The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Free or cheap, but a great book

Dale Tuggy has made his book available on Kindle - free if you are a Kindle member, a couple bucks if not.
Dale is a Christian and a philosophy professor.
Why do I say it’s a ‘great’ book? It’s clear, logical, fair, learned, scriptural.

He is more focused on trinity theories, actually, than a Christology or Pneumatology, though naturally he does go into those topics as they are germane to his study.
To be clear: he is a biblical unitarian, having come to his position from an ‘evangelical’ background.
But I wouldn’t want anyone to dismiss him just because of his unitarianism, as he has solid grounds for what he says, and he is completely fair to other positions as well.

I know. He takes on all those points. We have other threads on this subject, I’m just mentioning the book as a clear and straightforward treatment of the various issues.

Here’s a snippet that shows his intentions:


Another snippet:


@qaz - I don’t know if you had the chance to read this on an earlier thread. Might help explain John 1 a bit more clearly.

I’m really not trying to convince you, or rock anybody’s boat. The subject I think is very interesting and does get to the heart of who God is, though, and that’s why I like to study it.
In Acts, Jesus was prayed to. In Romans, Paul gives him the highest praise short of the praise given to the Father. In the rest of the NT there is nothing said of Jesus that is not of the highest glory and honor, short of the Father. I think, personally, that Jesus is worth the worship we give him.

I’m not sure, as I’ve said, that this is a big deal or not, but I certainly don’t want to pursue the subject as a means of troubling consciences or dividing folks from one another. The book is worth reading, but there are lots of books worth reading…

I myself keep getting drawn to this sort of reasoning:
“The proposition, that there is one God, seems to us exceedingly plain. We understand by it, that there is one being, one mind, one person, one intelligent agent, and one only, to whom underived and infinite perfection and dominion belong. We conceive, that these words could have conveyed no other meaning to the simple and uncultivated people who were set apart to be the depositaries of this great truth, and who were utterly incapable of understanding those hair- breadth distinctions between being and person, which the sagacity of later ages has discovered. We find no intimation, that this language was to be taken in an unusual sense, or that God’s unity was a quite different thing from the oneness of other intelligent beings.” Channing

Part 1 of a podcast concerning the Jewish idea of pre-existence. Think John 8.58 I AM. Or ‘the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’
Jewish thinking was that Moses, the Garden of Eden, the temple, the Torah, the patriarchs and the messiah and other things were all contemplated and ‘designed’ BEFORE creation. Interessting stuff.

Part two is all about John chapter 8. Case closed?

What bothers me about the non-Trinitarian view is that it looks like Jesus was a third party to whom God laid on the sins of the world, instead of taking care of the sin problem Himself. Makes God seem distant to me. Can anyone answer this?

Well, we are taught that Jesus was the direct express image of the Father, showing exactly what God is and always has been like, so we know that what Jesus did, was what the Father was willing to do.
There are those that want it to be God Himself that suffered on the cross, for our sins. I myself don’t understand that but some apparently hold to it.
God so loved the world that he gave - His son.


If God “laid the sins the sins of the world on” Jesus asserts that God is the one who sought to satisfy his need for retribution upon the man Jesus, then Unitarianism would sound abysmal. But if sinners are the ones who crucified and sought retribution upon Jesus, and he precisely exemplified for us the grace of God in voluntarily responding with forgiveness, I see no problem with Unitarianism.

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If you have your logic cap on, here’s an argument for a Quaternity.

This reflects a bit on the ‘Jesus’ manhood’ theme, from a slightly different angle:
“We need to set our affections on some good man and keep him constantly before our eyes, so that we may live as if he were watching us, and do everything as if he saw what we were doing…Happy too is the person who can so revere another as to adjust and shape his own personality in the light of recollections of that other. A person able to revere another thus will soon deserve to be revered himself…there is a need in my view for someone as a standard against which our characters can measure themselves. Without a ruler to do it against you won’t make the crooked straight.”
Seneca, Letters from a Stoic, letter xi, tr. Robin Campbell

I see what you are saying. But what about the Incarnation? Is it still valid? For the last few years I’ve taken comfort in seeing God’s becoming one of us as an act of grace itself, that is the Incarnation itself is redeeming. This is (as I understand) the view of Trinitarians such as Robert F. Capon, Torrance, C. Baxter Kruger, etc. Can the idea of the Incarnation as atoning still exist with the Unitarian view?

I doubt the Incarnation as ‘atoning’ fits Unitarianism insofar as that means God needed to hurt Jesus in order to be forgiving or vent enough wrath to satisfy himself. I do find seeing the Incarnation in itself as redeeming classic and attractive, although you don’t develop how that works. Insofar as it conveys God really loved us enough to ‘give himself up’ for us, it provides a wonderful picture for us.

But for me the trust that “God was in Christ reconciling the world” does not require a Deity divided into multiple persons. It only requires that Jesus is a faithful representation of God’s loving character and grace, and that God was in Christ, sharing in his travail, united to him in his demonstrating God’s love.

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Not the punishing aspect, but the solidarity aspect, that God would join us is what I find attractive. He throws His lot in with us, for better or for worse.

If unitarianism sees Christ as truly God’s Son, begotten, then maybe I can get on board. There is still an organic solidarity.

Yes, the nature of an “organic” relationship and sonship may vary in the eyes of beholders. But apostolic language that “God was in Christ” satisfies me.

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