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Trinity and Divinity of Jesus

The debate over the Trinity started relatively late in Christian history. It was not until the fourth century that many theologia...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Trinity , evolution of doctrine

A Formal Doctrine is Drawn Up

It is defined in Catholic Encyclopaedia as:

“The three Persons (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are Co-Equal and Co-Eternal: all alike are Uncreated and Omnipotent (supreme).”

There is no clear verse in the bible which support the doctrine of ‘Trinity’, except 1John; 5:7,8; “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.” (in some volumes this changed as : “There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree”. In the foot note of this verse in ‘New International Version Bible’ it is written; ‘not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteen century. Dr C.I, Scofield, D.D. backed by eight other D.D.’s in a footnote to this verse opine: “It is generally agreed that this verse has no manuscript authority and has been inserted.”The fundamentalist Christians still retain this fabrication whereas; in all the modern translations including the Revised Standard Version (RSV) this pious deceit has been unceremoniously expunged.

When controversy over the matter of the Trinity blew up in 318 C.E between two church men from Alexandria – Arius, the deacon, and Alexander, his bishop – Emperor Constantine stepped into the fray.
Although Christian dogma was a complete mystery to him, he did realize that a unified church was necessary for a strong kingdom.  When negotiation failed to settle the dispute, Constantine called for the first ecumenical council in Church history in order to settle the matter once and for all.
Six weeks after the 300 bishops first gathered at Nicea in 325, the doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out.  The God of the Christians was now seen as having three essences, or natures, in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Church Puts its Foot Down
The matter was far from settled, however, despite high hopes for such on the part of Constantine.  Arius and the new bishop of Alexandria, a man named Athanasius, began arguing over the matter even as the Nicene Creed was being signed; “Arianism” became a catch-word from that time onward for anyone who didn’t hold to the doctrine of the Trinity.
It wasn’t until 451, at the Council of Chalcedon that, with the approval of the Pope, the Nicene/Constantinople Creed was set as authoritative.  Debate on the matter was no longer tolerated; to speak out against the Trinity was now considered blasphemy, and such earned stiff sentences that ranged from mutilation to death.  Christians now turned on Christians, maiming and slaughtering thousands because of a difference of opinion.
Debate Continues
Brutal punishments and even death did not stop the controversy over the doctrine of the Trinity, however, and the said controversy continues even today.
The majority of Christians, when asked to explain this fundamental doctrine of their faith, can offer nothing more than “I believe it because I was told to do so.” It is explained away as “mystery” – yet the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that:
“... God is not the author of confusion ...”
The Unitarian denomination of Christianity has kept alive the teachings of Arius in saying that God is one; they do not believe in the Trinity.  As a result, mainstream Christians abhor them, and the National Council of Churches has refused their admittance.  In Unitarianism, the hope is kept alive that Christians will someday return to the preachings of Jesus:
“... Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8)
Islam and the Matter of the Trinity

While Christianity may have a problem defining the essence of God, such is not the case in Islam:
“They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity, for there is no god except One God” (Quran 5:73)
It is worth noting that the Arabic language Bible uses the name “Allah” as the name of God.
Suzanne Haneef, in her book What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims (Library of Islam, 1985), puts the matter quite succinctly when she says:
“But God is not like a pie or an apple which can be divided into three thirds which form one whole; if God is three persons or possesses three parts, He is assuredly not the Single, Unique, Indivisible Being which God is and which Christianity professes to believe in.”
Looking at it from another angle, the Trinity designates God as being three separate entities – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  If God is the Father and also the Son, He would then be the Father of Himself because He is His own Son.  This is not exactly logical.
Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion.  Monotheism, however, has as its fundamental belief that God is One; the Christian doctrine of the Trinity – God being Three-in-One – is seen by Islam as a form of polytheism.  Christians don’t revere just One God, they revere three.
This is a charge not taken lightly by Christians, however.  They, in turn, accuse the Muslims of not even knowing what the Trinity is, pointing out that the Quran sets it up as Allah the Father, Jesus the Son, and Mary his mother.  While veneration of Mary has been a figment of the Catholic Church since 431 when she was given the title “Mother of God” by the Council of Ephesus, a closer examination of the verses in the Quran most often cited by Christians in support of their accusation, shows that the designation of Mary by the Quran as a “member” of the Trinity, is simply not true.
While the Quran does condemn both Trinitarianism (the Quran 4:171; 5:73) and the worship of Jesus and his mother Mary (the Quran 5:116) , nowhere does it identify the actual three components of the Christian Trinity.  The position of the Quran is that WHO or WHAT comprises this doctrine is not important; what is important is that the very notion of a Trinity is an affront against the concept of One God.

Conclusion: 

In conclusion, we see that the doctrine of the Trinity is a concept conceived entirely by man; there is no sanction whatsoever from God to be found regarding the matter simply because the whole idea of a Trinity of divine beings has no place in monotheism.  In the Quran, God’s Final Revelation to mankind, we find His stand quite clearly stated in a number of eloquent passages:
“... your God is One God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.” (Quran 18:110)
“... take not, with God, another object of worship, lest you should be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected.” (Quran 17:39)
– because, as God tells us over and over again in a Message that is echoed throughout ALL His Revealed Scriptures:
“... I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore, serve Me (and no other) ...” (Quran 21:92)
Source: http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/600/viewall/ 
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Trinity Facts
Historical proofs as to the way the trinitarian doctrine effected the pure doctrine of the disciples. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics: As to Matthew 28:19, it says: It is the central piece of evidence for the traditional (Trinitarian) view. If it were undisputed, this would, of course, be decisive, but its trustworthiness is impugned on grounds of textual criticism, literary criticism and historical criticism.
Edmund Schlink, The Doctrine of Baptism, page 28: "The baptismal command in its Matthew 28:19 form can not be the historical origin of Christian baptism. At the very least, it must be assumed that the text has been transmitted in a form changed by the [Catholic] church."
The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, 275: "It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the exact words of Jesus, but a later liturgical addition."

The Catholic Encyclopedia, II, page 263: "The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century."
Hastings Dictionary of the Bible 1963, page 1015: "The Trinity is not demonstrable by logic or by Scriptural proofs, The term Trias was first used by Theophilus of Antioch in (AD 180), (The term Trinity) is not found in Scripture." "The chief Trinitarian text in the New Testament is the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19.This late post-resurrection saying, is not found in any other Gospel or anywhere else in the New Testament, it has been viewed by some scholars as an interpolation into Matthew. It has also been pointed out that the idea of making disciples is continued in teaching them, so that the intervening reference to baptism with its Trinitarian formula was perhaps a later insertion. Eusebius,s text ("in my name" rather than in the name of the Trinity) has had certain advocates. (Although the Trinitarian formula is now found in the modern-day book of Matthew), this does not guarantee its source in the historical teaching of Jesus. It is doubtless better to view the (Trinitarian) formula as derived from early (Catholic) Christian, perhaps Syrian or Palestinian, baptismal usage (cf Didache 7:1-4), and as a brief summary of the (Catholic) Church's teaching about God, Christ, and the Spirit."

The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: "Jesus, however, cannot have given His disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after His resurrection; for the New Testament knows only one baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:43; 19:5; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. 28:19, and then only again (in the) Didache 7:1 and Justin, Apol. 1:61.Finally, the distinctly liturgical character of the formula is strange; it was not the way of Jesus to make such formulas the formal authenticity of Matt. 28:19 must be disputed." page 435.
The Jerusalem Bible, a scholarly Catholic work, states: "It may be that this formula, (Triune Matthew 28:19) so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Man-made) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community. It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing "in the name of Jesus."
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, page 2637, Under "Baptism," says: "Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula is foreign to the mouth of Jesus."
New Revised Standard Version: In regards to Matthew 28:19. "Modern critics claim this formula is falsely ascribed to Jesus and that it represents later (Catholic) church tradition, for nowhere in the book of Acts (or any other book of the Bible) is baptism performed with the name of the Trinity."
James Moffett's New Testament Translation: In a footnote on page 64 about Matthew 28:19 he makes this statement: "It may be that this (Trinitarian) formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Catholic) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community, It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing "in the name of Jesus." Acts 1:5.

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

The Bible Commentary 1919 page 723: Dr. Peake makes it clear that: "The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal addition. Instead of the words baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost we should probably read simply-"into My Name."
Theology of the New Testament: By R. Bultmann, 1951, page 133 under Kerygma of the Hellenistic Church and the Sacraments. The historical fact that the verse Matthew 28:19 was altered is openly confesses to very plainly. "As to the rite of baptism, it was normally consummated as a bath in which the one receiving baptism completely submerged, and if possible in flowing water as the allusions of Acts 8:36, Heb. 10:22, Barn. 11:11 permit us to gather, and as Did. 7:1-3 specifically says. According to the last passage, [the apocryphal Catholic Didache] suffices in case of the need if water is three times poured on the head. The one baptizing names over the one being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," later changed to the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit."

Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church: By Dr. Stuart G. Hall 1992, pages 20 and 21. Professor Stuart G. Hall was the former Chair of Ecclesiastical History at King's College, London England. Dr. Hall makes the factual statement that Catholic Trinitarian Baptism was not the original form of Christian Baptism, rather the original was Jesus name baptism. "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," although those words were not used, as they later are, as a formula. Not all baptisms fitted this rule." Dr Hall further, states: "More common and perhaps more ancient was the simple, "In the name of the Lord Jesus or, Jesus Christ." This practice was known among Marcionites and Orthodox; it is certainly the subject of controversy in Rome and Africa about 254, as the anonymous tract De rebaptismate ("On rebaptism") shows."

The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles Volume 1, Prolegomena 1: The Jewish Gentile, and Christian Backgrounds by F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake 1979 version pages 335-337. "There is little doubt as to the sacramental nature of baptism by the middle of the first century in the circles represented by the Pauline Epistles, and it is indisputable in the second century. The problem is whether it can in this (Trinitarian) form be traced back to Jesus, and if not what light is thrown upon its history by the analysis of the synoptic Gospels and Acts.

The Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. 1923, New Testament Studies Number 5: The Lord's Command To Baptize An Historical Critical Investigation. By Bernard Henry Cuneo page 27. "The passages in Acts and the Letters of St. Paul. These passages seem to point to the earliest form as baptism in the name of the Lord." Also we find. "Is it possible to reconcile these facts with the belief that Christ commanded his disciples to baptize in the trine form? Had Christ given such a command, it is urged, the Apostolic Church would have followed him, and we should have some trace of this obedience in the New Testament. No such trace can be found. The only explanation of this silence, according to the anti-traditional view, is this the short christological (Jesus Name) formula was (the) original, and the longer trine formula was a later development."
A History of The Christian Church: 1953 by Williston Walker former Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale University. On page 95 we see the historical facts again declared. "With the early disciples generally baptism was "in the
name of Jesus Christ." There is no mention of baptism in the name of the Trinity in the New Testament, except in the command attributed to Christ in Matthew 28:19. That text is early, (but not the original) however. It underlies the Apostles' Creed, and the practice recorded (*or interpolated) in the Teaching, (or the Didache) and by Justin. The Christian leaders of the third century retained the recognition of the earlier form, and, in Rome at least, baptism in the name of Christ was deemed valid, if irregular, certainly from the time of Bishop Stephen (254-257)."
The reference that was made to Ratzinger is incorrect. The text he was referring to was not Matthew 28:19. Ratzinger was referring to "The Apostles Creed". Go to http://books.google.com/books/about/Introduction_to_Christianity.html?id=LJlkwvExekkC and read pages 82-83 and you will clearly see the "text" he is referring to is indeed The Apostles Creed.

"The Demonstratio Evangelica" by Eusebius: Eusebius was the Church historian and Bishop of Caesarea. On page 152 Eusebius quotes the early book of Matthew that he had in his library in Caesarea. According to this eyewitness of an unaltered Book of Matthew that could have been the original book or the first copy of the original of Matthew. Eusebius informs us of Jesus' actual words to his disciples in the original text of Matthew 28:19: "With one word and voice He said to His disciples: "Go, and make disciples of all nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsover I have commanded you." That "Name" is Jesus.
See Daniel 8:9,12 and 2Tim 4:3.  
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ATrinity/old1

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