If you consider yourself a non-Trinitarian believer in Jesus, do I have a challenge for you!

With the permission and support of Michael Patton, I am proposing a formal debate on this blog on the subject of the doctrine of the Trinity, to be conducted over a six-week period (beginning sometime after the New Year; scheduling is flexible). I am looking for one individual to argue for a position contrary to the Trinitarian position, while I will argue for the Trinitarian view.

Here is how I propose we proceed:

Week #1: My opponent and I would set forth our understanding of the nature of God (his attributes, e.g., omnipotent or not, omnipresent or not, incorporeal or corporeal) to make sure everyone understands what, if any, differences we have on that subject.

Weeks #2 and #3: The two of us would each set forth our understanding of the identity/person of Jesus Christ.

Week #4: The two of us would each set forth our understanding of the identity, status (person or non-person), and/or nature of the Holy Spirit.

Week #5: The two of us would each set forth a case for our position with regard to the Trinity (I would be for it, my opponent against it).

Week #6: Each of us will post one closing statement, with those blog entries open for questions from anyone.

At each stage of the debate, each of us would have an opportunity to rebut the other’s arguments by commenting on each other’s blog entries, and each of us would be free to give a closing response defending our position and/or criticism of the other’s view. To prevent either debater from overwhelming the other with reams of material cut and pasted into the debate, we will each agree to keep our total word count per week (including rebuttals, etc.) to no more than 10,000 words. Note that each stage would be given one week except for the second stage, which will be given two weeks. The debaters may choose to continue Q&A with others beyond the sixth week at their discretion, but the formal debate will be over at the end of the sixth week.

During the sixth week, anyone who properly registers to leave comments will be able to ask both of us any questions pertaining to these issues relating to the Trinity. These questions are to be posted in response to our closing statements. The 10,000-word limit will not apply to the debaters’ responses to these questions.

After the formal debate is concluded, a poll will be posted on the blog asking four questions:

1. Setting aside your own opinion of the doctrine of the Trinity, how well did Rob Bowman, the Trinitarian, do in supporting his position?

A. Excellent defense of this viewpoint—could not have been much better

B. Good defense—reasonably well done defense

C. Passable effort—not bad, but not particularly good

D. Poor effort—did not represent this viewpoint adequately

F. Terrible defense—a disastrous embarrassment to this viewpoint

2. Setting aside your own opinion of the doctrine of the Trinity, how well did < Name to Be Determined >, the non-Trinitarian, do in supporting his position?

A. Excellent defense of this viewpoint—could not have been much better

B. Good defense—reasonably well done defense

C. Passable effort—not bad, but not particularly good

D. Poor effort—did not represent this viewpoint adequately

F. Terrible defense—a disastrous embarrassment to this viewpoint

3. In your judgment, who won the debate? Note: This question is not asking you which person’s viewpoint you think is correct, but whose viewpoint was better defended here.

A. Rob Bowman, the Trinitarian

B. < Name to Be Determined>, the non-Trinitarian

C. It was a draw

4. What is your own view with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity?

A. I am a Trinitarian

B. I am a non-Trinitarian

C. I am undecided

I am willing to debate anyone who agrees with the following terms:

1. The individual must use his or her real name. After all, I am putting myself on the line; I expect my opponent to do so as well.

2. The individual must defend a specific understanding of God, of Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. That is, the individual must defend a specific theological alternative to the doctrine of the Trinity. It can be anything — Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ doctrine, Oneness Pentecostalism, Biblical/Evangelical Unitarianism, etc. — but it must be a specific, identifiable, existing belief system. No “Lone Ranger” who thinks he alone knows the truth; no “Theological Sniper” who attacks my doctrine but offers no alternative position that can also be evaluated and critiqued. In order to put this doctrinal alternative in context, my opponent must identify the specific religious denomination, sect, group, movement, or whatever, with which he or she associates as a believer. I must and of course will also do the same; I will defend a specific understanding of these matters, namely, the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity common to evangelical Protestants, conservative Catholics, and traditional Orthodox believers. I am an evangelical Protestant, a member of a Baptist church, and will defend the Trinity within that theological context.

3. The individual must agree (as I will) that for the purposes of the debate, everything the Bible says pertaining to God, and specifically pertaining to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is true and authoritative, and that the purpose of the debate is to determine which of our two doctrines is most faithful to the teachings of the biblical authors as a whole. The Bible is stipulated here to be the 66 books of the Protestant canon of Scripture. My opponent and I may cite any published translation of the Bible or refer to the Hebrew and Greek texts; if the translation of a particular passage is disputed for some reason, each of us will be free to offer whatever justification we think best in support of our view. I don’t mind if my opponent gets his or her doctrinal ideas from some other source, but the debate must be focused exclusively on which doctrine best reflects or represents the teachings of the Bible.

4. The individual must agree (as I will) that the debate will focus solely and directly on the theological issues pertaining to the Trinity specified above. Both of us will commit ahead of time to refrain from attacking the other person’s religion, its history (e.g., alleged scandals), its leaders, or its teachings on subjects extraneous to the issues directly impinging on the doctrine of the Trinity. This means, for example, that if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, I won’t be bringing up the Miracle Wheat scandal, Russell’s courtroom difficulties, Rutherford’s temper, the failed predictions concerning 1914, 1918, 1925, etc.; and likewise, my opponent will not be bringing up Constantine’s lack of baptism, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, Michael Servetus’s execution, etc.

5. The individual must agree (as I will) that at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the debate, he or she will provide in this forum a list of resources, which may include as few as two books and as many as six books, that best represent the viewpoint he or she will defend. The list of resources may also include from one to three websites or web pages defending that viewpoint. Neither of us is expected to agree absolutely with everything in the resources we list; the purpose of the list is to give each other, and those following the debate, some understanding of the general perspective from which we defend our respective viewpoints.

With these stipulations, I am willing to debate anyone. If any of the non-Trinitarians here would like to go find someone to come debate for their side, that would be fine. If more than one non-Trinitarian offers to debate me, we’ll set up a poll and invite non-Trinitarians only to vote for their champion. To nominate yourself or someone else (with that person’s permission), just respond to this post with a comment, identifying yourself or your nominee by name and indicating your agreement to the terms stipulated above.

Some of you already know me, but for those who don’t, I am an evangelical Christian apologist and the author of a dozen books, including Why You Should Believe in the Trinity (Baker, 1989) and Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ (Kregel, 2007), which I co-authored with Ed Komoszewski. I have worked at several well-known apologetics ministries, have taught several elective courses in The Theology Program, and am currently the Director of Research at the Institute for Religious Research.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    232 replies to "The Great Trinity Debate Challenge"

    • Ed Kratz


      Thanks for that information. I was already satisfied that no spamming was involved (and I certainly never thought you were doing anything improper), but it’s very interesting to know some of the specific forums and lists that have been made aware of the debate.

      I appreciate your generous description of me as a “premier evangelical theologian,” two-thirds of which is accurate. 🙂

      The poll will remain open until Saturday night after 11 pm (I’m not sure if that is US Central or Eastern time), after which I will be in touch with the “people’s choice” to discuss the timetable and other matters as needed.

    • Dave Burke

      Troy, while I appreciate your support and enthusiasm, I need to correct you on a couple of points.

      (a) While it is true that I have Christadelphian friends who believe I am competent in this field, my community has never attempted to arrange such a debate for me and no-one has ever contacted a “champion of Trinitarianism” on my behalf for this purpose.

      (b) Although this is a great opportunity for everyone concerned, it’s not really a moment for which Christadelphians have been praying for years, since we have organised similar public debates with mainstream Christians in the past.

      Having said that, I am pleased to provide Rob with a wider audience for his beliefs and grateful for the opportunity to defend my own. 🙂

    • Dave Burke

      Rob, no worries; I just thought it would help to provide some context for the results of the poll.


    • James Anderson

      I think the candidate list should be enlarged. None of these guys appear to be Oneness which is a foremost anti-trinitarian view.

    • Steve in Toronto

      As a Trinitarian I am not allowed to vote (if I could I would vote for the Christadelphian since they are active in Toronto and I don’t know a thing about them) I would however suggest that your partner should be someone that is otherwise orthodox, maybe an oneness Pentecostal? The further you move outside the bounds of orthodoxy the harder it is to talk about the trinity clearly and the less illuminating the result is likely to be. Where is Michael Servetus when you need him?

      Steve in Toronto

      PS in my experience it’s hard to talk clearly about the trinity within the bounds of Orthodoxy as well for years I was a heterodox modalist and did not even know it!

    • Frankmar Da Silva Corrêa

      I am of Ananideua in Para Brazil.i biblical research is an 11 years and I’m based in the Holy Bible that:
      1 – The Father is the only God verdadadiro!
      2-The Father is greater than his son Jesus!
      3-Jesus is subordinate to the Father!
      4-Father is the God of Jesus!
      5-Jesus is not God, it is a child of God!
      So I totally reject the doctrine of the Trinity

    • Troy


      Thanks for the correction. Perhaps it is I that am projecting my own thoughts onto your community as if they were theirs too. I know I have emailed particular premier scholars of Evangelical seminaries with some of your commentary on relevant passages asking them how they deal with it, and most either recommended a book, gave their own thoughts about the consequences of rejecting the Trinity, or gave a pat answer that actually did not answer it at all. Dan Wallace is the rare exception along with Robert Bowman who actually engaged in your commentary on John 10:30 right here on the Pen and Parchment.

      Obviously I have been wanting someone to engage your material for some time, because quite frankly, it has been the best I have read, so I assumed others have been waiting for the same. I can only imagine how it feels to be deemed as heretics by the majority of Christianity while simultaneously being ignored by their best scholars. Thank you Rob for considering Dave, and thank you Dave for the correction. If things go as it seems they will, this will be very exciting and I can’t wait to so what becomes of it.

    • Michael H

      Looking forward to seeing the debate…

      And just to confirm Daves Comments on his Poll; I am also a Christadelphian, and I’m not suprised that the poll is going up fast. Christadelphians are always keen to see debate on the trinity, and as someone pointed out, we have held many public debates, in America, England and Australia, infact we are about to have a debate on the trinity in Perth in a few months time.

      Aside from that, im looking forward to seeing the debate, as are many other people 🙂



    • Ed Kratz

      James and Steve,

      I would have been very happy for a qualified Oneness Pentecostal to be in the running. The only Oneness individual who expressed an interest was so hostile and uncivil that he disqualified himself in the very first sentence. Some Oneness scholars’ names were mentioned in the comments but none actually came forward. I have taken the initiative to contact some qualified, respected Oneness scholars in the hope of doing something separate involving them at a later date.

    • Dyron Hamlin

      As one of those Christadelphians who voted for Dave, I’ll put in my two cents: I voted for Dave because I got an email from a fellow Christadelphian whom I’ve met a few times, basically saying “vote for Dave so we can have a Christadelphian participate as opposed to someone from another denomination.” It was easy to click through and vote. I don’t know anything else about him besides that he’s a Christadelphian, yet that is enough. I’m sure he’ll do a fine job. It’s not about being a “champion” or a spokesperson. It’s about being a regular ole’ Christadelphian, which, if Dave is one (there are fringe elements of every group, eh?), then I trust that he’ll do great.

    • postroad

      The trinity is not something I have studied exaustivly, so I make to claims one way or the other.

      Just a point of interest.

      Revelation 1:5
      Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

      Revelation 3:1
      “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

      This seems to indicate that there are seven spirits in the godhead?

      It does not say from God but rather of God?

      I have often wondered about it.

    • Nate

      Hi Rob,
      Being a former Christadelphian myself – now an evangelical Baptist Christian – I’d be interested in reading an exchange between yourself and Dave Burke.

      fyi, your books were influential in helping me move towards a Trinitarian confession. I’m thankful for all of your work.

    • Steven D.C.

      I’d just like to note on the post from Dyron on 13 Jan 2010 at 8:41 pm :

      > “It’s about being a regular ole’ Christadelphian, which, if Dave is one (there are fringe elements of every group, eh?) <

      That is true, but I'd just like to confirm as a fellow Christadelphian, who has met David Burke – though only once in person I'm sorry to say, is well known as a middle of the road member of the main "Central" grouping the (which counts for 55,000 of 60,000 Christadelphians worldwide according to stats on Wikipedia), I also see from one of the forums which David mentions that members of some the smaller groups have also been supporting him. So he will be representative of the wider Christadelphian community.

      Also taking in international view, while the Christadelphians are only one (though still largest) of several Socinian denominations in U.S.A. outside U.S.A. to hold Socinian christology (or I suppose to be "Biblical unitarian" which seems to be the modern phrase) means overwhelmingly to be Christadelphian. The voting patterns overnight (which I must admit took me be surpise too) show that a large number of UK, Australian and South African viewers are tuning in.

      Regarding Oneness Pentecostal, I would have thought it would be difficult to address Sabellian (minus sequential modalism) and Arian/Socinian objections to the Trinity in the same debate.

      I'm looking forward to this debate, and who ever is the people's ultimate choice, I hope to see David collate and edit all the papers he's been writing for years as a book in the near future. The Christadelphian community worldwide is in sore need of a more up to date book which takes into account the developments in orthodox presentation of the Trinity in the last 20 years.

    • Jack

      Hi postroad, as a Christadelphian, I would consider introducing the question of numbers (7 instead of 3?) a very profitable one to this debate, and I believe John 17 is a profitable chapter to consider:

      John 17.
      v3 knowing God AND Jesus Christ is life eternal. An accurate knowledge, or much better, THE accurate knowledge of this subject is extremely important to us! But why is life eternal based on 2 Persons and not 3?)
      v4 I, thou: again 2 pronouns. They express separation and delegation, not unity and equality (this really runs all the way through the chapter, the New Testament, the Bible.
      Specifically, The One-ness of many believers that we want to show in this chapter:
      v21 here Jesus prays that all believers may ALSO be one in the same way that Jesus and His Father are ONE.
      v22 this SAME ONE-NESS is repeated and
      v23 this same ONE-NESS is repeated again.
      So a three-fold cord is not easily broken, and three times this future inclusion of redeemed believers is testified by Jesus.

      I was brought up a Trinitarian, but the way I now read the Bible is that God the Father starts as One. On an exclusive definition of God, The Father remains immutable as One, but on any attempt at a wider definition of God, He fully intends to become many, many more than Three.
      “Christ… (became)… the firstfruits” after His resurrection, and afterward, those that are Christ’s at his coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-22…24…27-28) that God may be “All in All”.

      For me the questions from John 17 are:

      1) Is my own concept of God (in the wider sense, that sense that includes the One-ness of Christ with his Father) limited to ANY number smaller than the number of the redeemed?

      2) Does my own concept of God (in the wider sense, that sense that includes the One-ness of Christ with his Father) explain the future inclusion of the redeemed believers in the same way as Christ?

      We have to start from where we are, not from somewhere else, but to me, Three is a distraction from the real issues. How I would love to hear the debate on the Nature of God without reference to the number Three!

    • Phil Forster

      Troy said –

      For them, this is the moment they’ve been praying for for years, and they are the type to create T-shirts and flyers to get their community to vote. So, I assure you that spamming is not the explanation of the rapid amount of votes for Dave Burk!

      Lol, I didn’t see any Flags or T-Shirts, but we certainly stand by our own, Yep, Dave’s got my vote, I’m a Christadelphian and I’ve known Dave and his twin brother Jonno for a number of years. They’re identical so make sure your debating the right one Rob 😉

      This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. Jhn. 17:3

    • postroad

      Hey Jack.

      How about the concept that Jesus reverted to the state of being the Holy Spirit after death and glorification.

      1 Corinthians 15:44-46
      44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
      If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

      The first Adam undivided contained in him all of humanity because Eve was created from his body and did not contain a seperate breath or spirit that animated the first Adam.

      In a sense all of humanity then is animated from the dust of the earth and that first breath into Adam 1

      Adam 1 undivided realy did die to create the human race. As is illustrated in this parable.

      23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

      So Jesus had to die as the last Adam to release the Holy Spirit that resided in him so that it might indwell all those that constituted an elect chosen to be united with the Father?

    • John Marshall

      Christadelphians do not have pastors and never have had pastors. They are a lay community so Dave’s first claim, before the debate has even started, is bogus.

    • Troy

      What claim did he make?

    • Dave Burke

      Hi John, are you a Christadelphian?

      You say:

      Christadelphians do not have pastors and never have had pastors. They are a lay community so Dave’s first claim, before the debate has even started, is bogus.

      Actually I need to correct you there. In post #63 I stated that I am a layman with no professional theological qualifications. In post #150 I further stated that Christadelphians have no central authority. So I have been totally honest in my representation and I have made no claims to any hierarchical position.

      Yes, Christadelphians are a lay community; this fact is well known and I have not claimed otherwise. It is true that our serving brethren are not actually called “pastors” (though exhorting brethren in the UK are often called “ministers”, despite the fact that “minister” is used in a completely different way by mainstream churches). Nevertheless, brethren who take on certain ecclesial roles do serve in a pastoral capacity, performing all the duties of pastors in the evangelical community – so the term is a valid one.

      I used the word “pastor” because it is one that evangelicals understand and relate to. It would make no sense for me to use Christadelphian jargon (“exhorting brother”; “Arranging Brethren”; “Recorder”, etc.) since this would mean nothing to 90% of the people on this blog. I could have used the word “deacon” (a Biblical title) and it would have been equally true despite the fact that Christadelphian brethren are never actually called “deacons.” What matters is that the title accurately describes the role.

      Rob is welcome to approach my ecclesia (our word for “church”) where the brethren will assure him that I am indeed a Christadelphian pastor. Contact details are available on request. 🙂

    • Michael H

      Hi All,

      I find it fascinating that there has been a few attempts to discredit Dave already… Is that because of his votes?

      I know Daves wider family very well, and I have “known of” Dave for some time, and I can say that he is an honest person, and you can be sure of a good and honest debate with him.

    • Jack

      Hi Postroad

      I have not considered the concept that Jesus reverted to the state of being the Holy Spirit, but doesn’t 1Cor 15:44-46 which you quote provide a complete answer?
      If that which is first is natural, and not spiritual,
      then how could Jesus ‘revert’ to a first state that was spiritual but not natural?

      I think I would prefer to say that Eve received that same life-giving spirit that Job referred to (Job 34:14-15), and took some of it in the same way that Adam and you and I do. The life-giving spirit is the same, but our individual possession of it is different and for different periods, otherwise we would all perish together, as Job said. Adam lived 930 years and died: ‘dying thou shalt die’ – the process of aging and death started in Genesis 3.

      My understanding is certainly that Christ as the second Adam died to make possible the New Creation (redeemed immortal saints in the future age). I would not say that the first Adam did any more to create the human race than father children. True, God took one of Adam’s ribs for the formation of Eve, but from all the ways God could have created Eve, He selected the way that would best illustrate how the ecclesia would be formed from the body of Christ – we are back to the Unity theme of John 17 again: Christ the Head, and believers as part of his one body, fitly framed together.

      In prayer at Gethsemane, Jesus subjected His own will to the will of His Father when He resolved to go through with His sacrifice. The problem as Jesus expressed it (Mark 14:36) was not that if he did not die the Holy Spirit could not be released, but rather the problem was the difficulty that He Jesus experienced (as a man facing torture and death) in fulfilling not His own will, but being subservient to the declared will of God. It was necessary for Jesus to fulfil every word that had proceeded out of the mouth of His Father in the sure spirit word of prophecy – but then again, on the other hand, was anything impossible for His Father? And therefore the temptation was real, and words such as overcome and prevailed describe His victory….

      Maybe more will be said about that in the debate! But I hope that is a reasonable answer to the points you raised.

    • Dave Burke

      Michael H, thanks for your support but I don’t believe there has been any attempt to discredit me. It makes sense for people to ask questions and seek clarification on any point which seems inconsistent or unclear.

      More than 750 Christadelphians have been happy to vote for “Dave Burke, Christadelphian pastor”, so our community is obviously comfortable with this term and I can’t see why anyone else would object to it. 🙂

    • Ron Houben

      Well, the the electronic grapevine has reached as far as the K1W1″s of deep south and we are watching with great anticipation.
      Rob, I admire your boldness to front such a debate. Clearly your motivation is with the best of intentions and I pray that you have the courage adopt the spirit of the Bereans (Acts 17v10,11) as you embark on this debate.
      Dave, although we have never met I have had some knowledge of your brother’s work, and have total confidence that this same zeal and understanding must be a family trait.
      May this debate be to the glory of the Father and to His son – Amen

    • Jon Burke

      Ron, good to see you again! We must get in touch.


      //Will the debate primarily consist of trading proof-texts? One has to go deeper than that and consider that not all texts in the Bible are on equal standing historically speaking, and Jesus himself wrote nothing. As for those who did write the N.T., one must consider that historians view some verses as possibly being later than others in terms of later church doctrines being read back into say, the Gospels, like the verse in Matthew about baptizing in the names of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.//

      Seeing as Christians have literally written the book on the relevant socio-historical background, and totally dominate the relevant scholarly historico-critical literature on this subject, and given that both Rob and Dave are familiar with this literature, you can be certain that this will not be the kind of proof-text slapfest you would see between a typical Fundamentalist and a JW.

      For example, you can be sure that both Rob and Dave are entirely familiar with the textual arguments for and against the authenticity of the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19, that they are aware of the ambiguity of the Eusebian evidence, that they are aware of Coneybeare’s longstanding and still popular erroneous reading of that evidence, and that they are aware that modern textual criticism from at least Kurt Aland onwards has consistently dismissed that reading. Neither a variant reading nor Coneybeare even gets a mention in TCGNT 2nd, and of course the text is included without comment in NA27.

    • Dave Burke

      Thanks Ron, I really appreciate that.


    • Sherry Stewart Luskin

      Fabulous!!!! Looking forward to this debate and contributions!!
      I am a Christadelphian pastor-ess!!!!!!

    • Tim Lange


      I am also a life-long Christadelphian and would love to see Dave Bruke debate you on the trinity. I have never met Dave, but I’m sure that he’ll give you all that you can handle. One thing for sure about serious Christadelphians, they know their Bible.

      I’m sure how the voting goes since I didn’t see a button, but my vote is for Dave. There are 4 others in my household who vote for him too, but alas, only one IP coming from my router!

      Also, greetings to all my brothers and sisters around the world reading these posts.


    • Dave Burke

      Tim, if I remember correctly the voting buttons don’t appear until you click on the word “Vote” at the bottom of the poll.

      Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

    • Tim Lange

      Hmmm… no Vote link or button under Polls or anywhere on the page. My browser maybe? (IE8, Windows 7). Do you have to register somewhere? Polls closed early?

    • Dave Burke

      Voting is still open. Here’s a screenshot which might help: http://i47.tinypic.com/ac76zn.jpg

      The poll should look like that before you vote.

    • Tim Lange

      Bro. Dave,

      Done! But you don’t want to know what I had to go through to do it! 🙂

      BTW – I imagine you’ve heard the 1960 debate with Bro. Mansfield?

      Bro. Tim

    • Dave Burke

      Tim, I haven’t heard that debate but I am pretty sure that I have read the transcript. 🙂

    • Troy

      Jon Burke,

      I appreciate your response to Mr. Babinski. Well said!

    • Steve

      Dave Burke claims to have served as a pastor in the Christadelphian community for the past 12 years. That’s odd, considering that Christadelphians do not have pastors!

      He also claims to represent a community of 100,000 members – also odd, considering that the Wikipedia article on Christadelphians puts their number at about 60,000.

      As a non-trinitarian I would have to say that there is consequently some doubt about Dave Burke’s to represent our position credibly. My vote goes for Professor Anthony Buzzard.

    • Michael H

      Tim, are you referring to the “Lee/Mansfield” Debates?

      I still have a copy of them on tape I thinks – they are really hard to come by, but very interesting.

    • Flint

      My vote goes to Anthony Buzzard in this debate.

      Having worked with Anthony in a couple of “One God” conferences, I must say he is a man of gentle spirit, quick mind, keen wit and Christian Love.

      Already in the posts above, there has been a classic misquote of one of the central verses used to argue both sides of the [eternal] Trinity debate.

      When Jesus said… “This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…” contextually He was NOT engaged in a discussion about the configuration of the Godhead.

      The “knowing” God that leads us to life eternal is not how we might *draw* God on a piece of paper to explain 3 in 1 or 1 in three… or even if He were a Unity with a [nearly] 40 year old Only Begotten Son [at that point].

      The “knowing” Jesus speaks of is KNOWING God, like one might know their marriage partner, or child, or parent, or colleague… ie. likes, dislikes, habits, loves, fears [not that God has any fears] … in a word, what makes them tick as a person.

      Jesus is saying in John 17… when we get to understand what the Father is looking for in us [ie. a Love response to His awesome Grace] then we are well on the way to getting a handle of that life which is eternal in character.

      So stick to the context peoples… and don’t read stuff into the Bible that the Bible does not even deal with… especially on a matter that is not a life and death matter…. and is more about intellectual stimulation than it has to do with Christian living!

      Lets face it…. there is NO proof text FOR the Trinity any where in the Bible… and at the end of the day… who cares? For there will not be any Trinitarians in “Heaven,” because by the time they all get to “heaven” they will have grasped the fact that God is ONE [ie. He is unique…. “one of a kind”] and that Jesus is only a couple of thousand years old.

      What does count is this… “DO YOU KNOW GOD?” or as Paul poignantly puts it “NOW THAT WE ARE ‘KNOWN’ OF HIM” [cp Gal 4]… why be in bondage to things that are not profitable to the Christian … disputes about meta physics that we CANNOT *know* because they are outside our ken.


    • Tim Lange

      Michael and Dave,

      Yes, I’m referring to the Lee/Mansfield debates. If you like, I can make them available to you in mp3 format. We should probably move this off this forum since it’s off topic. I’m on FB so you can send me a friend request.


    • Dave Burke

      Hi Steve, thanks for taking an interest.

      You say:

      Dave Burke claims to have served as a pastor in the Christadelphian community for the past 12 years. That’s odd, considering that Christadelphians do not have pastors!

      This issue was addressed in post #169. The short version is that Christadelphians have brethren who are pastors in all but name; the precise title isn’t important. For the long version, see post #169. Alternatively, feel free to contact my ecclesia (the Recording Brother’s details are available on request). 🙂

      He also claims to represent a community of 100,000 members – also odd, considering that the Wikipedia article on Christadelphians puts their number at about 60,000.

      To be honest, Wikipedia’s guess is as good as mine! The precise number of Christadelphians has always been fuzzy. Due to the lack of available statistics, the figure will vary from source to source.

      For example, the Columbia Encyclopedia gives a total of 50,000 Christadelphians throughout 120 different countries. This is contradicted by government census reports, which show a total of 60,000 Christadelphians throughout the UK, Australia, Malawi, Mozambique, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Kenya, India, Tanzania, and the Philippines. And that’s only 11 of the 120 countries in which Christadelphians are found! So I think it is safe to conclude that we have a lot more than 60,000.

      If 100,000 sounds too optimistic, perhaps 80,000-90,000 is a fair estimate. 🙂

      As a non-trinitarian I would have to say that there is consequently some doubt about Dave Burke’s to represent our position credibly. My vote goes for Professor Anthony Buzzard.

      Well, you’re entitled to your opinion and I respect your choice. I wasn’t in the race myself, I would have voted for Anthony too! 🙂

    • Dave Burke

      Oops, I mean “If I wasn’t in the race…”


    • Peter

      My vote goes for Dave Burke, I have never heard him debate the trinity, but im sure he’ll do a great job!

      Steve – Rather than discuss the fact that DAve represents the christadelphian view point – He is standing, not for himself, not for the christadelphians, but for God.

      Hope it all Goes well.

      God bless

    • NorthAmerica

      Hi Steve:

      Your personal animosity towards Dave is showing through and your past history with him. Your own admin on your own facebook site calls himself a Christadelphian pastor. We know you are a good friend of Anthony. Just vote for him without grasping at straws to undermine Dave.

      Not a very pleasant thing to see in public.

    • Paul Gaitanis

      Having grown up in the Greek Orthodox faith (incidentally the church was named the “Holy Trinity” church) I became a Christadelphian after actually reading and studying the Bible. I’m looking forward to this debate as it should be very interesting and enlightening. One thing I find ironic is that the terminology used by trinitarians such as “God the Son”, “God in three persons,” “three in one,” and “trinity” itself is not found in the Holy Scriptures.

    • Ed Kratz


      I believe the poll closes in less than an hour, but it is surely safe to conclude that Dave Burke, our Christadelphian candidate, has won by a landslide. As Troy predicted, about a thousand votes were cast for him — at my last count, 1020 votes. My congratulations to Dave. I look forward to our debate. I will be contacting Dave privately by email to discuss the specifics including the schedule and any changes the two of us might agree to make to the format. I will announce the details on the blog as soon as we have them worked out.

      I would also like to express my thanks to Anthony Buzzard, Michael Richardson, David Barron, and Kermit Zarley for their willingness to participate in this debate. I’m sure all of you would have been interesting and worthy opponents. I hope to interact with all of you in the future.

    • Dave Burke

      Thanks Rob, I look forward to hearing from you.

      And a very big “THANK YOU!” to everyone who voted for me.


    • Fortigurn

      Steve, you don’t have to worry about Dave not representing your position accurately, because he’s representing the Christadelphian position and you’re not a Christadelphian.

      I don’t understand why your references to Wikipedia and Dave’s use of the term ‘pastor’ have anything to do with Dave’s ability to represent the Christadelphian position accurately, but a couple of points are worth noting.

      The first is your objection to Dave’s use of the word ‘pastor’, which he has addressed twice now. The second is that the number of Christadelphians recorded by Wikipedia is demonstrably an underestimate. It doesn’t even claim to be an accurate number of all Christadelphians, instead it provides ‘estimates’ of the number of Christadelphians in ‘the main centres of Christadelphian population’.

      It does not record the number of Christadelphians in Fiji, Indonesia, PNG, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Mongolia, South America, the Caribbean, or various African and European countries. The estimate of 60,000 is therefore demonstrably an under-estimate and should not be treated as an accurate figure.

    • Susan Knight

      Congratulating David personally is perhaps not totally appropriate as this is not a popularity poll, but I can say I am very pleased that he will be the one to debate this with Rob. As a minority group Christadelphians rarely get such a serious hearing from mainstream Christians.

      A correct understanding of the Father, the Son and the holy spirit is not a matter of semantics but basic doctrine which affects our understanding of the Atonement provided by Christ.

      The doctrine of the Trinity proposes a subterfuge for the sacrifice of Jesus, in which he did not totally die, but a part or essence or other manifestation of himself remained alive in Heaven.

      This debate is a God-given opportunity for the scriptural truths to be respectfully presented to a very wide body of genuinely interested people. Thank you, Rob, for providing this public forum and choosing your opposition so fairly.

    • Steve Pitt-Francis

      This is a great idea and I look forward to following Rob and Dave during this debate. I hope its enlightening on both sides and ultimately moves all of us forwards to a closer and more true understanding of God.

      Readers could imagine this upcoming and exciting event with various metaphors of their own… Personally I hope it’s this way!: As two well mannered and well known archaeologists (maybe in a big city hall in a place like 19th century London!) each proving with clear evidence the authenticity of their finds and theories, and aware of a big interested audience before them..who become amazed to discover that overall ideas now actually connect in a way quite better than how they always had believed until this event…

    • I am a Christadelphian which means that I believe in One God. He says so through His Word the Bible!

      I have a question for you: Do you believe in “Trinity” or “Tritheism”? and how can you when both of these words come outside the Bible?


    • Gareth Avery

      As a Christadelphian I have always been comfortable with the death of Jesus being a genuine event which pained God to witness. But the majority of other Christian denominations read the same Bible and conclude that God and Jesus are the same.

      I look forward to following this debate and perhaps better appreciating the basis of the Trinitarian view of God.

    • Ron Houben

      Rob, as you discuss the format and structure of the debate with Dave, can you discuss the value of the poll that concludes the debate? To set aside one’s view of the doctrine of the trinity and vote on the quality of the presentation itself would appear to be establishing the challenge to be between two men and their debating skills rather than quality of Biblical evidence, which would give God the glory.

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