If any doctrine makes Christianity Christian, then surely it is the doctrine of the Trinity. The three great ecumenical creeds—the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed—are all structured around our three in one God, underlying the essential importance of Trinitarian theology. Augustine once commented about the Trinity that “in no other subject is error more dangerous, or inquiry more laborious, or the discovery of truth more profitable.” More recently, Sinclair Ferguson has reflected on “the rather obvious thought that when his disciples were about to have the world collapse in on them, our Lord spent so much time in the Upper Room speaking to them about the mystery of the Trinity. If anything could underline the necessity of Trinitarianism for practical Christianity, that must surely be it!”

Yet, when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, most Christians are poor in their understanding, poorer in their articulation, and poorest of all in seeing any way in which the doctrine matters in real life. One theologian said, tongue in cheek, “The trinity is a matter of five notions or properties, four relations, three persons, two processions, one substance or nature, and no understanding.” All the talk of essence and persons and co-this and co-that seem like theological gobbledy-gook reserved for philosophers and scholars-maybe for thinky bookish types, but certainly not for moms and mechanics and middle-class college students.

So in a few hundred words let me try to explain what the doctrine of the Trinity means, where it is found in the Bible, and why it matters.

First, what does the doctrine mean? The doctrine of the Trinity can be summarized in seven statements. (1) There is only one God. (2) The Father is God. (3) The Son is God. (4) The Holy Spirit is God. (5) The Father is not the Son. (6) The Son is the not the Holy Spirit. (7) The Holy Spirit is not the Father. All of the creedal formulations and theological jargon and philosophical apologetics have to do with safeguarding each one of these statements and doing so without denying any of the other six. When the ancient creeds employ extra-biblical terminology and demand careful theological nuance they do so not to clear up what the Bible leaves cloudy, but to defend, define, and delimit essential biblical propositions. The Athanasian Creed puts it this way: “Now this is the catholic faith: That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity, neither blending their persons, nor dividing their essence. For the person of the Father is a distinct person, the person of the Son is another, and that of the Holy Spirit, still another. But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.”

The two key words here are essence and persons. When you read “essence”, think “Godness.” All three Persons of the Trinity share the same “Godness.” One is not more God than another. None is more essentially divine than the rest. When you read “persons”, think “a particular individual distinct from the others.” Theologians use these terms because they are trying to find a way to express the relationship of three beings that are equally and uniquely God, but not three Gods. That’s why we get the tricky (but learnable) language of essence and persons. We want to be true to the biblical witness that there is an indivisibility and unity of God, even though Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can all be rightly called God. The Persons are not three gods; rather, they dwell in communion with each other as they subsist in the divine nature without being compounded or confused.

Sometimes it’s easier to understand what we believe by stating what we don’t believe.

  • Orthodox Trinitarianism rejects monarchianism which believes in only one person (mono) and maintains that the Son and the Spirit subsists in the divine essence as impersonal attributes not distinct and divine Persons.
  • Orthodox Trinitarianism rejects modalism which believes that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different names for the same God acting in different roles or manifestations (like the well-intentioned but misguided “water, vapor, ice” analogy).
  • Orthodox Trinitarianism rejects Arianism which denies the full deity of Christ.
  • And finally, orthodox Trinitarianism rejects all forms of tri-theism, which teach that the three members of the Godhead are, to quote a leading Mormon apologist, “three distinct Beings, three separate Gods.”

Second, where is the doctrine of the Trinity found in the Bible? Although the word “Trinity” is famously absent from Scripture, the theology behind the word can be found in a surprising number of verses. For starters there are verses that speak of God’s oneness (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 44:6; 1 Tim. 1:17). Then there are the myriad of passages which demonstrate that God is Father (e.g., John 6:27, Titus 1:4). Next, we have the scores of texts which prove the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son—passages like John 1 (“the word was God”), John 8:58 (“before Abraham was born, I am”), Col. 2:9 (“in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form”), Heb. 1:3 (“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of his being”), Tit. 2:13 (“our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”)-not to mention the explicit worship Christ willingly received from his disciples (Luke 24:52; John 20:28) and the charges of blasphemy leveled against him for making himself equal with God (Mark 2:7). Then we have similar texts which assume the deity of the Holy Spirit, calling Him an “eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14) and using “God” interchangeably with the “Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 3:16 and 1 Cor. 6:19; Acts 5:3-4) without a second thought.

The shape of Trinitarian orthodoxy is finally rounded off by texts that hint at the plurality of persons in the Godhead (Gen. 1:1-3, 26; Psalm 2:7; Dan. 7), texts like 1 Cor. 8:6 which place Jesus Christ as Lord right in the middle of Jewish Shema, and dozens of texts that speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same breath, equating the three in rank, while assuming distinction of personhood (Matt. 28:19; Gal. 4:6; 1 Cor.12:4-6; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Cor. 2:21-22; 13:14; Eph. 1:13-14; 2:18, 20-22; 3:14-17; 4:4-6; 5:18-20; 6:10-18).

The doctrine of the Trinity, as summarized in the seven statements earlier, is not a philosophical concoction by some over-zealous and over-intelligent early theologians, but one of the central planks of orthodoxy which can shown, explicitly or implicitly, from a multitude of biblical texts.

Third, why does any of this matter? There are lots of reasons, but borrowing from Robert Letham’s work, and in Trinitarian fashion, let me mention just three.

One, the Trinity matters for creation. God, unlike the gods in other ancient creation stories, did not need to go outside himself to create the universe. Instead, the Word and the Spirit were like his own two hands (to use Irenaeus’ famous phrase) in fashioning the cosmos. God created by speaking (the Word) as the Spirit hovered over the chaos. Creation, like regeneration, is a Trinitarian act, with God working by the agency of the Word spoken and the mysterious movement of the Holy Spirit.

Two, the Trinity matters for evangelism and cultural engagement. I’ve heard it said that the two main rivals to a Christian worldview at present are Islam and Postmodernism. Islam emphasizes unity—unity of language, culture, and expression—without allowing much variance for diversity. Postmodernism, on the other hand, emphasizes diversity—diversity of opinion, belief, and background—without attempting to see things in any kind of meta-unity. Christianity, with its understanding of God as three in one, allows for diversity and unity. If God exists in three distinct Persons who all share the same essence, then it is possible to hope that God’s creation may exhibit stunning variety and individuality while still holding together in a genuine oneness.

Three, the Trinity matters for relationships. We worship a God who is in constant and eternal relationship with himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Community is a buzz word in American culture, but it is only in a Christian framework that communion and interpersonal community are seen as expressions of the eternal nature of God. Likewise, it is only with a Trinitarian God that love can be an eternal attribute of God. Without a plurality of persons in the Godhead, we would be forced to think that God created humans so that he might show love and know love, thereby making love a created thing (and God a needy deity). But with a biblical understanding of the Trinity we can say that God did not create in order to be loved, but rather, created out of the overflow of the perfect love that had always existed among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who ever live in perfect and mutual relationship and delight.

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93 thoughts on “The Doctrine of the Trinity: No Christianity Without It”

  1. John Thomson says:

    Brandon E

    Thanks for your very helpful summary and quotations.

    For those who are wary of traditional terms I would add a) most agree that the extra-biblical terms are less than fully adequate b) the terminology was first conceived not so much to determine what the Trinity is as to guard against what it is not c) whatever may be the limitations of traditional language(persons etc)no better language has been forwarded that has been considered an improvement and commended itself to all branches of the church.

  2. Chris Donato says:

    Great post, Kevin. One quibble:

    Orthodox Trinitarianism rejects monarchianism which believes in only one person (mono) and maintains that the Son and the Spirit subsists in the divine essence as impersonal attributes not distinct and divine Persons.

    No early creed condemned monarchianism as such; they condemned dynamic (adoptionistic) and modalistic versions of it.

    Question: Which of the following two views did the early church condemn in her creeds?

    Trinity = a single divine subject in three modes of being

    Trinity = a single divine subject in (and distinguished from) three modes of appearance

  3. Chris Donato says:

    By the way—just curious—where’d you lift this definition of monarchianism?

  4. Brandon E. says:

    John Thomson,

    Good points. The terms “Trinity” and “Triune God” are not in the Bible, but I know of no better way to describe the Father, Son and Spirit eternally co-existing and co-inhering as one God. Words like “persons” or “hypostases” are not perfect for describing the three of the Trinity, but I also know of no other better words. They describe how God while still being one is in some sense three in Himself, while a word like “manifestations” suggest something more extrinsic and by itself strongly implies modalism.

  5. A. Amos Love says:

    Kevin – Anyone

    Maybe you all can help. I can agree about the first four on this post –
    because I can find, and read, scriptures that reveal God as – One – Father – Son – and – Holy Spirit.

    (1) There is only one God. (2) The Father is God. (3) The Son is God. (4) The Holy Spirit is God.

    But – I’m having a hard time finding verses for Kevins last three.
    Where does this information come from if NOT from the scriptures?

    (5) The Father is not the Son. (6) The Son is the not the Holy Spirit. (7) The Holy Spirit is not the Father.

    In fact I’m finding verses that seem to paint a different picture for the last three.
    Just looking at # (5) – Kevin says – “(5) The Father is not the Son.”

    1 – Didn’t Jesus say – “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30. How are we supposed to understand that?

    2 – Then there is Isaiah 9:6. Isn’t it Jesus who is called the Everlasting Father in Isaiah 9:6?
    If not Jesus, who is Isaiah 9:6 referring to as Everlasting Father?

    Isaiah 9:6
    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
    and **his name shall be called** Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
    **The everlasting Father,** The Prince of Peace.

    If Jesus is known as “The Prince of Peace” couldn’t he also be **The Everlasting Father?**

    3 – John the Baptist only knew OT prophesy. And he was to prepare the way of Jehovah our Elohim.
    And Jesus showed up. Wouldn’t that mean – Jehovah and Jesus are one and the same?

    OT – Isaiah 40:3
    The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, (Jehovah)
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Elohim)

    NT – Matthew 3:3
    For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying,
    The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord…
    Wasn’t John the Baptist prepareing the way for and looking for Jehovah? And Jesus showed up?

    3a – – In the OT, Jehovah, and Jehovah Elohim, is also our Father.
    And Jehovah is not only our Father, Jehovah is also our redeemer. (But isn’t Jesus our redeemer?)
    So, John the Baptist prepares the way for – Jehovah our Father, our redeemer? And Jesus shows up?

    Isaiah 63:16
    …thou, O LORD, { Jehovah } art ** our father,** ** our redeemer;** thy name is from everlasting.

    Isaiah 64:8
    But now, O LORD, { Jehovah } thou [art] **our father**…

    1Chronicles 29:10
    …Blessed [be] thou, LORD God { Jehovah Elohiym } of Israel **our father**…

    Hmmm?

    These examples cause me to question – “(5) The Father is not the Son.” And there are verses that
    cause me to question (6) The Son is the not the Holy Spirit. (7) The Holy Spirit is not the Father.

  6. John Thomson says:

    AA Love

    Can’t take time to address your issues in depth Amos I would simply note

    a) ‘I and my Father are One’. This could mean the same person were it not for the fact that the immediate context and the wider context of Scripture indicates otherwise. Jesus regular identifying of ‘two’ (Father and Son) suggests immediately seperate identity. Indeed in the immediate context he identifies the father as greater than he. He speaks of the father loving him and the father giving the sheep to him. This is most naturally language of distinction in some sense of identity within the being of God. Furthermore ‘oneness’ can refer to purpose as well as identity; they are one in intention and aim. In other words the ‘oneness’ is not self-evidently a reference to oneness in a ‘person’ sense. Words like ‘being’ and ‘person’ have been adopted to try to maintain the apparent biblical distinction that the Father is not the Son. The very words ‘Father’ and Son’ suggest distinction at some level of personality. That Father and Son love and work seperately yet in tandem surely reinforces this.

    When we speak of ‘Father, Son and Spirit’ we are speaking of relationships firstly within the Godhead and relationships that are more than metaphorical. Christ (as the Messianic king) in Isa 9 has as one of his Kingly titles that of ‘everlasting Father’. This describes his role as a (meriatorial) King to his subjects and is not an essential title in his deity or his relationships within the Godhead. Distinctions within the Godhead is not the issue in Isa 9. Kings were ‘fathers’ to their people. They provided for them and cared for them. Jesus is eternally the providing and caring King of his people.

  7. A. Amos Love says:

    John

    Thanks – but your explanation is similar to those I’ve talked to who say Jesus is NOT God …
    “Furthermore ‘oneness’ can refer to purpose as well as identity; they are one in intention and aim.“

    That seems a bit of a stretch for me to think “One” has to do with “intention and aim.“
    Jehovah in the OT is known as – Savior – Shepherd – Redeemer – Salvation – Healer – Light – Father.

    John the Baptist prepared the way for Jehovah – And Jesus showed up –
    And Jesus is also known as – Savior – Shepherd – Redeemer – Salvation – Healer – Light…

    Is it not possible that Jesus could also be known as – Father? Since He was God manifest in the flesh?

    Because Jesus also said…

    John 12:45
    And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

    John 14:7
    If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also:
    and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

    John 14:9
    Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?
    **he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;** and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

    These verses seem to go along with – I and the Father are one.

    And your answer to Isa 9:6 doesn’t help me. King or kingly is NOT in Isa 9 at all.
    But it seems you are saying – “Everlasting Father” is pointing to Jesus. Just have to figure that out.

    And what about when Jesus calls Himself *the root* and *the offspring* of David.

    Revelations 22:16
    I Jesus… I am the root and the offspring of David…
    If Jesus calls Himself – The Root of David and the offspring of David.
    Isn’t that another way of saying – Jesus is *both* the Father of David and the Son of David.

    Seems to go along with – The Christ being the Son of David – But David calls Him Lord.
    How can the Christ be David’s Son and David calls Him Lord – who was before him?

    Matthew 22:42-45
    42* Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
    43* He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
    44* The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
    45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
    46* And no man was able to answer him a word,
    neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

    Jesus did warn us about – “You make the word of God of non effect through your traditions.” Mk 7:13

    Do our “Traditions” nullify the word of God? cancel it out?

    Jesus says they do.

  8. John Thomson says:

    Amos

    My answer was based on the off-chance that you were asking a question in perplexity. I see you were really inviting a debate. There is nothing wrong with that however it is not a debate I wish to engage in.

    I’ll leave engagement to those who wish to do so. Let me say though, as far as ‘everlasting father’ is concerned I suspect you’ll find few who accept orthodox teaching on the Trinity who have any problem with seeing Isa 9 as a reference to Jesus. That you do not see a prophecy of messianic rule surprises me.

    Isa 9:6-7 (ESV)
    ​​​​​​​​For to us a child is born, ​​​​​​​to us a son is given; ​​​​​​​and the government shall be upon his shoulder, ​​​​​​​and his name shall be called ​​​​​​​Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, ​​​​​​​Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ​​​ ​​​​​​​​Of the increase of his government and of peace ​​​​​​​there will be no end, ​​​​​​​on the throne of David and over his kingdom, ​​​​​​​to establish it and to uphold it ​​​​​​​with justice and with righteousness ​​​​​​​from this time forth and forevermore. ​​​​​​​The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. ​​​

    Reading the chapter the relationship is between ‘the Lord’ and his messianic King who reigns on the throne of his father David; trinitarian relationships are not to the fore though in the NT we discover that the Father/Son relationship of Yahweh and his Davidic King in the OT is fulfilled in the most profound sense.

    I am tempted to ask, where we have Jesus addressed as ‘Father’ in the NT, but I shall not since I don’t want to get caught up in a debate. :)

  9. A. Amos Love says:

    John – Anyone

    I also see Isa 9:6 as prophecy pointing to Jesus. And my questions were about looking for an answer.
    But, it seems when ever these seeming differences come up folks give some strange answers trying to
    make the scriptures fit with their traditions. I’d actually welcome some real answers. ;-)

    Yes – there are some veres that seem to say – The Father is not the Son – But…
    There are also verses that point to Jesus saying – I and my Father are one…

    Why not try to understand them? Why not ask Jesus about these seeming differences?
    And – How they can work together? How they can both be truth?

    Jesus always spoke to the multitudes in parables. So they “see not and hear not.” Mat 13:13.
    But explained the parable to His Disciples when they were alone. Mark 4:33

    Therefore speak I to them in parables:
    because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
    Matthew 13:13

    All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables;
    and without a parable spake he not unto them.
    Matthew 13:34

    and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
    Mark 4:33

    These multitudes were all in the same location following Jesus?
    But only “His disciples, His pupils, learned” what Jesus meant.

    In my experience…
    When I was intenched and in bondage to the”Traditions”of my Denomination and/or Movement I actually believed I was looking for truth but I was really looking to be accepted, to be in agreement with the powers that be, with that “Tradition.” I didn’t want to be put out of the congregation. John 12:42

    You write…
    “I am tempted to ask, where we have Jesus addressed as ‘Father’ in the NT”

    2 Corinthians 6:15-18
    And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
    16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
    for ye are the temple of the living God; **as God hath said,**
    I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,*** (Jesus???)
    and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,
    18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
    saith the Lord Almighty. (The Lord Almighty could be Jesus- Yes?)

    Almighty – Strongs #3841 – is also eight times in Revelations – seems Almighty can be pointing to Jesus.

    ***Who Is The Lord Ac 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly,
    that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

    So, What do you think? Could this be Jesus saying – I will be…
    “ a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters?”

    Be blessed in your search for truth… Jesus…

  10. A. Amos Love says:

    John

    Just looked up 2 Corinthians 6:15-18 in the ESV.

    15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?

    16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;
    **as God said,**

    “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, (Now that sounds like Jesus – Yes?)
    and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord,
    and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,

    18 and **I will be a father to you,**
    and **you shall be sons and daughters to me,**
    says the Lord Almighty.”

  11. John S says:

    to Chuck L, regarding the statement ‘we believe that Jesus is God’s supreme agent…’ the term ‘agent’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible – certainly not about Jesus – so doesn’t that fact itself make the assertion untrue?

  12. Kathyz says:

    Re: II Corinthians 6:15-18– vs. 16 references our bodies being the *temple of the living God*–it is the *Holy Spirit* that dwells among us. I believe it is the Holy Spirit that is being referenced in the rest of that verse. Take a look at I Corinthians 3:16 and I Corinthians 6:19.

  13. A. Amos Love says:

    Kathyz

    Yes – Seems there are verses that say – the Holy Spirit is in us.

    There are also verses that say – Christ is in us – Jesus Christ is in us – The Father is in us.
    And the Kingdom of God is in us – Gettin kinda crowded in there – Yes?

    Romans 8:10
    And if **Christ be in you,** the body is dead because of sin;

    Colossians 1:27
    To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery
    among the Gentiles; which is **Christ in you,** the hope of glory:

    2 Corinthians 13:5
    …Know ye not your own selves, how that **Jesus Christ is in you**…

    John 14:23
    Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and
    **my Father** will love him, and **we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.**

    Ephesians 4:6
    One God and **Father of all,** who is above all, and through all, and **in you all.**

    Luke 17:20
    And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come,
    he answered them and said, **The kingdom of God** cometh not with observation:
    21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, **the kingdom of God is within you.**

    And – Paul calls the Church, the Church of The Living God.
    I’m seeing now, where the Bible says, **the living God,** it is speaking about Jesus.

    1 Timothy 4:10
    For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in
    **the living God,** who is **the Savior of all men,** specially of those that believe.

    Acts 14:15
    And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you,
    and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto **the living God,**
    which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

    Since Jesus is the savior of all men: Doesn’t it make sense that Jesus is also the Living God?

    And Paul, didn’t he tell the people not to worship him, but worship the living God
    who made heaven and earth. Didn’t Jesus create all things?

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

    John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him…

  14. Paul says:

    A Amos Love –
    You wrote: “That seems a bit of a stretch for me to think “One” has to do with “intention and aim.””

    Yet see the Lord’s prayer here (John 17): “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”

    It’s clear that the disciples were not to become a single entity, but have a single purpose, JUST AS the Lord Jesus and His Father are united. What’s the uniting factor? The Holy Spirit.

    There are 2 entities in the Godhead – the Father and the Son. Look at the opening of virtually every epistle (greetings in the name of the Father and the Son). The Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father. Both are separate entities. Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand (very significant symbolism there of course). Every knee will bow to Christ. In Rev 5 we see the beings in heaven worship the Lord Jesus.

    Perhaps Rev 5 would be a good place to begin a study on the Godhead. 2 entities are clearly shown.

    In the final establishment of all things, the Lord Jesus will turn over everything to His Father (1 Cor 15).

    I don’t believe in the Trinity either. It’s almost comical that no one can explain it YET it has become the cardinal doctrine of the faith.

    Paul and the other apostles preached God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (As an example, 1 Cor 11:3).

    So did John…

    “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

  15. Kathyz says:

    @AAL, I don’t have any problem seeing the Godhead in any of those verses you quoted. The Holy Spirit was part of the creation story (hovering over the waters), is our intercessor, our guide, or conviction, our counselor, our teacher…and the list goes on. Seeing the Holy Spirit called The Spirit of God/Lord/Christ shows that he is just as much a part of the God Head as the Father and Jesus.

  16. SonFollowers says:

    Justin,

    Sorry for not getting back until now. I’ve been a little busy. :) So yes, this is a continuation from the posts much earlier in the thread.

    After further review, I still don’t see how the verses you reference support the point you’re making. 1 Timothy 5:20 specifically says “As for those who persist in sin…”. This is not for first offenders or for those who are likely to recognize their sin and repent once it has been addressed privately. Paul’s rebuke of Demas in 2 Timothy 4 was not public at all. It was in a private letter to Timothy. Galatians 2 seems to lean in your direction, but this is still fairly weak. Galatians 2 does not contain instructions to us as Christians (see 2nd Timothy 2 below for that). It’s simply an example of what Paul did. Even this is not an example of what you are saying Kevin should have done. There is a big difference between chastising Demas in front of a small gathering and chastising a person in full view of the entire world without first bothering to go to him in person.

    We’re called to be respectful to those around us, even when we disagree with them. When we have to judge someone in the church who is out of control, we must do it in a way that honors them as well as our heavenly Father.

    “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:23-25) NLT

    These words are specifically talking about difficult people. How much more respectful and kind would Paul ask us to be for those who are simply in error, where no malice or beligerence to God’s instructions exist?

    That’s my perspective on it. Thanks!

    Words for the Argumentative Christian

  17. John S says:

    more for myself at this point but if anyone is still there…

    John 8:24 and 58 Jesus says of himself ‘egō eimi’ which simply means ‘I am’. From the reaction of the Pharisees and scribes there’s no doubt that Jesus was claiming to be the ‘I AM’ and they charge him with blasphemy ‘because you, being a man, make yourself God.’ John 10:33. (He doesn’t correct them or deny it, doesn’t that make him the worst Jew ever, or actually God?) The scriptures indicate the audience at the time understood Jesus was claiming to be God, not a secret ‘agent’ of God, I believe that people deny what is clear in the text because they can’t get their brain around the trinity therefore it can’t be true.

    in 8:24 Jesus says “Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins”. Making one’s view of the deity of Christ hardly a secondary issue.

  18. john bautista says:

    Just a young guy trying to figure this stuff out…

    trinity..cannnnn someone help me?? i just got done reading an article…don’t really know what to think of it..

    Why study the Trinity http://goo.gl/Df35V

    is there any relevance/urgency in understanding this???

    sincerely,
    john

  19. Carl says:

    The easiest way to defend the trinity is to compare it with what the Bible says about God. If the two agree 100%, then that should confirm that the trinity is based squarely on Scripture. But is that the case? Well, judge for yourself:

    1. THE BIBLE says the Father–a single person–is the “only true God.” (John 17:3).

    1A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says that “every Person (of the trinity) BY HIMSELF [is] God.” That’s THREE GODS!

    2. THE BIBLE says that “for us there is one God, the Father.” (1 Cor. 8:6)

    2A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says “we worship one God IN TRINITY.”

    3. THE BIBLE says the “Father is greater…” (John 14:28)

    3A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says: “In this trinity, NONE is greater…”

    4. THE BIBLE says Jesus is the Son of God. (John 20:31)

    4A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says “Jesus IS God,” which makes him a different God from the “one God in trinity.”

    5. THE BIBLE says the “Father is greater…” (John 14:28)

    5A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE say that “the whole three persons [of the trinity] are “co-equal.”

    6. THE BIBLE says the holy spirit is not God, but a possession of God and that he gives it to deserving ones. As 1 Thess. 4:8 says: “Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who (also) gives HIS holy Spirit to you.”

    6A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says that “the holy spirit IS God.” However, A Catholic Dictionary says: “On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power.” It adds: “The majority of New Testament texts reveal God’s spirit as someTHING, not someONE.”

    7. THE BIBLE says that the Father is the ONLY person that “the true worshipers” (Christians) should worship. (John 4:23)

    7A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says: “The trinity in unity is to be worshiped.”

    So, do the Bible and the trinity doctrine agree on who God is? Absolutely not! And in the words of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, it says that the trinity “is NOT directly and immediately the Word of God.”

  20. Paul Shrock says:

    The Doctrine of the trinity is one of the greatest hoaxes that the devil was ever able to pull off. The statement that “our Lord spent so much time in the Upper Room speaking to them about the mystery of the Trinity” is a lie inspired straight out of the pit of hell.

  21. Carl says:

    The easiest way to defend the trinity doctrine is to compare it with what the Bible says about God. If the two agree 100%, then that should be enough to confirm that the trinity doctrine is based squarely on Scripture. But is that the case? Well, judge for yourself:

    1. THE BIBLE says the Father–a single person–is the “only true God.” (John 17:3).

    1A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says that “every Person [of the trinity] BY HIMSELF [is] God.” That’s THREE GODS!

    2. THE BIBLE says that “for us there is one God, the Father.” (1 Cor. 8:6)

    2A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says “we worship one God IN TRINITY.”

    3. THE BIBLE says the “Father is greater…” (John 14:28)

    3A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says: “In this trinity, NONE is greater…”

    4. THE BIBLE says Jesus is the Son of God. (John 20:31)

    4A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says “Jesus IS God,” which makes him a different God from the “one God in trinity.”

    5. THE BIBLE says the “Father is greater…” (John 14:28)

    5A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE say that “the whole three persons [of the trinity] are “co-equal.”

    6. THE BIBLE says the holy spirit is not God, but a possession of God and that he gives it to deserving ones. As 1 Thess. 4:8 says: “Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who (also) gives HIS holy Spirit to you.”

    6A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says that “the holy spirit IS God.” However, A Catholic Dictionary says: “On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power.” It adds: “The majority of New Testament texts reveal God’s spirit as someTHING, not someONE.”

    7. THE BIBLE says that the Father is the ONLY person that “the true worshipers” (Christians) should worship. (John 4:23)

    7A. THE TRINITY DOCTRINE says: “The trinity in unity is to be worshiped.”

    So, do the Bible and the trinity doctrine agree on who God is? Absolutely not! And in the words of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, it says that the trinity “is NOT directly and immediately the Word of God.”

  22. R Jamerson says:

    Question:

    1. Why is it that Jesus and the disciples/Apostles never prayed to the Holy Spirit?
    2. Why, in all of the Apostle Paul’s letters does he formally address the the Father and the Son, but never the Holy Spirit?
    3. Why are all nouns/pronouns that refer to the the Holy Spirit/Comforter in John are neuter in gender? Then all nouns/pronouns that refer to the Father and the Son in the masculine gender?
    4. Why does the deacon Stephen (Acts Ch. 7) see “Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father”, but no Holy Spirit is seen?
    5. Christ was conceived by the H.S. (Matt. 1:18-20). If the H.S. were a “person”, then that would make the H.S. Christs’ Father!
    6. Christ stated that the “Father and I are One”. Why was the H.S. left out?
    7. The prophet Daniel speaks of The Ancient of Days (The one who became the Father) and the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13), yet no mention of the H.S. in his vision?
    8. The H.S. is “poured” out on the Day of Pentecost. How can a “person” be poured out?

    Please don’t send me any “tired old arguments” about Acts 5. This is clearly a figure of speech, and does not negate the dozens of verses that disprove the non-Biblical Trinity theory.

  23. Michael says:

    Understanding God the father and Jesus is The Christ is essential.

    No where is it stated that you must believe in the HS Essential for Salvation. (not a Q on weather the HS exists). Also there may be more then three parts to God, Only 3 are identified about but there may be more.

  24. Rowie says:

    Trinity is evil and antichrist.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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