Torrey Honors Institute is going after the blogging world. Unfortunately, they are having a few problems with the page redirects. But as soon as they get it straightened out, this is going to be one informative, engaging, and stimulating website. My hunch is that it will actually become a group blogging project by various professors from THI.

I am immensely excited that Dr. Fred Sanders has begun blogging. Not only is he one of the smartest men I’ve ever studied under, he is also the most humorous and witty. His creative ability to convey concepts and ideas that are otherwise abstract and difficult is unparalleled. Did I mention he’s also extremely well-read? Not only does he analyze Chaucer’s use of Boethius, he also engages us in a reflection on Scripture and the Trinity.

Where in the Bible is the Trinity revealed? Not in the Old Testament, which looks forward to the revealing of the Son; and not in the New Testament, which looks backward to the revealing of the Son. It is revealed in the historical events that take place between the testaments, the events which fulfill the expectation of the Old Testament and provoke the writing of the New Testament. The Trinity is revealed when the Trinity appears in history, when the Father sends the Son and pours out the Spirit on all flesh.

This explains why the New Testament almost offhandedly refers to the Trinity, presupposing it and never bothering to present it as a new idea. The fact that the Son has appeared for our salvation is behind every line of the New Testament, is the main point, is what’s New and what’s Testament about the New Testament.

Did I mention that Dr. Reynolds will still be blogging there? Do I seem excited at all about this?

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

7 Comments

  1. Sigh, I suppose God has assigned me the lot of being a contrarian. I read the article on the Trinity, and to be honest it is less than convincing. In fact it is less convincing than many other arguments that have been made for the doctrine.

    I remain convinced that perhaps the only lesson a Christian can teach and be completely sure that they understand the meaning of the Scriptures is that of love. Loving, God, loving man, loving oneself-not to much. It is the page one that all other inquiries- on many diverse issues confronting the differing sects and denominations- returns to.

    On a more upbeat note, glad to see the new site.. it is marvelous. Good job, well done.

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  2. Sigh. If God has assigned you the lot of being contrarian in this life I would hoped he has given you a better mind to defend your views.

    Sadly, a review like “I wasn’t convinced” doesn’t do much for the rest of us.

    Here’s your chance, Smirkzz. The floor is yours.

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  3. Christian snark, so much in the spirit of things. I should hope that I have mind and heart enough, as I hope for you, for any work that God puts us to doing.

    Love does not have to be inculcated into mankind, it is intrinsic to our being. God is Love, and mankind is an image of God, an image of love. Christ came to find that which was lost, and to restore that which had fallen. As the article states, Christ came to save sinners, which is universal amongst mankind. He could not save the righteous because there were no others, and there continues to be none.

    Any doctrine that detracts from our ability to love our fellow man, but especially those related to us in faith, is suspect. I don’t think that it is necessary to prove or disprove any doctrine, I believe you are free to think whatever you wish, although I do not hold to any doctrines not articulated in the Scripture. Not just because the doctrines of men change with the times and men holding to them, but also because I fail so utterly at the doctrine of love that is quite pronounced in the Bible.

    While it is easier to look at the failures and successes of others and say AH Hah!, it is doubtful if any of that will serve me well in any capacity when I stand before the throne of God, anymore than which incarnation of the trinity I choose to believe or disbelieve.

    Given the historical development of the doctrine, and the bloodshed that has arisen over the disputes about it, I find it hard to believe that it comports with the doctrine of love, other than that of Cain towards Abel. If we cannot love the things that we can comprehend how shall we love that which we cannot? Given the emotions that the doctrine engenders in man besides love for his fellow man, it is a doctrine better held than taught. It matters little if we do not conform to a doctrine that is implied in Scripture if we cannot conform to that which is explicit.

    Since the doctrine is an affront to both Muslim and Jews, of what use is an implied doctrine to them if that doctrine repels them away from the Christ? The doctrine is counter intuitive to the Great Commission. If the doctrine is held to be of the deeper things of God, then it is rightly called meat, and as such should not be given to those who are immature in the faith and needing of milk. Yet it is common knowledge in the world, and defines Christianity to many of them, including Christians.

    From this have sprung all sorts of disputes, not just between Christians and non Christians, but between Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. Is Mary the mother of God? Love does not ask the question, nor would it reply if it were. Love merely replies to think about it while you are busy doing what you were told to do. I hold that we will be judged by what we do, not what we think, which all philosophical doctrines spring from. They cannot appeal to the Christian heart because the heart in union with Christ cannot not make room for them.

    That being said, I can post up links to very scholarly papers on all sides of the issue if you would like to consider them. They are quite articulate tempests in the teapot.

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  4. EZSmirkzz,

    I’d be happy to read any papers you have in mind.

    And welcome to Mere O! Stick around for a while….we like dissenters!

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  5. Thank you brother Matthew, I will try to dissent in an agreeable tone. I have lurked for sometime now, although I am still going through some of your archives.

    In reference to papers, the one I am currently working through is by Juan Baixeras A Patristic Study of the Kingdom of God and the Development of the Trinity I am not sure how closely he is affiliated with the Restorative movement, as some of the authors on this site are quite deeply into it. After that I intend to go through Tektonics org again.

    As I noted earlier, I am not so adamant about these things as are most of my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I am interested in how they contribute or interfere with the work of the Good News. I think of it as being pretty Episcopalian, although I am not convinced that either Bishops Kingsolving, Fry or Wolfrum would agree with me, they got me started. I say this because I noted your preference for a 1700’s addition of the Book of Common Prayer, and so you would be aware of them as being considered conservatives, although when I was aquainted with them labels of that sort made little or no sense, as I think they do today.

    For what it is worth I read the Pope’s Encyclicals too, along with the magazines and books of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They seem to think of me as a contrarian as well.

    Hopefully the links work without blowing up the comment page.

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  6. Smirkz,

    Glad to have a thoughtful reply. Now we’re at a place where a discussion of ideas can be had. I’m a guest here as well, but I believe discussion is definitely something the guys at Mere-O are trying to encourage.

    Your reply is certainly well considered. I thank you for taking the time to articulate what you believe.

    I don’t know much about you. I gather from your reply that you’re a professing Christian of sorts and one with respect for the scriptures. I’m one as well. You place a heavy importance on the scriptures’ call to love your fellow man. I also believe in the primacy of that call (1 John 4:20). I think we’d disagree, however, on the character of that love.

    You say:
    “Since the doctrine [of the Trinity] is an affront to both Muslim and Jews, of what use is an implied doctrine to them if that doctrine repels them away from the Christ?”

    I agree that we can speak with the voices of philosophers and poets, reaching to the depths of reason and beauty, but without love we are only noise to those who hear us (1 Cor. 13:1). But I also have to agree with Dr. Sanders when he says that

    “The fact that the Son has appeared for our salvation is behind every line of the New Testament, is the main point, is what’s New and what’s Testament about the New Testament.”

    Look at a scripture like 1 John 4:9-11. I’m sure you’re familiar with the passage. Even in John’s high call to love he bases his call on the fact of God’s love for us which is shown in his sending his SON to die for us.

    Who is the Christ that we are trying so desperately not to detract the Muslims and the Jews from? How much would our love lack if our love was not a doorstep, an invitation to the throne of Love?

    Doctrines of the Trinity deal with the nature of God, His Son, and His Spirit. Without question the Bible leaves us to deal with these issues — like Dr. Sanders said the New Testament springs these things on us quickly.

    “By the way, God has a son. A unique son, an eternal son, a son who is part of the definition of God. A son who never came into being, but always was, in communion with the Father and the Spirit.” (see John 1:1-15)

    The New Testament hinges (and our salvation hinges) on what we choose to believe about the Son (John 11:25). That’s why we are often (rightly) defined by this doctrine to the outside world. “Who are the Christians?” they ask. They are the ones who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Yes, there are variations between Eastern and Western doctrines of the Trinity, but I think most on both sides would agree that these are not issues that put one’s salvation on the line. Throwing out the doctrine of Jesus Christ’s divinity, however, is.

    Love without Truth is tepid and flaccid. Truth without love is callous and noisy.

    I’d be happy to read any articles or links you post here. And like Matt said, welcome to Mere-O. Stick around.

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  7. Good Morning brother dthompson,

    One of the problems that I have with the doctrine is that an adherent must either climb the philosophic mountains of Olympus or accept it on blind faith. It cannot be learned without understanding many Greek philosophical terms which the layman is either unwilling to learn or does not have time to do so. It very much borders on Gnosticism.

    When Christians of any stripe have fulfilled the teachings of Christ in Matthew chapters 5 through 7 then I might consider listening to their mental interpretations through the lense of Greek philosophy on the nature and essence of Heavenly beings. If they cannot understand the things of earth, how is it that they can understand the things of Heaven?

    Reply

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