In an earlier debate concerning the Trinity and Oneness doctrines, I raised the issue that one reason I reject the doctrine of the Trinity is that there is a huge constellation of false doctrine orbiting it. It was after this debate that I decided to make an actual list of the different false doctrines that have been given birth because of the Trinity doctrine.
Kenneth James Solheim Th.B.
Source: A Trinitarian friend of mine.
Context: My friend and I have debated the subject of the Trinity and Oneness doctrines on many occasions. He was once an Oneness believer and has been convinced of the Trinity.
My Trinitarian friend wrote,
“However, when I started reading Church history for myself, I realized that every individual element of Trinitarian doctrine (e.g., the distinctness of each person, the equal deity of each person, and yet their oneness in the only true God) had existed in church teaching since the New Testament.”
The Heresy: “Every individual element of the Trinity doctrine had existed in the church teaching since the New Testament.”
According to Jaroslav Pelikan author of the multi-volume church history, The Christian Tradition, A History of the Development of Doctrine, in Vol. 1 The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) my Trinitarian friend is completely mistaken in his beliefs.
“At Nicea the doctrine of the Holy Spirit had been disposed of in lapidary brevity: ‘And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit.’ Nor does there seem to have been a single treatise dealing specifically with the person of the Spirit composed before the second half of the fourth century…” (Pelikan, 211)
It is amazing to me that many Trinitarians believe that their cherished belief was one believed upon by all Christians since Jesus day. The truth, however, is that the trinity was not believed upon by all Christians even as late as the Counsel of Nicene at 325 A.D. According to Pelikan in his church History there was no consensus upon who or what the Holy Spirit was even by this late date, some three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ. Therefore at least one element of the doctrine was not present by 325 AD and that was that the Holy Spirit was a distinct person equal with the Father and the Son.
By 325 A.D. some church leaders thought that the Holy Spirit was the Spirit, or better the “breath of life”, which God breathed into man to make him a living soul. Others believed that the Holy Spirit was actually a created being residing upon a plane a little higher than the angels.
“In a remarkable summary of the controversy within the orthodox camp, composed in the same year he (Gregory of Nazianzus in 380 A.D.-kjs) declared: Of the wise men among ourselves, some have conceived of him [The Holy Spirit] as an activity, some as a creature, some as God; and some have been uncertain which to call him…” (Pelikan, 213)
How can “every individual element of the Trinity doctrine had existed in the church teaching since the New Testament” if Church leaders did not know who or what the Holy Spirit was? A dear Christian friend of mine and co-worker, a youth minister of the Assembly of God Church, conceded this point with me but insisted that it was enough that the church believed in the existence of the Holy Spirit.
However, according to my Trinitarian friend wrote, “Every individual element of the Trinity doctrine (e.g., the distinctness of each person, the equal deity of each person, and yet their oneness in the only true God) had existed in church teaching since the New Testament.” So, how could the “equal deity of each person” apply to the Holy Spirit? There is no evidence that the idea of the Holy Spirit was considered an “equal deity” with the Father.
Another element of the Trinity doctrine that did not exist before 325 AD is that the Holy Spirit proceeds form the Father and the Son. (More on this later.)
But it does not end there, at the beginning of the 5th century the question of the Logos and Hypostasis arose. “The encounter between the theology of the hypostatic union and the theology of the indwelling Logos took place in the arena of the Council of Ephesus in 431.” (Pelikan, 260) This is four hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ and this element of the Trinity was not agreed upon. (It seems that the farther away from the death of Jesus Christ and of the Twelve Apostles the more bizarre these men and their fantasies became.)
“After 431 there were several directions in which the doctrine could develop, each of which had its fierce partisans and its political opportunity, but also its own logical validity within the evolution of Christological doctrine.” (Pelikan, 262) Not to make a too fine of a point of it, but, how can “every individual element of the Trinity doctrine had existed in the church since the New Testament” if the evolution of Christological doctrine could have developed in several directions after 431? Or, how could this statement be true if each direction had its own “fierce partisans”?
It was not until the third General (Ecumenical) Council the Council of Ephesus in 431 that it was established that Jesus had two Natures, that of a man and as a god. It was then that Mary was elevated from ordinary Mary the mother of Jesus to Mary the Mother of God! (Another false doctrine of the Constellation of False Doctrines that Surrounds the Trinity)
I could go on into a very lengthy treatise about the subject of the evolution of the Trinity doctrine. Someday I will compose a time line of the development of “every individual element of the Trinity doctrine” but allow me to conclude with a final quote this time from the Complete and Updated Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 246:
“The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that the Spirit ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque).’ The Council of Florence in 1438 explains: ‘The Holy Spirit is eternal from the Father and the Son; He has his own nature and subsistence at once (simultaneous) from the Father and the Son. He proceeds eternally from both as form one principle and through one spiration…” (Page 73)
It wasn’t until 1438 that this element of the Trinity doctrine, that the Holy Spirit is a separate person proceeding from the Father and the Son was developed. This became the final point of contention that split the Eastern Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholic Church. This is over 1400 years after the death of Jesus Christ, and only 566 years ago!
The “filioque” was rejected by the Eastern Orthodox Church because if the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son then you have two gods bringing forth a third god. The Eastern Orthodox Church believed in the Father as being the source of all things, including the bringing forth of new gods, I guess.
The filioque was something that the Roman Catholic Church was pushing for years. No matter how loud or often the Trinitarians shout that they are not polytheists it comes out clearly in their doctrines! This is just another false doctrine that circles the doctrine of the Trinity.
It is not a mystery it is a contradiction.