Another post from a Mormon

I regret the fact that these blogs are clumsy — it’s not possible to respond directly to someone’s post in a way that all visitors to the site are directed to the response.  An LDS apologist has respectfully brought up some issues that I’d really like to address.  So I am going to put his posting below, and then address some of the very valid issues he raises. Here is Trevor’s post:

One Response to “A Response to a Recent Posting by a Mormon”September 17th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

  1. Thanks for your considerate response.
    Your reference to straw man gives me pause – I realize I was not sufficiently respectful to your beliefs and others”‘ on the subject of the Trinity and for that I apologize.

    However what I was reaching for is exactly the difficulty that you describe – the impossibility of comprehending how the Trinitarian God can be reconciled to the events of Jesus”‘s life and ministry as described in the Bible. I referred to Gethsemane not to score points or to belittle but because for me this is where my attempts to make the Trinity fit the Bible really fall apart. I struggle to relate the reference to two wills to the looser LDS concept of unity in the Godhead let alone to the much tighter one-God concept that you present. If you don”‘t believe Jesus was talking to Himself then I would truly like to understand what you believe was happening there.

    I am not pretending to misunderstand you beliefs. I genuinely can”‘t get my head around them. And, I”‘m not alone. I have spoken to quite a few non-LDS Christians about their belief in God and the majority actually think of the Godhead pretty much as we do. (This has been borne out by at least one non-LDS study that I have seen reported). None of those I”‘ve spoken to who claim to believe the Trinity have been able to articulate answers to the questions to the matters I raised in mr initial post and a large proportion actually resorted to analogies that proved to be heretical when I later compared them to an authoritative article on the definition of the Trinity.

    As an example, try this quiz yourself or your local fellow Trinitarians:
    Which of these statements, if any, are true?
    a.) There is one Person in the Trinity, who has three natures.
    b.) There are three Persons in the Trinity, each one possessing part of the Divine nature.
    c.) There are Three Persons in the Trinity, each fully possessing the Divine nature.
    d.) There is only one Person in the Godhead, who relates to us in different ways as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    Or, what would Peter the fisherman make of this?
    “The doctrine of consubstantiality excludes subordinationism, a teaching that appeared in middle or neo-Platonic theology (e.g., in the doctrine of the principles-archai) as the structure of intermediaries, that is, those principles that constitute the first difference. In this context, subordinationism was viewed as carrying the danger that the Logos or the Holy Spirit, as “intermediaries,” would approach, or be placed in, the domain of creatures. Not until ousia (substance), or physis (nature), was terminologically distinguished from hypostasis in the formula “one ousia, three hypostases,” could the Son be conceived as homoousios with the Father. Thus, the numerically one (single) essence, or being, of the Father and Son was maintained, while at the same time the divine nature of the Holy Spirit was confessed. For many in the 4th C., the formula adopted by the First Council of Nicaea (325) sounded Sabellian; modern translations, such as “consubstantial” or “of one essence,” imply interpretations that are partly anachronistic and partly obscurant.”

    Inevitably, my would-be teachers clearly unable toi understand the doctrine of Trinity, all fall back on incomprehensibility of God Himself.

    I personally struggle with accepting that a core doctrine should only be able to be understood and explained by an elite and educated minority – especially when it is being used as a test for “true” Christianity that would label me as non-Christian while large numbers of nominally mainstream Christian clergy believe less in Jesus Christ than I do.

    I fail to see how a God-given doctrine can be based on creeds written by committees of theologians and philosophers with only minimal reference to scripture scripture.

    I do believe that Jesus is Deity as is the Holy Spirit and this agrees with what I know of current LDS teaching so I am not sure why you raise this.
    Likewise if you are already familiar with the scriptures I quoted then you will also be aware of the passages reconciling the LDS concept of unity in the Godhead with the references to one God. I note that even in the first chapter of Genesis when the reader is first introduced to God, one encounters “Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness”

    I genuinely look forward to what you next present. I hope it helps me better understand your beliefs and current-day Trinitarian Christianity. It concerns me that I have misunderstood something so important.

    As I mentioned I have seen a more thorough summary but

  2. P.S. my quotes on the Trinity are from:
    http://www.stpaulsanglicanchurch.ca/NewsletterArchive/2007/Wednesday%20June%206th,%202007.html

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