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  1. Hello JW Insider, I’m sorry that I couldn’t get back to you earlier my week has been very busy. You say, “Also, if Origen said "A" in one place and "B" in another, how do we know whether Rufinus picked the correct places to edit. Perhaps Origen would have preferred all his A's to be corrected as B's and Rufinus corrected all his B's and made them A's.” Origen did not say “A” in one place and “B’ in another maybe you missed how, not only Rufinus, but also Pamphilus, mention that Origen’s work had been altered by others. So how can we know for sure? By doing what Rufinus suggests and compare these renderings to Origen’s other writings. So shall we? “Light without splendor is unthinkable. But if this is true, there is never a time when the Son was not the Son. He will be, however, not, as we have described the eternal light, unborn (lest we seem to introduce two principles of light), but, as it were, the splendor of the unbegotten light, with that very light as His beginning and source, born of it indeed, but there was not a time when He was not. Thus Wisdom, too, since it proceeds from God, is generated out of the divine substance itself. Under the figure of a bodily outflow, nevertheless, it, too, is thus called 'a sort of clean and pure outflow of omnipotent glory' (Wis. 7:25). Both these similes manifestly show the community of substance between Son and Father. For an outflow seems ὁμοὐσιος, i.e., of one substance with that body of which it is the outflow or exhaltation” (Origen In Hebr. frg. 24,359 emphasis mine). Let’s notice a few things from this. When Origen says that there never was a time when the Son was not, this is in stark contrast with the later Arian principle that “there was a time when the Son was not”. Another point is the uses of the word homoousios which you imply is a distortion of the developing language. Yet Origen here uses the word hamoousios in speaking of the Son's basic relation with the Father. Homoousios (Greek. ὁμοούσιος) means "of the same substance," "of the same essence." Homo means "same" and ousia means "essence." Origen is saying that the Son is of identically the same substance as the Father and thus is God just as the Father is God. For a more detailed treatment see G. L. Prestige, “God in Patristic Thought”, pp. 197-199. You say; “People can pick and choose from more than one teacher. Paul of Samosata followed Origen in several ways. I see no misunderstanding.” It is interesting that Eusebius makes no mention of this and we both know Eusebius’ leanings were more towards your belief system, but I do agree “People can pick and choose from more than one teacher” but there is no confirmation of this theory in regard to Paul of Samosats,… not even from Eusebius, but then he would appear to be a charlatan because, from what you say, he does not record the specifics of church history but only a whitewashed version to “tie in” with “the current official faith”. Even though Eusebius mentions other heresies which the church faced in the years before his own time, there is no mention of Binitarianism none at all. Why would he “intentionally” not mention this heresy? It’s because this heresy did not appear until the late fourth century. If it were a belief system BEFORE the fourth century then people like Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and of course Eusebius, would have referred to it, but there is nothing; just as there is no belief system that even resembles the JW form of religion being mentioned by these early church writers. What you need to consider is this fact, the early church writers refuted all forms of heresy they do not even mention any group that resemble your type of religion because it did not exist until much later! This is fact, it’s not speculation no matter how many ways you want to “look at the issue” this fact speak volumes. <><
  2. Hello JW Insider, Please don’t take this the wrong way as I am enjoying our discussion and therefore don’t mean to be rude in this, but why send three posts when only one would do, I don’t get that, it seems to be a common practice by some here. I get a lot of emails, a lot, which I have to go through, so sending more than one reply only makes it more cumbersome to work with not to mention that it is difficult to follow your train of thought; I hope that you can understand this. If you want to quote what I say then just put in your post something like “You say, ‘such and such and such’ ” there is no need, which I can see, to respond by multiple posts. You say in one post; “The language had indeed developed so that Origen's seeming contradictions could now be stated with words that erased those contradictions. (In my opinion, the developing language merely hid the contradictions.)” Can you give some examples of the “developing language” that you say “hid the contradiction”. You then bring up Paul of Samosata, who held to the view of monarchianism, and who is also referred to as a devotee of Artemas, see Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 5 chapter 28. This just goes to show the amount of misunderstanding which abound in regard to Origen. Rufinus, at least, is straight forward in what he says; if he was “editing Origen himself” as you claim, why would he say to compare these with other portions of Origen’s writings? The kind of opinion you hold to about Rufinus, show me that you are set on the negative by calling into doubt what is said because it doesn’t sit right with you and your belief system. After my quote from Irenaeus; “The Church … has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith in one God, the Father … in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit.” (Against Heresies) You say “This is what Jehovah's Witnesses believe, too. Sometimes, there is confusion because we generally avoid terms like "incarnate" but we still believe that the Word became flesh If this is what “Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, too”, then you must put equal faith in the Holy Spirit as in the Son and the Father, the same as Irenaeus does, do you, JW Insider, put equal faith in the Holy Spirit? Note how “this faith” is singular and is applicable to all three equally. By the way the “and” in the quote from Clements letter to the Corinthians before “the Holy Spirit” indicates that “lives” is applicable the Him also. And yes others, or at least one other did respond to this quote, but when I ask him what he thought it meant, all he could say was “What he said” so “what he said’ is what he meant (?). I will ask you the same question, what does Clement mean when he says that the three are “the faith and hope of the elect”? Eusebius’ “cheery picking” as you call his rendering of Ecclesiastical History, does not negate the fact that he make no mention (even any shrouded reference) that the belief system of the early church “developed” from one system (such as the binitarian belief system) to another. In fact the binitarian belief system emerged after the Arian controversy toward the later part of the fourth century, and as a belief system it has ceased and then started over again throughout the last eighteen centuries. Remember Eusebius makes no mention of any such system. The true belief system would not cease, so any claim to “restoration” is contrary to Scripture. There is much more in the writings of the early church prior to Nicea that show what they believed and taught is consistent with the later creedal formula, we have only touch on a few examples I can cite more if you like. The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit were together believed upon by these first Christians. The early church, from the first century onwards, always agreed that there were three in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in complete accord with the later creeds. If one examines carefully and with all honesty the writings of the early church their language and theology bear forth their understanding of the Triune God long before and in complete harmony with the 4th century formulated creeds. I finish off here with a quote from Ignatius; “There are not then either three Fathers, or three Sons, or three Paracletes, but one Father, and one Son, and one Paraclete. Wherefore also the Lord, when He sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to “baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” not unto one [person] having three names, nor into three [persons] who became incarnate, but into three possessed of equal honor.”(THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE PHILIPPIANS, chapter 2). <><
  3. Here are what some Greek experts say, “Several of the principal manuscripts and a great mass of ancient evidence support the reading μονογενὴς Θεὸς, “God only begotten.” (Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament) “The best old Greek manuscripts (Aleph B C L) read monogenēs theos (God only begotten) which is undoubtedly the true text.” (Robertson Word Pictures). <><
  4. Hi JW Insider, What I think is that some mistakenly judge Origen by later standards, and that is why there are is a difference of opinions. He is at the centre of debates even after his own time. The Catholic Encyclopedia gives account of the controversies over Origen, but these had nothing to do with Origen’s treatment of the Trinity, see also the Encyclopedia Britannica. Instead of choosing sides, wouldn’t you agree that there is no better way to know Origen’s thought then to go to his writings, and not speculate why one person says such and such about him, while another something else, also what must be kept in mind when reading his works is that his arguments were given to defend the faith against heresy, some seem to forget this. You say that you “never assumed he (Rufinus) was personally dishonest” but then you call into question why he singled out “one topic…almost all Trinity references”. Rufinus says that if someone doubts then all they need do is to compare these with other portions of Origen’s writings; see again the prologue of Rufinus. Moving on to what you say about the Trinity “developing”. Let me try to make this as clear as I can; what actually “developed” is the language used to explain the Trinity, NOT their belief system. Even the Nicene Creed under went further development in later decades, but the belief system remained. The early Christian writers of the second and third century claimed that their understanding of the matter was taught by the apostles. Irenaeus, for example, said: “The Church … has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith in one God, the Father … in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit.” (Against Heresies) When we read the writings of the early church one cannot escape the consistency of what the early church believed; what they believe is even attested to by the secular Roman government in the first decade of the second century! You bring up Eusebius who wrote the work Ecclesiastical History. Eusebius also wrote a letter after the Council of Nicea justifying its conclusions. He wrote for good reason. It was the "rule of faith" of his church, Caesarea, that was used as the basis for the Nicene Creed, and he was explaining the adaptations that the council had made. But because that letter was written so apologetically, Eusebius' adherence to an orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was questioned. You even say he was “infamous for his Arianism”. But what we find in Eusebius’ “Ecclesiastical History” is that it abounds with quotes from those who lived before him. If the church in its earlier days had believed anything different from Nicea, OR if the belief system of the early church had developed over time no one would have known better than Eusebius. But instead of testifying any change, Eusebius defended what they believed in harmony with the Nicene creed. He writes in his letter to his home church; “That he is consubstantial with the Father then simply implies, that the Son of God has no resemblance to created things, but is in every respect like the Father only who begat him; and that he is of no other substance or essence but of the Father. To which doctrine, explained in this way, it appeared right to assent, especially since we knew that some eminent bishops and learned writers among the ancients have used the term “homoousios” in their theological discourses concerning the nature of the Father and the Son” Notice how he agrees with the use of homoousios because it was used by earlier church writers. Tertullian for example, regularly refers to the term. Eusebius was aware of this. I would like to have a look at one of the earliest of Christian writings after the NT. In an anonymous letter to Diognetus, some say it may have been written as early as the late 80’s of the first century, though the date has been difficult to determine most scholars date it around the turn of the century. Even at this early date, however, we can see what was believed was later formulated at Nicea. “Truly God himself … has sent from heaven and placed among men the truth and the holy and incomprehensible Word and has firmly established him in their hearts. He did not, as one might have imagined, send to men any servant, angel, ruler, or anyone of those who bear sway over earthly things … but the very Creator and Fashioner of all things—by whom he made the heavens.” (Letter to Diognetus chapter. 7) This anonymous author was not trying to explain exactly the formulated creed but he leaves us several clues that he held the same view as that of the later creed. Here's another one: “He sent the Word that he might be manifested to the world … This is he who was from the beginning, who appeared as if new, and was found old, yet is ever born afresh in the hearts of the saints. This is he, who being from everlasting, is today called the Son.” (Letter to Diognetus chapter. 11) I will continue from Clement of Rome who wrote also at the turn of the first century; “For as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect.... Amen.” (Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, 58:2) In around the year 125; “The Christians, then, trace the beginning of their religion from Jesus the Messiah; and he is named the Son of God Most High. And it is said that God came down from heaven, and from a Hebrew virgin assumed and clothed himself with flesh;.... This is taught in the gospel” (THE APOLOGY OF ARISTIDES chapter 2) Justin martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew, writes; “…you will permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order TO PROVE that Christ is called BOTH GOD AND LORD OF HOSTS…” (Dialogue with Trypho, Chpeter 36 emphasis added) “And Trypho said, ‘We have heard what you think of these matters… For when you say that THIS CHRIST EXISTED AS GOD before the ages, then that He submitted to be born and become man’… And I replied to this… ‘as Son of the Maker of all things, BEING GOD, and was born a man by the Virgin’” (Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 48 emphasis added). “Our teacher of these things is Jesus Christ, who also was born for this purpose, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judaea, in the times of Tiberius Caesar…and holding HIM IN THE SECOND PLACE, AND THE PROPHETIC SPIRIT IN THE THIRD… for they do not discern the mystery that is herein, to which, as we make it plain to you, we pray you to give heed.” (First Apology, chapter 14 emphasis added). Irenaeus is another important witness who shows what the early Christians believed, having sat under the teaching of Polycarp who had been appointed bishop of Smyrna by the apostle John. Irenaeus was a missionary to barbarians in Gaul (modern France) who supervised several churches in and around Lyons. "For I have shown from the scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man.” (Against Heresies, book 3, chapter 19) Tertillian writes “All are of One, by unity (that is) of substance; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes THE UNITY INTO A TRINITY, placing in their order THE THREE PERSONS — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: THREE…of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. How they are susceptible of number without division, will be shown as our treatise proceeds.” (Against Praxeas chapter 2 emphasis added) "Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one essence, not one Person” (Against Praxeas, chapter 25) Hippolytus also writes “A man, therefore, even though he will it not, is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God, who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject, Himself excepted, and the Holy Spirit; and that these, therefore, are three.” (Against The Heresy Of One Noetus, section 8) I could go on, but this has turned out very long already, there are so many examples which show that what the early church believed is exactly what was formulated at Nicea. It is clear that the teachings of the early Christian church are the very same teachings formulated at Nicea and the same as those taught to this day. Notice also how these early church writers in their works refute Heresies (the wheat against the weeds; the sheep against the goats; the narrow vs broad road). Yet nowhere do they even mention a belief system that even remotely resembles the JW form of religion, that is, until Arianism appeared in the fourth century. Here are some more Scriptures that testify that the true belief system would NOT cease, Matt. 16:18-19; 28:20, Acts 28:28 also Isa. 59:21. So when you claim that “Jehovah's Witnesses are careful not to claim that the church ceased to exist through the intervening centuries, only that restoration was needed through long years of false doctrine.” If “restoration was needed” then you are indirectly claiming that your belief system, even though it is supposedly the true one, ceased? As this is very long I just want to briefly say one more thing and that is in regard to your comment about the philosophical language used by the church to explain the trinity. When explaining something to others you use the language that they understand, you don’t use language or terminology that they are not familiar with, right? In the Roman world there were many schools of philosophy, so it is little wonder that this is the language that the church used, some try to make an issue of this when there is nothing in it. Even though the terminology the early church writer used was indeed philosophical in origin which they admit, we have the words of one who used these philosophical terms more then most, and said “the knowledge which calls men to lead a good and blessed life derives from no other source but the very words and teaching of Christ” (Origen, On First Principles, emphasis mine). I apologize if this response is abrupt in any way. <><
  5. More likely the term “monogenes theos” (μονογενὴς θεός - God only begotten) means Jesus uniquely is what God is.
  6. Hello JW Insider, Thanks for your further comments. I really feel now that there is no need for me to respond to the other two posts as you have encapsulated what my response was to be, and that is that there are many scholars, as you acknowledge, that hold a completely different view on Origen to those that you quoted, such as E. J. Fortman, “The Triune God” page 58, expressing that “Origen is Trinitarian in his thought…” I also would have said that we look at the other writings of Origen which we have Greek copies of, because as Rufinus admits the alteration he made in De Principiis were because they were “corrupted in numerous places by heretics and malevolent persons” as explained in “Apologeticus, which Pamphilus wrote in defence of the works of Origen”. And these alterations that Rufinus made are consistent with what Origen said in his other works; “If, therefore, we have found anywhere in his writings, any statement opposed to that view, which elsewhere in his works he had himself piously laid down regarding the Trinity, we have either omitted it, as being corrupt, and not the composition of Origen, or we have brought it forward agreeably to the rule which we frequently find affirmed by himself If, indeed, in his desire to pass rapidly on, he has, as speaking to persons of skill and knowledge, sometimes expressed himself obscurely, we have, in order that the passage might be clearer, added what we had read more fully stated on the same subject in his other works, keeping explanation in view, but adding nothing of our own, but simply restoring to him what was his, although occurring in other portions of his writings.” (Prologue of Rufinus) After reading the Prologue, Rufinus’s honesty does not need to be impugned in the way stated in your quotes. What he says is credible and straightforward. There are many other examples that Origen makes regarding the Trinity in his other works that can be looked at and compared as just as Rufinus said. In another work by Rufinus, “On the Falsification of the Books of Origen” also titled “Rufinus’s Epilogue to Pamphilus the Martyr’s Apology for Origen”; he states his arguments for why some of the passages in Origen’s work De Principiis were corrupted by those he calls “heretics and malevolent persons” I think you might find that interesting. You say; “My main point was that the Trinity doctrine as defined in the 4th century was developed over time, and actually "evolved" somewhat from the 2nd century through the 4th.” It is exactly to this allegation that I want to look, if Christian’s as early as Clement, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus (just to name a few), are speaking in definite terms of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as God, how can it have “developed over time” or “evolve”? The early church, from the first century onwards, always agreed that there were three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as God. If one examines carefully and with all honesty the writings of the early church their language and theology bear forth their understanding of the Triune God long before and in complete harmony with the fourth century formulated creeds. We notice that from the Scriptures the testimony is that Jesus’ church would not cease at any time and then re-emerge some years later, this "restoration" claim contradicts Scripture. Yet it is this very claim that is made by all religions which were founded in the past 150 years! I think you can see what I’m getting at. You say in one of the other posts, “…Origen himself, who was famous for this in his works, and he testifies to the "only begotten God" reading. Whether he ever used this particular verse, I'm not sure, but he did argue for a begotten God in the sense of a "created" Son who is called God. If I can just say the use of the word “begotten” does not mean “made” or “created”. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a rabbit begets little rabbits a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. To create is to make. When you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a rabbit makes a barrow a man makes a house. As the early church writers stipulate, what God begets IS God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God, just as what man creates is not man. I’m certain that you can access more articles on this through your college alumni account which will give a more detailed description then can be done in this short space. <><
  7. Hello JW insider, What a surprise I got after I sent in my post, within 36 hours I receive not one but two well detailed posts from you, that’s quite impressive, and on top of that you also must have an extensive library to boot. If I may, I would like to respond to what you say, but I can’t do it in the same timeframe as your replys, it will take me a lot longer I’m afraid, as my family and work necessitate much of my time, so please bear with me. <><
  8. Hello JW insider, Thank you for adding more detail to your claim, I appreciate that. You make some remarks that I hope you don’t mind me commenting on? I will start with some of the claims made in regard to Origen. I always question comments such as “the tradition of left-wing Origenism”. I have read the works of Origen and find that he was not “left-wing” or whatever that may imply. You say after quoting a portion of an article that make this claim; “After reading this entire article and a couple others like it, I'm personally convinced that Arianism does indeed date to a time prior to the birth of Arius. We can see evidence of the teaching in Origen.” I’ll quote for you some examples from Origen which run contrary to this claim. Some here don’t like when I do this and will label him to satisfy their own lack of historical understanding. “From all which we learn that the person of the Holy Spirit was of such authority and dignity, that saving baptism was not complete except by the authority of the MOST EXCELLENT TRINITY OF THEM ALL, i.e., by the naming of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…. Moreover, nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less” (De Principiis book 1 chapter 3 emphasis mine) “But in our desire to show the divine benefits bestowed upon us by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which Trinity is the fountain of all holiness” (De Principiis book 1 chapter 4) “For we have pointed out in the preceding pages those questions which must be set forth in clear dogmatic propositions, as I think has been done to the best of my ability when speaking of the Trinity.” (De Principiis book 1 chapter 6). “When the Word was made flesh can we say that it was to some extent broken up and thinned out, and can we say that it recovered from that point onward till it became again what it was at first, God the Word, the Word with the Father” (Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book 1, chapter 42). “…surely they ought to ask what is meant when it is said of the Son of God that He was the Word, AND GOD, and that He was in the beginning with the Father, and that all things were made by Him.” (Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book 1, chapter 41 emphasis mine). More can be added, but I’m sure you can see that if Arius was influenced in any way by Origen, then Arius would be a Trinitarian just as Origen was. Your claim that the reading, “the only begotten Son”, is an intentional change from the alternative “the only begotten God”, this is a good theory, but, the term “the only begotten God” is found in many places as you mention [p66 p75 S B C*] to these can also be added [L 33 syr(p) cop(north)]; so it is most likely that the change is a copyist error and not intentional. “It seems to have arisen from a confusion of the contracted forms of writing Υ and Θ” (Henry Alford The Greek Testament; See also Bruce M. Metzger's; A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament page 198, and Murray J Harris; Jesus as God, pages 74-103) You then claim that after the fourth century and the Council of Nicaea “You couldn't say that Jesus was an only begotten God after Arianism was outlawed” is not quite correct because some post-Nicene church writes such as Hilary Poitiers, Basil of Caesarea, Didymus, Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, just to name a few, advocated the rendering in John 1:18 “the only begotten God”. I’ll end now but I hope to hear more from you. <><
  9. To all! I’ve never seen so much hypocrisy; I am accused of changing the subject by a name caller, when it is everyone else going off subject. But “the Praeceter” is silent on this…why? You know when people get intimidated by the truth they resort to childish acts of trying to humiliate others by poking fun at them or insulting them, this is NOT how Christians behave…"by their fruits you would recognize them", I believe bruceq quoted this, and then there is the person who thinks his a duck…I have to scratch my head in wonder on this one? Hypocrisy seems to be the common trait with JWs, the claim on the uses of symbols is a point in fact. JW will point the finger and make false accusations which have no bearing of truth. Yet you are the ones guilty of using pagan symbols mixed in as Christian. Charles T. Russell’s gave site…pagan! The cover of Watchtower books with the Egyptian Sun god RA emblazoned on the cover…pagan! And the list goes on. But I’m even more dumbfounded by the claim made that it is not “fair to say that Arians didn't appear until the 4th century”. This is historically incorrect. The Arian belief system appeared in the fourth century and is the closest to match the JW form of religion, although Arius and JWs differ on the personality of the Holy Spirit among some minor other things. If any form of Arian belief system were present before Arius was even born then the ANF writers, who denounced false teachings, would surely have made mention of any such group! <><
  10. Hello Mr. Joyce, Thank you for admitting that it is your own inability to grasp the vocabulary that defines the Trinity, even though it is not hard at all. I can break it down for you if you like…or you could just read what you claim you where taught while being raised Roman Catholic… it is all there with no hard words for you to get stuck on. The early church writers discussed and rebuked many false teaching, but nowhere do they even mention anything that resembles the JW form of religion until the Arians of fourth century. Surely if Matt. 13 applied, as you claim, to a group resembling the JW religion then the ANF would have said something about them, but nothing. <><
  11. Hello Mr Praeceptor Your assessment means absolutely next to nothing. You claim that you can see what I’m doing, as if it is something sinister. Yet all I’m doing is addressing what another member claimed. This member said; “Whatever Clement meant or believed and wrote after the Bible was written at the time the apostasy had occurred actually proves the "Trinity" came after the Bible was written by your own admission.” Whenever you JWs don’t like what the early Christians said, then it is because of apostasy. Now you can call me whatever you like, that is up to you, labeling and calling me names does not hurt me. <><
  12. It is claimed by JWs that shortly after the death of the apostles, the early Church soon fell victim to a full-scale apostasy, and thus the writings of the early church are irrelevant. When we turn to the Scriptures we see that there is to be apostasy, 2 Thess 2:3, 1 Tim. 4:1-3, 2 Tim. 4:3-4. Please note that these verses say nothing of a full apostasy of the Church. In fact we see on the other hand, Mt. 16:18-19, Mt. 28:20 and Acts 28:28 and also Isa. 59:21, that say explicitly that the Church will NEVER cease. So then the question needs to be answered, namely, where were the JW's form of religion between 100 A.D. and the fourth century or even the nineteenth century? <><
  13. Hello Mr. Joyce, I asked you to explain to me what you think Clement meant, and all you can say is “What he said. Is it that obscure?” I’m sorry but the only thing here “obscure” is your answer. Clement meant “what he said”… well no doubt. Maybe you don't really know what he meant, or maybe you do but don't want to answer. When I said that Clement only had access the Jewish OT, it is that he did not have the benefit of having the Hebrew Scriptures as we do. And as JW Insider explains, the other option, the LXX, more than likely has “phoenix” in the book of Job also. Whatever you may think of the use of the phoenix in the book of Job matters not because to the Jews it is genuine, as well as biblical, and Clement was using what he had in front of him, so to speak, to present the truth of the resurrection. Yes only God can set general principles…, so are you now calling yourself God? Just because you can’t grasp the vocabulary used to define the Trinity, does not make it okay to take what Paul said about tongues, out of context, and apply that to your own inability? I’m sorry to say it like this, but that is what you want to justify. I get a lot of emails, so you bouncing off numerous post when only one is required, just clogs up my in box. Thank you for your understanding. <><
  14. Hello Mr. Joyce, What’s with the different post to answer one post? You responded to me in FOUR different post, what’s with that? I will respond to your posts in one post. You JW’s, or whatever Arian background you hail, when shown what the first Christians said and believed, make the ridiculous comment like “I do not see the word trinity here…”. You go one and say that you “find any attempt to draw a trinitarian view from 58:2 objectively to be futile” well then please do tell me WHAT you think Clement meant? Here is what he said again; “For as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect.... Amen.” (Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, 58:2) Now you also bring up another objection, which is quite common by JWs who are unaware of history unless it is printed in the pages of that bogus magazine. Why does Clement refer to the phoenix in his letter? You guys really NEED to do some proper Bible study! In order to better grasp the significance of Clement’s use of the phoenix story, we need to uncover some additional background, let’s remember that the early Christians only had access to the Jewish OT. Now the tale of the phoenix is actually found in the Jewish Scriptures – the book of Job. Job 29:18 reads, “Then I said: 'I shall die with my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the phoenix” (JPS) “And I thought, 'I will pass away in my nest, and like the phoenix I shall multiply my days.” LEB “Then I said, "I shall grow old as a palm trunk, and I shall multiply my days as a phoenix'.” (Bullinger Companion Bible) “I said, ‘I will die with my nest, and I will live as long as a phoenix” (The Complete Jewish Bible) Clement symbolic rhetoric device that the phoenix dies and its nest and returns for a length of days seems to have its origins in Scripture. First let me state that the translation above is debatable, for the Hebrew word chol (or Khole) is typically translated in one of three different ways. 1. Sand 2. Phoenix (see above translation) 3. Palm tree In almost every context the Hebrew word chol means “sand”. We would expect that that would be the Jewish interpretation. Instead the rabbis unanimously render the word in Job as “phoenix”. According to the Jewish Midrashim document Genesis Bereshit Rabba it explains how Eve “gave the cattle, beasts, and birds to eat of [the forbidden fruit]. All obeyed her and ate thereof, except a certain bird named chol, as it is written, “Then I said: I shall die with my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the chol.” (Job 29:18). Any good Bible commentary such as Albert Barns’ Notes on the Bible, or Kiel and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, or any commentary that has an extended discussion on Job 29:18 will add more depth than I can show here in this short space. The Jews have always believed that Job 29:18 is speaking of the phoenix bird, in fact if you look up any Jewish translation of Job, you will see that verse 18 is translated as referring to the “phoenix” and not “sand” note how Job dies in his “nest”. This would seem to favour (US favor) the Jewish rendering, some say. NOW here is the point, it is very likely that Clement who could only have access to the Jewish Scriptures, had Job 29:18 in his thoughts because he goes on after mentioning the phoenix to quote passages from Job to explain the long expected hope of the resurrection. Didn’t you see this fact? Moving on quickly, yes I disagree with your idea of “general principles” because like I said, who decided what the “general principles” are? You? I’ll stop now as I have other things to do, I look forward to hearing what you think Clement meant by what you call “the 3-part construction”. <><
  15. Hello Ms O’Maly, You claim that the ANF “before Tertullian” tendered to be “Binitarian” is not quite correct, those that put this idea forward are themselves Binitarian. See my resent post to Eoin Joyce. JWs are not the only group that reject the Trinity, there are others such as Binitarians and Unitarians. What gets me is the JW “rhetoric device” you mention is a deception if you asked me, just a ploy to stop people reading the Bible and instead read JW publications. <><
  16. Hello Mister Joyce, My deepest and sincere apology on referring to you as “Ms” I meant “Mr” all I can say is that I for some reason pressed ‘s’ instead of ‘r’. Please accept my apology. You say, “General principles can be drawn from Biblical passages, regardless of context.” I disagree. Who decided what the “general principles” are? In fact 2 Peter 3:16 is applicable in this instance. One must be careful to not read their own ideas into Scripture that is not the intent of the author. I had asked you to explain what you were taught on the Trinity when you were growing up a Roman catholic but you say nothing on this, so I will ask again, can you tell me what you were taught? You ask if I can quote first century examples from the early Christians, you do know that the first century is counted from the year 1 to the year 100 AD? The second century begins from 101 to 200 and so forth. You know we are living in the 21st century don’t you? The last book of the NT was written in the early 90’s of the first century. Anyway, at the turn of the century, that is 100 AD, a person called Clement, believed to be the Clement mentioned in Phil. 4:3, wrote a letter to the church in Corinth, in that letter he said; “For as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect.... Amen.” (Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, 58:2) The three are coordinated in this oath. This faith and hope by “the elect” (those, WHO BELIEVE the truth) is straight forward and is reliant on the three together. Let me know if you require more proof on the Trinitarian belief of the first Christians. <><
  17. bruceq said; "I noticed you had to go a hundred or so years after the Bible was written to find anything" Do you want earlier quotes? What silly comment will you then make? Instead of making such outlandish comments why don’t you ask yourself why the Jews persecuted the disciples in the NT if they believed the same as you claim? I’m sure we’d all like to know! <><
  18. Hello Ms Joyce, I understand that you are “not addressing a particular individual” but as I’m the one who started this thread, and considering your comments, I wanted to reply. Can I ask, what were you taught on the Trinity when you were growing up as a Roman catholic? I would like to know. Please try to refrain taking Biblical passages out context. In 1 Cor. 14:9 Paul is explaining the use of tongues. The vocabulary used to define the Trinity can seem daunting but it really is not. The uses of most of the terms were to fend off attacks by those that opposed the Trinity. Lastly, the early Christians believed and taught the Trinity; see examples in my post to Ms Ann O’Maly. <><
  19. Hello Ms O’Maly Thank you for your thoughts. Firstly you should look up Messianic Jews on the web, such as “Jews for Jesus”, and ask them whether they are “guided” and “influenced” to believe what they believe by others as you imply; I very much doubt it, but I can’t answer for them. Secondly, can I just say your comment about what you heard “by the non-trinitarian JWs” about reading the Bible on its own is strange, for the Watchtower “warns” JW’s NOT do this. “From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah’s people those, who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude... They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such Bible reading, they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentators by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago...”” (Watchtower, August 15, 1981) And " . . . people cannot see the Divine Plan in studying the Bible by itself . . . if he then lays them [Scripture Studies] aside and ignores them and goes to the bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness...," (Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1910, p. 298). So basically, what they are saying to the JW’s is that if they read the Bible on its own then after a short time they will believe exactly what I believe, how revealing is that! I don’t know what kind of “killer texts” would satisfy your query; all I can do is show what the early church has believed. Irenaeus (120-202) "For I have shown from the scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man.” (Against Heresies, book 3, chapter 19) Tertullian (155-220) "Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one essence, not one Person” (Against Praxeas, chapter 25) Hippolytus (170-235) “A man, therefore, even though he will it not, is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God, who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject, Himself excepted, and the Holy Spirit; and that these, therefore, are three.” (Against The Heresy Of One Noetus, section 8) This is just a few examples of what the early Christians believed; there are many more exemplar that could be called on. <><
  20. Hello Bruceq, You bring up the issue of war. And that somehow this issue justifies your Arian claim. JWs proclaim “we don’t participate in war” so therefore “we” are correct. This self-righteous stance does not prove that God is not Triune. First of all, let’s note that under Charles T. Russell’s direction the then JWs (known as Bible Students) were “allowed” to take part in war. See Zion's Watch Tower 1898 Aug 1 p.231 and Zion's Watch Tower 1903 Apr 15 p.120, War is one of the worst happenings that confront all of us, we can only hope for the time when war is no more. But till then we cannot ignore the continual rise of false political idealism. Consider what the world would have been like if no one had stood up to the Nazi Germany? The Bible even says in Ecclesiastes 3:8 "[There is] a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace." The Bible does not forbid engagement in warfare, and if this engagement in wars had become an unacceptable practice to the writers of the Christian Scriptures they would have stated so. In fact, several New Testament passages indicate acceptance. When military officers came to John for baptism, John did not direct them to leave the service; "Also, those in military service would ask him: "What shall we also do?" And he said to them: "Do not harass anybody or accuse anybody falsely, but be satisfied with your provisions." (Luke 3:14). This would have been John's perfect opportunity to tell them to resign from the military, but he counseled them instead to be content with their lot in life! At Matthew 8:5-13 Jesus did not turn the soldier away when asking to heal his manservant, rather commending him saying "I have not found anyone In Israel with such great faith" In the account at Acts 10 Cornelius was not required to step down as commander of Roman soldiers before being baptized. I hope that this has helped you see that the JW position is unwarranted. One more thing God is on the winning side. <><
  21. Hello Bruceq Thank you for your comments. It is interesting to note that when Jews convert to Christianity and read and believe the New Testament (they are known as messianic Jews) that they believe in the Triune God. Also one of the reason the Jews persecuted Christians, you know the ones in the New Testament, was because of who they claimed Jesus actually is. And do you not know that the Devil counterfeits the truth, for example, in some pagan religions they have the story of the death and resurrection of a hero figure…sound familiar, does this then mean that the NT witness to Jesus is false? To follow your line of reasoning you must conclude this? <><
  22. Hello Mr Rook, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I myself am not Roman Catholic, but I am a little surprised by your claim about the people of Haiti, may I ask where did you get your information and statistics from? Also, there is a lot of discussion regarding Constantine’s motives towards the Nicene Council of the fourth century; the debate on this matter is wide open, but I refer to the early Christians who lived before Constantine was even born. Their belief in the Triune God is attested to by the witness of the early church. These first Christians risked being thrown to the lions or to die by some other horrible means as “sport” for the Romans. Their testimony shows that they believed in the Triune God, long before the fourth century and Constantine! On a side note; Constantine’s son, Constantius, attempted to mould the Christian church to follow what he believed. Richard Watson in his Biblical & Theological Dictionary explains, “Constantius,… became warmly attached to the Arian cause, as were all the court party…Constantius supported Arianism triumphantly.” And according to the Encyclopedia of Saints, Constantius “compelled the Eastern churches to embrace” Arianism. (page 146). And to use your words; it was considered “treason against the expressed will of” Constantius “to believe otherwise” <><
  23. The belief in the Triune God has been acknowledged by the early Christians...why do you guys claim that this is otherwise? <><
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