Are LDS KJV readers inclined to this? (Part 3)

Arthur W. Pink (1945) writes,

“I and my Father are one” (10:30).  The R.V. correctly renders this verse, “I and the Father are one.”  The difference between these two translations is an important one.  Wherever the Lord Jesus says, “my Father,”  He is speaking as the Mediator, but whenever He refers to “the Father,” He speaks from the standpoint of His absolute Deity.  Thus, “my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28 ) contemplates Him in the position of inferiority.  “I and the Father are one” affirms Their unity of nature or essence, one in every Divine perfection.

Before I go back to what “one” implies in part 4, I need to explore with you the “my” and “the”.  Would you accept Father and Son as equal in power?


  1. “Would you accept Father and Son as equal in power?”

    I don’t know. And I don’t see how it really matters (to me). Are your left leg and right arm equal in power?

  2. “Would you accept Father and Son as equal in power?”

    They are now. That’s what Mormon belief says. That’s what trinity means, right? That’s what the Book of Mormon says. But what do you mean by “equal in power?”

  3. From an orthodox trinitarian perspective, the issue here is not so much the equality of Father and Son in terms of the Divine attributes, power being one of them (not denying, of course, that the Divine Persons are all indeed equal, eternally/transtemporally equal), but rather, the relationship between Father and Son, and by extension, the Holy Spirit. John 10:38, 14:10, and 17:20 are especially relevant here: “The Father is in Me and I am in the Father.”

  4. Todd, I don’t have that book available to me, so I can’t read the quote in context, but my immediate response is to quote the late RC theologian Karl Rahner, an older contemporary of Brown’s: “the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity”.

    The “economic Trinity” is the Trinity as revealed, as Brown, who was also RC, puts it, “ad extra”, that is, in the relationship of the Godhead with creation, and especially with humanity.

    “Immanent Trinity” refers to the inner life of the Trinitarian God as such. Orthodoxy makes a similar distinction, speaking of the manifest “energies” and the unknowable “essence” of God.

    In either case, both the following hold true: what we know of God we know only by way of revelation (not begging the question of natural theology), which necessarily involves the “economy” or the “energies”; that is, the Divine Persons interacting with us; and second, and most importantly here, there cannot be any contradiction between that revelation and the essential, “immanent” life of God.

    Therefore, the fact that these statement are found in the ad extra context of the economy is not particularly relevant: they speak, on their face, of the immanent relationship between Father and Son. It simply remained to later Fathers of the Church, such as those of Nicea, and especially Athanasios and the Cappadocians, to further explicate this relationship as challenges arose to the “faith once delivered”. I think Fr. Brown would agree.

  5. Seth, if the Father is eternally almighty, so is the Son. To see the omnipotent clasp of the Shepherd’s hold on his sheep is to see the Father’s omnipotence.

    What? Who? Being? Power? Is there anything other that can snatch the sheep?

    Nothing. Nothing else in all existence.

    Reminds me of Romans 8, too.

    Greg, I thought that Brown was maintaining John 10:30 taught functional Trinity (which LDS tend to believe in sundry degrees) rather than ontological Trinity. And that an ontological Triune God is a later development of creeds. Did you see the other Catholic quoted by the FAIR link as well?

  6. Well, Todd, a functional Trinity which is not also ontological would simply be another way of saying “three gods”.

    I see several other RC’s quoted there. One of them, the Jesuit Roland Teske, I knew at Marquette. In fact, he presided at the wedding of a good friend of mine. However, I don’t think his quote here is particularly relevant. For one thing, “anthropomorphic” does not equal “corporal”, and Augustine at that point was obviously working from a number of misperceptions, as Teske says.

    The quote from Curran, I think, is pretty spot on, although he may be minimizing the biblical data.

    I found the Fitzmeyer quote in context (as published in the Jerome Biblical Commentary). Fitzmeyer does not deny a distinction between Son and Spirit in Paul, as evidenced, for example, by his use of triadic doxological formulas, but maintains that Paul’s trinitarianism is “only economic”. However, given statement such as “in [Christ] dwells bodily all the fulness of deity”, I’m not sure that I would entirely agree, although it is obvious that nowhere in the New Testament do we find the doctrine of the Trinity laid out in explicit ontological terms, as in the Fourth Century. At the same time, if Fitzmeyer is essentially correct, this begs the question of the possibility of an economic Trinity that is also not ontological, and before all else, Paul was certainly a monotheist.

    There are, of course, other quotes in this piece which are more problematic, such as the one which claims that the patristic understanding of the relations of origin is “pre-Christian”: also the more general claim, related to this, that pre-Nicene orthodoxy is ‘subordinationist”. While East and West disagree to a greater or lesser extent on the role of the Son in the procession of the Spirit, there is absolutely no disagreement whatsoever that the Father is the primordial source of both the Son and the Spirit from all eternity. But these relationships in no way imply subordination: am I somehow less than my parents because I am born of them? I don’t think so. As the East says, “there is one God because there is one Father.” There is also a claim that Ireneus and Tertullian write that God was not always trinitarian (introducing the concept of time into the Godhead). Maybe, but I would like to see the actual quotes. At the same time, no one Father (or, in the case of Tertullian, a quasi-Father), ever speaks for the Church as a whole.

    Regarding the Johannine Comma: obviously not part of the original text, but cited, directly or indirectly, by Cyprian in the Third Century as the faith of the Church.

    Of course, where some see discontinuity and even apostasy, I see legitimate, Spirit-inspired development, the sort of development that turns an acorn into an oak. This is Spirit-led explication of the primordial data in the face of challenges to the faith. That scriptural data, of course, includes the following: a) there is one God and b) that this one God is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Further data: New Testament statements concerning the continuity and authority of the Church and of the Apostles and their successors in the Apostolic priesthood, including but certainly not limited to the promise made by Christ that the Spirit would “lead you into all truth”. For LDS especially, I would emphasize that there has been no disruption in priesthood authority, from the Apostles down to this very moment.

    So therefore, while it is certainly fair to say that “the New Testament does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity,” to say “the New Testament itself is far from any doctrine of the Trinity or of a triune God who is three co-equal Persons of One Nature” is incorrect. It is there in embryonic form. The same can be said of the Apostolic Fathers: there was no “trinitarian problem” for them because heresy had not yet arisen in those precise terms, as it did with Arianism. They had other fish to fry; and yet, there is a definite trinitarianism present. The last summary statement in the article, concerning Constantinople, is true as far as it goes, but again, this bare quote ignores the history, especially the fact that Nicea and Constantinople were clarifying the faith of the Church in the face of various challenges to that Faith. Or to put it another way: if Peter and Paul had been physically present at Nicea, would they have stood with Athanasios or Arius?

    Finally, a word about Greek philosophy. The Fathers adapted such terminology and concepts, but they often significantly redefined the terms. The best known example is “ousios” and “hypostasis”. In some years before Nicea, a local council had found that the use of the term “homoousios” to describe the relationship between Father and Son was heretical (this in the context of modalism). However, at the time, ousios and hypostasis were synonyms. Athanasios, in a uniquely Christian move, distinguished between them, making it possible to say that God is one ousios and three hypostases. Because of this, Zizioulas can write that the concept of personhood, first applied to God and then humanity, is uniquely Christian in origin. Thus, in general, instead of Christianity being hellenized, it is better to say that Hellenism was christianized.

  7. This is extremely helpful, Greg, for me in understanding your position and in relation to the FAIR article. Thanks.

    In this particular post:

    you can see how (Lutheran) Lenski raves over this word, homoousios.

    It is “extra-biblical” but the great Shema pointed out by Bauckham is not. I for one join in on this connection.

    Sidenote: “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever” (Isaiah 59:21) This covenant promise alone eliminates the idea of a total apostasy.

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