Having show Mushtaq that Christ founded a Church, not a book, and that Church received both the Scriptures and the doctrine of the Trinity, we now move to show that the early Fathers and Church history all mark the developing understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Here crucial books are:
James D. G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament (2005)
Franz Dunzl, A Brief History of the Doctrine of the Trinity (2007)
Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and its legacy (2004)
Khaled Anatolis, Athanasius (2004)
Larry W Hurtado, How on earth did Jesus become a God? (2005)
To understand what these, and other books are saying, it is, again, critical to realise that Jesus wrote no book. He founded a Church. That Church is guided toward the fullness of the Truth by the Holy Spirit. It follows from this that any attempt to take on Church Father in isolation and show that he did not fully articulate the doctrine of the Trinity is wthout point. No one knowledgeable in these matters says he did.
Mushtaq takes some of my quotations from the Fathers and attempts to show they do not mean what Christ’s Church, in whose bosom they grew, knows they mean. You can find his full examples in the section on dialogue with a muslim: links, but let me take this as an example of how he proceeds, and why he errs.
“O Lord God almighty… I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Blessed Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever”
Mushtaq’s response is in italics, and my responses in bold:
His words don’t help Trinitarian Christians, reasons are:
(a)He is blessing to “God”, he is not blessing “Triune God” or Trinity.
But what reasoning is this? Polycarp was the disciple of St John who wrote:
5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which[a] He has testified of His Son.
So for Polycarp ‘God’ is the Father, the Son and the Spirit. This he learned from the Blessed John himself.
(b)He is calling Blessed Jesus a “high priest”, not full and complete God in every respect or second member of Triune God.
This is false reasoning. Christ is often called Hight Priest as well as Son, this is because He took the place of the High Priest in the great sacrifice at Calvary. John 17 shows Christ Himself taking on these roles, so the notion that He cannot be Son and High Priest is simply incorrect by the words of Jesus Himself.
(c) He is calling him Son (Many people are called Son of God in Bible, Adam lacked both father and mother, and is also called Son of God in Luke 3 :38. So Adam is also Son of God without adding him in Trinity; therefore, Son of God doesn’t necessarily mean member of Trinity, but it may be like Adam Son of God without concept of Trinity). So Is this Son with reference of Trinity or Son like Adam? Polycarp is not telling here that Son is second member of Triune God or full and complete God in every respect.
But we have already shown that Polycarp was the disciple of John who wrote of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No one else in Scripture is written of in this way, not Adam, not anyone.
(d)He is not saying here that Holy Spirit is third member of Triune God and also full and complete God in every respect. Muslims and Unitarian Christians also believe in Holy Spirit without Trinity, same is doing here Polycarp.
I do not agree. Polycarp is John’s disciple and believed as John believed – that is in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That non-Christian Muslims and non Christian Unitarians disagree is not, of course, surprising.
Now, I could go through every other example on the list in the link and do the same, and for the same reason, which is worth reiterating: Christ wrote no Book.
How, therefore, do we know Scripture? We know it through the Church Christ founded. How do we know the Trinity? Through that same Church. Now, if that Church was wrong about the Trinity, then why should we believe it was right about what is and is not Scripture? It cannot be partly wrong and partly right, any more than a woman can be partly a virgin. If it is the Church, it is right, if it is not, nothing else matters, as we can believe nothing it says. I, like all Christians, believe the Church is right on what is Scripture, and on what the Trinity is.