One God, One
Bible picture of God.
The early church desired to preserve the great monotheistic belief in the one true God. Early Christians were monotheistic. There is no evidence in the Epistles or Acts of any controversy over a divergence from monotheism. Besides the original apostles, first and second century writers also featured God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son as the pre-existent Creator, embodying the power of God, by whom the Father is revealed, and in whose name alone the Father is worshiped.
Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp and Irenaeus of Smyrna, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Melito of Sardis, Tertullius in Rome all recognized the distinct persons of the Father and Son. Ignatius, Justin and Tertullius even identified the Holy Spirit of God as identical to the Son: "the inseparable Spirit is Jesus Christ," "the Spirit and power of God is the Word, the first-born of God," "Christ is…the Spirit of God, the Power of God, the Word, the Reason, the Son of God." See Appendix B for specific quotations.
This decidedly binitarian theology conceived of the Spirit as going out from God the creator, as an aspect of God's being, which also lived in Jesus and was thought of as Jesus' pre-existent, divine nature. This view further asserted that the same Spirit is given to men, making them a new creation that shares in the same hope of regeneration and resurrection.
But how could God be one and yet there be a Father and Son both divine?
It was realized that the Son of God must be equal with God in order to secure man's salvation. Man had broken God's Law and only One equal to the Law could offer forgiveness for its transgression. A human sacrifice, not even an angelic sacrifice, would be sufficient to redeem the lost race. But if both Father and Son are divine, and both share the same name and power, are there two Gods? This would be Polytheism, the foundation of paganism, with its pantheon of many gods. Reconciling these two apparently conflicting ideas led to much speculation about God.
Sabellius in Rome during the second century AD thought he had the answer: One God who was both Father and Son at different times. God was considered indivisible-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being three modes or manifestations of the same divine Person who successively revealed Himself to man throughout time using different names at different times. His idea became known as Sabellianism, Dispensational Modalism, or Modalistic Monarchianism and continues today in Pentecostal Oneness or "Jesus Only" theology as they now worship the Holy Spirit phase of God.
|Old Testament Father
Sabellius was excommunicated by Pope Callistus in 220 AD for teaching heresy in using the Greek word homoousios (same substance) to express a relationship where the Father is the Son. His version was a sequential modalism. This was rejected because of the textual evidence of the Son praying to the Father, the Father speaking to the Son, and the evidence of the Spirit concurrently with the Son at his baptism.
Then along came Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, who delivered a sermon about 318 AD in which he also declared that the Son had the identical substance as the Father making them together one indivisible being. It was his opinion that
"there is but one Deity, who appears sometimes as the Father, and again as the Son, or as the Holy Ghost, or, if not exactly this, that three persons existed in one God, distinct, and yet of the same substance and the same eternity." (L. E. Kimball, Signs of the Times, June 25th 1894, 'The Arian Controversy')
Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria, accused Alexander of trying to revive Sabellianism, and condemned him for using the very same Greek word, homoousios, that Sabellius had used, a word not even found in Scripture. While Sabellius invisioned God as changing roles sequentially over time, Alexander simply had him manifesting them simultaneously. It was really just concurrent modalism.
It was not surprising that philosophical speculations regarding the nature of God should thrive in Alexandria. It was the center of Greek philosphy, the birthplace of Gnosticism, mystical transcendentalism, higher criticism, and allegorical interpretation of scripture. Antioch, on the other hand, was devoted to a literal historical interpretation of scripture led by Lucian, whose translation of the Bible became the basis of Jerome's Vulgate and the Textus Recepticus.
Arius, a former student
of Lucian, was quick to realize the implications of Alexander's "new theology."
The Son cannot really be a son, and the Father cannot really be a father.
If the role-playing "Son" is "of one substance" with the "Father"
Then they both must be of the same eternal age.
If the "Son" is in any way "begotten" of the "Father"
Then he must be "eternally begotten"
In contrast to this philosophical reasoning free of any scriptural support, Arius appealed to the Biblical truth that the Son was really begotten of God making him truly God by inheriting his Father's own divine substance.
Using a different Greek word, Arius suggested that Christ was homoiousios (similar in substance) to the Father because He was the only begotten Son of the Father, a separate Being. Like Father, like Son. The argument centered over two Greek words that are not even used by the Bible and differed by only one letter! Other words became the center of contention as well: "essence" (ousia), "substance" (hypostasis), "nature" (physis) and "person" (prosopon). Much of the controversy stemmed from differing definitions of what these words meant--philosophical speculations that had to go outside the truths of Scripture.
Alexander couldn't avoid the reality that the Son was begotten, but "if the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence: and from this it is evident, that there was a time when the Son was not." Socrates of Constantinople, Church History, book 1, chapter 5. Alexander and his supporters charged Arius with robbing Christ of his divinity, turning him into simply a created being. They maintained that if the Son had to be begotten, his begetting must be eternal. A begotten beginning, they complained, was more radical than a shared nature.
"It was on the question of the eternity of Christ that the quarrel first arose. Arius, with his favourite affectation of logic, seized on the title 'Son of God,' and asked how can a son be as old as his father?' From the human impossibility of this, he proceeded to argue that the Son of God cannot be eternal." (Rev. A. R. Whitham, History of the Christian Church. page 184, 'Arianism')
Sides were taken, controversy raged, letters flew between the parties. Arius wrote to Eusebius of Nicomedia
"'Every bishop in the East but three,' wrote Arius to Eusebius, 'have taken my part.' 'Their views are mine,' wrote Eusebius to Arius" (L. E. Kimball, Signs of the Times, June 25th 1894, 'The Arian Controversy')
Alexander of Alexandria wrote a letter to Alexander of Constantinople, detailing the errors into which he believed Arius had fallen.
"That God was not always the Father, but that there was a period when he was not the Father; that the Word of God was not from eternity, but was made out of nothing; for that the ever-existing God ('the I AM'-the eternal One) made him who did not previously exist, out of nothing; wherefore there was a time when he did not exist, inasmuch as the Son is a creature and a work. That he is neither like the Father as it regards his essence, nor is by nature either the Father's true Word, or true Wisdom, but indeed one of his works and creatures, being erroneously called Word and Wisdom, since he was himself made of God's own Word and the Wisdom which is in God, whereby God both made all things and him also."
Constantine, eager for peace in his new empire, ordered a Council at Nicaea to settle the matter inviting 1800 bishops from East and West, but Eusebius of Caesarea only counted 250 others over 300. The resulting creed in AD 325 compromised by incorporating Sabellius' term homoousios while accepting Arius' "begottenness" of the Son. However, all but two voted down Arius' position that the Son was begotten at a point of time in eternity..
The Nicene Council emphasized Christ's fullness of the Godhead by using "consubstantial, coeternal, coequal." The Greek word homoousios, "consubstantial," or "one in being," was incorporated in the Nicene Creed to refute Arius' position that the Son had a different nature or essence than the Father. But was he referring to the time when the Son assumed angelic or human form? Certainly there is a difference in that time frame.
The Council of Nicaea decreed Arius a teacher of blasphemy. He was excommunicated and banished from Alexandria. Unfortunately, all of the writings of Arius were burned by his opponents. Besides a few fragments, only what these obviously biased opponents say about him survive.
Arius took refuge in Palestine where he reformulated his Christology to avoid the objections of his critics. When Alexander died in 327 Athanasius took his position as Bishop and soon the controversy flared up again but with a complete reversal of positions from the contending parties! This explains why there are apparent internal contradictions by each side within their own positions, confusing agreement between each side at different times, and a propensity for each to cite Origen in support of their beliefs!
Athanasius in his Defence of the Nicene Definition (ca. 353, see Appendix D), points to the word (monogenes "only begotten") in John 1:14 as one Scriptural proof for the teaching. Now Athanasius defends the "begottenness" of the Son! And he does so, finally, by quoting Scripture:
"The Word is from the Father, and the only Offspring proper to Him and natural. For whence may one conceive the Son to be, who is the Wisdom and the Word, in whom all things came to be, but from God Himself? However, the Scriptures also teach us this.... John in saying, "The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him," spoke of what He had learned from the Saviour. Besides, what else does 'in the bosom' intimate, but the Son's genuine generation from the Father?"
Ironically, Athanasius was ultimately exiled for teaching the original Arian position while Arius was ordered by Constantine to be reinstated! Alas, the day before he was to resume communion, he died suddenly of explosive hemorrhagic diarrhea with intestinal prolapse suspiciously suggestive of poisoning.
|Arius maintained that
the Son was similar but not identical to the Father
Arius said it was Homoiousios
|Alexander argued that
the Son was the very same substance as the Father Alexander said it was Homoousios
The Son is begotten by his own will,
He has subsisted before earthly time, before ages
as perfect God, the only begotten, unchangeable
but he existed not before He was begotten.
That is, the Son had a beginning, from nothing
but God is without beginning.
Jesus said, 'My Father is greater than I'
and 'I proceeded from the Father'
Jesus said, 'The Father and I are one'
Eusebius of Caesarea said he believed in:
one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things
one Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God,
the only begotten Son, the First-born of every creature
begotten of the Father before all worlds
by whom also all things were made
and one Holy Spirit, as our Lord said, baptizing them
in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Each of them to be and to have existed.
No one has known the Father, but the Son
that Light which existed before the world was
that living Word which was in the beginning
with the Father before all creation
the first and only offspring of God
the prince and leader of the spiritual and immortal host
the angel of the mighty council
the agent to execute the Father's secret will
the maker of all things with the Father
the second cause of the universe next to the Father
the true and only Son of the Father
the Lord and God and King of all created things
who has received power and dominion with divinity
and honour from the Father
He introduces the Father and maker as Ruler of all
So no one can know the Son fully, but the Father alone
by whom He was begotten.
of Him Moses speaks as the second after the Father
intrusted with the second rank of sovereignty
The creed was later modified at Constantinople in 381: …the only Son
of God, eternally begotten of the Father …begotten, not made, of one Being
with the Father
Both sides believed that Christ was
the Son of God.
The issue of Christ's divinity was not an issue.
Alexander never accused Arius of denying the divinity of Christ.
It was the co-eternal existence of the Son with the Father
and how his being begotten factored in.
Both sides stressed the
begotten nature of the Son.
Arians believed the Son was begotten before the ages;
Alexandrians believed he was eternally begotten.
Arians insisted on a beginning without prior existence;
The Alexandrians insisted on the Son's eternal existence without a beginning.
Eusebius of Nicomedia wrote a letter after Nicaea: "We have never heard of two beings unbegotten nor of one divided into two." The whole situation was confusing because the homoousia "same substance" language had been condemned previously at the Council of Antioch in 264 AD when Sabellius was excommunicated. Now the very same word was being insisted by the minority yet vocal anti-Arian contingent.
Even Eusebius of Caesarea was uncomfortable with the Nicene terminology because it still reminded him of Sabellius who based his doctrine on Christ's statement "If you have seen me you have seen the Father." Sabellius regarded the Son as an extension of the Father-His righteous arm. Like Eve, who was bone of Adam's bone and flesh of his flesh, the Son was exactly the same substance as the Father. Athanasius actually found himself defending this position fearing that to accept a difference would lead to accepting a beginning for the Son.
Constantine's Council at
Nicaea did not resolve the controversy. Resistance remained firm for the next
50 years. If this new doctrine was every going to be accepted it would require
something with teeth. When
Theodotus the Great became emporer in 380 AD he issued a series of decress
over 15 years enforcing acceptance of the Nicaean Creed and denouncing all who
refused as "heretics".
"Theodosius himself, therefore, deserves credit for turning the empire into a fully Christian state." "In February 380, he issued the edict Cunctos populos commanding all the peoples under his rule to follow the form of religion handed down by the apostle Peter to the Romans... to believe in "the doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one deity of equal majesty and pious trinity. Those who adhered to such faith could call themselves Catholic Christians, but others must be designated demented and barbarian and heretical and be stricken first by divine vengeance and then by imperial action in accordance with the will of heaven (Cod. Theod. XVI.1.2.)." (E. Glenn Hinson, The Early Church, chapter 19, 'Church and state after Constantine', page 214-215)
Non-trinitarian heretics could receive no legal justice, could hold no public office, were denied the right to assemble (public or private), their churches were confiscated. Orthodox Christianity now gained the blessing and all others the ire of the Roman government. Catholic dogma was once again enforced by the state. Constantine's Sunday law of 321 was now joined by Theodotus' Codex 16 of 380AD.
"The infamous, measures by which it [the trinity doctrine] was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush." (J. N. Andrews, Review and Herald 'The Fall of Babylon' March 6th 1855 Vol. 6 No. 24 page 185)
In AD 325 Jesus was declared fully God, "consubstantial" (same substance) and eternal. Then, 56 years later in 381, Theodotus convened the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople where the Holy Spirit was also elevated to the third person of the Godhead. The doctrine of the Trinity was now complete, but far from universally accepted.
"Then the papal party proceeded to call those who would not subscribe to this teaching, Arians, while they took to themselves the title of Trinitarians. An erroneous charge was circulated that all who were called Arians believed that Christ was a created being. This stirred up the indignation of those who were not guilty of the charge." (Benjamin Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant, Chapter 7, 'Patrick, organizer of the church in the wilderness in Ireland')
Even today, all who object to the imposed doctrine of a trinity are labeled "Arians" and are generally considered to deny the divinity of Christ and regard Him as a created being whether they truly believe this or not.
Later the Catholoic Church
expanded the Creed to include:
"God is always, the Son is always, the Father and the Son are co-existent.
The Son, unbegotten, is always begotten, the Son is one Person, and the Father is another
but the Father is the same Being that the Son is".
They were different Persons, but the same Being.
This mystical concept of "eternal begetting" is based on the statement that God has always "known" Himself. So as Adam "knew" Eve and begat Cain, so God continually "knows" Himself to continually beget the Son according to the Catholic version of the mysterious trinity.
"The mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church." Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 16.
Catholic believers are readily identified as they "cross" themselves in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The same church that teaches Sunday sacredness, Immortality of the soul, Purgatory and eternal hell, Transubstantiation and sacrifice of the Mass, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption of Mary, prayers to the Saints, confession to priests, Penance, etc, etc, regards the trinity as its central doctrine and the basis of all it other teachings. While Protestants reject most if not all of these as corruptions of the original apostolic faith, yet somehow, they all seem to agree, the papacy managed to get their doctrine of the trinity right. But at what price?
"Perhaps no other truth in all of Holy Scripture comes to us so marked with the blood of controversy as does the Bible doctrine of the Trinity. History records that ancient nations staked their very existence upon their conception of the Godhead." (Robert H. Pierson, The Message, January 1948, 'God the Father')
The prophecy of the Little Horn power in Daniel 7 identifies the power that would "think to change times and laws" and wage "war against the saints of God" would also "pluck up three horns [powers] by the roots". History records the viscious struggle fought by the papal powers against the Germanic "Arian" factions among the disentigrating Roman Empire: the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths.
3 Persons in 1 Being
Orthodox credal Trinitarianism conceives of a single being made up of three semi-beings or three separate persons or three "centers of intelligence" merged into one being.
Modern Bible translations prefer to translate monogenes (the word translated "only begotten" in the KJV) as "only" or "unique" to avoid the Father-Son relationship (which is too hierarchical for our egalitarian age that promotes freedom and equality), preferring instead to make the Godhead a "social Trinity" formed by a voluntary committee of three co-equal peers. Tritheism makes them into separate beings.
3 Persons 1 Group
Conservative Adventistism promotes Tritheism where "God" is a family, the name of a group, a triumverate divine government. God is not a person and does not have a form, but a single "them" comprised of three "whos". God is "one" not in number but in sharing a common purpose, goal and vision for the future.
Jehovah's Witnesses view Jesus as God's only-begotten Son because He was the only son directly created by God Himself. Then Jesus created all the other sons of God. Jesus is, thus, the "firstborn" Son of creation. As a created being, Jesus is not fully God, but a "lesser god", restricted, limited in his ability to affect our lives. They perpetuate the alleged Arian doctrine of the Son begotten by creation.
1200 years after the Council of Nicaea, at the start of the Protestant Reformation, Luther saw no need to discard the Catholic teaching of the trinity.
"That Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one divine essence and nature, are one God, who has created heaven and earth...Concerning these articles there is no contention or dispute, since we on both sides confess them. Therefore it is not necessary now to treat further of them." (Luther Martin. The Smallclad Papers. 1537. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), pp. 453-529).
Other reformers were more discriminating. In the 1560s the Erasmian, Anabaptist and Polish Brethren doctrinal system was anti-trinitarian (believing that Christ was literally the Son of God miraculously conceived by the virgin Mary, mortal soul, no eternal hell torment, believers' baptism, rejection of mystery, separation of church & state) which resulted in their expulsion by the Catholic Church from Poland in 1660. The following became known as Socinianism after Fausto Sozzini the Sienese theologian who aligned himself with the movement in 1580. They were significantly more biblicist than the Trinitarians who appealed more to Church Father and Council traditions.
Isaac Newton was caught up in Socinian Christology and considered himself in the middle of a spectrum of thought that placed Trinitarians on the right (who added to scripture) and Deists on the left (who subtracted).
Newton spent decades combing "the weighty annals of Church History" discovering "the primitive Christian faith in the One True God" which was "shunted aside" by the Athanasian Trinitarians who distorted Scripture with Hellenistic philosophy, metaphysics, and creedal tradition. Newton, perhaps influenced by Paul Best (who was condemned to death for denying the Trinity), also argued that the Trinity is the central figure of the great apostasy predicted in Revelation, blaming its introduction on the Latin Church.
In his second edition of Principia Mathematica, the single most important scientific publication of all history, Isaac Newton devoted half of the General Scholium section to theology and an attack on Trinitarian doctrine.
He began by stating, the "most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being." He placed great emphasis on the "dominion of God." "It is the dominion of a spiritual being which constitutes a God." This was in contrast to the Trinitarian position that God is God because of His essence, His divine nature. Newton considered this idea mystical and appealed instead to the scope of God's power, the range of His control and dominion: the universe. He saw in gravity, a force which has unlimited range of influence, a model for God's infinite dominion.
Isaac Watts did not accept a Trinity but rather a combined form of Father and Son.
"There is but one living and true God, that is, one infinite Spirit. And I express myself thus, lest if we suppose more infinite spirits than one, we should give occasion to say, we believed more gods than one. Three infinite spirits seem to me to be three gods. This one true God is the only proper object of divine or religious worship. This doctrine was asserted by Moses, supported by the prophets, and confirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ himself." The Works of Isaac Watts D.D. in Nine Volumes, Question VII, p.467, written 1746, published 1813.
But Watts struggled with the paradox of separate wills and consciousness with both receiving worship while acknowledging only one true God.
"Thence it must follow that Jesus Christ the Son of God, though he be a distinct Spirit, yet he must be some way one with the true and eternal God, that he may be a proper object of religious or divine worship. Thus he expresses himself; John x. 30. I and my Father are one. He must be some way the same God, or the same infinite Spirit with the Father, while he is also another distinct inferior Spirit, different from the Father."
He decided that they must "constitute one compounded person":
"Scripture does not teach us to conceive how this can be, but by so near an union between this supreme or infinite Spirit and the inferior or finite Spirit, as may constitute one compounded person, one complex agent or principle of action, one complex object of honor, that is, God and man. And thus the Son of God seems to be represented often in scripture as a complex person, or as two distinct spirits or beings in a personal union."
"In the Old Testament he is the man who conversed with Abraham and who wrestled with Jacob; he is the angel of the covenant, the angel in whom the name of God is, the angel of the presence of God, or a messenger sent from God, and yet he is also the Jehovah, the God of Abraham and Isaac, the I am that I am. He is spoken of as the child born, the Son given; and yet the mighty God, and the holy one whom the angels adore. He is represented also in the New Testament as the man that died, rose, and ascended to heaven; and also as the Jehovah or God of Israel, who is described in the lxviii. Ps. compared with Eph. iv. 8. as ascending on high, leading captivity captive, and receiving gifts for men. He is God manifest in the flesh; 1 Tim. iii. 16. or a man in whom dwells all the fulness of the godhead bodily; Col. ii. 9. He is the Word who was with God, who was God, and who was made flesh, and tabernacled among men; John i. 1, 14."
"With regard to the blessed Spirit of God, though I think true godhead is ascribed to him, and personal actions are sometimes attributed to him in scripture, yet as we are not expressly, plainly and particularly informed, whether he be a really distinct principle or power in God or has a proper distinct personality of himself, so neither are we expressly required to worship him in any text of the bible that I can find."
Calvin also disputed the single essence teaching of the Trinitarians.
"The ancients made a wrong use of [John 10:30, 'I and the Father are one'] to prove that Christ is...of the same essence with the Father. For Christ does not argue about the unity of substance, but about the agreement that he has with the Father." John Calvin, Commentary on John.
The Apostles Creed
| I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy *universal church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.
Still seen in The Apostles Creed is the
It was formed to counter the heresy of Gnosticism. Thought to have been developed in the 1st or 2nd century. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in passing as having a role in the incarnation but certainly not on an equal footing with the Father-Son..
Text in BOLD indicate words not in common with the Nicene Creed.
Each successive creed becomes increasingly more complex, wordy and detailed.
The Nicene Creed
Two versions 325 AD
and 381 AD
2 which added the Holy Spirit to the Godhead.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of (all things
1) (heaven and earth
visible and invisible.
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the (only-begotten
Son of God, begotten of (the essence of
Father (before all aeons
God from God, Light from Light, very God from very God, begotten,
not made, being of one substance with the Father.
by whom all things were made (both in heaven and on earth
who for us men, and for our salvation, came down (from heaven
and was incarnate (by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
(he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and
suffered and (was buried, and
the third day he rose again (according to the Scriptures, and
ascended into heaven (and sits on the right hand of the Father
from thence he will come (again with glory
2) to judge the
quick and the dead,
(whose kingdom will have no end
And in the Holy Spirit, (the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father (and the Son*).
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified.
who spoke by the Prophets.
We believe in one holy universal and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
*This phrase known as the Filoque clause was added in Toledo,
Spain 589 AD.
Text in BOLD indicates sections not in common with the Apostolic Creed
The original Nicene statement of belief was clearly based on 1Corinthians
"For us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we of Him;
and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him"
The Athanasian Creed
Thought to have originated in southern Gaul around 500 AD. It was originally written in Latin, not by Athanasius as it is not mentioned by him or his contemporaries. It was created in response to charges that the Trinity doctrine introduced polytheism while also addressing Sabellianism, Arianism, Nestorianism and Eutychianism.
"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this:
That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity,
neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
But the godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one Eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated,
but one Uncreated, and one Incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and
the Holy Spirit Almighty.
And yet they are not three almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
And yet they are not three gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord.
And yet not three lords, but one Lord.
For as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge
each Person by Himself to be both God and Lord,
so we are also forbidden by the catholic religion to say that there are three gods or three lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three
sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
And in the Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another,
but all three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he
also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man;
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds;
and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world; perfect God and perfect man,
of a rational soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father, as touching His godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching His manhood;
who, although He is God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;
one, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh but by taking of the manhood into God;
one altogether; not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, He sits at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty,
from whence He will come to judge the quick and the dead.
At His coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire."
The Unitarian Creed
1. There is one God who is distinct from the Christ (Mark 12:29, 1Cor 8:4, Gal 3:20)
2. God is called Father (1Cor 8:6, Eph 4:6)
3. God is supremely holy, powerful, knowledgeable and yet near and accessible to all
4. God is love and loves all His creatures, both bad and good.
5. God is deserving of worship because He created all things (Rev 4:11)
6. God is spirit (Acts 17:29, John 4:24)
7. There is no trinity of three persons in one God
__a. it is not plainly taught in scripture. Such a difficult mystery should have been clearly expounded.
__b. passages which list the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together only prove that these exist.
__c. all the divine attributes in Jesus are also described in his followers
____i. Jesus did not know all things, but we know all things (1John 2:20)
____ii. Jesus did not sin; those born of God do not sin (1John 5:13)
____iii. Jesus worked miracles; greater works shall we do (John 14:12)
____iv. Jesus had glory with the Father before the world; he also gave it to them (John 17:22)
____v. Jesus was resurrected; we will be resurrected
____vi. Jesus will judge the world; we will judge the world (1Cor 6:2)
____vii. God dwelt in Jesus; the spirit of God dwells in us (1Cor 3:16)
__d.. the Word was with God and godlike (divine) was the Word (anarthrous theos)
__e. there are many gods in heaven, but only one God the Father (1Cor 8:5,6)
__f. one God and one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus (1Tim 2:5).
__g. Jesus prayed to his Father, the only true God (John 17:3)
__h. We are to give thanks always in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father (Eph 5:20)
__i. Apostles Creed contains no trace of a trinity
__j. Nicene Creed identified Jesus as "God of God" i.e., derived from God, same substance.
____i. Many bishops opposed this position, but were coerced into signing the document
____ii. Trinity not established at Nicea, but at Constantinople over 50 years later.
__k. the trinity doctrine in unintelligible, illogical and philosophically unsatisfactory
__l. the trinity doctrine attempts to acknowledge the unity of God with words, but subverts it in effect.
__m. the trinity doctrine distracts the mind in its devotion to God,
____defeating the effectiveness of true monotheism which is to offer us one object of worship
____in which to concentrate our love and devotion
____i. but the trinity sets before us three distinct persons having equal claim on our hearts,
____ii. each must be acknowledged and worshiped individually
____iii. it degrades God the Father by diverting from him the highest affection,
______ transferring it to the Son iv. veneration of Jesus as God is a form of idolatry.
1. Jesus is one body, one soul, one nature, a man.
2. Jesus distinguished himself from God (mark 10:18, John 16:27, 13:3, 17:7-8)
3. Power and glory was given to him by God
__(Phil 2:9, Col 1:19, Acts 2:36, 3:13, 5:31, Matt 28:18, John 5:19, 10:29, Eph 1:22, Heb 1:2, 9, etc)
4. Jesus never called himself the Supreme God, only the Son of God. (charged once by the Jews John 10:33,
__ but Jesus explained that those receiving the word of God are called gods.
__ Then clarified that he was the Son of God vs 36)
5. Jesus prayed to God (Luke 6:12, Matt 11:25, Luke 22:42, Heb 5:7)
6. Jesus taught us to pray, not to himself, but to the Father (Matt 6:9, Luke 11:1, John 16:23)
7. Jesus taught us to worship, not himself, but the Father John 4:23
8. God is called the God of Jesus Christ (Rom 15:6, 2Cor 11:31, Eph 1:3,17; 1Pet 1:3)
9. Jesus taught his subordination to God (John 14:28, 12:49, Mark 13:32, Matt 20:23, 1Cor 11:3)
10. Jesus was fully human (1Tim 2:5, Rom 5:15)
11. Jesus created all other things (Col 1:15, John 1:3)
12. Jesus existed before his birth in Bethlehem (John 8:58)
13. Jesus and his Father are one in sympathy not essence
__ because he prayed that his disciples would also be one
__ (they did not become one essence, but did attain unity in the upper room)
14. Jesus was equal with God in manifesting the divine character (Phil 2) [what about the form of God?]
15. Jesus was exalted because of his humility of character not because of a divine nature.
16. Jesus revealed God as Father, was the image of the unseen God, the Word of God spoken,
__ dwelt in the bosom of his Father, dwelling in him and God in him...
__ all expressions of an intimate union of soul and spirit.
17. Jesus may have been created or begotten by God before his incarnation.
18. Jesus is not God himself.
1. the influence of God on the human soul.
2. it is poured out, shed abroad, given, distributed, etc
3. people are filled with it, as with wisdom, faith, or joy.
4. The Spirit is occasionally personified as is wisdom, death, grace, and sin (Matt 11:19, Luke 7:35, Rom 5:14,21; 6:12)
5. it is given by a constant operation to prepared hearts,
__ helping, clarifying, cleansing, strengthening, calming, encouraging, making us happy.
__ We "live in the Spirit", "Walk in the Spirit", and the Spirit "dwells in us"
6. We commune inwardly from within ourselves, in the secret chambers of our hearts,
__ lifting up our thoughts to our Heavenly Father through His Spirit.
The Mennonite Creed
The Mennonites are followers of Menno Simon, a German reformer who produced his confession of faith in 1659. They trace the origins of their sect to the Waldenses.
The introduction tells of Peter Waldus and his experience in translating the Bible from Latin into French and discovering the "glaring contradictions" between what the scriptures taught and the Roman Church's doctrine. The reading of God's Word always brings revival and reformation.
"When the Papists ask us where our religion was before Luther, we generally answer, In the Bible, and we answer well. But, to gratify their taste for tradition and human authority, we may add to this answer, and in the valleys of Piedmont."
The Mennonite Confession of Faith lists 33 articles, which begin with the unity of God and the Sonship of Jesus Christ.
Though the scripture references are not listed, it is quite evident that each statement is alluding to a corresponding text.
"Article First" continues:
"Article Second deals with "The Eternal Birth and Godhead of the Son of God, and His Divine Attributes"
"Of the eternal birth and Godhead of the only begotten Son of God, we believe, That the Son of God, from all eternity, came forth, was born, and in an ineffable manner proceeded forth from the true God, his Father; of the same nature, essence and substance with the Almighty God. A light from the true light. Truly God from the true God. Who being in the form of God, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person."
"For in truth it must follow, that he that is begotten, is essentially the same with him whom he was begotten. For, As the stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands, and became a great mountain that filled the whole earth, is of the same substance with the mountain from which it was taken; so also is the elect precious corner-stone, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the same in his being and substance; co-equal, co-eternal with the Almighty Father, who is the mountain and rock of ages. Therefore, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is to be received and acknowledged, by every true believer, to be equally worthy with God his Father to receive our highest worship, honour, adoration and praise."