Nontrinitarianism

Nontrinitarianism

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Nontrinitarianism includes all Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 belief systems
Christian theology
- Divisions of Christian theology :There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.- Sub-disciplines :...

 that disagree with the doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

 of the Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

, namely, the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases
Hypostatic union
Hypostatic union is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis.The First Council of Ephesus recognised this doctrine and affirmed its importance, stating that the...

and yet co-eternal, co-equal, and indivisibly united in one essence or ousia
Ousia
Ousia is the Ancient Greek noun formed on the feminine present participle of ; it is analogous to the English participle being, and the modern philosophy adjectival ontic...

. According to churches that consider ecumenical council decisions final, the teaching was infallibly
Infallibility
Infallibility, from Latin origin , is a term with a variety of meanings related to knowing truth with certainty.-In common speech:...

 defined at the third Ecumenical Council
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

 (First Council of Ephesus). Nontrinitarians disagree with the findings of the Council for various reasons, including the belief that the Bible as they understand it takes precedence over creeds, or that there was a Great Apostasy
Great Apostasy
The Great Apostasy is a term used by some religious groups to describe a general fallen state of traditional Christianity, especially the Papacy, because it allowed the traditional Roman mysteries and deities of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus and idol worship back into the church,...

 prior to the Council. Nontrinitarians represent a small minority of Christianity.

Nontrinitarian views differ widely on the nature of God, Jesus
Christian views of Jesus
Christian views of Jesus are based on the teachings and beliefs outlined in the Canonical gospels, New Testament letters, and the Christian creeds. These outline the key beliefs held by Christian about Jesus, including his divinity, humanity, and earthly life. Generally speaking, adhering to the...

, and the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

. Various nontrinitarian views, such as Adoptionism
Adoptionism
Adoptionism, sometimes called dynamic monarchianism, is a minority Christian belief that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his baptism...

, Monarchianism
Monarchianism
Monarchianism is a set of beliefs that emphasize God as being one person. The term was given to Christians who upheld the "monarchy" of God against the Logos theology of Justin Martyr and apologists who had spoken of Jesus as a second divine person begotten by God the Father before the creation of...

, and Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, existed prior to the formal definition of the Trinity doctrine in 325 and 360 AD, at the Councils of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

 and Constantinople
First Council of Constantinople (360)
In 359, the Roman Emperor Constantius II requested a church council, at Constantinople, of both the eastern and western bishops, to resolve the split at the Council of Seleucia...

. Nontrinitarianism was later renewed in the Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 of the Cathars in the 11th through 13th centuries, in the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 of the 18th century, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening
Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a Christian revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1800, had begun to gain momentum by 1820, and was in decline by 1870. The Second Great Awakening expressed Arminian theology, by which every person could be...

 of the 19th century.

Modern nontrinitarian groups or denominations
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

 include Unitarian Universalist Christians
Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship is the main group serving Christian Unitarian Universalists within the Unitarian Universalist Association. The UUCF was founded in 1945 and can trace its roots back through the history of North American Universalism and Unitarianism...

, Bible Students
Bible Student movement
The Bible Student movement is the name adopted by a Millennialist Restorationist Christian movement that emerged from the teachings and ministry of Charles Taze Russell, also known as Pastor Russell...

, Christadelphians
Christadelphians
Christadelphians is a Christian group that developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century...

, Christian Scientists
Christian Science
Christian Science is a system of thought and practice derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and the Bible. It is practiced by members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist as well as some others who are nonmembers. Its central texts are the Bible and the Christian Science textbook,...

, Friends General Conference
Friends General Conference
Friends General Conference is a North American Quaker organization primarily serving the Quaker yearly and monthly meetings in the United States and Canada that choose to be members...

, Iglesia ni Cristo
Iglesia ni Cristo
Iglesia ni Cristo also known as INC, is the largest entirely indigenous Christian religious organization that originated from the Philippines and the largest independent church in Asia. Due to a number of similarities, some Protestant writers describe the INC's doctrines as restorationist in...

, Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, Latter Day Saints
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

, Oneness Pentecostals
Oneness Pentecostalism
Oneness Pentecostalism refers to a grouping of denominations and believers within Pentecostal Christianity, all of whom subscribe to the nontrinitarian theological doctrine of Oneness...

, and the United Church of God
United Church of God
The United Church of God, an International Association is a Christian denomination based in the United States with members in various countries around the world...

.

Forms of nontrinitarianism


Most nontrinitarians identify themselves as Christian. There are some groups that do not describe themselves as either Christian or Trinitarian.

Forms of Christian nontrinitarianism


The Encyclopædia Britannica states, "To some Christians the doctrine of the Trinity appeared inconsistent with the unity of God....They therefore denied it, and accepted Jesus Christ, not as incarnate God, but as God's highest creature by Whom all else was created....[this] view in the early Church long contended with the orthodox doctrine." Although this view (nontrinitarian) eventually disappeared “in the early church” and the trinitarian view became an orthodox doctrine of modern Christianity, variations of the nontrinitarian view are still held by a small number Christian groups and denominations.

Nontrinitarian followers of Jesus fall into roughly five different groups:
  • There are those who believe that Jesus is not God, but that he was a messenger from God, or prophet, or the perfect created human. One version of this view was espoused by ancient sects such as the Ebionites
    Ebionites
    Ebionites, or Ebionaioi, , is a patristic term referring to a Jewish Christian sect or sects that existed during the first centuries of the Christian Era. They regarded Jesus as the Messiah and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish religious law and rites...

    . A specific example of this form of nontrinitarianism is Arianism
    Arianism
    Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

     which had become the dominant view in some regions in the time of the Roman Empire
    Roman Empire
    The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

    . Arianism taught about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but held that the Son was not co-eternal with the Father. However, Arians still maintained that Jesus was divine and did not consider worship of the Son to be idolatrous. Another early form of nontrinarianism was Monarchianism
    Monarchianism
    Monarchianism is a set of beliefs that emphasize God as being one person. The term was given to Christians who upheld the "monarchy" of God against the Logos theology of Justin Martyr and apologists who had spoken of Jesus as a second divine person begotten by God the Father before the creation of...

    .
  • Those who believe that the heavenly Father, the resurrected Son and the Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God himself. Mainstream Christians characterise this teaching as the heresy of Sabellianism
    Sabellianism
    In Christianity, Sabellianism, is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.The term Sabellianism comes from...

     or modalism. Churches that now hold these beliefs explain it somewhat differently. Examples of such churches today are Oneness Pentecostal
    Oneness Pentecostal
    Oneness Pentecostalism refers to a grouping of denominations and believers within Pentecostal Christianity, all of whom subscribe to the nontrinitarian theological doctrine of Oneness...

    s and the New Church
    The New Church
    The New Church is the name for a New religious movement developed from the writings of the Swedish scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg . Swedenborg claimed to have received a new revelation from Jesus Christ through continuous heavenly visions which he experienced over a period of at least...

    .
  • Some denominations, such as Mormonism
    Mormonism
    Mormonism is the religion practiced by Mormons, and is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement. This movement was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. beginning in the 1820s as a form of Christian primitivism. During the 1830s and 1840s, Mormonism gradually distinguished itself...

    , teach that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not only distinct persons, but also distinct beings. Rather than being united in substance, these denominations believe they are united in other ways. For example, in Mormonism, the three individual deities are thought to be "one" in will or purpose, as Jesus was "one" with his disciples.
  • Denominations within the Sabbatarian tradition (Armstrongism
    Armstrongism
    Armstrongism refers to the teachings and doctrines of Herbert W. Armstrong while leader of the Worldwide Church of God , and is professed by him and his followers to be the restored true Gospel of the Bible. Armstrong said they were revealed to him by God during his study of the Bible....

    ), who accept the divinity of the Father and Jesus the Son, but do not teach that the Holy Spirit is a being. The Living Church of God
    Living Church of God
    The Living Church of God is one of the church groups formed by followers of the teachings of the late Herbert W. Armstrong. It was formed as a series of major doctrinal changes were introduced in the Worldwide Church of God after Armstrong's death in 1986...

    , for example, teaches, "The Holy Spirit is the very essence, the mind, life and power of God. It is not a Being. The Spirit is inherent in the Father and the Son, and emanates
    Emanationism
    Emanationism is an idea in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems. Emanation, from the Latin emanare meaning "to flow from" or "to pour forth or out of", is the mode by which all things are derived from the First Reality, or Principle...

     from Them throughout the entire universe". Mainstream Christians characterise this teaching as the heresy of Binitarianism
    Binitarianism
    Binitarianism is a Christian theology of two personae, two individuals, or two aspects in one Godhead . Classically, binitarianism is understood as strict monotheism — that is, that God is an absolutely single being; and yet with binitarianism there is a "twoness" in God...

    . Armstrong theology holds that God is a "Family", that expands eventually, but that there is originally a co-eternal "Duality", rather than a "Trinity".
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

     believe that Jehovah
    Jehovah
    Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

     the Father is the only true God, worthy to be worshipped and served (Matthew 4:10, John 4: 23,24, 17:3). They consider Jesus to be the only begotten Son and the first creation of God (Colossians 1: 15, John 3: 16). They do not believe that Jesus is Almighty God. While they do give relative "proskyneo" to Christ, and pray through him as "Mediator" and "Messiah
    Messiah
    A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

    ", they believe that only the Father is without beginning, and that the Father is greater than the Son; only Jehovah therefore is worthy of highest worship. They do not believe that the Holy Spirit is God. They believe in the existence of an active force, spirit or power of the almighty God Jehovah (Luke 1:35).


Nontrinitarian doctrine often generates controversy among mainstream Christians as most trinitarians consider it heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 not to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. At times, segments of Nicene Christianity reacted with ultimate severity toward nontrinitarian views. Following the Reformation
Reformation
- Movements :* Protestant Reformation, an attempt by Martin Luther to reform the Roman Catholic Church that resulted in a schism, and grew into a wider movement...

, among some Protestant groups such as the Unitarians
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

 and Christadelphians
Christadelphians
Christadelphians is a Christian group that developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century...

, the same views have been accommodated.

Forms of non-Christian nontrinitarianism

  • Members of Unitarian Universalism
    Unitarian Universalism
    Unitarian Universalism is a religion characterized by support for a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed; rather, they are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth and by the understanding that an individual's theology is a...

     may or may not identify as Christian. Traditionally, unitarianism was a form of Christianity that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity
    Trinity
    The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

    . Unitarianism was rebuffed by orthodox Christianity at the First Council of Nicaea
    First Council of Nicaea
    The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

     in a Synod
    Synod
    A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

     meeting of the bishops in 325, but resurfaced subsequently in Church history, especially during the theological turmoils of the Protestant Reformation
    Protestant Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

    . In 1961, the American Unitarian Association
    American Unitarian Association
    The American Unitarian Association was a religious denomination in the United States and Canada, formed by associated Unitarian congregations in 1825. In 1961, it merged with the Universalist Church of America to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.According to Mortimer Rowe, the Secretary...

     (AUA) was consolidated with the Universalist Church of America
    Universalist Church of America
    The Universalist Church of America was a Christian Universalist religious denomination in the United States . Known from 1866 as the Universalist General Convention, the name was changed to the Universalist Church of America in 1942...

     (UCA), forming the Unitarian Universalist Association
    Unitarian Universalist Association
    Unitarian Universalist Association , in full the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations in North America, is a liberal religious association of Unitarian Universalist congregations formed by the consolidation in 1961 of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of...

  • In Islam
    Islam
    Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

    's holy book, the Quran, Allah
    Allah
    Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

     (God
    God
    God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

    ) denounces the concept of Trinity (Qur'an 4:171, 5:72-73, 112:1-4) as an over-reverence by Christians of God's Word, the prophet and messiah Jesus Christ son of the virgin Mary, while maintaining Jesus as one of the most important and respected prophets and Messengers of God, (2:136) primarily sent to prevent the Jews from changing the Torah, (61:6) and to refresh and reaffirm his original message as revealed to Moses and earlier New Testament prophets. The creation of Jesus is framed similar to the creation of Adam out of dust, but with Jesus' birth meaning his creation excludes male human intervention rather than creation completely without human participation (3:59). Belief in all of the aforementioned about Jesus as a prophet (5:78), as well as belief in the original gospel and Torah and belief in Jesus' virgin birth (3:45) are core criterion of being a Muslim and Quranic criterion for salvation in the hereafter along with belief in the Prophet Muhammad
    Muhammad
    Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

     and all the prior prophets. In short God is seen as being both perfect and indivisible. He can therefore have no peer or equal. Jesus, being God's creation, can never be considered to be equal with God or a part of God. To do so is considered by Islam to be blasphemy. (112:3)

History of nontrinitarianism



All nontrinitarians take the position that the doctrine of the earliest form of Christianity (see Apostolic Age
Apostolic Age
The Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity is traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Great Commission in Jerusalem until the death of John the Apostle in Anatolia...

) was nontrinitarian. Typically, nontrinitarians believe Christianity was altered by the edicts of Emperor Constantine I
Constantine I and Christianity
During the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, also known as Constantine I, had a significant religious experience following his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312...

, which eventually resulted in the adoption of Trinitarian Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire
State church of the Roman Empire
The state church of the Roman Empire was a Christian institution organized within the Roman Empire during the 4th century that came to represent the Empire's sole authorized religion. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches claim to be the historical continuation of this...

 during the reign of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

. Because it was during a dramatic shift in Christianity's status
Constantinian shift
Constantinian shift is a term used by Anabaptist and Post-Christendom theologians to describe the political and theological aspects of the 4th-century process of Constantine's legalization of Christianity. The term was popularized by the Mennonite theologian John H...

 that the doctrine of the Trinity attained its definitive development, nontrinitarians typically consider the doctrine questionable. Nontrinitarians see the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 as an essentially political document, resulting from the subordination of true doctrine to state interests by leaders of the Catholic Church, so that the church became, in their view, an extension of the Roman Empire.

Although nontrinitarian beliefs continued to multiply, and among some people (such as the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 in the west) were dominant for hundreds of years after their inception, Trinitarians gained prominence in the Roman Empire. Nontrinitarians typically argue that the primitive beliefs of Christianity were systematically suppressed (often to the point of death), and that the historical record, perhaps also including the scriptures of the New Testament, was altered as a consequence.

Some scholars investigating the historical Jesus
Historical Jesus
The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the 1st-century figure Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions are based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and...

 assert that Jesus taught neither his own equality with God nor the Trinity (see, for example, the Jesus Seminar
Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar is a group of about 150 critical scholars and laymen founded in 1985 by Robert Funk under the auspices of the Westar Institute....

).

Nontrinitarians also dispute the veracity of the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 based on its adoption nearly 300 years after the life of Jesus as a result of conflict within pre-Nicene early Christianity
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

. Nontrinitarians (both Modalists and Unitarians) also generally claim that Athanasius and others at Nicaea adopted Greek Platonic philosophy and concepts, and incorporated them in their views of God and Christ. Nontrinitarians also cite scriptures such as and that warn the reader to beware the doctrines of men.

The author H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

, later famous for his contribution to science-fiction, wrote in The Outline of History
The Outline of History
The Outline of History, subtitled either "The Whole Story of Man" or "Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind", is a book by H. G. Wells published in 1919...

: "We shall see presently how later on all Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 was torn by disputes about the Trinity. There is no evidence that the apostles of Jesus ever heard of the Trinity, at any rate from him."

The question of why such a central doctrine to the Christian faith would never have been explicitly stated in scripture or taught in detail by Jesus himself was sufficiently important to 16th century historical figures such as Michael Servetus
Michael Servetus
Michael Servetus was a Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and humanist. He was the first European to correctly describe the function of pulmonary circulation...

 as to lead them to argue the question. The Geneva City Council, in accord with the judgment of the cantons of Zürich, Bern, Basel, and Schaffhausen, condemned Servetus to be burned at the stake for this and his opposition to infant baptism.

The Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics describes the five stages that led to the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity.
  1. The acceptance of the pre-human existence of Jesus as the (middle-platonic
    Middle Platonism
    Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Plato's philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC, when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected the scepticism of the New Academy, until the development of Neoplatonism under Plotinus in the 3rd century. Middle Platonism absorbed many...

    ) Logos
    Logos
    ' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

    , namely, as the medium between the transcendent sovereign God and the created cosmos. The doctrine of Logos was accepted by the Apologists and by other Fathers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, such as Justin the Martyr, Hippolytus, Tertullian
    Tertullian
    Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

    , Ireneus, Clement of Alexandria
    Clement of Alexandria
    Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

    , Origen
    Origen
    Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

    , Lactantius
    Lactantius
    Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his religious policy as it developed, and tutor to his son.-Biography:...

    , and the 4th century Arius
    Arius
    Arius was a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt of Libyan origins. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead, which emphasized the Father's divinity over the Son , and his opposition to the Athanasian or Trinitarian Christology, made him a controversial figure in the First Council of...

    .
  2. The doctrine of the timeless generation of the Son from the Father as it was articulated by Origen in his effort to support the ontological immutability
    Immutability (theology)
    Immutability is the doctrine of classical Christian theism that God cannot change; this has been variously interpreted to mean either that God's nature cannot change but that God can, or that God himself cannot change at all...

     of God
    God
    God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

    , that he is ever-being a father and a creator. The doctrine of the timeless generation was adopted by Athanasius of Alexandria
    Athanasius of Alexandria
    Athanasius of Alexandria [b. ca. – d. 2 May 373] is also given the titles St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St Athanasius the Confessor and St Athanasius the Apostolic. He was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His long episcopate lasted 45 years Athanasius of Alexandria [b....

    .
  3. The acceptance of the idea that the son of God is homoousios
    Homoousian
    Homoousian is a technical theological term used in discussion of the Christian understanding of God as Trinity. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being homooúsios with God the Father — that is, they are of the "same substance" and are equally God...

    to his father, that is, of the same transcendent nature. This position was declared in the Nicene Creed
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

    , which specifically states the son of God is as immutable as his father.
  4. The acceptance that the Holy Spirit also has ontological equality as a third person in a divine Trinity and the final Trinitarian terminology by the teachings of the Cappadocian Fathers
    Cappadocian Fathers
    The Cappadocian Fathers are Basil the Great , who was bishop of Caesarea; Basil's brother Gregory of Nyssa , who was bishop of Nyssa; and a close friend, Gregory of Nazianzus , who became Patriarch of Constantinople...

    .
  5. The addition of the Filioque to the Nicene Creed, as accepted by the Roman Catholic Church.

Scriptural support


Critics argue that the Trinity, for a teaching described as fundamental, lacks direct scriptural support, and even some proponents of the doctrine acknowledge that direct or formal support is lacking. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught [explicitly] in the [Old Testament]", "The formulation 'one God in three Persons' was not solidly established [by a council]...prior to the end of the 4th century". Similarly, Encyclopedia Encarta states: "The doctrine is not taught explicitly in the New Testament, where the word God almost invariably refers to the Father. [...] The term trinitas was first used in the 2nd century, by the Latin theologian Tertullian, but the concept was developed in the course of the debates on the nature of Christ [...]. In the 4th century, the doctrine was finally formulated". Encyclopædia Britannica says: "Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema
Shema Yisrael
Shema Yisrael are the first two words of a section of the Torah that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services...

 in the Old Testament: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” . [...] The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. [...] by the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great, was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor . He was an influential 4th century Christian theologian...

, Gregory of Nyssa
Gregory of Nyssa
St. Gregory of Nyssa was a Christian bishop and saint. He was a younger brother of Basil the Great and a good friend of Gregory of Nazianzus. His significance has long been recognized in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic branches of Christianity...

, and Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age...

 (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since." The Anchor Bible Dictionary states: "One does not find in the NT the trinitarian paradox of the coexistence of the Father, Son, and Spirit within a divine unity."

Questions over Jesus as "Almighty God"



The debate over the biblical basis of the Trinity revolves primarily around the question of the divinity of Jesus
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

. Those who reject the teaching that Jesus is true God argue that Jesus himself questioned even being called even "good" in deference to God in the parable of the rich young ruler , said that the Father is greater than he is , disavowed omniscience as the Son , "learned obedience" , was called the 'firstborn of all creation' and 'the beginning of God's creation' , referred to ascending to "my Father, and to your Father; and to my God, and to your God" and that he said "the Father is the only true God" . Additionally, Jesus quoted when saying in The most important [commandment],' answered Jesus, 'is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one
Shema Yisrael
Shema Yisrael are the first two words of a section of the Torah that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services...

.
It has been pointed out that in the original Greek in Mark 12, there are no "plural modifiers" in that Greek word for "one" (eis), but that in Mark 12 it is simply a masculine singular "one".

They also argue to show that "Elohim
Elohim
Elohim is a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language. When used with singular verbs and adjectives elohim is usually singular, "god" or especially, the God. When used with plural verbs and adjectives elohim is usually plural, "gods" or...

" (literally "gods") does not hint at any form of plurality, but rather to majesty pointing to the Hebrew dialect and grammar rules that render this title in nearly all circumstances with a singular verb. Raymond E. Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

 who remained a devout catholic and trinitarian nevertheless wrote that , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and are "texts that seem to imply that the title God was not used for Jesus" and are "negative evidence which is often somewhat neglected in Catholic treatments of the subject."

Trinitarians, and nontrinitarians who also hold Jesus Christ as Almighty God (such as the "Modalists
Sabellianism
In Christianity, Sabellianism, is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.The term Sabellianism comes from...

"), claim these statements are based on Jesus' existence as the Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

 in human flesh; that he is therefore both God and man, who became "lower than the angels, for our sake," and that he was tempted as humans are tempted, but did not sin . Some nontrinitarians counter the belief that the Son was limited only during his earthly life by citing "the head of Christ [is] God" , placing Jesus in an inferior position to the Father even after his resurrection. They also cite and , indicating that Jesus became exalted after ascension to heaven, and to , , and , regarding Jesus as a distinct personality in heaven, all after his ascension.

Terminology



Nontrinitarians state that the doctrine of the Trinity relies on non-Biblical terminology. The term "Trinity" is not found in Scripture and the number three is never associated with God in any sense other than within the Comma Johanneum
Comma Johanneum
The Comma Johanneum is a comma in the First Epistle of John according to the Latin Vulgate text as transmitted since the Early Middle Ages, based on Vetus Latina minority readings dating to the 7th century...

 of disputed authenticity. They argue that the only number ascribed to God in the Bible is one, and that the Trinity, literally meaning three-in-one, ascribes a co-equal threeness to God that is not biblical.

Several other examples of terms not found in the Bible include multiple "persons" in relation to God, the terms "God the Son
God the Son
God the Son is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus of Nazareth as God the Son, united in essence but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit...

" and "God the Holy Spirit", and "eternally" begotten. For example, a basic tenet of Trinitarianism is that God is made up of three distinct persons (hypostasis
Hypostasis (religion)
In Christian theology, a hypostasis or person is one of the three elements of the Holy Trinity.In Christian usage, the Greek word hypostasis means beneath-standing or underpinning and, by extension, the existence of some thing...

). The term hypostasis is used only once in reference to God in the Bible where it states that Jesus is the express image of God's person. The Bible never uses the term in relation to the Holy Spirit nor explicitly mentions the Son having a distinct hypostasis from the Father.

Regarding the major term homoousios (of the same essence), which was introduced into the Creed at the First Council of Nicea, Pier Franco Beatrice stated: "The main thesis of this paper is that homoousios came straight from Constantine's Hermetic background. [...] The Plato recalled by Constantine is just a name used to cover precisely the Egyptian and Hermetic theology of the "consubstantiality" of the Logos-Son with the Nous-Father, having recourse to a traditional apologetic argument. [...] Constantine's Hermetic interpretation of Plato's theology and consequently the emperor's decision to insert homoousios in the Creed of Nicaea."

Trinitarians maintain that these ideas are implied within scripture and were necessary additions of the Nicene Era to counter the doctrine of Arianism.

Holy Spirit



It is also argued that the vast majority of scriptures that Trinitarians offer in support of their beliefs refer to the Father
God the Father
God the Father is a gendered title given to God in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector...

 and to Son
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, but not to the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

. Some nontrinitarians, including Jehovah's Witnesses, believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person but the active force of God.

Non-Trinitarian views of the Holy Spirit


Non-trinitarian views about the Holy Spirit differ in certain ways from mainstream Christian doctrine and generally fall into several distinct categories.

Unitarian and Arian


Groups with Unitarian
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

 theology such as Polish Socinians, the 18th-19th Century Unitarian Church
Unitarian Church
Unitarian church usually refers to a church which follows Unitarianism, a Christian theology...

, Christadelphians
Christadelphians
Christadelphians is a Christian group that developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century...

 conceive of the Holy Spirit not as a person but an aspect of God's power. Christadelphians
Christadelphians
Christadelphians is a Christian group that developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century...

 believe that the phrase Holy Spirit refers to God's power or mind/character, depending on the context.

Though Arius
Arius
Arius was a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt of Libyan origins. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead, which emphasized the Father's divinity over the Son , and his opposition to the Athanasian or Trinitarian Christology, made him a controversial figure in the First Council of...

 himself believed that the Holy Spirit was a person or high Angel, modern Arian
Arian
Arian may refer to:* Arius, a Christian presbyter in the 3rd and 4th century* a given name in different cultures: Aria, Aryan or Arian...

 or Semi-Arian Christian groups such as Dawn Bible Students and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 believe, the same as Unitarian groups, that the Holy Spirit is not an actual person but is God's "power in action", like God's divine "breath" or "energy", that he uses to accomplish his will and purpose in creation, redemption, sanctification, and divine guidance, and they do not typically capitalize the term. They define the Holy Spirit as "God's active force", and they believe that it proceeds only from the Father. A Jehovah's Witness brochure quotes Alvan Lamson: "...the Father, Son, and... Holy Spirit [are] not as co-equal, not as one numerical essence, not as Three in One... The very reverse is the fact."

Modalist groups


Oneness Pentecostalism
Oneness Pentecostalism
Oneness Pentecostalism refers to a grouping of denominations and believers within Pentecostal Christianity, all of whom subscribe to the nontrinitarian theological doctrine of Oneness...

, as with other modalist
Sabellianism
In Christianity, Sabellianism, is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.The term Sabellianism comes from...

 groups, teach that the Holy Spirit is a mode of God, rather than a distinct or separate person from the Father, but instead teach that the Holy Spirit is just another name for the Father. According to Oneness theology, the Holy Spirit is the Father. The United Pentecostal Church teaches that there is no personal distinction between God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

These two titles "Father" and "Holy Spirit" (as well as others) do not reflect separate "persons" within the Godhead, but rather two different ways in which the one God reveals himself to his creatures. Thus, the Old Testament speaks of "The Lord God and his Spirit" in Isaiah 48:16, but this does not indicate two "persons" according to Oneness theology. Rather, "The Lord" indicates God in all of His glory and transcendence, while the words "His Spirit" refer to God's own Spirit that moved upon and spoke to the prophet. The Oneness view is that this does not imply two "persons" any more than the numerous scriptural references to a man and his spirit or soul (such as in Luke 12:19) imply two "persons" existing within one body.

Latter Day Saints


In the Latter-day Saint movement, the Holy Ghost (usually synonymous with Holy Spirit.) is considered the third distinct member of the Godhead
Godhead (Mormonism)
In the Mormonism represented by most of Mormon communities , God means Elohim , whereas Godhead means a council of three distinct gods: Elohim, Jehovah , and the Holy Spirit...

(Father, Son and Holy Ghost), and to have a body of "spirit," which makes him unlike the Father and the Son who are said to have bodies "as tangible as man's." According to LDS doctrine, the Holy Spirit is believed to be a person, however having a body of spirit, he is able to pervade all worlds. Mormons believe that the Holy Spirit is part of the "Divine Council" or "Godhead", but that the Father is greater than both the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Other groups


The Unity Church
Unity Church
Unity, known informally as Unity Church, is a religious movement within the wider New Thought movement and is best known to many through its Daily Word devotional publication...

 interprets the religious terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit metaphysically, as three aspects of mind action: mind, idea, and expression. They believe this is the process through which all manifestation takes place.

As a movement that developed out of Christianity, Rastafari
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

 has its own unique interpretation of both the Holy Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 and the Holy Spirit. Although there are several slight variations, they generally state that it is Haile Selassie who embodies both God the Father and God the Son, while the Holy (or rather, "Hola") Spirit is to be found within Rasta believers (see 'I and I'), and within every human being. Rastas also say that the true church is the human body, and that it is this church (or "structure") that contains the Holy Spirit.

Monotheism


The Trinity doctrine is integral in inter-religious disagreements with two of the other major faiths, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

; the former rejects Jesus' divine mission entirely, and the latter accepts Jesus as a human prophet and the Messiah but not as the son of God. The concept of trinity
Trinity in Islam
Within Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity states that God is a single being who exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a communion of three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Within Islam however, such a concept of plurality within God is a denial of monotheism,...

 is totally rejected, with Quranic verses calling the doctrine of the Trinity blasphemous. Many within Judaism and Islam also accuse Christian Trinitarians of practicing polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

—believing in three gods rather than just one.

Supporting scriptures



Among Bible verses cited by opponents of Trinitarianism are those that claim there is only one God, the Father. Other verses state that Jesus Christ was a man. Although trinitarians consider these apparent contradictions part of the mystery and paradox of the Trinity itself, some nontrinitarians argue that there is little, if any, biblical basis for the Trinity. Nontrinitarians cite scriptures such as the following as being contrary to the Trinity doctrine.

One God


Below are some scriptures nontrinitarians use to claim that there is only one God, the Father.
  • "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:"
  • "Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."'"
  • "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
  • "For to us there is one God, the Father, out of whom all things are."
  • "One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
  • "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"
  • "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."
  • “If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."

Son and Father


Below are some scriptures nontrinitarians use to show that Jesus is inferior to God, and was a creation.
  • "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
  • "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."
  • "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."
  • "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
  • "Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
  • "He who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall never go out of it: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will also write upon him my new name."
  • "But he (Stephen
    Saint Stephen
    Saint Stephen The Protomartyr , the protomartyr of Christianity, is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches....

    ), being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
  • "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."
  • "Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all."
  • "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:"

Holy spirit


Below are some scriptures nontrinitarians use to claim the Holy Spirit is inferior to God. Some nontrinitarians use the below scriptures to endorse that the Holy Spirit is the power of God, rather than a "person".
  • "(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
  • "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; "
  • "But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
  • "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
  • "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
  • "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: "
  • "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
  • "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."
  • "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
  • "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
  • "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
  • "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
  • "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
  • "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
  • "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"
  • "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."
  • "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."
  • "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit."

Old Testament

  • I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
  • Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.


Ontological differences

  • Jesus said, "The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him." Jesus said on numerous occasions that, "the Father… hath sent me." The Holy Ghost was also sent by the Father and Jesus , thus making Jesus inferior to the Father and the Holy Ghost inferior to both the Father and Jesus.
  • "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the spirit of truth."
  • Jesus prays to God.
  • Jesus has faith in God.
  • Jesus is a servant of God.
  • Jesus does not know things God knows.
  • Jesus worships God.
  • Jesus has one who is God to him.
  • Jesus is in subjection to God.
  • Jesus' head is God.
  • Jesus has reverent submission, fear, of God.
  • Jesus is given lordship by God.
  • Jesus is exalted by God.
  • Jesus is made high priest by God.
  • Jesus is given authority by God.
  • Jesus is given kingship by God.
  • Jesus is given judgment by God.
  • "God raised [Jesus] from the dead".
  • Jesus is at the right hand of God.
  • Jesus is the one human mediator between the one God and man.
  • God put everything, except Himself, under Jesus.
  • Jesus, although existing in God's form, thought that being "equal with God" was not a thing to be grasped.
  • "Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" which is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?""

Views on allegedly Trinitarian passages in scripture


Nontrinitarians argue that a person who is really seeking to know the truth about God is not going to search the Bible hoping to find a text that he can construe as fitting what he already believes. They say it is noteworthy at the outset that most of the texts used as “proof” of the Trinity actually mention only two persons, not three; so nontrinitarians claim that even if the trinitarian explanation of the texts were correct, these would not prove that the Bible teaches the Trinity.