21stCR Notable Quotes
God is not a Trinity
Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.
I should inform you, reader, concerning the origin of the Trinitarian doctrine:
Thou mayest assure thyself, it is neither from the Scriptures nor reason.
William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania, USA
Monotheistic Trinitarianism is rather much an oxymoron.
J. Dan Gill, Editor, 21st Century Reformation
International Critical Commentary (John 1-4), 2009, p. 51
Since most readers of the Gospel of John approach the gospel with a firm belief in the Nicene dogma of the Holy Trinity, a plea for caution is here imperative. Those who listened to Jesus during his life-time did not come already endowed with faith in a Trinitarian Godhead, nor did those who heard the preaching of the Apostles; it was not a matter of teaching people who already believed in a Holy Trinity that one of those divine persons had become a human being. Neither in Judaism nor elsewhere is there any trace of such a belief..
Lee Strobel: Case for Christ
[Witherington] …If [Jesus] had simply announced ‘Hi, folks, I’m God,’ that would have been heard as ‘I’m Yahweh’ because the Jews of his day did not have any concept of the Trinity. They only knew of God the Father, whom they called Yahweh and not God the Son or God the holy spirit.
Professor A.T Hanson, Prof of Theology at the University of Hull
No responsible New Testament scholar would claim that the doctrine of the Trinity was taught by Jesus, or preached by the earliest Christians, or consciously held by any writer of the New Testament. It was in fact slowly worked out in the course of the first few centuries in an attempt to give an intelligible doctrine of God. (The Image of the Invisible God)
Dr. W. R Matthews, Dean of St. Paul’s
It must be admitted by everyone who has the rudiments of an historical sense that the doctrine of the Trinity formed no part of the original message. St. Paul did not know it, and would have been unable to understand the meaning of the terms used in the theological formula on which the Church ultimately agreed (God in Christian Experience, p. 180).
Karl Barth on the Trinity
The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence and therefore in an equal sense God himself. And the other express declaration is also lacking, that God is God thus and only thus, i.e. as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These two express declarations, which go beyond the witness of the Bible, are the twofold content of the Church doctrine of the Trinity" (Church Dogmatics, I.1.437).
Theological Dictionary of NT on Trinity
The NT does not actually speak of triunity. We seek this in vain in the triadic formulae of the New Testament....Early Christianity itself...does not yet have the problem of triunity in view (Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 3.108-9).
The Trinity is Not Scriptural and Not Logical
Thomas Jefferson, US President 1801-1809
When we shall have done away with the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three are one and one is three; when we will have knocked down the artificial scaffolding, reared to mask from view the simple structure of Jesus; when, in short, we shall have unlearned everything which has been taught since his day, and got back to the pure and simple doctrines he inculcated, we shall then be truly and worthily his disciples; and my opinion is that if nothing had ever been added to what flowed purely from his lips, the whole world would at this day be Christian.
Bishop Smallridge on the Trinity
It must be owned that the doctrine of the Trinity as it is proposed in our Articles, our Liturgy and our Creed, is not in so many words taught us in the Holy Scriptures. What we profess in our prayers we nowhere read in Scripture, that the one God, the one Lord is not only one person, but three persons in one substance. There is no such text in Scripture as this; that the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. None of the inspired writers has expressly affirmed that in the Trinity none is before or after the other, none is greater or less than the other.
Millard Erickson, God in Three Persons
Davis has examined the major contemporary explanations [of the Trinity], and having found them not to accomplish what they claim to do, has been honest in acknowledging that he feels he is dealing with a mystery. In so doing he has been more candid than many of us, who when pressed may have to admit that we really do not know in what way God is one and in what different way He is three (p. 258).
Millard Erickson, God in Three Persons
It is claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is very important, crucial and even basic doctrine. If that is indeed the case, should it not be somewhere more clearly, directly and explicitly in the Bible?... Little direct response can be made to this charge. It is unlikely that any text of Scripture can be shown to teach the doctrine of the Trinity in a clear, direct and unmistakable fashion (109).
Dr. W. N. Clark on Trinity, 1909, Prof. at Colgate University
[In the New Testament] there is no mystery about their oneness and no attempt to show that there are three in one. The word Trinity is never used and there is no indication that the idea of Trinity had taken form. It has long been a common practice to read the New Testament as if the ideas of a later age upon this subject were in it, but they are not. In the days of the Apostles the doctrine of the Trinity was yet to be created. But the materials for it were already there, and the occasion for the growth of the doctrine was sure to arise.