Volume. XXV, No. 44
Sunday, 01 May 2011

Questions for the Anti-Trinitarians ( Part 1)

1. Do you give worshipful honor to the Son as God, just as you give honor to the Father as God? If your answer is no, then you are not honoring the Father because Jesus said in John 5:23 says, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”

2. Should John 1:1 be translated as: ‘The Word (Christ) was ‘a’ god’? If the answer is yes, then why is it that the Greek word "theos" in John 1:6, 12, 13 18 has no definite Greek article and is translated as “God” every time, not “a god,” in all English translations, including the New World Translation of the Watch Tower Bible Society that denies Jesus’ deity?

3. Do you believe that the New Testament never specifically says Jesus is YHWH or Yahweh or Jehovah? If your answer is yes, then why is YHWH (Yahweh or Jehovah) translated as “I AM” in Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10 and etc.? Furthermore, why is the Greek phrase ego eimi used for the Hebrew phrase "I AM" (God\'s name) in the Septuagint? The Septuagint is the Greek text of the Old Testament that dates back to prior to the birth of Christ. The Septuagint says, “και ειπεν ο θεος προς μωυσην εγω ειμι ο ων και ειπεν ουτως ερεις τοις υιοις ισραηλ ο ων απεσταλκεν με προς υμας.” (Exodus 3:14, LXX) Clearly “I AM” is translated as εγω ειμι and is identified as YHWH or Yahweh or Jehovah. On a number of occasions in the Greek New Testament, Jesus used this term as a way of identifying Himself as God. (John 6:35; 8:12, 10:9, 10:11, 11:25-26, 14:6 and 15:5). Jesus also says in John 8:24, "… if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Actually, the original Greek does not have the word "He": ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι, ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν. The verse is literally, "…if ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins." And, the “I AM” here is ego eimi or ἐγώ εἰμι. It is very revealing that Old Testament passages about Yahweh were directly applied to Jesus in the New Testament.  Jesus said in John 8:58: “"Before Abraham was born, I am".  This is the very reason why the Jews sought to kill Jesus. Because the Jews knew full well that Jesus was claiming Himself to be equal to Jehovah God. The Old Testament also clearly identifies YHWH or Yahweh or Jehovah as Jesus who would be crucified.  In Zechariah 12:10, the LORD or Yahweh is speaking prophetically: "…they shall look upon me whom they have pierced…"  Obviously, the LORD or Yahweh or Jehovah is speaking here, yet this is clearly a reference to Christ\'s crucifixion.  The LORD or Yahweh uses the word “me” when speaking of Jesus’ ‘future’ crucifixion.

4. Was the doctrine of Trinity ‘invented’ at the council of Nicea in AD 325? The doctrine of Trinity was not ‘invented’ at the council of Nicea in AD 325—it was ‘confirmed’ by the council because Christian churches across the Roman empire already accepted this doctrine, except for a handful of heretics like Arians (ie. followers of Arius, the heretic). Any church historian can testify that the early church councils do not ‘invent’ or ‘formulate’ doctrines, they confirm doctrines which were already universally accepted as biblical truth. The purpose of the councils is to condemn the heresy and to confirm and adopt certain doctrines into a creed (ie. a statement of belief) such as the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. Contrary to what anti-Trinitarians have claimed, the Ante-Nicean (ante=before) church fathers already accepted the doctrine of Trinity or the deity of Jesus Christ—it was not formulated out of convenience. The following are some quotes from the writings of Ante-Nicean church Fathers:
Polycarp (70-155/160).  Bishop of Smyrna.  Disciple of John, the Apostle.
"O Lord God almighty... I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever" (n. 14, ed. Funk; PG 5.1040).
Justin Martyr (100?-165?). He was a Christian apologist and martyr.
"For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water" (First Apol., LXI).
Ignatius of Antioch (died 98/117).  Bishop of Antioch.  He wrote much in defense of Christianity.
"In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever" (n. 7; PG 5.988).
"We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.  For ‘the Word was made flesh.\' Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts." (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 1, p. 52, Ephesians 7.)

 Irenaeus (115-190).  As a boy he listened to Polycarp, the disciple of John.  He became Bishop of Lyons.
"The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: ...one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father ‘to gather all things in one,\' and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all...\'" (Against Heresies X.l)
Tertullian (160-215). African apologist and theologian. He wrote much in defense of Christianity.
"We define that there are two, the Father and the Son, and three with the Holy Spirit, and this number is made by the pattern of salvation... [which] brings about unity in trinity, interrelating the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are three, not in dignity, but in degree, not in substance but in form, not in power but in kind.  They are of one substance and power, because there is one God from whom these degrees, forms and kinds devolve in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (Adv. Prax. 23; PL 2.156-7).

Origen (185-254). Alexandrian theologian. Defended Christianity and wrote much about Christianity.
"If anyone would say that the Word of God or the Wisdom of God had a beginning, let him beware lest he direct his impiety rather against the unbegotten Father, since he denies that he was always Father, and that he has always begotten the Word, and that he always had wisdom in all previous times or ages or whatever can be imagined in priority... There can be no more ancient title of almighty God than that of Father, and it is through the Son that he is Father." (De Princ. 1.2.; PG 11.132).
"For if [the Holy Spirit were not eternally as He is, and had received knowledge at some time and then became the Holy Spirit] this were the case, the Holy Spirit would never be reckoned in the unity of the Trinity, i.e., along with the unchangeable Father and His Son, unless He had always been the Holy Spirit." (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 4, p. 253, de Principiis, 1.111.4)
"Moreover, nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less, since the fountain of divinity alone contains all things by His word and reason, and by the Spirit of His mouth sanctifies all things which are worthy of sanctification..." (Roberts and Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 255, de Principii., I. iii. 7).

If, as the anti-Trinitarians maintain, the Trinity is not a biblical doctrine and was never taught until the council of Nicea in AD 325, then why do these quotes exist? The answer is simple: the Trinity is a biblical doctrine and it was taught before the council of Nicea in AD 325. Apostolic churches (AD 100-AD150) which already accepted the doctrine of Trinity existed before the ‘Roman Catholic Church (RCC)’. Thus, it is the RCC that continues to accept the doctrine of Trinity, not the other way round. Part of the reason that the Trinity doctrine was not "officially" taught until the time of the Council of Nicea is because Christianity was illegal until shortly before the council (ie. Emperor Constantine ‘legalised’ it). It wasn\'t really possible for official Christian groups to meet and discuss doctrine. For the most part, they were fearful of making public pronouncements concerning their faith. The early church believed in the Trinity, as is evidenced by the quotes above, and it wasn\'t necessary to really make them official. It was not until a hand full of heretics like ‘Arians’ begun to attack the deity of Jesus Christ, that the necessity to defend and confirm the doctrine of Trinity arose. It wasn\'t until errors started to creep in that councils began to meet to discuss the Trinity, as well as other doctrines that came under fire—it was not in the original agenda to discuss and confirm the doctrine of Trinity which was already universally accepted as biblical truth. And, to claim that Christian churches believe in Trinity because of the RCC influence is simply ‘anachronistic’ and ridiculous. To be continued…

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Colin Gan.
*Hope Bookstore: Opening hours 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm. New books available.
*Session thanks all Camp Committee members and campers for a blessed and well-organised Family Bible Camp.
*Camp De-brief Meeting open to all who are interested.
*Camp photos - please pass them to Sis Clara Sim.
*25th Anniversary Magazine Committee will meet from next Lord’s Day.
*Ladies’ Fellowship Mothers’ Day lunch on Sat, 14 May, at noon, at Golden Dragon Palace, 242 Hutt St, Adelaide. Sign up sheet in foyer.

Looking Ahead
25th Anniversary Thanksgiving, 29 May.
*Vacation Bible School, July 2011
*Christmas Concert, Sat, 3 Dec.

Praise and Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Ps Ki (Korea); Dn David Yeo & family (Vietnam/Batam/S’pore); Bro Mark & Sis Hui Min Chen & family (Melb); Bro Jonathan Liao (Adl/Melb); Sisters Pei Yann Chong, Adalena Koh & Maybelline Tan  (S’pore); Wendy Liang (Melb/Adl), Bible Campers & others who arrived safely.
Family Bible Camp last weekend: edifying messages & ministry by Bro Mark & Sis Hui Min Chen; labour of love, fellowship & contribution by organisers & participants.
Batam Missions: Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & Audrey.
Other Church activities - over the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

Prayer items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser;  Elton Law, & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe (Per), Margaret Pearson, Irena Kurek-Braden & Susan Varadi; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Srun Chivan & ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville); Bro John & Sis Lydia Saray & Ministry (Kampot);
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa (Filadelfia Church).
iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & ministry.
IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki.
Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
Ps & Sis  Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
Journey mercies: Ps Ki (Lond); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Qld), Dn David Yeo & family, & Dn Wai Kin Wong & family (Adl); Bro Mark & Sis Hui Min Chen & Nathan (S’pore); Bro Lucas Yiew (Tas) & Sis Gillian Ong (Bris); & others who are travelling.
Job - Sisters Clara Sim & Corinne Teng.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
God’s comfort - Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family; & those in grief.
 Street-Evangelism - Protection of participants & Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts. 
Disasters in Japan (11 Mar) & New Zealand (22 Feb) - victims & families.
Sunday School teachers - help with preparation.
God’s guidance & Job provision in S’pore: Bro Raymond Ang.



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