Sunday, 13 March 2016

A Response to Trinitarian Claims on John 17:5, John 17:3 and 1 John 5:20

A really quick response to Vladimir Susic's article on Pastor Boshoff's Ad Lucem website.

Vladimir Susic wanted to show the Trinitarian viewpoint behind an oft-used text by Unitarian Christians. John 17:3 seems straight forward enough in showing Jesus not to be divine and disproving the Trinity idea.

Vladmir offers a Trinitarian response. I skimmed through his response. I don't think his Trinitarian response is convincing.

Vladimir writes:

John 17:3:
“And this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent” —Jesus the Messiah. John 17:3 (ISV)
Now our dear unitarian friends will obviously jump on it and say that we are done, but that is indeed not so. In our Trinitarian Theology The Father is indeed The Only True God, so is The Son, and The Spirit! Jesus can easily say that Father is The Only True God yet not deny his divinity for The Son is THE SAME GOD as the Father! So in saying that The Father is The Only True God, Jesus is in fact, affirming HIS OWN divinity for he is the same God as The Father!

Vladimir is insisting John 17:3 fits into a Trinitarian framework. I think the reasoning he gives here is flawed and it opens Vladimir and other Trinitarians to the charge of making Jesus out to be a bad communicator. If I say David is the only true manager, what does that mean? Does it mean, I'm a manager on par to David too? Nope, I've excluded myself from being a true manager. So why is Vladimir overlooking the word 'only' here?

Just read Vladimir's reasoning and ask yourself, is it convincing?

Vladimir wants to appeal to the context of John 17:3 but we should ask ourselves, is this not a standalone teaching? Not every teaching needs to be contexualised. Theological statements are stand-alone. For example, the Jews would point to the Shema (Deut 6:4) and verses such as 'Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,' [Isaiah 46:9] for their theology concerning God.

The Jews won't be talking about context here. Why is Vladimir appealing to context here? Simple, he has his motivations as a Trinitarian. He's reading catholic tradition into the text. Catholic with a small 'c' as Dr Dale Tuggy would say.

Vladimir's appeal to context hinges on John 17:5 where Jesus is asking the Father to glorify him. For Vladimir and other Trinitarians this is a big deal. They use this text to claim Jesus is equal to the Father - that's to say he is God. It's a big leap of faith. Vladimir and other Trinitarians stop short here but what about others who are given glory according to writing attributed to John? In John 17:22 the glory is given to others so it's problematic for Trinitarians to use this type of argumentation to support the idea Jesus is the same substance as God.

There are other verses in John which cause further problems with the Trinitarian stance

John 14:28 teaches Jesus is lesser than the Father
"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

In John 20:17 Jesus affirms he has a God
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

What about Paul here?

Going back to John 17:3, the Trinitarians have another problem here in the form of Paul. Paul seems to repeat the same belief of the Father being the only God in 1 Cor 8:6. This is further supported in 11:3 in the same book.

1 Corinthians 11:3 teaches that Jesus is subordinate to God

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 8:6 teaches only the Father is God

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

I'd ask Vladimir and Trinitarian Christians to reflect on this information. Also pray about this to God Almighty. How can one love God with all their heart and mind if that love is being shared 3-ways when in reality it should be solely focussed on the One who created us all. The God of Jesus, Muhammad, Moses and Abraham (pbut). God Almighty.

Trinitarians and 1 John 5:20

Vladimir Susic then moves to 1 John 5:20 and argues this is calling Jesus the 'true God'. I don't find this convincing either. I would like to state, this does not seem to be a common Trinitarian argument. Perhaps I'm wrong. Vladimir, genuine question; do you have any audio or video of a Trinitarian scholar making this claim concerning 1 John 5:20? I have Dr James R White in mind here, has he made this argument before, do you know? If he has please link me to it. If not, why not? Thanks.

1 John 5:20:
“We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true God. We are in union with the one who is true, his Son Jesus the Messiah, who is the true God and eternal life”. 1 John 5:20(ISV)

Vladimir contends Jesus, and not the Father, is being called the true God here. This type of argument does not work in English either. It's not convincing. Come on Vladimir, it says at the beginning Jesus came so people can know the true God; it's suggesting Jesus and the true God are distinct beings. Here's a video arguing responding to the Trinitarian efforts and arguing it's the Father who is described as the true God.

Watch the video folks, he does a good job in breaking it down


Do you ever wonder why the Trinity is not explictly taught in the New Testament? If Jesus wanted us to believe in the Trinity, don't you not think he would have just taught directly? Ponder upon it.

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Did Ignatius Teach the Trinity?

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