By: Rev. Charles C. Burnett-Morrow
The beginning of this page is taken directly from the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia. Any church claiming to embrace the doctrine of the "trinity" embraces this definition. Notice how Rome attempts to make the Oneness of God some huge mystical mystery, hardly able to be understood by man, when in reality the whole matter is easily understood when it is embraced in truth! The apostolic position on the Oneness of God is simple and uncomplicated, just as it was taught and embraced by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, so as to make it easily embraced by early Jewish converts. We are not at all afraid to present the position of this organization regarding this doctrine as we are convinced that a careful examination of this doctrine will clearly reveal it's inconsistencies and impossibilities. On one hand they attempt to present the oneness of God, albeit in their definition it is only one "in unity" and not in quantity, making God a colossal liar and fraud; and yet on the other hand making God three distinct persons, which creates nothing short of three Gods. The Hindus have embraced a triune Godhead of the same sort as taught by Rome for centuries, long before the advent of Christianity. Words in bold print are highlighted by us for your particular attention. Our notes appear italicized, in parenthesis, in the same color as this sentence, and marked "Note." AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE IS A SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND ILLUSTARTION OF THE ONENESS OF GOD. For a comprehensive Bible Study on THE ONENESS OF GOD, CLICK HERE.
"The Blessed Trinity" (Their title, not ours)
I. THE DOGMA OF THE TRINITY
The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion -- the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another. 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 of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent. (Note: This is nothing short of THREE GODS who are merely "one" in unity, not at all one in quantity.) This, the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God's nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she proposes to man as the foundation of her whole dogmatic system.
In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. (Note: Long after, nearly a century in fact, the death of all of God's holy apostles, so that there were none remaining of the original twelve who could protect and defend the apostolic position of One God in Christ.) He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom ("Ad. Autol.", II, 15). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian ("De pud." c. xxi). In the next century the word is in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen ("In Ps. xvii", 15). The first creed in which it appears is that of Origen's pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus. In his Ekthesis tes pisteos composed between 260 and 270, he writes:
There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: nor is there anything that has been added as though it once had not existed, but had entered afterwards: therefore the Father has never been without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit: and this same Trinity is immutable and unalterable forever (P. G., X, 986).
It is manifest that a dogma so mysterious presupposes a Divine revelation. (Note: Jesus stated to Peter that an understanding of His divinity required divine revelation. He made no mention of any revelation necessary to understand some unstated doctrine of the "trinity.") When the fact of revelation, understood in its full sense as the speech of God to man, is no longer admitted, the rejection of the doctrine follows as a necessary consequence. For this reason it has no place in the Liberal Protestantism of today. The writers of this school contend that the doctrine of the Trinity, as professed by the Church, is not contained in the New Testament, but that it was first formulated in the second century and received final approbation in the fourth, as the result of the Arian and Macedonian controversies. In view of this assertion it is necessary to consider in some detail the evidence afforded by Holy Scripture. Attempts have been made recently to apply the more extreme theories of comparative religion to the doctrine ot the Trinity, and to account for it by an imaginary law of nature compelling men to group the objects of their worship in threes. It seems needless to give more than a reference to these extravagant views, which serious thinkers of every school reject as destitute of foundation.
II. PROOF OF DOCTRINE FROM SCRIPTURE
A. New Testament
The evidence from the Gospels culminates in the baptismal commission of Matthew 28:20. It is manifest from the narratives of the Evangelists that Christ only made the great truth known to the Twelve step by step. First He taught them to recognize in Himself the Eternal Son of God. When His ministry was drawing to a close, He promised that the Father would send another Divine Person, (Note: ABSOLUTE LIES - The Lord never said another "Divine Person," but rather He clearly stated that it was He Himself who would be returning in an invisible manifestation! See: JOHN 14:15-21) the Holy Spirit, in His place. Finally after His resurrection, He revealed the doctrine in explicit terms, bidding them "go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:18). The force of this passage is decisive. That "the Father" and "the Son" are distinct Persons follows from the terms themselves, which are mutually exclusive. The mention of the Holy Spirit in the same series, the names being connected one with the other by the conjunctions "and . . . and" (Note: The Roman church conveniently fails to mention that the Greek word "kai," which is translated as both "and" as well as "even" in English. Knowing this, it is easy to see where many times the word "and" is used in translation where "even" would have been a far more accurate choice, giving an entirely different tenor to the text being translated.) is evidence that we have here a Third Person co-ordinate with the Father and the Son, and excludes altogether the supposition that the Apostles understood the Holy Spirit not as a distinct Person, but as God viewed in His action on creatures.
The phrase "in the name" (eis to onoma) affirms alike the Godhead of the Persons and their unity of nature. Among the Jews and in the Apostolic Church the Divine name was representative of God. He who had a right to use it was invested with vast authority: for he wielded the supernatural powers of Him whose name he employed. It is incredible that the phrase "in the name" should be here employed, were not all the Persons mentioned equally Divine. Moreover, the use of the singular, "name," and not the plural, shows that these Three Persons are that One Omnipotent God in whom the Apostles believed. Indeed the unity of God is so fundamental a tenet alike of the Hebrew and of the Christian religion, and is affirmed in such countless passages of the Old and New Testaments, that any explanation inconsistent with this doctrine would be altogether inadmissible.
The supernatural appearance at the baptism of Christ is often cited as an explicit revelation of Trinitarian doctrine, given at the very commencement of the Ministry. This, it seems to us, is a mistake. The Evangelists, it is true, see in it a manifestation of the Three Divine Persons. Yet, apart from Christ's subsequent teaching, the dogmatic meaning of the scene would hardly have been understood. Moreover, the Gospel narratives appear to signify that none but Christ and the Baptist were privileged to see the Mystic Dove, and hear the words attesting the Divine sonship of the Messias. (Note: Is God so limited in ability as to be unable to manifest Himself in more than one place at one time without being three seperate "people?")
Besides these passages there are many others in the Gospels which refer to one or other of the Three Persons in particular and clearly express the separate personality and Divinity of each. In regard to the First Person it will not be necessary to give special citations: those which declare that Jesus Christ is God the Son (Note: Nowhere in God's Word is "God the Son" ever used, nor for that matter do we even once see the term, "God the Holy Spirit."), affirm thereby also the separate personality of the Father. The Divinity of Christ is amply attested not merely by St. John, but by the Synoptists. As this point is treated elsewhere (see JESUS CHRIST), it will be sufficient here to enumerate a few of the more important messages from the Synoptists, in which Christ bears witness to His Divine Nature. (Rome does not argue with the absolute fact of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, but they do attempt to then make Him a lesser God of sorts, second to the Father, while all the while speaking out of the opposites sides of their mouth in declaring that the "three" are "seperate persons, but equal. This too contradicts the words of the Lord HImself who plainly decalred that as the Son (God manifest in human form), He was less than the Father. See: John 14:28-31 "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.")
He declares that He will come to be the judge of all men (Matthew 25:31). In Jewish theology the judgment of the world was a distinctively Divine, and not a Messianic, prerogative.
In the parable of the wicked husbandmen, He describes Himself as the son of the householder, while the Prophets, one and all, are represented as the servants (Matthew 21:33 sqq.).
He is the Lord of Angels, who execute His command (Matthew 24:31).
He approves the confession of Peter when he recognizes Him, not as Messias -- a step long since taken by all the Apostles -- but explicitly as the Son of God: and He declares the knowledge due to a special revelation from the Father (Matthew 16:16-17).
Finally, before Caiphas He not merely declares Himself to be the Messias, but in reply to a second and distinct question affirms His claim to be the Son of God. He is instantly declared by the high priest to be guilty of blasphemy, an offense which could not have been attached to the claim to be simply the Messias (Luke 22:66-71).
St. John's testimony is yet more explicit than that of the Synoptists. He expressly asserts that the very purpose of his Gospel is to establish the Divinity of Jesus Christ (John 20:31). In the prologue he identifies Him with the Word, the only-begotten of the Father, Who from all eternity exists with God, Who is God (John 1:1-18). The immanence of the Son in the Father and of the Father in the Son is declared in Christ's words to St. Philip: "Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?" (14:10), and in other passages no less explicit (14:7; 16:15; 17:21). The oneness of Their power and Their action is affirmed: "Whatever he [the Father] does, the Son also does in like manner" (5:19, cf. 10:38); and to the Son no less than to the Father belongs the Divine attribute of conferring life on whom He will (5:21). In 10:29, Christ expressly teaches His unity of essence with the Father: "That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all . . . I and the Father are one." The words, "That which my Father hath given me," can, having regard to the context, have no other meaning than the Divine Name, possessed in its fullness by the Son as by the Father.
Rationalist critics lay great stress upon the text: "The Father is greater than I" (14:28). They argue that this suffices to establish that the author of the Gospel held subordinationist views (Note: Now they try to blame the perspective of the author of the book of John for the use of this phrase, so obviously God's Word, according to them is unrelaible and uninspired.), and they expound in this sense certain texts in which the Son declares His dependence on the Father (5:19; 8:28). In point of fact the doctrine of the Incarnation involves that, in regard of His Human Nature, the Son should be less than the Father. No argument against Catholic doctrine can, therefore, be drawn from this text. So too, the passages referring to the dependence of the Son upon the Father do but express what is essential to Trinitarian dogma, namely, that the Father is the supreme source from Whom the Divine Nature and perfections flow to the Son. (On the essential difference between St. John's doctrine as to the Person of Christ and the Logos doctrine of the Alexandrine Philo, to which many Rationalists have attempted to trace it, see LOGOS.)
In regard to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the passages which can be cited from the Synoptists as attesting His distinct personality are few. The words of Gabriel (Luke 1:35), having regard to the use of the term, "the Spirit," in the Old Testament, to signify God as operative in His creatures, can hardly be said to contain a definite revelation of the doctrine. For the same reason it is dubious whether Christ's warning to the Pharisees as regards blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31) can be brought forward as proof. But in Luke 12:12, "The Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you must say" (Matthew 10:20, and Luke 24:49), His personality is clearly implied. These passages, taken in connection with Matthew 28:19, postulate the existence of such teaching as we find in the discourses in the Cenacle reported by St. John (14-16). We have in these chapters the necessary preparation for the baptismal commission. In them the Apostles are instructed not only as the personality of the Spirit, but as to His office towards the Church. His work is to teach whatsoever He shall hear (16:13) to bring back their minds the teaching of Christ (14:26), to convince the world of sin (16:8). It is evident that, were the Spirit not a Person, Christ could not have spoken of His presence with the Apostles as comparable to His own presence with them (14:16). Again, were He not a Divine Person it could not have been expedient for the Apostles that Christ should leave them, and the Paraclete take His place (16:7). Moreover, notwithstanding the neuter form of the word (pneuma), the pronoun used in His regard is the masculine ekeinos. The distinction of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son is involved in the express statements that He proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son (15:26; cf. 14:16, 26). Nevertheless, He is one with Them: His presence with the Disciples is at the same time the presence of the Son (14:17, 18), while the presence of the Son is the presence of the Father (14:23).
(The physical incarnation of God, known to we mere mortals as "the Son" ascends to that place in the heavens which we call the Father, knowing that the Father is a Spirit and therefore occupies no specific time or place, but rather occupies all of time and space, the Scriptures declaring, "The heavens are my throne and the earth is my footstool." It is from this place, at the right hand of God's throne, as He has not yet completed salvations work, which shall be completed after the resurection and redemption of the church and judgement of all the earth; that the Son (physical manifestation of God) sends forth His Spirit back to His own as a continuing, ongoing comforter and instructor in the way of truth. Again, their is absolutely no need that God be seen as three persons, so much as simpluy three manifestations. The Word of God NEVER employs any language suggesting three persoons, but rather the language is consistantly used to clearly imply three manifestations of God...
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:11
For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
I Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
2 Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
1 John 1:1-4
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
1 John 3:8
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:5
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
The truth is a very simple matter: