Subject: Re: Trinity * Biblical or unbiblical?*
Date: Thu, Jan 22, 1998 13:35 EST
From: LDSApolog
Message-id: <>

Norm... :)

<< LDSA, To say the Trinity is "unbiblical" causes me to doubt that you have read the bible independently of Mormon studies or teachings. >>

Contemporary Christian scholars from almost every denomination and religious persuasion are united in admitting the non-biblical origin of the doctrine of the Trinity. Here is what some of them have to say:

"Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as others, presents a somewhat unsteady sillouette. Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Bibical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic

theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century." (R.L.Richard, "Trinity, Holy", in New Catholic Encyclopedia, 15 vols.)

"The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the 4th and 5th centuries is not to be found in the New Testament". (Harper's Bible Dictionary)

"There is no formal doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament writers, if this means an explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal divine persons. But the three are there, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and a triadic ground plan is there, and triadic formulas are there... The Bibical witness to God, as we have seen, did not contain any formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, any explicit teachin that in one God there are three co-equal divine persons." (Jesuit Scholar Edmund J. Fortman, "Triune God", pp. 32,35)

"These passages give no doctrine of the Trinity... Paul has no formal Trinitarian doctrine and no clear-cut realization of a Trinitarian problem......there is no trinitarian doctrine in the Synoptics or Acts... nowhere do we find any trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead" (Fortman, "Triune God", pp. 22-23)

"Of a doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense there is OF COURSE no sign..." (J.N.D.Kelly, "Early Christian Doctrines")

"The God whom we experience as triune is, in fact, triune. But we cannot read back into the New Testament, much less the Old Testament, the more sophisticated trinitarian theology and doctrine which slowly and often unevenly developed over the course of some fifteen centuries." (Richard P. McBrian, "Catholicism", Minneapolis: Winston Press, 1980, pg. 347)

"Thus the New Testament itself is far from any doctrine of the Trinity or of a triune God who is three co-equal Persons of One Nature." (William J. Hill, "The Three-Personed God", Washington DC, The Catholic University of America Press, 1982, p. 27)

"The New Testament does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity." ("New Testament Theology", Grand Rapids MI, Zondervan, 1967, Vol 1, p. 84)

"All this underlines the point that primitive Christianity did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity such as was subsequently elaborated in the creeds of the early church." (James L. Barker, "Apostacy From the Divine Church", Salt Lake City UT, 1960, p. 44)

"When we turn to the problem of the doctrine of the Trinity, we are confronted by a peculiarly contradictory situation. On the one hand, the history of Christian theology and of dogma teaches us to regard the dogma of the Trinity as the distinctive element in the Christian idea of God, that which distinguishes it from the idea of God in Judaism and in Islam, and indeed, in all forms of rational Theism. Judaism, Islam, and rational Theism are Unitarian. On the other hand, we must honestly admit that the doctrine of the Trinity did NOT form part of the early Christian-New Testament-message. Certainly, it cannot be denied that not only the word "Trinity", but even the EXPLICIT IDEA of the Trinity is absent from the apostolic witness of the faith.. The doctrine of the Trinity itself, however, is not a Biblical Doctrine..." (Emil Brunner, "The Christian Doctrine of God", Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1949, pp. 205 & 236)

"In order to argue sucessfully for the unconditionality and permanence of the ancient Trinitarian Creeds, it is necessary to make a distinction between doctrines, on the one hand, and on the terminology and conceptuality in which they were formulated on the other... Some of the crucial concepts employed by these creeds, such as "substance", "person", and "in two natures" are postbiblical novelties. If these particular notions are essential, the doctrines of these creeds are clearly conditional, dependent on the LATE HELLENISTIC MILIEU. (George A. Lindbeck, Professon of Historical Theology, Yale University, "The Nature of Doctrine", Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1984, p. 92)

"Let us return to the second century, when it was first sensed that the formulations of the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers were not sufficient to describe the nature of the divinity. A new way of doing this was attempted. Thus the so-called Monarchian controversy occurred... In addition to the Modalists (such as Sabellius), for whom Christ and the Holy Spirit were modes in which one Godhead appeared, there the Dynamists or Adoptionists, who conceived of Christ either as a man who was raised up by being adopted by God, or as a man filled with God's power." (Kurt Aland, "A History of Christianity", Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985, Volume 1, p. 190)

"This [John 10:30-The Father and I are One] was a key verse in the early Trinitarian controversies. On the one extreme, the Monarchians (Sabellians) interpreted it to mean "one person", although the "one" is neuter, not masculine. On the other extreme, the Arians interpreted this text, which was often used against them, in terms of moral unity of will. The Protestant commentator Bengel, following Augustine, sums up the Orthodox position: "Through the word "are" Sabellius is refuted; through the word "one" so is Arius.." [In the Gospel of] John... all these relationships between Father and Son are described in function of the Son's dealings with men. It would be up to the work of later theologians to take this gospel material pertaining to the mission of the Son AD EXTRA and draw from it a theology of the inner life of the Trinity". (Raymond E. Brown, "The Gospel According to John I-XII", Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co. Inc., pp. 403 & 407).

"The exact theological definition of the doctrine of the Trinity was the result of a long process of development, which was not complete until the 5th century, or even later." (J.R.Dummelow)

Now. Are you going to accuse all of THESE men of "causing me to doubt that [they] have read the bible independently of Mormon studies or teachings."????

Food for thought, eh? :)

LDS do *NOT* deny the existence of a Triune God, Norm.. what we deny is the HOMOUSIOUS doctrines (among others) that were invented during the Council of Nicea during the 4th century, which are patently, and admittedly (as you can see), unbiblical. :)

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