had all the riches I needed right before me in those Life Studies!

Well, then a funny thing happened to me on the way to my sobriety and return to the real riches, the real high peak truths and the real Gospel. I couldn't find one notable, reputable biblical teacher, scholar or apologist (in history or contemporaries) that taught that 1 Cor 15:45 is telling us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, most of these teachers, scholars and apologist taught that the apostle Paul was not making a theological statement about the Trinity at all. And the more I reviewed 1 Cor 15 IN IT'S ORIGINAL CONTEXT, became familiar with the grammatical structure of the Koine Greek, and coupled all this with the teachings of all the Scripture writing apostles, I came to the realization that Mr. Witness Lee was full of bologna (now there's a deep, articulate theological term for ya . )

**I have much more to say about all this, including answering some of the other concerns and contentions posted here, but I'm going to be out of pocket for most of the rest of the day.**

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Old 05-26-2020, 11:22 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
And that's a great observation! Like the study of food without actually eating it. The purpose of it all is to know this One and that He wants to have a loving relationship with us. Lee, by so much focus on the nature of the Triune God, was most likely guilty of leaving out the critical aspect of love (which, don't forget, he confessed at the end of his life). That is, God is like a giant steamroller when it comes to getting His purpose! No, He loves us and will be Our Guide, even unto death.
Great analogy, bro, but you prolly don't want to say that or mention John 6.57 too loudly around here.


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I don´t see where WL teaches modalism. 1 Cor. 15:45 says, "So also it is written, "The first Man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (NASB). Of course, that is not the only verse in the Bible about God , but that is what that verse says. So what does it mean, and why (it seems) so few books or sermons or whatever talk about this?

What I do feel I learned very wrongly in the Recovery is the lack of emphasis in the knowledge, experience, praise, worship, fellowsip, relationship, (please add more words) with the Father. Jesus constantly referred to the Father; Jesus said He would reveal the Father to whom He would choose to. Paul prayed to the Father all the time. As far as I can remember the Father is barely mentioned in the Recovery except for the last 15 minutes of the table meeting on Sundays. I cannot remember one single time that somebody addressed prayers to the Father in the prayer meeting or any meeting. (that is different than teaching modalism, though).

After leaving the Recovery, one day I think I was reading a post from somebody here in LCD, addressing the matter of how the teachings about the TG in the Recovery depersonalized the Godhead. As I read I felt the presence of the Lord move in me and in prayer I wept and repented and came back to realize my Triune God, is three living, real, personable, dear Persons!!!!

Yes they are one and three, no earthly math or logic applies here. I do see there are "overlaps", though, many times their name or place overlaps with one another, or are "switched" for one another. How could it be surprising if there is only one God? There has to be overlap, they are one. But wait, they are also three...it´s not for analysis, it´s for extasis! It´s awesome, but rather HE is awesome!!!!
Great points here! I could give the same testimony.

But don't be intimidated by the push back here. And note that way too many Christian brothers (and even scholars) have just been wrongly influenced by that horrible translation in the KJV of verses I John 5.7-8, the so-called Johannine comma. It has helped skew Christian thought for centuries.

Years ago one church even threw me out for mentioning God is One and that error in the KJV. Most people take their theology fairly seriously, even if it means throwing the brothers under the bus or out the door.
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:00 PM   #13
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Personally, I just steer clear of most conversations about the nature of the Triune God.
Bro, I haven't seen you steer clear yet! And why would anyone want to? What could be more significant than going back and forth about the nature of God? Please don't tell me that you still subscribe to the ole "doctrines don't matter, we only care for life!" garbage taught in the Local Church. The little sect of the Local Church of Witness Lee is one of the most doctrine soaked religions on earth. They've got a doctrine for just about everything. The problem is that most of the doctrines have nothing to do with what is taught in the Bible.
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I don't think I've ever participated in a satisfactory and profitable conversation about that!
Sorry to hear that. Maybe you can just watch from the seats on this one, would that work better for you?

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One can present a plethora of verses supporting the three aspect of the Almighty, while a multitude of scripture same can also be stated for the one aspect. Where does that leave us? Not much from my standpoint! If I could evoke our moderator's (UntoHim) wisdom from another thread and apply it here, what does knowing this do for us practically?
Where does that leave us? Well, hopefully it leaves us with a plethora of verses and a multitude of Scripture...sounds pretty good to me! I don't think the term "aspects" is theologically accurate...but I'll give that some thought and get back to you on that.

What does knowing what do for us practically? Do you mean knowing about God? Knowing about his nature, character, wisdom, righteousness, sovereignty and love? I couldn't think of any better practical knowledge to have!

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Old 05-27-2020, 07:25 PM   #14
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Sorry to hear that. Maybe you can just watch from the seats on this one, would that work better for you?
Just so you know, my short answer really is just like your's over on the "difference between soul & spirit" thread, whether you see that or not - that is, what's the practicality dude? In my opinion, we'll never zero in (aka "corner Jello") on this 3-in-1 or 1-in-3 or some combination thereof nature of God thing, so therefore there is zero profit in my book in all the back-n-forth. So yes, I'm pretty given to sit this out if that's what's going on. But you go ahead and try to have fun with it - I'll have more fun watching on the sidelines . . . . (and who know, maybe after 2,000 years of trying, you'll be the one to actually get it)
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:19 AM   #15
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I also thought that 1 Cor. 15:45 was teaching that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became the Holy Spirit...I couldn't find one notable, reputable biblical teacher, scholar or apologist (in history or contemporaries) that taught that 1 Cor 15:45 is telling us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became the Holy Spirit.
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Well, to start, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus became the Holy Spirit, and neither did WL say that either...1 Cor 15:45 is just one verse that points to a very important truth covered by many other verses. One way to summarize it is that the resurrected Jesus is very different than the Jesus before resurrection. Something happened to Him through death and resurrection that changed Him, it changed His "form" if you will, for a lack of a better word.

One portion that points to this change is found in John 7:37-39, "“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." Most translations add the word "given", instead of "the Spirit was not yet, because....".

Regardless, the point here is that nobody could drink of Jesus while He was in the likeness of the flesh; He was not in a "drinkable form" if you will. What is the drinkable form? "But this He spoke of the Spirit". The Spirit is what can be drunk; so at that time was not the Holy Spirit there? Of course the Spirit was there, but nobody could drink of Him yet, it says, "those who believed in Him were to receive". The receiving, the drinking is in the future, why? The Spirit was there, yes, but not in a drinkable form, it says "the Spirit was not yet". Why was not the Spirit ready to be drunk? "Because Jesus was not yet glorified". The glorification of Jesus is related to the Spirit, His glorification "affected" the Spirit in such a way that made the Spirit, changed the Spirit into a form that is drinkable. So here it equates coming to Jesus and drinking of Him to receiving the Spirit. How can you come to Jesus and drink the Spirit? Well, because the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit.

Another portion is also found in John 20:19-22, "So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit"

The doors were shut but Jesus suddenly appeared, how can this be? Because the resurrected Jesus had a different form, He could just appear even when the doors were shut, yet He still had a body with the physical signs on His hands and side. Then He spoke to them and breathed on them, and as a result they received the Holy Spirit. The receiving of the Spirit is related to the Lord´s very breath, breathing on them. How can His breathing result in them receiving the Holy Spirit? Well, because the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit.

So there are many verses that show the Lord Jesus changed His physical form of flesh into a another form in resurrection. This new form has a physical body but displays many new characteristics that indicate He is also spiritual. The resurrected Jesus

had a physical body of flesh and bones, Luke 24:39
appeared in a room with closed doors, John 20:19
breathed on His disciples and they received the Holy Spirt, John 20:22
appeared in a different form to two disciples, Mark 16:12
suddenly disappeared from the disciples after they recognized Him, Luke 24:31
came and stood in a room that had the doors locked, John 20:26
had a body with scars where Thomas could introduce his fingers and hand into, John 20:27
appeared to Mary, His diciples, the 500

How could this be? Well, because the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit.

And many other verses like 2 Cor. 3:17-18, where it is talking about Christ as Lord, and then says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." And what about the verses that plainly mention "the Spirit of Jesus", and "the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (you can look them up). How could this be? Well, because the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit.

We know there is a Holy Spirit, but is the Spirit of Jesus then another Spirit, a different Spirit? Is it also divine? Are there now two divine Spirits? And what about the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Are they the same? But the New Testament also mentions the Spirit of God, the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of your Father, the Spirit of life, the life-giving Spirit, the Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the Lord Spirit, the seven Spirits of God. So how many Spirits are there? How many are divine? How many can give life? How many are Holy?

To top it off, the mark of the genuine christian faith is that "Jesus Christ is in you" 2 Cor. 13:5, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test" Is this literal? Is Jesus Christ actually inside a believer like the Bible says, or is it just figurative? How can this be? Well, because the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit.

In summary there is only one divine, Holy Spirit. This Spirit, though, could not enter man, nor impart life into man, nor regenerate man, nor indwell man until something happened, that is, that Jesus would die, resurrect, be glorified and change His form into a physical/spiritual form in resurrection. Words fail to adequately describe the event, to describe Him, but it is like through the glorificatoin of Jesus, the Holy Spirit included or added into Himself the very incarnation, human living, death, and resurrection of Christ. Now the Holy Spirit has become drinkable, He is in a form that can be received, can enter into man, can give life to man, can give man the experiences of the life of Jesus, the experiences of the reality of the cross, the living in the resurrection of Christ. Now these realities have been added to the Spirit, they were not in the Holy Spirit before, because the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified. How can all of this be? Well, because the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit.
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Old 05-30-2020, 06:19 AM   #16
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Great post Raptor.

Thanks for addressing so many of the verses that most Christians seem to ignore or try to "wish out" of the New Testament. I also refuse to reject these verses just because WL taught them, and we know he had other issues.

It seems so foolish to apply human logic and understanding to our God. Those are the arguments we hear all the time. How can God be one when Jesus prayed to the Father and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Him??? How? I can't explain! Neither can I explain creation.

Neither can I explain how Jesus can appear and disappear with the disciples, and still eat food and have 5 holes in His body. How can Jesus live in me? How come the two on the road to Emmaus could not tell that Jesus was different? Wasn't He just mercilessly beaten and killed beyond recognition just a few days prior?

Jesus first instructions to the disciples after His resurrection were to "believe" and at the same time to shock all their preconceived notions of God. I am not here to reconcile "irreconcilable" truths about God. That would be a foolish impossibility. I am hear to believe God, and to believe His word.

It would really help the church of God, if we could end our binary mindset. Stop being a prisoner of two ideas -- modalism or tri-theism. The truth lies between these two extremes, yet seems to reinforce both extremes ... at times.
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Old 05-30-2020, 01:10 PM   #17
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I think last two posts by Raptor & Ohio were effectively informative, but not not commenting further . . . want to see what others have to say . . . . .
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Old 05-31-2020, 06:01 AM   #18
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So how many Spirits are there? How many are divine? How many can give life? How many are Holy?
How many Spirits are there? Good question. We don't know.

In the gospels, Jesus says that "Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."

Here you have the glory of the Son, the Father, and the holy angels. The NT says that angels are spirits (Heb 1:14), so holy angels are holy spirits. How many holy spirits? We don't know. But why does Jesus in his proto-trinitarian formula, superimpose 'holy angels' for what we expect should be Holy Spirit? I don't know. Do you? Did Lee? Or did he ignore this inconvenient verse?

I don't have an answer, but I suspect that the writer of the Apocalypse, the disciple John, was there in the gospels and heard Jesus speak of multiple spirits thusly. When John wrote of multiple spirits before the throne of God, and going out to all the earth (Rev 1:4, 4:5, and 5:6) did his gospel experience factor in? Of course it did. How much? We don't know.

When the holy angel carried John away "in spirit", how could John both be "in spirit" and carried by a non-capital "H" holy spirit? How many holy spirits are there?

When the tongues of flame sat over their heads on Pentecost, how many spirits were in the room? Just one?

Then we have the plural spirits in Hebrews 12:9 "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" Does the Holy Father give life to holy spirits, plural? Apparently.

The question before is is not, "What do we [want to] believe" but "What did Jesus believe", and what did John and the author of Hebrews believe. If you read Jesus' recorded statements in the gospels, or John's Revelation, it isn't as "clear" as Witness Lee said it was. So, should we be subject to WL's truncated Bible and partial logic? I say, No. There's a spirit of control at work, and we should reject it. Only be subject to the Father of spirits, and live. Do not be conformed to the spirit of this age.

Religious conformity is one of the strongest spirits of this age. Please - let the Bible be your guide... all of it, not just the 'convenient' parts. Please don't 'become' an unwitting vector of the spirit of control and conformity that ran WL and now runs his minions.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:02 AM   #19
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Well, to start, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus became the Holy Spirit,
Of course it doesn't. That would be modalism, and the Bible doesn't teach modalism!

Quote:
and neither did WL say that either...
Oh, he most certainly did. Here are just a few I conjured up in just a minute or two.

"The Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit... and the Lord Jesus who is the Son is also the Eternal Father. Our Lord is the Son, and He is also the Father."
Witness Lee, Concerning the Triune God
(Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1973)

"Through the process of resurrection, the Man who ended the old creation became the life-giving Spirit, the germinating element of the new creation."
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

"When He entered into resurrection, He became the Spirit who gives life"
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

"The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not three separate persons or three Gods; they are one God, one reality, one person."
Witness Lee, The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man
(Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1970)

Quote:
1 Cor 15:45 is just one verse that points to a very important truth covered by many other verses. One way to summarize it is that the resurrected Jesus is very different than the Jesus before resurrection. Something happened to Him through death and resurrection that changed Him, it changed His "form" if you will, for a lack of a better word.
Ok, this is your interpretation of Witness Lee's interpretation. That's nice, but you're not really addressing the matter at hand. Witness Lee clearly and strongly taught that Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, BECAME the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of the Trinity. The rest of your post, while giving a very good interpretation of Lee's teachings, totally skirts the issue at hand. Here's the issue at hand, Raptor:
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Now I did hear Brother Lee say "Jesus became the life - giving Spirit"
Yeah, I heard that too, HBJ. I heard it so many times that I believed it with all my heart and mind. Look, I attended hundreds upon hundreds of training and conference meetings where I heard Witness Lee speak, in person, unfiltered and unedited by Ron Kangas. I know what the man taught. To my knowledge, he never repudiated this false teaching, and neither has the current leadership of the Local Church.

Yes Raptor, something did happen to the Lord Jesus through death and resurrection that changed Him, and if you read 1 Corinthians chapter 15 carefully, the apostle Paul clearly states that upon our resurrection, the very same change will take place with our physical bodies. The Lord Jesus' physical body was changed into a glorified, "spiritual body" (πνευματικός σῶμα) Vs 44. The apostle was not teaching that the Lord Jesus became the Holy Spirit, and no reputable, commonly accepted, orthodox Christian teacher, scholar or apologist, throughout the church history, has ever taught that the Lord Jesus became the Holy Spirit.

The rest of your post, while delivered with great precision and passion, is a vain attempt to use biblical terms and language to confirm an unbiblical teaching. There is one God. There is only one Father. There is only one Son. There is only one Spirit. There is only one God, and this God is seeking those that will worship him in spirit and in truth.

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Old 05-31-2020, 09:05 AM   #20
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Well, to start, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus became the Holy Spirit, and neither did WL say that either...1 Cor 15:45 is just one verse that points to a very important truth covered by many other verses.

Now these realities have been added to the Spirit, they were not in the Holy Spirit before, because the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified. How can all of this be? Well, because the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit.
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Oh, he most certainly did. Here are just a few I conjured up in just a minute or two.

"The Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit... and the Lord Jesus who is the Son is also the Eternal Father. Our Lord is the Son, and He is also the Father."

"Through the process of resurrection, the Man who ended the old creation became the life-giving Spirit, the germinating element of the new creation."

"When He entered into resurrection, He became the Spirit who gives life"

"The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not three separate persons or three Gods; they are one God, one reality, one person."
I still am missing that part where WL said that "Jesus is the Holy Spirit."

Sorry bro, you can use your oversized modalism shoe horn, but you really need to go after Apostle Paul on this one.

It was Paul who first said, "And the Lord is the Spirit." Please read 2 Cor 3.17

And I'm still looking for that Bible verse that says God is "3 Persons."

You seem so intent on getting the descriptor "THREE" into the scripture somewhere, anywhere, to describe God, that you remind me of that errant 15th century scribe who mis-copied the Latin Vulgate N.T. into a manuscript of the Greek N.T. regarding I John 5.7-8 (Please see Johannine Comma)

I know you are convinced there must be a "THREE" in there somewhere to provide us with an orthodox theology of God Himself, but it just isn't there.

I'm so sorry.
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:18 AM   #21
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My brother Sons to Glory, you have made it pretty clear - you don't think there is such a thing as heresy. Everything is just a big mystery and we need not bother about teaching or doctrine. My post was directed at Raptor. He took a lot of time and thought into posting what he did, so let's honor his effort by not sidetracking, ok?
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:22 AM   #22
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OK, you have convinced me that WL taught modalism, because I heard those same things!
Then Apostle Paul was the First Modalist.
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:29 AM   #23
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Brother Ohio,

Did you actually read the quotes I provided?
"and the Son is also the Spirit"
"the Man who ended the old creation became the life-giving Spirit"
"He became the Spirit who gives life"

Who is "the Son"? Is there another Son who is not Jesus?
Who is "the Man"? Is there another Man who is not Jesus?
Who is "He"? Is there another He who is not Jesus?

Did you listen to the short video there in the quote of the day. It's only about 7 or 8 minutes. I'm sorry that you still think that 2000 years of Christian teaching should be thrown out the window for the make-it-up-as-he-went-along theology of some dude who couldn't prove he passed a vacation Bible school pop quiz.

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Old 05-31-2020, 09:44 AM   #24
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I still am missing that part where WL said that "Jesus is the Holy Spirit."

Sorry bro, you can use your oversized modalism shoe horn, but you really need to go after Apostle Paul on this one.

It was Paul who first said, "And the Lord is the Spirit." Please read 2 Cor 3.17

And I'm still looking for that Bible verse that says God is "3 Persons."

You seem so intent on getting the descriptor "THREE" into the scripture somewhere, anywhere, to describe God, that you remind me of that errant 15th century scribe who mis-copied the Latin Vulgate N.T. into a manuscript of the Greek N.T. regarding I John 5.7-8 (Please see Johannine Comma)

I know you are convinced there must be a "THREE" in there somewhere to provide us with an orthodox theology of God Himself, but it just isn't there.

I'm so sorry.
Oh now I'm convinced the other way! (says he blown about by every wind of teaching) Opps, I forgot I was supposed to be lurking in this discussion . . .
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:36 AM   #25
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Did you listen to the short video there in the quote of the day. It's only about 7 or 8 minutes. I'm sorry that you still think that 2000 years of Christian teaching should be thrown out the window for the make-it-up-as-he-went-along theology of some dude who couldn't prove he passed a vacation Bible school pop quiz.

-
I'm not throwing out 2,000 years of Christian teaching. I'm only saying that the emphasis on "3 Persons" is not scriptural, and in fact may be misleading. As such, we should not build our theology of God around it, or around traditions, or around ancient creeds, but on the scripture, and only the scripture. Neither am I supporting WL's teachings here, except for those I can support with the Bible.

But on to your other questions ...
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Did you actually read the quotes I provided?
"and the Son is also the Spirit"
"the Man who ended the old creation became the life-giving Spirit"
"He became the Spirit who gives life"

Who is "the Son"? Is there another Son who is not Jesus?
Who is "the Man"? Is there another Man who is not Jesus?
Who is "He"? Is there another He who is not Jesus?
Yes, I read and reread your quotes. And the Bible. 1st and 2nd Corinthians.

Technically, we can say with all assurance that He, the resurrected Jesus Christ, "the Christ" (2C.3.14), or "The Lord," (v.17) is now "the Spirit," (v.17) and Apostle Paul then concludes his thought with the new phrase the "Lord Spirit." (v.18)

Technically, we can also say with all assurance that the resurrected Jesus Christ (I Cor 15.3-23), the "Him" and "the Son" (v.27-28), the "Last Adam" (v45), and the "Second Man" (v.47) became "a/the life-giving Spirit." (v45) Whether "a" or "the" is in question.

To be accurate according to the scriptures, we should not say that "Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit." For WL to say this was to take ministerial liberty. I understand his goal was to shake up traditional thinking. Some of that was good, some was not, especially the side of him that condemned all others.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:39 AM   #26
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Oh now I'm convinced the other way! (says he blown about by every wind of teaching) Opps, I forgot I was supposed to be lurking in this discussion . . .

Did you choke on the popcorn or the slurpee?
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Old 05-31-2020, 11:29 AM   #27
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I'm not throwing out 2,000 years of Christian teaching.
But Witness Lee sure did, and Witness Lee and his teaching that "Jesus became the live-giving Spirit" is what concerns HBJ.

Quote:
I'm only saying that the emphasis on "3 Persons" is not scriptural, and in fact may be misleading.
You keep bringing this up. Where have I, or anyone I have quoted, put an unscriptural emphasis on 3 persons? It seems to me that just the mention of the word "person" is what you have a problem with. Is using the phrase "God is one in Being and three in Person" an overemphasis on 3 Persons? If so, how so?

Quote:
To be accurate according to the scriptures, we should not say that "Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit."
Great. Now that wasn't so hard after all, was it!

Quote:
For WL to say this was to take ministerial liberty.
Ministerial liberty? Wow. Ok, if you say so.
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:11 PM   #28
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But Witness Lee sure did, and Witness Lee and his teaching that "Jesus became the live-giving Spirit" is what concerns HBJ.

You keep bringing this up. Where have I, or anyone I have quoted, put an unscriptural emphasis on 3 persons? It seems to me that just the mention of the word "person" is what you have a problem with. Is using the phrase "God is one in Being and three in Person" an overemphasis on 3 Persons? If so, how so?
I understand the concerns of HBJ, but should we not discuss errors in the light of scriptures. If WL took issue with some traditional creeds of theology, which many reformers have also done, that is NOT necessarily bad.

Read I Cor 15.45. Jesus Christ (read the context), the Last Adam, the Second Man, became a/the life-giving Spirit. How can that be objected to? If you have issues with that, then prove that Apostle Paul is at fault, and the first "modalist."

I don't have issue with the word "Person" because that implies an intelligent Creator, and our Lord and Savior, who definitely has a great personality, and desires a personal relationship with us all.

I take issue with the word "Three." Except for the obvious scribal and translation errors in I John 5.7-8, there is not one instance in the Bible that refers to God as "THREE." If you can find a single instance, other than the words "We" or "Us" referring to God, than I would accept your phrase "3 Persons."

Look at I Cor 8.3-6 or II Cor 13.14. Paul had excellent opportunity in these verses to mention "three" when referring to God, but he never does. Why not? Paul always follows the O.T. pattern of "to us there is but One God." (Deut 6.4 et al)

I am actually using the same argument to reject WL's teaching of deification, "God became man to make man god." That also was sourced in notable Church Fathers. I reject that teaching because it is not in the Bible, though many writers had ample opportunity to say it. If I reject deification, then I must be consistent, and also reject saying God is "3 Persons."

Like the Reformers, our only standard for truth is scripture, eh?
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Old 05-31-2020, 05:24 PM   #29
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"Our organic union with the Lord is also in the Spirit. Christ and the Spirit are not two separate persons. They are one person. This is a divine mystery that is beyond human understanding. Christ is the Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b; 2 Cor. 3:17). The One who did on the cross, resurrected from the dead, and ascended to the heavens is Christ. But this Christ enters into us as the Spirit. When we call ‘O Lord Jesus,’ the Spirit gets into us." Witness Lee, “The Organism of the Triune God
in the Organic Union of His Divine Trinity,”
(Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 1988), 21
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:50 PM   #30
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It's simple - Christ is the Father (God made flesh) now as the Spirit in you, crying Abba Father back to Him. Since you also are the Father (not as an object of worship, though- that would be heretical), because you are the Body of Christ (remember, the Church is Christ) then you can see here the Father, in the Father, crying out to the Father. It's very clear.

And not only, but since Jesus prayed that we'd all be one even as he's one with the Father, then Trapped is really aron the Father and vice versa...

...but seriously, true religion is more about what James said, to visit those who need help. This is in accord with Jesus' life and teachings, and is to follow Jesus, and the apostles. Not disputations over words and logical leaps which go to the realm of rapidly diminishing returns.

Thanks for a hearty chuckle, aron!
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:55 PM   #31
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Well, to start, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus became the Holy Spirit, and neither did WL say that either...
Here's where Witness Lee said it:

"Let us now turn to 1 Corinthians 15:45. This verse says, “The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam became**a life-giving spirit” (Gk.). According to this verse, the last Adam, who is Christ, became a life-giving Spirit. Some twist this verse, saying that it speaks of “a life-giving Spirit,” not “the life-giving Spirit.” But besides the Holy Spirit who gives life is there another Spirit who gives life? To say that there are two Spirits giving life is to teach another great heresy. Whether the article is definite or indefinite, the last Adam, who is Christ Himself, became a Spirit, a life-giving Spirit. At this point we must refer to John 6:63, where the Lord says, “It is the Spirit that giveth life” (Gk.). In this chapter the Lord Jesus said that He was the bread of life to give life to people. Eventually, He indicated that in order to be life to people as the bread of life, He must be the Spirit, for it is the Spirit who gives life. Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 3:6 says, “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Is not the Spirit in this verse the Holy Spirit? Can we say that besides this Holy Spirit who gives life there is also another Spirit who gives life? No, we dare not say this.

A second way of twisting this verse is to say that the life-giving Spirit here is not the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit of Christ as a person. Those who twist the verse in this manner say that just as we have a spirit, so Christ also has a spirit. Then they proceed to say that the spirit here is the spirit of Christ, not the Holy Spirit. Certainly, the Spirit in this verse is the Spirit of Christ. But do you believe that besides the Holy Spirit there is another Spirit who is the Spirit of Christ? Or, to put the matter another way, do you believe that besides the Spirit of Christ there is another Spirit called the Holy Spirit? If you believe this, your mind must be darkened. No one with an enlightened mind would believe this."

There is no precise quote "Jesus became the Holy Spirit" but the typical winding reasoning of "if the life-giving Spirit Jesus became is something besides the Holy Spirit then that is the heresy of saying there are two Spirits who give life, and you are a meathead if you think that." Thus.....Jesus became nothing other than the Holy Spirit.

From his 1977 book, What a Heresy—Two Divine Fathers, Two Life-Giving Spirits, and Three Gods! The quote can be found here, in the section "The Heresy of Two Life-Giving Spirits": https://contendingforthefaith.org/en...#heresyspirits
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:49 AM   #32
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There is no precise quote "Jesus became the Holy Spirit"
That is what I said.
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Old 06-01-2020, 11:32 AM   #33
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My brother Raptor, did you happen to miss these quotes I provided the other day?

"The Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit... and the Lord Jesus who is the Son is also the Eternal Father. Our Lord is the Son, and He is also the Father."
Witness Lee, Concerning the Triune God
(Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1973)

"Through the process of resurrection, the Man who ended the old creation became the life-giving Spirit, the germinating element of the new creation."
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

"When He entered into resurrection, He became the Spirit who gives life"
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

So there is "The Son" who became the Holy Spirit who is not Jesus?

So this "Man who ended the old creation and became the life-giving Spirit" was not Jesus?

So the "He who entered into resurrection and became the Spirit" is not Jesus?

I'm not trying to put you on the spot, but could you please make us all clear on how these things could be? Take your time - most of us are at home anyway.

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Old 06-01-2020, 12:01 PM   #34
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That is what I said.
Don't do that, Raptor. Your point is not that Witness Lee never said the precise words in the exact grammatical order of "Jesus became the Holy Spirit." You know full well the quotes provided amount to that.

What you are doing is saying that if a parent says "If you throw a party you'll be dead meat", you would turn around and say "they never said don't throw a party!" Give me a break.

When the plain words of Witness Lee mocking anyone who thinks the Spirit of Christ or the LGS is anything other than the Holy Spirit are right in front of you, but you deny those plain words, it's just immature and disrespectful on your part towards the discourse, as well as towards the people taking the time to participate.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:20 PM   #35
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"Our organic union with the Lord is also in the Spirit. Christ and the Spirit are not two separate persons. They are one person. This is a divine mystery that is beyond human understanding. Christ is the Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b; 2 Cor. 3:17). The One who did on the cross, resurrected from the dead, and ascended to the heavens is Christ. But this Christ enters into us as the Spirit. When we call ‘O Lord Jesus,’ the Spirit gets into us." Witness Lee, “The Organism of the Triune God
in the Organic Union of His Divine Trinity,”
(Anaheim, CA: Living Stream Ministry, 1988), 21
On more than one occasion, Witness Lee taught that God was "one person". (as in the quote above) On many other occasions he taught the orthodox view of "the three persons of the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit." (Concerning the Triune God)

This is just one of a myriad of examples one could give to show that Witness Lee was sloppy and inaccurate at best, and on many occasions, taught what could be considered rank heresy. Thankfully, Lee's influence among Christians outside of the little sect of the Local Church is about zero.
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:31 PM   #36
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Here are more interesting verses that I call Godhead overlaps, places where the Persons of the Godhead are interchanged for one another and/or overlap in the scriptures. These are for your delight and wonder, and for His praise and glory. if you want to debate doctrine you will miss Him altogether.

Jesus, God, Father
a son will be given to us... Mighty God, Eternal Father - Isaiah 9:6

Father, Jesus
"the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name - John 14:26
"the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father - John 15:26

Jesus, Father
"I and the Father are one." John 10:30

Father, Jesus
"the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.” John 10:38

Jesus, Father
"Lord, show us the Father, Jesus replied, .. still you do not know Me?
Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:8-9

God, Jesus
the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:28

God, the Almighty, Jesus
I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come—the Almighty." Rev. 1:8
"Behold, I am coming soon, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega" Rev. 22:12-13,

God, Father, Jesus
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End I will be his God, and he will be My son. Rev. 21:6,
"Behold, I am coming soon, ....I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Rev. 22:12-13

Jesus, the Spirit
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18
the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send.. - John 14:26

Jesus, the Spirit
the Spirit of truth....will be in you...John 14:17
On that day you will know that....I am in you. John 14:20

Jesus, the Spirit, * 7 times...
These are the words of Him, ...the One,... the Son of God,... the Amen, etc.
let him hear what the Spirit says Rev. 2&3

God, the Father, Christ, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of His Son, Jesus, the Spirit of truth, Jesus Christ, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, ...
there are verses that mention each one of them as such that LIVE IN US and are INSIDE of US.
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:49 PM   #37
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Don't do that, Raptor. Your point is not that Witness Lee never said the precise words in the exact grammatical order of "Jesus became the Holy Spirit." You know full well the quotes provided amount to that.

What you are doing is saying that if a parent says "If you throw a party you'll be dead meat", you would turn around and say "they never said don't throw a party!" Give me a break.

When the plain words of Witness Lee mocking anyone who thinks the Spirit of Christ or the LGS is anything other than the Holy Spirit are right in front of you, but you deny those plain words, it's just immature and disrespectful on your part towards the discourse, as well as towards the people taking the time to participate.
No, you don´t do that. You hide behind what WL said and don´t contribute much at all to the topic. Why don´t you come up with an attempt to explain something? Did you read the whole post? Why don' t you comment on the verses, why don't you try to explain all those verses and how they fit together? You don´t get it do you?

The point is about what the Bible says in those verses. I wrote dozens of verses and tried to put them together with an explanation and you don´t attempt to expalin anything at all, neither how they fit together or make any comments on the verses themselves, which is 99% what I wrote about. You just try to poke holes in what WL said or find fault in some 1% of my post. Talk about straining the gnat and swallowing the camel. The post is not about what WL said or did not say, or what the Bible does not say. The post is about what the Bible says in all those verses, and about how, when you put them together, at one level they seem contradictory, hard to explain and go against so many traditional and conventional doctrine and understandings. Yet you don´t say anything about that. So no, you don´t do that.
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Old 06-01-2020, 05:23 PM   #38
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Biblical Notes – Isaiah 9:6

“1. Isaiah is not confusing Jesus the Messiah with the first person of the Trinity.

Isaiah isn’t teaching us that God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, is the same person as God the Father. (The early church denounced this idea as the heresy of modalism.)

It’s unlikely Isaiah has the Trinity in mind at all when he says the Messiah will be called Everlasting Father. It’s not the Messiah’s role within the Godhead, but the Messiah’s character toward us that Isaiah has in mind. Concerning the language of “Everlasting Father,” Sam Storms calls it “a descriptive analogy pointing to Christ’s character . . . he is fatherly, father-like, in his treatment of us.”

2. Isaiah is highlighting the divine nature of the Messiah.

More than any other author, Isaiah loves to speak of eternity. He speaks of God as “the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy” (Isa. 57:15). And here in Isaiah 9:6 he uses the same type of language to refer to the Messiah. He’s the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end—the one who is and who was and who is to come—the Almighty (Rev. 1:8).

Isaiah is speaking of a child who will be born some 700 years in the future—yet he makes clear that this child is the author of eternity, the “father of time”! This truly boggles the mind.

3. Jesus the Messiah is the only one who can reveal God’s fatherly character to us, for he is one in nature and essence with the Father.

Isaiah couldn’t have fully seen the light of glory that shone from Jesus when he dwelt among us. But from Jesus’s own lips, words such as these were spoken:

I am the Father are one . . . know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. (John 10:30, 38)Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? (John 14:9–10a)

If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. Jesus is the perfect image of God, and the exact representation of his being. Jesus alone makes the Father known. Indeed, no one can come to the Father except through him (John 14:6).

Perfect Father

Herman Bavinck observed that Jesus “takes away our guilt and again opens the way to [God’s] fatherly heart.” Everything you’ve ever dreamed a father could be—everything you’ve ever wanted from your relationship with your earthly father—Jesus is and will be for you. Your Messiah will forever be perfectly father-like in the way he shepherds and leads you. In Jesus, you have a perfect father forever.

Sadly, the word father doesn’t always bring to mind someone who shepherds, affirms, and stays close. Instead, it connotes adjectives like distant, aloof, passive, absent, unreliable, selfish, uncaring, and cruel. Even among Christian families, far too many children experience emotional indifference and self-centered neglect from their dads.

Not so from Jesus. Jesus, your Everlasting Father, came down at Christmas into a broken and sinful world to fill our hearts with heaven’s love, and to teach us how to love one another. He came to make sons and daughters out of his enemies. This is the Father’s gift to us at Christmas.

Our Everlasting Father

How comforting it is to read, “His name shall be called . . . Everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6). Once we become a child of Christ’s, we are his and he is ours forever. Forever. There will be no goodbyes with him. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from his love. Not even death itself—indeed, it will only draw us nearer.

“There is no unfathering Christ, and there is no unchilding us,” Charles Spurgeon once said. “He is everlastingly a father to those who trust in him.” Praise God for our eternal security in Christ, our Everlasting Father.”

Website Reference:
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/a...asting-father/
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:49 PM   #39
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No, you don´t do that. You hide behind what WL said and don´t contribute much at all to the topic.
I assure you I am not hiding behind anything WL said. There's nothing to hide behind there. I've never been more sure of that statement in my life.

This is a free country. I can contribute as much or as little to any given topic as I like (within admin approval and bounds of decorum of course).

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Why don´t you come up with an attempt to explain something?
Because, as other posters have noted, this is a mystery. I have not been detrimentally affected by this particular off-teaching of Lee's, so I don't have as much time and effort to devote to it. I have been reading with interest and appreciation, though.

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Did you read the whole post?
Of course.

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Why don' t you comment on the verses, why don't you try to explain all those verses and how they fit together?
Because you were doing a great job of it already.

I didn't feel I could contribute more, except when you made a claim that WL didn't say a certain thing. I knew he did, and there were requests in the thread to prove it, so I provided a quote showing it.

There are more people reading the forum than just those who post, and I don't want anyone to go away thinking that WL didn't teach something that he in fact did teach. Truth is important.

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You don´t get it do you?
I need to know what "it" is before I can get it.

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The point is about what the Bible says in those verses. I wrote dozens of verses and tried to put them together with an explanation and you don´t attempt to expalin anything at all, neither how they fit together or make any comments on the verses themselves, which is 99% what I wrote about. You just try to poke holes in what WL said or find fault in some 1% of my post. Talk about straining the gnat and swallowing the camel. The post is not about what WL said or did not say, or what the Bible does not say.
Actually the original post to this thread has the statement "Now I did hear Brother Lee say "Jesus became the life - giving Spirit"", so yeah, what WL did or did not say is a part of this thread.

You yourself were the one who made the statement that WL did or didn't do something. And then multiple posts followed concerning that very topic - whether WL said Jesus became the HS or not. And he did. So I provided a quote that had the phrase "Holy Spirit" in it, and not just "Spirit", which is what seemed to be the hangup.

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The post is about what the Bible says in all those verses, and about how, when you put them together, at one level they seem contradictory, hard to explain and go against so many traditional and conventional doctrine and understandings. Yet you don´t say anything about that. So no, you don´t do that.
Yes, how dare I post a quote of Witness Lee's to show that he taught something you claim he didn't about the very topic at hand. Bad Trapped!!

Raptor, as I said, your posts were great. Really nailed it in some areas. And I mean that. It clearly took a lot of time and thought. But when you or anyone says that WL didn't do something that he absolutely did, and it is in literal print, this place is going to correct that. And then when you turned around and denied the clear words from the excerpt I posted showing he did in fact teach what you said he didn't, I'm not going to go along with a denial of the truth. UntoHim wasn't making it up when he said that WL taught that Jesus became the Holy Spirit. Now you have some evidence. That's all.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:07 PM   #40
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The post is not about what WL said or did not say, or what the Bible does not say. The post is about what the Bible says in all those verses, and about how, when you put them together, at one level they seem contradictory, hard to explain and go against so many traditional and conventional doctrine and understandings. Yet you don´t say anything about that. So no, you don´t do that.
Raptor, not sure if you saw the discussion, but I confronted the exact same obstacles on this forum concerning "calling on the name of the Lord."

I quoted verses, and posters quoted WL. I quoted more verses with explanations, and they quoted WL and condemned his teaching. We went nowhere. We talked passed each other. So I gave up.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:25 PM   #41
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For heaven's sake, no one is talking past each other. Next time I'll put "As an aside" at the beginning of a post about the topic at hand so no one thinks I'm intentionally trying to avoid something I'm not.

WL is a part of this discussion. So are verses. I just had a contribution on the WL side of it. Sheesh.

Regarding HBJ's original post in which he/she commented that God exists in three co-equal persons, and asked for thoughts about it.....I may get branded as a heretic here, but what comes to my mind are all the verses where Jesus states He doesn't do His own will, but that of the Father. He didn't send Himself, but the Father sent him. Jesus is always talking about the one true God. Etc. This, to me, shows more of a subordinate relationship. Still fully God, but we never see an instance where the Father submits to the Son. I hesitate slightly when saying they are co-equal. Jesus is fully God, but the Son always seems to be submissive to the Father.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:36 PM   #42
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Also, related to the co-equal thing, the Spirit seems to be left out a lot. Revelation speaks of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Why isn't it throne of God, the Lamb, and the Holy Spirit?
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:07 PM   #43
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I quoted verses, and posters quoted WL. I quoted more verses with explanations, and they quoted WL and condemned his teaching. We went nowhere. We talked passed each other. So I gave up.
No, Ohio, you didn't explain, and that's why we went nowhere. I asked you repeatedly what you meant by "calling on the Lord", and then you huffed and you puffed...and then you gave up. Same thing is happening here. We know you guys are better than this...but it seems that you're trying to pull the ole "Brother Lee said it, so that settles it" garbage. Sorry, but that boat don't float round these parts. Brother Lee says "1 Corinthians 15:45 is telling us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, BECAME the Holy Spirit". "That's what the verse says!". Well, NO, that's not what the verse says, and nobody except Witness Lee and some other heretics, like the Oneness Pentecostals, agree that is what is says.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:33 AM   #44
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No, Ohio, you didn't explain, and that's why we went nowhere. I asked you repeatedly what you meant by "calling on the Lord", and then you huffed and you puffed...and then you gave up. Same thing is happening here.
First, I will address this. I provided numerous scripture verses, but you refused to even admit that there is basis in the Bible for calling on the Lord. Apparently you want some defined technique like WL promoted. I repeatedly said that no definitive technique exists either in the Bible or our life. Didn't David sigh and the Prophet breathe the name of Yahweh? That was apparently how they called on the Lord at one time. But not every time.

I only provided some principles for calling on the Lord, e.g. calling must be genuine, must be from the heart, cannot be vain babbling, cannot take His name in vain, etc. These are from the Bible. Let me repeat that I am only discussing Bible teachings, not those of the LC.

There are millions of Christians with billion of needy times who could call on the Lord millions of different ways. There is no one way to explain to you! Apparently this concept is just too difficult for you to understand. Obviously you want a YouTube video instruction for every language on earth. Hate to break the news, but we can't package this and sell it on Amazon.

Secondly, I also quoted verses from both Corinthian epistles that address this thread topic. Why have you not commented on them? With your caustic attitude here, I must conclude that you also consider Paul was a modalist, and I said that before. Explain to me what Paul said. Do not tell me what 2 millennia of "scholars" have told us. Obviously the Bible is no longer your standard for the truth. Where is that verse about "THREE PERSONS?" Where is any verse that uses the word "THREE" when referring to God?

You have no answers for these Biblical "problems," so you push back on me. Then you claim that I "huff and puff." Why don't you address the verses themselves? Forget about the LC and church fathers, what do you say about these verses? Forget about Grudem's Systematic Theology. Grudem was not an apostle! Let me repeat that I am only discussing Bible teachings, not those of the LC.
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:28 AM   #45
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Also, related to the co-equal thing, the Spirit seems to be left out a lot. Revelation speaks of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Why isn't it throne of God, the Lamb, and the Holy Spirit?
There's an interesting and fairly influential (in scholarly circles) book out called "Two Powers in Heaven" by Alan Segal.

https://www.amazon.com/Two-Powers-He.../dp/1602585490

Worth noting in all the early rabbinical protests of the elevation of Jesus to God-like status, is the absence of similar discussions of the Holy Spirit. Rabbis weren't protesting the idea of "Three Powers in Heaven" because early Christians weren't pushing it. The issue at hand was the status of Jesus as Son of God, what that actually entailed. It seems only later did the 'co-equal' Trinity become a public issue, after the writing of the NT was long concluded.

Initially, the Holy Spirit seems clearly subordinate.

As an aside, I've no issues with the Trinity doctrine as historical Christian fact. It's strongly held, and codified. I'm thankful that the name of Jesus came to me through the historical Church, and I believed, repented, and confessed. But there's a lot there to be circumspect about, and a lot that we can profitably examine. But the gospels are clear, as is the gospel message preached in Acts, and the reinforcing apostolic letters: God raised the beaten and crucified Jesus and gave him glory, and if you confess this Name you shall be saved. That, I personally believe, is worth devoting one's life to.

As to the rest, we can slowly pick our way through. And the observation by Trapped is probably worth bearing in mind, going forward. (A second aside: the forced naivete and ignorance of the Lee clan, held in "there haven't been any weighty spiritual books written in the past 40 years" is shown as self-serving bunkum by works like that of Segal.)
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:39 AM   #46
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The point is about what the Bible says in those verses. I wrote dozens of verses and tried to put them together with an explanation and you don´t attempt to explain anything at all, neither how they fit together or make any comments on the verses themselves, which is 99% what I wrote about. You just try to poke holes in what WL said or find fault in some 1% of my post. Talk about straining the gnat and swallowing the camel. The post is not about what WL said or did not say, or what the Bible does not say. The post is about what the Bible says in all those verses, and about how, when you put them together, at one level they seem contradictory, hard to explain and go against so many traditional and conventional doctrine and understandings. Yet you don´t say anything about that. So no, you don´t do that.
Raptor, regarding these two scriptural truths, i.e. that (1) believers should call on the name of the Lord and (2) that God is uniquely one, some have become so Anti-Lee that they are also Anti-Bible and Anti-truth.

Let me say clearly that I definitely reject many of WL's teachings. I am not promoting him, but rather promoting the Word of God. Also, let me definitively say that there is no mandate for salvation in the scripture concerning this second truth.

I do find it troublesome that some are unwilling to concede the truths displayed in certain verses because they don't fit their mindset about God. They resolutely refuse to acknowledge that we are only pointing out verses that they don't agree with. It's not me they disagree with, it is the writers of the Bible. I am simply willing to admit that I can't explain God, and that some verses appear contradictory. In the New Covenant we are called to know God, not be able to explain Him in full. John Wesley wrote, "Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and I will show you a man who can comprehend the Triune God."

If some folks refuse to call on the Lord, that's really fine with me. I'm glad that you love the Lord and have the liberty to pray and fellowship with God as you desire. If some folks view God as 3 separate "Persons," I am fine with that too. That's far better than so many genuine believers in the RCC who still pray to Mary and the so-called saints.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:44 AM   #47
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Sons to Glory! I already answered your question. Please stop interjecting as an attempt to sidetrack this discussion. If you want to start a thread about "the practical purpose of knowing doctrine" or something like that, go for it.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:07 AM   #48
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Sons to Glory! I already answered your question. Please stop interjecting as an attempt to sidetrack this discussion. If you want to start a thread about "the practical purpose of knowing doctrine" or something like that, go for it.
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It seems some nerve has been touched here . . . sorry. And sorry, I don't see your answer to this question - I don't think you actually did answer it.

However, I don't think it is a "sidetrack", but perhaps rather a little sidebar - is that not allowed? You don't seem to want to answer that question, even though you asked the very same question of me several times over on the "Difference between soul & spirit" thread, right? That is, this question: "What is the practical purpose of knowing . . . .?" I just really wonder what is the practical purpose of trying to nail down the exact nature of the Triune God, when doing so has proved to be an impossibility over the last 2,000 years.

Or do you think this one question on these two threads are two completely different things? As the moderator, you have the right to tell me to just stop asking, because you don't think it is inappropriate (and also to delete certain posts, etc.). Is that what you believe is prudent here? If so, I will stop and not ask this question again on this thread. Peace.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:44 AM   #49
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Raptor, regarding these two scriptural truths, i.e. that (1) believers should call on the name of the Lord and (2) that God is uniquely one, some have become so Anti-Lee that they are also Anti-Bible and Anti-truth.

Let me say clearly that I definitely reject many of WL's teachings. I am not promoting him, but rather promoting the Word of God. Also, let me definitively say that there is no mandate for salvation in the scripture concerning this second truth.

I do find it troublesome that some are unwilling to concede the truths displayed in certain verses because they don't fit their mindset about God. They resolutely refuse to acknowledge that we are only pointing out verses that they don't agree with. It's not me they disagree with, it is the writers of the Bible. I am simply willing to admit that I can't explain God, and that some verses appear contradictory. In the New Covenant we are called to know God, not be able to explain Him in full. John Wesley wrote, "Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and I will show you a man who can comprehend the Triune God."

If some folks refuse to call on the Lord, that's really fine with me. I'm glad that you love the Lord and have the liberty to pray and fellowship with God as you desire. If some folks view God as 3 separate "Persons," I am fine with that too. That's far better than so many genuine believers in the RCC who still pray to Mary and the so-called saints.
Ohio, your post is certainly worth commenting on, as I think I could have written these same words too! It also seems to me that effective discussions like this are extremely difficult on here at times, because often when something simple from scripture is presented, many times the replies seem to be given while viewing through "anti-all-things-WN/WL/LC" sunglasses. To demonstrate the apparent absurdity of this, let me give an absurd example: it's like if you said, "Praise the Lord, He loves us!" and then I would reply, "Well I can't agree, because WL taught this & that . . ."

I don't know if anyone else sees it this way however, and I'm starting to get the feeling that it's perhaps not even Kosher to bring this observation up on here now . . .
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:04 PM   #50
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Sons to Glory! Nobody is "trying to nail down exact nature of the Triune God", at least not me. And even if someone was, that is their prerogative. There is no forum rule against trying to nail down anything, so long it is related to the main theme of the forum. It seems to me you don't have any problem when Witness Lee attempts to nail down the exact nature of the Triune God...why is that?

My only problem with any questions is when they are designed to sidetrack, slow down or stop the discussions. Over the years, I've seen posters try this, and I have called them on it every time that I see it. You may not even realize this is what you are doing, but I'm flat out telling you that is what is happening with your "what's the practical purpose of knowing" mantra. When I asked this on the other thread it was for the purpose of clarifying, and maybe slightly redirecting the discussion, and not for sidetracking, slowing down or stopping the dialog.

Yes, humor does have it's place here on the forum, but not as a tool to mock or to belittle. I'm not going to elaborate on this. We're all reasonable adults. Anyone is free to PM me for further comment or concerns.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:05 PM   #51
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Ohio,

Although I have studied the Bible for about 50 years, I do not feel qualified to consider my personal views and interpretations definitive or authoritative in any way, shape or form. I have always hoped and prayed that God would lead me to those men and women who could teach and council me in the Word, and participate in a movement which followed the way of righteousness and truth. For about 20 years, I felt with all my heart and all my mind that Witness Lee was that man, and the Local Church was that movement. For those 20 years I read and understood the Bible through the interpretive lens of Witness Lee. No verse or verses plainly stated that God was "processed", but brother Lee said God was processed, and put together a number of verses and claimed that this is what those verses were saying, so I looked no further.

Conversely, when, under the instruction and direction of Witness Lee, the Local Church began suing the bejeebers out of any Christian who looked at them cross-eyed, my Christian conscience and sensibilities were greatly bothered. I was bothered because the plain words of the apostle Paul seemed to instruct Christians not to sue each other. Of course Witness Lee and his co-workers were quite aware of the biblical mandate, so they simply "re-interpreted" that passage. Instead of simply suing their brothers and sisters in Christ, they were "appealing to Caesar"...just like the apostle Paul!

Ok, before I take us all around the mulberry bush again, let me try to boil all this down to the lowest common denominator, as best I can.

I have made this point before, but I think it bears repeating - Every Christian teacher is an interpreter. Even when they are supposedly just teaching you "the pure Word", they are interpreting. Some passages require more interpreting than others. "Do not steal" doesn't need a lot of interpretation. "Do not murder" does not need a lot of interpretation. But what about "Work out your own salvation"? This verse screams out for interpretation. Would you be surprised to know that some have argued that this verse confirms that salvation is contingent upon works? After all, this are what the plain words tell us. Or is this really what the plain words are telling us?

After a number of years removed from the Local Church of Witness Lee, I began to study certain passages, to confirm that Lee's interpretation was correct. Obviously, 1 Corinthians 15:45 was high on the list. Now this was before it was possible to research almost anything on the Internet. So I bought books and commentaries where I could find them, and I would drive considerable distances to Christian universities and libraries to check out and/or photocopy all sorts of commentaries and word studies. At first, it was a tough road to hoe - my heart and mind were still virtually petrified by the teachings of Witness Lee. I had to fight through and resist the notion that all these books and commentaries were "the dead teachings of man" and were merely the product of "poor, poor Christianity".

Fast forward a number of years. After studying, after researching, after considering, after praying, then studying some more, researching some more, after learning a little about the vocabulary, grammar, syntax of Koine Greek, and most importantly, letting my mind become unpickled by the interpretations and opinions of someone teaching me "the pure word of God", I slowly but surely started to let the Bible interpret the Bible. When the Bible is interpreted by the Bible, one comes to appreciate the fact that certain words have different meanings and implications, depending upon the context in which we find them. Take for instance the Greek word πνεύμα pneuma, translated as "spirit" and "Spirit" (sometimes as "wind" or "breath") It should be obvious to any careful reader of the New Testament that not every appearance of the word pneuma is a reference to the Holy Spirit. This should go without saying, but since some folks around here are insisting that 1 Corinthians 15:45 is referencing the Holy Spirit, I guess it is incumbent upon those of us who know differently to speak up. I use the word "know" advisedly. After all, the apostle Paul is no longer among us to tell us, so we are left to rely upon, firstly, if at all possible, letting the Bible interpret the Bible, and then rely upon the teachings and interpretations of as many godly and knowledgeable men and women of God, both contemporary and since the beginning, as possible.

Lastly, I think it's very important to note that additional descriptors, such as "life-giving" do not necessarily solidify the absolute meaning of any given word. In many cases, the descriptor or adjective itself is in need of being interpreted. And such is the case with 1 Corinthians 15:45. With this in mind, it is easy to see how one could consider Witness Lee's quip "how many life-giving Spirits are there!?" as sophomoric to say the least, and really just exposes him as the amateur theologian he really was.

This post is already too long, so I'll put off giving my personal interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:45. I think it is a wonderful verse. It's a pivotal verse. It is a significant verse.

-
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:15 PM   #52
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Sons to Glory! Nobody is "trying to nail down exact nature of the Triune God", at least not me. And even if someone was, that is their prerogative. There is no forum rule against trying to nail down anything, so long it is related to the main theme of the forum. It seems to me you don't have any problem when Witness Lee attempts to nail down the exact nature of the Triune God...why is that?

My only problem with any questions is when they are designed to sidetrack, slow down or stop the discussions. Over the years, I've seen posters try this, and I have called them on it every time that I see it. You may not even realize this is what you are doing, but I'm flat out telling you that is what is happening with your "what's the practical purpose of knowing" mantra. When I asked this on the other thread it was for the purpose of clarifying, and maybe slightly redirecting the discussion, and not for sidetracking, slowing down or stopping the dialog.

Yes, humor does have it's place here on the forum, but not as a tool to mock or to belittle. I'm not going to elaborate on this. We're all reasonable adults. Anyone is free to PM me for further comment or concerns.
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OK. It's pointless going down this road I see. You've convinced me it's a futile effort.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:30 PM   #53
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Sons to Glory! Nobody is "trying to nail down exact nature of the Triune God", at least not me. And even if someone was, that is their prerogative. There is no forum rule against trying to nail down anything, so long it is related to the main theme of the forum. It seems to me you don't have any problem when Witness Lee attempts to nail down the exact nature of the Triune God...why is that?

My only problem with any questions is when they are designed to sidetrack, slow down or stop the discussions. Over the years, I've seen posters try this, and I have called them on it every time that I see it. You may not even realize this is what you are doing, but I'm flat out telling you that is what is happening with your "what's the practical purpose of knowing" mantra. When I asked this on the other thread it was for the purpose of clarifying, and maybe slightly redirecting the discussion, and not for sidetracking, slowing down or stopping the dialog.

Yes, humor does have it's place here on the forum, but not as a tool to mock or to belittle. I'm not going to elaborate on this. We're all reasonable adults. Anyone is free to PM me for further comment or concerns.
-
This is an unfair response to Sons to Glory! He has said nothing to mock or belittle you or others. Had his point of view been supportive of yours, you would not have critiqued his attempts at brevity. He was not sidetracking or stopping the discussion.

How can you welcome ex-members to this forum if you regularly reject their views which, from a distance, appear to you similar to WL. Would you please zoom in a little closer to discern when these views align with the scripture or not? Why are you so intolerant of diverse views drawn from the Bible? At least acknowledge others' views have scriptural support.

It is you who are now shutting down discussion, like you did before. When I informed you on the "Calling on the Lord" thread that I preferred to let my points stand and leave the discussion, you couldn't control yourself. You had to take a few closing shots at me, none of which was based on love or scripture. Now on this thread, you have repeated this pattern, projecting to others like StG what you are doing.
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Old 06-02-2020, 01:14 PM   #54
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Ohio,

Although I have studied the Bible for about 50 years, I do not feel qualified to consider my personal views and interpretations definitive or authoritative in any way, shape or form. I have always hoped and prayed that God would lead me to those men and women who could teach and council me in the Word, and participate in a movement which followed the way of righteousness and truth. For about 20 years, I felt with all my heart and all my mind that Witness Lee was that man, and the Local Church was that movement. For those 20 years I read and understood the Bible through the interpretive lens of Witness Lee. No verse or verses plainly stated that God was "processed", but brother Lee said God was processed, and put together a number of verses and claimed that this is what those verses were saying, so I looked no further.

Conversely, when, under the instruction and direction of Witness Lee, the Local Church began suing the bejeebers out of any Christian who looked at them cross-eyed, my Christian conscience and sensibilities were greatly bothered. I was bothered because the plain words of the apostle Paul seemed to instruct Christians not to sue each other. Of course Witness Lee and his co-workers were quite aware of the biblical mandate, so they simply "re-interpreted" that passage. Instead of simply suing their brothers and sisters in Christ, they were "appealing to Caesar"...just like the apostle Paul!

Ok, before I take us all around the mulberry bush again, let me try to boil all this down to the lowest common denominator, as best I can.

I have made this point before, but I think it bears repeating - Every Christian teacher is an interpreter. Even when they are supposedly just teaching you "the pure Word", they are interpreting. Some passages require more interpreting than others. "Do not steal" doesn't need a lot of interpretation. "Do not murder" does not need a lot of interpretation. But what about "Work out your own salvation"? This verse screams out for interpretation. Would you be surprised to know that some have argued that this verse confirms that salvation is contingent upon works? After all, this are what the plain words tell us. Or is this really what the plain words are telling us?-
I completely agree with this. Thank you. I too have made a similar journey. I also consider many of the teachers in the LC I knew to be healthy in the faith and the truth. Not perfect, but very beneficial. Most of these are long gone from the LC. WL was never my sole source, however, to "teach and council me in the Word."

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After a number of years removed from the Local Church of Witness Lee, I began to study certain passages, to confirm that Lee's interpretation was correct. Obviously, 1 Corinthians 15:45 was high on the list. Now this was before it was possible to research almost anything on the Internet. So I bought books and commentaries where I could find them, and I would drive considerable distances to Christian universities and libraries to check out and/or photocopy all sorts of commentaries and word studies. At first, it was a tough road to hoe - my heart and mind were still virtually petrified by the teachings of Witness Lee. I had to fight through and resist the notion that all these books and commentaries were "the dead teachings of man" and were merely the product of "poor, poor Christianity".

Fast forward a number of years. After studying, after researching, after considering, after praying, then studying some more, researching some more, after learning a little about the vocabulary, grammar, syntax of Koine Greek, and most importantly, letting my mind become unpickled by the interpretations and opinions of someone teaching me "the pure word of God", I slowly but surely started to let the Bible interpret the Bible. When the Bible is interpreted by the Bible, one comes to appreciate the fact that certain words have different meanings and implications, depending upon the context in which we find them. Take for instance the Greek word πνεύμα pneuma, translated as "spirit" and "Spirit" (sometimes as "wind" or "breath") It should be obvious to any careful reader of the New Testament that not every appearance of the word pneuma is a reference to the Holy Spirit. This should go without saying, but since some folks around here are insisting that 1 Corinthians 15:45 is referencing the Holy Spirit, I guess it is incumbent upon those of us who know differently to speak up. I use the word "know" advisedly. After all, the apostle Paul is no longer among us to tell us, so we are left to rely upon, firstly, if at all possible, letting the Bible interpret the Bible, and then rely upon the teachings and interpretations of as many godly and knowledgeable men and women of God, both contemporary and since the beginning, as possible.

Lastly, I think it's very important to note that additional descriptors, such as "life-giving" do not necessarily solidify the absolute meaning of any given word. In many cases, the descriptor or adjective itself is in need of being interpreted. And such is the case with 1 Corinthians 15:45. With this in mind, it is easy to see how one could consider Witness Lee's quip "how many life-giving Spirits are there!?" as sophomoric to say the least, and really just exposes him as the amateur theologian he really was.

This post is already too long, so I'll put off giving my personal interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:45. I think it is a wonderful verse. It's a pivotal verse. It is a significant verse.

-
Let me ask in another way concerning I Cor 15.45, how can you say that this refers to Jesus Christ? How do you know He is the "last Adam?" Does it not seem absurd to you that Jesus would be called the "second man?" For sure only Cain or Abel would qualify for this role. To me the former connections here are more difficult than the latter.

But let's address the latter also. If the "life-giving spirit" that Jesus became via resurrection is not "THE Holy Spirit," then do you think that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ? (Phil 1.19) Is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of God? (Rom 8.9) Is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Christ? (Rom 8.9) Is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of His Son? (GAL 4.6) Is the Holy Spirit the 7 Spirits before the throne of God? (Rev 1.4) How do you explain all of this?

And how do you reconcile II Cor 3.17, "now the Lord is the Spirit." If not the Holy Spirit, then please tell me who this Lord is?
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:34 AM   #55
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People like systematic theology, because it creates coherent, manageable thought-worlds. But coherence has a high cost if scripture has to fit the theology, and not the other way round.

At college I took a course on perception, and our instructor showed us a video, and said, “You have to focus intently, and note every time the participants bounce the ball, and every time they pass to each other. You must count each time, and not miss one.” She played the video, and we watched, and each counted. We each reported our counts afterward, and heard the correct amount, like 19 bounces and 14 passes. We wondered what that was about. She said, “Did you notice anything else in the movie?” Silence. “Let’s watch it again, and tell me if you see anything else.” She played it again, and the middle of the movie, while they were bouncing and passing the ball, a person in a gorilla suit walked through the court, waved at the camera, and walked off. We were so intently fixated on the numbers of bounces and passes that nobody saw the gorilla!

Systematic theology can be like that. Verses are carefully lined up to fit the thought-system. Words like “became” are stressed, and dominate the narrative, but other words are dismissed or downplayed. Deductive rules are clung to as if they give reality itself. But those same rules may be ignored elsewhere if the system’s coherence requires it.

In the NT text, believers are placed in the same subservient relation to Jesus, as Jesus is to the Father. Has anyone else noticed this, or does our associative schema blind us? The Father sends Jesus, with commands, and Jesus obeys. Then Jesus sends the disciples, and expects them to obey his commands. The matrix of Father ~Jesus would fail if likewise Jesus ~ Disciples, and the schema's coherence would be lost, so the association or equivalency of Sender and Sent was selectively applied to the first case and dropped in the second. In the first case, Jesus being sent and representing the Father was said to be the Father in toto, but the second case of sent disciples couldn't make them ontologically Jesus. So the associative rule was stressed, then dropped, and scripture lost meaning in order to maintain theology.

Or Jesus speaking to the seven churches, followed by the Spirit to the churches, in Revs 2 & 3. LSM's thought-schema has Jesus as the speaking Spirit. But a word is omitted: “Angel”, because if one includess that, the Jesus/Spirit schema collapses. Witness Lee told us, “You can ignore the angel! It’s just a messenger.” But in the text, Jesus says, “Write to the Angel of the Church in Smyrna”, and what is this Angel/Messenger but a SPIRIT!! And then the (Angel)Spirit speaks to the churches! Well, hello! That makes more sense than imagining Jesus the Father on the throne, Jesus the Son walking in the midst of Jesus the Seven Spirits of God burning in front of the throne. Plus, by keeping "angel" in the narrative one uses every word, not just some of them. That's key - use ALL the available scripture, and still have coherence.

In stressing concepts suggested by words like “became”, Lee weakened other concepts like “obedience”. Jesus said, “Even as the Father sent me, and I obey the Father’s commandments, so do I send you, that you should obey my commandments.” (instead we got concepts like “processed” and “intrinsic”) The Roman Centurion understood this relationship perfectly, and Jesus marveled at his understanding. The Centurion didn’t meet Jesus in person but spoke through a mediating servant, a messenger, “I also am a man under authority…” The Centurion was comparing his position as a man under authority to that of Jesus. According to Lee's schema, Jesus should have stopped the speech - no, Jesus wasn’t “..also a man under authority”! Jesus was the very Father incarnate! Jesus was authority personified, not a man under someone's authority! Yet Jesus affirmed the comparison. LSM operatives don't use this story much, because how can the Father be a man under someone else's authority? Under whose authority would the Father then be? So the "Jesus is the Father" theology avoids these verses.

In the NT narrative obedience was stressed continually: the Centurion was obedient to Caesar's will, so when he spoke, Caesar spoke to his servants through him. When the servants saw him, they saw Caesar. Because Jesus was a man under the heavenly Father’s authority, fully obedient to the divine will (“thy will be done on earth as in heaven”), when Jesus spoke to the disciples, the Father spoke. When they saw Jesus, they saw the Father. But Jesus was not the Father essentially, but economically. Just as the Centurion, because of devotion and fealty, was one with Caesar, operationally, to the servants, and represented him, the Centurion could give a word and it was done. The Centurion was sent by Caesar and represented him perfectly. Likewise, Jesus could "speak a word" and the servant would be healed - Jesus had "the heavens open [perfect knowledge of God's will] and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man" - John 1:51, another verse ignored by LSM - and the servant could be healed that very hour. None of this departs from scripture, nor does it need scripture to shrink to maintain its coherence.

Hebrews 5:8-10 "During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although he was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered [at the Father’s hand], and having been made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him."Jesus was the Obedient Son, not the Father. But when you saw Jesus you saw the Father. When he spoke, you heard the Father. He was truly “God… made flesh”, and the “Incarnate Word”. God’s word is a law, a command. Humankind fell because of disobedience. Then Jesus obeyed and became the Last Adam, the Obedient Man, that all humankind who believe into Him might be saved. He is both King of Israel and Saviour of the World. Jesus was the perfect incarnate representation, on earth, of the Father in heaven.

Lee wouldn’t allow questions or challenges to his teachings, labeling them “rebellious and divisive and ambitious” because he knew that open critical examination of his thought-world would make it collapse, and then book sales would fall and training sessions would empty. So we were incessantly drilled not to think, and conditioned to see only what Lee saw, and to ignore what he ignored. I’ll never forget the meeting where I quoted the “wrong verse”. You know, one of Lee’s “fallen human concept” verses. The group leader stared glumly at the floor, and the rest froze. At the time I didn’t know what had happened, but now realize that I’d left the mind-control narrative and was free-lancing… “not so good”.

Philippians 2:8 "After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross." [AMP] Jesus was with the Father, came from the Father, represented the Father through faithful obedience, even unto death, and returned in glory to the Father. And some day, he said that he will come with the Father and the holy angels in glory. But Jesus is not the Father nor the holy angels. To me, this isn’t too complicated, if one simply reads what is actually written there.

To me, the gospel preached in Acts was simple and powerful in narrative. Many were converted. That simple “low gospel” has the power to turn the world to God. Let’s not get caught up with disputations of words. People will believe whatever nuances and inferences they want. But let’s look at the whole Bible, shall we? Not just those bits that support our thought-system and/or book sales. Jesus was one with the Father, just as the Centurion was with Caesar, just as we're expected to be with one another, per Jesus’ command. I’m asking people to consider a Bible that's larger than their imaginations, and not just focus on lining up a few "key verses".

The Bible shows us love and obedience: the Father loved us and sent His Son, Jesus loved the Father and obeyed Him, the Father delighted in the Son and raised him to Glory, Jesus loved the disciples and gave himself up for them, and they were taught to follow Jesus and love one another. The entire Bible reflects this, and declares it. Our theology should neither minimize the Bible nor cause us to be distracted from its contents.
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Old 06-03-2020, 07:13 AM   #56
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OK. It's pointless going down this road I see. You've convinced me it's a futile effort.
Raptor asked, and Ohio implied, How many Holy Spirits can there be? I showed the verse by Jesus (not some now-obscure Church Father), showing the holy angels coming in glory with the Father and Son. Nobody seems to notice. Where's the futility coming from?

How many holy spirits are there? Is it too shocking to consider One Holy Spirit of God manifesting in plural ministering holy spirits? "Behold, He comes with myriads of His holy ones". And the one holy spirit differentiating into you and I, for that matter? Or, to ask what spirit gives life to them, as well as we current mortals of flesh? How can you think that all of these questions were irrelevant to Jesus and his disciples if they referenced them?

One can read in Psalm 29:7 that the Voice of God "divides the flames of fire" - is it too shocking to consider multiple flames of fire burning before the throne in Revelation 1:4, especially since they'd been burning in the tent of meeting since Moses' day? "See that you make everything according to the pattern that you have seen there on the holy mountain". Why does seven spirits have to be one singular spirit sevenfold intensified? Why can't it be one spirit divided into seven distinct manifestations? Just as Jesus and the Father are separate essentially (ontologically) yet one in reality (economically), and you and I likewise? I'm still me, and you're not me nor I you, yet we are one in Jesus Christ. I'm not a 'mode' of you nor vice versa. Yet we are one. Why does our theology make this all so hard to grasp?

Is it too difficult to read in Psalm 114 that the 'pawnim' -- faces -- of God melts rocks and makes the mountains to skip like rams? Why is there a plural manifestation or presence of the One True God? And, why wave a verse from Paul and ignore a verse from Jesus, or John? Is our theology that precious to us? In this tendency I see strong overlap, and probable effect, with that of Lee's work. Forgive me if I too easily put you all together but it's nearly impossible not to. The fixation on a few 'proof verses', and the stubborn deafness (a resolute inability to hear/reply to other verses) is probably not coincidental. I remember it well from my time meeting there.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:59 AM   #57
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Raptor asked, and Ohio implied, How many Holy Spirits can there be? I showed the verse by Jesus (not some now-obscure Church Father), showing the holy angels coming in glory with the Father and Son. Nobody seems to notice. Where's the futility coming from?

How many holy spirits are there? Is it too shocking to consider One Holy Spirit of God manifesting in plural ministering holy spirits? "Behold, He comes with myriads of His holy ones". And the one holy spirit differentiating into you and I, for that matter? Or, to ask what spirit gives life to them, as well as we current mortals of flesh? How can you think that all of these questions were irrelevant to Jesus and his disciples if they referenced them?

One can read in Psalm 29:7 that the Voice of God "divides the flames of fire" - is it too shocking to consider multiple flames of fire burning before the throne in Revelation 1:4, especially since they'd been burning in the tent of meeting since Moses' day? "See that you make everything according to the pattern that you have seen there on the holy mountain". Why does seven spirits have to be one singular spirit sevenfold intensified? Why can't it be one spirit divided into seven distinct manifestations? Just as Jesus and the Father are separate essentially (ontologically) yet one in reality (economically), and you and I likewise? I'm still me, and you're not me nor I you, yet we are one in Jesus Christ. I'm not a 'mode' of you nor vice versa. Yet we are one. Why does our theology make this all so hard to grasp?

Is it too difficult to read in Psalm 114 that the 'pawnim' -- faces -- of God melts rocks and makes the mountains to skip like rams? Why is there a plural manifestation or presence of the One True God? And, why wave a verse from Paul and ignore a verse from Jesus, or John? Is our theology that precious to us? In this tendency I see strong overlap, and probable effect, with that of Lee's work. Forgive me if I too easily put you all together but it's nearly impossible not to. The fixation on a few 'proof verses', and the stubborn deafness (a resolute inability to hear/reply to other verses) is probably not coincidental. I remember it well from my time meeting there.
So much for the traditional descriptor of "3 Persons in one God," aron is trying to convince us that there are multiple Holy Spirits, one for each of us. I agree. There are far too many verses in scripture that just blow up any cute and stylized characterization of God.

At best these scholarly identifiers can help the church ward off blatant heresy like sequential modalism*, but do little to benefit the believer to know God. Think about it. If Christ is in me, and the Holy Spirit is in me, then in some way within us Christ must be the Holy Spirit within.

I grew up with the traditional "3 Persons" trademark of God. Jesus was resurrected far way in heaven having nothing to do with my life. Yet I lived in a dark, godless, drugged depravity. What changed my life was having Jesus in my heart and in my spirit. If that's a heresy, then I'm willing to die for it. Meanwhile I'll continue to give glory to God as UntoHim's featured quip instructs . . .
Quote:
There is no reason to learn divine truths if we do not apply them in our hearts and minds, live them out daily, and defend them in the public square when we are given the opportunity to glorify God in so doing.
The truth that Jesus as the Holy Spirit can live in our heart is one of the greatest truths in the universe. Untold martyrs have died for this truth, refusing to deny the Savior within.
------------------------------------------------------------------
* sequential modalism: The Father ceased to exist when the Son was incarnated, and the Son ceased to exist when the Spirit was poured out on Pentecost
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:40 AM   #58
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The truth that Jesus as the Holy Spirit can live in our heart is one of the greatest truths in the universe. Untold martyrs have died for this truth, refusing to deny the Savior within.
That is the promise and what was brought to us in the New Covenant! Of everything I learned in the LC, the knowing of this - the Indwelling Christ - was the very best thing!

I still hear much in Christendom about trying to do this or that to try and live the Christian life, which admonitions says little of the fact that He lives in His believers to do "both the willing and the working." (Phil 2:13) The many things that were sideways in the LC we discuss on here with tens of thousands of posts, but I will testify that the Lord used the LC to put the truth of the indwelling Christ (aka, Anointing, Spirit, etc.) into me.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:39 PM   #59
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Here are more interesting verses that I call Godhead overlaps, places where the Persons of the Godhead are interchanged for one another and/or overlap in the scriptures.
Yet there are other overlaps that don't fit so neatly. One overlap that comes to mind is the angel that tells Stephen to go down the South Road, the Desert Path, and then when he gets there, without any transition or explanation, the Spirit tells him to go up to the chariot over there.

Most of the versions capitalize the word Spirit. One of them (NLT) uses Holy Spirit. I think it's worth asking, how did an angel suddenly become the Holy Spirit? Are they equivalent? It seems strongly implied, in the text. And of course, for the umpteenth time, an angel is a spirit. So why is it so shocking if The Spirit functions as a spirit, if there are overlaps and interchanges, as Raptor puts it? Does our theology shake?

I think this was what UntoHim was referencing earlier v/v the Spirit in textual usage. It's not as simple as certain self-styled teachers would wish. Circumspection is probably in order. Our confidence is in God, not our interpretations.
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So much for the traditional descriptor of "3 Persons in one God," aron is trying to convince us that there are multiple Holy Spirits, one for each of us. I agree. There are far too many verses in scripture that just blow up any cute and stylized characterization of God.
I know this is probably at least partly tongue-in-cheek. But I'll take it at face value and say that I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, except the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. To me, everything hinges on this and I refuse to let it go. Other than that, let the text take us - for example, if it says there are seven spirits burning before the throne, three things come to mind:

1) Moses was told, "See that you build everything according to the pattern you saw on the Holy Mountain" and Moses then built seven lamps. This is quoted in the NT as well (Hebrews). I know you & Raptor didn't say this, but in WL's mind, seven lamps in Revelations 2 & 3 was because of the degradation in the church. I think it's fair to ask, why then did Moses build seven lamps back in Exodus? Where was the degraded church, then? No, maybe Moses built seven lamps On Earth because he saw seven lamps of fire In Heaven. You know, "on earth as in heaven", like Jesus taught/prayed. Maybe John's vision in Revelations 2 & 3 affirms that. What is so complicated about seeing seven lamps of fire, or seven burning spirits before the throne? It says Moses and the elders sat down and looked across the paving stones of sapphire, at God (Exod 24:10). What did they see? Maybe the lampstand with seven lamps of fire offers us a clue? It's certainly suggestive.

2) I already quoted the Psalm: "His Voice divides the flames of fire". In this case division is multiplication. Though there are seven spirits, there is one spirit. "You shall be one, even as I am one with the Father" and the Seven Spirits are one with each other (and the Holy Spirit). And yes the light of seven is 'intensified' compared to a singular flame. But the seven flames were there, before God's throne, in Exodus. Revelation 2 & 3 is perhaps merely affirming the already-elucidated scene in heaven.

3) In the gospels there is a glorious holy spirit standing before God. Not "The" Holy Spirit but "a" holy spirit. "I am Gabriel, and I stand before God". Gabriel stood before God, was sent by God, spoke for God, yet was not God. I don't think any of that was too shocking to 1st-century minds, and probably shouldn't be to 21st century minds, assuming we're familiar with the text. And Revelation 8:2 is worth mentioning here as well. Multiple spirits (angels) standing before God.

All this is not to convince or sway anyone, but to say that it is not as self-evident as Raptor implies, in his questions on the Holy Spirit. There are simply too many other verses that, using the same associative rules he's using to "show" his proffered reality, indicate other things. And I think everyone has the right to say that. WL tried to belittle anyone that dared think otherwise from his "truths" and I'm not saying Raptor does also, but his style is reminiscent. It's perfunctorily dismissive of other possibilities when they're right there in the text, should one care to look. I'm just saying that a little circumspection is in order here; a little circumspection and curiosity.

Jesus said, "Seek and ye shall find" and I think seeking God in His word is a good thing. It's not for disputation or to bully one another or to do a Little Jack Horner "hey everyone! look at me!" move. Together we open the text, consider the possible answers to our questions. There's nothing wrong with turning the word over, together.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:51 PM   #60
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All this is not to convince or sway anyone, but to say that it is not as self-evident as Raptor implies, in his questions on the Holy Spirit. There are simply too many other verses that, using the same associative rules he's using to "show" his proffered reality, indicate other things. And I think everyone has the right to say that. WL tried to belittle anyone that dared think otherwise from his "truths" and I'm not saying Raptor does also, but his style is reminiscent. It's perfunctorily dismissive of other possibilities when they're right there in the text, should one care to look. I'm just saying that a little circumspection is in order here; a little circumspection and curiosity.
Aron, your points are interesting and totally seem to support my own. They seem to support Raptor's point of view also, but I'll him him speak for himself. You continue to introduce complications to the fixed paradigm of "3 Persons in the Godhead." The more you post, the more that structure is shattered, and the more complex our God is. Even the most elementary seeker would agree. How could we ever compile all relevant scripture and then devise some simplistic "3 Persons" cardboard box for God to inhabit? Makes no sense! The Bible never uses the word "Three" in connection with God, rather only "One" or even "Seven" would be suitable.

I agree that we need to keep seeking, keep digging, keep knocking. I expect we will do this for eternity. And keep all the "complications" coming. We have not yet begun to ask whether Jehovah is the Father or the Son? Is Elohim the Father and the Son?

Which brings us back to the absurdity of saying that there are "3 Persons in the Godhead." If we had ONLY a couple dozen verses concerning God, like e.g. 2 Cor 13.14, or when Jesus was baptized, then we might concoct the ancient "3 Persons" formula, but when we add in the hundreds and even thousands of other verses in the Bible, many which you have introduced, then that old description of God must be tossed in the trash heap of antiquity.

Don't you agree?
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:33 PM   #61
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Which brings us back to the absurdity of saying that there are "3 Persons in the Godhead."
My brother Ohio, I have seen you use the term "Triune God" many times. Sometimes I've even seen you referring to the "Trinity". I'm curious as to what you believe about the "Tri" in Triune God. I'm pretty we know what you think about the "une"!

So you do believe God is one. ONE WHAT?
Apparently you also believe God is three. THREE WHAT?
These are important questions, and bear heavily on this matter of modalism. I do understand, and even appreciate, your disdain for the traditional, historical teaching/doctrine of the Trinity. I once felt the same exact way.

Take your time. These are important questions. I personally believe that God has given us some clear answers to these questions, and yes, the historic Christian church has also confirmed these answers down through time. That's why the vast majority of the professing Christian Church has been considered to be Trinitarian. Apparently you do not consider yourself as a Trinitarian, or suscribe to the belief that God is one Being in three Persons.

And this is why I am asking you:
God is one. One What?
God is three. Three What?
I guess you could say it's all a big mystery and we really don't know. That would be a fair answer. Fair but totally unsatisfying as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 06-04-2020, 02:45 AM   #62
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We have been thru this game before. Why don't you like answers from the Bible? Why aren't you content with the word of God? Why isn't the scripture enough for you? Why do you need more? Why do you need to define God with extra-Biblical descriptions handed down from ancient church fathers, but not given to us from God Himself or the apostles, those who were with Jesus on earth? Why do you need systematic theology as prescribed by Grudem? And why do you chastize me for attempting to limit myself to what God gave us?

One what? One God.

Three what? There is no "Three" with God. There is only Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Add them up, and how many do you count?

And yes, God is a mystery, with many descriptions in His word. Sorry that is not good enough for you. This conversation may be going nowhere, but if I back out, then I will be mocked with a "huff and a puff."

It's sad that we live in a society that labels others we don't like. If I am a conservative, then I must be a nazi. If I believe God is one, then I must be a modalist. Was not Jesus crucified because of this basic truth? The Jews obviously got it. They killed Jesus because He made Himself equal with God. Why didn't Jesus explain to them that God was three, that He was not the Father, and provide us with good, understandable theology which would satisfy your need to know?
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:35 AM   #63
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Three what? There is no "Three" with God. There is only Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Add them up, and how many do you count?
I count three. Not exactly sure what you mean by "add them up" - I don't think that is a very accurate or biblical way to look at the Trinity.

Ohio, I'm really sorry that you think that discussing the nature of God is a game. I don't think it was a game that HBJ had in mind in starting this thread. And I don't think it was a game that the Lord Jesus had in mind when he said "But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way..” (John 4:23) What could be more important than following our Lord's instructions in worshiping God? How can we worship what we do not know? How can we worship in truth when we don't know the truth? No game here.

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Old 06-04-2020, 10:01 AM   #64
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I count three. Not exactly sure what you mean by "add them up" - I don't think that is a very accurate or biblical way to look at the Trinity.

Ohio, I'm really sorry that you think that discussing the nature of God is a game. I don't think it was a game that HBJ had in mind in starting this thread. And I don't think it was a game that the Lord Jesus had in mind when he said "But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way..” (John 4:23) What could be more important than following our Lord's instructions in worshiping God? How can we worship what we do not know? How can we worship in truth when we don't know the truth? No game here.

-
Brother, you count "three" and many count "three," but the Bible never counts "three." That is why I am reluctant to endorse the number in reference to God. I see that this is hard for you to accept. I don't see why this makes me a modalist or a heretic.

I wish HBJ would return to comment. Perhaps his initial comment was merely an "anti-WL-teaching" moment. I understand that. We have all been there. But, as a guiding principle, I don't want to throw away anything from WL that is in the Bible. Too many have done this, and ended up throwing away their faith too. We both have witnessed this.

I grew up on the "Threeness side" of God. We had pictures everywhere to reinforce this idea. Knowing that God is One, and that He lives in me, was revolutionary to my life. Perhaps you can understand why this is important to me. But I am not going around accusing others of "Tri-Theism." Yes, God is a mystery, and I give wide latitude, as we all should, to others' understanding of God, within the confines of scripture. For example, most LCers pray to the Lord, most evangelicals pray to the Father in Jesus' name, and many Pentecostals pray to the Holy Spirit. Who am I to criticize?

The "game" is the way people are treated here. Discussing the nature of God from the scripture is not a game.

Concerning those precious verses in John 4.20-26, the Lord instructs us to worship the Father in spirit. Jesus implies that the setting is irrelevant. The place is irrelevant. Tradition is irrelevant. Liturgy is irrelevant. What a great word to God's children during these Covid quarantines!

Jesus always instructed us to pray and worship the Father, but the Jews and the Samaritans heard this thru the lens of their old traditions. So Jesus went further. He instructs us to worship from the spirit, from our heart, from within, and not just pay attention to what we do, what we say, or where we say it. Then He instructed us to worship in truth, in reality, or in truthfulness. I believe worshiping in truth contrasts worshiping in falsehood (e.g. idolatry), worshiping in reality contrasts worshiping in vanity (e.g. lip-worship Mt 15.8-9,) and worshiping in truthfulness contrasts worshiping in hypocrisy (e.g. condemning sinners Luke 18.11).
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:06 AM   #65
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The NT never fills out the sentence "God is one what". It just says God is one. Or there is one God.

1 Timothy 2:5 - for there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus

James 2:19 - you believe that God is one [or, that there is one God]. Good!...

Romans 3:30 - since there is only one God [or, since God is one]....

Mark 12:32 - "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.

If I said "Trapped is happy", you wouldn't say "Trapped is happy what?"

God is one. That's it. God is one is God. God is one who ever exists.

There is no other noun. God is. He is. He is that He is.

What is He? One. One what? One God.

It's not evasion. It's just what the Bible says.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:23 AM   #66
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I like to keep it simple (may be why my grandma used to call me "simpleton" ), and the below verses always come to me about God being one God. I don't think there are any verses that just as plainly say, "God is three Gods" are there?

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Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! (Duet 6:4)

Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD (Mark 12:29)
The mystery is, of course, how this "one God" can be manifest as the Father, Son and Spirit. But again, I don't know of any place God says specifically He is three, but rather plainly scripture says "one." (and as Trapped also elaborates on in the below post #67)

So am I now to be labeled a rabid anti-Trinitarian?
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Old 06-04-2020, 01:03 PM   #67
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The NT never fills out the sentence "God is one what". It just says God is one. Or there is one God.

1 Timothy 2:5 - for there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus

James 2:19 - you believe that God is one [or, that there is one God]. Good!...

Romans 3:30 - since there is only one God [or, since God is one]....

Mark 12:32 - "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.

If I said "Trapped is happy", you wouldn't say "Trapped is happy what?"

God is one. That's it. God is one is God. God is one who ever exists.

There is no other noun. God is. He is. He is that He is.

What is He? One. One what? One God.

It's not evasion. It's just what the Bible says.

Thanks Trapped. You said it best. Appreciate it.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:24 PM   #68
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Also, related to the co-equal thing, the Spirit seems to be left out a lot. Revelation speaks of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Why isn't it throne of God, the Lamb, and the Holy Spirit?
Just as another example of this, John 17:3 says "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Him whom You have sent, Jesus Christ."

Once again, only Father and Son. Why isn't eternal life that we may also know the Holy Spirit?
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Old 06-05-2020, 08:08 AM   #69
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..back to the absurdity of saying that there are "3 Persons in the Godhead." If we had ONLY a couple dozen verses concerning God, like e.g. 2 Cor 13.14, or when Jesus was baptized, then we might concoct the ancient "3 Persons" formula, but when we add in the hundreds and even thousands of other verses in the Bible, many which you have introduced, then that old description of God must be tossed in the trash heap of antiquity.

Don't you agree?
A cursory glance at the day's headlines strongly suggests that the human species isn't very good at solving problems. So how am I supposed to figure out the 'intrinsic' or 'essential' nature of God? Or count 'persons' of the God-head? James advised, "Do not be many teachers" and that's more true here.

Having said that, here are some tentative observations: 1. The gospel reached me in the local baptist 'Bible church' & I'm ever thankful for that, and won't sweep away the past into a dustbin. 2. Having said that, if the Bible says there are seven spirits before the throne of God, or an angel is a ministering spirit, or that "He comes with myriads of His holy ones", I'm not going to ignore that because it doesn't match our notions. The Bible comes first, not our conceptual schema.

3. I already listed my schema and will try to recap. Jesus said, "Even as the Father sent me, so I send you". This shows a chain of representative subservience. Jesus said, "Even as I kept my Father's commands, so you must keep my commands." Ditto. Jesus said, "They'll persecute you for my namesake even as they hate me for keeping the Father's name. The servant is not above the Master."

Jesus said, "Even as I am one with the Father, so you should be one with one another". This 'one' doesn't violate the Great Jewish Sh'ma, which Jesus affirmed. This is an absolute obedience to dictates of God thru scripture. How many times does the NT say, "That the scripture might be fulfilled"? This is alluded to by Paul when he says in Galatians 3:20 that "A mediator indicates more than one but God is one". Moses the first mediator was himself disobedient and fell in the desert. Jesus was one, or perfectly obedient as representative mediator, thus the new Covenant is superior to the old and we don't need a third covenant. Because God is one, and Jesus reflected that.

The Centurion testified on the same lines and Jesus marveled at his understanding. The Centurion being under authority gave him authority to to those under him. Same thing: a chain of representative subservience. Yet nobody conflates the Centurion with his supervisor, or for that matter the Centurionwith his slaves. Each one is distinct, yet when the servant speaks, the master's will is known. "No one has ever seen God, yet the Only Begotten Son has revealed God". Likewise, the Centurion was 'Caesar revealed' to the servants. I.e., When you see me, you see him who sent me.

Jesus even took the chain of representation further, saying, "Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you do to me." Yet no one conflates Jesus with them.

Seems to me that most of this would have been easily understood by first-century readers.
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Old 06-05-2020, 08:15 AM   #70
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It seems some nerve has been touched here . . . sorry. And sorry, I don't see your answer to this question - I don't think you actually did answer it. However, I don't think it is a "sidetrack", but perhaps rather a little sidebar - is that not allowed? You don't seem to want to answer that question,... I just really wonder what is the practical purpose of trying to nail down the exact nature of the Triune God,
I think your question is really valid, ...yes there is great profit in asking ourselves who God is, in going into the scriptures and finding out what it says about Him, in going to Him and asking Him who He is. And in fellowshipping with others about these matters. I don´t know if this forum is the best medium for this quest, though, probably not.

Your question, though, could be answered in the negative, where there is no profit, no practical purpose in trying to know, and where things can go south quickly and badly. What marks the difference? The dfference is where our heart is, what our attitude is in seeking these things, in seeking Him. Do our lips honor Him, but our heart is far away from Him? Does a veil cover our hearts?

The Pharisees, Saducees, lawyers, politicians, and all kinds of people during the Lord´s time on earth also asked these same things. They had studied these things, they knew the verses, and when Jesus started ministering they kept looking into these things, they heard the reports, they were curious, some followed Him, they saw the signs. And they kept asking, wondering, trying to answer, questioning Him, testing Him, arriving at conclusions. But because of their heart, their unbelief, their hardness, blindness, the more they asked, the worse they got.

Even Jesus put these questions forth, "who do men say that I am,? who do you say that I am?, “what do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?. An example of a positive answer was with Peter, he was in the right condition, with the right heart, and in that moment he got the blessing from the Father and got a divine answer. Others, though, thought He was a prophet, or Jeremiah or John the baptist or Elijah, or concluded He was a gluttonous man and a drunkard, or a friend of tax collectors and sinners, or that He was out of His mind (His own family), or that He was a carpenter, son of Mary with brothers and sisters, or He was the son of the carpenter, or He was a Samaritan and had a demon. Eventually their questions led to doubt, testing, condeming, plotting, threatening, insulting, conspirying, arresting, judging and crucifying the Lord.

So depending on how pure our heart is, our motive, our condition, the same questions about the Lord can lead either to blessing and revelation or to death and condemnation. The questions themselves, though, remain valid. The appropriate answers according to the word bring us closer to Him and open us up for more and deeper experiences of Him, and lead us to become more useful to Him. This is very important because this is eternal life, "that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:48 AM   #71
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Just as another example of this, John 17:3 says "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Him whom You have sent, Jesus Christ."

Once again, only Father and Son. Why isn't eternal life that we may also know the Holy Spirit?
Jesus did tell Nicodemus that he must be born of the Spirit. Later in that conversation Jesus mentions never perishing but having "eternal life."

And this introduces an important point -- is the Holy Spirit an actual "Person?" We constantly hear about "3 Persons," but it seems to me that further consideration by these Christian "scholars" might want to identify God as "2 Persons and their Holy Spirit."
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:58 AM   #72
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A cursory glance at the day's headlines strongly suggests that the human species isn't very good at solving problems. So how am I supposed to figure out the 'intrinsic' or 'essential' nature of God? Or count 'persons' of the God-head? James advised, "Do not be many teachers" and that's more true here.

Having said that, here are some tentative observations: 1. I was saved in the local baptist 'Bible church' & am thankful the gospel reached me, and am not eager to sweep away the past into a dustbin. 2. Having said that, if the Bible says that there are seven spirits, or an angel is a ministering spirit, and that "He comes with myriads of His holy ones", I'm not going to ignore that because it doesn't perfectly match our notions. The Bible comes first, not our conceptual schema.

3. I already listed my schema and will try to recap. Jesus said, "Even as the Father sent me, so I send you". This shows a chain of representative subservience. Jesus said, "Even as I kept my Father's commands, so you must keep my commands." Ditto. Jesus said, "They'll persecute you for my namesake even as they hate me for keeping the Father's name. The servant is not above the Master."

Jesus said, "Even as I am one with the Father, so you should be one with one another". This 'one' doesn't violate the Great Jewish Sh'ma, which Jesus affirmed. This is an absolute obedience to dictates of God thru scripture. How many times does the NT say, "That the scripture might be fulfilled"? This is alluded

The Centurion testified and Jesus marveled at his understanding. The Centurion being under authority gave him authority to to those under him. Same thing: a chain of representative subservience. Yet nobody conflates the Centurion with his supervisor, or for that matter the Centurionwith his slaves. Each one is distinct, yet when the servant speaks, the master's will is known. "No one has ever seen God, yet the Only Begotten Son has revealed God". Likewise, the Centurion was 'Caesar revealed' to the servants. I.e., When you see me, you see him who sent me.

Jesus even took the chain of representation further, saying, "Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you do to me." Yet no one conflates Jesus with them.

Seems to me that most of this would have been easily understood by first-century readers.
I understand your point about an obedient proxy, but it can introduce serious error. We had some posters here who tried to persuade us into believing that Jesus only became the Son of God after His baptism. Many others like the JW believe that Jesus was not God, rather an obedient angel.
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:08 AM   #73
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Jesus did tell Nicodemus that he must be born of the Spirit. Later in that conversation Jesus mentions never perishing but having "eternal life."

And this introduces an important point -- is the Holy Spirit an actual "Person?" We constantly hear about "3 Persons," but it seems to me that further consideration by these Christian "scholars" might want to identify God as "2 Persons and their Holy Spirit."
I've had this consideration as well. If the Holy Spirit is indeed a 3rd "person" there is not nearly the mention of Him in scripture like there is the Father and the Son.
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:39 AM   #74
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I understand your point about an obedient proxy, but it can introduce serious error. We had some posters here who tried to persuade us into believing that Jesus only became the Son of God after His baptism. Many others like the JW believe that Jesus was not God, rather an obedient angel.
My impetus wasn't to propose a new matrix per se, but rather to show why WLMCPGN* didn't work, and I said that our conceptual schema, or interpretive approach, might blind us to what is written. I consider the JW, the SDA, and the LC to be classic examples. When you point out the "wrong verses" they either try to minimize them or they change the subject. And yet their "special verses" apparently are so crucial to any understanding. Again, we all do this to some degree to make sense of things. We arrange verses to find the most coherence. But we should hold it lightly. The human race is capable of great foolishness - am I exempt? Hardly. Just because I reject Lee's nonsense doesn't mean I can't fall into others. Again, that's why I cite the "credal church" of history, and hold that the SDA, JW, and LC all abandoned the historical faith, and then there were none to restrain the madness of the prophet.

My core theology was preached publicly by both the unlettered Galilean fisherman Peter and by urban sophisticate Paul: see, e.g., Acts 13:30-33; 2:224,32. God raised Jesus, and gave him glory. That confession makes me an idiot in the eyes of the world. Why alienate my brethren? Again, Lee mastered this - divide & conquer. That is not the Way.

*Witness Lee Mind Control Progamme and Guanxi Network dba the LC, BFA, FTTA, LSM, DCP, Rhema Inc etc etc
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Old 06-05-2020, 05:43 PM   #75
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3. I already listed my schema and will try to recap. Jesus said, "Even as the Father sent me, so I send you". This shows a chain of representative subservience. Jesus said, "Even as I kept my Father's commands, so you must keep my commands." Ditto. Jesus said, "They'll persecute you for my namesake even as they hate me for keeping the Father's name. The servant is not above the Master."

Jesus said, "Even as I am one with the Father, so you should be one with one another". This 'one' doesn't violate the Great Jewish Sh'ma, which Jesus affirmed. This is an absolute obedience to dictates of God thru scripture. How many times does the NT say, "That the scripture might be fulfilled"? This is alluded to by Paul when he says in Galatians 3:20 that "A mediator indicates more than one but God is one". Moses the first mediator was himself disobedient and fell in the desert. Jesus was one, or perfectly obedient as representative mediator, thus the new Covenant is superior to the old and we don't need a third covenant. Because God is one, and Jesus reflected that.

The Centurion testified on the same lines and Jesus marveled at his understanding. The Centurion being under authority gave him authority to to those under him. Same thing: a chain of representative subservience. Yet nobody conflates the Centurion with his supervisor, or for that matter the Centurion with his slaves. Each one is distinct, yet when the servant speaks, the master's will is known. "No one has ever seen God, yet the Only Begotten Son has revealed God". Likewise, the Centurion was 'Caesar revealed' to the servants. I.e., When you see me, you see him who sent me.

Jesus even took the chain of representation further, saying, "Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you do to me." Yet no one conflates Jesus with them.
The more I consider your "schema" for the Christian life, the more I am haunted by the militaristic mindset of the LC's I was a part of. As a new believer and member of the LC, I was told definitively that, "you are now in the Lord's army. You don't need to think that much. You will be told where to move and live." Apparently we were all under orders. God told WL who told TC who told the elders who told the group leaders who told me. Chain of representation alright! I trusted these guys with my whole life since they supposedly looked after my soul. Young Galileans, eh?

Sure .. I had no one to blame but myself. I had a strained relationship with my father, and wasn't saved long enough to repair that. Now I was with brothers whom I was supposed to trust more than my own family. God was supposed to bless my obedience to the brothers and my absoluteness for the church life. And their authoritative arms reached into every part of my life -- where to live, who to befriend, where and what to study, who to marry, how to schedule my time and money, etc.

That's why I have always felt that teachings about modalism and the like were basically insignificant. It was like choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Who cares, so what! What was really important about the LC was the abuse, the control, the shaming, the manipulation, the fear of their fake authority. These affected people's lives far more than some obscure teaching from WL in Anaheim about the theology of God while he was fighting with the Bible Answer Man in the Orange County Register.

That's why I find your authoritative schema so objectionable. Sorry. I lived in that militaristic, self-sacrificing, family-forsaking, regimented soldier life way too long. I really don't want to hear your teachings about Roman Centurions any more. In my mind the punchline for Jesus in that story was about faith. Faith in God.
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:09 PM   #76
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I've said before I think the Trinity is God's experience of his relationship with himself. He has a core self (Father), a self image (Son) and a relationship (Spirit) between himself and his image of himself. All self-conscious beings including us cannot help but have these three aspects in themselves. Thus we not only express God, we express the Triune God.

The Father is always about source and essences, the Son is always about image and expressions and the Spirit is always about fellowship and experiences. The Son is God's self-image, so he is the image of God to us as well. The Spirit is God's connection and experience between himself and his self-image, so he is our connection with and experience of God as well.

God's experience of himself is so elevated that with him it is like an experience of two people, and can be seen that way. Yet he is still one God. God is himself, God is his image of himself, and God is the relationship between himself and his image of himself. In the same way I, in perfection, am myself, I am my image of myself, and I am the relationship between the two. My relationship with myself is the essence of who I am, as God's Spirit is the essence of him.

Each is God, each is completely God, and yet each is distinct. The distinctions in the persons of the Trinity are totally matters of relationship, not substance. That's the key to understanding it, I believe. God has no material being to be subdivided into compartments. He IS a relationship, a relationship with himself, which, astoundingly, he desires to share with us, which is the fellowship of the Triune God we can enter into and enjoy.


That's the explanation that makes the most sense to me.
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Old 06-06-2020, 08:17 AM   #77
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The more I consider your "schema" for the Christian life, the more I am haunted by the militaristic mindset of the LC's I was a part of. As a new believer and member of the LC, I was told definitively that, "you are now in the Lord's army. You don't need to think that much. You will be told where to move and live." Apparently we were all under orders. God told WL who told TC who told the elders who told the group leaders who told me. Chain of representation alright! I trusted these guys with my whole life since they supposedly looked after my soul. Young Galileans, eh?

Sure .. I had no one to blame but myself. I had a strained relationship with my father, and wasn't saved long enough to repair that. Now I was with brothers whom I was supposed to trust more than my own family. God was supposed to bless my obedience to the brothers and my absoluteness for the church life. And their authoritative arms reached into every part of my life -- where to live, who to befriend, where and what to study, who to marry, how to schedule my time and money, etc.

That's why I have always felt that teachings about modalism and the like were basically insignificant. It was like choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Who cares, so what! What was really important about the LC was the abuse, the control, the shaming, the manipulation, the fear of their fake authority. These affected people's lives far more than some obscure teaching from WL in Anaheim about the theology of God while he was fighting with the Bible Answer Man in the Orange County Register.

That's why I find your authoritative schema so objectionable. Sorry. I lived in that militaristic, self-sacrificing, family-forsaking, regimented soldier life way too long. I really don't want to hear your teachings about Roman Centurions any more. In my mind the punchline for Jesus in that story was about faith. Faith in God.
I suspect that you were so crushed by the abusive soul-warping scene in the GLA LC that you entirely mis-read my post in its most basic sense. Because of holiness, the chain of delegated authority and representation in heaven is straightforward. But the chain of subservient representation on earth, because of sin, is upside down. I would think that so obvious that i didn't mention it.

Please recall the teachings of Jesus, that the greatest on earth are least in the kingdom of heaven. This leads to some practical results: 1) if anyone tries to tell you what to do, tell them to get stiffed; 2) people who use the phrase 'great spiritual person on earth' clearly don't have a clue; 3) if you really want to serve God, lower yourself, find someone who needs help and reach out.

I remember Witness Lee versus the Bible Answer Man in the Orange County Register. I tried to read some of it and found it the most deadening stuff imaginable. And I was a "burning brother" at the time. I tried, I really did, but it was chaff. Like Raptor said, what matters is the heart. Theology is like 15 or 20%, your heart is like 80 or 85%. Witness Lee unfortunately took his theology far too seriously, and convinced many of this modality, and those who were convinced had their spiritual walk adversely impacted.

Jesus was to restore the world to its proper right-side-up position. But to do so, he lowered himself, and took the least place. And he taught us, repeatedly, to follow suit. Anyone who violates this and elevates themselves is automatically disqualified.
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:09 AM   #78
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I suspect that you were so crushed by the abusive soul-warping scene in the GLA LC that you entirely mis-read my post in its most basic sense. Because of holiness, the chain of delegated authority and representation in heaven is straightforward. But the chain of subservient representation on earth, because of sin, is upside down. I would think that so obvious that i didn't mention it.
I read your post a few times, and know how authoritarian teachings can affect those with a military background or mindset. What one Christian considers abusive, lord-it-over tactics, from controling leaders, an ex-military man might consider as crucial, much-needed spiritual men, long missing in the church. I have many sad stories to tell here.

Of course everything is upside down backwards and inside out because of sin, and that's why Jesus was so harsh on those who wanted to exert authoritarian measures into church leadership. Servant leadership must not only be taught, but also practiced so that each succeeding generation can have real and healthy patterns in which to model in their own service.

The LC movement began with both healthy and authoritarian leaders in the US. Slowly over time all of the healthy shepherds have been purged. Isn't that always the case? Anthony Groves once articulated this in his prophetic letter to John Darby a decade before their first purge.

That's why I have always placed aberrant teachings secondary to abusive practice. Bad teachings can reinforce bad practice, but bad teachings don't necessarily produce bad practice. Churvh history provides too many examples.

Anyways, just a few thoughts on your authoritarian schema of the faith.
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:31 AM   #79
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The Father is always about source and essences, the Son is always about image and expressions and the Spirit is always about fellowship and experiences. The Son is God's self-image, so he is the image of God to us as well. The Spirit is God's connection and experience between himself and his self-image, so he is our connection with and experience of God as well.
I agree with your characterization by and large, but the idea of subservience is needed to clarify the relationships. The Centurion said, "I also am a man under authority, with servants under me". You see 'under' is cited twice in sequence. Likewise the Son is under the Father, the Spirit under the Son, the believers under the Spirit.

John 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe."

"I [Jesus] come to do Thy [Father] will, behold in the scroll of the book it is written concerning me". The Father sends the Son, the Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit sends the believers and guides them, and none (Father/Son/Spirit/Believers) is confused or conflated with each other.

John 20:21 "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you"

John 17:18 "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:59 AM   #80
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The Son is submitted to the Father in the same way our self-image and self-expression should be submitted to our core self, in that it accurately and faithfully expresses what we really are (or, in our current state, what our spirit says we should be). That's called "integrity." This is what "the Son does nothing but what he sees the Father do" means.

But it's not exactly subservience in the sense of the centurion and his subordinates, because the Father and the Son are co-equal and even the Son is now Lord of all. It's the subservience of a being's "outer" self being consistent with his "inner" self. Though when expressed in human form as Jesus it appeared like the subservience of the subordinates to the centurion.
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Old 06-06-2020, 11:00 AM   #81
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I've said before I think the Trinity is God's experience of his relationship with himself. He has a core self (Father), a self image (Son) and a relationship (Spirit) between himself and his image of himself. All self-conscious beings including us cannot help but have these three aspects in themselves. Thus we not only express God, we express the Triune God.
I've had this kind of thought too, especially when I read the first part of the gospel of John.
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Old 06-06-2020, 11:07 AM   #82
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I've had this kind of thought too, especially when I read the first part of the gospel of John.

More here:
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-understanding

And here:
https://www.monergism.com/thethresho...20the%20Tr.pdf
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:23 AM   #83
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Yes, Piper's writing here (heavily referring to Jonathan Edwards) lines up with what I've seen in the first chapter of John. However, I hadn't thought of the Spirit quite in the way Piper portrays . . . (this description of the Spirit actually sounds like things I've read in Bill Freeman's stuff!)
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:42 AM   #84
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... it's not exactly subservience in the sense of the centurion and his subordinates, because the Father and the Son are co-equal and even the Son is now Lord of all. It's the subservience of a being's "outer" self being consistent with his "inner" self. Though when expressed in human form as Jesus it appeared like the subservience of the subordinates to the centurion.
I think this is so close to my own view as to be equivalent. Remember that the gospels are about the human and very subservient Jesus. "Thy will [Father] be done, not mine [Jesus]". The epistles typically stress the ascended and reigning Christ. But we here on earth may safely take the subservient position, which is why I stress it. But your point remains.

The main emphasis for me might be illustrated in a story. The Centurion tells two servants to go and dig. They are digging and one says, "Why do we listen to that guy? He's just a man like us. He ain't Caesar". The other says, "Shut up and dig."

In other words, the first is overthinking the problem, and will get himself into trouble. I see theology like this. It's only so useful, as it doesn't get us into trouble! The world is full of people who take their theology too importantly. And look at all the trouble that's followed. Witness Lee and Watchman Nee were merely two out of many, many deluded charismaniacs. I just posted on a group out of China called the True Jesus Church in the "Christian Movements" forum. Another instance of zeal and ignorance, with something like 2 million members and training training centres round the globe, infiltrating U.S. college campuses, etc. What's amazing isn't that they exist, but that such groups are so many, and so viral. This world is not for the unwary.
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Old 06-07-2020, 10:50 AM   #85
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What makes it more interesting and complex is that when we are considering the relationship between the Father and the Son, if we look at the life of Jesus, we have the point of view of His humanity to consider. He was still the Son of God, but now as the Son of Man, He had a proper relationship with God and the Father, but is there a distinction, a difference in the way He related to God as a Man vs. as the Son of God?

An obvious and extreme example would be that Jesus as the Son of Man had to be baptized. Would the Son of God before incarnation have to be baptized? Obviously not. What about prayer? Jesus prayed to the Father, how about the Son of God? Or about worship? Would the Son of God in His deity pray to or worship God, probably not.

So, harder to understand then and discern are the matters of obedience, for example: is Jesu´s obedience to God a matter of Him relating to God in His humanity or did the Son of God in His deity also have a role of "obedience" to the Father? So also the matter of when Jesus said, "The Father is greather than I"? Was that just a matter of Jesus as Man relating to the Father? Or does the Son of God in His deity also relate to the Father in the same way, saying He is greater? Similarly other matters....
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Old 06-07-2020, 12:41 PM   #86
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Great points Raptor! I can see you are thinking out loud here and that makes for some very interesting discussion.

I have always found it quite "telling" that the Lord Jesus referred to the God of the Old Testament (YAHWEH, Jehovah, Kurios) as "Father", and referred to himself as "the Son" - Son of Man or Son of God. Also, one need not look further than the famous verse "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son". I don't think it's much of a stretch to understand this verse in terms of "For God the Father so loved the world". A plain reading of the text surely implies that a son is subservient to his father, and therefore the Father is the one sending the Son. So we can plainly see that the Son of God was indeed subservient to God the Father before the incarnation.

Another passage that I think would dovetail into this dynamic would be in 1 Corinthians 15
- Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

In context, I think one could easily understand "that God may be all in all" to mean "that God the Father may be all in all". But I can also see how one could interpret this phrase to mean "that the Godhead may be all in all". In any case, there does seem to be a clear subservience of the Son to the Father, at least administratively.

So where does all this leave us with modalism and the orthodox, historical teaching/doctrine/understanding of the Trinity? I'm not sure I know the answer to this one, but I'm ready and willing to learn from others.
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Old 06-09-2020, 10:59 AM   #87
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.....WL taught that Jesus became the Holy Spirit
I'm not hear to defend or attack WL with this post; the issue here Trapped, is that by saying that Jesus became the Holy Spirit it implies (at least for me) that there was no Holy Spirit before. That is what I understand as Modalism; God in three successive modes, first the Father, then He ended and the Son appeared, then He ended, and lastly we have the Spirit. WL did not teach this, nor the Bible.

Not to beat a dead horsie...but if the Lord Spirit is not the Holy Spirit, then who is He?
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Old 06-09-2020, 12:53 PM   #88
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I think some have made this point in the past, but I'll briefly reiterate:

Witness Lee did not teach classic modalism, but rather a modified form of modalism. Lee was also atypical in that he also taught the orthodox view of the Trinity along side of his modalistic teaching. Over the years, Lee used modalistic terms such as "stages" and "steps". He also interchanged orthodox terms with unorthodox/heretical terms. At times he taught God was "three persons" and at other times he claimed God was "one person". Of course what got him in the most trouble was his "Processed Triune God" teaching. I personally have never read or heard anything like it, and I don't think anyone has taught such a thing down through church history. Many of Lee's teachings were nothing more than home-brewed, make-it-up-as-he-went-along, unbiblical, unintelligible gobbledygook.

The best thing to say about Lee's teachings regarding the Trinity is that they are highly inaccurate, woefully imprecise, and in many cases just plain sloppy. As far as the proper interpretation/understanding of 2 Corinthians 3:16, I will defer to others for now. I have studied this passage in the same manner as 1 Corinthians 15:45. And just as in 2 Cor 3:16, there is much more to it than meets the eye.
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:27 PM   #89
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I think some have made this point in the past, but I'll briefly reiterate:

Witness Lee did not teach classic modalism, but rather a modified form of modalism. Lee was also atypical in that he also taught the orthodox view of the Trinity along side of his modalistic teaching. Over the years, Lee used modalistic terms such as "stages" and "steps". He also interchanged orthodox terms with unorthodox/heretical terms. At times he taught God was "three persons" and at other times he claimed God was "one person". Of course what got him in the most trouble was his "Processed Triune God" teaching. I personally have never read or heard anything like it, and I don't think anyone has taught such a thing down through church history. Many of Lee's teachings were nothing more than home-brewed, make-it-up-as-he-went-along, unbiblical, unintelligible gobbledygook.

The best thing to say about Lee's teachings regarding the Trinity is that they are highly inaccurate, woefully imprecise, and in many cases just plain sloppy. As far as the proper interpretation/understanding of 2 Corinthians 3:16, I will defer to others for now. I have studied this passage in the same manner as 1 Corinthians 15:45. And just as in 2 Cor 3:16, there is much more to it than meets the eye.
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To be real accurate and fair here, it is the Apostle Paul who I find to be the most woefully imprecise. He has dozens of terms for God. Check the concordance. Why don't we have an honest and sober discussion about Paul's incredibly imprecise and inconsistent language concerning God? His concluding verse to the Corinthians might be the only time he got it right! I have suggested this on several occasions, but no one seems courageous enough to attempt such a discussion. I understand why though.

But let's be honest folks. WL is only a modified modalist when compared to the so-called historic definition of "3 Persons in One God." I definitely agree with that. But then I read the New Testament, and I find Paul too is a modalist. We just can't have it both ways folks. I Cor 15.45 is just one verse that violates the historic church scheme. Lee may seem to you to be a one off modified modalist, but there are many other 19th century teachers who are similar.

Now, when it comes to the "processed" stuff, I surely agree with you.

Now regarding "stages" and "steps," I need to see some context. But there have been numerous posters on this forum that deny the virgin birth, and others who deny that the baby born to Mary was even deity. Some deny God Himself, either One Person or 3 Persons.
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:44 PM   #90
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Now, when it comes to the "processed" stuff, I surely agree with you.
But can this be completely dismissed too? Hebrews 5:8 tells us the Son had to learn obedience through the things which He suffered. What would you call that? Maybe not a process, but then again, sorta sounds like it, doesn't it?
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Old 06-09-2020, 02:08 PM   #91
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Why don't we have an honest and sober discussion about Paul's incredibly imprecise and inconsistent language concerning God?
So you want to compare and contract the greatest Christian theologian in history with Witness Lee? You must be joking, right? The teachings of the apostle Paul and the other NT writers are the standard, and all others are to be compared and contrasted against their writings, not the other way around. Lee's teachings have been compared and contrasted with the teachings of the scripture writing apostles and have been found wanting big time, to say the least.

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But let's be honest folks. WL is only a modified modalist when compared to the so-called historic definition of "3 Persons in One God."
Ok, so you don't want to judge Witness Lee's teachings against those taught by orthodox Christians for about 2,000 years? What standard do you want to use? If you say you want to judge them against the Bible, that's fine, but you are then left to claim that everybody else got it wrong for all these centuries and he's the only one that got it right. How convenient. How improbable.

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Now regarding "stages" and "steps," I need to see some context.
Well, I must tell you that in my view there is NO CONTEXT in which these words could be applied and not be considered as some form of modalism. Again, we're getting into the matter of being theologically accurate and precise.

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But there have been numerous posters on this forum that deny the virgin birth, and others who deny that the baby born to Mary was even deity. Some deny God Himself, either One Person or 3 Persons.
What does any of this have anything to do with modalism?
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Old 06-09-2020, 04:47 PM   #92
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But can this be completely dismissed too? Hebrews 5:8 tells us the Son had to learn obedience through the things which He suffered. What would you call that? Maybe not a process, but then again, sorta sounds like it, doesn't it?
Processed is what they do to frozen food. As a man, the Son learned obedience to become the pattern, the model (I Peter 2.21) for all of God's children. Processed indicates passivity, as if things happened to Jesus (to become our food?) outside of His control. Obedience indicates an active relationship between the Father and the Son, to become the "master copy" (I Peter 2.21) for us all.

Personally I think adding words like "processed" always create issues. Isn't it better to use the language of scripture? (cf I Cor 2.13) WL just about elevated the word "processed" to that of scripture in his teachings. Using extra words to define the Bible can often be helpful, but these descriptions must always take a lessor position to the actual words of scripture.
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Old 06-09-2020, 05:16 PM   #93
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So you want to compare and contract the greatest Christian theologian in history with Witness Lee? You must be joking, right? The teachings of the apostle Paul and the other NT writers are the standard, and all others are to be compared and contrasted against their writings, not the other way around. Lee's teachings have been compared and contrasted with the teachings of the scripture writing apostles and have been found wanting big time, to say the least. -
Not at all, UntoHim. I want to examine Paul's teaching in light of your established God theology, vis-a-vis "One God in 3 Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." If "the teachings of the apostle Paul and the other NT writers are the standard," as you say, why do you keep bringing up how WL deviates from this historic view. I see problems between this historic view and the Bible.

Which one should I discard? That's what Raptor and I have asked. Is that too hard to understand?

At this point I am only demanding that the Bible be used as the standard to "test all things, holding on to the good," (I Thess 5.21) like the noble Bereans, "who examined the scriptures daily to see if these things were so." (Acts 17.11)

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Ok, so you don't want to judge Witness Lee's teachings against those taught by orthodox Christians for about 2,000 years? What standard do you want to use? If you say you want to judge them against the Bible, that's fine, but you are then left to claim that everybody else got it wrong for all these centuries and he's the only one that got it right. How convenient. How improbable.
Martin Luther and so many other Reformers returned to the Scriptures because what was taught by "orthodox Christians" with their diverse creeds was not reliable. I take a similar view. Perhaps you don't. I continually get the impression that you place established church teachings above the actual text of scripture.

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Well, I must tell you that in my view there is NO CONTEXT in which these words could be applied and not be considered as some form of modalism. Again, we're getting into the matter of being theologically accurate and precise.

What does any of this have anything to do with modalism?

-
This has everything to do with modalism. The standard used to compare WL teachings against is not the scripture but the historic "orthodox" teachings of God. Did not Jesus Himself confront this same challenge on earth? The scribes and Pharisees all condemned Jesus based on their interpretation of God's word. Their traditions were all based on their interpretations. They then condemned Jesus thinking they were using the law of Moses.
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Old 06-09-2020, 05:48 PM   #94
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To me modalism is denying there is some kind of relationship in the Godhead. Now, I know I've said that the relationship between the Father and the Son is like our relationship with ourselves, but it is more than that, because although we can love ourselves, ourselves can't love us back, as the Son loves the Father. Or can they?... I believe there is some faint shadow of the Trinity in every human being. I also believe that one day we will enter into a relationship with ourselves that much better matches the relationship of the Father and the Son--pure love and acceptance, without a hint of selfishness. I think that's ultimately part of what "finding your soul" means.

But as I've said, Lee wasn't interested in relationships, either within God, between people or with oneself. He was all about processes, which is a reason his Trinity seems modalistic. He was all about the economic Trinity. He had little to say about the essential Trinity. The Edwards/Piper model addresses that.
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Old 06-09-2020, 05:59 PM   #95
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I see theology like this. It's only so useful, as it doesn't get us into trouble!
That's a great meme, aron. "Theology is good up to the point it gets you into trouble." I like that!
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:05 PM   #96
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I want to examine Paul's teaching in light of your established God theology, vis-a-vis "One God in 3 Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
Here's the problem with your examination of Paul's teaching. If you make it over-ride Jesus' position, then you have your examination that you wish. But for every gospel verse that seems to go along with your "modalist Paul", there are 20 or 30 that don't, where Jesus clearly shows (or at least strongly infers) separation and distinction between the Divine Persons. So you have to seize the "modalist Paul" from his epistles and then go to the gospels and say, "Jesus can't have meant what he seems to be saying because that would violate the "modalist Paul" [interpretation]." I go the other way round. Paul should always match up with Jesus' position. If you can't match Paul with Jesus, then you have to re-interpret Paul.

And John is another case entirely. Clearly John didn't read much into Paul's epistles, in his 'Revelation'! So what do we do? Ignore it? Or force "modalist Paul" onto the Revelation? "Seven spirits can't be seven spirits - we know there can only be one! Paul said so! Etc." Not very convincing, unless you're already convinced.
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:25 PM   #97
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That's a great meme, aron. "Theology is good up to the point it gets you into trouble." I like that!
I'm quite serious when I say that I don't hold theology very strongly. It's one's living that counts. My verbal/written confession is what Peter and Paul preached in Acts: that God raised the crucified Jesus to glory. The rest of it, I'm willing to hold lightly, and if someone tries to pry it out of my hands, it's okay and I'm not offended.

Now, on the resurrection, I'm adamant. I don't see how one can claim to be "Christian" in any meaningful sense, and deny Jesus' resurrection. That just guts the NT. Jesus' resurrection gives 'life' to the NT, gives it motive force. Otherwise what is it?
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:47 PM   #98
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Now, on the resurrection, I'm adamant. Otherwise what is it?
Right, but insisting on the resurrection never "gets you in trouble." Insisting on some propriety view of the Trinity or the Church or whatever does.
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:52 PM   #99
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But can this be completely dismissed too? Hebrews 5:8 tells us the Son had to learn obedience through the things which He suffered. What would you call that? Maybe not a process, but then again, sorta sounds like it, doesn't it?
Equating the character testing that Jesus's went through with the process tomatoes go through to become tomato juice, and so validating the term "processed," is so dumb it's embarrassing.

That's like saying anyone who improved through hard work, dedication and practice was "processed."

"Tom Brady became the greatest quarterback ever because he got processed."

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Old 06-09-2020, 07:36 PM   #100
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Equating the character testing that Jesus's went through with the process tomatoes go through to become tomato juice, and so validating the term "processed," is so dumb it's embarrassing.

That's like saying anyone who improved through hard work, dedication and practice was "processed."

"Tom Brady became the greatest quarterback ever because he got processed."

I like it! No, I mean it (guess that makes me dumb)!
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Old 06-09-2020, 07:37 PM   #101
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To me modalism is denying there is some kind of relationship in the Godhead.
Actually, I think that's a pretty good observation.
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Old 06-10-2020, 05:51 AM   #102
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Separation, NO!
TLDR: Jesus referred to Himself as Father, and the Father referred to Himself as Jesus. They are inseperable, they are in each other, they are One.

Which brings me to a revisiting of John 14:6-11, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, performing His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe on account of the works themselves.

Lord, show us the Father,
I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me?
I am coming to the inevitable conclusion that Jesus referred to Himself as the Father, and the Father referred to Himself as Jesus. They are talking about the Father, and Jesus answers, with "I" and "Me". Who are these personal pronouns referring to? Jesus is speaking, but the subject of the conversation is the Father. Why does Jesus answer in first person? Because it is the Father that is answering. Let´s look at it again: "Show us the Father"...."I have been with you....you do not know Me?" Surely that refers to the Father, the Father is speaking.

If not, it would have been in the third person and Jesus would have said "He has been with you....you do not know Him?" But it´s in the first person, so it is the Father. Yet Jesus is speaking, Jesus' mouth is moving, Jesus' voice is coming out, Jesus is probably looking at Phillip, maybe Jesus' hands are moving. But Jesus says "I" and "Me," referring to the Father. It would make no sense that the "I" and "Me" would be referring to Jesus Himself because they are talking about the Father. Jesus speaks but the Father is the one speaking. Jesus refers to Himself, because Jesus uses the first person, Jesus says "I" and "Me", but it is the Father speaking. So Jesus refers to Himself as the Father. Jesus says to know Jesus is to know the Father, and to hear Jesus speak is to hear the Father.

In addition, the Father is speaking, and when He says "I" and "Me", it refers back to Jesus, because Jesus was speaking, Jesus' mouth was moving. So the Father refers to Himself as Jesus. Anybody there could see Jesus speaking and hear Jesus' words coming out, but it was the Father speaking. The Father says "I" and "Me", but the Father knew you are looking at Jesus and hearing Jesus say "I" and "Me", so the Father identifies Himself with Jesus.

Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.
If there is any doubt, Jesus then even refers to Himself again as the Father by the sense of sight. Before it was a matter of the mind, knowing Jesus is knowing the Father, and a matter of the sense of hearing, hearing Jesus is hearing the Father. Now seeing Jesus is seeing the Father.

How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Jesus makes the further point that it is almost non-sensical to ask about showing the Father, because you have been knowing the Father, hearing the Father and seeing the Father all along! Again Jesus identifies Himself with the Father.

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?
If there is any doubt, Jesus seals it with the fact that Jesus and the Father mutually indwell each other. How dare we separate them? Who gives you the right to separate Jesus from the Father if Jesus explicitly and clearly says the Father is in Him and He in the Father? At what point do you yank them apart? If you do, it is unbelief, plain and simple. You don´t believe Him or the word of God.

The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own, instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me.
Again, clearly Jesus says that it is the Father speaking. Not just that Jesus quotes the Father, or relates to us what the Father said, but it is the Father dwelling in Jesus who speaks. Who are you to "undwell" the Father and oust Him from Jesus?

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe on account of the works themselves.
An appeal to believe and still Jesus considering we might not fully believe gives us the last chance: at least believe on account of the works. If you don´t believe Jesus' words, if you don´t believe the written word of God, then at least believe the works, for they speak for themselves...last chance.

If you imagine this conversation, see them engage and speak in your imagination, it becomes so clear. It would be perfectly normal, logical and absolutely within context to hear Jesus speak this and respond to Jesus saying, "Father! Yes, You are right, You have been here with us all along. Yes Father, now I know You." You can look at Jesus and tell Him, "Now I see You Father, now I hear You Father, now I believe". You can address Jesus and say, "Father, You are in Jesus, and Jesus, You are in the Father. Thank you Father, thank you Jesus." No wonder Isaiah 9:6 says, the Son will be called mighty God, everlasting Father. Jesus refers to Himself as the Father and the Father refers to Himself as Jesus. No wonder Jesus says in John 10:30 "I and the Father are One".
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Old 06-10-2020, 06:35 AM   #103
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Here's the problem with your examination of Paul's teaching. If you make it over-ride Jesus' position, then you have your examination that you wish. But for every gospel verse that seems to go along with your "modalist Paul", there are 20 or 30 that don't, where Jesus clearly shows (or at least strongly infers) separation and distinction between the Divine Persons. So you have to seize the "modalist Paul" from his epistles and then go to the gospels and say, "Jesus can't have meant what he seems to be saying because that would violate the "modalist Paul" [interpretation]." I go the other way round. Paul should always match up with Jesus' position. If you can't match Paul with Jesus, then you have to re-interpret Paul.

And John is another case entirely. Clearly John didn't read much into Paul's epistles, in his 'Revelation'! So what do we do? Ignore it? Or force "modalist Paul" onto the Revelation? "Seven spirits can't be seven spirits - we know there can only be one! Paul said so! Etc." Not very convincing, unless you're already convinced.
John's Gospel completely refutes your post.

Raptor's post spells this out.

I am afraid you now have 3 Gods, my friend, all separate from each other. That is far worse than some modified form of archaic modalism. Being staunch anti-WL in all things will do that to you. Sadly some even reject the faith and God's word in order to completely purge themselves from Lee. We have seen many of them pass thru these whereabouts.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:12 AM   #104
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I sure love seeing these former Leeists defending their late teacher Witness Lee.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:43 AM   #105
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John's Gospel completely refutes your post.

Raptor's post spells this out.

I am afraid you now have 3 Gods, my friend, all separate from each other. That is far worse than some modified form of archaic modalism. Being staunch anti-WL in all things will do that to you. Sadly some even reject the faith and God's word in order to completely purge themselves from Lee. We have seen many of them pass thru these whereabouts.
So if I read in the gospels or Acts, "The Father raised Jesus from the dead", there's no separation? Not how I understand writing, nor how I was taught to understand writing. If I say, "I hit the ball" then most of my listeners will understand that "I" and "ball" are two separate and distinct things.

Most will. Unless their theology forbids them.

And then he says, "You shall be one, even as I am one with the Father" then Ohio and aron are not still separate, because they are one just as Jesus and the Father? As far as I understand it, you remain 'you' and I am still ''me. Unless my theology forbids me from this common-sense understanding, which it doesn't. Does yours?

The whole conundrum is easily solved, if one understands the idea of a messenger. The angel says, "I Jesus have sent my angel" and John tries to bow to the angel but it forbids him. The angel can say, "I Jesus" even though the angel is not Jesus. Because it carries the image/substance/will/expression/communication/whatever. It represents. Likewise, Jesus represented the Father. When you saw Jesus you saw the Father. Not complicated, really, and such understanding would be readily available to any first-century reader whose mind was unclouded by theological imperatives.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:57 AM   #106
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I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me?
I am coming to the inevitable conclusion that Jesus referred to Himself as the Father, and the Father referred to Himself as Jesus. They are talking about the Father, and Jesus answers, with "I" and "Me". Who are these personal pronouns referring to? Jesus is speaking, but the subject of the conversation is the Father. Why does Jesus answer in first person? Because it is the Father that is answering. Let´s look at it again: "Show us the Father"...."I have been with you....you do not know Me?" Surely that refers to the Father, the Father is speaking.
An angel spoke to Mary and to Zechariah, "I am Gabriel, and I stand before God", and said, "And he [John] will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." ~Luke 1:17

Now, when the angel spoke, who spoke, Gabriel, or God? The answer is clearly "God". When you hear the angel, you hear God. You hear nothing transposed between God and his messenger. Yet if you read my posts, you read 'aron' with maybe a little 'God' there. Not much but hopefully a little.

Yet when Jesus the incarnate Word spoke, the Word made flesh, God spoke. When you saw Jesus you saw the Father. When he spoke, the Father spoke. Yet this doesn't make him the Father anymore than Gabriel was God. Both represent the other perfectly. Yet we need not conflate the two distinct parties - Sender and Sent.

All of this, I believe, would have been self-evident to a first-century readership. Once you see it, it's not very complicated. The angel said to John, "I Jesus have sent my angel". Yet the angel who said "I Jesus" was not Jesus. Yet when you heard the angel you heard Jesus. ~Rev 22:16

This way you don't need two interpretive rules, one for Father/Jesus and one for Father/Gabriel and Jesus/angel. The same rule applies in both cases. Again, a first-century readership would have received these writings on a simpler plane, unburdened by our theological needs. Simple, common-sense renderings of the script would mostly suffice. And the Shema still holds, "God is one".

Raptor,

I apologize if my tone is dismissive. Your thinking is good. Except to hold it I'd have to ignore verses like the angel saying, "I Jesus" and Jesus saying, "You (Raptor/aron) shall be one even as I and the Father are one". And I simply can't ignore scripture. Turns out that a fairly simple concept of representation, accessible to a first-century audience, explains everything (for me, of course. I'm not demanding doctrine).
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:20 AM   #107
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So if I read in the gospels or Acts, "The Father raised Jesus from the dead", there's no separation? Not how I understand writing, nor how I was taught to understand writing. If I say, "I hit the ball" then most of my listeners will understand that "I" and "ball" are two separate and distinct things.

Most will. Unless their theology forbids them.


And then he says, "You shall be one, even as I am one with the Father" then Ohio and aron are not still separate, because they are one just as Jesus and the Father? As far as I understand it, you remain 'you' and I am still ''me. Unless my theology forbids me from this common-sense understanding, which it doesn't. Does yours?

The whole conundrum is easily solved, if one understands the idea of a messenger. The angel says, "I Jesus have sent my angel" and John tries to bow to the angel but it forbids him. The angel can say, "I Jesus" even though the angel is not Jesus. Because it carries the image/substance/will/expression/communication/whatever. It represents. Likewise, Jesus represented the Father. When you saw Jesus you saw the Father. Not complicated, really, and such understanding would be readily available to any first-century reader whose mind was unclouded by theological imperatives.
No respectable theologian is willing to use the word "separate" when referring to God.

Hitting a ball with a bat may be a good analogy for how I am sometimes treated, but not as a descriptor for God Himself.

And besides, Jesus told us He had the power to raise Himself from the dead. Apparently He was not reliant on a "separate" God to raise Him on the 3rd day.

Perhaps it's not my "theology" but the scripture that prevents me from seeing a "separation" between the Father and the Son.
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:01 AM   #108
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Just thinking out loud here, but I think the very words Father and Son do a good job of showing they are not the same.

God chose to use the words "father" and "son" in the Bible to best describe the relationship between the Father and the Son. A father and son are not the same person, and yet, amazingly, we often describe them in the same way Jesus used to describe His relationship to His Father.

"He's the spitting image"
"Man, when you see him it's like seeing his dad"
"I can't help but hear [the dad] when [the son] opens his mouth!"
"They act/sound/walk/talk just the same, don't they!?"

A son can act on behalf of his father. A son can be sent by his father. A son can, if appropriately endowed with authority from his father, represent his father. A son can be one and in agreement and in accord with his father. A son can submit to his father.

And yet, a son is never actually his father.

Why would God use such a known and understood earthly relationship to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son if the overriding concurrent similarities and distinctions didn't hold?

[of course, we are also talking about spiritual beings, so certain things like being IN each other doesn't translate well to the physical]

If Jesus IS the Father, then their being one isn't anything special because they are each other. They have to be not each other for their kind of oneness to be noteworthy.
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:24 AM   #109
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This way you don't need two interpretive rules, one for Father/Jesus and one for Father/Gabriel and Jesus/angel.
To think that the oneness between the Father and the Son is the same as the oneness between God and an angel is a serious mistake and so far off the Bible, I don´t know what to say. . Making Jesus just a representative of the Father, like an angel represents God completely misses the realities and truth about God throughout scripture as seen for example in those verses in John 14. God is not inside the angel like the Father is in the Son. God does not indwell any angel, and never will. No angel is inside of God, like the Son is in the Father. No angel has God inside of it, dwelling, speaking and working through the angel. God is the Creator, the angel is the creature, God is the Father and the Son was begotten of the Father. The Son is God and has existed eternally with and in the Father, the angel is a created being in time. There are so many differences, ....what version of the Bible are you reading?

You bring up a good point about the verses in Rev. 22:16, I admit it can become confusing who is speaking. But why do you assume it's not Jesus speaking and that it's the angel speaking? Jesus started speaking to John in chapter 1, and throughout chapters 2, 3, and in 4 He says, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things.” What makes you think that Jesus dissapears from the scene, that He does not speak to John anymore? He is there in chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4, and He is showing John all these things, and nowhere does it say that He leaves the scene. Yes, different angels appear to John and appear in the visions and show this and that, and say this and that, ...so much so it is hard to keep track of. But why do you assume Jesus is not there anymore?

Read Revelation 16:13-16, 13 "And I saw three unclean spirits that looked like frogs coming out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14 These are demonic spirits that perform signs and go out to all the kings of the earth, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty."15 Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who remains awake and clothed, so that he will not go naked and let his shame be exposed.”16 And they assembled the kings in the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

Do you see how verse 15 just suddenly interrupts in the first person, "Behold, I am coming like a thief...." John´s writing is clearly interrupted: his narrative in verse 14 continues seemlessly in verse 16. Where did the speaking in verse 15 come from? The voice is in first person and it's a different thought altogether from what John is saying. It really sounds like there is another person that interjects. There is no reason to believe it's not Jesus speaking directly. Jesus spoke before, why not now? The same would apply for similar situations as in Rev. 22:7, 12 and 16. Actually, it looks like there may be 3 people talking in Rev. 22, the angel, Jesus and John.

But regardless, ohhhh the oneness between the Father and the Son! That is so precious, mysterious, sublime! How can you downgrade it to the representative function and service of an angel?
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:25 AM   #110
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If Jesus IS the Father, then their being one isn't anything special because they are each other. They have to be not each other for their kind of oneness to be noteworthy.
Really good point Trapped, but I'm afraid you'll not be getting a straight answer on this one from our dear anti-trinitarian brothers here. Witness Lee taught them that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was "called the Father, so he must be the Father!", and they will not budge on this one. Apparently the 2,000 years of church history in which the teaching/doctrine of the biblical Trinity was tested, tried and solidified as orthodox means nothing. Everybody was wrong and Witness Lee was right. (of course, don't ever forget, even if Witness Lee was wrong he is right!.)

*Earliest church "fathers", some of whom were known to have been disciples of the original scripture writing apostles - They were all wrong...Because Witness Lee says they were!

*All the creeds, statements of belief and theological declarations of the various ecumenical councils - They were all wrong - they were all the dead teachings of man....Witness Lee has passed down the pure word of God!

*All the teachings and doctrinal formulations of all the Christian teachers, scholars and apologists regarding the Trinity over the past centuries are just the man-made poor, poor teachings of blind mooing cows! They are tritheists and teach and believe that there are three Gods! Oh Lord Jesus! Thank you for the pure word!

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Old 06-10-2020, 12:55 PM   #111
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To me modalism is denying there is some kind of relationship in the Godhead. (I think that is a simple way to put it. For instance, God did say, "Let Us make man in Our image . . .") Now, I know I've said that the relationship between the Father and the Son is like our relationship with ourselves, but it is more than that, because although we can love ourselves, ourselves can't love us back, as the Son loves the Father. Or can they?... I believe there is some faint shadow of the Trinity in every human being. I also believe that one day we will enter into a relationship with ourselves that much better matches the relationship of the Father and the Son--pure love and acceptance, without a hint of selfishness. I think that's ultimately part of what "finding your soul" means.

But as I've said, Lee wasn't interested in relationships, either within God, between people or with oneself. He was all about processes, which is a reason his Trinity seems modalistic. He was all about the economic Trinity. He had little to say about the essential Trinity. The Edwards/Piper model addresses that.
Process (from Oxford): "a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end" But I guess we can't say that what Jesus went through was a process . . .

The Edwards/Piper model was linked by Cal below, and I really liked the way Piper (often quoting Edwards) put it! Anybody care to comment on Piper's writing?
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:06 PM   #112
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I like it! No, I mean it (guess that makes me dumb)!
Not at all. It's only when you push it as something really profound that it becomes dumb.
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:11 PM   #113
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Process (from Oxford): "a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end" But I guess we can't say that what Jesus went through was a process . . .

The Edwards/Piper model was linked by Cal below, and I really liked the way Piper (often quoting Edwards) put it! Anybody care to comment on Piper's writing?
It's not wrong to say Jesus went through a process. It's just awkward to say that means he got processed in the sense of some kind of drink. By using the term "processed" Lee was just trying to add credence to his "all-inclusive dose" stuff -- Jesus as the giant super smoothie, fresh out of the blender for your enjoyment. Jesus is a PERSON.

A marine goes through a process to become a top fighter. But no one says he's the processed soldier.

I like Piper, too, not least because he "processes" the sometimes indecipherable writings of Edwards.
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:17 PM   #114
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If Jesus IS the Father, then their being one isn't anything special because they are each other. They have to be not each other for their kind of oneness to be noteworthy.
I disagree to some degree. Are you ever in conflict with yourself? Complete integration with oneself is rare and laudable. It's called "integrity."
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:26 PM   #115
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I disagree to some degree. Are you ever in conflict with yourself? Complete integration with oneself is rare and laudable. It's called "integrity."
I might be conflicted, but wouldn't consider it "in conflict with myself". And I would never describe one of the conflicted "parties" as "my son", that's for sure. That's multiple personalities territory.
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:27 PM   #116
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Not at all. It's only when you push it as something really profound that it becomes dumb.
Well okay! (and it was so very profound I thought, however I don't even know what "it" was any more!)
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:06 PM   #117
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Just thinking out loud here, but I think the very words Father and Son do a good job of showing they are not the same. God chose to use the words "father" and "son" in the Bible to best describe the relationship between the Father and the Son. A father and son are not the same person, and yet, amazingly, we often describe them in the same way Jesus used to describe His relationship to His Father.
You use a number of human concepts to describe God, I prefer to use the scripture to interpret scripture. They might be helpful, and others too, but only if they are supported by scripture. Every human metaphor has limitations, especially when referring to God Himself.

For example, the Father begot the Son. I have a son. There was a time that he was not, and then he was. Does this also apply to the Son of God? Was there a time when the Son was not? Did Jesus, the Son of God, not exist before 2,000 years ago? aron, you are simply reiterating ancient heretical arguments.

You are not asked to believe what makes sense to you. You are required to believe what you might not understand. It's totally not logical that the Creator of the universe could be born of a virgin and then let Himself be slaughtered on the cross. Makes no sense whatsoever. Billions have refused to believe such nonsense.

By God's love and mercy, I have chosen to believe, not because I understand or because it makes sense, but because I trust the Bible is God's word to me.
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Old 06-10-2020, 08:32 PM   #118
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You use a number of human concepts to describe God, I prefer to use the scripture to interpret scripture. They might be helpful, and others too, but only if they are supported by scripture. Every human metaphor has limitations, especially when referring to God Himself.

For example, the Father begot the Son. I have a son. There was a time that he was not, and then he was. Does this also apply to the Son of God? Was there a time when the Son was not? Did Jesus, the Son of God, not exist before 2,000 years ago? aron, you are simply reiterating ancient heretical arguments.

You are not asked to believe what makes sense to you. You are required to believe what you might not understand. It's totally not logical that the Creator of the universe could be born of a virgin and then let Himself be slaughtered on the cross. Makes no sense whatsoever. Billions have refused to believe such nonsense.

By God's love and mercy, I have chosen to believe, not because I understand or because it makes sense, but because I trust the Bible is God's word to me.
Maybe I'm missing something, but is not:

1. Son
2. Father
3. image
4. when you see me you see him
5. when i speak it's his words
6. etc....

...in other words, all those things I had in my post......also in Scripture?

Of course metaphors have limitations, and yet the Bible is rife with them. I'm not the one taking the metaphor into a foreign country. The metaphor just describes their relationship, not necessarily the duration thereof. We could easily say "Jesus said He was the bread of life, but yet bread gets moldy eventually. Does Jesus get moldy?"

A son and a father have a son and father relationship to each other as long as both exist concurrently. Whether human in finite time, or divine in eternal timelessness. Seems straightforward to me.

I'm not aron, by the way.
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:17 PM   #119
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I might be conflicted, but wouldn't consider it "in conflict with myself". And I would never describe one of the conflicted "parties" as "my son", that's for sure. That's multiple personalities territory.
It's only MPD if there is a conflict. With God there is no conflict.

And referring to oneself in the third person is not that uncommon. And I've been know to say to myself, "Son, you can do better." Or the like. So... I get your objection, I hope you get the point I'm making.
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Old 06-11-2020, 11:19 AM   #120
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John 8:14-19
14 Jesus replied, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I came from or where I am going.
15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
16 But even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone; I am with the Father who sent Me.
17 Even in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid.
18 I am One who testifies about Myself, and the Father, who sent Me, also testifies about Me.”
19 “Where is Your Father?” they asked Him. “You do not know Me or My Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew Me, you would know My Father as well.”

It's interesting that in 17-18 Jesus says the testimony of the Father and Himself are akin to the testimony of two men.

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It's only MPD if there is a conflict. With God there is no conflict.

And referring to oneself in the third person is not that uncommon. And I've been know to say to myself, "Son, you can do better." Or the like. So... I get your objection, I hope you get the point I'm making.
If there is no conflict between personalities.....does MPD even manifest? /sidetrack

I've read and also heard your interpretation of the Father/Son/Spirit, and although I don't ascribe to it myself currently, I think I do understand.
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Old 06-11-2020, 08:05 PM   #121
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I've read and also heard your interpretation of the Father/Son/Spirit, and although I don't ascribe to it myself currently, I think I do understand.
It's just one way to look at it. I believe it has some validity because it lines up too well with most of the things traditionally believed about about the Trinity, but otherwise inexplicable. But it's not the only way to look at it. We'll never solve it here. The only thing we can achieve is possibly some insight into God and ourselves, which I believe is the point of any discussion. We will never be able to view God as through a microscope. That would make us God.
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Old 06-12-2020, 08:50 AM   #122
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It's just one way to look at it. I believe it has some validity because it lines up too well with most of the things traditionally believed about about the Trinity, but otherwise inexplicable. But it's not the only way to look at it. We'll never solve it here. The only thing we can achieve is possibly some insight into God and ourselves, which I believe is the point of any discussion. We will never be able to view God as through a microscope. That would make us God.
This bears repeating. And as long as we don't get all wrapped around the axle over the fact that we view the "elephant" in different ways because of our most limited perspective, then we're good and can have fellowship one with another.
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Old 06-13-2020, 07:31 AM   #123
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My goodness, I would have never thought that there would be so many divergent views regarding the Trinity, and even more, how very dissimilar from one to another!

It seems to me that this all boils down to what we are comfortable or satisfied with. For me, I have always been satisfied with the traditional, historic view of the Trinity - That there is one God in three divine Persons, all equal in power, love, wisdom and glory. In short, God is one in Being and three in Person. Admittedly, I even held this view as a devout member of the Local Church of Witness Lee, although, to be sure, I bowed to the peer pressure and would only speak of God as "the processed, consummated Triune God as the all-inclusive, seven-fold, intensified life-giving Spirit who is in our spirit for the transformation of the many stones into the dwelling place of God, the New Jerusalem". (I'm sure I've left something out....I've been out of practice for over 20 years now!)

I do understand, and all the more appreciate, that some others here have a big problem with being bound by the "traditional, history view" of anything related to the Christian faith. I get it. I was there too. For decades. Over the years, I have been criticized for being "against a teaching just because Witness Lee taught it". This is a fair and legitimate criticism, especially when it's coming from some of you older brothers and sisters who have walked a similar path. Now, my dear brothers and sisters, will you let me turn the tables on you, and challenge you in a spirit of love and concern for the truth? My observation is that many of you are against a teaching/doctrine/interpretation simply because has been taught as the traditional, historic and orthodox view.

Before this post gets too long, I'll just bring up one more point, and maybe the most important point. Revelation. Maybe everything related to God is a matter of revelation. However, before revelation there has to be the conveyance of some objective truth. Most of the time, knowledge precedes revelation. "And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?"(Romans 10:14) One of the greatest revelations related to us in the Gospels was Peter's familiar proclamation: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" (Matthew 16:16) Now, just where did Peter come up with this amazing idea? Could it have been that the Lord Jesus was teaching his disciples that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God for years? I believe that the objective truth of the Lord Jesus being the Christ was conveyed to Peter prior to this fabulous revelation. He learned, then it burned.

Yes, I do believe that God must release something to us regarding his nature through personal revelation. Somewhere I've heard that "revelation is the life-blood of every Christian" (paraphrase) I agree with this. However, I also believe that preceding this revelation of God and his nature, there must be the conveyance of some objective truths. I believe that God has done the imparting of many objective truths regarding his Triune nature through the teaching of the scripture writing apostles preserved for us on the pages of the New Testament. I also believe, with the greatest measure of assurance I can muster, that God has also preserved the closest and most accurate original interpretation/expounding/exposition/exegesis through the writings/teachings of many godly men and women down through the history of the church, starting with second generation saints. Yes, just as God has preserved his "living and abiding Word of God" and "the faith once delivered to the saints", he has also preserved the most accurate understanding and interpretation of this living and abiding Word, down through the ages, from the close of the first century, until this very day.

So, after 2,000+ years:
"Upon reflection, we discover that the Trinity is the highest revelation God has made of himself to His people. It is the capstone, the summit, the brightest star in the firmament of divine truths.”
James White
The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:38 AM   #124
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I do understand, and all the more appreciate, that some others here have a big problem with being bound by the "traditional, history view" of anything related to the Christian faith. I get it. I was there too. For decades. Over the years, I have been criticized for being "against a teaching just because Witness Lee taught it". This is a fair and legitimate criticism, especially when it's coming from some of you older brothers and sisters who have walked a similar path.
And here I thought our beloved Moderator was cordially accommodating diverse views and ready to put this belabored topic to bed, once and for all.

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I do understand, and all the more appreciate, that some others here have a big problem with being bound by the "traditional, history view" of anything related to the Christian faith. I get it. I was there too. For decades. Over the years, I have been criticized for being "against a teaching just because Witness Lee taught it". This is a fair and legitimate criticism, especially when it's coming from some of you older brothers and sisters who have walked a similar path.
Ok, Ok, it's starting to be a long read, but I'm hanging in there hoping against all hope, that our beloved Moderator (BM) will still come thru.

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Now, my dear brothers and sisters, will you let me turn the tables on you, and challenge you in a spirit of love and concern for the truth? My observation is that many of you are against a teaching/doctrine/interpretation simply because has been taught as the traditional, historic and orthodox view.
I knew it! Just too good to be true! If I respond, I'll be back in the shower, cleaning up last night's leftovers hitting me from all sides. If I walk away, I'll be tarred and feathered in absentia.

Wretched poster that I am! Who will deliver me from such doctrinal distress?
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:21 AM   #125
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Bro Ohio, your wit is just so keen & sharp! (I do mean that)

UntoHim - I think my view of the nature of our mysterious God is best summed-up by what Piper wrote (Cal shared this in post #83 Piper - Meditation on Trinity ). I actually had come to basically that same seeing (don't know if I would call it "revelation" exactly, but rather a certain sense, whatever that means) through reading passages like the 1st chapter of John. That is, that the Son is the full expression of God (the Word become flesh), and the Holy Spirit "is God existing as the infinite Spirit of love and delight flowing eternally between the Son and the Father." (from the Piper article)

I think this view lines-up with how scripture doesn't put the emphasis on the Spirit so much, like it seems to regarding the Father and the Son. The Spirit mainly directs us to the Father and the Son, and is not presented as the definite, clear-cut distinction that the Father and the Son are. (hopefully I'm conveying that somewhat well in my limited human vocabulary)

Just my buck-two-ninety-eights worth . . .
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:34 AM   #126
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Ohio, I think you're confusing "accommodating" with "agreeing". Maybe they're the same thing to you? I've been accommodating diverse views on this forum for over 12 years now, and to insinuate otherwise is not very accommodating of you!

Put the topic of the nature of God and the Trinity to bed? Not on your life, my man! And I'll tell you the same thing I told dear brother Sons to Glory! - You're free to participate and you're free to just sit this one out. If genuine, open discussion on this topic gets you too riled up, I would suggest the latter. Just a suggestion!

Nobody's been tared and feathered. Really?

I noticed you declined to comment on the last paragraph. Why is that? I think one of the main issues is that you still think Witness Lee's teachings/interpretations regarding the Trinity are biblical. OK, that's all well and good, but you seem to insist that they stand alone, apart from any comparing and contrasting with the teachings/interpretations from Christian teachers/scholars/apologists going back to the earliest era of church history. I hope that you understand that no ones teachings/interpretations stand alone, no matter how much they tell you that they teach "the pure word". This goes for everybody - the so-called church fathers, the earliest of the Christians who helped formulate the earliest doctrine statements and declarations, Ignatius, Clement, Polycarp, Augustine, up to Edwards and Wesley, Darby, all the way up to Piper - No one stands alone.
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:02 PM   #127
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I noticed you declined to comment on the last paragraph. Why is that?
My post was getting kind of long. Have to be faithful to my signature line mission statement.

Sorry, I didn't read it. I'll go back and dig out the files.
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:31 PM   #128
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Before this post gets too long, I'll just bring up one more point, and maybe the most important point. Revelation. Maybe everything related to God is a matter of revelation. However, before revelation there has to be the conveyance of some objective truth. Most of the time, knowledge precedes revelation. "And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?"(Romans 10:14) One of the greatest revelations related to us in the Gospels was Peter's familiar proclamation: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" (Matthew 16:16) Now, just where did Peter come up with this amazing idea? Could it have been that the Lord Jesus was teaching his disciples that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God for years? I believe that the objective truth of the Lord Jesus being the Christ was conveyed to Peter prior to this fabulous revelation. He learned, then it burned.
I mostly agree with this. With Apostle Paul, he received revelation on the way to Damascus, and then went back thru the scriptures seeing what he never had seen before. So, not exactly as you said it, but good enough for discussion. In this regard, probably the Apostles were unique as N.T. representatives.

For the rest of church history, however, whatever we think we have seen in a revelation, must correspond with what has already been written. So this precludes revelations to Joseph Smith, Taze Russell, and the like. Agreed?

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Yes, I do believe that God must release something to us regarding his nature through personal revelation. Somewhere I've heard that "revelation is the life-blood of every Christian" (paraphrase) I agree with this. However, I also believe that preceding this revelation of God and his nature, there must be the conveyance of some objective truths. I believe that God has done the imparting of many objective truths regarding his Triune nature through the teaching of the scripture writing apostles preserved for us on the pages of the New Testament. I also believe, with the greatest measure of assurance I can muster, that God has also preserved the closest and most accurate original interpretation/expounding/exposition/exegesis through the writings/teachings of many godly men and women down through the history of the church, starting with second generation saints. Yes, just as God has preserved his "living and abiding Word of God" and "the faith once delivered to the saints", he has also preserved the most accurate understanding and interpretation of this living and abiding Word, down through the ages, from the close of the first century, until this very day.
The greatest gift these godly men of the last 2 millennia have given to us is the exacting preservation of the original scriptures. Any other interpretation/expounding/exposition/exegesis handed down to us must take a distant second in prominence, and must align with the scriptures. Having studied church history for many years, I know that much of what we have received has been seriously tainted, leavened, and polluted. As a rule, that which has passed thru the fires of persecution stands the best chance of being aligned with the word of God.

Back in the early 90's, still believing WL to be a man of God, I slowly accepted the teachings of the Church Fathers as something valuable for our day. It was a struggle for me, but eventually I accepted Athanasius and the Eastern Orthodox teachings of deification. I studied all the verses and some church writings. I studied the history of Athanasius and his battles with Arius. I accepted it even though it did nothing for my faith and daily walk. Becoming a "baby god" was soon "back-burnered" in my theological system. When I later learned that WL had used this teaching as a ruse to cover the corruption surrounding the Philip coverup, I discarded it once for all.

Sorry, UntoHim, but this is not what you probably wanted to hear from me.
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Old 06-14-2020, 08:51 AM   #129
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For the rest of church history, however, whatever we think we have seen in a revelation, must correspond with what has already been written. So this precludes revelations to Joseph Smith, Taze Russell, and the like. Agreed?
And this includes revelations to Witness Lee. Agreed?

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Any other Interpretation/expounding/exposition/exegesis handed down to us must take a distant second in prominence, and must align with the scriptures.
Right. And this is what orthodox Christians have been doing for about 2,000 years now. Of course there are many who don't follow this path, and in the extreme, we end up with aberrational Christian groups and ministries like the Local Church of Witness Lee. May God have mercy.

Quote:
Having studied church history for many years, I know that much of what we have received has been seriously tainted, leavened, and polluted.
Good point. And this is why it is so very important, and even imperative, for any Christian leader/teacher to be humble and willing to submit everything through the crucible of peer review, lest he/she go off on a tangent, causing much damage to himself and to his followers. Thankfully, many contemporary Christian teachers are willing to have their ministry critiqued and balanced by others. Unfortunately, there are also many who refuse such criticism and balance from the Body of Christ, and quite a sizable lot of God's people have been led astray by these peoples' false teachings and harmful practices.

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Sorry, UntoHim, but this is not what you probably wanted to hear from me.
No worries. What I really want to hear is honest, open and civil discussions!
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Old 06-14-2020, 02:47 PM   #130
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And this includes revelations to Witness Lee. Agreed?
You're joking, right?

It was early winter of 2005 when I read Ingalls' STTIL and Anderson's ToG. Learning how WL favored his reprobate sons over God's people and the truths of His word, I lost all respect for him. Learning how BP treated sisters, I became aware of the bully tactics which resulted from the so-called "oneness with the ministry."

Since then, I have methodically rejected every teaching unique to WL and his Recovery. I have examined the fruit of his teachings, I have compared them to the scriptures, I have compared his version of church history to others, I have read ex-members' views on these teachings, etc. I have concisely endeavored to de-leaven all of these teachings from my heart and belief system. I paid my dues.

Have I still any teachings which may appear similar to WL, then they must have scriptural basis for them, and not just some obscure, unrelated verse. Sorry if that is not acceptable at times on this forum. I am not an anti-Lee or anti-Lee-teachings guy. If he taught something, and it has Biblical support, then I'll embrace it. I've explained why many times.
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Old 06-20-2020, 08:13 AM   #131
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Now I did hear Brother Lee say "Jesus became the life - giving Spirit" "Became" has modalist connotations. But Scripture is plain: God exists in three co-eternal, co-equal Persons. What do you all think?
Taking a step back, let's all remember that this thread is not necessarily about our personal beliefs about the nature of the Godhead, it is about something called "modalism". I think we would all do well to remember that this term was not coined by Martin Luther, John Wesley, Dr. Walter Martin, Billy Graham, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Jonathan Edwards, UntoHim, Ohio or HBJ. The term, or at least the concept of modalism, comes from the earliest of Christian leaders, teachers, scholars and apologists, while they were engaged in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel, against men who were misrepresenting, and even perverting, the clear teachings of the scripture writing apostles, and in so doing, were taking the saints away from the pure and undefiled "teaching and fellowship of the apostles".

Do we think that Satan and his minions simply gave up at Pentecost? No. Since the beginning, Satan has sought to misrepresent and even pervert the word of God, and in so doing he attempts to subvert and undermine the purposes of God, his universal authority, and ultimately steal glory from God by deceiving and corrupting the hearts and minds of the masterpiece of his creation, mankind. Satan's ultimate defeat comes with the declaration "To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen!" (Ephesians 3:21) Glory in the church - God's eternal purpose is focused on the "vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory" (Romans 9:23) Yes, it is true, we were made to be vessels to contain God - "Christ in you, the hope of glory". (Colossians 1:27) At the same time, we are also called to be the keepers and bearers of the truths that God has revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures.

This term "modalism" is simply a description of a doctrine/teaching that is a misrepresentation or corruption of the the original doctrine/teaching of the Trinity as taught and exemplified by the Lord Jesus, and clearly enunciated by the scripture writing apostles. It was not coined as "an attack on Christians that we don't like". I don't know of anybody who "believes" in modalism - it's not part of the core of the Christian faith. What is part of the core of the Christian faith is the doctrine/teaching of the Trinity - That God has revealed himself to be one Being in three eternal, divine Persons, all equal in holiness, love, power, grace, righteousness and glory. Orthodox Christians have believed and taught this since the beginning. Many teachers since the beginning have taught all sorts of variations and alternative descriptions of the Triune God, and have even claimed that their teachings are simply "what the Bible says". But history shows us that all of them have avoided, or simply refused, to have their teachings compared and contrasted with the orthodox teachings/understandings/views that have been believed and taught for over 2,000 years.
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Old 06-20-2020, 08:55 AM   #132
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I don't know of anybody who "believes" in modalism - it's not part of the core of the Christian faith.
-
I have. One group I knew believed Jesus was the Father, Jesus was the Son, and Jesus was the Holy Spirit. They embraced the I John 5, "Three are One," paradigm. They probably never heard the word "modalist," and would earnestly deny that their faith was in any way misguided. They would quote you many verses supporting their beliefs.

My observation is that few Christians actually obsess with the theology of God. I'm sure they have their views about God, but basically accept the Bible and live their lives. This is basically a topic for academic apologetics, those misguided folks who travel about correcting everyone else. If it wasn't for the very nasty and public debate between Walter Martin and Witness Lee, each moving to opposite ends of the spectrum, we would probably never even be having any of these discussions.

To be honest, most Christians see "2 Persons" in God, the Father and the Son, a heavenly loving relationship which desired to include all mankind. The Father sent the Son, the Son prayed to the Father, The Son obeyed the Father establishing a pattern for all of God's children, and the Son resurrected from the dead. If we look at the synoptic Gospels and Acts, the emphasis of the message was not on Jesus being God, but Jesus as a Man sent by God, dying for our sins. It was John's writings, written years afterwards, correcting other errors at the time, and displaying the eternal deity of the Son, which seemed to fuel modalistic ideas.
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:52 AM   #133
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One group I knew believed Jesus was the Father, Jesus was the Son, and Jesus was the Holy Spirit.
What you're talking about here is a kind of modalism that is taught by "Oneness Pentecostals". It's been around for quite some time and is condemned as heretical by all orthodox Christians. But this is not what I meant by "believing in modalism". Just forget I said this!

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My observation is that few Christians actually obsess with the theology of God. I'm sure they have their views about God, but basically accept the Bible and live their lives.
Well I'm certainly glad there have been men who have obsessed with theology over the history of the church. Otherwise there might be a lot more aberrational sects like the Local Church of Witness Lee. And there would be an even a larger number of people who think the Bible teaches modalism, which it does not.

Quote:
This is basically a topic for academic apologetics, those misguided folks who travel about correcting everyone else.
No, it's a topic for us here, and that's why I'm glad that HBJ started this thread. Sorry if you feel that it's simply about "correcting". It's much more than that, and I thought I tried to explain that in my last post. I guess I didn't do a good enough job this time, at least not for brother Ohio!

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To be honest, most Christians see "2 Persons" in God, the Father and the Son, a heavenly loving relationship which desired to include all mankind.
Many Christians see a lot of things. This does't mean that the things they see are biblical. There are a lot of false teachers out there who are teaching all sorts of things. People are free to believe anything they choose (at least here in America), but this doesn't mean that there is not an established standard of orthodoxy. I know that Witness Lee taught us that there was no such standard, but he was wrong.
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:14 PM   #134
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I have. One group I knew believed Jesus was the Father, Jesus was the Son, and Jesus was the Holy Spirit. They embraced the I John 5, "Three are One," paradigm. They probably never heard the word "modalist," and would earnestly deny that their faith was in any way misguided. They would quote you many verses supporting their beliefs.

My observation is that few Christians actually obsess with the theology of God. I'm sure they have their views about God, but basically accept the Bible and live their lives. This is basically a topic for academic apologetics, those misguided folks who travel about correcting everyone else. If it wasn't for the very nasty and public debate between Walter Martin and Witness Lee, each moving to opposite ends of the spectrum, we would probably never even be having any of these discussions.

To be honest, most Christians see "2 Persons" in God, the Father and the Son, a heavenly loving relationship which desired to include all mankind. The Father sent the Son, the Son prayed to the Father, The Son obeyed the Father establishing a pattern for all of God's children, and the Son resurrected from the dead. If we look at the synoptic Gospels and Acts, the emphasis of the message was not on Jesus being God, but Jesus as a Man sent by God, dying for our sins. It was John's writings, written years afterwards, correcting other errors at the time, and displaying the eternal deity of the Son, which seemed to fuel modalistic ideas.
I agree with the three points you made (one with each paragraph)!

The last point sounds much like that Piper said (which was linked to earlier in this thread, quoting Jonathan Edwards). That is, the Father and the Son are clearly seen "persons" with the Spirit of love flowing between them. This is the picture I've sort of settled on. But would I bet $5 that this is the absolutely correct view? No, because I don't like to loose money, and any "sure bet" on the nature of the Triune God is not so prudent IMO.
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Old 06-20-2020, 01:24 PM   #135
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The last point sounds much like that Piper said (which was linked to earlier in this thread, quoting Jonathan Edwards). That is, the Father and the Son are clearly seen "persons" with the Spirit of love flowing between them. This is the picture I've sort of settled on. But would I bet $5 that this is the absolutely correct view? No, because I don't like to loose money, and any "sure bet" on the nature of the Triune God is not so prudent IMO.

Yeah, that's more where I'm settling on currently too, with a "this may be an incomplete understanding" caveat.

John 17:3
Now this is eternal life: that they know you [the Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

John 17:21
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

John 17:23
I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Rev. 22:3
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

There is a Spirit of God, but it is not presented in the same way as the relationship between the Father and the Son, ever.
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Old 06-20-2020, 01:45 PM   #136
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I agree with the three points you made (one with each paragraph)!

The last point sounds much like that Piper said (which was linked to earlier in this thread, quoting Jonathan Edwards). That is, the Father and the Son are clearly seen "persons" with the Spirit of love flowing between them.
Now we are clearly in trouble with the moderator!

One God but 2 Persona -- The Father and The Son -- and their fellowship is the Holy Spirit. Sounds pretty good!

That ancient "orthodox church" guy that the moderator knows will start gathering stones to throw at us . . .
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:42 PM   #137
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Boy did I open a can of worms so to speak starting this thread. Understanding God is difficult with our earthly brains. God is three but is one, separate, but one and coexisting. The last time I had a brain freeze was in physics. I did ok but when we got to relativity, from then on I needed to be graded on the curve. I did much better in chemistry, A+ B = C.

Praise God for who he is, and when we get before the throne, we will understand with our 'new resurrected brains and body' There is that verse I believe in Corinthians about seeing in a glass or mirror darkly. Fuzzy now but not forever--Praise Him!
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Old 06-21-2020, 02:29 AM   #138
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Boy did I open a can of worms so to speak starting this thread. Understanding God is difficult with our earthly brains. God is three but is one, separate, but one and coexisting. The last time I had a brain freeze was in physics. I did ok but when we got to relativity, from then on I needed to be graded on the curve. I did much better in chemistry, A+ B = C.

Praise God for who he is, and when we get before the throne, we will understand with our 'new resurrected brains and body' There is that verse I believe in Corinthians about seeing in a glass or mirror darkly. Fuzzy now but not forever--Praise Him!
Yes, but even then, there are aspects of God like His omnisciense, that even in resurrection we will not fully grasp. We will probably be knowing God and experiencing new things of Him on an ongoing basis, for eternity.
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Old 06-21-2020, 05:09 AM   #139
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Yes, but even then, there are aspects of God like His omnisciense, that even in resurrection we will not fully grasp. We will probably be knowing God and experiencing new things of Him on an ongoing basis, for eternity.
And many will still be asking Jesus, "show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:32 AM   #140
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And many will still be asking Jesus, "show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."
Right! And I'm glad that we arrived at this point in just 140 posts! Seriously, it's been a good discussion, and I did learn something . . . (not sure what practical purpose this has for me, but knowledge was gained)
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:56 AM   #141
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One God but 2 Persona -- The Father and The Son -- and their fellowship is the Holy Spirit. Sounds pretty good!
You're getting there brother Ohio. You're almost 2/3 the way there my man! Just change the 2 to a 3, and then change the a to an s and you'll be a trinitarian! How cool would that be!

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Old 06-21-2020, 10:19 AM   #142
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You're getting there brother Ohio. You're almost 2/3 the way there my man! Just change the 2 to a 3, and then change the a to an s and you'll be a trinitarian! How cool would that be!
Other than your exclusive and proprietary sources in the "orthodox church," can you provide any scriptural evidence whatsoever to help me out that indicates the Holy Spirit is a separate, detached, different, peculiar, distinct, solitary, definite, independent persona, personality, or "Person."

I'm pretty desperate here. Don't need much to take me over the threshold, from "2 to a 3" as you say.
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:37 PM   #143
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There is a Spirit of God, but it is not presented in the same way as the relationship between the Father and the Son, ever.
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...can you provide any scriptural evidence whatsoever to help me out that indicates the Holy Spirit is a separate, detached, different, peculiar, distinct, solitary, definite, independent persona, personality, or "Person."
Well, I only have time to give you just a few verses from the two greatest theologians I know (who just happen to be the two greatest trinitarians.)

And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Matthew 12:31,32

The Lord Jesus was clearly speaking of the Holy Spirit as a person. A mere "power" or "life-source" cannot be blasphemed against. In fact, in the context of this passage, blasphemy specifically refers to speaking against God the Holy Spirit. In fact, this sin is so grievous that it will never be forgiven, even in heaven.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30

Very similar to the statement of the Lord Jesus in Matthew. Again, it should be obvious that a mere "power" or "life-force" cannot be "grieved". Only a person can be grieved.
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:48 PM   #144
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Amazing. On one thread we have trinitarians, doubletarians and now a unotarian(aka Unitarian)! Well, we can't all be right, now can we?
When it comes to God, we are all wrong! None can be right, eh?

Yet throughout history God's children have lived side-by-side believing only "that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture, was buried and raised on the third day." (I Cor 15.1-4) Our common faith, eh?

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Sorry, but I am going to be rather strict on this thread. The topic is modalism as taught by Witness Lee. I'll allow some latitude...but just a little.
Since you ended with a happy face, let me throw out another idea for your consideration.

Coming back to I Cor 15.45, would you agree if the translation were, "The last Adam became life-giving S/spirit."
  • The Greek text has a definite article "the" preceding "last Adam"
  • The Greek text has no article preceding "life-giving"
  • The Greek text specifies no case for S/spirit
In other words, I have never specifically said that "Jesus the Son is the Holy Spirit." Rather, following death and burial, the body of the Last Adam was raised in incorruption, was raised in glory, was raised in power, was raised a spiritual body becoming life-giving spirit.
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Old 06-21-2020, 01:34 PM   #145
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There is a Spirit of God, but it is not presented in the same way as the relationship between the Father and the Son, ever.
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Well, I only have time to give you just a few verses from the two greatest theologians I know (who just happen to be the two greatest trinitarians.)
My little observation is, I think, a minor point in this whole thread, but just for the sake of clarifying what I said.....my main thrust is the co-equal thing.

The Holy Spirit is God, there is a Spirit of God, the Bible shows God is Spirit, etc, etc, etc, but we don't ever see things like:

"The Father delighted in the Holy Spirit" or
"The Holy Spirit submitted to the will of the Son" or
"the throne of God and of the Lamb and of the Holy Spirit" or
"I am in my Father and I am also in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is in the Father and the Son".

The Holy Spirit is simply depicted differently. "Left out" in places where we would expect to see him if he was a co-equal person of the trinity. Anyone can see that. There is a unique relationship between the Father and the Son. Of course there is a Holy Spirit, but I'm not sure how to describe it yet.
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Old 06-22-2020, 01:54 PM   #146
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Recent Boxjobox posts and related posts moved to Alternative Views. Any further off-topic posts will be deleted without notice.
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Post showing how so many verses indicate how the Holy Spirit is God, is off-topic?

OK, so back on topic:

The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.
AND
The Lord is the Spirit.
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Old 06-22-2020, 03:23 PM   #147
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Actually, posts that don't address modalism as taught by Witness Lee are off-topic for this thread. Not sure why that's so hard of a concept for people to understand. I'm not sure how many times I have to say this: There are certain things that are not up for debate here on the main forum. One of them is the deity of Christ. Another would be that the Father so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, and if we believe on him our sins our forgiven. Another would be that Jesus Christ was crucified and raised bodily on the third day, ascended to heaven and is now at the right hand of the Father. There are a number of other nonnegotiables as far as I'm concerned, but I won't take the time to reiterate them here.

My personal believe is the orthodox view/teaching/understanding of the Trinity, that God is one in Being and three in Person, has been a core element of the Christian faith since the beginning and is a nonnegotiable. However, since the very topic at hand is addressing Lee's non orthodox teachings, it seems reasonable for the various forum members to give their current views/understandings of the nature of the Trinity/Godhead. (Assuming that you even believe there is such a thing)
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Old 06-22-2020, 05:43 PM   #148
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Actually, posts that don't address modalism as taught by Witness Lee -
WL did not teach modalism.
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:32 PM   #149
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WL did not teach modalism.
Preach it bro!
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:39 PM   #150
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Raptor, I admire your persistence, I really do. But you either do not know what modalism is, or you're in complete denial of what Witness Lee actually taught.

"The Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit... and the Lord Jesus who is the Son is also the Eternal Father. Our Lord is the Son, and He is also the Father."
Witness Lee, Concerning the Triune God
(Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1973)


"Through the process of resurrection, the Man who ended the old creation became the life-giving Spirit, the germinating element of the new creation."
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

"When He entered into resurrection, He became the Spirit who gives life"
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

"The Son is called the Father; so the Son must be the Father. We must realize this fact. There are some who say that He is called the Father, but He is not really the Father. But how could He be called the Father and yet not be the Father?... In the place where no man can approach Him (I Tim. 6:16), God is the Father. When He comes forth to manifest Himself, He is the Son. So, a Son is given, yet His name is called 'The everlasting Father.' This very Son who has been given to us is the very Father."
Witness Lee, The All-Inclusive Spirit of Christ
(Los Angeles: The Stream Publishers, 1969), pp. 4-5


"...the entire Godhead, the Triune God, became flesh."
Witness Lee, God's New Testament Economy
(Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1986), p. 230


"Therefore, it is clear: The Lord Jesus is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and He is the very God. He is also the Lord. He is the Father, the Son, the Spirit, the Mighty God, and the Lord."
Witness Lee, The Clear Scriptural Revelation
Concerning the Triune God


"The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not three separate persons or three Gods; they are one God, one reality, one person."
Witness Lee, The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man
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Old 06-22-2020, 09:34 PM   #151
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I have never specifically said that "Jesus the Son is the Holy Spirit." Rather, following death and burial, the body of the Last Adam was raised in incorruption, was raised in glory, was raised in power, was raised a spiritual body becoming life-giving spirit.
Maybe you didn't, but Witness Lee sure did, and this thread is not about what you have said or even what you believe...it is about what Witness Lee taught publicly for over 50 years. I was there. You were there. Let's not play games and pretend he didn't teach what we all know that he did. It's on tape. It's in the published books. I still have reams upon reams of notes up in my attic confirming what's on the tapes and what is published.

The rest of your statement is pretty much what most Christian teachers have been teaching for centuries. This is what is taught because this is what the apostle Paul was teaching in 1 Corinthians 15.

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Old 06-24-2020, 02:25 PM   #152
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Raptor, I admire your persistence, I really do. But you either do not know what modalism is, or you're in complete denial of what Witness Lee actually taught.

"The Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit... and the Lord Jesus who is the Son is also the Eternal Father. Our Lord is the Son, and He is also the Father."
Witness Lee, Concerning the Triune God
(Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1973)


"Through the process of resurrection, the Man who ended the old creation became the life-giving Spirit, the germinating element of the new creation."
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

"When He entered into resurrection, He became the Spirit who gives life"
Life Study of 1 Corinthians

"The Son is called the Father; so the Son must be the Father. We must realize this fact. There are some who say that He is called the Father, but He is not really the Father. But how could He be called the Father and yet not be the Father?... In the place where no man can approach Him (I Tim. 6:16), God is the Father. When He comes forth to manifest Himself, He is the Son. So, a Son is given, yet His name is called 'The everlasting Father.' This very Son who has been given to us is the very Father."
Witness Lee, The All-Inclusive Spirit of Christ
(Los Angeles: The Stream Publishers, 1969), pp. 4-5


"...the entire Godhead, the Triune God, became flesh."
Witness Lee, God's New Testament Economy
(Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1986), p. 230


"Therefore, it is clear: The Lord Jesus is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and He is the very God. He is also the Lord. He is the Father, the Son, the Spirit, the Mighty God, and the Lord."
Witness Lee, The Clear Scriptural Revelation
Concerning the Triune God


"The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are not three separate persons or three Gods; they are one God, one reality, one person."
Witness Lee, The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man
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You neither explain what modalism is, neither do you explain why what you quoted from WL is modalism.
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:32 AM   #153
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Raptor, Modalism was explained and discussed right at the start of the thread, and has been explained and discussed here on this forum for about 12 years now. For some reason you seem to think if you don't agree with the explanations, or that it has not been explained to your satisfaction, that means it has not been explained. This is not how reasonable discussions can continue on a forum like ours.

As Trapped has stated, Witness Lee taught the orthodox teaching/doctrine/understanding of the Trinity, and he also taught a form of modalism. Again, it is not classic modalism, but rather a convoluted form of modalism. My contention has been that Lee clearly "confounded the Persons" of the Godhead with his processed God teaching. This also has been discussed at length on our forum, but I am willing to give at lease a cursory review of this if you want.


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One of the theological problems with the Local Church is being accused of modalism. A website I found says "Modalism and Monarchianism are two false views of the nature of God and of Jesus Christ that appeared in the second and third centuries AD. A modalist views God as one Person instead of three Persons and believes that the Father, Son, and Spirit are simply different modes or forms of the same divine Person."
Now I did hear Brother Lee say "Jesus became the life - giving Spirit"
"Became" has modalist connotations. But Scripture is plain: God exists in three co-eternal, co-equal Persons. What do you all think?
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I've tried to figure out their position on this in the past and given up. In the very same paper the LC will say the Father, Son and Spirit are eternally distinct and then in the next paragraph stalwartly affirm that they are each other.
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The theological problem is not that they are accused of modalism, but that they do espouse a form of modalism.
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For centuries the genuine Christian church has taught and espoused a view of the Trinity which holds that "God is one being in three Persons". Heretics like Witness Lee usually end up doing one or both of the issues addressed in the Athanasian Creed: "Confounding the persons" and "Dividing the substance" of God. Most orthodox Christian teachers, scholars and apologist would tell you that Lee's "processed Triune God" teaching is heretical because it is a form of modalism in which the Persons of God are confounded and/or the substance of God is divided.
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:00 AM   #154
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I don´t see where WL teaches modalism. 1 Cor. 15:45 says, "So also it is written, "The first Man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." (NASB). Of course, that is not the only verse in the Bible about God , but that is what that verse says. So what does it mean, and why (it seems) so few books or sermons or whatever talk about this?
Every time this particular verse comes up, I feel a little like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. "You keep mentioning that verse. I do not think it means what you think it means." (to paraphrase a bit)

The reason that there are not a lot of other writers who said what Lee says is that when you put the verse into its context, it is simply not talking about the Holy Spirit. The whole context is the kind of body that is received in resurrection. And Paul has been using the resurrected Christ as the example. He refers to the nature of Christ's resurrected body as "spiritual." He doesn't really give it a lot of definition. But the presumption is that the body that could be touched, yet could disappear and could enter a room with locked doors is the idea. It is not simply anything.

When Paul gets to the part that we lable verse 45, he is saying that Jesus first had a physical body like Adam, but in resurrection it became something different. He did not invoke the "Third" of the trinity simply because he said "spirit." God is spirit. The Father is spirit, the Son is spirit, and the Holy Spirit is spirit. "Holy Spirit" is the name of the third of the trinity. Everything of "spirit" is not subsumed into the Holy Spirit. So all of Lee's "there's just one spirit" talk is "simply" wrong.
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:52 AM   #155
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But ya know, it's interesting because the passage that verse (1 Cor 15:45) is in certainly talks about the resurrection, but also includes us in there. His body is sown and then resurrects. The grain of wheat fell into the ground to die to bring all of us grains forth, right? What I've seen recently is that the church - the new man - is implied all the way through this chapter. It's no mistake then that 15:45 (a life-giving Spirit) is in there . . .
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Old 07-06-2020, 01:03 PM   #156
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Yes Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, resurrected with a spiritual body as OBW has assured us, but Paul also goes beyond this and writes definitively that this same Jesus Christ became life-giving Spirit.

So ... perhaps OBW has a convenient "half-faith" which makes the scriptures so much easier to "digest" that which is beyond human comprehension. Jesus would call that the "leaven of the Pharisees," and warned us to beware.
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:30 PM   #157
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The reason that there are not a lot of other writers who said what Lee says is that when you put the verse into its context, it is simply not talking about the Holy Spirit...
Question for my dear brothers Ohio and Sons to Glory!
Is every occurrence of the word pneuma (Gk πνεῦμα) a reference to the Holy Spirit? If not, why not?


***It would be super keen if Ohio could answer this one without any ad hominems or snide references to the "leaven of the Pharisees"****

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Old 07-06-2020, 04:56 PM   #158
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The Lord warned the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.

What do you think He was referring to?

Perhaps you consider life-giving Spirit an ad hominem?
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:13 PM   #159
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Well I'm quite certain Jesus wasn't referring to somebody on an Internet forum giving his take on 1 Corinthians 15:45

Mike has been posting on our forum for over a decade. He doesn't deserve to have his interpretations/understandings called "a convenient half-faith". I'm sure after cooling down a bit you'll apologize.

So, back to the question at hand:
Is every occurrence of the word pneuma (Gk πνεῦμα) a reference to the Holy Spirit? If not, why not?
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:30 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
So, back to the question at hand:
Is every occurrence of the word pneuma (Gk πνεῦμα) a reference to the Holy Spirit? If not, why not?
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The KJV translates Strong's G4151 in the following manner: Spirit (111x), Holy Ghost (89x), Spirit (of God) (13x), Spirit (of the Lord) (5x), (My) Spirit (3x), Spirit (of truth) (3x), Spirit (of Christ) (2x), human (spirit) (49x), (evil) spirit (47x), spirit (general) (26x), spirit (8x), (Jesus' own) spirit (6x), (Jesus' own) ghost (2x), miscellaneous (21x).

Outline of Biblical Usage Online strong's Page Found Here
the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son

sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his personality and character (the "Holy" Spirit)

sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his work and power (the Spirit of "Truth")

never referred to as a depersonalised force

the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated

the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides

the soul

a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting

a life giving spirit

a human soul that has left the body

a spirit higher than man but lower than God, i.e. an angel

used of demons, or evil spirits, who were conceived as inhabiting the bodies of men

the spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ

the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one

the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.

a movement of air (a gentle blast)

of the wind, hence the wind itself

breath of nostrils or mouth


So pneuma usually translated as spirit, but sometimes doesn't make sense to translate that way, as in "breath" or "the wind." Therefore no, certainly no reason to translate all into "Holy Spirit." What's the point then? That 1 Cor 15:45 doesn't apply to the HS?
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:21 PM   #161
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STG you got sent down this proverbial rabbit hole, doing this massive pneuma word study, just because some posters refuse to accept the plain words of scripture?

But I'm not allowed to mention that it seems quite apparent that some have a half-faith believing only what they can easily understand?
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:39 PM   #162
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I didn't ask for a massive pneuma word study. I asked if every occurrence of the word pneuma was a reference to the Holy Spirit. A simple yes or no would have been sufficient. Admittedly, this first question was a rhetorical slam dunk.

The second question was the key: If not, why not. No need for a massive word study, or even any study at all. It's not a trick question. It's not a gotcha question. It is, however, a question that shoots straight at the heart of Witness Lee's contention that it is a direct reference to the Holy Spirit.

I fully understand, and even appreciate, the fact that you brothers agree with Lee's interpretation. (I did for over 20 years .) No problem! That doesn't make you a heretic. It doesn't even make you wrong in interpreting this verse to be a reference to the Holy Spirit. I am simply asking you to connect the logical and contextual dots. Yes, I am asking you to go beyond "the plain words of the scripture", just as I would ask of you in interpreting/understanding "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt 5:48) or "if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away" (Matt 18:9)

So, does the logical and contextual dynamic lend itself to interpret/understand this particular occurrence to be a direct reference to the Holy Spirit? No orthodox, reputable teacher or scholar has ever interpreted this occurrence to be a direct reference to the Holy Spirit. Well, it didn't stop Witness Lee from interpreting it this way, and I guess it's not stopping you from interpreting it that way.

But my question still stands. It's still out there.
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Old 07-07-2020, 01:43 AM   #163
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For me personally, throwing II Cor 3.17 into the equation causes great difficulty either way. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. This verse seems to shatter the "three distinct and separate persons in God" orthodoxy. Perhaps not, but sure casts some doubt.

But in typical form, WL goes further. Paul says "the Lord is the Spirit." Paul did not say Jesus the Son, but "the Lord." He did not say the Holy Spirit but "the Spirit." Why is that? Surely WL went beyond the actual words of scripture to promote himself and his ministry. He loved to poke theologians in the eye, but he also substituted words that Paul did not use.

Similarly, I Cor 15.45 uses unique phrases. Paul says the "Last Adam became life-giving Spirit." Like the branches of g'ment, Paul violates the separation of powers. Why would he do that? Then I would also ask, "does every mention of the Spirit of God definitively imply "the Holy Spirit?"
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:37 AM   #164
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Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. This verse seems to shatter the "three distinct and separate persons in God" orthodoxy. Perhaps not, but sure casts some doubt.
It may cast some doubt in your mind, and in the mind of Witness Lee, but it hasn't for the vast majority of Christian teachers and scholars for the past 2000+ years. So everybody has been interpreting this passage wrong for two millennia, and out of nowhere this Witness Lee fellow got it right. How convenient. How improbable.

Quote:
But in typical form, WL goes further. Paul says "the Lord is the Spirit." Paul did not say Jesus the Son, but "the Lord." He did not say the Holy Spirit but "the Spirit." Why is that?
Well one good reason is that the apostle Paul wasn't teaching modalism, and he never taught that Jesus Christ, the second of the Godhead, became the Holy Spirit, the third of the Godhead. Witness Lee went further in a lot of things, mostly because he thought he was the only person on earth speaking as God's oracle. Who needs to be bound up by all those poor, poor traditional and historic interpretations when you da man! The Bible says WHAT I SAY IT MEANS, GOT THAT MOO COW!

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Then I would also ask, does every mention of the Spirit of God definitively imply "the Holy Spirit?"
Of course not! That's puttin on your thinkin cap Ohio! Now don't stop there...keep going. Since you now admit that the reference to pneuma/spirit in 1 Cor 15:45 is not a definitive reference to the Holy Spirit, what spirit are we talking about? If I was talking to Witness Lee, I would expect to hear "how many spirits are there that give life?" but you're not going to do that to us, are you Ohio?

So back to my question. If this occurrence of pneuma/spirit is not a reference to the Holy Spirit, why not?
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:50 AM   #165
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It may cast some doubt in your mind, and in the mind of Witness Lee, but it hasn't for the vast majority of Christian teachers and scholars for the past 2000+ years. So everybody has been interpreting this passage wrong for two millennia, and out of nowhere this Witness Lee fellow got it right. How convenient. How improbable.
As I have read more and more of your replies (bro UntoHim) to various topics, it's becoming more and more apparent that you put a lot of stock in historical interpretations, right? Historical interpretations are not necessarily right or wrong, in my book. I've found many I don't agree with, but also many I do.

Personally, I don't think we should be so beholdin' to what man's thinking has been over the past two millennia that much. Things get built-up upon an idea, and soon then there's a systematic theology which develops and becomes cemented in place - whether right, wrong, a little or a lot off (or perhaps even correct). We all know what that got the educated Jews - they totally missed Christ.

So you put more stock in one approach and I put more in another. Fine, but regardless what our approach and thinking is on a matter --> here comes the bottom-line --> the Lord always needs to illuminate us in order for us to get it right!
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