HOW TO DISPROVE THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

(Editor’s note: Got this from Stan Slonosky in Mark Tabladillo’s Jesus Loves Fellowship message board which in turned he got this from yahoo message board site biblicalapologetics. Robert M. Bowman (author of Why Should You Believe In The Trinity) is also the author of this piece below.  Those who love apologetics, like I do, enjoy!)

If you want to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity, you must
disprove one of the following propositions:

1. There is one God (i.e., one proper object of religious devotion).
2. The one God is a single divine being, the LORD (Jehovah, Yahweh).
3. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is God.
4. The Son, Jesus Christ, is God.
5. The Holy Spirit is God.
6. The Father is not the Son.
7. The Father is not the Holy Spirit.
8. The Son is not the Holy Spirit.

Anyone who affirms all eight of these propositions without
equivocation is affirming the doctrine of the Trinity, since this is
just what the doctrine of the Trinity says.

In order to dispute the doctrine of the Trinity, then, you *must*
take issue with one or more of the propositions stated above.
Anything else is tangential to the issue.

This may help you in deciding if a particular thread or post is
relevant to the truth or falsity of the doctrine. If it doesn’t
address one or more of these propositions, it isn’t relevant.

HOW TO DEFEND AN ANTI-TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY

In addition to refuting the propositions that constitute the
doctrinal content of the doctrine of the Trinity, anti-Trinitarians
have some work to do in order to show that a superior alternative
exists.

1. Present a clear alternative.

Constantly carping at things about the Trinity that you don’t like,
can’t understand, and won’t accept is not enough. You must tell us
what we should believe instead.

2. Identify the religion associated with that alternative.

It’s no good telling us that you believe X, Y, and Z instead of the
Trinity, if this “alternative” is your own private confection of
beliefs. I say this because the true doctrine of God will be held by
a community of believers in Jesus Christ, the EKKLHSIA (“church”).
Theologies do not exist in a vacuum, or in isolation. You are either
part of a church that teaches the theology you espouse, or you are
picking and choosing what you will believe from others and not
committing yourself to a _way of life_ that puts a set of teachings
into practice. Jesus Christ said that he would be with his people
until the end of the age as they engaged in the work of making
disciples, baptizing and teaching them (Matt. 28:19-20). So, what
people today are Christ’s people?

3. Show that your alternative theology does not suffer from the
defects you claim to find in Trinitarianism.

For example:

a. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for developing in
the fourth century, identify the religious tradition or movement
that predated the fourth century that you think had–and has–the
truth.

b. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for its use of
extrabiblical language, show that your theology consistently avoids
the use of all extrabiblical words.

c. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for being influenced
by non-Christian philosophy or religion, show that your theology is
completely free of such influences.

d. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for being difficult
to understand, show that your theology is free of anything
incoherent, confusing, paradoxical, or mysterious.

4. Demonstrate that your theology explains the full range of
biblical information better than the doctrine of the Trinity.

This means showing that your view accounts for a wider range of
biblical material, based on sound exegesis of the texts, with a
minimum of ad hoc reasoning. In other words, it is not enough to
argue that certain texts *might* be translated so as to avoid the
Trinity, or that other texts *need not* be interpreted in a
Trinitarian fashion. Rather, you must show that your non-Trinitarian
view is the *best* reading of more biblical texts than can be
claimed on the Trinitarian side.

Of course, everyone is likely to run into a text or two that is more
difficult to cohere with their position, but the right view will
have fewer of these difficulties.

Note: All such argumentation will have to contrast the anti-
Trinitarian alternative with the doctrine of the Trinity as it is
actually taught in serious works of theology, not your own
oversimplistic or fractured impression of what the doctrine means.

In Christ’s service,
Rob Bowman

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8 thoughts on “HOW TO DISPROVE THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

  1. Trinitarian theology is not my main issue, but this article has some great points. Anti-trinitarian theology regardless of what they believe they can demonstrate theologically or academically seems to serve more as a mechanism to isolate followers from mainstream resources turn followers in to a more cult-like situation so their leaders can instill more disturbing theology.

    I’ll also point out that so-called “orthodox” views can have their own problems as well. The more knowledgeable Christians become regarding an particular matter, the more they realize matters of “orthodoxy” are often over-simplified to make them easier to teach to the masses.

    Detailed examinations often reveal different views. I know I will have my disagreements with others. But whether I agree or not I judge religious views more off of two questions.

    1. Is the view a reasonable conclusion to draw?
    2. Is the doctrine taught and practiced in a manner which is just?

    For example, I disagree with Catholic teaching about baptizing infants based on their theology of original sin, but I don’t reject Catholics or others over that. Although I disagree with it, original sin is a reasonable conclusion to draw. The Catholic tradition and practice of baptizing infants is not unjust either. On the other hand if Catholics take their theology too far telling a distraught mother of a still-born infant her baby went to hell, I would severely object to the injustice of that theology.

    Likewise, although I disagree with some groups on their anti-trinitarian theology, such groups have other practices which are of much greater concern to me. The last person I debated trinitarian theology with was part of a group which is known to be anti-Semitic (I discovered that later). Debating trinitarian theology was a worthless distraction from confronting their anti-Semitic rhetoric.

    -Scott

    1. Interesting perspective Scott. My experience is definately different from yours. As a result of my experience in the historic Worldwide Church of God, my conclusions are firmly entrenched that belief in the doctrine of the Trinity is line of demarcation from The Kingdom of Christ and The Kingdom of The Cults. With saying that, salvation ONLY comes through grace through faith in Jesus Christ. There those who innocently have incomplete understanding of the nature of God. Case in point is The Church of God (Seventh Day). They officially have a binitarian view of the nature of God, though there are trinitarians in that organization. God is not weak (as some who would perversely like) in saving those who don’t have full understanding —who really does? At the same time, to be stubborn, willfully and actively ignorant is another matter entirely. Only in a trinitarian view of God, one can fully comprehened the gospel of grace message. Arianism, modalism, God-familism,Mormonism and unitarianism in their nature have a “pull up yourself by the bootstraps” theology centred on legalism and authoritarianism (and yes, even totalitarianism). There is no message of grace and mercy there—absolutely NONE. People from Charles Taze Russell to Jim Jones and close at home, Herbert Armstrong ALL have tried to REINVENT the nature of God and have failed falling flat on their collective faces (this should obviously tell you something).

      Again, my conclusions from my experience would tell me that ALL heresy starts with the Godhead and from that heresy flows destructive doctrines and practice that are sure to follow. Yes, there trinitarians who start wars, molest kids, are anti-Semitic or anti-black and who do all sorts of wicked things under the sun but it has no bearing whether the triune nature of God is true or not. The question is do these people have a real faith or a “said” faith which is that they say they are Christian—but there are no works (or transformation of the heart) to support it and yes, I stand by Apostle James in which he says, “Faith without works IS DEAD!”

      Just my humble opinion. 🙂

  2. This may be fairly easily refuted. If I look at one scrpture, say, Romans 8:7, which says the natural mind is enmity against god and cannot be subject to the laws of God.

    Immediately there may be a scramble to determine exactly what it means. Yet with each varying definition, the truth of the statement is proven. If the natural mind cannot be subject to God, then it is logical to assume that there could emerge as many varieties of “God” as there are people to present the argument.

    Second, if we follow Paul’s line of reasoning from this point, we find logical conclusions. For example, there exists no decion procedure or algorithms by which we may show any special relationship to God(Romans 9:16-22)

    Paul, however seals his argument with Romans 8:29-30, which removes all possible decision procedures from human minds and places it squarely within God’s decisions.

    If we agree that God is the father and Jesus the son, what is the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit?

    In talking to Nicodemus(John 3), Jresus pointed out that there are those born of flesh, and those born of spirit. Can we assume that those born of spirit are the same as those described in Romans 8:29-30?

    To refute that argument, we would have to show some logic demonstrating that the natural mind CAN in some way show a relationship to God reslting from human choices. THEN, we would have a beginning.

    Extending from Romans 8:29-30, Paul describes two types of birth in Romans 9: 6-9.

    The physical birth, says Paul, is Israel, but the “spiritual” birth are those born of promise, which God made to Abraham resulting in the birth of Isaac.

    Was Isaac born of this spirit, or Holy Spirit? Look at Romans 8:29-30. Isaac was foreknown, Isaac was predestined, Isaac was called and chosen.

    Galatians 4:28: “Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise”.

    What promise? Romans 9:9. We also see from Galatians 3:29 that if you are “Christ’s”, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

    What will we prove by human argument? Only that there are over 38,000 estimated versions of christianity, none of whom can de monstrate any special truth of God.

    This corresponds to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:23. No point in following any of them, because we have no way of proving their authenticity. So, what you believe or don’t believe about a trinity is irrelevant.

  3. i hate how people nit pick at the scriptures word by word, we are talking about texts that have been translated hundreds of times by an extreme number of translators. Therefore it is logical to assume that any form of the bible isn’t as it was written thousands of years ago. The book doesn’t have the blueprints for an organised church; but a way of life. That is why Jesus taught in parabolas; he taught life lessons and how to be a kind hearten person. Honestly they way people throw around scripture and “quotes” said by Christ is a tad bit ridiculous.

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