A new name for God?

From Methodist minister Chris Brundage at Christian Century:

I have a new name for God, at least new to me. The old three-letter word “God” is worn out. Words only last so long before they need to be retired for a season. The word “God” has too much freight on it and too many associations.

I have begun to use a Hebrew word for deity: el. It’s pronounced like the English word ale. (This is an idea I borrowed from Madeleine L’Engle.) El is a simple word, found in the Bible, but it doesn’t have any history for me, and I never use it in my work as a pastor. I walk on the trail in the mornings and talk to el, who hides in the trees. Actually, el is hidden deeply in all things.

I bought a new prayer book to help me talk with el at other times. My old prayer book was looking decrepit, and the cats gnawed off the ribbon markers. My prayer book is published by the Presbyterian Church and includes the psalms along with traditional prayers. It has a Celtic cross on the cover and readings from the daily lectionary in the back, which I read in the Good News Bible or the NRSV. A new prayer book goes well with a new name for God.

via A new name for God | The Christian Century.

First of all, “El” is not a new name for God, simply a word for God in another language.  If a person wants to pray in another language, fine.  If in Biblical Hebrew, so much the better.

But I wouldn’t want to fool with the “name” of God.  The name of God is a concept I suspect we don’t fully appreciate.  In the Bible, God’s “name” is  fraught with spiritual power and taboos, from the Commandment (“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”) to the injunctions to glorify God’s name and Christ’s promises about praying and acting in His name (talk about a claim to divinity).

Of course, “God” isn’t the name of God–just a noun for who and what He is.  The name of God is expressed in the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, and is connected to the verb “to be,” as in what He said to Moses, “I am who I am.”  Now that Christ has come, we have a name by which we are to baptize and to worship:  “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

Coming up with different names for God, though, cuts us off from the historic and universal church that extends back through time and across the whole world.  Making up your own individual name for God enshrines the individual–not YHWH, not the Trinity–as the locus of devotion.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • fjsteve

    Why reach back so far for a new name? Brundage should have chosen the more contemporary cognate of El. The term Allah. Arabic speaking Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been using this term for centuries and it has almost no negative associations. Brundage should also note that this name for God is not only novel, it’s inclusive. Which is definitely in line with current trends in Methodism. It is especially useful for public prayers in places like airports and bus stations.

  • fjsteve

    Why reach back so far for a new name? Brundage should have chosen the more contemporary cognate of El. The term Allah. Arabic speaking Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been using this term for centuries and it has almost no negative associations. Brundage should also note that this name for God is not only novel, it’s inclusive. Which is definitely in line with current trends in Methodism. It is especially useful for public prayers in places like airports and bus stations.

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  • Dan Kempin

    In all fairness, he didn’t “make up” the name, and there is a point buried in here, whether linguistic, theological, or cultural, I don’t know, namely that the name “God” in english is an exceedingly generic term. One can reference different deities and religions and concepts, and the proper english word for each of them is “God.” I suppose the use of this word rather does underscore the cultural presupposition that “all religions are equal.”

    Still, I am less concerned with the author using one of the many other proper titles for God than I am about his rather cryptic reference that God “hides in the trees.”

    I . . .

    What . . . ?

  • Dan Kempin

    In all fairness, he didn’t “make up” the name, and there is a point buried in here, whether linguistic, theological, or cultural, I don’t know, namely that the name “God” in english is an exceedingly generic term. One can reference different deities and religions and concepts, and the proper english word for each of them is “God.” I suppose the use of this word rather does underscore the cultural presupposition that “all religions are equal.”

    Still, I am less concerned with the author using one of the many other proper titles for God than I am about his rather cryptic reference that God “hides in the trees.”

    I . . .

    What . . . ?

  • WebMonk

    Dr. V chopped off the part where he starts to wax about yoga (mystical aspects of) and how well it sees to combines with his new name for God. Go read the whole article.

    If I had to guess, I would say this is a spoof or sarcastic piece. I don’t know for sure though.

  • WebMonk

    Dr. V chopped off the part where he starts to wax about yoga (mystical aspects of) and how well it sees to combines with his new name for God. Go read the whole article.

    If I had to guess, I would say this is a spoof or sarcastic piece. I don’t know for sure though.

  • WebMonk

    Hmm, I went and read a few more blog posts by this author. I don’t think he was being sarcastic or writing a spoof.

    In his defense, I will make the guess that he is an extremely artistic sort of person.

    Don’t take sentences or phrases to mean exactly their dictionary grammatical definitions. Rather use the general feel of the broad direction and timbre of the post to understand what he is saying.

    For example: “I walk on the trail in the mornings and talk to el, who hides in the trees. Actually, el is hidden deeply in all things.”

    I would translate this into something like: “I walk through the woods while praying, and though I can’t directly see God, He is present everywhere I go.”

    That’s my best construction on that section. The parts where he starts meshing yoga and “El” are a lot harder to find a good construction.

  • WebMonk

    Hmm, I went and read a few more blog posts by this author. I don’t think he was being sarcastic or writing a spoof.

    In his defense, I will make the guess that he is an extremely artistic sort of person.

    Don’t take sentences or phrases to mean exactly their dictionary grammatical definitions. Rather use the general feel of the broad direction and timbre of the post to understand what he is saying.

    For example: “I walk on the trail in the mornings and talk to el, who hides in the trees. Actually, el is hidden deeply in all things.”

    I would translate this into something like: “I walk through the woods while praying, and though I can’t directly see God, He is present everywhere I go.”

    That’s my best construction on that section. The parts where he starts meshing yoga and “El” are a lot harder to find a good construction.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    My first thought is that El is loaded too. If I recall, much like the word god is today, el was fairly generic.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    My first thought is that El is loaded too. If I recall, much like the word god is today, el was fairly generic.

  • Tom Hering

    He’s smaller, because he lost 70 pounds, but at the same time he’s found a “spaciousness within.” He’s now larger on the inside than he is on the outside. So maybe the superior being he’s in touch with is actually Doctor Who.

  • Tom Hering

    He’s smaller, because he lost 70 pounds, but at the same time he’s found a “spaciousness within.” He’s now larger on the inside than he is on the outside. So maybe the superior being he’s in touch with is actually Doctor Who.

  • WisdomLover

    “God” isn’t a name at all, it’s a title, like “King” or “Queen”. The monarch of England does not have a first name of “Queen” and a last name of “Elizabeth”. Elizabeth is her name, and “Queen” is her title.

    Likewise, “El” is not a name either, as noted in the OP, it’s just the translation from English to Hebrew of “God” (or better, “God” is just the translation from Hebrew of “El”). So “El” is a title for all the same reasons that “God” is a title.

    Our English translations of the Bible often translate a locution that refers to God as “the LORD God”. This is completely backward actually. It makes it look as if “God” is God’s name and “The LORD” is His title. But “The LORD” is how we translate YHWH, and “God” is His title. A translation that gets the name-title distinction right would be “The One God, YHWH”.

    (I’m not recommending a change in the translations, BTW. I actually think they are best as is, but not because they get the name-title distinction right…they get that badly wrong.)

    There is a second name given to God in the Bible. It is not “The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” (more on that in a bit). It is “Jesus”. Jesus is identified as YHWH in the Bible more than the other two members of the Godhead combined. It is done more than once in every Gospel, and at least once in every Gospel within the first three Chapters. Mark opens with the identification. Peter identifies Jesus with YHWH in the first sermon preached in the history of the Christian Church. Jesus is also identified as YHWH in several places in the letters. Jesus is how God chose to appear to us, so this should really come as no surprise.

    Mark, for example, opens with John the Baptist, the voice crying to make the way in the wilderness straight for the Lord. It quickly becomes clear that the Lord for whom the way is being made straight is Jesus. But when Isaiah said the words to which Mark refers, He said “make straight the way of YHWH”. Mark was thus saying that John was preparing the way for Jesus who is YHWH.

    “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” is not a name of God. It is a description of a being who has a perfectly good name already: YHWH.

    Were we to start baptizing using the words “in the name, YHWH,” we would be following the NT command to baptize every bit as well as current practice, and, in one respect, even better. Baptizing in the name of YHWH actually uses the name of God. The current practice of baptizing using the words “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” only mentions the name of God, which is YHWH. In that respect, it is not different than baptizing using the words “in the name of God”. It only mentions the name of God.

    Baptizing using the words “in the name of God” might be more misleading than baptizing using the words “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”, because some people might not identify God as the individual named YHWH. But it’s pretty hard to read the Bible closely and not understand that All three of the titles “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Ghost” are attributed to the single individual named YHWH.

    Indeed, that the three titles are attributed to a single individual with a single name is a direct implication of the triadic formula of baptism. You are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, thus have a single name into which we are baptized. Though the Father, the Son and the Holly Spirit are three essentially different titles for three essentially distinct persons, they belong to a single individual with a single name. (Other Scripture tells us what that name is: YHWH.)

    On an unrelated matter, changing the title of “God” to “el” is silly or worse and accomplishes nothing at best. In all likelihood, it won’t be adopted by one other person. At best, even Brundage will eventually tire of it. At worst, he won’t, because he’ll have set up a false god for himself. But even if the proposal doesn’t spin off the rails into heresy, and doesn’t just get dropped as tiresome, it will be not be effective in preventing Brundage or anyone else from freighting the new title of God with unwanted meaning.

    Furthermore, I’ll make a blind guess that all the meaning Brundage thinks “God” is freighted with is what the rest of us would probably call orthodoxy.

    For starters, note that Brundage goes from “God” to “el”, not to “El”. He’s gone from “God” to “god”. From the One God, to a god, perhaps among many. From YHWH to Zeus.

    There is only one more paragraph in the blog post that Dr. Veith excerpted above. In it, Brundage describes how he does yoga using the Sanskrit names for the poses. And how he has, through yoga, discovered a spaciousness within himself. And he wonders whether el might live within him in that spaciousness.

    No doubt, his next great discovery, will be the discovery he was born with. The one that the snake taught to our parents. He is el. For our eyes have been opened and we have become as gods.

  • WisdomLover

    “God” isn’t a name at all, it’s a title, like “King” or “Queen”. The monarch of England does not have a first name of “Queen” and a last name of “Elizabeth”. Elizabeth is her name, and “Queen” is her title.

    Likewise, “El” is not a name either, as noted in the OP, it’s just the translation from English to Hebrew of “God” (or better, “God” is just the translation from Hebrew of “El”). So “El” is a title for all the same reasons that “God” is a title.

    Our English translations of the Bible often translate a locution that refers to God as “the LORD God”. This is completely backward actually. It makes it look as if “God” is God’s name and “The LORD” is His title. But “The LORD” is how we translate YHWH, and “God” is His title. A translation that gets the name-title distinction right would be “The One God, YHWH”.

    (I’m not recommending a change in the translations, BTW. I actually think they are best as is, but not because they get the name-title distinction right…they get that badly wrong.)

    There is a second name given to God in the Bible. It is not “The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” (more on that in a bit). It is “Jesus”. Jesus is identified as YHWH in the Bible more than the other two members of the Godhead combined. It is done more than once in every Gospel, and at least once in every Gospel within the first three Chapters. Mark opens with the identification. Peter identifies Jesus with YHWH in the first sermon preached in the history of the Christian Church. Jesus is also identified as YHWH in several places in the letters. Jesus is how God chose to appear to us, so this should really come as no surprise.

    Mark, for example, opens with John the Baptist, the voice crying to make the way in the wilderness straight for the Lord. It quickly becomes clear that the Lord for whom the way is being made straight is Jesus. But when Isaiah said the words to which Mark refers, He said “make straight the way of YHWH”. Mark was thus saying that John was preparing the way for Jesus who is YHWH.

    “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” is not a name of God. It is a description of a being who has a perfectly good name already: YHWH.

    Were we to start baptizing using the words “in the name, YHWH,” we would be following the NT command to baptize every bit as well as current practice, and, in one respect, even better. Baptizing in the name of YHWH actually uses the name of God. The current practice of baptizing using the words “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” only mentions the name of God, which is YHWH. In that respect, it is not different than baptizing using the words “in the name of God”. It only mentions the name of God.

    Baptizing using the words “in the name of God” might be more misleading than baptizing using the words “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”, because some people might not identify God as the individual named YHWH. But it’s pretty hard to read the Bible closely and not understand that All three of the titles “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Ghost” are attributed to the single individual named YHWH.

    Indeed, that the three titles are attributed to a single individual with a single name is a direct implication of the triadic formula of baptism. You are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, thus have a single name into which we are baptized. Though the Father, the Son and the Holly Spirit are three essentially different titles for three essentially distinct persons, they belong to a single individual with a single name. (Other Scripture tells us what that name is: YHWH.)

    On an unrelated matter, changing the title of “God” to “el” is silly or worse and accomplishes nothing at best. In all likelihood, it won’t be adopted by one other person. At best, even Brundage will eventually tire of it. At worst, he won’t, because he’ll have set up a false god for himself. But even if the proposal doesn’t spin off the rails into heresy, and doesn’t just get dropped as tiresome, it will be not be effective in preventing Brundage or anyone else from freighting the new title of God with unwanted meaning.

    Furthermore, I’ll make a blind guess that all the meaning Brundage thinks “God” is freighted with is what the rest of us would probably call orthodoxy.

    For starters, note that Brundage goes from “God” to “el”, not to “El”. He’s gone from “God” to “god”. From the One God, to a god, perhaps among many. From YHWH to Zeus.

    There is only one more paragraph in the blog post that Dr. Veith excerpted above. In it, Brundage describes how he does yoga using the Sanskrit names for the poses. And how he has, through yoga, discovered a spaciousness within himself. And he wonders whether el might live within him in that spaciousness.

    No doubt, his next great discovery, will be the discovery he was born with. The one that the snake taught to our parents. He is el. For our eyes have been opened and we have become as gods.

  • fjsteve

    Dan #2,

    Why is it confusing? Isn’t finitum capax infiniti a hallmark of Lutheran theology? I’m being half sarcastic here because I suspect Brundage, as a Methodist, was being less theologically- and more environmentally-minded.

  • fjsteve

    Dan #2,

    Why is it confusing? Isn’t finitum capax infiniti a hallmark of Lutheran theology? I’m being half sarcastic here because I suspect Brundage, as a Methodist, was being less theologically- and more environmentally-minded.

  • George A. Marquart

    The name of our God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” It is the name in which we baptize.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    The name of our God is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” It is the name in which we baptize.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#7 The Greek grammar doesn’t exactly back your example from Mt 28. In fact, because Greek will use a singular form to describe multiple singular nouns given in a list it does argue that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are names not titles. Also, the Greek text pretty much had two ways of indicating YHWH. The first is the simple “I am” statements. The second is the drawn out form of “The one who was, who is, and who will be,” this more drawn out form actually reflects the nature of the Hebrew by writing out all the possible ways YHWH maybe defined.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#7 The Greek grammar doesn’t exactly back your example from Mt 28. In fact, because Greek will use a singular form to describe multiple singular nouns given in a list it does argue that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are names not titles. Also, the Greek text pretty much had two ways of indicating YHWH. The first is the simple “I am” statements. The second is the drawn out form of “The one who was, who is, and who will be,” this more drawn out form actually reflects the nature of the Hebrew by writing out all the possible ways YHWH maybe defined.

  • http://deepeningwaters.com JD Loofbourrow

    “My old prayer book was looking decrepit, and the cats gnawed off the ribbon markers.”

    Cat people are so weird.

  • http://deepeningwaters.com JD Loofbourrow

    “My old prayer book was looking decrepit, and the cats gnawed off the ribbon markers.”

    Cat people are so weird.

  • Dan Kempin

    fjsetve, #8,

    I don’t have a problem with “God is in everything.” It just seemed weird to hear someone refer to God, “who was hiding in the trees.” That makes God sound like a stalker. Or a hobbit. I’m not sure which image is worse.

    (Or maybe He was a ticket oak.)

  • Dan Kempin

    fjsetve, #8,

    I don’t have a problem with “God is in everything.” It just seemed weird to hear someone refer to God, “who was hiding in the trees.” That makes God sound like a stalker. Or a hobbit. I’m not sure which image is worse.

    (Or maybe He was a ticket oak.)

  • Grace

    I don’t find it strange that a Methodist minister, such as Chris Brundage would make a statetment, such as:

    “I have a new name for God, at least new to me. The old three-letter word “God” is worn out.

    The name for God, as stated in the Bibles most of us use, is not “worn out” -

    There are many different words for God, anyone who has studied the Bible knows this, especially if one has attended a Bible School, and Seminary. Brundage has just discovered a few names, thinking others are not knowledgeable, as he states “new to me” I wonder where he attended school?

    God Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary

    ‘elowahh el-o’-ah; rarely (shortened) >eloahh {el-o’-ah
    probably prolonged (emphat.) from ”el’ a deity or the Deity:–God, god.

    ‘el – ale shortened from ”ayil’
    strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity):–God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”

    ‘elohiym- el-o-heem’
    especially with the article) of the supreme God;

  • Grace

    I don’t find it strange that a Methodist minister, such as Chris Brundage would make a statetment, such as:

    “I have a new name for God, at least new to me. The old three-letter word “God” is worn out.

    The name for God, as stated in the Bibles most of us use, is not “worn out” -

    There are many different words for God, anyone who has studied the Bible knows this, especially if one has attended a Bible School, and Seminary. Brundage has just discovered a few names, thinking others are not knowledgeable, as he states “new to me” I wonder where he attended school?

    God Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary

    ‘elowahh el-o’-ah; rarely (shortened) >eloahh {el-o’-ah
    probably prolonged (emphat.) from ”el’ a deity or the Deity:–God, god.

    ‘el – ale shortened from ”ayil’
    strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity):–God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”

    ‘elohiym- el-o-heem’
    especially with the article) of the supreme God;

  • Grace

    For further study, I would suggest bible.org:

    The Names of God
    Study By: J. Hampton Keathley, III

    http://bible.org/article/names-god

    Very interesting site.

    Compounds of El:

    El Shaddai:“God Almighty.” The derivation is uncertain. Some think it stresses God’s loving supply and comfort; others His power as the Almighty one standing on a mountain and who corrects and chastens (Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Ex. 6:1; Ps. 91:1, 2).
    El Elyon: “The Most High God.” Stresses God’s strength, sovereignty, and supremacy (Gen. 14:19; Ps. 9:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 25).
    El Olam: “The Everlasting God.” Emphasizes God’s unchangeableness and is connected with His inexhaustibleness (Gen. 16:13).

  • Grace

    For further study, I would suggest bible.org:

    The Names of God
    Study By: J. Hampton Keathley, III

    http://bible.org/article/names-god

    Very interesting site.

    Compounds of El:

    El Shaddai:“God Almighty.” The derivation is uncertain. Some think it stresses God’s loving supply and comfort; others His power as the Almighty one standing on a mountain and who corrects and chastens (Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Ex. 6:1; Ps. 91:1, 2).
    El Elyon: “The Most High God.” Stresses God’s strength, sovereignty, and supremacy (Gen. 14:19; Ps. 9:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 25).
    El Olam: “The Everlasting God.” Emphasizes God’s unchangeableness and is connected with His inexhaustibleness (Gen. 16:13).

  • dust

    if you feel your name for God is worn out, perhaps it’s you who are worn out :(

    If so, you can pray about it….here’s a suggestion from a very reliable source:

    Our Father who art in Heaven, HALLOWED be thy name :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    if you feel your name for God is worn out, perhaps it’s you who are worn out :(

    If so, you can pray about it….here’s a suggestion from a very reliable source:

    Our Father who art in Heaven, HALLOWED be thy name :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m having a hard time understanding how the Hebrew word “El” could be “new” to a minister. I mean, I don’t consider myself to be a terribly informed layman, and even I knew the derivation of names like “Bethel” when I was in high school. Come on.

    Doesn’t exactly speak well of Christian Theological Seminary (where he says he graduated from), or of the Presbyterian Church (where he says he was ordained; and since he didn’t specify, you know he meant PCUSA), or of Princeton Theological Seminary (where he earned his MDiv).

    This minister does have this to say on his blog, though:

    I love to read scripture in the Latin Vulgate, for example; Frederick Buechner recommends that you get out of your native language so you can see the words differently.

    Hmm.

    Anyhow, I kinda wish I could’ve been there when this minister told someone verbally that he found El (pronounced “ale”) hidden in the trees, but now that El is in a spacious place inside him. “You don’t have to drink alone out in the forest, pastor. We’ll invite you next time we go out for drinks.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m having a hard time understanding how the Hebrew word “El” could be “new” to a minister. I mean, I don’t consider myself to be a terribly informed layman, and even I knew the derivation of names like “Bethel” when I was in high school. Come on.

    Doesn’t exactly speak well of Christian Theological Seminary (where he says he graduated from), or of the Presbyterian Church (where he says he was ordained; and since he didn’t specify, you know he meant PCUSA), or of Princeton Theological Seminary (where he earned his MDiv).

    This minister does have this to say on his blog, though:

    I love to read scripture in the Latin Vulgate, for example; Frederick Buechner recommends that you get out of your native language so you can see the words differently.

    Hmm.

    Anyhow, I kinda wish I could’ve been there when this minister told someone verbally that he found El (pronounced “ale”) hidden in the trees, but now that El is in a spacious place inside him. “You don’t have to drink alone out in the forest, pastor. We’ll invite you next time we go out for drinks.”

  • WisdomLover

    @9 and @10

    Sorry, this is not a matter of Greek v. English.

    “The Father”, “The Son” and “The Holy Spirit” (and “God”, or “El” for that matter) are classic definite descriptions like “The winged horse captured by Bellerophon” or “The Morning Star”. This is so whether you say it in Greek, English or Klingon. They are not names.

    Nor do they become names by virtue of being in a list. Reflect on that position for a moment. When God the Father is spoken of in isolation, the term “The Father” is a definite description, but if you make a list of, say “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” it becomes a name? Or the conjunction of those three definite descriptions become a name?

    No. That’s nonsense.

    Now, sometimes we speak of a thing being done in the name of some title. “Stop in the name of the Law”, “We charge you yield in the name of the Queen” etc. There we seem to be saying that a particular office or concept carries some kind of authority, and “in the name of” just means “by the authority of” or some such.

    You might make a case that that is what is happening in baptism. “Baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” means “Baptizing by the authority of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”. But even if you take that tack, you leave behind the idea that “The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost” is someone’s name.

    Now, either way, these persons do have a name. It’s YHWH.

  • WisdomLover

    @9 and @10

    Sorry, this is not a matter of Greek v. English.

    “The Father”, “The Son” and “The Holy Spirit” (and “God”, or “El” for that matter) are classic definite descriptions like “The winged horse captured by Bellerophon” or “The Morning Star”. This is so whether you say it in Greek, English or Klingon. They are not names.

    Nor do they become names by virtue of being in a list. Reflect on that position for a moment. When God the Father is spoken of in isolation, the term “The Father” is a definite description, but if you make a list of, say “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” it becomes a name? Or the conjunction of those three definite descriptions become a name?

    No. That’s nonsense.

    Now, sometimes we speak of a thing being done in the name of some title. “Stop in the name of the Law”, “We charge you yield in the name of the Queen” etc. There we seem to be saying that a particular office or concept carries some kind of authority, and “in the name of” just means “by the authority of” or some such.

    You might make a case that that is what is happening in baptism. “Baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” means “Baptizing by the authority of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”. But even if you take that tack, you leave behind the idea that “The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost” is someone’s name.

    Now, either way, these persons do have a name. It’s YHWH.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@7), a minor point. You said:

    “The LORD” is how we translate YHWH

    But this is only partly true. True, that’s the word that appears in many English translations when the Hebrew text contains “יהוה” (the Tetragrammaton). And the small caps hint at the underlying Hebrew word, but the reason we use the word “lord” there is because, traditionally, the Hebrew word “Adonai” was said out loud in place of the Tetragrammaton. And “Adonai” means “lord” or “master”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@7), a minor point. You said:

    “The LORD” is how we translate YHWH

    But this is only partly true. True, that’s the word that appears in many English translations when the Hebrew text contains “יהוה” (the Tetragrammaton). And the small caps hint at the underlying Hebrew word, but the reason we use the word “lord” there is because, traditionally, the Hebrew word “Adonai” was said out loud in place of the Tetragrammaton. And “Adonai” means “lord” or “master”.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    In the Bible, someone gives God a new name every week, so I don’t see the problem.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    In the Bible, someone gives God a new name every week, so I don’t see the problem.

  • fjsteve

    Dan #12,

    Or one of the Knights who say Ni? Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

  • fjsteve

    Dan #12,

    Or one of the Knights who say Ni? Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

  • SKPeterson

    This is an argument that Methodists should be burned at the stake.

  • SKPeterson

    This is an argument that Methodists should be burned at the stake.

  • dust

    ChrisB….yes exactly, and what does the bible say about the proper day for the sabbath?

    “Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

    And what does it say about who is and who is not a Jew?

    “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

    Yes, God is a spirit, and those who worship him, worship him in spirit :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    ChrisB….yes exactly, and what does the bible say about the proper day for the sabbath?

    “Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

    And what does it say about who is and who is not a Jew?

    “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

    Yes, God is a spirit, and those who worship him, worship him in spirit :)

    cheers!

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    You are right. In Hebrew, “Adonai” was often used in place of “YHWH”. There are a lot of passages where there is a very easy slide back and forth between the two locutions. The English translations capture this with “The Lord” (Adonai) vs. “The LORD” (YHWH). And “Adonai” was, and still is, always said out loud rather than “YHWH”.

    In the Septuagint, both “Adonai” and “YHWH” are translated as “Kurios” or “Lord”.

    Given this history, and given all the other NT identifications of Jesus as YHWH or as God, when you see the expression “The Lord Jesus Christ”, the word “Kurios” is being used, and that expression probably sounded to first century ears like “Jesus, YHWH, the Messiah”. And that’s how we should read it.

    And that’s the reason, which I did not spell out above, that I would not like to see the OT translation changed from “the LORD” to “YHWH” (even though that change would get the title/name distinction right). Coming to understand the history of these terms, has helped me, at least, to see why every NT description of the Lord Jesus Christ was a loud and clear declaration of the full deity of Jesus. And that’s a whole lot more important than some distinction in the Philosophy of Language.

    BTW – Cool Hebrew font.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    You are right. In Hebrew, “Adonai” was often used in place of “YHWH”. There are a lot of passages where there is a very easy slide back and forth between the two locutions. The English translations capture this with “The Lord” (Adonai) vs. “The LORD” (YHWH). And “Adonai” was, and still is, always said out loud rather than “YHWH”.

    In the Septuagint, both “Adonai” and “YHWH” are translated as “Kurios” or “Lord”.

    Given this history, and given all the other NT identifications of Jesus as YHWH or as God, when you see the expression “The Lord Jesus Christ”, the word “Kurios” is being used, and that expression probably sounded to first century ears like “Jesus, YHWH, the Messiah”. And that’s how we should read it.

    And that’s the reason, which I did not spell out above, that I would not like to see the OT translation changed from “the LORD” to “YHWH” (even though that change would get the title/name distinction right). Coming to understand the history of these terms, has helped me, at least, to see why every NT description of the Lord Jesus Christ was a loud and clear declaration of the full deity of Jesus. And that’s a whole lot more important than some distinction in the Philosophy of Language.

    BTW – Cool Hebrew font.

  • Grace

    Romans 11 is one chapter in Scripture, which those who believe in REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY find difficuty.

    One must keep in mind, the “church” is never called “Israel” – The New Testament doesn’t use the term “Israel” regarding anyone who is not an ethnic Jew.

    C.E.B. Cranfield: “It is only where the Church persists in refusing to learn this message, where it secretly-perhaps quite unconsciously-believes that its own existence is based on human achievement, and so fails to understand God’s mercy to itself, that it is unable to believe in God’s mercy for still unbelieving Israel, and so entertains the ugly and unscriptural notion that God has cast off His people Israel and simply replaced it by the Christian Church. These three chapters [Rom. 9-11] emphatically forbid us to speak of the Church as having once and for all taken the place of the Jewish people.”

    1 I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
    2 God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture said of Elias? how he makes intercession to God against Israel saying,
    3 Lord, they have killed your prophets, and dig down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
    4 But what said the answer of God to him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
    5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
    6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
    7 What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
    8 (According as it is written, God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) to this day.
    9 And David said, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense to them:
    10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always.
    11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
    12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
    13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office:
    14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
    15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
    16 For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
    17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
    18 Boast not against the branches. But if you boast, you bore not the root, but the root you.
    19 You will say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
    20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not high minded, but fear:
    21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not you.
    22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.
    23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
    24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
    25 For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
    26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
    27 For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.
    28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.
    29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
    30 For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
    31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
    32 For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all.
    33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
    34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?
    35 Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again?
    36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
    Romans 11

  • Grace

    Romans 11 is one chapter in Scripture, which those who believe in REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY find difficuty.

    One must keep in mind, the “church” is never called “Israel” – The New Testament doesn’t use the term “Israel” regarding anyone who is not an ethnic Jew.

    C.E.B. Cranfield: “It is only where the Church persists in refusing to learn this message, where it secretly-perhaps quite unconsciously-believes that its own existence is based on human achievement, and so fails to understand God’s mercy to itself, that it is unable to believe in God’s mercy for still unbelieving Israel, and so entertains the ugly and unscriptural notion that God has cast off His people Israel and simply replaced it by the Christian Church. These three chapters [Rom. 9-11] emphatically forbid us to speak of the Church as having once and for all taken the place of the Jewish people.”

    1 I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
    2 God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture said of Elias? how he makes intercession to God against Israel saying,
    3 Lord, they have killed your prophets, and dig down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
    4 But what said the answer of God to him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
    5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
    6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
    7 What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
    8 (According as it is written, God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) to this day.
    9 And David said, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense to them:
    10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always.
    11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
    12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
    13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office:
    14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
    15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
    16 For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
    17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
    18 Boast not against the branches. But if you boast, you bore not the root, but the root you.
    19 You will say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
    20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not high minded, but fear:
    21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not you.
    22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.
    23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
    24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
    25 For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
    26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
    27 For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.
    28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.
    29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
    30 For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
    31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
    32 For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all.
    33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
    34 For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?
    35 Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again?
    36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
    Romans 11

  • Grace

    My post above @24, was in response to the question posited beloww:

    “And what does it say about who is and who is not a Jew?

  • Grace

    My post above @24, was in response to the question posited beloww:

    “And what does it say about who is and who is not a Jew?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#17 Actually it has little to with making a list rather it has more to do with the fact that the way Greek works is that each part of list is described with the same modifier. So that it is a legitimate understanding to say “in the name of the father, and in the name of the son, and in the name of the holy spirit. It means that these are names not mere titles as you would make them out to be.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#17 Actually it has little to with making a list rather it has more to do with the fact that the way Greek works is that each part of list is described with the same modifier. So that it is a legitimate understanding to say “in the name of the father, and in the name of the son, and in the name of the holy spirit. It means that these are names not mere titles as you would make them out to be.

  • WisdomLover

    “The Father”, “The Son” and “The Holy Ghost” are definite descriptions. Just like “The Queen of England” or “The President of the United States”. They are not names. That’s a simple matter of grammar.

    Suppose I said to you, in Greek, “Plato called out the name of the Tyrant of Syracuse”. What do you expect that Plato called out?

    Of course he called out “Dionysius”, not “The Tyrant of Syracuse”.

    What if I said, in Greek, “Plato called out the name of the Tyrant of Syracuse, and the name of the King of Sparta and the name of the First Citizen of Athens.” Now what did he call out?

    He called out “Dionysius, Pausanias, Pericles”, not “The Tyrant of Syracuse, and the King of Sparta and the First Citizen of Athens.”

    And if I said, in Greek, “Plato called out the name of the Teacher of Alexander, the Founder of the Lyceum and the Father of Biology”. What did he call out then?

    It has to be “Aristotle”, not “The Teacher of Alexander, the Founder of the Lyceum and the Father of Biology”.

    Precisely what theological truth do you think is at stake by denying this rather straightforward grammatical point, and insisting on the incredibly awkward idea that “The Father”, for example, is somehow a name?

    Do you have any example of a Greek name, other than a proposed name of God, that begins with the definite article? Was Lydia’s name actually “The Seller of Purple”. Was Mark’s name actually “The Young Man who Fled Naked”? Was Simon of Cyrene’s name actually “The Man Who Carried Jesus’ Cross”

    Let me try a somewhat different tack. Suppose we were to baptize someone in the name of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son.

    Is that a valid baptism?

    If I am right, then it is. Because we are baptizing in the name of an individual who satisfies those three definite descriptions. YHWH satisfies those three definite descriptions no matter what order I place them in. And the name I am baptizing in is not the definite descriptions, but the name of the individual who satisfies those definite descriptions, i.e. YHWH.

    If you are right, I might as well have baptized them in the name of WHYH, which might be the name of a radio station, but is no name of God.

  • WisdomLover

    “The Father”, “The Son” and “The Holy Ghost” are definite descriptions. Just like “The Queen of England” or “The President of the United States”. They are not names. That’s a simple matter of grammar.

    Suppose I said to you, in Greek, “Plato called out the name of the Tyrant of Syracuse”. What do you expect that Plato called out?

    Of course he called out “Dionysius”, not “The Tyrant of Syracuse”.

    What if I said, in Greek, “Plato called out the name of the Tyrant of Syracuse, and the name of the King of Sparta and the name of the First Citizen of Athens.” Now what did he call out?

    He called out “Dionysius, Pausanias, Pericles”, not “The Tyrant of Syracuse, and the King of Sparta and the First Citizen of Athens.”

    And if I said, in Greek, “Plato called out the name of the Teacher of Alexander, the Founder of the Lyceum and the Father of Biology”. What did he call out then?

    It has to be “Aristotle”, not “The Teacher of Alexander, the Founder of the Lyceum and the Father of Biology”.

    Precisely what theological truth do you think is at stake by denying this rather straightforward grammatical point, and insisting on the incredibly awkward idea that “The Father”, for example, is somehow a name?

    Do you have any example of a Greek name, other than a proposed name of God, that begins with the definite article? Was Lydia’s name actually “The Seller of Purple”. Was Mark’s name actually “The Young Man who Fled Naked”? Was Simon of Cyrene’s name actually “The Man Who Carried Jesus’ Cross”

    Let me try a somewhat different tack. Suppose we were to baptize someone in the name of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son.

    Is that a valid baptism?

    If I am right, then it is. Because we are baptizing in the name of an individual who satisfies those three definite descriptions. YHWH satisfies those three definite descriptions no matter what order I place them in. And the name I am baptizing in is not the definite descriptions, but the name of the individual who satisfies those definite descriptions, i.e. YHWH.

    If you are right, I might as well have baptized them in the name of WHYH, which might be the name of a radio station, but is no name of God.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @27 :rolleyes:

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @27 :rolleyes:

  • WisdomLover

    @28 I’m crushed.

  • WisdomLover

    @28 I’m crushed.

  • Stephen

    I’d be interested to hear what is at stake theologically if Wisdom Lover is correct that F, S, HS are titles rather than names. Titles confer authority, so I find the argument quite interesting. I think there is a thesis underneath this that has to do with the God who is hidden and the one revealed most particularly in the Son (by the Spirit of course). I would make a distinction between the unutterable name YHWH and the name of Jesus Christ who is the Son (implying the Trinitarian nature of God). It is this latter name, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, which distinguishes the faith of the Christian from all other faiths. And I think it can be said that this name incorporates YHWH.

    Now that I’ve said all that, there is in fact a difference between baptizing in the name of the F, S, HS and The Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Those would certainly be titles, and it can and has been argued that they are biblical ones.

  • Stephen

    I’d be interested to hear what is at stake theologically if Wisdom Lover is correct that F, S, HS are titles rather than names. Titles confer authority, so I find the argument quite interesting. I think there is a thesis underneath this that has to do with the God who is hidden and the one revealed most particularly in the Son (by the Spirit of course). I would make a distinction between the unutterable name YHWH and the name of Jesus Christ who is the Son (implying the Trinitarian nature of God). It is this latter name, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, which distinguishes the faith of the Christian from all other faiths. And I think it can be said that this name incorporates YHWH.

    Now that I’ve said all that, there is in fact a difference between baptizing in the name of the F, S, HS and The Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Those would certainly be titles, and it can and has been argued that they are biblical ones.

  • Stephen

    Another thought . . .

    Who was Caesar? Whoever was on the throne. That was his name and his title. Caesar was a name which became a title and expressed the god-like aspect of whoever ruled the Roman Empire. Caesar IS the Emperor and the Emperor is Caesar.

    Maybe the name given and the title assumed by that name amount to a distinction without an effective difference.

  • Stephen

    Another thought . . .

    Who was Caesar? Whoever was on the throne. That was his name and his title. Caesar was a name which became a title and expressed the god-like aspect of whoever ruled the Roman Empire. Caesar IS the Emperor and the Emperor is Caesar.

    Maybe the name given and the title assumed by that name amount to a distinction without an effective difference.

  • WisdomLover

    Stephen-

    Yes, the name of Jesus, does incorporate YHWH, since it means something like, “YHWH Saves”. Now, the angel gave as the reason for that name that the child would save. Conclusion: the angel identified the child as YHWH. One of the many NT identifications of Jesus as none other than YHWH (admittedly not the very strongest case for the identification).

    On the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier issue, there are a few things to be said:

    1) The name you are being baptized in is “YHWH”, none of those other terms are names, so they cannot be names you are baptized in.

    2) In Acts, Peter merely exhorted the crowd to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

    Was Peter flubbing the baptismal formula?

    No. He’d just preached a sermon in which he as much a stated that Jesus is YHWH. He was exhorting the crowd to be baptized in the name of YHWH, the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, the Name of Jesus Christ. It is all one name: YHWH.

    3) The name of the Creator, Sanctifier and Redeemer is also YHWH, so technically, there’s nothing wrong with it. Technically, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being baptized in the name of El, since “El” means “God”, and YHWH is God.

    However, once you start insisting on a formula other than one of the two that Scripture gives us (and I prefer Matthew 28 just because Matthew 28 is the most stridently Trinitarian), I start wondering why. There is, after all, nothing technically wrong with them either…and they are the ones that are actually in the Bible.

    BTW, above, I said that Baptizing in the name of YHWH might be better, in one respect, to baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It’s better in that it uses the name of God rather than just mentioning it. But I have absolutely zero desire to see current practice changed just because this alteration to practice might be better in that way. There are so many other ways in which the current practice is better.

    The biggest, I think, is what I said before: the stridently Trinitarian language of the Matthew 28 formula. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  • WisdomLover

    Stephen-

    Yes, the name of Jesus, does incorporate YHWH, since it means something like, “YHWH Saves”. Now, the angel gave as the reason for that name that the child would save. Conclusion: the angel identified the child as YHWH. One of the many NT identifications of Jesus as none other than YHWH (admittedly not the very strongest case for the identification).

    On the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier issue, there are a few things to be said:

    1) The name you are being baptized in is “YHWH”, none of those other terms are names, so they cannot be names you are baptized in.

    2) In Acts, Peter merely exhorted the crowd to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

    Was Peter flubbing the baptismal formula?

    No. He’d just preached a sermon in which he as much a stated that Jesus is YHWH. He was exhorting the crowd to be baptized in the name of YHWH, the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, the Name of Jesus Christ. It is all one name: YHWH.

    3) The name of the Creator, Sanctifier and Redeemer is also YHWH, so technically, there’s nothing wrong with it. Technically, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being baptized in the name of El, since “El” means “God”, and YHWH is God.

    However, once you start insisting on a formula other than one of the two that Scripture gives us (and I prefer Matthew 28 just because Matthew 28 is the most stridently Trinitarian), I start wondering why. There is, after all, nothing technically wrong with them either…and they are the ones that are actually in the Bible.

    BTW, above, I said that Baptizing in the name of YHWH might be better, in one respect, to baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It’s better in that it uses the name of God rather than just mentioning it. But I have absolutely zero desire to see current practice changed just because this alteration to practice might be better in that way. There are so many other ways in which the current practice is better.

    The biggest, I think, is what I said before: the stridently Trinitarian language of the Matthew 28 formula. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  • WisdomLover

    Caesar was neither Julius Caesar’s nor Augustus Caesar’s title. Augustus’ title was “Emperor”. Julius was on the verge of acquiring that title when he was assassinated.

    However, after a while, “Caesar” did morph into an informal title. Note that there were people who would have held that title, like Marcus Aurelius I think, who did not have the name “Caesar.”

    Even though they are spelled the same, the one clearly is not the other.

    You can see a similar phenomenon in English “O’Hara” is just a last name. But “The O’Hara” is the leader of the O’Hara clan, that’s a title that could conceivably be held by someone named O’Leary.

  • WisdomLover

    Caesar was neither Julius Caesar’s nor Augustus Caesar’s title. Augustus’ title was “Emperor”. Julius was on the verge of acquiring that title when he was assassinated.

    However, after a while, “Caesar” did morph into an informal title. Note that there were people who would have held that title, like Marcus Aurelius I think, who did not have the name “Caesar.”

    Even though they are spelled the same, the one clearly is not the other.

    You can see a similar phenomenon in English “O’Hara” is just a last name. But “The O’Hara” is the leader of the O’Hara clan, that’s a title that could conceivably be held by someone named O’Leary.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@27), I can’t help but note that you’re not really engaging DLit2C’s point (@26). His point was, as I read it, fundamentally one about Greek grammar.

    Your point, however, is quite independent of that, and in fact appears to be made without any particular acknowledgment of the original Greek text. As far as I can tell, it’s actually made from the English translation — I mean, you obviously know something about Greek history, but do you know anything about the Greek language?

    And, forgive me, but I’m baffled why you’ve spent no small amount of time here arguing your point, only to conclude that you have “absolutely zero desire to see current practice changed”. What do you want us to learn from your many words here?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@27), I can’t help but note that you’re not really engaging DLit2C’s point (@26). His point was, as I read it, fundamentally one about Greek grammar.

    Your point, however, is quite independent of that, and in fact appears to be made without any particular acknowledgment of the original Greek text. As far as I can tell, it’s actually made from the English translation — I mean, you obviously know something about Greek history, but do you know anything about the Greek language?

    And, forgive me, but I’m baffled why you’ve spent no small amount of time here arguing your point, only to conclude that you have “absolutely zero desire to see current practice changed”. What do you want us to learn from your many words here?

  • WisdomLover

    As far as I can tell, DL’s point is that the fact that the Greek grammar of Matthew’s formula “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost” can be understood this way “In the name of the Father, and the name of the Son and the name of the Holy Spirit”.

    This is not special about Greek grammar. The same linguistic phenomenon occurs in English and many other languages (I’m aware of no language in which it does not occur…though I have little doubt that there are some).

    This phenomenon has not one thing to do with whether a definite article plus a descriptive term is a definite description or a name. (When you put it that way, isn’t it kind of obvious who’s right here?) Again, there is nothing special about the Greek language in this regard other than the fact that, like English, it does sport definite articles.

    When you asked me to acknowledge the Greek text, what were you hoping for? Yes the Greek text says “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (that’s about word-for-word) the “of the”s are genitive singular definite articles.

    As for the difference it makes, I guess the big one is knowing that one term is God’s name and another is not (because it’s not a name at all).

    I think understanding that the formula of baptism, already a strong Trinitarian passage, highlights an incredible unity in the persons of the Godhead by recognizing that the name referred to is a single name…the name that God has been going by since Moses.

  • WisdomLover

    As far as I can tell, DL’s point is that the fact that the Greek grammar of Matthew’s formula “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost” can be understood this way “In the name of the Father, and the name of the Son and the name of the Holy Spirit”.

    This is not special about Greek grammar. The same linguistic phenomenon occurs in English and many other languages (I’m aware of no language in which it does not occur…though I have little doubt that there are some).

    This phenomenon has not one thing to do with whether a definite article plus a descriptive term is a definite description or a name. (When you put it that way, isn’t it kind of obvious who’s right here?) Again, there is nothing special about the Greek language in this regard other than the fact that, like English, it does sport definite articles.

    When you asked me to acknowledge the Greek text, what were you hoping for? Yes the Greek text says “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (that’s about word-for-word) the “of the”s are genitive singular definite articles.

    As for the difference it makes, I guess the big one is knowing that one term is God’s name and another is not (because it’s not a name at all).

    I think understanding that the formula of baptism, already a strong Trinitarian passage, highlights an incredible unity in the persons of the Godhead by recognizing that the name referred to is a single name…the name that God has been going by since Moses.

  • Grace

    WisdomLover

    It appears you might be studying with, or perhaps in the past, part of a “Sacred Name Movement” – This group, using not a few ‘names, for their groups, is constantly, bickering with others over the names of God, Christ and the HOLY Spirit. Could this be true for you?

  • Grace

    WisdomLover

    It appears you might be studying with, or perhaps in the past, part of a “Sacred Name Movement” – This group, using not a few ‘names, for their groups, is constantly, bickering with others over the names of God, Christ and the HOLY Spirit. Could this be true for you?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I talked with Dr Jeff Gibbs years ago about this question and he did affirm the construction of Matt 28:19 indicates these are the names of the persons of the Trinity. This fact is reflected in the study notes of The Lutheran Study Bible.

    Considering the use of the construction of Baptism in Acts, not the best place to norm practice. The constructions in Acts are largely to differentiate between types of baptisms not instruct how baptism is supposed to happen.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I talked with Dr Jeff Gibbs years ago about this question and he did affirm the construction of Matt 28:19 indicates these are the names of the persons of the Trinity. This fact is reflected in the study notes of The Lutheran Study Bible.

    Considering the use of the construction of Baptism in Acts, not the best place to norm practice. The constructions in Acts are largely to differentiate between types of baptisms not instruct how baptism is supposed to happen.

  • Grace

    Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
    John 5:18

    For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Matthew 15:4

    And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
    Revelation 19:13

    God – Strong’s Greek Dictionary

    qeoV – theos – theh’-os

    a deity, especially the supreme Divinity; exceeding, God, god(-ly, -ward).

  • Grace

    Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
    John 5:18

    For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Matthew 15:4

    And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
    Revelation 19:13

    God – Strong’s Greek Dictionary

    qeoV – theos – theh’-os

    a deity, especially the supreme Divinity; exceeding, God, god(-ly, -ward).

  • WisdomLover

    I simply take the ‘radical’ view that:

    1) A definite article plus a descriptive term makes a definite description, even when it’s in a list…in Greek.

    2) Definite descriptions are not names (in virtue of being definite descriptions rather than names).

    3) YHWH is the name of God.

    4) “The Father”, “The Son” and “The Holy Spirit” are all definite descriptions by the terms above, not names, and therefore are not names of God.

    5) The triadic formula of baptism is the most clearly Trinitarian when you read it as mentioning a single name for all three persons of the Godhead.

    I have yet to read a single cogent argument against any of these points.

    Passages like Rev. 19 come closest to undermining my argument.

    I think there is a case to be made against my argument here:

    It’s not that Greek has some capability of transforming definite descriptions into names. That just doesn’t make sense.

    Rather, it’s that the term “onoma” which we translate “name” might be somewhat broader in meaning than “name” is in English. The Greeks, after all, probably did not have a science of linguistics or a philosophy of language that explicitly entertained the idea of a definite description.

    For example, no one would be tempted to say that “The blowhard that goes by WisdomLover on blogs” is my name. However, perhaps it might be considered my onoma. That, at least, is something where the nuances of Greek and English might actually come into play.

    (BTW, I’m not saying that this is so, I’m just saying that it’s not a non-starter.)

    But there is a price to be paid, if you (can) take that tack. I think you have to jettison Veith’s claim from the OP that “God” and “El” aren’t names of God, they’re just a nouns for who and what He is. I think that route might also tend to muddy up the understanding of the second commandment.

  • WisdomLover

    I simply take the ‘radical’ view that:

    1) A definite article plus a descriptive term makes a definite description, even when it’s in a list…in Greek.

    2) Definite descriptions are not names (in virtue of being definite descriptions rather than names).

    3) YHWH is the name of God.

    4) “The Father”, “The Son” and “The Holy Spirit” are all definite descriptions by the terms above, not names, and therefore are not names of God.

    5) The triadic formula of baptism is the most clearly Trinitarian when you read it as mentioning a single name for all three persons of the Godhead.

    I have yet to read a single cogent argument against any of these points.

    Passages like Rev. 19 come closest to undermining my argument.

    I think there is a case to be made against my argument here:

    It’s not that Greek has some capability of transforming definite descriptions into names. That just doesn’t make sense.

    Rather, it’s that the term “onoma” which we translate “name” might be somewhat broader in meaning than “name” is in English. The Greeks, after all, probably did not have a science of linguistics or a philosophy of language that explicitly entertained the idea of a definite description.

    For example, no one would be tempted to say that “The blowhard that goes by WisdomLover on blogs” is my name. However, perhaps it might be considered my onoma. That, at least, is something where the nuances of Greek and English might actually come into play.

    (BTW, I’m not saying that this is so, I’m just saying that it’s not a non-starter.)

    But there is a price to be paid, if you (can) take that tack. I think you have to jettison Veith’s claim from the OP that “God” and “El” aren’t names of God, they’re just a nouns for who and what He is. I think that route might also tend to muddy up the understanding of the second commandment.

  • Grace

    WisdomLover @ 39

    You’re all over the track on this one, and makes little sense. As I stated earlier @36:

    “It appears you might be studying with, or perhaps in the past, part of a “Sacred Name Movement” – This group, using not a few ‘names, for their groups, is constantly, bickering with others over the names of God, Christ and the HOLY Spirit. Could this be true for you?”

    The “Sacred Name” adherents argue and bicker just as you are doing on this thread.

    Another question: Do you believe in the Trinity of, God the Father, God the Son and God the HOLY Spirit? Jesus being Deity?

  • Grace

    WisdomLover @ 39

    You’re all over the track on this one, and makes little sense. As I stated earlier @36:

    “It appears you might be studying with, or perhaps in the past, part of a “Sacred Name Movement” – This group, using not a few ‘names, for their groups, is constantly, bickering with others over the names of God, Christ and the HOLY Spirit. Could this be true for you?”

    The “Sacred Name” adherents argue and bicker just as you are doing on this thread.

    Another question: Do you believe in the Trinity of, God the Father, God the Son and God the HOLY Spirit? Jesus being Deity?

  • Grace

    And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and
    his name is called The Word of God.

    Revelation 19:13

    And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
    Revelation 3:14

    NOTICE:
    “saith the Amen” This is the only place within Scripture you will find the Amen as a proper name, and it is the name of CHRIST. CHRIST JESUS is the creator of all things, “The beginning of the creation of GOD”

  • Grace

    And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and
    his name is called The Word of God.

    Revelation 19:13

    And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
    Revelation 3:14

    NOTICE:
    “saith the Amen” This is the only place within Scripture you will find the Amen as a proper name, and it is the name of CHRIST. CHRIST JESUS is the creator of all things, “The beginning of the creation of GOD”

  • WisdomLover

    I’ve never even heard of this sacred name group you keep going on about.

    My guess is that arguing and bickering is not limited to members of that group.

    Either that, or the cult may be larger than expected and include some members who lack a sense of irony.

    And what you call being all over the map is actually the ability to consider and present (plausible) objections to one’s own arguments. That ability turns out to be part and parcel with a skill called critical thinking

    Of course, I’m LCMS. Have been for most of my life (and have been some other stripe of Lutheran the rest of the time).

    After what I’ve said here, I don’t see how you could possibly imagine that I’m not Trinitarian or have any doubts about my views on the deity of Jesus.

    I would have thought that claims like these would be a kind of giveaway:

    - Jesus is identified as YHWH in the Bible more than the other two members of the Godhead combined.

    - Though the Father, the Son and the Holly Spirit are three essentially different titles for three essentially distinct persons, they belong to a single individual with a single name (YHWH).

    - YHWH is the name of God

  • WisdomLover

    I’ve never even heard of this sacred name group you keep going on about.

    My guess is that arguing and bickering is not limited to members of that group.

    Either that, or the cult may be larger than expected and include some members who lack a sense of irony.

    And what you call being all over the map is actually the ability to consider and present (plausible) objections to one’s own arguments. That ability turns out to be part and parcel with a skill called critical thinking

    Of course, I’m LCMS. Have been for most of my life (and have been some other stripe of Lutheran the rest of the time).

    After what I’ve said here, I don’t see how you could possibly imagine that I’m not Trinitarian or have any doubts about my views on the deity of Jesus.

    I would have thought that claims like these would be a kind of giveaway:

    - Jesus is identified as YHWH in the Bible more than the other two members of the Godhead combined.

    - Though the Father, the Son and the Holly Spirit are three essentially different titles for three essentially distinct persons, they belong to a single individual with a single name (YHWH).

    - YHWH is the name of God

  • Grace

    Wisdomlover @ 42

    “I’ve never even heard of this sacred name group you keep going on about.

    Really? – having given it some thought, it doesn’t surprise me, that you have never heard of Sacred Name Movement, it’s a well known group.

    I asked you twice the same question, that isn’t “going on about” anything, it was a simple question.

    “And what you call being all over the map is actually the ability to consider and present (plausible) objections to one’s own arguments. That ability turns out to be part and parcel withz a skill called critical thinking”

    Everyone knows what “critical thinking” is – why the snark? — it doesn’t solve anything? Because people disagree, doesn’t mean they lack “critical thinking” LOL

    Bicker on WL, if that’s your style, so be it.

  • Grace

    Wisdomlover @ 42

    “I’ve never even heard of this sacred name group you keep going on about.

    Really? – having given it some thought, it doesn’t surprise me, that you have never heard of Sacred Name Movement, it’s a well known group.

    I asked you twice the same question, that isn’t “going on about” anything, it was a simple question.

    “And what you call being all over the map is actually the ability to consider and present (plausible) objections to one’s own arguments. That ability turns out to be part and parcel withz a skill called critical thinking”

    Everyone knows what “critical thinking” is – why the snark? — it doesn’t solve anything? Because people disagree, doesn’t mean they lack “critical thinking” LOL

    Bicker on WL, if that’s your style, so be it.

  • Grace

    CRITICAL THINKING does not define itself in such a way, as to expect all to agree. Most educated people are “critical thinkers” – that doesn’t mean everyone in their sphere will agree with them. It simply means, they use “critical thinking” as a means to come to decisions based on their research, and beliefs.

    Young high school students, often learn something such as “critical thinking” (a new term for them) and then employ it in their vocabulary, believing they have discovered a new means to up-grade their status. That’s what kids and young college students do, to pretend they have a handle on truth, according to their “critical thinking” – especially when their opponents do not agree with them. Their outrage manifests itself as to instruct the opposite view and opponents, as not having “critical thinking” -

  • Grace

    CRITICAL THINKING does not define itself in such a way, as to expect all to agree. Most educated people are “critical thinkers” – that doesn’t mean everyone in their sphere will agree with them. It simply means, they use “critical thinking” as a means to come to decisions based on their research, and beliefs.

    Young high school students, often learn something such as “critical thinking” (a new term for them) and then employ it in their vocabulary, believing they have discovered a new means to up-grade their status. That’s what kids and young college students do, to pretend they have a handle on truth, according to their “critical thinking” – especially when their opponents do not agree with them. Their outrage manifests itself as to instruct the opposite view and opponents, as not having “critical thinking” -

  • WisdomLover

    Just for fun, I looked up this sacred name movement on Wikipedia.

    It’s apparently some offshoot of the 7th Day movement, but not part of 7th Day Adventism.

    Wikipedia has a list of churches in their article. It lists 6 churches in 4 states. I’m sure that there are more churches. There’s a Hebraic Roots ‘Translation’ of the Bible, for example. And it seems to have been put out by some congregation in New Jersey that is not listed on Wikipedia. But there does not appear to be any national or even regional organization. Maybe they were a bigger deal once upon a time.

    There is a Wikipedia article. So there’s that.

    Pardon me for never having heard of the theological juggernaut that is the sacred names movement.

    From looking at the three websites for congregations linked, they appear to have views about the Trinity similar to Oneness Pentecostals (a group I have heard of). Meaning they’d burn me at the stake for saying that Jesus is YHWH and that the Holy Spirit is a person (and also YHWH).

    I didn’t notice arguing and bickering as one of their tenets of faith.

  • WisdomLover

    Just for fun, I looked up this sacred name movement on Wikipedia.

    It’s apparently some offshoot of the 7th Day movement, but not part of 7th Day Adventism.

    Wikipedia has a list of churches in their article. It lists 6 churches in 4 states. I’m sure that there are more churches. There’s a Hebraic Roots ‘Translation’ of the Bible, for example. And it seems to have been put out by some congregation in New Jersey that is not listed on Wikipedia. But there does not appear to be any national or even regional organization. Maybe they were a bigger deal once upon a time.

    There is a Wikipedia article. So there’s that.

    Pardon me for never having heard of the theological juggernaut that is the sacred names movement.

    From looking at the three websites for congregations linked, they appear to have views about the Trinity similar to Oneness Pentecostals (a group I have heard of). Meaning they’d burn me at the stake for saying that Jesus is YHWH and that the Holy Spirit is a person (and also YHWH).

    I didn’t notice arguing and bickering as one of their tenets of faith.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Honestly, WisdomLover (@45), how can you call yourself a well-educated Christian — let’s be honest, how can you call yourself human — and yet not have heard about the Sacred Name Movement? Everyone‘s heard of them. Even my three-year-old. Come on! There’s literally a Sacred Name church on every corner. Criminy, you’ve probably never heard of the Roman Catholic Church, either. Or a little country I like to call the United States of America.

    Ahem. So now you’re familiar with Grace, I see.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Honestly, WisdomLover (@45), how can you call yourself a well-educated Christian — let’s be honest, how can you call yourself human — and yet not have heard about the Sacred Name Movement? Everyone‘s heard of them. Even my three-year-old. Come on! There’s literally a Sacred Name church on every corner. Criminy, you’ve probably never heard of the Roman Catholic Church, either. Or a little country I like to call the United States of America.

    Ahem. So now you’re familiar with Grace, I see.

  • Grace

    WL @ “From looking at the three websites for congregations linked, they appear to have views about the Trinity similar to Oneness Pentecostals (a group I have heard of). Meaning they’d burn me at the stake for saying that Jesus is YHWH and that the Holy Spirit is a person (and also YHWH).”

    LOL, you do burst forth with hysteria! “Critical thinking” over the top!

    There is much more to the Sacred Name Movement then taking a pass at Wikipedia -

  • Grace

    WL @ “From looking at the three websites for congregations linked, they appear to have views about the Trinity similar to Oneness Pentecostals (a group I have heard of). Meaning they’d burn me at the stake for saying that Jesus is YHWH and that the Holy Spirit is a person (and also YHWH).”

    LOL, you do burst forth with hysteria! “Critical thinking” over the top!

    There is much more to the Sacred Name Movement then taking a pass at Wikipedia -

  • Grace

    POOR tODD, it’s going to be OK. Have some juice and crackers! :lol:

  • Grace

    POOR tODD, it’s going to be OK. Have some juice and crackers! :lol:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@48):

    Have some juice and crackers!

    Sorry, Grace, that’s your denomination’s mockery of the Lord’s Supper. My church doesn’t do that. :lol:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@48):

    Have some juice and crackers!

    Sorry, Grace, that’s your denomination’s mockery of the Lord’s Supper. My church doesn’t do that. :lol:

  • Grace

    POOR tODD,

    Confused as to what I stated about “juice and crackers” making a disgraceful, foolish comment, in conjunction with the LORD’s Supper – pathetic!

  • Grace

    POOR tODD,

    Confused as to what I stated about “juice and crackers” making a disgraceful, foolish comment, in conjunction with the LORD’s Supper – pathetic!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@50):

    making a disgraceful, foolish comment, in conjunction with the LORD’s Supper

    Once again, you’ve confused me with your own church’s practices. :lol:

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace said (@50):

    making a disgraceful, foolish comment, in conjunction with the LORD’s Supper

    Once again, you’ve confused me with your own church’s practices. :lol:

  • Grace

    I don’t have you confused with the LORD’s Supper whatsoever, you’ve taken a comment and put it in a tODD malt machine, and come up with nonsense.

  • Grace

    I don’t have you confused with the LORD’s Supper whatsoever, you’ve taken a comment and put it in a tODD malt machine, and come up with nonsense.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    What is this Roman Catholic Church you speak of?

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    What is this Roman Catholic Church you speak of?


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