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The Great Trinity Debate – Coming April 2010

Dave Burke, a well-known Christadelphian, and I will be debating the doctrine of the Trinity for six weeks beginning Sunday, April 11, 2010, here on Parchment and Pen. Over a thousand people voted for Dave to be the non-Trinitarian in this debate. He and I have agreed to limit our weekly statements to 5,000 words apiece (down from the 10,000 stated in the “challenge” post back in November).

In this post, I will list books and articles that are generally supportive of the approach I take to defending from the Bible the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as the books and articles that Dave recommends as generally supportive of the approach he takes in defending his non-Trinitarian theological position.

Comments are welcome but are limited to additional recommended resources of relevance to the biblical study of the theological issues pertaining to the Trinity, for or against. Comments of any other type (from anyone other than Michael Patton, Dave, or myself) will be deleted at our discretion.

Rob’s Resource List

Books (listed alphabetically)
Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.
Bowman, Robert M., Jr., and J. Ed Komoszewski. Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2007.
Boyd, Gregory A. Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992.
Fee, Gordon D. God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.
__________. Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007.
Harris, Murray J. Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992.
Hurtado, Larry W. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.
McCready, Douglas. He Came Down From Heaven: The Preexistence of Christ and the Christian Faith. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2005.
Shepherd, William H. The Narrative Function of the Holy Spirit as a Character in Luke-Acts. SBLDS 147. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994.

Articles/Web Resources
Bowman, Robert M., Jr. “The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity: An Outline Study.” Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Institute for Religious Research, 2008.
__________. “Cross-Examination: Socinus and the Doctrine of the Trinity.” Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics 1 (2008): 59-78.
__________. “Once More, Matthew 28:19 and the Trinity.” Grand Rapids: Institute for Religious Research, 2009. (PDF document)

Dave Burke’s Resource List

Books (listed chronologically)
The Racovian Catechism (1605). In Thomas Rees, The Racovian Catechism: With Notes and Illustrations, trans. from the Latin. London: Longman, Hurst,Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1818. A catechism of the Polish Brethren.
Hyndman, J. S. Lectures on the Principles of Unitarianism. Almwick: W. Davison, 1824.
White, Percy. The Doctrine of the Trinity: Analytically Examined and Refuted. 2nd ed. F. Walker, 1937. Updated ed., South Australia: Christadelphian Scripture Study Service, 1996.
Booker, George. What Are the First Principles? 1990.
Broughton, James, and Peter Southgate. The Trinity: True or False? London: Dawn Book Supply, 1995.
Buzzard, Anthony F., and Charles F. Hunting. The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound. Lanham, Md.: International Scholars Publications, 1998.
Perry, Andrew. Before He Was Born: Combating Arguments for the Pre-existence of Christ. Lulu—Willow Publications, 2007.
Zarley, Kermit. The Restitution of Jesus Christ. Servetus the Evangelical, 2009. See http://servetustheevangelical.com/.

Articles/Web Resources
Abel, Ron. Wrested Scriptures.
Finnegan, Sean. “Interpreting Jesus’ Birth.” Kingdom Ready [blog], 9 Dec. 2009.
Schoenheit, John. “What do Biblical Unitarians Believe?” Spirit and Truth Fellowship International.
__________. “Who is Jesus Christ?” Spirit and Truth Fellowship International.
Shockley, Ron. “The Two Adams.” Kingdom Ready [blog], 28 March 2009.

17 Responses to “The Great Trinity Debate – Coming April 2010”

  1. Sounds great Rob. Thanks for doing this–I look forward to the debate.

  2. Yahoo !!!! Very much looking forward to this debate. I followed the Walter Martin debates on the trinity and enjoyed them very much.

    I must admit though…..I will have a hard time keeping an open mind on this subject. Baptists are drenched in trinity doctrine.

    thanks to both participants.

    Pray both defend well and for Christian love.

  3. To Rob’s list I’d add the following books which argue in favor of early high divine christologies, personal preexistence, and in favor of the Trinity:

    Anderson, James. Paradox in Christian Theology: An Analysis of Its Presence, Character, and Epistemic Status. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007.

    Bray, Gerald L. The Doctrine of God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVaristy Press, 1993.

    Capes, David B. Old Testament Yahweh Texts in Paul’s Christology. WUNT II/47. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1992.

    Davis, Stephen T., et al., eds. The Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

    ––––––. The Trinity: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Trinity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

    Fatehi, Mehrdad. The Spirit’s Relation to the Risen Lord in Paul: An Examination of Its Christological Implications. WUNT II/128. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000.

    Gathercole, Simon J. The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006.

    Hengel, Martin. The Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion. Translated by John Bowden. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976. Repr., Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2007.

    ––––––. Studies in Early Christology. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1995. Repr., London: T&T Clark, 2004.

    To Dave’s list I’d add the following books for their denial of the Trinity, the personal preexistence of the Son, challenging the classical doctrine of the Incarnation, and arguing for divine Christology as a later develoment:

    Bernard, David K. The Oneness of God. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame, 2000.

    Buzzard, Anthony F. Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian: A Call to Return to the Creed of Jesus. Morrow, GA: Restoration Fellowship, 2007.

    Casey, Maurice. From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God: The Origins and Development of New Testament Christology. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1991.

    Collins, Adela Yarbro and John J. Collins. King and Messiah as Son of God: Divine, Human, and Angelic Messianic Figures in Biblical and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.

    Dunn, James D. G. The Christ and the Spirit, Volume 1: Christology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.

    ––––––. Christology in the Making: A New Testament Inquiry into the Origins of the Doctrine of the Incarnation. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989.

    Hamerton-Kelly, R. G. Pre-Existence, Wisdom, and The Son of Man: A Study of the Idea of Pre-Existence in the New Testament. SNTSMS 21. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973.

    Hick, John. The Metaphor of God Incarnate: Christology in a Pluralistic Age. 2nd. ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005.

    Kuschel, Karl-Josef. Born Before All Time? The Dispute Over Christ’s Origin. Translated by John Bowden. New York: Crossroad, 1992

  4. I’m surprised James White’s book The Forgotten Trinity hasn’t been mentioned.

  5. Peter: I wasn’t very impressed with White’s book personally, but had the comments not been limited to 3,000 characters I would have gotten to it eventually. I was going in alphabetical order (for both positions) and ran out of space. A book that I’d recommend above all others on the subject of the Trinity is Robert Letham’s The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2005). Well, let me rephrase that: I’d recommend it above all others assuming that the reader has some prior familiarity with the doctrine. For the beginner I’d suggest Gerald O’Collins’ The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1999).

  6. I considered buying White’s book, but after some investigation I found that it is primarily aimed at Mormon and JW Christology, both of which are completely irrelevant to me. Some of the arguments he uses are available at his website; on the whole I found them glib and superficial. White is at his best when defending Reformed theology and combating Catholics. Christology is not his strong point.

    Norman Geisler’s Baker Encyclopaedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic, 1998) has a comprehensive entry on the Trinity, which I consider an ideal primer for any Christian who wishes to gain a proper understanding of the doctrine.

  7. To Dave’s list of books, I’d add Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament by Jason David BeDuhn.

  8. I am surprised that you did not include the works of the early Church Fathers; St. Athanasius of Alexandria.
    He gave us the word “Holy Trinity”
    here is some background
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasius_of_Alexandria
    peace and love in Christ
    Salah

  9. Nick, you posted DK Bernard’s book as one that “argu[es] for divine Christology as a later development.” It’s been years since I read it, but if I remember correctly, Bernard argues against Trinitarian theology proper, and not necessarily divine Christology, as a later development. I agree that in his book Bernard does do the first two things you mentioned.

  10. John: I didn’t intend to say that each book listed argues against all of those things; but rather that the list as a whole represents works that argue against all of these things. As you note, Bernard only denies the Trinity and personal preexistence of the Son. Hamerton-Kelly has nothing to say of the Trinity past a brief reference to “the traditional understanding of the threefold activity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity.” (Pre-Existence, Wisdom, and The Son of Man , 179)

  11. [comment deleted per stated guidelines in post]

  12. I would add “The Making of a Tradition” by Mark Mattison to David Burke’s list. It is out-of-print and very hard to find, but I’ve posted (with Mark Mattison’s permission) a chapter from it called “Towards a Revised Christology” at my website:

    http://www.welivebythespirit.org/#god_and_jesus

  13. Hi folks,

    Wouldn’t necessarily add this to Dave’s list as it’s more history than doctrinal examination, but the book When Jesus Became God by Richard E. Rubenstein provides a fascinating history of the development of the trinity as doctrine.

    Looking forward to the debate.

    Tim

  14. Laurie Broughton April 10, 2010 at 4:58 am

    I was fascinated with all the books that have been offered as support for the two contenders. Personally I would have thought that only one was really relevant – the Bible. After all, that’s where it all starts (and ends). Can’t we just stick to that?

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