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Response: John 17:3

sedevacantist
Posts: 37
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6/6/2016 8:39:32 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
I noticed that there was a post on this forum that promotes an erroneous interpretation of St. John 17:3. Because the post seems to be bogged down, I will create a new thread to present the orthodox and Christian interpretation of St. John 17:3.

Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. (St. John 17:3)

"With no mention of holy spirit you notice."

If this statement had not been made by an adherent of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, then I would not have gave it much consideration. However, because it was made by such a person, I will go ahead and address it. You rightly stated that the Spirit is not revealed in this verse, however, the three persons of the holy trinity are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. For example, evaluate St. Matthew 28:19:
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,"

As an adherent of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, you would interpret this verse as saying: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of Michael the Archangel, and of the Father's active force." This seems rather daft when you take the filters off, no?

"If you don't start by using the bible to get to know both Christ and his father, Jehovah, you will ever get to understand scripture correctly."

If you exclude Sacred Tradition in trying to interpret God's Word, you will also be led astray. There are thousands of Protestant denominations, including the one that you are apart of. Like Mormons, you had to have a prophet come along (in your case, C.T. Russell) and inform you of how to interpret the Bible. Yet, what authority did he have? Whatever authority it was, it resulted in capricious doctrines and teachings:
"Beware of 'organization.' It is wholly unnecessary. The Bible rules will be the only rules you will need. Do not seek to bind others' consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. Believe and obey so far as you can understand God's Word today, and so continue growing in grace and knowledge and love day by day." (Watchtower, 1895 Sep 15, pp. 216)

Why do you neglect the explicit teachings of Sacred Scripture, which demands you to stand firm in tradition? Read 2 Thessalonians 2:15:
"Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours."

Why do you reject the understanding of the early church fathers? Consider what St. Irenaeus wrote:
"When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition [...] It comes to this, therefore, that these men do now consent neither to Scripture or tradition" (Against Heresies 3,2:1).

"Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?" (Against Heresies 3,4:1).

"If the trinity were true why do we only need to get to know Christ and his father, not holy spirit as well? You would think it would be either all or one, not just two."

There is no need to mention the Holy Spirit. The deification is broached elsewhere in Scripture, such as Acts 5:3, 4:
"But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you lied to the holy Spirit and retained part of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain yours? And when it was sold, was it not still under your control? Why did you contrive this deed? You have lied not to human beings, but to God.'"

"If the trinity were true why did Christ say, even after his resurrection to spirit life that he has a God over him?"

The answer would be very painless if you would read the Scriptures. Examine Philippians 2:2-8:
"Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross."

"If the trinity were true why do the Apostles continually praise the 'God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ', and not Christ himself? 1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:3."

These verses are no more compelling than John 20:28 or Hebrews 1:8:
"Thomas answered and said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'"

"but of the Son: 'Your throne, O God, stands forever and ever; and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.'"

The reality is that both the Father and Christ are deified in the Scriptures. You, however, are only willing to acknowledge one.

"If the trinity were true why did they say that God is the head of Christ in the same sense that Christ is the head of the man and the man is head of the woman? 1 Corinthians 11:3"

Let's come to a very clear understanding. This passage does not teach that the Father has a greater nature than the Son. Similarly, it does not teach that men have a greater nature than women. This is clearly an expression of authority. This understanding is maintained throughout Scripture. Consider the following passages: Numbers 17:3; 25:15; Deuteronomy 28:13, 44; Judges 10:18; 11:8, 11; 1 Samuel 15:17; 2 Samuel 22:44. This meaning from the Old Testament is also carried over into the New Testament: Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Colossians 2:10. In other words, Christ is subordinate to the Father. This is clearly taught in the Bible:
(1) Christ was equal in rank with the Father (John 1:1, 3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:8-10). (2) Prior to the incarnation, Jesus was equal with the Father in rank (Philippians 2:5-6). (3) Jesus became subordinate to the Father during his earthly life (Matthew 20:23; Mark 14:36; Luke 4:18; 22:27; John 5:19; 6:38; 7:16; 14:28; Philippians 2:5-8). (4) This subordination continued after the resurrection (John 20:17). (5) This subordination is still occurring today (Acts 4:27, 30; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3). (6) Jesus will still be subordinate even after his second coming (1 Corinthians 15:28).

"If the trinity were true why does Colossians tells us that everything was created through and for Christ, not by him?"

It depends on which translation you use. Given that it is Jehovah alone who created all things (Isaiah 44:24), your understanding of this passage is contradictory. You cannot say that Jesus and the Father had a role in creation while denying the deity of Christ. What does Psalm 102:25-27 say?
"I plead, O my God, do not take me in the midst of my days. l Your years last through all generations. Of old you laid the earth's foundations; the heavens are the work of your hands. They perish, but you remain; they all wear out like a garment; Like clothing you change them and they are changed,"

Is this passage not also applied to Jesus, just as it was applied to Jehovah in Hebrews 1:10-12?

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- Pope Clement XIII, Encyclical Christianae Reipublicae, 1766
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/6/2016 10:13:17 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
I'm of the opinion that the Trinity was originally a teaching tool to explain theological relationships, not a declaration that God is divided in three, or has three faces, etc.

God is One.

The Trinity is meant to reveal this. It isn't meant to be a step in the direction of polytheism.

Christianity is all about the relationship.

I'm not arguing here, I'm just saying.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
Axonly
Posts: 1,802
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6/7/2016 12:09:26 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 6/6/2016 10:13:17 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
I'm of the opinion that the Trinity was originally a teaching tool to explain theological relationships, not a declaration that God is divided in three, or has three faces, etc.

God is One.

The Trinity is meant to reveal this. It isn't meant to be a step in the direction of polytheism.

Christianity is all about the relationship.

I'm not arguing here, I'm just saying.

Not religious, but I think you make some good points.
Meh!
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/8/2016 4:53:05 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 6/7/2016 12:09:26 PM, Axonly wrote:
At 6/6/2016 10:13:17 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
I'm of the opinion that the Trinity was originally a teaching tool to explain theological relationships, not a declaration that God is divided in three, or has three faces, etc.

God is One.

The Trinity is meant to reveal this. It isn't meant to be a step in the direction of polytheism.

Christianity is all about the relationship.

I'm not arguing here, I'm just saying.

Not religious, but I think you make some good points.

"... whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,