The dog on the couch - too close to home
Indeed, “evangelical” universalists regard Unitarianism as a fundamental betrayal of the gospel and the biblical revelation of God."
Sorry I have not had time to read this thread but is it possible Parry was not thinking of the Trinity but of the often Unitarian belief that everyone goes to heaven automatically no matter what they do or think, simply because they exist?
Hi Steve - the context was actually very specific concerning the Trinity.
Just to re-state, I admire Robin and am thankful for his contributions, written or otherwise.
You appear to suggest that it should be obvious to Robin and I that Unitarianism affirms the “deity” of Christ. I have a doctorate in theology, but have usually perceived that the opposite was generally understood as the usual implication of affirming one is a Unitarian. If your definition is assumed, all my comments miss the mark. But I suspect that you’re actually raising a problem with shared understanding of terms, wherein your assumption about Unitarianism is different from Robin’s or even mine as a non-Trinitarian.
Not all non-trinitarians are Unitarians.
Sometimes when a term is used, as in Robin’s statement, there is a danger of setting up a straw man - I’m not saying he did this. But the moniker “Unitarian” is ambiguous, and does not necessarily equal non-trin; i.e., there is a range of justifiable positions between Trinitarianism and Unitarianism; further, there is a range of justifiable positions within Trinitarianism itself, and within Unitarianism itself.
Perhaps what is needed is the Wiki link to Unitarianism?
During my life shortly after college (actually, before entering graduate school and becoming a junior college academic bum, after graduate school), I hung out with the Unitarians for a few months. I think you can believe just about anything. The main emphasize is on social programs and behaving ethically.
Please note - my definition of academic bum is one who is a software engineering Nerd during the day. But then takes academic classes, at the local junior college, at night - just for the fun of it.
But first, it’s time for my daily Quora question: Who are the lamest superheroes?
Great posts Eaglesway thankyou but just a query about the above. You see, don’t even your soteriological absolutes draw a dividing line as strong as Parry’s even though they dont use the same stark terminology? I mean, unless I am mistaken about full-preterism, it denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus and so these absolutes put at least 2 of our forum members on the wrong side of your dividing line?
Isn’t it true that any beliefs, of any substance at least, will have a similar outcome as Parry’s? Whilst we may disagree with where Parry draws the line, or with his terminology, it is surely true that a line has to be drawn and this does not contradict the eventual reconciliation of the whole of creation.
I am also interested in your point about:
I dont know if I understand you. Are you saying that the Bride of Christ consists of saints who have ‘gone before’ and who will, sometime in the future, return to earth with Christ? Your help on this would be much appreciated.
Perhaps they(points of my my soteriology) do, altho i dont use them as dividing lines. I understand soteriology as determining who is “in Christ”, and it need not be an inherently divisive term, which is why I would use the Romans 10 verses as a base line. The other things I believe come with that understanding, or awakening to Jesus Christ as Lord are, in my understanding, a minimal foundation for a believer that comes with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am simply communicating my understanding of what I believe constitutes a good place to start- not judging everyone elses soteriology by mine. If I am criticizing anything, it is the tendency to extend soteriology out so far to include oblique doctrines(like the Trinity) in it.
I dont think the basic gospel story of Jesus life, death, burial, resurrection and Lordship is going that far- but as I write I am thinking it could be too far if you want to narrow it down to that basic revelation wherein a person becomes a 'Christian", which is defined by some as simply believing in Jesus.
But where does that stop? Certainly in the early church salvation included submission to the Lordship of the resurrected Christ and an awareness of His propitiatory death on the cross at a minimum.
“For so it pleased the Father to make all fulness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself by the blood of His cross”… such a simple statement really.
I dont think a systematic doctrine on the godhead existed until a couple hundred years later, when the church began to define itself in terms of doctrinal knowledge rather than in terms of a communally experienced life in the Spirit.
I would hazard a guess that soteriology ought to accurately detect and define a reality of who God is including in the fellowship of His Son’s life in this age. Who are the ecclesia. At what point is someone “saved”(out of Adam- into Christ).
I personally dont think understanding the godhead comes into that at all.
I (personally me, not trying to teach anyone)believe the Bride is the assembled ecclesia of this age, described in Hebrews 12…
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of [h]angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
I believe the parables about the wedding supper and the foolish virgins etc, refer to the manifestation of the Bride in any given generation, as well as over time throughout this age. She is a tabernacle of God in the Spirit built of living stones. She is “coming down out of heaven” in the same way Jesus was the bread of life “coming down out of heaven”. I think this age is about the first fruits, and the taking of a harvest that wwill be the seed stock of the ultimate harvest of all creation. Thats why the whole creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God(imo).
Thats also why to me, setting up camp around a UR banner tacked onto any version of old wineskin is an error of understanding in terms of what we ought to be seeking out as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, stewards of the mysteries of Christ, a kingdom of priests. Every priest is taken from among men to serve them in the things that pertain to God. YHWH separated Levi out to teach the children of Israel to come near to God in an acceptable way “so that I won’t kill them”. Paul talks about acceptable sacrifices in Romans 12, “For by the grace given unto me I exhort that no man esteem himself more highly than he ought- for to each is given a measure of faith”
Everywhere Paul teaches this element of recognizing the body as critical to maturity and fruitfulness. Now, it is like things have been bad so long, this whole essential area of doctrine has been excised from the work because, “Who wants to be accountable to a standard set as high as that”?
One even as I and the Father are one…
Until we all attain to the unity of faith, unto a mature man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Son of God…
Its easier to get in a club and just stay there, but thats not the Wedding Supper. Thats not what disciples have been invited to attend. All those who love Him are betrothed to Him in the Bride. Everyone who is hearing Him call is digging deep and getting ready, just in case. I may be sleeping when He calls (long period of inactivity) but if the Bride, “comes down out of heaven”- if some revival or outpouring begins, will I see it? Will I hear it? Will I have interceded for it? Would I leave my cushy life to go to it? These are questions I ask myself, lest the gospel erupt out of theory and into my reality and I run and hide from it when it does.
And if it does, will I miss what God is doing because I am more attached to my systematic theology that to His Spirit moving in a body of priestly brothers and sisters?
The house of Levi lost the priestly commission because they “failed to teach the difference between the holy and the profane” and it went to the house of Zadok. As a result the sons of Levi were left to “minister to the house” but “they cannot come nigh unto me”. The sons of Zadok ministered in the house, in the presence, because"they did not forsake Me in the days of Israels apostasy".
Things are not ok because they have been a certain way for a long time. What is holy to God is what makes us one body, members of one another, as Paul said, “discerning the body”- the failure to do that was causing many to “sleep and be sick among you”. Recognizing the body of Christ is essential. Everyone who is born of God loves the child born of Him.
Setting up “unreal” divisions is sectarianism and is unholy.
I read a lot about the historic moves of God. The great stories like the rise of Methodism, the early Quakers and Shakers and Friends. A fellow named Frank Bartholomew wrote a book about Azusa street, he was a part of it. If his testimony is true God did some marvelous things because of a few praying Christian intercessors, but the work was short lived; Quickly carved up between Trinitarians and Modalists and the water quit flowing as quickly as it had begun because they did not recognize what God is doing. Building a house of prayer for all people or something like that LOL.
YES Pilgrim to my knowledge you are fully mistaken… I have yet to meet a full prêterist who “denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus” – as a pantelist myself I fully affirm the “the bodily resurrection of Jesus” – the body that went into the grave was very much the body that came out of the grave, albeit very much alive.
Further up the page Bob posted this comment…
Never a truer word spoken. Well said.
If there are people in any given fellowship who fall outside of whatever my minimum soteriology is- it is no causes for alarm or disrespect. As a steward tho, one has to decide where to draw their lines for the safety of all participants and staying focused on a particular mission. I would draw certain lines, but in a forum my thought is that anything can be discussed, but not all things can be taught, and to hold the line between discussion and debate, because debate just becomes teaching in a ranting form. If this forum is a Trinitarian forum, which I recognize it as, I am not going to teach and debate the godhead or my view of it, but I would discuss it on a limited basis in a respectful way.The only thing, however, that I really ever discuss about it, is the unnecessary conflicts and exclusions that occur because of a dimly understood thing that is.
Actually, Unitarian is a very ambiguous term. There are the Unitarian Universalists, who now probly dont believe much of anything about the godhead, or even agree if God is in it or if it is just an amalgam of myths, philosophies and avatars.
Then there are the “Biblical Unitarians” who deal with the issue in their own made up(not saying bad, but like Trinity, made up terms) of “God, very God or not God, very God” when is comes to the deity of Christ. This knocks them outside the minimum soterioly requirements of most mainline denominations- altho for the most part they do not include their view on the Godhead as soteriology, and are in most other theological departments just like a bunch of nice Baptist or even Presbyterian brothers.
I have always been intensely interested in the whole Deity thing because it is mysterious and an exciting subject to examine having many nuances and potential perspectives based on the scriptures. The fact that Michael Servetus was burned at the stake for his views really blew my mind, because I have always been the type of person to just look at all the possibilities without getting my ego so attached that i am going to crumble or explode if I am proven wrong or get taken outside my paradigm- I just dig the exploration and I dont think God cares a lick if I am a Trinitarian or a Biblical Unitarian. There is something about Modalism that really bothers me, not the least of which is the aggressive form of sectarianism most of them have about their view, altho I must say many Trinitarians are the same(sectarian). I love Jesus. He is my Lord. YHWH is my Father. Neither of them is threatened by my exploration of the subject, and I rather like that I have never fully settled the issue, boxed it, wrapped it, tagged it in my mind. To me it is a mystery seen through a glass darkly. Maybe that will be wrapped up like a little gift to me some day when, according to the hymn, “we’ll understand it better by and by”
I’d give you some “high fives” if I could - well said!!
Everyone here realizes that there is a whole spectrum of understandings about Christology and the nature of God, and that theological labels can be fuzzy. But me thinks quibbling over terminology has gotten extreme, such as questioning the use of “Unitariansim” without discussing multiple nuances. Statements such as, “the moniker ‘Unitarianism’… does not necessarily equal non-Trin” seem to me unrealistic. If it’s not reasonable to generalize that folk who prefer the label Unitarian are those who don’t prefer to be called a Trinitarian (as if Robin needs to delineate rare exceptions), then none of us could intelligibly communicate to evangelicals or others with enough nuance to avoid being forever faulted.
It appears to me that firm traditionalists who once flourished on this site have avoided weighing in on this debate. I’ve repeatedly rejected the moniker Trinitarian, and taken heat, including losing my role as a voting moderator. Yet I honestly feel that some of this discussion sounds more defensive and legalistic, rather than serious about fairly communicating. We who feel that we have a high and Biblical view of Christ, and that later forms of Trinitarian language are not desirable do not need to be offended if we are considered non-trin., or to hold a position contrary to the tradition of the evangelical movement. I’m not aware that any leaders here have argued that this makes us less acceptable to God. So I think the only worthy debate which I have sought to preserve is concerning which language is most Biblical, true, and important.
I agree with your last sentence completely and wish I had said it.
Quibbling over terminology, though - I think precision in what one is saying is important. Not - how many angels on the head of a pin? type of precision, of course- but unless we are as precise as we can be, we are going to be misunderstood. Even when we speak clearly, for cryin’ out loud, somebody is going to mis-interpret us. But quibbling is of course a distraction.
Sometimes, trying to be precise makes one sound legalistic and picky, when in fact one is just trying to be CLEAR.
Your first sentence gives me hope; if the question is NOT whether those that disagree with Orthodoxy are less acceptable to God or not - that the much more important issue is in fact our acceptableness to God rather than our self-designed orthodox box then I for one feel resolved on this. Happily and giddily.
As to the moniker - There are spectrums as you say and as I pointed out, but not everyone here recognizes that, I daresay. It is helpful when labeling a person’s beliefs to state what you mean by the label; they might not agree with it!
You’re a blessing to the Forum, Bob.
I agree with those sentiments, but for many people soteriology is about who is acceptable to God…
Eaglesway, While soteriology likely implies questions of ‘acceptability’ to God, is a universalist’s statement that evangelicals see Unitarianism as not Biblical, a statement about “Soteriology,” or even one that should be seen as equivalent to saying that non-Trinitarians will be rejected by God? I haven’t gotten that impression from even fervent evangelical Trinitarian universalists here.
I don’t understand how a Christian could read the NT and not be a Trinitarian, but I love you non-Trins all the same.
Hi qaz - JUst askin’ here, not picking a fight - do you mean trinitarianism as set forth here:
Or a different form? - there are a number of trinitarian theories.
As seen in their statement of faith, the linguistic affirmation that satisfied the site team was, “We believe in one God always existing as three persons who are revealed as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Short and to the point!
I’m not pursuing a theological debate - really just wondering what form of the -ism is being referred to.
It’s a fascinating subject as long as we stick to a certain Bob Wilson’s advice, which I currently have as my signature.