Four Misconceptions about the Crusades: #1 The Crusades Were Not Provoked

It is very popular to have a completely negative view of the Christian Crusades that took place between 1095 and 1291. In fact, I have often heard people apologize for them. Why? I am coming to believe that there is a significant amount of revisionist history going on that has poisoned the well. In fact, until recently, I also bought into this tainted way of looking at them.

Over a few blogs, I am going to briefly give four misconceptions about the Crusade that I hope will add some perspective.

Misconception 1: The Crusades were not provoked

Often people will say that the Christian Crusades had no external reasoning behind them. In this, there is no blame that can be placed on the “peaceful” Islamic dynasties which were the innocent victims of ruthless Christians coming from the West.

However, any look at the preceding six hundred years of history will show that this idea cannot be sustained in any way. Notice the progression maps I have created to show a snapshot of world events:





Muslims had been on a conquest of the Eastern world for over five hundred years. Two-thirds of the formerly Christian lands were now ruled by Muslims. Muslim pirate camps were set up all over, threatening the East and the West. They were threatening southern France and Italy, coming as far as the island of Sicily. In 1009, a mentally deranged Muslim ruler, Abu ‘Ali Mansur, destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and ordered the destruction or confiscation of 30,000 churches. A Muslim Seljuk Sultan set up a capital in Nicaea, the site of the first great ecumenical Christian council in 325, just 125 miles from Constantinople.

Is it any wonder that Alexis I, Patriarch of Constantinople, called on Pope Urban II in Rome for help? Is it any wonder that Urban responded by calling on the West to come to the aid of their brothers and sisters in the East, who had long suffered the aggressive tyranny of Islamic invaders?

Far from being unprovoked, the call for the Crusades was one of the most just calls for war in all of history.

God’s Battalions is a great book on the Crusades. Get it.

77 Responses to “Four Misconceptions about the Crusades: #1 The Crusades Were Not Provoked”

  1. Michael,

    Thanks for the intriguing post; I look forward to the rest. I was wondering were the maps came from and what sources were utilized for your in-text data. I am not a skeptic to this information by any means–far from it. I have held similar views on the revisionism that has taken place myself.

    This being the case, I would like to speak intelligently with this data and I believe that doing so would require sources from bonafide, objective (as far as one can be!) scholars. I did see that God’s Battalion was mentioned as reading material, which I will purchase. Perhaps this information has been mined from that source(?). Regardless, I look forward to your next few posts on the matter.


  2. This is not necessarily my argument, but there are still those who disagree with the contention you offer. They argue that the battle a Poitiers in 732 actually signaled the end of Muslim expansion. The crusades started 300+ years after Poitiers, so it’s hard to argue they were a response to a threat, which had been diminishing for 300 years.

  3. Phil, If you really believe it ended in 732 you have your head in the sand. That is part of the revisionist history story not real history. That is the point of this article.

  4. C Michael Patton January 17, 2013 at 9:31 am


    Here is a good place to go for some maps:

    Although I just found these, they are representative of most resources out there.

    Concerning the Seljuk Muslim empiire and their further expansions and atroucities which lead to the crusades, there is a lot of into out there. Just Google Seljuk and you will see some stuff.

    One really good place to look (and a primary resource) is Urban II’s speach at Clarmout. It is easy to read and very informative. It can be found here:

    One more great place to go for primary resources on the crusades is here:

    And you can get it on Kindle too!!

    I don’t stand behind every detail of these maps…I have come to find out that map-making is an increadibly difficult (and sometimes subjective) task. However, the general thrust of what is being communicated seems to be on par with all the historic material out there.

  5. I’m glad you are covering this. The crusades are often cited as Exhibit A for Christian bad behavior and the “obvious” evils of religion. The reality is far more complex and friendly to the Christian side than is popularly portrayed. In my opinion out of the 8 official Crusades there are really only two battles (note battles, as in only part of a crusade) that stand out as egregious bad behavior on the part of Christians. The first is the sack of Jerusalem in the 1st crusade. The second is the sack of Constantinople in the 4th crusade.

    My favorite resource for understanding the Crusades is a course by the teaching company. If you want to purchase it, wait for it to come on sale.

  6. Having fought literally against Radical Muslims in Islam (Gulf War 1, and a bit after…myself as a Royal Marine) they will lead the way against Modern Israel, this is simply a no brainer, if we read our OT Bible, and “believe” it! (Zech. 14)

    This is no High-Tower or mere historical and academic subject, the West had better wake-up… the precursors of the Day of the Lord are right in our face!

  7. Michael, thanks for the post. I agree that history, like the present, certainly can’t be painted in simplistic terms. That said, I’m one of those Christians who apologize readily for the Crusades — at least aspects of them. I haven’t read thorough histories of the Crusades, so I’m looking forward to considering the aspects you’ll address in these posts.

    I have read a bit of history, however, and one aspect that I know well is the series of atrocities committed against the Jewish people. As the crusaders marched toward the Middle East, they regularly massacred Jews who refused to be baptized. In a now infamous event, crusaders also burned all the Jews in Jerusalem alive in their synagogue while singing “Christ We Adore Thee.” These nauseating warnings against Christianity are imprinted on any Jewish person who knows anything of their history. I consider these events worthy of my apologies as man who calls himself “Christian” and considers the Jews beloved as Paul did.

    To be clear, I’m not assuming you’d disagree; just adding an important note.

    A few sources:

    Thanks for the work you guys do. I’m looking forward to what you have to say in your other posts. Blessings!

  8. C Michael Patton January 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Although I am not necessarily going to be dealing with each of the issues of autrocities on both sides of the war(s)—and every war has its stories—those works sited are not about the Crusades, from what I can see, but are probably drawing on the same limited accounts that the usual revisionists draw upon. God’s Battalions is a very good source that deals with the invasion of Jerusalem during the first Crusade and helps gain a lot of perspective.

  9. Thanks; I understand these events aren’t your focus.

    Out of curiosity, I tried to find these events in God’s Battalions. While Stark certainly adds nuance, he describes the same events. For anyone interested, this is a link to a few key passages:

  10. Eagerly anticipating your maps of North America 300 years ago accompanied by your ruminations about how this should impact our present foreign policy with respect to Mexico.

  11. Stair,

    This is only about the Crusades my friend.

  12. Thomas Madden is a good read on the crusades. Here is an article he did in Christianity Today back in 2005

    Here is his page with several of his books

  13. I think the main grief over the Crusades isn’t exactly over the first couple of Crusades, even though there was a massacre at Jerusalem (whether it was done according to the custom of the time or not).

    Rather, the main problem is how the “Holy War” became so protracted and corrupted, that children were sent and sold into slavery, and a Christian Constantinople was raided and burned by the equally Christian crusaders.

  14. Hi folks, it seems I’ve learned something quite new thanks to your blog:

    ” Muslims had been on a conquest of the EASTERN world for over five-hundred years.”

    I never knew that at this time of history Muslim invaders were taking over China, Mongolia and Vietnam and so forth.
    I likely slept too much in high school!

    As an European attached to his culture the maps you show just break my heart.

    But the iniquities of some or many Muslims by no means justify the iniquities of many Christians against them.

  15. Is the book the source for these articles? Is the book what I should buy if I am looking for a more detailed coverage of this article?

  16. I would say Stark isn’t a bad place to start. But if you are looking for more I would suggest Thomas Madden (as previously noted) and Jonathan Riley-Smith, who is one of the top crusader historians (in my opinion).

  17. Hi !!
    No one seems to mention that the spread of Islam was due to “Christianity’s self-inflicted wound” – the Doctrine of the Trinity.
    The doctrine was a ‘sitting duck’ for Mohammed -who was a monophysite
    And it (the doctrine) still is!
    What a dreadful shame!
    You talk about Islam being propogated by the sword – well, so was Trinitarian thinking until quite recently.!!
    To make matters worse it is not supported by logic or the scriptures.
    No-one can tell me that explicit verses like-
    John 20v17
    Matthew 16vv 15-17
    are overshadowed by the ‘fuzzy’ scriptures offered by Trinitarian apologists in defence of their doctrine!
    Every Blessing
    John B

  18. I am always amazed by the ignorance and unbelief of the anti-Trinitarians, especially those who sit in some place of Christendom! Note even the Swedenborgians, who do believe that Jesus Christ as the manifestation to degree of the eternal and invisible God, but miss the Triune nature of God in the Trinity of God. We cannot but note the godhead or lack thereof of Gnosticism. Which is still with us!

  19. Fr. Robert
    Your comments are meaningless!
    Attacking Gnosticism is a cheap shot- the easy way out!The Roman Catholics can appeal to the writings of the early church fathers to support their doctrine.
    Protestants are ‘welded’ to ‘sola scripture’ – and regrettably for them, there are no supporting scriptures.!
    Christs own words prove there is no trinity.
    Of course they were only spoken in his human mode!

  20. Sorry John, but both history and orthodoxy are quite against you! And you might consider that YOU might be the one heterodox, and even in heresy? Nothing “cheap” here but error!

  21. Hi Fr. Robert,
    The’golden thread’ of Christ’s teaching has managed to carry on throughout history IN SPITE OF the institutions and doctrines you have tried to smother it with.
    I really don’t care for tradition – only truth.

    Our sermon at church this a.m.was on Hebrews Chapter 1.
    Only a few of us understood that if Christ was elevated higher than the angels -that means that he is not God!

    Only a few understood that verses 5- 13 were typological rather than ‘literal’.

    I despair for humanity!
    Maybe one day humankind will ‘come out of the nursery’
    and embrace Christs teachings in their glorious simplicity!
    My pastor friends say “What would we preach about if we did this”?
    We need a behavioural scientist -not a theologian, to explain how the trinity has been sustained over all the years!
    John B

  22. @John B: The doctrine of the historical Church is always so important! (1 Tim. 3: 15-16) No doubt it is also here that you are missing the mark! And sorry mate, but ya cannot escape “Tradition and Truth”, for the true Church is always historical, note as verse 15, “the pillar and support of the truth.” And even the Reformation and Reformed doctrine of the Sola Scriptura has a historical connection, which somewhat came out of the debate in the medieval theology, itself. But of course it is based upon God’s own Revelation! The Triune God (One in Three/Three in One) and His Word will always renew and reform HIS Church! (John 15: 26/ 1 Peter 1:2 / Eph. 2: 18 / 2 Cor. 13:14)

  23. Hi Fr. Robert
    Asking me to respect the historical church is a bit difficult.
    My wife’s ancestors were presecuted and had to flee Europe -their only sin was to ask for the post-reformation church to go back to a ‘zero-base’ and put aside the detritus which had built up over almost 1 500 years.
    Those who didn’t flee were murdered by Protestants!

    What encourages me is that we Protestants tend to pay lip-service to the Trinity – but our form of worship is primarily Unitarian.

    We pray to the Father, as requested by the Son

    We know in our hearts that the one true God is always the Father – and vice versa (excludes ‘god’ or ‘gods’)

    We know that the Father is NOT the Son

    So by a process of logic we determine that the Son is NOT God

    Reverting to 1 Tim 3 vv15 & 16
    I have no problem with Christ, appearing in human flesh, vindicated by the Holy Spirit
    However verse 16 is often misrepresented.
    Consider the KJV translation
    ” God was manifest in the flesh…” (TR strikes again)

    The RSV puts it another way
    “he who was manifest in the flesh..”

    The Greek text omits the word “God’ and the footnote to the verse in the NAB Bible is most instructive
    The word ‘God’ was inserted into later (eighth and ninth century)Byzantine texts -‘probably for theological reasons’ Their words, not mine.

    I have no problems with John 15v26 and wholeheartedly agree that if we listen to the ‘still small voice’ the Spirit will guide us to the truth. The problem is that it is ‘drowned out’ by ‘tradition’ , power considerations, peer-pressure etc.

    Regarding Doxological type statements I have no problem- a Unitarian can subscribe to F,S & H.S. being joined together in a sentence.

    Regarding 2 Cor 13 v 13. I have no problem, but note something interesting… if one believes in a tri-une God the references to Christ and Holy Spirit become redundant!

    Every Blessing
    John B

  24. @John B : Indeed the Historical Church is “difficult” for a Unitarian, and on every level really! And I forgot to mention the text of Heb. 1: 8, this verse alone wipes-out the Unitarian position, and exalts the deity of the Sonship of Christ! And “eternal Sonship”!

  25. Hi Fr. Robert
    One day, in the second century, an unknown man was inspired to write about Christ -his life, death, resurrection.
    He had available to him everything that was then available ‘in the public domain’. No evidence of more than that
    In Hebrews 1 he SURMISED what Christ’s arrival in heaven must have been like.
    HE must have received a royal welcome.
    He must have been seated on Gods right hand.
    Because HE was NOT GOD He must have been elevated- “higher than the angels’!
    What words can the writer use?
    He would have used imagery and analogies familiar to him at the time.
    The Book of Psalms provided ‘fertile’ material.
    In this book the Davidic Kings , at enthronement were
    (i) Crowned
    (ii)Made Gods adoptive sons
    (iii)Ordained as priests.
    The writer SURMISED that these must be the TYPE OF words with which Christ would have been greeted in heaven.
    Verses (8) and (9) reflect Psalm 45 – and the marriage of the Davidic King to the Princess of Tyre. Wonderful words – but of course you must .stop short of Ps 45 v 10 “the daughters of kings are your lovely wives'(NAB) the KJV uses the words ‘honourable women’
    By the way the word ‘god’ in verse 8 is in the lower case
    and was used to describe judges, princes, kings etc.
    Note how the word ‘God’has been capitalised in Hebrews!
    Desperate Trinitarians will go to any lengths to justify their doctrine.
    There are NO trinitarian proof verses.
    There are NO ‘models’ which ‘work’
    There are NO analogies
    to support the Trinity for the very good reason that it is NOT TRUE,
    So sorry!
    Every Blessing
    John B

  26. @John B: Sorry mate but it too obvious that you are not seeling truth, but your own suppositions in the grave error of Unitarianism. The Historical Church Catholic has been and is Trinitarian! Since you are just seeking and speaking ad hoc, and to your ideas, I will just state the historic position of the Church Catholic (Universal). My last word!

  27. Fr. Robert,
    So thats it! Words and logic have no meaning!
    You have no answers except ‘tradition’!Maybe one day you will have courage to face the truth head-on!
    Best Wishes

  28. Your funny John! YOU would not know the truth if it fell on you! For you already don’t believe the Word of God! Let’s see where do we start? How about John 1: 14, “And the Word (God, verse 1, “the Logos”) became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten (as of an only One) ‘from the Father’, full of grace and truth.” Indeed here the doctrine of the “Incarnation”, itself.. God, the Logos & the Son, becomes enfleshed! See too John 1: 18, and the MSS, “God, the only begotten” – ‘an only one God’!

    “The announcement of the mystery of the Incarnation, embracing and completing all the mysteries of revelation, corresponds (as has been already noticed) to the declaration of the absolute Being of the Word in v. 1. “He was God; ” and “He became flesh:” eternity and time, the divine and the human, are reconciled in Him. “He was with God;” and “He tabernacled among us:” the divine existence is brought into vital and historical connection with human life. “He was in the beginning;” and “we beheld His glory: He who “was” beyond time was revealed for a space to the observation of men.” (B.F. Wescott, The Gospel According To St. John, 1881)

    Indeed this great doctrine of the Divine Incarnation of Christ, is seen and connected to the Gospel of John, and the Letters and Epistles of 1 and 2 John… 1 John 1:1-3 ; 2: 18-23 ; 4: 1-3 / 2 John 7-11. And of course this great doctrine is Apostolic and just revelational in the Church of God!

    If you ARE a true Christian? You “will” simply but profoundly bend you knees here! :)

    Sorry mate, I cannot treat you as a brother, if you deny the great Incarnation of God In Christ! (2 John 7-9, etc.)

  29. Dear Fr. Robert
    Great to hear from you!
    I shall respond in reverse order to the points you raise.
    (you’ll say I’ve got it all backwards hee hee!!)

    2 John vv 7-9 If you read the context you will discover that these were written in response to the great heresy at the time – it was called docetism, and denied that Christ was fully human.
    1 John 4 vv 1-3. Again this is a direct response to Docetism. I have no problem here because I believe that “The Word’ became flesh.
    1 John 2v18-Again I have no problem
    1 John 1 vv 1-3 Again I am fully on board -our fellowship is with the Father and Jesus Christ. God IS the Father.

    Now – Back to John Chapter One

    Why do you think that the scriptures do NOT say “In the beginning was God, and God was with God and the God was God”?
    Because the Word is NOT God.

    The NAB Bible makes the following comment

    The LOGOS combines-
    (i) God’s creative, dynamic word (Genesis)
    In Genesis 1 vv 3,6,9,11,14,20&24 begin with
    “and God said”. In other words it was by Gods
    spoken word that the heavens and the earth
    were created.
    (ii) Personnified Word/Wisdom as an instrument of
    Gods creative activity or ‘self manifestation’ (see
    Proverbs, Book of )Wisdom)

    AS the ultimate intelligible reality.

    SO it was NOT God who became incarnate -but God’s WORD

    Christ is the incarnation of this ‘Word/Wisdom.

    “Word /Wisdom is NOT a being dependant on God !

    To make sure that people don’t get it wrong, verse 18 tells us that ‘no-one has seen God’

    And to make sure that no-one misunderstands John, he summarises his mission in John 20v31 “but these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God”

    In spite of all the ‘flags’ the. blundered right into ‘it’

    Talking about ‘it’ -all the early Protestant Bibles (Before the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible 1582) render John 1v2 as “IT was with God in the…

  30. Fr. Robert
    So sorry – space ran out!!
    To continue …. “IT was with God in the beginning”
    Tyndale Bible 1534
    Great Bible 1539
    Geneva Bible 1568
    Biships Bible 1568
    many more!
    After 1582 Protestant Bibles followed Douay-Rheims.

    Must say farewell old friend!

    Every Blessing

    John B

  31. Wow, heresy and heretic’s always just butcher the “Word”! One must simply call it the way it is! ;) Again, I think of old John the Apostle with the heretic Cerinthus, John would just have none of it, or him! And note most of the older heresy here was a mix of Ebionitism and Gnosticism, some form of Adoption for both Jesus becoming Christ, as for the Gnostics, themselves.

    “In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (face to face), and God was the Word.” (John 1: 1)… of course the Word here is the Eternal Logos!)

    And in verse 2, not “it”, but..”This One was in [the] beginning with God (again it is face to face), both the eternal Logos and the Son – face to face with God the Father! Indeed the Trinity of God: Father, Son & “Spirit”, the Breath and life of God, between the Father and the Son, in truth and love! (2 John 1: 3)

    And btw, the “Johannine” Trinity, is the Greek form, “trias” – used first by Theophilus of Antioch (c. 180).

  32. Fr Robert
    You skate over scriptures with great facility, but consider-
    -you quote 2 John 1 v3 as if it supports a trinitarian position “… God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Fathers Son, in grace and truth”
    Remember if God is the Father
    if the Father is NOT the Son
    THEN the Son is not God (draw the logic diagram)

    Yes absolutely God is the Father and Christ is the Fathers son –
    Umpteen verses say so . Crisp and clear statements by Christ himself and Peter and Paul – and you still argue with me about words like LOGOS that are capable of a hundred interpretations (I think Wikipedia said there
    81 -but whatever!)
    Compare the crisp statement’ God the Father and Christ his son’
    with the fuzzy and arguable verses. Look at the gymnastics employed by desperate trinitarians to argue the ‘fuzzy’ stuff.!!!
    If you are Robert Trinitarian and your father is John Trinitarian, the one thing you are definitely NOT is John Trinitarian.
    You just ignore distinct verses like John 20 v31 where the mission is summarised.
    ..and the myriad of clear scriptures like John 20v17.
    You ignore the fact that with the exception of ‘god’ or ‘gods’, God always refers to The Father and the Father always refers to God

    If Christ had announced that he was God -even as late as Pentecost, this would have been the most astonishing event in history and the Bible would not have ben written as it was.
    The fact that this ‘thing’ persists is not something positive – it is a poor reflection on our human nature !

    Very best wishes

  33. @John: I note that you don’t use the Trinitarian creeds or defintions themselves, by “definition” yourself. But just skew your OWN ideas and statements, therein. This is simply not just or true in any Trinitarian debate! And you have not even taken a try at the Greek (in translation) of John 1: 1 and 2, as I have. So you can see why I cannot take you really serious, I hope? I guess you are some kind of monarchist, though more with some kind of adoptionist ideas? Btw, for those that are serious readers, I would recommend J.N.D. Kelly’s classic book here: Early Christian Doctrines, he certainly covers the whole genesis of Christian doctrine from the close of the first century to the fifth century, from Nicaea to Chalcedon, ending with Christ’s Mystical Body and the tension of Christian Eschatology. And of course “the kingdom of the Son of His (God the Fathers) love.” (Col. 1: 12)

    Note, I take the Text’s of 2 John 10 & 11 very seriously! And yes, I am a churchman, but not a High Church guy, but in fact a Low Church Reformed presbyter. Oh.. theological and historical definitions are, yes, important to me!

    Btw, for the real students here, let me recommend Rowan Williams book here: Arius, Heresy & Tradition (378 pages) And this book was written originally in 1986, and the revised edition came out in 2001. A must read for the scholar type! (Yes, I have a copy myself)

  34. Fr Robert,
    Yes my avoidance of reference to Creeds is striking.

    I am full on board with the Apostles Creed.

    The Athanasian Creed can be easily demolished as one of its key assumptions is false. It also fails a simple logic test. If for every’Lord’ there is a ‘God’ than there cannot be fewer”Lords’ than ‘Gods’. This is why this creed is not widely discussed.

    When I started my search for truth I asked myself (almost every day) so what am I?

    An heretic to orthodoxy ? Undoubtedly!

    But I realised that ‘badges’ were meaningless – products of human minds and philosophical speculation.

    I cannot be given a ‘badge’ – I am a ‘non-trinitarian’ as opposed to a Unitarian.

    I find so many poeople like me ‘lurking’ inside mainline churches just trying to ‘keep out of trouble’.

    I asked a wise man, the son of a legendary preacher ,the other day “You never make your views known -what do you really think’?
    His reply astonished me , mainly because his views were close to mine. He said
    “I was brought up in a home where all of the issues you raised were discussed. I saw all sides of the story, I eventually set my lifes objective as ” Living my life as God would have me live, with Christ as my exemplar- and being aware of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit”

    That’s it ! Fits in well with Matthew 12 v29 etc.

    Of course some ‘bright sparks’ manage to see the Trinity in the Shema!! Desperate people.!!

    God elevated Christ ‘above the angels’ – man has elevated him to “God”

    Heaven help us all!

    The truth has got to be simple.!!

    Another Pastor friend said to me ” I am aware of your problems with doctrine and you are not alone, all I can do is give my parishoners a ‘warm fireplace’ to huddle by” Good man!
    “To uproot long held views is just too traumatic and people will see what they want to see-or what they are programmed to see”.
    The Greek Word (Logos) has been ‘shredded ‘by JWs-
    but their fruit…

  35. @John B

    Really the question that needs to be answered before pursuing your conversation further is who do you say that Jesus is? I think that perhaps answering that question will begin a more easily followed line of thinking to what you believe and what we believe (we being Trinitarians). Please try your best to not obfuscate your words, but merely present your answer to who Jesus is so that we can pursue the conversation further.

    I look forward to conversing with you about the grace and mercy to be found through the Gospel of Christ.

  36. Hi Chad,
    Jesus is who he says he is ,in crisp unambiguous language.

    John 20 v 17 says that Christ says that he has a Father who is also his God, and that the same entity is also our God and Father

    Matthew 16:15 “who do you say that I am”? You are the Christ the Son of the living God ”
    “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my heavenly Father.”

    For his obedience unto death on the cross GOD elevated him to Lord and Messiah

    Best Wishes
    John B

  37. Ah, there we get it… “For his obedience unto death on the cross GOD elevated him to Lord and Messiah” …
    that old gnostic doctrine of “Adoptionism” (as Paul of Samosata) a measure for even Christ Jesus! This is simply “heresy”! Note, Paul of Samosata was and formally condemned at the synod of Antioch in 268. Btw, in history and theology we call this: Dynamic Monarchianism (the closing decades of the second century). Here again, is simply a Christological heresy (Modalism). “These adoptionists were an isolated and unrepresentative movement in Gentile Christianity” [2nd Century] (JND Kelly: Early Christian Doctrines, page 117).

    Again, later we have Arius here! Ugh!

  38. So John B, just come out and tell us “what” you are? And “where” you find fellowship, i.e. that, and what is the Church again? That will tell us much!

  39. Btw, the only thing the JW’s “shred” are themselves! How anyone can screw-up the doctrine and teaching of the “LOGOS”, which is ‘the very Personal Word’ in Himself, and eternal. In 1 John 1: 1, it is.. “the Word of life”, and 1 John 1: 1-3 are simply beyond OUR measure to really change! What Was Heard, Seen, and Touched…that divine person, “that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” (Verse 2)

    Indeed these verses in 1 John 1: 1-3, simply bury the false doctrine of “Adoptionism”!

  40. @John B

    Thanks for answering the question, but I would ask how you reconcile your current belief to verses such as John 10:27-30 and John 10:37-38 and John 8:58. I would say these verses are clear and unambiguous as you describe. But the general premise is that the Trinity does not have an origin simply in the New Testament but traces back in various forms of clarity throughout the Old Testament.

    Let me know how you would exegete these Scriptures to show consistency with the current hermeneutic you are demonstrating. I certainly commend the effort of your defense as it is clear that you have done some research into this.

    Going beyond this, I am also curious how you view the atonement through the lens of sin and perfection in a human being. Essentially, why was Christ sufficient to reconcile believers to God if he is not God? That may be too much to cover in one post from you, so I am fine with just sticking to the first part for now until we can get more into the rest.

  41. Indeed too btw, the NT does not really separate the Person and the Work of Christ! As Luther maintained, somehow God Incarnate died upon the Cross! And the work of Redemption is simply fully our Triune God, (Hebrews 9: 14).

  42. Here it is useful to quote Karl Rahner’s statement, of the axiomatic unity of the “Economic” and the “Immanent” Trinity. The “economic” Trinity is the “immanent” Trinity and the “immanent” Trinity is the “economic” Trinity. And surely here we have the hypostatic union itself, the Incarnation and union of the divine and human natures in the person of Christ. This is the essence of scriptures like 1 John 4: 1-3 / 2 John 7-9, etc. But in reality the Father is the “monarchy” of the Godhead, and HE sends both the Eternal Son of God, and the Holy Spirit alone proceeds from the Father. Indeed the EO or Orthodox are right on here!

  43. And yet, the three persons in the Trinity are coequal, eternally self-existent, and mutually indwelling through what is called circumincession. Simply again One God in three persons; Three persons in One God: One in three, and Three in One.

  44. Btw keeping it simple, John 8: 58 seals this the Godhood of Christ! And John 10:30, “I and the Father are One.”

  45. Wow the biblical evidence and revelation for Christ in the Incarnation and the second person of the Godhead are quite overwelming! Especially in the Gospel of John! (John 17: 5, etc.) Belief always trumps unbelief, in biblical revelation itself!

  46. Friar Robert,

    Just looking at the blog rules concerning spamming the post. Have you? Does this only apply to only some of us, or do you get a special pass making one post after the other and saying whatever you want?

  47. A. P.S. . This would have been a very interesting post to consider otherwise But it for me it kinda got lost in your ‘expert’ opinion. Too bad.

  48. Hi Fr. Robert
    I feel ‘asssailed on all sides” – but here goes!
    POST 39
    Why is it that anyone with half a brain is called a “Gnostic’? Is reasoning a sin?

    I was rather hurt to to called an Adoptionist – but I was merely quoting from the scriptures.

    You and I have discussed Hebrews 1 – and of course there is (inter alia) Philippians 2:9 which speaks of Christs exaltation.

    As I have mentioned- you can’t ‘put a badge’ on me!

    POST 40
    Who am I?
    I worship at a church in the bush with about 100 others. It has no walls.
    The ethos is Mark 12 verses 29-31.
    Divisive doctrinal debate is prohibited – although I know most of my fellow worshippers to be Trinitarian in flavour.
    My wife attends an Anglical bible study, which is Unitarian in flavour as the outgoing fr. did not believe that Christ is God. eek!!!

    POST 41
    Your interpretation of ‘the Word’ or ‘Logos’ contradicts dozens of clear and unambiguous statements by Peter and Paul- and indeed Christ himself

    POST 43
    One does not wish to separate the person and work of Christ. Christ is God’s divine agent as many verses attest
    Christ offered himself to God . Clearly two persons here!

    POST 44
    I fully acknowledge that Christ comes in the flesh and that he ‘belongs to God’ (as we all do)
    I do not deny the spiritual Christ or even his divinity
    His divinity comes from his mission, his mission, his status as Son of God etc.
    I do deny that he is God.

    POST 45
    The constructs you mention are man-made and the product of human rationalisation

    Space is running out. Next Post.

    Every Blessing

  49. Chad- I’ll be back to you presently! I’ll combine your post 42 with Roberts post 46 since the issues raised merit specific and detailed attention.

    Fr Robert
    POST 47
    You refer to John 17:5 – but it is more instructive to consider verses 3-5 !
    Verse 3 speaks of the Father as being ‘the only true God’ -NOTE the word ONLY!
    and the one you have sent -Jesus Christ. TWO persons here!
    In Verse 5 Christ asks the Father to glorify him with the glory “I has with you before the world began’

    I know some writers like Bauckham have suggested that “Yes, it says the Father is God, but this does not preclude the Son being God”!

    But note the use of the word ‘only’… Bauckhams logic fails!.

    I have a lot of points to answer , but I would be prepared to discuss the so-called pre-existence aspect if required.

    The use of “para +dative’ in the Greek is controversial and even respected Greek lexicons are claimed to be in error !

    The Jehovas witnesses say only Smyths has it right.
    I wonder!

    Thaylers Lexicon says it can mean ‘in the mind’ which is metaphorical.

    Without doubt the Messiah was in God’s mind from the very beginning!

    I will need a ‘clean sheet’ to respond to your comments regarding John Chapters 8& 10!

    Every Blessing
    John B

  50. Chad and Fr. Robert.
    You both ‘focus in’ on John Chapters 8 and 10, and indeed they are very important to the Trinitarian case.

    There are a number of ‘issues’ discussed here ,so I will deal with these individually – rather than proceeding through the scriptures verse by verse!

    In terms of the Jewish Law, stoning was only permitted in cases of blasphemy
    In all other cases, the persons taking place in stoning would themselves be charged with murder
    If the Jewish authorities REALLY believed that Christ has blasphemed they would have hunted him down and stoned him.
    Most modern bibles tell us that Christ’hid’ and left the temple.
    Many believe that Christ escaped by supernatural means.
    The Greek word used for ‘hid’ is ‘ekyrbe’ which Thaylers Lexicon (quoting Winers Grammar) says can be used to mean ‘withdrew quietly’

    The Jews being addressed included the very pious religious leaders.
    Christ had just called them-
    (i)Illegitimate v41
    (ii)You belong to your Father, the Devil (v44)
    (iii)Made himself greater than our Father Abraham (v53)
    (iv)Abraham rejoiced to see MY DAY (note not ‘me’)(v56

    Not in these chapters or indeed any scripture
    On the contrary he DENIED he was God and called himself Son of God, Son of Man, the Messiah.
    Christ declared his SONSHIP and dependancy on the Father!

    They were mistaken!

    THE USE OF “I AM” IN JOHN 8 vv 28 and 58
    Trinitarians try to equate with with the “I AM” used to describe the Lords messenger in Exodus 3:14 but consider –
    John 8 v28 “…I AM , and I can do nothing on my own..”
    NOT an omnipotent being!
    John 8 v58 “before Abraham came to be I AM” see
    earlier comments. Christ declaring himself
    to be the Messiah.
    Space running out -see next post!
    Every Blessing
    John B


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