Patching Things Up : Burgos and Date

Date and Burgos

Recently I had a debate with Michael Burgos on Theopologetics, click here for information and links to the mp3's. The thesis I denied was "The Son personally preexisted the incarnation with the Father." Burgos affirmed. The debate went well and Burgos made the typical Trinitarian mistakes. His proposition was never sufficiently supported without considerable doubt upon the Trinitarian interpretation and articulation of those texts. 

Shortly after the debate I received an email from a listener to the debate. Here are his words:
I also thought it was very interesting that the Host wanted Burgos back on the program next week to discuss the debate. Evidently they want to patch up things.
Apparently Date saw a need for this before the recording of the debate was ever complete. Indeed the patch up can be downloaded and listened to here. It is in two parts, episode 41 and 42.

At one point Burgos even calls the Word and God of John 1:1 two "personal beings" which are also separate from each other (see Burgos/Sullivan debate). Burgos plays this off as an error but it is simply to be expected. If anyone has listened to only a handful of debates with Trinitarians such errors always pop up. Trinitarians can hardly avoid such language given the nature of their psychological tritheism. Ironically, while Burgos is a fan of James White he didn't seem to like White's “God is one what but three whos.” Obviously Trinitarian apologists are still formulating their conclusions. Burgos' appeal to each person being exhaustive of one another is clearly a hint of Van Til. 

In the opening statements of the original debate Burgos offered around 20 verses from the New Testament. That is around 1 per minute of his 20 minute opening remarks. Burgos did not appeal to the Old Testament because this is not high ground for any Triniarian apologist, despite their mumblings to the contrary. Burgos stated, "In the Old Testament we see that God did not immediately reveal the entirety of His nature and character, simply because additional revelation has been provided in the New Testament."(Progressive Revelation and Doctrine of God)  In the patch up you can tell that Date originally feels the Old Testament is high ground and even reads from disgruntled Trinitarians saying Burgos "gave up the farm". Burgos conflates his view with some hesitancy to allow for Date's presuppositionalism in this regard.

If one reads the text of Scripture with the presuppositions of Creedal theology then they will find the Trinity. The Trinitarian interpretation is a forced reading that must adapt the plain and clear meaning of Scriptures by which no man comes to the Trinity. Trinitarians read their presuppositions back into the text since there is no one verse that describes the Trinity nor is it found conclusively in any of its passages. Burgos conceded as much in the early parts of cross-examination. He had to admit that there was no verse he could go to in order to explicitly prove the Trinity. 

I did not have time to respond to all 20 of his verses nor could I satisfactorily in such a debate. Burgos was merely flooding his initial speech with verses of which many simply point to the Incarnation or Deity of Christ and not the Father and Son pre-existing in a person to person relationship. The verses I primarily focused upon where Phil 2, John 17, Heb 1, and John 1. 

I highly recommend listening to the patchwork done by Burgos and Date. Especially the circular logic used by Dates and Burgos to support the argument for the Trinity using love. This is an argument emerging from a response to 20th Century theologians like Karl Barth and Karl Rahner who have a significantly different view of the Trinity. Essentially, Date asked me about the object of God's love. I answered creation, you, me, etc. I never said God must have creation in order to love I was simply answering his question. Date then suggests that proves his point and that God being love also necessitates Him being three persons. This simply replaces the contingency upon creation with the contingency upon needing more than one person in order for God to be a complete and perfect self. Just so happens this contingency only relies upon three. One must ask, why not a fourth? 

It was apparent that Burgos presented more verses than time would allow to answer but he also voiced an objection to my use of scholars. In the words of another listener to this debate, "It speaks volumes." This is only par for the course since during the actual debate Burgos called the Louw-Nida lexicon "fringe scholarship". This makes Burgos' entire case suspect given such abject ignorance.

Burgos suggests his appeal was to the scriptures but instead interpreted his verses with post biblical theology and concepts. He had no answer to Isa. 46:9. An appeal to the uni-personal nature of God is valid in this regard. Trinitarians merely saying it isn't so does not amount to it not being so. He made a complete mess of his view of One Yahweh but each are Yahweh’s. As typical Trinitarians end up articulating more than one Yahweh. Consider the proposition that Glen Burt, a Church of Christ, debater said he would affirm:
The scripture teaches that the Godhead (one God) is three divine beings. (Click here for more info)
I have moderated a couple debates with Church of Christ debaters (Bruce Reeves, Glen Burt). I even attended the one with Tom Wacaster and Bobby Sparks a few years ago. It seems Reformed apologists make some of the same mistakes but the Church of Christ are even bolder and more clear about their claims. Such Trinitarians are advocating for a divisibility in the eternal nature of God. Let this be anathema.


Chris said...

Thanks, James, for your follow-up to the debate. One correction: the name of my podcast is not "TheoApologetics," with an "a;" it is "Theopologetics." Thanks in advance for correcting the mistake.

Chris said...

James, I see you've changed it from "Theoapologetics" to "TheoApologetics," but you've missed my point; perhaps that's my fault and I haven't communicated clearly enough. My point was that the title of my podcast does not contain an "a" at all.

JN Anderson said...

Chris, sorry about the typo. It should be good now.

Chris said...

Yup, it is. No worries. I'll let the couple of mischaracterizations about me and what I said go.

Adversus Trinitas

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