What You Should Know About
The Doctrine of The Trinity
AMBASSADOR CHRISTIAN COLLEGE- Dr. Keith Slough
s God a '"trinity"? Does that word appear in the Bible? How can we prove God is a trinity of persons? -or can we? The Bible commands us to "prove all things." But this is not what the average churchgoer has done. No, most church-goers simply believe what is taught from the pulpit. Most pastors in today's churches were not taught to "prove all things" and to "hold fast" only to what they had proven to be good and true (I Thessalonians 5:21). Have you? It is important that we do not take man's word for anything! Men can be mistaken. They can make mistakes. And they can even deliberately deceive sometime, by laying aside the commandments and truth of God in order to hold to their own traditions (Mark 7:79). Yes, the Bible teaches that the whole world has been deceived by Satan. You and I grew up in this deceived world and that is why we must painstakingly study each doctrine that has been handed down to us. We must compare each doctrine with the sacred Word of God to determine if indeed it is true -if indeed what we have been taught can be proved by the Bible. If a doctrine cannot be proved by the Bible, then we must dispense with it. We must discard all false doctrines and believe and accept only what the Bible teaches. In so doing we are obeying God in earnestly contending for the true Faith God's True Religion -which was originally delivered to the saints by the apostles of Jesus Christ. Could you be deceived by false doctrines? Yes! And so can all of us! We must never let up on our vigilance in contending for the true Faith by proving all things. Now the trinity doctrine is one of the most firmly rooted doctrines in all of Christendom. It was officially established as a doctrine at the Nicene Council in the fourth century after Christ. But did the apostles teach it? Is it truly a Biblical doctrine? Why is this doctrine of the Godhead so confusing, so hard to understand? Doesn't the Bible teach that the Godhead is "clearly seen"? And yet when the Godhead is presented as a '"trinity" there seems to be great confusion as to how God is only one person, yet He is three. One authoritative source states: "Regarding the Nicene Council and those that followed, Hans Kung in Christianity says, 'the councilor decisions plunged Christianity into undreamed of theological CONFUSIONS with constant entanglements in church politics. They produced splits and sparked off a persecution of heretics unique in the history of religion. This is what [Roman Catholic] Christianity became as it changed its nature from a persecuted minority to a majority persecuting others. '" Why should the teaching of the trinity doctrine create "undreamed of theological confusions"? The Bible says God is not the author of confusion. We must therefore as the logical question; does the Bible teach that the Godhead is a closed, limited trinity? Or, is it something else? Is it indeed "clearly seen" as the Word of God teaches, or is it a ''theological confusion" which no one can comprehend? It is time you saw the Truth! It is time you proved all things for yourself, and stopped taking the word of men, those who call themselves "protestant theologians" -for their theology came from the great whore of Babylon spoken of in Revelation 17. These "daughter churches" were 2|Page
birthed from Rome. And their doctrine came from Rome. But what does the Bible say?
GODHEAD Does the Bible teach that God is a "trinity"? Is there only one Person who makes up the "Godhead" yet has multiple personalities? Does one God person manifest Himself as Father and Son and Holy Spirit? What is the Truth? It is time to put away traditions of men and believe only the Bible! The Truth of God is made plain from His Holy Word!
HE BIBLE TEACHES that there is a Godhead (e.g. Acts 17:29, Colossians 2:9, etc.). Yet the church world is confused over what it is. Is God made up of three persons? Is there only one God person but multiple manifestations of that "one person"? The Godhead was explained in lesson 6 of this Study Course. We know from scripture that God is more than one person; that the Father and the Son are not the same person. But what is the doctrine of the Trinity? It is time you saw the facts both from the Bible, the Holy Word of God, and from Roman Catholic Church history concerning the teaching of the doctrine of the trinity. Some church goers mistakenly assume there is only one doctrine of the trinity. The fact is there are various interpretations of it. And they all disagree. But what does the Bible say? The Bible does not teach that "God" is only one person. Rather the Bible teaches that God is a "Family" of persons (Ephesians 3:15). One is called the "Father" of that Family. Another is called the "Son." These are family names. While all churches teach that Jesus was a real person, some churches (such as the United Pentecostal denomination) say God the Father is not a real person, that He really does not exist, but is simply another manifestation of Jesus Christ. No, that cannot be true, for Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is the express image of the Father's PERSON. How could Jesus be in the very image of the Father's "person" if the Father Himself is not a real "Person"? Do we believe the Bible or the doctrines of modern-day churches? So yes, both God the Father and God the Son are "persons" contrary to what some churches erroneously teach. But, what about the Holy Spirit? Is the Spirit of God a separate, distinct "person" from the Father and the Son? Or is the Holy Spirit the essence of "God"? Only Three "Trinity" Texts in the KJV Is the Godhead three different persons? Is the Godhead limited to three persons? Does the Bible teach that God is only three and no more? Or are there at least three? Or does the Bible teach that there is only one person who is "God" but He wears "three different hats"? What does the Bible actually say? Believe it or not there are only three verses in the King James Version that indicate to Roman Catholics that the Godhead is a "trinity." They are: 4|Page
1) Matthew 28:19 2) II Corinthians 13:14. 3) I John 5:7 Read the first one carefully. Does this verse say that God is limited to three persons? No, but neither does it say that God is only "one person" manifested in three different ways. Most religious people in the churches of this world read their own interpretation into the sacred text. But we are told that the Scripture is of no private interpretation (II Peter 1:20). We must be careful not to do that. Theologians have compared God to an apple. There is the skin, the "meat" of the apple, and the core, but it is all an apple. Interesting analogy, but that analogy is not found in the Bible! Then they have compared God to water. There is liquid water, frozen water, and steam but it is all ultimately water or H2O. Again, this is an analogy to demonstrate the Roman Catholic doctrine of the trinity, but what does God say about Himself and the "Godhead"? If you have read the first two texts given, they do indeed mention the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But from these texts we cannot derive the doctrine that these three are all "one." That is, one person. No, that interpretation comes primarily and almost exclusively from the third verse found in our King James Versions in First John 5:7. The Johannine Comma This infamous verse is referred to as the spurious "Johannine Comma" as it is not found in any original Greek manuscript! Check your center reference margin. It will tell you that (as mine does) "it is generally agreed that verse 7 has no real authority, and has been inserted.â€? In other words this "verse" is actually not in the original inspired Greek text! How did it get into our KN Bibles then? The King James Version is a very highly accurate translation. But no translation is perfect. In fact all modern translations (with the exception of the New KJV) leave this verse out. As well they should! All commentaries should tell you this verse is spurious and comes from the Roman Catholic Bible Latin text but is found in no original Greek text! Reputable and noted scholar E.W. Bullinger in his Companion Bible, comments on this spurious verse, saying: "The words are not found in any Gr. MS before the sixteenth century. They were first seen in the margin of some Latin copies. Thence they have crept into the text" (The Companion Bible, page 1876, note 7). Notice, this "verse" crept into the text! But it was not there originally as John did not write it! Admittedly this spurious and apocryphal verse of "scripture" (originating from the Roman Catholic Latin Bible) does say that these three entities are "one." But it should not be in our Bibles. In the 16th century the Roman Church forced Erasmus to add it to his famed Textus Receptus of the Greek text. In a footnote to his accurate Textus Receptus he wrote that he knew this verse was spurious 5|Page
and not part of the Greek text. Nevertheless after receiving threats from the Catholic Church he agreed to put it in. But it was against his scholarship. In fact, Erasmus knew this "verse" was not inspired by the Holy Spirit. And this verse is only found in Erasmus' 3rd edition of his collated Greek text. Later he revised his famous Greek text twice more and left out this verse which was found in no original Greek text. When the translators of the Authorized King James Version used Erasmus' famous Greek collation (which was the best Greek text of the time) they used his third edition and wrongly added this verse to their text. Thus we have this statement in our Bibles. But GOD NEVER SAID IT! It is in no original Greek Text of the Inspired Bible! Yet this fallacious doctrine that these three "are one" remains to this day. The fact is it just isn't so. They are NOT one person! God the Father and God the Son are TWO different persons. But, what of the Holy Spirit? Is God's Spirit a separate distinct person from the Father and the Son as some teach? What the Bible Actually Teaches We can all agree that Jesus taught the Holy Spirit is sent to "comfort" us as the Spirit is called a "comforter" (John 14:16). Jesus called the Holy Spirit the POWER of God (Acts 1:8, Romans 8:11). The Holy Spirit also is the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16) and therefore "witnesses" or communicates to us (Romans 8: 16). His Holy Spirit was the power God used to raise the dead! The Spirit of God is HIS Spirit -in us, to guide and direct us with His thoughts, and with His Power! Without I John 5:7 we only have two places where the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are mentioned together, thus causing some to assume the Spirit of God has to be a separate third person from the person of the Father or the person of the Son. Mankind is made in the image I God and we are body, soul, and spirit. We have a human body, and a human soul (which is mortal) and a human spirit. Our spirit is a human spirit. As we are made in God's image, He also obviously has a body (not fleshly or material, but a physique two arms and legs, etc. humanoid in appearance) and a soul (His soul or "life" is immortal) and He also therefore has a Spirit! Our spirit is a human spirit, but God's Spirit is holy! Just as our spirits are the very essence of who and what we are, so God's Spirit is the very essence of God -of whom and what He is. But, someone will argue, since the Bible mentions the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together in two scriptures, would that not at least intimate that all three must be persons? The question is: are there scriptures that mention the Father and the Son apart from the Holy Spirit? Remember. The Bible commands us to "prove all things"! We are not to assume! So many assume because all three entities are mentioned in these two verses of the inspired text (Matthew 28:19 and II Corinthians 13:14) that therefore we must assume the Spirit to be a separate person from the Father and the Son. However notice the following scriptures where Paul sends greetings not only from the 6|Page
Ministry from the location in which he was writing, but also from the Godhead. And notice specifically what he writes: in First Corinthians 1:3. "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ" and from the Holy Spirit? No. These last words are not there. Nor are they in the Greek. If the Holy Spirit is a separate but equal member of the Godhead then the apostle Paul slighted one of the very beings in the Godhead! This would certainly show utter disrespect for a "third person of the Godhead." Perhaps even bordering on blasphemy! Yet he did this. Could this have been a singular instance or oversight on Paul's part? No, for all Scripture is inspired by God. And notice he did the same thing in his second epistle to the Corinthians in II Corinthians 1:2. So we do have two places where the Bible speaks of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. But now we have two additional places where only the Father and the Son is mentioned as giving greetings to the brethren of God's Church! Why didn't the Holy Spirit give greetings? Is it possible the Holy Spirit is not an equal ''third person" separate from either the Father or the Son? Or could the Holy Spirit be the SPIRIT OF GOD - the very essence of who and what God is? Notice that these two scriptures are not the only ones. Read Galatians 1:3. Paul did it again. Also read Ephesians 1:2. He did it again! To the Philippians Paul again sends greetings from the Father and the Son -but notice! He did not send greetings from the third person of the Godhead! (See Philippians 1:2). Why is that? Is the Roman Catholic "mother" church of Protestant Christianity correct in her doctrines? Remember, the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is a separate and distinct third person comes from Rome. But can we find it in the Bible? Read also Colossians 1:2, I Thess. 1:1, II Thess. 1:2, I Timothy 1:2, II Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4 and Philemon 1:3. Was Paul the only one who seems to have "slighted" the Holy Spirit? For if the Spirit of God is a separate person, then why are there no greetings from this third member? James, the chief apostle of God's Church in the first century also wrote an epistle where he sends greetings and adds that he is a servant of the Father and of the Son. Yet he did not say he was a servant of the Holy Spirit (James 1:1). Why not? Peter also "blesses" both God the Father and God the Son. Yet he conspicuously does not bless the Holy Spirit! (See 1 Peter 1:3). Why does he also "slight" the Spirit of God if it is indeed a person? In his second epistle, Peter writes "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord" (II Peter 1:2). Why does he not mention knowledge of a third person? Is the Holy Spirit truly another person? Or rather, is the Holy Spirit the Spirit OF God? Notice also John follows the same format of giving greetings from the Godhead, yet leaves out the Holy Spirit in II John verse 3. Jude verse 1 again mentions the Father and the Son, but not the Spirit of God.
The Seminaries' â€œProofâ€? that God's Spirit is a Person Some years ago I attended Rhema Bible Training Center in Oklahoma. One required class was simply called "The Holy Spirit." The teacher's main purpose in the class was to establish the personality -that is, the personhood, of the Spirit of God. The instructor of the class used two basic passages. First he quoted I John 5:7 to the class. I raised my hand to protest this. But he ignored me and said he simply didn't have time for any questions or comments and proceeded to teach from a universally acknowledged spurious verse and doctrine not based on the Word of God! The second passage he read to establish the "personhood" of the Holy Spirit was surprisingly John 16:7-15. He read these scriptures slowly and meticulously stressing the pronoun "he" in these verses. Again he refused comments nom those who could have enlightened him and he continued leading these students into believing that the pronouns therefore prove personality. Do they? God commands us through Paul to "prove all things." We are not to interpret the Scriptures privately, ourselves, but to allow other scriptures to provide the interpretation. Will you be honest with the Scriptures laying aside all preconceived prejudices and denominational biases and believe only what you see proved from Scripture? Do Pronouns Prove Personhood?
Notice Matthew 12:33 speaks of a tree in the MASCULINE gender referring to the tree's fruit as "his fruit." Is Jesus saying a tree is a person (as the pronouns "he" and "his" are used to refer to a person)? In Matthew 26:52 Jesus tells people to put up the sword into its place, yet the actual statement is to put the sword into his place! Does this mean a sword is a person? Of course not! But throughout the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments we see MASCULINE pronouns for things that obviously are not people. We also see feminine pronouns used. In Matthew 24:29 states that the moon "shall not give her light." Is Jesus teaching that the moon is a female person? Ridiculous! And if that is so, is the moon a part of the Godhead? Obviously we can "assume" anything! But pronouns do not prove personhood. I Corinthians 13 5 says that Love "seeketh not her own." Is Love also a separate person? Or is this not a personification of the trait of Love? Is Wisdom a Person? Some have actually read Proverbs 8 and concluded that Wisdom is a female member of the 8|Page
Godhead believe it or not! Read it yourself. Notice wisdom cries out and has a "voice" (verse 1). Wisdom even "speaks" to us in verses 12-36. And Wisdom has existed "from everlasting" (verse 23). This is an obvious personification of the trait of wisdom. But the Bible is not teaching that wisdom is a person or a member of the Godhead! Yet some teach this! Then are there FOUR members of the Godhead? In fact in Revelation it mentions the "seven spirits of God." Does this mean there are seven Holy Spirits? So does this mean there are now at least 10 members of the Godhead? Obviously anyone can read his own interpretation into the Bible. But that violates scripture! (II Peter 1:20). What then is the Truth? When we read the pronoun "he" in connection with the Holy Spirit, this does not and cannot "prove" personhood. Rather we need a specific statement actually telling us that the Spirit is a person. All agree Jesus is a person for He walked this Earth. And we also know the Father is a Person (Hebrews 1:3). But nowhere are we told specifically in the entire Bible that the Holy Spirit is a separate distinct third person! Believe it or not! The Holy Spirit an "It"? Not only can we not prove personhood from the pronoun "he" but the Holy Spirit is also called an "it" in the Bible -believe it or not! Notice Romans 8:16. "The Spirit ITSELF beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Notice also verse 26: "The Spirit ITSELF maketh intercession for us." Romans 8:9 (and other scriptures), speaks of the Spirit of Christ. In the margin of your Bible you will see this refers to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of God and also the Spirit of Christ. This does not mean there are two different Holy Spirits (as some have taught). But the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. Notice I Peter 1:11. Peter speaks of ''the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when IT testified beforehand " Here Peter refers to the Holy Spirit as "It." We know that the "anointing" John writes about is God's Spirit in us. Yet notice John writes, "But the anointing which ye have received of Him ... teacheth you of all things and... even as IT hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him" (I John 2:27). We can all agree that the anointing is the Holy Spirit. But why does John call God's Spirit an "It"? Obviously pronouns do not prove personhood else we have a contradiction right in the Bible. Pronouns Do Not Prove Personhood Below is a list of pronouns both masculine and feminine gender demonstrating that they do not prove personhood. Read each one and "prove all things" yourself from the pages of the Bible. Personal pronouns do not prove personhood! 9|Page
Genesis 4: 12 Exodus 13: 10 Numbers 28:10 Deuteronomy 28: 12, 40 Joshua 3:15 I Samuel 6:2+9 I Chronicles 12: 15 IT Chronicles 24: 13 Ezra 5:15; 6:7 Proverbs 14:10; 23:31 Isaiah 5: 14 Jeremiah 5:24 Ezekiel 17:4; 18:4 Zechariah 4:2 Matthew 5:13; 12:33; 24:29, 32; 26:52 Mark 4:28; 9:50; 11:2; 13:24,28 Luke 6:44; 14:34 John 12:48 Acts 12: 10 Romans 8:16, 26 I Corinthians 13:5 James 1:4 I Peter 1: 11 I John 2:27 Revelation 16:8 Notice in the foregoing scriptures masculine pronouns such as "he" or "him," "himself," "his," are used to refer to things. The same is true for the feminine pronouns. Also in the list were neuter pronouns such as â€œitâ€? which could refer to a human being such as the human soul in Ezekiel 18:4. But this list which I myself compiled over a period of some years, while I do not claim it is exhaustive, nevertheless is demonstrative of the Biblical fact that pronouns cannot be used to prove "personhood." Various things are listed as a "he" in these scriptures, such as the heart of man, salt, Peter's sword, a colt, a tree, the ark of the covenant, a gate, etc. Obviously the Bible is not teaching these ''things'' are persons. So the word "he" in reference to the Spirit of God also does not suggest person hood. Why then is it translated this way? In the Greek language, the pronoun must agree with the noun in gender for proper grammar. The word "comforter" used in John's text is the same word paracletos -a masculine noun thereby requiring a masculine pronoun for grammatical agreement. This therefore cannot be used for a doctrinal position but only for proper Greek grammar. No. The Spirit of God is God's own Spirit - His very essence and power. Nowhere does the 10 | P a g e
Bible teach the Holy Spirit is another person separate and apart from either the Father OT the Son. So many Catholics and Protestants admit that "the Godhead is so confusing, so equivocal and hard to be understood.â€? Really? Again, we must ask, what does the Bible say about the Godhead? Does the Bible teach that the Godhead is unclear, cannot be seen or understood? Obviously the trinity doctrine is indeed unclear and cannot be seen or comprehended. Now see what the Bible teaches. Notice Paul's teaching concerning the Godhead found in Romans 1:20. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are CLEARLY SEEN, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power AND GODHEAD"!!! Do you see? Even His Godhead is "clearly seen"! Since the Roman Catholic teaching of "the trinity" is not clearly seen or understood, is it the right model? Is it really representative of the Godhead at all? Obviously not! What then does the Bible teach as the "Godhead"? The Bible teaches that God is more than one person, shown by the Hebrew word "Elohim" meaning more than one - yet this word is not limited to a specific number such as two or three! Rather, the Bible teaches the Godhead is a FAMILY OF PERSONS! And no specific number or limitation IS ever placed on that Family! Doctrines from the "Mother Church"
The doctrine of the trinity is a Roman Catholic doctrine, borrowed, believe it or not, from ancient paganism, just like so many other doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church's doctrines are explained in The Catholic Encyclopedia. On the doctrine of the trinity it teaches: "The trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian Religion. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: 'the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.' In this trinity ... the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent." This is the belief that all protestant churches have accepted without question from the "mother" Roman Church. "Precisely what that doctrine is or rather precisely how it is to be explained, Trinitarians are not agreed among themselves (A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge). No, the trinity doctrine is not "clearly seen" or understood! From the internet come these quotations: "The word Trinity is not found in the Bible. . . It did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century." -- The Illustrated Bible Dictionary. And remember, the daughters of Rome inherited their doctrines not from the Holy Word of God, but from Rome itself! "Protestantism must never forget that its Faith was communicated through CATHOLICISM"! (Protestant Digest magazine, April-May, 1941, page 62). 11 | P a g e
The True Origin of Trinitarianism From the internet we read the following quotations: "The 'Hecate' or 'Hekate' is characterized as a Trinity that existed within pagan mythology as a three faced goddess. The three faces represented the 'Maiden, the Matron (or Mother), and 'the Crone.' The ancient concept of 'The Trinity' most certainly affected the decisions of the ancient Roman Catholic Church. "In the preface to Edward Gibbon's History of Christianity, we read: 'If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by Paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians . . . was changed, by the Church of Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the TRINITY. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief." The concept of a ''trinity'' was one such belief. "Christendom, has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it" (Soren Kierkegaard, cited in Time magazine, Dec. 16, 1946, p. 64). "The three-in-one/one-in-three mystery of Father, Son and Holy Ghost made TRITIIEISM official. The subsequent almost-deification of the Virgin Mary made it quatrotheism . . . Finally, cart-loads of saints raised to quarter-deification turned Christianity into plain old-fashioned polytheism. By the time of the Crusades, it was the most polytheistic religion to ever have existed, with the possible exception of Hinduism. This untenable contradiction between the assertion of monotheism and the reality of polytheism was dealt with by accusing other religions of the Christian fault. The Church -Catholic and later Protestant -turned aggressively on the two most clearly monotheistic religions in view Judaism and Islam and persecuted them as heathen or pagan. The external history of Christianity consists largely of accusations that other religions rely on the worship of more than one god and therefore not the true God. These pagans must therefore be converted, conquered and/or killed for their own good in order that they benefit from the singularity of the Holy Trinity, plus appendages." -The Doubter's Companion (John Ralston Saul). "Have you ever noticed that Bible Dictionaries and most scholarly religious encyclopedias and reference works don't use scriptures when discussing the trinity? Why is that? Because, they don't prove a trinity. For a trinity you need "THREE". But if the trinity is not in the Bible, then where did we get it from? Welcome to the Nicene Creed." The Council of Nicaea "It was 325 A.D. at Nicaea that the doctrine of the trinity was rammed through by Athanasius (using Mafia tactics) in a Council that was overseen by the Emperor Constantine who, ironically enough thought of himself as God-incarnate. (Constantine was a Sun Worshiper and only made an official conversion to "Christianity" on his deathbed). Roman coins of the period still portrayed the image of the sun God despite the alleged sudden adoption/conversion of Christianity. Many of those present at the Council of Nicaea were opposed the doctrine of the Trinity, siding with Arius. Even after the Nicene Creed, the Trinity was still hotly 12 | P a g e
debated for decades and centuries after. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AFTER NICAEA 325 AD -Constantine convenes the Council of Nicaea in order to develop a statement of faith that can unify the church. The Nicene Creed is written, declaring that "the Father and the Son are of the same substance" (homoousios). Emperor Constantine who was also the high priest of the pagan religion of the Unconquered Sun presided over this council. "According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 'Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions and personally proposed the crucial formula expressing the relationship of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council, 'of one substance with the Father'." "The American Academic Encyclopedia states: 'Although this was not Constantine's first attempt to reconcile factions in Christianity, it was the first time he had used the imperial office to IMPOSE a settlement.â€™ "At the end of this council, Constantine sided with Athanasius over Arius and exiled Arius to Illyria. 328 AD - Athanasius becomes bishop of Alexandria. 328 AD - Constantine recalls Arius from Illyria. 335 AD - Constantine now sides with Arius and exiles Athanasius to Trier. 337 AD - A new emperor, Contantius, orders the return of Athanasius to Alexandria. 339 AD - Athanasius flees Alexandria in anticipation of being expelled. 341 AD - Two councils are held in Antioch this year. During this council, the First, Second, and Third Arian Confessions are written, thereby beginning the attempt to produce a formal doctrine of faith to oppose the Nicene Creed. 343 AD - At the Council of Sardica, Eastern Bishops demand the removal of Athanasius. 346 AD - Athanasius is restored to Alexandria. 351 AD - A second Ante-Nicene council is held in Sirmium. 353 AD - A council is held at Aries during Autumn that is directed against Athanasius. 355 AD - A council is held in Milan. Athanasius is again condemned. 356 AD - Athanasius is deposed on February 8th, beginning his third exile. 357 AD - Third Council of Sirrnium is convened. Both homoousios and homoiousios are avoided as unbiblical, and it is agreed that the Father is greater than His subordinate Son. 359 AD - The Synod of Seleucia is held which affirms that Christ is "like the Father," It does not however; specify how the Son is like the Father. 361 AD - A council is held in Antioch to affirm Arius' positions. 380 AD - Emperor Theodosius the Great declares Christianity the official state religion of the empire. 381 AD - The First Council of Constantinople is held to review the controversy since Nicaea. Emperor Theodosius the Great establishes the creed of Nicaea as the standard for his realm. The Nicene Creed is reevaluated and accepted with the addition of clauses on the Holy Spirit and other matters. 13 | P a g e
"If Nicaea just formalized the prevalent teaching of the church, then why all the conflicts? If it were the established teaching of the church, then you would expect people to either accept it, or not be Christians. It was not the established teaching, and when some faction of the church tried to make it official, the result was major conflict. "It was a theological power grab by a faction of the church. A major complication throughout all this was that the emperors were involved and directed the outcome. At Nicaea it was Constantine that decided the outcome. Then we have the flip-flopping of opinion with the result that Athanasius is exiled and recalled depending on who is in power. In 357 AD the declaration that homoousios and homoousios are unbiblical, and that the Father is greater than His subordinate Son. This is 180 degrees from Nicaea. "In 380 AD Emperor Thedosius declares Christianity the state religion. One can come to the conclusion that whichever way Theodosius favors, that is the way in which it is going to end. This is exactly what happened next. ''In 381 AD the struggle was finally ended by the current emperor, Theodosius the Great, who favored the Nicene position. Just like at Nicaea, the EMPEROR again decided it. The emperors were dictating the theology of the church. "The big difference now was that there was not going to be any more changing sides. It was now the state religion. You cannot make Christianity the state religion and then change its beliefs every few years. It would undermine its credibility as the true faith. The Trinity was now the orthodox position, and the state was willing to back it up with force. "For the most part, the Trinitari church has silenced critical thought and dealt treacherously with anyone of open mind and free thought. "In the 1670's, Isaac Newton quietly studied the Trinity and came to the conclusion that the doctrine was foisted on the Church by Athanasius in order to swell the numbers and fill the coffers. He concluded Arius was right and he claimed that the Bible had prophesied the Rise of Trinitarianism ("this strange religion of the west", the cult of 3 equal gods) as the abomination of desolation. -The Rise of Science and Decline of Orthodox Christianity. A study of Kepler, Descartes and Newton. After Newton came others such as Matthew Tindal, John Toland, Gottfried Arnold, Georg Walch and Giovanni. "But, Henry Noris and Hermann Samuel Reimarus argued Arianism (Unitarianism) and opened up a new era of criticism. It is only logical for people to argue after this, "What else has the Church lied to us about?" "This unfortunately led to Higher Criticism of the bible in the 19th century which in turn, paved the way for evolutionism and Nietzsche's death of God. Is it not logical that to replace a polytheistic trinity, man would have to become gods themselves? "Albrecht Ritschl (1822-89) saw the Trinity doctrine as flagrantly Hellenistic. It had corrupted the Christian message by introducing an alien "layer of metaphysical concepts, derived from the natural philosophy of the Greeks," and it had nothing to do with early Christianity.... "Historian Will Durant: "Christianity did not destroy paganism; IT ADOPTED IT. . . . From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity." [emphasis added]. "And in the book Egyptian Religion, Siegfried Morenz notes: "The trinity was a major preoccupation of EGYPTIAN THEOLOGIANS. . . Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a 14 | P a g e
direct link with Christian theology. "The doctrine of the Trinity has in the West come into increasing question...there has for long been a tendency to treat the doctrine as a problem rather than as encapsulating the heart of the Christian Gospel." The Promise of the Trinity, Gunton, p.31 "Despite their orthodox confession of the Trinity, Christians are, in their practical life, almost mere monotheists. We must be willing to admit that, should the doctrine of the Trinity have to be dropped as false; the major part of religious literature could well remain virtually unchanged." Karl Rahner, The Trinity, J. Donceel, trans, p.10. "But how can such weak creatures ever take in so strange, so difficult and so ABSTRUSE a doctrine as this [the Trinity], in the explication and defense whereof multitudes of men even men of learning and piety, have lost themselves in infinite subtleties of dispute and endless mazes of darkness? And can this strange and perplexing notion of three real persons going up to make one true God be so necessary and important a part of that Christian doctrine, which, in the Old Testament and the New, is represented as so plain and so easy, even to the meanest understandings," (William G. Eliot, Discourses on the Doctrines of Christianity (American Unitarian Association, Boston, 1877), pp. 97, 100).... "In brief, the ante-Nicene Fathers taught the real distinction and divinity of the three persons . . . but in their attempts at a philosophical interpretation of the Dogma, the anteNicene Fathers used certain expressions which would favor subordinationism. In the late 17th century, the Socinians cited these expressions that the ante-Nicene tradition agreed rather with Arius than with Athanasius . . . Catholic theologians commonly defend the orthodoxy of these early Fathers, while admitting that certain of their expressions were inaccurate and eventually dangerous." â€“ Colliers Encyclopedia. The Word Trinity "The word itself does not occur in the Bible...The explicit formula was thus formulated in the post-biblical period [i.e. after the Bible was completed] Attempts to trace the origin still earlier (to the Old Testament literature) cannot be supported by historical-critical scholarship, and these attempts must be understood as retrospective interpretations of this earlier corpus of Scripture in the light of later theological developments." The Harper Collins Study Bible Dictionary. "We are judged to be heretics because we can no longer believe in essence, person, nature, incarnation, as they want us to believe. If these things are necessary for salvation, it is certain that no poor peasant Christian be saved, because he could never understand them in all his life." -- Francis David (1510-79). "Catholic theologian Hans Kling in Christianity and the World Religions, 'Even well-informed Muslims simply cannot follow, as the Jews thus far have likewise failed to grasp, the idea of the Trinity. . . The distinctions made by the doctrine of the Trinity between one God and three hypostases do not satisfy Muslims, who are confused, rather than enlightened, by theological terms derived from Syriac, Greek, and Latin. Muslims find it all a word game. . ." The Catholic Encyclopedia also says: "In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the 15 | P a g e
Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word [tri'as] (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A. D. 180 . . . Shortly afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian." However, this is no proof in itself that Tertullian taught the Trinity. The Catholic work Trinitas - A Theological Encyclopedia of the Holy Trinity, for example, notes that some of Tertullian's words were later used by others to describe the Trinity. But then it states: "But hasty conclusions cannot be drawn from usage, for he does not apply the words to Trinitarian theology." The New Encyclopedia Britannica: "Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament"!! "Yale University Professor E. Washburn Hopkins: "To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently unknown; . . . they say nothing about it." -- Origin and Evolution of Religion. Historian Arthur Weigall: "Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word 'Trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord." -from The Paganism in Our Christianity. The New Encyclopedia Britannica: "Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: 'Hear, a Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord' -- Deut. 6:4 . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. . . By the end of the 4th century . . . the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since." -Micropredia, Vol. X, p. 126. (1976). "The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: 'The formulation 'one God in three Persons' was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective. '" - (1967), Vol. XN, p. 299 "The Encyclopedia Americana: 'The road which led from Jerusalem to Nicaea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching." -- (1956), Vol. XXVII, p. 294L. "The Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel, 'The PLATONIC TRINITY, itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier [heathen or pagan] peoples, appears to be the rational philosophic trinity of attributes that gave birth to the three hypostases or divine persons taught by the Christian churches. . . This Greek philosopher's [Plato, fourth century B.C.E.] conception of the divine trinity. . . can be found in all the ancient [pagan] religions." -- (Paris, 18651870), edited by M. Lachatre, Vol. 2, p. 1467. (emphasis added). "The belief as so defined was reached only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is NOT explicitly and formally a BIBLICAL belief. The trinity of persons within the unity of nature is defined in terms of "person" and "nature" which are Gk philosophical terms; actually the terms do not appear in the Bible. The Trinitarian definitions arose as the result of long controversies in which these terms and others such as "essence" and "substance" were erroneously applied to God by some theologians.'" Dictionary of the Bible by John L. McKenzie, SJ. p. 899. 16 | P a g e
"Regarding the Nicene Council and those that followed, Hans Kung in Christianity says, 'The councilor decisions plunged Christianity into undreamed-of theological CONFUSIONS with constant entanglements in church politics. They produced splits and sparked off a persecution of heretics unique in the history of religion. This is what Christianity became as it changed its nature from a persecuted minority to a majority persecuting others. How to Learn the Truth We have seen that the doctrine of God being "three in one" or one person in three manifestations does not come from Scripture, like so many doctrines from the harlot of Babylon, the "mother church" of Rome. What then is the true Godhead as "clearly seen" in Scripture? As long as we hold to the traditions of men, we make our worship of God "vain" (Mark 7:79). It is time to understand what the Bible really teaches about the Godhead. Most religious people have "laid aside" the Word of God in order to hold to their own religious tradition. We cannot understand the Truth if we do that. Jesus said God's Word is truth! (John 17:17). To truly understand the Godhead, we must lay aside the traditions of men and believe only the Word of God! The True Godhead as Revealed in Scripture The Bible reveals that the Godhead is a FAMILY of persons (Ephesians 3: 15). We must not assume that there are only a limited number of members of the Godhead and that we know that number. The Bible does not reveal the exact number. And it is unscriptural for us to "add to" or take away from the Word of God. God who has been around for billions of billions of yearâ€™s times billions of trillions of years in the past could have done any number of things we don't know about. Yet He doesn't reveal this to us. It doesn't concern us right now. What we do know is that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. It is the power and mind, the essence and presence of God. And though the Bible reveals a Father and a Son, even then we must not assume that the Godhead ultimately consists of a limited number of Beings, in this case, just two God persons. Remember. Do not assume. Do not privately interpret as the majority does today. And do not add to the Word of God. What does the New Testament reveal about the Godhead? The majority of this world's churches have no idea! Yet it is revealed in the Bible. In the next lesson you will learn a truth that precious few people have understood about the Family of God!
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What Some Roman Catholic Theologians Actually Believe:
IS THE HOLY SPIRIT A SEPARATE PERSON FROM GOD? Is the Holy Spirit a completely separate Being from either God the Father or Christ? Or is God bodily in Heaven but "everywhere present" through the agency of His own Spirit? Is the Spirit of God another God Person or simply God Himself in Power and Essence?
HO WAS JESUS' real Father? We know it was not Joseph. Jesus was born of a virgin and was called the Son of God. But which member of the Godhead actually begot Him? F or whoever actually did the "begetting" is of course His actual or real Father. If the Holy Spirit is a separate person from God the Father then we have a theological problem and Jesus prayed to the wrong Father, believe it or not! Matthew 1:20 tells that Mary had conceived a child "of the Holy Ghost [Spirit]. The word "of' means by or from. Now if the Holy Spirit is a separate distinct person from God the Father then Jesus was begotten by the Holy Spirit and not the one we call God the Father. So the Holy Spirit was then His Father! Why then did Jesus never at any time pray to the Holy Spirit as His actual Father, but rather pray to the One we call God the Father? No, God the Father is Jesus' actual Father. His Spirit is simply His power that overshadowed Mary. It was God the Father who â€œbegot" Jesus and she conceived of or from God the Father through the power of His Spirit (called the Holy Spirit or sometimes mistranslated "Holy Ghost" in the Bible). Now notice Luke 1:35. The angel told Mary "The Holy Ghost [Spirit] shall come upon thee and the POWER of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.â€? We are told that it was the Holy Spirit which came upon Mary. But since the One called "the Father" is Jesus' true Father then the Holy Spirit is God's POWER that overshadowed Mary, causing her to conceive a Child which was the Son of the Father God. The Bible also speaks of the Holy Spirit being "poured out" on people (Joel 2:28-29, Acts 1:1718). How can a "person" be "poured out"? But Jesus teaches us about the Holy Spirit and likens it to the power of running water (see John 7:38-39) - rather than a "person." He also likens the Spirit to wind (John 3:5-8). Wind can be a very powerful force. We have seen its power in tornadoes and hurricanes. And this is the analogy Jesus gives to help us to understand the Spirit of God. Nowhere however, does Jesus say the Spirit of God is a person. Would that not have been easier to explain than to use these other examples of powerful wind or rivers of water? And like a vessel being filled with water, we are commanded to be "filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5: 18). How can you be filled with a "person"? The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "Nowhere in the Old Testament do we find any clear 18 | P a g e
indication of a Third Person." And the New Catholic Encyclopedia states: "The OT [Old Testament] clearly does not envisage God's Spirit as a person. God's Spirit is simply God's POWER. If it is sometimes represented as being distinct from God, it is because the breath of Yahweh [the Eternal] acts exteriorly" (emphasis mine throughout). But is it only the Old Testament that presents God's Spirit as the power of God rather than a distinct person and separate from God the Father or Christ the Son? Notice this same authority (who created the doctrine of the trinity in the fourth century after Christ) also adds that the New Testament presents the Holy Spirit as God's Spirit or power. For this same Catholic authority also states: "The majority of NT [New Testament] texts reveal God's Spirit as something, NOT SOMEONE; this is especially seen in the parallelism between the Spirit and the power of God." And finally, notice what their own dictionary says about the Bible's definition of the Holy Spirit. A Catholic Dictionary makes this comment: "On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the Spirit as a divine energy or POWER. Yet they still teach the doctrine that God's Spirit is a separate distinct person. Or some do. A few years ago I spoke to a Catholic lady with whom I was discussing the Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity. She went to her priest for clarification. He plainly told her that the Holy Spirit was not a person, but the POWER of God! Yet the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century declared that God was a closed trinity of three persons. But many today admit this is not the Biblical teaching. The daughter churches that came out of Rome (calling themselves "Protestant") however still teach the Roman doctrine as defined originally by their mother church in the fourth century rather than dispense with all teachings that came from Rome, and preferring rather to earnestly contend for the true Faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) by going back to the Bible for all their doctrines and really proving all things!. We see plainly that the Holy Spirit of God is just that: it is His own Spirit, His Holy presence and power in our lives! The Spirit is also called the Mind of Christ in the believer. God's Spirit is likened to a seed that He places in the child of God to beget him into the Family of God. So presently we know of only TWO members of the Godhead, God the Father and God the Son whom we know as Jesus Christ. But is this all there is to the Godhead? Are there other members we may not know about? What you are going to read in the next lesson is truly fascinating! It is startling! It is almost INCONCEIVABLE! -yet you will find this new Truth revealed in the pages of your Bible!
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