Against Dalcour

*Below we continue with excerpts from our exegetical refutation(s) of the charges of Edward Dalcour toward Oneness Pentecostal believers.  As before, I have simply copied Dalcour’s assertions from his website in *black with categorical and textual rebuttals immediately following in *blue.  This particular post specifically targets Dalcour’s claims regarding the ancient hymn found in Colossians 1.15-16.  Corroboration of Dalcour’s quotes can be located HERE.  Enjoy!

Colossians 1:16-17:  “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.”

*Not surprisingly, Dalcour here violates his own criteria of exegesis and analytical discourse by overlooking the introduction of the dependent “hoti” (ὅτι) clause of v. 16, which is hinged on the independent clause of v. 15.  That is, vv. 16-17 hang upon v. 15, which, as we shall see, is crucial to understanding what Paul was naturally communicating if this text is allowed to stand uninterrupted on its own strength.

Despite the biblical simplicity, Bernard (1983: 116-17) attempts to circumvent the biblical truth that the Son is the Creator of all things:

Perhaps these scriptural passages have a deeper meaning that can be expressed as follows: Although the Son did not exist at the time of creation except as the word in the mind of God, God used His foreknowledge of the Son when He created the world …The plan of the Son was in God’s mind at creation and was necessary for the creation to be successful. Therefore, He created the world by the Son (emphasis added).

This is an obvious case of eisegesis.  Bernard’s assertion is clear: passages that speak of the Son as the Creator mean that when the Father created all things, He had the “plan of the Son” in mind or in view, that is, “God used His foreknowledge of the Son when He created the world.”  Bernard’s conclusion assumes unitarianism and disallows normal exegesis.

*“Normal exegesis” does not completely ignore the all-important explicating-subordinate conjunction translated “for” (ὅτι) at the beginning of a passage. Ironically, it is Dalcour who is “disallowing normal exegesis” and “assuming” his predisposed Trinitarian theology.

*Further, this passage does not “speak of the Son as the Creator” – this is supplied by Dalcour contra the inspired biblical data standing alone.  By contrast, it is Dalcour who shows an “obvious case of eisegesis” by imposing his theology upon the God-breathed (θεόπνευστος) text—a text that never states the same as we shall demonstrate below.

In the first place, Colossians 1:13-15 clearly differentiates Jesus from the Father. These verses contextually prohibit the Oneness notion that Jesus is both the Father and the Son:

*It is not “the Oneness notion” that teaches that Jesus is simultaneously the Father and the Son of God—it’s the forced conclusion and plain statements of Scripture itself.  Moreover, it was Christ’s “notion” as well!  When asked about the location of the Father, Jesus responds by expressing surprise in exclaiming, “Am I with you so long a time, and you have not known Me, Philip?  The one having seen Me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14.9).

*If Jesus is someone other than the One inquired about, His response is entirely non-sensical.  “Am I with you so long a time, and you have not known Me, Philip?” Dalcour’s usual dodge of this clear passage is to appeal to v. 6 in an effort to somehow circumvent and disallow Jesus’s self-declaration in order to protect his religious (Trinitarian) tradition—of course, operating under the guise of “context.”  

*Trinitarianism is both a denial and an insult to the plain self-identifications of Christ – and it’s painful to watch them attempt to spin away from such passages.  There are many other similar verses that Trinitarians like Dalcour labor long and hard to explain away (e.g., Isaiah 9.6; John 14.16-18; 2 Corinthians 3.17; et al.).

*Moreover, Oneness believers gladly acknowledge that there’s a distinction between the Father and the Son of God.  Indeed, such a distinction is decidedly paramount to understanding Christ’s biblical identity.  However, Dalcour assumes that this “differentiation” demands “co-equal, co-eternal, divine, persons”—it does not.  Ironically, the very verses to which Dalcour appeals below actually militates against his doctrinal posturing, and that on the grammatical level.

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  He [the Son] is the image of the invisible God [the Father].”  Consider also, as we have shown (cf. Chapter 2, 2.4.4), that Paul’s main purpose for writing the book of Colossians was to provide a meaningful refutation of the proto-Gnostic ideology concerning spirit versus matter.

*Note above that Paul defines God’s Son as the One in whom we have “redemption” and “the forgiveness of sins.”  Specifically whom “redeemed” us—a “pre-existent 2nd of 3 co-equal, divine persons” or the “God-Man?”  This is both the grammar and context of this ancient hymn, as Dalcour accurately points out.

The Gnostic system did not allow Jesus to be the Creator of something so inherently evil as “matter.”  In light of this, Paul provides a clear anti-Gnostic polemic by firmly demonstrating that Jesus the Son of God did in fact create all things. Note the clear and forceful (and even redundant) way he presents this:  By Him [en autōall things [panta] were created … all things [panta] have been created through Him [di’ autou] and for Him [eis auton].  He is before all things [autos estin pro pantōn], and in Him [en autōall things [panta] hold together” (emphasis added).

*Both above and below we have exegetically demonstrated that the force of these prepositional constructs and pronouns used by Paul do not teach a “pre-existent Son of God” as a “second divine person in the Trinity” if the inspired text itself is allowed to stand alone.

The following grammatical aspects pointedly codify Paul’s argument:

1.  Along with John 1:3, Paul employs the neuter panta, which indicate that the Son was the actual Creator of all things.  White (1998: 213) remarks on the theological implication of Paul’s use of the neuter:   

It is significant that Paul does not use the more popular terms pas or pan, both of which had meanings in Greek philosophy that allowed the creation to be a part of God or God a part of creation (as in pantheism).  Instead, he uses a term that makes the creation a concrete, separate entity with the real existence.

*We are rather puzzled how Dalcour thinks Paul’s usage of πάντα (panta) in this text vindicates the Son of God as a supposed collateral co-existent divine person?  The Greek adjective πάντα (panta) here is merely the nominative neuter plural form of πᾶς (pas).  There is absolutely no theological significance relative to the Godhead in this form of the adjective—and is but another case of a fertile Trinitarian imagination.

2.  Paul utilizes four different prepositions to magnify his affirmation that the Son was the Agent of creation:  All things were created “by/in Him” (en + dative; vv. 16, 17); “through Him” (dia + genitive; v. 16); and “for Him” (eis + accusative; v. 16); and, He is “before all things” (pro + genitive; v. 17).  To say again, Paul is speaking here of the Son, not the Father (cf. v. 14).

*Here’s the actual Greek text of Colossians 1.16 (NA28):

ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα

ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,

τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα,

εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες

εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε ἐξουσίαι·

τὰ πάντα διʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται·

“because in Him were created all things in the heavens and upon the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him.” (Colossians 1.16; BLB)

*Note the prepositional construct above translated “in Him” (ἐν αὐτῷ + dative) in the opening (ὅτι) dependent-causal clause.  Though there are at least ten different forms for ἐν + dative, the most straightforward meaning of this particular preposition governing a dative case pronoun (αὐτῷ) is:  “properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) ‘in the realm (sphere) of,’ as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within)” (cf. Greek prepositional chart online [http://www.chioulaoshi.org/BG/Lessons/lesson05.html]; also see http://biblehub.com/greek/1722.htm).  This is quite different in both translation and meaning from Dalcour’s theologically preferred “by Him” rendering above.  

*Significantly, Dalcour apparently fails to realize above that the verb translated “were created” appears in the aorist tense, passive—contra the active—voice.  Exegetically, a passive voice verb generally denotes the subject (in this case the Son of God) as the recipient of the action whereas the active voice denotes the subject as the actual doer of the action.  If – as Dalcour repeatedly asserts – the Son of God is presented as the “actual Creator” in this hymnal context, the active voice would have been employed as consistently done elsewhere in Scripture when the subject is the confirmed doer of the verb.

*Indeed, in 3.10 (of the same book) Paul readily uses the aorist active form of this selfsame verb (κτίσαντος, contra ἐκτίσθη of 1.16).  Hence, the routine “deponent verb” dodge of this exegetical fact from Trinitarians will not do at this point.  Deponent verbs are typically verbs for which no active form is found in the Greek New Testament.  And, as demonstrated above, that is not the case with this particular verb.

*That is, when Paul wanted to state that the subject is “active,” as Dalcour inflicts into the text above, he precisely uses the active voice in Colossians—but does not do so at 1.16 as he does in 3.10.  To somehow shift the meaning of a passive voice verb in this text betrays an over-eager theological rush that negates even 1st year Greek grammar.

*Neither can Trinitarians appeal to the supposed “divine passive” of the verb translated “were created” in Colossians 1.16 since this is merely another theological assertion and not a direct exegesis of the actual inspired data itself.  See here renowned Greek grammarian Dr. William Mounce: “Divine passive” is more of a theological category than grammatical.  In form and basic meaning, it is simply a passive, but when God is the author of the verb, we call it a “divine passive.” (https://billmounce.com/blog/divine-passives-and-seminary-education-eph-3-19)  

*{Note: The (perfect) passive ἔκτισται is equally employed in the final clause of this hymnal text.  Indeed, in no portion of this entire context is the active voice used for “created” relative to the Son of God.  This is nothing more than Dalcour’s intrusion into the biblical data.}

*This does not even delve into the depths of (i) the specific psalm context of these passages, and (ii) the pronouns translated “Him” that modify their antecedent noun translated “image” (εἰκὼν), which is lexically defined as “an embodiment or living manifestation of God form, appearance (CO 1.15)” (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT).  Clearly “God the Son” did not posses an “embodiment” (a synonym for “incarnation” [cf. Oxford’s Dict.]) in eternity-past, unless Dalcour is now advocating bodily separation for each “divine person in the Trinity?”

*Renowned exegete Dr. Murray J. Harris comments on v. 15 (cf. Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament; Colossians and Philemon; p. 39):

Εἰκὼν (-όνος, ἡ, image) is nom. after the vb. εἰμί, and is anar. because a pred. noun after εἰμί sometimes lacks the article (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4).  It is definite (“the image,” “the visible image [NLT], “the visible representation” [Cassirer]) although anar.  An εἰκὼν is a “likeness” or a “visible expression.”  The degree of resemblance between the archetype and the copy must be determined by the word’s context but could range from a partial or superficial resemblance to a complete or essential likeness.  Given 1:9 and 2:9, εἰκὼν here signifies that Jesus is an exact, as well as a visible, representation of God…The invisible God, who dwells in unapproachable light (I Tim. 6:16), is visibly expressed in his Son (cf. John 1:18; 12:45; 14:9).

*Just for good measure – see here the New International Greek Testament Commentary quote concerning Colossians 1.15:

As the sequence of parallels with motifs characteristically used of Jewish Wisdom in these verses will confirm, the writer here is taking over language used of divine Wisdom and reusing it to express the significance of Christ, if not, indeed, taking over a pre-Christian hymn to Wisdom.  That is to say, he is identifying this divine Wisdom with Christ, just as ben Sira and Baruch identified divine Wisdom with the Torah (so also Heb. 1:3; cf. particularly Davies, Paul 168-75; Weiss, Untersuchungen 306-8).  The effect is the same:  not to predicate the actual (pre)existence of either Torah or Christ prior to and in creation itself, but to affirm that Torah and Christ are to be understood as the climactic manifestations of the preexistent divine wisdom, by which the world was created.  

It is Christ in his revelatory and redemptive significance who is the subject of praise here; “the description is revelatory, more than ontological” (Martin, Colossians and Philemon 57).  And the praise is that his redemptive work (1:14: “in whom we have the redemption”) is entirely continuous and of a piece with God’s work in creation.  It is the same God who comes to expression in creation and definitively in Christ; “he who speaks of Christ speaks of God” (Gnilka, Kolosserbrief 61).  In short, there is no dualism here.  Quite the contrary:  this is Christology set within Jewish monotheism and predicated on the Jewish theological axiom that the one God has chosen to reveal himself in and through his creative power (cf. Hegermann 101: “Dynamic Monism”; Wright, “Poetry” 114: “Christological Monotheism”).

*I ask the honest reader, does careful language such as “visible expression,” “representation,” and “copy” naturally communicate the eternal-heavenly realm—or is such grammar innately descriptive of the Incarnation?  I will simply allow the integrity and privacy of your conscience be the guide!

*In footnote 1 (quoted immediately below), Dalcour suggests three distinct methods of agency contingent upon various prepositional constructs.  He argues that the Son of God was the “intermediate agent” of creation in that He actually “carried out the act for the ultimate Agent,” viz. the Father:

In the New Testament, agency is commonly expressed in three ways:  ultimate agency (the ultimate source of the action; the one directly responsible for the action—apo, hupo, para, + the genitive); intermediate agency (that which the ultimate Agent uses to carry out the action—dia + the genitive); and impersonal agency (that which the ultimate Agent uses to perform the action—en, ek + the dative; cf. Wallace, 1996: 431-32).  Biblically, then, the Father was the source (ultimate Agent) of creation, the Son being the intermediate Agent in that He carried out the act for the ultimate Agent (cf. ibid, 431).  That the Son is the intermediate Agent of creation does not mean that He was a mere “helper” of sorts, or a secondary agent of God, but rather, He was the actual Agent of creation—namely, that which the ultimate Agent (the Father) used to carry out the actionnamely, the Creator of all things.

*As is obvious, there’s absolutely no “Biblical” distinction to be made between Dalcour’s superficial intermediate agency versus impersonal agency, for which he offers zero scriptural support – while feigning that this distinction is actually “Biblical?”  That is, neither a logical nor a Biblical contrast is to be made between that which is used to carry out the action (i.e., intermediate agency) versus that which is used to perform the action (i.e., impersonal agency)—these obviously describe one and the same verbal activity.

*Further, Dalcour again demonstrates his eisegesis (masquerading as exegesis) in asserting that God the Father “used” God the Son to “carry out the act” of creation—then somehow translates this into, “namely, the [Son is] Creator of all things.”  To reemphasize, this is nothing more than usual Trinitarian theology pawned off as supposed exegesis.  

*Stay tuned for more to come!   

    

Refutation to Edward Dalcour

*Below is an excerpt from a lengthy exegetical rejoinder I’ve been (slowly) working on in response to the contentions of Edward Dalcour toward Oneness Pentecostal beliefs.  Of course, I have repeatedly challenged Dalcour to a formal-public debate where his attacks can be openly scrutinized in the format of polemic platform.  After initially accepting my debate invitation (almost 8 months ago now) Dalcour has subsequently refused to follow through in committing to any such arrangements – all the while agreeing to meet other Oneness defenders.  The one-on-one debate offer to Mr. Dalcour is an open and standing challenge.  

*In the meantime, below I have copied from Dalcour’s website and offered categorical rebuttals immediately following his assertions with regard to the prologue of Hebrews.  Dalcour’s charges appear in *black – with my textual negations below in *blue (as here).  In some instances I have *emboldened certain points for highlight purposes.  Corroboration of Dalcour’s claims can be located HERE.  Enjoy!

(Dalcour):  Hebrews 1:2, 10:  “In these last days [God the Father] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world…And, ‘YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS.’”  The prologue of Hebrews annihilates the Oneness position regarding its rejection of the preexistence of the Person of the Son.

*Actually, the polar opposite is true as we shall demonstrate below.  I am always perplexed when Trinitarians appeal to these powerful texts.  I actually employ the same passages in teaching on the errors of Trinitarianism!  The prologue of Hebrews annihilates the Trinitarian hypothesis that the Son of God is a “preexistent, co-eternal, divine person.”  Not surprisingly, Dalcour omits the textual evidence in his partial quotation above that militates against his eisegesis (presented as “exegesis” of course).

(Dalcour):  In this prologue the full deity and unipersonality of the Son is cogently expressed (esp. vv. 3, 8).  Relative to the preexistence and creatorship of the Son, verses 2 and 10 more than adequately communicate both truths.  As with John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16-17 (and 1 Cor. 8:6), verse 2 affirms that the Son was the Creator.

*First, neither Hebrews 1.2 nor v. 10 state one thing about “the preexistence and creatorship of the Son.”  As we demonstrate below, such a construct is supplied exclusively by yet another overeager Trinitarian seeking to validate his predisposed theology—not by the actual exegesis of the text(s) itself (and certainly not “more than adequately”).  We have already exposed Dalcour’s faulty (mis)handling of the Greek text above relative to Colossians 1.16, John 1.3, etc.—and he’s back at it again with the prologue of Hebrews!

(Dalcour):  In this passage we find again the preposition dia, followed by the genitive:  “In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom [di’ hou] also He made the world” (emphasis added).

*Note that this text specifically states that God has spoken in His Son only in the “last days,” indicating that He has not spoken “in His Son” (ἐν υἱῷ + dative) prior to this same time-era.  It would be incredible to imagine that God never spoke in His “coeternal” Son from all of eternity?  Especially since Dalcour argues elsewhere that OT references to “the Angel of the LORD” is actually the Son of God speaking (even though the Hebrews prologue directly refutes this notion [cf. 1.5-6]).

(Dalcour):  Contextually, the core line of evidence that the author presents, which promptly affirms the Son’s creatorship, is the well-defined contrast between created things (viz., angels and the heavens and the earth) and the eternality of the divine Son (cf. vv. 2-3, 8-10).  In verses 10-12, the author (quoting the Father) applies Psalm 102:25-27 (101:25-27 in the LXX) to the Son.

*Contextually, the Son of God in this prologue is presented as:

(Vs. 1)  Speaking only in the “last days.”

*This is obviously language that, if allowed to speak for itself, hardly leads the honest reader to “co-eternal preexistence”—unless Dalcour is suggesting that “God the Son” was entirely mute from all of eternity (which he cannot do since he suggests that the Angel of the Lord in the OT was actually Christ [of course, with no textual support])?

(Vs. 2)  “Appointed heir of all things.”

*Would not a “co-eternal God the Son” already be “heir of all things?”  That is, what sense would it make for the writer of Hebrews to assert that a pre-existent God the Son was “appointed” (note the aorist indicative ἔθηκεν) as heir of all things?  And, which divine person did the “appointing?”  Can the first or third divine person in the Trinity “appoint” the supposed second divine person in the Trinity in eternity-past?  Such a construct is esp. problematic for Trinitarians since they teach that Christ “volunteered” in Heaven to become incarnate based upon a misunderstanding of Philippians 2.5-8 (i.e., The Carmen Christi).  

*Of course, such a theological construct naturally demands independent thought processes by each divine person within the Godhead—the very definition of polytheism (which would’ve been rejected out of hand by Hebrew believers soaked in OT concepts).

(Vs. 3)  The “exact imprint of his (i.e., the Father’s) nature.”

*Since when does an “imprint” (χαρακτὴρ) naturally carry the same time-continuum as the original from which the imprint derives?  Such a construct is a gross perversion of the literal meaning of this Greek noun in an attempt to force-feed predisposed theology into the biblical data.

*Trinitarian apologists typically state that the Greek noun χαρακτὴρ means “nature” in this text.  However, regarding this particular noun the highly exhaustive NIDNTTE (a defining work in exegetical lexicography) states:

In addition, we are told that the Son is ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (1:3a; see αὐγάζω G878; δόξα G1518).  The same idea is expressed with different language when Paul describes Christ as εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ, “the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15; see εἰκών G1635), and when Jesus himself says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The context of Heb. 1 makes clear that the writer’s purpose was to stress the glory of the Son and the uniqueness of his revelation.  The Son who controls the beginning and the end stands in a unique relationship (a) to God, whose effulgence and image he is; (b) to the universe, which he upholds; and (c) to the church, which he has purified from sins. F. F. Bruce writes: “Just as the image and superscription on a coin exactly correspond to the device on the die, so the Son of God ‘bears the very stamp of his nature’ (RSV).  The Greek word charaktēr, occurring only here in the New Testament, expresses this truth even more emphatically than eikōn. . . . Just as the glory is really in the effulgence, so the substance (Gk. hypostasis) of God is really in Christ, who is its impress, its exact representation and embodiment.  What God essentially is, is made manifest in Christ.  To see Christ is to see what the Father is like” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [1964], 6).

*BDAG:  2 someth. produced as a representation, reproduction, representation, fig., of God ἄνθρωπον ἔπλασεν τῆς ἑαυτοῦ εἰκόνος χαρακτῆρα (God) formed a human being as reproduction of his own identity/reality (s. εἰκών 2) 1 Cl 33:4 (cp. OGI 383, 60 of a picture χ. μορφῆς ἐμῆς; 404, 25; Philo, Det. Pot. Ins. 83 calls the soul τύπον τινὰ καὶ χαρακτῆρα θείας δυνάμεως).  Christ is χαρ. τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ an exact representation of (God’s) real being Hb 1:3 (ὑπόστασις 1a).

 *Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon on the Greek NT:  χαρακτήρ, ῆρος, ὁ. originally engraver or engraving tool; used figuratively in the NT of Christ in relation to God exact representation, precise reproduction, impress (HE 1.3).

 *Louw-Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based upon Semantic Domain:  58.62 χαρακτήρ η̂ρος m: a representation as an exact reproduction of a particular form or structure – exact representation. ὅς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τη̂ς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τη̂ς ὑποστάσεως αὐτου̂ who is the reflection of his glory and the exact representation of his being HEB. 1:3.

*Again, to seek an illegitimate transfer of the same time-age continuum to the “reproduction” or “stamp” as the original that initially caused the “impress” aborts all linguistic norms in a desperate attempt to protect a religious tradition (masquerading as “exegesis” of course).  Are the “divine persons in the Trinity” so radically separated that they can be distinguished via “embodiment” (cf. Bruce above)?  If so, what has suddenly happened to their “ontological equality?”

(Vs. 3d)  (The Son of God) sat down at the right hand of God only “when he had accomplished cleansing for sins,” indicating that the Son of God was not in a position of power (i.e., the Jewish idiom right hand) from eternity.  Was a “co-eternal God the Son” not in the position of authority and power in Heaven from all the days of eternity?

(Vs. 4)  He (the Son of God) both “became” and “inherited a name” better than the angels?  If, as Trinitarians demand in these texts, God the Son is being presented as “co-eternal”—why does this text explicitly state that the Son of God “became” (literally, “having become” [aorist participial tag γενόμενος]) better than the angels?  Wouldn’t God the Son have already been better than angels from all of eternity?

*Similarly, if the Son “inherited” or “obtained” a name superior to the angels, how would this square with the Trinitarian notion that “the Son” has been His name from all of eternity (esp. since Trinitarians inform us that “the Son” is the name being described in Matthew 28.19)?  A “co-equal, co-eternal, divine person” could not “inherit” a name that He already possessed from all of eternity!

(Vs. 5)  The Son is said to be “fathered” (perfect active indicative γεγέννηκά) in a particular day and “I will be (future indicative ἔσομαι) his father and he will (future indicative verb) be my son” (Messianic prophecies from Psalm 2.7; 2 Samuel 7.14).  Can you imagine the look on my son’s face if I told him that someday I “will be” his father?  Does this even remotely sound like the normal rules of linguistics at this point (ironically, this is the same vehicle to which Dalcour appeals [i.e., normative linguistics])?

*That is, who, allowing such language to stand on its own strength, would naturally conclude that these texts present the Son of God as possessive of the same “eternality” as the One who is doing the “fathering?”  No one who allows the inspired data to speak for itself—but it even gets worse for Trinitarians in this prologue!

(Vs. 6)  The angels of God are commanded to worship the Son when the Father “brings his firstborn into the world.”  This is but another textual demolition of the supposed “eternal God the Son” eisegesis.  Clearly the angels were not worshiping the Son from all of eternity or else they would not have been commanded to do what they were already doing—there would have been a seamless transition!

*It will do no good for Trinitarians to appeal to John 12.41 in connection with Isaiah 6 to argue that angels were worshiping the Son in the OT since Hebrews 1.6 directly refutes this notion—not to mention how such an interpretation would teach bodily separation within the Godhead (something Dalcour unwittingly argues for).

*Isaiah saw a vision of Yahveh, whom John describes as Jesus.  Since John presents Jesus as fully God in his gospel (cf. 1.1, 14; 20.28), it presents no problem for him to take words originally spoken by Isaiah of Yahveh Himself and apply them to Jesus.  Indeed, Paul attributed Isaiah’s words to “the Holy Spirit” (Acts 28.25).  Will Trinitarians now demand that Isaiah also saw the Holy Spirit in the OT?  In keeping with the macro-witness of Isaiah’s corpus, to the extent that the prophet “saw” Jesus denotes a prophetical-prolepsis of the coming Messiah, who would be the very Yahveh of the OT.  This is precisely the Oneness position!  

(Vs. 8)  The Son is called God who has a throne.  Since Dalcour informs us that this is God the Father directly addressing “God the Son” (viz. the vocative case ὁ θεὸς) in distinction from Himself from all of eternity (below Dalcour says, “the Father is speaking to the Son differentiating Himself from the Son [esp. in light of vv. 8-9])”—we should expect to see multiple thrones in the biblical depictions of Heaven.  Not only do we not see such imagery presented in Heaven—John saw one throne in heaven, with one person sitting on it—whom he explicitly identified as both God and His Son (Revelation 3.20-21; 4.2; 22.3-4)!  Indeed, Jesus is explicitly worshiped as the one God of Heaven in Revelation (cf. 1.8; 3.20-21; 4.2).  Think we’ll stick with the actual inspired eyewitnesses and leave later Trinitarian formulations to their own wild-eyed speculations.

*Further, if “God directly addresses God (the Son)” then Dalcour necessarily advocates such a pronounced separation within the Godhead that each divine person is possessive of divine centers of cognition, mental faculties or minds that they can address one another in identical fashion as human beings.  I ask the honest-sincere reader, does such imagery denote “one God” in any practical or logical sense of the phrase?  That is, how many divinity’s does such imagery naturally illuminate in your mind, one or two?

(Vs. 9)  The Son is said to have “loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.  So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.”  When did the Son of God “love righteousness,” “hate lawlessness,” have “your God,” (was) “anointed,” and possess “companions?”

*When did all of this take place?  In “pre-existent eternity” or during the Incarnation?  Did “God the Son” need “anointing” by “God the Father” in eternity over His “companions?”  Shouldn’t He have already been “anointed” as God-proper?  That is, can one co-equal, co-eternal divine person literally “anoint” another God-person in eternity?  If so, as stated above, how can Trinitarians such as Dalcour speak of “ontological co-equality?”

*The context and inspired grammar in these texts openly and rigorously militates against Dalcour’s wild-eyed interpolations.  Though not surprising at this point, it’s mind-boggling how Dalcour can appeal to the “context” of the Hebrew prologue—when this is the very thing that refutes his “co-eternal Son” impositions upon the text!

(Dalcour):  This is so heavily significant because (a) the Psalm is a reference to Yahweh and (b) the Father is speaking to the Son differentiating Himself from the Son (esp. in light of vv. 8-9).

*See above—this simply proves too much for Dalcour and the longer he is forced to chew on his dilemma the bigger it grows!

(Dalcour):  The referent to the pronoun su, “You” at the beginning of verse 10 (kai su) is back in verse 8: pros de ton huion— “but of the Son He [the Father] says.”  Irrefutably, it is God the Father directly addressing the Son.  In verse 8, the nominative for the vocative of address[6] is used, whereas in verse 10, the actual vocative of kurios (kurie) is used, which strengthens the author’s argument even more: “YOU, LORD [kurie], IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS.”

*First, we are rather perplexed at what Dalcour thinks the vocative case demands in this text?  The vocative is the case of direct address, but the texts being cited as addressing the Son of God here are respectively the LXX of Psalm 45.6 (v. 8) and Psalm 102.25-27 (v. 10).  More importantly, “he says” in Hebrews 1.8 is in italics indicating a conjecture by translators not found in the Greek text itself.  For this reason many exegetes have surmised that v. 8 has God “directly addressing” His Son through this Messianic prophecy of the Psalmist (cf. Acts 28.25-27, etc.).

*See here Oneness writer, Dr. Daniel Segraves (Note: It will do no good for Dalcour to object to my appeal to a Oneness academic since he appeals to Trinitarians at virtually every turn of his book—and we have equally marshaled Trinitarian scholars in this rejoinder.):

Hebrews 1.8:  In this case, the words “he says” are not in the Greek text; they are supplied by the translators.  An examination of Psalm 45:6, from which this verse is quoted, reveals immediately that the speaker is the human author of the psalm.  He declares, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Messiah’s deity.  (Hebrews, Better Things; Vol. 1, p. 51; Dr. Daniel L. Segraves)

*After a lengthy textual address of Hebrews 1.10, Segraves concludes (ibid.; pp. 54-58):  Since the immediate context of the quote from Psalm 102:25-27 does not suggest God is the speaker, and since the actual Hebrew text of Psalm 102 has the psalmist as the speaker throughout, it seems best to view the speaker in verses 10-12 as the psalmist.  If the writer of Hebrews intended to suggest that God was the speaker, it seems he would have begun his quote from the Septuagint at Psalm 102:23 so as to remove any question.

The point of verse 10, then, is that the Son is better than the angels because He laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of His hands.  It is interesting, though, that when the writer of Hebrews addressed the Creator, he identified Him—from the Septuagint—as Lord.  The Jewish readers of Hebrews would have understood this as a reference to Yahweh (“Jehovah,” KJV).  Why did the author not address Him as “Son,” as in verses 5 and 8?

It seems significant that, in speaking directly of creation, the writer of Hebrews did not use the term “Son,” but Lord”…Although the Son, as God manifest in flesh, is the Creator, when discussing the creation of all things, the author identified Himself as “Lord” (Yahweh). Creation preexisted the Incarnation, and the term “Son” can be used only in conjunction with the Incarnation.  Every reference to the Son in Hebrews has to do with the Incarnation…the word “Son” is not used of preincarnate deity…The Son is better than the angels because He is Yahweh who created all things, including the angels.

 *As pointed out above, the entire context of this prologue is irrefutably describing the Incarnation—and does absolutely nothing to advance Trinitarian theology.

*However, if Dalcour stubbornly persists in forcing his “God-speaking-to-God” eisegesis, will he equally claim that the Son of God has “hands” (v. 10) and a “throne” (v. 8) apart from God the Father?  That is, since Dalcour asserts that these texts teach “distinct co-eternal divine persons,” will he correspondingly demand bodily separation within the Godhead—each with independent “hands” and “thrones” in Heaven?  How far is he willing to push his interpolations contra allowing the context to define the text?  Or, will he now limit his applications to conform to his predisposed theology?  We await with great anxiety!  

*Simply put, it is hardly “irrefutable” that one Yahveh was addressing another Yahveh in eternity past, each with separate (or “distinct” as Dalcour likes to modify) divine centers of consciousness.  Such a tritheistic interpretation of the Hebrew prologue is especially problematic since the “most important commandment” is to confess that God is “one Lord [LXX, Yahveh]” (Mark 12.29) where Christ carefully employed the 3-3 masculine singular adjective “heis” (εἷς).  Since Dalcour is fond of appealing to consistent Greek usage, this adjective is used over 100 times in the NT and in no instance does it denote more than “one person”—and certainly not multiple Yahveh’s as Dalcour repeatedly postulates.

*Or, as the NIDNTTE states of the neuter form of this adjective:  From a different perspective, this truth is expressed clearly in Jesus’ claim, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).  We should not interpret these words to mean that the oneness of Jesus with the Father consists of the joining of two persons or beings who were formerly separated.  We must understand it rather in the light of John 14:9:  “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”  In a Christian sense no one can speak of God without speaking concretely of Jesus.

(Dalcour):  Conclusively, the prologue of Hebrews is one of the most theologically devastating prologues in all of the New Testament for Oneness defenders.  Not only does the prologue affirm the deity and eternality of the Son as well as the distinction between the Father and the Son, but also it clearly presents the Son as the actual Agent of creation, the Creator Himself.

*Actually, as demonstrated above, the diametrical opposite is true.  In fact, I would turn Dalcour’s assertion here completely around:  The prologue of Hebrews is one of the most theologically devastating prologues in all of the New Testament for Trinitarian defenders.  Unless, Trinitarian scholars wish to inform us that a “co-eternal God the Son person” had the following done to Him in eternity-past:

*Spoke only in “these last days” (v. 2, [this will not do for Dalcour since he suggests that “the Angel of the Lord” was the supposed “preincarnate Son”]), “appointed” heir of all things (v. 2), “became” better than angels (v. 4), inherited a name superior to the angels (v. 4), was told by God the Father that one “day” He would be His “Father” and He would be His “Son” (v. 5), angels had to be commanded to “worship” God the Son (v. 6), possesses a “throne” apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit (v. 8), has a “God” (v. 9), was “anointed” by another divine, co-equal God-person (v. 9), and had “companions” in eternity-past?

*Clearly the Hebrew prologue describes the Incarnation and does not switch midstream of this ancient hymn in supposedly presenting more than one “God-person”—to the embarrassment of Trinitarian apologists like Dalcour.  In sum, as we have demonstrated above, Dalcour’s “devastating” arguments against biblical Christianity and monotheism destroys nothing other than the biblical data itself.  

*Interestingly, it is noteworthy that the passages used by Trinitarians to teach Christ as a “distinct pre-existent God the Son person” appear in a celebratory psalm context (cf. http://1024project.com/2013/10/25/the-hymns-of-the-bible/).  That is, segments of the NT such as Philippians 2.5-11, Colossians 1.15-20, Hebrews 1, John 1, I Corinthians 8.6, et al. were used in context to laud the Messiah’s coming as God enfleshed and to commemorate His efficacious cross-work, which was foreordained before the creation of the ages (e.g., Revelation 13.8, John 1.1-14; 17.1-6).  

*In this biblical context, let us join in with the inspired writers of Scripture in glorifying Christ as the “only God” (I Timothy 1.17) revealed in the flesh—predestined prior to very creation itself!

*Thank you for reading!

Refutation to KJV-Onlyism

*Elder J.R. Ensey just released his most recent (435 p.) work on the current errors being propagated by several ardent – albeit misinformed – Oneness KJV-Only advocates.  As a contributor to this book I can attest that Elder Ensey leaves no stone unturned and factually refutes the outright misinformation put forth in recent years concerning this topic.

*In this tome, Bro. Ensey interacts with renowned text-critics themselves as well as consults and offers further insight(s) into the most respected and meticulous treatments of this issue.  For those interested in the raw facts of text-critical issues and the transmission process – devoid of emotional appeals – this highly exhaustive publication is easily the most recent and in-depth treatment of this subject matter.

*Of course, we have addressed this topic before on this blog HERE (see also the “comments” section at the bottom of this article).

*Elder’s Ensey’s treatise can be purchased HERE.

*God Bless!

Analysis and Refutation of the Attacks of Dr. James White

*The following rejoinder is written in response to Dr. James White’s recent comments on his podcast about the (supposed) beliefs of Oneness Pentecostal believers.  On his show, White is responding to the assertions of neophyte Oneness believer Marcus Rogers who posted a clip on-line attacking the doctrine of the Trinity.  Readers can corroborate White’s remarks with what appears below here: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2016/02/25/south-africa-update-responding-marcus-rogers-trinity/

*Beginning at around the 28-minute mark, White begins his usual erroneous charges against what he thinks Oneness Pentecostals actually believe and teach.  I pick up the narrative at this mark and have posted White’s most relevant remarks below.  White’s comments will appear below in *black, with my responses in *blue (as here) immediately underneath White’s assertions.  God Bless!

(White):  “Oneness Pentecostals deny the deity of the Son of God.  They believe the Son is a created being who began His existence at His birth in Bethlehem.”

*First, there’s a sense in which White himself believes the Son of God came into existence at Bethlehem—unless White wishes to inform us that Christ’s humanity equally “pre-existed His birth at Bethlehem?”  If so, then White needs to go shake hands with his Mormon brethren!

*That is, if White concedes that the Son of God’s humanity was an aspect of His existence (and I don’t know anyone that would deny this), he equally confesses a facet of the Son of God that came into His existence at Bethlehem.  Why chide us for denying that the Son of God preexisted as a separate divine individual apart from the Father and Holy Spirit, when White does the identical thing with Christ’s humanity?  Double standards are usually a sign of failed argumentation.  

*Worse, Oneness believers deny neither the Son of God’s deity nor His preexistence.  We deny that the Son of God preexisted in the fashion that Trinitarians claim, namely, as a “second of three separate divine individuals—each with separate centers of consciousness.”  Guilty as charged and proud of it!  The Bible nowhere teaches such clear and open tritheism, despite how many times Trinitarian apologists like White shout otherwise (they fight against themselves with their own testimony, as we shall see below).

*The Scriptures teach that the Son of God is very God Himself revealed as a man (I Timothy 3.16; John 1.1-14; Colossians 2.9; et al.).  That is, the Son is the one OT Yahveh in His human existence, confined to the self-imposed limitations of the incarnation.  However, the Bible equally teaches that He is the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God according to His divinity.  The Son will always be God enfleshed.

*Moreover, the Scriptures clearly teach that the Son of God preexisted His birth in Bethlehem in God’s foreknowledge (Isaiah 9.6; Romans 5.14; John 1.1-5; Revelation 13.8; Colossians 1.15-18; et. al.).  However, one will search in vain to locate the Son of God identified as a supposed “second of three separate, co-equal, co-eternal, divine individuals in the Trinity.”

*Such a concept would be completely foreign to the Jewish writers of the Bible (Note:  I know about Segal’s “Two Powers in Heaven” work, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.  Suffice it to say for now that I’ve read scathing academic rejoinders to Segal’s volume).

*Ironically, White repeatedly attempts to correct Rogers on what Trinitarians believe and yet he clearly doesn’t understand what Oneness Pentecostals believe, as evidenced by several of his fallacious accusations below (even though he’s been repeatedly told otherwise).

(White):  “Trinitarians don’t believe in three divine beings.  Rogers does not understand the difference between ‘being’ and ‘person’.”

*In our 2011 debate in Brisbane, AUS, White openly “affirmed” that God the Father, “God the Son,” and “God the Holy Spirit” existed as “three divine individuals, each with their own separate centers of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (see my initial cross-examination of White).  Obviously, it doesn’t take a NASA rocket scientist to see that this explanation is clearly tantamount to three divine beings.

*Indeed, were I to ask Trinitarians to provide a definition of tritheism-proper, how would White’s confession above look any different other than different names for each “separate divine individual?”

*Further, Marcus Rogers has no need to “understand the difference between ‘being’ and ‘person’”—since there is no difference! Every human “being” that White has ever met is equally a “person!”  This is nothing more than a Trinitarian fabrication in an attempt to dodge the self-inflicted bullet of tritheism.  There’s simply no Scripture whatsoever to support this made-up assertion.

(White):  “The ‘Modalists’ deny multiple divine persons.”

*First, Oneness believers are not “Modalists” in the sense White thinks.  Ancient Modalists believed in three successive modes of God’s existence.  That is, the Father became the Son, who then in turn became the Holy Spirit.  Oneness Pentecostals believe in three simultaneous modes of existence of the one single God—big difference.  And, Trinitarians have been told this ad nauseum infinitum.  Yet Trinitarian scholars just plod along with their fingers stuck in their ears as if we’re not informing them otherwise.

*Ironically, White and Trinitarians equally believe in three simultaneous modes of existence within God.  They simply define these simultaneous modes of existence (radically) different than Oneness believers do, namely, as “separate divine individuals” (then tell us that we have the “schizophrenic” God?).  Hence, Oneness believers could just as easily charge Trinitarians with “Modalism” in this sense.

(White):  “In Oneness, the Son of God is two persons and the Father indwells the human being who is the Son.  To the Oneness, the prayers of Jesus are the human side of Jesus praying to the divine side of Jesus.”

*In Trinitarianism, the prayers of Jesus are “God the Son,” with an independent-separate center of consciousness, praying to God the Father, who is equally possessive of an independent-separate center of consciousness (and “God the Holy Spirit” is said to have the same).  Each are fully God, but so radically separated from one another that one on Earth can pray to another in Heaven – as God.  Hence, in Trinitarian theology, “God prays to God” (some of the extreme tritheists even translate John 1.1 as “God was with God”).  Who has the greater problem with the prayer life of Jesus?

*Further, the Scriptures themselves teach that Christ “prayed in the days of His flesh” (Hebrews 5.7).  Does this sound like “God is praying to God?”  Of course not.  This is simply one more Trinitarian fabrication.

*Jesus Christ prayed to God, who is ontologically an invisible, omnipresent Spirit. Jesus was a man “in every respect” like we are, excepting sin (Hebrews 2.17).  The prayers of Christ no more demand “separate divine individuals in the Trinity” than our prayers demand the same.  This is but another Trinitarian assumption pawned off as supposed fact.

*Moreover, Trinitarians become irate when we tell them that they are actually tritheists masquerading as “monotheists” (even though they’re the one’s who supply the ammunition).  They call for fairness in identification, then turn right around and charge that Oneness believers have a “bi-personal Jesus.”  I do not know of a single Oneness believer who radically separates and identifies Jesus as “two persons.”

*In fact, both Oneness and Trinitarianism confess that Jesus is both God and Man without mixing the two natures.  If Oneness theology translates into a supposed “bi-personal Jesus” in this regard, then so does Trinitarianism (unless they wish to confess the ancient heresy known as “Uticianism?”)!  This is a straw man attack propped up solely by Trinitarian apologists, but not the actual confession of Oneness advocates.  Perhaps Trinitarians should allow us to define what we believe instead of always trying to inform us of the same?

*Worse, what White erroneously charges Oneness with, Trinitarians whole-heartedly confess in the overall theological picture.  That is, White ridicules us for something we do not accept regarding the identity of Christ (i.e., a “bi-personal” Jesus), then commits the very thing he accuses us of as it relates to the identity of God altogether (i.e., a “tri-personal” God).  The typical unequal scales of Trinitarians are polished and shining nicely!

*Regarding the Father indwelling the human being, Jesus Himself stated, “the Father dwells in me” (John 14.10 {see also 2 Corinthians 5.19; Colossians 2.9}).  Tell us Mr. White, when Jesus spoke here did His statement include His humanity?  Or, will you now offer a “bi-personal Jesus” and tell us that the prayers of Christ do not include His humanity?

*We simply allow the statements of Jesus to stand on their own merits and inform our theological conclusions.  Indeed, it’s the biblical data itself that holds us hostage in demanding that we deny your “three divine individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness” (e.g., Colossians 2.8-10; Mark 12.28; John 8.24).

*Finally, we do not define the Son of God as merely a “human being.”  And, you’ve been told this ad nauseum.  Are you not “willing to learn” like you’re repeatedly asking other to do from you?

(White):  In Oneness theology, the created Son prays to the uncreated Father. After the Resurrection, the Son of God becomes the Holy Spirit to the Oneness advocate.

*Then I take it you don’t believe the prayers of Christ involve His “created” humanity?  Tell us Mr. White, was Jesus’ humanity “created” or “uncreated?”  The direct and straight answer to this question will reveal your (typical) hypocritical charges.

*We do not confess that the Son of God “becomes” the Holy Spirit and ceases being the Son as in ancient Modalism.  Rather, Jesus Christ is biblically identified as simultaneously Father (John 14.9-10; Isaiah 9.6), Son (Luke 1.35) and Holy Spirit (John 14.16-18; 2 Corinthians 3.14-17).  “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form” (Colossians 2.9).  This is not a “misunderstanding” of these passages, but rather is the straightforward, normative reading of these Scriptures.  One has to perform theological gymnastics to somehow cram “three separate divine individuals” into the verses referenced above.

*And, for good measure, “God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father’!” (Galatians 4.6).  Once again, we will accept the testimony of Scripture over-against the religious traditions of Trinitarians.

(White):  “We make the distinctions between ‘being’ and ‘person’ everyday of our lives.”

*We would be quite curious what day of our lives we would not equally identify a human “being” as a “person?”  Every human “being” is simultaneously a “person.”  Again, this is nothing more than a Trinitarian invention in a desperate attempt to force their religious tradition into the biblical text—a text that never states the same (in over 1,500 years of Spirit-breathed Scripture).

(White):  “Marcus Rogers assumes Yahweh is uni-personal.”

*How else would White have us to interpret the over 9,000 single-person-pronoun that God used to define Himself (e.g., Isaiah 44.24; 45.5; etc.)?  If we heard someone using a single-person-pronoun to identify themselves—then that same individual claimed they existed as “three separate co-equal individuals”—we’d be calling some 1-800 numbers for them!

*Trinitarians impose “multiple separate divine individuals” on a single-person-pronoun then inform Oneness believers that we deny the inspired grammar?  White has it diametrically opposite in his charge above—it’s the Trinitarians doing the “assuming” relative to God’s identity.  They’ll never locate their assumptions in the actual inspired text itself!

(White):  “The Bible forces Trinitarians to believe in one divine being and three divine persons.”

*Since “the Bible” is White’s final source of appeal here, specifically where can we locate and read this hostage-taking “force” in the same:_________?  In reality, the Bible “forces” the honest heart to deny the concept of “three divine individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness” and simply affirm that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is none other than the sole God of the Bible enfleshed (e.g., Mark 12.29; John 8.24; Colossians 2.9; I John 5.20, I Timothy 3.16).

(White):  “Trinitarians understand Matthew 28.19 in the light of the baptism of Christ in chapter 3, where the Father speaks from Heaven.  Jesus was not a ‘ventriloquist’.”

*If both the Father and the Son are “equally” God, then White’s theological construct still has God (the Father) speaking to Himself (“God the Son”)—which makes God as a whole a “ventriloquist!”  White clearly does not comprehend the omnipresence of God on this point.  God is able to speak simultaneously to someone in America, Africa, and China, but this obviously does not demand “three separate divine persons” for each simultaneous manifestation of God.

*Further, White again demonstrates his conceptual tritheism by appealing to this passage in an attempt to validate his “Trinity of divine persons” hypothesis.  For if God the Father, “God the Son” (completely unscriptural identification of Christ) and “God the Holy Spirit” are as spatially and radically separated as a voice in heaven, a human being on Earth, and a bird—Trinitarians need to quit masquerading as “monotheists.”  Such a theological formulation would teach bodily separation and a radical separation in the Godhead to a degree that each “divine individual” can speak and act independently of one another, as God.

*Moreover, White assumes that chapter 28 is to be interpreted in light of chapter 3, but never proves his assertion.  I would argue the diametrical opposite.  That is, the culmination of Matthew’s gospel sheds further light on previous revelation.

*Indeed, “progressive revelation” is the whole premise of the Trinitarians appeal to the NT as the lens by which they interpret Yahveh’s self-identifying claims in the OT, but somehow the salt has lost its taste when this hermeneutic model is applied to individual books of the Bible?  Let all the church say, “agenda-driven-theology!”

(White):  “In Matthew 28.19, “name” is singular, but it doesn’t say ‘Jesus’ and He’s not ‘squishing’ the Father, Son and Holy Spirit into one person.”

*Neither does this (or any other) biblical text say, “Trinity, separate divine persons, co-eternal Son, God the Son, etc.”  What White requires of Rogers he himself cannot produce.  If doctrine is established on what the Bible does “not” say (a negative hermeneutic), then the Trinity dogma quickly dissolves.

*Further, the apostles to whom Christ was speaking understood His command (i.e., imperative mood) in Matthew 28.19 as describing the name of Jesus.  How do we know?  Because that is what “name” they baptized in every where in the biblical data (e.g., Acts 2.38, Acts 8.16, Acts 10.48, Acts 19.5, Acts 22.16, Romans 6.3, I Corinthians 1.13, I Corinthians 6.11, Galatians 3.27, Colossians 2.12, et. al.).  Since White is arguing from silence above, perhaps he can point us to the passage where converts were baptized in “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”:__________?  

*We’ve had no problem demonstrating our baptismal formulae above – surely White can provide the same baptismal passages for his position?  This does not even delve into the law of Greek prepositions used in these accounts (cf. ὄνομα in BDAG, Bruce, Thayer, et al.).  White is fond of appealing to Greek prepositions.  Will he hold to the same “consistency” he’s continuously calling for in Muslims, KJVO’s, etc.?

*I asked White in our debate in 2011 to identify “the name” of Matthew 28.19—and I’m still waiting for an answer!  White does not provide an explanation of the single “name” in said passage, but merely resorts to reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”) in ridiculing that Matthew 28.19 is “not squishing” the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together into one person.

*However, White is here militating against the words of Jesus and the consistent usage of the Greek noun translated “name” (ὄνομα) in the Bible.  That ὄνομα is used to mean “person” in Scripture can be demonstrated with but a cursory glance.

*“At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons {ὀνομάτων} was there together)…” (Acts 1.15; NASB).

*The Greek noun translated “persons” above is—you guessed it—the genitive plural form of the singular noun ὄνομα, rendered “name” in Matthew 28.19!  Same word, different form.  Indeed, in Jewish culture (to whom Matthew was addressed), it was impossible to divorce an individuals “name” from their “person” (e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Peter, Paul).  The onus rests squarely on the shoulders of White and his fellow Trinitarians to prove that “name” does not denote “person” and to assert such is to turn this text on its head.

{Note:  It will not do to appeal to the Granville Sharp Rule in this text since Sharp never applied his rule to Matthew 28.19 and he stated there was an exception to this rule should the context “explain or point out plainly the person to whom the two nouns relate.”  This is clearly the case in Matthew 28.19 based upon the genitival phrases translated “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”—modifying the single “name.”  Further, as renowned linguist Dr. Daniel Wallace, in an email to Jason Weatherly asserted, “Sharp didn’t spend much time on his 6th rule.  But it’s an overstatement to say that just because two articular nouns [are] joined by ‘kai/and’ they must refer to different persons.  There are several examples where this is not the case.”}

(White):  “There was never a time in Jesus’ life when He was the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

*To the contrary, we’ve just read it in Matthew 28.19!  The same “name of…the Son” was equally the “name of the Father and….the Holy Spirit.”  What is “the name of the Son”:________?  This name is simultaneously the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit.

*Further, when asked about the whereabouts of the Father, Jesus expressed surprise that Philip still did not comprehend that He was the One he was inquiring about: “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?”

*I ask the honest reader, does Christ’s response here make any sense whatsoever if He’s not the very one Philip was asking to see?  Imagine asking me to show you my father, who’s someone other than me, and I respond by saying, “Have I been with you so long and you do not know me?  How can you say, ‘Show me your father’?” Completely non-sensical. (See also Isaiah 9.6, Colossians 2.9)

*Clearly Jesus is the Son of God (e.g., Luke 1.35).

*Jesus is identified as the Holy Spirit in the clearest possible way, “But their minds were hardened.  For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.  Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.  But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3.14-17; ESV).

*The typical Trinitarian dodge in this text is to say that since Paul was contrasting the OT letter of the Mosaic Law with the liberty of NT faith, the phrase “the Lord” is referring to Yahveh of the OT.  However, note that in v. 14 Paul states that “only in Christ” is the veil removed.  V. 16 further explicates this declaration in affirming “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.”  Paul had just expressed in concrete terms that “only through Christ” is the veil removed.  He is using “Christ” and “Lord” interchangeably, as was Paul’s habit.  Indeed, he had already informed this same church that to them there was “one Lord, Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 8.6).

*It is at this point that Paul drops the hammer: “Now the Lord (i.e., the same one in whom the veil in removed, Christ) is the Spirit.”  It could not possibly be plainer and it’s embarrassing to watch Trinitarians attempt to evade the plain reading of the inspired biblical data here (and elsewhere).  They are forced to spin this text topsy-turvy to accommodate their religious tradition, as with many other passages.

*Additionally, in Revelation 2.2-3.22 Jesus is the speaker to the churches, but in each instance he concludes by exhorting that they should hear what “the Spirit says” (τὸ Πνεῦμα λέγει).  The speaker in these texts identifies Himself as “the Spirit” and White is simply mistaken.

(White):  “Marcus Rogers is assuming something contradictory to what the rest of the Bible teaches (i.e., that “Jesus” is “the name” of Matthew 28.19).”

*Actually, the polar opposite is true.  It’s White who’s “assuming” that Jesus is not taught as the name of the Father and Holy Spirit elsewhere in the biblical data—it most certainly is (e.g., John 17.11; John 14.26).  White merely “assumes the assumption” of Marcus Rogers without proving the same!

(White):  “The Oneness position cannot survive the gospel of John where the distinctions between Father, Son and Holy Spirit are clearly made.”

*Though the irony is not surprising after years of dealing with White, it is the doctrine of the “Trinity” that cannot survive the gospel of John, in particular chapters 14-16 as well as the Johannine prologue.

*Oneness believers readily affirm that there’s a distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  However, White assumes that distinction automatically translates into “multiple divine individuals, each with their own-independent centers of consciousness.”  It does not and this is one of several sticking points between Oneness and Trinitarians (and always will be).  For clarity, let us define the biblical distinctions between the terms Father, Son and Holy Spirit below.

*The Father is biblically presented as the One OT God who functions transcendent to the space-time continuum and outside the limitation of the Incarnation (Malachi 2.10; Matthew 3.17; John 12.28).  The Son of God is identified as this self-same single God descendent as a human being for the sake of redeeming a lost humanity (contra just “the elect”) and functioning within the confines of the self-imposed limitations of the Incarnation (I Timothy 3.16; John 1.1; Titus 2.13).  The Holy Spirit is this self-same God in emanation by supernaturally interacting within His creation (e.g., Judges 14.6; Luke 1.35; Acts 2.1-4).

*Three simultaneous manifestations of the one person of God:  The Father is God Transcendent, the Son is God Descendent, the Holy Spirit is God in Emanation.  Not “three divine individuals, each with their own separate centers of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (a clear departure from biblical monotheism).

(White):  “In John 17.5, is Jesus having an internal conversation?  Is Jesus schizophrenic?”

*Perhaps White should ask himself this question about God altogether at the baptism of Christ, the prayers of Christ and Genesis 1.26 (where Trinitarians attempt to tell us that God is speaking “internally”).  That is, if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “co-equal, co-eternal, divine individuals,” then God is “having an internal conversation” in these supposed “Trinitarian” proof texts.  “Schizophrenic” indeed!  Of course, this is another clear case of argumentum ad absurdum by White, a logical fallacy that a professional apologist should know better than to make.

(White):  “Jesus uses personal pronouns of the Father and says the Father is the ‘only true God’.”

*White’s double standard concerning single-person-pronoun usage has been pointed out to him ad nauseum infinitum.  That is, in the NT he argues that a single-person-pronoun denotes a one-single person, which concedes the normative understanding of a single-person-pronoun.

*However, when the Trinitarian pronoun model is applied to the ca. nine thousand single-person pronouns used in the OT by Yahveh, suddenly the same pronouns mean “being” and not a sole “person” for White.  Why is it that a single-person-pronoun in the NT means “one person,” but the same single-person-pronoun doesn’t mean “one person” in Yahveh’s OT self-identifications?  Simple, theological preference!

*The shift in meaning of the pronouns by Trinitarians plainly exposes their agenda-driven theological conclusions.  Ironically, White is constantly parroting the terms “sola Scriptura” (Latin ablative for by Scripture alone) and “tota Scriptura” (all or total Scripture), then shifts his grammatical criteria from the NT to the OT, or, the “totality” of Scripture.

*Moreover, how White can actually quote that the Father is “the only true God” as coming off the lips of the One Trinitarians tell us is the “second of three co-equal, co-eternal divine individuals” is as mind-boggling as Hillary Clinton identifying a politician as a “liberal!”

*Indeed, the masculine singular adjective (which is highly significant also) translated “only” (μόνον) in John 17.3 is lexically defined as:

“(2) as singly existing only, lone (JN 17.3)” (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT).

“58.50 μόνος (1) η, ον: the only entity in a class – only one, alone” (Louw & Nida; cf. BDAG; LXX).

*Hence, when John uses the Greek noun translated “God” (θεὸν), he’s not thinking of “divine members in the Trinity,” again, a concept that would’ve been completely foreign to the OT canon that he was raised on and hence his entire paradigmatic view of Scripture.

(White):  “In John 17.3 Jesus said eternal life consists of two things, both the Father and the Son.”

*And?  Is this supposed to automatically equate to “divine individuals with separate minds?”  This is merely White’s empty assumption and not the actual biblical data itself.  What about the Holy Spirit?  Why does Jesus omit the supposed “third divine individual” from the criteria of eternal life (as is very often the case)?  Where has the “co-equality” of the Trinity suddenly gone?

(White):  “In John 17, the cross is a accomplished reality from Jesus’ perspective, it is (definitely) going to happen.”

*Agreed, but it had not actually happened yet had it?  White actually empowers the Oneness point here regarding John 17.5.  In v. 4 Jesus declares, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”  Had Jesus actually accomplished “the work” of the cross yet?  No.

*In fact, the surrounding context of John 17 is littered with predestination-anticipatory statements:

V. 11: “I am no longer in the world;” {Yet, clearly He was still “in the world.”}

V. 18: “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” {Yet He had not yet given the great commission to go “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28.18).}

*Incidentally, notice the “sent” language used by Christ, which, certainly does not naturally lend itself to the idea He “willingly volunteered” to descend from Heaven to Earth.  It’s likewise interesting that Jesus declares in v. 4 He was “given” the work “to do.”  Again, does this sound like He “volunteered to come from Heaven” as Trinitarians inform us?  Is this the normative language someone uses who freely undertakes a task?  Of course not.

*It’s within this surrounding predestined context that v. 5 appears.  That is, John 17 is littered with Christ speaking in a very real, but celebratory-anticipative sense of the work to be done—a work that was just as much a “reality” as if already accomplished.  Just as the “glory” of the cross before the world existed (Revelation 13.8; Romans 5.14).  To deny this is to deny the testimony of Scripture.

(White):  “Jesus said ‘Glorify me with the glory I had by your side’.”

*The Greek preposition and pronoun translated “with you” in the last clause of 17.5 is παρὰ σοί in the dative case with a semantic range.  See below the UBS Concise Greek-English Dictionary:

παρά prep. with:  (1) genitive, from, of (τὰ παρά τινος one’s provisions, money or gift; οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ his family #Mr 3:21); by, with; (2) dative, with, in the presence of, before; in the judgment of; near, beside; for; (3) accusative, beside, by, at; on, along; to; than, more than, above; rather than; contrary to.

*As anyone can plainly see, “beside” is only one of several potential meanings of this preposition in this case.  As demonstrated above, παρὰ + dative equally means “in the judgment of,” which is perfectly aligned with the Oneness position (cf. L&N, Thayer, et. al. for this meaning of παρὰ + dative).  Trinitarians cherry-pick the definition that seems to best fit their theology in John 17.5 and we simply have another case of creedal belief pawned off as grammatical fact.

*Out of the 24 reputable translations that I checked, not a single translation adopts White’s quirky rendering, combining numerous professional linguists. (Note: He did the same thing with Philippians 2 in our debate in 2011, providing his own peculiar translation, which he failed to inform the audience was his personal rendering.  Guess I can now do the same thing in John 10.30?)

*Additionally, if White’s divine members of the Trinity are each “fully God,” then they are each omnipresent.  If each member of the Trinity is not omnipresent then they cannot be “fully God.”  Either way, omnipresence does not have a “side” (cf. Robertson’s WP) and this Trinitarian conundrum has been pointed out to White ample times before.

(White):  “Jesus doesn’t say He was a ‘glorious plan.’ He said ‘with the glory I had,’ is this a ‘plan’ speaking?  This is desperation from the Oneness at this point and is painful to watch.”

*Since White has now resorted to formulating doctrine based upon what Jesus did “not say,” neither does Jesus say He was a “second of three divine, co-equal, co-eternal individuals” in eternity past.  This is supplied by an over-eager Trinitarian exegesis—“desperation” indeed!  It’s simply nowhere found in the mouth of Jesus despite how hard Trinitarians like White try to cram these words down the same.

*White often charges Oneness believers with supposedly having a “bi-personal” Jesus who can think and act independently of either His divinity or humanity at any given time (though White unwittingly believes the same thing, unless he wishes to blend Christ’s divinity and humanity?).  Though we certainly acknowledge an ontological distinction between the deity and humanity of Jesus, as pointed out above, White’s mischaracterization is not the confession of Oneness Pentecostals and is tantamount to but another straw man attack.

*Yet, amusingly, this is the very thing that White is doing in his interpretation of John 17.5!  That is, White insists that Christ is speaking independent of His humanity in this text, whereas Oneness would say that Jesus is speaking as God enfleshed.  In other words, the prayers of Christ always include His humanity (e.g., Hebrews 5.7) and context demonstrates no difference in John 17.5.

*If Christ’s prayer here includes His humanity (and it clearly does since He was the One speaking), then in what way did Christ’s humanity have “glory” with the Father before the world was created?  Simple, as the “Lamb that had been slaughtered since the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13.8; ISV {cf. NA28, Robertson, et. al. on this variant}).

*Adam was said to be “a type of Him who was to come.” The Greek noun translated “type” (τύπος) is lexically defined as “(c) as a person or event serving as a prophetic symbol to prefigure a future person or event type (RO 5.14)” (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT).  Note that Adam was not identified as a type of Him who “preexisted,” but rather of Him who was “to come” (future existence).

*Since the whole context of John 17 was “the hour (that) has come,” namely the cross, consistent hermeneutics demands that we interpret the whole of John 17 in the same light—including v. 5.  The “glory” spoken of by Christ in John 17.5 was the ensuing cross, equally referenced in Revelation 13.8 and said to be from the same era.  Will Dr. White tell us Christ was literally “slaughtered” (ἐσφαγμένου, perfect passive participle form) since the creation of the world?  If no, why not?

*God Himself used a single-person-pronoun, which White informs us demands one person in the NT, in declaring “My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48.11, cf. 42.8).  One divine person is the speaker here, and this one person declares He does not share His glory with anyone else.

*Trinitarians are militating against the very self-declaration of Yahveh in their misunderstanding of John 17.5 and the “glory” that Jesus speaks about. Besides, “glory” from such a time would be eternal glory, which obviously could not be “lost.” Clearly, these passages speak to the predestined “eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3.11)—His Son who was “to come.”  White and fellow Trinitarians can ridicule the proleptic-anticipatory view of John 17.5 until dooms day, contra the “multiple divine individuals” canard, it will never make it any less biblical.

*In fact, not even all Trinitarian academics agree with White (as is the case with The Carmen Christie):  “The glory of the completed redemption cannot literally be possessed until redemption is complete.  If now the pre-existence of Jesus, according to the 17th chapter of John is clearly ideal, this fact confirms the interpretation which has been given of the other passages….We conclude, then, that (Jn. 17:5) in which Jesus alludes to his preexistence, does not involve the claim that His preexistence was personal and real. (It is) to be classed with the other phenomena of the Messianic consciousness of Jesus, none of which have to do with metaphysical relationships with the Father” (Dr. G. H. Gilbert, former professor of NT Literature at Chicago Theological Seminary; The Revelation of Jesus: A Study of the Primary Sources of Christianity, p. 222).

*{See also an excellent article by Dr. David Bernard here: http://www.altupc.com/altupc/articles/glorson.htm}

(White):  “In Philippians 2, the Son makes Himself of no reputation and doesn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped.”

*Then there was a time that Jesus Christ was not a “co-equal” member of the Trinity! Moreover, the Greek nouns for neither “Son” (υἱός) nor “Father” (πατήρ) appear in this text.  If “God” be defined as a “Trinity,” then Christ “doesn’t consider equality” with the Trinity something to be grasped—placing Jesus outside of the “Trinity” altogether!  Again, we have a case of theology being pawned off in the name of supposed “biblical orthodoxy.”    

*Further, the Greek noun rendered “form” (μορφῇ) in Philippians 2.6 defines as “properly, form (outward expression) that embodies essential (inner) substance so that the form is in complete harmony with the inner essence” (cf. Dr. Gleason Archer, The Discovery Bible; Moulton & Milligan, et. al.).  Did Christ have an “embodiment” with “outward expression” in His preexistent state?  If so, then White is now advocating bodily separation within the Godhead, all the while still feigning “monotheism.”

*The Carmen Christi of Philippians 2 is a hymnal context in which there’s an exhortation toward humility using Christ as God enfleshed as the ultimate example. Though He was God in the flesh He laid aside His divine prerogatives as such—opting instead to assume the posture of a servant.  Paul’s point is to direct his audience to the God-man as their supreme prototype to emulate.  He is not asking believers to mirror what God did (or does) in Heaven.

*Again, the quote below from an exhaustive volume on Philippians 2 demonstrates that even many Trinitarians do not agree with what White is constantly putting out as supposed “fact.”

“There is nothing grammatically that prevents one from taking the position that the hymn describes Christ’s abasement on Earth.  Nor is there anything of necessity in the construction of the strophes that demands a pre-incarnate Son” (Dr. R.P. Martin’s Carmen Christi).

*The late renowned academic Dr. Robert Reymond equally disagreed with White’s “preexistent Son” theology in this ancient hymn obviously not intended for speculative attempts to identify Christ (i.e., there’s no intended discussion of the Godhead in these passages).  See Reymond’s A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (pp. 253-264) where he provides an in-depth treatment of this passage and concludes the polar opposite of White.

*White repeatedly assumes that distinctions between the Father and Son (which Oneness Pentecostals gladly confess) automatically equate to “multiple co-eternal, co-equal, separate, divine individuals.”  I have read tons of White’s literature and he has yet to prove this assertion from the biblical data itself.

(White):  “In Philippians 2, the Son is a divine person thinking prior to the Incarnation.”

*Hear the sound of the death-knell for Trinitariansim! According to White, “God the Son” possessed independent thought processes apart from “God the Holy Spirit” and God the Father (each of whom equally had the same)—and then he still masquerades as a “monotheist” with a straight face!?  We think not.

*If independent thinking by “separate divine individuals” (White’s explicit confession) does not connote polytheism, then what language would one use to convey more than one God?  Quite to the contrary, if God wanted to communicate the idea that He was an absolute single monad with no personal distinctions, what language would we expect Him to use?

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone.” (Isaiah 44.24; NASB)

 *In this text, one divine individual is speaking (not just the one “being” of God) based upon the ordinary usage of the single-person-pronouns purposefully employed by Yahveh.  If we allow the normative rules of grammar to stand on its own strength, multiple divine individuals or persons would be an intrusion into the biblical data in this (or any other) passage.

 *In sum, the language used in the biblical data naturally conveys imagery of a single divine individual, and that without accident.  Opposite, the language used by Trinitarians naturally communicates imagery of more than one God—which is why Trinitarians are constantly throwing out Tritheism disclaimers.  Oneness believers do not have this problem.

 (White):  “Any biblical evidence demonstrating that the Son, as a divine person, preexisted His birth at Bethlehem is the end of ‘Modalism’.”

 *This is something Trinitarians assume, but never prove.  I could just as easily state that any biblical evidence demonstrating that God existed as a single divine person is the end of Trinitarianism (and would indeed affirm so).

 *The church is equally said to preexist its birth at Pentecost in eternity-past (“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,” Ephesians 1.4).  Will Dr. White now insist the church preexisted as collateral divine persons as well?  If so, he needs to make the Mormon General Conference this year so he can fellowship his brethren!

 *This concept of ideal preexistence is littered all over God’s word and one has to be severely committed to a particular theological tradition to overlook and deny it (e.g., Revelation 13.8; Romans 4.17, 5.14; Ephesians 1.4).

 *Further, I have clarified above that Oneness believers are not “Modalists” in the sense that White charges and will not take the time to reiterate it here.

(White):  “Jesus said He has ‘all authority’ in Heaven and Earth after the Resurrection, so who is he now (i.e., in His present state)?  In Oneness theology the Father is now taking the role of the Holy Spirit.”

*Not to belabor the point, but White again confuses our position as “Successive Modalism,” where the Father becomes the Son while ceasing to be the Father, then the Son becomes the Holy Spirit while ceasing to be the Son—which we solidly reject as heresy.  As pointed out above, Oneness believers wholeheartedly confess three simultaneous manifestations of the one single God of the Bible.

*Not surprisingly, White constantly chides Marcus Rogers for not understanding what Trinitarians actually believe when it’s painfully apparent that White doesn’t comprehend what Oneness Pentecostals believe.  Of course, this is par for the course in White’s world.

*Further, if Jesus is the “second of three divine individuals” in Heaven, and “all authority” has been relinquished to Him in the same location—how much “authority” would that leave the other two divine individuals?  Clearly Matthew 28.18 cannot be used to advance a theology of multiple co-equal divine persons in Heaven. Jesus is now and forever the one God of the Bible “in bodily form” (Colossians 2.9; I John 5.20).

(White):  “The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are ‘separate persons’ because Jesus used personal pronouns of someone other than Himself.”

*Again, it’s amazing how a single-person-pronoun in the NT demands one “person,” but a single-person-pronoun in the OT demands merely one “being.”  The hypocrisy in the single person pronoun usage between testaments demonstrates how far Trinitarians are willing to dive to secure their religious tradition.  When this was pointed out to White in our debate his response was a pompous-dismissive, “That’s not even relevant to the topic.”  Then quit using the same argument in the NT! 

*Moreover, if using a personal pronoun of someone other than one’s self demands “separate persons” then “the Christ” was someone other than Jesus (Luke 24.47), “the disciple whom Jesus loved” was someone other than John (John 19.26-27) and God Himself is someone other than Himself (Malachi 3.1)!  Illeism, the practice of referring to oneself in the third person contra the first person, is clearly interspersed all throughout Scripture and does not demand “separate persons” as White assumes.

*At any rate, Oneness has no problem acknowledging that there’s a sense in which the Father is distinct from His Son.  This is simply the common sense reading of many NT passages.  However, as stated above, this does not—nor will it ever—require “separate coequal, coeternal divine individuals.”        

(White):  “The words ‘Oneness Pentecostalism’ isn’t found in the Bible either.”

*The adjective “one” is applied to God thousands of times in the Bible, while the adjective “three” is never applied to God’s identity.  “One-ness” is a mere codification of the adjective “one.”  “Pentecost” is clearly a biblical term (Acts 2.1), with the suffix “-al” used to identify with the NT church’s inauguration.  Hence, the roots are indeed biblical with the suffixes appended for simple identification purposes.

*Now, we’ll give you the same opportunity to demonstrate where in the Bible the root term for “Trinity” can be located:________________?

(White):  “In John 10.30, Jesus did not say ‘I am the Father.’  He used a plural verb in this passage (translated “are” {ἐσμεν}).”

*Neither did Jesus say, “I am the second of three persons in the Trinity.”  See how easy a negative testimony is immobilized?  To illustrate, in the 1800’s in Europe there was a murder trial in which the defendant testified, “Your honor, I can bring 50 people to this stand who didn’t see me commit this murder!”  Obviously his “testimony” was rendered invalid since a negative affirmation does not equal positive evidence.  Based upon this forensic principle, we throw out your flimsy quibble regarding Christ’s silent testimony.

*Concerning the plural verb translated “are” (ἐσμεν), the eyewitnesses identify for us precisely what the plurality consisted of, “…You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (v. 33).  Far from revealing two separate divine individuals, the subjects of the plural verb are contextually defined as a visible “Man” and the invisible “God.”  This is precisely the Oneness position.  The NT plurality between the Father and the Son are due to the Incarnation when God added humanity to Himself—both a plurality and humanity nonexistent in the OT data.

*Notice those standing on the spot understood Jesus’ statement as an affirmation of identification as the Father, which was a paradigmatic synonym for “God” to the Jewish listeners (e.g., John 8.41, “we have one Father: God”).  If those actually listening to Christ speak these words recognized His declaration in John 10.30 as laying claim to be the Father, how can Trinitarians offer a radical revision of His assertion to equate into a “second of three divine individuals in the Trinity?”  Talk about theological leapfrog!

(White):  “In John 10.30, Jesus says ‘I and the Father, we are one’ and He used a plural verb, not a singular verb.”

*Out of 23 reputable translations, not a single one of them adopts White’s esoteric rendering of “we are one.”  In fact, the Greek text has a separate pronoun for “we” (ἡμεῖς), which appears nowhere in John 10.30.  In John 8.33 the same Greek verb is used where it is indeed translated “we” by various linguists: “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone’.”

*Why didn’t these identical Johannine translators do the same in 10.30—all both independent and in conjunction with one another?  A little thing called “context,” and as pointed out above the context is clear that Jesus’ statement is an affirmation of identity and not just “unity” with the Father (which any observant Jew would claim).  You think White might have a bit of a theological agenda going on in John 10.30?

*Further, notice that Jesus said the Father and Him are “one” (ἕν), not “two” (δύο) as Trinitarians attempt to place in the mouth of Christ in this text.  The fancy footwork of Trinitarians in John 10.30 (and John 14.9-10) is truly something to behold and would likely make Muhammad Ali blush with shame!

(White):  “Oneness Pentecostals bring up the singular (noun) ‘name’ in Matthew 28.19, why don’t they equally bring up the plural (verb) in John 10.30?”

*We could just as easily point out how Trinitarians constantly bring up the plural verb translated “are” in John 10.30.  Why don’t they equally identify the singular “name” for us in Matthew 28.19? Hint:  The same “name of…the Son” was equally the “name of” the Father and Holy Spirit.  What is “the name of” the Son:________?

*Further, using White’s own appeals of consistency, if a plural verb modifying the Father and the Son in John 10.30 demands two divine individuals, then what does the singular verb that modifies the Father and Son of Revelation 21.22 demand?

“….ὁ γὰρ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ ναὸς αὐτῆς ἐστιν καὶ τὸ ἀρνίον” (NA28).

“….for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21.22; NASB).

*As anyone can plainly see, the verb modifying the Father and Son is singular in this text, both are in the nominative case and hence are the subjects of the singular verb—with “temple” being a singular noun as well.  Will White hold to his own demands of consistent exegesis in this text where a single verb describes the Father and Son?  However, after dealing with White for years now we’re not quite willing to hold our breath!

(White):  “To say John 10.30 has Christ saying ‘I am the Father’ is a gross misrepresentation of the text and ignores where Jesus has distinguished Himself (elsewhere) from the Father.”

*To say John 10.30 has Christ saying ‘I am the second divine individual in the Trinity’ is a gross misrepresentation of the text (as well as the entire biblical data) and ignores where God has unequivocally declared that He is a single monad—using a single-person-pronoun in doing so.

*Again, White assumes that Father and Son distinctions demand “separate divine individuals” when it clearly does not as pointed out above.  One divine person is capable of simultaneously manifesting Himself in distinct fashion, just as God is able to speak to 4 different people at the same time in different parts of the world.

*As it relates to His oneness, God has clearly defined Himself using the strongest Greek adjective for “one” possible.  In Mark 12.29 Jesus defines the most important biblical commandment as the absolute oneness of God, using the masculine singular “εἷς” in conjunction with a singular verb (ἐστιν in the indicative mood {the mood of realization}):

“Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one’.”

*Both older and modern lexicographers (e.g., Drs. Kenneth Wuest, Spiros Zodhiates, Vincent, Thayer, BDAG, LXX usage, et. al.) affirm the Greek masculine-singular adjective for “one” (εἷς) defines as “one person.”  Vincent’s quote below at John 10.30 for the neuter singular “one” is representative and can be confirmed in the sources above:

“(Jesus used) the neuter, not the masculine ες, one person.”

*Here, Dr. Vincent concedes that had Christ used the masculine singular adjective for “one” (εἶς) in John 10.30 “one person” would be in view.  Yet in Mark 12.29 Jesus does indeed use the masculine singular adjective for “one,” as well as an accompanying singular verb: εἷς ἐστιν.

*Regarding Dr. Vincent’s comment on the neuter “one” of John 10.30, we have above both contextually and grammatically identified the plurality in said verse as visible “Man” and invisible “God/Father” merged into one person.  Hence, though not the normative Greek term employed, the neuter adjective for “one” {ἕν} in John 10.30 may equally mean “one person”—unless lexicographers wish to make God out to be “impersonal” (i.e., neuter)?

*See here BDAG: εἷς, μία, ἕν, gen. ἑνός, μιᾶς, ἑνός a numerical term, ‘one’ (Hom. +) 1 a single person or thing, with focus on quantitative aspect, one.

*That is, the “most important” biblical commandment is to believe that God is “one person” via the masculine singular εἷς.  This adjectival cardinal numeral is used ca. 100 times in the NT alone and never means more than one person.  So conclusive is the force of εἷς that translators of the Classic Edition of the Amplified Bible rendered Galatians 3.20, which uses this particular Greek adjective, as “God is [only] one Person.”

 *Since my debate with White, a critical consultant for The Lockman Foundation (trust me, he will gleefully and readily confirm this), a new Amplified Bible has appeared that omits this translation, but the lexical force remains intact and enjoys much corroborative attestation despite the apparent backpedaling (e.g., Galatians 3.28 NEB, Thayer, The Living Bible which uses this same adjective).  

*Much more could be pointed out about this Greek adjective for “one” purposefully employed by Christ here, but for the sake of time we’ll forge ahead.  Suffice it so say that unfortunately Trinitarians like White are in denial and rejection of this biblical mandate.

(White):  “The Oneness Pentecostal quotations of Deuteronomy 6.4 assumes the word ‘echad’ (‘one/אֶחָֽד’) means one person and not one ‘being’.”

*This is easily turned around, White here assumes the Hebrew adjective “echad” used in Deuteronomy 6.4 means one “being” and not one “person”—despite the fact that it’s used with single-person-pronouns.  Again, to force-feed “multiple divine persons” into a single-person-pronoun is to turn the normal rules of grammar and conversation on its head in order to protect a religious tradition.

*Echad is employed ca. 962 times in Scripture and out of the 943 times it’s rendered “one,” it’s used to indicate a single individual or character 901 times.  In the remaining instances where the context describes a group effort, it still means “one,” but it is generally describing human beings working in unison.  Obviously this would not reflect a monotheistic divinity since human beings possess bodily separation and could not be used to describe the Godhead (not to mention the hermeneutical principle of interpreting the micro in light of the macro witness).

(White):  “Nowhere does the Bible speak of dividing God into pieces and parts as Marcus Rogers describes.”

*Yet White repeatedly informs us that in Genesis 19.24 “God the Son” (again, an entirely unbiblical identification for Christ) rained fire on Sodom from God the Father in Heaven. But there’s no need to hijack this text of its context: “Then the LORD rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the LORD (Genesis 19.24; NET; see also NIV, NLT, etc.).

*We can appreciate the honesty of Trinitarians in the NET study notes here:  “The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the Lord.  What exactly this was, and how it happened, can only be left to intelligent speculation, but see J. P. Harland, ‘The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain,’ BA 6 (1943): 41-54.”

*If White’s interpretation of this verse is taken at face value (even though the text itself does not state this), then the passage would openly teach two Yahveh’s with bodily separation since nothing is said about “persons.”

*White is also fond of appealing to the now infamous quote by Dr. A.T. Robertson in his grammar where he asserts that the preposition translated “with” in the accusative case of John 1.1b demands that Jesus and the Father were supposedly “face to face with each other” in eternity (See Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols., 5.4).

{Note:  Not to mention how such a construct would naturally teach separate beings within the Godhead (as Marcus Rogers charges), the normative construction for “face to face” would be πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον (e.g., I Corinthians 13.12) in the acc. neut. sing.—not πρὸς τὸν θεόν in the acc. masc. sing. used in John 1.1b.  This is simply Robertson’s commentary presented as grammar.}

*The point is, White does indeed unwittingly argue for “dividing God up into pieces” in both the OT and NT.  My prediction?  Instead of honestly pondering the concepts in his mind, he will do his best to spin his way out of this glaring, self-refuting conundrum.

(White):  “In John 1.1 the Word is distinguished from God.”

*To the contrary, “and the Word was God” (καὶ θεὸς ν ὁ λόγος).  Trinitarians often emphasize John 1.1b while sacrificing the plain reading of 1.1c.  We are well aware of the definitive (i.e., personal identification) vs. qualitative (i.e., ontological identification) syntactical arguments in this text and would argue in favor of the definitive application (as do even many Trinitarian exegetes).

*In all honesty, we acknowledge that there’s a sense in which 1.1b distinguishes the Word from God, but 1.1c explicates 1.1b and—to borrow from White’s playbook in John 10.30—nothing is said of “divine persons, Father, Son, Trinity, etc.”  This is simply a Trinitarian deduction and not a straightforward reading of the inspired text.  In sum, the same one the Word was “with” is the same one the Word “was.”  This is what the inspired passage actually says.

(White):  “In John 1.18 ‘the unique God’ has made the Father known, not made Himself known.”

*Then White has two God’s at this point since, again, nothing is said of “multiple divine individuals, Trinity, etc.”  Again, we have a Trinitarian deduction not stated in the actual biblical text.  

*More importantly, John 1.18 contains a textual variant:

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God (μονογενὴς θεὸς) who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1.18; NASB)

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son (μονογενης υιος), who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1.18; NKJV)

* In his excellent book “The King James Only Controversy” p. 259, White concedes, “the evidence for the reading ‘only begotten Son’ is very great indeed.  It is obviously the majority reading of the MSS, translations and early church fathers.”

*Dr. Allen Wikgren, a member of the UBS-3 text and NA26 committees, wrote:  [It is doubtful that the author would have written μονογενης θεός (only begotten God), which may be a primitive, transcriptional error in the Alexandrian tradition (Υς/Θς). At least a {D} decision would be preferable. A.W.], p. 198, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Metzger, 1971, United Bible Societies.  While several UBS committee members differed with Wikgren, yet he possessed tremendous text-critic and linguistic ability and should not be lightly dismissed.

*Indeed, the NET translator notes provide ample text-critic attestation for the reading “only begotten Son”: ο μονογενης υιος A C K Γ Δ Θ Ψ ƒ 565. 579. 700. 892. 1241. 1424 M lat sy; Cl Cl.

*Personally, from the way the NT—and John in particular—uses the term “only begotten” (μονογενης) I would argue in favor of the reading “only begotten Son” (μονογενης υιος).  Text-critic quotations abound in favor of both “only begotten God” and “only begotten Son.”  It is not my intention here to delve into this topic at great length.  I would commend the exhaustive work of John Dahms “The Johannine Use of Monogenes Reconsidered.”  See also this link for a fair review of the textual evidences of John 1.18 weighed:

http://diglotting.com/2011/07/20/how-is-jesus-related-to-god-%CE%BC%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%BF%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%BD%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%B8%CE%B5%CE%BF%CF%82-or-%CE%BC%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%BF%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%BD%CE%B7%CF%82-%CF%85%CE%B9%CE%BF%CF%82/  

*As it relates to White’s scorn above, the aorist verb (ἐξηγήσατο) rendered “has explained Him” (i.e., the Father) clearly points us back to the Incarnation.  Regarding this Greek verb The Discovery Bible notes, “properly, lead out completely (thoroughly bring forth), i.e. explain (narrate) in a way that clarifies what is uppermost (has priority).”

*Far from exegeting one of “multiple, co-equal, divine individuals,” this text states that the Son of God lifted out the Father in the Incarnation.  This is precisely the Oneness stance and only advances our position!

(White):  “Jesus didn’t say ‘I am going to send a part of me as the Holy Spirit’.”

*”I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14.16-18; NASB).  While most Oneness believers would not say that Christ “sent a part of himself,” in describing the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus employed the first person singular verb translated “I will come” (ἔρχομαι).

*The Greek noun rendered “orphans” (ὀρφανούς) is similarly enlightening.  The context is clearly the future procession of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus identifies in this text as “he [that] abides (present active indicative μένει) with you.”  That is, this text plainly states that when He comes back as the Spirit of truth He will not abandon us as orphans, but “will be in” (ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται) believers.  No wonder the Holy Spirit is identified as the “Spirit of Christ” (e.g., Romans 8.9; Colossians 1.27; et al.).  Are we to honestly conclude that these verses naturally identify Christ as someone other than the Holy Spirit?  We think not.

*This erases all doubt that Jesus is not the one coming as “the Spirit of Truth” and though perhaps not worded correctly, Marcus Rogers’ statement stands. {See also our comments above regarding 2 Corinthians 3.14-17.}

(White):  “Jesus said ‘I and the Father will send the Holy Spirit as another comforter’.  The Holy Spirit is identified as a person sent by the Father and Son (from Heaven).”

*As pointed out above, if each “divine individual in the Trinity” is omnipresent how can omnipresence be “sent” where it’s already “present?”  Again, omnipresence is not “sent” anywhere—it’s already there!  Trinitarians misunderstand the “sent” language of the Bible in assuming the verb means spatial movement from one sphere into another by “eternal divine persons.”  Yet Christ is said to have been sent (πέμψας) “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8.3; NASB).  Obviously the “sent” language of the Bible does not demand separate eternal persons, or Christ had “flesh” in Heaven (cf. John 1.6)!  

*The Psalmist clearly affirms that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139.7-8; NASB).

 *On p. 338 of Dr. Daniel Wallace’s volume Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics he affirms, “Neither in Eph. 1:14 nor in any other text is there clear syntactical evidence for the personality of the Spirit.  There are, of course, many lines of evidence that demonstrate this, but the attempt to use Greek grammar in such a manner is facile and often creates theological problems that are greater than the cure.”  

 *While we appreciate his honesty in this quotation, to be fair and crystal clear, as a Trinitarian Dr. Wallace does not deny the Holy Spirit as a “person.”  However, the force of his quote above demonstrates that this position is not due strictly to “Greek grammar,” but rather other “lines of evidence.”

 *Of course, the Greek noun rendered “Spirit” (πνεῦμα) appears in the neuter gender and never in the normative masculine as one would expect if “personhood” were in view.  Trinitarian evasion and dodges of this grammatical fact abound—but this is simply a raw biblical reality.

(White):  “In Oneness theology, how does the Father and a human being ‘send’ God who is the Father and then becomes the Holy Spirit?”

*In Trinitarian theology how does omnipresence “send” omnipresence where it already exists?  And, the Father does not “become” the Holy Spirit, God has always ontologically existed as a Holy Spirit who Fathered His Son in time (e.g., Luke 1.35; Galatians 4.4).  The Father and Holy Spirit are the one-single God in distinct roles relative to the redemption of mankind, not multiple “divine individuals” that no biblical writer was ever inspired to enunciate.  Hence, there’s a sense in which the Father both is—and is not—the Holy Spirit.

 *Interestingly, in giving assurance of comfort during persecution Jesus informs believers not to worry about what they will say.  For, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12.12; NASB).  However, Matthew’s account of this saying of Christ elucidates the very identity of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming, “it is the Spirit of your Father (τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ πατρὸς) who speaks in you” (10.20; NASB).  The most literal rendering is “the Spirit of the Father” since there’s no need to elevate the genitive article to the position of a pronoun (Greek has an entirely separate word for the pronoun “your”).  

 *Do these complimentary passages naturally lend themselves to the notion that Jesus viewed the Father and the Holy Spirit as “separate divine persons” apart from one another?  Of course not, and Jesus’ view of the Godhead should be our view.

 *Again, White puts his ignorance of Oneness theology on full display here—and then berates Marcus Rogers for not understanding the doctrine of the Trinity?  Such scholastic hypocrisy is classic James White however.  And as affirmed above, Oneness believers do not confess sequential Modalsim, but rather simultaneous manifestations of the one divine person of God.  Not only is this perspective the biblical presentation of God-proper, it equally preserves the radical monotheism of the Bible as well as evades the fatal blow of conceptual polytheism.      

 (White):  “We are all ‘monotheists,’ well, except for Mormons.”

 *Actually, as noted before, Trinitarian apologists like White (also Edward Dalcour) sound much like Mormon apologists in their argumentation methodology relative to this topic.  As mentioned above, in our 2011 debate in Australia White openly confessed that God the Father, “God the Son,” and “God the Holy Spirit” consisted of “three divine individuals, each with their own separate centers of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (see the cross exam portion of this debate).

*Further, Trinitarians often appeal to passages such as Daniel 7 and Revelation 5 which speaks of the Son of Man and the Lamb respectively—whom Trinitarians interpret to be “God the Son”—approaching God the Father in a separate body.  Trinitarians are equally fond of appealing to Genesis 19.24, the baptism of Christ, the prayers of Christ, etc., all of which would teach a radical bodily separation within the Godhead if not interpreted within the confines of the rigid-strict monotheism commanded in the biblical data.

*Assimilating these open confessions into one harmonious blend, Trinitarian apologists teach separate divine individuals, each with independent thought processes and divine-bodily-separation.  To claim that such a theological conclusion is biblical “monotheism” is tantamount to someone holding up an orange and stubbornly identifying it as an apple – despite how many times the obvious is pointed out.

*White’s confessions above serve as an excellent example of the difference between “conceptual tritheism” and “confessional tritheism.”  That is, Trinitarians like White will never openly “confess” tritheism, yet the “concepts” expressed through their confessions make it crystal clear that they hold to “conceptual tritheism.”

(White):  “Marcus Rogers, are you willing to learn and find out what we really believe?”

*This is vintage James White.  Despite his open confession to worshiping multiple divine individuals with separate centers of consciousness, White still fancies himself as the teacher and everyone else the learner (a natural outgrowth of “Calvinism”)—and does not even seem to blush.

*Worse, White clearly does not grasp even the basic Oneness Pentecostal confessions relative to the Godhead.  That is, White attacks something we don’t even believe and then expects us to “learn” from him.  We think not.  The Son is God enfleshed and is hence divine.  This is the Oneness Pentecostal confession of the Son of God.

 (White):  “The earliest church records teach the doctrine of the Trinity.”

*Quite to the contrary, since White is fond of continuing to identify modern Oneness believers as the equivalent to ancient “Sabellians” and “Modalists,” perhaps he’ll also accept the testimony of Tertullian ca. 213 A.D. regarding the same:

“The simple, indeed, (I will not call them unwise and unlearned,) who always constitute the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws them from the world’s plurality of gods to the one only true God” (Adversus Praxean, Chp. 3).”

*Tertullian here identifies those often classified as ancient “Oneness” believers (though again, there are vast differences) as “the majority of believers” in the early third century.  Similarly, one can read the writings of both Hippolytus of Rome (ca. 230 A.D.) and Origen of Alexandria (ca. 250 A.D.) to see where they refer to those who share commonality with contemporary Oneness believers as “the general run of Christians, great multitude of believers, scholars, (their doctrine) has prevailed, etc.”

*Quite opposite to White’s claim above, the earliest church records—though not identical—affirm a theology similar in form to modern Oneness doctrine.  Contrary, the doctrine of the Trinity was not fully codified until ca. 381 A.D. at the Council of Constantinople.  This is almost 300 years after the Apostle John died—hardly the “earliest church records.”

*Acclaimed historian and professor R.P.C. Hanson notes, “With the exception of Athanasius, virtually every theologian, East and West, accepted some form of subordinationism at least up to the year 355; subordinationism might indeed, until the denouncement of the controversy, have been described as accepted orthodoxy” (R.P.C. Hanson 1988; The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381, p. xix).

*Moreover, the theology of virtually none of the earliest writers such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, or Tertullian would be considered uniform to present-day Trinitarianism.  As Hanson notes above, early apologists are often classified as ontological (contra economic) subordinationists and would be deemed “heretical” by contemporary Trinitarian apologists (as would modern-day scholars such as Drs. Adam Clarke, Walter Martin, etc.).

*Many of the “earliest church records” such as the Shepherd of Hermas identify the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ.  Hence, Oneness teachings concerning the Holy Spirit are identical with the first century church in Rome (especially considering that this church was planted in Acts 10).  The Shepherd of Hermas reveals that Clement was the Bishop of Rome while Hermas was a prophet during the first century.  If the same Hermas, he is listed in Romans 16.14 and Clement in Philippians 4.3.  When we consider that both Clement and Hermas of Rome knew Paul, it makes great sense to pay attention to their corroborative teachings on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ.

*Finally, as even a cursory glance of The Ante Nicene Fathers will reveal, virtually all of the “earliest church records” affirm the salvific necessity for water baptism and a clear rejection of the Reformed dogma of unconditional eternal security (and rightfully so).  Trinitarian academics often treat the Early Church Father’s (ECF) like cab rides—get on board where they wish and jump out where they wish!

*{See the following links for more history on the evolution of the Trinity doctrine:

http://www.onenesspentecostal.com/trinhistory.htm#Anchor2

http://ministry.travelltravis.com/component/option,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,33/Itemid,126/?mosmsg=You+are+trying+to+access+from+a+non-authorized+domain.+%28www.google.com%29

http://mikeblume.com/early.htm.}

(White):  “I know that some liberals say that Ignatius was a Modalist, but he (Ignatius) clearly distinguished between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as affirming the deity of Christ.”

*At the risk of sounding redundant at this point, White again simply assumes that Father, Son and Holy Spirit distinctions demand “separate, co-equal, co-eternal, divine individuals” when this is nothing more than his assertion devoid of concrete evidence.

*Oneness believers equally make a distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—as well as affirming the divinity of Christ.  What we openly and gladly deny is a relegation of Christ from His rightful exalted position as the One God of the biblical data (I John 5.20; Colossians 2.8-10) to a mere “one of three divine co-equal members of the Godhead.”

*And, typical White, he classifies virtually any Trinitarian scholar who disagrees with him as a “liberal.”  The cold-hard facts are that Ignatius clearly wrote in non-Trinitarian categories.  In his Epistle to the Ephesians chapter 7 he refers to Jesus as the “one physician” and “God existing in the flesh.”

7:2 “There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

*Ignatius repeatedly identifies Christ as simply “our God” with no mention of “divine persons” or any other Trinitarian language.

*In his Epistle to the Magnesians he refers to “the inseparable Spirit, who is Jesus Christ.” And, in Magnesians 8.2 Ignatius clearly says,

“On this account were they also persecuted, who by his grace were inspired, to the end that the disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested himself through Jesus Christ, his Son, who is his eternal Word, who came not forth from Silence, who in all things was well pleasing to him that sent him.”  

*Does this honestly sound like Ignatius viewed the Son of God as one of “three separate divine individuals?”  Of course not.  It is for these reasons that numerous Trinitarian academics—with far more credentials than White—have labeled Ignatius as an ancient Oneness believer or a supposed “Monarchian Modalist” (e.g., W. R. Schoedel).

*Of particular note is renowned ancient comparative religion expert Dr. Virginia Corwin.  Professor Corwin literally traveled the world studying ancient Eastern religion.  Her dissertation, “St. Ignatius and Christianity in Antioch,” published by Yale Press in 1960, is still considered by many academics to be the defining work on Ignatius.  Her expert diagnosis and conclusion of the theology of Ignatius?

If one term must be chosen to indicate the tendency of his thought, Ignatius must be said to be Monarchian, though he is very close to the point later declared to be orthodox” (Corwin, Virginia. St. Ignatius and Christianity in Antioch. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960).

*Similarly, as referenced above, historian William R. Schoedel, author of “Ignatius of Antioch (Heremeneia: A Critical & Historical Commentary of the Bible)” has affirmed that Ignatius of Antioch was most closely alloyed with ancient Modalists.

*Though late, it’s nonetheless interesting that Archbishop Wake translated Vossius’ 1646 Greek text of Ignatius’s Magnesians 6 in an obvious Oneness fashion:  

“Jesus Christ, who was the Father before all ages, and appeared in the end to us.” (The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden, p. 173).

*I have little doubt that Trinitarians will deride the lateness of this rendering, yet if they had a translation of Ignatius like this they would be salivating at the mouth!

*For good measure, see here the quote of respected historian and theologian Edward Fudge:  “Ignatius sometimes speaks of Christ in a way that borders on Sabellianism and patripassianism.  At other times he clearly distinguishes between the Father and the Son.”  (cf.  Edward Fudge, M.A., The Eschatology of Ignatius of Antioch:  Christocentri and Historical; Journal of the Evangelical and Theological Society [JETS 15:4]; Fall 1972 ed., p. 233.)

*Where are all of these Ancient Religion scholars deriving this conclusion—and that both in collaboration with and independent of one another?  Clearly, Ignatius was not a “Trinitarian” despite how loudly White and other agenda-driven Trinitarians protest to the contrary.  

*In sum, the “earliest church records” (which are quite scant and spurious at best) advise us nothing regarding a “Trinity of divine individuals.”  As those who spent their life intently traveling the ancient Eastern lands and researching ancient documentation inform us that, if anything, the earliest church records affirm a doctrinal posture similar to the modern Oneness position.

*Below we list numerous direct quotations from honest Trinitarians who themselves concede that their doctrine is found nowhere in the Bible:

*The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia acknowledges that “‘Trinity’ is a second-century term found nowhere in the Bible, and the Scriptures present no finished trinitarian statement (1988, Vol. 4, “Trinity,” p. 914).  It further states that “church fathers crystallized the doctrine in succeeding centuries”—long after the apostles had passed from the scene.

*The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary tells us, “The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the NT [New Testament]” (Paul Achtemeier, editor, 1996, “Trinity”).

*The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism states:  “Today, however, scholars generally agree that there is no doctrine of the Trinity as such in either the OT [Old Testament] or the NT [New Testament] .   .   . It would go far beyond the intention and thought-forms of the OT to suppose that a late-fourth-century or thirteenth-century Christian doctrine can be found there . . . Likewise, the NT does not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity (Richard McBrien, general editor, 1995, “God,” pp. 564-565).

*The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, in its article on the Trinity, explains:  “Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies . . . It was not until the 4th century that the distinctness of the three and their unity were brought together in a single orthodox doctrine of one essence and three persons” (1985 edition, Micropaedia, Vol. 11, p. 928).

*The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis points out that “primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds of the early church” (Colin Brown, editor, Vol. 2, 1976, “God,” p. 84).

*Historian and noted author H.G. Wells, in his popular work entitled  The Outline of History, points out, “There is no evidence that the apostles of Jesus ever heard of the trinity—at any rate from him” (1920, Vol. 2, p. 499).

*Martin Luther, the German priest who initiated the Protestant Reformation, conceded, “It is indeed true that the name ‘Trinity’ is nowhere to be found in the Holy Scriptures, but has been conceived and invented by man” (reproduced in The Sermons of Martin Luther, John Lenker, editor, Vol. 3, 1988, p. 406).

*The Oxford Companion to the Bible states:  “Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament.  Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon [i.e., actual Scripture]” (Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, editors, 1993, “Trinity,” p. 782).

*Professor Charles Ryrie, in his respected work Basic Theology, writes:  “Many doctrines are accepted by evangelicals as being clearly taught in the Scripture for which there are no proof texts.  The doctrine of the Trinity furnishes the best example of this.  It is fair to say that the Bible does not clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity .   .   . In fact, there is not even one proof text, if by proof text we mean a verse or passage that ‘clearly’ states that there is one God who exists in three persons” (1999, p. 89).

*Ryrie continues: “The above illustrations prove the fallacy of concluding that if something is not proof texted in the Bible we cannot clearly teach the results . . . If that were so, I could never teach the doctrine of the Trinity” (p. 90).

*Millard Erickson, research professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes that the Trinity is not clearly or explicitly taught anywhere in Scripture, yet it is widely regarded as a central doctrine, indispensable to the Christian faith.  In this regard, it goes contrary to what is virtually an axiom of biblical doctrine, namely, that there is a direct correlation between the scriptural clarity of a doctrine and its cruciality to the faith and life of the church.

“In view of the difficulty of the subject and the great amount of effort expended to maintain this doctrine, we may well ask ourselves what might justify all this trouble (God in Three Persons:  A Contemporary Interpretation of the Trinity, 1995, p. 12).

*Professor Erickson further states that the Trinity doctrine “is not present in biblical thought, but arose when biblical thought was pressed into this foreign mold [of Greek concepts].  Thus, the doctrine of the Trinity goes beyond and even distorts what the Bible says about God (p. 20).

*Professor Erickson later points out: “It is claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is a very important, crucial, and even basic doctrine.  If that is indeed the case, should it not be somewhere more clearly, directly, and explicitly stated in the Bible?  If this is the doctrine that especially constitutes Christianity’s uniqueness . . . how can it be only implied in the biblical revelation? . . . For here is a seemingly crucial matter where the Scriptures do not speak loudly and clearly.  Little direct response can be made to this charge.  It is unlikely that any text of Scripture can be shown to teach the doctrine of the Trinity in a clear, direct, and unmistakable fashion (pp. 108-109).  

*Shirley Guthrie, Jr., professor of theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, writes: “The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity.  Neither the word ‘trinity’ itself nor such language as ‘one-in-three,’ ‘three-in-one,’ one ‘essence’ (or ‘substance’), and three ‘persons,’ is biblical language.  The language of the doctrine is the language of the ancient church taken from classical Greek philosophy” (Christian Doctrine, 1994, pp. 76-77).”

*White and his cohorts can claim that the Trinity doctrine is “clear” in the Scriptures until doomsday.  Not only is it not “clear” – it is not even taught – as the quotations from honest Trinitarian academics (again, with far more credentials than White) concede above.

*Finally, the admonition of the Apostle Paul seems applicable here:

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2.8-10; NKJV).

*God bless and thank you for reading!

The Hair Issue; Studies From I Cor. 11

**{Note:  The text below was pasted from an article I wrote elsewhere.  For some reason the font styles differ in some paragraphs and I cannot seem to correct it.  Still, the data is there – please pardon the annoying/varying fonts until I can get this figured out.}

*In 1992 Dr. Gregory Boyd put out his inflammatory work entitled “Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity.” In this book he charges, “neither the early church, nor the church throughout the ages, has ever held to the very eccentric notion that a woman should never cut her hair.”

*Not only is this entirely false, (e..g., Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, John Chrysostom, et. al.), but more importantly, apparently Dr. Boyd (also an Open Theist) does not consider the book of I Corinthians a part of “the early church.” Below are a few (i) grammatical, (ii) historical and (iii) theological considerations that keep drifting through my mind.

*”If a woman has no covering, let her be for now with short hair, but since it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair shorn or shaved, she should grow it again” (I Cor. 11.6; NIV Footnote).

*”And since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, then she should have long hair” (I Cor. 11.6; NLT—Footnote).

*Today’s English Version, I Cor. 11.5-6: “And any woman who prays or speaks God’s message in public worship with nothing on her head disgraces her husband; there is no difference between her and a woman whose head has been shaved. If the woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut her hair. And since it is a shameful thing for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair, she should cover her head.

*Social scientists Bruce Malina and Jerome Neyrey: “It is impossible to overestimate the importance of honor and shame in the socialization of males and females in the ancient Mediterranean world…..To know the gender of someone was already to know a whole set of norms to which they must conform if they were to be honorable in that society. Such expectations formed clear cultural norms about what clothes (Deut. 22:5), hairdos (1 Cor. 11:4-14), and sexual partners (Rom. 1:26-27) are appropriate to males and females.” (Drs. Bruce Malina and Robert Neyrey, Portraits of Paul: An Archaeology of Ancient Personality {Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1996}, p. 182.)

*I once asked a Trinitarian apologist about these passages, to which he responded, “Well, the idea is that this was a cultural notion limited to the Corinthians based upon temple prostitution.” I responded by pointing him to Pauline usage of “nature” and the fact that I Cor. 11 was addressed to “…all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord…” (I Cor. 1.2).

*Indeed, Paul’s universal salutation effectively undercuts the “cultural” card, silencing those seeking to nullify these passages. Incidentally, if the first portion of I Cor. 11 is relegated to merely “cultural” status, what prohibits the latter section of the same chapter dealing with the Lord’s Supper from being demoted to the same? Using identical logic, we should now equally stop observing the Lord’s Supper!

*The Greek verb translated as “shorn” (κείρασθαι) appears in the middle voice indicating that the action is performed upon—or with reference to—the subject. Here’s what some of the most authoritative lexicographers in existence state about this specific term: Mid. [voice] cut one’s hair or have one’s hair cut…Abs(olute sense)…I Cor. 11:6a, b(Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon; 2nd ed., p. 427 [BDAG affirms the same thing}). “To have one’s hair cut” (Dr. F.W. Gingrich’s, Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, p. 114).

*Analytical Greek NT Lexicon: “middle cut one’s hair, have one’s hair cut off (1 C 11.6).”

*Louw & Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based upon Semantic Domain: 19.23 “κείρω to cut the hair of a person or animal- to cut hair, to shear. εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνήκαὶ κειράσθω if the woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut her hair 1CO. 11.6″

*For these grammatical reasons, many linguists have translated this verb as “cut off,” or simply “to cut” (e.g., RSV, NEB, Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, NAB, NIV, Amplified Bible, James Moffatt).

*Additionally, on p. 245 of the United Bible Societies A Translators Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, we read: “To be shorn, literally ‘cut-her-hair’ in Greek, probably referred to a regular trimming of her hair.”

*This is the lexical definition of the verb translated “shorn/κείρασθαι” and hence is the very thing the Holy Spirit is prohibiting through the writings of the Apostle Paul.

*Regarding the adjective translated “shame (or) disgrace” (v. 6), see here BAGD, p. 25:it is disgraceful…for a woman to cut her hair.” Thayer’s; p. 17: “disgrace, dishonorable.” Louw & Nida: “since it is shameful for a woman to shave or cut her hair, she should cover her head 1CO. 11:6.” 

*This is the same GK. word (αἰσχρόν) employed in Eph. 5.12 of, “things in secret are shameful even to mention” and Titus 1.10-11 of certain Jews who were “ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach for the sake of dishonest gain” (NIV).  {Note:  I have more lexical quotes to this end.}

*This is a very strong Greek adjective always denoting a forceful offense.

*In this vein, as it relates to the verb “long/komao (#2863)” in v. 15, “if a woman has long hair,” lexicographers affirm: “In a number of languages it may be necessary to translate komao/long as ‘to let one’s hair grow long’ or ‘not to cut one’s hair” (Drs. Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain, UBS).

*The idea here is that if the receptor language does not have a word for “uncut hair,” the translator should communicate this idea by his choice of words. (See Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains {New York: United Bible Societies, 1996}, 8.14, 11.15.)

*Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon: “let one’s hair grow long…I Cor. 11:14, 15” (p. 442).

*The following quotes were accessed from Bro. Jason Weatherly’s blog: http://theweatherlyreport.blogspot.com/

1. I posed the following question to Janet Downie, Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: “In Classical Greek, is it possible to understand the participle komoōntes as referring to “uncut hair?”

Response: “The participle komaontes/komoontes (κομάω from the noun κόμη ‘hair’) does mean ‘having abundant hair,’ ‘with a full head of hair’ — so that implies uncut. Homeric warriors and later Greeks seem to have worn their hair long.”

2. I proposed the following question to the blogger’s third language expert: “So, my question is – is it possible that akersekomes and komaō are used synonymously in Classical Greek? Is it possible that the context of Classical Greek indicates that komaō indicated long hair that was not (yet) cut?”

Dr. David Leitao, Professor of Classics, San Francisco University responded with: “Yes, in some contexts, akersokomes and kom(o/a)on (the participle form of komao) could be synonyms. It’s not quite true that boys left their hair to grow uncut until adulthood. That was the custom in some areas and at some times, but far from universal. The word akersokomes was probably used mostly commonly of Apollo, a special case. And there’s the case of the Achaeans in the Iliad (and the Spartans of later years), who were described as komoontes (‘wearing the hair long, i.e. uncut’). Hope this helps.”

3. I sent the following question to Professor Mark Griffith, Professor of Classics, Berkley University: “In Classical Greek, is it possible to understand the participle komoōntes as referring to “uncut hair?”

Professor Griffith answered: “Yes, that would be a natural meaning for that word. Translators of the Iliad, for example, often render the formula KARA KOMOÔNTES ACHAIOI as ‘the long-haired Achaeans’ There are various theories as to why this epithet was applied to the Bronze Age or Archaic ‘Achaeans.’ As you probably know, in some societies young men did not cut their hair until reaching a certain age, as part of an adolescent rite of passage. But of course not all the Achaeans in Homer’s poem are adolescents, by any means. In the Classical period in Athens (5th C. BCE or so), the style of growing one’s hair long and luxurious (KOMOÔ or in Attic Greek KOMAÔ) was regarded as rather an aristocratic (and/or Spartan) habit.

4. I posed the question to Professor Anthony Kaldellis one of the Professors in this department:

“In Classical Greek, is it possible to understand the participle komoōntes as referring to “uncut hair?”

Professor Kaldellis’ answer was: “If it’s from komaô, sure, but more like letting the hair grow long rather than not cutting it, same thing in the end.” In other words “letting the hair grow long” is the “same thing in the end” as “uncut hair,” which is what we affirm.

**(End quotes from Bro. Jason Weatherly’s blog)

*CEV: A woman should wear something on her head. It is a disgrace for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair (I Cor. 11.6).

*As it relates to the wearing of a literal veil, v. 15 could not be clearer: “Her hair is given her for/anti a covering.” The Greek preposition translated “for” is anti, where we get the English prefix “anti” and is defined as “instead of” or “against.” The most straightforward rendering would be (and often is), “her hair is given her instead of a veil.”

*Paul further explained that even the nature of things teaches us on this matter. How so? First, nature teaches that there should be a visible distinction between male and female. Second, in almost all cultures, men have worn short hair in comparison to women. Third, men are ten times more likely to go bald than women. It is natural for a man not to have any hair but unnatural for a woman not to have hair. In addition, the Old Testament indicates that it is shameful for a woman to cut or lose her hair (Isaiah 3.17, 24; Jeremiah 7.29).

*From a historical perspective, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge; Vol. 5, p. 18, informs us: “Women never cut their hair (cf. Jer. vii. 29), and long hair was their greatest ornament (Cant. iv. 1; cf. I Cor. xi 15; Cant. vii. 5).”

*The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 6, p. 158, “Hair”: A woman’s hair was never cut except as a sign of deep mourning or of degradation.” Remember, Jesus endorsed the Jewish concept(s) of God to the woman at the well (Jn. 4) and Paul affirmed that to the Jews were written, “the oracles of God” (Rom.).

*The World of Ancient Israel, pg. 84, “When a woman was accused and found guilty of adultery, her hair was cut or her head shaved.”

*I have a myriad of additional quotes from historians who reference the Sioux’s practice of scalping the hair of the head as the emblem of losing one’s power and authority. Adolf Hitler had all the women’s hair shaved upon their arrival at concentration camps during WW II. At the liberation of Auschwitz, Jan. 1945, there was 7 tons of hair found in the camp’s warehouse (See Teresa Swiebocka’s, Auschwitz: A History in Photographs; p. 25).

*From a theological perspective, a woman’s hair is said to be a “covering,” and v. 7 specifies precisely what her hair is covering: “For a man ought not to cover his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but (i.e., in contrast to this) the woman is the glory of man” (NET).

*That is, man’s hair is to be short “since he is the…glory of God,” but, in contrast to this—since woman is “the glory of man”—she should have long-uncut hair to “cover” man’s glory.

*My mind races to another “covering of Glory” in the tabernacle of Moses, namely the mercy seat. Hannah lamented when the Ark of the Covenant was taken that “the glory of the LORD has departed.” To the Hebrew mind, this is what the Ark represented as is well documented throughout Scripture. Curiously, it was on this “covering” that Yahveh had Cherubim positioned as if “looking into.” Interestingly, Paul explicitly ties in the notion that “because of the Angels” (I Cor. 11.10) women are to have this “covering” of uncut hair.

*No matter what interpretation one takes, just as angels were monitoring the OT covering of Glory, so angels are monitoring the NT “covering” of “glory.” Consider for a moment what would have happened if Moses would have “shortened” the “covering” of the “glory?” Sadly, this is the equivalent of what many in Pentecost and Dr. Boyd are advocating!

**What does “long hair” mean?  We will define it in two ways: (i) The literal definition of the word itself (which should be sufficient standing alone); (ii) Its usage else were in Scripture.

*Long Hair: First, as we’ve seen above, the Greek term translated “long hair” is komaō and is defined as, “to allow the hair to grow.” If one cuts their hair they are not “allowing it to grow,” particularly since the hair grows from the root and not the ends. And, if a man has “long hair” it is a shame to him (1 Corinthians 11.14); that is, if a man has long and uncut hair. Long hair on a man is equally uncut hair; therefore long hair on a woman would coequally be uncut hair. Uncut hair is a shame to a man and a glory to a woman. Or, as Dr. John Gill states, “But if a woman have long hair….And wears it, without cutting it, as men do.”

*The following quotation is extrapolated from Dr. Daniel Segraves, “Hair Length in the Bible” WAP, 1989 (pp. 43–45):

A question generally arises at this point: How long must one’s hair be to fit the biblical definition of “long?” The answer centers on the meaning of the Greek words Koma {a verb} and Kome’ {a noun}. “Koma” is translated “have long hair” both in vv. 14 and 15. According to Gingrich’s lexicon, this Greek verb means, “to wear long hair, let one’s hair grow long.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon renders it “to let the hair grow, have long hair.” Obviously, someone cannot allow hair to grow and cut it at the same time, particularly since the hair grows from the root & not the ends.

“Kome” is the Greek noun translated “hair” in the phrase “for her hair is given her for a covering” (v. 15). The passages cited by Bauer’s Lexicon and Moulton and Miligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament indicate that “kome’” refers to uncut hair. The passages cited by these works in which this noun occurs in Greek literature demand the meaning of “uncut hair.” The same Greek word, “kome’,” is also used in the LXX to describe the Nazarite, who were forbidden to cut their hair.

*Dr. Spiros Zodhaites: komáo; contracted komo, fut. komeso, from kóme (G2864), hair. To have long hair (1Co_11:14-15). Paul teaches that a woman’s hair ought to be different from a man’s, and that a woman’s hair is equivalent to a “peribólaion” (G4018), something that is wrapped around, a veil or mantle. From the context, it seems that the woman’s hair ought to be distinct from a man’s hair, not only in length, but also in ornamentation.

*Secondly, the way long hair is used elsewhere in Scripture would seem to demand the idea of uncut, or not trimmed.

*”They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads.” Ezekiel 44.20

*In this verse it is clear that trimming the hair would prevent it from being long. Long hair is untrimmed hair. This is not the only verse that indicates this:

*”All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long” (Numbers 6.5; ESV).

*The command to the one under the Nazarite Vow is: “He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.” This is set in contrast to, “no razor shall touch his head.” Clearly the Nazarite vow prohibited any cutting of the hair.

*Again, Dr. John Gill: “he might not shave his beard, nor cut off his locks, and shave his head, nor cut short his locks with a pair of scissors, nor any with anything by which the hair may be removed, as Ben Gersom; nor pluck off his hair with his hands, as Maimonides says (x); but let it grow as long as it would during the time of his separation.”

*As mentioned above, some have argued that I Corinthians 11 merely applies to first-century Corinthian culture and so can be disregarded today. However, v. 16 states that none of the “churches of God” had any other custom than what Paul had just taught. At that time, there were Jewish, Greek, Roman, and various Asian churches. Despite their many cultures, they all agreed on this practice.

*Finally, Revelation 9.8 describes a demonic army as having “hair as the hair of women.” There is no biological difference between the hair of men and of women. The difference is the length it is allowed to grow. This fact was so evident in the late first-century churches that John – writing ca. thirty years after Paul – knew all his readers would understand his description.

*Let us hold fast to the written word of God in the face of religious tradition!

Response to Dr. James White

*While doing some reading on-line I noticed a post from Dr. James White regarding the controversy surrounding Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue gay “marriage” licenses.  And, since White mentioned me specifically, I decided to respond.  

*Below I have copied White’s typical misrepresentations of Oneness believers (even though he’s been repeatedly informed otherwise) in red with my categorical responses in blue (as here) immediately following.  For corroboration of White’s post, see HERE.  Enjoy!    

Just a few hours ago, though, I read a tweet, replete with links, showing that Kim Davis attends an Apostolic (Oneness) church—i.e., a non-Trinitarian church—no, more specifically, an anti-Trinitarian church.  OK, well, nothing like throwing a curve ball at the situation.  I made very brief mention of this (not really commenting at all) on Twitter, and it has exploded with a number of, well, odd-ball comments (again showing that those who follow me on Twitter are an, uh, eclectic group).

In any case, many have asked, “So what?”  Well, good question.  Constitutionally it doesn’t mean a thing, obviously.  It doesn’t really impact the issue of whether the local magistrate should support and engage in promoting a clearly unjust, absurd and in fact evil governmental policy (the SC decision isn’t a law—it just absurdly says the Constitution does not allow all the laws that currently exist).

What it does impact is how we relate to Kim Davis herself. And for a large number of folks—the majority of evangelicals I would assume—it really doesn’t matter.  I mean, if she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, yeah, that might matter.  A Mormon?  Well, maybe a bit less, but still problematic for many.  But a Oneness Pentecostal?

*Here White poisons the well as he seeks to link Oneness Pentecostal believers with clearly aberrant groups such as JW’s (who openly deny that Jesus Christ is the supreme God) and Mormons (who openly confess Polytheism).  

*Ironically, Oneness believers could just as easily link Trinitarianism with these groups inasmuch as, along with JW’s, Trinitarians deny Jesus Christ as the single-supreme God of the Bible contra I John 5.20, Colossians 2.8-10, John 14.8-10, etc.  

*And, along with Mormonism, Trinitarians equally confess more than one identified as “God.”  In fact, in our debate in Australia Dr. White openly “affirmed” multiple “separate centers of consciousness within God” – the very definition of Polytheism (see the cross-exam portion of this debate).  

*There are also other clear similarities between Mormonism and Trinitarianism that we could point to.  Hence, Oneness believers can just as easily make these same links, which does nothing at all to foster mutual understanding between opposing camps. 

Well, as I mentioned to Michael Michael L Brown on the DL last week, I think the majority of people attending “evangelical” churches in the US would test “modalist” on any meaningful test of their knowledge of the Trinity.

*First, Oneness believers are not “Modalists” and Trinitarians have been told this ad nauseum.  The ancient Modalists confessed three sequential “modes” of God’s existence.  That is, ancient “modalists” believed that the Father became the Son of God while He ceased being the Father.  The Son of God then became the Holy Spirit while He ceased being the Son of God.  

*Modern Oneness believers do not accept this theological error.  Oneness believers confess three simultaneous and distinct manifestations of the one-single God’s existence (e.g., I Timothy 3.16, John 1.1-14)…big difference.  Again, Trinitarians like White have been told this repeatedly, yet they continue to openly misrepresent our beliefs (i.e., straw-man attack). 

*Further, if “the majority of people” attending Trinitarian churches have a Oneness understanding of God, then apparently Dr. White views the “majority of people” sitting on Trinitarian churches as lost (?)!  And, isn’t it strange that “the majority of people” reading the Scriptures would all independently conclude the Oneness identity of God?  Why?  Obviously this an indirect concession that the Oneness position is the natural deduction of the straight-forward reading of the Bible by “the majority of the people” (and only serves to advance the Oneness posture).

Since that is the case, why should they think Davis’ Oneness position would be relevant, when they don’t think the matter is worthy of enough attention for their own personal orthodoxy?  If most people who call themselves Christians are so lacadaisical as to spend more time mastering the complicated instructions for the most recent first person shooter video game than to come to understand the hypostatic union and the relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, why should they care if Kim Davis goes to a church that takes a minority view on the same topics?

*Here White seeks to pit the Oneness position as an outer-fringe belief-system, when the reality is there are millions and millions of Oneness believers worldwide (see Dr. Talmadge French’s voluminous work, “Our God is One” found HERE).  

*In fact, above White concedes that “the majority” of Trinitarians have a Oneness understanding of the Godhead…not such a “minority view” now is it?  Apparently White has never read that “few” would “find” true biblical salvation (Matthew 7.14).  Not to mention how such logic commits the Argumentum Ad Populum (formal logical) Fallacy – something I would think that an experienced, professional apologist would know better than to practice (?).

Well, I get all that, to be sure.  And if we dare say, “Hmm, well, this surely impacts how we should pray for this woman, since her foundation for doing what she is doing is seriously flawed,” we will get BLASTED by many who will find us “doctrinaire” and “narrow” and “unloving” and fill-in-the-blank.

*Ironically, it is White’s quirky notion of a God who supposedly exists as, “three divine individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (White’s own confession during our debate) that is “seriously flawed” – to put it mildly. 

But the reality is that modalism has never produced an orthodox representation of the gospel—not in the early church, and not today.  It can’t, since the gospel is inherently Trinitarian to its core.

*Again, Oneness believers are not “Modalists” in the sense that White erroneously charges.  Further, Oneness believers openly and gladly renounce White’s supposed “orthodox representation of the gospel” found within his clearly Tritheistic confession of “multiple-eternal-divine-centers-of-consciousness” canard.  If such a theological construct be considered “orthodox,” then sign us Oneness believers up as “unorthodox!”

*Moreover, the “Gospel” is biblically defined as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God enfleshed (i.e., I Corinthians 15), with absolutely nothing ever stated in Scripture regarding “inherent Trinitarian(ism).”  This is purely White’s anti-biblical religious tradition found nowhere in the inspired writings of Scripture.  The “Gospel” message is that God loved humanity so much that He Himself became a Man for the redemption of a lost humanity (not just “the elect”).  

*Contrary to the biblical message of the Gospel, Trinitarianism teaches that the supposed “first divine individual” in the Godhead loved humanity so much that He ordered the supposed “second divine individual” to be beat, spit upon, openly humiliated and ultimately crucified…while He remained in the bliss of Heaven.  

*At this point Trinitarians appeal to the supposed “volunteering” of the Son of God in the “Eternal Covenant of Redemption” – again, both of which are entirely anti-biblical traditions.  Indeed, I find it amusing how White is constantly chiding the RCC for their unbiblical “traditions,” when he and the supposed “Reform” movement have just as many unbiblical religious “traditions” as the Pope (e.g., “T.U.L.I.P.”)!   

You can’t talk about the Son interceding for His people, for example, in any meaningful fashion when the Son is merely the human nature that came into being at Bethlehem.  There are other issues (see my debates on line with Dr. Sabin and with Roger Perkins for details) as well.

*First, Oneness believers do not confess that the Son of God is merely the “human nature” of Christ that “came into being at Bethlehem.”  However, if White includes the humanity of Christ in the Sonship, then White equally believes that there’s a sense in which God’s Son “came into being at Bethlehem.”  That is, unless White wishes to join hands with some of the cult-groups he mentions above by affirming that Christ was a “pre-existent man?”  

*Contrary to White’s charge, Oneness believers accept the biblical identification of the Son of God as the one-single God of the OT incarnate (Matthew 1.23, I Timothy 3.16, John 1.1-14) – but He is absolutely not the “second of three eternal divine individuals in the Trinity.”  Jesus Christ is the one YHVH of the Bible enfleshed – period.  

*Further, nor can White speak of biblical monotheism “in any meaningful fashion” if “God the Son” is so radically separated from “God the Father” that each divine person can pray to one another in Heaven, which, obviously, would connote bodily separation within the Godhead – contrary to Colossians 2.9 (and a whole passel of other Scriptures).  

*Yes, by all means, please see my debate with Dr. White on my “Debates” tab above and listen to him unashamedly tell the world that he worships a God who exists with multiple, “separate centers of consciousness.”  And, yes, there are indeed “other (soteriological) issues” that Oneness believers would reject as anti-biblical within Trinitarianism, and we stand ready to provide a biblical defense of these doctrines.

*I have received innumerable contacts from all over the world regarding the debate with White and, by God’s grace, even led some out of Trinitarianism into biblical Christianity.  To God the Glory!  

I am still uncertain about the proper way of juggling all the issues we are facing in this matter.  I am uncomfortable with some of the simplistic cheer-leading approaches I have seen thus far.  But surely this information regarding her understanding of the gospel and the Godhead (or lack thereof) is important to any Christian analysis of the developing situation.

*As we have seen above, it is White’s fanciful notion of a God who has supposedly eternally existed with multiple, independent minds – that not one Bible writer was inspired by the Holy Spirit to mention – that constitutes the “lack of (biblical) understanding.”

*White is fond of labeling Oneness believers as “heretics” (he thinks this keeps him in the “stream of the Reformation”), and yet the overwhelmingly vast majority of Trinitarians I have spoken with adamantly disagree with his “separate-divine-centers-of-consciousness” heterodoxy (of course, always masquerading as “orthodoxy”).  Thus, ironically, White’s own confession has placed him outside of the majority of his fellow Trinitarians.  

*Though we Oneness believers certainly do not glory in this – it is White and the supposed “Reform” movement that represent the abandonment of biblical Christianity (i.e., Heresy).  However, we will continue sincerely praying that God would deliver the Trinitarian world from their religious traditions into biblical salvation via Acts 2.38-Mark 12.29, etc.  

*Indeed, the lack of understanding clearly does not stem from Oneness believers who affirm that the God who identified Himself with no less than 9,000 single-person-pronouns can be taken at His word.  

*Moreover, we will continue to evangelize the Trinitarian community out of this theological error that so openly militates against the biblical presentation of God’s identity and status.  Simply put, God is – and will always be – unequivocally-uncompromisingly One (Galatians 3.20, The Amplified Bible).   

(By the way, Dan Phillips tweeted relevant links regarding Kim Davis’ church: http://tl.gd/n_1snd3cq)

*There were no theological assertions to be addressed in Phillips’ links.  

*Thank you for reading ~ God Bless!

Junia(s), an “Apostle?”

*Recently I was sent several Instagram posts of excerpts from Eldon Epp’s book touting Junia(s) of Romans 16.7 as supposedly “The First Woman Apostle.”  In Epp’s work, he claims that those who reject Junia(s) as an “apostle” are guilty of “gender bias” which has purportedly been “exposed” and “overcome” in recent years.  Obviously this charge is dead on arrival inasmuch as those who object to the anti-biblical notion that Junia(s) was a female “apostle” are merely allowing the inspired biblical data to inform our dogma (i.e., exegesis) contra importing our personal preferences into the inspired text (i.e., eisegesis) ~ a text that never states the same.  

*Indeed, the “gender bias” would be from anyone somehow opting to place females in a position clearly prohibited in God’s word.  Simply put, said individuals place a green light where God has clearly placed a red light ~ and then somehow claim that such a position is “biblical.”

*To illustrate, Epp states that “Paul did not insist on women keeping silent in the churches.”  And, certainly there is a specific context and exegesis to Paul’s statement in I Corinthians 14.34 ~ one that we have analyzed at length (assuming this is the passage the author is referencing).  However, I would stop short of woodenly stating that “Paul did not insist on women keeping silent in the church” inasmuch as this is the diametrical opposite of what Paul clearly states below:

New International Version
Women should remain silent in the churches.  They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.

New Living Translation
Women should be silent during the church meetings.  It is not proper for them to speak.  They should be submissive, just as the law says.

English Standard Version
the women should keep silent in the churches.  For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

Berean Study Bible
women should be silent in the churches.  They are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law says.

Berean Literal Bible
let the women be silent in the churches.  For it is not allowed to them to speak, but to be in submission, as the Law also says.

New American Standard Bible
The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

King James Bible
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says.

International Standard Version
The women must keep silent in the churches.  They are not allowed to speak out, but must place themselves in submission, as the oral law also says.

NET Bible
The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak.  Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Let your women be silent in the assemblies, for they are not allowed to speak, but to be in subjection, just as The Written Law also says.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
The women must keep silent.  They don’t have the right to speak.  They must take their place as Moses’ Teachings say.

New American Standard 1977
Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Let your women keep silence in the congregations {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones}, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be in subjection, as also saith the law.

King James 2000 Bible
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be submissive, as also says the law.

American King James Version
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also said the law.

American Standard Version
Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith.

Darby Bible Translation
Let [your] women be silent in the assemblies, for it is not permitted to them to speak; but to be in subjection, as the law also says.

English Revised Version
Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.

Webster’s Bible Translation
Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Weymouth New Testament
Let married women be silent in the Churches, for they are not permitted to speak.  They must be content with a subordinate place, as the Law also says;

World English Bible
Let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as the law also says.

Young’s Literal Translation
Your women in the assemblies let them be silent, for it hath not been permitted to them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith;

*It is my understanding that currently another book is being written on the topic of “women preachers,” which I look forward to both reviewing and critiquing on this blog.  For now, below we will delve into the actual exegesis of Romans 16.7, highlighting the role of Junia(s) in these key texts.

(Romans 16.7; NET): Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners.  They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

*Obviously, there is nothing in this text specifically identifying Junia(s) as either (i) a female; (ii) an apostle.  Such a conclusion is necessarily read into this text ~ not extracted from the text being allowed to stand on its own merit.  

NA28 Greek text:  Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ.

*Primarily, there are two issues at heart in this text:  (i) The gender of the noun “Junia(s)”;  (ii) Should the Greek adjective translated “well known” (ἐπίσημοι) be understood with the comparative force (i.e., locative) or the elative (i.e., instrumental) tag?  First, the gender of this individual.  Below is hopefully a balanced and fair review of the lexical, exegetical and historical data from the most respected Greek resources available.

*United Bible Societies (UBS) A Translators Handbook of the New Testament:  Adronicus and Junias are not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament; they could easily have been husband and wife, or brother and sister.

*Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain:  93.178 Ἰουνιᾶς ᾶ m: a Jewish Christian greeted in ROM. 16.7 – Junias.  

*Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT:  Ἰουνιᾶς, ᾶ, ὁ (also Ἰουνίας) Junias, masculine proper noun (probably RO 16.7; see Ἰουλία).

*BDAG:  Ἰουνιᾶς, ᾶ, ὁ Junias (not found elsewh., could be a short form of the common Junianus; s. B- D- F §125, 2; Rob. 172) according to the rdg. of the N. text a Judean Christian, who was imprisoned w. Paul or shared a similar experience Ro 16:7; s. on Ἀνδρόνικος.  But the accented form Ἰουνιᾶν has no support as such in the ms. tradition; for critique of B- D- R §125, 2, 6 in connection w. the N. rdg. s. UPlisch, NTS 42, ’96, 477f, n. 2.  For the strong probability that a woman named Junia is meant s. prec. entry.

*Dr. Bruce Metzger (known as the “Dean of Textual Criticism”), Textual Commentary on the Greek NT (his Magnum Opus): Ἰουνίαν; On the basis of the weight of manuscript evidence the Committee was unanimous in rejecting Ἰουλίαν (see also the next variant in ver. 15) in favor of Ἰουνιαν, but was divided as to how the latter should be accented.  Some members, considering it unlikely that a woman would be among those styled “apostles,” understood the name to be masculine Ἰουνιᾶν (“Junias”), thought to be a shortened form of Junianus (see Bauer-Aland, Wörterbuch, pp. 770 f.).  

Others, however, were impressed by the facts that (1) the female Latin name Junia occurs more than 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions found in Rome alone, whereas the male name Junias is unattested anywhere, and (2) when Greek manuscripts began to be accented, scribes wrote the feminine Ἰουνίαν (“Junia”).  (For recent discussions, see R. R. Schulz in Expository Times, iic (1986–87), pp. 108–110; J. A. Fitzmyer, Romans (Anchor Bible Commentary, 1993), pp. 737 f.; and R. S. Cervin in New Testament Studies, xl (1994), pp. 464–470.)  The “A” decision of the Committee must be understood as applicable only as to the spelling of the name Ἰουνιαν, not the accentuation.

*NET Full-Translator-Notes:  The feminine name Junia, though common in Latin, is quite rare in Greek (apparently only three instances of it occur in Greek literature outside Rom 16:7, according to the data in the TLG [D. Moo, Romans [NICNT], 922]).  The masculine Junias (as a contraction for Junianas), however, is rarer still:  Only one instance of the masculine name is known in extant Greek literature (Epiphanius mentions Junias in his Index discipulorum 125).  

Further, since there are apparently other husband- wife teams mentioned in this salutation (Prisca and Aquila [v. 3], Philologus and Julia [v. 15]), it might be natural to think of Junia as a feminine name.  (This ought not be pressed too far, however, for in v. 12 all three individuals are women [though the first two are linked together], and in vv. 9-11 all the individuals are men.)  In Greek only a difference of accent distinguishes between Junias (male) and Junia (female).

**The exegetes of the ground-breaking 541 pg. work, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (pp. 79-81), did a complete search of all the Greek writings from Homer (B.C. ninth century?) into the fifth century A.D. available now on computer through the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, which contains 2,889 authors and 8,203 works.  They asked the computer for all forms of Iounia—so that they could pick up all possible cases.  The result of their in-depth search yielded a mere three references other than Romans 16.7.  

*These include Plutarch (ca. A.D. 50 – ca.120), Epiphanius (A.D. 315-403), and John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407).  While Plutarch and Chrysostom indicate that Junia(s) indicates a woman’s name, Epiphanius has the persuasive argument based upon his chosen grammar and first-hand knowledge.  Epiphanius was the bishop of Salamis in Cyprus and wrote an Index of Disciples, in which he states:  “Iounias, of whom Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria” (Index Disciplulorum, 125.19-20).  His chosen Greek phrase translated “of whom” is a masculine relative pronoun (hou) and well demonstrates that he thought Iounias was a man.

*Though debatable, the nod seems to go to Epiphanius inasmuch as Plutarch & Chrysostom appear to make their deductions based squarely on Rom. 16.7 (they give no other information), whereas Epiphanius seems to have more first-hand information about Junias (i.e., he became bishop of Apameia), and specifically uses the masculine contra the feminine pronoun in describing Junias.

*Some egalitarians have called into question the quote from Epiphanius since he equally refers to Prisca as a “man” in the preceding sentence.  However, Prisca is nowhere else called a man, whereas Junia(s) is repeatedly called a man in the ancient world.  Hence, to reject Epiphanius’s quote of Junia(s) as a man simply because he has referred to Prisca as a man is a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Indeed, using such logic one could discard the entire witness of Epiphanius.  Each assertion must be weighed individually as opposed to merely “counting noses.”    

*Perhaps even more compelling than Epiphanius, however, is a Latin quotation from Origen (died 252 A.D.), in our earliest extant commentary on Romans.  He states that Paul refers to “Andronicus and Junias and Herodian, all of whom he calls relatives and fellow captives” (Origen’s Commentary on Romans, preserved in a Latin translation by Rufinus, c. 345-c. 410 A.D., in J.P. Migne’s, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 14, col. 1289).  

*The name Junias in Origen’s quote above is a Latin masculine singular nominative, indicating that one of the ancient world’s most respected scholars considered Junias a man.  Coupled with the seemingly first-hand information of Epiphanius, these grammatical and ancient historical references offer compelling evidence toward Junias being a man.

*Again, some egalitarians have objected to Origen’s quotation calling Junia(s) a man based upon the paper by Drs. Daniel Wallace and Mike Burer regarding this text which indicates that Origen “cite(d) the name once as a masculine and once as feminine.”  The paper apparently concluded that the masculine form was a “later corruption of his text.”  Ironically, however, Wallace and Burer equally “concluded” exegetically that Junia(s) was not an apostle in the same paper!  

*And, absolutely no viable motive nor evidence have been offered as to why a later scribe would supposedly “corrupt” Origen’s writings by inserting the masculine form.  The cold facts and raw data has this ancient writer calling Junia(s) a man, and to claim “corruption of the text” at this point is special pleading.  As stated above, using this approach one could claim textual “corruption” of any doctrine that one seeks to dismiss from ancient writings (and does indeed happen quite often).

*On the other hand, to be fair, Dr. Daniel Wallace points out, “the church fathers: an almost universal sense that this was a woman’s name surfaces—at least through the twelfth century.  Nevertheless, this must be couched tentatively because although at least seventeen fathers discuss the issue, the majority of these are Latin fathers” (Dr. Dan Wallace, Junia Among the Apostles: The Double Identification Problem in Romans 16:7).  

*In the same article, Wallace points out: “If jIounian should have the circumflex over the ultima (jIounia’n) then it is a man’s name; if it should have the acute accent over the penult (jIounivan) then it is a woman’s name.  For help, we need to look in several places.  First, we should consider the accents on the Greek manuscripts.  This will be of limited value since accents were not added until the ninth century to the NT manuscripts.

“Thus, their ability to reflect earlier opinions is questionable at best.  Nevertheless, they are usually decent indicators as to the opinion in the ninth century.  And what they reveal is that jIounian was largely considered a man’s name (for the bulk of the MSS have the circumflex over the ultima).”  

*Many bloggers have attempted to discredit the quotes by Epiphanius and Origen (in particular, Suzanne McCarthy), all the while most-readily accepting the quotes of Chrysostom and others which refer to this individual as a woman—quite telling.

Berean Literal Bible:
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, and who were in Christ before me.

New American Standard Bible:
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

*Masculine names suffixed with the English translation “–as” in the NT are quite common:  Andrew (Andre-as, Mt. 10.2), Elijah (Eli-as, Mt. 11.14), Isaiah (Esai-as, Jn. 1.23), Zachari-as (Lk. 1.5).  Dr. A.T. Robertson well demonstrates that numerous names suffixed in “–as” are contracted forms for clearly masculine nouns (Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pp. 171-173).  In fact, Robertson is clear on the matter of Junia(s)’ gender that, “This name can be either masculine or feminine in the Greek” (WP, Concise Edition, pg. 387).  Other clear examples in the NT (among many) include Silas (Acts 15.22) and Silvanus (I Thess. 1.1; I Ptr. 5.12).

*Bruce K. Waltke, in his voluminous exegetical-canonical work, An Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), p. 241 states:  “Al Wolters of Redeemer College (Hamilton, Ontario) in personal communication makes a convincing philological argument that Junia (Gr. Iounia) in Rom. 16:7 is a Jewish name;  Yehunniah (‘Yah is gracious’).  If so, the name is masculine, not feminine.”

*In sum, there is simply no textual, grammatical, or historical basis to assert that Junia(s) was definitely a female, as Epp adamantly claims in his work.  Since we only have these three extra-biblical references in a survey of hundreds of years and literally thousands of ancient literary manuscripts, one could hardly make such an adamant claim of the early Greek-speaking world—from neither a Classical or Koine’ perspective.  

*The grammatical evidence is simply too ambiguous based upon this peculiar accusative form and the weight of a mere accent mark.  The fact that Andronicus and Junia(s) are identified as a pair hardly demands a husband/wife team.  All one has to do is look five verses later for evidence of this: “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord” (v. 12).

**Meaning of the adjective “well known (to the apostles)” (ἐπίσημοι):

*Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based upon Semantic Domain:  28.31 ἐπίσημος ον:  pertaining to being well known or outstanding, either because of positive or negative characteristics – outstanding, famous, notorious, infamous.  εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις they are outstanding among the apostles ROM 16.7.

*Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT:  ἐπίσημος, ον. (1) in a positive sense outstanding, well- known (RO 16.7);  (2) in a negative sense notorious, infamous, having a bad reputation (MT 27.16).

*BDAG:  ἐπίσημος, ον (σῆμα, ‘sign’; trag., Hdt. +).  1 of exceptional quality, splendid, prominent, outstanding (Hdt., trag. et al.; pap, LXX, EpArist, Philo; Joseph.) κριὸς ἐ. ἐκ ποιμνίου a splendid ram fr. the flock MPol 14:1.  Of pers. (Diod. S. 5, 83, 1; Jos., Bell. 6, 201; 3 Macc 6:1; Just., A II, 12, 5) ἐ. ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις outstanding among the apostles Ro 16:7. διδάσκαλος MPol 19:1.  

*LXX Lexical Dictionary:  ἐπίσημος,- ος,- ον +A 1- 0- 0- 2- 6- 9 Gn 30:42; Est 5:4; 8:12; 1 Mc 11:37; 14:48 marked Gn 30:42; notable, remarkable 3 Mc 6:1; conspicuous 1 Mc 11:37; significant Est 5:4; see ἄσημος ΤΩΝΤ.

*NET Full-Translators-Notes: 16:7 tn. Or “prominent, outstanding, famous.”  The term ἐπίσημος (episemos) is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known”).  The key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts.  

When a comparative notion is seen, that to which ἐπίσημος is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case (cf., e. g., 3 Macc 6:1 [Ελεαζαρος δέ τις ἀνὴρ ἐπίσημος τῶν ἀπὸ τής χώρας ἱερέων “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country”]; cf. also Pss. Sol. 17:30).  

When, however, an elative notion is found, ἐν (en) plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon (cf. Pss. Sol. 2:6).  Although ἐν plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ἐν +) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.  In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.”  See M. H. Burer and D. B. Wallace, “Was Junia Really an Apostle?  A Re- examination of Rom 16.7,” NTS 47 (2001): 76- 91, who argue for the elative (instrumental) notion.

**{Note:  We should point out that the Greek adjective used here is ἐπίσημοι, a nominative-masculine-plural inflection.  Interestingly, every noun applying to the NT 5-fold ministry appears in the masculine and never in the feminine gender.  Though the doctrinal value of genders can be spurious, when all five ministerial offices appear in the masculine (as does the Greek noun translated “elder[s]”) – this can hardly be coincidental.  In fact, the plural Greek noun translated “apostles” (ἀποστόλοις) in Rom. 16.7 appears in the masculine ~ not feminine!}

*Again, renowned linguist Dr. Daniel Wallace:

At issue is whether we should translate the phrase in Romans 16:7—ejpivshmo ejn toiajpostovloi—as “outstanding among the apostles” or “well known to the apostles.”  Although almost all translations assume the first rendering, this is by no means a given.  Even in a meticulous commentary such as Fitzmyer’s, though both options are discussed, no evidence is supplied for either.  But the evidence is out there; mere opinion is inadequate.  

In order to resolve this issue two items need to be examined.  First is the lexical field of the adjective “ejpivshmo.”  Second is the syntactical implication of this adjective in collocation with ejn plus the dative.  First, for the lexical issue.  “Ejpivshmo” can mean, “well known, prominent, outstanding, famous, notable, notorious” (BAGD 298 s.v. ejpivshmo; LSJ 655-56; LN 28.31 – {Cited above}).  The lexical domain can roughly be broken down into two streams: “ejpivshmo” is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding [among]”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known [to]”).

Second, the key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts.  Hence, we turn to the “ejn toi’ ajpostovloi.”  As a working hypothesis, we would suggest the following:  Since a noun in the genitive is typically used with comparative adjectives, we might expect such with an implied comparison.  Thus, if in Rom 16:7 Paul meant to say that Andronicus and Junia were outstanding among the apostles, we might have expected him to use the genitive tw’n ajpostovlwn.  On the other hand, if an elative force is suggested—i.e., where no comparison is even hinted at—we might expect ejn + the dative (case).

As an aside, some commentators reject such an elative sense in this passage because of the collocation with the preposition ejn, but such a view is based on a misperception of the force of the whole construction.  On the one hand, there is a legitimate complaint about seeing ejn with the dative as indicating an agent, and to the extent that “well known by the apostles” implies an action on the apostles’ part (viz., that the apostles know) such an objection has merit.  On the other hand, the idea of something being known by someone else does not necessarily imply agency.  This is so for two reasons:  

First, the action implied may actually be the passive reception of some event or person (thus, texts such as 1 Tim 3:16, in which the line “w[fqh ajggevloi” can be translated either as, “was seen by angels” or “appeared to angels;” either way the “action” performed by angels is by its very nature relatively passive).  Such an idea can be easily accommodated in Rom 16:7:  “well known to/by the apostles” simply says that the apostles were recipients of information, not that they actively performed “knowing.”  Thus, although ejn plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ejn plus) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.  In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.”  Second, even if ejn with the dative plural is used in the sense of “among” (so Dr. Moo here, et. al.), this does not necessarily locate Andronicus and Junia within the band of apostles; rather, it is just as likely that knowledge of them existed among the apostles.

Turning to the actual data, we notice the following.  When a comparative notion is seen, that to which “ejpivshmo” is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case.  For example, in 3 Macc. 6:1 we read, “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country.”  Here Eleazar was one of the priests of the country, yet was comparatively outstanding in their midst.  The genitive is used for the implied comparison (tw’n iJerevwn).  In Ps. Sol. 17:30 the idea is very clear that the Messiah would, “glorify the Lord in a prominent [place] in relation to all the earth.”  The prominent place is a part of the earth, indicated by the genitive modifier.

Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:1 speaks of an, “outstanding ram from a great flock.”  Here “from” (ejk) plus the genitive is used instead of the simple genitive, perhaps to suggest the ablative notion over the partitive, since this ram was chosen for sacrifice (and thus would soon be separated from the flock).  

But again, the salient features are present: (a) an implied comparison (b) of an item within a larger group, (c) followed by (ejk plus) the genitive to specify the group to which it belongs.  When, however, an elative notion is found, ejn plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon.  In Ps. Sol. 2:6, where the Jewish captives are in view, the writer indicates that, “they were a spectacle among the gentiles.”

This construction comes as close to Rom 16:7 as any I have yet seen.  The parallels include (a) people as the referent of the adjective ejpivshmo,” (b) followed by ejn plus the dative plural, (c) the dative plural referring to people as well.  All the key elements are here.

Semantically, what is significant is that, (a) the first group is not a part of the second—that is, the Jewish captives were not gentiles; and (b) what was “among” the gentiles was the Jews’ notoriety. This is precisely how we are suggesting Rom 16:7 should be taken.  That the parallels discovered so far conform to our working hypothesis at least gives warrant to seeing Andronicus’ and Junia’s fame as that which was among the apostles.  Whether the alternative view has semantic plausibility remains to be seen.

In sum, until further evidence is produced that counters the working hypothesis, we must conclude that Andronicus and Junia were not apostles, but were known to the apostles. (Junia Among the Apostles: The Double Identification Problem in Romans 16:7, A Study By: Dr. Daniel B. Wallace).

*New Living Translation:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.

*English Standard Version:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners.  They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

*Aramaic Bible in Plain English:  Invoke the peace of Andronicus and of Junia, my relatives who were captives with me and were known by The Apostles and they were in The Messiah before me.

*Amplified Bible:  Remember me to Andronicus and Junias, my tribal kinsmen and once my fellow prisoners.  They are men held in high esteem among the apostles, who also were in Christ before I was.

*Contemporary English Version:  Greet my relatives Andronicus and Junias, who were in jail with me.  They are highly respected by the apostles and were followers of Christ before I was.

*Holman Christian Standard Version:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners.  They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles, and they were also in Christ before me.

*Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament (Greek-English):  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners; they were well known to the apostles, and they also were in Christ before me.

*Dr. Albert Barnes notes:  The word translated “of note” ἐπίσημοι episēmoi, denotes properly those who are “marked,” designated, or distinguished in any way, used either in a good or bad sense; compare Matthew 27:16.  Here it is used in a good sense.  “Among the apostles” – This does not mean that they “were” apostles, as has been sometimes supposed.

(1) There is no account of their having been appointed as such.  

(2) The expression is not one which would have been used if they “had” been.  It would have been “who were distinguished apostles;” compare Romans 1:1; I Corinthians 1:1; II Corinthians 1:1; Philipp. 1:1.  

(3) It by no means implies that they were apostles.  All that the expression fairly implies is, that they were known to the other apostles; that they were regarded by them as worthy of their affection and confidence; that they had been known by them, as Paul immediately adds, before he was himself converted.  They had been converted “before” he was, and were distinguished in Jerusalem among the early Christians, and honored with the friendship of the other apostles. (Dr. Albert Barnes notes on Romans 16.7)

*Some of the pro “women preachers” group have stated that Dr. Barnes “does not offer any grammatical reasons” for his assertions, which is entirely untrue.  Barnes specifically points out that the normative grammar used if these individuals would have been apostles would have been “who were distinguished apostles.”  Dr. Barnes then points to other passages as evidence of his grammatical assertion (i.e., Romans 1.1, 1 Corinthians 1.1-2, 2 Corinthians 1.1, Philippians 1.1).

*Again, to be fair, the scales seem tipped that the noun Ἰουνίαν is feminine, though this is far from certain and may indeed be masculine.  As Wallace points out, only an accent mark makes the difference which is quite frustrating inasmuch as Paul would not have used an accent mark originally.  However, it is a certainty on an exegetical level that Junia(s) was not the supposed “first (nor later) woman apostle” (as Epp erroneously titles his work).  To assert such simply reveals a prejudiced view – as well as a flawed hermeneutical methodology in the name of personal preference, yet masquerading as grammatical-historical fact (more about this later).

*Some have pointed to several supposed “rebuttals” of Drs. Wallace and Burer’s exegetical paper on this passage entitled “Was Junia Really an Apostle?  A Re-examination of Rom 16.7” (seen Here).  In particular (and not surprisingly), the works of Eldon Epp, Linda Belleville and Suzanne McCarthy have gained much traction from egalitarians.  

*However, renowned linguists Drs. Daniel Wallace, Mike Burer, Douglas Moo, Wayne Grudem and Thomas Schreiner (and many other exegetes) have offered numerous in-depth surrejoinders to these  critique(s).  These responses have well demonstrated that the force of Wallace and Burer’s original exegetical points – as well as those of complimentarians on the whole – remain in-tact.  More importantly, these surrejoinders document the grammatical assumptions and errors found in the critiques of Epp, Belleville and McCarthy.  

*In fact, Dr. Burer told me personally that he has written an in-depth response to Epp, et al. which has been approved for publication in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society’s December issue (see more about Dr. Burer’s surrejoinder Here).  Indeed, I have numerous emails from some of these professional linguists that speak to these same overall conclusions.  More can be read at the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood site (e.g., see HereHere, Here and Here).  

*Finally, let me state that I have much more data regarding this claim made by “women preacher” advocates, but I assume you get the point by now!  As anyone – allowing the exegetical data to stand on its own merits – can see, there is nothing stated lexically, exegetically, nor intimated in this text specifically indicating that Junia(s) was definitely (i) a woman (ii) an apostle.  In fact, the polar opposite is concluded by the world’s foremost Greek linguists.

*Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more on this topic!