Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Caption needed...

There is just something funny about our blessed Lord, His virgin mother, his step-father, the magi, and the angel all posing in front of the "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers." There is either something very silly, profound, or both that could be said here. But I could not come up with a caption.

Can I get a little help here?

A blessed remainder of the week of Rorate Coeli and a Merry Christmas to all. (And boy is it ever hard to find just the right Rorate Coeli card at Walgreen's!).


Christopher Esget said...

"Father Hollywood adored
Whom the Fathers hailed as Lord."

Anonymous said...

"Oh, dear! It seems the writing from these books may have spilled upon our robes!"

Rev. Jack A. Kozak said...

We traveled all this way with Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, and Larry's el-cheapo Hendrickson printing of the Fathers overshadows us?

Rev. Luke T. Zimmerman said...

"And after returning home by another way, the Magi made a series of proposition bets: that the Son would be declared consubstantial with the Father in AD 325; that Mary would be declared Theotokos in AD 431; and that iconography would be restored in the Church in AD 787. And many were astounded at these acts, wondering where they obtained this wisdom."
~First Monegasques 7-11

gnesio-lutheran said...

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Theophilus said...

Suggested Caption:

Warning: The message of the Christ Child has been corrupted by Christianity's dogma-tradition!

Luke Zimmerman has the right idea.

Christopher Esget said...

Methinks "Theophilus" should read the books addressed to his namesake.

Theophilus said...

To gnesio-lutheran:

I will attempt to translate your words and a few more to clarify the meaning:

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God. IT was with God in the beginning. Through IT all things were made; without IT nothing was made that has been made. In IT was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood IT."

Thomas Jefferson, our third President, was quite insightful when he translated these words as follows:

"In the beginning God existed, and reason (or mind) was with God, and that mind was God. This was in the beginning with God. All things were created by it, and without it was made not one thing which was made."

Jefferson continues:
"This text, so plainly declaring the teaching of Jesus that the world was created by the supreme, intelligent being, has been perverted by modern Christians to build up a second person of their tritheism by a mistranslation of the word 'logos.'"

Christopher Esget said...

"Theophilus" - First, why don't you give us your real name? Second, that's not at all what the Greek says. Jefferson was a brilliant man - but on this topic, he has no support whatsoever. You don't have to believe what St. John wrote - but don't try to change his words to fit your belief, which is very different from his.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Theo:

Whether you translate Logos as "Word" or some other way ("mind" or "reason"), there are two problems with your translation:

1)θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος clearly means "the Logos was God." There is no word "with" in this sentence (πρὸς is translated as "with" and that is in the previous sentence). So, the text is clear that the Logos was not only "with" God (verse 1b) was also was God (verse 1c).

2) in verse 14, we are told that the Logos "became flesh and dwelt among us" and (15) "John bore witness about him."

So, the Logos is 1) God, 2) was with God at the beginning, 3) became incarnate, and 4) was pointed to by John the Baptist.

Finally, Mr. Jefferson (whose bust sits on a bookshelf in my parlor) is out to lunch on the "modern Christians" thing. The doctrine of the Trinity is anything but modern. And if it were based on a mistranslation, the Greek-speaking Christians would certainly be able to correct such a bad translation. Instead, the Council of Nicea was comprised of Greek-speaking Christians!

They knew their Greek better than Thomas Jefferson, as brilliant a man as he was.

And even in Jefferson's translation, look at the logical paradox: the Logos ("reason" or "mind") is both *with God* and *is God." Jefferson argues that God is both singular and plural, as the Logos is both with, while also being, God. In other words, according to Jefferson, God is standing next to Himself, though He is one.

That's what we Christians have been saying for nearly two millennia!

Christopher Esget said...

Pr. Beane:
Thanks for writing my Christmas Day sermon outline for me! Well done, per usual.

Anonymous said...

Theophilus is making a similar argument to one offered by Oneness Pentecostals and other modalists. It is the denial that God the Son exists in eternity as a person in the Godhead. Instead, the logos becomes a plan in the mind of God, or is God's reason. As David Bernard, an apologist for the United Pentecostal Church which embraces the heresy of modalism, writes: “The Word or Logos can mean the plan or thought as it existed in the mind of God. This thought was a predestined plan . . . the Son did not have pre-existence before the conception in the womb of Mary. The Son of God pre-existed in thought but not in substance.” (David K. Bernard, “The Oneness of God” 1986, p. 103)

Here Bernard, like other modalists, denies the pre-existence of the Son and makes him nothing more than a thought in the Father's mind prior to the incarnation. In short, they inadvertently deny the deity of the Son because He is not God from all eternity.

I hope "Theophilus" hasn't fallen into this heresy. A denial of the Holy Trinity squarely puts one outside of the Church.

Theophilus said...

The synagogues cast sinners out; the temple cast Jesus out; The church fathers cast Arius and others out; The Roman Catholic Church cast Martin Luther out; and now it looks like I am being cast out of the church.

I rest my case with the Father of Jesus Christ and my Father who judges justly.

The problem with all the discussion about the "logos" is that it is so intellectual that no layman like myself can possibly understand it. I much prefer Jesus' actual message which I and little children can easily understand. Christianity's dogma tradition, those so-called "truths" about God and about Jesus, truly are corruptions, as Thomas Jefferson insists.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Theo:

But according to you, Martin Luther really was a heretic. He believed in the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, and the substitutionary atonement. The RCC never questioned Luther's commitment to the Nicene Creed, but rather to the papacy.

It's kind of odd to see you wrap yourself in Luther's mantle. Much closer to you would be the Jehovah's Witnesses - who have a very similar Christology to you and Thomas Jefferson.

And, just because not everyone convicted of heresy is a true heretic doesn't mean that there are no heretics. Either Arius was the heretic, or the more than 300 bishops who convicted him were.

Christmas Blessings!

Theophilus said...

Father Hollywood:

The first Christians had only Jesus' message. Christianity's dogma-tradition, those intellectual "truths" about God and about Jesus, had not yet been formulated and would not be for another 300 years.

Jesus' message is what I believe. Am I a heretic because I confine my faith to Jesus' actual message, knowing that in the Transfiguration story, The heavenly Father said, 'LISTEN TO HIM?" Isn't that what is truly important? How fortunate the first Christians were not to have to deal with all those intellectual "truths", those incomprehensible formulations, that were imposed on Christians much later!


Much joy be yours as you ponder over the “glad tidings of great joy” which the Christ Child came to proclaim. The good news from heaven, spoken through the lips of Jesus, is this:

Your heavenly Father is faithful, gracious, merciful, and forgiving by name and character. He forgives your sins for his name’s sake, not requiring sacrifices to appease his anger, no longer holding your sins against you. He regards you as righteous.

You are the beloved sons of your heavenly Father, full of the honor, dignity, and worth, which cannot be taken from you. There is now no superiority or inferiority among you. Your heavenly Father’s covenant commitment to you is forever.

You have been called to live a new life of righteousness in the following of Jesus Christ, loving your neighbor as yourself, forgiving your enemies from the heart, and being a blessing to all the peoples of the earth. This is the eternal life in you already now.

God’s gracious promises will not fail you along life’s difficult wilderness journey as you face temptations to unbelief. His promises will sustain you in faith, hope, and love. “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

This is the “glad tidings of great joy” that heals broken lives and makes them new, the message that unites us all in joy and peace.



Theophilus Ben Raska
"Follower of the Way"