Evidential Faith: Debate: James Anderson and Glen Burt

Evidential Faith: Debate: James Anderson and Glen Burt: "The Oneness of God and The TrinityDebate When? Monday and Tuesday, January 17 & 18 Where? Eastview United Pentecostal Church. Lufkin, TX T..."


Michael said...


After reading through some of your posts, I'd like to ask you something. Wouldn't you agree that if in fact the deity of the Son is the Father, the Son possesses no actual deity in and of Himself? If you affirm the above, do you resort to a kenotical understanding of the Carmen Christi to do so? This is what Dulle suggests in a few of his articles. However, it is apparent to me that this notion is an overt denial of the deity *of* the Son. So too it would seem that the denial of the eternality of the Son as distinct from the Father would constitute a denial of an essential divine attribute. What is your take?

JN Anderson said...

I have read your paper on the kenosis. I also realize the difference between the way the liberals called for the "emptying" of all divine attributes. This is NOT what I am contending for though. I would contend for a divine self-limitation. Millard Erickson uses the example of a world class sprinter in a sac race. The Incarnation, or how God became flesh, will remain a mystery maybe a paradox.

The Bible does not tell us how it is so but God is making believes not theologians. We must accept that God became flesh. I do tend to the hypostatic union but I do not think it is the cure all either.

In Jesus we see not only the redemption from sin in the crucified Jesus Christ, but also the new man which is our promise and salvation in the resurrected Jesus Christ. God was manifest in the flesh and still wants to be manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). Apart from observing the humanity of Christ Jesus in his pre-glorification state, we do not EXACTLY how to deal with flesh, and the proper relationship to God, but because he took our place, not only on the cross, but in the temptation and the passion, and in other areas of life, we know a right relationship with God, and can follow Jesus.

This tension is one that is shared by both Oneness and Trinitarian theologians. How did God become flesh?

Michael said...

Terminology can be sticky here. While I would agree that God became flesh, however I must qualify that by saying that it was God the Word who became flesh. This of course brings us back to John 1:1c and the issue of conversion, and the eternality of the Son.

That aside, if you affirm that the deity of the Son is the Father, it seems pretty clear to me that you can only affirm the deity *in* the Son, and not the deity *of* the Son. Chalcedonian Christology can only make this more difficult for those who hold to the Oneness doctrine. Do you find that this relatively new move to Chalcedon is being welcomed

JN Anderson said...

For sure. Yes, John 1:1 is a common stopping place. I don't see a move to Chalcedon. I see a move to a more Biblical Christology. Creeds are helpful but are in no way equivalent to Scripture. Credal statements is what got us out of touch with the early church IMHO. The Original Nicene Creed reads:

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ousia] of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance [homoousion] with the Father, through whom all
things came to be, those things that are in heaven and those things that are on earth, who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and was made man, suffered, rose the third day, ascending into the heavens, and will come to judge the living and the dead."

As a result of the influence of the western bishops, the creed stated that Jesus and the Father were “of one essence” [ousia, existence or being (from the word “to be”)]” and “the same substance” [homoousion] as the Father. Although the word ousia does not appear in the Bible with the same meaning as applied by the council, they used it as a synonym for the Biblical word hupostasis which we saw in Hebrews 1:3 (“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person”). That is, the original Nicene Creed said that the underlying reality of Jesus, His very being (deity), is not is not distinguishable from the Father. In his “being” Jesus is the Father.

Michael said...

If you reject the nestorian view of communication between the Father and Son, as communicated in Bernards book, then the only option I have seen is Dulle's attempt at adopting Chalcedon. You yourself have identified with this teaching on this very blog. Do you or do you not affirm Dulle's position?

Make no mistake, both the 325 and 381 creeds make it very clear all forms of modalism are forbidden. Hence the eternal distinction provided in the text, the creative actions given unto Jesus as distinct from the Father (language taken directly from Heb 1:2, Col 1:16, Rom 11:36, and 1Cor 8:6), and the fact that the creed recognizes that Jesus as distinct from God rendered Himself in human flesh. The Eastern church had battled Sabellianism and won. This is why such exact language was used, and this is why your attempt at utilizing this Trinitarian creed is impossible.

I'd encourage you to examine the meaning for charakter tes hupostaseos. The language speaks of a facsimile of nature; a duplication of being that necessitates a distinction of persons by virtue of the context and grammar.

Ultimately the text weighs heavily against your position and in my opinion no one in the Oneness movement has successfully done so.

That aside, are any of your debates recorded?

JN Anderson said...

This debate will have audio mp3 downloads.

I think Nestorianism is somewhat misleading. Bernard doesn't completely commit to a Nestorian Christ as in one nature as one person and a divine nature as yet another person. I glean from Bernard and Dulle. I use his Credo as well. I am not saying Chalcedon is insignificant. I do not believe, however, it is equivalent to the Scriptures themselves as you would probably admit. Richard Swinburne thinks the Trinity is three divine beings and that the creeds are ambiguous and could be read to conclude tritheism. I am not saying you are a tritheist but I do think this and other examples help to demonstrate tritheism can be a logical consequence of popular Trinitarianism. It must return to the meaning that person also referred, lat. persona. It does not amount to three distinct divine wills, spirits, consciousness' etc. I am not suggesting there are no distinctions as well.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)