Bible Articles on the Topic of Athanasian Creed

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Three Creeds

Three of Christianity’s most influential and well-known creeds are compared in the table below.

Creed of the Council of Constantinople, 381

This creed, drawn up at the Council of Constantinople in 381, is often referred to as the “Nicene Creed” and recited in churches. However the creed drawn up at the Council of Nicaea in 325 is significantly different than this creed.

Creed of the Council of Nicaea

The following, the actual creed drawn up at the Council of Nicea in 325, is significantly different than the creed often referred to as the “Nicene Creed.” What is commonly called the “Nicene Creed” and recited in church is actually the Constantinopolitan Creed from the Council of Constantinople in 381.

47 English Translations: John 1

The opening verses of the Gospel of John have proven to be, unfortunately, a veritable battleground and storm center of theological argument. Translators have often edited John to make him fit much later systems of theology. For instance, John, who was a Jew, had never heard of the term “trinity,” the proposition that God consists of three “persons.” Yet many of the church fathers made an appeal to such a doctrine by pointing to the opening verses of John. They managed there to contradict the witness of Jesus himself and present the reader with a second eternal “person” alongside the Father—giving the appearance of two “gods”. This error was achieved by first putting, incorrectly, a capital letter on the word “word” (translated from the Greek logos), giving it the appearance of “personhood.” Having altered the meaning of the Greek word logos by giving it personhood, the next move was to refer to logos with a masculine pronoun “him,” rather than a neuter “it.”

Letter of the Synod of Antioch (325)

Amazingly, knowledge of this council had been lost until Edward Schwartz published the Syriac of this letter in 1905. Soon two other Syriac editions of this letter were published from other manuscripts. Most scholars now accept the authenticity of this document and the council it describes.

Letter of the Synod of Antioch (325)

Amazingly, knowledge of this council had been lost until Edward Schwartz published the Syriac of this letter in 1905. Soon two other Syriac editions of this letter were published from other manuscripts. Most scholars now accept the authenticity of this document and the council it describes.

The Key to Bible Understanding: The Trinity

The Athanasian Creed, which is accepted by the majority of the Churches professing to be Christian, furnishes an authoritative answer. It states:

Code of Justinian: Concerning the High Trinity

The Codex Justinianus (Latin for “The Code of Justinian”) is one part of the Corpus Juris Civilis, the codification of Roman law ordered early in the 6th century AD by Justinian I, who was an Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor in Constantinople. Two other units, the Digest and the Institutes, were created during his reign. The fourth part, the Novellae Constitutiones (New Constitutions, or Novels), was compiled unofficially after his death but is now thought of as part of the Corpus Juris Civilis.

Is Jesus God If He Did Not Know the Time of His Return?

Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was God. And they generally believe that God is omniscient, thus knowing everything, including all about the future. However, Jesus told his apostles that he would be killed, rise from the dead, ascend to heaven and someday return to earth, and he added that he did not know the day of his return. If Jesus was God, how could he not have known when he would return, since the Father knew it? As a former Trinitarian, I used to believe that Jesus was and is God. But I began to question it when I read in the Bible that he said he didn’t know the time of his return. It caused me to undertake a serious quest for Jesus’ identity. What is this saying?

Is Jesus God or Subordinate to God?

Nearly all Christians are what scholars call “traditionalists” due to their belief that Jesus is God. The church doctrine of the Trinity says God is one essence existing as three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. But the New Testament (NT) repeatedly describes Jesus as subordinate to God to Father, which seems to conflict with them being equal, and scholars label it a paradox. Raymond E. Brown acknowledges that “even in the New Testament works that speak of Jesus as God, there are also passages that seem to militate against such a usage.”

"Jesus the True God” Now Considered a Mistake

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20, KJV)

Messianics, Scripture and the Trinity

“We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides.” — Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), Founder of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

Most Christian denominations preach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. According to this doctrine, within the “Godhead²” there exists three persons — God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit³. These three persons are of one substance and therefore are co-equal in all things. However, the word “Trinity” and the doctrine as such appear nowhere in the Bible. Also, the earliest Christians were not aware of it. So, how did this doctrine come to dominate Christianity?

The Genesis Plurals

“Bring forward your strong arguments,” says the King of Jacob. “Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place... That we may consider them... That we may know that you are gods... That we may anxiously look about us and fear.” (Isaiah 41:21-23)

The Textual Problem in 1 John 5:7-8

“5:7 For there are three that testify, 5:8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement. —NET Bible

Who Is “the True God” in 1 John 5:20?

Later church fathers unanimously cited 1 John 5:20 as a primary text supporting their belief that Jesus Christ is God. It and the preceding verse reads as follows: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:19-20)

A Review: When Jesus Became God

“Was Jesus Christ God on earth, or was he something else? Three hundred years after the crucifixion, Christians still had not made up their minds about this.” This was what the Arian controversy was all about.

Comments on the Feast of the Holy Trinity

During the great debate at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D, Emperor Constantine (though he did not wish to go to this meeting) summoned and forced the bishop Arius to attend the council. According to historical accounts, the attendees at this council were split into three factions:

Does Colossians 1:15-19 Mean Jesus Preexisted and Created the Universe?

Multiple issues arise in Colossians 1:15-19 that have caused many Bible readers to think Paul therein teaches that Jesus preexisted and created the universe. From this they conclude that only God does that, so Jesus must be God. But Paul does not mean any of that. This text, which is about Jesus, reads as follows in the New American Standard Bible:

A Synopsis: Explaining “Jesus is God” Verses

Most distinguished Trinitarian scholars who have written on the doctrine of the Trinity cite the following texts as the foremost biblical support for these beliefs. We call them “Jesus is God verses” for simplicity sake. Not only is this an easy way to identify the verses, but also expresses what Trinitarians believe these verses teach. Alternative ways to understand these verses accompany them below.

Explanations to Verses Commonly Used to Teach that Jesus Is God

Isn’t it interesting how one statement can be shocking and controversial in one setting and totally mundane in another? For example, if someone came into a room of NASCAR enthusiasts and said, “Racing is so boring to watch—all they do is take left turns over and over,” immediately all activity in the room would screech to a halt so that one could hear a pin drop as each person with blazing eyes fixed their best death stare on the intruder. However, if the same phrase were uttered in a room full of people who didn’t care for car racing, there might be a brief chuckle, but then life would go on. So it is with the phrase, “Jesus is God.” Among my own biblical, unitarian¹ brothers and sisters, this statement is not only understood as false and pejorative, it may even trigger memories of ridicule and exclusion from mainstream Christians. Yet, in any other Christian context, trinitarian or modalist,² the phrase, “Jesus is God,” is utterly mundane and doesn’t even warrant raising an eyebrow. Even so, there are at least two instances in the New Testament in which Jesus is called God.³ So, the question we need to ask is not, “Is Jesus God?” but, “What does the Bible mean when it says, Jesus is God?”⁴ But, before we look at the two places in the New Testament where Jesus is called God, it is necessary to build our understanding of a biblical notion called representational deity, in order to give us the required interpretive tools to understand what the Bible means when humans are called “Gods.”

Recommended Reading: When Jesus Became God

When I picked up Richard Rubenstein’s When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1999), I was stirred wide awake and remained so from start to finish. This is an account of one of the greatest doctrinal battles of early Christianity, and Rubenstein’s lively telling reads like a political thriller. My fascination with this book prompted me to interview the distinguished professor from George Mason University. I wanted to know: how did a secular Jew, a sociologist by training, whose area of expertise centers on Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, become embroiled in the internecine warfare of Christians in the Fourth Century of the Common Era?

The Trinity Controversy: Alexander, Alexandria, Arius and Nicea

“When modern readers are introduced to the theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are sometimes shocked by the atmosphere in which they took place. Those debates were not carried on by calm scholars sitting in their manuscript-lined studies. From one perspective, the story is one of misunderstandings, vicious personal attacks, distortions, violence, bribes, mutual excommunication, intervention by emperors, and the deposition and exile of bishops and others who lost in the struggle. From another perspective, the story is one of theological creativity that has shaped Christian beliefs for about fifteen centuries.”

"The Trinity is Like a 3-in-1 Shampoo”...and Other Stupid Statements

Alternate title: “Trinitarian Heresy 101”

Trinity

The traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity is commonly expressed as the statement that the one God exists as or in three equally divine “persons”, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Every significant concept in this statement (God, exists, as or in, equally divine, person) has been variously understood. The guiding principle has been the creedal declaration that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the New Testament are consubstantial (i.e. the same in substance or essence, Greek: homoousios). Because this shared substance or essence is a divine one, this is understood to imply that all three named individuals are divine, and equally so. Yet the three in some sense “are” the one God of the Bible.

Type I, Type II and Type III Trinitarianism

Seven years ago I sat down and drafted a template for debating Trinitarians. As part of this process, I identified three specific Trinitarian methodologies. I refer to them as Type I, Type II and Type III Trinitarianism.

How Jesus Became God

When we meet together each Sunday, at the opening of the service, it is quite common for presiding brothers in their public prayers to give thanks to God for the fact that we are able to meet together in “peace and safety.” That portion of their prayer concerning our being able to meet together in “peace and safety” is something that we can easily take for granted. These prayers remind us that we live in a country where we do not have to worry about being physically attacked by religious adversaries or arrested by our government for simply showing up here each Sunday to worship God according to our consciences. But for many people, for many centuries, in various lands,… for them this wasn’t always the case.

Incarnation Rebuttal: The Word Becoming Flesh?

The following is a transcription of a sermon by Bill Kynes, pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, in Annandale, Virginia, given on December 20, 2015. The title of his sermon was, “Incarnation: The Word Becoming Flesh.” I was in the audience listening to the pastor’s message and found myself disagreeing with much of what the pastor put forth. I decided to transcribe Pastor Kynes’ words (found in blue type-face) and insert my comments (found in black type-face) along the way.

Did Jesus Empty Himself of Any Divine Attributes?

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi, exhorting them to be humble and love one another (Philippians 2:1-4). Then he added what all modern scholars insist is a pre-existing hymn whose composer remains unknown. Paul introduces this hymn by telling readers, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (v. 5). Then he begins the hymn by saying, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men…” (vv. 6-7).

Did Jesus Indicate He Was God to the Rich Young Man?

Many people know about Jesus saying to a rich young man, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). The man elicited this remark by addressing him as “Good Teacher” (v. 17). Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (v. 18).

How Did Matthew Understand Isaiah’s Ascription of “Immanuel”?

Matthew says Jesus’ birth fulfilled Isaiah 7:14. He quotes it and explains as follows: “‘BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,’ which translated means, ‘GOD WITH US’” (Matthew 1:23).

Is Jesus God Because He Is the Son of God?

The New Testament (NT) repeatedly identifies Jesus as the Son of God. Mark writes, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). At Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration, the heavenly voice announced, “This is My beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). When Jesus later asked his apostles, “‘who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:15-16). And the author of the Gospel of John concludes, “these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). The central theme of all four NT gospels is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Can Jesus Be God If He Has a God?

Most Christians believe Jesus is God because that is what the institutional church has taught. And it has asserted that if anyone does not believe Jesus is God, that person is not a genuine Christian. But the Bible never supports this assertion.

Is Jesus “the Mighty God” in Isaiah 9:6?

Most Christians claim that Jesus is God, and one of their primary biblical passages they cite for support is Isaiah 9:6. It reads, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Is Trinitarianism Monotheistic?

The bedrock of normative Judaism has always been strict monotheism—the belief that there is numerically only one God, the God of Israel, whose name is YHWH, usually written as “Yahweh.” This belief in one God is what made a Jew a Jew. It distinguished Jews from their neighbours, who during antiquity were polytheistic.

Jesus: Middleman or the God-Man?

Some church fathers reckoned Jesus as a “God-man,” and Christians have been doing so ever since. Emil Brunner repeatedly does so in his classic defence of traditional Christology, The Mediator: A Study of the Central Doctrine of the Christian Faith.

Grammatical Problems with God’s Blood

Church fathers cited Acts 20:28 as an important New Testament (NT) text which supported their belief that Jesus was God. Some traditionalist Christians still do; but in recent times, their scholars have abandoned it as a support for Christ’s deity.

Pontifical Biblical Commission Rejects Common Interpretation of John 10:30

Ask most Christians who know the Bible, “Where does the Bible say Jesus claimed to be God?” and they’ll likely answer, “He said in John 10:30, ‘I and the Father are one.’” But that is a far cry from saying, “I am God,” or the like. One is struck with the thought, “Is that the best evidence Christians can provide that Jesus claimed to be God? If so, perhaps he never made such a claim.”

The Restitution of Jesus Christ: The Quest for the Historical Jesus

In the early centuries of church history, Christians became embroiled in many controversies about Jesus’ identity. Each time it happened, they fervently searched the Scriptures to defend their positions.¹⁶ These debates were often between two or three groups of professing Christians that were in opposition to each other. In fact, the major christological controversies of the early centuries of church history were of this latter type, in which all disputants appealed mostly to the New Testament, as well as patristic interpretations of it, in order to support their respective theses. Most of their arguments centered on the proper interpretation of the four gospels, especially the sayings of Jesus. An examination of these early, protracted, christological controversies confirms that the gospels of the NT require substantial analysis in order to determine how these documents identify Jesus.

The Strongest Biblical Evidence That Jesus Is God?

When the risen Jesus appeared to his gathered disciples on the first Easter evening, the Apostle Thomas was not present (John 20:19-24). The disciples later told him they had seen Jesus. Thomas said he would not believe unless he saw Jesus for himself (v. 25).

Two Persons or One Person?

The New Testament (NT) has two epistles whose authorship is accredited to the Apostle Peter. Titles of books and letters of the Bible were often penned after they were written and probably by a different hand. The early church unanimously accepted that Peter wrote 1 Peter; but for centuries the church disputed whether he wrote 2 Peter. Most modern, historical-critical, NT scholars have rejected that he did so. Since its salutation attests to Peter’s authorship, and for other reasons, I am inclined to accept that he did.

The False Trilemma: Was Jesus a Liar, Lunatic, or God?

None of the above. But that is what C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) asks in his little book, Mere Christianity (1943). It is one of the foremost apologetic works in the history of Christianity. In 2000, the premier American Christian magazine, Christianity Today, selected it as the #1 Christian book of the 20th century, that is, besides the Bible.

What Are the Claims of Christ?

Many Christians, mostly Evangelicals, speak of “the claims of Christ.” They usually mean that Jesus claimed things about his identity that are recorded in the New Testament (NT) people, called “traditionalists,” assert that the greatest claim Jesus ever made about himself was that he was God. But NT evidence reveals that this is their claim, not that of Jesus. Strong traditionalist Brian Hebblethwaite concedes, “it is no longer possible to defend the divinity of Jesus by reference to the claims of Jesus.”

The Formulation of Dogma: The Christ of the Creeds

We have examined some of the factors which led to the formulation of dogma in the early centuries of the Christian era and we have seen that the controversies and questions centred pre-eminently on the person of Jesus Christ. To review in any detail the steps by which formal definitions on these questions came to be laid down would require far more space than we have available and might prove tedious. It is proposed, however, to indicate in very broad outline the main periods in the development, so that the dogmas which were formed then and still remain part of the orthodox creed of the Established Church may be seen against their proper background.

The Person of Jesus: The Issue Today

The issue to-day is a fairly simple one. There may be various refinements of it in detail, but broadly three possible alternative views of the person of Christ present themselves:—

The Scriptural Doctrine of God

A Rather pretentious title hides more modest aims. It has been chosen because no other seemed to cover adequately the subjects whose examination is proposed, but it needs some explanation. What follows will not be an exhaustive survey of the Bible’s teaching about God. It will not (except very loosely) be systematic even in its own limited field. It will treat of certain controversial matters which closely concern our relationship to God, avoiding polemics, nevertheless, as much as it may. Though its theme is one which is often treated philosophically, and the views which it opposes are more often defended thus than scripturally, it will not itself venture more than timidly into philosophy.

The Great Trinity Debate: Bowman vs. Burke

If you consider yourself a non-Trinitarian believer in Jesus, do I have a challenge for you!” wrote evangelical Trinitarian Rob Bowman Jr. in 2010, on the theological website, www.reclaimingthemind.org.

History of Trinitarian Doctrines

This supplementary document discusses the history of Trinity theories. Although early Christian theologians speculated in many ways on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, no one clearly and fully asserted the doctrine of the Trinity as explained at the top of the main entry until around the end of the so-called Arian Controversy. (See 3.2 below and section 3.1 of the supplementary document on unitarianism.) Nonetheless, proponents of such theories always claim them to be in some sense founded on, or at least illustrated by, biblical texts.

Judaic and Islamic Objections to the Trinity

With rare exceptions atheists and naturalists don’t bother to criticize trinitarian doctrines, beyond the passing joke or dismissal, rightly seeing issues about monotheism generally, and about the teachings and status of Jesus Christ as more fundamental. Serious critics of trinitarian doctrines are nearly always fellow Abrahamic monotheists. Objections by Christians are discussed in the supplementary document on the history of trinitarian doctrines, section 2.2, and the supplementary document on unitarianism; here we survey Islamic and Judaic objections.

A Human Child is Born, A Human Son is Given

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

The Great Trinity Debate: Closing Statement

In previous weeks I have shown that my arguments are strongly supported by standard authorities and a broad range of recent Trinitarian scholarship. This week I will be summarising the key elements of the Biblical Unitarian position, identifying key weaknesses in the Trinitarian position, and weighing the evidence against three primary criteria: reason, Scripture and history.

The Great Trinity Debate: On God and Scripture

I would like to begin by thanking Rob Bowman [Jr.] and Michael Patton for giving me the opportunity to present and defend my faith. Before I commence my argument, I’ll take a little time to introduce myself, my beliefs and my approach to Scripture.

The Great Trinity Debate: On Jesus Christ

Jesus of Nazareth is the most important man who has ever lived. Christians are indebted to him for the hope that he offers, the sacrifice he offered on our behalf, and the special relationship with God that is made possible through him.

The Great Trinity Debate: On the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Part 5)

This week I hope Rob will show Biblical evidence for the essential relationship formulae of Trinitarianism:

The Great Trinity Debate: On the Holy Spirit

A notable feature of this debate has been the contrast between the exegetical methodologies of both sides. [My debate opponent] Rob [Bowman, Jr.] favours an approach that places great stress on the NT texts and interprets these in a Hellenistic way that frequently steps outside the first-century milieu, whereas I take a holistic approach which embraces the full range of data from OT and NT, and interprets them in a Hebraic way that is consistent with first-century Second Temple Judaism. This issue of context is central to our respective interpretations of Scriptural evidence and the conclusions that we derive from it.

The Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity

To the ordinary reader it may seem a little strange to commence a review of the history of a Christian doctrine with a survey of the teachings and views of Greek philosophers. But in fact it is impossible to understand the development of the Trinity without this background. It was not mere rhetoric when St. Augustine confessed that he was in the dark about the Trinity until he read the writings of Plato; or when he told some to go and learn the Trinity from the Platonists.²

The Holy Spirit: A Person or a Power?

This Appendix is an additional study to show the absurdity of viewing the Holy Spirit as a personality like the Father and Christ Jesus. Biblical teaching about the Holy Spirit is clear enough, but the options of men (prompted primarily by theological and philosophical speculations about the nature of material and spiritual substances originating near the fourth century) have clouded the whole issue. It is time that the biblical teachings about the Holy Spirit be restored to their proper place of recognition. Let us ask a series of questions about the Holy Spirit and then answer them briefly.

Trinity History: Alexander, Alexandria, Arius and the Council of Nicea

‎“When modern readers are introduced to the theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are sometimes shocked by ‎the atmosphere in which they took place. Those debates were not carried on by calm scholars sitting in their manuscript-lined ‎studies. From one perspective, the story is one of misunderstandings, vicious personal attacks, distortions, violence, bribes, ‎mutual excommunication, intervention by emperors, and the deposition and exile of bishops and others who lost in the struggle. ‎From another perspective, the story is one of theological creativity that has shaped Christian beliefs for about fifteen centuries.”‎

Unitarianism Defined: Antiquity and the History of Unitarianism

It is very frequently said, probably by those who are unaccustomed to this sort of investigation believed, that Unitarianism is of very recent origin, a very modem doctrine. But I affirm and hope to show that, on the contrary, it is very ancient; nay, the ancient, original, primitive Christianity—the Christianity of Christ. We claim to be Christians; not out of the Church, but in and of the Church, by virtue of holding the original faith of the Saviour and his Apostles. No Protestant, indeed, of any school or denomination, should be satisfied with believing any thing less of the antiquity of his own faith as attested by the Scriptures. A Romanist consistently may. The resort of Tradition and the Custody of the Church are open to him; and though an alleged doctrine be not patent on the face of Scripture, be not by mortals discoverable there, enough for him that in the wisdom of the Saviour it was deemed fit not to publish it so early, but to leave its keeping and transmission to the Church.

Unitarianism Defined: The Double Nature of Christ

I find myself unexpectedly, and before entering on the main theme of my present Lecture, obliged¹ to turn aside for a moment, and consider another. It is one on which I had deemed it scarcely necessary to spend breath, namely, the Doctrine, as it is theologically called, of the Double Nature of Christ, or the Hypostatic Union. The argument from Scripture is very limited. Besides two passages already fully commented on,² namely, the Proem of St. John’s Gospel, and a passage in the Epistle to the Philippians, there are but two others on which it has even the shadow of a foundation. Both occur in the Epistle to the Romans. In the first chapter³ St. Paul has these words: “His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God, with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” In the ninth chapter:4 “I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh… Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” The closing part of this second passage, I have already commented upon in another connection.⁵ Now remember, that the allegation of our Trinitarian brethren is, that Christ had two distinct and complete natures, Divine and Human; in the one he was God, in the other, Man. The question before us now, therefore, is, whether these passages sustain the allegation? It is made a question, bear in mind, as to nature; and because St. Paul, in the first, uses both the expressions, “according to the flesh,” and “according to the spirit of holiness,” with reference to our Lord—the one as being “of the seed of David,” the other as being “the Son of God with power”—here is proof, it is said, of his possessing two natures. But turn to the second passage. There you find the Apostle using the same phrase, “according to the flesh,” in regard to himself, in its obvious sense, without the least reference to any peculiarity of nature, which, of course, in his case, will not be pretended; but simply to the matter of descent from the common stock of all Israelites, by virtue of which he shared with them “the promises.” Why not, then, to Jesus, who, by universal consent, was “of the seed of David,” and therefore of “the fathers,” the patriarchs and founders of the nation; “of whom, as concerning” (the phrase in the Greek is the same, according to) “the flesh,” i.e. by natural descent, he “came,” and in correspondence with prophecy, must have come? There is no reasonable pretence for understanding the phrase rendered “according to the flesh,” and which is of frequent and invariable use elsewhere by St. Paul in his Epistles,⁶ with reference to natural descent, in any other sense in either passage. It cannot he interpreted with reference to his human, in contradistinction from his divine nature, except to make out a case, to support this mere hypothesis. Paul declares, that he “had been called to his Apostleship, to preach the Gospel of God, concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, (how carefully he distinguishes them!) who, he says, by natural or lineal descent, was of the house of David; but by the Holy Spirit was demonstrated to be the Son of God, with power, by his Resurrection from the dead.”⁷ Thus I paraphrase the first passage, to show its true meaning.

Unitarianism Defined: The Inferiority and Subordination of the Lord Jesus to the Only True God

My present object, as an expounder and defender of the Unitarian faith is, to show the Inferiority and Subordination of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the Only True God the Father; in contradistinction to the popular or orthodox belief of his Supreme Deity.

Unitarianism Defined: The Personality and Deity of the Holy Ghost

I come now to the main theme of the present Lecture, viz: The Personality and Deity of the Holy Ghost. And, to begin, what is precisely this doctrine of the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, which Unitarians reject? In the 5th of the thirty-nine “Articles of Religion” of the Protestant Episcopal Church, we read, that, “The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God;” conformably with the 1st Article: “In unity of the Godhead, there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Unitarianism Defined: The Unity of God and the Trinity

If any doctrine can be called fundamental to Revealed Religion, it must be that of the strict, simple, unqualified Unity of God. I take this to be universally admitted, nay, insisted on. There is not a more obvious truth in the Scriptures; none more coincident with their whole tenor and drift, or with their most express and positive declarations. Rightly interpreted, rightly understood, there is not even an intimation or hint of anything else. The language of the Bible upon this point is everywhere plain and explicit. The declaration recorded in the fourth verse of the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, then so solemnly made to the people of Israel through Moses; and afterwards in the coming in of the new and better dispensation, quoted and so emphatically affirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ in the twenty-ninth verse of the twelfth chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel—“Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One Lord”—is clear and indisputable. Unitarians, therefore, not only without hesitation, but in perfect harmony with the unambiguous language of Scripture, and on the express authority of Christ himself, affirm that GOD is ONE; in the strictest meaning of the word, ONE; One Person, One Being, One intelligent, conscious Mind. There are seventeen texts in the New Testament alone, in which He is expressly called the One or Only God. In thirteen hundred passages, the word God occurs; in not one of them is there any necessary implication, but directly the contrary, of a plurality of Persons in the Godhead. In but very few of them has it ever been pretended that such a plurality is even implied.

Unitarianism

The term “unitarian” was popularized in late 1680’s England as a less pejorative and more descriptive term than “Socinian” for Christians who hold God to be identical to one and only one divine self, the Father. It has since been used as a denominational label for several distinct groups, but it is here primarily used in the descriptive, generic sense just stated. (The capitalized “Unitarian” is occasionally used here in the denominational sense.) All these groups have been labeled “anti-trinitarian”. Although many unitarians have proudly flown the anti-trinitarian banner, others strenuously argued that they expounded the correct trinitarian doctrine, the difference being that the former were promoting rival denominations, while the latter sought to be included in mainstream groups (i.e., traditionally trinitarian churches, or ones which were often assumed to be).

Must Christians Have a Creed? The Bible Doctrine of God

If the Bible is the Word of God, it follows that Bible teaching concerning God is God’s teaching about Himself. That being so, there seems no reason why any unprejudiced reader of the Scriptures should withhold his assent to any aspect of the Bible doctrine of God. What God reveals about Himself must be true, and if we seek to modify or amend this Bible teaching in any particular, we infer quite definitely that God has given a distorted and therefore false revelation of Himself, and that He cannot therefore be believed in the matter, or else that part of what He has declared is of no consequence, and need not be taken seriously. Each of these alternatives is so evidently untenable that we must dismiss them both. We can only conclude that the sole logical alternative to entire belief is total disbelief. There is no intermediate stage in such a matter.

The Holy Ghost: Must Christians Have a Creed?

“I believe in the Holy Ghost.” This simple affirmation in the Apostles’ Creed commends itself to us because it is not cumbered with abstruse definitions and dubious arguments such as mar the later and much less generally accepted Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.

Must Christians Have a Creed: Who Was Jesus Christ?

Of all the official “creeds” of the principal churches of Christendom, none is so largely Scriptural as is the “Apostles’ Creed” of the Church of England. For whereas the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed seem to be the products of professional theologians, imposed on the members of the Church in order to settle (or stifle) controversy, and appear to bear all the expected signs of prolonged negotiation by successive Church Councils, the Apostles’ Creed, in striking contrast, is eminently suited in form and wording to the ordinary worshipper, and makes a delightfully simple Statement of Faith, which is what a “creed” should be.

St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies

Trying to explain the Trinity in simple terms is nearly impossible. In an attempt to explain their belief, the Trinitarian often resorts to using analogies. But this method is fraught with historic problems. Using analogies to explain the belief that God is one being consisting of three persons is a sure-fire way to fall into condemnation. You are bound to repeat some ancient heresy condemned by a Church council through your analogy. Let the patron saint of the Irish show you the problem.

Five Major Problems With The Trinity: Approaching the Matter from the Inside

The doctrine of the Trinity is analyzed and carefully refuted, with five major problems highlighted:

Do the NT Authors Assume that God is the Trinity, or the Father?

Were the authors of the New Testament trinitarians, or were they unitarians? Or are they just confused about whether the one God is the Trinity or the Father? This episode is a talk by Prof. Dale Tuggy given on May 26, 2017 at the University of Augsburg (in the state of Bavaria, Germany) at the conference Trinitarian Theology: Confirmation or Transformation of Classical Theism? In this talk it is argued that fifteen undeniable observations about the New Testament strongly confirm the unitarian hypothesis over its rivals. That is, these observations provide strong evidence that these authors assume that the one God is the Father alone.

Shema Pentecostals (Listen, Ye Pentecostals)!

Pastor J. Dan Gill, speaks to his fellow Pentecostals regarding the Oneness of God. This challenging message questions one of the foundational beliefs of the Oneness Movement and was presented at a former Oneness Church in Texas in 2017.

Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed, or Quicunque Vult (also Quicumque Vult), is a Christian statement of belief focused on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicunque vult, is taken from the opening words, “Whosoever wishes”. The creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated. It differs from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Apostles’ Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the creed (like the original Nicene Creed).

Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed (Greek: Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας or τῆς πίστεως, Latin: Symbolum Nicaenum) is a profession of faith widely used in Christian liturgy.

Racovian Catechism

The Racovian Catechism (Pol.: Katechizm Rakowski) is a nontrinitarian statement of faith from the 16th century. The title Racovian comes from the publishers, the Polish Brethren, who had founded a sizeable town in Raków, Kielce County, where the Racovian Academy and printing press was founded by Jakub Sienieński in 1602.

Arius vs. Athanasius

In a rare presentation, Richard Rubenstein, author and professor of Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, addresses a conference of One God believers in Atlanta. Rubenstein brings exceptional insights into the great Christian conflicts that surrounded the “Arian” controversy and particularly the council of Nicea in 325 AD. His message important for everyone with an interest in church history, the development of post-biblical Christian orthodoxy and/or conflict resolution.

Shema Pentecostals (Listen, Ye Pentecostals)!

Pastor J. Dan Gill, speaks to his fellow Pentecostals regarding the Oneness of God. This challenging message questions one of the foundational beliefs of the Oneness Movement and was presented at a former Oneness Church in Texas in 2017.

On the Errors of The Trinity

Since its components began to be officially codified at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the doctrine of the Trinity has been a topic that has caused great confusion and uncertainty for many truth-seeking Christians. This 16-hour seminar, by Don Snedeker, is filled with fascinating quotes from many Christians through the centuries who recognized that the Trinity has no biblical basis, and who stood firm against opposition and persecution for not believing it. Don aptly shows how critical it is for Christians to truly understand who Jesus Christ really is and what is his relationship to God, not only so they can make a rational defense of our faith, but so they can experience a relationship with God similar to that which Jesus had.

Is the Trinity Biblical?

Patrick Navas has been a Bible student for the last fourteen years—ever since one of the Gideons handed him a free pocket New Testament and he was gripped by John 3:16. In his quest to understand Christianity he quickly learned that there were quite a few differences between various groups which all claimed to have the truth. This propelled Patrick into long years of study as he researched the biggest question of all—who is God?

How Jesus Became God

Listen to a brief history of the doctrine of the Trinity, how it became part of the Christian mainstream belief system, and the problems associated with the Trinitarian creeds. This lecture was inspired by the book When Jesus Became God by Richard E. Rubenstein.

A Restorationist Discovers the God of Jesus

Kegan Chandler grew up as a bible-believing Christian in Texas. His grandfather, Pat E. Harrell, was a leader within Church of Christ who founded their Restoration Quarterly publication. As a result of his grandparents’ and parents’ passion for God, Chandler grew up in a family steeped in bible study and theological reflection. One day the Mormon’s came knocking and Chandler, the consummate apologist and champion of orthodoxy, licked his lips at the chance to set them straight. However, in the course of that conversation, one of the missionaries asked Chandler, “Well, who do you say that Jesus is?” Strangely enough, this one question caught him off guard. The young man wasn’t asking, “Who do your parents, your pastor, or your seminary say that Jesus is?” but “Who do you say that Jesus is?” The intensely personal nature of this question started Chandler on a quest to firm up his orthodox answer, which eventually led to a complete reconsideration of his beliefs about God, Jesus, and the spirit. Over the course of several years, he came to see the bible from a more Hebrew perspective. After intense bible study and a thorough investigation into church history, he discovered the God of Jesus. Here is his story.

An Analytic Philosopher Unleashes Logic on the Trinity

In this conversation Prof. Dale Tuggy discusses the logical and biblical problems with the Trinity. Dr. Tuggy is an analytic philosopher who works on world religions and the doctrine of the Trinity. He’s a tenured professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Dr. Tuggy also wrote the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the Trinity, including a very informative supplemental reading called “unitarianism.”

Five Major Problems With The Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is analyzed and carefully refuted, with five major problems highlighted:

Studying the Trinity, Discovering God Is One (Sean Holbrook)

Sean Holbrook was attending a typical evangelical church when he heard a series of sermons teaching the Trinity. Ironically, these very messages, designed to bolster faith in the doctrine, ended up inspiring Holbrook to question the age old dogma. As a result, he set out to study the topic more and watched James White debates and read his book The Forgotten Trinity. Once again, what was meant to convince Holbrook of the Trinity opened his eyes to more flaws and shaky logic that spurred him on to study the subject even further. After much investigation and careful consideration, he concluded the Bible teaches that the Father of Jesus is the only true God.

Master’s University Professor Finds Son of God, Loses Job (Bill Schlegel)

Bill Schlegel, professor and cofounder of The Master’s University extension program in Israel (IBEX), was studying the phrase “Son of God” and came to understand the term did not correlate with the traditional Trinitarian “God the Son” teaching, but instead meant, as Peter confessed from Psalms 2, that Jesus was God’s heir, the king he has designated to rule the world. Although Schlegel had taught the Bible faithfully in Israel for more than two decades, he knew that this discovery would cost him dearly. In the end he lost his job at the institution he founded as well as any opportunity to preach and lead the church he helped to start. He’s been maligned by many who used to regard him as a brother and blackballed in the evangelical world. Why would Professor Schlegel go through all of this? Why wouldn’t he just sign the statement of faith for another year and carry on in his work? He had discovered a truth so profound and so irrefutable, that he could not hide it under a basket–he had to let it shine, even if it cost him everything. Here is his story.

Pagan Influences on the Development of the Trinity

In this audio interview, Kegan Chandler talks about the history of trinitarian theology and about his book, The God of Jesus in Light of Christian Dogma. If you are at all interested in the history of ideas that influenced what Christians believed about Jesus in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, this episode is for you. Chandler discusses how Plato’s Greek philosophy influenced Christian theologians as well as how the Gnostics not only anticipated much trinitarian language, but also how they influenced “orthodox” theology. After exposing the pagan influences on the development of the Trinity, Chandler goes on to offer a better way of reading the New Testament: through the lens of second temple Judaism rather than reading Greek metaphysical ideas into scripture.

The Arian Controversy

Alex Hall tells the story of how the Christian church vacillated between Arius and Athanasius during the fourth century. By focusing on the dueling Church councils during that period (A.D. 318–381) Alex paints a picture, which, although disturbing to those of us who would like to think that such matters as the nature and identity of Jesus were always clear, accurately describes how politics heavily influenced the development of Christology during that time. And more importantly, how the victors in this controversy changed much of Church history. As George Orwell, once said in 1984:

Is Belief in the Trinity Necessary for Salvation?

During over three decades of ministry, Tennessee pastor J. Dan Gill has observed a tendency within the Evangelical movement to preach the gospel without telling people about the doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, large Billy Graham crusades fail to inform people about the existence of a Trinity at all. Is this modern tendency good news or bad news? Some, in their zeal to uphold their denomination’s traditions have declared that those who do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, or the dual natures of Christ, are not Christians. Who is right?

A Journey to Monotheism

Nathan Crowder earned bachelor degrees from the University of Florida in Political Science and Zion Bible Institute in Theology and Pastoral Ministry. Throughout his Christian life he has diligently searched to discover biblical truth. This quest began when he discovered that the Bible taught that the destination of the redeemed was the kingdom of God on earth in fulfillment of the promises made by God to Abraham and David. He was surprised to learn while at Bible College that they did not teach this simple truth but instead ascribed to the mythological view that at death righteous souls escape the body to go to heaven. This first discovery prompted more investigation and more skepticism in regard to other teachings commonly accepted in mainstream Christianity.

What Is the Trinity: Thinking About the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit

Do you know what the Trinity is? Could you explain it to someone else or is it just a confusing collection of impenetrable statements hidden under a cloud of fog? In his recent book, What is the Trinity?, Professor Dale Tuggy seeks to clarify everyone’s perceptions of the various Trinity theories so that we can have productive conversation on the subject. He delves deep into the various key concepts like explaining various ways of thinking about persons and essence (ousia) to help you make sense of it all. Whether you believe in the Trinity or not, this interview will help you understand how to have more focused and profitable conversation on this important doctrine.

Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird Debate on How Jesus Became God

A critical review of a debate/discussion between Dr. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Michael Bird, held at the at the 2016 Greer-Heard Point Counter Point Forum in February 12–13, 2016 at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

10 Mistakes Apologists’ Make About the Trinity

Apologetics is hard, because it’s hard be an expert on more than a few subjects. There’s a strong pressure to just recycle bad arguments and wrongheaded claims propounded by other apologists. “The” doctrine of the Trinity is a popular subject of attack and defense, and the topic is difficult, so here as much as anywhere in apologetics, we find this sort of recycling.

Two Perspectives on the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early Church

Is the doctrine of the Trinity articulated in the New Testament? In what ways did the Early Christian Church understand the metaphysics of the Trinity? What motivated the Early Church to describe the Son and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons of a triadic formula on God?

Pastor J. Dan Gill’s “The One: In Defense of God"

Pastor J. Dan Gill was a third-generation Oneness (aka “Jesus only”) Pentecostal. The Oneness movement has historically rejected the mainstream doctrine of the Trinity. Gill was well-entrenched in that community and well-versed in its theology. But over time, he started to notice a disconnect between the Oneness way of talking about Jesus and what he read in the Bible. As a result, Gill began to investigate the matter.

The Spirit of Division (Heresy): Athanasius and His “On the Nicene Council"

With this episode Prof. Dale Tuggy continues his series on the 4th-century creed-producing councils of catholic bishops and focuses on one bad player: Athanasius of Alexandria (Egypt). 

The Council of Nicea

What happened at the famous council of bishops of Nicea, convened by the emperor Constantine in the year 325? What did this group say about the God the Father, and the Son of God, in opposition to Arius and his supporters? In this episode, we hear their creed, and put it into the historical and theological context of its own time.

Dr. William Hasker on the "Arian" Controversy

Was the Council of Nicea (325) a defense and re-affirmation of core catholic theology? And did the Council of Constantinople (381) merely re-affirm Nicea, and slightly clean up its language and the details of its theology?In this episode, analytic theologian Dr. William Hasker gives his perspective on these fourth century events, reading from his Metaphysics and the Tripersonal God. He contrasts a traditional understanding of these events with a clearer view based on careful historical investigation, such as that in Dr. Lewis Ayres’ Nicea and Its Legacy. And following Ayres, he discusses what “Pro-Nicene” theology is, as exemplified by “the Cappadocian Fathers.”

A Triad of Book Reviews: What is the Trinity?

Curious Christians rightly ask: what is the Trinity? This question is especially pressing for Protestants, for they claim to base their theology on scripture, and yet when we look in the Bible, there is no passage which clearly lays out this idea that God is three “Persons” in one “substance.” In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy reviews three Protestant treatments from three books, all bearing the same title: What is the Trinity?

Do the NT Authors Assume God is the Trinity, or the Father?

Were the authors of the New Testament trinitarians, or were they unitarians? Or are they just confused about whether the one God is the Trinity or the Father? This episode is a talk by Prof. Dale Tuggy given on May 26, 2017 at the University of Augsburg (in the state of Bavaria, Germany) at the conference Trinitarian Theology: Confirmation or Transformation of Classical Theism? In this talk it is argued that fifteen undeniable observations about the New Testament strongly confirm the unitarian hypothesis over its rivals. That is, these observations provide strong evidence that these authors assume that the one God is the Father alone.

Flames, Tears and the Athanasian Creed: Peter Abelard and His Trinitarian Troubles

Peter Abelard (1079–April 21, 1142) was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. A contemporary described Abelard as “more subtle and more learned than ever.” Abelard’s studies led him to reject the Athanasian Creed, yet in 1121, he was summoned to appear before a council, condemned, and forced to recite the Athanasian Creed. His book, in which he expressed his understanding of the Trinity, was consigned to the flames. He was then sentenced to imprisonment. In his despair, he fled to a desert place in the neighbourhood of Troyes.

A Guide for the Perplexed: Three Incomprehensibles

From prolific philosopher-theologian Keith Ward’s God: A Guide for the Perplexed:

James White’s Case for the Trinity Examined

Some would say that Reformed apologist Dr. James White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, is the best contemporary debater on behalf of traditional catholic views on the Trinity. Certainly, he’s had time and opportunity to sharpen his arguments, having debated the Trinity and/or the “deity of Christ” with (among others) a Muslim scholar, some biblical unitarians (also here), a Oneness Pentecostal, and a defender of Jehovah’s Witnesses theology.

The Athanasian Creed: The Place to Start

The Athanasian Creed is the statement most Christian philosophers start with when they try to construct a self-consistent and plausible way of interpreting the claim that God is three equally divine “persons.” Of uncertain origin, the creed rose to prominence in the Roman Catholic through the middle ages, and then in other traditions, including Protestantism.

The Second Sirmian Creed (357 AD)

In this episode we first hear about the years between 351 and 357, including some now obscure councils, the interesting case of bishop of Ossius of Cordova, the religious policy of emperor Constantius II, and his struggles with Athanasius. We then hear the creed from the second council at Sirmium, and why it was labelled as “blasphemy” by some Nicenes. Often derided even today as “Arian,” it did not assert or defend any of the distinctive theses of Arius which had been condemned by many councils dating back to 325. But it was strongly in the two-hypostasis (two being) school of thought when it came to God and his Logos.

Ware’s Outline of the Testimony of Scripture Against the Trinity

Henry Ware, Jr. (1794-1843) was a Unitarian minister in Boston from 1807-1830, and then Professor of Pulpit Eloquence and the Pastoral Care at Harvard Divinity School from 1830-1842. He authored not only sermons and works of theology, but also poetry and fiction.

Creed; Creeds

By “creed” we understand the systematic statement of religious faith; and by the creeds of the Christian church we mean the formal expression of “the faith which was delivered unto the saints.” The word is derived from the first word of the Latin versions of the Apostles’ Creed, and the name is usually applied to those formulas known as the Apostles’, the Nicene and the Athanasian creeds.

Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity in the godhead includes the three following particulars, viz. (a) There is only one God, one divine nature; (b) but in this divine nature there is the distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as three (subjects or persons); and (c) these three-have equally, and in common with one another, the nature and perfection of supreme divinity. It was the custom in former times for theologians to blend their own speculations and those of others with the statement of the Bible doctrine. It is customary now to exhibit first the simple doctrine of the Bible, and afterwards, in a separate part, the speculations of the learned respecting it.

1st Ecumenical Council of Nikea with the Condemned Arius

Athanasian Creed

Constantine and Bishops holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (icon)

Athanasian Creed

Council of Nicaea 325 (1590 fresco)

Athanasian Creed

First Council of Nicea (325) (icon)

Athanasian Creed

Holy Trinity

Athanasian Creed

Shield of the Trinity (Scutum Fidei diagram)

Athanasian Creed

Athanasius of Alexandria

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (/ˌæθəˈneɪʃəs/; Greek: Ἀθανάσιος Ἀλεξανδρείας, Athanásios Alexandrías; c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (as Athanasius I). His episcopate lasted 45 years (c. 8 June 328 – 2 May 373), of which over 17 were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman emperors. Athanasius was a Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.

Consubstantiality

Consubstantial (Latin: consubstantialis) is an adjective used in Latin Christian christology, coined by Tertullian in Against Hermogenes 44, used to translate the Greek term homoousios. “Consubstantial” describes the relationship among the Divine persons of the Christian Trinity and connotes that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost are “of one substance” in that the Son is “begotten” “before all ages” or “eternally” of the Father’s own being, from which the Spirit also eternally “proceeds.” In Latin languages it is the term for homoousism.

First Council of Nicaea

The First Council of Nicea (/naɪˈsiːə/; Greek: Νίκαια [ˈni:kaɪja]) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea (currently called Iznik, Bursa province, Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. This first ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, although previous councils, including the first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem, had met before to settle matters of dispute. It was presided over by Hosius, bishop of Corduba who was in communion with the See of Rome.

Homoiousian

A homoiousian (from the Greek: ὁμοιούσιος from ὅμοιος, hómoios, “similar” and οὐσία, ousía, “essence, being”) was a member of 4th-century AD theological party which held that God the Son was of a similar, but not identical, substance or essence to God the Father. Proponents of this view included Eustathius of Sebaste and George of Laodicea. Homoiousianism arose in the early period of the Christian religion out of a wing of Arianism. It was an attempt to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable views of the pro-Nicene homoousians, who believed that God the Father and Jesus his son were identical (ὁμός, homós) in substance, with the “neo-Arian” position that God the Father is “incomparable” and therefore the Son of God can not be described in any sense as “equal in substance or attributes” but only “like” (ὅμοιος, hómoios) the Father in some subordinate sense of the term.

Homoousian

Homoousion (/ˌhɒmoʊˈuːsiən/ HOM-oh-OO-see-ən; Greek: ὁμοούσιος, translit. homooúsios, lit. ‘one in being’, from ὁμός, homós, “same” and οὐσία, ousía, “being”) is a Christian theological doctrine pertaining to the Trinitarian understanding of God. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being ὁμοούσιος with God the Father, i.e. Jesus is “one in being” with the Father. The term was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea to clarify the nature of the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead. In Latin, and in Romance languages that lack a present participle of the verb be, the term is rendered consubstantialis or a translation thereof. It is one of the cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity.

Homoousion

Homoousion (/ˌhɒmoʊˈuːsiən/ HOM-oh-OO-see-ən; Greek: ὁμοούσιος, translit. homooúsios, lit. ‘one in being’, from ὁμός, homós, “same” and οὐσία, ousía, “being”) is a Christian theological doctrine pertaining to the Trinitarian understanding of God. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being ὁμοούσιος with God the Father, i.e. Jesus is “one in being” with the Father. The term was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea to clarify the nature of the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead. In Latin, and in Romance languages that lack a present participle of the verb be, the term is rendered consubstantialis or a translation thereof. It is one of the cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity.

Nontrinitarianism

Nontrinitarianism refers to belief systems within Christianity that reject the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity—the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases or persons who are coeternal, coequal, and indivisibly united in one being, or essence (from the Greek ousia). Certain religious groups that emerged during the Protestant Reformation have historically been known as antitrinitarian.

Polish Brethren

The Polish Brethren (Polish: Bracia Polscy) were members of the Minor Reformed Church of Poland, a Nontrinitarian Protestant church that existed in Poland from 1565 to 1658. By those on the outside, they were called “Arians” or “Socinians” (Polish: arianie, socynianie), but themselves preferred simply to be called “Brethren” or “Christians,” and, after their expulsion from Poland, “Unitarians”.

Semi-Arianism

Semi-Arianism was a position regarding the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God, adopted by some 4th century Christians. Though the doctrine modified the teachings of Arianism, it still rejected the doctrine that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of the same substance, or con-substantial, and was therefore considered to be heretical by many contemporary Christians. Semi-Arianism is a name frequently given to the Trinitarian position of the conservative majority of the Eastern Christian Church in the 4th century, to distinguish it from strict Arianism.

Trinity

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. ‘triad’, from trinus, “threefold”) holds that God is three consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—as “one God in three Divine Persons”. The three persons are distinct, yet are one “substance, essence or nature” (homoousios). In this context, a “nature” is what one is, whereas a “person” is who one is.

Unitarianism

Unitarianism is historically a Christian theological movement named for the affirmation that God is one entity, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism, which defines God as three persons in one being. Traditional Unitarians maintain that Jesus of Nazareth is in some sense the “son” of God (as all humans are children of the Creator), but that he is not the one God himself. They may believe that he was inspired by God in his moral teachings and can thus be considered a savior, but all Unitarians perceive Christ as human rather than a Deity. Unitarianism is also known for the rejection of several other Western Christian doctrines, including the soteriological doctrines of original sin and predestination, and, in more recent history, biblical inerrancy. Unitarians in previous centuries accepted the doctrine of punishment in an eternal hell, but few do today.