At the heart of Mushtaq’s inability to see that the Church which gave us both the NT Canon and the Trinity knows how to read the Book it gave us, is a relativistic, and possibly Protestant-influenced view of what the Church is. We see it here in one of his many comments to the same effect:
The Church founded by Christ, its members died after some years, and replaced by Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Unitarian Christians, each one of them claims that Christ is the founder of his own Church, and their Church knows how to read the Book which it, itself, canonized.
This is in denial of the very words of Jesus Himself. In his list of the times Jesus mentions the word ‘church’ Mushtaq misses out the key passages here: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” So, Jesus either told the truth, and that means that His Church survived, or He didn’t, in which case it really does not matter what he says. Of course, Christians believe that His Church survived, as both Catholics and Orthodox can show the direct lineage. That some heretical bodies disagree is sort of obvious; dissent from orthodoxy is what defines heresy; one might as well use Mormonism as one’s critique of Orthodoxy; heresy plus heresy = heresy to the power of two!
The Early Church, as we have seen here many times, placed a great emphasis on orthodox – that is ‘right’ interpretation of the traditions it had received. That there were disagreements is, as the history of Islam shows, natural. Mushtaq seems to think somehow this invalidates the Orthodox view of the Trinity:
Next you used words “that agreed at Nicea”. This agreed word proves that:
Before Nicean Council, Christians were in disagreement on Trinity.
Trinity/ concept of God is basic requirement of salvation, therefore, in initial three centuries, Christians were not agreed upon basic requirement of salvation i.e. Concept of God i.e. Trinity. Blessed Jesus caused this confusion for not reciting Nicean Council creed in his times, therefore, Blessed Jesus was unaware of basic requirement of salvation to be taught to his disciples i.e. Concept of God i.e. Trinity.
No one ever denied that Christians disagreed on the definition of the Trinity, but Nicaea in 325, followed by Constantinople in 381 fully defined it for all time. I quoted to Mushtq extensively from St John to show that Jesus himself is the origin of Trinitarian thought, so it is incorrect to say He did not know the Trinity. That would have been strange since He is part of it. This, of course, is why Muslims spread old, outdated stories about St John, as he and his Gospel were central to the developing debate in the early Church on the Trinity and its history, which can be followed at the links given.
Mushtaq’s fifth argument is that ‘Everyday language contradicts Trinity’. This is irrelevant. The Church establishes doctrine, not ‘everyday language’, so I have not bothered with what is a long an irrelevant set of comments. I pick up his comments again here:
Why stick with it? Why do you Love so much Church of 4th century? Why do you not love teachings of Blessed Jesus and Prophets who never speak and hear “Father is full and complete God, Son is full and complete God, Holy Spirit is full and complete God, but these are not three gods, but One full and complete God.”?
Because the Church of the 4th century is the Church founded by Jesus in the first century. It is the only body authorised to teach in His name.
When I wrote: “God is the completeness of Father, Son and Spirit”, Mushtaq writes:
Who says this? From Adam till Moses and Blessed Jesus, no Prophet said this. But pagans of later centuries who corrupted Monotheism teaching of Blessed Jesus.
There are six Synonyms of “completeness” are “wholeness”, “entirety”, “totality”, “unity”, and “fullness”. Let’s test these 6 words completeness and five synonyms to test whether Trinity is three parts of God or three gods or something else?
The Church, founded by Jesus Christ, says this. That Church, not playing with the words of men, is the only authority, so, again, there is no point responding to the vain words of non-Christians, unless they can show they know how to read the Book of the Church better than the Church itself.
On the subject of St Athanasius he comments:
St Athanasius and St Cyril are not superior to Blessed Jesus and Prophets. How can they wrestle with each other to forge concept of God untold and unheard by Blessed Jesus?.
James D. G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament (2005)
Franz Dunzl, A Brief History of the Doctrine of the Trinity (2007)
Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and its legacy (2004)
Khaled Anatolis, Athanasius (2004)
Larry W Hurtado, How on earth did Jesus become a God? (2005)
that it is incorrect to assert that the idea of the Trinity was ‘forged’. It arises, as I have shown repeatedly, out of Scripture and the life of the Church founded by Jesus.
Now, in one of his later answers, Mustaq writes:
2-MUSHTAQ (Dialogue is exchange of Questions and Answers, not exchange of list of books)
Dialogue is exchange of Questions and Answers, Dialogue is not exchange of list of books, if you yourself have not capability to read these books and extract required answer for dialogue, then you are not eligible to participate in Dialogue. Go and first learn these books yourselves to find out how to extract required answers from these books at time of Dialogue.
You may cite few book in dialogue, but just only as a reference to what you say in dialogue, not as a replacement of question and answer for “Recommended study”.
I cite these books as the sources for my arguments, and they are used in the pieces here to which I asked Mushtaq to refer. He has not done so, neither has he answered the argumentsI used based on them. It is this which is not dialogue.
Blessed Jesus wrote no book, he left oral traditions which took form of conflicting Gospels over a period of years by unknown authors. These books became a useful tool for Church to propagate conflicting traditions attributed to Blessed Jesus such as number three, Trinity, Triune God etc.
He also asserts
We know Scripture through various conflicting Gospels. Blessed Jesus founded a Jewish community that was diverted to Gentiles by St. Paul (who never saw Blessed Jesus) and many scholars have argued that he must be called real founder of Christianity.
Both statements are incorrect, as the books I have cited would show him, as well as the pieces on this blog on the Trinity (which are listed in the next post). The early church paid great attention to the words of Jesus and to the traditions of his disciples, and there is no reason to presume, as Mushtaq does, that church did not know its Master’s voice or how to hear him. The argument that Paul never saw Jesus is incorrect, he did, as his own letters and Acts makes clear. The idea that he diverted the Church from its mission is, again, incorrect, and if Mushtaq reads Geoffrey’s piece here and Chalcedon’s here he will see why. It does not seem unreasonable to me to expect him to read what is written here.
He also misunderstands what it means to say that the Spirit inspired the Gosple writers. I wrote, clearly:“God dictated a text. This is not what Christians believe”, to which he responded
It is incorrect and contradicted to well known Christian belief that Holy Spirit inspired or God inspired to Bible writers. Don’t you believe Holy Spirit inspired in writing of Scriptures?
Yes, I do, but that does not mean that the Spirit dictated the text. It means that the Spirit protects the Evangelists and the Church from misunderstanding it. Jesus himself told us here that in cases of doubt: ‘And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.’ Well, Mushtaq refuses to hear the Church, so what are we to do?