Coequal with the Father? A Response to Mark Driscoll’s Jesus

I know I am a little late to the Mark Driscoll’s Jesus table, but I have wanted to respond to his recent controversial sermon (see here where the Mars Hill website censored the message afterwards).  In this particular sermon, Mark openly wrestles with how it is that, on one hand, his Jesus could both create the heavens and the earth, while on the other hand, be truly described in such passages as Luke 2:40 and 2:52 as “increasing in wisdom.” The controversy, from the perspective of evangelicals, is that Mark suggests that Jesus learned and grew in wisdom by making ‘mistakes’, but these mistakes are to be distinguished from sins.

mark-driscollI don’t want to comment on the mistake vs. sin debate which Mark’s sermon has created. I do, however, want to place my finger on the issue which he has inadvertently brought to the forefront. Mark rightly points out that which all four Gospels regularly depict; Jesus is not coequal with God the Father in regard to his knowledge and understanding. Consider the following passages:

And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” (Matt. 15:34)

And He said to her, “What do you wish?” (Matt. 20:21)

And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Matt. 20:32)

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt. 24:36)

And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” (Mark 5:9)

“Who touched My garments?” (Mark 5:30)

And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” (Mark 8:5)

Taking the blind man by the hand…after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” (Mark 8:23)

And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.” (Mark 9:21)

Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. (Mark 11:13)

“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the only Father.” (Mark 13:32)

The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; (Luke 2:40)

And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)

I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (John 8:28)

So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. (John 11:17)

and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” (John 11:34)

These passages clearly go against the closing words of the Nicene Creed which states:

But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.

I suppose then that the authors of the four Gospels, since they depict Jesus has growing in knowledge, learning new things, and being unaware of the day of his second coming, would fall under condemnation of the Nicene Creed.

Or maybe the Jesus of the Gospels is fine and the Nicene Creed is the problem…

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35 thoughts on “Coequal with the Father? A Response to Mark Driscoll’s Jesus

  1. Driscoll is on his way out. If I’m not mistaken, he resigned as a pastor. Good riddance, I say. He is not a nice man. He is not a scholar and his sermons have contributed to an impoverishing, rather than an enriching of spirituality. Integrity is not a virtue associated with this man.

  2. I don’t know what motivates you, but your style communicates a very high evaluation of your own importance.

    Surely you are aware that you are not introducing some new insight into the discussion of Christ’s real humanity (that stands alongside his real deity).

    As a corrective to your quick dismissal of the possibilities, Edwin K. P. Chong of Colorado State University — though his field of expertise is mathematics — gives a good summary of the historical, theological discussion of Jesus’ human “eschatological ignorance,” some of which applies to his human ignorance in general.

    See http://www.biblicaltheology.com/Research/ChongE01.html.

    1. This article needn’t introduce anything new into the discussion of Christology. The philosophical and theological absurdities associated with the insistence on his “two natures” necessitate a continuous discussion on the issue. This is so especially since sentiment seems to be the primary drive behind clinging to a God-man. No longer ecclesiastical edicts but thought-terminating theological clichés keep devoted minds in doctrinal permafrost. Keep the discussion going, Dustin.

      1. You urge that the discussion should be kept going. But a discussion should include alternate ideas – ideas that are then discussed, not stereotyped and slandered.

        In my former message, I included a link to a historical review of relevant material. If you are really interested in discussion, then you should consult such sources.

        Do you really believe clichés and an inability to think clearly characterizes every last person who disagrees with you on this matter?

        If so and there is anything of value in your opinion, they surely you have read how this debate has gone for the last two thousand years; and you have demonstrated the fallacies of philosophers and theologians, in our time, who take the two natures of Christ seriously.

        On the other hand, if your reading and thought has not been so thorough, then you should hold back on the rhetoric and read, carefully and sympathetically, the relevant material.

    2. If you’re a fan of Driscoll, then I understand while you feel bruised. The man is a failure and even fellow Evangelicals have celebrated his apparent retreat into silence. He should never have become the celebrity in the first place, hence my surprise to find Dustin posting something the man has said. Who takes him seriously? No-one should.

      But, to return to your equally loaded comment, yes, most (95%+) of all “orthodox” Evangelicals terminate their thoughts with “God-man” when they encounter a Jesus whose humanity contradicts, rather than complements or harmonises with his divinity. And the insistence by the rest to adapt, fine-tune, tweak here and tweak there to get a smoothed-out concoction of the Two Natures invention of the fifth century only confirms what is otherwise clear at face-value: they WANT to worship a God-man. They have become addicted to the safety a sense of certainty brings, so the next step is to get Jesus there: God-man. It’s all an exercise in circularity really, starting at Chalcedon.

      And, ignoring your patronizing hissing, I will read the article, and hopefully the guy achieves what Bill Hasker, Stephen Davis and others have failed to do.

    3. I have read the article. It is basic stuff, really. It starts off with a certain reading of the NT to somehow show that Jesus is ontologically God. His proof-texts show prove nothing of the sort. Scholars like James Dunn, James McGrath, Edward Schillebeeckx, Hendrikus Berkhof, JAT Robinson, Karl-Joseph Kuschel and others would simply shake their heads.

      It is a nice summary, agreed, but it’s the kind undergrads at an Evangelical Seminary would smile about.

      Not sure what in the article you wanted to discuss…

      1. I don’t want to discuss anything. I wrote to object to the tone of Dustin’s original article — that quoted certain verses from the Bible which trinitarians have been aware of for centuries. Yet the tone and wording of Dustin’s post riduculed those who did not recognize immediately that such verses canceled out any view that regarded Jesus as both God and man.

        I was not interested in establishing the full validity of any theologian’s views on the matter. I was simply pleading for a little humility when the two of you — and others as well — address the issue, noting that great minds have, through the centuries, wrestled with a balanced view and have proposed various solutions to the problem of the deity-humanity duality of the Son of God.

        You have named some capable scholars who might question the case for the two natures of Christ. But the number of those who weigh in the positive side is also impressive, as examples: Martin Hengel Professor Emeritus of University of Tübingen, Germany; Fred Sanders and Craig J. Hazen, Biola University; I. Howard Marshall Professor Emeritus, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; Craig A. Evans Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada; Paul Copan, Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, FL; Roger E. Olson, George W. Truett Theological Seminary; Daniel B. Wallace, Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts; Craig L. Blomberg, Denver Seminary; Richard Bauckham, St. Mary’s College, University of St Andrews; Murray J. Harris, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Deerfield, IL; Thomas R. Schreiner, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Mark L. Bailey, Dallas Theological Seminary.

        Even Larry W. Hurtado of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland acknowledges the quality of the case presented by some contemporary theologians, although he does not necessarily agree with their conclusions. (Hurtado’s tone is a good example to follow.)

    4. I think you are very charitable by describing the efforts by others to get Jesus to being the God-man as “balanced” or as having “proposed various solutions to the problem of the deity-humanity duality of the Son of God.” It is not nearly as clear-cut as some have wanted it to be (in particular Roger Olsen, Dan Wallace, Richard Bauckham and Blomberg.) Larry Hurtado is perhaps the most cautious of them all, although his proposals also have exaggerations and blind spots (e.g. seeing cultic worship where there was none, or ignoring the impact of the constant theme of Jesus’ being ontologically subordinate to YHWH).

      See, the assumption is false to being with (Jesus being ontologically God), hence the trouble to make all the pieces fit. The texts Dustin cite rather indicate Bible writers being oblivious of this God-nature later Gentile Father came to impose upon the man. Nothing from the writers’ presupposition pool would have brought them to any other conclusion, namely that Jesus was utterly human and nothing more.

      1. The idea is that Jesus is utterly human (“truly man”) — and — utterly God (“truly God”), so statements that emphasize one or the other aspect of his person can be viewed as compatible.

        Some of us do not agree that biblical texts are oblivious of Jesus’ deity.

        But many of us think blanket condemnation of others’ views do not help the discussion.

    5. You said,
      “The idea is that Jesus is utterly human (“truly man”) — and — utterly God (“truly God”), so statements that emphasize one or the other aspect of his person can be viewed as compatible.”

      That is, after assuming that Jesus is SOMEHOW also ontologically God. That assumption is an interpretive quantum leap, hence the weakness of the proposal. Secondly, compatibility does not naturally follow from God-man talk. On the contrary, knowing something and not-knowing something are incompatible and contradictory. Thirdly, you have to invent the categories of human nature and divine nature as if the first Christians thought in these terms. They didn’t, hence the added fallaciousness of the proposal.

      “Some of us do not agree that biblical texts are oblivious of Jesus’ deity.”

      I know. You prefer doctrine.

      “But many of us think blanket condemnation of others’ views do not help the discussion.”

      Get over yourself. The only place where blanket condemnation of others’ views took place was in your imagination. Dustin’s choice of Driscoll was a bad choice. Period. He much rather could have chosen more respectable scholars. THAT’S the issue I had.

      1. I will end my discussion here, noting that:

        First, as is obvious, the early church fathers were attempting to understand and explain biblical data when they formulated the concepts of the trinity and dual natures of Christ. They — and their theological successors — do not begin with these concepts and then impose them on Scripture. It is unfair to classify their carefully wrought statements as “an interpretive quantum leap.” (I have been discussing — possibilities — as suggested by various proposals in historic theology. This is why I have used such quantifying terms as “may,” “could,” and “plausible;” and I was not attempting to make any original statements. The fully-God and fully-man phrases are the property of others and are not mine.)

        Second, to be fully human is to be in a position of — among other things — not knowing about many things. So — based on our own experiences of human memory and the unconscious with limited recall, in some cases,and a complete lack of recall, in others — it is plausible that a being that is fully God may choose to suppress the knowledge of many things from his own human nature. (Regardless of your insistence that “knowing something and not-knowing something are incompatible and contradictory,” it is the case that, logically, a dual-natured Christ can know and not know at the same time. The concept may make you feel uncomfortable. You may even think it is laughable. But it is not unreasonable.)

        Third, your persistent, negative, condescending tone — a tone similar to Dustin’s in his original post (that prompted me to write in the first place) — moves me to end these exchanges here. I was hoping to see a new of tone that invited conversation. I now abandon that hope.

    6. You said:

      “It is unfair to classify their carefully wrought statements as “an interpretive quantum leap.””

      Well, to move from an epistemology and Hebraic world-view in which man and God did not differ in nature but in glory, that entities could be distinguished between being and nature, that entities should be thought in terms of natures, substances and hypostases and that pre-existence has to be literal, are all adjustments made to ontological “hardware” in an attempt to get Jesus to be God. Representativeness and agency is ignored a priori, and deification is sought ad infinitum.

      “…it is plausible that a being that is fully God may choose to suppress the knowledge of many things from his own human nature.”

      And here again the assumption is made that Jesus was fully God in himself. His exhibiting anti-God behaviour has to be explained away. And the bible writers have been very cunning and evasive in explaining that Jesus was all along merely performing a screen-play (hypocrisy is the derived word, by the way.) And it took the Church four hundred years to figure this out. You’ve got to be hyper-fundamentalist to even imagine that the original writers had this precise understanding of Christ.

      “…logically, a dual-natured Christ can know and not know at the same time. The concept may make you feel uncomfortable. You may even think it is laughable. But it is not unreasonable.”

      Well, (granting all you all the logical leaps to arrive at this proposal to begin with) if one nature knows and the other is ignorant, then clearly you have two distinct “knowers” or “thinkers” or “feelers” or “doers.” The logically Jesus had two minds, meaning he was two persons. (At least you’re not pushing the divine identity stunt, because then your problems only further escalate).

      “Third, your persistent, negative, condescending tone — a tone similar to Dustin’s in his original post (that prompted me to write in the first place) — moves me to end these exchanges here. I was hoping to see a new of tone that invited conversation. I now abandon that hope.”

      You’ve been a stunning example indeed. Consider toning down on your patronising arrogance, and maybe people will indulge you more gracefully.

      1. Hi
        The difficulties facing the Trinitarian position were highlighted in a presentation by Mr. George Burnap , I think in 1848.

        It runs like this (in part) –

        ” A man demands my assent to the proposition that there are three persons in one God
        I ask him what he means by the word ‘person’.

        I ask him if he means an independant intelligent being

        He says he does not

        He explains that he does not use the word in its usual sense, but in a sense which is peculiar in this particular case.

        I ask him what that sense is

        He cannot tell”

        I read another excellent examlpe of muddled reasoning a while ago but cannot find it now. In essence it states

        I ask a man if he will sign a document.

        He says he cannot write.

        A few days later I see him writing – and challenge him!

        He explains that he cannot write with his right hand and that he was writing with his left hand!

        We talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing……!!!!

        At the end of the day the Trinitarian is driven into a corner and resorts to Tradition and rationalisation , mental gymnastics.

        Tradition is arguably the greatest enemy of truth!

        Blessings
        John

    1. Rob
      Spot on!
      Creeds and doctrines are man made constructs and only become dangerous when men make them more than this.
      People ‘inside’ a system often fail to see the the absurdity of their position until some ‘simple soul’ points it out.! One of your contrinutors has described it as ‘the emperors new clothes’ syndrome!
      I first saw this clearly when someone kept saying to me ” but He only said this in his human nature’. – and I realised that everything He said was in His ‘human’ nature. Are we therefore to discount it?
      I’m sure that there is no need to point out that , even in his resurrected state Christ is not omniscient etc.
      (i) The Prologue to The Revelation of John “The Revelation of Christ, which God gave Him”
      (ii)Revelation 3 v 12 . The resurrected Christ refers to His God.
      Time to call out ‘gobbledygook’ when we see it!

      Blessings
      John

  3. “The other really remarkable point about Niceae is the condemnation in the anathemas at the end of the view that the Son is ‘of another hypostasis or ousia’ from the Father. This can only have been a highly ambiguous and extremely confusing statement. By the standard of later orthodoxy, as achieved in the Creed of Constantinople of 381, it is a rankly heretical (i.e. Sabellian) proposition, because the Son must be of a different hypostasis (i.e. ‘Person’) from the Father [the trinitarian formula staunchly maintains that God is ‘3 hypostases in 1 Ousia’, i.e. ‘1 God in 3 Persons’]. And in fact there were present at the Council people…who were quite ready to maintain that there is only one [Personality] in the Godhead, and who were later to be deposed for heresy because they believed this [Marcellus of Ancyra; Ossius]…the Creed produced by the Council of Nicaea was a mine of potential confusion…Not many who have written upon the subject of the Creed of Nicaea have observed this serious difficulty presented by it…”
    R.P.C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God.

  4. Bobby, “help the discussion” by answering this if you can.

    You wrote that “statements that emphasize one or the other aspect of his person can be viewed as compatible”. But how is the statement in Mark 13.32 compatible with the Double Nature doctrine?

    1. One who is fully God and — simultaneously — fully human may be able to suppress into his human subconscious, things that he knows as God.

      Remember: the assertion is that he is both God in the complete sense — with no limitations — and human in the complete sense — with numerous limitations. On the level of understanding, this combined God-human existence could be achieved by some form of deliberate mental and intellectual suppression.

      1. Bobby
        That’s just straight gobbledygook.!!
        If we were talking about something that did not concern ‘faith’ you would have been seen off with rude comments long ago!
        Really, come to your senses and stop the gymnastics- time to call a stop to this sort of nonsense!
        Blessings
        John

      2. What I have written is well within the bounds of logic. You asked, “how is the statement in Mark 13.32 compatible with the Double Nature doctrine?” And I answered it.

        If such a discussion as this is to go forward, you will need to demonstrate that what I have written is — internally — logically conflicted. (I only stated what God — could — have done if Christ is both God and man.) I don’t think I have stated any ideas that are in reasonable conflict with any other.

        But for your own well-being — as well as others you deal with concerning faith in Christ — you ought to stop throwing word-bombs. It doesn’t help anyone and may hurt many.

      3. Bobby
        Your thoughts are pure speculation and lack scriptural support!
        You are making statements equivalent to “If I had gills I would be able to swim underwater”
        No wonder Islam is growing – The Trinity is a ‘sitting duck’ just waiting to be plucked!
        Best
        Abel

      4. I was asked a logical question (“how is the statement in Mark 13.32 compatible with the Double Nature doctrine?”), and I gave a logical answer that wasn’t “gobbledygook.”

        I was not asked about scriptural evidence. I believe there is sufficient evidence that biblical authors made assertions that both affirm and imply both Jesus’ true deity and true humanity.

        And your statement is perfectly logical (“If I had gills, I would be able to swim underwater.”) You simply do not address the matter of evidence that you actually have gills.

        However, your assertion that the doctrine of the Trinity assures the advance of Islam and the defeat of Christian faith goes in the face of historical evidence. Historically speaking, Islam made its great advances in the past by force; and the Christian gospel — especially in its trinitarian formulation — advanced through persuasion.

      5. Bobby,
        I think that you are living in a dream world.
        Everyone propogated their faith by torture and the sword – and Unitarians took part of the brunt!
        We would probably not have Islam today if it were not for Christianity self-inflicted wound -the Trinity.
        Just look at a map of the Mediterranean pre and post seventh century!
        (the one that is coloured to reflect religions.)
        The internet is facilitating the information flow and all of the arguments are there for the millions to see!
        You assert that the Trinity is scriptural ! Where!
        Give me three verses! I challenge you!!

        God Bless
        John

      6. I will respond to several of your statements — numbered and in a little different order from your original arrangement:

        (1) You stated, “The internet is facilitating the information flow…” Response: There is much more — mis — information on the Internet then information And the misinformation is made all the more damaging because there is a tendency for the public to latch on — and sell out — to whatever appeals to them.

        (2) “…all of the arguments [about how religions have spread historically] are there [on the Internet] for the millions to see!” Response: Have you read all the arguments — on all sides — of the issue? [You will have to go beyond the Internet to fully accomplish this.] Only by a widely-read acquaintance with the scholarly give-and-take can you weigh the alternatives.

        (3) “Everyone propagated their faith by torture and the sword; and Unitarians took part of the brunt!” Response: [Note the terms “torture” and “sword” in your statement.] However, pre-Constantine Christian missions were characterized by proclamation — sometimes under the stress of local persecution, as were the bulk of missions afterward, especially in what is called the Century of Christian Missions (the 19th). Under Constantine and his successors, there was some confiscation and destruction of pagan properties and some cases of expulsion and exile for those on one or the other side of controversial Christian issues. There was — no — official torture and execution.

        I am — not — saying that no one ever used torture and killing to spread what they considered to be “Christian faith.” I — am — saying that this is not typical of how the faith was spread.

        (4) “We would probably not have Islam today if it were not for Christianity’s self-inflicted wound — the Trinity.” Response: You are proposing a historical theory. However, I do not know of any historian who makes the argument that the spread of Islam, during and after the seventh century, is due, primarily, to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

        On the other hand — regarding the spread of Islam — Michael Cook, among the most outstanding scholars on the history of Islam, states:

        (a) “Interest in military and political affairs… makes the life of Muhammad, as it is written, so different in texture from the life of Jesus, as it’s written in the Gospels.”

        (b) “The audience of the Gospels is people who are seriously concerned about their salvation. The audience of the stories [about Mohammed are] the military and political elite of the Arab-Islamic Empire.”

        (c) “What Muhammad somehow did — using not only his political skills but also his monotheist message that came from outside the tribal system — was to get the Arabs on the same page. If you could do that, even temporarily, you could send the Arabs out to conquer the world. Not in Muhammad’s lifetime, but a couple of years after his death, starting in 634 — that’s when his followers conquer this empire stretching from Spain to Central Asia.”

        See “How and Why Muhammad Made a Difference,” http://www.pewforum.org/2006/05/22/how-and-why-muhammad-made-a-difference/.

        (5) “You assert that the Trinity is scriptural ! Where! Give me three verses!”
        Response: I will — if you will settle down and stop yelling at me.

        It seems that you are trying to turn what could be an adventure in research and understanding into a shouting match that barely touches the wealth of information that is out there, once you wade through all the — mis — information.

      7. Thank you so by “fully human…fully God” do you mean 100% of each? If so, isn’t that 200%?

        And in Mar 13.32 did he or did he not know what he was being asked? If he did doesn’t that make him a liar?

      8. Carlos
        Precisely,
        They tell us that there were certain things that Christ did not know, and certain things that he could not do- but that’s just in His human mode.

        Of course everything Christ said , he said in His human mode.

        Are we therefore to discount everything he said ?

        Blessings

  5. BASIL OF CAESAREA (circa. 330-379 C.E.):“…in answer to their letters to me, that it is impossible for me to make even the slightest addition to the Nicene Creed, except the ascription of Glory to the Holy Ghost, because our Fathers treated this point cursorily, [Or:“…BECAUSE THIS POINT SLIPPED THE MEMORY OF OUR FATHERS…” Courtonne’s Translation] no question having at that time arisen concerning the Spirit. As to the additions it is proposed to make to that Creed, concerning the incarnation of our Lord, I have neither tested nor accepted them, as being beyond my comprehension. I know well that, IF ONCE WE BEGIN TO INTERFERE WITH THE SIMPLICITY OF THE CREED, WE SHALL EMBARK ON INTERMINABLE DISCUSSION, CONTRADICTION EVER LEADING US ON AND ON, and shall but disturb the souls of simpler folk by the introduction of new phrases…”-(Chapter 2, Letter 258,“To Epiphanius the bishop,” ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA , Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.)

    I think this sentence is apt.

    “…IF ONCE WE BEGIN TO INTERFERE WITH THE SIMPLICITY OF THE CREED, WE SHALL EMBARK ON INTERMINABLE DISCUSSION, CONTRADICTION EVER LEADING US ON AND ON…”

  6. “…Under Constantine and his successors, there was some confiscation and destruction of pagan properties and some cases of expulsion and exile for those on one or the other side of controversial Christian issues. There was — no — official torture and execution. I am — not — saying that no one ever used torture and killing to spread what they considered to be “Christian faith.” I — am — saying that this is not typical of how the faith was spread…”

    Under Constantine? “No official torture and execution”?

    SOCRATES SCHOLASTICUS’ (circa. born 380-? C.E.): “…Victor Constantine Maximus Augustus, to the bishops and people.—Since Arius has imitated wicked and impious persons, it is just that he should undergo the like ignominy. Wherefore as Porphyry,[180] that enemy of piety, for having composed licentious treatises against religion, found a suitable recompense, and such as thenceforth branded him with infamy, overwhelming him with deserved reproach, his impious writings also having been destroyed; so now it seems fit both that Arius and such as hold his sentiments should be denominated Porphyrians, that they may take their appellation from those whose conduct they have imitated. And in addition to this, if any treatise composed by Arius should be discovered, let it be ( consigned to the flames ), in order that not only his depraved doctrine may be suppressed, but also that no memorial of him may be by any means left. This therefore I decree, that if any one shall be detected in concealing a book compiled by Arius, and shall not instantly bring it forward and burn it, the penalty for this offense shall be ( death ); for immediately after conviction the criminal shall ( suffer capital punishment ). May God preserve you!…” – (Book I, Chapter IX, “The Letter of the Synod, relative to its Decisions: and the Condemnation of Arius and those who agreed with him.” Another Epistle of Constantine. Translated by A.C. Zenos. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 2. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890.)
    [FOOTNOTE 180]: Cf. III. 23, where the author makes further mention of Porphyry and his writings; see also Smith, Dict. Greek and Roman Biog.
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf202.ii.iv.ix.html

    Please explain Constantines words here please?

    “…if — any one — shall be detected in concealing a book compiled by Arius, and shall not instantly bring it forward and burn it, the penalty for this offense shall be ( death ); for immediately after conviction the criminal shall ( suffer capital punishment )…”

  7. SOCRATES SCHOLASTICUS’ (circa. born 380-? C.E.): “…Constantine the King to the Bishops and nations everywhere. Inasmuch as Arius imitates the evil and the wicked, it is right that, like them, he should be rebuked and rejected. As therefore Porphyry, who was an enemy of the fear of God, and wrote wicked and unlawful writings against the religion of Christians, found the reward which befitted him, that he might be a reproach to all generations after, because he fully and insatiably used base fame; so that on this account his writings were righteously destroyed; thus also now it seems good that Arius and the holders of his opinion should all be called Porphyrians, that he may be named by the name of those whose evil ways he imitates: And not only this, but also that all the writings of Arius, wherever they be found, shall be delivered to be burned with fire, in order that not only his wicked and evil doctrine may be destroyed, but also that the memory of himself and of his doctrine may be blotted out, that there may not by any means remain to him remembrance in the world. Now this also I ordain, that if any one shall be found secreting any writing composed by Arius, and shall not forthwith deliver up and burn it with fire, his punishment ( shall be death ); for as soon as he is caught in this he shall ( suffer capital punishment by beheading ) without delay…” – (Letter of Constantine to the churches. Synopsis: Against Arius and the Porphyrians, and threatens that any one who conceals a work of Arius shall be punished with death. A translation of a Syriac translation of [Socrates Scholasticus’ Ecclesiastical History 1:9], written in 501, is in B. H. Cowper’s, Syriac Miscellanies, Extracts From The Syriac Ms. No. 14528 In The British Museum, Lond. 1861, p. 6– 7)
    http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/Constantine/Book2.html

    SOCRATES SCHOLASTICUS’ (circa. born 380-? C.E.): “…The great and victorious Constantine Augustus to the bishops and laity: Since Arius is an imitator of the wicked and the ungodly, it is only right that he should suffer the same dishonor as they. Porphyry, who was hostile to anyone who feared God, composed a book which transgressed against our religion, and has found a suitable reward: namely that he has been disgraced from that time onward, his reputation is completely terrible, and his ungodly writings have been destroyed. In the same way it seems appropriate that Arius and those of like mind with Arius should from now on be called Porphyrians, so that their name is taken from those whose ways they have imitated. In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left even to remind anyone of him. And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, and not to have immediately brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, ( his penalty shall be death ). As soon as he is discovered in this offense, he shall be submitted for ( capital punishment ). And in another hand: God will watch over you, beloved brothers…” – (Translation by AJW or H-G. Opitz, Athanasius Werke, vol. 2.1 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1940). Ancient Syriac sources 2 manuscripts: Brit. Mus. Add. 14,528 and Vatican Borg. Syr. 82 Modern edition of Syriac Fredrich Schulthess, “Die syrischen Kanones der Synoden von Nicaea bis Chalcedon.” Abhandlungen der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse N.F. 10, no. 2 (Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1908) pp. 1-2.)

    How can anyone say there was: “…no official…” executions etc?

    “…Now this also — I ordain, [= Constantines words] — that if any one shall be found secreting any writing composed by Arius, and shall not forthwith deliver up and burn it with fire, his punishment ( shall be death ); for as soon as he is caught in this he shall ( suffer capital punishment by beheading ) without delay…”

  8. Sozomen cites the same:

    SALMINIUS HERMIAS SOZOMEN (circa. ?-448 C.E.): “…It ought to be known, that they affirmed the Son to be consubstantial with the Father; and that those are to be excommunicated and voted aliens to the Catholic Church, who assert that there was a time in which the Son existed not, and before He was begotten He was not, and that He was made from what had no existence, and that He is of another hypostasis or substance from the Father, and that He is subject to change or mutation. This decision was sanctioned by Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia; by Theognis, bishop of Nicaea; by Maris, bishop of Chalcedon; by Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis; and by Secundus, bishop of Ptolemais in Libya.[67] Eusebius Pamphilus, however, withheld his assent for a little while, but on further examination assented.[68] The council excommunicated Arius and his adherents, and prohibited his entering Alexandria. The words in which his opinions were couched were likewise condemned, as also a work entitled “Thalia,” which he had written on the subject. I have not read this book, but I understand that it is of a loose character, resembling in license Sotadus.[69] It ought to be known that although Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theognis, bishop of Nicaea, assented to the document of this faith set forth by the council, they neither agreed nor subscribed to the deposition of Arius. The emperor punished Arius with exile, and dispatched edicts to the bishops and people of every country, denouncing him and his adherents as ungodly, and commanding. that their books should be destroyed, in order that no remembrance of him or of the doctrine which he had broached might remain. Whoever should be found secreting his writings and who should not burn them immediately on the accusation, should ( undergo the penalty of death ), and ( suffer capital punishment )…” – (Book 1, Chapter XXI. – What the Council Determined About Arius; The Condemnation of His Followers; His Writings are to Be Burnt; Certain of the High Priests Differ from the Council; The Settlement of the Passover. Historia Ecclesia.)
    [FOOTNOTE 67]: There are variations in the earlier writers as to the number and names of the excommunicated and banished.
    [FOOTNOTE 68]: Eusebius’ attempt at straddling amounts to prevarication here, and later; Soc. i. 8 copied by the later historians.
    [FOOTNOTE 69]: Cf. Soc. i. 9; both borrowed their criticism from Athan. Orcont. Arian. i. 4, etc.

    Again!

    “…immediately on the accusation, should ( undergo the penalty of death ), and ( suffer capital punishment )…”

    History flat out contradicts Bobby Garringer’s personal notions.

  9. Eusebius refers to the seizure of books, (i.e. the book burning mentioned above), as well:

    EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA (circa. 260 to 340 C.E. ): “…Thus were the lurking-places of the heretics broken up by the emperor’s command, and the savage beasts they harbored (I mean the chief authors of their impious doctrines) driven to flight. Of those whom they had deceived, some, intimidated by the emperor’s threats, disguising their real sentiments, crept secretly into the Church. For since the law directed that search should be made for their books, those of them who practiced evil and forbidden arts were detected, and, these were ready to secure their own safety by dissimulation of every kind.[84]…” – (Book III, ch.6ff. Chapter LXVI. How on the Discovery of Prohibited Books Among the Heretics, Many of Them Return to the Catholic Church. Vita Constantini.)
    [FOOTNOTE 84]: Here again it is worth noting, for history and for edification, that books were prohibited and heretics treated just as the Christians did not like to “be done by,” by the heathen.

  10. LATIN TEXT: “…IN NOMINE DOMINI NOSTRI IHESU CHRISTI, ( CODICIS ) DOMINI NOSTRI ( IUSTINIANI ) SACRATISSIMI PRINCIPIS REPETITAE PRAELECTIONIS – LIBER PRIMUS. Ii. DE SUMMA TRINITATE ET DE FIDE CATHOLICA ET UT NEMO DE EA PUBLICE CONTENDERE AUDEAT…” – (Page 5, 1.1.1, CORPUS IURIS CIVILIS – Editio Stereotypa Quinta, Volumen Secundum, CODEX IUSTINIANUS Recognovitt Paulus Krueger 1892.)
    http://www.archive.org/stream/corpusiuriscivil02krueuoft#page/5/mode/1up

    FULL TITLE-ENGLISH: “…In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Book I of the revised edition of the Code of our Lord and sacred Emperor Justinian. Concerning the High Trinity of the Catholic faith, and that no one shall dare to despute about it publicly…” – (Annotated Justinian Code by Fred H. Blume edited by Timothy Kearly, Second Edition, 2010.)
    http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/blume&justinian/default.asp

    LATIN TEXT: “…Impp. Theodosius et Valentinianus AA. Hormisdae pp. Sancimus ut quaecumque Porphyrius insainia sua compulsus sive alius quilibet contra religiosum Christianorum cultum conscripserit, apud quemcumque inventa fuerint, igni tradantur. Omnia enim scripta, quae deum as iracundian provocunt animasque offendunt, ne ad auditium quidem hominum venire volumus. Praeterea sancimus, ut qui impiam Nestori fidem adfecant vel nefariam eius doctrinam sequuntur, si episcopi vel clerici sint, sanctis ecclesiis eiciantur, sin laici, anathematizentur : data licentia orthodoxis, qui volunt et piam legislationem nostram sequuntur, absque metu et damo eos denuntiandi et accusandi. Cum autem ad pias aures nostras pervenerit a quibusdam conscriptas et editas esse doctrinas ambiguas neque accurate congruentes cum orthodoxa fide proposita a sancto concilio patrum sanctorum, qui Nicaeae et Ephesi convenerunt, et a Cyrillo piae memoriae, Alexandrinae magnae civitatis quondam episcopo, iubemus tales libros sive antea sive hoc tempore scriptos, imprimis Nestori, comburi et perfecto exitio tradi, ut ne in cognitionem quidem cuiusquam veniant : his, qui tales scripturas aut libros habere et legere continuaverint, ultimum supplicium subituris. Ceterum nulli licere praeter fidem, ut diximus, Nicaeae atque Ephesi expositam profiteri quicquam vel docere…” – (Page 5-6, CORPUS IURIS CIVILIS – Editio Stereotypa Quinta, Volumen Secundum, CODEX IUSTINIANUS Recognovitt Paulus Krueger 1892.)
    http://www.archive.org/stream/corpusiuriscivil02krueuoft#page/5/mode/1up
    http://www.archive.org/stream/corpusiuriscivil02krueuoft#page/6/mode/1up

    THEODOSIUS II (circa. 345-399 C.E.): “…Emperors [1.1.3.] Theodosius and Valentinian to Horisda, Praetorian Prefect. [1.] We decree that all things which Porphyrius, impelled by his insanity, – ( or any one else ), – has written against the worship of the Christians, among whomsoever shall be delivered to the fire. For we want no writings which provoke God to ire, and offend human minds to even come to the knowledge of men. [2.] We also decree, that Bishops or clergymen, who accept the creed of Nestorius or follow his nefarious doctrine, shall, if they are bishops or clergymen, be ejecected from the Holy Churches; if they are of the laity, they shall be anathematized; and ( orthodox ) persons who wish to do so, and who are in accord with ( our pious legislation ), may denounce and accuse them without fear or detriment to themselves. [3.] Since it has, moreover, come to our pious ears, that ( some persons ) have written and published ( ambiguous doctrines, which are not in – absolute – agreement ) with the orthodox faith laid down by the holy council of the holy fathers who assembled at Nicea and Ephesus, and by Cyrillus of blessed memory, once bishop of the great city of Alexandria, we ( order ) that – ( such books whether WRITTEN BEFORE OR during this time ), – ( particularly ) those of Nestorious, shall be burned and delivered to complete destruction, so that they any not even come to the knowledge of anyone. ( Persons who continue to have and read such writings or books shall be – punished by death ). Besides, no one shall be permitted as we have said, to acknowledge or teach any creed, except the one laid down at Nicea and Ephesus. Given at Constatinople February 16 (448)…” – (Codex Justinianus 1.1.1-3; Annotated Justinian Code by Fred H. Blume edited by Timothy Kearly, Second Edition, 2010.)
    [FOOTNOTE]: “…Nestorious … maintained that Mary was not the “mother of God; that she was but a woman, and that it was impossible that God should be born of a woman.” This theory created controversy, and to settle it the emperor called the ecumenical council at Ephesus in 431 [C.E.]…”
    http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/blume&justinian/default.asp

    This same edict is spoken of briefly in Evagrius of Pontus, a monk serving in the monastery under the notorious Rufinus of Aquileia (circa. 340–410 C.E.):

    EVAGRIUS OF PONTUS (circa. 345-399 C.E.): “…Theodosius, then, issued a most pious constitution, which is included in the first book of what is termed the Code of Justinian, and is the third under the first title; in which, moved by heaven, he condemned, by all the votes, as the saying is, him to whom he had been long attached, as Nestorius himself writes, and placed him under anathema. The precise terms are as follow: “Further we ordain, that those who favour the impious creed of Nestorius, or follow his unlawful doctrine, be ejected from the holy churches, if they be bishops or clerks; and if laics, be anathematised.” Other enactments were also promulgated by him relating to our religion, which shew his burning zeal…” – (BOOK 1. CHAPTER XII. CONDEMNATION OP THE NESTORIAN DOCTRINE BY THEODOSIUS. Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History (AD431-594), translated by E. Walford 1846.)

    (ALT) “…They will make you be expelled from the synagogue, but an hour is coming that every [one] having killed you shall think [he is] offering sacred service to God…”

  11. Perhaps one of the books that were burned were copies of this one.

    Book 4, chapter 26, Section 2, Eusebius of Caesarea “Ecclesiastical History”

    GREEK TEXT: “…Ἐπὶ τῶνδε καὶ Μελίτων τῆς ἐν Σάρδεσιν παροικίας ἐπίσκοπος Ἀπολινάριός τε τῆς ἐν Ἱεραπόλει διαπρεπῶς ἤκμαζον, οἳ  καὶ τῷ δηλωθέντι κατὰ τοὺς χρόνους Ῥωμαίων βασιλεῖ λόγους ὑπὲρ τῆς πίστεως ἰδίως ἑκάτερος ἀπολογίας προσεφώνησαν. τούτων εἰς ἡμετέραν γνῶσιν ἀφῖκται τὰ ὑποτεταγμένα· Μελίτωνος, τὰ Περὶ τοῦ πάσχα δύο καὶ τὸ Περὶ πολιτείας καὶ προφητῶν καὶ ὁ Περὶ ἐκκλησίας καὶ ὁ Περὶ κυριακῆς λόγος, ἔτι δὲ ὁ Περὶ πίστεως ἀνθρώπου καὶ ὁ Περὶ πλάσεως καὶ ὁ Περὶ ὑπακοῆς πίστεως αἰσθητηρίων καὶ πρὸς τούτοις ὁ Περὶ ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος ηνενοις καὶ ὁ Περὶ λουτροῦ καὶ περὶ ἀληθείας — ( καὶ περὶ κτίσεως [πίστεως] καὶ γενέσεως Χριστοῦ ) — καὶ λόγος αὐτοῦ προφητείας καὶ περὶ ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος καὶ ὁ Περὶ φιλοξενίας καὶ ἡ Κλεὶς καὶ τὰ Περὶ τοῦ διαβόλου καὶ τῆς Ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰωάννου καὶ ὁ Περὶ ἐνσωμάτου θεοῦ, ἐπὶ πᾶσι καὶ τὸ Πρὸς Ἀντωνῖνον βιβλίδιον. ἐν μὲν οὖν τῷ Περὶ τοῦ πάσχα τὸν χρόνον καθ᾿ ὃν συνέταττεν, ἀρχόμενος σημαίνει ἐν τούτοις…” – (ΒΙΒΛΙΟΝ Δ´ Book 4, chapter 26, Section 2, “Eusebius Ecclesiastical History”.)

    MILETO OF SARDIS (circa. 110-177 C.E.): “…The following works of these writers have come to our knowledge. Of Melito, the two books On the Passover, and one On the Conduct of Life and the Prophets, the discourse On the Church, and one On the Lord’s Day, still further one On the Faith of Man, and one On his Creation, another also On the Obedience of Faith, and one On the Senses; besides these the work On the Soul and Body, and that On Baptism, and the one On Truth, [1290]AND ON THE – ( CREATION ) – AND GENERATION ( OF ) CHRIST; his discourse also On Prophecy…” – (Book 4, Chapter 26, Section 2, “Eusebius Church History,” From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.)
    [FOOTNOTE 1290]: “…Six mss., with Nicephorus, read κτίσεως, “creation,” but five mss., with the Syriac and Rufinus, and possibly Jerome, read πίστεως. The latter reading therefore has the strongest external testimony in its favor, but must be rejected (with Stroth, Otto, Heinichen, Harnack, etc.) as evidently a dogmatic correction of the fourth century, when there was an objection to the use of the word κτίσις in connection with Christ…”
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/…npnf201.iii.ix.xxvi.html

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