Jesus 30 – Later Unitarians 4 John Briddle
Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Jesus
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Welcome once again to Islam focus.
Today we have our studio series and Jesus, the beloved messenger of Allah. Our program today will be our first on the lighter Unitarians.
I'm proud to be your host. My name is Josh Hoffman nation here working once again from St. Mary's University, Dr. Jamal, also I conduct
television now Could you please give us a quick summary of last week's program before we go on? Okay, last week was essentially discussion of two of the contemporaries of Francis David of the 16th century. We spoke first about Linnaeus, zini. And his contact with the secret society that used to study the Christianity and tried to find the true teachings of Christ, and who believed also an absolute monotheism. But we spend more time actually talking about a more influential person who was his cousin, who was known by the name of socionics. And how he had lots of struggled with the church, how the church tried to get him burnt alive, like service, and then change that to trying to
join him, but that he was served. Ultimately, we spoke a little bit about his beliefs and how he refuted the notion of the Trinity and the dogma of deification of Jesus. And he spoke quite eloquently and very logically also, about the notion of atonement, as explained by the church, indicated, finally that he had lots of critics from the church who could not help but acknowledge his power of reasoning and eloquence, but of course, as usual, accusing him of being a news or Satan
discussed some of the wheelchairs of the 16th century interesting, maybe at this point, to follow up on the period following that. Okay, well, there have been a number of famous means. People like john Britton, Milton, john Locke, said Isaac Newton,
Thomas, England, CFLs, Lindsey, john priestly, and William Channing. And there is a very interesting, you know, compilation of their writings and their ideas and a little bit about their histories in that excellent book I referred to before which, for which I'm quite acknowledge, with thanks. It's a major contribution to one segment of this, this program. The book by Otto Rahim called Jesus a prophet of Islam. There is very interesting information about
well, maybe we can have a review of the contributions and then that may be helpful. And maybe let's begin with john Britto. I believe you mentioned his name, maybe a little about the importance of what he said, and maybe see where his own background with john Britton, first of all, in terms of his importance is regarded as the father of unitarianism. In Britain, he was born in 1615, was a very brilliant student, graduated from Oxford, with a master degree,
was appointed as a teacher. And that was the time when he began to review his religious ideas and began to doubt the validity of Trinity.
One of the things that motivated him to study the subject more closely was debates that went on on charity which led those in authority to make a move to protect it. And he It is reported that in 1640, b conventions of Canterbury and York
decided that there should be a ban against the importation, printing or circulation of any of the writings of socionics that we discussed in the previous program, very strict Unitarian. And there was a very clear warning that anyone who believes in this kind of things will be excommunicated. Now, john Britton, despite of that, continued to speak really is beneath actually in 1645 he published a little pamphlet called twin arguments you
Using the deity of the Holy Spirit, the book was seized. And john Britain was jailed.
He was called on to appear before the British Parliament, but he also continued to refuse to accept the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
And when his pamphlet was re published in 1647, the parliament or that it should all be burnt. And following that they issued an ordinance that anyone who denies the Trinity, or denies the divinity of Christ, or the divinity, of the Holy Spirit, would suffer death, without the benefit of clergy. Despite all of these threats, you find that he continued to publish, he published two more tracks,
from the Bible itself, articulating his ideas from the Bible itself, his ideas that the Holy Spirit is not really divine. And in the opinion of some scholars, he could have possibly been penned because of his beliefs, had it not been for some of his friends were like independent members in the parliament.
I'm sure some of you will be very interested to know, actually something about his writings, and why they were regarded as being so dangerous to the authorities at the time. Well, perhaps one of his most outstanding works that you can review
is the pamphlet I mentioned, the 12 arguments of getting to the deity of the Holy Spirit, maybe can go through there might not be a little long, but perhaps
the way my day works, the first argument is said that
anything which is distinguished from God, is not God. And he says, according to the Bible, the Holy Spirit is distinct from God. As such, it is not God, it is not divine.
In articulating that trace point, he says that the whole parent of the Scriptures indicate that the Holy Spirit is something and the father or God is something else.
Now, if some people argue he says that, yes, but the Holy Spirit and the Father are not distinct, in essence,
but only distinct, if taken personally, are distinct in person, it applies to that and says, it is impossible for any human being really to make a distinction in his mind, between the person and the essence. And to speak, this language would lead in the mind of any human being to think really of two Gods rather than one, this is the tendency. And then he said that there should be a distinction between
you know, when you talk about a person versus essence. Now, if you say, if you make that distinction, it means them that the person is an independent being, okay? That means that the person could be either finite or infinite.
If the person is finite, that, of course, would be contrary to the teaching of the Church, because to be finite means that you are not divine.
And to be infinite, means also that there are two infinite in God, which, of course, would lead inevitably to thinking in terms of two deities. So he said that this kind of distinction between the essence and the person
in speaking about God means that you, you are speaking about God, impersonal,
impersonal, and everybody knows that he who rules over all cannot be other than a person.
My understanding of that is that basically we're saying that you cannot say that the essence of God's rules over the universe, this is a very impersonal language. And that's such, basically saying that that distinction, in terms of essence versus person, between the Father and the Holy Spirit is not really a very valid one, that he was his first argument, the second argument, he said that the the Old Testament indicates that the one who gave the Holy Spirit to the Israelites is Jehovah God, then the one who gives is different from the one that's given, which means the Holy Spirit is not that is not divine. The third argument is any who speaks not of his own is not God. And the
scripture indicate that the Holy Spirit speaks only what it hears from God. And as such, the Holy Spirit is not God is not divine. It's just transmitters of messages. The first argument, any who learns of thought, is not good. And this is the Holy Spirit according to the Bible, lessons and learns from God. Then it is different. It is not divine
Arguing according to the Bible, especially in john, Chapter 16, verse 14, it is God who gives everything to all
the Holy Spirit receives.
And anything that receives from God is not God itself and assessing the Holy Spirit is no different. It's very simple, you know, doesn't require too much philosophy and logic to understand it, that part I find very smooth. The sixth argument, he says that anyone who is sent by another is not good. And the scripture says that the Holy Spirit is sent by God. And as such, how could the Holy Spirit because God does not send himself a different person, a different entity, I should say,
the seventh arguments
anyone who is not a giver of all things cannot be God.
Okay? The things which is a gift is not the one who gave the gift. And the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, according to the Scriptures gift from the Father, how could the gifts be equivalent in divinity. So the first very simple, you know, and the action, he says, a gift is in the power, it is at the disposal of the giver. And he gives evidence from the Scripture, for example, in referring to the book of Acts, chapter 17, verse 25, which says God gives to all life, death, and all things. So the Holy Spirit does not have these qualities. The eighth argument, he says that any who changes his place, is not God.
And he says, the Holy Spirit in the scripture changes place. In my humble understanding, perhaps what he's referring to, among many incidents, is the story. For example, at the time of the baptism of Jesus, peace be upon him by john the baptist, that says, the Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove, you know, so there is a change of place. And he says,
if we say that God changed his place, if the Holy Spirit were divine, if God changes His place, it means that he ceases to exist in the place he was before he moved from one place, or let's say, you cease to exist in one place. And it says this is against the main line in the scripture that God is omnipresent, are omnipresent is everywhere. The ninth argument, he says that the Bible indicates that the Holy Spirit prayed to Christ to come and judge. And he says, any who prays is making petition and God does not make petition to anyone and as such, the Holy Spirit is not divine. The Tim's argument is, and he says that people who do not, there are people who did not believe in the
Holy Spirit as God, and still were disciples of Jesus peace be upon him, probably his making reference to the book of Romans, chapter 10, verse 14, the 11th argument, it says, anyone who listens from from God, ie, the Holy Spirit, must have a different understanding from God cannot be identical as he listens. And as such, they are not one, they're not the same. They are not to be equated in divinity. And as such, the Holy Spirit is not God is not divine. That was argument, he says that anyone who has a will, which is independent from the will of God, cannot be good.
For example, He referred to the book of Romans, chapter eight, verses 26 and 27. When it says that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for sense, according to the will of God. So the Holy Spirit doesn't have an independent will, it cannot be divine, it cannot be equated with the Father.
So all of these shows that the basis for Trinity or deification, also of the Holy Spirit, really is is against what the scripture says. And I believe that in addition to his argument, this 12 arguments, john Britton, indeed, is saying many things between the lines,
giving the danger, of course in this time, and don't say to some extent, his understanding of the Holy Spirit is very close to the Muslim understanding. Now, you mentioned very well, the 12 points, but what do you mean by very close to the Islamic way of thinking maybe you can elaborate on that? Well, let me first address the issue of what he meant between the lines and
together what what did he put in between those lines? Okay, well, first of all, he said that the what he says about the Holy Spirit applies as well. to Jesus peace be upon.
You see, because we have seen before in different programs, we have evidence from the scriptures
From the Bible, that Jesus never claimed to have independent authority that he speaks only what he is, is a man approved of God. And all of this argument in one sense, does not only applies to the Holy Spirit, it applies to Jesus as well. So in a way, I don't know maybe he felt it too risky at that time to say it openly, is meeting the needs the infinitive g that also conclude that the same argument applies to deity of Jesus and that such Jesus is understood to be a human being.
On the other hand,
according to john 316, it says that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son according to the Revised Standard Version, because the 10 biggest and as mentioned before, is dropped now. And then he says that Jesus was given, who gave him God and the one who was given is different from the one who was given and as such, he cannot be equated.
He also referred to
terminology used by Jesus like things have been given to him.
In john five, chapter five, verse 30, when Jesus say that he doesn't do anything of his own authority, or in john 1416, when he says that Jesus only says what he hears. Now, whether Britain meant it or not. It was also
the same basis really, for the deity of Jesus peace be upon him, that he is an exalted person, Exalted human being, but not necessarily divine. Now, if you want to connect to the
talk about that particular process, understanding of the Holy Spirit, being close to the wisdom and understanding what you see it, to start with Muslims believe that the Holy Spirit is simply engine Gabby's. Okay. And we all know, of course, that engines according to the right wing, even engines are creatures.
And they are not in Islamic understanding at all, a third person in Trinity or Tyrone got hit. In fact, one of his writings of john Brennan's, it's called confession of faith. He sounds very much like a Muslim looking for a statement that perhaps would illustrate it. He says, I believe that there is one most high God,
creator of heavens and earth, and the first cause of all things, and consequently, the ultimate object of our faith and worship.
And then he continues, I believe in Jesus, to the extent that he may be our brothers, and have a federal feeling of our infinitives. And so become more ready to help us. He has only human nature, that he will, he has only human nature.
He is subordinate to God. And he is not another god. There are not two Gods
about the Holy Spirit. And that's the past, they said is very close to Mr. Understanding.
He says the Holy Spirit is an angel.
See the term that's why I said in Vedic philosophy engine, which is the mystery and engine who due to His Eminence in intimacy with God is singled out to carry his message. That's the different revelation to mankind. That was published in The Epic of unitarianism. By d. b. Park, pr, pr.
That's what I meant by having very close understanding
to what the weapons believable the Holy Spirit as an engine, creatures, just out of curiosity, what happened to john bill after that, what eventually became a thing? Well, we mentioned earlier, of course, that after he published his pamphlet, 12 arguments, you know, concerning the deity of the Holy Spirit, in 1645, he was in present, but he continued to write and mentioned that it was republished in 1647, it was burned by the Order of the British Parliament. But then even later on one years later, in 1648, he published two other works.
But he was then released from prison on bail. But it did not take too long for him to be returned again to the jail. While he was in jail, he was employed by one publisher to proofread a new edition of the Septuagint. That's the Greek translation of the Bible. In 1652, an act called an act of oblivion was passed. And as a result, john Britain was was released.
A couple of years later, 1654 he published a book about unitarianism in Amsterdam, in Holland, and that was read quite widely in Britain.
He continued to worship with another group who believed in the same ideas. On Sundays. The people did not believe in atonement or Original Sin. In the same year, that's 1654, he was arrested again. And while in jail, he was forbidden to use paper, ink or pens.
Nobody was allowed at all to visit him and all his books was ordered to be burned, whatever they could be, lay their hands on, was burned.
He made an appeal, and was released in 1655. But again, it did not take too long before he had another class with the authorities before because of his courage.
There was a public debate and the speaker and the speaker of that debate said, Is there anyone here who denies that Jesus is God?
john brennan immediately raised the cemetery I denied.
Then the debates continued between him and the speaker. The organizers felt that his opponents, the opponents of john bridge could not really give any cogent arguments against his very powerful reason and his documentation from the Bible. So they stopped the proceeding and reposted him to the authorities, he was taken to jail again, he was denied the rights of any lawyers.
And apparently there was no law at that time, at least that would justify his imprisonment. That's why perhaps they said no lawyers, his friends tried very hard to get him released.
But finally, he was sent into exile to the island of Sicily.
And of course, the more he suffered, the more he believed that he was on the right path. And those people who are opposing him are simply interested in their own interest in interest in positions and you know, vested
interest. So his idea is continued to spread. And there was a great deal of pressure to get him released. And finally, he was released in in 1658. The strange thing is that, despite all of what happened to him,
that shows his integrity and courage. As soon as he was released, he helped start over again, emphasizing absolute monotheism. In 1662. He and his friends were arrested in a public square June, sorry, in the midst of a meeting, and they will not allow any bail, they were all fine, he was very ill treated. And he was put in solitary confinement where they say the foul smell and air
caused him to die. And he obeyed them the same year in 1662, is one of the great examples of courage and standing for the sincerity of their belief in what he considers to be the true teachings of Christ. Now, you said she died in 1662. What eventually happened to his followers, what they were under very strong pressures, not only because their leaders died in the prison, but in the same year he died in 1662. An act called the act of uniformity was issued, I think the title might give some idea, because it leads to public worship, which is tolerable or allowed.
Of course, his ideas in the way of worship he did,
did not confirm or his followers, of course, attitude did not confirm to what the authorities wanted.
Some historians say that, under this act
2257 priests were ejected from the living because again, they espouse ideas about, you know, Trinity, which the church did not accept, and about 8000 people died in prison, for the same reason, refusal to accept the concept of charity.
But things did not stop at that because another acts was passed in 1664, that any person refuses to go to an established church. You look at these things in the 20th century, of course, with great amazement in the person who refused to go to an established church would be punished by punishment. If he returns again, to the same offense, he would be handled.
And there was also a punishment for anyone who attends any religious meeting of five people, or more, which is not authorized by the church. It's quite, quite strict. No, and anyone who would repeat that offense, he was too sick to be sent to exile in America. If he returned, he would suffer this without the benefit of clergy. Now, about a decade after that, it even became worse in 1670 city called the test act.
It says in addition to all of these punishments that we've mentioned before, any person who
did not receive sacraments, according to the rights of the Church of England will not have the right to bring an action in any law courts cannot be a guardian of any child cannot receive any legacy deed or gifts.
You know, the ironically speaking, in 1689, an act which was called a toleration act, was issued. However, they said the Act does not apply to those who reject derivative. That's why some people oppose they said, they opposed what they called the intolerance of the toleration. We know that you know, everybody's, you know, free, but provided you don't deny a trinity. Of course, all of these measures led the Unitarians in Britain, to avoid challenging the law in public because of course, you have this imprisonment, they have the deprivation of all civil rights. Some of them continued quietly, in their worship on the other churches, but they very quietly removed certain portions of
the Nicene Creed that speaks about Trinity. Or if they were forced to read it in public worship. They had the parish clerk read it, but not to read it themselves. But of course, because of these numerous pressures, we find that the writings of many contemporaries of john Britton, like Milton took a much lower profile.
In one case, in the case of mental for example, His writing was discovered 150 years after his death, which meant that he was avoiding this to be connected with him in his lifetime. You've mentioned nothing now What were his main ideas, his main ideas with within the basic stream of unitarianism. That again, Trinity is not authentic, is not taught in the in the Bible, and it's against all reason. The deity of Jesus, of course of necessity doesn't have any foundation, at first extensively to the Bible, I just give the references for those who wish to check it. If, for example, refers to Deuteronomy, chapter four, verse 35, and chapter 539, verse 3932, verse 39, to
the First Book of Kings, chapter eight, verse 62nd, Book of Kings, chapter 19, verse 15, the book of Isaiah, chapter 44, verse eight, Chapter 45, verses 521, and 22. So you use quite extensive in his reference to the, to the Bible, in all of this, he basically says that there is none beside God. He said, If you check these quotations carefully, there is none beside God. And he says, none here is a universal negative. For example, He says, No spirit, no person, no vision is beside God or like him. And he emphasizes that facts plainly said it's mentioned very plain, plainly in the Old Testament, and also in the words of Jesus Himself, like in Mark 13, verses 29 through 32. And he says, the
scriptures is quiet, or silent on the Holy Spirit. And obviously, it is not omniscient or omnipresent. It's simply courage, he says, the Word of God, and it cannot be God itself. But it is less than the Father and the Son even because just is a carrier of necessity, so it cannot be divine. Likewise, he says, There is no evidence in the scripture at all of the so called eternal generation of Jesus from the Father and since this is impossible, to say that Jesus, even though he was personally
and numerically another person that he is one with Gods, that God alone is self existent. Of course, we might wonder why he did not announce or publishes ideas and why it was discovered later. But of course, the he was not as courageous or outspoken as john brittle was and he preferred to you know, practices is outside of the of the prison. Many people in his life would bring alive You know, because of the
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