Vatican Councils, eh?

Rabbi Tovia Singer of Outreach Judaism in responding to a question about Jesus claiming to be God said:

However, when the Greek and Roman rather than the Hebrew began to dominate the church, it created a theological disaster from which Christendom has never recovered.  By the end of the fourth century, the doctrine of the Trinity was firmly in place as a central tenet of the church, and strict monotheism was formally rejected by Vatican councils in Nicea and Constantinople.

vatican-council-eh.jpgThe entire response is equally as unconvincing but this jumped out at me immediately.  I find it interesting that two councils held in present day Turkey are called ‘Vatican Councils’ — especially given the sparse representation of the Western part of the empire in said meetings.  Accuracy flies out the window when engaging in polemics ;)



5 thoughts on “Vatican Councils, eh?

  1. I wish my book The Only True God was already out – it addresses precisely this issue. But already in my John’s Apologetic Christology I’ve offered some criticisms of the approach, championed recently by Maurice Casey, which suggests that as Christianity became less and less Jewish, Jesus became more and more divine. The behavior of Gentile Christians, willing to give their lives rather than engage in acts that they believed were incompatible with their monotheistic allegiance to one God alone, makes such scenarios implausible.

    As for the alternative…I guess I’ll just say ‘read the book’ and leave it at that for now! :-)

  2. That is a little amusing, if not overly unusual. I am increasing perplexed by claims that the NT does not teach the divinity of Christ. The evidence is rather overwhelmingly unless one’s criteria for authenticity a priori rules out all passages that point to the same.

    One unfortunate meme some interpreters of the Bible have helped to spread is the idea that Hebrew=”good” and Greek=”bad”. While I do have considerable problems with Greek philosophy and some of its influence on Christian theology (let alone the later Councils), we cannot responsibly reject the early development of doctrine as being outside of the Spirit’s doing. The idea popular in some circles that Christianity was great until those nasty Catholics got a hold of it is both historically naive and irresponsible. Christianity is not simply an extension of Judaism with belief in Jesus as the Messiah tacked on at the end.

    Hebrew thought, even religious thought, should be characterized as “blessed” rather than “best” and “chosen” rather than “perfect.” While it is through the covenant people that the world came to know of the One God, both Testaments testify (ha!) that that knowledge came more “in spite of” than “because of.” At some point, we Christians have to acknowledge that Gentile believers, also chosen, took up the torch and carried the light further. And no, it’s not anti-semitic to acknowledge that.

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