Is The Trinity Biblical?
From the Christian Research Institute
The Trinity is a basic doctrine of orthodox Christianity. Yet the word "Trinity" is not found anywhere in the Bible. Is the doctrine of the Trinity really biblical?
The doctrine of the Trinity says that there is one All Mighty One (God) who exists eternally as three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I can assure you that the elements of this doctrine are all taken directly from the Bible.
The first plank of the Trinitarian platform is that there is only one All Mighty One (God). The Bible could not be more explicit on this point, which it states explicitly about two dozen times. In Isaiah 44:8 Yahweh (The LORD) says that even He does not know of any other (mighty ones)gods!
Yahshua (Jesus) often spoke of the All Mighty One (God) as His Father, and the apostles frequently spoke of "the Almighty One (God) the Father." But the New Testament also insists that Yahshua (Jesus) is The Almighty One (God). For example, Thomas acknowledged Yahshua (Jesus) as, "My Lord(master) and my Almighty One (God)" (John 20:28), and both Peter and Paul spoke of Yahshua (Jesus) as "our All Mighty One (God) and Savior" (2 Pet. 1:1; Tit. 2:13). Yet the New Testament also makes the distinction between the Father and the Son as two very different persons. In fact they tell us that they love one another, speak to each other, and seek to glorify each other (e.g., John 17: 1-26).
The Old Testament refers often to the Holy Spirit as The Almighty One (God) at work in the world, without distinction from the Father. But Yahshua (Jesus) in John 14 to 16 explained that this Holy Spirit would be sent by the Father at the Messiah’s (Christ's) request. The Holy Spirit would teach and guide the disciples, not speaking on His own initiative, but speaking on the Messiah’s 9Christ's) behalf and glorifying The messiah (Christ). Thus, the Holy Spirit is revealed by The Messiah (Christ) to be a third person distinct from the Father and distinct from the Son.
In short, the doctrine of the Trinity is completely and totally biblical, and it is essential that all the Followers of the Messiah Yahshua (Christians) give assent to this doctrine.

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The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: "The formulation 'one God in three Persons' was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective." - (1967), Vol. XIV, p. 299.

Another words: "what your believing in came from the Roman Catholic Church" and NOT THE BIBLE! Sure anybody can make up any doctrine and try to twist the scriptures to make it work. Constantine did and he had changed the word of God! So if it helps you sleep at night...Knowing what your beliefs are based on traditions of men than so be it!

Additional proof: Today's Pope Benedict, when he was a cardinal in 1988, actually admitted the Catholic church changed the baptism:

-- The basic form of the (28:19 Trinitarian) profession of faith took shape during the course of the second and third centuries in connection with the ceremony of baptism. So far as its place of origin is concerned, the text (Matthew 28:19 came from the city of Rome."
Quoted from: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, pp.50-51.

The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics:

As to Matthew 28:19, it says: It is the central piece of evidence for the traditional (Trinitarian) view. If it were undisputed, this would, of course, be decisive, but its trustworthiness is impugned on grounds of textual criticism, literary criticism and historical criticism. The same Encyclopedia further states that: "The obvious explanation of the silence of the New Testament on the triune name, and the use of another (JESUS NAME) formula in Acts and Paul, is that this other formula was the earlier, and the triune formula is a later addition."
Edmund Schlink, The Doctrine of Baptism, page 28:

"The baptismal command in its Matthew 28:19 form can not be the historical origin of Christian baptism. At the very least, it must be assumed that the text has been transmitted in a form expanded by the [Catholic] church."
The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, 275:

"It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but...a later liturgical addition."

Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christianity, page 295:

"The testimony for the wide distribution of the simple baptismal formula [in the Name of Jesus] down into the second century is so overwhelming that even in Matthew 28:19, the Trinitarian formula was later inserted."

The Catholic Encyclopedia, II, page 263:

"The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century."
Hastings Dictionary of the Bible 1963, page 1015:

"The not demonstrable by logic or by Scriptural proofs,...The term Trias was first used by Theophilus of Antioch (c AD 180),...(The term Trinity) not found in Scripture..." "The chief Trinitarian text in the NT is the baptismal formula in Mt 28:19...This late post-resurrection saying, not found in any other Gospel or anywhere else in the NT, has been viewed by some scholars as an interpolation into Matthew. It has also been pointed out that the idea of making disciples is continued in teaching them, so that the intervening reference to baptism with its Trinitarian formula was perhaps a later insertion into the saying. Finally, Eusebius's form of the (ancient) text ("in my name" rather than in the name of the Trinity) has had certain advocates. (Although the Trinitarian formula is now found in the modern-day book of Matthew), this does not guarantee its source in the historical teaching of Jesus. It is doubtless better to view the (Trinitarian) formula as derived from early (Catholic) Christian, perhaps Syrian or Palestinian, baptismal usage (cf Didache 7:1-4), and as a brief summary of the (Catholic) Church's teaching about God, Christ, and the Spirit:..."

The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge:

"Jesus, however, cannot have given His disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after His resurrection; for the New Testament knows only one baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:43; 19:5; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. 28:19, and then only again (in the) Didache 7:1 and Justin, Apol. 1:61...Finally, the distinctly liturgical character of the strange; it was not the way of Jesus to make such formulas... the formal authenticity of Matt. 28:19 must be disputed..." page 435.
The Jerusalem Bible, a scholarly Catholic work, states:

"It may be that this formula, (Triune Matthew 28:19) so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Man-made) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community. It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing "in the name of Jesus,"..."
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, page 2637, Under "Baptism," says:

"Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula (is) foreign to the mouth of Jesus."
New Revised Standard Version says this about Matthew 28:19:

"Modern critics claim this formula is falsely ascribed to Jesus and that it represents later (Catholic) church tradition, for nowhere in the book of Acts (or any other book of the Bible) is baptism performed with the name of the Trinity..."
James Moffett's New Testament Translation:

In a footnote on page 64 about Matthew 28:19 he makes this statement: "It may be that this (Trinitarian) formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Catholic) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community, It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing "in the name of Jesus, cf. Acts 1:5 +."

Tom Harpur:

Tom Harpur, former Religion Editor of the Toronto Star in his "For Christ's sake," page 103 informs us of these facts: "All but the most conservative scholars agree that at least the latter part of this command [Triune part of Matthew 28:19] was inserted later. The [Trinitarian] formula occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and we know from the only evidence available [the rest of the New Testament] that the earliest Church did not baptize people using these words ("in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost") baptism was "into" or "in" the name of Jesus alone. Thus it is argued that the verse originally read "baptizing them in My Name" and then was expanded [changed] to work in the [later Catholic Trinitarian] dogma. In fact, the first view put forward by German critical scholars as well as the Unitarians in the nineteenth century, was stated as the accepted position of mainline scholarship as long ago as 1919, when Peake's commentary was first published: "The Church of the first days (AD 33) did not observe this world-wide (Trinitarian) commandment, even if they knew it. The command to baptize into the threefold [Trinity] name is a late doctrinal expansion."

The Bible Commentary 1919 page 723:

Dr. Peake makes it clear that: "The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion. Instead of the words baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost we should probably read simply-"into My Name."
Theology of the New Testament:

By R. Bultmann, 1951, page 133 under Kerygma of the Hellenistic Church and the Sacraments. The historical fact that the verse Matthew 28:19 was altered is openly confesses to very plainly. "As to the rite of baptism, it was normally consummated as a bath in which the one receiving baptism completely submerged, and if possible in flowing water as the allusions of Acts 8:36, Heb. 10:22, Barn. 11:11 permit us to gather, and as Did. 7:1-3 specifically says. According to the last passage, [the apocryphal Catholic Didache] suffices in case of the need if water is three times poured [false Catholic sprinkling doctrine] on the head. The one baptizing names over the one being baptized the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," later expanded [changed] to the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit."

How Much more evidence do you need? The Trinity is Man-made! Jesus Bless you!
Tritheism Illustrated: the Problem of Trinitarian Representation

In his excellent study on Christian iconography, Adolphe Didron carefully maps the clear evolution of the Trinities in both art and architecture. In the most primitive extant examples, symbols of the Godhead may include the hand of God reaching from the clouds, the cross, the lamb, or the dove. No paradigmatic Trinitarian representation exists until the 4th century, and no instances are to be found either in the catacombs or upon ancient Christian sacrophagi (Didron 35). Many of the earliest works that combine these symbols present them in vertical descent, with a hand representing God the Father, a dove representing the Holy Spirit, and the cross representing Christ, the Son.

The order significantly communicates an elementary tenet of germinal Trinitarianism, the notion that Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and not the Son. This doctrinal position is still held by the Eastern Church while the Roman Church believes that the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son. In any case, the earliest examples of Trinities are comprised of mere symbols.

During the 9th to 12th centuries, however, Trinities took on anthropomorphic form, and the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost assumed human attributes. For centuries, Christ had been depicted as a young man. Remarkably, the Father and Spirit were also portrayed as young men, essentially identical to the Son. In fact, it is often difficult to distinguish between the persons, undoubtedly an effort to harmonize the artwork with the Athanasian concept of the cosubstantiality of the members of the Trinity.

In reality, these artistic representations reveal the core contradiction of Trinitarian dogma, that One God exists as three persons. The clear corporal disconnectedness of the three in many examples of art and architecture exaggerates the concept of the Trinity and destroys the scriptural unity of the Godhead, presenting, instead, three gods with no apparent cohesion.

In some Trinities, the Father, who is elderly, supports the Son suspended on the cross. In these cases, the Spirit is most often figured by the dove and proceeds from the mouth of the Father. Similarly, illustrations of Christ’s baptism generally employ the same vertical declension and the dove.
The Trinities and the artists’ innovations also took other forms. The introduction of geometrical shapes, predominantly triangles and interlocked circles, emphasized the triplicity of persons, and three became an important number in Gothic architecture. The trefoil, the silhouette of the three interlocked circles, implicitly conveys the Trinity and appeared in church windows and arches.
Such misrepresentations of the Godhead metamorphosed into the monstrous with the amalgamation of the Trinity into a one-headed being with three faces, sometimes having three or four eyes and three mouths atop a single body. While such examples flourished and attempted to portray, at least tenuously, the unity of the Father, Son, and Spirit, Pope Urban VIII prohibited such Trinities in 1628 and ordered that examples be destroyed (Didron 61). Whether his anathemization was aesthetic or theological is historically unclear, but these Trinitarian representations stand in stark contrast to other examples where each person is completely individualized.

More disturbing are historical examples of Christian art in which Satan himself is depicted as a claw-footed, unholy trinity with three faces, often with three horns. Such pieces evidence the radical theological distortions of Trinitarianism and presents the devil as God’s equal opposite.

Of particular interest to modern Oneness believers is a 16th Century example of a three-faced Trinity, which includes an intricate schema using the inverted triangle capped by circles to represent the Trinity (Figure 2). The circles labeled Pater (Father), Filius (Son), and Spiritus Sanctus (Holy Spirit) are interpolated with the words “non est”, reading literally: “Father is not Son; Son is not Holy Spirit; Holy Spirit is not Father.” This is important because it was apparently created to rebut those who believed that the Father, Son, and Spirit were not personally distinct. There must have been Christians who were not making radical distinctions between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; otherwise, this theological message would not have been necessary.

Ultimately, artistic representations of the Trinity create images of a God divided and do not and indeed cannot preserve His unity. In all cases, three gods are figured, whether in symbol or person, revealing the impossible oxymoron of the underlying idea of a triune God. The inability of artists and architects to represent the complex doctrine without making an image of three gods further condemns the false notion of Trinitarian dogma and visually displays the ultimate departure of Trinitarian doctrine from essential monotheism of the ancient Jewish faith and the New Testament Apostolic Church.


Didron, Adolphe Napoleon. Christian Iconography: the History of Christian Art in the Middle Ages. Trans. E.J. Millington. Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. New York: 1886.
Oh well, you must be bored with nothing else to do . . . . .

Laugh all you want, I know what I am saying is true.

Ok Here's 3 Common Sense Reasons Why the Trinity is a False Doctrine
Here is a short, straightforward argument that exposes the doctrine of the Trinity as a man-made apostasy. Three common sense reasons that cannot be disputed.

#1. No Authority at Nicea -
First, lets set this up with a brief history lesson. The Trinity was cautified nearly 300 years after Christ and the original Apostles had been killed off. Christians had been persecuted and had gone underground for much of this period to avoid being fed to lions--remember that?

Under that setting, the Nicean Council and the formation of the Trinity doctrine was ordered and approved by the Roman Emperor Constantine as part of his political campaign to unite factions of the failing Roman Empire under one state religion. Not a lot of people dispute this fact, but Trinity believers try and "spiritualize" it by makingConstantine into a holy man who was led by God. Yet, there is evidence that he was never even baptized--which Christ said was necessary to be saved. (See John 3:5)

Think about it. A somewhat analogous equivalent today would be if the President of the United States gathered up all the Christian denominations of the day, had them mash-up their differing beliefs, and made a church from the consensus--a single religion for the the whole country. And it would all be lead and approved by, not a religious leader, but a political leader.

There weren't even any of the Christian leaders or attendants that claimed to be the head authorities of the church. They all pretty much laid down any authority to the Emperor. And just like in politics, the beliefs of the majority were adopted. Of the two factions that had a disagreement about the character and nature of God and Christ, the majority opinion won the debate, and the losing belief was denounced as heresy. Ask yourself when, if ever, difficult religious doctrines are approved by the majority? Do you think we'd have 10 commandments if it was put up for a vote? I doubt it.

#2. The Unknowable God -
The Trinity Doctrine is impossible to understand, yet understanding our relationship to God is central in gaining salvation and understanding many other gospeldoctrines. In fact the Bible tells us that our very eternal life depends on knowing HIM.

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

Bottom line, the 3-in-one monster conjured up by the Trinity is an unknowable being. The Trinity is confusion, and that is NOT of God, but of the devil.(See 1 Cor. 14: 33)

Honest theologians and priests will even admit that there is no way to "understand" the Trinity. They will argue that the mortal mind cannot grasp it but only "comprehend" some of it, but even that is a stretch when the scripture states that our very eternal life depends on KNOWING Him.

I also believe that if there was one doctrine that we should fully understand, it SHOULD be the one about the character and nature of God, and that he'd be a mean son of a gun to give us no way of understanding this very basic and important aspect of the gospel.

If you know anything about the history of the Nicean council, you also know that the framers of this gibberish themselves actually knew that what they were outlining was incomprehensible. That leads you to another problematic question... If the theologian/writers of the Trinity KNEW it was beyond the understanding of men. Then, as MEN, how do they know that they got it right in the first place?

That leads us to the final part of the argument. The lack of spiritual evidence that this doctrine is accepted by God...

#3. Lack of ANY Spiritual Confirmation or Manifestation -
As I have argued, this is a key doctrine that is pivotal to understand which touches most if not all other gospel principals anddoctrines, yet there is no evidence of spiritual manifestations, or any kind of confirmation by the spirit for the conclusion of Nicea.

Again, anyone who takes time to read and study the history of the Nicean Creed will be struck by the strictly political atmosphere of the whole event--thats it.

If you take your examples from the Bible you will notice that most all of the major events in scripture were attended by angels, had manifestations of the Holy Spirit, or miraculous happenings of some sort or another. Yet at Nicea, none of the attendants reported angels appearing, cloven tongues of fire, or even a simple voice from heaven. Everything went off like a session of congress with everybody trying to please theRoman Emperor.

If this IS a pivotal doctrine, why wouldn't there be SOME record of a miraculous occurance that could be pointed to as acceptance by God?

So there you have it. I think these common sense reasons are valid and very strong against the Trinity being a true doctrine. I believe that most Christian Churches of the day have accepted it simply because it is a tradition.
Ok So there you have it. I will be going! I'll come back if someone is interested in hearing more of the truth.
God bless you all, and I hope you take what I have found and research it out for yourself! Also Pray. The Lord will give you understanding.
In His Service Sister Morton
Sis. Della,

With all due respect, you can post all of the information you desire; it will not alter or hinder the position of those who stand by the doctrine of the Trinity. This is the very reason why I refrained from responding. I posted my statement of proof and I stand by it.

So, let us agree to disagree and move forward to another topic.

Sis Pat, I realize you believe in the trinity, I just wanted to see if people are aware what they are believing in where it originated? You don't have to agree with my post. The only thing you will have you agree with is God's Holy Word and if your believing in something else dear that's between you and the Lord.
I will leave this group on these scriptures. Love in Christ Della Morton
Food for Thought.
Remember trinitarians say Jesus was not the father the father is a separate being.
Ok So they are saying the father was not manifested in Jesus. That the father was not Jesus

I say .Jesus was more than the father He was both God and Man.

2 Corinthians 5:19 (King James Version)

19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

1 Timothy 3:16 (King James Version)

16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

God bless you!
I am sorry, but I may find some disagreement here, from what I have studied. Sounds like this is the re-emergence of a troublesome false doctrine over the person of Christ that began in Rome under the influence of the leading teachers in the church there - a man named Sabellius....

Sabellious stressed the oneness of the Godhead to the extent of DENYING any meaningful distinctions between the members of the Trinity. He did not question the essential deity of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. But he pointed to passages like Deuteronomy 6:4 ("hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!") and insisted that the unity of the Godhead rules out any possibility of three distinct persons. Instead, Sabellius claimed, the three names all belong to one divine person, who simply manifest Himself at different times as different characters...

Sabellius's system is sometimes referred to as MODALISM, because he was essentially claiming that God has three different "MODES" of expression. Sabellians believed God transforms Himself from one of these manifestations to another consecutively, as if CHANGING COSTUMES. So in Sabellius's system, the Father and the Son (or the Son and the Holy Spirit) could never actually exist simultaneously as distinguishable yet coeternal divine persons.

This view, of course, entails a DENIAL of the true nature of God as He is revealed in the New Testament. It CONTRADICTS the opening statement of John's gospel, for example: "In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was WITH GOD, and THE WORD WAS GOD" (John 1:1, emphasis added). It mixes up the person and work of Christ with that of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Of course, even a simple statement like the familiar gospel summary of John 3:16 ("God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son") makes no good sense in the Sabellian scheme of things. Sabellianism therefore seriously clouded the doctrine of atonement, and it likewise undermined practically every other doctrine of the Christian faith. Their system wasn't really Christian at all.

Sabellianism has been universally rejected as a SERIOUS HERESY by every major branch of Christendom since the end of the third century...!

Pastor Arlee Turner Jr.
1 John 5
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
First and foremost I want to make it clear that this piece is being written not to in any way hurt, destroy, or in any way slander any Trinitarian and their beliefs. This piece is being written in an attempt to answer, and to correct a long time, on going misunderstanding between most Oneness believers and Trinitarian believers. It is in no way written as an attempt to offend or take down a Christian, but to build up. I hope it does some good.

I will use some quotes from Dr. David K. Bernard’s Book (s), But as you will find by researching them, they are all biblical based and not mans opinion. David K. Bernard is a Pastor, a Teacher, and has a doctorate in Oneness Theology (A Oneness Theologian). His books are a very good read for those seeking information on the Oneness Apostolic Doctrine. His books can be found at

Why Is The Trinitarian Doctrine Wrong?

I have had this question asked to me by many Trinitarians “Why do you think the Trinitarian Doctrine is wrong?” or “What do you find wrong with the Trinitarian Doctrine?” So this is an attempt at answering at least some of these questions. More will be added as I think of them.

1. Trinitarian Terminology

The Terminology used in the Trinitarian Doctrine does not correctly and adequately explain who God really is. By calling the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost separate and distinct persons for instance. (Which by the way some Trinitarians choose not to use the word “distinct” when explaining who God is)

John 4:24 says : God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

By looking at the word of God simply, we see that a biblical definition of who God is can be found in John 4:24. The bible says “God is a Spirit” it cannot get much plainer than this. Here is some excerpts from David K. Bernard’s Book “The Oneness Of God” to help answer on this subject.

Person and Persons

Speaking of God as a person does not do justice to Him. The word person connotes a human being with a human personality - an individual with body, soul, and spirit. Thus, we limit our conception of God if we describe Him as a person. For this reason, this book has never said there is one person in the Godhead or God is one person. The most we have said is that Jesus Christ is one person, because Jesus was God manifested in flesh as a human person.

Speaking of God as a plurality of persons further violates the biblical concept of God. Regardless of what persons meant in ancient church history, today the word definitely connotes a plurality of individuals, personalities, minds, wills and bodies. Even in ancient church history, we have shown that the vast majority of believers saw it as a departure from biblical monotheism.


The use of the number three in relation to God is also dangerous. If used to designate eternal distinctions in God, it leads to tritheism, which is a form of polytheism. If used to designate the only manifestations or roles God has, it limits God's activity in a way not done in Scripture. God has manifested Himself in numerous ways, and we cannot even limit them to three. The use of three goes against the clear emphasis both testaments place on associating the number one with God.

God Is a Spirit

Jesus proclaimed this truth in John 4:24. The Bible reveals it consistently, from Genesis 1:2 ("And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters") to Revelation 22:17 ("And the Spirit and the bride say, Come"). Hebrews 12:9 calls God the Father of spirits.

What is a spirit? Webster's Dictionary includes in its definition of the word the following: "A supernatural, incorporeal, rational being usu. invisible to human beings but having the power to become visible at will… a being having an incorporeal or immaterial nature." [2] The Hebrew word translated as spirit is ruwach, and it can mean wind, breath, life, anger, unsubstantiality, region of the sky, or spirit of a rational being. The Greek word translated as spirit, pneuma, can mean a current of air, breath, blast, breeze, spirit, soul, vital principle, disposition, angel, demon, or God. [3] All three definitions emphasize that a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Similarly, Jesus indicated that the Spirit of God does not have flesh and blood (Matthew 16:17). So, when the Bible says that God is a Spirit, it means that He cannot be seen or touched physically by human beings. As a Spirit, he is an intelligent, supernatural Being who does not have a physical body.

God Is Invisible

Since God is a Spirit, He is invisible unless He chooses to manifest Himself in some form visible to man. God told Moses, "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live" (Exodus 33:20). "No man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18; I John 4:12). Not only has no man ever seen God, but no man can see God (I Timothy 6:16). Several times the Bible describes God as invisible (Colossians 1:15; I Timothy 1:17, Hebrews 11:27). Although man can see God when He appears in various forms, no man can see directly the invisible Spirit of God.

God was NEVER a person. God was IN a person, but never was he at any time a person. (person meaning a human being INDIVIDUAL) This paragraph was taken from David K. Bernard’s book called “The Oneness of God” Titled “Does God Have a Body?”

Does God Have a Body?

Since God is an invisible Spirit and is omnipresent, He certainly does not have a body as we know it. He did assume various forms and temporary manifestations throughout the Old Testament so that man could see Him. (See the section on theophanies later in this chapter.) However, the Bible does not record any permanent bodily manifestation of God until Jesus Christ was born. Of course, in Christ, God had a human body and now has a glorified, immortal human body.

Outside of temporary manifestations of God and outside of the New Testament revelation of God in Christ, we believe scriptural references to the eyes, hands, arms, feet, heart, and other bodily parts of God are examples of figurative language or anthropomorphisms (interpretations of the nonhuman in terms of the human so that man can understand).

In other words, the Bible describes infinite God in finite, human terms in order that we may better comprehend Him. For example, the heart of God denotes His intellect and His emotions, not a blood-pumping organ (Genesis 6:6; 8:21). When God said heaven was His throne and earth was His footstool, He described His omnipresence, not a pair of literal feet propped up on the globe (Isaiah 66:1). When God said His right hand spanned the heavens, He described His great power and not a large hand stretching through the atmosphere (Isaiah 48:13). "The eyes of the LORD are in every place" does not mean that God has physical eyes in every location but indicates His omnipresence and omniscience (Proverbs 15:3). When Jesus cast devils out by the finger of God, He did not pull down a giant finger from heaven, but He exercised the power of God (Luke 11:20). The blast of God's nostrils was not literal particles emitted by giant heavenly nostrils, but the strong east wind sent by God to part the Red Sea (Exodus 15:8; 14:21). In fact, literal interpretation of all the visions and physical descriptions of God would lead to the belief that God has wings (Psalm 91:4). In short, we believe God as a Spirit does not have a body unless He chooses to manifest Himself in a bodily form, which He did in the person of Jesus Christ.

Some say that in the Old Testament God had a spirit body visible to other spirit beings such as angels. They raise this hypothesis because human spirits seem to have a recognizable form visible to other spirits (Luke 16:22-31) and because some passages indicate the angels and Satan could see a visible manifestation of God in the Old Testament (I Kings 22:19-22; Job 1:6). However, God did not need a spirit body to do this because He could have manifested Himself at various times to other spirits just as He did to man. One key verse of Scripture implies that ordinarily God is not visible even to spirit beings unless He chooses to manifest Himself in some way: "God was manifest in the flesh… seen of angels" (I Timothy 3:16). At the least, if God did have some type of spirit body He certainly was not confined to it like other spirit beings are confined to their bodies; for then He would not be truly omnipresent. For example, God's omnipresence means He could have appeared simultaneously to men on earth and to angels in heaven. Also, we must realize that in New Testament times God has chosen to reveal Himself fully through Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9). There is no possibility of separating God and Jesus, and there is no God visible outside of Jesus.

I have found that most terminology used by most Trinitarians are words and uses of words that sell God short in a way. They tend to limit God to one certain thing, and not reveal his Omnipresent (Everywhere Present) Spirit.

For instance, By calling the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost three Separate, distinct persons we limit God to that body. And as we all know God is Omnipresent.

1Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

2Choronicles 2:6 But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?

2Choronicles 6:18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!

Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

Acts 7:49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

Psalms 139:7-13

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

So as we read in that word of God, “God is a Spirit” not a person. He is not separate or distinct from himself in any way, shape or form.

Other terminology used by Trinitarians that is misleading also include words like co-equal, co-eternal, co-powerful, and of co-essence. Let’s take each word one at a time.


There is no one or thing equal to God he stands alone. Scripture tells us this, and by reading the Word of God correctly this matter can be made very clear.

Isaiah 43:10-12

10. Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

11. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

12. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

Isaiah 44:6,8

6. Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

If you want to think of it symbolically or if you want to think of it literally, it is the same. But if you are expecting one God sitting beside another God or one person sitting beside another person, Jehovah God says that is not going to happen I am alone, there is none beside me.

Isaiah 44:24

24. Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

John 1:3,10

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

10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Hebrews1:2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;


8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

When he created he did it all alone and he did it all by himself. No one helped him, no one counseled with him. He did it by HIMSELF.


11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:


5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.


5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

9. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Isaiah 40:18,25

18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

If you meet someone that is exactly like God in every way, you have

found God. Because there is no one who is exactly like God, and yet a

different being or person other than God.

There is one God in the most absolute sense you can think of one

God. Numerically one, alone, by myself, none else, none beside me, none

like me. He said I will not give my glory unto another.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Isaiah48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

I submit to you at this time if you cannot see that God is one in every possible way, and there is NO ONE equal or co-equal to him. I only ask that you please pray about what God is telling you and what you have been taught by man. And let the truth of God’s word decide for you in your heart.


I have heard some Trinitarians call the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost co-eternal. Now this makes no sense biblically knowing God is one in every possible way. Let me make one thing very clear, since God is One in every possible way there is no “CO” anything with him. Scripture it’s self calls him eternal and refers to him as one eternal King and God.

1Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Notice “the King eternal” The is a reference to ONE. King also referring to ONE. “The ONLY wise God” these are very strong and precise words. They mean what they say not anything else but reference to one .

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

Once again we see in this scripture a reference to ONE by using the word “the” we see that Isreal knew God to be one in every possible way.

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 you look up the word “everlasting” in this Scripture in the original Hebrew and Greek you will find it is a reference the eternal Father. Interesting huh? He is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6). He had no beginning and will have no ending; other spiritual beings, including man, are immortal as far as the future is concerned but only God is eternal in the past and future.


Trinitarians believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all co-powerful in that they share the same power. No one person is stronger or has more power than the other. This makes no sense biblically. Not just because God is one in every way possible, but also because the bible states in Matthew 28:18 that “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

He said he all the power that means if I were to believe in the trinity I would have to admit that the other two had no power. Jesus had it all because he was God in flesh. It really is that simple. But yet Jesus also said in John 14:28 “my Father is greater than I”

John 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

If Jesus had all power how come he said his Father was greater then him? A even greater question is If they are all co-powerful how can his Father be greater than him? Now some would try to interject here and say to me “Hold on a minute here, you just put yourself in a corner son.” “You are contradicting your own self. By saying that Jesus said he has all power then turning around and saying his Father was greater than him.” “Boy you are in some mess, get out of that one son. “ Well it is very easy if you know the Word and know who God really is. By understanding the nature of God scriptures like this are easy understood. Jesus was simply saying that the Spirit is greater than the flesh you see. You see Jesus understood that the flesh was nothing without the Spirit and what made him God in the flesh was the Spirit that dwelt in that body . He always gave all glory to the Father (Spirit) that dwelt in him. He knew where his power came from. The only way Jesus could have all power is to be God in the flesh. See that was easy!


1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

2 Corinthians 5:19

19. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.


I have asked some Trinitarians the meaning of this co-essence and have received some very interesting responses. I guess the basic thing that was meant by the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost all being of co-essence means that have the same fundamental nature or quality. That is the definition given in Webster’s dictionary. So I guess that is what is meant. The fact that they dwell together in unity is the way another Trinitarian explained it to me. First of all there is no “they” in God he is only one and therefore cannot be a they. and yes Jesus has the same nature and quality of God because he is God in the flesh. Only God can have his own qualities. He is one he will not give his glory to another remember? He shares them with no one. He is by himself God. (Isaiah 45:5-7, 44:6,8, 43:10-12). It really all goes back to knowing and understanding the nature of God. I have found out that most Trinitarians have no real knowledge of the nature of God. When one realizes the true nature of God they will understand who God really is for the first time.

*NOTE* An excellent read on the nature of God can be found in the book “The Oneness Of God” by David K. Bernard Chapter Two.

*Explaining God from Mans Point Of View

One of the biggest mistakes I have heard Trinitarians make is explaining God with mans words, definitions, and analogies. I say mistake, because if we read the word of God correctly he explains himself already. We don’t need to explain God in our own minds or words we should always go by what the Word says. The reason behind all this is simple. Anytime we try to explain such an important subject as “who God is” we should never use mans thoughts or ways. Spiritual things cannot be explained in a fleshly manner. Spiritual things are correctly explained by spiritual thoughts. That is why we need the Holy Ghost, the bible says it will lead us and guide into all truth.

John16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.


Non-biblical terminology in and of itself does not mean that a doctrine described by it is necessarily false, but it does cast considerable doubt on the matter. This is especially true when the non-biblical terminology is not merely a replacement for biblical terminology, but instead it teaches new concepts. In short, non-biblical terminology is dangerous if it leads to non-biblical ways of thinking and eventually to non-biblical doctrines. The Terminology used to describe the Trinitarian Doctrine certainly has this problem.

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

So as you can see by these scriptures it is the Holy Ghost that teaches us spiritual things. It takes the spirit to teach spiritual things.

1Corinthians 2:5-16

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

I have heard God explained as a triangle, a light bulb, an apple, an egg, even a math equation. These are all non-spiritual attempts to explain God. These explanations always sell God short because God is not explained by human thoughts and words. He is explained in his own Word (The Bible). He explains himself simply, clearly, and understandably easy. We should compare Spiritual things with Spiritual. “We have the mind of Christ” What does this mean? It is a reference to those who are filled with the Holy Ghost.

Colossians 2:8-10

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

I believe that trinitarianism is not a biblical doctrine and that it contradicts the Bible in many ways. The Scriptures do not teach a trinity of persons. The doctrine of the trinity uses terminology not used in Scripture. It teaches and emphasizes plurality in the Godhead while the Bible emphasizes the oneness of God. It detracts from the fulness of Jesus Christ's deity. It contradicts many specific verses of Scripture. It is not logical. No one can understand or explain it rationally, not even those who advocate it. In short, trinitarianism is a doctrine that does not belong to Christianity.

2. The Origin of The Trinitarian Doctrine

I myself have studied the Trinitarian Doctrine, and have found out some things that help me to realize just where it came from. And by knowing this it is just one more reason why I refute it as truth. Here is just some of what I have studied and found to be true. This is taken from David K. Bernard’s book “The Oneness Of God” chapter Eleven

Problems with Tritheism

Orthodox trinitarians deny tritheism, which is the belief in three gods. However, when asked to explain how there can be three distinct persons and yet only one God, they ultimately explain that the trinity is a mystery our finite human minds cannot comprehend fully.

Since trinitarians attempt to reject the concept of three gods, they usually are reluctant to describe God in terms of three beings, personalities, or individuals. One trinitarian stated, "No important Christian theologian has argued that there are three self-conscious beings in the godhead." Another trinitarian writer rejects the idea that the trinity is composed of three individuals, but he does denounce an overemphasis on oneness, which (he says) leads to a Jewish view of God.
See Part 2
Part 2
This reluctance to use terms that sharply divide God is commendable; however, person is itself such a word. Webster defines person as "an individual human being" and "the individual personality of a human being."

This is not just a mere quibble over terminology; for throughout the history of trinitarianism, many trinitarians have interpreted the concept of person practically, and even theologically, to mean three beings. For example, the three Cappadocians of the fourth century (Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzus, and Basil of Caesarea) emphasized the threeness of the trinity to the point that they had three personalities. Boethius (c. 480 - c. 524) defined person as an "individual substance with a rational nature." From medieval times to the present trinitarians have often represented the trinity by a picture of three men, or by a picture of an old man, a young man, and a dove.

Today in trinitarian Pentecostal circles there is a concept of the Godhead that implies outright tritheism. This is evident from the following statements made by three trinitarian Pentecostals - a prominent Bible annotater, a prominent evangelist, and an author.

"What we mean by Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead, each one having His own personal spirit body, personal soul, and personal spirit in the same sense each human being, angel or any other being has his own body, soul, and spirit… Thus there are three separate persons in divine individuality and divine plurality… The word God is used either as a singular or a plural word, like sheep"

"Thus there are three separate persons in divine individuality and divine plurality… Individually each is called God; collectively they can be spoken of as one God because of their perfect unity… Everything that could pertain to God collectively could also apply equally to each member of the Godhead as individuals. However there are some particulars which relate to each individual person of the deity as to position, office, and work that could not be attributed to either of the other members of the Godhead."

The third trinitarian Pentecostal, an author, quotes a definition of person from Webster's Dictionary: "a particular individual." He then gives his own definition: "A person is one who has intellect, sensibility, and will." He attempts to reconcile trinitarian usage of the word person.

"When person is applied to any created being, it represents an individual absolutely separate from all others; but when applied to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, person must be qualified so as to exclude a separate existence, for while the three are distinct, they are inseparable - one God. Nevertheless, with this qualification, person remains the term which most nearly enunciates the permanent mode of existence within the Godhead."

It is apparent that many trinitarians interpret their doctrine to mean three personalities, three beings, three minds, three wills, or three bodies in the Godhead. They deny that by person they mean only manifestations, roles, or relationships with man. Instead, they defend an eternal threeness of essence while admitting it to be an incomprehensible mystery. They reduce the concept of God's oneness to a unity of plural persons. By their definition, they convert monotheism into a form of polytheism, differing from pagan polytheism only in that there is perfect agreement and unity among the gods. Regardless of trinitarian denials, this is polytheism - tritheism to be exact - and not the monotheism taught by the Bible and upheld by Judaism.

Problems with Subordinationism

Trinitarians also deny any form of subordination of one person to another in power or eternality. However, they often say God the Father is the head of the trinity, God the Son is begotten by the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father or Son or both. Again, they insist there is no contradiction, because our finite minds simply cannot comprehend the fulness of meaning described by these relationships.

We find, however, that throughout history prominent trinitarians have interpreted their own doctrine in a way that subordinates Jesus Christ or makes him inferior. Tertullian, the first prominent exponent of trinitarianism, taught that the Son was subordinate to the Father and that the trinity is not eternal. He taught that the Son did not exist as a separate person in the beginning, but was begotten by the Father to accomplish the creation of the world. Furthermore, Tertullian held that the distinction of persons would cease in the future. Origen, the first great proponent of trinitarianism in the East, also saw the Son as subordinate to the Father in existence and he even maintained that prayer should be addressed to the Father alone. Both men meant the deity of Christ when they used the term Son. It can, therefore, be said that trinitarianism began as a doctrine that subordinated Jesus to God.

In modern trinitarian circles, there is a form of subordinationism when trinitarians use the human limitations of Christ to prove a distinction between God the Father and "God the Son" instead of simply a distinction between Christ's divine nature (Father) and His human nature (Son). For example, note their use of Christ's prayers, lack of knowledge, and lack of power to prove "God the Son" is different from God the Father. Even while asserting the co-equality of the Son and the Father, they often deny it in a practical way and confess they do not understand what it really means.

Oneness believers state that the Son was subordinate to the Father. However, they do not believe that Jesus is subordinate to the Father in the sense trinitarians do. Rather, they mean that Jesus in His human role as the Son was subordinate and limited, but Jesus in His divine role as the Father was not subordinate or limited. In other words, the human nature of Jesus was subordinate to the divine nature of Jesus. By separating Father and Son into separate persons, trinitarians deny that Jesus is the Father, thereby inevitably detracting from the full deity of Jesus. Despite their denials, in effect their doctrine subordinates Jesus to the Father in deity.

Non-biblical Terminology

There are severe problems with trinitarian terminology. First, the Bible nowhere uses the word trinity. The word three does not appear in relation to God in any translation of the Bible except the King James Version, and only once in that translation - in the doubtful verse of I John 5:7. Even this passage reads, "these three are one."

The word person does not appear in relation to God either, except twice in the KJV. Job 13:8 refers to showing partiality. Hebrews 1:3 says the Son is the express image of God's own person (meaning nature or substance), not a second person. The Bible never uses the plural word persons to describe God. (The only possible exception, Job 13:10, would demolish trinitarianism if it applies to God!)

In short, as many trinitarian scholars admit, the Bible does not explicitly express the doctrine of the trinity.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: "There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians… that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualifications… New Testament exegesis is now accepted as having shown that not only the verbal idiom but even the patterns of thought characteristic of the patristic [church fathers] and concilian [church councils] development would have been quite foreign to the mind and culture of the New Testament writers."

The trinitarian Protestant theologian Emil Brunner has stated, "The doctrine of the Trinity itself, however, is not a Biblical doctrine and this indeed not by accident but of necessity. It is the product of theological reflection upon the problem…. The ecclesiastical doctrine of the Trinity is not only the product of genuine Biblical thought, it is also the product of philosophical speculation, which is remote from the thought of the Bible."

Historical Development of Trinitarianism

If trinitarianism does not come from the Bible, where did it originate? There is no question that Christian trinitarianism developed over several centuries of time after the New Testament was written. According to The New Catholic Encyclopedia, historians of dogma and systematic theologians recognize "that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century… From what has been seen thus far, the impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th century invention. In a sense, this is true but it implies an extremely strict interpretation of the key words Trinitarian and dogma… The formulation 'one God in three Persons' was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma."

We will briefly trace the historical development of this doctrine in Christendom, but first let us explore some pagan roots and parallels of trinitarianism.

Pagan Roots and Parallels

Trinitarian scholar Alexander Hislop asserts that - the Babylonians worshiped one God in three persons and used the equilateral triangle as a symbol of this trinity. In his book, Hislop shows pictures used in ancient Assyria and in Siberia to represent triune divinities. He also finds trinitarian ideas in the Babylonian cult of the father, mother, and child, saying that the Babylonian trinity was "the Eternal Father, the Spirit of God incarnate in a human mother, and a Divine Son, the fruit of that incarnation."

Historian Will Durant describes the trinity in ancient Egypt. "Ra, Amon, and another god, Ptah, were combined as three embodiments or aspects of one supreme and triune deity." Egypt also had a divine trinity of father, mother, and son in Osiris, Isis, and Horus.

Trinities exist in other important pagan religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Hinduism has had a supreme trinity from ancient times: Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer, and Vishnu the Preserver. One scholar described the belief: "Brahman-Atman, the impersonal ultimate reality achieves a religiously significant threefold manifestation or trimurti [triad of gods] through the three personal deities who represent the divine functions of creation, destruction, and preservation respectively." This trinity is sometimes represented by a statue of one god with three heads.

Buddhism also has a trinity of sorts. The Mahayana (northern) school of Buddhism has the doctrine of a "triple body" or Trikaya. According to this belief there are three "bodies" of the Buddha-reality. The first is the eternal, cosmical reality, the second is the heavenly manifestation of the first, and the third is the earthly manifestation of the second. Furthermore, many Buddhists worship three-headed statues of Buddha.

Taoism, the ancient mystical religion of China, has an official trinity of supreme gods - the Jade Emperor, Lao Tzu, and Ling Pao - called the Three Purities.

A philosophic trinity appears in Plato and becomes very significant in Neo-Platonism. [89] Of course, Greek philosophy, particularly Platonic and Neo-Platonic thought, had a major influence on the theology of the ancient church. For example, the trinitarian Logos doctrine stems from the Neo-Platonic philosopher Philo. Thus, we can see that the idea of a trinity did not originate with Christendom. It was a significant feature of pagan religions and philosophies before the Christian era, and its existence today in various forms suggests an ancient, pagan origin.

Post-apostolic Developments

The Scriptures do not teach the doctrine of the trinity, but trinitarianism has its roots in paganism. How, then, did this pagan doctrine find its way into Christendom? For an answer to this question, we have relied primarily on Lutheran seminary professors Otto Heick and E. H. Klotsche, Yale University professor of church history Roland Bainton, university professor John Noss, noted philosopher-historian Will Durant, and the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.

In Chapter 10 - ONENESS BELIEVERS IN CHURCH HISTORY, we noted that the early post-apostolic fathers (90 - 140 A.D.) did not embrace the idea of a trinity. On the contrary, they emphasized Old Testament monotheism, the deity of Christ, and the humanity of Christ. The Greek apologists (130 - 180 A.D.) also emphasized the oneness of God. However, some of them moved towards trinitarianism.

This trend toward trinitarianism began by making the Logos (the Word of John 1) a separate person. Following a thought in Greek philosophy, particularly in the teachings of Philo, some of the Greek apologists began to view the Logos as a separate person from the Father. This was not trinitarianism, however, but a form of binitarianism, and one that subordinated the Logos to the Father. To them the Father alone was the real God and the Logos was a created divine being of second rank. Eventually, the Logos became equated with the Son. Apparently, the triune baptismal formula became a practice among some Christian churches, although the few early references to it may be either recitations of Matthew 28:19 or interpolations added by later copyists. Moreover, during this time, an apologist named Theophilus used the word triad (triados) to describe God. However; he probably did not use it to signify a trinity of persons but rather a triad of God's activities.

Irenaeus (died c. 200) is often considered the first true theologian of this time. He emphasized the manifestation of God in Christ for the sake of redemption. Some scholars have characterized Irenaeus' beliefs as "economic trinitarianism." By this they mean he did not believe in an eternal trinity or a trinity of essence but only a trinity that is temporary in nature - probably a trinity of God's activity or operations only. Irenaeus, who did not use the Greek Logos doctrine, identified the Logos with the Father. His theology had three key characteristics: a strong biblical emphasis, a reverence for apostolic tradition, and a strong Christocentric emphasis. It seems he was not a true trinitarian but at most a transitional figure.

In summary, in the first century after the apostles, the doctrine of the trinity had not even developed. However, in some circles a form of subordinationistic binitarianism emerged based on Greek philosophical ideas, a doctrine denounced in the first chapter of John's Gospel. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says of trinitarianism at this time in church history: "Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective; among the second century Apologists, little more than a focusing of the problem as that of plurality within the unique Godhead… In the last analysis, the second century theological achievement was limited… A trinitarian solution was still in the future."

Tertullian - the Father Of Christian Trinitarianism

Tertullian (c. 150 - c. 225 A.D.) was the first person recorded by history to use the words trinity (Latin: trinitas), substance (substantia), and person (persona) in relation to God. [92] He was the first to speak of three persons in one substance (Latin: una substantia et tres personae). Tertullian adhered to the economic conception of the trinity. That is, he believed that the trinity exists for the purpose of revelation only, and after this has been accomplished the distinctions between the persons will cease. However, he definitely differed from Irenaeus in that he used the Logos doctrine of the Greek apologists. Tertullian equated the Logos with the Son. He believed the Father brought the Logos into existence for the creation of the world and the Logos was subordinate to the Father. The doctrine of the trinity posed no problem for Tertullian, for his whole theology rested on the thought that the more impossible the object of faith is, the more certain it is. He has been characterized by the statement, "I believe because it is absurd."
Part 3
There is some question as to what Tertullian actually meant by his trinitarian formulation, especially his use of the Latin word persona. According to a handbook of theological terms, in Roman law the word meant a legal entity or party. In drama it meant a mask worn by an actor or, by extension, a role played by an actor. Neither usage necessarily indicates the modern meaning of person as a self-conscious being. For example, one actor could play several roles (personae) and one legal corporation (persona) could consist of several individuals. On the other hand, presumably the word could also designate individual human beings.

In the fourth century, the Greek word hypostasis was used in the official formulation of trinitarian doctrine. According to Noss, hypostasis was an abstract word meaning subsistence or individualized manifestation. He says, "When this formulation was translated into Latin, the rather abstract Greek for individualized manifestation became the rather concrete word persona, and connotations of distinct and self-contained personality were suggested in a way not intended by the original Greek wording." However, this concrete Latin word was precisely the one Tertullian had used earlier. Another scholar states that by the time hypostasis was translated into persona the two words were basically equivalent, both meaning "individual being."

It is apparent that many people in Tertullian's time opposed his new formulation. By his own admission the majority of believers in his day rejected his doctrine on two grounds: Their Rule of Faith (early creed or statement of belief) prohibited polytheism, and his doctrine divided the unity of God. Our knowledge of the early modalist (Oneness) believers, Noetus and Praxeas, comes from their strong opposition to Tertullian and his strong opposition to them. If Tertullian meant only that God had three roles, masks, or manifestations, there would be no conflict with modalism, especially since Tertullian did not believe in an eternal trinity. Therefore, we conclude that Tertullian did mean three essential differences in God and that persona did connote or imply a distinct personality, as suggested by Noss. In any case, it is clear that in Tertullian's day Oneness believers saw his doctrine as sharply opposed to their own, which was the majority belief of the time.

Here is one final note on Tertullian. He became a follower of Montanus, an early heretic who claimed to be the Paraclete (Comforter) promised in John 14 and the last prophet before the end of the world. Tertullian eventually began to praise celibacy and condemn marriage. In the end, he was excommunicated along with the rest of the Montanists.

Other Early Trinitarians

Tertullian introduced the terminology of trinitarianism and became its first great proponent in the West, but Origen (died 254) became its first great proponent in the East. Origen attempted to fuse Greek philosophy and Christianity into a system of higher knowledge that historians often describe as Christian Gnosticism. He accepted the Greek Logos doctrine (namely that the Logos was a person separate from the Father), but he added a unique feature not proposed until his time. This was the doctrine of the eternal Son. He taught that the Son or Logos was a separate person from all eternity. Furthermore, he said the Son was begotten from all eternity and is eternally being begotten. He retained a subordination of the Son to the Father in existence or origin, but moved closer to the later doctrine of co-equality.

Origen had many heretical beliefs due to his acceptance of doctrines from Greek philosophy, his emphasis on mystical knowledge rather than faith, and his extremely allegorical interpretation of Scripture. For example, he believed in the preexistence of the souls of men, denied the necessity of the redemptive work of Christ, and believed in the ultimate salvation of the wicked, including the devil. For these and other heretical doctrines, he was excommunicated from the church. Church councils formally anathematized (cursed) many of his doctrines in 543 and 553.

Other prominent trinitarians in early church history were Hippolytus and Novatian. Hippolytus was the trinitarian opponent of Sabellius. He opposed Callistus, bishop of Rome, and headed a schismatic group against him. Despite this, the Catholic Church later sainted him.

Novatian was one of the first to emphasize the Holy Spirit as a third person. He taught subordination of the Son to the Father, saying the Son was a separate person, but had a beginning and came from the Father. Cornelius, bishop of Rome, excommunicated Novatian for believing that a number of serious sins could not be forgiven if committed after conversion.

The Council of Nicea

By the end of the third century, trinitarianism had replaced modalism (Oneness) as the belief held by most of Christendom, although the early views of trinitarianism were not yet in the form of the modern doctrine.

During the early part of the fourth century, a great controversy about the Godhead came to a climax - the clash between the teachings of Athanasius and Arius. Arius wished to preserve the oneness of God and yet proclaim the independent personality of the Logos. Like the trinitarians, he equated the Logos with the Son and with Christ. He taught that Christ is a created being - a divine being but not of the same essence as the Father and not co-equal with the Father. In other words, to him Christ is a demigod.

In effect, Arius taught a new form of polytheism. Arius was definitely not a Oneness believer, and the modern Oneness movement strongly rejects any form of Arianism.

In opposition to Arius, Athanasius took the position that the Son is co-equal, co-eternal, and of co essence with the Father. This is now the view of modern trinitarianism. Therefore, while Tertullian introduced many trinitarian concepts and terms to Christendom, Athanasius can be considered the true father of modern trinitarianism.

When the Arian-Athanasian controversy began to sweep across the Roman Empire, Emperor Constantine decided to intervene. Recently converted to Christianity and then making it the accepted religion he felt the need to protect the unity of Christendom for the welfare of the empire. According to tradition his conversion came as the result of a vision he saw just prior to a crucial battle. Supposedly, he saw a cross in the sky with a message saying, "In this sign conquer." Lie went on to win the battle, becoming co-emperor in 312 A.D. and sole emperor in 324 A.D. When the great Arian-Athanasian controversy threatened to divide his newly won empire and destroy his plan to use Christianity in consolidating and maintaining political power, he convened the first ecumenical council of the church, which took place at Nicea in 325 A.D.

Constantine was no paragon of Christianity. In 326 he killed his son, nephew, and wife. He purposely deferred baptism until shortly before death, on the theory that he would thereby be cleansed of all the sins of his life. Durant says of him, "Christianity was to him a means, but not an end… While Christianity converted the world, the world converted Christianity and displayed the natural paganism of mankind." [98]

By establishing Christianity as the preferred religion of the Roman Empire (which ultimately led to it becoming the official state religion), Constantine radically altered the church and accelerated its acceptance of pagan rituals and heretical doctrines. As church historian Walter Nigg says, "As soon as Emperor Constantine opened the floodgates and the masses of the people poured into the Church out of sheer opportunism, the loftiness of the Christian ethos was done for."

When the Council of Nicea convened, Constantine was not interested in any particular outcome, as long as the participants reached agreement. Once this occurred, Constantine threw his power behind the result.

"Constantine, who treated religious questions solely from a political point of view, assured unanimity by banishing all the bishops who would not sign the new professions of faith. In this way unity was achieved. It was altogether unheard of that a universal creed should be instituted solely on the authority of the emperor… Not a bishop said a single word against this monstrous thing."

Heick divides the participants at Nicea into three groups: a minority of Arians, a minority of Athanasians, and a majority who did not understand the conflict but wanted peace. The Council finally adopted a creed that clearly denounced Arianism but said little in the way of positive trinitarian teaching. The key phrase stated that Christ was of the same essence (Greek: homoousios) as the Father and not just of like essence (homoiousios). Interestingly enough, the modalists (Oneness believers) had first used the chosen word (homoousios) to express the identity of Jesus with the Father. Many who unsuccessfully advocated the use of the latter term (homoiousios) did not really mean that Jesus was different from the Father in substance, but rather they wanted to avoid the Oneness implications of the former term. So the resulting creed was a clear rejection of Arianism, but a not-so-clear rejection of modalism (Oneness).

The original version of the Nicene Creed formulated by the Council of Nicea in relation to the Godhead is as follows:

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only begotten, i.e., of the nature of the Father. God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things on earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh and assumed man's nature, suffered and rose the third day, ascended to heaven, (and) shall come again to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. But the holy and apostolic church anathematizes those who say that there was a time when he was not, and that he was made from things not existing, or from another person or being, saying that the Son of God is mutable, or changeable."

There is no clear statement of the trinity in this creed, but it does affirm that Jesus is of one substance with the Father in opposition to Arianism. There is no reference to the Holy Ghost as a separate person in the Godhead, but it merely expresses a belief in the Holy Ghost. This original Nicene Creed indicates a personal distinction between Father and Son and states that the Son is not mutable or changeable. This last phrase is a departure from the biblical doctrine of the Son and supports modern trinitarianism since it teaches an eternal Son. Basically, then, the Council of Nicea has a threefold significance: it is a rejection of Arianism; it is the first official declaration incompatible with modalism (Oneness); and it is the first official declaration supporting trinitarianism.

After Nicea

The trinitarian victory of Nicea was not complete, however. The next sixty years were a seesaw battle between the Arians and the Athanasians. Some participants in the council such as Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, even came out in favor of Sabellianism (Oneness). Arius sent a conciliatory letter to Constantine, which caused him to reopen the issue. A council held in Tyre in 335 actually reversed the Nicene doctrine in favor of Arianism. Athanasius went into exile, and Arius would have been reinstated as a bishop had he not died the previous night.

Athanasius was banished five or six times during this period. Much of the conflict was due to political circumstances. For example, when Constantine's son Constantius came to power he backed the Arians, deposing Athanasian bishops and appointing Arians in their place. The controversy produced vicious political infighting and much bloodshed.

Professor Heick credits the ultimate success of Athanasianism to the eloquence and perseverance of Athanasius himself. "The decisive factor in the victory… was the unfaltering determination of Athanasius during a long life of persecution and oppression." It was not, however, until the second ecumenical council, called by Emperor Theodosius and held at Constantinople in 381, that the issue was resolved. This council, held after the death of Athanasius, ratified the Nicene Creed. It also settled another great issue that had been raging after Nicea, namely the relation of the Holy Spirit to God. Was the Holy Spirit a separate person in the Godhead or not? Many thought the Spirit was an energy, a creature, or an angelic being. The council added statements to the original Nicene Creed to teach that the Holy Spirit was a separate person like the Father and the Son.

It was not until the Council of Constantinople in 381, then, that the modern doctrine of the trinity gained permanent victory. That council was the first to state unequivocally that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were three separate persons of God, co-equal, co-eternal, and of co-essence. A revised Nicene Creed came from the council in 381. The present form of the Nicene Creed, which probably emerged around the year 500, is therefore more strongly trinitarian than the original Nicene Creed.

There was one other great threat to Athanasianism. The Roman Empire had begun to crumble under barbarian attacks, and the barbarian tribes on the rise to ascendancy were Arian. Conceivably, Arianism could have emerged victorious through the barbarian conquests. This threat finally ended, however, when the Franks converted to Athanasianism in 496.

During this time period, one other important creed Emerged - the Athanasian Creed, which did not come from Athanasius. It probably represents the trinitarian doctrine of Augustine (354-430), for it developed during or after his time. This creed is the most comprehensive statement of trinitarianism in ancient church history. Only the western part of Christendom officially recognized it.

The main points of difference between East and West on the doctrine of the trinity were as follows. First, the East tended to emphasize the threeness of God. For example, to the Cappadocians the great mystery was how the three persons could be one. In the West there was a little more emphasis on the unity of God. Second, the West believed that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and from the Son (the filioque doctrine), while the East held that the Spirit proceeded from the Father only. This ultimately became a major doctrinal issue behind the schism between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in 1054.

The Athanasian Creed

In order to give the reader a more complete view of the doctrine of the trinity, a part of the Athanasian Creed is given below:

"Whoever 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 will 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, another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: The Glory co-equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost: The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost 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 Ghost almighty. And yet they are not three almighties: but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three gods: but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three lords: but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord: So are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say, there be 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 Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers, one Son, not three Sons, and one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after another: none is the greater or less than another. But the whole 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: must thus think of the Trinity…"

The Apostles' Creed

Before we close this chapter, we need to answer questions about the so-called Apostles' Creed. Did it originate with the Apostles? Does it teach trinitarianism? The answer to both questions is no. This creed had its beginnings in a more ancient confession of faith used in the Roman church. It was called the Old Roman Symbol (or Creed). Various scholars have dated the Old Roman Symbol anywhere from 100 to 200 A.D. It says:

"I believe in God the Father Almighty. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was born by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary; Was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried; The third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven; and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost; The forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body (flesh)."

This creed was revised to meet the challenge of new doctrinal issues, until it finally achieved its present form near the end of the fifth century. The most important changes were additions affirming the following: God is the maker of heaven and earth; Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost; Jesus suffered and died; Jesus descended into hell (the grave); belief in the holy catholic (general) church; belief in the communion of saints; and belief in the life everlasting.

There are two important things about the original and later versions. First, neither has a direct historical link with the twelve apostles. Therefore the versions are no more sacred or trustworthy than any other writings from the first few centuries after the time of the apostles. Second, they do not teach the trinitarian doctrine. For the most part they follow biblical language very closely. They describe the Son of God only in terms of the Incarnation, nowhere hinting that the Son is a separate person in the Godhead or that the Son is eternal. They affirm belief in the Holy Ghost, but not as a separate person of the Godhead. Instead they place this affirmation together with other statements relating to salvation, leading us to believe that they are talking about the gift or baptism of the Holy Ghost and to the working of the Holy Ghost in the church. Thus, there is nothing really objectionable in the language if we define the terms in the same way the Bible uses them.

However, trinitarians have reinterpreted the Apostles' Creed, claiming that it supports their doctrine. Roman Catholics and Protestants both use it today to declare their trinitarian belief. They have associated it with trinitarianism to such a degree that nontrinitarians do not use it for fear of being misunderstood.

We do not advocate the use of the Apostles' Creed for the following reasons. (1) It did not originate with the apostles as its name implies. We do not want to create a false impression among people by using that title. (2) It does not necessarily emphasize all the important themes of the New Testament, especially some aspects which are important to emphasize today in light of false doctrines developed over the centuries. (3) Instead of trying to formulate a creed that comprehensively states doctrine in a binding way, we prefer to use the Bible itself for summary statements of doctrine.(4) Use of this creed today would associate us with trinitarianism. Even though the writers did not have that doctrine in mind, the vast majority of ordinary people today would consider it to be a trinitarian statement. To avoid identification with trinitarianism and Roman Catholicism, we do not use the Apostles' Creed.


In conclusion, we see that the doctrine of the trinity is nonbiblical both in terminology and in historical origin. It has its roots in polytheism, pagan religion, and pagan philosophy. The doctrine itself did not exist in church history before the third century. Even at that time, early trinitarians did not accept many basic doctrines of present day trinitarianism such as the co-equality and co-eternality of Father and Son. Trinitarianism did not achieve dominance over Oneness belief until around 300. It did not achieve victory over Arianism until the late 300's.

The first official recognition of trinitarian doctrines came at the Council of Nicea in 325, but even this was incomplete. Full establishment of the doctrine did not come until the Council of Constantinople in 381. In short, trinitarianism did not achieve its present form until the end of the fourth century, and its definitive creeds did not take final form until the fifth century.


Matthew 28:19

This verse records the words of Jesus just before His ascension: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." How do we reconcile this verse with all the later references to baptism in the name of Jesus, such as Acts 2:38? There are several views one could take.

First, one could say the two verses describe two different baptismal formulas. If so, they are contradictory. One must be right and the other wrong, for there can be only one form of Christian baptism. Since God's plan of salvation in the New Testament church age is the same for all people, there cannot be two contradictory baptismal formulas. Since the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, it does not contradict itself. If the Bible gives two formulas, which is correct? Which do we trust?

Matthew recorded Matthew 28:19 and also stood with Peter when he preached at Pentecost (Acts 2:14). The question, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" was addressed to all the apostles (Acts 2:37). If Peter had given an incorrect answer, Matthew would have corrected him.

Some people say, "I would rather obey the words of Jesus than the words of Peter." However, they must rot realize that Peter heard Jesus speak Matthew 28:19, that Matthew heard Peter speak Acts 2:38, and that only seven to ten days separated the two events. If Acts 2:38 contradicts Matthew 28:19, then the first spokesman of the church (Peter) was in doctrinal error, the other apostles (including Matthew) followed him in error, and we cannot trust anything the apostles preached or recorded. If that be the case, we might as well discard all the teachings of the New Testament.

A second solution is to say that Matthew 28:19 describes a formula while Acts 2:38 does not, or vice versa. This is unsatisfactory because the same words "in the name of" appear in both verses. If one does not describe a formula, neither does the other. We have already seen many reasons why Acts 2:38 does describe a formula.

A third answer is that neither Matthew 28:19 nor Acts 2:38 describes a formula, leaving us without any formula at all. This is very unlikely in light of the importance of baptism, the need to distinguish Christian baptism from other types of baptism, and the common sense reading of the passages in question.

This leaves only one remaining possibility: namely, that Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 both describe the same baptismal formula. If true, this solution is very attractive because it will both give a formula and preserve the harmony of Scripture.
Part 4
A basic biblical principle is that truth must be established by more than one witness (II Corinthians 13:1). Matthew 28:19 is the only verse in the Bible to use the baptismal phrase "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," while many verses reiterate the baptismal phrase in Acts 2:38, "in the name of Jesus Christ." Apparently, Matthew 28:19 is the more indirect passage that we should harmonize and interpret in light of the others.

The Singular Name

Matthew 28:19 describes only one name, for name is singular and not plural. (If one thinks this distinction is not significant, he should read Galatians 3:16 where Paul placed utmost importance on the singular in Genesis 22:18.) Matthew Henry recognized the significance of the singular here, for he wrote, "We are baptized not into the 'names' but into the name, of the Father, Son, and Spirit, which plainly intimates that these are one, and their name one." Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not proper names but descriptive titles. Even if they were proper names, this verse specifically describes only one name, not three. We must still ask what is the one proper name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The Name of the Son

Without doubt the name of the Son is Jesus, for the angel told Joseph, "And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name JESUS" (Matthew 1:21).

The Name of the Father

Jesus said, "I am come in my Father's name" (John 5:43). He said to the Father, "I have manifested thy name… I have declared unto them thy name" (John 17:6, 26). The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would declare God's name (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12). Jesus received His name by inheritance (Hebrews 1:4). What name did Jesus come in, manifest, declare, and receive by inheritance? Jesus. Therefore, the Father has revealed Himself to man through the name Jesus.

The Name of the Holy Ghost

Jesus said, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things" (John 14:26). The Spirit is given and revealed through the name Jesus.

The Context of Matthew 28:19

The context of Matthew 28:19 gives further confirmation that the singular name of the verse is Jesus. In verse 18 Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Verse 19 continues, "Go ye therefore…" Jesus did not mean, "I have all power; therefore, baptize in three different names (or in another name)." Rather, He was saying, "I have all power, so baptize in my name." A Baptist scholar has said, "A whole group of exegetes and critics have recognized that the opening declaration of Mt. 28:18 demands a Christological statement to follow it: 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me' leads us to expect as a consequence, 'Go and make disciples unto Me among all the nations, baptizing them in My name, teaching them to observe all I commanded you.'"

Because of this, many scholars have even thought that there must have been an earlier Christological formula in verse 19 that was changed to a trinitarian one by early Christianity. In support, they note that the church historian Eusebius, who lived in the 300's, often quoted verse 19 using the phrase "in my name." (He did this many times before the Council of Nicea but never afterwards.) Some say Matthew or an early copyist paraphrased Christ's words or borrowed words from another context. Others hold that verse 19 describes the nature of Baptism and was not originally interpreted as a baptismal formula.

The textual debate over Matthew 28:19 is interesting but not crucial, for by applying accepted principles of interpretation we find that the verse refers to baptism in the name of Jesus. While some scholars see that the context demands a Christological formula, due to their trinitarian preconceptions they fail to see that the existing wording does in fact describe the formula of baptism in the name of Jesus.

The explanation of Matthew 28:19 in The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries is very interesting in this regard: "It is often affirmed, that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but either the evangelist's words put into His mouth, or a later liturgical addition… It may well be that the true explanation why the early Church did not at once administer baptism in the threefold name, is that the words of xxviii. 19 were not originally meant by our Lord as a baptismal formula. He was not giving instructions about the actual wards to be used in the service of baptism, but, as has already been suggested, was indicating that the baptized person would by baptism pass into the possession of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

Jesus Is the New Testament Name of God

The meaning of Matthew 28:19 is very plain. The singular name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is Jesus. Father, Son, and Spirit are different titles for God. The one God is Father of all creation, has come in flesh in the Son, and abides in our hearts as the Holy Ghost. The one name that reveals all of these roles is Jesus.

The Old Testament predicted that God would be revealed by one name: "Therefore my people shall know my name" (Isaiah 52:6); "In that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one" (Zechariah 14:9). The name of Jesus is above every other name (Philippians 2:9-10), so it is not surprising that Matthew 28:19 refers to the name of Jesus.

One can analyze the verse as follows. Who is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Of course, this describes God. What is God's name? In the Old Testament, Jehovah (or Yahweh) was the unique name by which God distinguished Himself from all other gods (Isaiah 42:8). This analysis led a Presbyterian professor to say, "The 'name' not 'names' of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in which we are to be baptized, is to be understood as Jahweh, the name of the Triune God." However, the supreme name of God in the New Testament is not Jehovah but Jesus. Jesus supersedes all other names and specifically includes Jehovah within its meaning, since Jesus literally means "Jehovah-Savior" or "Jehovah is Salvation."

In the Book of Revelation the servants of "God and the Lamb" shall have "his name" (singular) in their foreheads (Revelation 22:3-4). The name of the Lamb is Jesus, so the name of God is Jesus.

Many twentieth-century evangelicals have recognized at least partially the significance of Jesus' name. Essex Kenyon held that Jesus was the revealed name of God in the New Testament and the family name of God. He taught that using the name gives the Christian legal power of attorney in prayer and applies Christ's redemptive benefits in the present.

William Phillips Hall, President of the American Tract Society of New York, undertook a study of the name of God. In 1929 he published a booklet entitled Remarkable Biblical Discovery or "The Name of God" According to the Scriptures. His conclusion: The Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is the full revelation of God and the apostles correctly understood and obeyed Matthew 28:19 by invoking this Name. Furthermore, the words of Matthew 25:19 "were never used in baptism by the original apostles, or by the Church during the early days of its existence" and "all baptisms of those early days were commanded to be, or stated to have been, performed in, or with the invocation of, the Name of Lord Jesus Christ."

Conclusion About the Baptismal Formula

All biblical references to the baptismal formula, including Matthew 28:19, describe the name Jesus. To be biblical, a formula must include the name Jesus, not merely recite the Lord's verbal instructions. "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" or "I baptize you in the name of the Lord" or "I baptize you in His name" are all insufficient, because none of them actually use the name Jesus Christ commanded us to use. A correct formula would be, "I baptize you in the name of Jesus." It is also appropriate to add titles such as Lord or Christ to distinguish the Lord Jesus Christ from any others who have borne the name Jesus.

The Doctrine of the Trinity

In the face of these powerful points, the only practical reason why some insist on a formula that repeats the words of Matthew 28:19 (rather than actually using the name it describes) is their attempt to confess the doctrine of the trinity. We should note, for their benefit, that many trinitarians see the correctness of baptism in the name of Jesus. For example, the first leader of the twentieth-century Pentecostal movement, Charles Parham, baptized in the name of Jesus although he never explicitly denied trinitarianism.

In recent years, a prominent independent pastor named James Beall wrote a book on baptism called Rise to Newness of Life, which advocates baptism in Jesus' name while retaining trinitarian doctrine. See Chapter 10 - The Witness in Church History: Baptism for a list of other trinitarians today who baptize in Jesus' name. As already noted, many trinitarian scholars such as W. E. Vine, Matthew Henry, and James Buswell have recognized the significance of the singular in Matthew 28:19 although apparently not associating it with baptism in the name of Jesus.

We should also note in passing that there is no reason to use a trinitarian baptismal formula to uphold the erroneous doctrine of the trinity. The word trinity never appears in Scripture, and the Bible always emphasizes that God is one, not three. Furthermore, Jesus is the Father (Isaiah 9:6), the Son (Matthew 1:21), and the Holy Ghost (II Corinthians 3:17-18). All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily (Colossians 2:9). Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are simply three different manifestations of the one God who came in flesh as Jesus. There is no reason, then, to insist on a trinitarian baptismal formula when the Bible does not teach the modern doctrine of trinitarianism.

Matthew 28:19 Teaches Baptism in the Name of Jesus

In summary, below are nine reasons why Matthew 28:19 refers to the name of Jesus in baptism.

(1) Its grammar designates one name (singular).

(2) Its context shows that Jesus described His power and therefore told the disciples to baptize in His name.

(3) Mark's and Luke's descriptions of the same instructions of Christ show that Jesus was the only name mentioned.

(4) The Early Church, including Matthew, carried out Christ's instructions by baptizing in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; I Corinthians 1:13).

(5) The name of the Father is Jesus; the Father is revealed through the name Jesus (John 5:43).

(6) The name of the Son is Jesus (Matthew 1:21).

(7) The name of the Holy Ghost is Jesus; the Holy Ghost is revealed through the name Jesus (John 14:26).

(8) God has revealed Himself in the New Testament by one name (Zechariah 14:9) and that name is Jesus (Revelation 22:3-4).

(9) The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the trinity, so there is no theological justification for a trine formula.

The Trinitarian Doctrine teaches that baptism is to be done in the names of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is also misunderstanding of scripture. The main verse in the bible thay take this from is Matthew 28:19

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

They will tell you “see that proves it we are to baptize in the titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost the bible says so“. But, what is missed in this verse is one word. The word ”name” if one was to look at this verse again they would see that this word is singular which shows that it is referring to one name and not three. And then if we read Luke’s version of what had happened on that day and what Jesus actually said in Luke 24:47

47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

When we compare these to scriptures we are able to completely understand what was said and meant. We must realize that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) all fit together. They are just each disciples version (or the way it was heard by each one) of what Jesus said. And when combined together they reveal the truth of what was said. That is why in Acts the Apostle Peter preached baptism in Jesus’ name.

Acts 2:38

38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Now think about this, If baptism in Jesus’ name was the wrong formula for baptism why didn’t the other disciples stand up against Peter when baptism in Jesus’ name was preached? Why didn’t they say no Peter you are wrong it is this way? Why? Because they all understood it to be done in the name of Jesus with controversy.

I believe that if there was a difference in opinions amongst the Disciples about this subject it would have been important enough to be documented. But do you see anything in scripture about such a disagreement? The answer is a resounding NO. And then to realize that every time after Acts 2:38 anyone who was baptized, was in the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 8:16, 10:48, 19:5)

Galatians 3:27

27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

This verse gives us the reason why we are baptized. We “put on Christ”. We take on his name. When one has not been baptized correctly they haven’t taken on the name and really can’t be called brother or sister. Brothers and sisters are only that because they share the same blood name. When we take on the name we are covered by his blood.

Ephesians 1:27

27. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Colossians 1:14

14. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Romans 3:23-25

23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Taking on the Family Name

The Bible describes salvation both as a new birth and as an adoption. Viewed either way, we must take on the legal name of our new family. This occurs at baptism since it is part of the new birth and part of our identification with Christ.

A boy in the Old Testament officially received his name at circumcision (Luke 1:57-63; 2:21), and baptism is our spiritual circumcision (Colossians 2:11-12). Certain priests in the Old Testament were barred from the priesthood because they were not registered under their father's name and could not prove their genealogy (Ezra 2:61-62). However, we can claim our priesthood and our spiritual inheritance when we become "registered" in our Father's name.

Jesus came in the Father's name, having received His name by inheritance (John 5:43; Hebrews 1:4), 50 Jesus is the name by which the Father has revealed Himself to us. The whole spiritual family of God has taken on the name of Jesus (Ephesians 3:14-15). Clearly, then, Jesus is the name we take at baptism. If we expect to become part of His family at baptism, we must take on His name.

Power and Authority in the Name

One Protestant writer stated, "To invoke the Name… invoked aid and protection." When we need a manifestation of God's power, we can invoke the name Jesus.

The invocation of a name also represents the authority behind that name; when a sheriff said, "Open, in the name of the law," he invoked the authority of the law as well as its power. When we call the name of Jesus we rely upon the power and authority of Jesus. Here are some examples: (1) Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name… "(Matthew 28:18-19). (2) The Sanhedrin council asked Peter and John, in reference to the lame man's healing, "By what power, or by what name have ye done this?" (Acts 4:7). Peter answered, "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" (Acts 4:10). (3) The Lord promised, "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (John 14:14).

God makes all His power and authority available to us when we invoke His name in faith (Acts 3:6, 16). When we call the Lord's name at baptism we rely on His authority to perform the act and on His power for the spiritual work to be done.

Do All in the Name

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17). Baptism consists of both word and deed, so this verse applies. Of course, we do not orally utter the name Jesus before every statement or act in our lives. The verse primarily means to say or do everything with the power and authority of Jesus, as His representative, as His follower, and in dependence upon Him.

When it comes to specific spiritual acts that require the invocation of God's name, however, this verse applies literally. We pray, cast out devils, and lay hands on the sick in the name of Jesus, all by uttering His name, and water baptism should be no exception. One who lives by the spirit of Colossians 3:17 as Christ's representative and follower will certainly be baptized in His name.

Not a Magic Formula

The name Jesus is not a magical formula; the sound waves reverberating from the spoken name do not remit sin or bring other special powers. However, when we call the name Jesus in faith, Jesus responds. The Name represents His presence and work. We must have personal faith in Jesus for the name to have any meaning and for anything to happen (Acts 3:16; 10:43).

The sons of Sceva could not cast out a devil even though they used the name Jesus, because they did not have a personal relationship with Him or faith in Him (Acts 19:14-17).

That the name of Jesus cannot be taken as a magical incantation does not detract from the need to invoke the name orally. Peter prayed for the lame man by saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" (Acts 3:6). When the man walked, Peter explained, "And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong" (Acts 3:16). It takes the name of Jesus called in faith. We cannot separate inner faith from obedience to God's Word. At baptism, when we invoke the name Jesus in faith as His Word commands, He comes and remits our sins.

Oral Invocation of the Name

Some contend that "baptism in the name of Jesus" means only in the authority and power of Jesus, and does not mean the name should be uttered orally as part of the baptismal formula. However, the following evidence shows that "in the name of Jesus" is the actual formula:

(1) Baptism in the name of Jesus does mean baptism with His power and authority, but the way to invoke His power and authority is to invoke His name in faith. The authority represented by a name is always invoked by actually using the proper name. All the discussion of power and authority cannot obscure one point: when we actually use a name at baptism it should be the name Jesus.

(2) The Bible reveals that the name Jesus was orally invoked at baptism. Acts 22:16 says, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Here is a biblical command to call the Lord's name (Jesus) at baptism.

Some argue that in this verse only the baptismal candidate called the name of Jesus, not the administrator. This is debatable, but even so the name Jesus was orally invoked. In general, the baptizer normally invokes the name, but the candidate may also call on the name of Jesus as well, for baptism's validity depends on the candidate's faith, not on the baptizer's faith.

An oral calling did occur, for the Greek word rendered "calling" is epikaleomai, which means "to call over or "to invoke." This is the same word that describes Stephen's oral prayer to God: "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59). The same verb also appears in Acts 15:17: "the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord," and in James 2:7: "Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?" Both passages imply a specific time when the name of Jesus was invoked over believers, which occurred at water baptism. Other translations of James 2:7 are as follows: "[Do] not they blaspheme the good name called on you?" (Interlinear Greek-English New Testament); "Do not they defame the noble name which hath been invoked upon you?" (Rotherham); "Is it not they who slander and blaspheme that precious name by which you are distinguished and called [The name of Christ invoked in baptism]?" (TAB). Thus the Bible states in one verse and indicates in several others that the name of Jesus is to be orally invoked at baptism.

(3) The clear, common sense reading of the baptismal passages leads one to believe that "in the name of Jesus" is the baptismal formula. That is the natural, literal reading, and a person must use questionable and twisted methods of biblical interpretation to deny that the words mean what they appear to mean. If this is not a formula, it is strange that it appears so many times as if it were a formula without any explanation to the contrary.

(4) In other situations, "in the name of Jesus" means orally uttering the name Jesus. Jesus told His disciples they would pray for the sick in His name (Mark 16:17-18), and James said we should pray for the sick "in the name of the Lord" (James 5:14). When Peter prayed for a lame man, he actually used the name, for he said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" (Acts 3:6). Then he explained that the man was healed "by the name of Jesus" (Acts 3:16; 4:10). In other words, when the Early Church prayed for the sick in the name of Jesus, they actually uttered the name Jesus. Likewise, when the Early Church baptized in the name of Jesus, they actually uttered the name Jesus as part of the baptismal formula.

(5) If "in the name of Jesus" does not represent a formula, then the Bible gives no formula for Christian baptism. The only other candidate for a baptismal formula would be the wording of Matthew 28:19. However, if "in the name of Jesus" does not teach a formula, then neither does "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ," for the grammatical structure is identical in both verses. If "in the name" means "by the authority of" without literally invoking a name, then neither verse gives a formula.

However, we do not believe Jesus left us without guidance on such an important subject. In Chapter 6 - Water Baptism, we demonstrated that water baptism is very important, so it is inconceivable that the Bible would not give adequate instructions as to its administration. If we do not have a formula, what distinguishes Christian baptism from heathen baptisms, Jewish proselyte baptism, or John's baptism? If there is no formula, or if the formula does not matter, why did Paul rebaptize John's disciples in the name of Jesus? No reputable scholar holds that baptismal formula is irrelevant or that the Bible gives no direction regarding a baptismal formula. Yet, if "in the name of" does not describe a formula, we have none.

(6) Theologians and church historians recognize that the Book of Acts does give the baptismal formula of the Early Church. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics says with respect to baptism in the New Testament, "The formula used was 'in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ' or some synonymous phrase: there is no evidence for the use of the trine name." The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible states, "The evidence of Acts 2:38; 10:48 (cf. 8:16; 19:5), supported by Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3, suggests that baptism in early Christianity was administered, not in the three-fold name, but 'in the name of Jesus Christ' or 'in the name of the Lord Jesus.'"

Some argue that "in the name of Jesus" is not a formula since the various baptismal accounts use different descriptive phrases, such as "in the name of Jesus Christ," "in the name of the Lord Jesus," and "in the name of the Lord." However, all these phrases are equivalent, for they all describe the same name, which is Jesus. Lord and Christ are simply titles that distinguish the Lord Jesus Christ from any others who might have the name Jesus, but the unique name of the Son of God is Jesus. Even Matthew 28:19 describes the baptismal formula as being in the name of Jesus.


In conclusion, below are the biblical reasons for baptism in the name of Jesus.

(1) The Bible gives this formula and no other.

(a) Matthew 28:19 describes this formula.

(b) The apostolic church adhered to this formula (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; I Corinthians 1:13).

(2) Baptism is a burial with Christ and no one else (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12).

(3) Baptism is a personal identification with Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27), and His name identifies us as His possession.

(4) At baptism we take on our new family name, as part of our new birth, adoption, and spiritual circumcision. The name God's spiritual family bears is Jesus (Ephesians 3:14-15).

(5) Baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), and Jesus is the only name that remits sin (Acts 10:43).

(6) The name of Jesus represents all the power and authority of God (Matthew 28:18; Acts 4:7, 10). When we invoke His name in faith, that power and authority become available to us (Acts 3:6,16).

(7) Everything we do in word or deed should be done in the name of Jesus (Colossians 3:17), and baptism is both word and deed.

(8) The name of Jesus is the highest name known to man, and everyone must bow to that name (Philippians 2:9-11).

(9) Baptism is part of our salvation, and Jesus is the only saving name (Acts 4:12).

(10) Baptism in Jesus' name manifests complete faith in Jesus as our only Savior and our only access to God (John 14:6-11).

(11) It signifies belief that the fulness of the Godhead is manifested in Jesus (Colossians 2:9).

(12) Jesus is the name by which God has revealed Himself in the New Testament (Matthew 1:21; John 5:43; 14:26).

(13) Baptism in the name of Jesus demonstrates reverence for and obedience to the Word of God over and above human tradition.

In view of all the important things baptism in Jesus' name signifies, why would anyone refuse to use the name? Why would anyone hesitate to take on the name of the One who died for them and be identified publicly with Him? Why would anyone reject the only saving name - the name that is above every name?

So those of you that are Trinitarian reading this please take these things into your thoughts and consider the truth. And please don’t take this as anything else but a truthful help to lead and guide you to more truth.


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