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Trinity Comments - 2000
Below are assorted, short e-mails I received in 2000 on the items listed at The Doctrine of the Trinity. The e-mailers comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
>Dear Pastor Zeolla,
I have been reading your articles, and appreciate them! I have been studying the Scriptures since I was 13 years old (I am now 34). I am well versed in the subject of the Trinity, Arianism, Modalism, etc.
In the last four years I have encountered a new faction that I have named "Neo-Arianism" I have also heard it called "modified Arianism". The group is quite large and gaining adherents. As far as I know, I am the only person who has truly stepped up to the plate to confront their erroneous teaching.
They teach that Jesus is not the first and only direct creation of God (as Arians teach), but rather, that he is the LITERAL Son of God, i.e. that the Father literally gave birth to Jesus (based in part on Proverbs 8; they also elaborate on the word "only BEGOTTEN" or "only one birthed" in their interpretation). Some elaborate that Jesus somehow "sprang" from the chest of the Father like Minerva from Zeus' head (based on John, "I proceeded and came forth from the Father" and "the son is in the bosom of the Father").
I have been able to counter their teachings. They first taught that the Holy Spirit was not a person, but a force that emanated from the Father and the Son. When shown beyond doubt that the Spirit is a person, they now accept it, but say that it is just Jesus' new name-- in other words, the Holy Spirit is Jesus himself. No third person.
They first taught the inferiority of Christ. When countered, they accepted his equality, but now teach that the Father "granted" Jesus equality (so he's not REALLY equal...).
They only two difficult texts to counter are they one they use, "I proceeded and came forth from the Father.' They go into the Greek and say it means he literally came out of the Father's body.
The second is when Christ speaks of his having life within himself, he says, "this I have received of my Father." In other words, the Father "granted" Jesus the ability to have life; it is not inherent.
I have read Robert Bowman's books, and they were extremely helpful, especially in my 25 page paper I wrote four years ago to counter these teachings. However, even his former associates were unable to help me locate him, as I was hoping he could help me with the Greek.
If you could help me with these verses, especially the "proceeded and came forth" one, I would be most appreciative, and the work of God would be strengthened against error.
May the LORD bless you and your work,
Sons of the Tabernacle Teaching Ministries
Thanks for your e-mail and the information. I had never heard of this heresy before, but it is disturbing! In regards to your questions:
>They only two difficult texts to counter are they one they use, "I proceeded and came forth from the Father.' They go into the Greek and say it means he literally came out of the Father's body. <
John 8:42 is referring to Jesus' incarnation, not His pre-incarnate origin. There is not a hint of anything in the Greek word would support their interpretation. Furthermore, God Himself does not have a body, so it is impossible for this or any other word to be referring to God's body. And it is on this latter point that I would direct my efforts. If this group doesn't understand the infinite nature of God, then they'll never be able to grasp the doctrine of the Trinity.
>The second is when Christ speaks of his having life within himself, he says, "this I have received of my Father." In other words, the Father "granted" Jesus the ability to have life; it is not inherent.<
John 5:26 is a little more difficult. Again, it could be referring to Jesus in His incarnate state. It would explain why Jesus said:
John 10:17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
So this could be taken that Jesus couldn't have been killed since He had "life in Himself" and thus had to voluntarily lay it down for Him to be crucified. But that raises some theological difficulties about the nature of the incarnation. But it seems there's even more theological difficulties if He is referring to His pre-incarnate state. And if He is, then I'm not really sure how to deal with it.
A.T. Robertson simply says Jesus is referring to the fact that He has life in Himself, and not to the degree. I'm not sure if I could add much to that as it is a difficult verse. But I will say, one or two verses is a rather tenuous basis for any theological position, especially when there's dozens of verses supporting Jesus' full deity.
I hope that helps some.
God bless you as you continue to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3).
Smashing page, please put my message on your comments board.
To anyone who reads these pages who rejects the doctrine of the Trinity: The doctrine, to use an American phrase "covers all bases." If Christendom did not accept the deity of Jesus, then atheists and detractors everywhere would throw one point at us constantly, "Jesus thought he was God almighty." It is the inescapable consequence of Scripture, if modern Christians accepted the Bible and not the deity of Christ, we would be labeled as followers of a grandeur deluded false-Messiah. Fortunately no one can accuse us of not honoring Jesus enough.
No man, not even a perfect man, can save his brother. If you steel 1 sheep, you must replace 4. Christ died for all OUR sins.
This is not a particularly persuasive argument for Christ's deity. But it is typical of the type of logic upon which most anti-Trinitarian dogmas are based. And yet these flimsy arguments against the trinity can easily be replicated to support it in addition to the overwhelming claims of the NT.
Christ did not die for Adam's sin, he died for the sins of everyone (1Corinthians 15). What a great sacrifice from God for us all, his literal Son--God from God. The three greatest sacrifices a man can make, "himself, his son, his God" sacrificed for us all by God upon the cross. The alternative? Something the omniscient God "made" as a sacrifice. Did God love us enough to sacrifice his literal Son--or something he made? Think about it the next time you make a sandwich--it was easier for God to make a man that is for you to make the sandwich. Which sacrifice?
Love to all in Christ,
Thank you for your comments.
>I thank you for your posting of the Deity of the Holy Spirit article, It really helped me with a term paper I had to write. It gave me a lot of Bible sources to use. Please keep this site up and going. It is a true blessing.
>Subject: Great Site!
I just wanted to say how helpful your site has been. I am a college student who is in a Religious Studies class covering religions of the world. For our project we had to write a paper and I chose to do mine over the Trinity. I have to admit that I was very overwhelmed at first but your site explained things simply and easily. I couldn't get over the numerous Bible verses you referenced. Your site helped me tremendously. Keep up the good work.
Ball State University, Muncie, IN
Thanks for the kind comments. And may God bless you in your studies.
>Subject: A simple "Thank You"
Thank you for your well-organized and extremely informative (Biblically) pages. One of the brothers in our church is having a difficult time with the concept, with the very idea, of One God in three Persons. I will use much of what you have taken so much time writing in the hope of him seeing the Truth in the Scriptures.
Personally, I have always just "believed" without the necessity of "proof" of any kind. I guess you could say that I take the "Pollyanna" approach. When I read my Bible or speak to people about the Lord, it has always been with the firm conviction that Jesus is God...the Holy Spirit is God...God the Father is God. I am pleased, very pleased, to have somewhere specific to send people now...your site.
Again, thank you for the great work. God will bless you greatly, if He already hasn't.
Love and blessings,
Thank you for the kind words. They are very encouraging.
>Great Site Gary! I saw the link over at Matt Slicks CARM. Gonna make it a favorite. Excellent research. I have been studying the Ante-Nicene fathers for a few years now. Initially, just because I had read the claims of "Should You Believe in the Trinity" by the JWs. I came to the same conclusions you did.
Thanks for the kind comments. And I will check your site out the next time I update my links pages.
> If Jesus is God then show me one verse in the New Testament where it states: Jesus is God? Answer: no where.<
See my Scripture study on The Doctrine of the Trinity found in my Scripture Workbook. On it is a list of about a dozen verses which specifically say Jesus is God or directly ascribe deity to Him. Also listed are hundreds of other verses which demonstrate His deity in a variety of other ways.
And if you don't think verse like John 1:1 and Romans 9:5 are calling Jesus God, I have in-depth articles discussing these verses listed on my Trinity Subject page.
>Although, it does state that Jesus is the Son of God 68 times.<
And a son has the same nature as his father.
> You pagans never read Romans 10:9 <
Nowhere on my site do I call people who don't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity "pagans" or any other such derogatory labels. So why do you see a need to do so?
> where it states that : If thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is your Lord, and that God raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. I t does not say that God raised himself from the dead.<
The first Person of the Trinity, the Father, raised the second Person of the Trinity, the Son, from the dead. So what's the big deal? And besides, in the following verse, Jesus *does* say He will raise Himself from the dead:
[John 2:19] Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
>No other place in the New Testament does it say how to be saved, but Romans 10:9 and 10.<
Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8,9 and numerous other verses do in fact do so.
> One other thing , the concept of the trinity did not appear in Christian literature until the 4th century when the Roman pagans entered the church around 325 AD and introduced deity worship to the church. Remember the Roman Catholic Church?
Thank you for making this comment. A while ago I had an interesting discussion with a "oneness" person (who also does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity). He wanted to know why I had articles on my site showing people in the second and third centuries believed in the doctrine of the Trinity. He said, "Of course there were some people who believed in the Trinity in the second and third centuries. But so what? It's what the Bible teaches that matters."
The latter statement is, of course, true. But I tried to explain to him that the articles dealing with the post-apostolic Church were needed because there were people who believed the concept of the Trinity was "invented" at the Council of Nicea (325) or even later. He simply couldn't believe there were people who were so misinformed as to believe such an idea.
Well, you have proven that my efforts in writing those articles were worthwhile as this myth about the doctrine of the Trinity not existing in the ante-Nicene area persists. Please see my articles on Trinity in the post-apostolic Church, listed on the above Trinity subject page. They are also listed on my Post-Apostolic Church subject page:
I do not see the difference of you being insulted by me calling you a pagan than a Catholic calling me a heretic. What bothers me about your logic on the trinity is that why you are so sold out to this pagan concept , the trinity. Why can't you accept that God sent his son to save human kind from sin. Why do pagans such as yourself have to devise this complex being of three parts who are equal?
Why do pagans always bring up John 1:1, when John 1:18 says that no man has seen God at any time , so if Jesus is God then how could he be seen by men on the earth? Also, it states in the gospels that Jesus was tempted for forty days and nights, but James 1:13 states: Let no man say when he is tempted , he is tempted of God \ ; FOR GOD CANNOT BE TEMPTED WITH EVIL NOR HE TEMPTH HE ANY MAN. Once again, if Jesus is God than how could he be tempted?
Do you remember the first commandment? That their will be no other god before my face. As I understand the trinity it states : that God the father, God the son , and God the holy sprit are all equal. Then why does Jesus say in John 14:28 that: MY FATHER IS GREATER THAN I.
Once again I ask you to show me one verse in the New Testament where it says in these words that Jesus is God. Timothy 1: 4+5 states : WHO WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED AND COME ON TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH. FOR THERE IS ONE GOD AND ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, THE (MAN) CHRIST JESUS.
Salvation does not come by confessing your sins, but by confessing the savouir of sins, Jesus. You will never come to the point in your life where the Bible becomes living and real to you until you get that the trinity is a pagan concept . To my my knowledge there are not many verses that say Jesus is God ,but only four times indirectly Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 1:8, John 20:28, and Isaiah 9:6), but their are 68 verses that say he is the Son of God directly.
Every point you raise I have already addressed in depth somewhere on my Web site. So I see no need to repeat myself here. And since I am not Catholic, and I am not calling you a "heretic" I still do not see why you need to use such inflammatory language.
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