Is this a fair defense of the unity of the Father/Son?

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KyleB
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Is this a fair defense of the unity of the Father/Son?

Post by KyleB » Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:20 pm

I was listening to a program where Christian apologists address issues with Islam. They brought up a particular defense of the unity of the Father and Son in the trinity that I hadn't heard before, and I was wondering if it was a fair use of the language, or if they are holding James to a tighter standard than he may have had in mind while writing.

I believe in the deity of Christ by the way, I'm just trying to think of this from a defensive JW's point of view.

James 1:1
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Mt 6:24
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
They were taking James' statement and using it to show that, in light of Jesus' statement in Mt 6, James couldn't have had the view that Jesus was not God, or else he would be violating the sermon on the mount. Thoughts?

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Paidion
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Re: Is this a fair defense of the unity of the Father/Son?

Post by Paidion » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:05 pm

James 1:1 seems to clearly indicate that "God" and "The Lord Jesus Christ" are two different Individuals (or "Persons"), if you will. That fact alone would fit both Unitarianism (JWs) and Trinitarianism — but not Modalism. The word "God" in this verse seems to be referring to the Father alone, and doesn't include Jesus. If it did, it would be unnecessary to separate "Jesus" from "God" by means of that little word "and".

An even stronger separation is indicated in John 17:3 where Jesus in His prayer addresses the Father as "The only true God" and separates Himself with the phrase "and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." Again that little word "and"!

Having said this, I wish to affirm that I do not hold to the Unitarian belief that Jesus is not divine and did not pre-exist, nor to the belief of Jehovah's Witness who affirm that Jesus pre-existed as the archangel Michael.

Rather, I hold that because the God begat Jesus as a single act "before all ages" as the early Christians put it, or "at the beginning of time" as I see it, He is just as divine as His Father, and is the exact image of the Father's essence (Heb 1:3). Therefore He is divine and may be called "God" in this sense — but not "God" in the sense that He is part of a compound "God" called "The Trinity". This is analgous to the fact that we as offspring of humanity may be called "human".
Paidion

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KyleB
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Re: Is this a fair defense of the unity of the Father/Son?

Post by KyleB » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:10 pm

Yes, I also recognize "God" to be referring to the Father, and Jesus Christ as separate in James' introduction. What I was getting at was, in light of Mt 6:24, wouldn't any view that held the Father and Son as completely separate entities have to say also that James was the servant of two masters?

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Paidion
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Re: Is this a fair defense of the unity of the Father/Son?

Post by Paidion » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:14 pm

What I was getting at was, in light of Mt 6:24, wouldn't any view that held the Father and Son as completely separate entities have to say also that James was the servant of two masters?
Two Persons, yes. However if trinitarianism is correct, then those two Persons would constitute one Master, and that Master is God.

If Jehovah's Witnesses are correct, then again "Two persons", but Jesus is always submissive to God and therefore the authority comes only from God.

If my view is correct, then Jesus is another Person exactly like God the Father, with precisely the same intentions, purposes, thinking, etc. So this would certainly be only one authority — unlike the situation in Matthew 6:24 where the two masters are God and Mammon (the god of money). These two masters are so different that you cannot serve them both. If you tried it, you would be loyal to one of them and discount the other.
Paidion

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KyleB
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Re: Is this a fair defense of the unity of the Father/Son?

Post by KyleB » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:39 pm

Thanks Paidion, that's what I was looking for. I had a feeling it might be kind of a weak argument, maybe that's why I hadn't heard it used before.

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