|Gregory of Nazianzus|
What interests me are the reasons Ted gives: (1). The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is God; and (2). Knowing that the Holy Spirit is God, assures us.
To point one. Parts of the New Testament might possibly be construed as hinting that the Spirit is God. Other parts are easily construed to indicate that he/she/it most certainly isn't. If the Good Book clearly taught that the Good Spirit is God, how come it took centuries to articulate that doctrine and give it a name?
Let's put it on comparative timelines. The church is usually thought to have launched around 33 CE. Here's what that venerable, conservative Oxford authority Alister McGrath has to say on the subject.
[P]atristic writers were hesitant to speak openly of the Spirit as "God," in that this practice was not sanctioned by Scripture... Even as late as 380, Gregory of Nazianzus conceded that many Orthodox Christian theologians were uncertain as to whether to treat the Holy Spirit "as an activity, as a creator, or as God."Too bad Ted wasn't around back then to set them all right.
Now let's drop in the timeline. 33 through to 380. With a little help from a calculator, or even a trusty pencil and paper algorithm, even Ted should be able to subtract 33 from 380. By my quick calculation that's 347 (three hundred and forty seven) years. Even if we chop off twenty years to allow for Athanasius' prime years of ill-tempered ranting, the figure is still three and a quarter centuries.
Now, here we all are in 2011. Let's put this in some kind of context. How far back from today would 347 years take us?
Yes Virginia, if poor old Gregory was bemoaning the lack of consensus on the Trinity today, we'd be looking at a period of 325-347 odd years - since the 1600s - in which this "Bible understanding" had failed to carry the day among Christians. Simply saying "the Bible teaches it" and tossing in a bouquet of potted proof texts apparently didn't convince them either in 380, or any time before, and it certainly doesn't sound particularly persuasive now. I can think of nicely selected proof texts that "prove" God is a binitarian or unitarian entity too.
Ted's second reason? Well, as with so much Ted writes, I have only the foggiest idea about what he means.
Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit indwells us. This declaration gives us great assurance when we understand that the Holy Spirit is God in person. Indeed, God himself is with us! He does not merely send us a "force" or "power."Okay, a warm fuzzy. But hey, this is semantics. In fact if you take it to its logical (or illogical) conclusion it just reverts to mush. "Knowing that the Holy Spirit is God, assures us..." of what? Possibly that "he" is a pretty ineffectual chunk of the godhead, given "his" track record doing this "indwelling" thing.
I'm not trying to be offensively "anti" Trinitarian. In fact I'm happy to use the language of the Trinity as a normative metaphor (which is all it can be). Some very fine Christians are thoroughgoing Trinitarians. Most of them, though, would be embarrassed by Ted's facile little attempt to justify it. On the first count Ted is just plain wrong. On the second he is fuzzily incoherent.
McGrath quote from Christian Theology: An Introduction (fourth edition), Blackwell Publishing, 2007, p.238.