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Author Topic: Refuting Modalism  (Read 6123 times) Average Rating: 0
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Acolyte
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« on: October 01, 2008, 06:55:40 PM »

Is there a way to Scripturally refute modalism? Modalists use these verses of Scripture to support their belief:
http://www.bromac.com/Godhead/Godhead.htm

They refuse to read the church fathers, or any church council, so the only way to reach them is through Scripture.
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2008, 06:56:06 PM »

Phew, quite a site. They've got some issues to work through.
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"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2008, 08:25:43 PM »

This is how "person" is commonly understood in reference to the Trinity:
a self-conscious or rational being

Yet this is another, definition of "person":
A character or role, as in a play; a guise: "Well, in her person, I say I will not have you" (Shakespeare).

It is the second definition that modalists use.
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2008, 09:32:10 PM »

If you are looking STRICTLY for Biblical refutations, for a more long term solution, I would recommend you read this book:

Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity by Gregory Boyd (http://www.amazon.com/Oneness-Pentecostals-Trinity-Gregory-Boyd/dp/0801010195/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222911010&sr=8-1)...he was a former Oneness Pentecostal and is now a Protestant, I believe but his book has some great insights for anyone who wishes to interact with Oneness Pentecostals....

For a more short term, "quick and handy" solution, I would recommend this Protestant site: (http://www.carm.org/oneness.htm)...now, while this site is HEAVILY Baptist in theology, it does have its purposes.....

Hope these few spots can be of help to you....

In Christ,

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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2008, 12:34:04 AM »

I'm trying to reach Messianic Jews who believe that Trinitarianism is a pagan, rather than Biblical, doctrine.
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2008, 01:18:06 AM »

Well, if they are so unwilling to explore history to realize that Messianic Judaism is a modern interpolation created in hindsight by nostalgic Jews who converted to Christianity, there is little doubt that any argument will convince them of your position.

Also, people who are foolish enough to reduce anything to being "pagan" need to spend more time thinking about what they are saying.  Most have not clearly defined what constitutes "paganism."  It's really just whatever they are personally not comfortable with.  Are the notions of "hell" pagan?  Is Satan a foreign, pagan concept introduced into Judaism by the Zoroasterians?

Religions and cultures are always interacting and sharing religious concepts.  It's the nature of metaphysical speculation!  But to act as if there are clear lines between "pagan" and "Christian" in all cases, give me a break!  But for confused Jewish/Christian hybrids unwilling to accept that the religions have moved apart despite their common source...well I'm afraid you should go spend your time sharing with someone with no religious background.  They probably need to hear from you more than people who are at least trying to serve Jesus, even if it is confused.
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2008, 02:11:57 AM »

Is there any evidence outside of Scripture of first-century Jewish-Christians believing in Trinitarianism?
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2008, 03:05:02 AM »

This is a quote from Zohar III, 43b:

Hear, 0 Israel, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai is one. These three are one. How can the three Names be one? Only through the perception of faith: in the vision of the Holy Spirit, in the beholding of the hidden eye alone! The mystery of the audible voice is similar to this, for though it is one yet it consists of three elements-fire, air and water, which have, however, become one in the mystery of the voice. Even so it is with the mystery of the threefold Divine manifestations designated by Adonai Eloheinu Adonai - three modes which yet form one unity. This is the significance of the voice which man produces in the act of unification, when his intent is to unify all, from the Infinite (Ein Sof) to the end of creation. This is the daily unification, the secret of which has been revealed in the holy spirit.


The Zohar is a book of Jewish, non-Christian, mysticism.
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2008, 10:05:37 AM »

If it was not for the blessed Holy Trinity most of these groups would not know Jesus Christ as the Son of God and God. At the Divine Liturgy the priest exhorts us in the prayer of the prothesis, "Let us love another that with one accord we may confess:" and in choir we respond, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: the Trinity, one in essence and undivided."
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2008, 11:01:18 AM »

Well....First off, I don't quite understand why you would need first-century extra-biblical references of Jews adoring the Triune God since there is plenty of references to it IN the Bible itself....

Eg: Gospel of Matthew, written by the Apostle Matthew (a Jew) for a jewish audience. The Baptismal formula, given in MAtthew 28:19...Now, I know that there are indeed criticisms that this was a forgery (for that accusation, see here: http://www.tektonics.org/lp/matt2819.html) Also, if it was indeed a forgery? who forged it?...some say the late church (post 200 AD) did so to fit the REAL Baptismal formula to fit into their Trinitarian ideals....well, what would you do with Baptismal formulas in the Didache for instance, which is a first century Christian Text written also by a predominantly Jewish group of men..The Didache has the Trinitarian formula as it states:

"Didache 7:1
But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water.

Didache 7:2
But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm.

Didache 7:3
But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

(source: http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/didache.htm)

If, in case there is any doubts as to whether or not this work relied on the Gospels, Check this expert's observation out (I don't necesasrily agree with the entirety of his observation, but it is an interesting one nonetheless given the current dicussion):

"2.       Independence of the Didache from the Gospels -- The Didache has been widely understood as citing either Matthew's Gospel or some combination of the Matthean or Lucan traditions.  From this vantage point, it followed that the date of composition had to be set beyond the 80s and that the Synoptic material could be used to help interpret and understand the Didache.  Thanks to my work with Willy Rordorf during the summers of 1990 and 1992, I came to an early appreciation of the possibility that the Didache might have been created without any dependence upon any known gospel.  My extensive study of this issue demonstrates that the internal logic, theological orientation, and pastoral practice of the Didache runs decisively counter to what one finds within the received gospels.  The repercussions of this conclusion are enormous: (a) I am encouraged to return to a mid-first century dating for the Didache, and (b) I am prohibited from using Matthew's Gospel by way of clarifying the intent of the Didache."

(source: http://didache.info/AaBookPaulistDidache.htm)

Other sources of the Trinitarian Baptismal formula are found on the mouth of the Apostle Paul, who was a JEW himself...the Baptismal formula is echoed again in the very first century Corinthian Church are he says:

"4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6) (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%2012:4-6&version=50;)

Elsewhere he gives the benediction, which according to most scholars was the traditional norm (gasp!) within the earliest Chrsitian community as the Blessed Apostle says:

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen." (2 Corinthians 13:14) (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Cor.%2013:14;&version=50;)

ALSO, another article that disproves the notion that early Jews couldn't have believed in a Triune God is further disproved in this wonderful article, written on Jewish Wisdom Theology: (http://www.tektonics.org/jesusclaims/trinitydefense.html).....the main problem with Modalism is that it has to come face to face and provide a concise form of reply to the very concept of the personification of God's Wisdom/Word and Spirit....if this was simply a mere manifestation, then language depicting personification was simply unnecessary (or misleading); however such language is seen all over the Hebrew Bible....what does one do with such form of language?

Also, may I bring to the table the Aramaic Targums, the Aramaic translation of the Tanakh whcih was used in the time of our Lord. This piece of text is very interesting in that it uses an interesting term to depict God....instead of the term "God", the word usage most often seen to refer to GOD's creative power in the Hebrew Canon is the "word of God" which depict personification....example of this are:

Genesis 1:27: God Created Man/ Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: The Word of the Lord created Man
Genesis 6:6-7: And it repented the Lord that he made man on the earth/ Targum: And it repented the Lord through his Word that he made man on earth.
Genesis 15:6: And Abraham believe in the Lord/Targum: And Abraham bleived in the Word of the Lord.
Exodus 20:1: And the Lord spoke all these words/Targum: And the Word of the Lord spoke all these words. (pgs 19-20)

(MANY MANY MORE examples found in Dr. Michael L Brown's book titled "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus Vol.2 (Theological Objections) note:Dr. Michael L Brown is a practising Messianic Jew who believes in the One Triune God as well.....so not ALL messianic jews subscribe to Modalism. Actually, Modalist through amongst Messianic Jews is a minority)

The Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion, on the topic of the Memra or the Word of God has this to say:

Although in a sense an aspect of the Divine, the Logos often appears as a separate entity, namely, a half-personal emanation of God. The concept was appropriated by Philo in order to bridge the gap between the transcendent God of Judaism and the divine principle experienced by human beings. This view of the Logos as a mediating principle between God and material creation could link up with biblical references to the creative "Word of God" by which the heavens were made (Ps.33:6) and with the concept of Memra (Aramaic: "word") in Targum literature...(New York: Oxford, 1997, p.423)

The Aramaic Targums (Targum Onkelos) does the same with the Spirit of God...the Shekhinah of the Lord God Almighty. Example:

Exodus 3:6 - Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God/Targum Onkelos: Moses was afraid to look beside the glory of the Lord/ Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Moses was afraid to look at the glory of the Shekhinah of the Lord.

Therefore, the Spirit of God is also often personified as the Shekhinah of God. Therefore, it is simply impossible (or rather intellectual suicide) to believe that this form of personified language is simply referring to a mere manifestation of God. The dots simply do not connect.....

Let's move on...

Goin back to the Baptismal formula...many Modalists would refute all the proof that is listed above in a second's time and simply maintain that it simply refers to the three manifestations of God (i.e. 1 god in 3 different modes)....well, simple enough at first....but what would happen if you read it in the actual KOINE GREEK...

Here are excerpts from a wonderful article by Fracis J. Beckwith, a Philosophy Professor at the University of Nevada, pertaining to this issue (note: while this article is specifically aimiing to Oneness Pentecostalism, this article is highly relevant for those Messianic Jews who beliweve in modalist teachings as well:

"In *Christ's Great Commission* to preach the Gospel, he instructs his disciples to "go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." (Matt 28:19). It is important to note that the Greek word "name," used in this verse, is singular (homonos). It does *not* say, "in the *names* of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," but rather, it says, "in the *name*...." In other words, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct *persons*, have only one name. This clearly implies the Triune nature of God. Furthermore, the Trinity is revealed at *Christ's incarnation* (Luke 1:35) and *baptism* (Matt 3:16,17), in the *Apostolic benediction* (II Cor 13:13), and in *Christ's own teachings* (John 14:26; 15:26)....

...In the first four parts of this series we concluded that (1) the Bible teaches that there is only one God by nature, and (2) the Bible teaches that there are three persons who are God. From those two premises we drew the inference that the three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - are the one God. We also concluded that the three are distinct persons, not simply three different functions of one person.

But according to the "Jesus Only" sect (a.k.a "Oneness Pentecostalism,"), the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not distinct persons who share the same nature and being, but rather, they are the same person. Each title--"Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit"--represents a different mode by which God, a single person, manifests Himself, just as "uncle," "husband," and "brother" each represents a different mode by which Frank Beckwith (FB), a single human person, manifests himself. This is why the ancient heresy which Oneness embraces is called "modalism."

Consequently, anything true of Frank Beckwith uncle (FBu) must be true of Frank Beckwith husband (FBh) and Frank Beckwith brother (FBb). That is to say, it can *not* be the case that FBu is married to Frankie Rozelle Dickerson Beckwith (yes, my wife's name is Frankie) while FBh is not. It can *not* be the case that FBh hit 9 3-pt. jumpshots in a city league basketball game in February 1993 while FBb did not. What is true of FBu, as a person, must be true of FBh and FBb if they are all the same person. Certainly it is true that the relationships that make u, h, and b distinct are different, but the *person* to which these titles apply must possess all the same properties regardless of in what role he is functioning (that is, whether brother, husband, or uncle). That is, everything that is true of the Frank Beckwith who is the uncle of Dean James Beckwith and Dylan Patrick Beckwith is true of the Frank Beckwith who is married to Frankie R.D. Beckwith and who is the brother of Dr. James Beckwith and Patrick Beckwith.

Thus, in order for modalism (or "Oneness") to be correct there *must be nothing true of one "mode" which is not true of another "mode"*. But if there is just one thing true of one which is not true of another, then *they cannot be the same person* and modalism is false.

Understand the monumental task of the Oneness apologist: he must overturn our common sense intuition that when the Bible speaks of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the Bible is in fact speaking of three persons rather than one. That is to say, on the face of it, it would appear that a plain reading of the text clearly presents three distinct persons, since we have numerous verses that indicate communication and relationship between persons, such as when Jesus prayed to his Father and the Holy Spirit descended upon him. In other words, since the common sense plain reading of the text indicates three distinct persons, the burden of proof is without a doubt on the Oneness person to show the common sense plain reading is false. The Trinitarian does not have the burden of proof.

Consider the following:

(1) Jesus of Nazareth is called the one and only mediator between God and man (I Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). This would mean that God the Son has a property - mediatorship - which is possessed by neither God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit, since the text is saying he is the ONLY mediator *between* humanity and the Godhead.

(2) "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, `This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" (Matt. 3:16-17). The Son has the property of "being the Son loved by the Father" but not the property of "being the Father who loves the Son." The Spirit has neither property. Thus, we have in this verse a clear distinction between the persons of the Trinity.

(3) "`No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come - neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows.'" (Matt. 24:36). Here the Son has a property (not knowing the day or hour of his second coming) which the Father does not. Imagine if I said, "Only Frank Beckwith as an uncle knows what he's getting from his wife for Christmas. Frank Beckwith as a brother does not know what he's getting from his wife for Christmas." You would have to infer from this that there must two Frank Beckwiths. If not, then it is logically incoherent.

(4) "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." (Matt. 28:19). In the Greek, tou ("the") is used for each title, and each is separated by kai ("and"). This helps support the view that in this text three distinct individual persons are being spoken of:

...in the name of *the* (tou) Father *and the* (kai tou) Son, *and the* (kai tou) Holy Spirit.
If the Greek text had been referring to only one person, it would have most likely read:
...in the name of *the* Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
or,
...in the name of *the* Father, *the* Son, and *the* Holy Spirit.
I don't want to make too much of grammatical constructions, but it seems that because of the use of both the article and its own conjunction, it is highly unlikely that the author was talking about only one person (on this, see Bruce Tucker, TWISTING THE TRUTH: RECOGNIZING HOW CULT GROUPS SUBTLY DISTORT BASIC CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES (Bethany House, 1987)).
If two things have every property in common, then they are one thing (e.g., Norma Jean Baker and Marilyn Monroe, Casius Clay and Muhammed Ali). But if there is *only one property that is not the same*, then they are separate persons. This is called the indiscernibility of identicals (II), or in symbolic form:

(x) (y) [(y=x)-->(P)(Px<-->Py)]

That is, for any entities x and y, if x and y are the same thing, then any property P, P is true of x if and only if P is true of y. If x is the Son and y is the Father, then if Oneness is true, x must be identical to y. On the other hand, if something is true of the Son which is not true of the Father, then the Son is not identical to the Father and Oneness if false. II is a principle of sound reasoning which is the basis for all thought. But we have seen that there are things true of the Son which are not true of the Father and there are things true of the Spirit which are not true of either the Father or the Son.

Suppose the Oneness person denies the applicability of logic to God. But, of course, he can't, because this very claim *presupposes* logic. That is, the Oneness apologist is saying "It cannot be the case that we can apply logic to God," which means that God cannot both be "a being to which logic applies" and "a being to which logic does not apply." So the Oneness person assumes the most fundamental principle of logic--the law of non-contradiction--in his denial of logic. Also, Oneness itself as a theory of the Godhead presupposes a number of logical virtues which its proponnents think it exemplifies in comparison to Trinitarianism: coherency, simplicity, consistency with the biblical text, etc.

Of course, much more can be said critiquing the Oneness view of God. There are many verses Oneness apologists use in order to prove their case. I simply do not have the time to go over them. My purpose was to present a positive case for the traditional doctrine of the Trinity and why church history has supported this doctrine. Scholarly responses to oneness can be found in Gregory Boyd's ONENESS PENTECOSTALISM AND THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY (Baker Books, 1992) and E. Calvin Beisner's forthcoming book "JESUS ONLY" AND ONENESS PENTECOSTALISM (Zondervan, 1995), published as part of Zondervan's series of small books on cults."

(source: http://www.answering-islam.org/Trinity/beckwith.html


Also, please consider this: The very Shema found in the Tanakh (Deut 6:4) shows that God, albeit while not being shown to be Triune by any stretch of the imagination, is indeed a composite unity and not an absolute one, as modalism teaches. Modalist thought often renders God as an absolute unity, which has often interacted with his earthly creatures through different manifestations. The Shema, however renders it differently:

Shema Y'israel, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai ECHAD (Deuteronomy 6:4) (note: it doesn't use the word for absolute unity: 'yachid', rather it uses the composite unity term 'echad'....Messianic Jews must...MUST come face to face with this word usage since it is indeed, part and parcel of the Jewish understanding of God)


In conclusion, I hope and pray that you read through all of this and digest the information slowly and take this to prayer in front of the One True God....


In Christ

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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2008, 11:20:52 AM »

This is a quote from Zohar III, 43b:

Hear, 0 Israel, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai is one. These three are one. How can the three Names be one? Only through the perception of faith: in the vision of the Holy Spirit, in the beholding of the hidden eye alone! The mystery of the audible voice is similar to this, for though it is one yet it consists of three elements-fire, air and water, which have, however, become one in the mystery of the voice. Even so it is with the mystery of the threefold Divine manifestations designated by Adonai Eloheinu Adonai - three modes which yet form one unity. This is the significance of the voice which man produces in the act of unification, when his intent is to unify all, from the Infinite (Ein Sof) to the end of creation. This is the daily unification, the secret of which has been revealed in the holy spirit.


The Zohar is a book of Jewish, non-Christian, mysticism.


I wouldn't put too much at stake on what the Zohar has to say, if I were you. Simply because, this work isn't just a piece of work that was compiled in the first to second century. Like the Mishnah, it was a piece of literature that kept being modified and written over the many centuries and civilizations. Also, the Zohar contains ideas that were only found in Hinduism at the time...how can we explain this?...the Jewish online Encyclopedia has more to offer on this:

"...the contents of the Zohar clearly indicate that the work is the production not of a single author or of a single period, but of many authors, periods, and civilizations; for it combines the most puzzling incongruities and irreconcilable contradictions with lofty ideas and conceptions which would do honor to a genius of modern times, and also mystic teachings of the Talmudic period with those of the Geonim and later Cabala. To determine the country in which the work originated and the time at which its teachings began to develop, it is necessary to ascertain where and when the Jews became intimately acquainted with the Hindu philosophy, which more than any other exercised an influence on the Zohar. As an instance of Hindu teachings in the Zohar may be quoted the following passage:(Zohar, iii. 9b).

"In the book of Hamnuna the Elder we learn through some extended explanations that the earth turns upon itself in the form of a circle; that some are on top, the others below; that all creatures change in aspect, following the manner of each place, but keeping in the same position. But there are some countries on the earth which are lighted while others are in darkness; and there are countries in which there is constantly day or in which at least the night continues only some instants. . . . These secrets were made known to the men of the secret science, but not to the geographers"

The Germ Probably in Persia.

The theory that the earth is a sphere revolving on its own axis, which immortalized Copernicus, was previously known only to the Hindus, who were instructed in the truth of it by Aryabhatta in the first century before the common era. As far as is known, the Vedanta school of the Hindu philosophers found nowhere, outside of its place of origin, so many admirers as in Persia in the eighth century. Under its influence the Mohammedans of Persia founded many mystic sects, among them being that of the Sufis, who for many centuries were very numerous. This mystic movement did not fail to exercise an influence upon the Persian Jews, and there arose among them various sects, such as the 'Isawites, the Yudghanites, etc., the tenets of which, so far as can be ascertained from the scanty information concerning them that is available, bore more or less the stamp of the Vedanta philosophy. Thus the Yudghanites abstained from meat, led ascetic lives, set aside the literal meaning of the Torah for a supposed mystic interpretation, and believed in metempsychosis, etc. All these sects had their sacred writings, which they kept secret; and these writings probably formed the nucleus of the Zohar, which is a mystic commentary on the Pentateuch, as the upanishads are the mystic interpretation of the Vedas and other Brahmanic scriptures. In its peregrinations from Persia to Spain the Zohar probably received many additions and interpolations, among which may have been the various names of the Tannaim and Amoraim, as well as the allusions to historical events."

(source: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=142&letter=Z)

Also, according to most Jewish scholars, the Zohar (assuming it was completed by then) only started to take shape during the second century of the modern era. The jewish virtual encyclopedia has more:

"According to Gershom Scholem, most of the Zohar was written in an exalted style of Aramaic that was spoken in Palestine during the second century of the modern era. The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the thirteenth century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses ben Shem-Tov de Leon. He ascribed this work to a rabbi of the second century, Simeon ben Yohai. Jewish historiography holds that during a time of Roman persecution, Rabbi Simeon hid in a cave for 13 years, studying the Torah (five books of Moses) with his son Eliezar. During this time he is said to have been inspired by God to write the Zohar.

The fact that the Zohar was found by one lone individual, Moses de Leon, taken together with the circumstance that it refers to historical events of the post-Talmudical period, caused the authenticity of the work to be questioned from the outset....Over time, however, the general view in the Jewish community came to be one of acceptance of Moses ben Shem-Tov's claims; the Zohar was held to be an authentic book of mysticism passed down from the second century."

(source: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Zohar.html)

What does this prove? Well, the Gospels even by most liberal dating methods, all date to the middle to the very end of the first century...which means, that the Gospels (that are older than the Zohar), which show the Triune nature of God, must be given more acceptability andd credibility in consideration when looking at the its antiquity and primacy, according to its date of origin.

So, if anything, the conclusion can be that if anything, the borrowing was the other way around. The good rabbi could have , upon coming into contacts with various Christian Jewish people, taken their ideas and concepts and went ahead and used them in the manner he saw fit. Again, this is not concrete fact, but simply a mere hypothetical possibility and nothing else.

In Christ

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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2008, 02:16:22 PM »

Thank you, OrthodoxPilgrim. Modalists contend that, since Jesus said baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rather than in the names, that it refers to the same person, Jesus. They support this with the book of Acts, in which the first Christians baptized only in the name of Christ Jesus.
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2008, 03:15:26 PM »

Thank you, OrthodoxPilgrim. Modalists contend that, since Jesus said baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rather than in the names, that it refers to the same person, Jesus. They support this with the book of Acts, in which the first Christians baptized only in the name of Christ Jesus.

Well..that is bluntly called a "begging the question" logical fallacy. There is clearly nowhere where it shows The Lord himself saying, "Baptize in my Name and my name only."...instead, in such an absence, they are simply asserting implicitly or explicitly as to what they wish to see onto the passage.

As to exact places in the Book of Acts where the disciples are baptizing "in the name of Jesus"...those passages are allusions to another passage in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Also, at that early of a time in the church, the baptism in name of the Lord never had such a negative connotation as it would have had later on into the centuries since this practise would take on a heretical form of its own in the form of early Modalism/Sabellianism, which was fought by Tertullian, specifically.....This article (which I did post in my previous post) states as such:

" I would now add that one may question whether the triune composition was intended to be a "formula" at all in the sense supposed. To be sure it has a certain structure, but it offers no instructions saying, "This is a formula to be used over baptism." At most it tells the disciples what authority they have to teach and to baptize (As Gundry puts it -- Matthew commentary, 546 -- the meaning is essentially, to baptize in fundamental reference to the three, and is placed in contrast to the authority for baptism placed in John the Baptist; cf. 3:16, 12:28.) That baptizing in the name of Jesus alone was practiced means nothing and has no relation at all to the commission as it stands. The disciples still went forward doing things -- teaching and baptizing -- with Triune authority; but that does not mean the same thing as someone being baptized into Jesus, with his authority implied as the mediator of the new covenant.

Now all of that aside, Ploughman apparently thinks that Matthew 28:19 was worked over to make Jesus and the Spirit equal in prominence to the Father, but really, aside from other considerations in the article linked above, the "Jesus only" baptismal formula does that all on its own. The theology of baptism, and the "name of Jesus" reference in Acts 2:21, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved," hearkens back to a prophecy in Joel 2:32, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered..." Jesus is no more or no less divine when named alone in this context than he is when paired with Father and Spirit; and of course we have the Triune collection in other contexts (1 Cor. 12:4-6, 2 Cor. 13:13, 1 Pet. 1:2, etc), and the formula as Matthew offers it is also found in the Didache (7:1-3), which some date prior to 70..." (source: http://www.tektonics.org/lp/matt2819.html

Also, most proponents who like to baptise in the name of the Lord only, fail to realize that it was the LORD HIMSELF who commissioned to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Also, the mentioning of the Didache (again), an extra-biblical Christian-Jewish text, which shows clearly the early baptismal formula used to initiate newcomers into the faith, which dates as early (or to some, even earlier) than the Gospels themselves........Why does this always skip through their minds, I wonder?....

Also, may I mention that this "formula" seen in MAtthew, is seen in EVERY SINGLE MANUSCRIPT known to us today...whihc would make the claims of later interpolation very hard to swallow.

So, in conclusion we see the propononents of "Jesus only" Baptism making two clear logical fallacies:

1 ) Question begging fallacies with the Matt 28:19 verse...in that, it nowhere explicitly states the "Jesus Only" baptismal mode (in fact, it is the very opposite...and the reason why it is "name" and not "names" is to signify the ONEness of God and nothing else eg. Elohim, which is a plural term is often accompanied by a singular verb. For example, in Genesis 1:1...we see Elohim (God:plural) bara (created: singular) .....so using their overly wooden and literal interpretation of the Biblical text, we would have to say that there were GODS who created the earth...now, does this make any sense? None whatsoever......anyways, the plural Elohim is denoted several times in the OT to denote the One, True God of the Bible...the Baptismal Formula inverts this by using the Singular "name" with the persons of the Triune Godhead concisely outlined in the Koine Greek to indicate the distinction between persons..which is what "Trinitarians" affirm)

2) The Instances of baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed practised. But it was never in the Modalist sense of the term/practise at all...rather, as outlined above, it simply emphasized the authority and function of the Lord being the ultimate mediator between God and man (which flies in the face of Modalist theology since mediatorship is a property shared only with the Son and not with the Father and/or the Spirit...and according to plain logic and simple philsophy (which I outlined in my previous message), two things that share all properties can be called one but two things that differ even with one property are two different things...simple logic here.)They are putting a Modalist twist on an ancient practise which was innocent. This is therefore considered the as a logical fallacy of false equivocation.

Hope this helps.

In Christ,

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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2008, 03:21:33 PM »

Is it true that the Zohar's commentary on Deuteronomy 6:4 (the Shema) confirms the Christian doctrine of the Trinity?
http://jewsforjudaism.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=147&Itemid=211

I'm sorry if I've quoted from a fraudulent source.
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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2008, 03:52:48 PM »

Is it true that the Zohar's commentary on Deuteronomy 6:4 (the Shema) confirms the Christian doctrine of the Trinity?
http://jewsforjudaism.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=147&Itemid=211

I'm sorry if I've quoted from a fraudulent source.

Please, for the love of everything that is good in this world, DO NOT cite this particular site in any way, shape or form (even if you're just kidding around)...this website is replete with half-baked, misleading statements about both historic Messianic Judaism and Christianity in general.

IF we were (for the sake of arguement) take this website seriously, it is the very opposite that we find. It says that the entire section that you cited about the Trinity from the Zohar is an actual forgery (they simply asserted it without providing any further explanations).....so based on the site you have provided, the opposite is what happens.

Actually, to be honest, as I mentioned BEFORE in numerous citations from the Aramaic Targums, the Didache and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Jewish religion, there is NO need of looking to the Zohar (as I explaiend BEFORE that it is simply an unreliable piece of 2nd century work that has been modified through and through over the centuries, as per Jewish standard opinion)....you havea a truck load of literary data freom extra-biblical Jewish sources that can indeed show that in conclusion, there is indeed a) a distinction amongst the persons within the Godhead, based on the Hebrew and the Koine Greek lexical data and b) these persons are/can be roughly outlined as God, the Memra(Aramaic: word)/Wisdom(Greek:Logos) of God and the Glory (Hebrew:Shekhinah)/Spirit of God.....

In Christ

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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2008, 04:13:55 PM »

Thank you.
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2008, 04:31:25 PM »

This is from an email I received from a Messianic Rabbi. It seems that he supports Trinitarianism:

It depends on whom you ask, but the majority of Messianic Judaism believes that "Elohim" is a compound unity, as the Hebrew word communicates.  Simply put, we believe there is one Supreme Being with three unifying parts to His anatomy.  He specifically has manifested Himself as The Father, as The Son, and as The Spirit.
 
Because we are made in His image I liken the parts of His being to our body.  The Brain (HaAv/The Father) controls everything and is head over everything. It is the Chief part. The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) acts like the nerve impulse, which sends the messages back and forth between The Brain and The Arm. The Arm (HaBen) is what the Brain uses to create and to build with. And, it is what makes contact with creation.  It is also capable of communicating and sending information to the Brain, but is subject to The Brain.
 
But, there should be no doubt that Elohim is one Being, not three separate and equal Beings. Just like The Father, The Holy Spirit, and The Son are not separate or independent from each other, so too is it with The Brain, The Nervous System, and The Arm as they are not separate and do not exist independent from each other. In conclusion, Elohim has one Head, not three. 
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2008, 05:02:31 PM »

This is from an email I received from a Messianic Rabbi. It seems that he supports Trinitarianism:

It depends on whom you ask, but the majority of Messianic Judaism believes that "Elohim" is a compound unity, as the Hebrew word communicates.  Simply put, we believe there is one Supreme Being with three unifying parts to His anatomy.  He specifically has manifested Himself as The Father, as The Son, and as The Spirit.
 
Because we are made in His image I liken the parts of His being to our body.  The Brain (HaAv/The Father) controls everything and is head over everything. It is the Chief part. The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) acts like the nerve impulse, which sends the messages back and forth between The Brain and The Arm. The Arm (HaBen) is what the Brain uses to create and to build with. And, it is what makes contact with creation.  It is also capable of communicating and sending information to the Brain, but is subject to The Brain.
 
But, there should be no doubt that Elohim is one Being, not three separate and equal Beings. Just like The Father, The Holy Spirit, and The Son are not separate or independent from each other, so too is it with The Brain, The Nervous System, and The Arm as they are not separate and do not exist independent from each other. In conclusion, Elohim has one Head, not three. 

As I said before, Messianic Judaism and Modalism DO NOT go hand in hand....it is only a small abandoned minority that accept the Modalist view. The majority of Messianic Jewish Scholars such as Dr. Michael Brown for instance, accept the doctrine of God being Triune.

I would only edit one area in his post, and that is the word "manifestation"...According to traditional jewish thought, the concept of the Memra/Word of God has always been an indepent or semi-personal entity....so really, the more apt word to use is "persons" and not "manifestations"....I can indeed understand the unpleasent feeling associated in using such a word that was traditionally used by the Church Fathers, who wished to completely divide themselves from the Judaism of their day.....but unfortunately, I have to give it to the Fathers of the Church...the word "manifestation" is a word that can indeed lead to Modalism...whereas the word "persons" is blunt,strong, concrete and is in no way, shape or form capable of being disputed.....just my two cents on that....other than that, the rabbi is on the ball.

In Christ,

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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2008, 07:56:30 PM »

To the Semitic mind, isn't the word "person" an unacceptable term for God?
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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2008, 08:46:24 PM »

To the Semitic mind, isn't the word "person" an unacceptable term for God?

In contemporary times, where Jews have had a not-so-stellar record in their dealings with Christians, I would give a huge resounding "Yes" to that. But in ancient times, it wasn't so much of a problem. If Jewish sages and rabbis of 1st century Judea and before who transmitted the Hebrew text into the Aramaic (hence the Aramaic Targums) and didn't mind PERSONifying the attributes of God and if the Jewish Apostles such as Matthew, John and Paul themselves spoke of God as the One, Indivisible, Holy and Magnificent God in three distinct persons/centres of consciousness, then there's more to the Semitic mind than we currently gather from in our contemporary age. Oh, I forgot, the Jewish Philosopher Philo's treatise on Wisdom/the Logos...he also personified it as well and he is one of the most renowned Jewish philosphers of all time. Go back to my previous posts and check out the websites on Jewish Wisdom Theology....this form of theology pre-dates Christ and serves as a backdoor of sorts to an Orthodox, Trinitarian (and might I say very "kosher") understanding of God.

In Christ

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« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2008, 10:25:39 PM »

Hello Acolyte, et al..
As a Oneness Pentecostal minister I can accuratly say that you've described what modalism is. I can also say that while the Oneness Pentecostals usually state they are not modalists, we are. As to why we don't (I'm speaking as a oneness pentecostal) use any other source text than ther Bible, I'll leave you with the reformation quote "Sola Scriptura!" Scriptre alone! Why? Because the opponents of the Reformers were Roman Catholics who would cite extra-biblical sources for theology, such as Aristotle, Plato, and "Sacred Tradition" on an authoritative levels with the Bible. Using something other than the Bible for proof is considered so offensive that even those things that would agree with the doctrinal stand of whoever is trying to prove  point, they are not used. Hence they will not use the Fathers for anything. However, they have put their own theologians, modern day ones, on the same level as the Fathers. This is not necesarally good, as they will also pull out there qoutes from te Fathers, an then when others try, the say "Sola Scriptura". I was reading from The Online Orthodox Catechism, and it said that the Trinity is a revealed Truth, one seen through the eyes of faith, books really can't help. At least that's the way it sounded to me. I came from a group that didn't hold the Trinity doctrine, Jehovah's Witness', and it is hard for me to see what others are talking about in this regard, but prayer is the key to all the issues. One thing I can tell you, no one will be convinced, unless God shows them.
Blessings.
Sedan.
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« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2008, 11:55:59 PM »

In contemporary times, where Jews have had a not-so-stellar record in their dealings with Christians, I would give a huge resounding "Yes" to that. But in ancient times, it wasn't so much of a problem.

To this day, the Assyrian Church of the East abstains from using "person" in reference to God, instead referring to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three "qnome," which has no English or Greek equivalent. At the same time, they confess that God is Triune.
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« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2008, 11:56:01 PM »

As a Oneness Pentecostal minister I can accuratly say that you've described what modalism is.

For what Scriptural reasons do you believe in modalism?
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« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2008, 06:56:29 AM »

In contemporary times, where Jews have had a not-so-stellar record in their dealings with Christians, I would give a huge resounding "Yes" to that. But in ancient times, it wasn't so much of a problem.

To this day, the Assyrian Church of the East abstains from using "person" in reference to God, instead referring to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three "qnome," which has no English or Greek equivalent. At the same time, they confess that God is Triune.

Well, there are two main problems with this one...First off, the Assyrian Church of the East was (and still is) deemed "heretical" by the early Church and is not in communion with either the Oriental or Eastern Orthodox Churches (as far as I can tell....I COULD be wrong in this regard)....Second off, I believe you have misunderstood Assyrian theology here. The correct understanding of Assyrian theology as taught by Babai the Great in his book "The Book of the Union" which was originally directed towards Nestorius says something very differently. In that book, he states that there are two qnome (essences) that are united in one parsopa (PERSONality) of Christ.....so if anything, it is the opposite that is proven here.....sounds quite similiar to what some of our own Orthodox priests say at times....

All in all, it doesn't deny the term "person" or "personality" to the Lord.....

In Christ

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« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2008, 12:31:28 PM »

Hello Acolyte, et al..
As a Oneness Pentecostal minister I can accuratly say that you've described what modalism is. I can also say that while the Oneness Pentecostals usually state they are not modalists, we are. As to why we don't (I'm speaking as a oneness pentecostal) use any other source text than ther Bible, I'll leave you with the reformation quote "Sola Scriptura!" Scriptre alone! Why? Because the opponents of the Reformers were Roman Catholics who would cite extra-biblical sources for theology, such as Aristotle, Plato, and "Sacred Tradition" on an authoritative levels with the Bible. Using something other than the Bible for proof is considered so offensive that even those things that would agree with the doctrinal stand of whoever is trying to prove  point, they are not used. Hence they will not use the Fathers for anything. However, they have put their own theologians, modern day ones, on the same level as the Fathers. This is not necesarally good, as they will also pull out there qoutes from te Fathers, an then when others try, the say "Sola Scriptura". I was reading from The Online Orthodox Catechism, and it said that the Trinity is a revealed Truth, one seen through the eyes of faith, books really can't help. At least that's the way it sounded to me. I came from a group that didn't hold the Trinity doctrine, Jehovah's Witness', and it is hard for me to see what others are talking about in this regard, but prayer is the key to all the issues. One thing I can tell you, no one will be convinced, unless God shows them.
Blessings.
Sedan.

Hello sedan,

If I could inject my own personal life experiences into this, there was a time when I was deeply considering Islam (this was waaaay before I took Christianitry as a way of life in God seriously). My questioning of the doctrine of the Trinity was one of them. In the end, after reading through some of the best Messianic Jewish, Rabbinic Jewish, Anglican and Orthodox scholars in the fields of Christian doctrine, I had to say (not by faith, but rather simply by rationality) that the doctrine of the Trinity was indeed more feasible than anything else that was thrown out there to provide an apt description of God in the religious marketplace at that time (and it still remains so, today). So, I would have to disagree partially with the Online Catechesis, that in order for the acceptance of the doctrine of the Trinity, there needs to be a perfect, harmonious aceeptance of it within BOTH the mind (via books, journals etc) and the heart (endless prayer and the reading of scriptures). To so much as even imply that there is no place for the mind to accept one of the central tenets of Christianity is simply self-defeating since the individual making that statement is using the mind to rationally make that statement him/herself.   

As far as your other comments pertaining to the usage of Traditions in the RC Church, A quote to help you out: "Tradition is the living faith of the dead, Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living." Sometimes Protestantism and its off-shoots often blur the distinction between the two. If one were to throw out tradition, then why not throw out the Bible, since the Bible is also tradition...the Bible is oral tradition of the Church, written down by the Apostles and Prophets of old....be consistent and throw the Bible out as well...but that apparenty hasn't happened yet...so, Protestants even to this day care about tradition.....they're just a bit selective as to what sort of tradition it is that they wish to uphold to...and the sad part is, there is no standard set of criteria used within Protestantism as to what traditions are acceptable or not. Which is why you have hundreds (some say even thousands) of Protestant sects that today, can't even agree on what is considered as "essential" to the Faith.

Anyways, enough of my ramblings.....Welcome to the Forum and hopefully, (with God's help and the help of his Saints) to the Faith as well :-)

In Christ,

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« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2008, 01:45:38 PM »

Is there a way to Scripturally refute modalism? Modalists use these verses of Scripture to support their belief:
http://www.bromac.com/Godhead/Godhead.htm

They refuse to read the church fathers, or any church council, so the only way to reach them is through Scripture.
The fact that Christ is the Son of God makes modalism impossible. If Christ is the Father's Son, then he simply cannot be the Father. That would be a contradiction but our God is not a God of disorder.
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« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2008, 10:56:05 AM »

Is there a way to Scripturally refute modalism? Modalists use these verses of Scripture to support their belief:
http://www.bromac.com/Godhead/Godhead.htm

They refuse to read the church fathers, or any church council, so the only way to reach them is through Scripture.


I use to argue with them alot. I'm a bit rusty now. And all my internet debates with one of them have been erased when the one who owned the forum erased everything.


Are you engaged in a convo right now with someone who is a modalist/seballian?

It would take me months to prepare for such a thing. I don't think I would be of much help at this time. I'm still dealing with something else as we speak.

I pray that you will eventually find some help. What I noticed and found helpfull in my dealings with them is pressing them with scripture that focus on "distinction".

When we look at the Baptism of Christ we see all three persons simultaneously. There is also a verse in the first Chapter of Hebrews which proves the Sons existence before the Incarnation. The Modalists I dealt with don't believe that the Son existed before the incarnation.

You can also add a verse found in the Gospel of John in which talks about the existence of the Son before the Incarnation.


My main goal with them is to get them to see a simultaneous "Distinction" of three Persons. It's hard for them to see something as being "co-eternal".



By the way, the modalist/sebellian oneness Pentecostal group that I argued with alot (mostly in the past) was P.A.W. or Pentecostal Assemby of the World. There is another one called uhm U.P.C.I. ....I think....I could be wrong about that. I think that stands for "United Pentecostal Church international". OR something like that. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone else will correct me.

But all my dealings with Oneness Pentecostals have been with the P.A.W. type.





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« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2008, 10:59:10 AM »

Is there a way to Scripturally refute modalism? Modalists use these verses of Scripture to support their belief:
http://www.bromac.com/Godhead/Godhead.htm

They refuse to read the church fathers, or any church council, so the only way to reach them is through Scripture.
The fact that Christ is the Son of God makes modalism impossible. If Christ is the Father's Son, then he simply cannot be the Father. That would be a contradiction but our God is not a God of disorder.

It's hard for them to see both of them existing at the same time.




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« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2008, 11:01:53 AM »

Quote
You can also add a verse found in the Gospel of John in which talks about the existence of the Son before the Incarnation.

John 1:1-5:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Easy.
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« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2008, 11:14:03 AM »

Quote
You can also add a verse found in the Gospel of John in which talks about the existence of the Son before the Incarnation.

John 1:1-5:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Easy.

Yeah, that's a good one, but I was thinking of another. The verse I was talking about...dealt with His glory.

hmmm, let me try and find it.

NKJV
John 17:5
 "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."

I used this because it was hard for them to see the existence of the Son, before His incarnation. To many of them, he was only a "thought" in the Father's mind. Who was only manifest at a future time in the incarnation. Somewhat like foreknowledge. At least, that is how they would explain things. And so to some of them. The Father now played the role as Son,....only to later play the role of Holy Spirit. It's very hard for them to see all three as co-existing.

And in Hebrews chapter one it says.

NKJV
"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;"


The Son had to be more than just a mere thought (in the mind of the Father) if He made the Universe. So I would use these scriptures in my dealings with them. It's very hard for them to see both the Father and Son as being "co-existing". Once they are able to accept that then it's easier for them to accept the concept of them being "co-eternal" as well.



This next verse is good, but it won't work on all Oneness Pentecostals. Well wait, it won't work on the more educated scholarly ones.

NKJV
Acts 7:55
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,


The more educated ones will see this verse as being "symbolic" a type of metaphore..... A figure of speech.....ect. So it won't work on all of them, and even then they won't go into detail as to why? They will just say that "God's glory" is a hebrew idiom, so you can't take what Stephen said literally. At least, that is what they will say.

But if Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit then why can't he mean what he said? But I'm just letting you know that this verse won't work on all of them.




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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2008, 10:32:28 PM »

Hello Acolyte, sorry for taking so long to answer. BTW, all, I attended the Great Vespers tonight, first Orthodox Service I attended in a long time, and now that I attended, I'm on the road. Thank you for your prayes. Sorry again, Acolyte, the Scriptural defense of Modalism is much like the scriptural defense of the Trinity, the same scriptures are used interpreted differently. Remember, for Protestants, it's only the Bible, and not Tradition, or tradition, that is allowed to be used for theological defense. As a result, mnay times we have not been able to defend even the simpist of docrtines, such as baptism, there are those who baptize infants, those who do not, all calling on the "Protestant" dime, and using the same scriptures, just coming at it from a different viewpoint. Coming from a non-trinitarian background, I have a long road ahead of me, but as the Father who I spoke with tnight stated, we begin with Christ.
Blessings to all.
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« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2008, 12:23:19 AM »

May God bless you on your journey.   Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2008, 03:01:07 PM »


Quote
To many of them, he was only a "thought" in the Father's mind. Who was only manifest at a future time in the incarnation. Somewhat like foreknowledge. At least, that is how they would explain things.

So basically their arguement is self-defeating. In essence, they have themselves created a distinction between the Father and His Word (i.e. thoughts/afterthoughts...which is sort of true, considering that this was the same line of thinking many second century Fathers had as well..they thought the Word was an articulate unit of thought that was ever-present within the Father from eternity and that Wisdom, which is the expression of the Word into living tangible reality (i.e. words and actions), is what brought the world and its inhabitants into existense....). To assign a property to someone/something such as "he was only a thought", and then go on to further say that the Father, the very source of all thought became the thought itself is self defeating since from the very get-go they set up a premise by stating that HE was a thought in the FATHER'S mind (He (thought) vs. Father (Mind)) which promotes distinction, the very concept that is forbidden in Modalist teachings (Since Modalist teaching teaches that there is no disctinction within God as there's only one God that has appeared in three different "modes" or "forms")....this theology is not only confusing but it is also philosophically self-defeating and dangerously heretical to the point of being an insult to the Father by stating that God, the Father of all things, The Fountainhead of all Divinity, became his own Attribute (albeit eternal and ever-generatiing).
 
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« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2008, 04:20:11 AM »

I always consider Modalism an extension (further development or adaptation) of Gnostic heresies. The adherents of Gnosticism chose to replace the notion of factual existence with that of appearance/illusion with regard to Jesus' humanity, concluding that Jesus only appeared to be a man whilst He never had a true human nature. The ones professing Modalism applied this heresy to the persons of the Godhead and tried to refute the actual distinction of the persons with the notion of appearance. Consequently, they taught that God only "appeared" to be three distinct persons.




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Longing for Heavenly Jerusalem
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« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2008, 08:21:04 PM »

I have a question. If God is three persons, why do we refer to God as "Him" rather than "They"? This is an honest question.
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« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2008, 08:21:05 PM »

I received this in an email from a Messianic Rabbi:

The scriptures say that Adonai is one (Deut. 6:4).  Simply put, we believe there is one Supreme Being with three unifying parts to His anatomy.  He specifically has manifested Himself as The Father, as The Son, and as The Spirit.
 
Because we are made in His image I liken the parts of His being to our body, which is one.  The Brain (HaAv/The Father) controls everything and is head over everything. It is the Chief part. The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) acts like the nerve impulse, which sends the messages back and forth between The Brain and The Arm. The Arm (HaBen) is what the Brain uses to create and to build with. And, it is what makes contact with creation.  It is also capable of communicating and sending information to the Brain, but is subject to The Brain.
 
But, there should be no doubt that Elohim is one Being, not three separate and equal Beings. Just like The Father, The Holy Spirit, and The Son are not separate or independent from each other, so too is it with The Brain, The Nervous System, and The Arm as they are not separate and do not exist independent from each other. In conclusion, Elohim has one Head, not three.  He is one Being who manifests Himself to His creation in three tangible ways...

He is one person, not three.
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« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2008, 06:09:32 PM »

There is ample evidence for the Trinity in the Old Testament alone. God refers to Himself as "Us," "Elohim" is a plural form, "Echad" in the Shema refers to a composite unity, the three angels who visited Abraham, etc.
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