Oneness theology

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Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 3:08 PM

From my understanding Apologetic is the defense of the faith from people who are not Christian. Polemics is the defense of the faith from within the church. Polemics usually defends orthodox christian doctrines. Apologetics usually does not deal with doctrines because the people that are not Christians typically don't care about doctrines because they don't believe in God. 

With that said debating oneness theology can be apologetical in nature if you consider them to be not Christian. Christians are typically defined as someone who holds to the orthodox trinity doctrine. But I have found this is all a matter of opinion. 

Can there be someone that is born again, and they are a mormon? Thus it is a matter of personal perspective.What truths must you believe to be saved? Is the trinity something you must believe to be saved? If you say yes then the debating the oneness theology will be more of apologetics, because the persons salvation is in jeopardy. If your answer is no then your approach will be polemic.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 3:14 PM

Wikipedia:

A polemic is a form of dispute, wherein the main efforts of the disputing parties are aimed at establishing the superiority of their own points of view regarding an issue. Along with debate, polemic is one of the more common forms of dispute. Similar to debate, it is constrained by a definite thesis which serves as the subject of controversy. However, unlike debate, which may seek common ground between two parties, a polemic is intended to establish the supremacy of a single point of view by refuting an opposing point of view.

Polemic usually addresses serious matters of religious, philosophical, political, or scientific importance, and is often written to dispute or refute a widely accepted position.

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Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information. Early Christian writers (c. 120-220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 3:26 PM

 

"Apologetics (Gk: apologia, “defense”) deals with the protection of Christian theology from external attacks. Polemics defends orthodox Christianity from internal doctrinal threats such as heresy and aberrant teachings."

 

Geisler, N. L. (2002). Systematic theology, volume one: Introduction, Bible (16). Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers.

 

 

This was taught to me in my apologetics class at seminary. How true it is I don't know but this has always been my understanding

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 3:32 PM

Blair Laird:
How true it is I don't know but this has always been my understanding

There's certain a clear path from Wikipedia to Geisler in this case so it makes sense that Geisler's understanding is a common view.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 3:40 PM

 

"The function of philosophy in polemics. The task of polemics is to argue against heresies within Christianity, in contrast to apologetics, which argues against errors from without. The same basic need for philosophy is manifest in polemics. One can argue no better for truth than when he is trained in philosophical argumentation. As a matter of fact, the Christian polemicist must understand both theology (which uses systematic philosophical thinking) and philosophy (which uses logical thinking). Heresies often arise from either false presuppositions or from fallacious conclusions from true premises. Philosophy specializes in recognizing both of these errors." - The Challenge of Philosophy for a Christian pg.76
He says the same thing in his philosophy book. I am going through my library, and seeing if any others are using his definition. Having a hard time right now because logos is indexing, and nothing is coming up.

 

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Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 3:53 PM

"polemics. The art of disputation or controversy (the defense of a thesis by formal logic). A polemic can also be the aggressive refutation of another position or principle. In theology polemics often refers to the attempt to show the superiority of Christian teaching over its rivals by means of a systematic, ordered delineation of the Christian belief system (a systematic theology) that shows the internal consistency of Christian doctrine as well as its congruence with human knowledge as a whole. See also irenics."

Grenz, S., Guretzki, D., & Nordling, C. F. (1999). Pocket dictionary of theological terms (92). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

"irenics. The practice of debating and discussing Christian doctrines with other Christians who are theologically orthodox but with whom there are matters of genuine theological disagreement. It involves the friendly but rigorous task of doing theological reflection together within the community of faith. Irenics stands in contrast to polemics, which is the practice of debating, discussing and refuting the positions of those who stand outside the accepted orthodox boundaries of Christian theology yet who insist on calling themselves Christian."

Grenz, S., Guretzki, D., & Nordling, C. F. (1999). Pocket dictionary of theological terms (68). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

"apologetics. Occasionally called eristics, apologetics is the formal defense of the Christian faith. Historically, Christian theologians have differed as to whether apologetics is appropriate to the presentation of the gospel, and if so, how it should be accomplished. Depending on how they have answered these questions, apologists have appealed to rational argumentation, empirical evidence, fulfilled prophecy, authorities of the church or mystical experience in defending such beliefs as the existence of God, the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ and the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. See also polemics."

 Grenz, S., Guretzki, D., & Nordling, C. F. (1999). Pocket dictionary of theological terms (13–14). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

I was not aware of the term Irenics intresting..

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Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 4:07 PM

Wikipedia is wrong when they say 

"polemic (play /pəˈlɛmɪk/) is when an argument, debate, or opinion leans toward attacking the other person as opposed to the discussion at hand. "

Polemic. (2012, March 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:06, March 11, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Polemic&oldid=481284301

In logic when your argument is an attack against he other person that is known as ad-hominem 

"An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.[1] Ad hominemreasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy"

Ad hominem. (2012, March 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:05, March 11, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ad_hominem&oldid=479995034

In essence if you take wiki's definition then any polemic one does is a logical fallacy, thus invalid

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 4:24 PM

Blair Laird:
Wikipedia is wrong when they say 

Researching rhetorical sites, I think it is more accurate to say that polemics often use ad hominem. i.e. argumentum ad hominem is one tool of polemics.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1561
Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 4:58 PM

MJ. Smith:

Blair Laird:
Wikipedia is wrong when they say 

Researching rhetorical sites, I think it is more accurate to say that polemics often use ad hominem. i.e. argumentum ad hominem is one tool of polemics.

If that was true Polemics would often be invalid. Any argument that is logically fallacious is invalid, ad hominem is considered a logical fallacy. An ad-hominem argument can happen in any form of discussion (irenic, apologetic, or polemic). I discuss topics in the polemic, and irenic realm more then apologetic. But I try never to attack the person. The point of discussion should be their beliefs. I am not how wiki or any other site can say it is often used. I would say in my experience I find more ad-hominem arguments in the apologetic arena. This may be because the people I discuss doctrines with are for the most part fully aware of logical fallacies. Philosophy is considered the sister of the theology, or so it is said.

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 7:12 PM

Rosie Perera:
An apologist is someone who defends a position, not opposes it

Thanks Rosie, I got my own feelings mixed in this mix and it confused me.  I forgot that both sides of a debate have apologist.  When I read the word apologist, I was thinking of the apologist that I had just read that opposed the oneness theology (they were defending the traditional understanding of the Trinity).

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 7:15 PM

Super Tramp:

I like to go straight to the source to hear what they believe. There are apologists for Oneness theology and there are anti-Onesness apologists. I now get what you are saying. I am strongly in the Trinitarian camp so I have not studied enough of the Oneness view to give a fair list of unbiased sources. I know there are resources in Logos that address several of the isssues related to specific doctrine the Oneness believers adhere to. Some of those doctrines are held by many Trinitarian denominations too. Not all doctrines are adhered to comprehensively. To grasp a truly Oneness perspective, we will probably have to narrow our sources to those authors who hold to all the doctrines that are distinctive. 

I found an interesting website here: http://www.onenesspentecostal.com/

There are some debates here: http://evidentialfaith.blogspot.com/p/oneness-theology.html 

The Trinity vs Unitarian debate has been around since the Early Church Fathers.. It resurfaced in earnest about 140 years back and again in the last few decades. Because it is a very pivotal doctrine and foundational to how we develop the rest of our theology, there will always be strong debate on the matter. I was good friends with a Unitarian who was the mayor in a 75% Baptist city. I never converted him and he did not sway me. But much of the city had just one complaint against this honest and thoughtful mayor; they strongly disapproved of his dismissal of the Trinity. I personally enjoyed hearing his explanation of his beliefs. Hopefully Blair can discover some good sources. 

Thanks for the clarification.  I did not know the source of oneness (did not look it up).

Posts 356
Ralph Mauch | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 7:43 PM

Blair Laird:
Philosophy is considered the sister of the theology, or so it is said

Resoources like Philosophical Foundations for A Christian Worldview by J.P. Moeland & William Lane Craig need to be added to our Logos Library... I agree with your statement.

On Oness you can read Tertullian against Praxeas, good artical here "Global Journal of Classical Theology Volume 7. 2009. Purcellville, VA: Patrick Henry College." So much that seems new, isn't that new after allBig Smile

 

Posts 356
Ralph Mauch | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 11 2012 7:50 PM

Ralph Mauch:
On Oness you can read Tertullian against Praxeas

Also, Thomas Oden's Work in Logos is very good when referencing the teaching on the Trintiy http://www.logos.com/product/3683/systematic-theology

He goes back before Tertullian, and gives one a good undstanding why the doctrine of the trinity needed a good apologetic, not sure they used that word back then Surprise

 

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 12 2012 12:30 AM

Blair Laird:
Philosophy is considered the sister of the theology, or so it is said

It is perhaps more often known as the handmaid (or handmaiden) of theology, which was known as "the queen of the sciences."

Logos has Handmaid to Theology: An Essay in Philosophical Prolegomena.

Excerpt from Wikipedia article on Medieval Philosophy:

Medieval philosophy is characteristically theological: With the possible exceptions of Avicenna and Averroes, medieval thinkers did not consider themselves philosophers at all. Their concerns are theological: For them, the philosophers were the ancient pagan writers such as Plato and Aristotle[4]. However, the theological works of medieval writers use the ideas and logical techniques of the ancient philosophers to address difficult theological questions, and points of doctrine. Thomas Aquinas, following Peter Damian, argued that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology (ancilla theologiae)[5].

Tracking that to its source from the footnote, I find this quote, relating to Peter Damian (b. 1007, d. 1072): "Damian countenances only a subordinate role for philosophy. In a simile that was to become famous, Damian asserted that philosophy should be related to Scripture 'like a handmaiden to her mistress.'" (A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages, edited by Jorge J. E. Gracia & Timothy B. Noone).

Posts 142
James Macleod | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 12 2012 5:37 AM

Ralph Mauch:

On Oness you can read Tertullian against Praxeas, good artical here "Global Journal of Classical Theology Volume 7. 2009. Purcellville, VA: Patrick Henry College." So much that seems new, isn't that new after allBig Smile

 

You can hardly refer to Tertullian in order to see what current day oneness people believe. Also, reading Tertullian only tells you what Tertullian believed about what his opponents believed, not what they actually believed.

 

 

Posts 142
James Macleod | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 12 2012 5:45 AM

Mike Pettit:

I am not saying that non trinitarians cannot be wonderful people, but if Logos is to have any Christian credibility at all the trinity is where it really has to draw the line at where it will publish in anything but an apologetical or historical sense.  

 

I couldn’t disagree more. First it is not the place of Logos to determine orthodoxy for me. I don’t need Logos to shelter me from different viewpoints. Logos is doing the right thing. Second, how can I argue against a viewpoint that I disagree with, unless I read what the people themselves believe? I need to understand what they believe and not what others say they believe. I have learned that apologists often misrepresent an opponent’s views in order to score points. “Know thine enemy”.

Logos may be a “Christian” software company but it is also an academic software company. The more resources it contains the better. I am not sure what you are afraid of or what credibility you are speaking of. Logos is a software company, it isn’t the church.

 

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 12 2012 6:28 AM

James Macleod:

Mike Pettit:

I am not saying that non trinitarians cannot be wonderful people, but if Logos is to have any Christian credibility at all the trinity is where it really has to draw the line at where it will publish in anything but an apologetical or historical sense.  

 

 

I couldn’t disagree more. First it is not the place of Logos to determine orthodoxy for me. I don’t need Logos to shelter me from different viewpoints. Logos is doing the right thing. Second, how can I argue against a viewpoint that I disagree with, unless I read what the people themselves believe? I need to understand what they believe and not what others say they believe. I have learned that apologists often misrepresent an opponent’s views in order to score points. “Know thine enemy”.

Logos may be a “Christian” software company but it is also an academic software company. The more resources it contains the better. I am not sure what you are afraid of or what credibility you are speaking of. Logos is a software company, it isn’t the church.

 

Feel very free to disagree but please be careful in imputing reasons to my views I.e. fear that are not necessarily correct.

 

There will always be limits on what are published and it is useful to consider what they are or indeed should be, if you read my post you will see that I do address most of the points that you raise, we probably disagree on the possibility of neutrality.

 

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 12 2012 6:41 AM

 

Maybe it WOULD be Nirvana if . . .

 

 

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 12 2012 6:59 AM

James Macleod:

I couldn’t disagree more. First it is not the place of Logos to determine orthodoxy for me. I don’t need Logos to shelter me from different viewpoints. Logos is doing the right thing. Second, how can I argue against a viewpoint that I disagree with, unless I read what the people themselves believe? I need to understand what they believe and not what others say they believe. I have learned that apologists often misrepresent an opponent’s views in order to score points. “Know thine enemy”.

Logos may be a “Christian” software company but it is also an academic software company. The more resources it contains the better. I am not sure what you are afraid of or what credibility you are speaking of. Logos is a software company, it isn’t the church.

Yes

For the statement:

James Macleod:
I have learned that apologists often misrepresent an opponent’s views in order to score points
YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Posts 305
EDUARDO JIMENEZ | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 12 2012 7:18 AM

I talk to myself:

No matter the way you were taught, nothing is but the truth. Good to remember: While we discuss, God judges us by our deeds.

Now, let me share:

The touchstone of the Christian doctine/thelology is the trinitarism. Saying that God is but one, yet are there three distinct persons subsisting in one Godhead, and seal this saying that this is a sacred mystery, it's hard to defend. <No-matther-waht-you-believe> = it is a mystery, sacred mystery, leaves no place to think, discuss, debating.

This is why there is few bibliography on the Oneness.

I have heard about the possition of the jews about God and the Mashiah, which is closer to the Oneness than the Trinity. They say that Mashiah it's an Emanation from God, so, He is God. This is my option.

"Por qué los Judíos no aceptan a Jesús", Dan ven Avraham, Sefarad publishin house. Sorry, not sure if its in English, but it has bibliography in English.

Shalom!

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