Friday, 11 October 2013

THE TRINITY IS NOT THE TRUTH?

Many have heard of the common objection against the Trinity such as "Roman Catholicism teaches the Trinity therefore we reject it". However, this is not how we deal with doctrine, we repudiate false doctrines and a church because the Bible condemning them, not condemning the teaching because of that church. Rome has fundemental errors such as hyperdulia, transubstansitiation. and prayers for the dead all of which aren't relevant to this article. In particular it's the Trinity which is often attacked by Unitarians or Anti-Trinitarians of all stripes.

For those who are unaware, Richard Merrell is a Unitarian Christian that denies the Trinity and often comes in to spam the rooms on Paltalk constantly with his poems. Quotations from Merrell and other sources shall be in bold.

Cathechism.

Firstly Richard Merrell (richard2782_1 on Paltalk) says the following in his article:

"FIRSTLY let us look at the new Catechism of the (Roman) Catholic Church 1994; and what it admits about the doctrine of (holy trinity). At Page 66 para. 251 we read these infamous words, 'In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the church has had to develope it's own terminology with the help of CERTAIN NOTIONS of PHILOSOPHICAL origin: "substance," "person," "hypostases".' What a confession of IDOLATRY, philosophy in the Church !
Now let us look at one of the ANATHEMAS or CURSES against any who do not confess the trinity, from the ANATHEMAS OF THE SECOND COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE (533 AD). "If anyone does not confess that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one nature or ESSENCE, one power or authority, worshipped as a TRINITY of the same ESSENCE, one diety in three HYPOSTASES or PERSONS, let him be ANATHEMA." or (accursed)
On the basis of that proclamation I am therefore ANATHEMA for I do NOT confess such a TRINITY or ESSENCE, or HYPOSTASES, the words are NOT found in scripture, and are the NOTIONS of PHILOSOPHICAL thought, and the Apostle Paul warned, "BEWARE LEST ANY MAN SPOIL YOU THROUGH PHILOSOPHY AND VAIN DECEIT, AFTER THE TEACHING OF MEN, AFTER THE PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD, AND NOT AFTER CHRIST. FOR IN HIM IS EMBODIED THE FULNESS OF THE DIVINITY." Colossians 2:18,19.
"

The word Trinity comes from the latin Trinitas which was first used by Tertullian. Even though the Word Trinity, Persons and Hypostases are not used in scripture, this doesn't mean that scripture doesn't teach it. The word Incarnation is not in scripture but that doesn't mean it's not there. I reject hyperdulia, but not because the name is absent, but because scripture doesn't teach it. In fact in the passage above states that the fullness of Deity is in Christ. What makes me laugh is that the very same passage that Merrel comes back to refute him.
My response to Colossians 1:15-20 can be found in this article here: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-tovia-singer-on-did-authors.html

Not to mention in Colossians 2:9 shows all the fulness of deity dwells in bodily form in the very context he used to condemn Trinitarians the warning in verses 18-19.

God is not a man

This verse is often misused by many who deny Jesus as God, particularly Jews and Muslims, 1 Samuel 15:29 is also abused. Let's take a look at the passages in question in their context.

Numbers 23:16-20
16 The Lord met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, ‘Go back to Balak and give him this word.’
17 So he went to him and found him standing beside his offering, with the Moabite officials. Balak asked him, ‘What did the Lord say?’
18 Then he spoke his message:
‘Arise, Balak, and listen;
    hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfil?
20 I have received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot change it.


And also 1 Samuel 15 26-29

26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”
27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”


My response to Numbers 23:19 can be found in this article here: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/classical-trinitarian-objections.html

Furthermore in John 1:1, Merrell quotes a plethora of translations to support his position including the NWT used by Jehovah's Witnesses, which is a perversion of the Greek not a translation and he has also used the lack of definite article argument.

James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and author of the Forgotten Trinity strongly contends in his article about the NWT that it's translation is NOT a valid translation in anyway. He states the following in regards to John 1:1:

"Hence, John 1:1 teaches that the Word is eternal (the imperfect form of eimi, en), that He has always been in communion with God (pros ton theon), and hence is an individual and recognizable as such, and that, as to His essential nature, He is God. Anything less departs from the teaching of John, and is not Biblical".
Source: http://vintage.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html

The John Comma

This next argument is speaking on the subject of the Comma Johanneum

"The infamous 1 John 5:7 is often pointed to say that the Trinity is a later invention.
And as to 1 JOHN 5:7 cited by trinitarians to prove a 'trinity'even the most 'die hard' trinitarians admit it is a interpolation and corrupts the text. A proper reading of 1 John 5:7,8 is thus ' And the Spirit testifies that that very Spirit is the truth. And there are three to bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three are one.' or 'agree in one' that's UNITY. Quoted from the HOLY BIBLE from the Ancient Eastern Text, from the Aramaic of the Peshitta.
Whilst the Complete Jewish Bible puts it thus, ' There are three witnesses - the Spirit, the water and the blood - and these three are in agreement'
Also if a 'threefold' formula is used to formulate a trinity, then I could use these words of Paul to arrive at a trintiy, 'Before God, the Messiah Yeshua and the holy angels..' 1 Timothy 5:21; and if the 'trinity' was of such importance Paul must have missed it for neither he nor any other Apostle taught it anywhere, neither did our Lord teach such a thing !
"

1 John 5:7 is NOT part of the earliest manuscripts, that we can agree, and also, I needn't use the text as a pretext for the Trinity itself. The Comma Johanneum is not supposed to in the Bible in the First place, it's earliest use is 14th century. The personhood of the Holy Spirit can be found in other places. In John 14-16, Jesus himself treats the Holy Spirit as a divine person and he DOESN'T treat the Holy Spirit as wisdom is treated in Proverbs 8. Wisdom is treated as a person in an allegorical sense but Jesus doesn't show the Holy Spirit in that light.
The following article covers some of the texts about John 14 and 16: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/challenge-from-facebook-unitarian.html

Even without 1 John 5:7, A case for the Trinity can still be made. Furthermore Psalm 95 8-11 says the following (Today-voice is in verse 7)

Today, if you will hear His voice:
8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,[a]
As in the day of trial[b] in the wilderness,
9 When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”


The author of Hebrews takes this text from Psalms itself and attributes it to the Holy Spirit saying it. It is important to note in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit himself says to set Paul and Barnabas apart for HIM for the work HE has called them (Acts 13:2) as well as two other passages which are addressed in this article: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/challenge-from-facebook-unitarian.html

Also, In Acts 28, The Holy Spirit is said to be the one who spoke through Isaiah rather than the Father.

25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

Isaiah makes it plain in Chapter 6

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
And of course Isaiah 6 9-10 is the quotation in Acts 28
9 He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.


Also, I would like my Unitarian opponent to explain the following text from Ezekiel 11

11 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the Lord that faces east. There at the entrance of the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. 2 The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. 3 They say, ‘Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.’ 4 Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.”
5 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me, and he told me to say: “This is what the Lord says: That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. 6 You have killed many people in this city and filled its streets with the dead.


Interesting texts, The Spirit comes to Ezekiel and tells him to pass on a message from the LORD? So here the Spirit even functions as a divine person and speaks on the LORD's behalf. I am not saying that speaking on God's behalf makes you God, I am saying we have the Holy Spirit is able to speak and think rather than be a mere presence or power. Sounds like a Trinity in this text to me.

John 17:3
This text needn't have too much of an explanation, it is often misused by many people to deny the Deity of Christ or say he is LESS than God. What they fail to mention is John 17:5, two verses later.

John 17:1-5
17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Could a mere Son of God claim this, Could someone who is not the Eternal God claim this? Absolutely NOT. Remember what YHWH says in the OT in Isaiah:

Isaiah 42: 8
“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.


If YHWH will NOT give his glory, his preexistant glory, to another, Yet Jesus claims to share that same glory with the Father, Why is Jesus doing this if he is not YHWH. If you ask me, I think Merrell is the idolator here, not me. If he sees Jesus as a separate being and not YHWH the Son, How can he reconcile the passages I cited when he condemns the Trinity as "pure paganism"? John 17:3 is addressed in my response to Tovia Singer: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-tovia-singer-on-did-authors.html

What makes Merrells objection to the Trinity interesting is his citation of Revelation 1:5, 3:2 and 3:12.
Revelation 3:22 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.

Revelation 1:5
5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.


Revelation 3:12
12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.


There are other texts where Jesus says "My God" over and over. The simple explanation is when Jesus took on human flesh, He began relating to the Father as his God, there is no problem here. In chapter 1:8 God says:
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

In the same chapter, another entity calls himself the Alpha and Omega, but this one says this:

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Obviously these two in the passage are distinct entities from one another, but both share the titles "Alpha and Omega and First and the Last". But doesn't scripture say there is only ONE God? YES, What we have here is the Father and the Son. The Son was dead, and is now alive forever. If Jesus is not God, why is he claiming such a majestic title for himself, something only God can claim, Alpha and Omega?

I would also encourage you my dear reader to look at Revelation 2, Not only is Jesus the Son of God, Who is he in verse 8?

8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.


OH WOW!!! Why didn't Merrel quote these? Obviously it would undercut his own position. You have to be desperate to go to the Book of Revelation to deny the Deity of Christ.
So here we see both Father and Son are indeed the Alpha and Omega. Obviously the Father didn't die, the Son did, did he not? The First and the Last in this chapter is YESHUA, Jesus. Look carefully, do we not see all the members of the Trinity in this section? How marvelous.

Agency
One objection to Jesus being God is Moses being called God in Exodus. One article I recommend is one done by Sam Shamoun from Answering Islam who writes against the idea that Jesus is merely an agent.

This is relevant because Merrell says the following:
Will saying that Jesus Christ is "a god" conflict with the Bible's teaching that there is only one God? No, for at times the Bible employs that term to refer to mighty creatures. Psalm 8:5 reads: "You also proceeded to make him [man] a little less than godlike ones (Hebrew, acute; elohim')," that is, angels. In Jesus' defense against the charge of the Jews, that he claimed to be God, he noted that "the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the word of God was addressed," that is, human judges. (John 10:34, 35, JB; Psalm 82:1-6)
Jesus has a position far higher than angels, imperfect men, or Satan. Since these are referred to as "gods," mighty ones, surely Jesus can be and is "a god." Because of his unique position in relation to Jehovah, Jesus is a "Mighty God."—John 1:1; Isaiah 9:6.
But does not "Mighty God" with its capital letters indicate that Jesus is in some way equal to Jehovah? Not at all. Isaiah merely prophesied this to be one of four names that Jesus would be called, and in the English language such names are capitalized. Still, even though Jesus was called "Mighty," there can be only one who is "Almighty." To call Jehovah "Almighty" would have little significance unless there existed others who were also called gods but who occupied a lesser or inferior position.

Shamoun makes the following statement at the beginning of his article:

"The problem with the question is that it isn’t merely that Christ is called God which leads Christians to believe that Jesus is fully God in essence. Rather, it is the way in which the NT writers use the term God for Jesus which indicates that the inspired authors truly believed and were convinced that he is the Lord God Almighty. More on this later.
Moreover, when we examine the specific passages which call Moses God it will become clear that the inspired author (who happens to be Moses!) wasn’t claiming that this blessed and holy prophet was somehow divine in essence; nor was he using the term in the same manner that the NT writers use it in reference to Christ.
"
Source for Sam Shamoun article: http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_moses_god.htm

Granted though the word Elohim can be used of magistrates, angels and judges or mighty men in general, this doesn't help Merrel considering the phrase Mighty God is used of YHWH and not anyone else. In fact Isaiah 10 refers to YHWH as Mighty God. What's the conclusion? Jesus is the Mighty God in the sense of being YHWH God.

Isaiah 10
21 A remnant will return,[b] a remnant of Jacob
    will return to the Mighty God.

This article addresses the misuse of the Moses made a God argument: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/classical-trinitarian-objections.html

Misuse of Catholic, Protestant and other sources

After some looking into some of the quotations that Merrel provides, his arguments from those sources are SELECTIVE CITATIONS. Such dishonesty, he is using the same arguments that Jehovah's Witnesses utilize in their Watchtower literature. I can give some examples of what he quotes:

The New Encyclopedia Britannica observes: Neither the word Trinity nor the
explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament.
 

Bernhard Lohse says in A Short History of Christian Doctrine: As far as the
New Testament is concerned, one does not find in it an actual doctrine of
the Trinity.

Here is what the quotes ACTUALLY say.
New Encyclopedia Britannica says : Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema on the Old Testament: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4). The earliest Christians, however, had to cope with the implications of the coming of Jesus Christ and of the presumed presence and power of God among them - i. E. the Holy Spirit, who coming was connected with the celebration of the Pentecost. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were associated in such New Testament passages as the Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19); and in the apostolic benediction: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (II Cor. 13:14). Thus the New Testament established the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity. - The New Encyclopedia Brittanica, , page 928

Catch what I have highlighted in italics. It goes on to say the NT established the basis for the Trinity. What a mishandling and deceptive method of utilizing sources. I only fear for how many uninformed Trinitarians have been mislead by this.

In fact, let's quote what Bernard Lohse actually says as well:
"First, it is important to note that the doctrine of the Trinity does not go back to non-Christian sources [pagan], as has sometimes been supposed in the past. There has been no lack of attempts to find the initial form of the doctrine of the Trinity in Plato, or in Hinduism, or in Parsiism. All such attempts may be regarded today as having floundered. It is another question, of course, whether or not the church, in developing the doctrine of the Trinity, had recourse to certain thought forms already present in the philosophical and religious environment, in order that, with the help of these, it might give its own faith clear intellectual expression. This question must definitely be answered in the affirmative. In particular cases the appropriation of this concept or that can often be proved. Unfortunately, however, it is true that particularly in reference to the beginnings of the doctrine of the Trinity there is still much uncertainty. In this area final clarity has not yet been achieved. As far as the New Testament is concerned, one does not find in it an actual doctrine of the Trinity. This does not mean very much, however, for generally speaking the New Testament is less intent upon setting forth certain doctrines than it is upon proclaiming the kingdom of God, a kingdom that dawns in and with the person of Jesus Christ. At the same time, however, there are in the New Testament the rudiments of a concept of God that was susceptible of further development and clarification, along doctrinal lines. ... Speaking first of the person of Jesus Christ ... In other passages of the New Testament the predicate "God" is without a doubt applied to Christ (A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Bernard Lohse, 1966, p37-39)"

In fact this man even states that the Trinity doesn't come from paganism such as Plato. It's amazing how low these Unitarian "Christians" can go in even quoting these out of context.
For the sake of time, I'll give you other links for you to look up as well which expose ilk like this man.

http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/trinity.php
http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-Lohse.htm
http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-Barclay.htm
http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-Durant.htm
http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-Britannica.htm
http://home.comcast.net/~docbob1/misquotes.htm
http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-Brown.htm

I implore you to check the websites and also go to the original sources they quote to verify the quotes. Always check a source in case of it being throughly misquoted.
Merrel makes it clear he is not an Arian or a Modalist, but his arguments are very similiar to Arians and Jehovah's Witnesses.


One caution I will advise about bible.ca is their denial of original sin. Despite some good material on the Trinity, Their Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian heresy is NOT something I endorse. In the future I hope to write an article on a biblical defense of Original Sin.

My Lord and My God
 Once again, this guys arguments are similiar to the Jehovah's Witnesses.

But what about the apostle Thomas' saying, "My Lord and my God!" to Jesus at John 20:28? To Thomas, Jesus was like "a god," especially in the miraculous circumstances that prompted his exclamation. Some scholars suggest that Thomas may simply have made an emotional exclamation of astonishment, spoken to Jesus but directed to God. In either case, Thomas did not think that Jesus was Almighty God, for he and all the other apostles knew that Jesus never claimed to be God but taught that the Father alone is "the only true God." John 17:3.

John 17 I have already addressed, so I needn't labor that point. Just simply read here as well: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-tovia-singer-on-did-authors.html

However, Thomas did not say Jesus was like a god, once again that is a misuse of Exodus 7 and not relevant to the context. Furthermore, the idea that Thomas was simply making an emotional exclaimation is unwarrented and an unecessary interpertation.

This article addresses the misuse of the Moses made a God argument: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/classical-trinitarian-objections.html

Again, the context helps us to understand this. A few days earlier the resurrected Jesus had told Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples: "I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God." (John 20:17) Even though Jesus was already resurrected as a mighty spirit, the Father(Jehovah,Yahweh) was still his God. And Jesus continued to refer to Him as such even in the last book of the Bible, after he was glorified.Revelation 1:5, 6; 3:2, 12.
As I stated before, Jesus related to the Father as a result of taking on human flesh. and I have already covered Revelation.
Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
No contradiction here, Can't one member of the Trinity glorify another? Can't the Son be subject to the Father in terms of rank?
 

Just three verses after Thomas' exclamation, at John 20:31, the Bible further clarifies the matter by stating: "These have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God," not that he was Almighty God. And it meant "Son" in a literal way, as with a natural father and son, not as some mysterious part of a Trinity Godhead.

And besides...John 1:1 only mentions 2 people, a trinity proof text requires the mention of three.


A non argument. The Holy Spirit is not John's focus, The Holy Spirit focuses us on Jesus. It's the eternality of the Son of God which John is trying to convey. Furthermore, the Gospel of John must be read in light of the prologue of John 1:1 which does teach the Deity of the Father and the Son. And to point of fact Son of God IN REFERENCE TO CHRIST, not anyone else, refers to his Deity.

Psalm 110:1 is mentioned in brief in Merrel's article, I recommend looking at this article.
http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/binity_shema2.html

Even if Psalm 110:1 doesn't speak of the Deity of Yeshua/Jesus, this would not matter, because the Deity of the Messiah doesn't have to be confessed in every single Messianic Prophecy. The main focus of the Psalm is David identifying the Messiah as his Lord. The Father is speakng to the Son and telling him to sit at his right hand.

So what is the conclusion of this matter? The Trinity, A Nicean Innovation? Not of the Truth? Something from KJV? I don't think so.

Ending statement
I hope that this article has helped you out a little bit if you were troubled by Richard Merrel's article. I would recommend studying these issues carefully and I want you readers to check out what I am saying with the scriptures. Don't make you me your guru. Be a berean in accordance with Acts 17:11.

May YHWH the Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit shine upon you and bring you to the glorious light of the Gospel.

God Bless.

Answering Judaism.

2 comments:

  1. The writer claims that I am a 'Unitarian christian'..yet such a comment is complete nonsense and has no basis in fact..sad that such folk have to resort to telling a lie about others just to get their heresy believed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting you accuse me of lying. Giving a label is not lying. If one believes God is one being and one person, that's Unitarianism. No lie uttered here.

      Delete