Review of The Trinity, by Rose Publishing
This short booklet is densely packed. It reveals more about the Trinity than most 100 page books on the subject. Unfortunately, this is about the extent of the praise.
This review will focus on disagreements on the identity of Jesus in relation to His Father. It won’t cover disagreement concerning the book’s position on the Holy Spirit as a separate being. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit. But who Jesus is in relation to his father is far more important.
The identity of the Father and His Son are important topics of study. Who they are is considerable not just for a correct intellectual understanding, but more importantly, so our hearts can worship them as they exist in reality in Spirit and in truth.
Their correct identity is found in the Bible when our hearts and wills are opened and surrendered to the Word and Spirit of God. The Bible is the only accepted source for church doctrine. Church tradition, denominations, or your favorite contemporary theology have no place in determining the truth or heresy of the Trinity. The Bereans were commended, not because they followed popular church creeds or traditions, but because they checked the Scripture daily for verification (Acts 17:11). Dear believer, have you examined the Scriptures, objectively, and exegetically as a Berean to determine if the Trinity is the truth?
The Trinity is the belief that there is one God who is a Trinity. This God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is distinct (cannot be combined) and yet fully God. But there is one God. You may find shocking —there is no verse or passage in the entire Bible that teach the doctrine of the Trinity.
Many godly people are Trinitarians. But God will judge us for what we believe. Very soon, we will stand before Jesus Christ and give an account –starting with myself. What you and I believe in the depths of our hearts about God and His Son affect how we live our lives. Who Jesus is in relation to His Father is no insignificant persuit.
This review is written from the perspective of a former Trinitarian (now a Biblical Unitarian). I don’t believe that belief or unbelief in the Trinity is a salvation issue. Nevertheless, knowing the truth about the Trinity is important. Without further delay, let’s kick this off.
The book starts with the title, “What Christians believe about the Trinity” (location 42). While not explicitly stated, this statement implicitly communicates that only true Christians believe in the Trinity (In other words, I’m not longer a Christian or never was). Having set this standard, (that all Christians are Trinitarians), then the early Christians were not true Christians. Please know that the doctrine of the Trinity was inexistent until years after the First Council of Nicaea (325). To imply that all Christians are Trinitarians is unwise. Plans of salvation rarely, if ever, include the necessity to believe in the Trinity to be saved. It’s doubtful that most Christian who believe the Trinity can define it (yet they believe in something they don’t know).
A definition of the Trinity follows in the book. It’s revealing that no verses are provided. Rose Publishing is commended for not listing verses as there are none that define God as Triune. A sentence reads, “There is only one God, and this one God exists as one essence in three persons” (location 42). While it is true that there is “one God,” the word “essence” is not found in the Bible.
On the same page, there is a graphic depicting the Trinity. Regretfully, it states, “early Christians used this diagram to explain the Trinity” (location 42). While there is some ambiguity in the words “early Christians,” the doctrine of the Trinity didn’t exist until hundreds of years after the passing of the disciples. In fact, while the First Council of Nicaea (325) laid early groundwork, the creeds that followed produced the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.
A heading reads, “The Trinity and the Bible” (location 50). Again, to Rose Publishing’s credit, they were honest enough to not list any verses, since there are none.
Location 50 has the following statement: “When Christians talk about believing in one God in three Persons (the Trinity), they do not mean: 1 God in 3 Gods, or 3 Persons in 1 Person, or 3 Persons in 3 Gods, or 1 Person in 3 Gods Rather, they mean: 1 God in 3 Persons.”
Because Trinitarians believe that each member of the Trinity is fully God, they believe in three Gods. While some Trinitarians don’t like this assessment, it’s undeniable. While they may not take ownership of these formulas, in practice some apply.
Incorrect biblical interpretations create biblical contradictions. The doctrine of the Trinity is logically impossible to understand based on God given, self-evident truths. There cannot be three distinct, co-equal Gods (and persons) who are really just one God. Is each person 1/3 God, or is the Trinity an equal, mixed concentration of each three?
Satan is the father of lies. A tactic he used in the garden to deceive Adam and Eve was to mix truth with lies. Satan still traffics in this manner. The doctrine of the Trinity includes both. There are verses that state that there is only one God (Joshua 22:22; Psalm 50:1; Malachi 2:10, 15; Mark 12:29; John 5:44; Romans 3:10; 16:27; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; Galatians 3:2; 1 Timothy 1:17, 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25, etc.). But these verses make the Father the one God and not one includes Jesus Christ and/or the Holy Spirit within the definition of “one God.” Furthermore, if they included one or both, there would be two or three Gods (not one). This is because the number one in the Bible means “one.” So one God cannot include two or more persons who are fully God and yet be one God.
Most of us read the Bible through western eyes. We are thousands of years removed from the New Testament culture and their definition of “god.” We are farther removed from the Old Testament people’s (primary Israel’s) view of “god.” So, let’s re-frame some of our thinking for some of the words for “god.”
In the Old Testament, a common Hebrew word for god is “Elohim.” It can describe the one true God (Psalm 114:7, etc.) false gods (2 Kings 17:31, etc.), foreign gods (Daniel 11:39, etc.), good angels (Psalm 8:5, etc.), good Judges (Exodus 18:19; 1 Samuel 2:25; Psalm 82:1), Moses speaks as a god (Exodus 4:16), David or Solomon as god (Psalm 45:6-7), a ghost (1 Samuel 28:13), etc.
In the Greek New Testament, the word “theos” (god) can describe the one true God almighty (Matthew 3:9, etc.), Jesus Christ (John 1:18, 20:28, etc.), a person thought to be god (Acts 28:6), the false prophet (2 Thessalonians 2:4), a false idol (Acts 7:40, 43), divine beings (John 10:34; background is Psalm 82), Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4), etc.
All of these example (there are more) demonstrate that there exists a plurality of good and evil “gods” in the Bible.
Since Moses, judges, angels, divine beings, etc., are all gods, how much more does God have a right to also call His Son “God”? But how does the Bible present Jesus as God? Is He a lower deity who is subordinate and submits fully to Yahweh? Or, is Jesus presented as co-equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit in a godhead (Trinitarianism)? These are crucial questions. Your answer should be drawn out and not read into the Bible. This happens by a careful and objective examination (and in prayer), of many passages. And since Jesus is never addressed and included within the definition of one God, who is He? Answers will be provided as the review unfolds.
On location 59, there is an isolated statement with a green background that stands out. The book’s authors thought this was important. It reads, “Theophilus, sixth bishop of Antioch, Syria, is the first person known to have used the word “Trinity” in his work, Refutation of Autolycus (A.D. 168).”
If the doctrine of the Trinity is true, it’s not necessary to resort to “smoke and mirrors,” misleading statements, etc. The statement that Theophilus was the first person known to use the word Trinity is deceptive. You see, his use of this word had nothing to do with the doctrine of the Trinity as it didn’t yet exist! Because most Christians who believe in the Trinity and read this book don’t know this, they are misled into thinking that the Trinity doctrine existed.
On location 59, a common argument is used to support the Trinity: “Why do Christians Believe in the Trinity? The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God, yet all three Persons are called God” They then list Bible verses under the three headings, “…one God”, “the Father is God,” “the Son is God,” “the Holy Spirit is God.” Because that argument is popular, it will consume a significant portion of this review. Please consider the rational for this argument, “all three persons are called God.” We covered how the Bible teaches a plurality of good gods. Since Moses, judges, angels, etc., are all called “god”, if we were consistent, we would have to add them to the Trinity. A rule needs to be applied across the Bible equally to be objective.
Under the heading “…one God,” the verses provided (more could be added) teach indisputably that there is one God who is only the Father (not a triune being) —not Jesus Christ. There are not three God’s (Jesus + Father + Holy Spirit) under the Biblical understanding of one God. It is always the Father. While this point is repetitive, it is respectfully intended.
Under the heading, “the Father is God,” only one verse is quoted: (“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Cor. 1:3), with two additional references: 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Ephesians 4:4-6. Here is an important point to understand. The Father is always the one God (Yahweh) of the Bible in the absolute sense. So while there is only one God, this God is the Father (never a Triune being).
Under the heading, “the Son is God,” verses are provided. The first verse that they provide is John 1:1-5 and 14. The verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, ESV), is the primary verse used by Trinitarians to teach that Jesus is God. But there is controversy over this verse that most Trinitarians don’t know. Because this is a book review, coverage will be light.
The verse (John 1:1) consists of three clauses in one sentence:
Clause A: “In the beginning was the Word”
Clause B: “and the Word was with God”
Clause C: “and the Word was God” (ESV).
Because the Word is the pre-incarnate Jesus (John 1:3-4, 7-14), this verse can be summarized:
Clause A: In the beginning was [Jesus]
Clause B: And [Jesus] was with God
Clause C: And [Jesus] was God
In clause B, who is the God Jesus was with? It cannot be Jesus or the Holy Spirit. It indisputably is the Father. So, the verse can be further summarized:
Clause A: In the beginning was [Jesus]
Clause B: And [Jesus] was with God [the Father]
Clause C: And Jesus was God
Now we have a big problem. Since Jesus was with God (the Father, clause B), then clause C makes Jesus the God He was with. Jesus never claimed to be the Father (God). The doctrine of the Trinity correctly forbids this because it would be the false doctrine called Modalism and or Oneness. Jesus is not the same person as the Father whom He was with. Because there are no contradictions in the Bible, a closer examination of this passage is warranted.
The New Testament is written in Koine Greek. Because it’s imposible to translate every verse in exact precision into English (and other languages), some Christians have learned biblical Greek. But for most Christians, Koine Greek is out of reach and God doesn’t expect most to learn it. In the underlying Greek there is no contradiction like our English language. This is because the word God (theos) has an article (“the”) for the Father (1:1b), but the article is purposely omitted for Jesus (1:1c). Here is a more literal rendering for illustration:
Clause A: “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus]
Clause B: “And the Word [Jesus] was with the God [Father]
Clause C: “And the Word [Jesus] was [no article] God.”
While John (author) used the word “God” to describe both the Father and His Son, He purposefully made a distinction between them. Yahweh (the Father) is the God (Supreme), while Jesus is not the God. In Koine Greek, when an article comes before a noun, it is always definitive (for example, “the” God). But when an article is absent, it can be definitive (“the” God), indefinite (“a” god) or qualitative (“divine”). (For further information on this Greek grammar rule, please see the book, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace, 1996, page 244).
In the book, Word Biblical Commentary, second edition, respected author George R. Beasley-Murray wrote for this clause (John 1:1c), “καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος: θεός without the article signifies less than ὁ θεός” (1999). While Beasley-Murray admitted on one hand that the absence of the article makes Jesus less than the Father, he continues writing and then took this back, “but it cannot be understood as “a god,” as though the Logos were a lesser god alongside the supreme God” (1999). Because the late Beasley-Murray was a Trinitarian (a sincere man who loved God, no doubt), he takes Jesus back to being co-equal to the Father.
The late Beasley-Murray recognized that distinctions between persons in Koine Greek can be made by the article. When one person has the article before their identity and another person shares the same identity without the article, the first person has greater significance. For example, “the captain” has greater emphasis than “a captain” in a sentence when a contrast is made (others things being equal).
Prominent English translations are all composed by Trinitarians. They pretend that John also include the article before the word “God” (theos) for Jesus. Therefore they don’t make the distinction between the Father and the Son that was inspired and intended by the Apostle John.
Because it’s a contradiction for Jesus to be the same person He was with (the Father) and John provides the article for God (the Father) and omits it for Jesus, the ending of the verse should be “a god” (indefinite) or “divine” (qualitative) based on Greek grammar rules, the arrangement in the sentence, and the context.
So the first passage provided in the book in support of a Trinity (Jesus is called “God” so He is equal to the Father), doesn’t pass the standard of Scripture. Few Trinitarians know that verses used to support the Trinity are in dispute (interpretation, lack of punctuation, or manuscript variants, etc.).
It should also be added that in light of the historical Old and the New Testament use of the word “god” (we covered this already), —calling Jesus “God,” “a god” or “divine” does not make Him automatically equal to the Father (there are many “gods” in the Bible).
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Jesus Christ never outwardly claimed to be God. In this verse, He admits that He is not the true God. While no one can know the only true God without going through His Son, Jesus is not the true God.
A second passage provided by the book (for the belief that Jesus is co-equal to God and part of a Trinity) is John 1:14. Because verse 14 is probably a typo, verse 18 is covered. This verse calls Jesus the title “God.” While most manuscripts don’t call Jesus “God,” some older and very credible ones do. Based on my research, the manuscripts that call Jesus “God,” also call Jesus “the only begotten God.” But few translations render this literally because the verse would state that Jesus is the only begotten God (The Father is never said to begotten). Trinitarians cannot accept that Jesus, (while a god) is begotten (had an origination). One way they have tried to get around this difficulty is to claim that Jesus was eternally begotten. But there is no verse for this.
The next verse provided to support the fourth century (Roman Catholic Church) doctrine of the Trinity is John 10:30-33. This is another passage that Trinitarians frequently quote, but below the surface there are problems. Because it would take a lot of real estate, the entire passage (vs. 23-39, for context) won’t be pasted. Please read this account carefully and objectively. Here are some serious problems:
- The context is not about the doctrine of the Trinity. Many honest Trinitarians read Trinitarianism into this passage. The doctrine of the Trinity didn’t even exist when John wrote this. In biblical interpretation, we seek to draw out an exegetical understand consistent with the author’s intended meaning and how the original audience would have understood it. The Jews during the time of Christ were committed monotheists (great topic for your research) and believed the Old Testament Shema (great topic for research) that there was one true God who is the Father (Yahweh, Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
Where Jesus states “I and the Father are one” (v. 30), He is referring to the proceeding context. Here is a quick assessment: in verses 26-29, Jesus is speaking about His sheep. The sheep who “hear my voice” (an active, ongoing activity), “and I know them” (another present tense verb), “and they follow (an ongoing activity based on the Greek present tense) me,” (v. 27), Jesus promises the persevering sheep “eternal life” (v. 29).
One of the greatest promises in the New Testament for those in the faith is found in verse 29. To those sheep who are actively persevering (“them;” points back to verse 27) Jesus promises eternal life and they will never perish!
So why does Jesus state, “I and the Father are one”? Within the contextual backdrop, Jesus has a role in protecting the sheep: “no one will snatch them out of my hand” (v. 28). The Father also has a role: “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (v. 29). Because both Jesus and the Father are united in the preservation of the saints, Jesus states in the next verse, “I and the Father are one” (v. 30).
The statement of Jesus, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), only has meaning in its historical context. It is an error to import Trinitarianism (eisegesis) into this beautiful passage that illustrates how God and His Son are united in protecting the sheep who actively hear and follow Jesus Christ (10:27). As believers in Christ, we have confidence in our salvation because both Jesus and His Father are jointly involved and committed to our security!
- Trinitarians have more problems in this passage. After Jesus claimed to be “one” with the Father (v. 29), the Jews pick up stones to kill Him (v.30). Most Trinitarians believe here (as I did) that the Jews wanted to stone Jesus for claiming to be God (v. 33).The unsaved crowds who mocked and hated Jesus and often wanted to kill Him were wrong about most everything. When Jesus was accused of claiming to be God, He responds that He claimed to be the Son of God (v. 36, big difference), and He also appealed as a God to the existence of a plurality of gods in the heavens (vs. 34-35, see Psalm 82:1, 6). Finally, Jesus could not have been claiming to be God Almighty (Yahweh of the Old Testament) because He was not and never claimed to be the Father. It’s a violation of the Trinity (Modalism and/or Oneness) should Jesus have claimed to be the same Father He came from.
The next verse provided in the book for the Trinitarian teaching that Jesus is fully God as the Father, is John 20:28. In this account, after seeing the nail prints in His hands and his side, Thomas exclaims, “…My Lord and my God!” (20:28). There are no manuscripts variants that challenge the title “God.” The controversy comes from Trinitarians who read more into the text than the context and cultural understanding allows.
A few verses later, the Apostle John wrote the purpose statement for the Gospel of John: “…so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (v. 31). This purpose statement is significant because it identifies the required elements to be saved. There is no requirement to believe that Jesus is equal to the Father, the Holy Spirit, and part of a Trinitarian Godhead to be saved.
A possible interpretation of John 20:28 is that Thomas is calling Jesus “my Lord” and calling the Father, “my God” in response to seeing with his eyes the indisputable evidence that God raised Jesus from the dead. This interpretation cannot be ruled out based on the context. While I don’t favor it, it’s possible.
Trinitarians assume since Jesus was called “God,” therefore, He is fully God and equal to the Father. But the interpretation of a passage should be consistent with the broad use of the word “god” in the culture of the first century and in light of how Jesus is presented in the Gospels in relation to His Father. The meaning of the word “God” here (“my Lord and my God”) includes no support from the context for elevating Jesus into someone who eternally existed and was co-equal to His Father.
In Matthew 16, Jesus asks His disciples who they thought He was and who outsiders believed Him to be. In verse 17, Jesus blesses Simon Peter for correctly identifying Him as “…the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v.16). The word “Son” in the first century culture implied someone who came into existence (no previous existence) and was younger than their father.
The honor and worship assigned to Jesus should be in harmony with the New Testament teaching. Before Jesus ascended to His Father, He revealed the extent and source of His authority: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 24:18b). All the authority that Jesus has comes from His Father (Acts 2:33, 5:31; Ephesians 1:20; Revelation 2:27), and it brings honor and glory to God when we worship His Son as this verse testifies:
“9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
So, while Thomas likely addresses Jesus (and not the Father) as “my Lord and my God,” this outburst doesn’t meet the Trinitarian threshold that Jesus is equal in essence to the Father, is included in the definition of “one God,” and is a member of a Trinity.
The next passage provided by the book (Jesus is called God, therefore, fully God) is Hebrews 1:6-8. Because the main verses are 8-9, they are provided:
“8 But of the Son he [Father] says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
On the surface, this passage calls Jesus “God” which makes a great proof text for most Trinitarians who apply (in sincerity) superficial hermeneutics. This passage is another goldmine for Unitarians.
God calls His Son “God” here (consistent with biblical flexibility of the word “god”), but the context indicates that Jesus is far less than God the Father. The Father speaks as absolute God and declares that Jesus (God) has an eternal throne (v. 8). But in verse nine, the Father offers further details how this applies to Jesus. And it’s not because He is equal to the Father in a Trinity!
Jesus has this throne (as God) because, “You [Jesus] have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God [Father], your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” Because of how Jesus conducted Himself while on earth He has been rewarded with exaltation to His throne. If Jesus was fully God, He could not be rewarded for his performance. And why anoint Jesus “with the oil of gladness beyond your companions” if He is fully God? What is the point of that?
In the next chapter of Hebrews, we see again that Jesus was exalted because of what He did, “…namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).
In Philippians similarly, the exaltation of Jesus was due to “obedient to the point of death” (Philippians 2:8-9). God wants us to know that Jesus was exalted not because He is co-equal to the Father. His exaltation was given Him because Jesus didn’t have this position and He deserved it.
Another 900-lb. contradiction is that Jesus (who is called God here) has a God (“your God”)! Jesus is a lower deity who has a God (Revelation 1:6 (“his God”), 3:12 (“my God”); 1 Peter 1:3 (“God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”); John 20:17 (“to my God”); Romans 15:6 (“the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”); 2 Corinthians 1:3 (“God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”), 11:31 (“the God and Father of the Lord Jesus”).
God, (the Father) worships no other gods. But Jesus worships the Father (John 4:22; Hebrews 2:11-13; Revelation 15:3), He is not equal to the Father (John 5:26, 10:29; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 15:28, etc.) and therefore not the one God. Jesus stated “that the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), “no one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).
Next, Philippians 2:9-11 is quoted by the book as if this verses somehow makes Jesus equal to the Father. Verse eight explains why Jesus was exalted, but this was already covered. A quote followed this verse with an untruthful claim that Jesus is the same person as the LORD (Yahweh) of the Old Testament. (Location 77). For proof, Isaiah 45:23 is provided.
First, Jesus Christ is not Yahweh of the Old Testament. The heresy of Modalism (Sabellianism) has existed before Trinitarianism. Trinitarians teach that each member of the Trinity must be kept separate and not collapsed, but Trinitarians sometimes wear the false hat of Modalism to attempt to prove their doctrine. To be clear, Trinitarians are sincerely against Modalism and apparently the authors of this book (as do many Trinitarians) believe the heresy that Jesus is really God the Father.
Consequently, when Jesus prayed in the Garden that the cup would pass, was He praying to Himself. When He claimed to have worshipped the Father (John 4:22), He was not worshiping Himself. Accordingly, Jesus didn’t come from Himself but from the Father. The teaching that Jesus is the Father is absolute heresy.
The book continues, “See these passages about Jesus’ deity:” (location 77). Most Trinitarians wrongly believe that everyone who doesn’t believe in the Trinity denies the deity of Jesus Christ. But some of us believe that Jesus is divine, yet a subordinate being who has a God —the Father. The definition of “divinity” should be based on a biblical understanding of many divine beings and not on the doctrine of the Trinity that has no exegetical proof.
The book continues and dumps about 15 proof texts. One is Isaiah 9:6. This verse is fascinating. It calls Jesus, “wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, prince of peace.” Every proof text used by Trinitarians has problems. The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament translation used by Jesus) has a very different reading. Jesus is called “Messenger of Great Counsel, for I will bring peace upon the rulers, peace and health to him” (New English Translation of the Septuagint, 2014).
Not only does the Septuagint question English translations of Isaiah 9:6, there is additional evidence that this passage is wrongly translated. Here is a website that make a compelling case that the underlying Hebrew (English translations) is possibly mistranslated:
Another difficulty of this passage is that it contradicts the Bible and the Trinity. Jesus is called titles (“and his name shall be called”), but some of these titles are not his true identity (based on a literal interpretation). Jesus is not “mightily God” and “everlasting Father.” Not only does calling Jesus everlasting Father (in a literal sense) against the Trinity, (beings cannot be combined) Jesus never claimed to be the Father.
The only way that modern English translations can be correct (to my knowledge) with Jesus being called titles of the Father is within the Jewish law of agency. Because this is a book review, coverage of this topic will be light. Most Jewish dictionaries including the Encyclopedia Britannica have a description for this topic. While the definition for agency is not found in the Bible, the practice is.
Jewish agency is the practice of sending someone out (an agent) as a representative of the principle. The representation is so authoritative, the agent can be called the same name as the principle.
An understanding of Jewish agency can help us understand the relationship between God and His Son. God the Father (Principal) sent His Son (Agent) as His representative (in His name) to act in His behalf (His will in word and deed). Many passage confirm this teaching (John 5:43; John 6:38; John 3:16; John 8:29; John 10:25; Deuteronomy 18:18; John 12:13; John 1:18, etc.). A somewhat similar example in our culture is a general power of attorney, where a principle grants all rights to the agent to act in their behalf.
An example of the law of agency is when Moses went before Pharaoh. He was commissioned as God’s representative: “16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him” (Exodus 4:16). While Moses was not God, he acted and spoke as God before Pharaoh.
Because Jesus represented the Father on earth and the Father has granted His Son authority to rule and reign on earth in the future, He can be called names of the Father (within Jewish agency) because He will reign and rule for the Father (John 5:22, 25-29; Acts 10:42, 17:31).
With this understanding, Jesus represented His Father as if He was the Father, without being the Father. Jesus said, “and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9). Because Jesus represented the Father in person, He could say that those who saw Him, had seen the Father.
For an excellent article on divine agency, please see: http://lhim.org/blog/2010/01/21/divine-agency-in-the-scriptures/
John 8:58 is another passage provided that allegedly makes Jesus equal to the Father. The Trinitarian argument is usually that Jesus is claiming to be the, “I am” of the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14). Once again, the doctrine of the Trinity is not supported. According to the Trinity, Jesus and the Father are separate beings. If Jesus is claiming be the same “I am” of Exodus 3:14-15, Jesus is falsely claiming to be the same person as His Father (heresy of Modalism and/or Oneness).
A close up of this passage reveals that Jesus is not claiming to be the Father. Here are some reasons why:
The context is not Trinitarian. Jesus states (please read entire context), “56 your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad. 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56-58).
In verse 57, some Jews in the crowd questioned how Jesus being under 50 years of age could have known that “Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day.” Please observe that the context in verse 57 is about the age of Jesus in relation to knowing Abraham.
In verse 58 (in light of the context), Jesus responds, “58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus is stating that He was in existence before Abraham lived. While this can be difficult to gleam from most contemporary Trinitarian translations, a few translations have offered clarification.
Goodspeed’s 1923 American Translation, renders the verse, ““I tell you, I existed before Abraham was born!” In the New American Standard Bible, 1963-1971, a footnote for this verse reads, “Or, I have been.” Another translations states, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘ I solemnly say to you, I existed before Abraham was born” (C. B. Williams Translation). For disclosure, most of these references were taken from the book, Divine Truth or Human Tradition? by Patrick Navas. For further information on these passages and many other texts used by Trinitarians, please consider purchasing this excellent book.
Another problem with the Trinitarian interpretation of John 8:58 is from the account in Exodus 3:14, “and God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you” (3:14). So Yahweh also has a longer name “I AM WHO I AM” that sets Him apart. This is because the phrase, “I am” was commonly used in everyday conversations in Koine Greek . Jesus used the term (“I am”) many times, it was unrelated to Exodus 3:14. In fact, others in the Gospels used this phrase and they were not claiming to be Yahweh of the Old Testament. Here are some: Mathew 8:8 (centurion), Matthew 27:24 (Pilate), John the Baptist (Mark 1:7), etc.
 The language spoken by Jesus every day was probably Aramaic. Consequently, while the Koine Greek New Testament manuscripts indicates the phrase “I am” was common within everyday sentences, it’s unknown how this transfers over to the Aramaic language.
While there are other passages provided for the teaching that Jesus is God (equal to the Father in essence), this review must move on.
In location 86, an affirmation is made that there are over 60 verses that mention the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together. But within context, none teach that three beings are distinct while being equal and yet one God. When context is thrown out, the Bible can support any man-made doctrine.
Location 100 states, “Many Bible passages express the Trinity (Click here to go to references).” A selection doesn’t provide any references. But since there are no Bible verses that teach this, why does Rose Publishing make this untruthful claim?
The New Bible Dictionary, third edition, under the word “trinity,” makes an honest admission after providing a definition for this word: “Nowhere does the Bible explicitly teach this combination of assertions. It may, nevertheless, be claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is a profoundly appropriate interpretation of the biblical witness to God in the light of the ministry, death and resurrection-exaltation of Jesus—the ‘Christ event” (1996, 1209).
Trinitarian theologian A. W. Argyle, wrote in his book, God in the New Testament: “The fully developed Christian Doctrine that God is three persons in one Godhead is nowhere explicitly stated in the New Testament” (173, 1966).
On location 100, another untruthful statement is made: “The following early church leaders and/or writings all defended the doctrine of the Trinity long before A.D. 300.” The book goes on to list nine anti-Nicene Church Fathers —yet none defended the doctrine known today as the Trinity because it didn’t yet exist. Because the doctrine of the Trinity is so popular, most readers of this book don’t verify its claims. Many Trinitarian scholars purposefully mislead or omit the problematic history of this doctrine.
Very few Trinitarian books admit that the Trinity didn’t yet exist until (or near) the First Council of Constantinople (381). Respected church theologians Roger E. Olson and Christopher Hall wrote in their book The Trinity, “We will be disappointed if we expect to find developed Trinitarian reflection in the early post-apostolic writers. It is simply not there” (2002, 16, 20).
On location 121, a sentence says, “Without the Trinity, the Christian doctrine of salvation cannot stand.” The book doesn’t state what premises establish this conclusion, or provide biblical accreditation. They follow with a sentence that some religious groups are wrong about the Trinity and believe that salvation comes by good works. But this doesn’t provide any evidence for their speculation. Most Biblical Unitarian Christians (not to be confused with Universal Unitarians) believe that salvation is only found by faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6) apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
In location 130, an argument is made that Jesus is God because He, “has the authority to forgive any sin.” (Mark 2:5-12; Luke 5:21). So when the disciples forgave sins, they were also God? Of course not. In both of these passages, Jesus states He has authority to forgive sins. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus stated, “…all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” So God gave Jesus the authority to forgive sins.
A parallel passage (Matthew 9:2-8) to the two provided in this book (Mark 2: 5-12; Luke 5: 21) confirms this. In the context about forgiving sins, the Bible states, “8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:8).
Location 130 says, “He accepted worship as God and claimed to deserve the same honor as the Father. (Matthew 14:33; 28:17, 18; John 5:22, 23; 9:38; 17:5).”
While Jesus is and should be worshipped, none of the verses state that He is worshipped “as God” (same essence as God almighty). Jesus never claimed to deserve the same honor as the Father. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women at the well. He stated He also worships the Father (John 4:22). When the Rich Young Ruler called Jesus “good teacher,” Jesus corrected him by stating “No one is good except God alone” (Matthew 10:18).
Jesus is to be worshiped as the Son of God (Matthew 14:33), who has been exalted and made Lord (Acts 2:36; 5:31; Philippians 2:9; Matthew 28:18). This brings glory to the Father (Philippians 2:11; Romans 16:27; John 5:23, 13:31, 32, 14:13, 23, 16:14, 15, 17:1; Romans 15:7: 1 Peter 1:21).
The book of Revelation provides insight into future worship of the Lord God almighty and His Son. John, through a vision, enlightens us on future worship of God and His Son. In Chapter four, worship centers around God who is rightfully called, “the Lord God Almighty” (v. 8).
The next chapter starts at the throne of God (5:1), but the account shifts to the only one who is worthy to open the scroll who is the Lamb (vs. 5-6). Beginning in verse 8, worship is given to the Lamb. The song in verse 9 (addressed to Jesus) includes the phrase, “you ransomed people for God.” This means Jesus ransomed people for God (the Father, not Jesus; also see 1 Pet. 3:18). In verse 10, the words say, “and you [Jesus] have made them a kingdom and priests to our God.” Once again, the God here (“our God”) is Yahweh, the one true God above all others. In verse 13, worship is address to God and the Lamb as separate Beings.
In location 180, the book asks if Christ was created and then answers: “Firstborn” cannot mean that Christ was created, because Paul says that all of creation was made in and for Christ, and that he exists before all creation and holds it together (Col. 1: 16, 17).”
Verse 16 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Christ is not the invisible God, but “is His image.” The verse continues and describes Christ as “the firstborn of all creation.” There are three important words, “firstborn,” “all,” and “creation.” Words in Greek have a range of meaning (like English). The actual meaning is determined by the context within sentences.
The word “firstborn” in this creation context, assigns Christ as the first person born (to come into existence) “of all of creation.” In verse 15, Christ is clearly identified as a created being (“in all creation”), who chronologically goes on to create “all things” in the next verse. “16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” So the statement made in the book is contrary to the passage.
The book continues, “the ‘firstborn’ traditionally was the main heir. In context Paul is saying that Christ, as God’s Son, is the main heir of all creation (verses 12-14).” This book omits valuable information. While the “firstborn” was “traditionally was the main heir,” it also identified the first person to come into existence in a family.
Revelation 3:14 also teaches that Christ is, “…the beginning of God’s creation.” Because the doctrine of the Trinity teaches that Christ eternally existed just as His Father, it cannot accept that Christ is created. There are no passages that state that Jesus eternally existed without being seasoned with eisegesis.
Thanks for reading this long review. There were additional disagreements but the review was long enough. May God bless you as you follow His Son to the Father’s house.
Keep the faith in God through Jesus Christ!