Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Semi-arians are not heretics"


No I didn’t. It’s been there all along.

Now let’s get to the best part...or should I say the worst part:

Clarke was not an Arian:

Clarke was a semi-arian. Semi-Arians were clearly admitted into communion by Athanasius as I showed in the 6 quotations at the bottom of this article:  Thanks David Waltz!

Semi-arians are not heretics.

It’s certainly damning (in every sense of the word) to see Drake sticking up for Samuel Clarke’s orthodoxy. Is this what Scripturalism/Clarkianism has come to? BTW, isn't Walz into Bahaism?

Here are some of Clarke’s positions:

The core of Clarke's subordinationism is as follows. Certain names or titles in the Bible, including “God”, always are nearly always refer to the Father, giving him a kind of primacy among the three. The word “God” is used in higher and lower senses, and in his view the former always refer to the Father. The God of Israel, the one true God, just is the Father of Jesus. Further, he is the main and the primary and ultimate object of Christian worship and prayer, and as the sole recipient of the highest kind of worship…And if a “creature” must at some time begin to exist, then neither Son nor Spirit are creatures. Still, Clarke thinks that we should affirm with some of the early church fathers that this derivation of the Son from the Father is “not by mere Necessity of Nature, (which would be in reality Self-existence, not Filiation;) But by an Act of the Father's incomprehensible Power and Will” (141, original emphases)…And against the mainstream tradition, “The word God, in Scripture, never signifies a complex Notion of more Persons (or Intelligent Agents) than One; but always means One Person only, viz., either the Person of the Father singly, or the Person of the Son singly” (155, original emphases).

Keep in mind that this is a sympathetic summary of Clarke by a unitarian philosopher. So that’s putting Clarke in the best possible light.

I do hope that Ryan Hedrich will soon shake-off the baleful influence of Drake Shelton. In the past, Ryan struck me as quite reasonable and level-headed by Scripturalist standards. Not prone to the usual extremes. He doesn’t suffer from Drake’s personality disorders.

Ryan, come out from among them, and be ye separate!


  1. I do not agree with Clarke in every respect just as I do not agree with Drake in every respect, which is why I have written posts outlining areas of disagreement I have with both. At the same time, I think it would be negligent of me not to admit points of significant agreement.

    On this subject, as the Father, Son, and Spirit each univocally possess divinity, I'm not sure how a mere affirmation of "likeness" in substance is sufficient. In any case, I am most comfortable defending my own views on my own terms which, while they are not above revision, make the most sense to me at this point.

  2. My friend Mark Xu and I have come to an agreement, in our readings of Clarke, that when Clarke says that the Son and Spirit are not necessities of nature, he is simply affirming that they are not auto-theos. That is his essential point, when you take his statement in context. This interpretation would then be perfectly consistent with Nicene Orthodoxy.

  3. Steve, I just want to say I've appreciated your interaction with Dale Tuggy and Drake Shelton on the doctrine of God and of Christ. I don't understand all of it, but it's interesting.

    Drake, I appreciate your willingness in trying to flesh out a truly Biblical doctrine of God. However, I wish you'd interact with Steve's actual position rather than boxing him into a position he hasn't said he holds to or not. Steve is a Biblicist. He starts with Scripture and not creeds, systematic theologies or philosophy. He utilizes systematic theology and philosophy (et al.) only to the degree they represent or can be used to explain Biblical teaching. I agree with that principle.

    1. Oh, and Ryan, I'm planning on reading your material too. It should be interesting since it seems you partially agree with both Steve and Drake. I didn't mean to leave you out. :)

  4. Let all discerning seminarians take note: you are but one letter away from become semi-arians.