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View Poll Results: Is this the correct definition of "person"?
Yes 2 33.33%
No 4 66.67%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 04-21-2010, 01:13 PM
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Theological Definition of "Person"?

From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/person, definition 13 is given as the theological definition:

13. Theology. any of the three hypostases or modes of being in the trinity, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Is this the correct definition, theologically?
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:37 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

This is a quote by Daniel Segraves from his blog. It is dated January 20, 2009.

Daniel Segraves is Assistant Professor of Biblical Theology at Urshan Graduate School of Theology (Florissant, MO) and Professor Emeritus at Christian Life College (Stockton, CA). He is a minister with the United Pentecostal Church.

The word "person" has changed its meaning since the third century when it began to be used in connection with the "threefoldness of God". When we talk about God as a person, we naturally think of God as being one person. But theologians such as Tertullian, writing in the third century, used the word "person" with a different meaning. The word "person" originally derives from the Latin word "persona", meaning an actor's face-mask- and, by extension, the role which he takes in a play.

By stating that there were three persons but only one God, Tertullian was asserting that all three major roles in the great drama of human redemption are played by the one and the same God. The three great roles in this drama are all played by the same actor: God. Each of these roles may reveal God in a somewhat different way, but it is the same God in every case. So when we talk about God as one person, we mean one person in the modern sense of the word, and when we talk about God as three persons, we mean three persons in the ancient sense of the word...Confusing two senses of the word "person" inevitably leads to the idea that God is actually a committee..
-------------------------------

so if the above accurately portrays the trinitarian definition of "person" as more of a role, then many folks who consider themselves oneness can say they believe in a three person deity.

I don't know what hypostases or modes of being mean.

I hope this doesn't degenerate into another of those threads where different oneness folks argue and put each other down and say stuff and throw around terms that I don't understand.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:42 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

Maybe I should have found more than one candidate, instead of a Yes/No vote on just this one. But anyone who votes No can certainly post a better definition.
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Old 04-21-2010, 02:00 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

I would have to vote "I don't know"

I assume that there is no single trinity doctrine just like there is no single oneness doctrine. Look how we oneness believers disagree among ourselves on this forum. I wonder if trinity folks do that too?
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:49 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
I would have to vote "I don't know"

I assume that there is no single trinity doctrine just like there is no single oneness doctrine. Look how we oneness believers disagree among ourselves on this forum. I wonder if trinity folks do that too?
A lot of people are "voting" "I don't know". (Abstaining. )
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:40 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy View Post
From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/person, definition 13 is given as the theological definition:

13. Theology. any of the three hypostases or modes of being in the trinity, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Is this the correct definition, theologically?
Timmy, define hypostasis and then Ill vote
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:19 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
This is a quote by Daniel Segraves from his blog. It is dated January 20, 2009.

Daniel Segraves is Assistant Professor of Biblical Theology at Urshan Graduate School of Theology (Florissant, MO) and Professor Emeritus at Christian Life College (Stockton, CA). He is a minister with the United Pentecostal Church.

The word "person" has changed its meaning since the third century when it began to be used in connection with the "threefoldness of God". When we talk about God as a person, we naturally think of God as being one person. But theologians such as Tertullian, writing in the third century, used the word "person" with a different meaning. The word "person" originally derives from the Latin word "persona", meaning an actor's face-mask- and, by extension, the role which he takes in a play.

By stating that there were three persons but only one God, Tertullian was asserting that all three major roles in the great drama of human redemption are played by the one and the same God. The three great roles in this drama are all played by the same actor: God. Each of these roles may reveal God in a somewhat different way, but it is the same God in every case. So when we talk about God as one person, we mean one person in the modern sense of the word, and when we talk about God as three persons, we mean three persons in the ancient sense of the word...Confusing two senses of the word "person" inevitably leads to the idea that God is actually a committee..
-------------------------------

so if the above accurately portrays the trinitarian definition of "person" as more of a role, then many folks who consider themselves oneness can say they believe in a three person deity.

I don't know what hypostases or modes of being mean.

I hope this doesn't degenerate into another of those threads where different oneness folks argue and put each other down and say stuff and throw around terms that I don't understand.
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  #8  
Old 04-21-2010, 08:12 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
This is a quote by Daniel Segraves from his blog. It is dated January 20, 2009.

Daniel Segraves is Assistant Professor of Biblical Theology at Urshan Graduate School of Theology (Florissant, MO) and Professor Emeritus at Christian Life College (Stockton, CA). He is a minister with the United Pentecostal Church.

The word "person" has changed its meaning since the third century when it began to be used in connection with the "threefoldness of God". When we talk about God as a person, we naturally think of God as being one person. But theologians such as Tertullian, writing in the third century, used the word "person" with a different meaning. The word "person" originally derives from the Latin word "persona", meaning an actor's face-mask- and, by extension, the role which he takes in a play.

By stating that there were three persons but only one God, Tertullian was asserting that all three major roles in the great drama of human redemption are played by the one and the same God. The three great roles in this drama are all played by the same actor: God. Each of these roles may reveal God in a somewhat different way, but it is the same God in every case. So when we talk about God as one person, we mean one person in the modern sense of the word, and when we talk about God as three persons, we mean three persons in the ancient sense of the word...Confusing two senses of the word "person" inevitably leads to the idea that God is actually a committee..
-------------------------------

so if the above accurately portrays the trinitarian definition of "person" as more of a role, then many folks who consider themselves oneness can say they believe in a three person deity.

I don't know what hypostases or modes of being mean.

I hope this doesn't degenerate into another of those threads where different oneness folks argue and put each other down and say stuff and throw around terms that I don't understand.
Hello Sam:

You know, I have found it such a literal waste of time to speak of ANF’s and ECF’s with Oneness Pentecostals for the most part. I have as yet not found one that really cares about the historical context their writings add to anything. If they think one agrees with them, or that you can twist something one of them says so that it agrees with them, then what they say is gospel. However, the same ANF or ECF can become Satan with the very next sentence they write.

That said, I have seen Oneness try to assert that Tertullian was actually Oneness, as Segraves has done, which is just ludicrous. All one need do is actually read “Against Praxeas” and you will understand that Tertullian was quite the Trinitarian. This is what I find unfortunate. Tertullian never suggested that there was one “person” of God who simply wore three different “masks.” A mask does not have a real relationship with another mask. A mask does not really possess intelligence, knowledge, and so forth. Of course Tertullian endowed the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit with these attributes, gave them real existence, and spoke of relationship between them.

The Latin word “persona” could be traced to the Greek word “prosopon” meaning face. However, this Greek word is also used to refer to “a person.” Secondly, while “persona” at one time meant “mask” it quickly became the word for the character represented by the mask. So, the character of a play has existence. You could have a play with Papa Bear, and Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. All three parts could be played by the same actor (just as in some of our movies today one actor plays the part of many different characters), or the parts could be played by 3 different actors (as is usually the case in our movies). The point is that “persona” is representative of the character, not the actor. It does not speak to whether one person played the role of many personae, or whether there were many actors who each played a persona. The point is that what people like Segraves write confuses the whole issue. The persona, the character, has real existence, whether this persona is someone in real life or whether it is a fictitious person in a fictitious story. The character has reality, whether the character is Ronald Reagan or Pappa Bear. Hope that made sense.

And there were misunderstandings between East and West early because certain meanings didn’t get passed on in the translation yet. The East thought the West was perhaps proffering Sabellianism when they used tres personae, but that is not what the West meant (they meant three different characters, three different persons). On the other hand, the West thought the East was perhaps proffering Tritheism by there use of tres hypostases, which is not what East was proffering (they were also proffering three persons). So, articles like Segraves which assert that Tertullian was teaching that there was one person of God behind three impersonal masks playing parts is absolutely false and such misinformation is truly not helpful (on his part, not yours Sam).

TheLayman
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  #9  
Old 04-21-2010, 08:33 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxeas View Post
Timmy, define hypostasis and then Ill vote
Good idea!

From the same site, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hypostasis:
2. Theology.
a. one of the three real and distinct substances in the one undivided substance or essence of god.
b. a person of the trinity.
c. the one personality of Christ in which His two natures, human and divine, are united.
1 and 3 are Metaphysics and Medicine/Medical definitions, respectively. Probably not relevant.

2a and 2b are basically circular. What is a person? It's one of the hypostases. What is a hypostasis? It's one of the substances/persons of God/the Trinity. 2a, though self-contradictory (it is one of the distinct substances in the one undivided substance? ), is somewhat Oneness-friendly, though!

And 2c doesn't fit the context of the definition of person, does it?

Anyway, there ya go. Hope it helps you vote.
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  #10  
Old 04-21-2010, 10:18 PM
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Re: Theological Definition of "Person"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLayman View Post
[
...
That said, I have seen Oneness try to assert that Tertullian was actually Oneness, as Segraves has done, which is just ludicrous.
...
That was a quote by a trinitarian on Bro. Segrave's blog.
It was not Bro. Segrave's wording.
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