In two days, The Great Trinity Debate begins here on Parchment and Pen! I am grateful to David Burke for the privilege of engaging in this important debate with him. Our purpose in this debate is to compare and contrast two different theological models or descriptions of the being of God, with specific reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. David will be defending a “biblical Unitarian” theology, whereas I will be defending a “Trinitarian” theology. Please note that this debate is not simply an argument about the Trinity, for or against (even though it is called, for sake of simplicity, “The Great Trinity Debate”); rather, it is a debate between two theological positions, one of which (mine) is the Trinity. Thus, both Dave and I are obliged to present a positive case for our respective positions as well as to offer the best responses we can to each other’s arguments and objections.
For the purposes of this debate, we will be focusing exclusively on defending our respective theologies biblically. This means that in our debate we are not supposed to address concerns about the development of each other’s theology in church history. We are also not supposed to discuss philosophical arguments for or against each other’s theological model. These historical and philosophical issues may be worthy of attention in their own right, but they are not germane to this debate.
(NOTE: After I posted the above comment, Dave emailed me to let me know that he had not understood the ground rules of the debate to preclude reference to historical or philosophical issues. We discussed this question and agreed to move forward despite our differences over it.)
In a separate post back in February, Dave and I have already listed what we consider to be some of the most important secondary works supporting our theological positions. We may refer to some of these works in the course of our debate, so you may want to have a copy of that post handy.
Here is the format for our debate:
Week #1 (begins April 11): Dave and I have separate posts introducing the subject, explaining our views of Scripture, interpretation, doctrine, and of the nature of God (i.e., his attributes).
Week #2 (begins April 18): Dave and I will have separate posts on our views about Jesus Christ.
Week #3 (begins April 25): Dave and I will have separate posts where we may continue to present arguments supporting our views about Jesus Christ.
Week #4 (begins May 2): Dave and I will have separate posts on the Holy Spirit.
Week #5 (begins May 9): Dave and I will have separate posts presenting our case for our differing theologies of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (mine in support of the Trinity, Dave’s in support of Biblical Unitarianism) and critiquing each other’s theologies.
Week #6 (begins May 16): Dave and I will have separate posts offering closing statements, with comments open to the general public.
Each of us has agreed that each of our weekly posts will not exceed 5,000 words (not 10,000 as originally proposed).
Please note that comments to the posts of the first five weeks will be closed. Only Dave and I will be allowed to comment on those posts. I realize this will be frustrating for those used to instant commentary, but Dave and I have agreed to this plan so as to keep both of us from being overwhelmed by outside comments during the course of the debate. I believe that Michael Patton has another site where such comments might be posted. The closing posts will be open to comments from anyone.
Please pass the word about this debate.