Examining the Trinity: Part 1, What does history teach us?

– posted by meleti

Eric: Hello, my name is Eric Wilson. The video you are about to see was recorded several weeks ago, but due to illness, I was not able to complete it until now.  It will be the first of several videos analyzing the doctrine of the Trinity.

I’m doing the video with Dr. James Penton who is a professor of history, renown author of several scholarly tomes, a Bible scholar and an expert in religious studies.  We felt it was time to pool our resources and examine a doctrine which for the great majority is the hallmark of Christianity. Do you feel that way?  Does a person have to accept the Trinity to be counted by God as a Christian?  This fellow certainly is of that opinion.

[Show video]

When did belief in the Trinity become the touchstone of Christianity?  Jesus said that people would recognize true Christianity by the love Christians would show each other.  Do Trinitarians have a long history of showing love for those who do not agree with them? We will let history answer that question.

Now others will say that it doesn’t really matter what we believe.  You can believe what you want to believe, and I can believe what I want to believe.  Jesus loves us all as long as we love him and each other.

If that were the case, then why did he tell the woman at the well, “an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23, 24 Christian Standard Bible)

God is looking for people who worship him in spirit and in truth.  So, truth is vital.

But no one has all the truth. We all get things wrong.

True, but what spirit guides us? What motivates us to keep seeking truth and to not be satisfied with whatever pet theory is appealing at the moment?

Paul told the Thessalonians about those who lose out on salvation: “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Love, specifically, love of truth, must motivate us if we are to find favor with God.

Of course, when asked, everybody claims to love the truth.  But let’s be brutally honest here.  How many really do love it?  If you’re a parent, do you love your children?  I’m sure you do.  Would you die for your children?  I think most parents really would give up their own life to save their child.

Now, let me ask you this: Do you love truth? Yes. Would you die for it? Would you be willing to give up your life rather than sacrifice the truth?

Jesus did.  Many Christians have done so.  Yet, how many of those who call themselves Christian today would die for the truth?

Jim and I come from a belief system that describes itself as “the Truth”.  A Jehovah’s Witness will routinely ask another JW whom they’ve only just met, “How long have you been in the Truth?”, or, “When did you learn the truth?” What they really mean to ask is how long that person has been a member of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

They confuse loyalty to the organization with a love of truth.  But put their love of truth to the test and, in my fairly extensive experience, the truth loses.  Speak the truth to them and you get slander, insults and shunning in return.  In short, persecution.

Persecuting those who speak the truth is hardly unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  In fact, persecuting anyone because they disagree with your belief is a big, red flag, isn’t it?  I mean, if you have the truth, if you’re in the right, doesn’t that speak for itself? No need to attack the person who disagrees.  No need to burn them at the stake.

Now there are various versions of the Trinity doctrine and we’ll be looking at them all in this series of videos, but we’ll concentrate most of our attention on the one most commonly accepted across the broad range of Christian churches active today.

To be up front, Jim and I do not accept the Trinity, though we do accept that Jesus is divine.  That means, in part, that we accept Jesus as a God based on our understanding of a variety of Scriptures which we’ll get into along the way.  People will try to pigeonhole us, dismissing us disparagingly as Arians or Unitarians or even closet Jehovah’s Witnesses—out, but still in.  None of that would be accurate.

I have found from experience that Trinitarians have a nifty little way to dismiss any attack on their belief.  It is a sort of “thought-terminating cliché”.  It goes like this: “Oh, you think the Father and the Son are separate Gods, do you? Isn’t that polytheism?”

Since polytheism is the form of worship associated with paganism, they attempt to end all discussion by putting anyone who doesn’t accept their teaching on the defensive.

But you might object that Trinitarians also polytheistic with their three-in-one version of God? Actually, no. They claim to be monotheists, like the Jews. You see, they only believe in one God. Three distinct and separate persons, but only one God.

They use this graphic to explain the doctrine: [Triangle from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity]

This gives them only one being, yet that being isn’t a person, but three persons. How can one single being also be three persons? How do you wrap your mind around such a paradox.  They recognize this as more that a human mind can grasp, but explain it as a divine mystery.

Now for those of us who put faith in God, we have no problem with mysteries we cannot understand as long as they are clearly stated in Scripture. We are not so arrogant as to suggest that if we cannot understand something then it cannot be true. If God tells us something is so, then it is so.

However, is the Trinity doctrine clearly expressed in Scripture in such a way that, though I do not understand it, I must accept it as true?  I have heard Trinitarians make this assertion.  Oddly enough, they don’t follow it up with a clear reference to such a scriptural declaration.  Instead, what follows is a line of very human deductive reason. That doesn’t mean they are wrong about their deductions, but a clear statement in the Bible is one thing, while human interpretation is quite another.

Nevertheless, for Trinitarians there are only two possibilities, polytheism and monotheism with the former being pagan and the latter Christian.

However, that is a hasty generalization. You see, we do not get to set the terms of our worship.  God does.  God tells us how we are to worship him, and then we must find words to define what he says.  As it turns out, neither “monotheism” nor “polytheism” adequately describes worship of Yehovah or Yahweh as proscribed in Scripture.  I’m going to cut into a discussion that I had with Jim about this subject.  I’ll lead into it by asking Jim this question:

“Jim, can you tell us whether someone has come up with a term that more accurately describes the relationship between the Father and the Son and our worship of them?

Jim: Yes I can.

There was a new term coined in 1860, the year before the American Civil War broke out by a man by the name of Max Muller. Now what he came up with was the term “henotheistic”. Now what does that mean? Heno, well, one God, but the idea basically is this: There was one and is one chief, supreme God, the God over all, and that God is usually called Yahweh or in an older form, Jehovah. But besides Yahweh or Jehovah, there were other beings who were known as gods, elohim. Now the word for God in Hebrew is elohim, but ordinarily when first looking at it would say hey, that is a plural God.  In other words, it means more than one God. But when it’s supplied with singular verbs, it means one God, and this is a case of the system which is called the plural of Majesty. It's like Queen Victoria used to say, “we are not amused”.  Well, she was one but because she was a sovereign ruler, she used the plural for herself; and in the Scriptures, Yahweh or Jehovah usually is referred to as Elohim, God in the plural, but with verbs which are in the singular.

Now, when the word Elohim is used with plural verbs, that means Gods, and so, we’ll take a look at this as to whether it exists in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Eric: Thank you. So, the plurality is not determined by the noun, but by the verb tense.

Jim: That’s right.

Eric: Okay, so I actually found an example of that. To further prove the point, I’m going to show that now.

There are two things we need to consider regarding Elohim in Hebrew. The first is whether what Jim says is correct—that it is a grammatical construct, not indicating the plural, but rather a quality such as excellence or Majesty; and to determine that we need to go elsewhere in the Bible where we can find proof that is pretty much incontestable, and I think we can find that at 1 Kings 11:33.  If we go to 1 Kings 11:33, we will find here in the BibleHub, which is an excellent resource for researching the Bible in multiple versions. Looking at 1 Kings 11:33 in the NIV Bible we have: “I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess [singular] of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god [singular] of the Moabites, and Molek the god [singular] of the Ammonites…”

Okay, let's look at how those singular nouns translated into English were placed in the original, and in the interlinear we find that each time the god or goddess is mentioned we have Elohim—430[e]. Again, “goddess” 430, Elohim, and here, “the god”, Elohim 430.  Just to confirm—the Strong's concordance—and we find that Elohim here is the word that is used in those three places.  So, it seems pretty clear that we are dealing with a grammatical construct. However, the irony of it all is when someone who believes in the Trinity tries to promote the idea that the Godhead or the plurality of Yahweh—the three persons in one—was known, or at least hinted at in the Hebrew Scriptures by using Elohim, they’re actually giving the henotheists, such as Jim and I, an excellent foundation for our position, because trinitarianism is based on the whole premise that there is only one God.  It is monotheistic; one God, three persons in one God. So, if Yahweh referred to as Elohim, Yahweh Elohim, Jehovah God, or Yahweh God is speaking about multiple gods, it follows that it’s speaking about henotheism, as Jim and I both accept and many as well like us, that Yahweh or YHWH is the creator, the Almighty God and under him his only begotten son is also a God. The “word is a God” and so Elohim works very nicely to support henotheist thought, and so, the next time someone is going to advance that to me, I think instead of making the grammatical argument, I’ll just say, “Yes, that's wonderful.  I accept that, and that proves our point—henotheism.”  Anyways, just having a little fun there.

Before going on, you raised something that I think are our viewers are going to wonder about. You mentioned that Yahweh was a newer form and Jehovah was the older form of the translation of YHWH.  Is that the case?  Is Yahweh a more recent form?

Jim: Yes, it's…and it is a form which is disputed, but it's been generally accepted by the academic community as reflecting what the name must've been.  But nobody knows, in reality. That's only one good guess.

Eric: Right.  I do know there's a lot of debate about Jehovah. There’s a lot of people who think it was a false name, but really it maybe isn’t as close to the original pronunciation now as it was when it was first coined back to the 12th century. Or was it the 13th century? 1260, I think.  I'm going from memory. You’d know better than I.  But “J” at that time had a yah sound so.

Jim: Yes, As it does in German and Scandinavian languages, and probably Dutch to this very day.  The “J” has “Y” sound. And of course that gets into the history of the use of “J” which we won't do here.

Eric: Right. Very good. Thank you.  Just wanted to cover that.  I know we are going to get comments along that line, if we don't address it now.

So, was there anything else you want to add about, I think there was something from Psalm 82 that you mentioned to me earlier that relates to this.

Jim: Yes, I'm glad that you raised that because that is a perfect example of henotheism as Max Muller would've explained it. It's, ”I said ye are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” That's the actually not Psalm 82 verse 1 but going on to 6 and 7. It tells about God sitting in the congregation of God. He judges among the gods—”I said ye are gods and all of you are sons of the Most High.”

So, here is God sitting in the assembly of the gods; and there are a number of cases of this in the Psalms. I won't bother to detail it here, but this gives the picture and sometimes, of course, gods may be false gods or righteous angels. Apparently, the term is applied to angels, and in some cases it’s applied to pagan gods or a pagan goddess—there's one case is that in the Old Testament—and then it's applied to angels, and even to men under certain circumstances.

Eric: Excellent. Thank you. Actually, there's quite a list of Scriptures you put together. More than we can cover here. So, I've put them in a document and anyone who is interested in seeing the whole list…I'll put a link in the description of this video so they can download the document and review it at their leisure.

Jim: That will be good.

Eric: Thank you. Given that all that you just said, is there any indication in the pre-Christian Scriptures, or what most people call the Old Testament, of Jesus as a God within the henotheistic arrangement?

Jim: Well, first let me say that as far back as in Genesis, there are two occasions where this principle of henotheism is very clear. One is in the pre-Noah account where the Scripture talks about the sons of God coming down and marrying the daughters of men. That's one of the cases, the sons of God. Hence, they become gods in themselves or are seen as gods. These must be fallen angels according to the explanation in the apocryphal book of Enoch, and in 2 Peter.  And so you have that, but the other very important one is in the book of Proverbs where it deals with the subject of wisdom.  Now a lot of scholars will simply say, ‘Well, this…these are the characteristics of Yahweh and should not be indicative of a person or hypostasis”.  But in point of fact as time went by, and particularly in the area of the New Testament, at the very beginning, and perhaps I should say even before, you get the some study of the whole matter of wisdom becoming personified, and this is in the book of wisdom, and also in the works of the Alexandrian Jew, Philo, who was a contemporary of Jesus Christ and he dealt with the term logos, which would indicate something the same as wisdom in the book of Proverbs and in the book of wisdom.  Now why about this, or what about this, I should say? Well, the fact of the matter is that the word logos or logos, depending on whether you want to pronounce it as short or long O—the Jews or the Greeks in Christ’s day mix the two of them up all the time, so I guess I'm liberal to…at liberty to…do the same thing—and in any case, the term is in our English word “logic”, “logical” from logos or logos, and it carried the concept of rationality as well and therefore was very much like wisdom, and Philo down in Alexandria of Egypt saw wisdom and the logos as pretty much the same thing, and as a personality.

Many people have pointed to the fact that wisdom in Proverbs is feminine gender, but that didn't bother Philo at all. He said, “Yes and that's the case, but it could be understood as a masculine as well. Or at least as logos is masculine; so wisdom could be indicative of a masculine person or hypostasis.

Eric: Right.

Jim: Now, a lot of this is dealt with very clearly in the writings of the famous early Christian scholar Origin, and he deals with this at length. So, what you have here is something that existed specifically in and around the time of Jesus, and although the Pharisees accused Jesus of committing blasphemy for saying he was the son of God, he quoted directly from the Psalms and pointed out that gods were spoken of, numerous gods, and consequently he said, ‘It's there. It's written. You can't doubt it. I’m not blaspheming at all. So, the idea was very much present in Christ's time.

Eric: Right. Thank you.  Actually, I’ve always thought that it was fitting to personify Christ and the pre-Christian or pre-existing Jesus as logos because, as wisdom, I mean, because as I understand it, wisdom can be defined as the practical application of knowledge. You know, I might know something but if I don't do anything with the knowledge, I’m not wise; if I apply my knowledge, then I’m wise.  And the creation of the universe through Jesus, by Jesus, and for Jesus, was the greatest manifestation of the practical application of knowledge there has ever been. So, wisdom personified fits perfectly with his role as God's foremost worker, if you will, to use a term that comes from our old faith.

But was there something else you wanted add about that regarding…that you were taking from Philippians 2:5-8? You mentioned that to me earlier regarding the preexistence of Christ; cause there are those who doubt his preexistence, who think he came into existence only as a man, and before had never existed.

Jim: Yes. That position is taken up by a variety of groups, non-Trinitarian groups, and there are quite a few of them, and their argument is that Christ did not exist before his human existence. He didn't exist in heaven, but the text in Philippians the second chapter says very specifically—and Paul is giving you the example of humility there where he's writing about this—and he says that he did not attempt in effect—I’m paraphrasing here rather than quoting—he did not attempt to seize the position of the Father but humbled himself and took on the form of a man, even though he was in God; God’s form, in the form of the father. He didn't attempt to usurp the position of God as Satan is held to have attempted, but rather accepted God's plan and gave up his spiritual nature and came down to earth in the form of a man. This is very clear. If anyone wants to read the second chapter of Philippians. So, this clearly indicates preexistence to me, and I can't find it very difficult to get around that.

And of course, there are other, many other scriptures that could be brought to bear. I have a book that was published by a couple of gentlemen who belong to the Church of God, Faith of Abraham, and they each try to do away with the idea of preexistence, saying, ‘Well this…this doesn't fit Jewish thought, and I think that's a terrible fallacy when you talk about Jewish thought or Greek thought or anybody else's thought, because there are different points of view within any community and to suggest that no Hebrew ever thought of preexistence is simply nonsense. Certainly, Philo down in Egypt did, and he was a contemporary of Jesus Christ.

Eric: Right.

Jim: And they simply like to say that, ‘Well, this is God's foretelling what would happen in the future’. And they don't even wrestle with these passages that show preexistence.

Eric: Yeah.  They are far too difficult to deal with so they ignore them.  I wonder if what we’re seeing on the community that supports preexistence is similar to what we see in Jehovah's Witnesses trying so hard to get away from the Trinity that they go to the other extreme.  Witnesses make Jesus into just an angel, albeit an archangel, and these other groups make him into a human, never having preexisted. both are necessary…well, not necessary…but both are reactions to, I think, the Trinity doctrine, but overreacting; going too far the other way.

Jim: That's right, and the Witnesses had done something over a period of time. Now, when I was young man in the Jehovah's Witnesses. There was no doubt that there was great respect for Christ and for a long time, the witnesses would pray to Christ and give thanks to Christ; and in late years, of course,   they’ve done away with that, and say you shouldn't pray to Christ, you shouldn’t worship Christ. You should only worship the Father; and they've taken an extreme Jewish position. Now I'm referring to the Pharisees and the Jews who opposed Christ in taking that position, because there are lots of passages in the New Testament where it indicates, particularly in Hebrews, that the early Christians worshipped Christ as the son of the Father.  So, they've moved too far in the other direction, and it seems to me that they were…that they are very much out of harmony with the New Testament.

Eric: They’ve gone so far as just last week's Watchtower study, there was a statement that we shouldn't love Christ too little and we shouldn’t love him too much. What a remarkably stupid statement to make; but it shows how they have relegated Christ to a kind of role-model status rather than his true position.  And you and I have come to understand that he is divine. So, the idea that he's not divine or not of God's nature is not something we reject by any means, but there's a difference between being divine and being God himself, and I think we get to that sticky Scripture now of John 1:1.  So would you like to address that with us?

Jim: Yes, I would. This is a key Trinitarian Scripture and also a key non-Trinitarian Scripture. And if you look at biblical translations, there are many which referred to Jesus as God and others who…which referred to him as a God, and the particular Scripture is, in Greek is: En archē ēn ho Logos kai ho Logos ēn pros ton Theon kai Theos ēn ho Logos.  And I can give you my own translation of that, and I think it reads: “in beginning was the Logos—the word, that is, because Logos does mean that among various other things—and the Logos was facing the God and God or a god was the word”.

Why do I translate to this as the Logos was facing God? Well, rather than the Logos was with God? Well, simply because the preposition in this case, pros, in Koine Greek doesn't need exactly what “with” does in English, where you get the idea of “along with” or “in association with”.  But the term means something less than that, or perhaps more than that.

And Helen Barrett Montgomery in her translation of John 1 through 3, and I'm reading some of this, is that she writes: “In the beginning was the word and the word was face to face with God and the Word was God.”

Now that’s a curious one.  Pros means like face-to-face or apart from God and indicative of the fact that there were 2 persons there and not of the same substance and I'll get into that later.

And interestingly, this was a publication, or came to be a publication of the American Baptist publication Society, so she was riding as a Trinitarian. And so was Charles B. Williams, and he has the word or the Logos saying face-to-face with God and like her, he's, it's quite evident, just quite evident that he's a Trinitarian. A private translation in the language of the people in 1949 was assigned to the Moody Bible Institute for publication, and certainly those people were and are Trinitarians. So we've got all sorts of translations in English and in other languages, particularly German, that are…that say, well, “the Word was God”, and just about as many say, “and the word was a God”, or “the word was divine”.

A lot of scholars have been nervous and the reason for this is that in Greek when a word takes the definite article, and the definite article in English is “the”, and so we say “the god”, but in Greek, there was no “a god” in a literal sense.  And the way they handled this…

Eric: No indefinite article.

Jim: That’s right, and the way they handled this was that there was no word for an indefinite article such as “a” or “an” in English and so often, when you see a noun without an article, without the definite article, you assume that in an English translation, it should be indefinite rather than definite. So when it says ”the Logos” earlier on in the Scripture with a definite article and yet but it goes on to say that the Logos was God, then there’s no definite article in front of that that term, “god”, and so you can assume from that in point of fact, you should translate this passage is “a God” rather than “the God”.  And there are many translations that do that, but one has to be careful. One has to be careful.  You can't say that dogmatically because grammarians have shown that there are many instances where nouns without the definite article are still definite.  And this argument goes on ad absurdum. And if you happen to be a Trinitarian, you'll pound the desk and say, “Well, it's a definite fact that when the Logos is referred to as God, it means he is one of the three persons of the Trinity, and therefore he is the God.” There are others who say, “Not at all”.

Well, if you looked at the writings of Origin, who is one of the greatest of the early Christian scholars, he would've lined up with the people who said, “a god” was correct, and he would be a supporter of the Jehovah's Witness translation in which they have that “the word was a God”.

Eric: Right.

Jim: and…but we cann’t be dogmatic about that. It's, it's impossible to be dogmatic about it, and if you look at the Unitarians on one side and the Trinitarians on the other, they'll fight about this and present all sorts of arguments, and the arguments go on ad absurdum.  And you wonder about the various sides: If the postmodernists are correct when they say, “Well, it's what the reader takes out of a written document rather than what the person who wrote the document intended”.  Well, we can’t go that far.

But I would, I would suggest then that arguing over the grammatical nature of this text to John 1:1-3, it's better to apply another means of studying this whole matter, and I suppose that’s because I particularly come at these things on the basis of my own academic training. I'm fundamentally a historian; my PhD was in history. Although I had a minor in religious studies at the time and have spent a great deal of time in studying not one religion, but many religions, and certainly the Scriptures; but I would argue that the way of approaching this is historical.

Eric: Right.

Jim: That puts these Scriptures, these passages in the context of what was going on in the 1st century, when Jesus Christ was alive and shortly after he had died; and the fact of this is that the doctrine of the Trinity did not come into existence, either full-blown or not full-blown, in the centuries after Christ died, and most scholars know this today. And random number of a number of good Catholic, outstanding Catholic scholars have recognized this.

Eric: So…

Jim:  I think it’s outstanding.

Eric: So, before moving into that—cause that's really the main focus of this video, the history—just to clarify for everyone who gets kind of mired down in the John 1:1 discussion, I think is a widely accepted principle among those who study the Bible exegetically that if there is a passage which is ambiguous, which can be reasonably taken one way or another, then that passage cannot serve as proof but rather can only serve as support, once you've established a firm proof elsewhere.

So, John 1:1 would support a Trinitarian doctrine, if you can prove the Trinity elsewhere. It would support a henotheistic understanding, if we can prove that elsewhere. That's what we’re going to do… well, we’re going to take three methods. This is part 1.  We’ll probably have at least 2 more videos.  One will examine the proof texts that Trinitarian's use; another one will examine the proof texts that Aryans have used, but for now I think history is a very valuable way of establishing the foundation or the lack thereof of the Trinity doctrine. So, I'll leave the floor open to you.

Jim: Let's very good.  I think it's very clear that there was no doctrine of the Trinity in the first couple of centuries, not in the form at least that it exists today. Trinitarianism didn't even come at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. as many Trinitarians would have it. Actually, what we have at Nicaea is the acceptance of the doctrine of a…

Eric: Duality.

Jim: Yes, 2 persons rather than 3. And the reason for this was they were concerned primarily about the relationship of the father and the son. The Holy Spirit wasn't mentioned at this time at all, and so you had a binatarian doctrine developed there, not a Trinitarian, and that they arrived at this by the use of a particular term, “hamaucious”,  which means of the same substance, and they argued that the father and the son were of the same substance.

Now this was introduced by the Emperor Constantine, and he was only a partial Christian, if you would say that. He wasn't baptized until he was about ready to die. And that he committed many serious crimes, but he became someone who was positive towards Christianity, but he wanted it to be orderly, and so he decided that he’d have to put an end to the arguments that were going on. And he introduced this word and this was to the satisfaction of the Trinitarian party or the binatarian party as they were then, because they wanted to declare Arius, who was the person who didn't want to accept this idea, as a heretic.  And this was about the only way that they could declare him a heretic. And so they introduced this term which has become part of Catholic theology ever since at least from the standpoint of one party.

So, the Trinity is very late late. It comes in much later when they declared the Holy Spirit to be the 3rd person of the Trinity. And that's 381.

Eric:  And another Emperor was involved and that was, wasn’t he?

Jim: That's right. Theodosius the Great.

Eric: So, he not only outlawed paganism but your outlawed Arianism or any non-Trinitarian…so, it was now against the law to believe that God wasn't a Trinity.

Jim: That's right, that's right. It became illegal to be either a pagan or an Arian Christian and all of these positions were outlawed and persecuted, although Arianism remained out in the wilds of the Germanic tribes because the Arians that sent the missionaries out and converted most of the Germanic tribes that were conquering western Europe and the western portion of the Roman Empire.

Eric: Right, so let me get this straight, you got an idea that is not explicitly stated in Scripture and from historical writings was virtually unknown in first and second century Christianity; comes into being in a dispute in the church; was ruled on by a pagan emperor who wasn't baptized at the time; and then you had Christians who didn't believe it, he persecuted; and we are to believe that God didn't use Jesus Christ nor the apostles to reveal this but rather used a pagan emperor who would then persecute those who disagreed.

Jim: That's right, although later on he returned, he turned around and fell under the influence of an Arian Bishop and he was baptized ultimately by the Arians rather than by the Trinitarians.

Eric: Okay. The irony is this dripping.

Jim: Well, when we get for into this farther, you'll discover that virtually all of the decisions that were made in theological councils were made with the support of the secular authorities, Roman emperors, and finally one of them was largely determined by one of the popes, and that dealt with the question of the incarnate Christ, who was to be seen and worshiped as wholly God and wholly man.

So, the determination of doctrine was not done by a united church at all. It was done by what came to be a united church or nearly united church under the auspices of secular authorities.

Eric: Right, thank you.  So, just to kind of sum up our discussion today, I was watching a video of a Trinitarian explaining the doctrine, and he admitted that it was very difficult to understand, but he said “it doesn't matter that I don't understand it.  It's clearly stated in the Bible, so I just have to accept on faith what is completely stated.”

But from what you're telling me, there is no evidence in the Bible, nor in the history of the nation of Israel prior to Christ, nor any community of Christianity up to the 3rd century of any clear indication of a Trinity.

Jim: That's right, that's right; and there is no clear support for it by councils of the church until 381. Pretty late.  Pretty late.  And in the Middle Ages, of course, the Eastern churches and the Western Roman church split, in part, over issues involving the Trinity. So, there never has been a united position on many things. We have groups like the Coptic Christians in Egypt and the Nestorians and so forth who were around throughout the Middle Ages who didn't accept some of the ideas of the last council that dealt with the nature of Christ.

Eric: Right.  There are some who will say, “Well, it doesn't really matter whether you believe the Trinity are not. We’re all believers in Christ. It’s all good.”

I can see the point of view, but on the other hand, I'm thinking of John 17:3 that says that really the purpose of life, everlasting life, is to know God and to know the son of God, Jesus Christ, and if we are starting off our journey of knowledge on a false premise, on a weak and faulty craft foundation, we’re not going to get what we want to get. It’s better to start from a truth and then extend it.

So, this discussion is, I think, vital because knowing Jehovah God or Yahweh or YHWH, as you wish to call him, and knowing his son, Yeshua or Jesus, is fundamental really to our ultimate goal of being one with God in purpose and in mind and in heart and being the children of God.

Jim: Let me say this in closing, Eric: When you stop and think of the number of people over the centuries that have been put to death by Catholics, Roman Catholics, Greek orthodox, Calvinist Christians, followers of John Calvin's the reformed movement, the Lutherans and the Anglicans, over the years that so many people have been put to death for refusing to accept the doctrine of the Trinity. It's shocking! Of course, the best known case is that of the burning at the stake of Servetus in the 16th century, because of his denial of the Trinity; and although John Calvin didn't want him burned at the stake, he wanted to be headed, and it was the Council or the secular group in control at Geneva that decided he had to be burned at the stake.  And there were many others who…Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism in Spain and then relapsed and went back to Judaism—some of them actually were practicing Jews and Jewish rabbis—but in order to protect themselves outwardly, they became Catholic priests, which was a real strange one, and many of these persons, if they were caught, they were executed. It was a terrible thing. Unitarians whether they—there were various types of them—but who denied the Trinity, they were prosecuted in England and were outlawed until the 19th century; and a number of very outstanding scholars were anti-Trinitarians: John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, John Locke, and later on in the 19th century, the man who discovered oxygen—his home and library were destroyed by a mob and he had to flee to the United States where he was taken in by Thomas Jefferson.

So, what you have is a doctrine which all kinds of people have questioned and the unloving actions of Trinitarians have been outrageous. Now, that isn't to say that some Unitarians have been less than Christian in their behavior, as we well know. But the fact is, it is been a doctrine which is been defended often by the stake, burning at the stake. And this is the horrible thing because the fact is that when you look at modern day churchgoers. The average person going to church, whether it's a Catholic, an Anglican, a reformed church goer… many, many others…they don't understand, the people don't understand the doctrine and I have had a number of clergy tell me that on Trinity Sunday, which is part of the church calendar, they don't know what to do with it because they don't understand it either.

Very difficult, very difficult doctrine to get your head around.

Eric: So, I get to hear the truth, we need go no further than Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 where he says, “By their works you will know these men.” They can talk a good talk, but their works reveal their true spirit.  Is it the spirit of God guiding them to love or is the spirit of Satan guiding them to hate?  That perhaps is the biggest determining factor for anyone truly seeking knowledge and wisdom in this regard.

Jim: Well, the history of this particular doctrine has been awful.

Eric: Yes, so it has.

Jim: Is really has.

Eric: Well, thank you so much Jim appreciate your time and I thank everyone for watching. We will be back again in part 2 of this series as soon as we can put all our research together. So, I’ll say goodbye for now.

Jim: And good evening

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  • Comment by rusticshore on 2020-08-22 15:39:44

    "Word," (or Grk Logos) is calitalized here (in John 1:1)... which is interesting, since there are many of hundreds of uses througout the OT and NT biblical records without capitalization.

    Logos lit means "plan of God," or "will of God." I believe very possibly the apostle John ("if" he wrote those words - more bible scholars are questioning the historical accuracy of John), that John was using "Word" as a personification, much like "wisdom" is used in Prov 22. As one could say, "God is Wisdom," one could say "God is plan, or will" - for everything God does is by having a plan and/or will.

    The plan was God! What was that? To bring the Messiah into the earth, as highlighted in the narrative to follow in the remaining verses in John 1.

    Let us remember..... the gospel book of John was written some 40-60 yrs after Jesus, and differs enormously when conveying the focus on Jesus (aost all of it). The synoptic gospels all focus Jesus words on the Father...whereas Jesus focuses the majority of attention on himself! Jesus' focusing primarily on himself in the gospel of John differs from again, the synoptic gospels, Jude, and the M and L sources of the oral tradition.

    As such, I am inclined, along with other reasons, to believe the gospel of John is problematic - and as a number of other scholars stepping frwd...... the historical accuracy of John as needing serious debate and analysis. I believe it is seriously tainted by later scribes and copyists.

    • Reply by rusticshore on 2020-08-22 16:48:44

      Correction: Wisdom personified as Jesus in the feminine tense is Proverbs chapter 8 . . .not chapter 22

      • Reply by rusticshore on 2020-08-22 20:18:14

        REALLY? You gave me a "negative" (above) for placing a correction? Unreal.

        • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-23 08:15:11

          Come on Rusticshore, you have to admit that people read your stuff at least! Most of the time I would not know if anyone spent a few seconds reading my posts. I for one have enjoyed your posts. I like the cutting edge to it all. But be mindful not everybody feels the same way as I do. Keep posting brother. You need to take things with a pinch of salt here especially with this topic as it seems too warm up pretty quick! I will take a 'negative' rather than a beheading or a burning at the stake any day so count your blessings.
          By the way where are you on Jesus and if he had a pre-existence??? Careful unless you want another 'negative', this time from me!

          • Reply by rusticshore on 2020-08-23 09:49:54

            I do not believe that Jesus is, or was an angel. I do not believe that Jesus is the "Angel of the Lord" spoken of, for example, in Judges. Jesus pre-existence is another topic with long drawn-out debates. peace

    • Reply by rusticshore on 2020-08-22 19:22:32

      As mentioned, the book of John consistently focuses on Jesus referencing himself as one to look to. Contrast that with the synoptic gospels, which primarily reference Jesus directing people's attention to the Father. In addition, numerous critical variants have, and are continuing to be discovered through the letter of John (perhaps moreso than the average). Of course, both minor and critical variants are observable in all the books - certainly John has its major share! And these are not linked to the usual homeoteleuton or parablepsis errors... but deliberate and willful tampering!

      As it pertains to the writing of John itself, in the early part of the 20th century, scholars believed that John was written in the mid-second century. The discovery and publication in the 1930s of a papyrus fragment known as P52 changed everything:

      P52 is a small scrap about the size of a credit card and represents the earliest physical evidence that exists for the Gospel of John. Initial dating of P52 placed it at around 125 CE. This initial dating has played a large part in dating the original writing of John to 80 – 95 CE. The theory is that for the Gospel of John to have been copied and made its way to Egypt, where P52 was found, a date no later than the first decade of the 2nd century must be presumed for the original writing of the Gospel. However, recent re-examinations of P52 suggest that this date is too early, by approximately 80-100 years. This would place the fragment well in the 3rd century, nearly 200 years after Jesus.

      Lastly.... remove the gospel of John.... and the primary arguments for the trinity doctrine virtually vanish.

  • Comment by Ilja Hartsenko on 2020-08-22 13:37:03

    Dear Jim and Eric, 
    Thank you, for a video, it is very informative and helpful to understand the Trinity doctrine. Just a couple of days ago I discuss with one man about Trinity doctrine and your video will be a good help for future discussion. I am waiting for your other videos.

  • Comment by leaving_quietly on 2020-08-23 18:43:33

    When dealing with the Trinity, a few issues have to be handled. John 1:1 is, in my opinion, a minority one. The main question is: Should Jesus be worshiped?

    Matt 4:10 (ESV): "Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”"

    So, you have Jesus saying to only serve God. Unitarians say: "There you go. You can't worship or serve Jesus." But do the scriptures agree?

    What about Daniel 7:13,14? 
    "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed."

    The son of man here, presumably Jesus, would be served. This isn't the only place where the son is said to be served. Psalm 72:1 sets the tone: "Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!". Then in verse 11: "May all kinds fall down before him, all nations serve him!"

    We also cannot ignore Isa 9:6 where it calls the son, "Mighty God" and "Eternal Father". Yeah, argue all you want about mighty vs. almighty (though the Hebrew words don't have the same comparative quality as the English words). But you can't escape "Eternal Father". This is applied to the Son.

    Am I arguing in favor of the Trinity? No. I am one of those "on the fence" people. However, I can't escape the fact that many, many of the OT verse applied to YHWH are also applied to the Son. That makes me take great pause. But, I tend to view things more at face value. Christ said he was the Son of God. So that's what he is. God said to "Kiss the Son" (Ps. 2:12). And God said that the nations would serve the son (as cited already). Seems to me that God has exalted the Son to a higher position, much like Joseph was exalted by Pharaoh in Egypt. That seems to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and God. (Gen 41:37-44, especially verses 40 and 44). My position currently is between that of Unitarians and that of Trinitarians. I see YHWH as God the Father, with supreme authority and sovereignty. And I see Christ as the one whom God gave authority over everything, which, to me, would include prayer (Matt 28:18; John 14:14; Heb 2:8). After all, how else would be be able to come to the Father? (John 14:6). Makes no sense if we can't talk to the Son.

    Anyway, there are many issues that belief in the Trinity raises, and just as many issues as non-belief in the Trinity raises. Of course, most issues don't include the third part of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. That's a whole other long post.

    I would say this, something I've not come to any conclusion on... multiple times, Paul mentions "God the Father". (Gal 1:1; Eph 6:23; Phil 2:11; and more). Part of me wonders if this was intentional and if there was an allusion to an implication that if there is a "God the Father", there must also be a "God the Son". I'm stretching here a bit, but it has definitely caught my attention.

    Anyway, those are my very brief thoughts on this matter. Like I said, I'm on the fence. But the more I study this topic, the more I'm convinced the relationship is quite simple: God is God and the Son is in an exalted position by God, endorsed by God, and authorized by God to be on the throne alongside Him, receiving worship and service the same as Him, but never abdicating His own authority. I see that throughout the NT, and more so in Revelation where the Lamb is on the throne with God where all are worshiping them.

    • Reply by Maria on 2020-08-24 06:34:57

      The word father means lifegiver. So that Jesus is called eternal father is not so strange as 1 Cor. 15:45 states:
      Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. A LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT.
      Jesus is also our King-mediator or Highpriest. A highpriest mediates between two parties, the human that prays and GOD he prays to through Jesus.

      Maria ?

      • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-24 19:20:55

        One sense in which Jesus is a life giver would be the fact that the Ransom gave to mankind what Adam failed to pass on to his progeny. Adam was the fleshly father of all humans, but passed along an imperfect life with the consequence of death. Jesus passed along an opportunity to reclaim what Adam squandered. In that sense, he can certainly be referred to as Eternal Father. Even when the restitution is complete, Jesus will eternally be a life giver to the human race.

        • Reply by Frankie on 2020-08-25 19:42:37

          Hi Chet.

          Good comment. Let me point out an important quality of Jesus.
          Jesus (Word) is really eternal father. As the Son of God, he got a unique quality of His Father - He has life in himself ! And therefore He is eternal, and therefore He can give life:

          "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” (John 5:25-26).

        • Reply by Maria on 2020-08-25 02:45:47

          You understood, what I was trying to say . Jesus is our eternal father, but he is not our ABBA. I believe in our God and Jesus the Son of God .

          Jesus said he couldnt do a thing without seeing it first from his Father.
          Before he died he prayed in tears to his Father and was consoled by an angel.
          Joshua told the Israelites : hear your God is one.
          Pagans believe in trinities, like the hindugods.

          Maria ?

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-24 20:23:21

        I appreciate your feelings on this subject. However, we're going to leave the voting option up.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-24 18:18:20

      Thank you, leaving_quietly. I check out those three verses which all mention Jesus as well. (Gal 1:1; Eph 6:23; Phil 2:11) Interesting thought came to me as a consequence. Why wouldn't Paul and the other Bible writers have said "God the son" as well, or "our god, Jesus Christ" instead of our Lord Jesus Christ? I mean, what a great way of expressing the truth if Jesus as viewed by them as God equal to Yehovah, why not just tell us? They weren't into hiding truth, but were light bearers.

      • Reply by leaving_quietly on 2020-08-25 01:38:31

        Yes, Eric, I have thought the same thing. This one is probably in my imagination, always hearing that “God the Father” portion of the Trinity. The Greek literally reads God Father (Theos Patros) without the definite article. I don’t know Greek grammar that well, but seems to me it should be Theou ho Patros or perhaps ho Theou Patros, but ho is nowhere to be found in there. Could just as easily be translated “the Father, God” or just Father God. Maybe, like I said, I don’t know Greek we’ll enough to many any assertions here at all.

        I also agree with you that since they were light bearers, this subject should not be that ambiguous and left up to us to interpret. Using that simple rule, seems that if God wanted us to know He is a triune being, he would have been clearer about it,

        • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-25 11:14:40

          I think that is an excellent point. There is a book titled When Jesus Became God, which covers the history of the various church councils that went back and forth on the matter. There was nothing cut and dried about it and there was a split between the Eastern and Western Church over the matter.

          The Trinity Doctrine, as it came to be adopted, was a political matter. People were excommunicated by one faction, then welcomed by another faction and invited to take communion with them. This was political at the level of the Church, and political at the governmental level, where Christianity had become fashionable and various factions within secular government used their political clout in an attempt to mold the emerging Christian belief system to conform to their preferences and, at least in some cases, bringing pagan doctrine and practice into the Church.

          I read this book some years ago and wouldn’t claim to remember all the details, but the lasting memory is that the adoption of the Trinity was the product of an extended power struggle between two factions within the Church.

          That is nothing new, even the 12 immediate disciples of Christ seemed to enjoy nothing more than arguing who was greater among them and jockeying for position and prominence. However, such struggles are not a source of inspired information. We look back on these struggles today as evidence of the weakness and imperfection of humans, and not as signs of any sort of strength or wisdom on the part of these disciples.

          It should not surprise us one bit that such folly continued in the years since. However, I can’t believe that neither God, nor Jesus, used such as a means of revealing information. The Trinity Doctrine is not set out in scripture in any straightforward manner.

          Mark 12:28-34 tells us: “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

          That is fairly cut and dried. I don’t come away from reading this with a bunch of unanswered questions. This passage does not require political wrangling or controversy, it spells out the nature of God in a few words and Jesus accepts the words of the Scribe as being evidence that he is not far from the Kingdom of God. If there was any need of correcting the understanding regarding this matter, Jesus could easily have said so.

          Salvation is not a trivia contest. It is essential to take in knowledge and we should act upon our knowledge from the scriptures, but sifting endlessly, searching for esoterica, strikes me as fruitless. God gave His Son as a ransom to save mankind. He has no reasonable motive to deliberately conceal information. We do have to search and dig into these matters, in order to truly internalize that information, so we can act in accordance with scripture, but that doesn’t even imply that we should expect to come upon some meaning hidden in scripture, but revealed only to a chosen few.

      • Reply by Fani on 2020-08-25 03:02:29

        Je voudrais préciser que je ne crois pas en la Trinité et je fais bien la distinction entre YHWH et son fils.
        Néanmoins je voudrais rappeler les paroles de
        Jean 20:27-28
        [27]Puis il dit à Thomas: Avance ici ton doigt, et regarde mes mains; avance aussi ta main, et mets-la dans mon côté; et ne sois pas incrédule, mais crois.
        [28]Thomas lui répondit: Mon Seigneur et mon Dieu! "

        Thomas appelle Christ" mon Dieu"

        Ce verset n'est pas là pour appuyer la Trinité mais...on ne peut pas dire qu'aucun apôtre n'a qualifié le Christ de Dieu.
        Si quelqu'un a un commentaire là dessus, ça m'intéresse.

        • Reply by Frankie on 2020-08-25 19:04:54

          Hi Nicole.

          I will try to clarify this scene with Thomas and Jesus as I feel it.

          Tomas's skepticism was very strong. To the extent that he did not trust any of the apostles, with whom he walked with Jesus for 3.5 years! But he did not believe in Jesus either, he considered his resurrection impossible (John 20:25). After all, Jesus was a man. And now he was dead.

          And suddenly, Jesus stood before him with his wounds. It must had been a shock to Thomas, who firmly believed it was impossible. He realized that Jesus could not be human now. So who is he, if not a human being? "My Lord and my God." And only then did Thomas believe.

          Jesus did not correct Thomas because Thomas was right. Jesus is Jehovah's only-begotten Son, unique in the universe. He has no direct siblings. (John 1:18). He is the true Son of his Father. As the Son of God, he has the "genetic" qualities of his Father.

          I also inherited many of my daddy's genes. My father was man. I, like his son, am also a human being. I am in the form of human.

          Jehovah, the Father of Jesus, is God. Thus, his Son Jesus (Word) is also God.
          Jesus "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Phil 2:6).

          Jehovah and Jesus are two different persons, the Father and the Son. I always considered my daddy to be higher than myself. He was authority for me and I learned a lot from him.
          And what did Jesus say? " ... the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28). "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me." (John 5:30). Yes, Jehovah is supreme authority for Jesus and they both are in perfect unity (John 10:30).
          The relationship between Jehovah and Jesus is perfect example of the father-son relationship for us.

          Your brother Frankie.

          • Reply by Fani on 2020-08-26 03:33:57

            Je suis d'accord.

  • Comment by rusticshore on 2020-08-22 16:44:26

    “Word,” (or Grk Logos) is capitalized here (in John 1:1)… which is interesting, since there are many of hundreds of uses throughout the OT and NT biblical records without capitalization.
    Logos lit means “plan of God,” or “will of God.” I believe very possibly the apostle John (“if” he wrote those words – more bible scholars are questioning the historical accuracy of John), that John was using “Word” as a personification, much like “wisdom” is used in Prov 8.
    Plan IS God, or His will (in this particular narrative) that He bring the Messiah (in which Logos or "Word" - or Jesus as the plan or will of God/Yahweh) into the earth, as highlighted in the narrative to follow in the remaining verses in John 1.
    Let us remember….. the gospel book of John was written some 40-60 yrs after Jesus, and differs enormously when conveying the focus on Jesus (almost all of it). The synoptic gospels all focus Jesus words on the Father…whereas Jesus focuses the majority of attention on himself! Jesus’ focusing primarily on himself in the gospel of John differs from again, the synoptic gospels, Jude, and the M and L sources of the oral tradition.
    As such, I am inclined, along with other reasons, to believe the gospel of John is problematic – and as a number of other scholars stepping frwd…… the historical accuracy of John as needing serious debate and analysis. I believe it is seriously tainted by later scribes and copyists. In fact, the gospel of John is presently undergoing comprehensive analysis, and through the process of textual criticism (eclectic text) - John chapter 8: 1-11 has been completely removed, as bible scholars have identified this narrative of the "adulterous woman" as being later added by copyists who added it in. This of course resulted in a critical variant that lasted for hundreds of years.

  • Comment by Alithia on 2020-08-22 18:50:23

     I have a few problems with the framework for the ensuing discussion; I think the subject matter presented is problematic for the following reasons:

    1.      You say; ‘clear statement in the Bible is one thing, while human interpretation is quite another’.
    This is a subjective comment too early to make to support the case you wish to defend. Bible reading is an ‘interpretation’ exercise by all readers of the bible. What appears as a ‘clear statement’ to one person may be contentious to another. So we should wait till after the ‘dust settles’ and then everyone should decide for themselves which ‘interpretation’ they agree with.

    2.      An example is John 1:1; Philippians 2:5-8; Proverbs 8:22. And the treatment given to the Hebrew word Elohim. Discussing the plural form and verbs is only one facet. I believe there has been a rush to a conclusion regarding these points which are foundational to your case.

    3.      Arianism is also treated in a narrow fashion too. It would be good to consider all of Arians ideas at the time, (many which would be disagreeable to most) before using Arius as a reliable source of what 1st century Christians believed. Also the same narrow treatment is given to what possibly some Hebrews believed in Jesus time.

    4.      The fact that Philo was a contemporary of Jesus in itself does not give weight to his thoughts. Paul had to contend with apostates as did the Apostle John. Christianity was being attacked by false teachers early on in the piece.

    5.      I respect Jim’s education as a historian and a student of the bible, but it seems ‘authoritarian’ to present this as a basis to accept an ‘interpretation’ of scripture.
    From the very first comments it is obvious that the scriptures you have cited are being disputed from different angles. I think it might have been better to have considered them exhaustively before embarking on the discussion of the Trinity. A case in point is a pivotal point in the discussion below. This can only work if there is an assumption that the ‘word’ in John 1:1 is referring to Jesus.

     'So, if Yahweh referred to as Elohim, Yahweh Elohim, Jehovah God, or Yahweh God is speaking about multiple gods, it follows that it’s speaking about henotheism, as Jim and I both accept and many as well like us, that Yahweh or YHWH is the creator, the Almighty God and under him his only begotten son is also a God. The “word is a God” and so Elohim works very nicely to support henotheist thought, and so, the next time someone is going to advance that to me, I think instead of making the grammatical argument, I’ll just say, “Yes, that’s wonderful. I accept that, and that proves our point'—

    Too many leaps required to substantiate some claims.
    Any way as a lover of truth I think simply discussing the issues here will lead to greater good and I look forward to the rest of the presentation without fear of being ‘burned at the stake’! I look forward to other comments too.

    • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-23 01:56:10

      Hello, my view is that Jesus did not have a pre-human existence. He is not the 'word' talked about at John 1:1, Philippians, Proverbs, Collosians and a few other scriptures can be resolved not characterising Jesus as a pre-human creature. And considering the language scripture was written in (Greek) and the Hebraic nuances common at the time the problem does not arise having to attribute divinity to Jesus.

      Defending Jesus as a divine being is the slippery slope to the Trinity. I think it is a false dichotomy to think either the Trinity or the idea that God and Jesus are divine.

      • Reply by Maria on 2020-08-23 06:22:30

        @ Alithia

        Well you have to read :

        John 17:1–11 (ESV):
        17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

        BOLD: 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. BOLD

        6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.

        8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and BOLDhave come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. BOLD

        Sisterly love

        • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-23 21:30:35

          Dear sister Maria I would like to draw your attention to John 17 which you refer to and look at verse 3, were it mentions Jesus as being the one who is ‘sent’. It does not specify Jesus as coming from the heavenly realm, only that he is ‘heaven sent’ or his sending arises from a heavenly source. This is a big difference, and we should not read into it more than what it says here.
          On this point I’d like you to consider Mark chapter 11:13 where Jesus is debating with the religious leaders and he asked them a tricky question; ‘was the baptism by John from heaven or from men? Answer me’. So they began to reason among themselves, saying: ‘if we say from heaven, he will say, why then did you not believe him? But dare we say from men’? They were fear of the crowd for these all held that John had really been a prophet. So they answered; ‘Jesus we do not know’. Jesus said to them; ‘neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things’.

          The point I’m trying to relate here is the words ‘from heaven’ does not mean from the heavenly realm, rather by heavenly decree one is sent forth just as John the Baptist was. There is no thought here that John came from the heavenly realm so why should we assume that Jesus came from the heavenly realm simply because he says he was 'sent from heaven'.  He is making an appeal here of the 'heavenly authority' for his ministry. The religious leaders often asked Jesus by what authority do you do this, say this or that.
          Now getting back to John chapter 17 I would like to draw your attention to verse 4 where Jesus says; ‘I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do’. And then Jesus goes on into verse 5 where he rightly asked for the reward for having finished the ministry that he was given. And he says in John 17 verse 5; ‘so now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was’.
          On this expression we can have something with God before one is born, and after one has died. Because it is God’s plan, God’s intention to do so. From the beginning, before the world was, faithful Christians can have everlasting life as a reward. The Messiah was prophesied centuries before Jesus appeared. And the reward for his faithful service was prophesied too, Jesus would have known this. Therefore Jesus now asks for that reward. You may like to compare John chapter 17 verse 22- 24 where Jesus says that the glory that God has given him he is giving to his disciples. So if his disciples were worthy of glory even though at that time there were many more disciples to come in the future time ( I would like to think we all are) and yet Jesus is giving them the glory. (Before they, we and others existed).

          It may be wise to consider what John said at John 1:1 at this point, where he begins by saying; ‘in the beginning’! This is how the Bible starts in Genesis’ ‘in the beginning’ God spoke or used his word and ‘stuff happened’. That was at the creation of the world. And so John is using this well understood motif, literary device, and expression that was common in the Hebraic world to point out how God had now created a ‘new world’, a ‘new beginning’ with the appearance of the Messiah which proved to be Jesus. Just as God spoke and the world began with the creation of Adam, so we should understand that now there was a ‘new creation’, a ‘new world’ beginning with Jesus who was sinless as was Adam. And so Paul continues this motif through his writings and talks about a ‘new creation’, ‘new world’ and ‘new governmental arrangement’ and so forth in his other letters such as in Colossians, Ephesians and so forth.

          So as I have said before in deconstructing the Trinity dogma, it would be most helpful to ‘flesh out’ a few of these misunderstood scriptures. And it is not wise I think to look at a few isolated words and consider them 2000 years later from Westerners point of view in the English language without considering Hebraic idiom and how a Hebrew person would have understood it in the day.

          Well Maria I hope I have given you some food for thought at the least. I thank you for taking the time to respond to my post and I appreciate the thought that went into your response. And if you think it merits a 'negative' feel free to do so.

          • Reply by Maria on 2020-08-24 06:01:40

            Thank you for your reply.
            Maria ?

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-24 09:19:26

            Alithia, I had to read the defence of your position in light of John 17:5 a couple of times to see your reasoning. It certainly isn't easy to grasp. Even after two readings, I'm having trouble seeing the logic of it.

            I prefer to go with what is clearly stated as long as it preserves Scriptural harmony, which a straightforward understanding of John 17:5 does. It coincides with Philippians 2:5-9 for instance. There are just too many scriptures that support the belief that Jesus came down from heaven to disregard such a teaching in favour of non-preexistence. I am sure that you will have an explanation for each and every one of those Scriptures. I've seen such explanations before. Anthony Buzzard is well known as proponent of this theory and his reasoning is published. But I find that when one needs to offer convoluted and challenging reasonings
            to explain away what is clearly stated, it raises big red flag for me in light of Jesus words at Matthew 11:25, 26. It is a marker of eisegetical thinking.

            I mean no offence, but I find this teaching to be getting dangerously close to what John warned us about at 2 John 7-11. After all, if he wasn't sent from God then he didn't "come in the flesh".

            • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-24 17:56:08

              The 'Unitarian' view is that Jesus indeed came in the flesh. And very much so as he came only as a human. There cannot be a more affirmative view of Jesus coming in the flesh than this can there?

              I thought I should put it out there but lets now concentrate on the points of the Trinity and the basis that some feel supports this doctrine. I look forward to dismantling it .
              Thanks for the response.

              Love to all from Alithia

              • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-24 18:10:16

                When a child is born, we do not say that the child came in the flesh. It is a meaningless expression. To come means to arrive from somewhere else. Without a pre-existence, this phrase is meaningless.

          • Reply by Nightingale on 2020-08-25 06:45:13

            Hello Alithia, that's a good explanation of John 17:5.

            I have a lot to say about this topic and will post when I can. Now I just wanted to show you some support. :) Not that I'm against anybody and wouldn't respect other views but this is my view as well.

            • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-25 20:17:24

              Hello Nightingale, I think anyone can judge for themselves, by comparing my comments, the responses I received, to see an arbitrary commitment to ideas that are not scripturaly supported. One rebuttal is 'the convoluted' arguments to support the Unitarian view. However I see more 'convoluted arguments' to prop up the henotheistic view.

  • Comment by Psalmbee on 2020-08-25 22:28:51

    Jesus talks about his Father and our Father that's from Heaven quite a bit in the Bible. He say's "if you have seen Me you have seen the Father", "if you know me how can you say you do not know the Father"? The Bible tells us exactly who Jesus' Heavenly Father is. Matt 1:18 compare the Doctor's notes at Luke 1:35.

    The Angel of the Lord or the Lord's Angel at Matt 1:20 has never been translated, there is no exact English equivalent. So whether you want to use Y or J or H or W or V it doesn't matter they are all incorrect. Is the Holy Hebrew Tetragrammaton one and the same as The Holy Spirit? Keep in mind Jesus' quotations above before you answer that.

    I know the title of this article asks "what does history teach?" but The Bible does have the answers even to the most darkest of Matters.

    Time is moving on
    180 days goes by quick

    Psalmbee, (Luke 1:36-37)

  • Comment by Dan Adams on 2020-08-25 23:57:04

    Looking forward to future parts of this conversation. The term henotheistic was new to me, and I thought I'd heard it all when it comes to discussion on the Trinity.

    I appreciate Alithia's comment about "a clear statement in the Bible is one thing, while human interpretation is quite another" being subjective. I agree. Indeed, I agree with others who've said that any appeal to scripture is an appeal to one's interpretation of scripture. And this can, certainly unintentionally, make oneself a higher authority than scripture itself. (If I submit only when I agree, the one to whom I submit is me.)

    I'll remind the readers here that I'm Catholic, and have been a regular reader of this site for the past couple years as an aid to my Bible study with a JW friend.

    When it comes to the Trinity, I agree that many people are unaware of the late formulation of the dogma. And many are ill equipped to give a meaningful explanation of it. I also agree with the authors of this post that it is an important topic, because indeed, we are called to know God and His son, Jesus. As a Catholic, I would argue that the best way to make sense of the biblical text isn't just by analyzing what a word meant in the original Greek or Hebrew language, or how it was used by contemporaries of the day. Certainly such knowledge is important. But when it comes to resolving disagreements, or determining which interpretation is authentic, I would argue that Christ established his congregation in part to ensure that we would know what precisely is the truth.

    I understand that to claim any church has interpretive authority will be seen as anathema to many readers on this site. And from what I've read, it can be a tempting trap to fall into; leaving the authority of the governing body for yet another so-called man-made authority. I just don't know how else to answer the question. Is the church the body of Christ? Does Christ want us to know the truth? Did he leave us any way to know that truth without being a rocket scientist? (or a greek/hebrew/grammar/lexicon scientist?)

    • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-26 01:13:13

      When God raised up prophets, His backing of them was shown foremost by their prophecies coming true. But in several cases, where time was a factor, He gave signs which showed that these prophets had supernatural backing. So, when Moses was given the task of liberating the offspring of Israel from Egypt, the Israelites knew of the Ten Plagues, and knew that they could rely on Moses. When they were pinned down with the Egyptian Army closing in, he performed a very powerful miracle to facilitate their escape. He wasn’t some clown that showed up with an interesting patter and convinced the Israelites to follow him out of Egypt. He was a man through whom the Creator was working and this was proven by the miracles God performed through him.

      Resurrecting the dead, amazing victories, such as the battle of Jericho, and healings were all things that showed God’s backing of various prophets.

      The notion of the congregation being established to ensure that we would precisely know what is true strikes me as being easy to exploit. At the time of the councils which adopted the Trinity doctrine, there were members on both sides of the issue; which group was the congregation which ensured proper understanding? I would venture that both sides were adamant that they were right in this matter.

      I do not serve human leaders: period, I’ve seen firsthand how such authority develops, and have watched within the JWs as rank and file members progressively gave up evermore of their freedom to be ruled by elders, down to the point that fairly mundane matters became subject to adjudication by elders, many of whom were well intended, but there were plenty more whom were egocentric petty despots, brandishing their “power” like a Saturday Night Special in a barroom dispute.

      As I was coming to the painful conclusion that the JW Organization I had trusted was not all it claimed to be, I realized that human authority was at the root of the problem. Having been indoctrinated that leaving the Organization meant forfeiting everlasting life, I reached a point where I decided that I would prefer death, over a future of living under the authority of elders.

      That was over 15 years ago, and I still feel the same way. If my choices were instant, permanent death, or everlasting life under the authority of the JW Organization, I would choose the first option. For the record, I don’t believe that our Creator is some insane monster whom would sentence someone to eternal conscious torment and, for that matter, I don’t believe that any human leaves this life to spend eternity in the heavenly realm. Those notions arise from the ancient Greeks and they are welcome to keep them.

      Any arrangement which places us under human authority, even of the most subtle sort will end up in tyranny. There are numerous Christian denominations, and undoubtedly some very good people within their membership, but authority structures always come into play, sooner or later.

      Analysis of the original languages of the Bible can be daunting. I claim no special knowledge in this area, but have seen examples which were quite illuminating. If one chooses, instead, to rely on human interpretation, we are in effect saying that the Bible doesn’t mean what is written within, but that we need someone else to interpret it for us. There is no end to the number of people who will volunteer to act in that capacity.

      I do not worship a mute God and I have long known that what is in the Bible and what people say is in the Bible are two very different things. Our Creator is perfectly capable of expressing His will and I won’t be employing anyone to act as my interpreter.

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-26 08:46:36

        I agree with Chet on this. We have to remember that the word church is used to translate the Greek word ekklésia which means "congregation, assembly" and literally refers to those who are "called out". It never was intended to refer to an organized body like the Catholic Church, the Mormon church, or the Church of England. The body of Christ refers to those who are called out (ekklésia) from the world to be the children of God. However, nowadays when you say "church" you implicitly refer to whatever leadership or ecclesiastical hierarchy is governing that particular religious entity.

        When I began my journey out of organized religion, I determined to go to no one else, including any so-called apostate websites, to find out what the truth was. The Bible was my only guide. After doing that for a couple of years, what a joy it was to find others who had made the same determination and come to the same conclusions that I had. That showed me that all one really needs is God's word and an open mind willing to enter the research free of bias and preconceptions. I believe that in that environment, the Holy Spirit is free to do its work. I claim no inspiration, but the fact that so many have come to the same conclusions proves to me that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work. However, the moment one surrenders one's will to another man or group of men presuming to be leaders of the congregation or church, one is blocking the operation of the Holy Spirit.

        • Reply by Dan Adams on 2020-08-27 12:37:44

          Meleti and Chet, I appreciate both your comments and agree with a lot of what you say. I wholeheartedly agree that the Holy Spirit is at work outside of the Catholic church. And I believe non-Catholic Christians have much to teach the average Catholic about studying the scriptures and building a relationship with God. I readily admit that the church has abused her power (on and off) down through the centuries. Joan of Arc is a well known example, and today she's honored as a saint. So when speaking of authority, I see a big difference between the Holy Spirit leading into truth (and protecting from error) and a particular leader coercing obedience.

          I won't presume to understand what it's like to come out of a controlling religious organization. I do empathize, and truly appreciate you allowing me to engage on this site to gain a better perspective. A lot of what I read about the hurt involved really angers me. From my perspective, I see that just as a bad earthly father can taint one's perception of our heavenly Father, so too I see that spiritual abuse of authority and power can taint one's appreciation for any authentic source of the authority that might not be "man-made."

          Chet, yes, certainly there were those who were on the other side of the Trinity doctrine. A majority even at certain points along the way. But as to how one would know if they were in the correct congregation, that has always been tied to who has lineage from the apostles. So at the point where the church settles a theological question and says such and such is the true faith, that's when those who break away and form their own congregation are said to be outside of the church. From a catholic perspective, we know from scripture that both heresy and divisions in the congregation are sin. So we don't believe that we will have to choose between them.

          Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  • Comment by rusticshore on 2020-08-22 19:36:24

    I completely agree with Eric and Mr. Penton in that I believe Jesus is divine - but it is more than clear that there were those among the apostles who believed so as well.

    There can be no doubting that Jesus is a god. It takes a god to raise the dead, cure the sick, heal the lame etc. And with close examination, exegetically it should be concluded that Jesus is divine (not intended to sound dogmatic). One perhaps may even argue that he is our god for in the interim, until which time he hands rulership back to his Father (1 Cor 15:27,28).

    After delving deep into this subject, I can almost see how those of earlier times (Tertullian and others) honestly believed the triune nature to be true, and therefore worked to make it doctrinally so in their religious theological position(s) and fundamental belief systems.

    I believe that those that contributed early on to the Trinity belief and teaching, really did possess an honest heart, and truly loved righteousness, their fellow man, and God.

    • Reply by rusticshore on 2020-08-23 11:15:32

      There were times when even the apostles could not perform specific miracles and called upon Jesus.

      But none of the apostles carried the titles as described in Isaiah 9... only Jesus! Including that of "Mighty God." Jesus referenced Psalm 82 when being accused. So "god" is relative on varying levels. The power to perform miracles did NOT make the apostles divine! Jesus is divine, although not the Almighty.

      So, your argument, in response to my position is ambiguous.

      As it pertains to your last question, which is problematic (as you assert a position the scriptures are perfectly silent on), that is, that Jah performed every miracle Himself - invalidates that "All authority" had been given Jesus himself. Jesus HAS the power within himself, as granted by the Father to perform the miracles on his own, to command angels on his own, to rule as HE see's fit - for the Father has entrusted ALL things to him!

    • Reply by rusticshore on 2020-08-23 11:46:49

      One last thought., please. I am not asking that you agree with my reasoning, nor believe others should expect me to. This should simply be a friendly debate/discussion in reconciling ourselves further in unraveling the truth of the scriptures. In the end, we pretty much believe the same basic and fundamental teachings of the scriptures.

      No one, from my experience, is going to agree on every single thought, nor are any one of us going to have every single scriptural subject absolutely correct, lest we apply the honor to ourselves than that of the Father.

      That being said, we may agree to disagree on some subjects - perhaps some that may not be unraveled until far down the line - after you and I are long gone. In the interim, may we work at encouraging one another, as Chrsitians.

  • Comment by Chet on 2020-08-23 12:03:35

    Let me start by thanking Eric and James for publishing this information. It is a matter which has needed clarification for some time, and I feel that the two of you have done a fine job of providing such clarification. I also want to express my appreciation that both of you stand as examples of persons who have gone through some of the worst the JWs can dish out, and come out with your Christian Faith intact.

    When it became obvious to me that I could no longer participate in JW activities, I spent more than a little time striving to insure that by beliefs were rooted in the Bible and not merely the product of having been raised in a Witness family. Like many people, I went through some changes and found myself caught between beliefs, not all of which were consistent with my Witness upbringing. This stage can be dangerous, because this is where people, at least some people, can end up rejecting belief in God, becoming agnostic or possibly going off in some very unpredictable directions. I recall being on an Ex-JW discussion board and seeing running into people whom promoted activities which were morally repugnant to someone raised to believe in the Bible as the authoritative word of God. One can’t help but wonder if their prior devotion was based upon loyalty to God, or merely a matter of complying with human authority, even perhaps misattributing salvation to a manmade organization.

    If a person takes seriously their spiritual need, it becomes a real problem when their source of fellowship is no longer available to them. After ceasing to attend meetings, I looked into various religions and found that non-trinitarian churches existed, but were not common. I also found that these churches did not align with my understanding of the Bible on other issues. Because of the sheer preponderance of trinitarian belief, I endeavored to determine for myself whether the doctrine of the Trinity was compatible with the Bible. I should mention, that during this same time period, an old friend, who had rejected his Witness upbringing, had been in touch and was bound and determined to “save” me. I was on the receiving end of some significant pressure to adopt beliefs common to mainstream churches. No longer wishing to rely on the Watchtower Organization as a source of information, I read several books on the subject and came away convinced, not only that the Trinity Doctrine was not biblically supported, but I also felt that the information I had read in those books was of better quality and went deeper than the information published by the Witnesses.

    One question plagued me, and that was whether to pray to Jesus. I include my conclusions on the matter, not to challenge anyone else’s right to do as they see fit, but simply to show a scripture I feel is quite germane to the subject. I prayed for guidance, very soon thereafter found John 16:23 “In that day you will ask nothing of my. Truly, truly I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you.” My personal takeaway is that I will pray to Jehovah and ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

    (I will use this opportunity to make a comment on the pronunciation of the Divine Name. A Jewish researcher by the name of Nehemia (SIC) Gordon claims to have found verses in Ezekiel, from the Aleppo Codex, that reveal the Divine Name with the vowels intact. According to him, the pronunciation is Yehovah. I make no statements regarding the veracity of this claim, and include it so that any others whose care to pursue this information independently can do so.)

    I will state that in my research of other religions, I came away somewhat dissatisfied, in that I never found any organization which I felt was completely scripturally aligned. There seemed to be several which were somewhat similar to the JWs; aware of God’s Kingdom, non-trinitarian, and separate from the Protestant mainstream. I watched a video of a Christadelphian convention and felt very much like I was watching a JW convention, including the use of some manipulative language and a strong implication that this was the only path to salvation. What I never found was any organized body which struck me as truly being free from human traditions and seeking to promote only the scriptures. The closest I ever came was a Rabbi whom believe Jesus to be the Messiah, believed the Greek scriptures to be inspired of God. He also rejected the Trinity and rejected the terminology Messianic Jew, because he felt that term usually applied to Trinitarian beliefs. He was refreshing to speak to and I believe that he is as sincere as anyone I’ve ever met, with regard to his desire to be accurate in his understanding of scripture.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, that I did not find an organization which I felt was truly scripturally aligned. We are saved by Christ, and not by any organization. Sadly, when organizations become involved, the issues of domination and/or exploitation of the congregants for selfish gain seem to follow. Perhaps no better example can be cited than the JWs, whom met in plain, modest buildings when I was a child, but have since built a huge empire of real estate holdings and have gone from rather sheepishly asking for donations that would keep the lights on at the local level to all,but demanding donations to be sent to the organization, which will then redistribute these contributions at its own pleasure. Were my grandmother to come back to life, she would barely recognize the Witness Organization, so much has it changed in the last 50 years or so.

    One thing that I find very troubling is the widespread nature of the Trinity Doctrine among professing Christians. It is not my place to judge and the prospects of Trinitarians with regard to salvation are not mine to contemplate. I have prayed fervently that all, including myself, be given definitive information which would remove all doubts regarding the matter and I leave that matter with Yehovah, having asked in Jesus name,

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-24 12:37:43

      Thank you, Chet. I really enjoyed reading your comment.

  • Comment by Menrov on 2020-08-23 04:30:13

    Analysing the scriptures can be very interesting and educational. At the same time, I do not believe it will solve religious issues nor will it have any impact on your hope for eternal life. As far as I can see, none of the Apostles studied the scriptures witht he objective to become scribes or teachers of the law. There were hardly any scriptures available for the general public. And those scriptures that did exist, who could tell if they were correct? All knowledge they had was heard in the temple or verbally passed on by others.

    The criminal hanging next to Jesus, did not have any knowledge of the available scriptures but for some reason he believed in Jesus from what he had heard of him. There was no trinity discussion or about the proper knowledge of the name of God or whatsoever. Same for the women who cleansed His feet with her hair. All she knew was from what she heard.

    My point: this scriptures show that faith is not based on written words. It is coming from the heart and can be based on what has been seen, heard or read. It is simple. According to the scriptures, eternal life is not a reward for knowledge but for having faith in Jesus. Nothing more. All other things have been developed by men who wanted to gain some authority over other people. Your acts might jeopardize your hope for eternal life, not knowledge. Be good to others like you like others to be good for you. It is very simple.
    Therefore, let's try to avoid that this interesting topic becomes a discussion about faith.

    We can discuss whether the scriptures teach the concept of a trinity. My view, not a trinity as I see the spirit not to be a living entity (although some verses about the spirit can be quite confusing) but I can see that there are people that believe that Jesus is part of His Father. Same level of authority and as such, can be considered as one.

    It is written that Jesus will rule until death is gone and then He will subject himself to his father (1 Col. 15:28 And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all)

    For me this means they are not equal. It shows that God gave all his power to Jesus which allows Jesus to act as the supreme God. When he is finished, He will return to his former role.
    Therefore, I do not believe in a trinity.

    • Reply by saraybach54 on 2020-08-27 02:38:11

      Clarity at last...!

  • Comment by Alithia on 2020-08-23 08:09:08

    Eric I find the connection that Jim makes with Proverbs chapter 8 about wisdom and Jesus being arbitrary if not a little bit confusing and unclear. If Proverbs chapter 8 is not a personification of the quality of wisdom and is in reality a personality then how does one resolve what proverb says about wisdom residing with prudence or shrewdness at the only bedroom  Proverbs chapter 8:12. Or how about; the righteous one, the lazy one, the stupid one, the proud one, or the foolish one and so forth. Are we to conclude that these too are not personifications of qualities but rather referring to personalities!
    If we are to treat wisdom in chapter 8 of Proverbs as referring to a person and not a personification of a quality, then we need to resolve other Scriptures in a similar way to which leads to absurdity!
    The connection that Jim further makes between wisdom and ‘the logos’ is built on the prior assumption that wisdom is not just a personification of a quality. And so as I say I think this is an arbitrary conclusion.
     After Jim’s comments above, you segue into your understanding of wisdom as being the appropriate personification of Jesus. And how this would be a correct conclusion because if Jesus created the entire universe then it is an apt personification of Jesus.  This line of reasoning is not very convincing.  This I would have to say is what you referred to as a prime example of a human interpretation. Because this is not what the scriptures ‘clearly state’.
    I also find Jim’s paraphrase of Philippians chapter 2: 5 - 8 fraught with much error.                                             Jim is quite correct in saying that the theme of Paul’s discussion here is about humility. And using Jesus as a prime example of humility that one could emulate.
    Philippians chapter 2:5 makes clear what Paul was getting at. He says there; ‘keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus’.  So it was a mindset or an attitude that Jesus had that Paul wanted to instil in his fellow Christians; not a prideful one but a humble one. With regard to chapter 2:6 where it says that; ‘he existed in “God’s form” but gave no consideration to a seizure namely that he should be equal to God’ does not suggest that Jesus was divine in nature, or was a  God with a pre-existence.  This is a hasty conclusion!   The English word ‘form’ is translated from the Greek word ‘morphe’.  The Greek morphe’, for which English has no exact equivalent. Unlike "form" in English, morphe does not mean "shape." It is a philosophical term that means "the outward expression of an inner essence." We can derive an illustration of this definition from figure skating. One might say, "I went to the Winter Olympics, and the figure skater's form was outstanding." What is meant is that skater's swift, rhythmic grace, and coordinated movements were an outward expression of his inward ability to skate expertly.
    Just as Adam the first son of God was made in the image of God, and was able to perfectly reflect God’s qualities, the ‘second Adam’ was also made in the image of God or had the form of God and could beautifully reflect God’s qualities.  However unlike the first Adam Jesus was not seized with pride and wanting to be equal with God rather he was obedient to the point of death.
    I would also like to mention something about the point in Philippians chapter 2:7 about Jesus emptying himself and taking a slaves form and became human. There is some bias in the way it has been translated this way in the New World translation. See the alternative renderings from Bible Hub; nothing here suggesting Jesus left a heavenly existence and came to earth as a human! In fact Paul does not make a single mention of heaven with regard to Jesus ‘humility exemplified here on earth.
    New International Version
    rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

    New Living Translation
    Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,

    English Standard Version
    but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

    Berean Study Bible
    but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.

    Berean Literal Bible
    but emptied Himself, having taken the form of a servant, having been made in the likeness of men.

    New American Standard Bible
    but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

    New King James Version
    but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

    King James Bible
    But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

    Christian Standard Bible
    Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man,

    Contemporary English Version
    Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us.

    The expression ‘emptying himself’ has been interpreted to mean Jesus left his heavenly existence to live as a human on earth however this is a common expression in the ancient Hebrew idiom as it is also today! An example is; the football team did their best and left it all on the field in today’s game! I am running on empty; I have nothing left inside to give. Now see the following scriptural example at 2 Timothy 4:6.  Here Paul talks about pouring himself out like an offering. He makes use of this expression frequently in his writings to symbolise his approaching martyrdom. In a similar way Paul was simply referring to Jesus ‘emptying himself’ until death as an obedient servant to God and mankind.  Again I disagree with Jim that this is a ‘slam dunk’ case for Christ’s pre-existence. There are also many references of expressions similar to that one of Jesus ‘emptying himself’ which refer to humble service to God even to the point of death!

    I humbly put forward some ideas here that may or may not have traction with any readers. But I think in questioning the truth of the trinity and the true nature of Jesus when he was on earth we may come to another possible conclusion other than the one alternative put forward in this introductory presentation.

    And finally I will respond to Maria tomorrow after I have my nighty nighty. It is late here in Australia. I am on to it Maria, game on here dear sister!

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-24 09:46:34

      The understanding I have of Proverbs is interpretation and as such I freely admit it may be wrong.

      However, the fact that other Bibles do not render Philippians 2:5-8 as does the New World translation is not proof either. Remember, that all those translations are written by Trinitarians. That passage is particularly troubling for their theology and is a prime example of Trinitarian bias.

      There is an excellent analysis of that passage by Jason David DeBuhn in Truth and Translation. If you want to get into the grammar, you'll find that his line of reasoning is very sound. The Greek grammar and word usage makes no sense to the reader unless one accepts a pre-existent Christ giving up something to assume an inferior role. His analysis of the word the NWT translates "seizure" is particularly revealing of the writer's intention. There is no way to make that passage work if one is trying to justify the appearance of Jesus on the scene from nothingness into a human embryo. One has to jump through some pretty impressive logical hoops to try to make this work for a argument on non-preexistence.

      Paul is using a real-life example to teach us something about humility. The real-life example is that of Jesus giving up something superior to assume the form of a slave. That simply doesn't work if he didn't already exist before becoming human.

      Nevertheless, you have your belief and I have mine. "Let the reader use discernment."

  • Comment by Beroeans Creed on 2020-08-23 08:40:10

    Never has  a subject so plagued the unity of Christians as the Trinity!
    Many have spent countless wasted hours attempting to convince others that one side or the other is correct since the third century. It has become a “deal breaker” for most, and is believed (even if they can’t explain it from scripture) by the majority of Christians today.
    One must ask who would want that situation to exist, who benefits from that the most Jehovah or Satan?

    I’m simple minded, I no longer get into these debates, especially in the ministry, concerning the Trinity. But I do find the subject interesting to a degree.

    Who did Abraham and Isaac picture?
    Hebrews 11:17
    By faith Abraham, when he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac—the man who had gladly received the promises attempted to offer up his only-begotten son—  

    Paul was very “matter a fact” when discussing foods sacrificed to idols.

    I  Cor. 8:4-6  ..........we know that an idol is nothing in the world and that there is no God but one.  5 For even though there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many “gods” and many “lords,”  6 there is actually to us one God, the Father, from whom all things are and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom things are and we through him. 

    These and many others work for a simple Minded man like me.

  • Comment by Psalmbee on 2020-08-23 09:32:45

    Just reading along here, I have to admit that I have laughed several times reading the comments and even the article. Here is a bunch of JW's and ex-JW's who have been rigidly ingrained against the Trinity, now what really do you think will be the outcome of this topic?

    From what I see, 99.9% of you ex-JW's still use the NWT. That's another laughable phenomenon that I would compare to being the same as using a Sears and Roebuck catalog (which is out of business and worthless unless you run out of toilet paper) to shop at Wal-Mart.

    Psalmbee, (1Jn 5:20)


    I don't mind being voted with a "-", at least I know I've been read.

  • Comment by Psalmbee on 2020-08-23 12:14:23

    "Jehovah and Jesus" is a collective term I hear tossed around by those sitting on the fence, they'll accept the quinella but not the trifecta. God's Active Force, which by the way has anyone every noticed if the NWT has it written as Jehovah's Active Force anywhere in their Book? I've never seen it written that way. There must be some legal matter as to why they wouldn't coin the term for themselves otherwise they would have done so long before now.

    1 and 1 make 1 = 3. For an alternative view, lets say we had two mighty Gods that created The Almighty God. Just like the two mighty God's or was it one Almighty God with an Active Force @ Gen 1:26 did with man.

    Just some food for the table but please control your appetite. (Pr 23:1)

    Word of the day: pari-mutuel


    Atlanta Rhythm Section- Quinella - YouTube

  • Comment by saraybach54 on 2020-08-27 04:54:27

    Ooo... I do love a debate...! It’s what I miss most...!
    And isn’t it wonderful to be free to debate, my brothers and sisters...?!

    So... here is my take on the whole shebang... (whether it’s the whole truth... methinks is not for any man to decide for me... for it is my personal experiences and interactions with The Lord that shape my faith... but these are private... and at times, ineffable...)

    I began reading Revelation a while back... but it had me so confused, I had to stop... (maybe because I struggled to put aside my eisegesis...) but having seen this discussion come up, I decided to try again last night... and for some reason it all became much clearer...

    Before physical matter came into existence, “God”, existed - in Spirit form - as an omnipotent, (pure potential) omnipresent, (existing everywhere) omniscient, (complete wisdom/awareness) Being... which is why it is impossible to create an “image” of The Father...

    This “Being”, existed in completion - without thought, in Love, Wisdom, Joy, Peace etc - ineffable and needing no-thing “other”, than “It’s own “Self””...
    And then in an instant, It had a thought...
    “I AM...!”
    and because It was Pure Potential, this first ever thought created a focus (which is what quantum physics calls, “the observer”...) and thus It created, and came “face to face” with, It’s mirror Self... in an actual form, the firstborn of all creation... (or, “The Word”... “I AM...“)

    This is the, “Pluarity”, and to give a name to the energy released/used, “God’s Active Force...”... “Holy Spirit/Sophia”...

    When one approaches Revelation in exegesis, you begin to see things as they are... and you see that you can’t separate Christ from The Father, or even from The Holy Spirit, when it comes to the events and the power involved, because they all work “As One...” because The Father has given all “His” power and authority to The Son...
    So when Christ states, “I Am The First and The Last...” quoting Isaiah 44:6 - He is stating that He had a beginning...
    Therefore Christ must be Yahweh, (“I AM”) the spiritual/physical manifestation of The Father, (who had no beginning and is without form, ineffable...)
    Thus The Father/The Son created everything with the power of The Holy Spirit...

    Being that we are finite creatures and struggle with infinite stuff, we have a need to give names and titles to things in order to grasp that which is often beyond our comprehension...
    I can’t quote scriptures to describe these understandings of mine but they are within my experiences...
    Peace and Love to all... ☺️♥️

    • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-27 10:48:26

      Yet, inspired scripture does not use the words omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient. These are all things people say about God, the Creator, not things that God the Creator saw fit to say about himself. Paul said it well in 1 Corinthians 4:6 “I have applied all these things to myself and Apollo’s for your benefit, brothers, that up you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.“

      Years ago, I had to contemplate taking a tissue transplant, as part of a medical procedure. Transplants had been a matter of some contention among the Witnesses, with the practice having been compared to cannibalism at one time, but reduced to a conscience matter later on. As I made up my own mind regarding the matter, and spent considerable time studying the Bible and Watchtower publications, it struck me that the Bible didn’t address this matter. A lot was written on the subject and some creative verse checking could be employed to bolster one opinion or another, but the Bible didn’t really say anything about it.

      This was a watershed moment for me, and to be honest, left me a bit shocked. I spent a fair amount of time, thereafter, reviewing my life decisions and came to recognize that I had expended great effort complying with human generated words about the Bible, as opposed to simply complying with the Bible itself. The Watchtower lost its grip on me at that moment and that was about the time that I quit trying to keep up with their (then) massive printed output. I didn’t need bound volumes or indexes of Watchtower publications anymore, I needed the Bible.

      I open the Bible now and let it speak to me. If God sees fit to take an explanation just so far, then I take Him at His word and accept that He knows what needs to be included in scripture. The Bible calls Christ the Only Begotten Son of God. (John 3:16) That is sufficient. I don’t need to weave an elaborate narrative to explain this, amplify this and dissect it to find greater meaning. I am willing to accept what is written as sufficient for my understanding. As I mentioned in an earlier comment John 16:23 answers to my satisfaction the question of where my prayers should be directed. I don’t care what some human source has to say about the subject; I am happy to accept scripture as being sufficient.

      • Reply by Psalmbee on 2020-08-27 11:10:37

        Chet said,

        "Yet, inspired scripture does not use the words omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient. These are all things people say about God, the Creator, not things that God the Creator saw fit to say about himself."

        Hi Chet,

        In the Authorized version of the Bible at Rev 19:6 KJV it definitely does use the word "omnipotent".

        • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-27 13:55:28

          And most other translations do not. What evidence is there that the King James is authoritative in ways that other translations are not? The greatest preponderance of English translations do not employ that term and use Almighty.

          • Reply by Psalmbee on 2020-08-27 15:01:40

            Evidence provided to me is within the Scripture itself. You said:" The greatest preponderance of English translations do not employ that term and use Almighty."

            That is true of all unauthorized versions. For that matter everyone should just interpret the Bible in their own words. You say that you will never fall victim to the grips of men as it were. But isn't that exactly what you are doing when you employ so many translations from men and leave out the Authoritative one.

            Isn't that why Satan is who he is? For not respecting Authority.

            Psalmbee, Rom 13:1

            • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-27 17:33:07

              Psalmbee, what is your basis for claiming the KJV is "the Authoritative one", while others are not?

              • Reply by Psalmbee on 2020-08-27 22:20:05

                Hi Meleti,

                My only basis would be that of Christ's Holy Spirit, His lifesaving Water and
                His Blood shed for ransom at the Cross. (1Jhn 5:8 NWT)

                Tell me, do you think I was Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in my eyes, or was it a Green Bible loaded with bias?

                Tried and true has been my experience with the KJV.
                Authorized by the Crown of England and has yet to be
                decrowned. (past participle)

                Other than some winebibbers drunken with the Whore's wine, I don't see anyone or any Sovereign even attempting to take the Crown.

                I'll just leave at that for now.

                Psalmbee, (Ps 75:8) KJV

                • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-27 23:06:10

                  So King James of England's authorization trumps everyone else? You presume to know the workings of the holy spirit or is it Christ's spirit so that you can say which bible translations are authorized and which are not?

                  You're welcome to your opinion, of course.

                  I'll just leave it at that for now.

                  Meleti, (Pr 14:12 NWT)

                  • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-28 00:33:23

                    I believe the Bible, because it has made predictions which have come true. I also believe it because the things written in the Bible, thousands of years ago have held up over the ages. If the Bible was inspired by God, which I believe, it would make sense that He would preserve His word.

                    While various translations do not agree on every verse, the aggregate functions to help preserve the original meaning. With tools like Bible Hub, it’s become very easy to research and compare translations. Perhaps this is a provision from our Creator. One thing is certain, in my mind, Bible research is flourishing in our day and I can state that with the help of search engines and online bibles, bible study has become much easier. If I remember even a fraction of a verse, it’s usually a simple matter to locate the book, chapter and verse and comparing translations is very easy with Bible Hub or Bible Gateway.

                    While it takes a little bit of effort on my part, the results are well worth it. The best part of this is that the Bible can speak for itself, when I use this approach. There is no need for a human instructor to interpret scripture. No church leaders, nor any textbooks, which are usually just opinions of men and frequently cherry-pick scriptures to support a preconceived message. I still take in the ideas of others, but I weigh them against scripture and allow scripture to be the final authority in the matter.

                    This process developed after I realized, some years back, that even though the subject of tissue and organ transplants was a hot topic among JWs, there was no scripture that definitively stated something which could be considered absolutely authoritative on the subject. From that day forward, the Watchtower publications lost much of their prestige in my eyes and I decided to use the Bible as directly as possible, relegating the Watchtower publications, as well as any other books about scripture, to the status of non-authoritative information.

                    It would be an exaggeration to to say that the progress from that point was linear, because it took a while to completely break free from the grip of the Organization, and this was complicated by the fact that virtually all of my friends and family were JWs. About the time it became apparent that I had to separate myself from what was going on in the Organization, my marriage came apart and I started over in a new life. It was painful, but also made it easier to finally break free.

                    The point to all of this is simply that human authorities, be they monarchs, religious leaders, publishers of eisegetical literature, or simply local elders, appointed by men, have no role in my relationship to God or to His Son. The best source of knowledge on these matters is the Bible and that it God breathed, and certainly not reliant on any human for its continued existence or its proper translation.

                    The End may well be close; many people think so, but when ever it happens, there is one thing of which I am certain; God will make His word known to all whom are interested and true knowledge will be abundant, just as prophesied to Daniel. The salvation of mankind was paid for because God’s Son died for us. His Father will not allow someone to lose out on salvation because of having chosen the wrong translation. Somehow, and in His own way, our God will make certain that people know the score, before he acts to destroy wickedness.

            • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-27 20:03:54

              Authorized by whom? Unless it’s authorized by Yehovah or Jesus, that reduces to being the opinion of some individual or groups of individuals. In that case, I’m not impressed.

  • Comment by apollos0fAlexandria on 2020-08-26 08:47:07

    Interesting topic, but IMO the material falls back into constructing the same straw men used by JWs to try and assert that the binitarian view developed centuries after Christ and the apostles. Most of it is simply untrue. 

    Other than the strong testimony given by John and other Bible writers, there is plenty of historical manuscript evidence for the high Christology of the early church.

    With credit to  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2018/03/extremely-early-testimonies-to-the-deity-of-christ/ here are some prime examples:

    Polycarp (AD 69-155) was the bishop at the church in Smyrna and a disciple of John the Apostle. In his Letter to the Philippians, he writes,

    Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth…and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead.

    Ignatius (AD 50-117) was the bishop at the church in Antioch and another disciple of John. He wrote a series of letters to various churches on his way to Rome, where he was to be martyred. He writes,
    There is only one physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and unborn, God in man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first subject to suffering and then beyond it, Jesus Christ our Lord.
    For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit.

    Justin Martyr (AD 100–165) was a Christian apologist of the second century. He boldly states,
    And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said.
    Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.

    Irenaeus of Lyons (AD 130–202) was bishop of what is now known as Lyons, France. Irenaeus studied under bishop Polycarp, who in turn had been a disciple of John the Apostle. He writes,
    He received testimony from all that He was very man, and that He was very God, from the Father, from the Spirit, from angels, from the creation itself, from men, from apostate spirits and demons.
    Christ Jesus our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father.

    Clement of Alexandria (AD 150–215) was another early church father. He wrote around AD 200. He writes,
    This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man….

    Tertullian (AD 150-225) was an early Christian apologist writing around a century after John. He said,
    For God alone is without sin; and the only man without sin is Christ, since Christ is also God.

    Hippolytus of Rome (AD 170-235) was a third century theologian. He was a disciple of Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. He writes,
    The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God.
    For all, the righteous and the unrighteous alike, shall be brought before God the Word.

    All that said I respect the right of Unitarians to believe what they believe. Nobody should make declarations about the nature of Christ that do not come from the heart. Flesh and blood cannot reveal it - only the Father can. (Matt 16:17)

    I don't think scripture is 100% clear on whether this is a salvation issue or not - especially if there is agreement that Jesus is divine and in effect "God to us", which is a position that I believe that you hold. Other than the "origins" of the Logos, there is really much more we have in common than there are issues that are divide us.

    I think caution is required if we use John 4:24 to challenge other people's doctrine. If we do that we are really going back to the JW claim that we have "The Truth" with a capital T. Is that really where we want to be or did we learn any humility when having to recant some long held beliefs?

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-26 09:08:16

      You wrote:

      "Interesting topic, but IMO the material falls back into constructing the same straw men used by JWs to try and assert that the binitarian view developed centuries after Christ and the apostles."

      I'm not clear as to what the Strawman argument is. Could you be more specific?

    • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-27 00:06:02

      The Nicene Council did not suddenly pop into existence. It did not exist in a vacuum. There must have been an undercurrent of misunderstanding and erroneous beliefs, political pressure and other reasons for this council to have to be convened.

      One crucial element that many fail to appreciate is that the control and the administration of the Scriptures was wrestled away from the Jewish believing Christians who had the correct viewpoint, and subsequently was administered by Gentiles who had been educated in Grecian philosophy.

      It may be the reason why many even though they lived close to the time of the first century Christians and may have had close association with key members of the Christian congregation this does not guarantee purity of teaching. There are many Scriptures where Paul talks about superfine apostles, those who are misleading others and leading them and their faith into shipwreck, apostates and rocks hidden beneath the water!

      So it may be beneficial to review what some of the so-called early church fathers thought and wrote but we cannot attribute to it canonical value.

      • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-27 01:08:23

        Precisely! I’ve seen firsthand what human opinions can do to undermine Bible teachings. Just because someone has achieved a manmade, man-given title, does not me that this person has any greater authority than the next fellow.

        It appears to me that the JW Organization is in serious decline, as I write this. I feel great compassion for individuals within who may find themselves in confusing circumstances, but I am not sorry for those in leadership positions whom have made their living off the trust and generosity of the faithful. But this situation is hardly unique; many mainstream churches seem to be in decline. Once again, while I feel compassion for the misled, I feel none for those whom have profited unjustly at the expense of sincere people with misplaced trust.

        I can imagine no reason whatsoever to run into the arms of organized religion, nor do I ever intend to do so in the future. More than that, I certainly will not accept the word of men as being an expansion of the word of God.

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2020-08-27 05:22:09

    Lot of interesting quotes from Apollos.
    For an ignoremus such as I am, can we clarify whether the language used in the various quotes allows for "a God" rather than just "God"? Does God have to be almighty God ? This seems to be a root of confusion.
    Jesus himself quoted Psalm 82;6 "you are all Gods".
    If I refer to God, you and I know that I mean the creator, or Jehovah.
    Is it possible this argument is all about a misunderstanding both of what is written in the Bible and what was the intention of those early Christian writers ?

    • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-27 06:47:41

      I second your comment Leo can Eric clarify what he means when he refers to Jesus as God???

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-27 12:03:50

        We know that angels visited Abraham because Hebrews, in its opening chapters, explains that to have been the case. Yet in reading the account, one of the angels (or one of the men) is referred to as Jehovah, as if Jehovah himself were standing in front of Abraham. But no man has seen God. So I know that was an angel acting as God's spokesman. In our culture perhaps we would never make such a reference or inference, but to a Hebrew at that time that was perfectly acceptable.

        If I were to talk to you by phone and tell you to do something, you would not say, "The phone told me to do this." No, you would say that Eric told me to do this. But in fact, I could be thousands of miles away. Does that analogy fail when you're talking about a living being taking the place of the phone?

        Was the angel eating a meal with Abraham really Jehovah in a literal sense? Of course not. And yet he is referred to as Jehovah and everything that he did is explained as what Jehovah did.

        Why can we not accept the same analogy when it applies to Jesus? When Jesus comes at Armageddon to fight the great war of God Almighty, is he God Almighty? Was the angel that spoke to Abraham Jehovah?

        I don't have any problem grasping this concept, but to a Trinitarian it makes no sense. So he must come up with a great mystery that puts three persons into one being in a literal sense. Remember the Trinitarian is not talking about a representative relationship but that literally in every sense of the word Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and the father is God. All three are all-powerful, all-knowing, none is less than the other nor greater than the other because they are all the one God.

        Who came up with the Trinity idea? Did it come from the babes of the congregation or the wise and intellectual ones? I think that's a question that deserves serious consideration.

        • Reply by Alithia on 2020-08-28 06:37:06

          If what you mean as a 'representative of God' and standing in the place of God then I would agree with you and in this. This idea of representation is well understood in Hebraic communication both written and verbal.

          There is the example where it would appear to us a military leader asking Jesus to come and heal his servant and a parallel account where it is the Jewish elders who come and ask Jesus to go to his sick servant and heal him. There is no contradiction here as the elders went to Jesus as the 'representatives' of the army commander and they were viewed as one and the same. See Romans 7:1-10 and Matthew 8:5-13.

          This is not something we Westerners are familiar with. There are many such examples where Jesus 'is God' such as when Thomas said, 'my God' when he put his fingers in Jesus side. This can cause confusion if we do not read with Jewish our goggles on and take all things into account before making any conclusion about Jesus and Jehovah being the one entity..

          Are we on the same page here Eric??

        • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2020-08-28 07:13:44

          Eric, I was brought up as an Roman catholic, and the trinity was always presented as a mystery. It made no sense. While Jesus is no more God than the angels were Jehovah, as you mentioned, I have no problem with the verses in the NT which use the title, God. It seems to me that if the writers recognise Jesus as God's son, then they are simply showing respect by referring to the things done by him as coming from God.
          That is as simply as I can put it.
          But it does not stop Jesus being called a God (which simply means a mighty one), at least that is my opinion.
          A note at 1 Corinthians, and there may be other verses, is interesting. Verse 1 refers to God's will, but does not use the Greek for "the", while verse 2 refers to the congregation of God, and does use the Greek for "the". All this does for me is that we should not be pedantic about John 1:1, but rely on the general tone of scripture, which shows:-
          Jehovah is the almighty God, creator, etc.
          Jesus is the son, and his representative. All the sons in heaven are Gods, but none of them are Jehovah. But Jesus is special.
          That might be about all I can see. Too many people are reading in what they want to read.

          • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-28 09:10:53

            That makes a lot of sense.

            "While Jesus is no more God than the angels were Jehovah, as you mentioned, I have no problem with the verses in the NT which use the title, God. It seems to me that if the writers recognise Jesus as God’s son, then they are simply showing respect by referring to the things done by him as coming from God."

            Literally everything that exists came to be because of the Almighty God. If I have a drink of water, even that simple thing is God's gift, if we go back to ultimate sources. By creating both spirit and material creatures with free will, God has allowed choice and this has also allowed some to turn against Him. The spirit creature whom became Satan was created by God, but the decision to become an opposer was an act of free will.

            It's interesting that even in polytheistic cultures, there is usually a God among gods, that has ultimate authority.

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-28 09:40:47

            Most definitely Leonardo, and thank you for those excellent examples. They will serve me well in answering the barrage of pro-Trinity comments I'm getting on the YouTube channel.

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-28 09:46:22

            Agreed, and that was the point that Penton made in the video. John 1:1 can be read grammatically as "the word was god" or "the word was a god". Any reasonable person with knowledge of Greek grammar would have to admit that the ambiguity exists, and thus the verse cannot be used to prove either view, Arian or Trinitarian.

    • Reply by saraybach54 on 2020-08-27 07:25:03

      Christ quotes Isaiah 44:6 numerous times in Revelation... “I Am The First and The Last...”... and in that scripture in Isaiah, it is Yahweh speaking...

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-27 12:05:03

        Yehovah is the first and the last and Jesus is the first and the last. Fair enough, but the first and the last what?

        • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-27 14:30:44

          That is the crux of the issue. We don't have sufficient information to go past what is written.

          In certain discussions, I have been known to exclaim "37", which elicits blank stares, instantly. Then I explain, 37 is the definitive number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. It's 37, and I know that as an absolute fact.

          My point is that discussions can become mired in meaningless minutiae. There's always a "yeah, but" which can be added and another rabbit hole which can be explored to great depth, but what does this accomplish? In fact, I can give an example that will resonate deeply with any JWs or ex JWs reading this; the meaning of the word "generation".

          In Matthew 24:34 Jesus said: "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." Do we need to torture the meaning of generation into some overlapping time frame which allows people that saw 1914 to be part of the same generation as those alive today? Instead, just read Jesus' words; the meaning is obvious. If he had said this generation of fruit-flies will not pass away until all these things take place, we would assume that the lifespan of a fruit-fly would not be exceeded. Had Jesus said this generation of Sequoia trees will not pass away until all these things take place, we would assume the lifespan of a Sequoia would not be exceeded, which is a very different matter, indeed. But Jesus was talking about people, and a sensible reading conveys the meaning that these events would happen within the span of one human life. With regard to the generation of Jesus' time, the destruction of Jerusalem indeed took place less than 40 years later, well within the lifespan of a human.

          My reading of the Bible is fairly literal and I'm not going to spend precious time trying to find hidden meanings. I can't believe that God would inspire a book filled with riddles and puzzles we have to unlock in order to gain understanding. What would be the purpose of that? Some things are hidden, such as the specifics of prophecies involving Christ's return and the battle of Armageddon. These are not obvious for the same reason that Eisenhower's D-Day plans were not published in the London Times. Why give your battle plans to the enemy? But we have these prophecies so we can recognize what is happening as it actually unfolds.

          I have great love and respect for the Jewish people and have met devout Jews whom possessed an admirable degree of faith. But the Jewish religion tends to be mired in the details. For example, during the fidget spinner fad, a Rabbinic Ruling had to be made as to whether a fidget spinner could be used on the Sabbath. It was decided that they could, unless there was a light which was activated by spinning the toy, because that would be a form of building a fire. Somewhere along the line, you should not do any sort of work morphed into a distinction between lighted and unlighted fidget spinners. If we read the word of God and refuse to let our own God-given common sense to discern what is meant, we will end up in the very same trap.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-27 11:53:03

      For me, the danger with the doctrine of the Trinity is that it changes our perception of the father. Everything is about restoring the family relationship that was lost when Adam sinned. The devil wants this to fail. Anything that distorts our relationship with the father has the potential to undermine our salvation.

      For the millions of Christians who claim the Trinity as their identifying doctrine – and let's make no bones about it, they believe this is the one doctrine that identifies true Christians – they believe Jesus is God. But Jesus tells us that the way to the father is through him. That the way to his God is through him. That the way for us to become children of God is to accept our role as brothers of Christ.

      Whatever the nature of God turns out to be – if there will ever come a time when we can understand it – we do not want to go beyond what is written. Our father inspired the writing of the Bible in such a way that we would understand our relationship with him as we understand the relationship of a child with a father. I can understand God as an individual and I can understand Jesus as the son of that individual or being. That is within my realm of understanding. To me, that is what our Father wants us to understand.

      The Trinity completely confuses that relationship by trying to equate three people with a single being. Let's be honest about the English language here, and I think I can say this about the Greek language as well: a being is a person and a person is a being. Therefore three people are three beings not one being. The explanation a Trinitarian gives is that this is a great mystery, but that is exactly my point: Who wants to mystify our relationship with God? Not the father and not the son but the opposer.

      • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-27 20:01:57

        Well stated.

        The language of the Trinity is cloaked in jargon which doesn’t align with real world experience. Much of it strikes me as double talk.

  • Comment by Alithia on 2020-08-27 06:52:33

    Just in case you miss my comment to Leonardo Eric, could you clarify what you mean by referring to Jesus as God? Leave it for latter if you intends to do so in a later presentation. It is just the fact that it may have a different association for people with varying backgrounds and exposure to differing study material.

    Love to all from Alithia.

  • Comment by Beroeans Creed on 2020-08-27 07:58:01

    OK I rest my case from my comments 3 days ago
    “Never has  a subject so plagued the unity of Christians as the Trinity!
    Many have spent countless wasted hours attempting to convince others that one side or the other is correct since the third century.”

    Has anyone been convinced so far to change their belief on the Trinity? please raise your hand!

    Eric great article though,can’t wait for the second installment, got my popcorn ready!

    • Reply by saraybach54 on 2020-08-27 08:24:57


    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-27 12:06:58

      Buttered, I hope. Yum.

      • Reply by Beroeans Creed on 2020-08-27 13:02:16

        Lol Eric I guess somebody doesn’t like buttered popcorn you got a minus

  • Comment by Psalmbee on 2020-08-27 13:19:51

    JEHOVAH OF ARMIES? One Man Band or Part of The Gospel Trio?

    The LORD of Host's company says: Only in Hell, will We know. Luke 16:17 KJV

    Hades, some Greek god from way back, couldn't light a match in Hell.
    According to the Disciple Jesus Christ loved. Luke 16:23-26 KJV

    "Take heed to what you read
    the Law is authorized with only one Deed."

    Blessings to all here in these times of fake news and disguised truth. Please listen out for the only True Shepard Jesus Christ.


  • Comment by rusticshore on 2020-08-27 20:13:24

    As it regards certain expressions on the KJV below - I periodically enjoy reading the KJV, and believe it is beautifully written in some respects. But there are a number of factors to consider when it comes to studying with an exegetical lens.

    First, if studying an older version, the KJV is archaic, not easy to understand. Of course, more modern versions have greatly improved one's ability to comprehend the text. But if reading an older version, such words as (without quotes): palmerworm, quarternion, emerods, chalkstones, assupim are but a few of the thousands of the archaic phenomenon of the text.

    Second, as many are aware, the KJV does not recognize textual criticism. While textual criticism has some skeptics scratching their heads, the vast sum of bible scholars recognize the importance of this vastly mundane and highly educated process of examining the text(s) through such sciences of manuscriptology, paleography (study of ancient writing) and so forth. It is through extremely vigorous examination that we come to learn, that specific scriptures, verses, narratives are now omitted. Even those that read the NWT have likely come to observe a number of verses or entire narratives missing from their version that once were there - seeing as the NWT translation dept uses, primarily, the Wescott-Hort ("WH"), which adheres to this science. Therefore, since the KJV closely follow the Textus Receptus ("TR"), meaning "received text," they believe the KJV is the plenary word, perfect in its entirety, without flaw. It cannot be corrected. It should not be corrected - regardless if the many sciences have proven textual-tampering by later Scribes and copyists.

    Third, there are a vast sum of scriptures that have been deliberately altered to reflect the fundamental teachings of the church, including the Trinity doctrine. Take 1 Timothy 3:16, for example. The King James Version renders the verse in this manner: "And 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" (KJV).

    In this verse, notice "God." This is a dramatic and deliberate alteration from the original text. If you look at a number codices, such as the the Codex Sinaiticus manuscript (Quire 86, Folio 2v), or the Codex D (Bezae) - you will see what looks like an "o" with two marks above it, followed by what appears as a backwards c with a line at the bottom (ὅς) This is "Omicron sigma," in Grk "Hos," or "He." To be properly translated as "God," the text would have to read "Theta sigma" or "Theos," in way of a large and obscure looking "T" with the sigma to follow. But the text's do not read that way. They clearly specify "He," or "Who" ("Hos" in Grk) . . . NOT "Theos," or "God!" This is just one of scores of examples of deliberate alteration from the original extant manuscript's reading. Naturally, the many different versions of the Textus Receptus have been made to reflect the alteration.
    It is for these, and many other reasons time does not permit - to use the KJV in any more than casual reading from time to time, but never for deeper and meaningful research

  • Comment by safeguardyourheart on 2020-08-28 18:55:50

    Support for the TRINITY DOCTRINE as based on the following HEADING?.......... Copied from another platform. As this series progresses point can be picked to tackle this doctrine

    It is obvious that in order, God is the only Being who can be "First and Last/Beginning and Ending/Alpha and Omega" at the same time because he existed before every created thing and is the only One who will remain when he decides to end all existence.
    The Simultaneous "First and Last" is a number only the Uncreated can have.


    We know that YAHWEH, the God of OT revealed Himself to Israel as the only One who will judge both living and dead.
    Now notice below in the verse below, it is God who gave the commandments to Moses, who is to be feared, YAHWEH, who will also judge every work.

    It is evident that God owns the Sovereign throne in the whole universe and every other is under His. We also know that Jesus is enthroned at the right hand of the Father. This statement has made the carnal mind think that the Father sits on one throne and the son sits located beside Him at the right.
    But does the scripture teach that right hand is literal or does the scripture teach that it is figurative, that in the end both Father and Son as One Being have one throne? Let us find out.

    In the apocalypse, John is given the clearest revelation of the heavenly administration in all the scripture. In Revelation 4, he describes the throne of God surrounded by elders' thrones. Notice he doesn't describe any throne located at the literal right of God's throne because there is no such throne.

    The question is where in heaven is the throne of the Son, the Lamb of God?

    Have in mind that to the Hebrews, worship and service of any heavenly being are one and the same thing. Also, some Christian sects today claim that there are many gods apart from YAHWEH. Even if we claim God's angels or men are also gods, at least we can agree that YAHWEH commanded that He is the only God among all the "gods" that can be worshipped and served.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-28 19:05:27

      Let's tackle one thing at a time:

      #1 NUMBER OF GOD
      There is no such thing as first unless there is a second. There must be a sequence in time for there to be a first and last. So God is the first What? Not the first created thing. So what? God exists outside of time. Jesus is the one through whom, for whom, and by whom all things were created, which includes time. So Jesus (whether he be God or the only begotten god, distinct from God the Father) is also outside of time and therefore before time. I don't see how the henotheistic model precludes Jesus being first and last apart from the father. Because first and last are time related concepts.

      Please address that before going on.

      • Reply by Jack on 2020-08-31 13:56:50

        (Genesis 1:1) . . .In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

        (Genesis 1:5) . . .And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a first day. . .

        (Genesis 1:14) . . .And God went on to say: “Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night; and they must serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years

        Time itself is not an entity that exists on its own. It is a measure between one event and another in the physical creation. It is only here that measurable "beginnings" occur as well as measurable "ends". It is only here where hours measure days, and days measure the passing of our years, and years the passing of our lives.

        God exists outside of time because God exists outside of the physical creation.

        God is the I AM because he IS.

        He simply IS.

        Therefore to God, time is nothing.

        • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-31 14:49:56

          Well stated.

        • Reply by Fani on 2020-09-01 01:57:26

          Merci Jack
          Raisonnement simple, logique et surtout biblique.

          Ne nous perdons pas dans des spéculations sur Dieu que nous ne maîtrisons pas. Même la science n'est pas une preuve. Elle a parfois changé de conclusions suite à de nouvelles découvertes.

        • Reply by Chet on 2020-09-01 15:29:39

          No, there is no scripture, but time and space are of the material realm, and God is of the spirit realm. Being the Creator and originator of the material realm, He is, by definition, not part of the material realm.

          • Reply by Frankie on 2020-09-01 16:41:52

            Precisely, Chet.

            And God is independent of time because He created time as a part of Universe:
            "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3). All things - also all material things, including time.

            Time, matter, space and energy are inextricably linked (Einstein's Theory of Relativity). This theory is very well proven (as also Eric commented). Without this theory would be impossible to launch space probe like Voyager or others to exact trajectory to planets. That's why I think we found the verse - John 1:3.

        • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-01 15:46:42

          Just Asking,

          Do you believe God occupies a space as we occupy a space? A physical space? Or a spirit space?

          If a spirit space I would agree. If so, how would you define this spirit space? Is it limited? Is it unlimited filling all?

          Is it definable? Is it heaven?

      • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-30 09:52:36

        We know from science that time is mutable. We know that the speed at which it progresses is subject to the speed at which an object moves as it approaches the speed of light. From this, it would appear that time and space are part of creation. We know that God is not subject to anything which would include time.

        That is my conclusion based on the evidence before me. You can have a different one and you're most welcome to it, of course.

        • Reply by Frankie on 2020-08-30 16:55:07

          Yes Eric, you are right. The universe is made up of space-time - Minkowski's 4-dimensional space: x1, x2, x3, and c (for time). For example, the time between two events is not constant between observers, but depends on the relative velocities between their reference frames (Lorentz transformation - four equations used to recalculate the coordinates of space and time in the transition between inertial coordinate systems).

          In addition, there is dilation (slowing down) of time. According to the theory of relativity, dilation of time is a property of time itself, so with increasing speed not only the moving clock slows down, but also all physical processes.
          And the equation E = mc2 says that mass is just another form of energy (at university, we had to know how to derive this equation).

          Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity discusses it all. Time, matter, space and energy are inextricably linked.
          Before act of creation time did not exist because the matter itself did not exist! That is an experimentally proven science.


        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-08-31 15:01:06

          Here is some proof that time is mutable:



          These prove that the passage of time does not "apparently" vary based on speed, but actually varies, and in accordance with the values predicted by Einstein's theory.

          Also, the idea that God cannot lie establishes my point rather than defeats it. To lie would be to subject himself to something. When we lie, we sin and become a slave of sin. God cannot be subject to anything, nor a slave to anything, but all things are subject to him.

          “. . .For God “subjected all things under his feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that this does not include the One who subjected all things to him. But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.” (1Co 15:27, 28)

          Just Asking, you say: "You need to let this go, Eric."

          Please try to avoid that tone in future comments.

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-01 16:52:35

            I gave you two references to scientific experiments which support one of my key points, yet you ignore them, and claim what I said is not true. Further, you accuse me of starting up a religion. You seem to be working on the premise that since you can't imagine anything existing prior to the creation of time, then nothing could exist. Yet you project that I am the one being dogmatic. I'm quite willing to discuss different points of view, but if you're going to get personal and accusatory, then it stops being fun.

            • Reply by Beroeans Creed on 2020-09-03 08:03:55

              Why waste time with Just Asking’s caustic debates, it should be suffice he is welcomed to comment here as He has a long pattern of calling you out on this forum.
              ( you have more patience than most) I believe he can’t help himself as he probably has his own, unknown too us, agenda.
              I suggest he change his avatar to Just Arguing, because if he really felt you were doing the things he accuses you of, why would he continue to be a regular here? I’m sure many have visited this forum over the years and strongly disagreed with the content and have just moved on.

              • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 09:29:55

                Jesus spoke to all including his critics.

                It is the Watchtower that does otherwise.

                I applaud Eric's continued efforts to keep lines of communication open with those who disagree.

                • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 10:11:34

                  Thank you both. I can see both sides of the discussion.

                  Paul told Timothy:
                  Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
                  (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NIV)

                  It's a challenge at times to know where to draw the line. I get a number of internet trolls on the YouTube channel who just want to provoke an argument for whatever reason but who don't want to reason on anything.

                  As a way of filtering out the sincere ones from those who just want to preach their own message or worse, waste everyone's time, I've started to require people to respond to a direct question with a direct, non-evasive answer. I've also tried Jesus' tactic of getting a person who asks the first question to give the first answer. (Those who are trying to trap someone with a loaded question, really hate that rule.) They seem to feel that the person who asked the first question has a right to the first answer, but Jesus showed us otherwise.

                  Still, it's hard at first to distinguish a sincere questioner from someone who just wants to provoke a fight. I think the reason for that is there is a lot of anger out there from ones who are waking up to the reality they have been lied to for so very long, and they don't always know how to direct that anger.

                • Reply by Fani on 2020-09-03 10:24:22

                  Le problème n'est pas d'accepter ou pas un avis contraire.
                  Eric accepte l'exposition d'avis contraires.

                  Le problème c'est le TON de JA.
                  Ses propos sont acerbes, autoritaires et manquent de respect.
                  De plus ses accusations sont FAUSSES.
                  Personne sur ce site, et sûrement pas Eric, a le désir de créer une religion.

                  Je pense que c'est JA qui doit revoir sa façon de parler qui me choque.
                  Nous sommes des chrétiens, conduisons nous en chrétiens remplis d'amour et de sollicitude.
                  Ce serait dommage de se priver de ses très bonnes idées mais vraiment appliquons tous
                  Colossiens 4:6
                  [6]Que votre parole soit toujours accompagnée de grâce, assaisonnée de sel, afin que vous sachiez comment il faut répondre à chacun."

                  • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 10:53:32

                    I do not believe in turning anyone away, Jesus did not.

                    How can I know what God may be doing in a man's heart? Or how another man's thoughts and beliefs may sharpen my own?

                    In this way I also keep my own heart from deceiving me into thinking I can judge a man. I cannot.

                    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 11:28:06

                      We have to draw the line somewhere, but each of us must determine where to draw it. 2 John 6-11 makes it clear that there are limits to our willingness to listen to anyone.

                      Even Jesus expressed exasperation at times with hard hearted people.

                      “Therefore they began to say to him: “Who are you?” Jesus said to them: “Why am I even speaking to YOU at all? I have many things to speak concerning YOU and to pass judgment upon. As a matter of fact, he that sent me is true, and the very things I heard from him I am speaking in the world.”” (John 8:25, 26)

                      It is not for us to judge any man in this life as to whether or not he deserves salvation. However, we do have to judge his teachings. In fact, we are commanded to do that very thing.

                      Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

                      • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 11:41:42

                        (John 8:25-30) 25 Therefore they began to say to him: “Who are you?” Jesus said to them: “Why am I even speaking to YOU at all? 26 I have many things to speak concerning YOU and to pass judgment upon. As a matter of fact, he that sent me is true, and the very things I heard from him I am speaking in the world.” 27 They did not grasp that he was talking to them about the Father. 28 Therefore Jesus said: “When once YOU have lifted up the Son of man, then YOU will know that I am [he], and that I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me I speak these things. 29 And he that sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him.” 30 As he was speaking these things, many put faith in him.

                        Christ continued speaking with them and we see the reward:

                        As he was speaking these things, many put faith in him.

                        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 12:27:33

                          True, but I was using that quote to show his exasperation. To follow the logic you express, we can continue a dialog with hard hearted and unreasonable people for the good of others who are listening in and can see both sides of the discussion. However, how do we also obey Paul's advice to avoid stupid and ignorant arguments? What are your thoughts on that?

                          • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 12:39:25

                            "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers." NIV

                            • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 12:42:28

                              I don't understand your point.

                              • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 14:31:49

                                Only Christ is my Teacher.

                                • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 15:47:30

                                  I get that, but what's the point in line with the topic under discussion? We have been discussing how to deal with comments that might cross the line into what Paul calls "stupid and ignorant questionings".

                                  • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 16:16:30

                                    Because if Christ did not teach it I do not follow it.

                                    • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 16:34:38

                                      Is this not what Christ taught?

                                      • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 16:46:40

                                        Everything that has gone wrong with Christian religions is connected to their leaving Christ's teachings.

                                        • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 16:49:19

                                          Love of neighbor, love of brother, does not result in not eating with the man. Something Jesus himself did not do.

                                          • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 16:50:43

                                            Jesus sat down at the table with his enemies.

                                            • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 16:52:43

                                              Let us follow the Son of God!

                                              • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 17:11:16

                                                Am I correct then in understanding you're saying that you don't accept Paul's words, because they did not come from Jesus directly?

                                                • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 17:18:10

                                                  When Paul contradicts Christ I follow follow Christ.

                                                  • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 17:19:18

                                                    I hadn't realized you don't accept all of Scripture. Where does Paul contradict Christ?

                                                    • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 17:38:43

                                                      Christ did not teach we should not eat with brothers who are sinners.

                                                      "But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people." NIV

                                                      Jesus ate with sinners.

                                                      • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 19:22:23

                                                        Christ is beautiful then and now.

                                                        Let us not exclude.

                                                        We keep our integrity but we do not exclude our fellow man.

                                                        In order that he may see Christ and come to him..

                                                        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 19:50:09

                                                          Actually, I've just shot a video on this subject. I'll leave this discussion until that comes out and you can tell me whether you agree or not.

                                                          However, I don't agree with rejecting parts of the Bible. Paul was commissioned by Jesus as was John. The words of Jesus you cherish so much were not written by Jesus, but by four men, one of them John, and John also got the revelation from Jesus, and John tells us to have nothing to do with someone who brings a different teaching. 2 John 7-11, so we are most definitely to exclude. When Jesus told us to treat a sinner as a tax collector and a gentile, he was telling us to exclude. Sure, he ate with tax collectors on occasion, but only to preach with them. He didn't associate with them as he did with his disciples, unless they reformed.

                                                          • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 20:01:05

                                                            I respect your views and opinions.


                                                            • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 20:07:32

                                                              And I yours, of course.

                                                          • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 20:08:23

                                                            I understand.

                                                            May all you hope in Christ come to fruition.


                                                        • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 19:50:24

                                                          Feeding the poor, helping the homeless, encouraging the lost and discouraged, giving a helping hand to the disadvantaged and the poor.

                                                          This is our Christian obligation in addition to spreading the Good News.

                                                          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-03 19:57:36

                                                            It certainly is a part of it, but our obligation is to obey God, even if we find it a disagreeable thing to do. Wouldn't you agree?

                                                            • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 20:11:03


                                                            • Reply by Jack on 2020-09-03 20:17:29

                                                              Is there a place here for someone who follows Christ alone?

                                                              Don't want to bring discord.

                • Reply by Beroeans Creed on 2020-09-03 12:20:48

                  Hi Jack,
                  you make some good points, but I wasn’t suggesting JA be cut off. Jesus knew when it was time to “keep silent“ Matt.26:63 and my point to Eric was, he should not feel the need to respond to JA’s constant challenges and acquisitions, as we even Jesus reached his limit with Pharisees! On the other hand JA should apply 1 Peter 3:15 when questioned about his beliefs responding “with a mild temper and deep respect”
                  As far as making a vague comparison to the Watchtower, there is none, as we all know this type of open conversation would never have gotten started, and I believe we appreciate the fact we can have frank honest discussions and even have total opposite interpretations of scriptures but keep the spirit of love and respect for each other, even though we have never met. That to me is evidence of a group who are trying to worship Jehovah with “spirit and truth”
                  I thank Eric for making this forum possible.

                  • Reply by Chet on 2020-09-03 18:17:42

                    There is a phenomenon known as the Internet Troll. Basically, some people use the relative anonymity of the Internet as a blind for saying things they might not say in a less anonymous setting.

                    At its worst, this can be very disruptive and even lead to people leaving in disgust. When I first posted here, there was someone that appointed themselves to “correct” everything I said. I never answered, which is the absolute best solution to trolling. As to who is a troll, that’s more of an open question. Once man’s troll might be another man’s hero. It’s something we all have to answer individually.

            • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2020-09-03 16:05:20

              Hi Eric. I think the concept of time or no time is a very hard one for many to understand. I struggle with it, and really do not get it either. That may be where JA is coming from. While experiments have been carried out to prove a point, I think this is just a very difficult concept, just as seeing into the future is also an idea, which I believe is impossible. Of course, if you could travel faster than the speed of light, you may be able to conduct an experiment to prove me wrong, but I would come back and say you have proved nothing as you have simply used physics to make a point to your advantage. Very clever, but...

              Of course, I may well be wandering somewhere I do not understand.

              Love to all here.

            • Reply by Bamba64 on 2020-09-25 11:06:03

              Hi Eric, do you think that maybe we're hyperbolising this somewhat, the way I see it is that the first and last just means eternal, God is eternal, no one before "first" and no-one after the last. Let's not forget that Jesus has the same title.Rev 1:17

              • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2020-09-26 09:06:06

                I agree that both the Father and Son are eternal. We don't really have to understand how that can work, but for the nerds among us (guilty), it's always fun to try.

          • Reply by Chet on 2020-09-01 17:25:17

            You seem to miss an important point; time and space are of the material realm. We, being of that realm ourselves, are bound by that realm, both in our ability to affect change and in our ability to comprehend. The events prior to the moment when God created the material Universe cannot be measured by the standards of the material Universe. it makes logical sense that there were events before then, but these are outside our realm and literally beyond anything we can comprehend.

            Scientists whom study cosmology claim to be able to trace events back to a point they call "singularity", but even they are positively stumped by what happened before matter came into being. It's a boundary they cannot breach. Perhaps that is why Psalm 90:2 uses the term "time indefinite". It literally cannot be defined in human terms.

            One thing about time, in the material realm, is that time only flows forward. This is essential to the establishment of order. We are bound by this, and no matter what we do, we will never be able to reverse the vector of time. I, and everyone else, are aging, one second at a time and there's no slowing the process. (The passage of time can be "slowed" by traveling at high speeds, but any speed within the reach of science is such a tiny fraction of the speed of light that the effect is virtually nil.) In the spirit realm, there may be rules that are much different.

            Actually, we don't even need to go to the spirit realm to see some strange things, the quantum realm has a much different "reality" than our own, but the probabilities are such that the physical world we experience is predictable. As to the Spirit Realm, there is no way for us to say.

      • Reply by safeguardyourheart on 2020-08-30 09:56:20

        What I posted initially was nothing from me but was copied. The material is far longer than what I copied and posted here. It seems I will try and get it into a document and email it to you.

        My intent of posting the material is to see if what is contained in that material will be equally addressed as the series progresses. I believe questions that would be raised as well in the course of this series will be captured in the material.

      • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-30 21:19:17

        Time and Space are of the Material Realm. We know time as the interval between two events. It can be the events in the deterioration of a cesium atom, which is the basis for many atomic clocks, or the reckoning of high noon in a particular location, as has been used throughout human history. Either is a measurement against a physical standard.

        All matter, and even all empty space between matter, is a measurement of the physical realm. Beyond the physical realm, we have virtually zero information. There’s no way to go beyond the limitations of our senses, because these are products of the physical realm. For our Creator to communicate with us, from His realm to our realm, is astounding. We can’t comprehend what is involved, because we really don’t know how the spirit realm works.

        If there is time in the spiritual realm, it would be based upon something different from our experience. I can’t comprehend that there isn’t time in that realm, the way a fish can’t comprehend a world that isn’t filled with water.

        in spite of what science fiction would suggest, there is no way to move back and forth in time, in the physical realm. It is, in my humble opinion, a facet of the order our God has emplaced, with regard to the material realm. He, however, exists outside that realm and apparently can see forward into time. We can’t possibly comprehend the way this would work, because we are dealing with something outside our experience and outside of our comprehension.

        Where did Yehovah come from is a question I’ve been dealing with since early childhood, but I’m no closer to the answer now than I was when I was 3 years old. I’m not one bit closer, which serves only to demonstrate how impenetrable the limit between the material realm and the spirit realm actually is.

        When it comes to the Trinity Doctrine, my biggest objection are the words coequal and coeternal. If the spirit creature whom can to the material realm as Jesus of Nazareth was the only begotten Son of God, he can’t be coequal or coeternal. If neither of these conditions are true, there is no need to bundle Holy Spirit into being part of this. All three exist and what we really know is that Yehovah was the source of all life, spirit of material. But knowing that is a treasure beyond all other treasures.

        I have heard two separate, but similar anecdotes that, at least for me, bear witness to the power of knowing there is one Creator, the One True God. Both involve conversations between Christians, while in the presence of people born in the Soviet Union, which was atheistic by law. In the first anecdote a Christian visiting Russia, and speaking to a missionary that had worked there for some time, paraphrased Genesis 1:1 and a Russian that happened to be present, upon overhearing this, began to cry. When the visitor asked the missionary what was happening, he stated that the Russian had probably never heard this before.

        The second anecdote is somewhat similar, in that it involves two Christians speaking about creation in the presence of someone born in the Soviet Union and the Russian becoming quite incensed by hearing this. When questioned about the source of his anger, he wondered why such information had been kept from them.

        I can not vouch for the veracity of these anecdotes, but I find them believable and quite revealing. Knowledge that there is One Creator is extremely valuable information. It was the cornerstone of the Israelites’ belief system. It explains more than all of the scientific theories devised could ever hope to explain and it explains what we cannot otherwise explain.

        The Trinity doctrine, as taught by many churches, only serves to obscure that fact. It seeks to reduce the Creator to the level of a man that walked the earth, 2000 years ago. It confuses and obscures the identity of this Creator. In the final analysis, it detracts from the simple message of the Bible, which starts by telling us that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. To move from such a clear explanation to a confusing trinity which obscures the identity of the Creator and diminishes the impact of that very first Bible verse, and all the verses which follow it.

  • Comment by Jack on 2020-08-28 19:07:00

    Did Jesus teach the worship of himself? No.

    Jesus worshiped the One God, his Father.

    Case closed.

    • Reply by Chet on 2020-08-28 19:15:55


  • Comment by Frankie on 2020-08-30 05:45:51

    The latest Jack's comment is very good. I’d like to support this comment with seven nails into coffin of Trinity theory.

    “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
    (Matt 4:7)
    “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
    (Matt 27:46)
    “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”
    (Mark 10:18)
    “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
    (John 20:17)
    “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”
    (Ephesians 1:17)
    “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
    (Heb 1:9)
    “ Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, .... “
    (Rev 3:12)


    • Reply by Bamba64 on 2021-02-12 10:32:34

      Hi Frankie (again),
      There are many statements in scripture that speak of Jesus humanity, and there are many scriptures that speak of His Deity, we have to ask why that is?
      Do you believe that Jesus is the first and the last which is merism for eternal? The readers of this text wouldn’t have dived off into time relativity or metaphysics to explain this. They would have understood this statement to mean Jesus is eternal because He is God, he has no beginning and no end, this has to mean that Jesus was never created, otherwise how do we explain John 1:3. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
      For those that believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Yahweh the answer for us is found in Philippians 2:6... who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death.
      According to the Greek grammarian committee of the NET bible verse 6 (though he existed in the form of God) The Greek term translated form indicates a correspondence with reality. Thus the meaning of this phrase is that Christ was truly God.
      But look what happens, God becomes a man and lays aside His divine attributes and became fully man, at what point did he become a man? At the incarnation, now as a man would He be an atheist? Obviously not, so as a man He would have a God, now all these statements that you have posted make sense…
      Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
      (Matt 4:7)
      “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
      (Matt 27:46)
      “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”
      (Mark 10:18)
      “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
      (John 20:17)
      “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”
      (Ephesians 1:17)
      “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
      (Heb 1:9)
      “ Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, …. “
      (Rev 3:12)
      My theology allows me to believe all of the things spoken about Jesus. Jesus is to me as he was to Titus; my great God and Savior Titus 2:13. Notice it doesn’t say “a” god and Savior.
      Of course you won’t get that in the KJV because they were not aware of the grammatical construction called the Granville Sharp rule, we have become so much better now at understanding the biblical languages than they did when the KJV was translated.
      Of course if you insist on using the KJV we have a verse there that is used as proof text for Tri-Unitarianism 1John 5:7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
      We do not find this scripture in the modern versions as the evidence of it being a late addition is overwhelming.
      Over and over again I find non tri-Unitarians falsely misrepresenting our position, in effect they build a straw-man argument.
      So all you anti Trinitarians, do me favor, don’t quote the Nicene creed, go and do some real systematic study of our position, your eternal life is at stake, so has to be worth it.
      Remember Jesus said “John 8:24. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” Remember there is no “he” in the Greek just Ego Eimi “ "I Am”.
      Do you really believe that Jesus was saying that unless you believe that I pre-existed you will die in your sins?? There are many christ’s we have to make sure we have the right one.
      So the fuse is lit!

  • Comment by Anti-Trinitarians on 2021-02-26 15:44:30

    Hello Sorry for the language, but I have to use a translator. I would like to thank you for bringing up this very important biblical topic about whether God is a Trinity. I have been studying the subject of the Trinity for over 30 years. I learned very quickly that this was a non-biblical teaching. About 7 years ago, with a like-minded person, we started a blog https://blog.antytrynitarianie.pl/, where we try to help people know the only God, YHWH and His Son, just like you. In over 100 entries, we discuss many Bible verses that contradict the doctrine of the Trinity, as well as explain the verses that purportedly support this doctrine. If any of the readers knows Polish, we also invite you to visit our blog. We look forward to seeing your next videos exposing the falsehood of this teaching about one God in three.
    More about us in English at https://antytrynitarianie.pl/about-us/

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