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Mistaken Greek Philosophy

by Joel Hemphill

 

Dear Friends:

 

Greetings in the wonderful name of Jesus our Savior.

 

I am continuing my study of the Doctrine of the Trinity and since I believe you are a sincere seeker for truth, I wanted to share more of my findings with you. I was formerly Oneness but now see that according to a proper understanding of Scripture, Oneness and Trinitarians alike have been seriously mistaken as to whom the one Most High God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is. Please study carefully the words of our Lord Jesus himself.

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord " (not three Lord's - God is not a committee!) (Mark 12:29).

 

"Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one , that is God " (Matt. 19:17).

 

"How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from the one and only God ...the Father ?" (John 5:44-45 NASB).

 

" Father ...this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God , and Jesus Christ, who thou hast sent" (John 17:1, 3). Will you agree with Jesus as to whom "the only true God" is?

 

"These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God " (Rev. 3:14). . The word "beginning" is "arche" in the Greek and means "a commencement - to commence."

 

Listen to the Apostle Paul .

"But to us there is but one God, the Father ...and one Lord Jesus Christ" (Paul speaking) (I Cor. 8:6).

 

" One God and Father of all, who is above all ..." (Paul speaking) (Eph. 4:6).

 

"For there is one God , and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5).

 

"Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one " (Gal. 3:20).

 

"Now unto the King eternal , immortal, invisible , the one wise God , be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen (I Tim. 1:17).

 

Jesus was not invisible, he was seen by thousands. He is "king of kings" (Rev. 19:16) and "prince of the kings of the earth" (Rev. 1:5), but his God and Father is "the king of heaven" (Daniel 4:37; Ps. 48:2; Matt. 5:35; Luke 10:21; Acts 17:24).

 

Since the doctrine of the "Oneness" and the "Trinity" are not biblical concepts, Christianity has been forced to turn to non biblical language and terminology to teach them.

 

Trinitarian Professor Shirley C. Guthrie , Jr. writes in his best selling book "Christian Doctrine:"

" The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity . Neither the word 'trinity' itself nor such language as 'one-in-three,' 'three-in-one,' 'one essence' (or "substance"), and three 'persons' is biblical language. The language of the doctrine is the language of the ancient church taken from classical Greek philosophy " (p. 76-77). " The doctrine of the Trinity is not found in the Bible " (p. 80). Again , "...the language of the ancient church (not the N.T. church) taken from classical Greek philosophy ."

 

Listen to Southern Baptist theologian Millard J. Erickson, writing in his book on the Trinity, "God In Three Persons:"

"Another difficulty stems from the categories used by those who worked out the doctrine of the Trinity that the church adopted . They used Greek categories such as substance, essence, and person, which had corresponding Latin concepts when translated into the forms of thinking that characterized the Eastern church. Over the years, questions have been raised regarding those concepts. One contention is that the Trinity is simply a product of those ancient Greek categories. It is not present in biblical thought, but arose when biblical thought was pressed into this foreign mold. Thus, the doctrine of the Trinity goes beyond and even distorts what the Bible says about God. It is a Greek philosophical , not a Hebraic biblical , concept" (p. 19-20). "It is customary to assume that the major philosophical influence on the Greek (Church) fathers was Plato and the Stoics" (p. 259).

 

I believe you will agree that the following terms used frequently in teaching the doctrines of the "Oneness" and "Trinity" are not biblical terminology.

  

Trinity
Triune
Triad
Blessed Trinity
Holy Trinity
God the Son
Second person of the Trinity
Third person of the Trinity
First person of the Trinity
God the Holy Spirit
The eternal Son of God
Eternally begotten
God incarnate
God in flesh
Incarnation
God-man
Dual nature
Double nature
Two natures
Jehovah Jesus
Very God and very man
Fully God and fully man
Eternally proceeding
The deity of Christ

 

There is not one verse of Scripture that says that God is "three" of anything! Not:

Three co-equal, co-eternal persons
Three persons of one essence
One God in three persons
Three essences of one person
Three persons of God
God in three persons
Eternal three
Three in one God
Three God's
Three Spirit's
Three divinities
Three persons
Three modes
Three beings
Three substances
Three agents
Three attributes
Three offices
Three entities
Three infinite minds

 

 

The only verse in the Bible that uses the word "three" in reference to God is I John 5:7, "and these three are one," has been proven by biblical scholars to be a later insertion and was not written by John.

Respected Trinitarian Evangelical Biblical scholar Prof. Charles C. Ryrie, writing in his well known work "Basic Theology" admits:

"The N.T. contains no explicit statement of the doctrine of the triunity of God (since "these three are one" in I John 5:7 is apparently not a part of the genuine text of Scripture )" (p. 60). It is fair to say that the Bible does not clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity . In fact, there is not even one proof text , if by proof text we mean a verse or passage that 'clearly' states that there is one God who exists in three persons" (p. 89). "The above illustrations prove the fallacy of concluding that if something is not proof texted in the Bible we cannot clearly teach the results... If that were so, I could never teach the doctrine of the Trinity or the deity of Christ or the deity of the Holy Spirit " (p. 90).

 

The NIV text notes say of I John 5:7:

"The addition is not found in any Greek manuscript or NT translation prior to the sixteenth century" (p. 1913). That is why this verse is not found in the NIV, NASB, NRSV, ESV, or the NLT.

 

I found where the word " one " is used regarding the Most High God (God the Father), at least sixty-seven times in Holy Scripture, including Deuteronomy 6:4 and Mark 12:29:

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" (not three Lord's).

 

This is the Creed of Israel given to them by God through Moses, and it never has and never will be changed. Jesus is the supernaturally conceived, virgin-born Son of God; savior, redeemer, Messiah and the only way to God, but he is not God. To make him so is to take glory from his Father, the Supreme God. God the Father is not jealous of His Son, but He is for sure jealous of His glory.

"My glory will I not give to another" (Isa. 42:8).

 

"I will not give my glory unto another" (Isa. 48:11).

 

Jesus has his own awesome glory.

"The Son of man...shall come in his own glory " (Luke 9:26).

"Ought not Christ (Messiah) to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory " (Luke 24:26).

 

"Father...that they may behold my glory , which thou gavest me" (John 17:24).

 

"We beheld his glory , the glory as of the only begotten of the Father" (John speaking) (John 1:14).

 

Much of the reason for the confusion regarding the person of the one Most High God lies in our misunderstanding of the first fourteen verses of John's Gospel. Note this strong admission by Trinitarian scholar Dr. Colin Brown in his work "Trinity and Incarnation: In Search of Contemporary Orthodoxy:"

"It is a common but patent misreading of the opening of John's Gospel to read it as if it said: 'In the beginning was the Son and the Son was with God and the Son was God.' What has happened here is the substitution of Son for Word , and thereby the Son is made a member of the Godhead which existed from the beginning."

 

Precious friends, please study these things carefully and prayerfully as God has given you the mental and spiritual ability to know Him as well as His virgin born son Jesus Christ. We will all be judged by whether we preached "the word," or the concepts of men and mistaken tradition.

 

I would be very happy to hear from you regarding this most important subject.

 

Love In Christ Jesus,

Joel Hemphill

 

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