Should You Believe in the Trinity? (2/9)

How Is the Trinity Explained?

THE Roman Catholic Church states: “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.”- The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

Each is said to be almighty, with each neither greater nor lesser than the others. Is such reasoning hard to follow? Many sincere believers have found it to be confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in their experience. How, they ask, could the Father be God, Jesus be God, and the holy spirit be God, yet there be not three Gods but only one God?

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

The Watchtower teaches that Christians believe in 3 gods, they cannot grasp like all non-Christians the understanding how 3 individuals of the Godhead can all be the Almighty God (Jehovah). JW’s agree the Father is God Almighty no argument there. When the subject of the Son or the Holy Spirit comes into play this is when the JW mind shuts down.

A logical illustration is imagine two persons named John and the other Mark. We are indeed talking about two distinct persons, one named John the other Mark; they are distinct one from another. Yet John and Mark are both human, John isn’t more human than Mark or vice versa. When grasping the difference between being and person then we can understand how it’s possible for the 3 Persons of the Godhead to be the 1 God.

This is clearly laid out in the scriptures more strongly in the New Testament but I will endeavour to show this in the Old Testament as the Trinity is all over the Bible.

Before Sodom and Gomorrah had fire and brimstone rained down upon, Abraham was visited by 3 men one of those men was called the LORD. In the beginning of Genesis chapter 18 we read:

Genesis 18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

Genesis 18:1 says the LORD appeared to Abraham, God physically came and stood before Abraham in his tent.

Genesis 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw [them], he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

Genesis 18:2 tells us the LORD came with 2 others, these other two turn out to be angels, later go ahead towards the city of Sodom and Gomorrah in order to witness what’s taking place in those cities.

Abraham eats food with God, the LORD then ask “Where is Sarah thy wife?” (Genesis 18:9) and goes onto tell Abraham how she will give birth (Genesis 18:10).

Genesis 18:10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard [it] in the tent door, which [was] behind him.

The covenant keeping God tells Sarah she’ll give birth and Sarah laughs because she’s been struggling with the fact that she’s been unable to give birth (Genesis 18:11). Additionally, she and Abraham are well in age and in unbelief thinks it’s not possible but we know that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27).

The following verse says that “Sarah laughed within herself” (Genesis 18:12) the LORD then replies:

Genesis 18:13, 14 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

But wait the Jehovah Witnesses in their attempt to deny the deity of Christ will quote verses which highlights the humanity of Christ, Him being fully man while neglecting the verses which proves His deity. There’s 2 verses written by the apostle John which says:

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].

1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Being that the Bible has no contradictions, then who did Abraham sit down with who is called the LORD in Genesis chapter 18? We can only come to the conclusion that’s it’s not God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit. That leaves only one Person and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the pre-incarnate Christ who makes numerous appearances in the Old Testament.

“Beyond the Grasp of Human Reason”

THIS confusion is widespread. The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of the Trinity is considered to be “beyond the grasp of human reason.” Many who accept the Trinity view it that same way. Monsignor Eugene Clark says: “God is one, and God is three. Since there is nothing like this in creation, we cannot understand it, but only accept it.” Cardinal John O’Connor states: “We know that it is a very profound mystery, which we don’t begin to under- stand.” And Pope John Paul II speaks of “the inscrutable mystery of God the Trinity.”

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

God is beyond His creation but understanding the Godhead is not completely out of our reach. I would have to disagree with the statement “there is nothing like this in creation”, if we look around we can see the stamp of God in creation, while yes it is true God is beyond His creation but He didn’t leave us utterly without being able to grasp the understanding of how God is 1 yet comprised of 3 distinct Persons.

Time is comprised of 3 components, the past, things which occurred or transpired already. There’s also the present which pertains to the time we are currently living or experiencing or occurring now. Lastly, we have the future, events that will happen at a later time. Each of these are part of time which is “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.”

This is just one example but as was demonstrated God has fixed the truth of Himself in all that before our eyes. This is why in the book of Romans says that we are without excuse.

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; so that they are without excuse:

Trinitarians are not without understanding, the Watchtower would have people think we’re scratching our heads in confusion but it’s just not so. Jesus Christ is of the same substance or nature as the Father, the same is true of the Holy Spirit. God is the perfect being who doesn’t need anything outside of Himself, all 3 Persons of the Godhead have eternally enjoyed perfect love and fellowship among the 3. The apostle John sums it up clearly in John 1:1, 1 John 5:7.

God didn’t leave us stranded without understanding how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the 1 God spoken of in scripture. He left us His word and we can see it in creation itself.

Thus, A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge says: “Precisely what that doctrine is, or rather precisely how it is to be explained, Trinitarians are not agreed among themselves.” We can understand, then, why the New Catholic Encyclopedia observes: “There are few teachers of Trinitarian theology in Roman Catholic seminaries who have not been badgered at one time or another by the question, ‘But how does one preach the Trinity?’ And if the question is symptomatic of confusion on the part of the students, perhaps it is no less symptomatic of similar confusion on the part of their professors.”

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

Here we have the comment “Trinitarians are not agreed among themselves” this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Those who hold to the Trinity doctrine all agree on the fundamental teachings. Unfortunately, there are doctrines which may seem similar but in actuality are not the same as Trinitarianism.

For instance modalist believe God is 1 being, where they differ is they claim God is absolutely 1 person. Modalism (also Sabellianism, Monarchianism) teaches the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are 1 Person, The Father changed into the Son at some point in time; and the Son turned into the Holy Spirit. Modalist deny the distinction of Persons within the Godhead, and it was classified as heresy by the early church. People who believe in modalism are not identified as Trinitarians.

Another heresy that exist is arianism which teaches the Father as Almighty God alone with the Son as a lesser created god such is the case with the Jehovah Witnesses in which they have a lower demi god. They also claim the Holy Spirit is not a Person but God’s “active force.” This heresy came about by Arius of Alexandria and has been the biggest criticizer of the Trinitarian doctrine.

The Godhead has been always present in scripture, Christians has always believed since the beginning there’s one God, who exists as three co-equal, co-eternal and co-substantial divine persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And while we do not get our doctrine from the early church fathers we can certainly establish they also held to the Trinity doctrine from these few early quotes.

Origen: “If anyone would say that the Word of God or the Wisdom of God had a beginning, let him beware lest he direct his impiety rather against the unbegotten Father, since he denies that he was always Father, and that he has always begotten the Word, and that he always had wisdom in all previous times or ages or whatever can be imagined in priority . . . There can be no more ancient title of almighty God than that of Father, and it is through the Son that he is Father” (De Princ. 1.2.; PG 11.132).

“For if [the Holy Spirit were not eternally as He is, and had received knowledge at some time and then became the Holy Spirit] this were the case, the Holy Spirit would never be reckoned in the unity of the Trinity, i.e., along with the unchangeable Father and His Son, unless He had always been the Holy Spirit.” (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 4, p. 253, de Principiis, 1.111.4)

Ignatius of Antioch: “In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever” (n. 7; PG 5.988).
“We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.  For ‘the Word was made flesh.’ Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.” (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 1, p. 52, Ephesians 7.)

Tertullian: “We define that there are two, the Father and the Son, and three with the Holy Spirit, and this number is made by the pattern of salvation . . . [which] brings about unity in trinity, interrelating the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are three, not in dignity, but in degree, not in substance but in form, not in power but in kind.  They are of one substance and power, because there is one God from whom these degrees, forms and kinds devolve in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” (Adv. Prax. 23; PL 2.156-7).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, argue that the doctrine was “made up” during the time of the Council of Nicea (325).  This council was brought together by Emperor Constantine to deal with the heresy of Arianism which was threatening the Christian Church. The council defined what was already established in the Bible concerning the Godhead, the nicene council sought to defend against the attack on the Person and deity of Christ. Which is what arianism is all about and continues today with such cults as the Watchtower.

The truth of that observation can be verified by going to a library and examining books that support the Trinity. Countless pages have been written attempting to explain it. Yet, after struggling through the labyrinth of confusing theological terms and explanations, investigators still come away unsatisfied.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

What proof does the Watchtower have to substantiate such a claim? The Watchtower consistently misrepresents the biblical teaching of the Trinity, a organisation which makes the following statements.

“Isaiah was foretelling a dereliction of duty on the part of religious leaders. For instance, they do not teach Bible truth but teach their flocks unscriptural doctrines regarding eternal torment in a fiery hell, a trinity of three gods in one, and immortality of the soul—all of pagan origin. And the clergy have supported all the wars of their nations, even when it meant killing people of their own religion. This is in direct violation of God’s commandments.”

Awake 12/8/2098, p. 11 What Jesus Is Now

“The doctrine, in brief, is that there are three gods in one: ‘God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost,; all three equal in power, substance and eternity.” (Let God Be True, 1952, p. 100).

Christians never taught “three gods in one” this misunderstanding of the Watchtower is the basis why Jehovah Witnesses do not understand the Trinity; as they continually misrepresent the teaching.

In this regard, Jesuit Joseph Bracken observes in his book What Are They Saying About the Trinity?: “Priests who with considerable effort learned . . . the Trinity during their seminary years naturally hesitated to present it to their people from the pulpit, even on Trinity Sunday. . . . Why should one bore people with something that in the end they wouldn’t properly understand anyway?” He also says: “The Trinity is a matter of formal belief, but it has little or no [effect] in day to day Christian life and worship.” Yet, it is “the central doctrine” of the churches!

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

It’s clear that if individuals seek to approach the Trinity doctrine purely through a carnal mind it’s beyond their understanding. This statement only proves there are people who find the Trinity perplexing not that the teaching itself is hard to understand. It becomes more understood if you can make the distinction between “Being” and “Person”, the first refers to nature while the second refers to an individual.

Catholic theologian Hans Kung observes in his book Christianity and the World Religions that the Trinity is one reason why the churches have been unable to make any significant headway with non-Christian peoples. He states: “Even well-informed Muslims simply cannot follow, as the Jews thus far have likewise failed to grasp, the idea of the Trinity.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

Just because Muslims cannot grasp the Trinity doctrine doesn’t make it not true, the same way Catholics have a hard time understanding faith alone in Christ alone is how an individual is saved. The children of Israel sinned multiple times, they didn’t understand the LORD’s ways, we are not to follow the Jews but Christ Jesus Himself. Christ said He is the Way (John 14:6) not the Jews. The book of Isaiah tells us that the Jews eyes are closed to the truth (Isaiah 6:10, Isaiah 44:18), but there’s coming a time in which God will open their eyes to the truth.

As for this portion of the statement “Even well-informed Muslims…” according to their own sources Muslims deny Jesus died on the cross, that He’s the Son of God, and the Trinity is “the Father, Son and Mary.” How can the Watchtower even begin to think Muslims are an authority on scripture, their own Quran and Hadiths are contradictory to the Word of God. We certainly cannot take Islam’s word for how we are to understand doctrine.

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. . . . Why should anyone want to add anything to the notion of God’s oneness and uniqueness that can only dilute or nullify that oneness and uniqueness?”

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

It’s strange that the Watchtower would appeal towards Islam as a source of authority. Groups like Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, Unitarians etc. Will over emphasise the “oneness” of God at the expense of the plurality in the Godhead. Witnesses will agree with the Christian on every point when it comes to God being 1, even though the Witnesses actually are not monotheist technically.

They are blinded by the fact that just as God the Father works, the Son also works (John 5:17). Anything the Father can do the Lord Jesus can do, this is a devastating passage for the Witnesses. Just as the Father raises the dead the Son does likewise (John 5:21). The Son of God gives eternal life (John 10:28), this can not be spoken of a mere angel; not even an archangel such as Michael can be spoken of giving eternal life. Eternal life can only come from God Himself and this is why while the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible the doctrine is.

“Not a God of Confusion”

HOW could such a confusing doctrine originate? The Catholic Encyclopedia claims: “A dogma so mysterious presupposes a Divine revelation.” Catholic scholars Karl Rahner and Herbert V orgrimler state in their Theological Dictionary: “The Trinity is a mystery . . . in the strict sense … , which could not be known without revelation, and even after revelation cannot become wholly intelligible.”

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

The Watchtower loves to partially quote sources using dots and gaps in quotes to try to support their view, making it seem as if the other party is agreeing with their position, here’s the above quotes in their entirety.

“It is manifest that a dogma so mysterious presupposes a Divine revelation. 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 of 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.”

Another use of the dots and gaps by Watchtower is in this statement by Karl Rahner and Herbert V orgrimler “The Trinity is a mystery . . . in the strict sense … , which could not be known without revelation, and even after revelation cannot become wholly intelligible.” That statement goes on to say: “Its import is as follows. (1) The one God exists in three “Persons” (Subsistence) which are the one divine Nature (the one divine essence, of divine substance) and therefore are equally eternal and almighty.

However, contending that since the Trinity is such a confusing mystery, it must have come from divine revelation creates another major problem. Why? Because divine revelation itself does not allow for such a view of God: “God is not a God of confusion.”-1 Corinthians 14:33, Revised Standard Version (RS). In view of that statement, would God be responsible for a doctrine about himself that is so confusing that even Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholars cannot really explain it?

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

Deception at its finest by the Watchtower. The source by Rahner and Orgrimler clearly states that God did reveal the trinity doctrine in the scriptures. Even God Himself couldn’t be understood without revelation and even after cannot be fully known. The Jehovah’s Witnesses use deception to make an argument against this fact. The LORD created all from nothing, does the Watchtower understand how God did this? God did not disclose how exactly He created everything, does that mean He’s a God of confusion? Definitely not! How can the finite creature explain the infinite the nature of the Creator? God is omniscient, how can God be all-knowing? That’s only for God to know and not us.

Furthermore, do people have to be theologians ‘to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent’? (John 17:3, JB) If that were the case, why did so few of the educated Jewish religious leaders recognize Jesus as the Messiah? His faithful disciples were, instead, humble farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, housewives. Those common people were so certain of what Jesus taught about God that they could teach it to others and were even willing to die for their belief.- Matthew 15: 1-9; 21:23-32, 43; 23 :13-36; John 7:45-49; Acts 4:13.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

One must be born again to know the Father and Jesus Christ who sent into the world to save sinners. The Watchtower in the above statement is appealing to “knowledge” claiming the Pharisees who were educated didn’t recognise the Lord Jesus as the Messiah. Are Christians now to follow the Pharisees or Christ Himself? We do not get our doctrine from the Jewish religious leaders but from the risen Lord.

As the Bible says the Comforter who is the Holy Spirit, He will teach believers all things concerning Jesus Christ our Lord; He will testify about Christ and this is the only true way to know who God is.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Unfortunate for the Jehovah Witnesses who don’t believe in having the Holy Spirit, nor being born again. The Watchtower consistently goes against the teachings of Christ to their own detriment. If you’re an active Jehovah Witness leave the Watchtower and run to Jesus Christ for salvation, He’s the only salvation one can have.

Christadelphian “Doctrines to be Rejected” 3

In the last two articles we’ve been examining the teachings of a small influential cult called the Christadelphians. The Christadelphians deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit and believe He’s not distinct from the Father. Let’s dive into this one and see if that’s what the Bible teaches? If you’ve missed the last post you can view it here: Christadelphians “Doctrines to be Rejected” 2

We reject the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is a person distinct from the Father.

Other non-Trinitarian cults agree with the Christadelphians on the personhood of the Holy Spirit, calling Him an “it” and would say the Holy Spirit is “God’s active force” sort of like an electrical current or invisible power.

In the word of God we can gather that the Holy Spirit possesses all the traits and attributes of Personhood, He has a will, a mind, He speaks; and feels just like you and I. If these are not the characteristics of a person then I’m not sure what is?

I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter

The Lord Jesus told His disciples that He must go away, if not then the Holy Spirit wouldn’t come. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world by the Lord Jesus and the Father (John 14:16), just the same as Christ was sent into the world also by the Father (John 10:36, John 3:17, John 17:18). Only a person could be sent into the world, not a force or idea. In this article it’s my task to present to you the Personhood of the Holy Spirit.

The wonderful truth is we can only fellowship with a person, therefore, how important is it to the believer to recognise the Personhood of the Holy Spirit? There are no disagreements as to the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ) being distinct persons, so is the One who lives in believers is a person as well.

He possesses all components of personhood as you and I. Non-Christian cults such as the Christadelphians would refer to the Holy Spirit as an “it.” Confusion from text such as Romans 8:16 reads “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit” this can cause some to think the Holy Spirit is an “it” instead of a person.

This difficulty comes with the English translation. Do not be mistaken Christ refers to the Holy Spirit multiple times as being a “He.” In John chapters 14-16 the Holy Spirit is referenced as “He”, “Him.”

John 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Note these 3 scriptures of many shows forth the characteristics of a person. The Lord Jesus says in John 14:17 the Holy Spirit is called “Him” and we can “know Him” but the world “cannot receive or see Him”, but believers can because “He” will dwell in us.

Christ continues in John 15:26 saying “when the Comforter is come” only a person can “come” only a person can “send” another person. And the verse says the Holy Spirit will “testify of me” that’s of Christ Jesus. Then in John 16:13 “the Spirit of truth” is called “He” and will “guide” believers into all truth. He “speaks” and “hears” lastly He will show believers things to come. Look at all the personal pronouns just in 3 verses.

The Holy Spirit also possesses all the categories of personality that is intelligence, emotion and will. 3 more scriptures which come to mind in regards to these categories are:

Intelligence gives a person the ability to think, know and understand things. This is shown in the book of Romans chapter 8 in which apostle Paul explains to believers the Spirit has a mind of His own “the mind of the Spirit” (Romans 8:27). The verse before tells is the Spirit “maketh intercession” (Romans 8:26) for believers only a person who has consciousness can perform such an act.

Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God.

Emotion is the capacity to feel whether those feelings are sadness, joy or anger; these are only displayed from a person. We find in the book of Ephesians the Holy Spirit can be grieved. The definition of “grieved” is (1) to cause to suffer distress (2) to feel or show grief over (3) to submit a formal grievance concerning. Believers are told “grieve not the Holy Spirit” or don’t cause distress to the Holy Spirit.

The biblical definition of grieve:
λυπέω lypéō, loo-peh’-o; from G3077; to distress; reflexively or passively, to be sad:—cause grief, grieve, be in heaviness, (be) sorrow(-ful), be (make) sorry.

Outline of Biblical Usage
I. to make sorrowful
II. to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow
III. to grieve, offend
IV. to make one uneasy, cause him a scruple

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

How can an impersonal force be caused grief or sorrow? It can’t, it’s just not possible for electricity or wind to be grieved or have emotions. The Christadelphians like other cults that deny the Trinity fail to understand the Personhood of the Holy Spirit. We agree the Father and Son are persons but when it comes to the Holy Spirit they fail to see these scriptural truths.

Will is the ability to make choices, in the book of Acts we’re given insight as the Holy Spirit gave direction to Paul and Barnabas asking for them to separate which was accompanied with speech.

Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

It’s simple to see the Holy Spirit possesses the same characteristics of personhood we do (intellegence, emotion, will), the Holy Spirit is called “He” and “Him” and is able to think, feel and make decisions. If this doesn’t constitute Personhood then what does? In our future article we’ll answer the question does man have an immortal soul.

Should You Believe in the Trinity? (1/9)

Hello it’s been a little while since our last post. We will be doing a series, examining the Brochure from the Watchtower called “Should you believe in the Trinity?” The Jehovah Witnesses are but a few groups who deny the doctrine of the Godhead/Trinity and call it satanic. It’s our endeavour to search out and see if the Trinity doctrine holds up to scrutiny or crumbles under critical observation.

1. Should You Believe It?

DO YOU believe in the Trinity? Most people in Christendom do. After all, it has been the central doctrine of the churches for centuries. In view of this, you would think that there could be no question about it. But there is, and lately even some of its supporters have added fuel to the controversy. Why should a subject like this be of any more than passing interest? Because Jesus himself said: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So our entire future hinges on our knowing the true nature of God, and that means getting to the root of the Trinity controversy. Therefore, why not examine it for yourself?—John 17:3, Catholic Jerusalem Bible (JB).

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

Often Jehovah Witnesses cite verses such as John 17:3 as a “proof text” is teaching against the Godhead/Trinity but they seem to miss the context of the verse. It’s perhaps the most intimate chapter of the Bible, we get to listen in on the Lord’s High priestly prayer.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

The Lord Jesus is moments away from being taken captive to be brought before Pontius Pilate and later crucified. He [Jesus Christ] lifted up his eyes to heaven and spoke of the intimate fellowship the Son has with the Father and that believers also will enjoy.

Christ says “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” the JW immediately would say see Jesus calls the Father the only true God. They place emphasis on the Father being God alone, but they never look at the verse in its entirety. The text says the Father and the Son are the one God.

The Bible doesn’t only call the Father God it also ascribes this to the Son Jesus Christ as well. 1 John has a similar text which is speaking only of the Lord Jesus and it says:

1 John 5:20 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.

Why don’t Jehovah Witnesses take this verse in 1 John 5:20 in context with John 17:3? The Watchtower teaches them Jesus is not God Almighty and practice Arianism a heresy the early church condemned.

Various Trinitarian concepts exist. But generally the Trinity teaching is that in the Godhead there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; yet, together they are but one God. The doctrine says that the three are coequal, almighty, and uncreated, having existed eternally in the Godhead.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

The Jehovah Witnesses understanding of the Trinity is wrong, when they say they don’t believe in the Trinity they are attacking the teaching of modalism. Christians have never taught modalism to be the doctrinal teaching of the Godhead.

Notice they start by saying “Various Trinitarian concepts exist” this is not true for there is only one true doctrine of the Trinity which Trinitarians believe. Which is we believe there is one God, who exists as three co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial divine persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Each one of the persons in the Godhead share the same nature which is the one nature of God. We do not believe in 3 separate gods, neither do we believe the Father at one time changed into the Son and the Son changed into the Holy Spirit.

This is not what Trinitarians believe. Trinitarians believe all 3 persons of the Godhead exist at the same time in perfect fellowship before all creation even began. We find this wonderful truth in the very beginning of our Bible.

Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Elohim or God is a plural word the text also mentions the Spirit of God that’s the Holy Spirit. There are many passages in the Old Testament that teaches the doctrine of the Trinity, it’s just more plainly seen in the New Testament.

אֱלֹהִיםʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem’; plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:—angels, exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), (very) great, judges, mighty.

Outline of Biblical Usage

  1. (plural)
    1. rulers, judges
    2. divine ones
    3. angels
    4. gods
  2. (plural intensive – singular meaning)
    1. god, goddess
    2. godlike one
    3. works or special possessions of God
    4. the (true) God
    5. God

Others, however, say that the Trinity doctrine is false, that Almighty God stands alone as a separate, eternal, and all-powerful being. They say that Jesus in his prehuman existence was, like the angels, a separate spirit person created by God, and for this reason he must have had a beginning. They teach that Jesus has never been Almighty God’s equal in any sense; he has always been subject to God and still is. They also believe that the holy ghost is not a person but God’s spirit, his active force.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

In speaking of the Almighty God the book of Revelation informs us on this matter.

Revelation 1:7-8 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

As we examine the verses it say “Behold, he cometh with clouds” is the Father the one coming in the clouds? Reading on it also says “every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him” every eye will see Him, are they going to see the Father? The Bible says the Father dwells in light which no man can approach. The one who’s coming was pierced, was the Father or the Son pierced? By asking these simple questions we see it can’t be speaking of the Father in Revelation 1:7-8.

The same person in Revelation 1:7-8 speaks saying “Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” We see here this individual calls Himself the Almighty, but not only that He says “which is to come” who’s coming if it’s not the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Supporters of the Trinity say that it is founded not only on religious tradition but also on the Bible. Critics of the doctrine say that it is not a Bible teaching, one history source even declaring: “The origin of the [Trinity] is entirely pagan.”—The Paganism in Our Christianity.

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

The above quote is very misleading, first it was taken by Arthur Weigall and his book called “paganism in our christianity.” Arthur is a modernist and doesn’t believe the Bible is God’s word, in his book not only does he speak against Christianity but he also speaks against the Watchtower calling their own beliefs “Angel-Christology.”

The Watchtower uses strawman arguments in their attack against the Trinity trying to assert something Christians do not believe in the first place. Christians believe in only 1 God, we don’t believe in 3 gods as Watchtower claims. Trinitarianism is monotheistic because the doctrine teaches there’s only 1 God and within the 1 God exist 3 co-eternal co-equal Person’s the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The 3 distinct Persons are all fully God and share the one nature of God.

Jehovah Witnesses are actually not monotheist because they believe in Jehovah and reduce Jesus Christ to a lesser “godlike” angel or “a god.” This means they are actually polytheistic in their belief, more specifically Henotheism.

Henotheism is the belief of one particular God in this case “Jehovah” out of several others namely Jesus (a god) and many others. Watchtower teaches there are others who also can be called god even though they are not Jehovah God they get this from 1 Corinthians 8:5 by pulling the text out of context saying Paul the apostle taught there are many legitimate gods. This of course is not the meaning of that particular text. By reading the surrounding text we can get the true context of that verse.

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

Paul was addressing the believers in Corinth that any other “god” is actual not god at all but an idol and therefore it’s nothing. When the Jehovah Witnesses claim Jesus is not God but “a god” they are placing Jesus in the category of a false God. Christians never would agree to this because we believe Christ Jesus is the Almighty God along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. All 3 Persons of the Godhead are the 1 Almighty God.

Lastly, the doctrine of the Trinity/Godhead didn’t derive from pagan triads of deities. It was formulated by Christians strictly on the basis of the teachings of God’s word. The Watchtower points to Babylonian religion which was polytheistic and makes the statement that the Trinity came from such. This is of course not so, the Babylonians believed in not just 3 separate gods but a plethora of gods. Christians don’t believe in a multitude of gods we only worship 1 God.

If the Trinity is true, it is degrading to Jesus to say that he was never equal to God as part of a Godhead. But if the Trinity is false, it is degrading to Almighty God to call anyone his equal, and even worse to call Mary the “Mother of God.” If the Trinity is false, it dishonors God to say, as noted in the book Catholicism: “Unless [people] keep this Faith whole and undefiled, without doubt [they] shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this: we worship one God in Trinity

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

Watchtower claims it’s “degrading to Jesus” to say He was never equal to God if the Trinity is true? Christians have always believed the Lord Jesus Christ is equal to the Father because they share the same nature. The watchtower argument against the deity of Christ is that Jesus is not Jehovah but “a god.” If the Father alone is Jehovah (the true God) then what does that make Jesus if He’s not Almighty God?

Is Jesus Christ a true God or a false god? There are no other choices either Christ is the True God just as His Father is also the True God, or Jesus is an additional god who is not truly God. This brings a big problem for the Jehovah Witness theology, when they started teaching Jesus was a created being it made them have 2 God’s.

Watchtower’s teaching of Jesus is merely a created creature as opposed to being God Almighty is degrading to Jesus Christ to demote Him to an angel or “godlike one” is completely heretical on their part. The Bible tells us that the Son should receive the same honour the Father receives.

John 5:23 That all [men] should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

Does the Watchtower honour the Son even as the Father is honoured? According to them the Father (Jehovah) alone is to be worshipped. Yet we have abundant proof that Christ was worshipped in the scriptures.

There are good reasons, then, why you should want to know the truth about the Trinity. But before examining its origin and its claim of truthfulness, it would be helpful to define this doctrine more specifically. What, exactly, is the Trinity? How do supporters of it explain it?

Should You Believe in the Trinity?

The Watchtower consistently misrepresents the doctrine of the Trinity, they assume Christians believe the Father and Jesus Christ are the same Person. This statement couldn’t be farther from the truth, Christians have consistently believed there is only 1 God and that 1 God consist of 3 distinct Persons. Each Person of the Godhead are fully and equally God because all 3 share the same nature.

Christians reject the notion of 3 separate gods, we are not tritheist, we affirm Deuteronomy 6:4 but can’t over look the distinction between the 3 Persons of the Godhead laid out in the scriptures. If you want to know more about The Doctrine of the Trinity feel free to read our past article. Moving forward we’ll continue to examine the Watchtower’s “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”

The Doctrine of the Trinity

trinity-1

Introduction

Those who don’t hold to the Trinity (Godhead) doctrine will quickly state the word Trinity as not being in the Bible. It’s true the word Trinity is not found in our Bibles, but just because it’s not mentioned does it mean it’s not true?

What’s the doctrine of the Trinity? The Lord Jesus and the apostles taught this. The early Christians believed in one God who’s revealed Himself as three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

How can God be three distinct persons? To answer this question it’s always best to dive into the scriptures and see what the word of God says. It doesn’t matter what I say or anyone else, it’s what God says that matters. Before we get into the scriptures let’s establish what is the Trinitarian beliefs. And let’s look at another view which opposes it, let’s begin.

Trinitarian Definition

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal persons 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 in substance, essence or nature. In this context, a “nature” is what one is, a “person” is who one is.

The concept of the Trinity is that there’s no way to perfectly and completely understand it. It’s impossible for any human being to fully comprehend. As God is infinitely greater than we are; therefore, we cannot expect to be able to fully grasp the totality of God.

The doctrine of the Trinity doesn’t come from a council or creed as some believe it came from the council of Nicea, on the contrary, the understanding of the Trinity is embedded in the word of God. The council of Nicea’s main focus was to deal with the heresy of Arianism.

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”

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.”

Sabellianism

Sabellianism is the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different modes of God, as opposed to a Trinitarian view of three distinct persons within the Godhead.

Sabellius taught the oneness of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different manifestations of one divine person. An easy way to understand the thought behind Sabellianism is to imagine a person having three different masks. And switching between those mask as needed.

The early church excommunicated Sabellius and cast him out of the church as a heretic. Sabellianism while heretical still exist among certain groups which operate today in our age.

Groups who deny the Trinity

Here are some groups who deny the nature of the triune God, Unitarians, Jehovah Witnesses, Armstrongites, Mormons, Buddhist, Hindus, Moslems and Jews are just some of those who deny the distinction of persons within the Godhead.

God in 3 distinct persons (Old Testament)

The word for God in Hebrew is ‘elohiym a plural word.

Stong’s definition (God) אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem’; plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God.

The opening verse in the Old Testament (Torah) already has a distinction of persons

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Before the creation, God always existed as the Almighty Creator of all things.

Immediately following in verse 2 we see the Spirit of God’s involvement in the act of creation.

Genesis 1:2 “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

God then after creating light Day, darkness Night, Earth, Seas, tree yielding seeds and animals of the air land and waters, He then creates man in His own image.

Genesis 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

It’s clear that the word “us” speaks to a plurality of person’s in the Godhead.

Biblical usage of the words “Let us make” meansto do, fashion, accomplish, make”. Qal=to do, work, make, produce or Niphal=to be done.

Another time we see this plurality in the Old Testament is during the tower of Babel.

Genesis 11:7 “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

In the book of Isaiah God is speaking and ask who will go for us?

Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

God then sent the prophet Isaiah to the cities to preach against the nation telling them of their sin.

We also have in the book of Daniel a vision of the Son of man riding on the clouds of heaven coming to the Father the ancient of days.

Daniel 7:13 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.”

There’s too much evidence to cover everything but as you see the Old Testament does, in fact, show a plurality in the Godhead and as we move into the New Testament we have a full revelation of the distinct persons in the Godhead.

God in 3 distinct persons (New Testament)

John’s gospel begins with the classic opening verse speaking of the beginning before all of creation began.

John 1:1–3 “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. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

A proof text regarding the Lord Jesus as the eternal Word and God. The below definitions will give more insight into what the Greek states in the original language.

Beginning ἀρχή archḗ, ar-khay’; from G756; (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concretely) chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank): — beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.

With πρός prós, pros; a strengthened form of G4253; a preposition of direction; forward to, i.e. toward (with the genitive case, the side of, i.e. pertaining to; with the dative case, by the side of, i.e. near to; usually with the accusative case, the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, i.e. whither or for which it is predicated): — about, according to , against, among, at, because of, before, between, (where-)by, for, at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that), together, to (you) -ward, unto, with(-in). In the comparative case, it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at.

In the book of Matthew, we have a commandment given by the Lord Jesus in which He gave for baptism.

Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

The construction of grammar in this verse requires us to acknowledge the distinction of persons using Granville Sharp’s rule.

Statement of the rule

“The following rule by Granville Sharp of a century back still proves to be true: `When the copulative KAI connects two nouns of the same case, if the article HO or any of its cases precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle; i.e., it denotes a further description of the first-named person.’” (A Manual Of The Greek New Testament, Dana & Mantey, p. 147)

Matthew 28:19 Go ye G4198 therefore, G3767 and teach G3100 all G3956 nations, G1484 baptizing G907 them G846 in G1519 the name G3686 of the Father, G3962 and G2532 of the Son, G5207 and G2532 of the Holy G40 Ghost: G4151

John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

The Holy Ghost

Is a person and God according to the text. He speaks, only a person can speak not an active force as Jehovah Witnesses believe. Additionally, you can only lie to a person, not a force as we see in the following verse.

 Acts 5:3, 4 “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”

Acts 13:2 “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

Acts 21:11 “And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”

Hebrews 3:7–11 “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)” 

The Father, The Lord Jesus and The Holy Spirit

In John’s gospel, we have one of the most intimate chapters when Jesus Christ is telling His disciples He must go in order for the Comforter to be sent from the Father and Himself. The verse here shows a clear distinction of persons, the Comforter being sent from the Father and Son and calls the Comforter “he”.

John 15:26 “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

The following chapter Christ calls the Comforter “him”.

John 16:7, 8 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”

As you can see a force cannot be called “him” or “he”.

God the Father calls the Son God

The scriptures in Hebrew shows a dialogue between the Father and Son before the incarnation or virgin birth.

Hebrews 1:5–10 “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 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:” 

If God calls the Son God then we must do the same, anyone who doesn’t honour the Son doesn’t honour the Father.

John 5:23 “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”

One of the greatest promises which speak of the imminent return of Christ is found in John chapter 14. Speaking to His disciples told them He would return for all believers but first He was going back to His Father to prepare a place for us in Heaven.

John 14:1–3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

God is called the first and the last in the Old Testament (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, 48:12). The Lord Jesus Christ is also called the first and the last in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:8 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:11 “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

Revelation 21:6 “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

Revelation 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”

But the best portion of these verses in Revelation is this wonderful truth here.

Revelation 22:16 “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

He identifies Himself as “I Jesus”. O worship Him all ye His saints!!!

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

Conclusion

Heresies such as Arianism, Oneness, Modalism, Polytheism or Monarchianism and any other belief which rejects any part of foundational biblical doctrine will not stand, there will be contradictions. Those who believe in the Trinity doctrine can stand firm because we can both prove the Oneness of God and the Triune Godhead of the distinction of persons in the Godhead.

Example a person taking the Oneness position has a contradiction when asked if Jesus is both the Father and Holy Spirit then who was He praying to in the garden of Gethsemane? This is not a problem for the Trinity position because Jesus was praying to God the Father, not Himself.

The Lord Jesus Christ is God, just as the Father is God and the Holy Spirit is God. All 3 distinct person’s of the Godhead, all equally God, all share the same divine nature.

If you haven’t trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, to be saved from your sins now’s the time. I’ll leave you with this verse from Paul.

1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”