I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr. Dale Tuggy for his podcast, Trinities. For those not already familiar with Dr. Tuggy:

“Dr. Dale Tuggy served as Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia for some 18 years. He has taught courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy. Dale Tuggy has a PhD from Brown University. He has authored about two dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters relating to the Trinity and other topics in analytic theology and philosophy of religion. He is the producer and host of “The Trinities” podcast which explores theories about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Dr. Tuggy is the author of the book “What is the Trinity? Thinking about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” and has published an extensive collection of literature including writings from the early biblical unitarian movement in the United States.” [1]

If you aren’t already familiar with the Trinities podcast and the accompanying blog, they are well worth your time, as Dr. Tuggy covers a wide range of trinity-related topics including the development of the doctrine of the trinity and logical and exegetical problems for various trinity theories. It’s excellent material and I highly recommend it, along with his book and papers.

The podcasts are available here (and can also be found on Youtube):

Interview Part I

Interview Part II

In the interview, we talked about my personal background coming from a nominally Christian family, through my rejection of God and Christianity in favor of ‘science’ and atheism and my dabbling in Buddhism, before being exposed to the Bible and the biblical gospel for the first time in my early teens, when I believed, repented, dedicated myself and my life to God, and was baptized in 2009 at the age of 15. Following that we discuss the many twists and turns of my theological journey as a Christian, from my time as a confused but basically unitarian new believer, to being a modern semi-modalistic trinitarian, to my time as a monarchian trinitarian following the beginning of my in-depth study of the trinity in 2014, sparked by my discovery of Justin Martyr’s unorthodox views on God and Jesus. Following that we talked about my journey through ‘catholic’ Reformed Presbyterianism to my near-conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy, and my return to Protestant principles like sola scriptura, leading to my abandonment of Nicene trinitarianism at first in favor of Homoian/Logos-theorists views, and then finally to adopting the purely human christology of Biblical Unitarianism. Along the way we discussed numerous theological issues related to these various theologies.

If nothing else strikes you in listening, I hope that in my testimony you see God’s glory displayed in how gracious he has been to someone so undeserving as myself. I also hope that my own journey and observations on various views about God and Jesus might be helpful to others who are currently working through the same issues.

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[1] The biography provided for Dr. Tuggy on the 21st Century Reformation website for the recent debate between Dr. Tuggy and Chris Date.

7 comments

  1. I must say that I did a Google search for Dale Tuggy and ran across his debate with Michael Brown. Tuggy got his backside handed to him in that one. Tuggy failed to adequately press the logical incoherence of all trinitarian thought, and he was only able to make Brown uncomfortable on a couple of occasions, albeit quite briefly.

    Moreover, his explanations of, “My Lord and my God,” and, “I am Alpha and Omega,” sounded extremely weak (though I guess that’s the only route available to him against such substantial evidence). He also could have offered much better explanations for the New Testament creation passages. He made himself appear to deny the plain text reading by appealing to context. Well, the context doesn’t change the tense, and the tense is clearly backward-looking and not exclusively forward-looking.

    In sum, Brown did far better proving the deity of Jesus than Tuggy did denying it. Brown’s major weakness, the Trinity, was not at all sufficiently exploited by Tuggy which gave Brown tremendous rhetorical advantage.

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    1. I think Dr Tuggy did well, especially if you sit down and actually take the time to examine the arguments each side made, rather than simply the presentation. Dr Brown is modalistic, IMO, and that came out in the debate. Not only that, but he wouldn’t commit to ay articulation of the Trinity; he refused to define his position in any clear terms. When someone refuses to interact at the level of even defining their view, how are you supposed to debate against that?

      I think Dr Tuggy also just didn’t have time to respond to the mountain of verses Brown threw out. I am convinced that there are good BU interpretations of all the passages that would supposedly show some sort of ontological divinity for Christ.

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      1. And I say in reply that the instant you enter into a debate format, your presentation becomes as important as your arguments. That’s just the nature of a debate. And Tuggy could have drawn out the logical implications of Brown’s view to show its inherent contradictions without having to spend time on the plethora of verses Brown cited.

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      2. Tuggy could have said something like, “Brown shot out a bucket-load of Scriptures, but his underlying template stands disqualified from interpreting anything he quoted for these reasons.” He then should have stated that though Brown is careful to avoid committing himself to defining what he means by the Trinity, certain concepts are unavoidable given the statements he’s made. Since it is clear that Tuggy read Brown’s material prior to the debate, he could have shown that by logical extension, Brown’s Trinity is inherently contradictory and cannot be the basis of interpreting said passages. Whatever those verses mean, they cannot teach a Trinity.

        In that manner, Tuggy would have regained the rhetorical advantage and would have thrown Brown on the defensive. Every time Brown would have tried to prove Christ’s deity, Tuggy could have then shown Brown’s ditheism. Every time Brown used singular pronouns, Tuggy should have replied that using modalistic terminology to define the Godhead undermines Brown’s appeal to the Trinity. I acknowledge that Tuggy tried to do that, but without articulating Brown’s logical inversions, he was thus without the platform to go anywhere decisive with it.

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  2. The phrase “biblical Unitarianism” begs the question. A more objective phrase would be “Socinian Unitarianism” as opposed to Arian Unitarianism, or “Christian Unitarianism” as opposed to Unitarian Universalism.

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    1. It’s not meant that way, ‘Biblical’ is simply meant to indicate ‘Bible believing’. It’s merely meant to distinguish ‘Bible-believing Unitarians’ from Unitarian Universalists, who don’t believe the Bible.

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      1. Okay, thanks for the clarification. The post distinguished “Biblical Unitarianism” from “Homoian views.” In my view, the Homoians were biblical unitarians.

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