Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Purpose of This Blog

This blog is a place where I can post miscellaneous notes in defense of (or relevant to) the doctrine of the Trinity so as to help persuade non-Trinitarians of the truth of Trinitarianism. In light of that, I won't always address some of the deeper issues, differences and disagreements among Trinitarians.

This blog is also a place where I can sort out my own beliefs and doubts regarding the Trinity and who/what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are. Presently, I do believe in the doctrine of the Trinity because it seems to me to do the best in systematizing and harmonizing the Biblical data regarding the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I have been a Trinitarian since around 1994. However, there have always been small nagging doubts in the back of my mind. So, this blog will also document some of the things I'm learning and thinking about regarding the various alternatives and how I evaluate them along with and in comparison/contrast to the Trinity. Alternatives like Modalism, Nicene Monarchism (and its varieties), Semi-Arianism, Arianism, Binitarianism, Pneumatomachianism, William Lane Craig's neo-Apollinarianism etc. 

With respect to defending the doctrine of the Trinity, this blog is basically a supplementary blog since there are other great books and websites out there that also defend the doctrine of the Trinity. This means, among other things, there are some good arguments and evidences for the doctrine of the Trinity that I don't mention or only scratch the surface of because they are addressed in other blogs or books in a more scholarly and in-depth way than I ever could. For example, for the most part I avoid the intricate debates between Trinitarians and Unitarians who are knowledgeable in Koine Greek regarding Jesus' use of ego eimi as evidence of His full deity. Another example would be the translation of John 1:1. This is why I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND one of my other blogposts (on a different blog). At that blog I've collected many external links to useful resources defending the doctrine of the Trinity. Again, this particular blog (Trinity Notes) is only meant to be supplemental to that blog post. That main blog is titled:

Resources in Defense of Trinitarianism

Additionally, the following is the link to my blogpost were I've collected links to all my main comments on other people's blogs where I have defended and argued for the doctrine of the Trinity. This link includes links to two of my own blogposts where I argued for the doctrine of the Trinity.

Comments and Blog Posts on the Trinity

Because I myself once rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, I can sympathize with anti-Trinitarians and can understand why they reject the doctrine and find it difficult to believe. I understand their reasoning processes and mindset. In this blog I attempt to provide arguments, phrased in such a way, that could help anti-Trinitarians see how plausible and reasonable the doctrine is when one considers the Biblical data holistically.

I write these blogposts as an Evangelical Trinitarian. An open secret among Evangelicals is that there are actually various types of Trinitarianism theology among Evangelicals. As one non-Evangelical observer put it:

Now, when we look at “the” Evangelical doctrine of the Trinty, one is forced to conclude that it is “doctrines”, not “the doctrine”, for the following are but a few examples of the different forms of Trinitarianism held within Evangelicalism. 1.) The Son and the Spirit are generated from the Father’s essence, who is the source, fountain-head of the Trinity (Melanchthon, Jonathan Edwards). 2.) It is the person alone, not the essence which is generated from the Father (John Calvin, Francis Turrettin, and most Reformed theologians). 3.) There is no generation of persons within the Godhead; the Logos became the Son at the incarnation (Oliver Buswell, Walter Martin, early writings of John MacArthur). 4.) The Godhead is one person, and within the being of this one person there are three personal subsistences (Cornelius Van Til). 5.) The Trinity is not composed of persons in the modern sense (i.e. three distinct centers of conscious personal beings), but rather of three modes of existence (Donald Bloesch). 6.) Social Trinitarianism (Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Millard Erickson, Edward Wierenga).
 I don't take a dogmatic stand on any one Trinitarian view. However, I find #2 (maybe in conjunction with #4) attractive. It's the default position I defend and tentatively/provisionally hold to for the sake of argument.

I find Nicene Monarchism slightly plausible, however it's NOT a form of Trinitarianism (though similar to #1 above) and it does seem to compromise the unity of God. Also, it doesn't seem to do justice to the Biblical data regarding the full deity of the Son and Spirit. For example, Rev. 2:23 doesn't seem to comport with Nicene Monarchism. In this verse Jesus seems to identify Himself with Jehovah/Yahweh Himself, not merely represent Him in name since Jesus clearly alludes to Jer. 17:10 (cf.  Ps. 62:12; 1 Kings 8:39). In other words, Jesus seems to be saying He is the Jehovah of Jer. 17:10.

For simplicity's sake, in this blog whenever I refer to the Trinity it is usually with the following basic definition. Three persons eternally share the one being of God. That is to say, God is one "What" and three "Whos." Again, by the Trinity I mean there is one being (AKA substance, AKA essence) with three centers of consciousness (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Or take this definition by Bruce Ware:

The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that God’s whole and undivided essence belongs equally, eternally, simultaneously, and fully to each of the three Persons of the Godhead, so that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each is fully God while each is his own personal expression, in role and activity, of the one eternal and undivided divine essence. So, there is one God—hence, there is one and only one divine essence that is possessed fully and simultaneously by each of the three Persons—but three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each is fully God, since each possesses the identically same divine nature, yet each Person is a distinct personal expression of that one and undivided divine essence.
[The source [[or here]] of this quote is questionable and so might contain typos or grammar which Bruce Ware would take exception to. Since, hypothetically, the ultimate source of this quote might be based on an audio file of Bruce Ware where the listener may have inaccurately typed out Ware's definition and arranged the grammar in a way Ware wouldn't have done so.]

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