Bible Articles on the Topic of Three in one

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

Church Fathers Quoted the Comma?

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)

Heavenly False Witness?

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)

Us

The helpful note in the NIV Study Bible on Genesis 1:26 points out that God involved His angels in some way with creation. Angels, when they appear, look like men (Genesis 18:2). Both man and angels bear a resemblance to God Himself.

Into The Name

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost...”

Preexistence and the Jewish Messiah

Jewish authors and sages had a very specific way of emphasizing the great importance they attached to certain central values in Jewish life and thought: they made statements to the effect that the features in question were preexistent in the sense that they were either actually created in the six days of Genesis or their idea came up before God at that seminal time. Among them they mentioned the Tora, Repentance, the Garden of Eden and Gehenna, God’s Throne of Glory, the Fathers, Israel, the Temple — and the Messiah. Of these various entities to which preexistence was ascribed, the Messiah is mentioned in a much earlier literary source that the others. He first appears as preexistent in the apocryphal First Book of Enoch, which was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic about 150 B.C.E. From that period on, the concept of the Messiah who was created in the six days of Creation, or even prior to them, or who was born at variously stated subsequent dates and was then hidden to await his time, became a standard feature of Jewish Messianic eschatology. In one version it is the name of the Messiah which was created in the Beginning; in another, his spirit or his soul; in a third, he himself was actually born and even his celestial throne was fashioned.

Preexistence: On the Eve of the First Sabbath

6. Ten things were created at twilight of Shabbat eve. These are: the mouth of the earth [that swallowed Korach]; the mouth of [Miriam’s] well; the mouth of [Balaam’s] ass; the rainbow; the manna; [Moses’] staff; the shamir; the writing, the inscription and the tablets [of the Ten Commandments]. Some say also the burial place of Moses and the ram of our father Abraham. And some say also the spirits of destruction as well as the original tongs, for tongs are made with tongs.

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.”

Let Us

Trinitarians . . . sometimes advance the statement in Genesis 1:26 as proof (in contradiction of the evidence of thousands of singular pronouns denoting the One God) that a plurality of persons in the Godhead was responsible for the creation. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” This argument is precarious. Modern scholars no longer take the Hebrew phrase, “Let Us” or the word elohim (God) to mean a plurality of God persons as creator. It is most likely that the plural pronoun “us” contains a reference to the One God’s attendant council of angels,¹ who themselves had been created in the image of God and had been witnesses to the creation of the universe (Job 38:7). It is fanciful to imagine that this verse supports the idea that God was speaking to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where in Scripture does God ever speak to His own Spirit? The text says nothing at all about an eternal Son of God, the second member of a coequal Trinity. Moreover, the “us” of the text gives no indication of two other equal partners in the Godhead. If God is a single person, His use of the word “us” means that He is addressing someone other than Himself, i.e., other than God . ..

NET Trinitarian Bias

Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5, NET)

Pre-existence From a First-Century Perspective

All the authors of the Bible (with perhaps the exception being Luke) were Jews, and they thought, lived, and wrote entirely within a Hebraic framework. The Bible and the Talmud both provide many examples of where, when a Jew wished to designate something as predestined, the Jew spoke of it as already “existing” in heaven. Thus “pre-existence” statements in the New Testament really have to do with foreknowledge, foreordination and predestination. One of the most prominent scholars in modern christological studies, Larry Hurtado, states that, “There is today a virtual consensus among scholars that the pre-Christian Jewish tradition provides the most important background for the idea of pre-existence in the NT.” In other words, in order to understand the New Testament references involving pre-existence, it is important to read those texts from a first-century Jewish perspective.

The Nature of Preexistence in the New Testament

“Within the Christian tradition, the New Testament has long been read through the prism of the later conciliar creeds...Speaking of Jesus as the Son of God had a very different connotation in the first century from that which it has had ever since the Council of Nicea (325 AD). Talk of his preexistence ought probably in most, perhaps in all, cases to be understood on the analogy of the pre-existence of the Torah, to indicate the eternal divine purpose being achieved through him, rather than pre-existence of a fully personal kind” (Maurice Wiles, The Remaking of Christian Doctrine, The Hulsean Lectures, 1973, London: SCM Press, 1974).

Early Church Fathers: No Room for Trinitarian Teaching

“The object of our worship is the One God” (Tertullian: Apology, xvii).

Thomas Jefferson and the Doctrine of the Trinity

The following are excerpts from Thomas Jefferson’s Deistic refutations of the Trinity.

Christianity Claims To Be A Monotheistic Religion

The Absolute Being, then, is necessarily a Spirit. He is also necessarily Alone. He is the One and only God... Polytheism is its negation, its denial. If there are more gods than one, it is clear that none of them can be perfect, or they would not all exist; none of them is all-sufficient for the task of making and ruling the universe. It demands their united powers. And, in fact, the old Pagans never thought of their gods as perfect. Each god was a monarch reigning over a separate realm, with which the others might not interfere. Like monarchs, too, they often fought with each other for mastery, and one or other of them was beaten.

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:

A Muslim’s Reply to Christianity

Christians and Muslims who learn something of one another’s religion find that a crucial issue is the nature of Jesus. The majority of Christians deify Jesus while Muslims say that he was no more than a prophet of God, a faultless human being. The doctrine of the Trinity avows that three distinct co-equals are God. In particular, Jesus is said to be God the Son, or the Son of God. As the Muslim questions details of this theology, the Christian characteristically forms a common explanation for our differences: He complains that Muslims do not understand the Trinity; that we are actually accusing Christians of Tritheism and other heresies.

Adam Clarke, John Milton, Buswell and the Eternally Begotten Son of God

Various voices have been raised in protest against what later became the Church’s official version of the origins of the Son of God. His beginning was supposed to have been in pre-history. He was presented as an apparent rival to the One God, coequal with Him in every way, even self-existent. Because the language of begetting was biblical it was maintained but emptied of recognizable meaning. Commentator Adam Clarke was one of many who protested about the garbled language attributing a non-biblical Sonship to Jesus:

Adam Pastor: Unitarian Mennonite

In 1546 an unnamed Flemish anti-Trinitarian visited the colony of radical Anabaptists who had taken refuge in Poland. G. H. Williams¹ surmises that this may well have been the unitarian Mennonite, Adam Pastor (b. ca. 1510). Pastor, who on joining the Anabaptists had changed his name from Rudolph Martens, was a former Roman Catholic priest. He had thrown in his lot with the Anabaptists in 1533, probably in Munster. He was ordained as an evangelist and soon distinguished himself by opposing the spiritualism of David Joris. At this stage of his career Pastor worked closely with Menno Simons and Dietrich Philips. In 1547, however, it became apparent that Pastor differed sharply from the Melchiorite Christology of Menno. The Melchiorites believed that even the flesh of Christ was not derived from Mary, but had descended from heaven. For Pastor this belief seemed plainly to threaten the humanity of Christ. Pastor declared himself a unitarian, holding that Christ did not exist as the Son of God before his conception, and that his divinity was derived from the fact that God dwelt in him, not because of an “eternal generation.” A meeting to discuss these differences was held at Emden in 1547, and the following year, at Goch, Simons and Philips officially excommunicated Pastor for his unorthodox Christology.

Cause for Alarm!

Scholars use a lot of (I think wasted) energy trying  to find out what Jesus said, believing that you have to guess at this, since no one knows if Jesus said things reported of him in our Bibles, or whether the later church put words back in his mouth! You can imagine how devastating this technique is to the comfort and instruction which many of us seek in Scripture and the precious words of Jesus, the Master teacher.

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.

Confusing the Two Lords of Psalms 110:1

This magazine deliberately urges believers to think deeply about the identities of the Son of God, Jesus, and of God, who is the God and Father of Jesus. We encourage a complete rethinking of traditional Christology in the light of the all-important oracle provided by Psalms 110:1. This verse is precious to New Testament writers. It is a star witness, summoned over and over again in the New Testament. New Testament writers of Scripture quote it or allude to it more than any other text of the Hebrew Scriptures, by far. They wanted the voice of Jesus to be heard, since it was Jesus who silenced all objectors by citing the divine oracle of Psalms 110:1. Jesus loved this Psalm because his Father’s amazing immortality plan was revealed in it.

Incarnation Derives From the Hellenistic World

In his great study of pre-existence christology, Born Before All Time?, my Tübingen colleague Karl-Josef Kuschel has been able to show convincingly that the Pauline statements about the sending of the Son of God do not presuppose any pre-existence of Christ as a heavenly being, understood in mythological terms, but must similarly be seen against a Jewish background, namely in the context of the prophetic tradition. As he points out: ‘The metaphor of “sending” (borrowed from the prophetic tradition) expresses the conviction that the person and work of Jesus do not originate within history but are completely the result of God’s initiative.’²² ‘Paul’s confessions are about the origin, derivation and presence of Christ, from God and in God, but not about a temporally isolated “existence” before the creation of the world...”²³

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)

John and Jewish Preexistence: Christology of the Fourth Gospel

The Gospel of John has been a hotbed of arguments, disputes, and disagreements ever since it was composed some two thousand years ago. Even now, modern preachers and theologians have become accustomed to interpreting the Fourth Gospel to the exclusion of the voices represented in its Synoptic counterparts, often going so far as pitting John’s christology directly against what is taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. More to the point, christological treatments of John’s Gospel are regularly detached from the vital and necessary context of the Jewish mindset in which the author lived and breathed. The unfortunate side effect of such interpretations results in expositors preferring their reading of the christological texts in John over and against the other voices in the Bible. The historian Roger Haight states that this observation is not simply a modern phenomenon, noting that, “[a]fter the New Testament period, the understanding of Jesus Christ became governed by the framework and language of the Prologue of John’s Gospel. The Jesus who was the subject matter of christology ceased to be the Jesus of the synoptics.”¹ Is this not, in effect, a canon within the canon?

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)

Post-Apostolic Clues: The Incarnation and the Trinity

The Apostle Paul wrote to his missionary associate, Timothy, about those who taught in opposition to Paul’s teaching. He said, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound word, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words” (1 Timothy 6:3-4 NASB). And Paul wrote similarly in a later letter to Timothy, “Retain sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13 NASB). So, Paul says to guard the true doctrine by using sound words. Both verses in the Greek text use the words hugiaino and logos, meaning “healthy words.”

Sophia in Rabbinic Hermeneutics and the Curious Christian Corollary

Canaanite and Israelite tradition celebrated Sophia as divine being or agent in creation, providence, and salvation well into Second Temple Judaism producing two strands of Sophianology which influenced biblical interpretation in Gnostic, Rabbinic, and Christian thought. Enochian apocalyptic tradition shaped Gnostic and Christian hermeneutics; while the wisdom traditions of Ben Sirach and Philo expressed the type of perspective more plainly evident in Rabbinic thought. By the fourth century CE, Sophia, the preexistent deity or deity agent who gave form to the universe and wisdom to the pious and learned, became the immanent human experience of illumination and wisdom, in that, for Rabbinics, Torah became the preexistent source of redemptive divine wisdom and power, and for Christianity Jesus took that place. Gnosticism persisted in an apocalyptic model with a deified though ambiguous Sophia, uneclipsed by a redemptive agent such as Jesus or Torah.

The Ambiguity of the Word “Trinity"

It is easy to forget that “Trinity” was once a puppy, a neologism. But it was. It was born some time in the second half of the second century. We don’t know who coined it, but the earliest surviving mention of it is by Theophilus, bishop of Antioch (d. c. 185). Commenting on the Genesis days of creation, in his remarks on the fourth day, he says that

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)

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.”

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.

From the Foundation of the World

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

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.

By Most Careful Personal Examination

It is a little known fact that no major English Bible translation ever uses the words “incarnate” or “incarnation.”¹ When you hear pastors make reference to “the incarnation,” or that “God was incarnate,” they allude to 1 Timothy 3:16, a text which has been translated in several ways (on account of variations in the Greek manuscripts). The King James and NKJ versions translate the verse in the following manner:

The Word Had Created Him, Not He the Word

It must be observed that John never represents Jesus as God but always as the Son of God. The whole purpose of his writing, he declares, is” that ye may believe that Jesus is, the Christ, the Son of God.” So the separation of Father and Son is always observed and the Song of Solomon always appears as subordinate to the Father: it is, for example, the Father Who sent the Son into the world. Again Jesus never proclaims himself as God but deliberately emphasises his dependence upon God in all things. He can do nothing of himself, and he does not speak of himself but as he has been commanded by the Father; when he claims to reveal that Father to men, it is as the Son of God: and, when he affirms his unity with God, it is a unity which can be enjoyed also by those who become his disciples. The only possible exception to this is the language occasionally used by Jesus which suggests some sort of pre-existence.

The Authorised Version

While it is true that the great majority of versions produced since 1611 were translated by Trinitarians, it was the King James Version which set the tone by mistranslating John 1:3,4. The rendering of the Greek pronoun autou by ‘him’ is incorrect because, although logos (word) is a masculine noun in Greek, it is a neuter noun in English, and therefore the English pronoun should be neuter, that is, ‘it’, rather than the masculine ‘him’.

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).

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 the Son of Man Divine?

Jesus’ favourite title he applied to himself was “the Son of Man.” The New Testament (NT) gospels relate he did so on about 39 occasions, and it was only him who did.

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.

Was Jesus “Making Himself Equal with God”?

Once when Jesus attended one of the feasts at Jerusalem, he saw a man sitting by a pool of water who had been paralyzed, apparently from the waist down, for thirty-eight years. Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your pallet [bedding], and walk” (John 5:8). The man did so, it was the Sabbath, and he was accused of breaking it.

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.”

What Was Paul’s Christology?

The Apostle Paul espouses different, yet quite complementary, christologies in his New Testament (NT) letters. Yet none of them identify Jesus as God, and some of them indicate that Jesus cannot be God.

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:—

In the Beginning was the Act

‘Tis written: “In the beginning was the Word,” Here am I balked: who now can help afford? The Word?—impossible so high to rate it; And otherwise must I translate it. If by the Spirit I am truly taught. Then thus: “In the beginning was the Thought,” This first line let me weigh completely, Lest my impatient pen proceed too fleetly. Is it the Thought which works creates, indeed? “In the beginning was the Power,” I read. Yet, as I write, a warning is suggested. That I the sense may not have fairly tested. The Spirit aids me; now I see the light! “In the beginning was the Act,” I write.

Things Hard to be Understood

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning, with God. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

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 Word Made Flesh

The style of the fourth Gospel has little in common with that of the Synoptics. Luke’s narrative is avowedly historical in purpose (Luke 1:1-4), and the same purpose can clearly be seen in the gospel records of Matthew and Mark.

The Influence of Greek Thought on Christianity

To the Greek philosophers, life was one long process of the satisfying of the intellect. But Greek philosophy had gone stale by the time of the uprise of Christianity. The Christian religion revived Greek philosophy by giving it something new and unique to think about. So that in the second and following centuries we find thousands of “Greek-minded” citizens of the Roman Empire considering Christianity, not with the idea of attaining personal salvation by obeying the revealed will of God, but with the view of satisfying their intellect with respect to the Christian doctrines of the existence and nature of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The dominant desire was for knowledge, not for love or faith. Naturally intellectual discussion waxed hot and involved on the exact relationship of God to Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit; and presently, little by little, there emerged the doctrine of the Trinity, concerning which a high and unbiased authority states that the mould of thought is that of Greek philosophy, and, again, “the Nicene creed is characteristically Greek”. In unvarnished language, the doctrine of the Trinity is a blasphemous mixture of Greek speculation with divine truth.

The Pre-existence of Christ

The doctrine of the Trinity naturally involves the idea of the existence of Christ in heaven before his appearance on earth as the babe of Bethlehem to grow up to be the saviour of men.

One of Many Mysterious Sayings

This is one of many mysterious sayings in the writings of the Apostle John, and it is one over which many young students are apt to stumble. They take it for granted that “the word,” in every case in which it occurs in this chapter, can be substituted by “Christ,” and that here we have support for the doctrine of the Trinity, for if the “word” existed from the beginning and “was God,” and if that “word” is Christ, then Jesus was with the Father in the beginning, and was identical with Him in person.

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)

My Lord and My (Representative of) God

“My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

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.

The Nature of Preexistence in the Gospel of John: A Case Study of John 8:58 and 17:5

The Gospel of John has been a hotbed of arguments, disputes, and disagreements ever since it was composed some two thousand years ago. Modern preachers and theologians continue to lift up the Fourth Gospel over its Synoptic counterparts, often pitting John’s christology against what is taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Furthermore, John’s Gospel regularly gets detached from the messianic expectations and job qualifications set forth by a plurality of passages within the Hebrew Bible. In effect, these interpreters are saying that they prefer [their reading of] John over and against the previous forty-two books of the Bible. The distinguished historian Roger Haight notes that this observation is not simply a modern phenomenon, noting that “[a]fter the New Testament period, the understanding of Jesus Christ became governed by the framework and language of the Prologue of John’s Gospel. The Jesus who was the subject matter of christology ceased to be the Jesus of the synoptics.”¹

Logos: The Power Shaping The World In Conformity With A Specific Purpose

“In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

Grasping at Something Which is Not Already Possessed

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.”

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.

The Johannine Comma

Peter de Rosa, a former Jesuit priest, is typical of several modern writers with a profound knowledge of the affairs of the Vatican and the papacy who, while remaining devoted to the Catholic faith, have not shrunk from criticising events of the past, notably the deeds of former popes, in an attempt to reform and help preserve their church from further error as it passes through its current critical stage. There have been many others who have lapsed from the faith as a result of their researches and their criticisms have been naturally far less sympathetic.

Some Wrested Scriptures

Did Jesus exist in heaven as a person before he was born in Bethlehem? The Bible seems to answer plainly, yes; e.g. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made”; “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven”; “What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?”; “I speak that which I have seen with my Father”; “I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me”; “Before Abraham was, I am”; “The glory which I had with thee before the world was”; “Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world”. The list is formidable, and the meaning is plain. But why are they all in John? With the exception of Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1, easily dealt with separately and easily shown to have no connection with the foregoing, the “pre-existence” of Christ cannot be even traced elsewhere in the Bible. Was John the only inspired writer to have this truth or to believe in it? This consideration should immediately awaken suspicion, for if this doctrine is true it should be one of the salient features of the Divine purpose and revelation. All the other fundamentals of truth can be found scattered throughout the Book. Why this most unexpected exception? Can it be that John has been misunderstood?

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.

Wrested Scriptures: Genesis 1:26

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Wrested Scriptures: Plural “Us” (Genesis 3:22)

“And the Lord God said behold the man is become as one of us...”

Bread Come From God

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven.” (John 6:33)

Wrested Scriptures: Lord and God's Representative (John 20:28)

“My Lord and my God.”

Wrested Scriptures: Pre-existence and Deity of Christ

Group a) passages are easily explained once it is shown that the creative work of Christ refers to the making of new men and women, and not to the creation of animals, trees etc. of Genesis 1. Christ is the firstborn of the new creation.

Admissions from the Writings of Trinitarians

Trinitarians Roger Olson and Christopher Hall say of the doctrine [of the Trinity] in their book, The Trinity (pp. 1-2):

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.

Filling in the Names

Do the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke discreetly but clearly imply that Jesus is God? This has become a popular reading lately among evangelicals, thanks in large part to the work of Dr. Richard Bauckham.

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.

The Aborted Council at Serdica in 343

The eastern emperor and the western emperor agreed: there needed to be a new ecumenical council to somehow solve the theological disagreements festering from the controversy over Arius in 324-5. The Latin-speaking western bishops were simply not going to accept creeds like the ones from Antioch, even when repeatedly offered.

George R. Noyes’s Explanation of Isaiah 9:6 and John 1:1

Did Isaiah predict that someday God would become a baby? Mainstream Christian scholars have traditionally interpreted the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 which was to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, as a sign that Jesus was God, supporting the doctrine of the Trinity:

Dr. Dustin Smith’s “Socinian” View of Jesus

Dr. Dustin Smith of the Atlanta Bible College, and author of The Son of God: Three Views of the Identity of Jesus, talk with Prof. Dale Tuggy concerning his “Socinian” view of the Son of God. Topics discussed include:

Dr. Robert M. Bowman’s “What about This View?"

In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy responds to the interesting article “What about This View? How to Defend an Anti-Trinitarian Theology,” by evangelical apologist Dr. Robert M. Bowman Jr.

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.

Dr. Dustin Smith on Debating Jesus’ Preexistence

On April 9, 2016, Dr. Dustin Smith debated Mr. David Barron on the topic: “Does The Bible Teach That Jesus Christ Literally Preexisted His Birth?” Mr. Barron argued for the affirmative, continuing what has long been a majority view in Christian tradition, that Jesus physically existed before his birth.Dr. Smith argued for the negative position, that is Smith argued for the minority view that the New Testament does not teach Jesus’ literal pre-human existence before his birth.

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.

Two Interpretations of Philippians 2

Does Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 2 teach that Jesus is God himself, and that at certain point in time about 2,000 years ago, Jesus became a man, letting go of his equality with God, and thereby divesting himself of his glory, or the use of his attributes, to become a human like us, but obedient to the point of death?In this episode we hear this interpretation, as preached by Dr. Timothy J. Keller, author and pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, in his sermon “Imitating the Incarnation.”Afterward, Prof. Dale Tuggy lodges some objections against this interpretation, focusing on the passage’s theology, and on the meaning of two crucial Greek terms.

Arius

Was Arius, the 4th century Christian presbyter and Alexandrian priest, the ultimate Judas? Was he an arrogant innovator, a devotee of Greek philosophy, a Judaizer, a hater of mysteries, a phony, a snake in the grass? In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy looks at Arius and his theology, in (as much as is now possible) in his own words.

Dr. Dustin Smith on Preexistence in Ancient Jewish Thought

If a native English speaker says “you have a frog in your throat,” this means that your voice doesn’t sound normal, but is low, broken, “croaky.” It is a mistake to think that he is saying that you literally have a frog in your throat!

Dr. Dustin Smith on the Preexistence of Jesus in the Gospel of John

Does the fourth gospel teach that Jesus existed long before his conception, even before the creation of the cosmos?Most readers think so.But in this episode, Dr. Dustin Smith argues that rightly understood, this gospel neither assumes nor teaches that Jesus “preexisted,” that is, existed before he was a human. He argues that we should read the gospel according to John in light of Jewish assumptions about human beings and the Messiah, taking care to understand the author’s distinctive language and his “misunderstanding motif.”

Thomas Belsham and Other Scholars on John 8:58

“Before Abraham was, I was already, in God’s plan, the Messiah.” Is this what Jesus means in John 8:58?

Before Abraham Was... What?

“Before Abraham, I am.” What did Jesus, or the author of the fourth gospel, mean here? In this episode we hear how some ancient authors interpreted John 8:58, including the famous North African bishop Augustine of Hippo.

The One God and His Son According to John

When it comes to God and Jesus, does the fourth gospel contradict the first three?

Proverbs 8 and the Early Church Fathers

Do the earliest surviving post-New Testament writings interpret Proverbs chapter 8 as being about the pre-human Jesus? And do they teach the pre-human existence of Jesus at all?

Proverbs 8 and Justin Martyr

What did the famous Justin Martyr teach about Proverbs 8, and why? In this episode, we learn about who Justin was, his spiritual journey, and what works we still have from his hand. Along the way, we ask how others have taken these two statements by Lady Wisdom:

Listener Questions # 1

In this episode Prof. Dale Tuggy answers listeners’ questions. These include:

Review of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

The Trinity is one reason why Muslims reject Christianity. In this episode we hear how Nabeel Qureshi changed his view that the Trinity is a patently ridiculous doctrine. Issues discussed include:

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.

Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk on “A Man Attested by God"

Do the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke discreetly but clearly imply that Jesus is God? This has become a popular reading lately among evangelicals. In this 2-hour long interview, J. R. Daniel Kirk presents a comprehensive defense of the thesis that the Synoptic Gospels present Jesus not as divine God who has descended from the heavens, but as an idealized human figure: a man attested by God.

Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk on the Meaning of the Title “Son of God"

What do the authors of the synoptic Gospels mean by calling Jesus “the Son of God”? Is this a way of saying that Jesus is God? This is an excerpt of a much longer interview between Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk and Dale Tuggy on the meaning of the title “son of God” as found in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk on Bowing Down and Worshipping the Son of God

At several points in these gospels Jesus is worshiped or at least bowed to. Is the reader supposed to infer that Jesus is God himself? This is an excerpt of a much longer interview between Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk and Dale Tuggy.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias on the Trinity

Dr. Ravi Zacharias is a popular, Indian-born, evangelical apologist, the author of many books and articles, a frequent public speaker, and a veteran of Christian radio. In February 2005, Dr. Zacharias answered a question about the Trinity in relationship to its apparent contradictory nature. In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy reviews and critically examines the answer that Zacharias gave, along with a few other of his statements on the Trinity. Some of Zacharias’ statements seem to imply that the Trinity is a self, and others seem to imply that it is a group of three selves.

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.

Professor Timothy Winter’s Islamic Perspective on the Trinity

In this episode, Prof. Dale Tuggy talks with Prof. Timothy Winter (a.k.a. Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad), an Islamic theologian at Cambridge University. He’s the author of a chapter called “The Trinity is Incoherent” in the 2013 collection Debating Christian Theism. Winter argues that the teaching of the Trinity is not in the Bible, not an idea of Jesus, and is a barrier to spiritual life.

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.

Christ is the Trinity

Three in One

Godtians

Three in One

Holy Trinity

Three in one

Shield of the Trinity (Scutum Fidei diagram)

Three in one

Trinidad Panam Det

Three in One

Arianism

Arianism, in Christianity, is a Christological concept that asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was created by God the Father at a point in time, is distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to the Father. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. The teachings of Arius and his supporters were opposed to the prevailing theological views held by proto-orthodox Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist but was created by God the Father.

Arius

Arius (Berber: Aryus; Ancient Greek: Ἄρειος, AD 250 or 256–336) was a Christian presbyter and ascetic of Berber origin, and priest in Alexandria, Egypt, of the church of the Baucalis. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead, which emphasized the Father’s divinity over the Son, and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology, Homoousian Christology, made him a primary topic of the First Council of Nicea, convened by Roman Emperor Constantine in AD 325.

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.

Pre-existence

Pre-existence, preexistence, beforelife, or pre-mortal existence refers to the belief that each individual human soul existed before mortal conception, and at some point before birth enters or is placed into the body. Concepts of pre-existence can encompass either the belief that the soul came into existence at some time prior to conception or the belief that the soul is eternal. Alternative positions are traducianism and creationism, which both hold that the individual human soul does not come into existence until conception. It is to be distinguished from preformation, which is about physical existence and applies to all living things.

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.