Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

27 Comments

  1. Benjamin Scott
    July 28, 2017 @ 6:06 pm

    James White is a bulldog of a debater but his approach wouldn’t begin to work with Dale. It’s in White’s best interest as far as his career goes, to turn down debates he would clearly lose. I also think it’s in the best interest of evangelical leaders in general to continue to ignore and leave largely unaddressed the growing Biblical Unitarian movement. If they want to keep their positions in power then they must do this. Calm discussion would lead to an obvious winner.

    It’s much easier to just say simply that the denial of the Trinity puts one outside of the faith “once for all handed down.” How ironic. This is the stage in history that we’re at right now but this may change in time.

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  2. Sean Holbrook
    July 24, 2017 @ 8:25 pm

    “I don’t care what philosophers think or say: I am a biblical Trinitarian. It is a divine revelation. You will not believe it if you do not believe in both sola scriptura and tota scriptura.” – James White

    Awesome quote… since I believed the Trinity prior to really scouring the Bible for it in full.

    Has James White done a full study of every reference of “o theos” in the NT? A study of every reference of “spirit” even in just the NT, let alone the OT? Has he done a study of every prophecy claim about “Jesus as YHWH” and compared other prophecies of similar nature with reference to other men? Has he done a study of every usage of the word “shechah” and “proskyneo” in the NT and OT? Has he done a full exegesis of Deuteronomy chapters 4-6 and the Sh’ma in Mark 12? Has he cross-referenced every phrase possible with each trinitarian proof-text[such as “great God,” “Most High God,” “true God,” or “God of Israel” for example] and exhausted all possibilities he can find to keep consistency both with his views and the Bible itself? Has he done a study of… okay this is getting old.

    I run into trinitarian after trinitarian who has never done a study anywhere near the encompassing the breadth of the entirety of “tota Scriptura” that I’ve done of multitudes of subject relating to the trinity. I’m sure there are some who’ve done more than me, but it’s been unlikely in my experience. I just ran into a multitude of people claiming Jesus is the “Most High God,” yet not one of them can give me a single biblical reference to this claim while I can give them Luke 1:32 and Mark 5:7 showing they’re calling Jesus his Father. I’m not saying James hasn’t possibly done some of them, but I don’t think James has a clue what he’s claiming based on what I’ve heard from Dale.

    I won’t hold my breath that James will agree to a debate. He’ll get his feet held to the fire on his statements and try to avoid answering. I’d just move on Dale, keep it open to James… but try to find another opponent so White will have to deal with you eventually.

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    • Mario Stratta
      July 24, 2017 @ 10:26 pm

      … I can give them Luke 1:32 and Mark 5:7 showing they’re calling Jesus his Father.

      Sean,

      I suggest you check this 🙂

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      • Sean Holbrook
        July 25, 2017 @ 8:20 pm

        “I suggest you check this”

        Check what? I’ve got an entire study on the subject copied down with every reference.

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        • Aaron
          July 26, 2017 @ 1:17 am

          I’m pretty sure he just meant check your sentence in comparison with Luke 1:32 and Mark 5:7 because it appears you made a typo which lends itself to modalism.

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          • Mario Stratta
            July 26, 2017 @ 3:28 am

            “.. calling Jesus his Father.”

            Who’se whose Father?

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          • Sean Holbrook
            July 26, 2017 @ 6:39 pm

            I’m pretty sure there’s a mis-understanding, that or I’m the one confused.

            My comments were in reference to a number of trinitarians who I’ve spoken with recently who are adamant saying “Jesus is the Most High God.” Yet not one of these trinitarians can give me a biblical reference to prove their claim of this title/phrase. So I, in response, gave them just a couple of texts that I posted above… Luke 1:32 and Mark 5:7 which show Jesus being called the “son OF the Most High/God.” By implication in these texts it’s quite clear the “Most High” or “Most High God” is referring to the “Father” of Jesus. So these trinitarians are the ones making ignorant modalist type claims when they say “Jesus is the Most High God.” Hence they’re calling Jesus his own Father while trying to claim to be trinitarians.

            Does that clear my original statement up?

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            • Mario Stratta
              July 26, 2017 @ 10:14 pm

              So, what you meant is that whoever affirms that Jesus is “God-the Son”, and that “God-the-Son” is the “Most High God”, ultimately is “calling Jesus his [own] Father.

              If this is the case, then Aaron was right in suggesting to you that what you’re saying “lends itself to modalism”. Or “modalistic monarchianism”. Or Sabelliamism. Or “patripassianism”. However wrong, however scripturally unfounded “trinitarianism” is, it is precisely so an not to confuse the Father with Jesus that it was gradually developed.

              The problem with “trinitarianism” (besides being scripturally unfounded) is “genetic”, as I keep affirming: sneaking into Christianity the notion of etheros theos started the “chain reaction” that ended up with the spurious “trinity”.

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              • Sean Holbrook
                July 27, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

                Yes that’s what I meant.

                I agree trinitarians are not to confuse the Father with the Son, yet they do it all the time. It’s impossible to avoid really unless they just think equivocation and contradictions are perfectly normal in their views of “God”… and many do.

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                • Mario Stratta
                  July 28, 2017 @ 11:00 am

                  On the contrary, trinitarians take even too literally the appellatives “Father” and “Son”. Some (including Athanasius) resorted to the sophistic argument that it would be pointless to call God father, if the logos was not his son.

                  Reply

  3. Marvin Sanguinetti
    July 23, 2017 @ 6:44 am

    It would be of great interests for a philosophical approach of biblical unitarianism to interact with presuppositional apologetics over the matter of Trinitarianism. The syllogistic argumentation would interest interlocutors enaging the ongoing dialogue. I am not quite sure if you have responded to Thomas McCall’s critique of your article ‘Divine Deception, Identity, and Social Trinitarianism’. If you have, would be great to read your response(s).
    Marvin

    Reply

    • Dale
      July 23, 2017 @ 8:56 am

      Hi Marvin, yeah, I have never really understood the methodology of presuppositionalism. Still reading more on that someday, God willing. McCall has responded to my article? Where? I have not seen it or heard about it.

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      • Marvin Sanguinetti
        July 24, 2017 @ 6:12 am

        Hello Dale: Though brief comments but his piece on ST (Social Trinitarianism) in the book ‘Which Trinity? Whose Monotheism: Philosophical and Systematic Theologians on the Metaphysics of Trinitarian Theology, (Wm.B Eerdmans: GR Michigan, 2010). See index for bespoke references.

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        • Dale
          July 24, 2017 @ 2:38 pm

          I reviewed that book for Faith and Philosophy, but it’s been awhile since I looked at it. I guess you are talking about pages 92 to 95? Pretty weak replies, especially the charge that I’m “painfully naïve.” He badly underestimates the case that the scriptures teach God to be a self! Maybe I will revisit that sometime…

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          • Marvin Sanguinetti
            July 25, 2017 @ 7:16 am

            Thanks Dale. Pretty weak replies indeed, and the charges seem more polemical than evidential; with a backdrop of setting out what one hopes to prove. Would be great to read the review sometime, and although we view divine ontology differently, I appreciate your work.

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  4. Wulf
    July 22, 2017 @ 3:35 pm

    Perhaps someone can make a funny youtube video of White’s claims vs White’s actions as was done with Dawkins?

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  5. Mario Stratta
    July 22, 2017 @ 2:10 pm

    In sum, I’m a biblical unitarian, my objections are fundamentally revelation-based …

    @ Dale
    If you ever have that debate, I suggest you avoid claiming that Justin, Tertullian and Origen are unitarians (or even “unitarians”). They are subordinationists: tri- or bi- but it would be a cheat to claim that they are uni- … (and, as he comments here, I challenge Anthony Buzzard to affirm otherwise).

    BTW, talking about “revelation-based”, I also suggest you seriously confront John 1:1 and John 1:14 …

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    • Aaron
      July 22, 2017 @ 10:47 pm

      @Mario Stratta,

      Do you consider Subordinationism to necessarily be a Trinitarian (or Binitarian) view? I don’t think it is. I think we have to ask each individual Subordinationist himself for clarification about his views. It seems they can and do self-identify as Trinitarians as well as Unitarians depending on exactly what they see to be the implications are of the Son’s being “subordinate” in his nature to the Father and what they include as necessary for “being God” and whether they make a distinction between “nature of being” and “personal properties” etc. (I put all these words and phrases in quotes since they are buzz words/phrases). Samuel Clarke is for sure what almost anyone would call a “Subordinationist” and clearly states that strictly speaking God is only the Father. Perhaps one can argue about the earlier writers from the 100s-300s and debate their stances respectively but I don’t see Subordinationism as necessarily Trinitarian (although I do think it can be).

      Reply

      • Mario Stratta
        July 23, 2017 @ 1:11 pm

        @ Aaron

        There are many observations to make, in reply to your comment. Let me put forward a few.

        1. Some claim (I believe Dale Tuggy is one of them) that one can only properly speak of “trinity” or “trinitarianism” when you have the whole hog doctrine (co-eternality, co-equality, tri-personality, “one ousia in three hypostaseis“). But this is pure sophistry, because that definition was only achieved at the end of the 4th century, after a prolonged strife first between the Arians and the Nicene, then the semi-Arians and the new-Nicene, then through the “great compromise” of the Synod of Alexandria of 362 AD, then through the (essential) role of the Cappadocian scoundrels.

        2. As is known to (nearly) everybody, the Arian controversy started with the rebuttal by Arius, in response to the doctrine of the similarity of the “Son” to the father, preached by the (then) bishop of Alexandria, his bishop. Mark, only similarity, not equality. To which sermon, Arius replied that “if the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence: and from this it is evident, that there was a time when the Son was not. It therefore necessarily follows, that he [the Son] had his substance from nothing.” (The Ecclesiastical Histories of Socrates Scholasticus) What Alexander affirmed was simply the standard belief of the Church, or at least of its highest ranks. Origen brought it even further, by affirming the “eternal generation of the Son” (a formula that, later, turned out to be very useful to the “trinitarians” …) It certainly did NOT alter the status quo. It was Arius who undoubtedly altered the status quo, affirming (or at least implying) that the “Son” was a creature.

        3. Subordinationism, that is the doctrine that the “Son” (and the Spirit) are divine beings, BUT are inferior to the Father is intrinsically un-stable, if affirmed within the Scriptural Religion, that is a religion which affirm the unconditional Oneness of God. Inevitably, under a challenge like the one that Arius brought forth, it can only evolve (and stabilize) into full-fledged “trinitarianism” (or “binitarianism”), OR it can evolve into “unitarianism” (in the obvious sense that there is no such thing as a “pre-existing Son” – let alone “pre-existing Son” and that Jesus was just a man, however exalted.)

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        • Mario Stratta
          July 23, 2017 @ 1:28 pm

          There is another possibility, compatible with the Scriptural Religion, which is neither (bi-)trinitarianism nor (Jesus-man-only) Unitarianism. In my blog I refer to it (with a not entirely satisfactory expression) as Strict Monotheism.

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          • Aaron
            July 23, 2017 @ 7:27 pm

            Thanks I appreciate your time. I can’t seem to access your blog as it says I haven’t properly been invited.

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            • Mario Stratta
              July 24, 2017 @ 3:42 am

              Hi Aaron, and thank you for your feedback. I was not even aware that the access to my blog was restricted. Now it should be public.

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              • Aaron
                July 24, 2017 @ 10:34 am

                I’ve been able to access it. I think I’ll add your blog to my weekly lineup of reading material.

                BTW, have you attended a seminary somewhere? If so, what was your main concentration while there?

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                • Mario Stratta
                  July 24, 2017 @ 12:20 pm

                  Aaron,

                  as you can easily see for yourself, I only write in my blog in fits and starts. Knowing that someone wants to read it regularly will give me an incentive to contributing to it regulary. Thank you 🙂

                  No, I have only attended many conferences and participated in online forums. I have no formal education in Biblical Studies or Theology, but I do have a sound formation in Philosophy.

                  Reply

  6. Aaron
    July 22, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

    I admire Dr. White in many ways and I have learned a lot from him. I’ve read a few of his books and was particularly helped by his explanations of translation in his book about KJV Onlyism when I was a young man who didn’t understand the differences in the way languages work and what a reasonable definition of an “uncorrupted text” would have meant (which I think is abused by Biblical critics in the face of wonderful and unparalleled evidence. I say all of that to say that as an admirer and as one who has learned so much from him I can’t help but say in this case that even if he thinks himself correct, simply more or less stating that Biblical revelation settles it and philosophy can go take a hike is not helpful or consistent with the way we would tackle most any debate about any subject or Christian doctrine/theory. I really hope he’ll reconsider and make his best presentation for this case. IMO as it now stands, the best case for scripturally based Trinitarianism comes from Dr. Michael Heiser’s “Unseen Realm” book where gives a pretty exhaustive explanation and case for OT patriarchs recognizing God as simultaneously “visible” and “invisible” as what one may now call two separate “persons” all the way back in Genesis and moves forward through the entire Bible highlighting each instance of this occurrence. However, the philosophical explanation is still lacking there so one must still appeal to mystery at some point. I want to see a formal debate myself, I’d go watch it in person if it were anywhere within a 4 hour drive here in the US from where I am!

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  7. David Kemball-Cook
    July 22, 2017 @ 7:14 am

    Very reminiscent of the way Richard Dawkins uses an obviously fabricated reason to get out of debating WLC. He knew that he could not go toe-to-toe, so made out Craig was a ‘professional debater’ and said that he did not debate with ‘professional debaters’. He also refused the invitation on Craig’s UK 2011 tour to debate in Oxford, using Craig’s views on the Amalekite genocide as an excuse, and they had an empty chair for him. Dale why don’t you do a speaking tour of Phoenix Arizona and invite him to debate?

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  8. Anthony Buzzard
    July 21, 2017 @ 4:36 pm

    Dale, I do hope you and Dr., White will further illumine this huge subject. The public is ready for more light, I think, in view of all the massive disagreement which is not NT Christianity
    Anthony

    Reply

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