Why did Gordon H. Clark say, "If Christ be one Divine Person, NO PERSON was crucified and died. What then died on the Cross?” in his INCARNATION book?

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Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
If your child asked you if the 2nd Person of the Trinity (who is God) suffered and died to save His people from their sins, what would you teach your child?

Do you agree that we are to protect our families, friends, and the congregation from ALL false teachings including that Christ was a human person?
Yes, this is what they are taught about Jesus. Truly God, and truly man, lived a sinless life on our behalf, suffered and died for us, and rose from the dead.

Yes, I agree that we want to have the most accurate doctrine as possible.

I was just talking to a coworker yesterday about a pastor she listens to who denies the Trinity. It does matter to me.

I appreciate your desire to keep the Church's doctrine pure!
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
?
First ==> If you believe the Bible teaches that Jesus is God, then when you ask "if we should divide with anyone who disagrees with us", are you saying we should't divide with anyone who claims Jesus is not God?

Shouldn't we really be asking if we should divide with anyone who disagrees with God's clear salvific teachings in His Word?

Second ==> Do you agree that God teaches us explicitly in John 14:16-20 & 23-27 that Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are 3 Divine Persons (subsistences) -and- that Jesus is the 2nd Person of the Trinity?

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Third ==> And then in John 1:1-3 clearly teaches that Jesus is the Word (Logos), and is God, and is with God?

Fourth ==> And then in John 1:14 clearly teaches that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (therefore teaching us that the 2nd Person of the Trinity became flesh and is referred to by personal pronouns indicating that He is 1 Person in the flesh (not 2)?

FYI: @BayouHuguenot
This all sounds good to me as far as I can tell, not that my opinion matters, but honestly it's a bit over my head right now. We just got the kids to bed after a long evening of playing, so now I'm drained :) I admire your desire to know the true Jesus.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
And for the record, I don't believe Jesus was a human person. I also believe Clark was wrong. But it is also evident that the Bible isn't a glossary for terms like energia, ousia, and hypostasis.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
And for the record, I don't believe Jesus was a human person. I also believe Clark was wrong. But it is also evident that the Bible isn't a glossary for terms like energia, ousia, and hypostasis.
You are correct the bible would not be a glossary for those terms, but at the same time, 99% of Christians will never even hear those terms sitting in the pews.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
You are correct the bible would not be a glossary for those terms, but at the same time, 99% of Christians will never even hear those terms sitting in the pews.

Which is unfortunate, since most people would then read modern definitions of "person" into the concept
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Which is unfortunate, since most people would then read modern definitions of "person" into the concept
I think it's possible to teach on the trinity without needing to use those terms. The forgotten trinity by James white I thought did a good job without getting overly technical.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have to post a correction. And I figured this would be the case once I thought about it more, that the terms do have use. I checked the book I mentioned and both ousia and hypostasis are used. I would mention a deep explanation is given before using them, but I am sure you would do the same before using them.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I think it's possible to teach on the trinity without needing to use those terms. The forgotten trinity by James white I thought did a good job without getting overly technical.

Since the trinity hinges on "nature" and "person," I would say it is impossible. The term "nature" didn't drop out of the air. It has a very complex history. No, I wouldn't firebomb old ladies with Greek terms, but I would introduce them later on.

On James White: in the old days on "VintageAomin" he said will was a property of person, not nature. That is the monothelite heresy. I think he has corrected himself since then.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Yes. These terms also aren’t technically foreign to the Bible. For example, Hebrews 1 says that the Son is the express image of God’s υπόστασις. That has huge Trinitarian implications.

That, too, is tricky. At the time of Athanasius, hypostasis meant nature. By the time of Basil and Constantinople 381 it meant person. That's the danger of reading later concepts into earlier terms. John McGuckin summarized the problem best:

Ousia: Essence, substance, being, genus, or nature.

Physis: Nature, make up of a thing. (In earlier Christian thought the concrete reality or existent.)

Hypostasis: The actual concrete reality of a thing, the underlying essence, (in earlier Christian thought the synonym of physis.)

Prosopon: The observable character, defining properties, manifestation of a reality.

Even at first sight it is clear that the words bear a range of meanings that overlap in some areas so as to be synonymous. This is particularly so with the terms Physis and Hypostasis which in the fifth century simultaneously bore ancient Christian meanings and more modern applications.. In relation to Physis, Cyril tended to use the antique meaning, Nestorius the modern. In relation to Hypostasis the opposite was the case.”

McGuckin, 138-139.

7. “Ousia is the genus of a thing. Once can think, for example of the genus ‘unicorn.’ Such a genus exists, but only theoretically, not practically or concretely. It does not exist, that is, ‘in reality’ as we would say today. Nonetheless, it makes sense to talk of the necessary characteristics of a unicorn such as its magical horn, its horse like appearance, its whiteness, its beard and lion’s tail, and so on. Thus the genus of unicorn is the ousia, that which makes up the essential being of a thing.. The notion of the physis of our unicorn is intimately related to this. It connotes what we might call the palpable and ‘physical’ characteristics of a unicorn such as outlined above-but always understanding that his possession of a physis-nature still does not necessarily imply that such a creature is real…In some circles, especially those represented by the Christian thinkers of Alexandria following Athanasius, the word physis signified something slightly different from this sense of ’physical attributes’ and had been used to connote the physical existent-in the sense of a concrete individual reality. In the hands of Cyril the word is used in two senses, one in what might be called the standard ‘physical usage where it connotes the constituent elements of a thing, and the other in which it serves to delineate the notion of individual existent-or in other words individual subject. This variability in the use of a key term on Cyril’s part goes some way to explaining Nestorius’ difficulties in following his argument over the single Physis of the Incarnate Word (Mia Physis tou Theou Logou Sesarkoene). By this Cyril meant the one concrete individual subject of the Incarnated Word. Whereas Nestorius heard him to mean the one physical composite of the Word (in the sense of an Apollinarist mixture of fusion of the respective attributes of the natures of man and God.)

McGuckin, 139-140.

The prospon is the external aspect or form of a physis as it can be manifested to external observation and scrutiny. It is a very concrete, empirical word, connoting what appears to outside observation. Each essence (ousia) is characterized by its proper nature (physis), everything that is, which makes it up, and in turn every nature that is hypostatically real presents itself to the scrutiny of the senses in its own prosopon-that list of detailed characteristics or ‘propria’ that constitute this thing individually and signal to the observer what nature (physis) it has and thus to what genus (ousia) it belongs. In the system Nestorius is following, every nature has its own prosopon, that such of proper characteristics (idiomata) by which it is characterized in its unique individuality and made known to others as such. The word carried with it an intrinsic sense of ‘making known’ and appeared to Nestorius particularly apt in the revelatory context of discussing the incarnation.”

McGuckin, 144.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
And for the record, I don't believe Jesus was a human person. I also believe Clark was wrong. But it is also evident that the Bible isn't a glossary for terms like energia, ousia, and hypostasis.

Though I take it you believe Jesus is a person Who is both human and divine? :)
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
That, too, is tricky. At the time of Athanasius, hypostasis meant nature. By the time of Basil and Constantinople 381 it meant person. That's the danger of reading later concepts into earlier terms. John McGuckin summarized the problem best:

Ousia: Essence, substance, being, genus, or nature.

Physis: Nature, make up of a thing. (In earlier Christian thought the concrete reality or existent.)

Hypostasis: The actual concrete reality of a thing, the underlying essence, (in earlier Christian thought the synonym of physis.)

Prosopon: The observable character, defining properties, manifestation of a reality.

Even at first sight it is clear that the words bear a range of meanings that overlap in some areas so as to be synonymous. This is particularly so with the terms Physis and Hypostasis which in the fifth century simultaneously bore ancient Christian meanings and more modern applications.. In relation to Physis, Cyril tended to use the antique meaning, Nestorius the modern. In relation to Hypostasis the opposite was the case.”

McGuckin, 138-139.

7. “Ousia is the genus of a thing. Once can think, for example of the genus ‘unicorn.’ Such a genus exists, but only theoretically, not practically or concretely. It does not exist, that is, ‘in reality’ as we would say today. Nonetheless, it makes sense to talk of the necessary characteristics of a unicorn such as its magical horn, its horse like appearance, its whiteness, its beard and lion’s tail, and so on. Thus the genus of unicorn is the ousia, that which makes up the essential being of a thing.. The notion of the physis of our unicorn is intimately related to this. It connotes what we might call the palpable and ‘physical’ characteristics of a unicorn such as outlined above-but always understanding that his possession of a physis-nature still does not necessarily imply that such a creature is real…In some circles, especially those represented by the Christian thinkers of Alexandria following Athanasius, the word physis signified something slightly different from this sense of ’physical attributes’ and had been used to connote the physical existent-in the sense of a concrete individual reality. In the hands of Cyril the word is used in two senses, one in what might be called the standard ‘physical usage where it connotes the constituent elements of a thing, and the other in which it serves to delineate the notion of individual existent-or in other words individual subject. This variability in the use of a key term on Cyril’s part goes some way to explaining Nestorius’ difficulties in following his argument over the single Physis of the Incarnate Word (Mia Physis tou Theou Logou Sesarkoene). By this Cyril meant the one concrete individual subject of the Incarnated Word. Whereas Nestorius heard him to mean the one physical composite of the Word (in the sense of an Apollinarist mixture of fusion of the respective attributes of the natures of man and God.)

McGuckin, 139-140.

The prospon is the external aspect or form of a physis as it can be manifested to external observation and scrutiny. It is a very concrete, empirical word, connoting what appears to outside observation. Each essence (ousia) is characterized by its proper nature (physis), everything that is, which makes it up, and in turn every nature that is hypostatically real presents itself to the scrutiny of the senses in its own prosopon-that list of detailed characteristics or ‘propria’ that constitute this thing individually and signal to the observer what nature (physis) it has and thus to what genus (ousia) it belongs. In the system Nestorius is following, every nature has its own prosopon, that such of proper characteristics (idiomata) by which it is characterized in its unique individuality and made known to others as such. The word carried with it an intrinsic sense of ‘making known’ and appeared to Nestorius particularly apt in the revelatory context of discussing the incarnation.”

McGuckin, 144.
Do you believe knowing all these definitions and terms exactly as stated is essential to salvation?
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
No. My point, along with the historic tradition, is that these terms safeguard orthodoxy. Not knowing these terms almost always leads to sloppy reasoning, however.
I agree, but tradition in some cases is also what lead to the "sacred tradition" of the RC and EO churches and necessitated the reformation. Orthodoxy, as well, is defined differently among different groups. My assumption is you are presupposing reformed orthodoxy. In any case, I hope you have a great day of fellowship at church as well as the others on this thread.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
My advice is generally to ignore Gordon H. Clark and those of his ilk. The claim made by one of his disciples that he is the greatest theologian since Augustine is about as ridiculous as it gets. I realise, however, if you are dealing with people who have been influenced by Dr Clark, it may not be an option for you. An approach that you could try with them is to encourage them to read better, older authors instead and hope that they acquire some better theology, not to mention some common sense, while doing so.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
My assumption is you are presupposing reformed orthodoxy. In any case, I hope you have a great day of fellowship at church as well as the others on this thread.

I am presupposing Reformed orthodoxy, but they themselves would have thought they were simply transmitting the received tradition. Turretin's definition of person is almost identical to Basil's (mode of nature/mode of existence).
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
And then there’s this — varying translations

Hebrews 1:3 and translations of ὑπόστασις, hypostasis

KJV NKJV the express image of his / His person
Geneva 1599 the engraved form of his person
MKJV the express image of His essence
NIV ’84 the exact representation of his being
Lamsa the express image of his being
NASB the exact representation of His nature
MEV the express image of Himself
YLT the impress of His subsistence
RV the very image of his substance
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
"All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them."

(WCF 1.7)

The reason Christ gave the church teachers, Eph.4:11, is so that people could have a lifetime of instruction in the faith. Not everyone has the same gifts, not everyone grasps truth with equal strength or comprehension. The needful thing is to have good hope the Jesus one is trusting is the true Christ, and not a counterfeit. The pew-sitter needs pastors and teachers, themselves well-taught and grounded in the true and historic faith, who will faithfully and doggedly over time teach the truth about God, man, Christ, and salvation, and all the rest of the whole counsel of God (comprising a consistent body of truth). In this way, the saints are guided on their upward way, and helped to avoid the snares of error--the falsehoods that, left unchecked and uncorrected might (but for grace and election) lead away from the Christ who saves.

Jesus, Mt.13, warned his disciples of a condition in which men gladly received the truth--someone pointed them to Christ and they heard his voice--but evil turned them aside from the truth so they withered. How tragic to think one has found safety and nourishment in the Vine, only to discover too late the devil's trick. Think of those who have abandoned the "Jesus" they were taught, finding him false (though it was not really Him). Such persons are often hardened to the true gospel. Think of those who struggle endlessly for comfort from the false "Vine." They starve, while believing they were fed as best as could be.

The creeds of the church aim to express carefully and condensedly vital truth about God, man, Christ, and salvation so that in all generations the same safe hope will be accessible--if men will use such tools, like spikes driven into the mountainside, marking the best route to ascend. Ignore those markers at your peril. God did not promise those who would draw near to him a broad, smooth highway and a palanquin borne by angels.
Yes,
Agree 100% with everything you said including your statement ==>

"The creeds of the church aim to express carefully and condensedly vital truth about God, man, Christ, and salvation so that in all generations the same safe hope will be accessible--if men will use such tools, like spikes driven into the mountainside, marking the best route to ascend. Ignore those markers at your peril.

Tragically,
Gordon H. Clark had contempt for the Creed of Chalcedon, and never ceased to criticize it.

Many of his followers including J.R. Robbins became full blown Nestorians because of Gordon H. Clark's illogical "Definitions" in his teachings & writings leading to a Nestorian construct of the Incarnation.

I know many who love Clark and are now Nestorians, and I am praying for them.
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
Using a personal pronoun is not defining a nature. The Bible does not give a formal definition of prosopon/hypostasis or phusis/ousia
?

A Person Pronoun refers to the person.

Of course it doesn't refer to the nature.

Each of the Trinitarian Persons are referred to by personal pronouns (and also by proper names).
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
?

A Person Pronoun refers to the person.

Of course it doesn't refer to the nature.

Each of the Trinitarian Persons are referred to by personal pronouns (and also by proper names).
He said that personal pronouns do not define what "nature" is. And the very fact that the Father, Son, and Spirit are each referred to as a Person in Scripture, and each referred to as deity in Scripture, necessitates the need for a definition of each in order to make some sense of scriptural teaching. Hence Chalcedon. Jacob is addressing the "just believe the Bible" sentiment that has been expressed in this thread. With regard to Trinitarian theology, yes, Scripture gives us all we need to believe, but in order to make sure we stay within the bounds of what Scripture teaches, definitions are needed. Again, hence Chalcedon.
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
I am presupposing Reformed orthodoxy, but they themselves would have thought they were simply transmitting the received tradition. Turretin's definition of person is almost identical to Basil's (mode of nature/mode of existence).
?
Do you agree that those who created the Creed of Chalcedon knew what a person is, and knew what a nature is, and knew what con-substantial means, and know what co-essential means, and defined the human nature as "body & soul", and defined a human being as "person & nature"?

Gordon H. Clark did not believe so and ultimately denied the Hypostatic Union (and denied the Incarnation of the 2nd Person of the Trinity.

The truths in the Creed of Chalcedon clearly explain the Hypostatic Union to those who have "ears" to hear, and Holy Scripture clearly teaches the Incarnation of the 2nd Person of the Trinity, who is God, taking upon Himself an "impersonal" human nature.

Why didn't Clark have the ears to hear?

It is so tragic, and dangerous to the souls of those who have followed him.
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
He said that personal pronouns do not define what "nature" is. And the very fact that the Father, Son, and Spirit are each referred to as a Person in Scripture, and each referred to as deity in Scripture, necessitates the need for a definition of each in order to make some sense of scriptural teaching. Hence Chalcedon. Jacob is addressing the "just believe the Bible" sentiment that has been expressed in this thread. With regard to Trinitarian theology, yes, Scripture gives us all we need to believe, but in order to make sure we stay within the bounds of what Scripture teaches, definitions are needed. Again, hence Chalcedon.
Yes,
I agree the personal pronouns do not define what nature is.

And yes the 3 Divine Persons are united in the being of God that the Creed of Chalcedon explains so well as "Co-Essential".

The 3 Divine Persons are Co-Essential (of the same substance, essence, and being).

It is tragic that Gordon H. Clark rejected the Creed of Chalcedon claiming it didn't define anything.
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
And for the record, I don't believe Jesus was a human person. I also believe Clark was wrong. But it is also evident that the Bible isn't a glossary for terms like energia, ousia, and hypostasis.
?
The Bible does teach the truths and meanings behind what leads us to develop theological words and terms.

For example, Trinity is clearly taught by Scripture and led to the development of the word to reflect the truth of the doctrine, essentially becoming a summary and symbol of the doctrine.

But Christians knew that God was Triune BEFORE that word came to be used.

Therefore: the truths behind what the words energia, ousia, and hypostasis mean is absolutely in Scripture or we wouldn't be applying them in theology.

Can someone unfamiliar with theological terms understand all of the truths of Holy Scripture? Yes.
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
You are correct the bible would not be a glossary for those terms, but at the same time, 99% of Christians will never even hear those terms sitting in the pews.
Yes!
It seems you agree that Christians sitting in the pews who may never hear those terms still learn the truth of what Scripture teaches about them via the Holy Spirit's illumination of the truths. Correct?
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yes!
It seems you agree that Christians sitting in the pews who may never hear those terms still learn the truth of what Scripture teaches about them via the Holy Spirit's illumination of the truths. Correct?
I do think that is a large part of it, but I do also think worshipping God with all our heart, soul, strength, and specially MINDS, requires that we put in the effort and truly put in the work when studying scripture. Church on Sunday and nothing else won't do this. I know so many people that say they are Christian and never read/study their bible. The latest survey I saw is I think around 70% of professing Christian's do not regularly read their bible. In this conversation I think I fall somewhere in between your view and Jacob's. I have experienced the illuminating work of the Spirit while reading scripture, but at the same time I don't believe we are to just say well I'm on auto pilot and there is no work to be put in on my side.
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
And then there’s this — varying translations

Hebrews 1:3 and translations of ὑπόστασις, hypostasis

KJV NKJV the express image of his / His person
Geneva 1599 the engraved form of his person
MKJV the express image of His essence
NIV ’84 the exact representation of his being
Lamsa the express image of his being
NASB the exact representation of His nature
MEV the express image of Himself
YLT the impress of His subsistence
RV the very image of his substance
Thank you!

Wonderful points!.

And you reminded me that Christ as "Son of God' meant to the Jews that Jesus was being described as equal with God (of the same divine being).

So if the Jews understood that then surely every Christian should.

And many theologians teach that the TR's (μονογενὴς υἱός ) "Only Begotten Son" -&- the CT's ( μονογενὴς θεός) "Only Begotten God" both indicate that Christ is the same substance of the Father (of the same divine being).
 

Stillwaters

Puritan Board Freshman
I do think that is a large part of it, but I do also think worshipping God with all our heart, soul, strength, and specially MINDS, requires that we put in the effort and truly put in the work when studying scripture. Church on Sunday and nothing else won't do this. I know so many people that say they are Christian and never read/study their bible. The latest survey I saw is I think around 70% of professing Christian's do not regularly read their bible. In this conversation I think I fall somewhere in between your view and Jacob's. I have experienced the illuminating work of the Spirit while reading scripture, but at the same time I don't believe we are to just say well I'm on auto pilot and there is no work to be put in on my side.
Yes,
Agreed.

Those Christians sitting in the pews are commanded by Scripture to study scripture.

2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
?
The Bible does teach the truths and meanings behind what leads us to develop theological words and terms.

For example, Trinity is clearly taught by Scripture and led to the development of the word to reflect the truth of the doctrine, essentially becoming a summary and symbol of the doctrine.

But Christians knew that God was Triune BEFORE that word came to be used.

Therefore: the truths behind what the words energia, ousia, and hypostasis mean is absolutely in Scripture or we wouldn't be applying them in theology.

Can someone unfamiliar with theological terms understand all of the truths of Holy Scripture? Yes.

No one is saying that the truths behind those terms aren't in the Bible. Nonetheless, these terms have a very nuanced and complex history, and if one is doing to do historical theology he has to come to grips with them.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Do you agree that those who created the Creed of Chalcedon knew what a person is, and knew what a nature is, and knew what con-substantial means, and know what co-essential means, and defined the human nature as "body & soul", and defined a human being as "person & nature"?

Yes
Gordon H. Clark did not believe so and ultimately denied the Hypostatic Union (and denied the Incarnation of the 2nd Person of the Trinity.

Okay.
 
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