Responding to James White

Hello,

I know I haven’t been on in a while(been busy studying and reading other topics)… so this post is not necessarily an open post—but it is the easiest way to directly respond to a small dialogue contention I have with Mr. James White on twitter and include the full context objections and response.  This may seem like a long response, but it’s only long for copying Scripture and responses of both of us.

I have been reading Mr. White’s book “The Forgotten Trinity” on the side and plan to do a more full review (along with a whole line of other reviews and things that have been on my mind lately) in the future.  The opportunity presented itself on twitter[as I’ve tried many times before] to present some errors and inconsistencies I believe can be found in his arguments and book just based on a cursory reading.

My original objection posts to his book were as follows.

Haha, cute. I’ll give you a few just for starters… 1) your huge inconsistency in arguing that the holy spirit is a “he”…

..a “he,” so thus you mean that the spirit is a person(p. 140). Yet you also call the being YHWH a “He” on pg.35….

…so you called the being a person, against your own arguments not to mix them up! Next, on the same page 35 you even note..

…note that Jesus quoted the Sh’ma! In all your Greek knowledge, you still haven’t learned English grammar! “our”… Jesus..

…Jesus said “OUR” God, what does “our” mean? His God. That’s just to start.. wait til I do cross-referencing in blog.

After some batting back and forth, Mr. White responded more directly, this is his post below.

@titus2_11_14 OK Sean, I really don’t have time this evening (trying to get a chapter finished in a book I’m way behind on), but since you made the accusation: one-person God, eh? Which is why the biblical authors repeatedly differentiate between the Father and the Son (the Son using personal pronouns of address of the Father and vice-versa) and yet those same authors identify each as YHWH? The identification of Jesus as Yahweh, together with the differentiation that is plainly included by the same authors, is the death knell of unitarianism—at least, any unitarianism that pretends fidelity to the entire canon of Scripture. 2) Yes, the Spirit is a Person, which is why He speaks, wills, acts, and can communicate the PERSONAL presence of the Father and Son to believers, amongst other things. 3) The Scriptures will often refer to Yahweh in the singular, hence it is quite proper to do so when the Bible is not differentiating the Persons. Since God acts in unity it is not improper to use such language. Only a confused unitarian would insist upon complete differentiation of the Persons in every text. 4) Of course Jesus quoted the Shema—He wasn’t an atheist you know. What would you expect the Perfect Man to do, deny it? That does not change the reality that when Paul gives us the Shema in 1 Cor 8:6-7, he expands it to include the Son! 5) I have debated a number of unitarians. Same old story, sadly, just in a few minor keys, depending on the “spin” they give it to try to get a unique audience. You want to debate? What have you published? What is your experience in debate? Do you read the biblical languages? There are lots of young guns who want to “debate,” but I have come to the point in my life where I think I’ve earned the right to make selections in my debates based upon what would seem to benefit the most people and reach the widest audience on the topics that the Lord leads me to view as most important and weighty. So tell me—what do you have to offer that Anthony Buzzard didn’t offer in his debate with Michael Brown and myself? You even admit you haven’t seen the Stafford debate, so…leaves me wondering.

Mr. White then asked this in twitter adding on.

BTW…could you identify, specifically, your religious profession? What church do you represent?

Mr. White’s first objection is that Jesus is identified as YHWH(and he doesn’t list texts, but I’m aware of the texts usually used)…  I don’t think that ultimately helps his case at all, because necessarily two identities with the same name, that are not each other… makes 2 YHWH’s(YHWH the Father, and YHWH the Son).  This isn’t difficult, if I have two identities named “Bob” that are not each other(lets say “Bob the Father” and “Bob the son”—that’s two Bob’s… not one Bob.  This isn’t even about the trinitarian definition of “person” ultimately, but identity and names.  If you have two identities named “Bob”–then if you claim to have one “Bob,” you’re either illogical, equivocating, or that same “Bob” is upholding two different roles(modes in oneness type talk).  Likewise, simply put if Jesus is literally YHWH, you’ve made two YHWH’s.  If this simple logic has to be explained any further I’d be quite discouraged.  And before it’s possibly even used a rebuttal, I’ll address that one cannot claim this type of simple logic cannot be applied to YHWH.  I’ve heard this very bad rebuttal from multitudes of trinitarians online who cannot answer this simple objection.  Trinitarians often try to equate their arguments to God Himself, and thus claim He is so far beyond us He is not able to have this type of logic applied to Him.  This is just a form of ad hoc if it’s at all attempted to be used… the arguments of a trinitarian are not God Himself, and they are trying to remove their arguments from true criticism by removing them from logical bounds.  If that were so, then they should not criticize my arguments either… and we’re all wasting our time.  God is logical, God created logic… no one should be raising logic above God, but that doesn’t mean to throw it aside when analyzing what He revealed to us through Scripture and analyze other’s arguments.  Again, that’s just a pre-hit.. I’m not saying Mr. White used this argument that I’ve read… in fact he engages logic and says in his book that we should use our minds to love God.  But at the same time he attempts to claim that our language is too finite to God to truly explain Him.  While I might agree with that in some format, I don’t believe it applies to how many God is… He created language, and used language to communicate to us what He desired us to know about Him.  So I don’t believe He would give us language(and math), and then confuse us by making us reject simple grammar and logic to understand this language in order to attempt to explain how many God truly is…

I obviously do not believe Jesus is literally YHWH, but represents Him. YHWH works through His son by His spirit, just like He did in the OT and with the apostles.  I think short reading of Isaiah 45 would show an implied example explained in this by YHWH Himself. YHWH says He is going to save Israel from Babylon.  Over and over He repeats He will do it, it’s all Him, it’s not an idol, He is the only God… but at the beginning YHWH speaks about using Cyrus the king to accomplish this task.  Would anyone dare think Cyrus is YHWH? No, obviously not.  Even though God is the one who ultimately is to be praised and thanked for the deliverance from Babylon—Cyrus is the king who went through with the entire physical task of saving Israel.  This is not a difficult concept, it happens all the time… even in our modern day USA.  If Obama sent troops to save a people in another nation from slavery… Obama would be praised as the main authority even though he didn’t lift a finger to truly aid the people.  He just gave out the order.  Now obviously God is much more powerful in enacting His works… but the parallel is there, and I believe can be shown in other areas also.

I actually agree with point 2 to some degree. I believe the Holy Spirit can be called a “He” and refer to a PERSON(at times), but I would mean the person of the Father and/or the Son(who is now life-giving spirit according to 1 Cor 15)… not a separate 3rd PERSON.  The point of my claim was not necessarily that you argue that the Spirit is a PERSON.  The point is that you use the argument in your book(and you repeated it in this post) regarding “will, acts…communicate” and “I, me, He”  to claim the Spirit is a PERSON.  You also call the one BEING, YHWH according to your definition a “He”(and the Bible does)…. if you would keep your own argument consistent… then the BEING is now being argued as a PERSON according to your own words.  The one YHWH of the Bible “speaks, acts, and has a will” and is a “He”(see Isaiah 45:22-23, or even better, Deut 32:6, 39)—so it fits exactly your definition of a PERSON.  The problem is, that makes you equivocate and contradict your own words not to mix up the WHOs and the WHATs… the PERSON and the BEING.  Unless you’re going to claim the 3 PERSONs of the trinity speak as a single PERSON… which that makes absolutely no sense since you’d be saying 3 PERSONs is 1 PERSON.  So instead you’ve called the one YHWH a BEING, and then given it PERSONal attributes.  The only other possible option to this, is you actually have a 4th PERSON in your doctrine… the Tri-une God.  The Tri-une God would then be your 4th PERSON who “speaks, acts, wills” as a singular PERSON which is not the other 3 PERSONs, nor the BEING.  The other point is ultimately that you called the one YHWH(being) a “He,” and then necessarily the Father, Son and Spirit are all “He’s” according to your doctrine(and Scripture at times)….so then you’ve got 3 He’s(persons) that are 1 He(being).  This is 3 = 1 or equivocation. I spent much time analyzing your words and listening to your arguments and others to figure this out.  It’s very clear if you’re forced to define terms… which is something I heavily agree with in your book.  Defining terms is part of what made me abandon the trinity.  This paragraph sort of addresses #3 also unless I mis-understood or you mis-understood my objection.

#4 is interesting again… since you avoid the objection ultimately.  The point is that it says “our”—Jesus did not say “your,” then you might have a chance to inject the tri-une God into that Sh’ma.  “Our” in our language(and Greek) means “yours and mine” in a literal explanation.  I would ask you, do you believe Jesus kept the Torah perfectly? If so, is the Sh’ma and the law Jesus quoted about loving God and neighbor also part of the Torah?  So then, Jesus is truly under this Law, truly under the Sh’ma.  Is Jesus an Israelite?  So this command is for him also, for Jesus.  So this YHWH, this LORD is Jesus’ God.  Jesus isn’t just “quoting the Sh’ma” for fun… this has historical and immediate context which trinitarians ignore to uphold their doctrine by vacuuming it out.  If the YHWH of the Sh’ma is truly the tri-une God, then Jesus is plainly saying by inputting your doctrine that his God is Father, Son, and Spirit in one YHWH.  So Jesus’ God, is himself along with two others according to you?  That’s nonsense… Jesus’ God is his Father, lest you deny the plain grammar of the word “our” and the fact that Jesus was/is under the Law.

It’s actually very interesting that you attempted to tie in 1 Cor 8:6 to the Sh’ma.  It’s directly related, but not being “expanded” as you claim.  Honestly, if you’re a pastor with as much experience and study as I’m aware of… that is a rather bold claim… since you would necessarily be accusing Paul of altering God’s Torah, and thus he would be teaching sin, and a false teacher(and deserving of death).  The Torah never allows anyone to alter it, or add to it(expand)…Deut 4:2 is crystal clear.  I do not believe Paul as a Jew who kept the Torah is expanding the Sh’ma… I believe he’s taught exactly what Jesus taught in Mark 12:28-37.  He’s talking about who the one God is(the Father) and the one lord is(Jesus Christ)… which is Psalm 110:1.  This is exact passage Jesus quoted right after explaining the Sh’ma in Mark 12.  He identifies himself as the one lord in submission to the one God(YHWH), and that he is the “my lord” of David.  Peter’s preaching in Acts 2:29-36 makes this whole passage of Psalm 110:1, and Mark 12:28-37 even more clear in cross-reference with my inserted bold brackets only to define WHO is being spoken of…

Acts 2:29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God[Father] had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He[Father] would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God[Father] has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God[Father], and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

‘The Lord[Father] said to my Lord[Jesus],
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God[Father] has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Truly there are so many cross-references and so much unpacking to do in this area of text it gets me excited to explain… but if you don’t see it already, then you could also watch my short video on the subject.  It’s not necessary, but it’s just showing the links of this same passage also in Mark 12:28-37.

See that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THn4wfFSbAQ

It’s to me, very clear in explaining this same passage that it links to 1 Cor 8:6, and Mark 12:28-37.  Peter’s preaching has made it clear who the ONE YHWH(Father) is… and who the one lord(Jesus) is…  this Psalm 110:1 is a thread through-out the NT.  1 Cor 15 also explains the same concept.

I am a nobody in the scheme of things Mr. White.  I am just someone who was a trinitarian, yet started to catch errors in my own explanations and words about 2 years ago now.  Thus began a long study and research to verify or tweak the trinity per se…and I realized my views were beginning to line up with what most called “biblical unitarianism.”  The trinity essentially kept getting tweaked to fit clearer Scriptures until I realized it was a wreck and needed junked after over a year of study.  Then, that repentance got me kicked out of my former church with no true hearing of why I changed my mind ultimately.  I have no representation, nor no direct denominational line at this point.  There are very few unitarians in our area of living… the closest I’m aware of is about an hour away.  That is why I said you would gain nothing by debating me… I am no great debater.  In fact, I’m much better with text and analyzing one’s words and explanations slowly since it gives me more time to test what I’m hearing/reading.  I have not written any books, though I may in the future YHWH willing. I know very little Greek grammar in the larger picture and nothing of Hebrew. I don’t base all my knowledge on that, though I plan to expand that knowledge in the future.  I mainly rely on my own studies in English, and compare yours and others words in Greek.  I may not know much Greek and I don’t go around teaching it in a huge fashion since I know that’s dangerous… but I know enough grammar basics to check up things and understand them from both sides with research and rehashing my memory.  I didn’t read any unitarian books until after I changed my mind, but after reading them they did not add much to my knowledge overall.  Only a couple of them actually address trinitarian arguments in more depth.  That is my overall concern that makes me think I should eventually turn many thoughts, notes, and blogs into a book one day hopefully.  I would debate you, but it would have to be much further in the future if you accepted.  That’s not necessarily a challenge, since I cannot come through on it presently and prepare at this point in time.  I’m just someone who analyzes words, grammar, and logic very closely to test things well… and if given the opportunity I could press many errors out if you’d answer questions directly(or clearly reveal if they’re fallacious questions).  But in open speech, I’m by no means authoritative nor a good debater in my own evaluation.  I’m not ultimately about debate though… I’d be more about convincing the audience than you, because even I know you wouldn’t have changed my mind 3-4 years ago.  I had to question it myself and test it well and it took a lot of time going through hundreds of Scriptures and arguments to find out if there were better and more consistent answers.

The only way I can get the belief out about this is to object, answer, post, blog, make videos and speak on it until it’s heard.  The ultimate concern I have is for the Messiah himself and God.  Why?  Because millions of people claim to be following the Messiah(even I in the past), yet they deny the Messiah and his one God.  Simple simple questions brought me to understand that to follow someone… is to believe exactly and teach exactly and do exactly what they did.  That’s not so hard, is it?  Jesus is not a trinitarian my friend, he does not have a 3-person God…. he has a one-person God.   The trinity attempts to make Jesus into an idolator and sinner, which is surely blasphemous.  So millions of people claim to be following someone, yet they have a different God than the man they claim to be following, and then condemn those who have the same one God as the Messiah.  How can a doctrine be so far gone as to condemn the Messiah himself?

This is long enough, thank you for your time.  If I make any edits to clarify anything from now on I’ll note them with asterik marks.

-Sean