Saturday, January 14, 2012

( PART 1 ) DID THE EARLIEST POST-BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN WRITERS TEACH CHRISTENDOM'S OFFICIAL DOCTRINE OF THE TRI{3}NITY? = CLEMENT OF ROME


This is the beginning of a critical, multi-translational and comparative examination of the doctrine of God, the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit in the remains of the earliest Post-Biblical Christian writers to see whether or not they actually taught the doctrine of the Tri{3}nity from the beginning.

That is the doctrine consisting of:

  • THREE-IN-ONE-SUBSTANCE
  • Co-Equal
  • Co-Eternal
  • Co-All-Might(ies)
  • Un-Created
  • Tri{3}ple-Person
  • TRI{3}NITY

Was the TRI{3}NITY doctrine that is now taught in the Church's of Christendom really part of:

ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ Α΄ 3:11 Greek NT: Westcott/Hort with Diacritics
“...ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἠκούσατε ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς...”

1st John 3:11
“...THE MESSAGE which [you] have heard from [the] beginning...”

ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ Α΄ 1:5 Greek NT: Westcott/Hort with Diacritics
“...Καὶ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ
καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς [...] ἐστιν...”

1st John 1:5
...This is THE MESSAGE we have heard from him
and declare to you: GOD IS...”

Some conclusions can be and will be drawn, but in the final analysis - ( it is left up to the reader ) - to make up their mind and draw - ( their own final conclusions ) - on what the evidence really says.

The evidence will simply be put before the reader, (where possible) in the original languages, along with multiple English translations and relevant comments and cross references to the Bible, contemporary writers, lexical definitions etc.

It will not be necessary to post ( all ) translations that are presently available to me, in every post, but only where it is truly instructive or necessary.

This examination will begin with Clement of Rome.

I will not post all that Clement has to say on every subject, or mountains of background information on Clement himself, that is left up to the reader to do his own research. It is taken for granted that he is generally considered to be one of the earliest genuine Post-Biblical Christian writers. The primary object of this series of blogs is about what he wrote on God, the Father, the Son and the holy spirit. Although in saying that, there may be, some small snippets here and there on what he said about the importance of God's holy name, Christs Parousia or “Presence,” and the hope of living forever on Earth and the Millennium. 

But before we begin to examine Clements writing's themselves let us call an important witness to the bar to here his testimony on what doctrine Clement of Rome really taught:

LATIN TEXT: “...Fundantes igitur et instruentes beati Apostoli Ecclesiam, Lino episcopatum administrande Ecclesiae tradiderunt. Hujus Lini Paulus in his quae sunt ad Timotheum epistolis meminit. Succedit autem ei Anacletus : post eum tertio loco ab Apostolis episcopatum sortitur Clemens, qui et vidit ipsos Apostolos, et contulit cum eis, et cum adhuc insonantem praedicationem Apostolorum et Traditionem ante oculos haberet, non solus ; adhuc enim multi supererant tunc ab Apostolis docti. Sub hoc igitur Clemente, dissensione non modica inter eos, qui Corinthi essent, fratres facta, ( scripsit ) quae est Romae Ecclesia potentissimas literas Corinthiis, ad pacem eos congregans, et reparans fidem eorum, et annuntians quam in recenti ab Apostolis acceperat Traditionem, annuntianem unum Deum omnipotentem, factorem coeli et terrae, plasmatorem hominis, qui induxerit cataclysmum, et advocaverit Abraham, qui eduxerit populum de terra Aegyti, qui colloquutus sit Moysi, qui legem disposuerit, et Prophetas miserit, qui ignem praeparaverit Diabolo et Angelis ejus. Hunc Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi ab Ecclesiis annuntiari, ex ipsa ( Scriptura ), qui velint, discere possunt, et Apostolicam Ecclesiae Traditionem intelligere ; cum sit vetustior epistola his qui nunc falso docent, et alterum Deum super Demiurgum et factorum horum omnium, qui sunt, commentiuntur...” - (Pages 6-7, Book III, Chapter 3, Section 3, Subheading: “Taught not as the Heretics teach,” THE THIRD BOOK OF AGAINST HERESIES BY ST. IRENAEUS, Bishop of Lyons With Short Notes, And A Glossary, by Henry Deane, B. D. Oxford at the Clarendon Press, M DCCC LXXIV.)

IRENAEUS OF LYONS (circa. 130-200 C.E.): “...The [3.] blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. IN THE TIME OF THIS CLEMENT, NO SMALL DISSENSION HAVING OCCURRED AMONG THE BRETHREN AT CORINTH, THE CHURCH IN ROME DESPATCHED A MOST POWERFUL LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, PROCLAIMING THE ONE GOD, OMNIPOTENT, THE MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, THE CREATOR OF MAN, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. FROM THIS DOCUMENT, WHOSOEVER CHOOSES TO DO SO, MAY LEARN THAT - ( HE ), - THE FATHER - ( OF ) - OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WAS PREACHED BY THE CHURCHES, AND MAY ALSO UNDERSTAND THE APOSTOLICAL TRADITION OF THE CHURCH, since this epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another God beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things...” - (Book III, Chapter 3, Section 3, Subheading: “A refutation of the heretics, from the fact that, in the various Churches, a perpetual succession of bishops was kept up.” Translated by Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.)

IRENAEUS OF LYONS (circa. 130-200 C.E.): “...The blessed Apostles after founding and building up the Church entrusted the office of bishop to Linus. Paul speaks of this Linus in his Epistles to Timothy.{3} Anencletus followed him. After him, in the third place after the Apostles, Clement was appointed bishop. He not only saw the blessed Apostle(s), but also had intercourse with them,{*} and had their preaching ringing in his ears and before his eyes. He was not alone in this, for there were still many left at the time who had been instructed by the Apostles. WHEN CLEMENT WAS BISHOP A GREAT DISSENSION AROSE IN CORINTH AMONG THE BRETHREN, AND THE CHURCH OF ROME SENT A POWERFUL LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS, URGING THEM TO HAVE PEACE, RENEWING THEIR FAITH AND ANNOUNCING TO THEM THE TRADITION THEY HAD LATELY RECEIVED FROM THE APOSTLES. THIS WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT THERE IS ONE GOD AL-MIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, CREATOR OF MAN, who brought in the deluge, called Abraham, led forth the people from the land of Egypt, spoke to Moses, appointed the Law, sent the prophets, and has prepared fire for the Devil and his Angels. THAT - ( HE ), - THE FATHER ( OF ) - OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WAS PROCLAIMED BY THE CHURCHE(S) ANY ONE WHO CHOOSES MAY SEE FROM THIS WRITING,{1} which was before the time of these false teachers, who speak of another God above the Demiurge (Creator)...” - (Pages 85-86, Book III, Chapter 3, Section 3, “THE TREATISE OF IRENAEUS OF LUGDUNUM – AGAINST THE HERESIES,” A Translation Of The Principal Passages, With Notes And Arguments by F. R. Montgomery Hitchcock, Vol. 1, Society For Promoting Christian KNowledge, London : 68, Haymarket, S.W. 1916.)
[FOOTNOTE Page 85 3]: 2nd Timothy 4:21.
[FOOTNOTE *]: Verbal.
[FOOTNOTE Page 86 1]: Ltn., ( sciptura ) here is simply “writing.” Irenaeus calls the Pastor of Hermas (iv. 34) Gk., ( ) “the writing.”

My translation:

IRENAEUS OF LYONS (circa. 130-200 C.E.): “...Thus, those blessed Apostles, [after] founding and instructing the Congregation, handed down for posterity the office of over-sight of the Congregation to Linus. This Linus [you] will find mentioned in Pauls letters to Timothy. [Then] Anancletus took his place by sucession : after him [in] the third place from the Apostles - Clement [Ltn., ( episcopatum sortitur )] was selected as over-seer by the casting of lots,{*} who has also seen these very Apostles and conferred with them, and this [actually] happened while the traditions and preaching of the Apostles was still [clearly] before his eyes and [Ltn., ( insonantem )] still echoing loudly in his ears. And in this, [he is] not alone, [for] many still remained at that time [who had also] learned [directly] from the Apostles. Following after this, in the time of Clement, dissension was made among the brothers of Corinth, - not a small one! He wrote a powerful letter from the Congregation which is at Rome to the Corinthians, gathering them together to peace, and restoring their faith, and announcing to them the tradition which he had received from the Apostles in recent times, announcing [Ltn., ( unum Deum )] ONE GOD, [Ltn., ( Omnipotentem )] THE ALMIGHTY, [Ltn., ( Factorem coeli et terrae )] MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, [Ltn., ( Plasmatorem hominis )] THE FORMER{^} OF MAN, who brought upon [them] the Deluge, and called Abraham, who brought the people out of the land of Egypt, who communicated with Moses, who arranged the Law, and sent the prophets, who a fire has prepared for the Devil and those angels of his. THIS WAS - THE FATHER - ( OF ) - OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST [THAT WAS] ANNOUNCED TO THE CONGREGATION(S). From out of this very [Ltn., ( scriptura )] scripture, those who wish to, may learn, [Ltn., ( et Apostolicam Ecclesiae traditionem intelligere )] and understand the Apostolic Congregation's tradition, since this letter is more ancient than those who falsely teach and [Ltn., ( commentiuntur )] deviously conjure up the invention of another God over-and-above [Ltn., ( Demiurgum et factorum )] the Demiurge and Maker of all existing things...” - (Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 3, “Against Hereises,” Translated by Matt13weedhacker 31/12/11.)
[FOOTNOTE *]: “...Was selected by casting lots...” see Acts 1:24-26.
[FOOTNOTE ^]: Ltn., ( Plasmatorem hominis ) alternately: “...the Fashioner of man...” or “...the Creator of man...”

It will be this clear and un-mistakable testimony, that the:

...unum Deum, Omnipotentem, Factorem coeli et terrae,
Plasmatorem hominis unum Deum...”

...ONE GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH,
THE FORMER OF MAN...”

...Hunc Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi ab Ecclesiis annuntiari...”

...THIS WAS - ( THE FATHER ) - ( OF ) - OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

[THAT WAS] ANNOUNCED TO THE CONGREGATION(S)...”

And more importantly, what the Bible actualy teaches should be put alongside with Clement, that we will need to keep constantly in mind as we examine what remains of the genuine writings of Clement of Rome.