Bible Articles on the Topic of trinitarian

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

Echad One and Not Two

“Echad” (Hebrew: “one”) is a numerical adjective which appears 650 times in the Old Testament, and at no time does this word itself carry the idea of plurality. While it is true that “echad” is sometimes found modifying a collective noun — one family, one herd, one bunch, etc. — the sense of plurality actually resides in the compound noun, and not in the word “echad”! Echad appears in translation as the numeral “one”, and also as “only”, “alone”, “undivided”, and “single.” Its normal meaning is “one and not two”, as we find in Ecclesiastes 4:8. Abraham was “only one man” (“echad”) in the NIV’s rendition of Ezekiel 33:24, and he was “alone” (“echad”) in the KJV translation of Isaiah 51:2.

"Homoousios” (Of the Same Substance)

In the 4th century AD the church was embroiled in a bitter controversy over the nature of Christ, and his relationship to the Father. A pastor and teacher named Arius believed and taught what came to be called Arianism: that God was greater than His Son, as a father must be superior to a son, and that the Son in turn had a literal beginning — thus, that he did not exist from all eternity, as had his Father. In general outline, at least, this was much closer to the truth of the Bible than were the “orthodox” views of the time — which should be considered the beginnings of the formulation of the false doctrine of the Trinity.

And Thou Lord: Identifying the “Lord"

“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.”  (Hebrews 1:9-10)

"Before Abraham Was, I Am"

These words are often misapplied to teach that Jesus existed before Abraham did. However, closer investigation reveals the opposite to be true:

"Being In The Form Of God"

Jesus...being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Did Jesus Create The Earth?

The firstborn of every creature: for by (Jesus) were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead...” (Colossians 1:15-18).

Bible Basics: God Manifestation

What follows will not be easy to grasp fully at first reading, but the importance of the subject will become more evident as your studies proceed. We include it at this point so that you will leave this Study having fully considered the Bible’s basic revelation about God Himself.

"I Came Down From Heaven"

The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world... I came down from heaven. (John 6:33,38)

Echad: Compound Unity?

It is untrue to say that the Hebrew word echad (one) in Deuteronomy 6:4 points to “compound unity. A recent defense of the Trinity¹ argues that when “one” modifies a collective noun like “bunch” or “herd,” a plurality is implied in echad. The argument is fallacious. The sense of plurality is derived from the collective noun (herd, etc.), not from the word “one.” Echad in Hebrew is the numeral “one.” “Abraham was one [echad]” (Ezekiel 33:24; “only one man,” NIV). Isaiah 51:2 also describes Abraham as “one” (echad; “alone,” KJV; “the only one,” NJB), where there is no possible misunderstanding about the meaning of this simple word. Echad appears in translation as the numeral “one,” “only,” “alone,” “entire, undivided,” “one single.”² Its normal meaning is “one and not two” (Ecclesiastes 4:8). “God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4, cited by Jesus in Mark 12:29, NASV), hence obviously one person only and distinct from the “Lord Messiah” mentioned in the same passage (Mark 12:36). The One God is identified with the Father in Malachi 1:6 and 2:10 and is constantly in the New Testament distinguished from Jesus, the Son of God, who is presented as a separate individual. In the Hebrew Bible “the Lord’s anointed” (literally “christ”) is the King of Israel. This agent of the Lord God is on no occasion confused with God.

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.”

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.”

John 1:1

Christology, the study of who Jesus is, has to do with a reasoned statement about the relation of Jesus to the One God of Israel. There is no doubt that for the early Christians Jesus “had the value and reality of God.” This, however, does not mean that they thought Jesus “was God.” It has been held by some that John presents Jesus in metaphysical terms which would appeal to people in the Greek world who thought in terms of abstract ideas familiar to Hellenistic thought. “Orthodoxy” claims John as its bridge to the world of Greek metaphysics — the metaphysics which helped to mold the Jesus of the Church Councils.

Thomas Jefferson and the Doctrine of the Trinity

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

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:

Is the Trinity in Genesis?

Most Christians believe in the church doctrine of the Trinity, that God is one essence consisting of three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Many cite three passages in the book of Genesis as their primary Old Testament (OT) support for the Trinity: Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7. And they often refer to them when asserting that Jesus preexisted. These texts are as follows:

"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)

Philippians 2:6

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” (Philippians 2:6)

The Word Spoken: God’s Determined Plan and Purpose

John writes about the Word as though it was something separate from God Himself. This helps us to see the way in which those attributes of God that have to do with the communication and expression of His purpose came to their fulfilment in the work of Jesus Christ.

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)

Studies in John: The Prologue

The background of ideas, Gentile and Jewish, of the opening verses of John’s gospel, and some of the associations of the words he uses. The Old Testament shewn to be most essential to the understanding of his words.

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 Full Triadic Benediction?

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14, RSV)

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:

Whose Feet? Speaking (and Standing) Through Official Representatives

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof...” (Zechariah 14:4, KJV)

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.”

Incarnation and Trinity Give Us a Clue

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.”

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 Catholic Faith

Book 16, the final book of the Theodosian Code, treats religion. The tenor and contents of this book give us a sense of how the imperial court refashioned its own religious authority in the centuries following the legalization of Christianity. Although bishops might attempt to subordinate the imperial house to episcopal authority, the emperors still maintained their role as guardians of religious equilibrium. So emperors convoked Christian councils and legislated on religion.

"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.

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:

Did Jesus Come Down from Heaven?

The institutional church has always claimed that the Bible says Jesus pre-existed as God in heaven and came down to earth to become a man, called “the incarnation.” The Nicene Creed says of Jesus, “For us men and our salvation he came down from heaven.”

Did Jesus Preexist in Heaven?

The institutional church has always proclaimed that Jesus preexisted in heaven. And it has concluded that Jesus’ preexistence indicates that he was and is God. But in modern times, the idea that Jesus preexisted has been seriously challenged. One argument is that if Jesus preexisted as a fully developed personality, that does not allow for human development and therefore compromises his being human.

Great God Jesus: Grammatically Ambiguous

Some traditionalist New Testament (NT) scholars cite 2 Thessalonians 1:12, Titus 2:13, and 2 Peter 1:1 to support their belief that Jesus is God. All three of these passages have a similar syntax (word order), which makes them somewhat ambiguous. Thus, the dispute between traditionalists and non-traditionalists over these three passages concerns only a phrase and its grammar. Yet many traditionalists who cite Titus 2:13 to support their view that Jesus is God deny that 2 Thessalonians 1:12 and 2 Peter 1:1 do too.

Is Jesus God Because He Did Miracles?

One thing that made Jesus famous was that he did miracles. The New Testament (NT) gospels frequently relate that he travelled about in his native land from town to town and village to village healing people. And they provide many detailed reports in which he did so. Multitudes of people, sometimes numbering in the thousands, gathered to hear Jesus utter his pearls of wisdom and perform his mighty feats of healing

The Holy Spirit is Not an Independent Entity

Most Christians believe in the Trinity since that’s what their church teaches. It says God is one essence consisting of three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit is deemed a full-fledged Person.

Should Faith Depose Reason?

Father Martindale, in The Faith of the Roman Church, tells us what is the ground of a Catholic’s faith.

Dr. Cohn, the Jews and the Doctrine of the Trinity

A reader in Martinville, Arkansas, has sent along a booklet for our comments. It is by Dr. Leopold Cohn, and is issued by the American Board of Missions to the Jews, Brooklyn, N.Y. Its avowed purpose is to “convert Jews to a belief in the Doctrine of the Trinity.”

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 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 Revised Version

And now let us watch the Revisers at their work. Before each man lies a sheet with a column of the Authorised Version printed in the middle, leaving a wide margin on either side for suggested alterations, the left hand for changes in the Greek text, and the right for those referring to the English rendering. These sheets are already covered with notes, the result of each Reviser’s private study of the passage beforehand. After prayers and reading of the minutes, the chairman reads over for the company part of the passage on the printed sheet (Matthew 1:18-25), and asks for any suggested emendations.

A Degree of Obscurity Arising from the Ignorance of Contemporary Opinions of the Logos

I come now to a passage which is perhaps the one most readily cited against the Unitarian view of Christ, and which demands the fuller notice. I refer to the Proem or Introduction to St. John’s Gospel.¹⁰⁵ That there is in it a degree of obscurity arising from our want of familiarity with the prevalent opinions of the time, may at once he admitted. To rectify and guard against the influence of these opinions, was in part the Apostle’s object. On the one hand was the Jewish or later Platonism, the leader of which was the celebrated Philo Judaeus, of Alexandria, and a contemporary of our Lord. On the other was Gnosticism, a heresy whose headquarters were at Ephesus; where, by the concurrent testimony of antiquity, the Apostle lived and wrote his Gospel. With the Gnostic opinions which prevailed throughout the regions of Greece and Asia Minor, where the new religion was spreading, the Apostle must, therefore, have been familiar; and Irenaeus—a pupil of Polycarp, who was a personal friend and disciple of St. John, and who flourished early in the second century—declares that the Evangelist wrote expressly to confute them. Between the Neo-Platonic and Gnostic systems there were some coincidences. While the former made the Logos—the Divine Reason or Intellect, in the passage before us translated Word—to be the great instrument in Creation, and gradually extended its significance to comprehend all Divine attributes employed or manifested in the Creation and Government of the world, the latter made it the Chief of the (Œons, supposed immortal spirits holding and exercising different functions or offices, themselves created, but still independent of the Supreme God. To correct these false notions was the purpose of the Apostle; by directing men’s minds to GOD Himself, as the Great and Original Source of all things, the Creator of all beings, Himself independent, they all dependent on Him. In this sense the Logos—“the Word” (the Wisdom, Power, Reason of God—Divine attributes employed in the Creation and Government of the world) “was with God”; inherent, that is, in Him, of course;—“was God,” because belonging to His essential nature. The syntax of the Greek language obliged him to seem at least to personify the

A Fallacious Argument

[W]e sometimes hear it asserted—loosely enough, indeed—that “from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible teaches the Trinity and the Godhead of Christ.” Aside of this language, quite too loose for serious consideration, there are some texts in the Old Testament which in the first place, it is proper to notice.

A New way to Translate Deuteronomy 6:4

Deuteronomy 6:4 is a well-known verse that is most often translated something like this: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord,” or “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” However, in this article we will see that these translations are not the best, and can lead to false conclusions.

A Proposition for Theological Debate

A set of rules that should be used in any theological discussion where two parties hold differing views on a topic:

A Straggler at the End of the Epistle

I pass to another passage in the first Epistle of John:⁸⁴ “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. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” In the first place, the Trinitarian mistake upon this passage is perpetuated without just reason, from the introduction most improperly of the word “even” into the text, there being no word in the original answering to it, as is shown by the use of the italic type. In the next place, the chief difficulty arises from the pronoun rendered “This” often made to refer to the nearest antecedent or “Jesus Christ.” But Grotius says: “The pronoun this not unfrequently relates to a remote antecedent, as in Acts 7:19, (where it is rendered ‘the same’;) id. 10:6,” (where it is rendered “he”⁸⁵;) and Vater: “There is no reason why the words this is the true God should not he referred to the same, (Him that is true,) though grammatically they belong to the proximate antecedent Christ.” Both these are Trinitarian authorities; but I cannot omit citing from another of the same class more at length. Lucke, in his comment on the passage,⁸⁶ says: “1. The emphatic tone of the preposition renders it necessary to refer ‘this’ to the prevailing chief subject of the preceding preposition. But this is God, ‘Him that is true,’ and not Christ, who only is mentioned parenthetically, as he through whose mediation the being in Him that is true is effected. 2. Further, as God above is by excellence, and without any word additional, called ‘The True,’ (compare John 17:3,⁸⁷) and Christ never is so styled by St. John; ‘this’ can, according to all rules of logical interpretation, not be referred to Christ, but to God, unless we are determined to charge St. John with an intentional confusion of ideas. 3. The authors of the New Testament never use the same predicate and name for the Father and the Son of God, when they speak of each distinctly. Here it is plain that they are distinctly spoken of. If, then, ‘this’ here ought to be referred to Christ, we should have a confusion of names and predicates, to which there would be no parallel in the New Testament. Finally, 4. St. John indeed calls the Logos of God in Christ, God, in John 1:1; but the historical Christ he never does so designate, but always as Son of God. But let us suppose that St. John intended to designate Christ as the True God, for what reason does he introduce that designation in this particular place? Are we to suppose that without demonstration, without preparation of any kind, nay, even contrary to the nearest context, he introduced such an important, and with him unusual proposition,” (I beg my readers to note the strength of these expressions by a Trinitarian writer,) “in such an equivocal form as a straggler at the end of the epistle—that he did so introduce a proposition, to which nothing resembling it occurs in the whole epistle, and to which no satisfactory clue is to be found in the Gospel which mentions as God only the Logos or Word in Christ—always speaks of the Christ who appeared in the flesh as Son of God—and says of the Father of Jesus Christ, John 17:3, that He is ‘the Only True God’? Never! And the warning against idols, plain and well-grounded as it appears, if ‘this’ is referred to God, how obscure and unconnected, nay, how confused must it appear to the reader when, besides God, Christ also is mentioned as the True God! These are sufficient grounds for declaring, that the only right construction is to refer ‘This is the True God’ to GOD.”

Attacking a Straw Man!

Attacking a straw man is a fallacy of logic that occurs when an opponent’s position is misrepresented in order to make it easier to refute. This is very hard to avoid, and points out the need for dialogue with those with whom we disagree. Even if we cannot agree, we can at least represent each other’s position fairly and rebut it honestly. This is a large part of what constitutes intellectual honesty. The political opponents of Jesus engaged in this fallacy when they accused him of threatening to “destroy the Temple.” Such an accusation was designed to turn the Jewish people against him, since obviously to recommend the destruction of the Temple would have been an outrageous offense according to the Hebrew Scriptures. If they had cared to find out what he really meant, they could have asked. It was obvious that he was employing figurative language to bring attention to the fact that he was to be crucified and killed. Ironically, the very thing that he prophesied would happen to him came to pass in large part because of the false accusations of these “witnesses.” In appendix K of our book One God & One Lord, we identify the use of the straw man argument when it is employed by traditional Christians against our view of Christ. We write:

Christ as an “Heir” is Inconsistent with Trinitarian Doctrine

“But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:2, NIV)

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.

Do Not Rest Any Argument on the Expression “I Am"

[A]s to the declaration of our Lord, recorded in the Gospel of St. John:⁹⁰ “Before Abraham was, I am.” Why, it may he asked in the outset, why, except for a purpose, have our translators departed here from their usual mode of rendering the exact Greek word so often used by our Lord? Here it reads, “I am”—literally, and without supplement; in other places, “I am he”?⁹¹ Why not here as there—“I am he"—the Messiah purposed in the counsels of God long before Abraham had being? This is the interpretation of Grotius, and I believe the true one. Trinitarians are accustomed to insist that our Lord meant to declare that he was the “I AM” of the Old Dispensation, who revealed Himself to Moses by the name or appellation, “I am that I am”; but Dr. J. Pye Smith tells us⁹² that “the words” there “are in the future tense, ‘I will he that which I will be,’ Exodus 3:14; and most probably it was not intended as a name, but as a declaration of a certain fulfilment of all the promises of God.” While Mr. Carlile of the Scotch Kirk says:⁹³ “I do not mean to rest any argument on the expression I am, taken by itself. It occurs repeatedly in this chapter, and is translated I am he.”

Equivocation: The Art of Changing the Rules in the Middle of the Game

In this article we will begin acquainting our readers with the basics of logic. “Logic,” from the Greek word logos, is the science of correct reasoning, and provides tools for analyzing the form and content of arguments. Logic addresses the relationship of premises to conclusions, and helps us determine whether our reasoning is straight or crooked. The disciplines of logical reasoning are fast becoming a thing of the past, an artifact of a classical education. Feelings, emotions and rhetoric (persuasive speech) are most often the basis of what passes for “reasoning” today. If we are ever to “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are going to have to learn to think correctly.

God’s Rank Plainly Subordinate to the Supreme

There remain some other passages of the New Testament Scripture to be examined before leaving the topic of the Inferiority and Subordination of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Epistle to the Hebrews⁷⁹ we read, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;” and therefore it is alleged that this proves the proper Deity of the Son. One would think it were only necessary to read the context to see that it proves no such thing, but only that the Son is addressed as God in the lower sense in which they were so addressed “to whom the word of God came.” Mark the language. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever… Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore GOD, even thy GOD, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Whatever rank or office the title God, in the first instance, implied, it was plainly subordinate to that of the Supreme. He to whom it is applied has himself a Superior, nay, a GOD—which could not be said of the Supreme; is rewarded for his fidelity, his love of righteousness—being “therefore anointed,” etc.—(but who could “reward” the Supreme?); has “fellows,” equals—which it were simply absurd to predicate of the Supreme. The passage is a quotation from one of the Messianic Psalms, or those which the Jews believed to be prophetic of their king Messiah;⁸⁰ and nothing is more beyond dispute than that the Jews expected in their Messiah, although a King, a mighty leader, deliverer, conqueror; still, only “a man born of human parents;”⁸¹ with which ideas, assuredly, the entire passage is simply consistent.

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.

All Things We Made by "It"

“All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3, KJV)

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.

Logical Fallacies Employed in Trinitarian Theology

“Logic,” from the Greek word logos, is the science of correct reasoning, and provides tools for analyzing the form and content of arguments. Logic addresses the relationship of premises (or evidence) to conclusions, and helps us determine whether our reasoning is straight or crooked. That is, does our conclusion necessarily follow from the premises, or have we “jumped” to conclusions. The disciplines of logical reasoning are fast becoming a thing of the past, an artifact of a classical education. Feelings, emotions and rhetoric (persuasive speech) are most often the basis of what passes for “reasoning” today. But, if we are ever to “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are going to have to learn to think correctly.

Mystery vs. Contradiction

In order to escape the contradictoriness of the doctrine of the Trinity, most of its advocates argue that it is a mystery and must simply be “taken on faith.” We are sometimes told that our minds are too small to comprehend it. What many Trinitarians fail to recognize is that mystery is one thing, contradiction is quite another.

On the Jewish-Christian Doctrine of the Preexistence of the Messiah

The view that the Jews who lived about the beginning of our era, and the early Christians, or both, held that the Messiah was pre-existent with God, has been entertained by many scholars. Pfleiderer,¹ Weiss,² Harnack,³ Weizsacker,⁴ Hausrath,⁵ Schurer,⁶ Sabatier,⁷ Edersheim,⁸ Bruce,9 Dodds,¹⁰ Briggs,¹¹ Cone,¹² Gould,¹³ Stevens,¹⁴ Charles,¹⁵ Goodspeed,¹⁶ and Somerville,¹⁷ may all be quoted in favor of this view, and these are but a few of its advocates.

Did Christ Pre-Exist His Birth?

“In (the) beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1)

Ego Eimi: I Am John, Paul, Jesus and God

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58; see R.V. marg., Greek— was born).

"Elohim” Is Not a Name

In Genesis 2, God opened up a new period in His dealings with man, there being revealed not only as Elohim (God), but as “JEHOVAH-Elohim”—“the LORD God,” revealing personal interest by the use of a personal name.

God’s Sense of Holiness is Grieved

“Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

Jesus Refusing Divinity: That Which Was Not His By Right Refused

“Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (Philippians 2:6-11)

My Lord and My (Representative of) God

“My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

One What?

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)

When Was Jesus Glorified with Honor?

“Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)

Reductio ad Absurdum: God Equal to Himself

Again we are referred to the following passage in proof of the proper Deity of our Lord. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”⁹⁶ Assuredly the Trinitarian exposition of this text, is a mere reductio ad absurdum of the Apostle’s argument, since it makes him say that Christ, being God, thought it no robbery to be equal with himself! It would indeed be absurd to say that of any thinking being. St. Paul would hold up to the imitation and admiration of the church at Philippi, our Lord’s example of humility and obedience. “Be the same mind in you,” he says, “which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being as God, inasmuch as he was the brightest manifestation of God, His chosen messenger and Representative, the ‘beloved Son,’ the ‘only-begotten of the Father,’ did not think this glorious similitude a thing eagerly to be clung to or retained; but rather laid it aside, became a servant, assumed the condition of a man; and being in that condition, humbled himself and was obedient even unto death, the death of the cross.” Such I take to be the Apostle’s meaning, according to the idiom of our own language. And the whole life and history of our Lord well warrant what he says. Speaking the words of God—wielding miraculous power by His Gift, and thus doing the works of God—possessed of Divine wisdom and authority by the will of the Father, he did not eagerly grasp at the grandeur of his high office, or hold or use its great powers for personal advantage; but in the condition of an humble and faithful servant, labored on in poverty and contempt for the good of others;—in that of a man, though despised, rejected, reviled, insulted, persecuted, hunted down even to a cruel and ignominious death—yet through all and to the last, obedient and submissive to Him that sent him.

Textual Corruptions Favoring the Trinitarian Position

Through the centuries, changes were made to the Greek text that skewed it in favor of the Trinitarian position. Today, Trinitarian scholars recognize these changes, and therefore they are not included in the modern Greek texts produced by the United Bible Society and the Institute for New Testament Research in Germany, which produces the Nestle-Aland text.

John Milton: the Unrecognized Hebrew Language Student

Because of the love of the English for the Bible, the Jews and their language have been objects of interest and study in England more perhaps than in any other country. This is noted in Sokolow’s History of Zionism, and a few years ago was more thoroughly treated in one of the pamphlets issued by the Zionist organisation, British Projects for the Restoration of the Jews. In this, popular interest in the Jews and the Hebrew Language is traced from the 16th century down to our time.

The Granville Sharp Rule

“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5:5, NIV)

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 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)

Stoic Philosophers Thought the Logos as the Power of God

A Tamworth correspondent writes as follows:—

Equal Things with God: Being Equal or Equality?

Philippians 2:6 states that Jesus esteemed that ‘the being equal with God’ was not an act of seizing. We must not at this stage make unproven assumptions about this statement We must rather understand what “to be equal with God” means in Scriptural terms.

Harpagmos: “Robbery” or “Something to Be Grasped”?

Tyndale and the AV both translate the second clause of Philippians 2:6: “(Jesus) thought it not robbery to be equal with God”. This states that Jesus was ‘being equal with God’, and that he esteemed ‘being equal’ as not an act of seizing.

Views on the “Pre-Existence” of Jesus Christ

This article examines a commonly-held religious view which teaches the literal and personal pre-existence of Christ. It looks at oft-quoted passages, and some less quoted, trying to relate them to the rest of Scripture teaching, and showing that their apparent support for a personal pre-existence is insubstantial. Although a single article of this nature cannot cover all or even most of the detailed questions which can arise, I hope it will provide some help when readers are in discussion with friends.¹

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.

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.

Ego Eimi: I Am the One (Not God)

Trinitarians argue that this verse states that Jesus said he was the “I am” (i.e., the Yahweh of the Old Testament), so he must be God. That argument is not correct. Saying “I am” does not make a person God. The man born blind that Jesus healed was not claiming to be God, and he said “I am the man,” and the Greek reads exactly like Jesus’ statement, i.e., “I am.”The fact that the exact same phrase is translated two different ways, one as “I am” and the other as “I am the man,” is one reason it is so hard for the average Christian to get the truth from just reading the Bible as it has been translated into English. Most Bible translators are Trinitarian, and their bias appears in various places in their translation, this being a common one.Paul also used the same phrase of himself when he said that he wished all men were as “I am” (Acts 26:29). Thus, we conclude that saying “I am” did not make Paul, the man born blind or Christ into God. C. K. Barrett writes:

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.

Who Should Christians Worship?

Should Christians worship only God? Or God and Jesus? Or is it redundant to say that we should worship both God and Jesus? If Jesus isn’t God himself, is it therefore the sin of idolatry to worship Jesus? In this video, these questions are addressed in light of scripture.

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.

Comma Johanneum

The Comma Johanneum, also called the Johannine Comma or the Heavenly Witnesses, is a comma (a short clause) found in some manuscripts of the First Epistle of John at 5:7–8. The scholarly consensus is that that passage is a Latin corruption that entered the Greek manuscript tradition in some subsequent copies. The Comma and the question of its authenticity have particular bearing on the development of the theological doctrine of the Trinity, which is central to most mainstream Christian denominations.

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.

Wrested Scriptures: A Five-Person God (Isaiah 48:16)

“Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me and his Spirit.”

Wrested Scriptures: Godhood or Unity? (John 10:30)

“I and my Father are one.”

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.

John 1:1 and the Trinity

The first verse of the Gospel of John is almost always used as a starting point to prove the Trinity. However, is there another way to understand John 1:1? Was John, a first century Jew, articulating the completely non-Jewish idea that God became a human being or have we read that into John 1:1? Join Anthony Buzzard as he explains the meaning of John 1:1–14 in its original Hebrew thought context.

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.

Ego Eimi: I Am the One (Not God)

Trinitarians argue that John 8:58 states that Jesus said he was the “I am” (i.e., the Yahweh of the Old Testament), so he must be God. That argument is not correct. Saying “I am” does not make a person God. The man born blind that Jesus healed was not claiming to be God, and he said “I am the man,” and the Greek reads exactly like Jesus’ statement, i.e., “I am.”The fact that the exact same phrase is translated two different ways, one as “I am” and the other as “I am the man,” is one reason it is so hard for the average Christian to get the truth from just reading the Bible as it has been translated into English. Most Bible translators are Trinitarian, and their bias appears in various places in their translation, this being a common one.

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.

John 1:1 and the Trinity

The first verse of John’s Gospel reads: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” Typically, Christians understand the “Word” to refer to the Son, and “God” to refer to the Father. However, as John Schoenheit explains, this reading owes more to later trinitarian theology than the native biblical context. Instead of assuming the “Word” is the Son, Schoenheit carefully shows how God’s “Word” is His plan for salvation. In fact this is what became incarnate in Jesus in verse 14.

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:

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.

Tertullian the Unitarian

This is a recording of a lecture given by Prof. Dale Tuggy on September 20, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic, at the conference “Analytical Theology: Faith, Knowledge and the Trinity.”

The Council at Antioch in 341

What happened after the famous council at Nicea in 325? Was there rejoicing and peace, now that the “Arian” controversy had been definitively settled?

The Recycled Creed (342-359)

In this episode Prof. Dale Tuggy reviews the so-called “Fourth Creed” from the council of Antioch—or a group soon after it—which is a actually a letter from eastern bishops assembled there to their western brethren, to explain their views about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Learn why the writers of the creeds from Antioch are called by historians “Eusebians,” and a little about the lives of Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 260-340) and Eusebius of Nicomedia (d. 342).

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.

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 Death of Unitarian Congregationalism

Unitarianism (from Latin unitas “unity, oneness,” from unus “one”) is historically a Christian theological movement named for its belief that the God in Christianity is one entity, as opposed to the Trinity (tri- from Latin tres “three”) which defines God as three persons in one being.

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). 

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.

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.”

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:

Kermit Zarley on Distinguishing Jesus and God

Mr. Kermit Zarley is a retired professional golfer and Christian author, having written books on Christology and eschatology.

Kermit Zarley on the Deity and Preexistence of Jesus

Prof. Dale Tuggy and Biblical unitarian and author Kermit Zarley discuss a number of themes from the book The Restitution of Jesus Christ, including:

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?

Conversations with a Frustrated Trinitarian

Christian publishing houses pour forth a constant torrent of articles and books on the history, meaning, justification, practical importance, apologetic defenses, and biblical grounding of “the doctrine of the Trinity.” Evidently, there is a fairly large market for such products.But not every customer is a happy customer. In this episode, Dale Tuggy talks with Corby Amos, a Southern Baptist layman, Sunday school teacher and sometime preacher, about his frustrations with the Trinitarian material he’s encountered.

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.

Pastor Sean Finnegan on “the Holy Spirit"

In this episode Pastor Sean Finnegan and Dale Tuggy discuss biblical spirit-talk: “the Holy Spirit,” “the Spirit of the LORD,” “God’s spirit,” “the Spirit of Christ,” etc. Sean distinguishes four types of spirit-talk in the Bible, giving many examples from both testaments.

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.

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.

Witnesses, the Three Heavenly

The Three Heavenly Witnesses, is a convenient designation of the famous controversy respecting the genuineness of the clause in the first epistle of John (1 John 5:7), “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are 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.

Binitarianism

Binitarianism is a Christian theology of two persons, personas, or two aspects in one substance/Divinity (or God). Classically, binitarianism is understood as a form of monotheism — that is, that God is absolutely one being; and yet with binitarianism there is a “twoness” in God, which means one God family. The other common forms of monotheism are “unitarianism,” a belief in one God with one person, and “trinitarianism,” a belief in one God with three persons.

Edict of Thessalonica

The Edict of Thessalonica (also known as Cunctos populos), issued on 27 February 380 AD by three reigning Roman Emperors, ordered all subjects of the Roman Empire to profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and of Alexandria, making Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire.

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.

God-man (Christianity)

God-man (Greek: Theanthropos; Latin: Deus homo) refers to the Incarnation of God the Logos as described in orthodox Christian theology and mysticism.

Hypostatic union

Hypostatic union (from the Greek: ὑπόστασις hypóstasis, “sediment, foundation, substance, subsistence”) is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence.

Michael Servetus

Michael Servetus (/sərˈviːtəs/; Spanish: Miguel Serveto), also known as Miguel Servet, Miguel Serveto, Revés, or Michel de Villeneuve (29 September 1509 or 1511 – 27 October 1553), was a Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and Renaissance humanist. He was the first European to correctly describe the function of pulmonary circulation, as discussed in Christianismi Restitutio (1553). He was a polymath versed in many sciences: mathematics, astronomy and meteorology, geography, human anatomy, medicine and pharmacology, as well as jurisprudence, translation, poetry and the scholarly study of the Bible in its original languages. He is renowned in the history of several of these fields, particularly medicine and theology. He participated in the Protestant Reformation, and later developed a nontrinitarian Christology. Condemned by Catholics and Protestants alike, he was arrested in Geneva and burnt at the stake as a heretic by order of the city’s Protestant governing council.

Sabellianism

In Christianity, Sabellianism in the Eastern church or Patripassianism in the Western church (also known as modalism, modalistic monarchianism, or modal monarchism) is the nontrinitarian or anti-trinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son, and Holy Spirit are three different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead—that there are no real or substantial differences among the three, such that there is no substantial identity for the Spirit or the Son.

Sabellius

Sabellius (fl. ca. 215) was a third-century priest and theologian who most likely taught in Rome, but may have been a North African from Libya. Basil and others call him a Libyan from Pentapolis, but this seems to rest on the fact that Pentapolis was a place where the teachings of Sabellius thrived, according to Dionysius of Alexandria, c. 260. What is known of Sabellius is drawn mostly from the polemical writings of his opponents.

Servetism

Servetism refers to the theology of Michael Servetus, which affirms that Christ was God manifested in the flesh, yet not as part of a tri-personal God, and that he did not exist previously as the Son, but as the divine Logos (the manifestation of God, or the Word of God) that became the Son after incarnation.

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.

Unitarian Universalism

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”. The Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church does not have a creed. Instead UUs are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth. As such, UU congregations include many agnostics, theists, and atheists among their membership. The roots of UU are in liberal Christianity, specifically Unitarianism and Universalism. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love, so that congregations and members seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions.

Unitarian Universalist Association

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a liberal religious association of Unitarian Universalist congregations formed by the consolidation in 1961 of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America. Both of these predecessor organizations began as Christian denominations of the Unitarian and Universalist varieties respectively. However, modern Unitarian Universalists see themselves as a separate religion with its own beliefs and affinities. They define themselves as non-creedal, and draw wisdom from various religions and philosophies, including Humanism, pantheism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Islam, and Earth-centered spirituality. Thus, the UUA is a syncretistic religious group with liberal leanings. In the U.S, Unitarian Universalism grew considerably between 2000 and 2010 to include 211,000 adherents.