Messianic Judaism's objection to the Trinity

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by monoergon, Apr 14, 2019.

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  1. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    I just watched a video of a Messianic Jewish rabbi, in Brazil, arguing against the doctrine of the Trinity.

    He says, among other arguments: “The Spirit of God is not a distinct entity, such as is affirmed by Trinitarians, because he himself is the Holy Spirit”. With such affirmation, he denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

    This is one of the arguments he mentions to “refute” the Trinitarian claim that the Holy Spirit is a person:

    “It is the form of how the Jew and the Arabic writes. In the Semitic poetry, the authors, the poets… the Jewish and Arabic writers, throughout thousands of years, personalized the abstract, the feelings, the wishes.”

    Has any Christian scholar refuted that argument based the Semitic writing style?

    Please share any sources to refute this argument.
  2. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

  3. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Plain and simple: the creeds and historic teachings of the church. I would not budge outside these except to refer to the scriptures. One who does not accept the Trinity does not accept what God has revealed about himself.
  4. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Nathan,

    Your best sources to refute this specious argument—that the teaching re the triunity of the Godhead is based on "Semitic poetry"—is the Scripture itself. And the NT Scripture was written by Jews faithful to Christ, and they rarely wrote in poetry, neither did the Lord Jesus speak in such.

    The Holy Spirit is considered as separate and distinct—as a Person—from the Father and the Son: Matt 28:19; Matt 3:16, 17; John 14:16; John 16:15

    He has His own mind: Rom 8:27; 1 Cor 2:9 and following

    He has feelings: Eph 4:30

    He wills: 1 Cor 12:11; Acts 16:6

    He speaks: Acts 8:29; Acts 13:2; Rev 2:7

    A book that specifically deals with the Spirit as a Person in the Godhead is Michael L. Brown's, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections Vol. 2. Brown is excellent on Jewish apologetics, but his theology elsewhere is off (Charismatic, Arminian, for starts).

    Another excellent book, The Trinity, by Edward Bickersteth, which I will attach a pdf of, has a chapter on the Holy Spirit, which will answer more regarding your question. I hope this is helpful.

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  5. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    Great! Thank you. I will check out those two books.
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Bickersteth also wrote an entire book on the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit: His Person and Work. I don't know whether or not it is a classic on the level of his classic work on the Trinity, which was largely in response to the Unitarianism of the day, if I'm not mistaken.
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The Semitic poetry argument cuts both ways. And unless they can produce peer-reviewed work (Oxford, Cambridge, Brill, etc) I wouldn't even give it the time of day.

    To be fair, there are problems in the post-Augustinian traditions on the Spirit that sort of opened themselves up to this charge, but that's hardly essential (no pun) to Christianity.
  8. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    "The Spirit hovered over the waters."

    It's hard to get more personal than that.
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