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The Great Trinity Debate at Parchment and Pen

The Reclaiming the Mind Ministries site Parchment and Pen is hosting an online debate on the Christian doctrine of the trinity, the claim that God is three persons and yet one substance. The debate began on April 11 and will take place over six weeks. Defending the traditional trinitarian position is apologist Rob Bowman, author of books such as Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ and 20 Compelling Evidences That God Exists. His opponent is David Burke, a Christadelphian heading up the Christadelphian forums.

If you’ve given much thought to the doctrine of the trinity and the nature and identity of Jesus, you’re bound to find the exchange a worthwhile one.

Here is the format and arguments that have been posted so far (I’ll update when the posts become available):

Week 1: Scripture and the nature of God.

Rob Bowman on God and Scripture

David Burke on God and Scripture

Week 2: The person of Jesus Christ.

Rob Bowman on Jesus Christ

David Burke on Jesus Christ

Week 3: The person of Jesus Christ (responses and further arguments).

Rob Bowman on Jesus Christ, continued.

David Burke on Jesus Christ, continued.

Week 4: The Holy Spirit.

Rob Bowman on the Holy Spirit

David Burke on the Holy Spirit

Week 5 (begins May 9):  Theological views of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Rob Bowman on the Trinity

David Burke on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Week 6 (begins May 16): Closing statements.

Rob Bowman’s Closing Statement

David Burke’s Closing Statement

You can read Rob’s introduction to the debate challenge here. And also worth reading is Rob and David’s list of resources that are relevant to the debate.

Unity and Diversity

We’ve looked at some key terms and some different methods of doing theology. Today I want to take an extended excursion to look at the issue of unity and diversity within Christian belief. To help explain I shall be utilizing a solar system, a sumo-wrestler and a mirror.

Should all Christians believe exactly the same things? Or is there room for disagreement? What defines authentic Christian belief? These are important and difficult questions in need of clear answers. By finding these answers we shall be equipped to answer many other questions, such as how denominations (such as Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, etc.) arose, if similar church splits can or should be avoided, and if other churches, such as Catholics, can rightly be called Christians. In setting up Thinking Matters, conceived as an inter-denominational organization to encourage and support Christian apologetics in New Zealand, we had to wrestle with these very issues, and still regularly are confronted with different perspectives and disagreements within our own ranks concerning what correct theology should be. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is a great diversity of opinion in Christendom about certain doctrines. But how much diversity of opinion can be permitted until someone can no longer rightly be called an authentic Christian? Read more