Saturday, 11 May 2013

A REBUTTAL TO THE CLAIMS IN THE BOOK "Israel and the Prophecies of the Holy Qur’an" – by Ali Akbar

There are numerous claims held by Muslims against Christianity written by different authors and I thought it would be a thing of duty to give response to some of them. They are as follows:

1.     Israel and the Prophecies of the Holy Qur’an – by Ali Akbar
2.     Should you believe in Trinity?- By the WTBT$
3.     The already refuted claim of contradictions in the Bible by Ally Shabbir in a nutshell
4.     The alleged “x rated” pornography in the Bible by Osama Abdallah, e.t.c.

Firstly, I do believe that there are many religions in the world today and even though I believe, as a Christian, that Christ Jesus is the only way to salvation, I still cannot say that a religion is better than another because that is left for the Almighty God to decide.
            These books listed above carry numerous claims against the entirety of Christianity and in order to debunk Christianity, these Authors contradict themselves or what they believe in, misquote sources and add words to a misunderstood aspect of Christianity so that the reader develops a very strong hatred for Christianity and if possible, the followers of the doctrine.
            I will first and foremost, be addressing the book “Israel and the prophecies of the Holy Qur’an” by Ali Akbar. I felt so disappointed after reading this book that in fact, I felt that the name he gave the book was a mistake; he, instead, should have named the book: “Debunking Christianity” if not, what does the name “Israel and the prophecies of the Holy Qur’an” have to do with debunking Christianity? Why those attacks on Christianity? If a Christian says anything against Islam, they [Muslims] immediately give the person a name- “Islamophobic bigot”- not minding the fact that they do the same criticism to others. This man [Ali Akbar] focused solely on trying to debunk Christianity and in most instances, he, misunderstanding what he was trying to refute, condemns a particular belief [Trinity] as polytheism even though in actual sense, it is strict monotheism.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Objections to the Doctrine of the Trinity

NOTE: many of the Trinitarian objections made by the JWs are typical of virtually every anti-Trinitarian group. This section does however focus on the Watchtower's booklet  Should you Believe in the Trinity. For more exegetical responses to other anti-Trinitarian objections and assertions see: Oneness Objections to the Doctrine of the Trinity.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (i.e., the corporate name of the Jehovah's Witnesses; hereafter JWs) prints enormous amounts of books, pamphlets, and literature teaching their members that the doctrine of the Trinity is a false doctrine. The JWs are taught that the Trinity doctrine originated from the Devil, and promulgated by the Catholic Church. To be sure, JWs have a gross misunderstanding of the doctrine, hence, since the early twentieth century the Watchtower has consistently taught that the Trinity is a false:
How strange that any should attempt to misuse and pervert these our Lord's words, to make them support the unreasonable and unscriptural doctrine of a Trinity--three Gods in one person (Studies in the Scriptures, 5:76).
Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advance than that to of the Trinity. It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil (Reconciliation, 101).
Most JWs carry around with them their most popular handout booklet (and study guide) called: Should you Believe in the Trinity (hereafter SYBT). If you have ever discussed the Trinity with them, you probably have been given this booklet. The booklet provides the bulk of most arguments that they use against the "deceived Trinitarians" thus many dedicated JWs memorize the arguments stated in the SYBT.
Thirty-one pages of arguments against the "dreaded" doctrine of the Trinity. Chalk-full of misquotes and selective citations from various Encyclopedias, Dictionaries and biblical scholars. Additionally, the SYBT contains a mega-dose of blatant misrepresentations of early church Fathers, historic revisionism and doctrinal deviations. But yet to the JWs, the SYBT booklet is their gun-of-choice study guide to annihilate the "evil" Trinitarians. You might ask, why would they take this booklet seriously when it contains so much disinformation? The reason being: JWs do not practice independent research outside the libraries of their Kingdom Halls (the place where the JWs assemble). At the end of the SYBT booklet, it concludes by saying:
There can be no compromise with God's truths. Hence, to worship God on his terms means to reject the Trinity doctrine. It contradicts what the prophets, Jesus the apostles, and the early Christians believed and taught. It contradicts what God says about himself in his own inspired Word (31; under the title "Reject the Trinity").


(Based on the Watchtower publication: SYBT
and other standard arguments used by JWs)

    The SYBT says that the word, "Trinity" is not in the Bible." 

RESPONSE: Also see the Oneness Objections to the Doctrine of the Trinity. As mentioned above In point of fact, virtually all anti-Trinitarian groups make this same objection. 
To assume: what is not stated must not be true is an argument from silence. Further, to say that the doctrine of the Trinity is not true because the exact word "Trinity" is absent from the Bible is self-refuting. For if that kind of reasoning were true, it would then follow, that Watchtower doctrine could not be true, for in the original Hebrew and Greek text Watchtower terms like, “theocracy,” (which they claim their under), "Jehovah," (Note: "Jehovah" is an Eng.  transliteration. Orig. Heb. had no vowels only consonants: YHWH) are not contained in Scripture either. It also does not follow that because a particular word is not contained in Scripture that we cannot use that word to communicate a truth of God. 
What is not at all considered is that even terms like, "Bible," (a Lat. term) or "self-existent," are not mentioned in Scripture and both are biblical truths, which all JWs   agree upon. If we were only limited to strict biblical words, then, we would have to, when teaching out of the New Testament, use only Koine Greek words that the New Testament authors utilized! Employing unbiblical words does not violate the rules of sola-Scriptura, which says Scripture alone is the sole infallible regula fidei ("rule of faith") for the church, as long as the unbiblical words are wholly consistent with Scripture. Holding firm to the regula fidei the early church would use unbiblical words to explain and define the biblical data revealed within the pages of the Holy Writ.
In other words, “Trinity” is merely a precise doctrinal word that defines the biblical revelation that is so overwhelmingly found in Scripture: God the Father sent God the Son; the Eternal Word, in which He became flesh (cf. John 1:1; 6:37-40; 17:5). After which God the Son died in the place of the believer whereby His death provides full atonement for the sins of His people (cf. Matt. 1:21; Rom. 8:32), and God the Father and God the Son sent the God the Holy Spirit to empower the church, and dwell with believers: 
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” (John 15:26; emphasis added).
  Again, this point must be understood: We cannot confuse biblical data with doctrinal words that merely define that data. The doctrine of the “Trinity” was derived from the Scriptural data. Biblical scholar Benjamin B. Warfield explains the difference:
Precisely what the New Testament is, is the documentation of the religion of the incarnate Son and the outpoured Spirit, that is to say, of the religion of the Trinity, and what we mean by the doctrine of the Trinity is nothing but the formulation in exact language of the conception of God presupposed in the religion of the incarnate Son and out poured Spirit. (Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical Doctrines (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1929, 146.)
Thus the Tri-Unity of God is based on biblical data. The formulation of doctrinal words, however, came later when Christians,  developed the precise term "Trinity" that simply defined the biblical data, because of the heresies that denied the biblical data in some way or other. As with the doctrinal terms like "Substitutionary Atonement," "Incarnation" or even the term "Gospel." All these terms came later after the apostolic age, which the church used to define the revelation or data that is clearly contained in Scripture. 
    Moreover, salvation is completely dependent on the Tri-Unity of God (i.e., soteriological Trinity). Example: The Covenant of Redemption, that is, all that the Father gives to Christ will come and He will raise them up at the last day (cf. John. 6:37ff). That Jesus is the Mediator between God (the Father) and man (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5) can only be true if Jesus is God and is a distinct Person from the one He is mediating for. Again, this point must be understood: we cannot confuse the Scriptural data of the Trinity with the doctrinal word, "Trinity" that defines the biblical data

    The book also asserts, as do most anti-Trinitarians, that the doctrine of the Trinity is derived from pagan sources. 
RESPONSE: This is a fallacy of false cause (misrepresents the cause). The Trinity is an utterly unique Christian doctrine. Pagans worshipped and believed in many gods (as with the Mormons) hence, the references in SYBT to the so-called parallelisms of the pagans were to THREE separate gods NOT one God in existing in three distinct Persons.

    The SYBT booklet asserts that the early (Anti-Nicene; before the Council of Nicene; A.D. 325) church Fathers did NOT believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. The JWs booklet quotes from the Anti-Nicene church Fathers: Justin Martyr (c. A.D. 160); Irenaeus (c. A.D. 180); Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 195);  Hippolytus (c. A.D. 205); Tertullian (c. A.D. 213); and Origen (c. A.D. 225). However when we refer to actual statements contained in many works (e.g., The Anti-Nicene Fathers, found at most city libraries and seminaries) clear is the fact: the SYBT booklet grossly misquotes or misrepresents what they said and believe. Not surprising is that the SYBT does not provide the addresses of the citations; for obvious reasons.

RESPONSE: This an argument from ignorance. They all, unequivocally, believed in the full Deity of Christ (the quotes below are from the Ante-Nicene Fathers [hereafter ANF], (ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887; reprint, 10 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994).

Ignatius bishop of Antioch (c. A.D. 105). The SYBT does not quote him, however, Ignatius was an early church Father that was a disciple of the Apostle John.
God Himself was manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life (1:58).
Continue in intimate union with Jesus Christ, our God (1:68).
I pray for your happiness forever in our God, Jesus Christ (1:96).

Justin Martyr (A.D. 150). The SYBT booklet says that Justin called Jesus "a created angel" (p. 7). Justin did call Christ an angel, however only in the sense that He came as a messenger, to the people of the Old Testament (e.g., the angel of the LORD who spoke to Moses and claimed to be the "I AM"; cf. Exod. 3:14ff; see ANF, 1. 223). The English word "angel" has the denotative meaning, in both Hebrew and Greek, as simply "messenger." Jesus certainly was active in the Old Testament as a "messenger," and that is what Justin meant. John 1:18 says: "No man has ever seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." Jesus in the Old Testament interacted with the people of God (e.g., angel of the LORD; the Rock that accompanied the Israelites, see 1 Cor. 10:4).
Never once did Justin say or infer that Christ was created only the converse is asserted: Jesus Christ was the Eternal God. But again the quotes in the SYBT booklet are without addresses. Let us read what Justin really said:
He deserves to be worshipped as God and as Christ (1:229).
For Christ is King, Priest, God, Lord, Angel and man (1:221).
The Father of the universe has a Son. And He, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God (1:184).
David predicted that He would be born from the womb before the sun and moon, according to the Father's will, He made Him known, being Christ, as God, strong and to be worshipped (1:237).
Next, the SYBT cites Irenaeus bishop of Lyons (c. A.D. 185), as saying that Jesus was inferior and not equal with the Father. However Irenaeus clearly believed and defined the full Deity of Christ:
I have shown from the Scriptures that none of the sons of Adam are, absolutely and as to everything, called God, or named Lord, But Jesus is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, Lord, King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word… (1:449).
Thus He indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His advent was in Bethlehem… God, then, was made man, and the Lord Himself save us (1:451).
He is God for the name Emmanuel indicates this (1:452).
Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spoke to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers (1:467).
He was man, and He was God. This was so that since as man He suffered for us, so as God He might have compassion on us (1:545).

Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 195) who is cited as saying that Jesus, was not equal to the Father. But read what he actually said:
He is God in the form of man. . . the Word who is God, who is in the Father, who is at the Father's right hand. And with the form of God, He is God (2:210).
The Word itself, that is, the Son of God, is one wit the Father by equality of substance. He is eternal and uncreated (2:574).

Hippolytus (c. A.D. 203) is cited as believing that prehuman Jesus was created. But notice what this great Christian apologist really stood for and believed:
Having been made man, He is still God for ever. For to this effect, John also had said, 'Who is and who was, and who is to come--the Almighty.' And he has appropriately called Christ the 'Almighty' (5:225)
They killed the Son of their Benefactor, for He is co-eternal with the Father (5:220)
For, as the Only-Begotten Word of God, being God of God, He emptied Himself, according to the Scriptures… (5:167)
The Logos alone of this One is from God Himself. For that reason also, He is God. Being of the substance of God. In contrast, the world was made from nothing. Therefore, it is not God (5:151).
Therefore, a man . . . is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God--who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject (Himself excepted)--and the Holy Spirit; and that these are three [Persons] (5:226).
"Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." By this, He showed that whoever omits any one of these three, fails in glorifying God perfectly. For it is through this Trinity that the Father is glorified. For the Father willed, the Son did, and the Spirit manifested (5:228).

Tertullian Carthage (c. A.D. 213)  is cited next as saying, "there was a time that the Son was not" ( 7). However, what Tertullian meant (in his argument against the Modalism of Praxeas) was that he believed the Word was the Eternal God but yet distinct in His Person from God the Father, and that the Word took on the title "Son" which was a common belief among many church Fathers (esp. the apologists). That Tertullian said that Jesus was created or came to be (in terms of His existence as a Person) is completely and diabolically distorting what Tertullian meant. In fact, it was Tertullian  that first coined the word "Trinity" (Lat. trinitas, the cognate of Gk. triados) in the West. Odd that the SYBT booklet would even cite this church Father. Tertullian taught:
For the very church itself--properly and principally--the Spirit Himself, in whom is the Trinity [trinitas], of the One Divinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (4:99; emphasis added; cf. Against Praxeas).
This opens the ears of Christ our God (3:715; cf. ibid.).
Surely I might venture to claim the very Word also as being of the Creator's [Father] substance (3:356; cf. ibid.).
Now, if He too is God, for according to John, 'The Word was God,' then you have two Beings-- One who commands that the thing to be made, and the other who creates. In what sense, however, you ought to understand Him to be another. I have already explained: on the ground of personality, not of substance. And in the way of distinction, not of division. I must everywhere hold only one substance, in three coherent and inseparable [persons] (3. 607; cf. ibid.).
It should be noted as well that in the East, as early as A.D. 180, church apologist Theophilus bishop of Antioch first uses the term “Trinity” to describe God:
In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity [triados] of God, and His Word, and His wisdom (Theophilus To Autolycus 2.15, in ANF, vol. 3).

Origen (c. A.D. 228) was also cited by SYBT as denying that Jesus was God. However, Origen contradicts these Watchtower assertions:
The Word that was in the beginning with God (who is also very God) may come to us (4:449).
The Son is not different from the Father in substance (9:336).
Saving baptism was not complete except by the authority of the most excellent Trinity of them all. That is, it is made complete by naming the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this, we join the name of the Holy Spirit to the Unbegotten God (the Father) and to His Only-Begotten Son (4:252).

The above is a mere set of examples of the massive collection of the libraries of quotations and apologetic works of church Fathers teaching and defending the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity are massive. To the church Fathers, teaching, and defending the Deity of Christ and the Trinity was extremely important to them. Many of them spilled their own blood defending these doctrines. Why? Because in Trinity is how God revealed Himself to man: FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT.

The SYBT ends this page entitled: "What the Ante-Nicene Fathers Taught" by this:
"Thus, the testimony of the Bible and of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter" (p. 7).

OBJECTION #4: The Trinity doctrine did not emerge
until fourth century:
RESPONSE: To be sure, this is an argument from ignorance. First of all, it is completely misleading to say that the doctrine of the Trinity did not emerge until the fourth century. As seen above, in the East, as early as A.D. 180, church apologist Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, first uses the term “Trinity” to describe God: 
In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity [triados] of God, and His Word, and His wisdom (Theophilus, To Autolycus, 2.15). 
And, noted above, in the West, around A.D. 213, the brilliant church theologian and polemicist, Tertullian of Carthage, uses the term “Trinity”: 
As if in this way also one were not All, in that All are of One, by unity (that is) of substance; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a Trinity [trinitas] placing in their order the three Persons. . . . (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 2, in ANF, vol. 3).
Again, it is true the exact English word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. But, as we have seen, this is a meaningless objection since there are many words that are justifiably used to communicate the truth of God, not specifically utilized in the Hebrew or Greek text (e.g., “incarnation,” “self-existent,” “omnipresence”; etc.). The point being that the Christian church has used many extra-biblical terminology words to convey divine revelation. Sola Scriptura is not simply adhering to the words of Scripture, but it is also being faithful to the teaching of Scripture. Regrettably, far too many people are deceived into thinking that the latter must be rejected if it does not incorporate verbatim the language of the former.
Descriptive theological words do not necessarily have to be the exact words form the original languages to communicate a biblical truth. The reason that the Protestant church rejected (and rejects) the dogmas of Roman Catholicism is that Rome holds to the position that the Word of God is contained in both “tradition and Scripture.” Hence, Catholic doctrines like Purgatory, praying for the dead, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, ex cathedra, (i.e., the infallibility of the Pope), etc., are not doctrines derived from Scripture (the written Word), but rather church tradition.10 For these teachings are foreign to Scripture. Thus, the Protestant church repudiates that claim whereby holding to Scripture alone11 as the sole infallible rule of faith for the church—Scripture is sufficient. “Do not,” Paul says, “go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6 NIV).
We are dealing, therefore, with the biblical data for the Trinity. Again, the precise terms to which define the data (viz. formularized doctrine) came later. So the assertion that the Trinity did not emerge until the fourth century confuses the doctrinal word “Trinity” with the biblical data of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which, as we will enjoy shortly, the early church envisaged. They did not see God as a single undifferentiated Being, but the God who revealed Himself as tri-personal.

    JWs assert that the Early Christian church fell into Complete Apostasy after the death of the Apostles.

RESPONSE: This is an argument from ignorance. When did so-called apostasy happen? What year? In point of fact, there is not a shred of anything that would indicate or even infer that the entire Christian church fell into apostasy. The verses that they use say that only "some" will fall away or that "many" will abandon the faith but never once does Scripture say that ALL will apostatize. To assert this notion is an "easy-out" for JWs that say that: The original Christian Church did not teach Jesus was God. Both Mormons and JWs maintain this idea of a total apostasy only to avoid the truth that the early Christians taught what Christians believe today: THERE EXIST ONE TRUE GOD and JESUS IS THE ETERNAL GOD DISTINCT FROM HIS FATHER.
If the early Christian church apostatized, why do we read in Revelation 2:1ff. that the Ephesus church was commended by God for not tolerating wicked men and testing those who claimed to be apostles but were false. And we read of six other functioning Christian churches. The point is this: the Apostle John wrote Revelation, in or around A.D. 70-90!-- no more than forty or sixty years after the resurrection Christ!
So, did the entire Christian church fall after that? How could this happen? What does that say about the condition of the early Christians? Where they so spiritually bankrupt that they suddenly fell to paganism? Or suddenly just quit believing? What does that say about God? Could He not hold His own church together? Where is the evidence for this?
That the whole Christian church is even able to fall-away is notion that is sharply refuted by the apostles and Jesus Christ Himself:
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. . . .  And Jesus answered and said unto him. . . . "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:16-18; KJV).
"All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:18-20; emphasis added).

Jesus promised that He would never leave His church, nor would the gates of hell come against her. Likewise, the apostle Paul explains: "To him [Jesus] be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Eph. 3:21). In contrast to the assertions made by the JWs, that His teachings were somehow lost, Jesus made a clear promise that His teachings would indeed last: "You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last" (John 15:16; emphasis added). As seen above, the church Fathers from Ignatius, to the great defender of the Trinity, Athanasius, and after, believed and taught that: Jesus Christ was the eternal God Creator of all things. 
Think about it, if there were no true Christians until the JWs emerged (1870), then, would it not follow that we would find distinctive Watchtower theology somewhere in church history? We have records of virtually every teaching that was prorogated from the first century. Where in church history though were the teachings of the JWs? And of course the Mormons (who make the same church fell in total apostasy claim) have the same problem: where was distinctive LDS doctrine before Joseph Smith (1830)? 
Historically, we do have records of virtually every promulgated theology. However we do not have ANY historical record of distinctive Watchtower theology. Hence, are we to believe that for over 1800 years Jehovah did not have a witness until Charles Taze Russell (JW's founder) came on the scene? The only teaching that even resembles Watchtower theology (esp. Jesus as a created being) was Arianism.1 Accordingly, the Christian church roundly and sharply condemned Arianism because it denied Jesus Christ as eternal God, as the JWs teach.

    Most JWs grossly misrepresent the doctrine of the Trinity by asserting that the Trinity is three separate Gods.
RESPONSE: Again, this a typical straw man argument. The doctrine of the Trinity is not three Gods. The doctrine of three Gods is tritheism, not Trinitarianism. Three Gods is how Mormons view the Godhead. The foundation of the Trinity is pure ontological monotheism: ONE GOD. One Being revealed in three distinct Persons, coexistent, coequal, and coeternal.

The SYBT says that the Trinity is, "Beyond the grasp of human reason" (4). And that God is, "Not a God of confusion" (ibid.). From that line of thought, JWs will argue that Trinity cannot be true, it too confusing.
RESPONSE: For something to be illogical, it would have to contradict reason. The doctrine of the Trinity does not contradict reason. The Trinity is not 1 person in 3 persons or 1 God in 3 Gods. It does not follow that because something is not completely explicable that it cannot exist or cannot be true. For example, many of the formulations in physical science, not contrary to reason, and may be apprehended (though it may not be comprehended) by the human mind.2 Does anyone completely understand how light travels? Does it travel as a wave, corpuscular or quantum phenomenon? Yet, we believe in the reality of light, even though we cannot totally comprehend it.
    The Trinity may not be totally comprehendible, but we can surely apprehend how God has revealed Himself to us through Scripture: There is ONE TRUE GOD; the Father is God the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. And the three are clearly differentiated. One God revealed in three distinct Persons. We cannot simply put God in easy-to-understand categories to gratify our feeble minds. We are called to worship God how He revealed Himself to us in His Word, anything less, is not worshipping, or honoring the true God.
    The JWs reject the Trinity and hence they reject God. God is tri-personal He is not a unipersonal God as taught by the JWs. They are without excuse:
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth." (Isa. 40:28).

1, Early in the fourth century, Arius of Alexandria, postulated his teaching that Jesus was a different substance (heteroousios) than that of the Father. He used some of the same argumentation that the JWs use today. And of course, Arianism was completely refuted as heresy at the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325).
2, Example taken from: Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses (Baker House Books, Grand Rapids Michigan), 17.

Biblical Defense of the Trinity

Refuting the Watchtower

by Dave Sherrill and others

Verse by Verse Topic by Topic Related Articles Recommended Reading
Love to Christ
Strength for the Weak

Comments and Responses Welcome

If you would like to offer supplemental comments or a rebuttal to the analysis presented here, feel free to drop me a note. Be aware that by sending an email response, you are giving implied consent for me to publish it on this site if I so choose. All email will be read and considered. The inclusion or exclusion of any email is at my discretion. I will make one promise to you right now. If I choose to include your response on a supplemental page, I will include your original note in full, without altering it.


The intent behind this page is to provide a comprehensive response to the arguments presented by Jehovah's Witnesses (referred to as JWs) against the Trinity. I'm only just starting, so there's little here yet. I ask your patience while I prepare the defense. I'll be creating several pages for this as time goes on. We will have verse-by-verse and topic-by-topic answers and eventually a positive presentation of the Trinity. However, my recommendation for you is not to wait until I'm done here. There is a tremendous amount of literature on various aspects of the Trinity. The best book I've found on the doctrine as a whole is The Trinity--Evidence and Issues by Dr. Robert Morey. This book is a serious, and I do mean serious, examination of the Trinity. It is a challenging work that you will use and benefit from for years to come. Dr. Morey provides a sound and thorough presentation of the Trinity. He also devotes a sizable section of the book examining the arguments of those who deny the Trinity. His analysis of their arguments is devastating.

Defining the Trinity

Let's begin with some brief definitions of the Trinity.
Trinity. The term designating one God in three persons. Although not itself a biblical term, "the Trinity" has been found a convenient designation for the one God self-revealed in Scripture as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It signifies that within the one essence of the Godhead we have to distinguish three "persons" who are neither three gods on the one side, nor three parts or modes of God on the other, but coequally and coeternally God. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter Elwell--Editor, p.1112)
We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God. (Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, p.226)
Please note that these are brief definitions. They are not full statements or defenses in themselves. Many aspects of these definitions need to be expanded upon (and will be, Lord willing). At the very least, they provide you with a point of reference indicating where I'm coming from. Jumping right into the defense of the Trinity without providing some definition seemed to me to be rash.

Why Respond to Jehovah's Witnesses?

Why bother with the JWs? Why should we spend a significant amount of time and effort to defend the Trinity against attacks from the Watchtower? In his book on the Trinity, Millard Erickson gives this analysis:
The other major source (of doctrinal challenges to the Trinity) is the Christian sects, especially Jehovah's Witnesses, who vehemently reject the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Frequently, Jehovah's Witnesses especially target relatively new converts of orthodox Christianity as their prospects, initially stressing those points of agreement that the two groups hold. When combined with the zealous approach generally characterizing the outreach efforts of this group, the movement constitutes a genuine challenge and threat to orthodoxy. (God in Three Persons, Millard Erickson, p.24)
I agree with Erickson. The Watchtower does present a "genuine challenge" and should be taken seriously. That is precisely what I will endeavor to do here, take them seriously and answer them honestly and appropriately.

Respond to What?

When we consider the vast array of publications produced by the Watchtower, which one should we examine first? It makes sense to devote my time initially to their most focused collection of challenges to the Trinity, namely the 1989 Watchtower publication, Should You Believe in the Trinity?--Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God? (referred to as SYBT.) SYBT has proven to be very popular with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Therefore, responding to SYBT will identify the main arguments currently in use by JWs in general. Click here to go to this booklet on the Watchtower's site. I will also be addressing some of the websites maintained by active Jehovah's Witnesses. While these "independent" sites cannot be taken as representing the official Watchtower position, the webmasters for these sites are very active and visible in presenting their understanding of Watchtower dogma and attacking Christian doctrine. The subtlety of their presentations require close, careful examination.
That the Watchtower misunderstands and misrepresents the Trinity is evident quite early in SYBT. On page 2, the third question SYBT asks indicates a fundamental error in the way it will challenge the Trinity. It says, "Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God and part of the Trinity?" (emphasis added) If you recall the definition of the Trinity I provided above, the Trinity is NOT composed of "parts". The theological term Trinity "signifies that within the one essence of the Godhead we have to distinguish three "persons" who are neither three gods on the one side, nor three parts or modes of God on the other, but coequally and coeternally God. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter Elwell--Editor, p.1112) SYBT repeats this question several times. We will deal with this error and others like it in our detailed refutation by topic.

The Word "Trinity"--Why Use It?

The word "Trinity" is not found anywhere in the Bible. Is this fact, in itself, enough to end the discussion right here? Of course not. Both Christians and Jehovah's Witnesses use words all the time which are not found anywhere in the Bible. "JWs, is the word 'theocracy' found anywhere in the Bible?" No, but you still use the word "theocracy", don't you? Why? It is what could be called theological shorthand. Theocracy is a term loaded with meaning and significance for Jehovah's Witnesses. Using theological shorthand like this is a common, everyday occurrence that should not shock or confuse a Christian or JW. It lets you speak meaningfully to those around you without going through the labor of giving the full definition of "theocracy" every time you mention it. So it is with our use of the word "Trinity". While the word itself is not found in the Scriptures, it encompasses and incorporates a huge amount of Biblical data. So let's not get thrown off the tracks of the discussion by the simple fact that the word "Trinity" is theological shorthand used by Christians to communicate their understanding concisely. Both Christians and JWs use non-biblical words to describe biblical ideas. So let's move on and consider how the depth of the doctrine of the Trinity will impact the way we approach the topic.

Streams, Rivers, and the Great Ocean of the Trinity

This fact that the word Trinity is theological shorthand highlights a weakness in "verse by verse" discussion with JWs. Any single verse will not contain in itself all of the data needed to define or defend the full theological doctrine of the Trinity. But this does not overturn the Trinity. Nor does it make the Trinity fall under the label "unbiblical". To illustrate the biblical nature of the Trinity, let's use a word picture of streams, rivers, and the ocean. Individual verses pertaining to the Trinity are like small streams. These specific verses flow together into larger concepts, which can be pictured as rivers fed by the streams of verses. These conceptual rivers then flow into the great ocean of the Trinity. Is the ocean found in a stream? in a river? No, all of the streams and rivers flow together into the ocean. Now, this is an illustration and no illustration is perfect. But I still think it is a helpful way to relate individual verses to the very broad doctrine of the Trinity.

Where to Start: the Beach or the Mountains?

Continuing to soak in this watery illustration, you might wonder where we should begin our investigation. Do we start in the mountains, entirely ignorant of the ocean, and by tracing our way from a particular stream, to a river, we finally arrive at the ocean? Or should we start with prime beachfront property? Gazing out upon the ocean, we could ask ourselves, "What must be true in order for this beautiful ocean to exist in the way that it exists?" The first method--starting from the mountaintop--would be approaching the Trinity using the "inductive" method, meaning that from observing particular specific details, a general conclusion is drawn. The second approach--starting at the ocean and working your way back--is known as the "deductive" method. Approaching the Trinity deductively means that you ask the question, "What must be true in order for the Trinity to be what the Trinity is?"

Huh?? What's This Inductive-Deductive Stuff About?

Don't dismiss this discussion simply on the basis of terms which might be unfamiliar to you. While the terms themselves might be unfamiliar, I guarantee that you use both induction and deduction every single day. How can I be sure? Let me explain. Induction is the process of observing particular details and noting that the outcome is consistent. Based on this repeatability, induction concludes that to repeat those details again will, in all likelihood, give the same result. This sounds a lot like scientific experiments, doesn't it? That's not by chance. The inductive method of reasoning is also known as the "scientific method". To use an illustration you will be familiar with, let's think about playing catch with a ball. Why do you only bring one ball to the game? Every time you play catch, you are using inductive reasoning. How? Based on your previous experiences playing catch, you expect the ball to come back to earth after you throw it. In all probability it will come back to earth. You're expectation that the ball will return to earth is built on inductive reasoning. You use deductive reasoning every day, too. For example, you walk into your living room, see the TV set on and no one in the room. You ask, "Who left the room without turning off the TV?" You observed the conclusion (TV on in empty room) and built the premises which necessarily result in the conclusion you just observed. So you see, this discussion of induction and deduction is not philosophical mumbo-jumbo or speculation. These are things you use every day. Additional helpful instruction can be found in Chapter 1 of Morey's book on the Trinity.

My Approach Primarily Deductive

I will be attempting to frame my defense of the Trinity primarily from a deductive viewpoint. The Triune God is the "given" from which I work. Throughout this analysis I will be asking, "What must be, in order for what is to be what it is?"

Watchtower's View of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Since we provided a definition for the Trinity, it would be appropriate to get the Watchtower's definition. On page 3 of SYBT under the heading Should You Believe It?, the Watchtower gives a brief summary of their view on the Trinity. Acknowledging that it is a brief statement, it is quite helpful because it quickly highlights what the Watchtower holds as essential in their view of God. It reads as follows:
Others, however, say that the Trinity doctrine is false, that Almighty God stands alone as a separate, eternal, and all-powerful being. They say that Jesus in his prehuman existence was, like the angels, a separate spirit person created by God, and for this reason he must have had a beginning. They teach that Jesus has never been Almighty God's equal in any sense; he has always been subject to God and still is. They also believe that the holy ghost is not a person but God's spirit, his active force. (SYBT, page 3)

Truth, the Glory of God, and Scripture

We will respond to the preceding Watchtower statement in detail in the topic-by-topic section, which is still under construction. But even if our response is not done yet, it is my goal to fairly and accurately present the Watchtower's position. To not do so would be irresponsible or dishonest. I serve the God of truth, therefore to honor Him I must strive to be truthful in all things, including honestly presenting the views I disagree with. My motive in putting this analysis together is not to win an argument. My motive is to honor God. It is my sincere desire to display and defend the truth to the best of my ability, not leaning on my own strength or the wisdom of men, but resting in the grace of my Lord and my God who has called me to this good work. (Eph 2:4-10) It is my hope that God would use this study to glorify Himself in all His Triune glory.
The foundation of this analysis is God's inspired, inerrant, and infallible word.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17; NASB)

A Comprehensive Biblical Defense of the Trinity

     Dr. Pyuwarmer flipped the chart closed, took off his reading glasses, and let out a long sigh.  “John, there is a procedure that can save your life.  I’d like you to consider it.
     John Skeptich rubbed his temples and looked up.  “Well, is it an invasive procedure?”
    “Well, that’s hard to answer, John.  Yes and no.”
    “You call that an answer, doc?” John’s frustration was beginning to show. “Either it is or it isn’t.”
    “Well, it’s kind of both.  I’m sorry, but it’s hard to describe.  It’s a very advanced procedure, and I don’t really understand it fully myself.  However, I think you should have it done.” 
     “Do you have any literature that can explain it?”
     “Well, yes, but it’s not very clearly spelled out.  You kind of have to read between the lines.  It’s all in there though.”
     John could no longer hide his frustration.  He stood up, grabbed his coat, and fixed Dr. Pyuwarmer with a hard look.  “Look doctor.  You’re asking me to submit to a procedure you don’t understand and can’t explain.  With all due respect, I’ll take my chances!”  With that, John swept out the door, slamming it so hard that Dr. Pyuwarmer’s medical school diploma fell from the wall.  
Putting yourself in John’s shoes, it’s easy to see how hard it would be to put your faith in something that your doctor didn’t even understand.  Just as in this analogy, Christians must be prepared to explain our faith with nonbelievers.  There are few things more important for Christians to understand than the nature of God.  Many of the differences between biblical Christianity and cults occur within the context of variant understandings of the nature of God.  If we are to worship God in truth (John 4:24) and share the truth with others, it is vitally important that we have an understanding of what the Bible says about God.
Perhaps the single most misunderstood doctrine regarding the nature of God is the doctrine of the Trinity.  Believers and nonbelievers alike have a difficult time comprehending God’s triune nature, and those that do understand have a difficult time explaining it.  As critics of the Trinity are quick to point out, the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, and no single verse provides a summary of the Trinitarian doctrine.  In an email we received, LDS apologist D.L. Barksdale said, “The homoousion Trinitarian dogma is heretical to anyone who cherishes the Bible. It is an unbiblical doctrine…” 
Complicating the issue are various misconceptions about the Trinity within Christianity as well as from without.  Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons disregard the Trinity, believing that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct gods, with the Father being a greater God than the other two.  Jehovah’s Witnesses especially emphasize the subordination of the Godhead, believing Jesus to be Michael the Archangel – a created being, and a lesser “god” than Jehovah.  Mormon doctrine is polytheistic (worship of multiple gods), though some Mormons will stress that their belief is henotheistic (belief in multiple gods, but worship of only one).  Mohammad’s misunderstanding of the Trinity was apparently affected by the hyperdulia veneration of Mary seen in the Eastern and Roman Catholic churches, as the Qur’an accuses Christians of believing the Trinity to be composed of God the Father, Jesus, and Mary.   Indeed, the doctrine of the Trinity can pose a stumbling block for some people.  A Jehovah’s Witness sent us an email that included the following (the English is poor, but you’ll see the point):  “And when I can not find in any Bible that I read that there is a 3 headed god that will resurrect anyone on this earth, both now or ever. If this 3 headed god is your belief? I have never read about such a god in any Christian Bible that I have ever read!”  As I told this man, we agree that the Bible does not teach of a three-headed god.  That sounds more akin to the hydra of Greek mythology.  Yet this illustrates the extent of the misunderstandings.  Even Christian churches have been victimized by erroneous doctrines such as modalism, particularly Oneness theology. 
We may never fully understand the nature of God until we get into heaven.  God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal.  Our finite created minds are unable to fully grasp these characteristics of God.  However, it is possible to have a basic understanding of the triune nature of God, and to be able to defend this doctrine with the Word of God.  In this article, we’ll assess the Scriptural evidence and put the pieces together until they form a full picture.  A triune God will be the only possible verdict based on an objective analysis of the Scriptural evidence. 
The doctrine of the Trinity can be summed up as follows:  Within the one Being that is God, there exist eternally three coequal and coeternal Persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[1] In order to prove this doctrine we must prove the following:
  1. There is only one God
  2. The Father is God
  3. Jesus is God
  4. The Holy Spirit is God
  5. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons.
Each point above is very important, and we will clearly illustrate each.  Heresy arises when these distinctions are blurred.  For instance, modalism (also known as Oneness theology) would agree with items one through four, but item five is where modalism fails.  However, as James White said in regards to the doctrine of the Trinity, “For some reason many feel that there is a hierarchy of ‘error’ when it comes to the Trinity…. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth, and two-thirds of the truth is not a valid substitute, no matter which one-third of His truth we choose to reject.”[2]  
There is a treasure trove of Scriptures to support each of the points we’ll be studying.  To keep this article at a reasonable length, where there are several relevant verses, I’ll limit the full verse quotation to two verses (in NIV, unless stated otherwise), and give the Scripture references for the rest. 
1.  There is only one God:
Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are known as the big three monotheistic religions.  You won’t find many arguments among Muslims, Jews, and Christians that there is more than one God, except perhaps among some aberrant sects.  Nevertheless, let us establish this Scripturally before we move on to areas where disagreements will arise.
A.  There is only one God:
  • “You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” – Deuteronomy 4:35
  • "This is what the LORD says- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:  I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” – Isaiah 44:6
  • Other Old Testament Verses: Deut. 4:39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32; Isa. 37:20; 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5, 14, 21-22; 46:9.
  • “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” – John 5:44
  • “…since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” Romans 3:30
  • Other New Testament Verses: Rom. 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6, 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25.
B.  There is only one true God:
  • “But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.  When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.” – Jeremiah 10:10
  • “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true--even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” – 1 John 5:20.
  • Other verses: 2 Chron. 15:3; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9.
C.  All other so-called “gods” are false gods.
  • “For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” – Psalm 96:5
  • “So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.” – 1 Corinthians 8:4
  • Other verses:  Deut. 32:21; 1 Sam. 12:21; Isa. 37:19; 41:23-24, 29; Jer. 2:11; 5:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 10:19-20.
The verses above are clear evidence that there is only one God.  This is known as monotheism.  Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are known as the three great monotheistic religions.  However, Islam and Judaism will fall off as we continue our support of the Trinity.
2.  There is a plurality to God.
The Hebrew word for God is el in its singular form.  The most common form used for God is elohim, which is plural in form.  How can there be plural form used for only one God?  Some suggest that the answer is found in the three persons of the Trinity.  Others contend that the plural construct denotes a fullness of deity as opposed to plurality.  I submit that both interpretations are correct.  I’m getting ahead of myself now though.  Rather than look at all the verses that use the plural elohim, let’s look at other verses that point to a plurality within the one God.
  • “Let us make man in our image” – Genesis 1:26, emphasis added.
  • “God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us…’” – Genesis 3:22, emphasis added.
Some would say that God could be speaking to the angels in these verses, but that's simply not correct. God was speaking to co-creator(s) in these verses (“Let us make man…”).  Who could be a co-creator?  Not the angels.  The answer is found later in this article. 
3.  The Father is God.
This isn’t really an item that is in question.  While God the Father is only known as the Father in the New Testament, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and pseudo-Christian cults understand that the Father in the New Testament is the Yahweh of the Old Testament, though some disagree with the characterization of “Father”.  However, it is important to establish that the Father of the New Testament is the true God referred to in the Old Testament, known often as Yahweh, or “Jehovah”.[3] 
A.  The Father is God.
  • “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,” – 2 Corinthians 1:3
  • “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” – Ephesians 1:3
  • Other verses:  John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Peter 1:3; (Note: Some verses seem to indicate that Jesus is not God at first glance.  These will be explained later).
B.  The God of the Old Testament is known as Yahweh/Jehovah (“The LORD”).
  • “You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other…. Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” – Deuteronomy 4:35, 39.[4]
  • “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:3
  • Other verses:  Gen. 9:26; 24; Exo. 3:14-18; 4:5; 2 Sam. 7:22, 25.
From the verses above, it is clear that Yahweh/Jehovah in the Old Testament is the one God.  It is also clear that the Father in the New Testament is that one God.  Now, let’s look at whether Jesus Christ is God.  Remember, there is only one God.  There is also a mysterious plurality to this one God.  We have established that the Father is Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament.  We now explore the plurality in the one true God.
4.  Jesus is God.
There is a great deal of Scriptural evidence that Jesus Christ is God.  The evidence is comprised not only of specific statements, but also in prophecy fulfillment and his attributes.  Let’s first look at some of explicit Scriptural evidence.  In this section, we won’t limit ourselves to only giving the text of two verses.
  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.” – John 1:1
  • “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” – John 20:28
I want to pause just a moment to discuss the verses above.  The Greek word for God is theos.  In John 1:1, we read that the Word (Jesus) was with theos and was indeed theos.  Jesus was (and is) God!  This is a very powerful statement!  The word theos is used not only in John 1:1, but also in verse 18 and in John 20:28.  Theos is used in the New Testament in reference to Jehovah/Yahweh God.  Theos is also used in reference to Jesus.  We’re beginning to see the plurality found within the one God. 
  • "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." – Revelation 4:11 (the words of the 24 elders to Jesus). 
  • “…Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” – Acts 20:28
Once again, in the verses above Jesus is referred to as theos.  In Acts 20:28, we know that Jesus shed His blood for the church, and as one person of the triune God, this action is the action of God.  Now let’s look at some common compound references to Jesus:
  • “…the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” – Titus 2:13
  • “…To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” – 2 Peter 1:1
In the passages above, both “God” and “Savior” are used in reference to Jesus Christ.  There is no division of the clause.  Scholar Robert Reymond writes, “The two nouns [‘God’ and ‘Savior’] both stand under the regimen of the single definitive article preceding ‘God,’ indicating…that they are to be construed corporately, not separately, or that they have a single referent.”[5] In other words, attempts to divide this clause into a reference to God and a separate reference to Jesus as Savior flies against the Greek grammatical construct.  These verses provide additional powerful and clear evidence that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh God.  Let’s now turn our attention to more verses that reveal Jesus to be Jehovah/Yahweh.
  • “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…. for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” – Romans 10:9,13.  Note: Paul reveals Jesus to be the same “Lord” referred to in Joel 2:32, which he quotes.  In Joel 2:32, “LORD” is Jehovah/Yahweh. 
  • “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11.  Note: “Lord” = Jehovah/Yahweh. 
  • “…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:3.  This verse is taken almost identically from Psalms 34:8, where “Lord” is Jehovah/Yahweh.  From the verses that follow verse 3, it is clear this is a reference to Jesus. 
Another way we know that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh comes from the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy.  Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”  This verse is part of an oracle given by Jehovah/Yahweh.  This passage starts off in verse 1, “This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares…” Jehovah/Yahweh prophesies that He will be pierced.  It is widely accepted among scholarly circles that this was fulfilled in the crucifixion and spearing of Jesus Christ.  This is confirmed in Revelation 1:7 wherein we read concerning Jesus, “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.”  This is important enough to go over again.  In Zechariah 12:10, Jehovah/Yahweh prophesies that He (Jehovah/Yahweh) will be pierced, and people will mourn for Him.  Jesus Christ is pierced through his hands and feet at his crucifixion, and pierced through the side with a spear while on the cross.  Revelation 1:7 confirms this fulfillment of prophecy.  Conclusion?  Jesus Christ is Jehovah/Yahweh!
Another evidence that Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh comes from His role as Savior.  Isaiah 43:11 says, “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.”  Yet Jesus is referred to many times in the New Testament as our Savior (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Phi. 3:20; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:10; Tit 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Pet. 1:1,11; 2:20; 3:2,18; 1 John 4:14).
Jesus caused no small uproar among the Jews of the day because He accepted praise and worship – blasphemous if He were not God!  As we have seen, only God is the savior of men.  Matthew 21:1-11 describes Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  He came riding in on a donkey, in fulfillment of an Old Testament messianic prophecy (Zec. 9:9). As Jesus rode in, we find the crowds that surrounded him shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”  Webster’s 1913 dictionary defined Hosanna as “A Hebrew exclamation of praise to the Lord.”  The word is derived from a Hebrew word that meant “Save us,” in a prayer directed to God.  This shows that the crowd viewed Jesus as God and Savior.  It is important to note that Jesus did not rebuke the crowd for this praise.  In verse 15, we find that the chief priests and Pharisees were outraged and indignant at this (because, as we said, this would be blasphemy for a mere man).  Children had followed Jesus in to the temple are and were still shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” In verse 16, they asked Jesus if He could hear what the children were saying.  No doubt they were shocked that he would not have straightened out the blasphemy of these little urchins.  But Jesus did not rebuke the children.  Instead, He answered, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”  Additionally, in John 9:35-39 we read the following exchange:
35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
36"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
37Jesus said, "
You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
38Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. [emphasis added]
39Jesus said, "
For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind
Jesus accepted worship.  This is not adoration of a mere prophet, but praise and worship due only to God.  Jesus was either God or He was crazy, and there is ample evidence against the latter and in support of the former.  Further evidence comes from the fact that Jesus has many of the attributes of God:

  • Creator (John 1:3, 1 Cor. 8:6; Col 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 3:14)
  • Unchanging (Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8)
  • Eternal (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2)
  • Omniscient (John 16:30)
  • Omnipresent (Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Col. 3:11)
It is clear from the Scriptural evidence above that Jesus is God.  He is the LORD (Jehovah/Yahweh) of the Old Testament, and therefore is the one true elohim or theos.  He shares this role as God with the Father.  As we are about to see, He also shares this role with the Holy Spirit.
5.  The Holy Spirit is God
Less Scripture is dedicated to the Holy Spirit, but there is enough to conclude that He too is God.  In Acts 5:3-4, we see the Holy Spirit being equated with God:
  • “Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.’” [emphasis added]
Paul clearly and explicitly equated the Holy Spirit with God:
  • “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Additional evidence of the deity of the Holy Spirit comes from the shared attributes of the deity.  The Holy Spirit is:
  • Eternal (Heb. 9:14)
  • Omniscient (1 Cor. 2:10-11)
  • Omnipresent (Psa. 139:7)
  • Savior (Rom. 8:1-27)
In addition to the attributes above, we find the Holy Spirit was involved in creation (Gen. 1:2; Psa. 104:30), the incarnation (Matt. 1:18,20; Luke 1:35), and the resurrection (Rom. 1:4; 8:11).  This is ample evidence to show that the Holy Spirit is God.  We have now proven Scripturally that there is only one God.  We have also proven that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can each lay claim to being God.  However, one can believe in all this, and still subscribe to the erroneous belief of modalism. 
Modalists believe that there is only one God, but believe God to be comprised of one Person who simply manifests Himself at different times through Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.  In other words, modalists believe that God is one in substance as well as essence – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not distinct persons.  As we shall see, modalism fails because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are indeed three distinct persons.
6.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons.
A.  Jesus is not the Father:      First, let’s turn our attention to Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  The grammatical construction of this verse is very revealing with regards to Trinitarian doctrine.  First, each person of the Trinity is identified individually with use of the definite article preceding each (the Father…the Son…the Holy Spirit).  The use of the definite article for each person of the Trinity identifies each as unique and distinct from the others.  Yet at the same time, this verse groups each into a singular entity by use of the singular form “the name of”.  What is this name?  The singular name of God is Yahweh/Jehovah, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share that name.  Other verses identify the Father and the Son as two separate persons (John 3:17, 35; 5:22-23, 31-32; 8:16-18; 11:41-42; 12:28; 14:31; 17:1-26; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 15:24-28; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; 4:4; 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; 1 John 4:10; 2 John 3). 
B.  Jesus is not the Holy Spirit:  The first evidence of this is discussed in detail in the preceding paragraph – Matthew 28:19 identifies the Son and the Holy Spirit as separate persons, using definite articles preceding each.  Next, Jesus tells us that He would send the Holy Spirit (“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” – John 15:26).  This verse is revealing in that each person of the Trinity is mentioned as separate individual persons.  Key elements in this verse include 1) Jesus will send the Holy Spirit, 2) from the Father, 3) the Holy Spirit will go out from the Father, 4) and will testify about Jesus.  Another verse that identifies Jesus and the Holy Spirit separately is John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”  Here we have two important elements: 1) Jesus will go away, and 2) send the Holy Spirit.  Since Jesus arose and ascended in his physical human body, the Spirit He sends is not Jesus Himself.  Another important verse is John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (emphasis added).  Once again, the elements are here to show that Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are separate.  Jesus said He would ask the Father.  If Jesus were simply a manifestation of the Father, then He would be asking Himself, which sounds neurotic rather than orthodox.  The verse also refers to the Holy Spirit as “another Counselor” separate from Jesus. 
C.  The Father is not the Holy Spirit:  Once again, the first bit of evidence is given in Matthew 28:19 as discussed before.  John 14:16, and 15:26 also remain as evidence that the Father and Holy Spirit are distinct persons.  As we delved into each verse in the preceding paragraph, we won’t do so again.  We also find Paul describing in Romans 8:26-27 that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with the Father.  If the Holy Spirit were the same person as the Father, he would not need to intercede with himself. 
Now let’s address another Scripture that makes it clear that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three different persons.  Luke 3:21-22 covers the baptism of Jesus Christ, “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”  Each person is described separately here.  First, note that Jesus was praying.  If Oneness theology were correct, Jesus would be praying to Himself.  Once again, that smacks of neurosis.  Instead, Jesus was praying to the Father.  As He did, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in a physical manifestation like a dove.  The voice of the Father was then heard from Heaven, speaking to the Son.  This highlights that each person of the Trinity is unique and separate. 
7.  Conclusion:
It is clear from a reading of the Bible that there is only one God, known in the Old Testament as Yahweh/Jehovah.  It is clear that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each God (Yahweh).  It is also clear, in contrast to Oneness theology (Unitarian modalism), that each person is separate and distinct from the other.  One God in three persons – the Biblical Trinity. 
Ontology is important in understanding the Trinity.  Ontology is the study of “being.”  As James White said, “It is vitally important that we recognize the difference between the words Being and Person…. Being is what makes something what it is.  Person is what makes someone who he or she is…. when speaking of the Trinity, we speak of one what (the Being of God) and three whos (the three divine Persons).  Most cultic rejections of the Trinity focus on blurring the distinction.”[6]
Are you still having a difficult time comprehending the triune nature of God?  That’s understandable.  The laws to which we are bound define our comprehension.  God’s nature transcends these laws.  If we could fully comprehend God’s nature, he would cease to be Almighty God.  He would be lesser than He truly is.  I am a devotee of analogies.  One analogy I like to use with regards to the Trinity is my computer.  My computer consists of input devices (mouse and keyboard), output devices (monitor, printer, speakers), and the central processing unit.  These different components form my one computer.  This analogy fails to capture the full complexity of the substance of God, but it can help someone to grasp the basic relationship. 
It is true, as so many Mormons, Muslims, and Jehovah’s Witness are inclined to point out, that there is no concise, clear teaching of the Trinity in the New Testament or Old Testament.  However, by such reasoning, there is also no clear teaching regarding smoking or illicit drug use.  Yet by examining Scripture in its greater context, it is clear that our body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19) and Paul urges us to purify ourselves from things which contaminate the body (2 Cor. 7:1).  Similarly, by examining the sum of Scripture in immediate and greater context, it is clear that God is triune.  He is one God, eternally existent in three divine persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We must be able to defend this biblical doctrine if we are to effectively contend for the truth of the gospel. 
[Author’s note:  In the coming weeks, we will post a follow-up article to examine and refute the most common objections raised against the Trinity by various cults, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormon Church.]

1.  James R. White, Loving the Trinity, (Christian Research Journal, Volume 21/ Issue 4). 
2.  Ibid.
3.  The Hebrew name for God is YHWH – four consonants only.  Because of a nearly superstitious fear of taking the Lord’s name in vain, the Jews avoided using this name, and often used the name Adonai.  Eventually, the vowels from Adonai were included in YHWH to form Yahowah.  Today, this name is often spelled in English, Yahweh.  As a human contrivance, Yahowah mutated to Jehovah in some manuscripts.  Yahweh and Jehovah are considered synonymous, and mean “The LORD.”  The Hebrew word for “God” is el or elohim.
4.  In these verses, and the ones that follow, “LORD” is Yahweh/Jehovah, and “God” is elohim.  It is important to note that el is singular, but elohim is plural.  Since the Bible is clear that there is only one el, the plurality of elohim can present a conundrum.  This problem is resolved by the doctrine of the Trinity – three divine Persons in one God.  One should also note that the New World Translation (The Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) and the ASV leave out “LORD” and simply include “Jehovah”. 
5.  Robert L. Reymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New Testament Witness (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1990), p. 276.
6.  White, Loving the Trinity