To My Fourteen Prelates Tuesday, Jan 1 2013 

 The great Scottish Puritan Divine, Samuel Rutherford, wrote in his Letters of fourteen bishops who presided in Scotland under the reign of Charles II. These men were placed over his trial when he was imprisoned. He writes many times in his Letters,

“I would not exchange my weeping with the painted laughter of the fourteen prelates”. (pg. 189)

These men berated Rutherford for his beliefs. Rutherford was a staunch opponent of Arminianism and the Divine Right of Kings. I have read most of Rutherford’s books and in them he describes how he was accused of being contentious, arrogant and argumentative. In his Letters he mentions,

“I know, by the wise and well-affected I shall be censured as not wise or circumspect enough; but it is ordinary, that that should be a part of the cross of those who suffer for Him.” (Pg. 105)

Those who seek and speak the truth are often berated and demonized. The Lord Jesus Christ himself was accused of being possessed by a demon as the cause of his teachings. (John 8:48) If they have done this to the Lord of the house, how much more his servants?

Replying to Steve at Triablogue Monday, Dec 24 2012 

Spent a few hours replying to all of Steve’s articles about me today. Check em out guys. His article on Tri-Theistic cartoonish worship was the stupidest thing I have ever seen Steve write.

A Response to Sean Gerety’s “Going Beyond What is Written” by Mark Xu Tuesday, Dec 4 2012 

Recently, there have been a series of dialogues between Scripturalist Christians on Nicene trinitarian theology on Sean Gerety’s God’s Hammer blog and Ryan Hedrich’s Unapologetica blog particularly on the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead, and the aseity of the Son.

Sean maintains that the Nicene orthodoxy clearly teaches that our Saviour is God of himself and absolutely equal with the Father in almightiness, power and worship, and that our Saviour shares or possesses the identical divine essence not only the same in kind with the Father but also the same in number, and his divine essence has no origin or cause whatsoever. And the unity of  the Godhead is maintained in the numerical oneness of divinity or essence.

While Ryan argues that the Nicene orthodoxy teaches that only the Father is God of himself and in proper Biblical terms, One God is the Father, while our Saviour is God of God, namely he is divine because he is truly begotten, both his person and his essence out of the very person and essence of God the Father, thus consubstantial with the Father at the level of nature but truly subordinate to the Father at the level of person.

It is my humble attempt to collect various teachings from the ante-Nicene and Nicene fathers on this particular subject to defend the assessment of Ryan contra Sean, namely, the unity of Godhead is God the Father, as the fountain and source of deity, the only true God, the supreme governor of the universe and the ultimate object of our worship. To him be glory for ever and ever Amen.

I shall start by quoting the most relevant Patriarch, namely Alexander of Alexandria, upon receiving the impious writing of Arius of Alexandria, fought the heresy and condemned the opinion of Arius at a local council of Alexandria, which controversy is the primary cause of the Ecumenical Council held at Nicaea in A.D. 325.

In a letter to Alexander the Bishop of Constantinople, he wrote the following after asserting the Godhead of the Son:

Concerning whom we thus believe, even as the Apostolic Church believes. In one Father unbegotten, who has from no one the cause of His being, who is unchangeable and immutable, who is always the same, and admits of no increase or diminution; who gave to us the Law, the prophets, and the Gospels; who is Lord of the patriarchs and apostles, and all the saints. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; not begotten of things which are not, but of Him who is the Father“.

And again:

That He is equally with the Father unchangeable and immutable, wanting in nothing, and the perfect Son, and like to the Father, we have learned; in this alone is He inferior to the Father, that He is not unbegotten. For He is the very exact image of the Father, and in nothing differing from Him.

And again:

And according to this we believe that the Son is of the Father, always existing. For He is the brightness of His glory, the express image of His Father’s person. Hebrews 1:3 But let no one take that word always so as to raise suspicion that He is unbegotten (viz. The Son,), as they imagine who have their senses blinded. For neither are the words, He was, or always, or before all worlds, equivalent to unbegotten. ….But we must say that to the Father alone belongs the property of being unbegotten, for the Saviour Himself said, My Father is greater than I. John 14:28″ (Unbegotten, that is Self-existant -MX)

To Alexander, Bishop of the City of Constantinople

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0622.htm

 

Next let us turn to Novatian the most learned Latin priest, to his treatise on the Trinity, De Trinitate, he said:

Thus God the Father, the Founder and Creator of all things, who only knows no beginning, invisible, infinite, immortal, eternal, is one God; to whose greatness, or majesty, or power, I would not say nothing can be preferred, but nothing can be compared; of whom, when He willed it, the Son, the Word, was born“. 

And again:

Because it is essential that He who knows no beginning must go before Him who has a beginning; even as He is the less as knowing that He is in Him, having an origin because He is born, and of like nature with the Father in some measure by His nativity, although He has a beginning in that He is born, inasmuch as He is born of that Father who alone has no beginning. He, then, when the Father willed it, proceeded from the Father, and He who was in the Father came forth from the Father; and He who was in the Father because He was of the Father, was subsequently with the Father, because He came forth from the Father—that is to say, that divine substance whose name is the Word, whereby all things were made, and without whom nothing was made.

And again:

For all things are after Him, because they are by Him. And reasonably, He is before all things, but after the Father, since all things were made by Him, and He proceeded from Him of whose will all things were made. Assuredly God proceeding from God, causing a person second to the Father as being the Son, but not taking from the Father that characteristic that HE IS ONE GOD.” [Speaking logically, not of chronological sequence, but of causality – MX]

And again:

But now, whatever He is, He is not of Himself, because He is not unborn; but He is of the Father, because He is begotten, whether as being the Word, whether as being the Power, or as being the Wisdom, or as being the Light, or as being the Son; and whatever of these He is, in that He is not from any other source, as we have already said before, than from the Father, owing His origin to His Father, He could not make a disagreement in the divinity by the number of two Gods, since He gathered His beginning by being born of HIM WHO IS ONE GOD.

And again:

Moreover, the Son is God of all else, because God the Father put before all Him whom He begot. Thus the Mediator of God and men, Christ Jesus, having the power of every creature subjected to Him by His own Father, inasmuch as He is God; with every creature subdued to Him, found at one with His Father God, has, by abiding in that condition that He moreover was heard, briefly proved God His Father to be one and only and true God.

De Trinitate, Lib 31

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0511.htm

Next let us turn to Hilary of Poitiers another Latin father, to his De Trinitate, he said:

We confess One God, alone unmade, alone eternal, alone unoriginate, alone true, alone possessing immortality, alone good, alone mighty, Creator, Ordainer and Disposer of all things, unchangeable and unalterable, righteous and good, of the Law and the Prophets and the New Testament. We believe that THIS GOD gave birth to the Only-begotten Son before all worlds, through Whom He made the world and all things; that He gave birth to Him not in semblance, but in truth, following His own Will, so that He is unchangeable and unalterable, God’s perfect creature but not as one of His other creatures, His handiwork, but not as His other works; not, as Valentinus maintained, that the Son is a development of the Father; nor, as Manichæus has declared of the Son, a consubstantial part of the Father; nor, as Sabellius, who makes two out of one, Son and Father at once; nor, as Hieracas, a light from a light, or a lamp with two flames; nor as if He was previously in being and afterwards born or created afresh to be a Son, a notion often condemned by yourself, blessed Pope , publicly in the Church and in the assembly of the brethren. But, as we have affirmed, we believe that He was created by the will of God before times and worlds, and has His life and existence from the Father, Who gave Him to share His own glorious perfections. For, when the Father gave to Him the inheritance of all things, He did not thereby deprive Himself of attributes which are His without origination, He being the source of all things“. [Speaking the word creature in the sense of all beings that are caused, but yet Son is of the essence of the Father, the same sense is used by Origen several times, in which even the most learned Bishop Bull dares not to translate – MX- I would like to add that this is the answer to the confusions about Samuel Clarke stating that the Son was not by necessity but by will and power. Here we see that what Clarke meant was that the Son was not auto-theos.-DS ]

De Trinitate, Lib 4, xii

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/330204.htm

I think I will stop at here today, and refer my reader to the able collection of such teachings by the learned David Waltz from the apologists and martyrs and St. Ireneaus, at his blog Articuli Fidei, http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2009/03/some-subordinationism-in-justin.html

If time permits, I would like to make some further quotes from the most learned historian Eusibius’s untranslated work, the Ecclesiatical Theology in the future.

I shall now leave these brief pieces of information to the able hands of fellow Christians, and let them judge whether Sean or Ryan’s assessment on historical trinitarian theology is more accurate and faithful.

Best regards,

Mark

Edited by Drake Shelton

PostScript from the Editor: I have come under severe depression in the last day due to the overwhelming nature of this issue, my exile in Louisville, Ky with no Christian fellowship, the scandalous and atheistic treatment I have received from so-called brothers in Christ and my less than Christ-like reaction to that treatment.  I am going to be taking a break for a while. Pray for me that my faith not falter and that the Lord would make good of the heavy burden he has placed upon me; that is, that I would respond in a way that is submissive to his word  and submit to the chastening that he has put me under.  May the Lord be with you and comfort you in all you do. May we like Christ seek no reputation in these things but to die to self that the truth may prevail.

The Sabellian Eastern Orthodox Part 2 Friday, Nov 30 2012 

John of Damascus On Holy Images, Part 1 page 4,

“I believe in one God, the source of all things, without beginning, uncreated, immortal, everlasting, incomprehensible, bodiless, invisible, uncircumscribed, without form. I believe in one supersubstantial being, one divine Godhead in three entities, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and I adore Him alone with the worship of latreia. I adore one God, one Godhead but three Persons, God the Father, God the Son made flesh, and God the Holy Ghost, one God. ”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/damascus/icons.i.iv.html

This is EXACTLY the same way that the Latin West describes God; and may I add he is writing after the period of the Cappadocians by about 300 years. Notice Damascus states that he believes in only one being in the Godhead, yet three persons. Notice he does not say three beings, to affirm a generic unity, but 1 being to affirm a numeric unity.

On the Holy Spirit Thursday, Nov 29 2012 

Passages that Prove the Holy Spirit’s Distinct Personhood

John 16: 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. [Thus the Son distinguishes himself from the Holy Spirit]

Acts 8: 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.”

Acts 10: 19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.”

Acts 11: 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. 

 

Acts 13:2  While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

1 Cor 12:11 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. [Here we have a distinct will]

Mat 28: 19 Go therefore andmake disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

2 Cor 13: 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Eph 4: 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. [This is not changing emotion but anthropopathism-thus this is volitional]

Rom 8: 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. [Here his intercession distinguishes him from the Father]

John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me [Spirit distinct from the Father]

 

Passages that Prove the Holy Spirit’s Divinity With Respect to the Ontological Trinity

John 15: 26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. [This passage shows that the Holy Spirit is not said to be created out of nothing but to have proceeded from the Father]

Heb 9: 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Mat 28: 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit [Equality with reference to nature]

2 Cor 13: 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Therefore, it has been proven that the Holy Spirit is a distinct divine person from the Father, and the Son and this includes having his own will. Now to the issue of the Son’s Generation and the Spirit’s Procession: One interesting passage that must be faced is John 8: 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.  

Here, in the verse, the Greek for proceeded is, ἐξέρχομαι exerchomai. It is in the 2nd aorist tense, thus denoting a past tense, hence the translation is, “proceedED”.  http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jhn&c=8&v=1&t=KJV#conc/42

In John 15:26, we have the Greek, ἐκπορεύομαι ekporeuomai, which is in the present tense, and active voice denoting a continuous process, thus the translation, “proceeds”.

Thus John 8 pertains to the Son’s activity in the economia, while John 15 pertains to the Holy Spirit’s activity in Eternity.

John of Damascus said, speaking of the difference between procession and eternal generation,

“We have an analogy in Adam, who was not begotten (for God Himself moulded him), and Seth, who was begotten (for he is Adam’s son), and Eve, who proceeded out of Adam’s rib (for she was not begotten). These do not differ from each other in nature, for they are human beings: but they differ in the mode of coming into existence.”

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/33041.htm

Here in our analogy, Adam would represent the Father, Eve, the Spirit and Seth the Son; Unbegotten-ness, Procession and Generation. Procession bears nature but not gender. Generation bears nature and gender. However, there is a point to recognize: In Gen 1:27 we read “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Both the male and female gender are aspects of God. I think it is no accident then that just as Eve, the female, proceeded from Adam, the Spirit bears the female characteristics of God. In the New Testament we have an emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s nurturing and comforting qualities. I didn’t say that the Holy Spirit’s comforting qualities were confined to the economia.  God’s mercy is not dependent on him being merciful to creatures. Just because the divine persons display certain of their qualities IN the economia does not mean that those qualities are confined to the economia or dependent on a creation. That would be Pagan thinking where everything’s nature is dependent on its opposite.

Therefore, we know that the Procession of the Holy Spirit is an eternal and ontological extension from the Father, just like the Eternal Generation of the Son. Thus the difference, as Damascus pointed out, is in the mode of these actions, not their essential nature. In my Sundry Philosophical Queries Regarding the Trinity, I stated, “Truly, if nature directs activity, then the Son does eternally extend from a necessity of some Idea in God’s Mind.” This assumes of course that God’s nature is his thinking, which is a fundamental aspect of Clarkian Calvinistic philosophy. Now, just as we have seen, that the Creation and the Son are different with reference to ontology, due to the fact that they extend from different “places” in God, the former from God’s will, the latter from his nature, even so, the Son and the Spirit, both extending from nature must extend from different Ideas within God’s mind. This is how we distinguish eternal generation and eternal procession.

Therefore we distinguish the Son and the Spirit:

  1. By the fact that the Scripture demonstrates that they are distinct subjects, thus distinguishing by numeric nature.
  1. By the fact that the Holy Spirit has his own will.
  1. By the gender specific relations they display in the economia.
  1. By sourcing the two persons in different Ideas (“places”) in God’s mind.

Now I admit that these points do not give us exhaustive knowledge of this issue, but proportional knowledge capable of providing the necessary elements for the Doctrine of God and its functions in Systematic Theology, Metaphysics and Epistemology.

Now to acknowledge an objection: The west argues that the double procession distinguishes procession from generation while the East has no distinction.

  1. I have just shown we do have a way to distinguish the two eternal extensions, even though that explanation is not exhaustive. The Eastern Orthodox may struggle to do this because they cannot speak of God ad intra (Due to the huperousia principle involved in their Essence and Energies Distinction), thus distinguishing the different “places” in God becomes impossible.
  1.  Describing the circumstances of an action does not define the action, even in a proportional sense. If I said that I gwiddlesnarked from school and from work, the numeric circumstances of my gwiddlesnarking tell you nothing of what it means to gwiddlesnark.

 

Puritanical Alternatives To Rushlooney’s Theonomy Tuesday, Mar 6 2012 

In a previous post I had suggested,

“As a reference, if anyone is wondering what alternative manual on Biblical Law they should turn to instead of Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law I would suggest Anthony Burgess’Vindiciae Legis : or, A Vindication of the Moral Law and the Covenants, from the Errors of Papists, Arminians, Socinians, and more especially, Antinomians (1647) which is a series of thirty lectures preached in London during the Westminster Assembly. You can download the book here from SWRB for 5 bucks!”

I stand by that suggestion only to suggest another: Free Disputation by Samuel Rutherford which you can googelize for Free:

http://books.google.com/books?id=nh0tAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=sodomite&f=false

I am going through the atheist objections to the “barbarity” of the Mosaic Law and Rutherford has clear consistent answers on all this stuff. Viva Rutherford! Chapter 25, beginning on page 298, Rutherford goes into detail on what portions of the Mosaic law still oblige magistrates in the New Testament age. Buckle Up!

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