Place your banner ad here.          See all banner ads

|| ConcernedMembers.com || About || Links Library || Help Warn Others ||
|| Madison Church of Christ || Richland Hills Church of Christ || Hillcrest Church of Christ || More Churches || Sunday School in Exile ||

Where is my NewThisWeek Email subscription?Click Here

Place your text ad here.           See all text ads

Respond to this messageReturn to Index
Original Message
  • The Origin of the Trinity: From Paganism to Constantine
    • Cher-El L Hagensick (Login Donnie.Cruz)
      ConcernedMembersMadison
      Posted Aug 31, 2017 1:48 AM

      The Origin of the Trinity: From Paganism to Constantine (Part 3)

      World conditions were hardly conducive to the foundation of a new and different religion. Pagan gods were still the gods of the state, and the Roman government was very superstitious. All calamities were considered the displeasure of the gods. When the dissolute Roman government began to crumble, it was not seen as a result of corruption within, but as the anger of the gods; and thus there were strong persecutions against Christians to placate these gods.

      In such a time was Christianity born. On one side were persecutions; on the other the seduction of philosophy. To remain faithful to the belief of Jesus Christ meant hardship and ridicule. It was only for the simple poor and the rich in faith. It was a hard time to convert to Christianity from the relatively safer paganism. In the desire to grow, the Church compromised truth, which resulted in confusion as pagans became Christians and intermingled beliefs and traditions. In his Emergence of Catholic Tradition, Pelikan discusses the conflict in the Church after AD 70 and the decline of Judaic influence within Christianity. As more and more pagans came into Christianity, they found the Judaic influence offensive. Some even went so far as to reject the Old Testament (13-14).

      With this background, the growth and evolution of the Trinity can be clearly seen. As previously stated, the Bible does not mention the Trinity. Harnack affirms that the early church view of Jesus was as Messiah, and after his resurrection he was ‘raised to the right hand of God’ but not considered as God (1: 78). Bernard Lonergan, a Roman Catholic priest and Bible scholar, concurs that the educated Christians of the early centuries believed in a single, supreme God (119). As for the holy Spirit, McGiffert tells us that early Christians considered the holy Spirit ‘not as an individual being or person but simply as the divine power working in the world and particularly in the church’ (111). Durant summarizes early Christianity thus: ‘In Christ and Peter, Christianity was Jewish; in Paul it became half Greek; in Catholicism it became half Roman’ (Caesar 579).

      As the apostles died, various writers undertook the task of defending Christianity against the persecutions of the pagans. The writers of these ‘Apologies’ are known to us now as the ‘Apologists’. Pelikan states that ‘it was at least partly in response to pagan criticism of the stories in the Bible that the Christian apologists... took over and adapted the methods and even vocabulary of pagan allegorism’ (Emergence 30). Campbell agrees when he states that ‘the Apologists borrowed heavily, and at times inappropriately, from the pagan resources at hand’ (23). They began the ‘process of accommodation’ between Christianity and common philosophy, and used reason to ‘justify Christianity to the pagan world’ (22-23).

      The most famous of these Apologists was Justin Martyr (c.107-166). He was born a pagan, became a pagan philosopher, then a Christian. He believed that Christianity and Greek philosophy were related. As for the Trinity, McGiffert asserts, ‘Justin insisted that Christ came from God; he did not identify him with God’ (107). Justin’s God was ‘a transcendent being, who could not possibly come into contact with the world of men and things’ (107).

      Not only was the Church divided by Gnosticism, enticed by philosophy, and set upon by paganism, but there was a geographic division as well. The East (centered in Alexandria) and the West (centered in Rome) grew along two different lines. Kelly shows how the East was intellectually adventurous and speculative (4), a reflection of the surrounding Greek culture. The theological development of the East is best represented in Clement and Origen.

      Clement of Alexandria (c.150-220) was from the ‘Catechetical School’ of Alexandria. His views were influenced by Gnosticism (Bauer 56-57), and McGiffert affirms, ‘Clement insists that philosophy came from God and was given to the Greeks as a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ as the law was a schoolmaster for the Hebrews’ (183). McGiffert further states that Clement considered ‘God the Father revealed in the Old Testament’ separate and distinct from the ‘Son of God incarnate in Christ,’ with whom he identified the Logos (206). Campbell summarizes that ‘[with Clement the] philosophic spirit enters frankly into the service of Christian doctrine, and with it begins... the theological science of the future’ (36). However, it was his student, Origen, who ‘achieved the union of Greek philosophy and Christianity’ (39).

      Origen (c.185-253) is considered by Campbell to be the ‘founder of theology’ (41), the greatest scholar of the early church and the greatest theologian of the East (38). Durant adds that ‘with [Origen] Christianity ceased to be only a comforting faith; it became a full-fledged philosophy, buttressed with scripture but proudly resting on reason’ (Caesar 615). Origen was a brilliant man. At 18 he succeeded Clement as president of the Alexandrian school. Over 800 titles were attributed to him by Jerome. He traveled extensively and started a new school in Cesarea.

      In Origen we find an important link in the changing view of God. According to Pelikan’s Historical Theology, Origen was the ‘teacher of such orthodox stalwarts as the Cappadocian Fathers’ (22) but also the ‘teacher of Arius’ (22) and the ‘originator of many heresies’ (22). Centuries after his death, he was condemned by councils at least five times; however, both Athanasius and Eusebius had great respect for him.

      As he tried to reckon the ‘incomprehensible God’ with both Stoic and Platonic philosophy, Origen presented views that could support both sides of the Trinity argument. He believed the Father and Son were separate ‘in respect of hypostasis’ (substance), but ‘one by harmony and concord and identity of will’ (qtd. in Lonergan 56). He claimed the Son was the image of God.

      In the way in which, according to the bible story, we say that Seth is the image of his father, Adam. For thus it is written: ‘And Adam begot Seth according to his own image and likeness.’ Image, in this sense, implies that the Father and the Son have the same nature and substance. (qtd. in Lonergan 58)

      He also maintained that there was a difference between the God and God when he said ‘_ß _&hibar; 2, __is indeed the God [God himself].... Whatever else, other than him who is called _ß _&hibar; 2, __, is also God, is deified by participation, by sharing in his divinity, and is more properly to be called not the God but simply God’ (qtd. in Lonergan 61).

      As Greek influence and Gnosticism became introduced into the Eastern church, it became more mystical and philosophical. The simple doctrines that Jesus taught to the uneducated gave way to the complex and sophisticated arguments of Origen.

      As Clement and Origen represented theological development in the East, so Tertullian had tremendous influence in the West. Kelly explains that the West, centered in Rome, gave greater credence to the traditional role of faith than to philosophy, and was more apt to expound on scripture (4).

    Login Status
  • You are not logged in
    • Login
      Password
       

      Optional
      Provides additional benefits such as notifications, signatures, and user authentication.


      Create Account
    Your Name
    Message Title
    Message Text
    Options
    Enable formatted text (what's this?)
     
    Notice: This is a moderated forum. Your post will not show up until a moderator approves the message. If you regularly have full posting privileges, you may have to login first.
          


    Place your text ad here.           See all text ads

    This web site is not part of or approved by any Church!

    ...........................THE BOOK

    What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?


    There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

    This book is only about one of those churches. It's about the Madison Church Of Christ. By studying the methods used here along with the resource references you might be able to inoculate your church. At the very least you will recognize the signs early on.

    Many of the current members of the Madison Church of Christ still don't know what happened.
    Some never will know! This book is for them as well.

    Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.

    It thrived for many years on the vision of it's elders and those of it's ministers. Those visions undoubtably came from the the inspired word of Jesus Christ.

    At sometime in the last 10 years there was a deliberate plan by a majority of the elders to take the Madison Church of Christ into a more worldly realm.

    They used secrecy, covert planning, and outside sources to scheme and to change the format and direction of the Madison Church of Christ.

    The Elders knew that the membership would never approve such a plan. Using the tools of the "Community Church Movement"(consultants, books, seminars, meetings,planters,seeders) they slowly started initiating change so it was never noticed by the members until it was too late.....

    At the heart of the plan was the fact that old members were going to be driven off so new techniques could be used to go out and reach the unchurched through new "Contemporary Holy Entertainment" methods developed by the "Community Church Movement"

    Old members had to be kept on board long enough to get their plans ready, or the funds would not be there to pay for the new building. So by the plans very nature, it had to be secret.

    The church had no plan in effect to renew or approve elders. There was never any need. The elders had always been "as approved by God". 10 of the last 15 elders would begin to shed some doubt on that.

    The Elders did not even need a majority at first, because some of the elders went along unwittingly.

    This edition starts shortly after some of the members begin to smell something strange in January 2001. Later editions may go back and fill in some of the timeline.

    To even start to understand whats happening here, you must read the background materials in the first of the book.

    This is only the first edition, and not the end. New editions will be printed as needed. To keep abreast of current changes, please visit our web site; http://www.concernedmembers.com/madison

    Here is the list of players;

    5 Godly Elders
    10 Not so Godly Elders
    120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
    2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
    2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten commandments)
    Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
    Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)
     

    Click Here......The Book is Available Now FREE

    Place your banner ad here.           See all banner ads

    ...ConcernedMembers.com ...About ...Links Library ...Sunday School in Exile ...Help Warn Others


    FastCounter by bCentral

    CM Visit Counter as of 6/25/2015
    2,101,394

    Site Visits Since 6/30/2015
    page counter