THE FIVE BASIC DOCTRINES
The five basic doctrines of the Christian faith are taken from a book called “The Fundamentals” edited by R.A. Torrey with contributors such as H.A. Ironside and C.I. Scofield. In 1909, God led two Christian laymen to set aside a large sum of money for issuing twelve volumes which would set forth the fundamentals of the Christian faith. These were called The Fundamentals, and consisted of messages written by well-known defenders of the faith from several different denominations. These twelve volumes of The Fundamentals were mailed free to over 300,000 ministers, missionaries and other Christian workers in different parts of the world. The response was far beyond any expectation. The Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) through its publication, The King’s Business printed additional copies to meet the demand and finally combined the volumes into a four volume set which was also widely circulated. It was written as a defense of the Christian faith against liberalism, but holds true today in serving as a helpful aid in distinguishing heresy from truth.
There are five basic doctrines of the Christian Church. These doctrines put into simple language the basic theology of our faith, taking into account the full teaching of the Word of God in context. Without these five doctrines any individual cannot consider themselves to be a Bible believing, Christ centered, Spirit baptized, Christian. Please understand that we believe that there are many, many Christians today from varied backgrounds and denominations who fully believe and teach the five core doctrines of the faith. These doctrines permeate their teaching at every level. We also recognize that there are many false teachers today who call themselves “Christians” but deny one or more of these core doctrines by teaching explicitly or implicitly against them.
Is the gospel then hopelessly confusing? Not so, for even children can believe because the Bible says:
Tit 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
Lu 18:16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Ro 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
However, those that were addressed with this admonition had the true gospel preached to them, as it certainly was in Acts:
Ac 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”
A child can believe if the true gospel, which always includes correct teaching on the five basic doctrines even at their most basic, has been presented to them.
For instance, if you ask a young child who are the persons of God, he would be able to say Father, Son and Holy Spirit if he had been taught that in his church. If you ask him whether Jesus was just a man or just God he would likely answer that Jesus was both God and man, even though none of us can fully understand that concept. If you asked him how we are saved, he would probably respond that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. If you ask him if Jesus only came once, he would probably say that Jesus is coming again. If you ask him why the Bible is so important, he would say that the Bible is God’s Word. So even a very young child who has been taught the basics of the gospel can answer these fundemental questions correctly. But you would find that children of cults and false churches do not answer these questions correctly.
However, even if children believe they can still choose to listen to false doctrine and become deceived, as can older people. Those who are taught false doctrine, a false concept of Christ, the Godhead, salvation, His second coming, and the authority of Scripture cannot be saved unless they believe the true gospel:
Mt 15:9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’
1Co 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
Ga 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
How many have “believed in vain” is only for God to know for sure, but we can know false teachers by their false teachings if we compare them with the Word of God and the teachings of Christ who was Himself the Word incarnate.
Can anyone, even a child be saved? Yes!
Can they be led astray by false teaching? Yes.
2Co 11:3-4 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
Lu 21:8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming,
I am he,' andThe time is near.’ Do not follow them.
1Ti 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Ro 11:22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
We must continue in the grace of God not abandoning the true knowledge of Him to go after carnal lusts and false teaching that people would rather hear than the truth.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
There are many Christian doctrines, but these five doctrines are primary. Any Christian or non Christian who does not hold to these doctrines is not really a “Christian” at all because he does not understand and has not believed in the full Gospel message, the law of Christ. If a person or movement or cult or religion is teaching anything that goes against or undermines these five doctrines, true Christians are to rebuke them (if they claim to be Christians) and, if they do not repent, are commanded by the Lord in His Word to separate themselves from them. They are to be considered the same as anyone else who is in need of repentance through hearing and believing the true gospel and by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. They are not our brothers in Christ until they believe in the true Gospel which is wrapped up in these five basic doctrines. This is a clear Scriptural mandate.
I am not some great theologian. The subject of the core doctrines is far beyond my small ability to explain fully. But in a sense we are all called to be theologians.
Ac 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
2 Tim. 4:3-5 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Ro 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Doctrine is being put down by many people today, by Christians and non Christians alike. They not only put the idea of doctrine down but they twist the Scriptures to say what they want it to say to uphold their own false beliefs. This is hypocritical.
2Pe 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, whichignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
There are religions that do not even care about the Word of God. There are cults that pretend to care but do not hold to even the basic things taught there. There are also those, such as talked about by Peter, who distort the Word and pretend to be Christians but are really wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Mt 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Ac 20:29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
These wolves are here today and I will give them names and faces as we continue to study, proving from God’s Word that they are pretenders because they have denied one or more of the basic doctrines of Christianity.
Doctrine is THE MOST important thing!
Doctrine is simply what you believe.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 7.
If what you believe differs from what the Word of God says, you are in error in your doctrine. There is no person alive today who does not hold to doctrines. They may pretend to be free of doctrine and just “feeling” their way around the world, but they hold to doctrines just as tightly as you and I do. They just don’t realized how much they have been deceived by the enemy, by others, and by allowing themselves to be deceived.
THE FIVE BASIC DOCTRINES
- The Trinity: God is one “What” and three “Whos” with each “Who” possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.
- The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.
- The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
- Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
- The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.
The major religions of the world all deny all of these major doctrines. The cults deny one or more, usually more than one and especially the dual nature of Christ. The wolves who pretend to be Christians today involved in the Third Wave, New Wave, New Age counterfeit revival pretend to believe these doctrines but don’t let them fool you. By what they teach they also deny one or more of these doctrines, and in fact I have more than one article that proves that many of them deny them ALL by what they teach. These are the most slick and dangerous pretenders of all. I will show by the end of this study which ones they go against, and that it is not just one of the five but ALL FIVE. I have already proven that the men mentioned later are false teachers by quotes, recording transcripts and video and by comparing them with Scripture just like the Bereans compared with Scripture everything Paul was teaching them. These facts are readily available on our Deception In The Church web site at:
There are other doctrines that are also very important and a few I think ought to be added to this list, but I am not a learned man and I leave that to others more wise than I. I would add, for instance, that a Christian must believe that he was baptized and sealed with the Holy Spirit when He believed and was born again as it says in the Scriptures.
1Co 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Eph. 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.
2 Cor. 2:21-22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Those who teach that you need a second “baptism” or “anointing” that is transferable with human hands are in grievous and dangerous error. But actually their false teaching on the person and work of the Holy Spirit comes from a false teaching on the Trinity because many of them treat the Holy Spirit as an “it”, a substance rather than the third person of the Trinity. So because of that they say they can throw the Spirit around the room, press Him into people’s foreheads, etc. They deny by their actions and doctrine that the Holy Spirit is God and is all powerful, sovereign, omnipresent, omniscient, unchangeable. So again we come back to the basic doctrines of the Faith that we will be studying.
It is also important to note a few other things before we start.
(1) There are secondary doctrines, or minor issues, on which we as Christians can debate but we must not separate over in terms of disfellowshipping or excommunicating, in the sense that we no longer consider someone to be our brother in Christ. There are denominations for people of like mind who have disagreed over secondary doctrines and find it more comfortable to be with those of like mind. That is fine as long as it does not lead to walls being built against fellowship and to no debate on these issues, which in some unfortunate cases it has. That is wrong. We are still one by virtue of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We need to be very careful to “major on the majors and minor on the minors”. That is why I am doing this study, to give you the majors so you can compare teaching you hear with the major doctrines of the faith.
Some secondary doctrines would be:
(a) Eschatology – what will happen in the end times and when the return of Christ will be, except where it denies that Christ will return bodily to rule and judge.
(b) Bible versions – which one is a better translation. There are very bad translations out there that we should not use, but there are also good ones and some disagree on them. But there are also some who have made this a very big divisive issue in the Church. I do not agree with those who hold to a strict elitist view of KJV-Only, for instance.
(c) Eternal Security versus Conditioal Security. Though this is a very important issue and I happen to disagree with both extreme sides of the Calvinism versus Arminianism debate, it is still not an issue to divide over, unless you begin to deny salvation by grace alone or clear teaching from Scripture on other points.
(d) Method of Water Baptism – immersion or sprinkling, which has the stronger picture in the Bible?
(e) Method of the Lord’s Supper some pass around small cups and bread, some have everyone drink from one cup, some serve real wine, some serve grape juice or even other juice, some serve regular bread and some serve unleavened bread. I can tell you what my preferences are because of the pictures I see in the account of the Last Supper in the Bible, but to separate of this kind of issue would be wrong. Unless you begin to say that Jesus is crucified again and His blood and flesh is actually brought to life. This denies that Jesus Christ is with the Father in His resurrection body as well as going against Heb. 6:6 in crucifying Christ all over again. Over the Mass we separate with the false religion of Catholicism.
(2) We are called to be discerning and judge right from wrong as Christians, unlike what many false teachers are teaching today. Let’s do a short study to understand that we are to put teaching and prophesy to the test today, just like in the time of the early Church, and back into the Old Testament.
A STUDY ON JUDGING
Read an excellent article on the subject of the words used in the Bible for “judge”.
Paul to the Corinthians –
1Co 10:15 I speak to sensible people; JUDGE for yourselves what I say.
Paul on JUDGING people in the church who are sexually immoral, etc. –
1Co 5:11-13 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to JUDGE those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
John says we are to test, that also means judge, use our judgment –
1Jo 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but TEST the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
If a person or even a whole movement is found to have a different spirit and false prophets, God pleads with us to leave that movement or individual behind.
Re 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7: 1). Every Scripture verse should be read in its context, if we are to properly understand the true meaning. In vs. 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that v. 1 is referring to hypocritical judgment. A brother who has a beam in his own eye should not be judging the brother who may have a mote in his eye. The lesson is plain, you cannot judge another for his sin if you are guilty of the same sin.
Those who cling to “Judge not, that ye be not judged, ” to condemn those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing… ” (v. 15). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? If we know the false prophets, how can we fail to warn the sheep of these “ravening wolves?” All through the Bible we find proof that they should be identified and exposed.
More verses for you to consider –
John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Another one —
A fornicator is described in I Cor. 5:1-13. Paul “judged” (v.3) the man even though he was absent, and he told the Church at Corinth that they were to “judge” (v. 12) those that were within. The Greek word for “judge” is the same here as in Matt. 7: 1. Paul did not violate “judge not, that ye be not judged, ” in judging the man, nor in instructing the Church to judge also. All of this judgment was according to the Word of God.
Is it right to expose error in the church? YES!
We are to TRY them.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4: 1).
All doctrine and teachers are to be tried according to the Word of God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Every message, messenger, and method is to be judged according to the Word of God. The church at Ephesus was commended because they had “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars ” (Rev. 2:2). The church at Pergamos was rebuked because they tolerated those that held “the doctrine of Balaam, ” and “the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate” (Rev. 2:14,15). It is never right to tolerate false teachers, but they are to be tried by the Word of God, and exposed. Of course those who want to disobey the Word of God will seek by every means to avoid this teaching.
We are to MARK them and AVOID them.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them ” (Rom. 16:17).
Those whose conduct and teaching contradicts the Word of God are to be marked and to be avoided. This requires discernment and judgment in the light of the Bible. The Third Wave movement will resist any effort to obey this Scripture. They cannot be marked and avoided, unless they are judged according to the Word of God.
We are to REBUKE them.
“Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith ” (Titus 1: 13).
This was written to Titus, because there were those going from house to house and subverting whole houses with false doctrine (v. 10-16). Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller, Pat Robertson, John Kilpatrick, Steve Hill, and others are subverting whole houses with their false doctrine today. Are we to sit silently by, while they do this, without rebuking and admonishing people to avoid their teaching? No, the faithful servant of the Lord is to be “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9).
We are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with them.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them ” (Eph. 5:11).
Reprove means to censure, condemn, find fault, rebuke, and to refute. How can we obey this Scripture unless we try them by the Word of God?
We are to WITHDRAW from them.
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh DISORDERLY, and not after the tradition which ye received of us ” (II Thess. 3:6).
We are to withdraw from those whose doctrine and conduct does not conform to the Word of God. The context clearly shows that obedience to sound doctrine is what Paul has in mind, for he says, “if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet, count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (II Thess. 3:14-15). Paul admonished Timothy to “withdraw thyself ” from those who “consent not to wholesome words … and to the doctrine which is according to godliness” (I Tim. 6:3-5).
We are to TURN AWAY from them.
Concerning the last days, he says that some will have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. From such turn away” for such people are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (11 Tim. 3:5,7).
How can we turn away from them if we do not identify them, and this requires that their message be compared to the Word of God. It is the business of the true preacher to: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine ” (II Tim. 4:2). This is usually an unpopular and thankless task but it is the duty of the God-called man. If a movement does not preach the gospel, adding NOTHING, then that movement has no real power because “it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Rom. 1:16 The displays of power in this movement are false signs and wonders. The real power of God is the power to change lives. Angels rejoice when a sinner repents. There is no mention in Scripture about angels rejoicing over signs and wonders. They know what a real miracle is.
We are NOT to RECEIVE them into our house.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds ” (11 John 10, 11).
There is no doubt about who John is speaking about, it is ” Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ… ” (v.9). By radio, TV, music and literature, false prophets are brought into the homes of many Christians today. Even by e-mail. This should not be.
We are to REJECT HERETICS.
“A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject ” (KJV) (Titus 3: 10).
We should reject those who teach a different atonement through Christ, as do Word-Faith prosperity gospel teachers. If you doubt, read Hanegraaff’s book “Christianity In Crisis” and read their statements. There are many who deny this and other basic doctrines and tenets of the Christian faith from the Word of God. If they will not respond to being admonished, then they are to be rejected.
We are to look out for those who preach another gospel. Paul warned about those who preached “another Jesus … another spirit … or another gospel” (II Cor. 11:4). How can we know them unless we judge their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God? Paul called such preachers “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (11 Cor. II: 13). He explains in v. 14-15 that these preachers are the ministers of Satan. The God-called man must be just as faithful today in exposing the ministers of Satan.
Paul warned the Galatians about those who “pervert the gospel of Christ.” He also said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (See Gal. 1:6-9). Many televangelists and Third Wave leaders today are preaching a perverted gospel. Just read their books, listen to their tapes, watch them on TV. They expose themselves for who they are because they have departed from the authority of the Word. Those who teach salvation by baptism, or by works, or by signs and wonders, are teaching a perverted gospel. Those who preach a salvation that you can lose, are preaching a perverted gospel. The Third Wave movement is preaching a perverted gospel. Yet, we are supposed to cooperate with them in evangelism and Christian work, according to many today. If we fail to expose these false teachers and prophets, then we have betrayed Christ and His gospel.
We are to SEPARATE from them.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch no the unclean thing; and I will receive you ” (II Cor. 6:17).
This makes it plain. God’s people are to come out of apostasy and religious error. How can any Bible believer remain in the National Council or World Council of Churches? How can they remain in a movement that is bringing demonic control into the churches of the world, splitting apart families, bringing nightmares to children, bringing epilepsy and other abnormalities to otherwise healthy individuals, bringing the teaching of the “second blessing” to a whole new low whereby every Christian must now exhibit demonic manifestations to be considered holy?
Consider these things.
PART I – THE TRINITY
The Trinity, or the Triune nature of God, is a very hard thing to explain. I looked for illustrations and could not find any that help us to really understand how God can be three persons in one. But I did find one illustration that helps us to see how our understanding of God may be limited to the fact that we live in space and time, whereas God is outside those limits and “the heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain (Him)” as it says in I Kings 8:27.
Illustration (draw example):
C.S. Lewis likened our concept of Trinity to our concept of space. We live in three dimensions. In one dimension there are only single lines. In two dimensions single lines can make a flat object (length and width). Single lines of the first dimension have not been done away with but now are used in a much more complex way to draw a square or rectangle. In three dimensions that same square can now become a cube, like a sugar cube (length, width and depth). Nothing has been done away with but now is given added meaning. The three dimensional world is what we live in and look how much depth and meaning there is added to simple one dimensional things like a dot or line. When you go on to the next dimension you do not leave behind the former things but add to them. They become more complex. We cannot fully understand the next dimension of the spiritual, but we can understand the basic concepts. This is what it is like to try to understand the Trinity. We know part of the picture, but we have no way to even imagine the rest.
The Trinity: God is one “What” and three “Whos” with each “Who” possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.
“What” is: some object or thing that exists, may have intelligence, power, life, not a person God, Deity
“Who” is: a person, a personality, a separate being, in God possessing all the attributes of both “What” (Deity) and “Who” (Personality) Father, Son, Holy Spirit
The “What” and “Whos” make one “God”.
Our finite minds cannot understand how the Triune nature of God can exist, but we can understand by faith that the Word of God tells us that God is one “What” and three “Whos”.
2Co 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight.
It is vitally important that all teaching in the church affirm and teach the Trinity because so many doctrines of the Church would not be true without this basic understanding.
The one “What” and three “Whos” that make up our Almighty God together and separately are mentioned as having created the universe. This is one of the many proofs of the Trinity.
God (“What”) created the universe: Gen. 1:1
Father (“Who”) created the universe: Mal. 2:10, Mt. 25:34
Son (“Who”) created the universe: Col. 1:15-16, Heb. 1:2, Mt. 13:35
Spirit (“Who”) created the universe: Ps. 104:30, Job 33:4, Jn. 6:63
There are many direct proof texts in the New Testament for the Trinty.
Ga. 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
Mt. 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
1 John 5:7-9 For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.
King James Version adds:
1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. (NKJ)
We also have this verse:
2 Cor. 13:14 [May] the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (NAS)
A very important proof is when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist:
Matt. 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Even in the Old Testament we find proof of two persons of the Triune nature of God.
Prov. 30:4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and the name of His son? Tell me if you know!
STUDY ON THE TRINITY
I – There Is One God
A. One God: Explicit Statements1. OT: Deut. 4:35; 39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32; Isa. 37:20: 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5; 14;21-22; 46:9
2. NT: John 5:44; Rom. 3:30; 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25B. None like God (in His essence)1. Explicit statements: Ex. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kgs. 8:23; 1 Chr. 17:20; Psa. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25: 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Micah 7:18
2. Being like God a Satanic lie: Gen. 3:5; Isa. 14:14; John 8:44
3. Fallen man become “like God” only in that he took upon himself to know good and evil, not that he acquired godhood: Gen. 3:22C. Only one true God: 2 Chr. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20-21
- All other “gods” are therefore false gods (idols), not gods at all: Deut. 32:21; 1 Sam. 12:21; Psa. 96:5; Isa. 37:19; 41:23-24, 29; Jer. 2:11; 5:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 8:4; 10:19-20
- Demons, not gods, are the power behind false worship: Deut. 32:16-17; Psa. 106:37; 1 Cor. 10:20; Gal. 4:8
- How men are meant to be “like God”
- The image of God indicates that man is to represent God and share His moral character, not that man can be metaphysically like God: Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 1 Cor. 11:7; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10
- The goals of being like Christ has the following aspects only:
a. Sharing His moral character: 1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:29
b. Being raised with glorified, immortal bodies like His: phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:49
- Becoming partakers of the divine nature refers again to moral nature (“having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust”), not metaphysical nature: 2 Pet. 1:4; see also Heb. 12:10; on the meaning of “partakers,” see 1 Cor. 10:18, 20; 2 Cor. 1:17; 1 Pet. 5:1G. Are mighty or exalted men gods?1. Scripture never says explicitly that men are gods
- Powerful, mighty men are explicitly said not to be gods: Ezek. 28:2, 9; Isa. 31:3; 2 Thess. 2:4
- Men and God are opposite, exclusive categories: Num. 23:19; Isa. 31:3; Ezek. 28:2; Hosea 11:9; Matt. 19:26; John 10:33; Acts 12:22; 1 Cor. 14:2
- Moses was “as God,” not really a god: Ex. 4:16; 7:1
- Ezek. 32:21 speaks of warriors or soldiers as “mighty gods,” but in context they are so regarded by their pagan nations, not by God or Israel; cf. Ezek. 28:2, 9
- The elohim before whom accused stood in Exodus was God Himself, not judges, as many translations incorrectly render: Ex. 22:8-9, 28; compare Deut. 19:17
7 .The use of elohim in Psalm 82, probably in reference to wicked judges, as cited by Jesus in John 10:34-36, does not mean that men really can be gods.a. It is Asaph, not the Lord, who calls the judges elohim in Psa. 82:1, 6. This is important, even though we agree that Psa. 82 is inspired.
b. Asaph’s meaning is not “Although you are gods, you will die like men,” but rather “I called you gods, but in fact you will all die like the men that you really are”
c. The Psalmist was no more saying that wicked judges were truly gods than he was saying that they were truly “sons of the Most High” (v. 6b)
d. Thus, Psa. 82:1 calls the judges elohim in irony. They had quite likely taken their role in judgment (cf. point 5 above) to mean they were elohim, or gods, and Asaph’s message is that these so-called gods were mere men who would die under the judgment of the true elohim (vss. 1-2, 7-8)
e. Christ’s use of this passage in John 10:34-36 does not negate the above interpretation of Psalm 82
f. The words, “The Scripture cannot be broken,” means “the Scripture cannot go without having some ultimate fulfillment” (cf. John 7:23; Matt. 5:17). Thus Jesus is saying that what the OT judges were called in irony, He is in reality; He does what they could not do, and is what they could never be (see the Adam-Christ contrasts in Rom. 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45 for a similar use of OT Scripture)
g. The clause, “those against whom the word of God came” (John 10:35) shows that this “word” was a word of judgment against the so-called gods; which shows that they were false gods, not really gods at all
h. Finally, these wicked men were certainly not “godlike” or “divine” by nature, so that in any case the use of elohim to refer to them must be seen as figurative, not literal8. Even if men were gods (which they are not), this would be irrelevant to Jesus, since He was God as a preexistent spirit before creation: John 1:1H. Are angels Gods?1. Scripture never explicitly states that angels are gods
- Demonic spirits are not gods, 1 Cor. 10:20; Gal.4:8; thus, being “mighty spirits” does not make angels gods
- Satan is therefore also a false god: 2 Cor. 4:4
- Psalm 8:5 does not teach that angels are godsa. Psa. 8:5 is paraphrased in Heb. 2:7, not quoted literally (cf. Psa. 68:18 with Eph. 4:8). In Psa. 8:5, elohim certainly means God, not angels, since Psa. 8:3-8 parallels Gen. 1:1, 8 16, 26-28. Note that the Psalmist is speaking of man’s exalted place in creation, whereas Hebrews is speaking of the lower place taken by Christ in becoming a man. Thus, Heb. 2:7 may not mean to equate angels with gods at all.
b. Even if Heb. 2:7 does imply that angels are “gods,” in the context of Hebrews 1-2 these angels would be those falsely exalted above Christ: Note Heb. 1:6 (which quotes Psa. 97:7, which definitely speaks of “gods” in the sense of false gods); and cf. Col. 2:16 on the problem of the worship of angels5. Elsewhere in the Psalms angels, if spoken of as gods (or as “sons of the gods”), are considered false gods: Psa. 29:1; 86:8-10; 89:6-7; 95:3; 96:4-5; 97:7-9 (note that these false gods are called “angels” in the Septuagint); 135:5; 136:2; 138:1; cf. Ex. 15:11; 18:11; Deut. 10:17; 1 Chr. 16:25; 2 Chr. 2:5
- Even if the angels were gods (which the above shows they are not), that would be irrelevant to Jesus, since He is not an angelic being, but the Son who is worshipped by the angels as their Creator, Lord, and God: Heb. 1:1-13; Heb. 1:3-6I. Conclusion: If there is only one God, one true God, all other gods being false gods, neither men nor angels being gods, and none even like God by nature – all of which the Bible says repeatedly and explicitly – then we must conclude that there is indeed only one God.II – This One God Is Known In The OT As “Jehovah/Yahweh” (“The Lord”)A. Texts where Jehovah is said to be elohim or el: Deut. 4:35, 39; Psa. 100:3; etc. Elohim is the plural form of “el” so even in the OT we see a picture of the Triune Godhead.
B. Texts where the compound name “Jehovah God” (Yahweh Elohim) is used: Gen. 2:3; 9:26; 24:3; Ex. 3:15-18; 4:4; 2 Sam. 7:22, 25; etc.
C. Only one Yahweh/Jehovah: Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29
D. Conclusion: Jehovah is the only God, the only el/elohimIII – God Is A Unique, Incomprehensible BeingA. Only one God, thus unique: See I.A.
B. None are even like God: see I.B
C. God cannot be fully comprehended: 1 Cor. 8:2-3
D. God can only be known insofar as the Son reveals Him: Matt. 11:25-27; John 1:18
E. Analogical language needed to describe God: Ezek. 1:26-28; Rev. 1:13-16
F. God is transcendent, entirely distinct from and different than the universe, as the carpenter is distinct from the bench1. Separate from the world: Isa. 40:22; Acts 17:24
- Contrasted with the world: Psa. 102:25-27; 1 John 2:15-17
- Created the world: Gen. 1:1; Psa. 33:6; 102:25; Isa. 42:5; 44:24; John 1:3; Rom. 11:36; Heb. 1:2; 11:3IV – Is God One Person?A. God is one God (cf. I above), one Yahweh, one Lord (cf. II above), one Spirit (John 4:24)
B. However, the Bible never says that God is “one person”1. Heb. 1:3 KJV speaks of God’s “person,” but the word used here, hupostasis, is translated “substance” in Heb. 11:1 KJV; also in Heb. 1:3 “God” refers specifically to the Father
- Gal. 3:20 speaks of God as one party in the covenant between God and man, not as one person
- Job 13:8 KJV speaks of God’s “person,” but ironically the Hebrew literally means “his faces”C. The use of singular and plural pronouns for God1. Over 7000 times God speaks or is spoken of with singular pronouns (I, He, etc.); but this is proper because God is a single individual being; thus these singular forms do not disprove that God exists as three “persons” as long as these persons are not separate beings
- At least four times in the OT God speaks of or to Himself using plural pronouns (Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8), and nontrinitarian interpretation cannot account for thema. Plural reference to God and the angels possible in Isa. 6:8, but not in the Genesis texts; in 1:26 “our image” explained in 1:27, “in God’s image”; in 3:22 “like one of us” refers back to 3:5, “like God”
b. The “literary plural” (possibly, though never clearly, attested in Paul) is irrelevant to texts in which God is speaking, not writing
c. The “plural of deliberation” is apparently unattested in biblical writings, and cannot explain Gen. 3:22 (“like one of us”)
d. The “plural of amplitude” or of “fulness” (which probably does explain the use of the plural form elohim in the singular sense of “God”) is irrelevant to the use of plural pronouns, and again cannot explain Gen. 3:22
e. The “plural of majesty” possibly attested in 1 Kgs. 12:9; 2 Chron. 10:9; more likely Ezra 4:18; but none of these are certain; and again, it cannot explain Gen. 3:22; also nothing in the context of the Gen. Texts suggests that God is being presented as KingD. The uniqueness of God (cf. III above) should prepare us for the possibility that the one divine Being exists uniquely as a plurality of personsV – The Father Of Jesus Christ Is GodA. Explicit statements: John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; etc.
B. The expression, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”: 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3VI – Jesus Christ Is GodA. Explicit statements1. Isa. 9:6; note 10:21. Translations which render “mighty hero,” are inconsistent in their rendering of 10:21. Also note that Ezek. 32:21 is (a) not in the same context, as is Isa. 10:21, and (b) speaking of false gods, cf. I.G.5 above.
- John 1:1 Even if Jesus is here called “a god” (as some have argued), since there is only one God, Jesus is that God. However, the “a god” rendering is incorrect. Other passages using the Greek word for God (theos) in the same construction are always rendered “God”: Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38; John 8:54; Phil 2:13; Heb. 11:16. Passages in which a shift occurs from ho theos (“the God”) to theos (“God”) never imply a shift in meaning: Mark 12:27; Luke 20:37-38; John :2; 13:3; Rom. 1:21; 1 Thess. 1:9; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 4:10-11
- John 1:18. The best manuscripts have “the unique God” (monogenes, frequently rendered “only-begotten,” actually means “one of a kind,” “unique,” though in the NT always in the context of a son or daughter). Even if one translates “only-begotten,” the idea is not of a “begotten god” as opposed to an “unbegotten god.”
- John 20:28. Compare Rev. 4:11, where the same construction is used in the plural (“our”) instead of the singular (“my”). See also Psa. 35:23. Note that Christ’s response indicates that Thomas’ acclamation was not wrong. Also note that John 20:17 does show that the Father was Jesus’ “God” (due to Jesus becoming a man), but the words “my God” as spoken by Thomas later in the same chapter must mean no less than in v. 17. Thus, what the Father is to Jesus in His humanity, Jesus is to Thomas (and therefore to us as well).
- Acts 20:28: “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” The variant readings (e.g. “the church of the Lord”) show that the original was understood to mean “His own blood,” not “the blood of His own [Son]” (since otherwise no one would have thought to change it). Thus all other renderings are attempts to evade the startling clarity and meaning of this passage.
- Rom. 9:5. While grammatically this is not the only possible interpretation, the consistent form of doxologies in Scripture, as well as the smoothest reading of the text, supports the identification of Christ as “God” in this verse.
- Titus 2:13. Grammatically and contextually, this is one of the strongest proof texts for the deity of Christ. Sharp’s first rule, properly understood, proves that the text should be translated “our great God and Savior” (cf. same construction in Luke 20:37; Rev. 1:6; and many other passages). Note also that Paul always uses the word “manifestation” (“appearing”) of Christ: 2 Thess. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2. Tim. 1:10; 4:1, 8
- Heb. 1:8. The rendering, “God is your throne,” is nonsense – God is not a throne, He is the one who sits on the throne! Also, “God is your throne,” if taken to mean God is the source of one’s rule, could be said about any angelic ruler – but Hebrews 1 is arguing that Jesus is superior to the angels.
- 2 Pet. 1:1. The same construction is used here as in Titus 2:13; see the parallel passage in 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18
10.1 John 5:20. Note that the most obvious antecedent for “this” is Jesus Christ. Also note that the “eternal life” is Christ, as can be seen from 1:2.B. Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh1. Rom. 10:9-13: Note the repeated “for,” which links these verses closely together. The “Lord” of 10:13 must be the “Lord” of 10:9, 12
- Phil. 2:9-11. In context, the “name that is above every name” is “Lord” (vs. 11), i.e., Jehovah
- Heb. 1:10: Here God the Father addresses the Son as “Lord,” in a quotation from Psa. 102:25 (cf. 102:24, where the person addressed is called “God”). Since here the Father addresses the Son as “Lord,” this cannot be explained away as a text in which a creature addresses Christ as God/ Lord in a merely representational sense
- 1 Pet. 2:34: This verse is nearly an exact quotation of Psa. 34:8a, where “Lord” is Jehovah. From 1 Pet. 2:4-8 it is also clear that “the Lord” in v. 3 is Jesus
- 1 Pet. 3:14-15: these verses are a clear reference to Isa. 8:12-13, where the one who is to be regarded as holy is Jehovah
- Texts where Jesus is spoken of as the “one Lord” (cf. Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29): 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:5; cf. Rom. 10:12; 1 Cor. 12:5C. Jesus has the titles of God1. Titles belonging only to Goda. The first and the last: Rev. 1:17; 22:13; cf. Isa. 44:6
b. King of kings and Lord of lords: 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:162. Titles belong in the ultimate sense only to Goda. Savior: Luke 2:11; John 4:42; 1 John 4:14; Titus 2:13, cf. v. 10; etc.; cf. Isa. 43.11; 45:21-22; 1 Tim 4:10; on Jesus becoming the source of salvation; Heb. 5:9, cf. Ex. 15:2; Psa. 118:14, 21
b. Shepherd: John 10:11; Heb. 13:20; cf. Psa. 23:1; Isa. 40:11
c. Rock: 1 Cor. 10:4; cf. Isa. 44:8D. Jesus received the honors due to God alone1. Honor: John 5:23
- Love: Matt. 10:37
- Prayer: John 14:14 (text debated, but in any case it is Jesus who answers the prayer); Acts 7:59-60 (cf. Luke 23:34, 46); Rom. 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 12:8-10 (where “the Lord” must be Jesus, cf. v. 9), etc.
- Worship (proskuneo): Matt. 28:17; Heb. 1:6 (cf. Psa. 97:7); cf. Matt 4:10
- Religious or sacred service (latreuo): Rev. 22:13
- Faith: John 3:16; 14:1; etc.E. Jesus does the works of God1. Creation: John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 3:14 (cf. 21:6 on “beginning”); on “through” and “in” cf. Rom. 11:36; Heb. 2:10; Acts 17:28; cf. also Isa. 44:24
- Sustains the universe: Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3
- Salvation:a. In General: See C.2.a above
b. Forgives sins: Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26; note that Jesus forgives sins not committed against Him.4. All of them: John 5:17-29 (including judgment, cf. Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor. 5:10)F. Jesus has all the incommunicable attributes of God1. All of them: John 1:1; Col. 1:15; 2:9; Heb. 1:3
- Self existent: John 5:26
- Unchangeable: Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8
- Eternal: John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2
- Omnipresent: Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; Eph.1:23; 4:10: Col. 3:11
- Omniscient: John 16:30; 21:17; cf. 2:23-24
- Incomprehensible: Matt. 11:25-27G. Jesus is “equal with God”1. John 5:18: Although John is relating what the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming, the context shows they were basically right: In v. 17 claimed to be exempt from the Sabbath along with His Father, and in 5:19-29 Jesus claimed to do all of the world of the Father and to deserve the same honor as the Father
- Phil. 2:6: Jesus did not attempt to seize recognition by the world as being equal with God, but attained that recognition by humbling himself and being exalted by the Father (vv. 7-11)H. Jesus is the Son of God1. “Son” in Scripture can mean simply one possessing the nature of , whether literal or figurative (e.g. “Son of man,” “sons of thunder,” “sons of disobedience,” cf. Mark 3:7; Eph. 2:1
- Usually when “son of” is used in relation to a person (son of man, son of Abraham, son of David, etc.) the son possesses the nature of his father
- Jesus is clearly not the literal Son of God, i.e.. He was not physically procreated by God
- On the other hand, Jesus is clearly the Son of God in a unique sense (cf. “only-begotten son,” John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9) and in a preeminent sense (i.e. the term is more fitting for Him than for anyone else)
- Scripture is explicit that the Son possesses God’s essence or nature (cf. F. above)
- Jesus’ repeated claim to be the Son of God was consistently understood by the Jewish leaders as a blasphemous claim to equality with God, an understanding Jesus never denied: John 5:17-23; 8:58-59; 10:30-39; 19:7; Matt. 26:63-65
- Jesus is therefore God’s Son, not God’s creation, God’s servant, God’s agent, etc.; Jesus is God’s Son who became a servant for our sake and for the Father’s glory (John 13:13-15; 17:4; Phil. 2:6-11; Heb. 1:4-13; 3:1-6; 5:8; etc.)I. Objections1. Prov. 8:22: This text is not a literal description of Christ, but a poetic personification of wisdom (cf. all of Prov. 1-9, esp 8:12-21; 9:1-6), poetically saying that God “got” His wisdom before He did anything – i.e., that God has always had wisdom
- Col. 1:15: Does not mean that Christ is the first creature, since He is here presented as the Son and principal heir of the Father (cf. vv. 12-44); thus “firstborn” here means “heir” (cf. Gen. 43:33; 48;14-20; Ex. 4:22; 1 Chron. 5:1-3; Psa. 89:27; Jer. 31:9); note that v. 16 speaks of the Son as the Creator, nor creature (cf. E.1. above)
- Rev. 3:14: “Beginning” (arche) in Rev. as a title means source or one who begins, i.e. Creator (cf. Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13); elsewhere Christ is called the arche in the sense of “ruler,” Col. 1:18, cf. plural archai “rulers” in Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15, also Luke 12:11; Rom. 8:38; Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Tit. 3:1; cf. Luke 20:20; Jude 6; 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21
- 1 Cor. 11:3; 15:28: Jesus is still subordinate to God, but as the Son to the Father; i.e., they are equal in nature, but the Son is subordinate relationally to God
- John 20:17; Rom. 15:6; 1 Cor. 15:24; 2 Cor. 1:3; Rev. 1:6; 3:12: Jesus calls the Father “My God” because He is still man as well as God; note the distinction between “My God” and “your God” in John 20:17 (i.e., Jesus never speaks of “our God” including Himself with the disciples)
- Mark 13:32: Jesus’ statement that He did not know the time of His return is to be explained by His voluntary acceptance of the humble form and likeness of a man (Phil. 2:7); in fact Jesus, as God, did know all things (John 16:30), and after His resurrection He does not including Himself as not knowing (Acts 1:6-7)
- Mark 10:17-18: Jesus does not deny being God, but simply tells the man that he has no business calling anyone “good” in an unqualified sense except God
- Heb. 5:14: Jesus was tempted, cf. James 1:13; but note that Jesus could not sin, John 5:19
- John 1:18: No one has seen God, but men have seen Jesus, e.g. 1 John 1:1-2; but note that no man can see the glorified Jesus either, 1 Tim. 6:16, and to see Jesus is to see the Father, John 14:9
- 1 Tim. 1:17: God cannot die, but Jesus did, e.g. Phil. 2:8; but note that no one could take Jesus’ life from Him, He could not remain dead, and He raised Himself: John 10:18; Acts 2:24; John 2:19-22
- 1 Cor. 8:6: Father called God, Jesus called Lord: but here “God” and “Lord” are synonymous (cf. v. 5; cf. also Rom. 14:3-12 for a good example of “God” and “Lord” as interchangeable); moreover, this text no more denies that Jesus is God than it does that the Father is Lord (Matt. 11:25); cf. Jude 4, where Jesus is the only Lord
- 1 Tim. 2:5: Jesus here supposedly distinct from God; but Jesus is also distinct from (fallen) men, yet is Himself a man; likewise Jesus is distinct from God (the Father), but is also God
- Deut. 4:12, 15-25; God not appear in a human form to Israel, lest they fall into idolatry; but this does not rule out His appearing in human form later after they had learned to abhor idolatry
- In many texts Jesus is distinguished from God: He is the Son of God, was sent by God, etc.; in all these texts “God” is used as a name for the person most commonly called God, i.e., the FatherVII – The Holy Spirit Is God
A. Equated with God: Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 3:17-18
B. Has the incommunicable attributes of God1. Eternal: Heb. 9:14
- Omnipresent: Psa. 139:7
- Omniscient: 1 Cor. 2:10-11C. Involved in all the works of God1. Creation: Gen. 1:2; Psa. 104:30
- Incarnation: Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35
- Resurrection: Rom. 1:4; 8:11
- Salvation: Rom. 8:1-27D. Is a person1. Has a name: Matt. 28:19; note that even though “name” might be used of a non person, here, in conjunction with the Father and the Son, it must be used of a person
- Is the “Helper”a. Is another Helper: John 14:16, cf. 1 John 2:1; note also that “Helper” (parakletos) was used in Greek always or almost always of persons
b. Is sent in Jesus’ name, to teach: John 14:26
c. Will arrive, and then bear witness: John 15:26-27
d. Is sent by Christ to convict of sin, will speak not on his own but on behalf of Christ, will glorify Christ, thus exhibiting humility: John 16:7-143. Is the Holy Spirit, in contrast to unholy spirits: Mark 3:22-230, cf. Matt. 12:32; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 3:24-4:6
- Speaks, is quoted as speaking: John 16:13; Acts 1:16; 8:29; 10:19; 11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 20:23; 21:11: 28:25-27; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:7-11; 10:15-17; 1 Pet. 1:11; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13,22
- Can be lied to: Acts 5:3
- Can make decisions, judgments: Acts 15:28
- Intercedes for Christians with the Father: Rom. 8:26
- “Impersonal” language used of the Spirit paralleled by language used of other personsa. The Holy Spirit as fire: Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16; cf. Ex. 3:2-4; Deut. 4:24; 9:3; Heb. 12:29
b. The Holy Spirit poured out: Acts 2:17, 33; cf. Isa. 53:12; Phil. 2:17; 2 Tim. 4:6
c. Being filled with the Holy Spirit: Eph. 5:18, etc.; cf. Eph. 3:17, 19; 14:10
VIII – The Father, Son, And Holy Spirit Are Distinct Persons
A. Matt. 28:191. “the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”: use of definite article before each personal noun indicates distinct persons unless explicitly stated otherwise; compare Rev. 1:17; 2:8, 26
2. The views that “Father” and “Son” are distinct persons but not the Holy Spirit, or that the Holy Spirit is not a person at all, or that all three are different offices or roles of one person, are impossible in view of the grammar (together with the fact that in Scripture a “spirit” is a person unless context shows otherwise).
3. Does singular “name” prove that the three are one person? No; cf. Gen. 5:2; 11:14; 48:6; and esp. 48:16
4. “Name” need not be personal name, may be title: Isa. 9:6; Matt. 1:23. If a single personal name is sought, the name shared by all three persons is “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.”B. Acts 2:38 and Matt. 28:191. Neither passage specifies that certain words are to be spoken during baptism; nor does the Bible ever record someone saying, “I baptize you in the name of….”
2. Those said to be baptized in the name of Jesus (whether or not the formula “in the name of Jesus” was used) were people already familiar with the God of the OT:a. Jews: Acts 2:5, 38; 22:16
b. Samaritans: Acts 8:5, 12, 16
c. God fearing Gentiles: Acts 10:1-2, 22, 48
d. Disciples of John the Baptist: Acts 19:1-5
e. The first Christians in Corinth were Jews and God fearing Gentiles: Acts 18:1-8; 1 Cor. 1:133. Trinitarian formula for baptism (if that is what Matt. 28:19 is) was given in context of commissioning apostles to take the gospel to “all the nations,” including people who did not know of the biblical GodC. God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ are two persons1. The salutations: Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; 6:23; Phil. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1, 2; 1 Tim. 1:1, 2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Tit. 1:4; Phm. 3; James 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:2; 2 John 3
2. Two witnesses: John 5:31-32; 8:16-18; cf. Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 19:15
3. The Father sent the Son: John 3:16-17; Gal. 4:4; 1 John 4:10; etc.; cf. John 1:6; 17:18; 20:21
4. The Father and the Son love each other: John 3:35; 5:20; 14:31; 15:9; 17-23-26; cf. Matt. 3:17 par.; 17:5 par.; 2 Pet. 1:17
5. The Father speaks to the Son, and the Son speaks to the Father: John 11:41-42; 12:28; 17:1-26; etc.
6. The Father knows the Son, and the Son knows the Father: Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 7:29; 8:55; 10:15
7. Jesus our Advocate with the Father: 1 John 2:1D. Jesus is not God the Father1. Isa. 9:6: “Father of eternity” means eternal; compare other names formed with word “father”: Abialbon, “father of strength” = strong (2 Sam. 23:31); Abiasaph, “father of gathering” = gatherer (Ex. 6:24); Abigail, a woman’s name(!), “father of exultation” = exulting (1 Chron. 2:16)
2. John 10:30a. Jesus did not say, “I am the Father,” nor did He say, “the Son and the Father are one person.”
b. The first person plural esmen (“we are”) implies two persons
c. The neuter word for “one” (hen) is used, implying essential unity but not personal unity (compare John 17:21-23).3. John 5:43: Jesus’ coming in His Father’s name means not that He was the Father because He had the Father’s name, but that, while others come in their own name (or their own authority), Jesus does not; He comes in His Father’s name (on His Father’s authority)
4. John 8:19; 16:3: Ignorance of Jesus is indeed ignorance of the Father, but that does not prove that Jesus is the one He calls “My Father”
5. John 14:6-11a. Jesus and the Father are one being, not one person
b. Jesus said, “I am in the Father,” not “I am the Father”
c. The statement, “the Father is in Me,” does not mean Jesus is the Father; compare John 14:20; 17:21-236. John 14:18: An older adult brother can care for his younger siblings, thus preventing them from being “orphans,” without being their father
7. Colossians 2:9: Does not mean that Jesus is the Father, or that Jesus is an incarnation of the Father; rather, since ‘Godhead’ (theotes) means Deity, the state of being God, the nature of God, Jesus is fully God, but not the only person who is God. “The Godhead” here does not = the Father (note that Jesus is in the Father, John 10:38; 14:10, 11; 17:21), but the nature of the Father.
8. The Father and the Son are both involved in various activities: raising Jesus (Gal. 1:1; John 2:19-22), raising the dead (John 5:21); 6:39-40, 44, 54, 1 Cor. 6:14), answering prayer (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23), sending the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7), drawing people to Jesus (John 6:44; 12:32), etc. These common works do prove that the two persons are both God, but not that Jesus is the FatherE. The Son existed before His Incarnation, even before creation1. Prov. 30:4: This is not predictive prophecy; “prophecy” in 30:1 translates massa, which is rendered elsewhere as “burden.”
2. The Son created all things: See VI.E.1
3. Jesus was “with” (pros or para) God the Father before creation: John 1:1; 17:5; pros in John 1:1 does not mean “pertaining to,” although is does in Hebrews 2:17; 5:1 (which use pros with ta).
4. Jesus, the Son of God, existed before John the Baptist (who was born before Jesus): John 1:15, cf. 1:14-18, 29-34
5. Jesus, the Son, came down from heaven, sent from the Father, and went back to heaven, back to the Father: John 3:13, 31; 6:33; 38, 41, 46, 51, 56-58, 62; 8:23, 42; 13:3; 16:27-28; cf. Acts 1:10-11; cf. the sending of the Holy Spirit, John 16:5-7; 1 Pet. 1:12
6. Jesus, speaking as the Son (John 8:54-56), asserts His eternal preexistence before Abraham: John 8:58
7. The Son explicitly said to exist “before all things”: Col. 1:17, cf. 1:12-20
8. These statements cannot be dismissed as true only in God’s foreknowledgea. We are all in God’s min before creation; yet such passages as John 1:1 and John 17:5 clearly mean to say something unusual about Christ.
b. To say that all things were created through Christ means that He must have existed at creation.
c. No one else in Scripture is ever said to have been with God before creation.9. Texts which speak of the Son being begotten “today” do not mean He became the Son on a certain day, since they refer to His exaltation at the resurrection (Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:3-5; 5:5; cf. Psa. 2:7; cf. also Rom. 1:4)F. Jesus is not the Holy Spirit1. The Holy Spirit is “another Comforter”: John 14:16; compare 1 John 2:1
2. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit: John 15:26; 16:7
3. The Holy Spirit exhibits humility in relation to, and seeks to glorify, Jesus (John 16:13-14)
4. The Son and the Holy Spirit are distinguished as two persons in Matt. 28:19
5. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus: Luke 3:22
6. Is Jesus the Holy Spirit?a. 2 Cor. 3:17: the Spirit is here called “Lord” in the sense of being Yahweh or God, not Jesus (cf. v. 16, citing Ex. 34:34; cf. v. 17 in the New English Bible); note Acts 28:25-27, cf. Isa. 6:8-10
b. 1 Cor. 15:45: Jesus is “a life-giving Spirit,” not in the sense that He is the Holy Spirit whom He sent at Pentecost, but in the sense that He is the glorified God-man; and as God He is Spirit by nature. All three persons of the Trinity are Spirit, though there are not three divine Spirits; and only one person is designated “the Holy Spirit.”
c. Rom. 8:27, 34: the fact that two persons intercede for us is consistent with the fact that we have two Advocates (John14:16; Rom. 8:26; 1 John 2:1)
d. John 14:18: Jesus here refers to His appearances to the disciples after the resurrection (compare 14:19), not to the coming of the Spirit
e. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both involved in various activities: raising Jesus (John 2:19- 19-22); Rom. 8:9-11), raising the dead (John 5:21; 6:39-40, 44, 54, Rom. 8:9-11), dwelling in the believer (John 14:16; 2 Cor. 13:5; Col. 1:27), interceding for the believer (Rom. 8:26; Heb. 7:25), sanctifying believers (Eph. 5:26; 1 Pet. 1:2), etc. These works prove that the two persons are both God, but not that Jesus is the Holy Spirit.G. The Father is not the Holy Spirit1. The Father sent the Holy Spirit: John 14:15; 15:26
2. The Holy Spirit intercedes with the Father for us: Rom. 8:26-27
3. The Father and the Holy Spirit are distinguished as two persons in Matt. 28:19
4. Is the Father the Holy Spirit?a. Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35: It is argued that the Holy Spirit is the Father of the incarnate Son of God; this argument ignores the fact that the “conception” is not a product of physical union between a man and a woman!
b. The Father and the Holy Spirit are both said to be active in various activities; the resurrection of Jesus (Gal. 1:1; Rom. 8:11), comforting Christians (2 Cor. 1:3-4; John 14:26), sanctifying Christians (Jude 1; 1 Pet. 1:2), etc. The most these facts prove is that the two work together; they do not prove the two are one person.IX – Conclusion: The Bible teaches the TrinityA. All the elements of the doctrine are taught in Scripture1. One God
2. The Father is God
3. The Son is God
4. The Holy Spirit is God
5. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons (i.e., they are not each other, nor are they impersonal; they relate to one another personally)B. The New Testament presents a consistent triad of Father, Son, Holy Spirit (God, Christ, Spirit): Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:34; also Luke 1:35; 3:21-22 par.; 4:1-12; John 4:10-25; 7:37-39; 14-16; 20:21-22; Acts 1:4-8; 2:33, 38-39; 5:3-4, 9, 30-32; 7:55-56; 10:36- 38, 44-48; 11:15-18; 15:8-11; 20:38; 28:25-31; Rom. 1:1-4; 5:5-10; 8:2-4, 9-11, 14-17; 1 Cor. 6:11; 12:4-6, 11-12, 18; 2 Cor. 1:19-22; 3:6-8, 14-18; Gal. 3:8-14; 4:4-7; Eph. 1:3-17; 2:18, 21-22; 3:14-19; 4:4-6, 29-32; 5:18-20; Phil. 3:3; 1 Thess. 1:3-6; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Tit. 3:4-6; Heb. 2:3-4; 9:14; 10:28-31; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 John 3:21-24; 4:13-14; Jude 20-21; Rev. 2:18, 27-29
C. Therefore, the Bible does teach the TrinityX – What Difference Does The Doctrine Of The Trinity Make?
A. Sovereignty: Because the three persons have each other, we can be assured that God created us only to share the love they have and not as a means to His own end: Acts 17:25; John 17:21-26
B. Mystery: The triune God is totally unlike anything in our world, and therefore greater than anything we can comprehend: Rom. 11:33-36; Isa. 40:18
C. Salvation: God alone planned our salvation, came to save us, and dwells in us to complete our salvation: 1 Pet. 1:2; Eph. 1:3-18; etc.
D. Prayer: We pray to the Father through the Son, and also pray to the Son directly, in the Spirit: John 14:13-14; Eph. 2:18; etc.
E. Worship: We worship Father and Son in the Spirit: John 4:23-24; Phil. 3:3; Heb. 1:8; etc.
F. Love: The love among the three persons is the basis and model for our love for one another: John 17:26
G. Unity: The unity of the three persons is the basis and model for the unity of the church: John 17:21-23
H. Humility: As the persons of the Trinity seek the glory of each other, so we should seek the interests of others above our own: Phil. 2:5-11; John 16:13-14
I. Sonship: We are “sons of God” as we are united with the Son of God by the work of the Holy Spirit and the adoption of the Father: John 1:12-23; Rom. 8:14-17
J. Truth: All those who wish to worship and love God must seek to know Him as He is in truth, for God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is truth: John 4:24; 14:6, 17; 15:26; 16:13
PART II – THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.
The dual nature of Jesus Christ is a core doctrine. All other religions, cults and wolves get this doctrine wrong
Third Wave teachers are now saying that Jesus was just an anointed man, therefore if we believe in Him we too are anointed as He was, thus we can do anything He did including signs and miracles. Both Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland have said that any “anointed” Christian could also have died for the sins of the world just as Jesus did and that they could have done it. This is a complete misunderstanding and corruption of both the dual nature of Jesus and of the term “anointing”. The word “anointed” is being misused all over the place today. We must never forget that Jesus Christ is the “Anointed One”. We are His children by virtue of His anointing as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are under His “anointing” by virtue of the Holy Spirit that indwells us and empowers us to Christian service and sanctification. He has those titles today because He laid down His life for us in obedience and submission to the will of the Father. We must also live in obedience to the will of Jesus Christ, the law of Christ.
Let’s look at the two natures of Christ in more detail.
Jesus’ Two Natures
Jesus is God in human flesh. He is not half God and half man. He is fully God and fully man. At the incarnation He added to His divine nature the nature of man. Thus He has two natures: divine and human. He is both God and man at the same time. He is not merely a man who “had God within Him” nor is he a man who “manifested the God principle.” He is God, second person of the Trinity. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Heb.1:3, NIV). Jesus’ two natures are not “mixed together,” nor are they combined into a new God-man nature. They are separate yet act as a unit. This is called the Hypostatic Union.
This is another mystery we have to accept by faith, but we need to understand its significance or we can end up believing a false gospel.
The following chart should help you see the two natures of Jesus “in action”:
|GODHe is worshipped (Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9)|
He is prayed to (Acts 7:59; 1 Cor. 1:1-2)
He was called God (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8)
He was called Son of God (Mark 1:1)
He is sinless (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15)
He knew all things (John 21:17)
He gives eternal life (John 10:28)
The fullness of deity dwells in Him (Col. 2:9)
|MANHe worshipped the Father (John 17) |
He prayed to the Father (John 17:1)
He was called man (Mark 15:39; John 19:5)
He was called Son of Man (John 9:35-37)
He was tempted (Matt. 4:1)
He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52)
He died (Rom. 5:8)
He has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39)
One of the most common errors that non Christian cults make is not understanding the two natures of Christ. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses focus on Jesus’ humanity and ignore His divinity (believe that Jesus is the angel Michael, not Son of God). The Christian Scientists, on the other hand, focus on the divine nature and ignore the human. For a proper understanding of Jesus and, therefore, all other doctrines that relate to Him, His two natures must be properly understood and defined.
The Bible is about Jesus (John 5:39). The prophets prophesied about Him (Acts 10:43). The Father bore witness of Him (John 5:37, 8:18). The Holy Spirit bore witness of Him (John 15:26). The works Jesus did bore witness of Him (John 5:36, 10:25). The multitudes bore witness of Him (John 12:17). And, Jesus bore witness of Himself (John 14:6, 18:6).
Other verses to consider when examining His deity are, John 1:1,14; 5:18; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:5-8; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 1:6-8; and 2 Pet. 1:1.
1 Tim. 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Right now, there is a man in heaven on the throne of God. He is our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). He is our Savior (Titus 2:13). He is our Lord (Rom. 10:9-10). He is Jesus.
PART III – THE SECOND COMING
Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
Other religions deny that Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge. Cults deny this doctrine in other ways. This doctrine is also denied by believing in anything other than Pre-Trib, Pre-Wrath Rapture or Post-Trib coming of Christ. These doctrines all affirm that Jesus Christ is coming back bodily to rule and judge. They can be lumped together as Premillennial views. There are some doctrines being taught in the Third Wave that deny this doctrine. They are called Postmillennialism, Dominionism, and Amillennialism.
Let’s define the different views quickly so you can see which ones affirm or deny this basic doctrine:
Pre-Tribulational Rapture: The pretrib view holds that the Church will be “raptured” before the entire seventieth week of Daniel. This is a prevalent view in countries that have never experienced widespread persecution, such as the United States. Jesus then comes back bodily at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel to rule and judge.
Mid-Tribulational Rapture: The Church will escape the last half of the seventieth week, also known as the Great Tribulation. Jesus then comes back bodily at the end of the Tribulation to rule and judge.
Pre-Wrath Rapture: The basic aspects of the prewrath view are that the “rapture” is distinct from the “second coming” and the “rapture” will take place between the sixth and seventh seals. Jesus then comes back bodily at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel to rule and judge.
Post-Tribulational Second Coming: In most versions of postribulationism, the “rapture” and the “second coming” are at the same time. Post-Trib people do not consider themselves to be Pre-Wrath. Jesus Christ comes back for His elect, they meet Him in the air and He comes bodily to earth immediately to rule and reign.
Preterism: This view has several variations. It places many or all eschatological events in the past, especially during the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. (R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus, p. 228) The extreme version of this view denies the need for Jesus to return bodily to rule and reign because He supposedly already did and the Church is Christ.
Amillennialism: Amillennialism is the system of theology which does not include a future millennial reign of Christ on the earth. They believe that Jesus Christ is reigning today through His Church and that Satan is bound. Thus they deny the bodily return of Christ to rule and judge.
Postmillennialism/Dominionism: Postmillennialism and Dominionism are becoming hard to distinguish apart these days. They are fusing into one system of belief, especially popular in the Third Wave counterfeit revival. It is the belief that Christ will return after the Church has Christianized society, through a Christian force called “Joel’s Army”. He will not rapture His elect because they will be victorious here on earth. Jesus Christ does not come back bodily but returns “in His Church” and reigns on earth through His Church spiritually. Postmillennialism denies that Christ returns bodily to rule and judge.
There are other assorted views, but any view that denies that Jesus will return bodily to rule and judge is a false view, not a Christian view.
Christ is Returning!
The second coming of Christ is a cornerstone of Biblical doctrine. It is not possible to be considered orthodox and evangelical unless you believe Jesus is coming back bodily to rule and reign. Our Lord promised it, the apostles confirmed it, and the entire book of Revelation celebrates it. Below are just a few examples of the verses that establish this fact.
John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Matthew 26:64 “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Luke 21:27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
The return of Christ will be visible. He will not come in secret; He will not come “mystically,” or only to those with eyes to see Him. All humanity will witness His coming, and those who do not belong to Him will be terrified.
Acts 1:11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.“
Matthew 24:29-30 “Immediately after the distress of those days “`the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.
Re 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
The Second Coming of Christ will be Bodily. He will not come “spiritually,” He will not return “in His Body” the Church. He has a body now, a glorious body, witnessed by the apostle John (Rev 1:12-16), and when He comes in clouds of glory, it will be in that glorious body.
Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Zechariah 14:3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
He will come in Power and Glory–unlike His first coming, His true nature will not be concealed. He will come at the head of a heavenly army, as the conquering Sovereign that He is.
Titus 2:13 while we wait for the blessed hope– the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Matthew 24:30 They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
PART IV – SALVATION
It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
All the religions of the world deny this. Cults deny it in many ways but primarily because they add works to salvation, as the Catholics do. The Third Wave denies this doctrine on a number of counts. They very rarely preach the full gospel message but rather a message of “Repent and come to Jesus”. That is not the full gospel message. Where there is no mention of the cross and redemption through the grace of God alone in Christ alone, that is where there is a false gospel being preached. They also deny the full indwelling of the Holy Spirit at salvation by their doctrine of a transferable impartation “anointing” second baptism of the Spirit, thus denying the biblical definition of salvation. The need for the Holy Spirit to be “imparted” or “transferred” by human hands denies the gospel of grace alone. This doctrine is one of the most important core doctrines of Christianity and one that is being attacked most often. Benny Hinn and others like him are redefining the very core of Christianity which is salvation by grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE.
Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (KJV)
Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (KJV)
Rom. 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (KJV)
Rom. 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (KJV)
Rom. 4:4-5 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (KJV)
Jn. 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV)
Acts 14:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (KJV)
Jesus Christ did all the work to save us from our sins. This is summed up nicely in what is called the “Romans Road”
ROMANS 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (KJV)
ROMANS 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (KJV)
ROMANS 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (KJV)
ROMANS 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
ROMANS 8:1a There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, (KJV)
ROMANS 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. (KJV)
ROMANS 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (KJV)
PART V – THE SCRIPTURES
It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.
This doctrine is so important today because the ideas of existentialism and subjectivism have influenced many Christians. If everything is relative and what I believe may not be necessary for you to believe, and I should be tolerant of what you believe in even if it is not, then there is no such thing as solid objective Truth. However, true Christians hold the Scriptures as their highest authority in all matters of faith and practice. The Bible is a finished cannon of revelation from God. It was even quoted by Jesus and the Apostles, most notably when Jesus was tempted by Satan. Jesus didn’t have to use the Word, but He did to show us that it truly is the Word of God the Father. The Apostles confirmed this as well.
2 Peter 1:19-21 And in the written word of prophecy we have something more permanent;to which you do well to pay attention – as to a lamp shining in a dimly-lighted place – until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. But, above all, remember that no prophecy in Scripture will be found to have come from the prophet’s own prompting; for never did any prophecy come by human will, but men sent by God spoke as they were impelled by the Holy Spirit. (Wey)
2 Tim. 3:16-17 Every Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for convincing, for correction of error, and for instruction in right doing; so that the man of God may himself be complete and may be perfectly equipped for every good work. (Wey)
1Co 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. (KJV)
Rev. 22:18-19 For I testify together to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add on him the plagues that have been written in this Book. And if anyone takes away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which have been written in this Book. (MKJV)
AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
- inspiration- “to breathe in”
a. General1) ” To affect with an emotion or thought and thus influence or stimulate to action”
2) can be positive or negative, i.e.; ‘inspired poem’ , ‘inspired with fear’b. Special1) Process by which God caused His Special Revelation to be communicated to man
Jer 1:9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
2 Tim 3:16,17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
1 Cor 2:13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
2 Pet 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.2. Incorrect views on Special Inspirationa. Thematic inspiration- they think only the idea is inspired. but we know…”No private interpretation”
b. Partial inspiration – they think only certain parts are Insp.(and they determine WHICH parts!) but we know…”All scripture is inspired…”
c. Incomplete inspiration – they think of ongoing Revelation. but we know…”Perfect, thoroughly furnished”
d. Mechanical inspiration – they think God possessed the writers or something. but we know…”spoke as they were moved”3. Verbal- having to do with wordsa. definition – each word of the original text is inspired
b. Scripture — (Jesus said “not one jot or tittle will pass from the law…)1) each word
Prov 30:5,6 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
2) each tense
Matt 22:31,32 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
3) each singular or plural
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, Which is Christ.
4) each gender
2 Tim 2:2 And the things thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.
1 Tim 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
5) each number
Rev 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.4. Plenary- the whole enchilada def.- the whole of scripture is inspired both in substance and in structurea. Scripture
Ex 34:27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
1 Chr 28:19 “All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”
Luke 1:1-4 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know t he certainty of the things which you have been taught.
2 Tim 3:16 – All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;5. Proofsa. Internal ( 1 Thess 2:13 )1) declarations of Inspiration
2) manifestations of Inspirationa) Unity of theme-extent of scope-diversity of human authorship-first mentions- LIGHT, FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, BLOOD, GRACE, WORD, JUST, PERFECT, ATONEMENT, COVENANT, ALTAR, SHED, WINE, DRUNKEN, PRAISE, PEACE, TITHES, VISION, SHIELD, REWARD, I AM, IMPUTED, RIGHTEOUSNESS, WORSHIP, MERCY, FIRE, OBEY, SOW, SALVATION, ANGEL OF THE LORD (Any of these words can be found in Genesis and followed all through Scripture to their fruition in Revelation; These make for great topical studies.)
b) Prophecy fulfilled – we see most O.T. prophecies fulfilled, including 300+ about Christ. The only ones left are at the very end…3) Purity of doctrine & ethics – doesn’t become watered down
4) History of mankind – (the good, the bad, the ugly) Man wouldn’t make himself look bad
5) Christ – who could invent this stuff? No one could ever dream up this….
6) person of Christ & the Doctrine of Salvation is THE greatest internal proof of Holy Inspiration.b. External1) the Church
2) the Believer
3) the Bible6. Methods of special inspiration ( scripture )a. Divine guidance in selection of facts and narration of observed scenes
b. Enlightenment in moral & doctrinal subjects
c. direct special revelation concerning unknown or unknowables ( prophecies )
d. direct dictation ( “write this down !” )
e. direct inscription ( God writes it himself )7. The Word is inspired, not the men. – these were not supermen, or somehow on a higher spiritual plane; they were fishermen, shepherds, farmers, kings, tentmakers, etc.
General revelation- there for everyone
Special revelation- only for some
Special inspiration- process by which God caused His special revelation to be communicated to man.
Illumination- process by which God ( the holy spirit ) makes His special revelation (scripture) known to
the human heart.
Authority of the Bible – Infallible, Inerrant, & Immutable
- Infallible- cannot fail
2. Inerrant- without error – ALL of God’s word is trustworthy
3. Immutable- cannot be changed – cannot change
4. Inspiration & Authority
a. Authority- the power and prerogative belong to God – flow to us from His Word (make sure to get the order correct; we don’t want to impose our interpretations of the bible on God and try to f it him into our box…)
b. Authority for faith1) Faith as belief – trust put in the Infallible, Inerrant, Immutable Word of God
2) Faith as doctrine – taught by the Infallible, Inerrant, Immutable Word of God
3) Faith as religion – built upon the Infallible, Inerrant, Immutable Word of Godc. Authority for Practice – be not mere hearers of the word, but doers…
COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS, CULTS & FALSE “CHRISTIAN” TEACHERS
Now that we have studied the basic doctrines we have a basis on which to discern error.
Any ONE of the basic doctrines that is taught explicitly or implicitly in error is enough for us to separate ourselves from those teaching wrong doctrine and to tell others to avoid their fellowship as well. This includes not only religions and cults, but also those who claim to be Christians and say they agree to the these basic doctrines or creeds, but are teaching and demonstrating otherwise.
They therefore, in reality, become a Christian cult group because they are teaching false doctrine. Read a definition of a cult below:
“A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” (Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults, Zondervan, 1995)
Let’s compare, now, using what we have learned of the basic doctrines of Christianity, the religions, cults and false teachers. Remember, if they do not stack up, we are to:
(1) Show them the truth from Scripture in love.
(2) If they truly repent and turn away from their false teachings or practice, receive them as brothers in love and disciple them.
(3) If they do not repent, do not fellowship with them, warn others to stay away from them and treat them as though they are non-believers, preaching the full gospel to them when the opportunity presents itself until such a time as they do repent and believe
(4) Continue to pray for them.
Following is a comparison between the five core doctrines of the Christian Church and other religions, cults and false “Christian” teachers and movements.
- The Trinity: God is one “What” and three “Whos” with each “Who” possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.
A. Religions that do not believe in the Trinity: Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Bahai, all religions except for Christianity, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox. Catholicism is close to confusing the Trinity by adding Mary as co-redemptrix with Christ, and is already teaching this concept in their prayers, novenas, Catechism and with paintings showing Mary as part of the Godhead.
- Cults that do not believe: Jehovah Witness (denial of person of Holy Spirit “God’s active force”), Mormon (God is an “exalted man” with a body), old Worldwide Church Of God, Christian Science (Trinity suggests “polytheism”), Inglesia Ni Christo (Christ is a man only), Scientology, Unification Church (Trinity is man, woman and God, Jesus married the Holy Spirit).
- “Christian” churches that do not believe: United Pentecostal Church & Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (Non Trinity, Jesus only), Unitarians, Unity (God not a being, force), United Church of Jesus Christ, many Apostolic Churches and any churches descending from William Branham and Azusa Street “Oneness” Pentecostals (Trinity a doctrine of demons, Jesus only)
- Third Wave revivalists/televangelists that teach against the Trinity: Benny Hinn (nine part god), Kenneth Copeland (Jesus brother of Satan), anyone involved in the false anointing
a. When the Spirit is treated as a substance both Deity and personality is denied.
b. When God is “on call” Deity is compromised and God is blasphemed.
c. Many of the manifestations lower man to beastly or sub-human levels. The Spirit’s actions always raise man to the character of Christ. Thus, to call these manifestations the work of the Spirit is a (not “the”) blasphemy of the Holy Spirit2. The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.
A. Religions that do not believe: Judaism, Hinduism, Islam (Jesus only a prophet), Buddhism, Bahai, all religions except for Christianity. Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox affirm this in their creeds but teach that Jesus is put to death again each time they celebrate the Eucharist which denies that Jesus Christ is 100% man, having died once for all, in His glorified resurrection body seated at the right hand of God.
- Cults that do not believe: Almost all cults get this wrong in some way. A good doctrine to test cults. Jehovah Witness (Jesus is Michael), Mormon (Jesus brother of Lucifer, anyone could attain to be as Jesus was), old Worldwide Church Of God, Christian Science (Jesus “anointed” human demonstrated “Christ consciousness” as human only), Christadelphians, any Gnostic groups (Jesus spirit only), Scientology, Inglesia Ni Christo (Christ is a man only)
- “Christian” churches that do not believe: Unitarians, Unity (Jesus best manifestation of Divine Mind)
- Third Wave revivalists/televangelists that teach against this doctrine: Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, many others (Jesus just an anointed man only during all or part of His life on earth, died spiritually on the cross, physical death did not provide salvation). Third Wave revivalists/televangelists: Any teachers who treat Jesus like a vending machine for health and wealth, any prophets who see false visions of Jesus proven by Scriptural model
a. “More Jesus” – Jesus treated as a substance instead of a person.
b. Visions of Jesus often redefine the scriptural picture of Jesus.
c. Kenneth Copeland with his denigration of Jesus’ death and seeing Jesus as brother of Satan3. The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
A. Religions that do not believe: Catholicism (Amillenial/Postmillennial/Dominion – Catholicism is a “religion”, not Christian), Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Bahai, all religions except for Christianity. Judaism believes Messiah is coming for the first time.
- Cults that do not believe: Jehovah Witness (Christ “returned” invisibly in 1914 and there was an invisible “rapture” in 1918 for 144,000 only), Scientology
- “Christian” churches that do not believe: Unitarians, Unity
- Third Wave revivalists/televangelists that teach against this doctrine: Any teacher or group that teaches Postmillenialism (Jesus comes back but not to rule for a millenium on throne of David) or Dominionism (Jesus comes back “in His church”). PM & Dominionism are becoming melded together these days as “Recontructionism”. Pat Robertson, Rick Joyner, Paul Cain (Joel’s Army), Kansas City Prophets are big proponents. Any group teaching strict Amilillennialism is also denying this doctrine because the hard-core Amil Preterists believe Jesus already came back around 70 AD. This includes most of the Third Wave today, although some are still Premillennial.
a. Dominion theology- spiritualizes the 2nd Coming – Jesus returns “in the church”, etc.
b. Revival theology denies the “great apostasy” that must take place before Jesus’ return.
c. The church’s job is to preach the gospel and disciple, not take over structures of the world system
- Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
A. Religions that do not believe: Catholicism (teaches works salvation, does not agree to the phrase “by grace alone”), Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Bahai, all religions except for Christianity. Judaism also relies on works and tradition, still condemned by the law of Moses.
- Cults that do not believe: Most cults do not teach salvation by grace alone, but promote some form of work salvation or legalism. Jehovah Witness, Mormons (“Men have work to do if they would obtain salvation”, baptism and salvation for the dead, “spiritual death can only be avoided by individual obedience to the commandments of God.”), Christian Science (“Final deliverance from error … is not reached… by pinning one’s faith without works to another’s vicarious effort,”), Scientology, Unification Church (Christ did not purchase our physical salvation, thus the need for the New Messiah, Dr. Moon)
- “Christian” churches that do not believe: SDA (back under the law, “The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record.”, Satan is “joint sin-bearer” with Christ), Unitarians, Unity (no evil, we are one with the Father at all times, pagans worship God), Church of Christ & Boston Church of Christ (salvation by baptism), and any Charismatics or Pentecostals who add the Third Wave “anointing” to salvation by grace alone and baptism/seal of Holy Spirit.
- Third Wave revivalists/televangelists that teach against this doctrine: Any Third Wave teacher that teaches a transferable impartation, thus denying the gospel of grace and the true work of the Holy Spirit. This includes ALL of the Third Wave teachers at this point. Also any Third Wave teacher who does not fully present the gospel message of grace.
a. The Brownsville/Toronto “gospel” is “repent and come to Jesus” without mentioning the cross or resurrection.
b. Anything that denies the full indwelling of the Spirit at conversion denies, ultimately, the biblical definition of salvation.
c. Need for “impartation” is denial of gospel by grace.
- The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.
A. Religions that do not believe: Catholicism (adds tradition equal to Scripture), Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Bahai, all religions except for Christianity and Judaism (although Judaism does not hold the New Testament to be inspired Scripture).
- Cults that do not believe: Mormons (add Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith from Aaronic preisthood), Christian Science (error stole into Scripture through material humans, Gnosticism), Scientology
- “Christian” churches that do not believe: SDA (add Ellen White), Unitarians, Unity (Scriptures not inspired, records of men), any church that says prophets words today are over Scripture or that “God is greater than His Word” or “Don’t put God in a box” or that there is any new Revelation that adds to or takes away from what the Bible already says..
- Third Wave revivalists/televangelists that teach against this doctrine: Almost all Third Wave teachers deny the sufficiency of Scripture by teaching “new revelation” which is beyond what the Scripture teaches, or signs and wonders that are not consistent with the Word and the Testimony of the character of God. Some have even blatantly put down Scripture such as John Wimber, John Scotland, John Kilpatrick, John Arnott and others.
a. “Empty your mind, don’t think” assumes that something outside scripture must enter mind, body; occultic technique.
b. “New revelation” needed for modern church, “new picture” denies sufficiency of “faith once for all delivered”.
c. Signs and wonders needed beyond gospel.
d. Emphasis on experience over doctrine is backwards.
e. Witchcraft/New Age techniques used for direction instead of scripture.
PART VIII – NAMES & FACES
Here is a short list of people or movements to watch out for. True Christians must avoid their teachings because they do not hold to the core doctrines of Christianity by teaching against them either explicitly and/or implicitly. These teachers have been rebuked and warned countless time, but continue to persist in their false teachings, false prophesies and false anointing.
Click on the underlined names for further information on these who have strayed from sound doctrine:
Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Rodney Howard-Browne, Paul & Jan Crouch, John Avanzini, Morris Cerullo, Rod Parsley, Randy Clark, John Arnott and TACF (Toronto “Blessing) and any TB church anywhere, John Kilpatrick, Steve Hill & Micheal Brown of Brownsville AG of Pensecola and any church following that counterfeit revival, John Wimber and most Vineyard churches, RHEMA and Kenneth Hagin, Marilyn Hickey, Bishop Earl Paulk, Oral Roberts, Paul Yonggi Cho, Karl Strader, Charles Capps, John Osteen, Fred Price, Richard Roberts, Mike Evans, Jerry Savelle, Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant, Peter Popoff, Charles Hunter, Jack Deere, Rick Joyner, Paul Cain, Bob Jones (of KCP), Pat Robertson, John Scotland.
This list is nowhere near exhaustive. There are hundreds more names that could be listed here who have been teaching against the five basic doctrines. You can research these yourself by searching for their names on our web site. There are also many other good apologetics sites linked from our web site you can use.
The main thing is to be a Berean yourself. Don’t rely strictly on what I say or what someone else tells you but go to the Word and find out for yourself if these people are teaching heresy.
Scripture is true when it states:
Mt 24:11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
1Jo 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
We live in perilous times. Christians need to be awake.
Compiled and written by Sandy Simpson, 1999
Sources: Deception In The Church web page, Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM),
Biblical Studies Foundation (Bible.Org)