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So we have had quite a number of questions concerning verses that contain three 'persons' (or the like) and whether they teach the Trinity.

A lot of these are simple questions of the format of "Does verse X imply the Trinity?" The problem with this is that a single verse is not enough to determine the doctrine of God. All of these verses, in isolation, can be read in ways that are compatible with the Trinity, with Modalism, with Arianism, with Mormonism, etc. It is only through reading them all together, along with many other verses that talk about one of the 'persons' but not necessarily all three, that we each determine our doctrine of God. That means that although these questions look like exegetical questions, they're actually theological synthesis questions. They don't belong here.

I propose that we make a canonical question that all of these are closed as duplicates of. We can quote several of the verses (Dottard has compiled a great list here).

Then, once it was asked, I suggest that we have one or two people answer to say that each of these verses can be read in a number of ways, but that we cannot simply read out from the text what the doctrine of God is. Maybe they could give a brief overview, one could overview the various doctrines of God that are out there. Another answer could caution against trying to read Paul and the other NT authors anachronistically; they didn't write after Nicaea, so we can't expect them to anticipate all the future theological debates. Perhaps they can link to Christianity.SE pages.

And then once the answers are there, I think we should close it.

Note that I am not saying all questions on these verses must be closed as a duplicate, just those that don't have any real depth to them. More specific questions would still be allowed, as long as they are truly exegetical questions.

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  • Good solution to a difficult problem on this site. Keep up the good work.
    – Dottard
    Jul 11 at 8:50
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This is ridiculous, as if you force the topic of personhood or Trinity beyond hermeneutics and protect it as unreasonable dogma. Every single question is related to theological synthesis, theology, heresies etc. What makes you ban one particular issue? You need to prove that from the rules of this site. Your main rule is that the Questions should have a specific one or few verse for topics. Christianity SE is already the worst site for any open discussion and education and you are trying to make this like that desperately. This incidicate an unreasonable insecurity and oversensitivity to the topic of Trinity. A person asked about John 14 is masculine pronoun used for the Spirit? It was closed. The mob suggested him to move to Christianity SE. I asked a grammar question with the example of the pronoun for Holy Ghost on English SE, it was closed with same excuses by the mob, however these were revived and survived. The point is we all know how hard it is to ask trinity questions, when we know how the corrupt scribes have changed English grammar itself to suit their agenda in the new English versions. The theological topics should not be banned.

None of those questions are illegal. There are far worse questions here. There's no harm in allowing them to stay open.

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  • The hermeneutical circle is a thing, but that doesn't mean that all questions belong here. We focus specifically on the textual analysis of texts, and specifically exclude theological synthesis, bringing multiple passages together to form a theological conclusion. We always have. But some questions look like the former when really they're the latter, and that's what this meta discussion is about.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jul 31 at 11:32
  • I don't remember which question on John 14 you're referring to, but it doesn't sound like it's really about this issue.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jul 31 at 11:33
  • This discussion is not about protecting the doctrine of the Trinity, if anything it's to protect non-trinitarians from having their answers mass downvoted. It's much better that questions be asked on Christianity.SE where denominational scoping rules ensure that answers from hostile theological camps never compete with each other.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jul 31 at 11:36
  • That's your excuse to say you're protecting unitarians. This hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/63482/….
    – Michael16
    Jul 31 at 11:41
  • You're narrowing down the scope of questions with more censorship. You're afraid of questions and free debate, open learning. What's wrong with Canonical issues? Maybe the asker should avoid the canonical jargon and use other words to bypass your censorship. Ex. Multipersonal instead of Trinity.
    – Michael16
    Jul 31 at 11:42
  • I don't understand what you're suggesting. The terminology doesn't matter, it's still very clear when a question is asking about the meaning of one verse compared to when it's asking for systematic theology. Feel free to ask a question you think should be allowed though, and then we can get more community feedback.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jul 31 at 11:48
  • Ah, that question on John 14. It was edited substantially, and we can clean up some comments now.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jul 31 at 11:50
  • There is no topic and religious sect that needs to be protected, minority or majority. All questions should be allowed. This should be open and free site. @curiousdanni
    – Michael16
    Jul 31 at 11:52
  • All on questions that meet the site standards are allowed. Systematic theology has never been on topic here.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jul 31 at 11:54
  • Hermeneutics on specific verses surrounding and related to any systematic theology and dogma should be allowed. @curiousdanni
    – Michael16
    Jul 31 at 11:56
  • Maybe they should be, but that would need a new discussion. This meta discussion is not about changing the current site rules, but how to streamline the application of them. If you'd like to start such a discussion and outline how the types of questions you're thinking of can be distinguished from questions that refer to verses but really seek systematic theology answers, then I'd give it a lot of serious thought. Not that it's up to me of course, we all have to come to consensus. I just mean that I'm not closed to changes to the site scope.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jul 31 at 11:57
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"we cannot simply read out from the text what the doctrine of God is". (Trying not to LOL at this idea) Why can we not read from the text to understand God? That's what Jesus came for - the Gospels, Paul especially and others are quite clear and consistent on the important matters that reveal the truth about God and Jesus.

So much of the space on BH, answers are trotted out with the same old 'proof-texts' that simply don't hold any value when misread and misinterpreted.

Some of the standard ones,

  • John 10:30 - meant to imply the F and J are one 'substance'
  • Heb 1:8 Your throne, O God, endures forever. Just read the next verse!
  • John 8:58 Before Abraham was, I am. Grossly misunderstood/interpreted.
  • John 1:1-3 in the beginning was the logos - often read as Jesus here.
  • John 1:18 only begotten God - makes no sense at all.
  • Matt 1:23 God with us - taken hyper literally.
  • Titus 2:13 our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus.

They are readily explained and understood when we maintain context and other supporting scripture. You are correct is saying 'a verse does not stand alone' - this is often ignored for the sake of impact and sensationalism (it would seem).

Also granted is some very basic questions that would, with a smattering of logic or google, be solved. I guess basic knowledge of Christian core basics has been slipping for some time! Confusion caused by mass information overload and other 'religions' is the culprit here. And perhaps churches are busy not teaching the basics like they used to and everyone wants to have their own pet beliefs.

This 'answer' feels like more a comment, but my opening couple of lines is the core of my thoughts regarding your proposal. I think you are on to something, but it must be done reasonably and responsibly. If, "we cannot simply read out from the text what the doctrine of God is" is the basis, I can hardly wait!

One last thought. With a site called Biblical H., so much passes as opinion like 'church fathers' and quotes from Narnia or whoever, and that seems way off. If they are from a trinity perspective, it's ok. Someone with initials LG does it all the time.

All that said, I don't get upset at alleged shenanigans here. Getting a DV for sticking to what the bible actually says is normal in a world where 120% are trinitarian.

Got a -7 for, Did God the Son become flesh? on CSE :) ouch!

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