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Monday, October 1, 2012

The History of the Development of the Trinity Doctrine

The History of the Development of the Trinity Doctrine   (View Index to this and all related papers.)

(The earliest parts of this history are somewhat speculative concerning their influence on the trinity doctrine of Christendom. They get more certain as we go along until, when we reach Alexandria there is little doubt concerning the overall accuracy.)

1 It is certain that, in spite of the popularity of such concepts in the false religions surrounding them, the faithful Jewish people and prophets of the Old Testament never accepted a three-in-one God. It is true that the unfaithful among the Israelites often borrowed pagan gods, pagan customs, and pagan concepts (including Baal and Astarte) and added them to their God-given religion. But there is no record (scriptural or secular) of a trinity concept even among them.

2 Faithful Israel had only one God and He was always a single individual named Jehovah (possibly pronounced "Yahweh" or "Yehowah" in Hebrew - see the PRONOUNCE study), their Father in heaven - (Deut. 6:4, 5; Is. 64:8; Ps. 83:16-18). That is the concept known as monotheism (meaning "one person alone is God").

"The religion of the [Old Testament] and Judaism is monotheistic and personal. 1. In the [Old Testament] the words el, eloah, and elohim, from related roots, are generic designations of God. Alongside and alternating with them stands the individual, personal name Yahweh [Jehovah]." - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 2, p. 67.

Professor of ecclesiastical history L. L. Paine L. L. Paine, A Critical History Of The Evolution Of Trinitarianism, p. 4, tells us:

"The Old Testament is strictly monotheistic. God is a single personal being. The idea that a trinity is to be found there ... is utterly without foundation." [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
And Lohse states:

"From the very beginning, of course, Christians not only believed in God in the sense in which the Jews did, but they also believed in Jesus Christ." - p. 38, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Bernard Lohse, 1985, Fortress Press.

3 This, then, was the faith that Jesus passed on to his Apostles. This is the truth that the Apostles passed on to their followers (who lived and taught this very same concept up to at least 150 A. D.).

"In this period [1st century A.D.] churches were still regarded as synagogues, whose members prayed three times a day and fasted twice a week like Jews... They professed monotheism in the same terms as did the Jews. .... Within individual congregations they continued to think, argue, and act like their Jewish counterparts." - pp. 121-122, The Rise of Christianity, W. H. C. Frend (trinitarian), 1985, Fortress Press.

4 It was not until over 300 years after the death of Jesus that the trinity concept was fully developed, refined, and officially and finally accepted by Christendom through a decree by the Church at Rome. [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26-26a] (Also see the CREEDS study.)

"Speculative thought began to analyze the divine nature until in the 4th century an elaborate theory of a threefoldness in God appears. In this Nicene or Athanasian form of thought God is said to consist of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all equally eternal, powerful and glorious." - Encyclopedia Americana, 1944, v. 6, p. 619, "Christianity".

5 Yes, finally, by the end of the 4th century A.D., the trinity idea had been fully developed. The Roman Church had officially decreed the following points as being necessary for all Christians to believe:

There are said to be three divine persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - in the Godhead.

(1) Each of these separate persons is said to be eternal, none coming before or after the other in time.
(2) Each is said to be almighty, with none greater or lesser than the other.
(3) Each is said to be omniscient, knowing all things.
(4) Each is said to be true God.
(5) However, it is said that there are not three Gods but only one God.

6 But we should understand that in the more than 2,000 years from Abraham to the death of the last Apostle, John, Judaeo-Christianity had only one God, Jehovah ("YHWH"), the Father alone. (Cf. Ps. 83:18, KJV, ASV; Is. 63:16, ASV; and John 17:1, 3 - compare Jer.10:10, ASV).

But what about the powerful religious systems around them which controlled or profoundly influenced the entire known civilized world?

7 Babylon had a union of three gods who together represented all creation. This Babylonian concept was represented by the same equilateral triangle that represents the trinity concept in Christendom today.[27, 28, 29]

8 It is probable that this three-in-one god concept spread to India and Egypt at a very early date. Due to the perishable quality of much of the earliest writings in Egypt we get only glimpses of this concept in that land from a period before 700 B. C.[30, 31, 32] (It is abundantly clear from Egyptian sources in 200 B. C., but this will be covered when we discuss the powerful influence of Alexandria, Egypt.)
Morenz tells us, in fact:

"The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians .... Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology." - Egyptian Religion.

And noted trinitarian scholar Dr. M.G. Easton tells us:

"The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus, along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as representing the sun-God under different forms." – Easton's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publ.

9 India had a clearly defined trinity concept dating back to 300 B. C. at least.[33] The Brahmanas (probably composed about 800 B. C.) frequently mention the vedic triad.[33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43]

10 Understandably, some members of Christendom refuse to admit the close relationship between ancient triads and pantheism and the "modern" trinity doctrine of Christendom. If we closely examine the ancient Hindu pantheistic triad, however, there is no mistaking its close kinship with the trinity doctrine adopted more recently by Christendom: The One "universal self-existing world soul" is composed of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva who were worshiped equally and were merely different manifestations of the One.
The book The Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals admits, regarding the ancient Hindu trinity that was taught centuries before the first Christians:

"Siva is one of the gods of the Trinity. He is said to be the god of destruction. The other two gods are Brahma, the god of creation and Vishnu, the god of maintenance.... To indicate that these three processes are one and the same the three gods are combined in one form." - Published by A. Parthasarathy, Bombay. (As quoted in ti-E, p. 12.)

11 Yes, the ancient Hindu religionists who really believed in a single force or God found themselves unable to compete with the popularity of the many gods being worshiped throughout ancient India. So, in order to gain influence over the largest number of their countrymen, they actually compromised their belief and borrowed the trinity concept (probably right from its source in ancient Babylon), selected three of the most popular Indian gods, and incorporated them into their "One True God." - "I, the supreme indivisible Lord am three - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva."[43]

12 We find that this Babylonian concept was popular with her "daughters" (her religious offspring), including India and Egypt, for hundreds of years while tiny, insignificant Israel stubbornly clung to her one, single-person God. Then, about 550 B. C., the rise of the extremely influential Greek philosophy/mystery religions began. Pythagoras (about 550 B.C.) may have been the founder of Greek philosophy and mystery religions. Certainly he was the earliest of the most influential Greek philosopher/religionists.

13 Pythagoras spent years studying with Egyptian, Babylonian, and Hindu religionists. When he finally returned to Greece, he formed a religious organization based on his knowledge gained in those foreign lands. He promoted a numerical symbolism in which he taught that God is number. More specifically, the Pythagoreans actually worshiped an equilateral triangle composed of dots.[44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50]

14 Although it was a secret religious organization whose "mysteries" were to be known only among its members, we have some clues to Pythagoreanism's deep "mysteries" that were borrowed from the religions of Babylon, India, and Egypt. Medieval numerologists, for example, admitted that they borrowed this mysterious knowledge from Pythagoreanism: The number three stands for "Trinity and extension of Godhead." [51]

Aristotle said (over 300 years before Christ):

"All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bound by threes, for the end, and the middle, and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the trinity."[52]

15 So it appears that this "holy" number three used to "worship the gods" in unity came down from Babylon through Egypt and India, and through the extremely influential Pythagoras to the ancient Greek philosophy/mystery religions and even to Plato himself. [53, 54, 55, 56-56a]

16 From Pythagoras (550 B. C.) until its decline (about 550 A. D.) the great influence of the Greek philosophy/mystery religions was spread by Pythagoreans, Platonists, Neopythagoreans, and finally Neoplatonists.

"NEO-PYTHAGOREANISM...appeared during the first century B. C. [the faithful Jews were still clinging to their faith in a single one-person God, Jehovah the Father] in Rome, whence it traveled to Alexandria (the sect's chief center) where it flourished until Neo-Platonism absorbed it in the 3rd century A. D." [57]

Neo-Pythagoreanism was mainly the old Pythagoreanism with some borrowing from Plato, Aristotle, and Stoicism.

"They appear to have regarded Pythagoras as a divine being [founders of religions tend to `develop' into a divinity or deity for that religion after a period of time] a status which he shared with certain numbers also, particularly one, three, and ten." "Neo-Pythagoreanism's importance consists chiefly in its influence on Neoplatonism ... and on Christian [?] Theology by Clement of Alexandria (150-220 A. D.)." [57, 58]

17 We are now at the point where the links of the trinity chain (from pagan Babylon to pagan India to pagan Greece) become enormously strong in their joining to Christendom: The Alexandria and Neo-Platonism links (along with the Rome influence, of course) were the critical connections that led directly to the Roman Church officially adopting the "Jesus is equally God" doctrine in 325 A. D. at the Council of Nicaea.

18 Yes, even if there had been no previous links leading back to Hindu India (and even Babylon), the study of the critical Alexandrian and Neo-Platonist influences would still be sufficient to expose the completely pagan origin of the trinity doctrine. The two are so intertwined that it is sometimes difficult to know how much one influenced the other and vice versa. In fact, this Alexandrian philosophy as a whole came to be known as Neoplatonism.[59]

19 Alexandria, Egypt, is probably the single most important source of the infiltration of an already popular pagan trinity concept into Christendom. We cannot fully appreciate its importance without a close look at this extremely influential city from its birth in the 4th century B. C. until its successful imposition of a trinity doctrine on the Roman church in the 4th century A. D.

Alexander the Great had the Egyptian city of Alexandria built in 332 B. C. (The Hindu Trinity had been established in India by this time.) Alexander had already stretched his empire into the plains of India, "and brought many [Hindu] native princes under his rule." [60]

As time went on, the ties between Hindu India and Alexandria became even stronger.

"Under the [Roman] Empire, Alexandria became the greatest trade centre in the world. The Roman Alexandrian merchants had numerous settlements in South India. .... Moreover, Clement, Chrysostom, and other early Christian writers speak about the Indians [Hindus] in Alexandria and their cults." [61]

Alexandria, Egypt, had even developed a trinity doctrine of its very own long before Christian times. It appears to have been a blend (not surprisingly) of Egyptian, Hindu, and Greek philosophy/mystery religions.

"This fusing of one god with another is called theocrasia, and nowhere was it more vigorously going on than in Alexandria. Only two peoples resisted it in this period: The Jews, who already had their faith in the one God of heaven and earth, Jehovah, and the Persians, who had a monotheistic sun worship [Mithras]. It was Ptolemy I [who died in 283 B. C.] who set up not only the Museum in Alexandria, but the Serapeum, devoted to the worship of a trinity of gods which represented the result of a process of theocrasia applied more particularly to the gods of Greece and Egypt [with a distinct Hindu flavor].

"This trinity consisted of the god Serapis (= Osiris + Apis), the goddess Isis (= Hathor, the cow-moon goddess), and the child-god Horus. In one way or another almost every god was identified with one or other of these three aspects of the one god, even the sun god Mithras [very important in the religion of Constantine the Great [96, 97, 98] which we shall see when we examine the Nicene Council] of the Persians. and they were each ; THEY WERE THREE, BUT THEY WERE ALSO ONE." - The Outline of History, Wells, vol. 1, p. 307, 1956 ed.

(It may be of some interest to note the name of the first god of this pagan trinity - Serapis and the name of the temple devoted to the worship of this pagan trinity - the Serapeum. The name of an Egyptian bishop and "a prominent supporter of Athanasius"[62] and "defender of the [trinitarian] Nicene faith at the Council of Sardica in 343 [A. D.]" [63] was Serapion. This name appears to be a praise to the god Serapis.)[64]

20 In addition to its own home-grown pagan trinity (and the trinity in its imported Hindu cults), Alexandria became host to Neo-Platonism (which also incorporated a trinity concept as it came down through Pythagoras, and then Plato, into the western world). From the time of Jesus until about 150 A. D. Christian teachings had been passed down in fairly pure form. As the highly respected (and highly trinitarian) Christian history text, Christianity Through the Centuries, states:

"...the writings of the New Testament were completed just before the end of the first century after Christ. Men who knew the apostles and the apostolic doctrine continued the task of writing Christian literature. These men were known as the Apostolic Fathers. Most of the literary works of these men were produced between 95 and 150. Certain well-defined characteristics appear in their writings. Their utterances are informal simple statements of sincere faith and piety and show little evidence of the philosophical training in pagan philosophy that one notices in the writings of Origen [in Alexandria] and Clement of Alexandria [and most who followed]." - p. 77.

21 The influence of Alexandria upon Christianity became so great that by the time the Apostolic Fathers had passed away (about 150 A. D.) it had "become the seat of Christian erudition and the Orthodox faith and was frequently torn by bloody religious dissensions."[65]

22 Alexandria's most noteworthy feature was its permanent passion for syncretism.[66]  Syncretism (like eclecticism) is a word that describes the way that the early church (after the death of the Apostolic Fathers) chose various ideas and doctrines from pagan religions and philosophies and incorporated them into the "Christian" church. The most influential center (by far) for this practice of borrowing pagan ideas and fusing them into Christendom was in Alexandria, Egypt.[67] It became known as the Alexandrian School [68] and the religious "Christian" philosophy it developed is known as the Alexandrian Philosophy.[69]

"Soon after the middle of the 2nd century [or soon after 150 A. D. when the Apostolic Fathers left the scene] a catechetical school [70] to instruct converts from paganism to Christianity was opened in Alexandria .... The men of the Alexandrian School were anxious to develop a system of theology that by the use of philosophy would give a systematic exposition of Christianity. They had been trained in the classical [pagan] literature and philosophy of the past and thought that it could be used in the formation of Christian theology....

"They developed an allegorical system [70] of interpretation that has plagued Christianity since that time. .... This method of interpretation of the Scriptures has done much harm to the cause of correct interpretation and has resulted in absurd and, often, unscriptural theological ideas." - Christianity Through the Centuries, E. E. Cairns, Ph.D., Zondervan Publishing House, 1977 printing, pp. 119-120.

"Influences were strangely mingled [in the Alexandrian School], the reasoning of the refined and imaginative Greek, the practical, positive Roman, the visionary, idealistic Jew, the mystic Hindu, all brought to bear upon pagan philosophy and the new teachings of Christianity. The outgrowth of this movement was Neo-Platonism, a name sometimes given to Alexandrian philosophy as a whole.... The chief characteristic of Neo-Platonism was the attempt to reconcile Greek philosophy [including, of course, Pythagoreanism] with the teachings of Christianity. In other words, the Alexandrian Philosophy may be described as Christian truth MODIFIED by philosophic speculation." - New Standard Encyclopedia, v. 1, 1952, "Alexandrian School."

(But what is really being done when the Christian truth is being "MODIFIED"?)
We find this understanding confirmed by The Encyclopedia Americana:

"At Alexandria, Egypt ... the first serious attempt was made by Christians [?] to ADJUST the facts and truths of the gospel and the relations of Christian doctrine to reason and philosophy. Tertullian, ... the first [in Christendom] to apply the word `Trinity' to the conception ... of the triune Godhead, and Origen [89] ... are the commanding figures of the period." - 1944, v. 6, p. 609.

(Again, what is really being done when someone attempts to "ADJUST the facts"?)

Remember that the influence of one philosophy/mystery religion became so great in Alexandria during this time that Alexandrian philosophy as a whole came to be known as Neo-Platonism. Let's briefly examine this extremely influential pagan philosophy/mystery religion.

23 As we have already seen - the chief characteristic of Neo-Platonism was the extreme effort to thoroughly mix the leaven of "Greek philosophy with the teachings of Christianity." Let us see what the leaven of the philosophy of Neo-Platonism included.

"Neo-Platonism started as a synthesis [blending] of Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Aristotelianism, and Stoicism, adapted Jewish and Oriental [includes Hindu] religious elements, [and] crept, though professedly pagan, into patristic [early church] Christian theology. .... Its most potent phase [was] from 200 to 550 A. D. wherein it was the chief philosophy of classical paganism." - Encyclopedia Americana, v. 20, pp. 97-98, 1982.

"Neo-Platonism is a blend of almost all the major lines of philosophical thought which preceded its epoch; one of the most remarkable attempts in history to weave all the strands of existing systems into a single web of thought. Its greatest interpreter was Plotinus who was born near Alexandria in 205 A. D. and died in Rome 270. .... The influence of Plotinus and later Neo-Platonists on Christian theology is of immense importance." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, V. Ferm (ed.), 1945, p. 525.

24 Plotinus was a disciple of Ammonius Saccas of Alexandria (about 160-242 A. D.) who is considered to be the founder of Neo-Platonism. Saccas left no writings of his own, but his lectures greatly influenced Plotinus and others.[71]

Plotinus, like the Pythagoreans, had a high respect for the number three; and he makes great use of threefold distinctions." - The Greek Philosophers, Rex Warner, 1958, p. 221.

"Plotinus ... proclaimed that God is revealed in the material world in a trinity of manifestations" - p. 28, Bible Review, Feb., 1997.

"But what is God [in the writings of Plotinus]? `He' too is a triad …" – p. 610, The Story of Civilization, vol. 3, Will Durant, Simon and Schuster, Inc.

25 To make a long story short, Plotinus (and undoubtedly his influential teacher, Ammonius Saccas, before him) included an already popular pagan trinity concept in his very influential teachings of Neo-Platonism.[72, 73, 74, 75] Scholars of Church history constantly emphasize the tremendous influence of Neo-Platonism (which has to include its basic pagan-developed trinity idea) on Christendom which had begun to borrow doctrines, customs, and philosophy from paganism by 200 A. D.[76, 77, 78, 79] The 1983 Academic American Encyclopedia states:

"Neoplatonism had a profound influence on Christian and Islamic philosophy and theology." - p. 85, v. 14.

26 It is no mere coincidence that at this very time (the beginning of Neo-Platonism’s “most potent phase from 200 to 550 A. D.”) the trinity doctrine began to be developed and promoted by “Christian” philosophers who wanted the entire Church to adopt it.

27 TERTULLIAN “was the founder of Latin theology. .... It is his use of the words ‘trinity’ and ‘substance’ for the essence of the Godhead and his developments of that doctrine [for use by Christendom, that is,] in Against Praxeas (ch. 2-3) [written about 215 A. D.] that stands as his greatest contribution to Christian theology.” - Cairns, pp. 122-123. “...he became a Montanist about 202 A. D.” - Cairns, p. 117.

And he remained a Montanist for the rest of his life. The same Roman Church which adopted the “Christian” trinity (starting in 325 A. D. at the Council of Nicaea) also “in 381 [A. D.] declared that the Montanists should be looked upon as pagans.” - Cairns, p. 111.[80] So here we have (as the great influence of Neo-Platonism is really beginning) Tertullian, “a celebrated Christian Church writer ... one of the noted fathers of the Church”;[81] "one of the greatest of the Church Fathers"[82] who belonged to a religious cult (Montanists) which “developed fanatical misinterpretations of scripture."[83] And while a member of that religion (which came to be condemned as pagan[84] by the Church) he allegedly became “the first [about 215 A. D.] to state the theological doctrine of the Trinity” - Cairns, p. 122.

28 We need to understand that even Tertullian’s development of a multiple-person God in the 3rd century A.D. (if that’s actually what he intended)[84] was still not the “orthodox” trinity doctrine that was finally developed and adopted by “the Church” and which is still accepted by nearly all Christendom today! [85, 86, 87, 88]

Among other things Tertullian wrote: “The Father is ... greater [than the Son],” and “There was a time when the Son was not .... Before all things, God was alone.” In fact, the Catholic work Trinitas - A Theological Encyclopedia of the Holy Trinity explains that, even though later writers used some of Tertullian’s terminology to describe the Trinity, it appears that Tertullian did not use them in that sense: “hasty conclusions cannot be drawn from [Tertullian’s] usage, for he does not apply the words to Trinitarian theology.”

{Tertullian} therefore proposed to say that God is ‘one substance {substantia in Latin - compares to homoousios in Greek} consisting in three persons {persona}’. The precise meaning of the Latin words substantia and persona is not easy to determine in Tertullian’s usage. {‘In Tertullian substantia could be used in the sense of character or nature [among other things].’ - p. 90, Chadwick.} - p. 89, The Early Church, Prof. Henry Chadwick (trinitarian), 1986 ed., Dorset Press, New York.

29 We find, then, that even many trinitarian historians make statements similar to this:

“The modern popular doctrine of the Trinity ... derives no support from the language of Justin [Justin Martyr - died ca. 165 A. D.]: and this observation may be extended to all the ante-Nicene Fathers; that is, to all Christian writers for three centuries after the birth of Christ [including, obviously, Tertullian]. It is true, they speak of the Father, Son, and ... Holy Spirit, but not as co-equal, not as one numerical essence, not as Three in One, in any sense now admitted by Trinitarians. The very reverse is the fact." [26-26a]

30 Neo-Platonism is notorious for the paganisms it introduced into Christendom. The fruits of this eclectic borrowing by the early church are described by professor Douglas T. Holden:

“Christian theology has become so fused with [pagan] Greek philosophy that it has reared individuals who are a mixture of nine parts Greek thought to one part Christian thought." [90]

31 How familiar this all must sound to God and his faithful angels! God’s prophets throughout the long history of Israel’s existence were constantly condemning this very same form of idolatry in their own land among God’s chosen people.

“The actual society they knew was an uneasy accommodation of Israelite tradition to Canaanite mores and institutions, which were based on nature worship .... [God’s prophets] exposed the falsity of the Canaanized religious cult [of the Israelites] ... in which Yahweh’s name was honored while his nature was outraged. The cult was in all but name the worship of other gods because it sanctioned a way of life abominable to Yahweh."[91, 92]

32 Christendom has followed this very same broad path that leads to destruction! The Apostles valiantly and constantly fought against this syncretistic trend (as we see throughout the New Testament), but after their deaths the Church welcomed it with open arms. - 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Matt. 7:13-23.

The dominance of Rome in Church affairs from Constantine’s time onward also cemented this trend.

“Under the Roman Empire, the educated ... believed that the divine was one, but that it manifested itself in countless ways ... and that it was allowable to give to these various manifestations of the one the names of the many gods of popular belief.” - Encyclopedia Americana, 1944, v. 13, p. 395 (compare 1 Cor. 10:20 and Ex. 23:13.)

“The Romans were the greatest borrowers and most skilled adapters. Their syncretistic tendencies were accentuated by their Greek education and the influence of Greek literature.” - p. 190. And, “according to the monotheistic trend of the age, all deities of all peoples were regarded as but manifestations of the one supreme deity.” - p. 190. And, “A curious evidence of the consciousness of the unity of the divine is afforded by the amalgamation [blending] of different deities into a ‘Theos pantheus’ [‘God All-God’], or ‘Thea pantheus’ [‘Goddess All-God’], which might be regarded either as an abstract conception or a new deity according to the fluidity of pagan theology. Usually one deity was chosen, prominent for his merits in the votary’s estimation, and the epithet ‘pantheus’ (‘all-God’) added to the personal name as representative of the totality of the divine. Thus we find in Latin inscriptions ‘Serapis Pantheus’ ....” - p. 191, The Mystery Religions, S. Angus, Dover Publications, 1975.

33 So it was that Christendom began its adulterous love affair with a pagan-developed trinity doctrine. It was only about a hundred years from the time of Tertullian’s alleged formulation of a foundation for a trinity concept for Christendom until the Roman Church began its official embrace of it at the Coucil of Nicaea in 325 A. D., and all during this time Neo-Platonism was at its strongest, influencing ways of life and thought throughout the Empire. In fact, the pagan Emperor himself, Constantine, who convened the council and forced his final (trinitarian) decision upon the majority of Christian bishops present, had surrounded himself with Neo-Platonists!

“There was a circle of Neo-Platonist philosophers at Constantine’s court; the leading Neo-Platonist, Sopater, grew so influential that the other courtiers plotted to ruin him." [93]

34 As to the climactic act itself, the Nicene Council of 325 A. D., we need to investigate the pressures and the backgrounds of several key men to understand what really happened there. We must learn about the Emperor (Constantine), his chief “Christian” advisor (Bishop Hosius of Cordova), the trinity-pusher (Athanasius of Alexandria), the non-trinitarian defender (Arius) and the leader of the vast majority of Bishops at the Nicene Council (Eusebius of Caesarea).

35 About 318 A. D., Alexander, the Bishop of Alexandria, had a private sermon for his presbyters concerning "The Unity of the Trinity." One of the presbyters, Arius, because he knew this new teaching of the old pagan trinity concept was blasphemously false,[94] attacked this private teaching of his Bishop. The controversy became so intense that Bishop Alexander had Arius condemned. Arius fled to non-trinitarian territory.[95]

"Sozomen [early 5th century Church historian of Constantinople] (l.i.c.15) represents Alexander as indifferent, and even ignorant, in the beginning of the controversy; while Socrates [early Roman Church historian: 380-450 A.D.] (l.i.c.5) ascribes the origin of the dispute to the vain curiosity of [Alexander's] theological speculations." - Gibbon, p. 683, f.n. # 45, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1, Modern Library, Random House Publ.

"The central issue in this [Alexander/Arius] debate as it opened up was, then, that of the Logos [the Word, the pre-incarnate Christ]. This issue hinged in turn on interpretation of the Greek term gennetos as that was applied to the Son. [Although] traditionally translated 'begotten,' in Greek philosophical terminology [as well as Scriptural terminology: Luke 7:28; John 3:5; 1 John 5:1; Ps. 90:2; Prov. 8:25] it had a broader and hence vaguer sense. It denoted anything which in any way 'came to be' and hence anything 'derivative' or 'generated.' Christian thought had early learned to express its monotheistic stance by insisting that God is the sole agennetos ('underived,' 'ungenerated' ['unbegotten']): that is, the unique and absolute first principle. By contrast with God, all else that exists - including the Logos, God's Son - was described as generated. This implied, of course, not only that the Logos was subordinate to God (as any 'image,' even an exact image, is secondary to the reality it represents), but also that the Logos had something in common with creatures which God did not - some quality of 'generatedness'." - p. 132, A History of the Christian Church, 4th ed., Williston Walker, Scribners, 1985.

"A large majority of the bishops of Asia [generally that area outside Palestine which first received Christianity] appeared to support or favour [Arius'] cause; and their measures were conducted by Eusebius of Caesarea, the most learned of the Christian prelates; and by Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had acquired the reputation of a statesman without forfeiting that of a saint. Synods in Palestine and Bithynia were opposed to the synods of Egypt [Alexandria]." - p. 683, vol. 1, Gibbon.

36 Constantine, still a pagan emperor,[96, 97, 98] was concerned not with religious truth, but about the unity of his empire.[99, 100, 101, 102] He wanted the great rift between the extremely influential Alexandria (and its Western "satellites") and the entire Eastern portion of Christianity (the original home of Christianity) to be healed at once! Furthermore, "he detested Judaism" (p. 75, When Jesus became God and see p. 499. Rise of Christianity, Frend) and, of course, the God which Judaism, including the first Christians, had always worshiped. He therefore called a council of the bishops of the Church to work out a solution that would benefit his empire.

"This council met at Nicaea in the early summer of 325. Three hundred bishops of the Church were present .... The [pagan] Emperor presided [more often his own personal religious advisor, Bishop Hosius, actually presided] over the council and paid its expenses. ['At Nicaea the emperor provided lodging for the bishops in his palace. It was there, too, that the discussions took place, and in the presence of the emperor at that. .... It is understandable if the bishops showed their gratitude by generous efforts to oblige the emperor.' - p. 52, Lohse, Short Hist.] For the first time the Church found itself dominated by the political leadership of the head of the state."[103, 104]

37 Three views were advocated at this council. (Actually, the real question to be decided at this council was only the first step by Alexandrian philosophizers [and their Roman sympathizers] toward establishing a new doctrine of God. The question was only, "Is Jesus absolutely equal to the Father: all-powerful, always existing, and of the very same substance, or not?" The introduction of a "third person" as being equal to God was not yet being attempted officially.)

(1) Basically, Athanasius, the trinitarian from Alexandria, said,

"Yes, Jesus is absolutely equal to the Father. He has always existed beside the Father. He is of the very same substance or essence (Homoousios) [105, 106, 107] as the Father. He is absolute God and must be worshiped as God."

There was a very small minority of Western Bishops at the council who agreed with him (those most influenced by Alexandria and Neo-Platonism, including the trinitarian Bishop Hosius).[108]

(2) There was another (much larger) minority of Bishops at the council who were led by Arius. Basically, Arius said,

"Jesus is not God, although he could be called 'divine.' He was made by God (the Father alone) so there was a time when he did not exist! He was made out of nothing and is, therefore, of an entirely different substance (or Essence) from that of God. He must not be worshiped as the One True God."

(Apparently Arius also believed that in his heavenly pre-existence Jesus had been the highest of angels. But this was not an invention of Arius. It was a much earlier Christian tradition which Arius was upholding - p. 50, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Bernard Lohse, Fortress Press, 1985 - but the more recent trinitarians had rejected it.

"Traditional Christian interpretation has held that this 'angel' [the Angel of Jehovah] was a preincarnate manifestation of Christ as God's Messenger-Servant." - Gen. 16:7 footnote, NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1985.)

(3) The vast majority (more than 200 bishops) of those at the Council of Nicaea were led by Eusebius of Caesarea. These were the Semi-Arians (see The American People's Encyclopedia, 1954, p. 8-207). They strongly agreed with the Arians that Jesus was not God[109, 110, 111] and must not be worshipped as God! They believed that Jesus did not always exist. Basically, they said,

"The Father (God alone) generated Jesus (not out of nothing as Arius believed, but) from a substance similar (Homoi ousios) to His own. He is not equal to God, but is subordinate to Him, [118] even though he is above all the rest of creation. Jesus must not be worshiped as the One True God."

"By contrast [with the Arians and semi-Arians], the strongest anti-Arians experienced their present as a sharp break with the past. It was they who demanded, in effect, that Christianity be "updated" by blurring or even obliterating the long-accepted distinction between the Father and the Son.

"For young militants like Athanasius, however, ... Judaism was an offensive, anti-Christian faith." - p.74, When Jesus Became God, Harcourt, 1999.

38 Notwithstanding the vast majority of bishops' unshakably strong insistence upon a non-trinitarian view of God, the determination and power of the Emperor- supported (and Alexandrian and Neo-Platonist-influenced) bishops of the West prevailed after months of stormy debates.

Eusebius of Caesarea presented the baptismal creed of his own Palestinian community to the Nicene Council. It did not satisfy the trinitarians.

"Accordingly, they [Constantine and Hosius primarily] took another baptismal creed, of much the same type as Eusebius's, and altered its text to serve their purpose, in the process creating a new, non-liturgical type of confession. .... In the text itself, they inserted the significant expressions 'true God from true God,' 'begotten not made,' 'from the substance [ousia] of the Father,' and - most important of all, as it turned out - 'of one substance [homoousios] with the Father.' .... From the very beginning, however, people like Eusebius of Caesarea had doubts about the creed, doubts that focused on the word homoousios. This was, to be sure, a vague and non-technical term which was capable of a fairly wide range of senses. [According to historian Gibbon it was a mysterious term "which either party was free to interpret according to their peculiar tenets." - p. 686, vol. 1, Random House.] It could in principle be taken to mean exact sameness of being, but it could also be taken to suggest no more than a significant degree of similarity between Father and Son [Origen, in fact, used the term to show merely a 'unity of will' between the Father and the Son [88] - p. 46, Lohse.] - which, of course, everyone was glad to affirm. On the other hand, the term was non-Scriptural, it had very doubtful theological history, and it was open to what, from Eusebius' point of view, were some dangerous misinterpretations indeed [including the one that was finally adopted and enforced by the Roman Church]." --- The trinitarians, however, assured Eusebius (and the large majority of other Bishops opposed to them) that homoousios in this new creed would not be interpreted in the way they feared.[105] - pp. 134, 135, Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church, 4th ed., Scribners, 1985.

39 After Eusebius failed to get a compromise (concerning "substance" or "essence," but which still rejected any concept promoting any equality for Jesus with God)[111, 112] and the Emperor backed the trinitarians with all his secular power, it was forcefully put to the vast majority of bishops present: sign the trinitarian statement or be exiled and treated as heretics.[113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119] It is not too surprising, therefore, that the majority of them signed (although most of them renounced it afterward).[120, 121, 122] It is surprising, in fact, that, after escaping from the Emperor's presence, so many remained faithful to their Arian and Semi-Arian beliefs. As trinitarian Christian historian Kenneth Latourette describes the situation:

"Constantine banished Arius, ordered the death penalty for those who did not conform, and commanded the burning of the books composed by Arius..." - pp. 50-51, Christianity Through the Ages, 1965, Harper ChapelBooks.

But the small minority of Western trinitarian bishops had won.

"The [new, non-Scriptural Nicene] creed achieved the aim of excluding Arianism and providing the eastern church with a formula to which all could assent in one sense or another [because of the many different meanings possible with such terms as homoousios]." - Williston Walker, History, p. 135.

"The decisions of Nicaea were really the work of a minority, and they were misunderstood and disliked by many [even those] who were not adherents of Arius. In particular the terms ['out of the substance' - exousia] and homoousios ['of the same substance'] aroused opposition, on the grounds that they were unscriptural, novel, ... and erroneous metaphysically." - p. 41, Documents of the Christian Church, 2nd ed., Bettenson, 1967, Oxford University Press.

"But [the Council of Nicaea's] formula of the Son's 'consubstantiality' [homoousios] with the Father was slow to gain general acceptance,[148] despite [Emperor] Constantine's efforts to impose it." - p. 72, The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, John McManners, Oxford University Press, 1992.

"The Council of Nicaea, then, was not universal. Nevertheless, it is everywhere considered the first ecumenical (or universal) council of the Catholic Church. Several later gatherings would be more representative of the entire Church; one of them, the joint council of Rimini-Seleucia (359), was attended by more than five hundred bishops from both the East and West. If any meeting deserves the tilte "ecumenical," that one seems to qualify, but its result - the adoption of an Arian creed - was later repudiated by the Church. Councils whose products were later deemed unorthodox not only lost the "ecumenical" label but virtually disappeared from the official Church history." - p. 75, When Jesus Became God, Harcourt, 1999.

40 In contrast to the conduct of the trinitarians we find the conduct of the Arians and Semi-Arians during the Nicene Council (which we must read in the extremely biased accounts of the Athanasians since their opponents' accounts, records, and doctrinal evidence were destroyed by the prevailing Athanasians) to be a much more proper example for those professing to be Christian:

"The Arians .... recommended the exercise of Christian charity [love] and moderation, urged the incomprehensible nature of the controversy, disclaimed the use of any terms or definitions which could not be found in the Scriptures, and offered, by very liberal concessions, to satisfy their adversaries without renouncing the integrity of their own principles. The [trinitarians] received all their proposals with haughty suspicion and anxiously sought for some irreconcilable mark of distinction, the rejection of which might involve the Arians in the guilt and consequences of heresy. A letter was publicly read and ignominiously torn [by the trinitarians], in which [Arian] Eusebius of Nicomedia ingenuously [honestly, openly, honorably, with a superior character - Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary] confessed that the admission of the homoousion,[105, 106, 107, 108, 110] or Consubstantial [a non-Biblical, paganistic term], a word already familiar to the platonists, was incompatible with the principles of their theological system. The fortunate opportunity [for the trinitarians] was eagerly embraced by the [minority group of Western, trinitarian] bishops, who governed the resolutions of the Synod, and, according to ... Ambrose, they used the sword, which heresy itself had drawn from the scabbard, to cut off the head of the hated monster [Arianism and semi-Arianism]." - pp. 685-686, Gibbon, vol. 1, Random House.

41 In other words, trinitarian Gibbon, who admittedly dislikes the non-trinitarian Arian teaching, tells us that the Arians wished to keep peace and unity by compromising as much as they honestly could. They wanted to confine the discussion to the Scriptures alone and not introduce any philosophic and paganistic teachings.[15, 79, 107, 108, 143] And they wanted to conduct this Council or Synod in the spirit of Christian Love. But the trinitarians would have none of it and actually searched for a way to have the non-trinitarian majority persecuted as heretics! And when the Arian spokesman, in the spirit of Christian honesty and openness, wrote that one thing they simply could not compromise with was the use and potential meanings of the pagan non-Biblical term ("Homoousious" or "of equal substance" - a term introduced at the council by Emperor Constantine himself), the trinitarian bishops immediately and publicly tore up the letter and started the proceedings for heresy!

42 Which side seems more in line with the teachings of Christ and his Apostles to you? (Compare Matt. 5:5-12; 5:39; 6:14-15; Gal. 5:19-24.) Don't we find the trinitarian Athanasians - even DURING this most significant Council - more like those the Apostles warned us about at 2 Tim. 4:3-5 and 1 John 3:10-12? Don't we find the more humble, peace-loving Arians and Semi-Arians more in line with 1 John 4:17, 20, 21? Who is more like the self-righteous ones in religious authority in these scriptures: Matt. 12:9, 14; 22:15; 23:23, 34 - the Athanasians? The Arians and Semi-Arians?

"Nicaea cost the Church its independence, however, for the Church became imperial from this time and was increasingly dominated by the Emperor."[123]

"Nevertheless ... Constantine's unification of state and church did not please everyone. .... it had indeed required a mental and spiritual turnabout to belong to a church which, instead of being perpetually proscribed ["outlawed," persecuted - see 2 Tim. 3:12, John 15:19-20] was subsidized and directed from the lateran palace under the guidance of the Emperor."[124]

43 Up to this point Christians had been persecuted by those around them, including the government itself - just as foretold by Christ and the inspired Bible writers, but they would not persecute in return (also as commanded by Jesus). Then at this single stroke a new God was to be worshiped by all Christians, and these newly-proclaimed "orthodox" (trinitarian) Christians were no longer persecuted, proscribed. Those being persecuted in accord with Christ's prophecy were still the non-trinitarians who continued on the narrow road (Matt. 7:13-14) as commanded by their Lord and Savior.

"The Bishop of Rome (Pope) was given the royal palace of the Laterni [the Lateran Palace] and magnificent new churches. The liturgy borrowed imposing features from official and court ceremonial." Even "episcopal [bishops'] courts were given jurisdiction in civil cases." - Grant, pp. 220, 221.

44 St. Jerome's doubts about the desirability of such a position for the church echoed a feeling of disgust that went wide and deep among the members of the church:

"This feeling had ancient roots. Before official recognition of the church, many Christian writers had detested not only the Roman state but the whole Greco-Roman and particularly Greek philosophical culture in which the Alexandrians and other apologists had tried to dress the Jewish doctrines of Christianity."[125]

45 Yes, the religion which Christ himself had said was no part of the world (Jn 17:16; compare 1 Jn 2:15-17) was now gladly fusing itself wholly with that world. Protestant Church historian Neander noted,

"the consequence would be a confusion of the church with the world ... whereby the church would forfeit her purity, and, while seeming to conquer, would herself be conquered." - General History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. 2, p. 161.

She herself had become a large part of the adulteress (or the Harlot - Rev. 17:1-6; 18:2-3) which she had been so clearly warned against.

"Ye adulteresses [ASV footnote: 'That is, who break your marriage vow to God'], know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God." - James 4:4, 5, ASV.

46 But, to get back to the influences upon that infamous council, the most influential person at the Nicene Council was Bishop Hosius of Cordova (sometimes translated “Ossius” or “Osius of Cordoba”) who actually presided over most of the Council sessions. He was the representative for the Pope (the Bishop of Rome) and the most trusted, most influential “Christian” advisor for the Emperor himself. As the leader of the Western, Alexandria-influenced bishops he was committed to the trinity idea. It is he who ultimately convinced the Emperor to decide (against the large majority of bishops present) in favor of the “Jesus is God” doctrine.[126, 127]  In fact, Constantine relied almost exclusively on this trinitarian advisor and had very little interest in the actual decision of this council (except that it must permanently resolve the religious dissension in his Empire):

“Constantine had basically no understanding whatsoever of the questions that were being asked in Greek Theology” - p. 51, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Lohse, Fortress Press, 1985.

47 About 20 years before Emperor Constantine convened the Nicene (or Nicaean) Council, the famous Bishop Hosius of Cordova was the “leading spirit” of the Council of Elvira in 306 A.D.[128] As The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us:

“It is significant that the leading bishop at Elvira [Bishop Hosius] was to preside at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325."[129]

48 It is significant indeed! Was this “leading spirit” himself guided by Holy Spirit and Holy Scripture? Well, let’s look at the results of the Council of Elvira, for, as Jesus forewarned:

“You will know them by their fruits.” - Matt. 7:16, NASB

Here, then, are the “fruits” of the Council of Elvira: its published canons. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia (p. 185),

“[The Council of Elvira] published the oldest known positive law concerning clerical celibacy."[130]

And what is “clerical celibacy”? Again The Catholic Encyclopedia (p. 100) informs us:

“Celibacy is the ecclesiastical law in the western [Roman Catholic] Church imposed on clerics forbidding ... those in holy orders from marriage.”

49 Now turn to God’s inspired word at 1 Timothy 4:1-7 (NEB):

“... some will desert from the faith and give their minds to subversive doctrines inspired by devils, through the specious falsehoods of men whose own conscience is branded with the devil’s sign.”

And exactly how can we recognize those who “desert from the faith and give their minds to subversive doctrines”?

THEY FORBID MARRIAGE and demand abstinence from foods.” - 1 Tim. 4:3, NRSV.

Throughout the history of Biblical Israel God allowed his priests and high priests to marry (even John the Baptist’s father was a married priest - Luke chapter 1). And the Christian servants of God were permitted to marry (and remain married) throughout the writings of the New Testament Scriptures (e. g., 1 Tim. 3:2, 4) and up to the time of Hosius.

So what was it that inspired Bishop Hosius to include this God-defying command to forbid marriages in the edicts of the Roman Church? Well, 1 Tim. 4:1 clearly shows the source of that spirit, but the actual agent of that spirit at this time was the very popular and influential surrounding pagan mystery religions and philosophies!

In particular, Hosius and his Alexandrian-influenced confederates borrowed extensively from the Alexandrian trinity cult of Serapis-Isis-Horus:

“The contributions of the Alexandrine cult to Christian thought and practices were even more considerable .... Its priests took on the head-shaving [“tonsure” of Catholic priests] and the characteristic garments of the Egyptian priests, because that sort of thing seemed to be the right way of distinguishing a priest. One accretion followed another."[131]

More specifically:

“the ceremonial burning of candles ... was a part of the worship of the Serapeum .... her [Isis’] images stood in the temple, crowned as the Queen of Heaven and bearing the infant Horus in her arms. The candles flared and guttered before her and the wax ex-votos hung about the shrine. The novice was put through a long and careful preparation, he took vows of celibacy, and when he was initiated his head was shaved and he was clad in a linen garment .... The garments of ritual and symbol and formula that Christianity has worn, and still in many countries wears to this day were certainly woven in the cult and temples of Jupiter-Serapis and Isis that spread now from Alexandria throughout the civilized world.'[132, 133, 134, 135]

Rome itself was greatly influenced by its own celibate pagan priests (in addition to those of Jupiter-Serapis-Isis above which Rome also had imported).

“When the worship of Cybele, the Babylonian goddess, was introduced into Pagan Rome, it was introduced in its primitive form, with its celibate clergy.” - p. 220, The Two Babylons, Hislop.

50 And the highly-respected and very popular religion of Mithraism (which Emperor Constantine himself favored) was well-known for its celibate priests.

“Originally  was one of the lesser gods of the ancient Persian pantheon, but he came to be regarded as the spiritual Sun, the heavenly Light,... and already in the time of Christ he had risen to be co-equal with, though created by, Ormuzd (Ahura-Mazda), the Supreme Being....” (pp. 136-137) “Mithraism had its austerities, .... It had also its nuns and its male CELIBATES.” - p. 143, The Paganism in our Christianity, Weigall, New York, 1974.

So we see that in both Alexandria and Rome the customary perception of a priest included the unscriptural pagan concept of celibacy!

51 For those who accept the authority of the Holy Scriptures and the testimony of history, there can be absolutely no doubt as to what “spirit” motivated Hosius, who was the “leading spirit” of the Council of Elvira, and motivated the Roman Church which accepted the paganistic doctrines he advocated. “[those who] desert the faith and who give their minds to subversive doctrines inspired by devils” include those who “forbid marriage and inculcate abstinence from certain foods.” (Incidentally that same Roman Church did “inculcate abstinence from certain foods”: The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1976, admits, in the article entitled “Abstinence”: “The law of abstinence is binding to all over 14 years of age .... It forbids the eating of meat and soups of meat stock, gravy and sauces of meat. On days of complete abstinence these foods may not be eaten at all.” - p. 17.)

“In 325 the Council of Nicaea declared that those who were unmarried at ordination could not marry afterward ....” - p. 280, The Christian Book of Why, John C. McCollister (Lutheran minister and university professor - graduate of the Trinity Lutheran Seminary), NY, 1983. - - Also see p. 660 f.n., Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, vol. 3, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1944.

52 It becomes clear, then, why the Athanasians refused to agree to stick to the Holy Scriptures as their support for a multiple-person God during the Nicene Council: The western pagan-borrowing, Alexandrian-influenced “Christians” had been bending and ignoring Scripture for so long that it was already a clearly established pattern. Scripture had to be ignored in order to adopt popular paganisms. It should come as no surprise, then, that these paganizing Alexandria and Rome-influenced western bishops would not stick to scripture (in spite of the pleas by the majority of bishops present at the council) as the sole basis for their desired adoption of the trinity doctrine at the Nicene Council.

53 Why even during that very same council, according to Prof. McCollister above, they forced the inclusion of the pagan-inspired scripturally condemned practice of “forbidding marriage” (and “inculcating abstinence from certain foods"[135a])! This certainly shows the “fruits” of these men and the “fruits” of the Nicene Council as a whole!

54 Yes, embracing the more popular and influential pagan philosophies and religious doctrines and marrying them to god’s pure religion was more important to them than God’s inspired word. A clear example of the figurative “adultery” the Bible warns against!

55 But what about that “Christian” emperor who convened the Nicene Council and finally decided its “canons” himself? Saint Constantine some churches have named him. Was he really a trinitarian Christian? Was he a Christian at all?

As we have seen, [96, 97, 98, 99] Constantine, throughout his reign, was more pagan than Christian and didn’t even ask to be baptized as a Christian until he lay upon his death bed.

“Toward the close of his life he favored the [non-trinitarian] Arians ... and he even banished many Roman Catholic [trinitarian] bishops. In the year 337 he fell ill ..., was baptized, and died after a reign of 31 years.” - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 555, v. 7, 1944.

56 Not only did Constantine “favor” the Arians in his later years and help them to dominant positions in the Church that they retained for many years after his death,[136] but he made an extremely significant gesture as he lay upon his death bed!

“Not until his last illness did he fully accept Christianity. Then he cried, ‘let there be no ambiguity!’ and asked for baptism [by an Arian, non-trinitarian bishop].” - Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, v. 3, p. 456, 1950.

Yes, instead of calling in his old friend and advisor, Hosius, or even Athanasius, he called for Eusebius of Nicomedia, (the leader of the Arian party since the death of Arius) to baptize him! This certainly ended any ambiguity!

“[Eusebius of Nicomedia] baptized Constantine in 337, and became patriarch of Constantinople in 339 [the capital of the empire at that time].” - Americana, 1944, v. 10, p. 585.

What a powerful and significant deathbed confession by Saint Constantine![137]

57 In other words, Constantine, upon the insistent advice of Hosius, had forced the trinitarian views of Athanasius and the Alexandrians upon a reluctant Church. Shortly after, however, he began exiling the trinitarians and restoring the Arians and Semi-Arians. Then, when he finally decided to fully become a Christian himself, he chose to be baptized as an Arian Christian to dispel any perception of ambiguity about himself and his desires for the empire.

58 It must be made perfectly clear that the original Nicene Creed, as formulated in 325 A. D. and forced upon the Church, did not yet attempt to include the holy spirit as an equal member of a “Godhead.” The Nicene Council was just the first step in the Alexandrian process of making an official trinity for Christendom.

“...the early Church did not forthwith attain to a complete [trinity] doctrine; nor was it, in fact, until after the essential divinity [‘deity’] of Jesus had received full ecclesiastical sanction [325 A.D. or later] that the personality of the Spirit was explicitly recognized, and the doctrine of the Trinity [fully and officially] formulated. .... It is better to regard the spirit as the agency which, proceeding from the Father and the Son, dwells in the church as the witness and power of the life therein.” - Encyclopedia Americana, v. 14, p. 326, 1944-1957 (at least).

59 The Council of Constantinople (381 A. D.) was the first official decree concerning “the personality of the Holy Spirit”. - Cairns, pp. 142, 145, and Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 6, p. 22, 1985 ed..

Famed trinitarian Church historian Neander notes in History of Christian Dogma:

“Though Basil of Caesarea [famed late 4th century trinitarian bishop - one of the ‘Three Cappadocians’ who were instrumental in further developing the trinity doctrine to the final form adopted at the council of Constantinople in 381 A. D. - An Encyclopedia of Religion, p. 794; and p. 237, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1990 printing] wished to teach the divinity [deity] of the holy spirit in his church, he only ventured to introduce it gradually.”

60 There was a very good reason for the reluctance of the early Christians to accept this new doctrine of the Spirit:

And “In the N[ew] T[estament] there is no direct suggestion of a doctrine of the Trinity. The spirit is conceived as an IMPERSONAL POWER by which God effects his will through Christ.” - An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (ed.), 1945, p. 344.[138, 139, 140, 141, 142]

In fact, Gregory of Nazianzus (one of the ‘Three Cappadocians’ whom trinitarian Lohse praises as being essential to the final defeat of the Arians at the Council of Constantinople),

“declared that it was the destiny of his time [381 A. D.] to bring to full clarity the mystery which in the New Testament was only dimly intimated.” - p. 64, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Bernard Lohse, Fortress Press, 1985.

Trinitarian Gregory also had to admit,

“But of the wise men amongst ourselves [Christians], some have conceived of him [Holy Spirit] as an Activity, some as a Creature, some as God; and some have been uncertain which to call Him, out of reverence for Scripture, they say, as though it did not make the matter clear either way. And therefore they neither worship Him nor treat Him with dishonor, but take up a neutral position, or rather a very miserable one, with respect to Him. And of those who consider Him to be God, some are orthodox in mind only, while others venture to be so with the lips also.” - “The Fifth Theological Oration,” section 5 (page 616, Vol. 7, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, as quoted in The Master Christian Library, Version 5 (software).

61 It is important to realize that a Christian must be many things. It is not enough to have all the faith in the world, for instance, and not have real and abundant Christian Love (1 Cor. 13:1-3; James 1:14-17). Nor is sincerity alone (though it is important) a proof of truth. People can, and do, most sincerely believe in the speculations, traditions, and myths of men as being of equal (and even greater) importance to the Bible. The trinitarians at the Nicene Council (and after) clearly took that approach, whereas the Arians attempted to keep Scripture as their ultimate source of doctrine. (Matt. 15:3, 7-9; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:3, 4; 2 Tim. 4:3-5)

Likewise, although you must have the true knowledge of God (Jn. 17:1, 3; 2 Thess. 1:8) that is not enough in itself.

62 In other words, although a man may have love, faith, and many other admirable (and essential) Christian qualities, he still may not know God. And, similarly, just because a man may really know and believe the essential and required truth about the Only True God, does not, in itself, make him a Christian unless he also possesses the other required qualities and knowledge. So it is not necessarily true that Hosius, or Athanasius, were wrong in all aspects of Christianity (or conversely, that Arius or Eusebius of Caesarea were right in all aspects of Christianity).

Nevertheless, we must look at their “fruits” as Jesus told us (and as we did for Hosius earlier in this paper) - Matt. 7:16. And if their “fruits” betray them as “false prophets,” we must ask ourselves, to be honest, in what sense they are “false prophets.”

We have seen the rotten fruit that Hosius bore even before the Nicene Council. After that council Hosius violently opposed the Arians and Semi-Arians.

“Hosius presided [at the Council of Sardica], which showed itself so hostile to Arianism, and afterwards he supported Athanasius in such a way as to bring upon himself a sentence of banishment...” - Britannica, 1956, v. 11, p. 790.

Yes, Hosius’ “fruits” were so vile and violent that even though he was Constantine’s favorite (Gibbon, p. 674, vol. 1) and had so much persuasive influence over the emperor that others complained that he must use magic (Gibbon, p. 651, vol. 1), he was nevertheless banished!

63 Athanasius had a violent spirit unlike that of the gentle, scholarly Eusebius of Caesarea and Arius.

“[Arius’] most implacable adversaries have acknowledged the learning and blameless life of the eminent presbyter, who, in a former election, had declined, and perhaps generously declined, his pretension to the episcopal throne.” - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, p. 374, Dell, 1963 ed.

Although he was offered the position, the humble Arius declined to become Bishop of Alexandria, and, instead, Alexander eagerly snatched at and became bishop and started the whole trinitarian debate which finally led to the Council of Nicaea. After that council, when passions had cooled somewhat (at least the Emperor’s had), Arius was recalled from exile (exiled because he had refused to sign the Nicene Creed).

Upon his return “Arius himself was treated by the whole court with the respect which would have been due to an innocent and oppressed man. His faith was approved by the Synod of Jerusalem; and the emperor seemed impatient to repair his injustice, by issuing an absolute command [because of the violent objections of Athanasius and his followers] that he should be solemnly admitted to the communion in the Cathedral of Constantinople. On the same day which had been fixed for the triumph of Arius, he expired; and the strange and horrid circumstances of his death [not to mention the highly improbable timing of this “coincidence”] might excite a suspicion that the orthodox saints [Athanasius, et. al.] had contributed more efficaciously than by their prayers to deliver the [trinitarian] Church from the most formidable of her enemies. The three principal leaders of the Catholics, Athanasius of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, and Paul of Constantinople, were deposed ... and were afterwards banished into distant provinces by [Constantine], who, in the last moments of his life received the rites of baptism from the Arian bishop of Nicomedia.” - Gibbon, pp. 380-381, Dell.

64 Trinitarian Gibbon, who had no sympathy for the “odious” doctrines of Arius, obviously concluded from his studies that someone had poisoned the gentle, humble Arius to prevent him from taking communion and that the probable perpetrators of this terrible deed included the violent Athanasius. Clearly the Emperor believed he had proof of Athanasius’ involvement also. It appears that among the violent “fruits” of Athanasius there literally may have been a poisonous fruit.[143]

"Athanasius argues that God the Father is also God the Son. He says God actually became Jesus despite the fact that, throughout the Gospels, the Son describes himself as being other than the Father and less than Him. He ransacks the New Testament for evidence to support his position, but the only texts he can find are two lines from the Book of John: "I and the Father are one," and "He who has seen me has seen the Father." But it is perfectly clear from the context of these statements that Christ is talking about representing God, not about being him. .... so, although he claims to believe that the New Testament is the word of God, he simply ignores the words that are inconsistent with his theory! In fact, since he cannot find any basis in Scripture for his conception, he and his friends borrow a word from Greek philosophy - homoousios - to express it." - pp. 117-118, When Jesus became God, Harcourt, 1999.

65 Eusebius of Caesarea is generally recognized as not only one of the greatest scholars of the age but also as a truly gentle spirit who genuinely sought peace.[144, 145] It was this love for peace that led him to propose the compromise creed that was rewritten by others into a trinitarian form and forced on the bishops at the Council by Constantine himself. Eusebius’ unhappy decision finally to sign that reworked creed was also a result of his gentle nature and “dislike of controversy.” He later greatly regretted his choice and worked diligently to repair the damage it had done.

66 We have already seen the pagan “fruits” of Constantine. We have also seen that when he finally did become a Christian, he became an Arian Christian.

I’m not entirely certain where all this “fruitage” leads us. It’s even possible that none of these people (nearly 300 years after the death of Jesus) were true Christians.[146] And yet, from what records [mostly trinitarian, of course] we have today of their “fruits,” it is obvious that a real Christian would rather be associated with Arius or Eusebius of Caesarea than Hosius or Athanasius (whether before, after, or during the Council of Nicaea)!

We must also examine the “fruits” of the man who finally restored the power of the Athanasians and their trinitarian Nicene Creed after it appeared as though they were both a lost cause: Theodosius the Great.

“A second great autocrat who presently contributed to the stamping upon Catholic Christianity of a distinctly authoritative character was ... Theodosius the Great (379-395). He forbade the unorthodox to hold meetings, handed over all churches to the Trinitarians."[149]

67 In other words, the Arians (and Semi-Arians), who had been the “orthodox” Church (at least here in the capital city and in the eastern empire) for about 50 years, were now declared “heretics” again, not by the Church but by the Emperor, Theodosius, and their churches were turned over to trinitarian control by the Emperor!

“Theodosius I in 380 issued an edict that made [trinitarian] Christianity the exclusive religion of the state. Any who would dare to hold any other form of worship would suffer punishment from the state."[150]

In 381 A.D. trinitarian Emperor Theodosius

"invited about 150 selected Eastern bishops to come to the capital to take part in the Council of Constantinople. This council plays a critical but somewhat odd role in the history of the Arian controversy. Although the creed it adopted ... is generally considered to have terminated the controversy, attendance at the council was far from universal, it was wracked by bitter internal disputes, and its overall importance was not immediately recognized.

".... Not long after this the advocacy of Arian views (at least of the radical sort) and the possession of Arian writings would become crimes punishable by death." - pp. 222, 223, When Jesus Became God, Harcourt, 1999. (Emphasis added)

And so the persecution of the Jews and various Christian sects (especially Arian and Semi-Arian) reached new heights.

“The Council [of Constantinople] of 381 was called by Theodosius the Great (379-395), and its chief claim to fame is that it terminated the struggle over the Nicene Creed by the approval of a version of it which is in substantial agreement with that adopted at Nicaea (325)."[151]

This council officially established the Holy Spirit as a person equal to the Father and the Son and thereby completed the official acceptance of this pagan doctrine into the Roman Church.

Besides forcing the Church to follow his own will and personal doctrinal preferences, what kind of “fruitage” can we see from Theodosius?

Theodosius [in 390 A. D.] had gathered the people of Thessalonica [at least 7000 men, women, and children], whose governor had been slain, into the circus in that city and had ordered their massacre.” - p. 156, Cairns

68 In an incident highly similar to that perpetrated by Hitler (another professed “Christian” world leader) in WWII, the Christian citizens were ordered massacred by the absolute ruler of the Empire. The “orthodox” trinitarian Church, however, sternly “disciplined” him:

“When he came to Church to take the Communion, [Bishop] Ambrose refused him admission to the Lord’s Supper until he humbly and publicly repented of this deed."[152, 153, 154]

WOW! I guess that really taught him a lesson, huh?

69 To show the degree to which the political state had come to control “orthodox” Christendom it is significant that this “terrible” penance “enforced” upon the Emperor Theodosius is “regarded by the Church as one of its greatest victories over the temporal power."[155]

I think we can clearly see the “fruits” of the man (Theodosius “the Atrocious” is a more apt title) who single-handedly (and permanently) restored the Athanasians and restored (and completed) their Alexandrian trinity doctrine to the “mother” Church (and, ultimately, to all the many churches or “daughters” that sprang from her).

We can also see that to a large degree the state had become the master of the Church. (“You cannot serve two masters” - Matt. 6:24, Ro. 6:16, Acts 5:29.) Remember who controls and manipulates the governments of the world! - Luke 4:5-6; 2 Cor. 4:4; John 18:36.

Isn’t it extremely significant that it was the state that first forced the Trinity Doctrine on a reluctant church in 325 A.D.? And it was the state that permanently restored that doctrine to the church when it had nearly died out? -

“We know that we are children of God and that all the rest of the world around us is under Satan’s power and control.” - 1 John 5:19, LB.

70 But even with the great power of the Roman Empire dominating the Church and the dire consequences of being branded “heretical” (non-trinitarian) by that power, most Christians resisted the new official “knowledge of God,” and it remained for the great trinitarian “scholars” and “saints” to promote the trinity doctrine among the people to cement it in both mind and heart.

Of the great “saints” who finally ingrained this pagan-inspired doctrine from within (as compared to the external forces from the Emperor and pagan philosophies) the three “greatest” and most influential were Athanasius, Augustine, and Cyril of Alexandria.[156]

71 So what were the “fruits” of Cyril of Alexandria? Besides being a very active promoter of heresy (“he was a zealous advocate of veneration of the Virgin Mary” - An Encyclopedia of Religion, p. 214),

“... he was patriarch of Alexandria from 412, when he succeeded his uncle Theophilus in that station, till his death [June 444 A. D.]. .... so intemperate was his zeal for orthodoxy and for the extermination of dissent from the Creed of Nicaea ... that it has brought down the animadversion [censure] of some modern Church historians .... Among modern Protestant writers Dean Milman in his History of Latin Christianity presses against him charges of barbarity, persecution and bloodshed, on account of which Cyril, though styled saint, must be esteemed ‘one of the worst heretics against the spirit of the gospel.’ He is charged with ... having with an armed rabble wrecked the synagogues and driven Jews in thousands out of the city.” - Encyclopedia Americana, v. 8, pp. 371-372, 1944.

“Often in open conflict with the civil authorities of the city and province, he may be held responsible, at least indirectly, for riots and even massacres in the city, including Jewish pogroms and persecutions of the heathen and schismatics [various Christian sects including non-trinitarians].” - Encyclopedia Americana, v. 8, p. 371, 1957.

“A nephew of the same Theophilus who had brought about the exile of John Chrysostom, Cyril had succeeded his uncle as bishop in 412 and shared not only Theophilus’s jealousy of the church of Constantinople, but also the lack of scruple in the pursuit of power which had marked the patriarchs of Alexandria since Athanasius.”

“... Cyril of Alexandria, the most powerful Christian theologian in the world, murdered Hypatia, the most famous Greco-Roman philosopher of the time. Hypatia was slaughtered like an animal in the church of Caesarion .... Cyril may not have been among the gang that pulled Hypatia from her chariot, tearing off her clothes and slashing her with shards of broken tiles, but her murder was surely done under his authority and with his approval. .... Cyril’s fame arose mainly from his assaults on other church leaders, and his methods were often brutal and dishonest. - p. 19, Bible Review, Feb. 1997.

72 But such was the “spirit” of the Roman Church in those days that throughout the 32 years that he promoted the murder and persecution of Christians, Jews, and pagans he retained his high office in that Church and, in fact, later even became canonized as a “saint” and even, in 1882, received the highest accolade by being declared a “Doctor of the Church.” Only “saints” may receive this high honor because of their learning and “holiness of life”! Throughout the long history of the Roman Church only 32 “saints” have been so honored! - The Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 170, 1976 ed.; Collier’s Encyclopedia, p. 612, v. 7, 1975 ed.

As we have seen already in this study, the highest authority among the “saints” and “Doctors” of the Church, Augustine, was one of the greatest borrowers from paganism and pagan philosophy.[76, 77, 78] Augustine became, by far, the most influential interpreter and defender of the newly adopted trinity doctrine.

“Augustine, St. (354-430), .... his teaching has been a dominant influence in subsequent Christian thought.” And “Augustine’s philosophy is Neoplatonic in inspiration. He had fallen under the spell of Plotinus prior to his conversion, and certain permanent elements in his thought ... must be attributed to Plotinus’ influence.” - Encyclopedia International, p. 194, v. 2, 1966 ed.

“Augustine, who was born and lived in North Africa [very much Alexandria-influenced], was not a clear and systematic philosopher [he frequently contradicted his own writings]; but he was a writer of genius, essentially modern in spirit, trying to find the philosophical foundations of a personal faith in an analysis of his own consciousness; he was deeply influenced by Neo-Platonism.” - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 779, v. 21, 1957 ed.

73 It is noteworthy that Augustine (like Hosius) supported the “forbidding of marriage” (or celibacy) rule. Also “He helped to develop the [pagan-originated] doctrine of purgatory with all its attendant evils."[157]

“In the writings of Augustine ... there is a recognition that theology can draw on all three sources: philosophy, Scripture, and tradition.” [But when Augustine actually, on occasion, “draws on” Scripture, notice how he uses it:] “Augustine’s acceptance of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture meant that the latter could be treated with a certain measure of freedom.” - p. 79, Encyclopedia International, Grolier, Inc., vol. 18, 1966 ed.

(See trinitarian Church historian Cairns’ comment on “the allegorical system of interpretation” developed in Alexandria which “resulted in absurd and, often, unscriptural theological ideas.” - pp. 119-120, Christianity Through the Centuries, 1977 ed.)

How much Augustine was devoted to the authority (and traditions) and its already established doctrines of the 5th century Roman Church over and above the actual inspired scriptures can be shown by this statement from his writings,

“I should not believe the Gospel, did not the authority of the Catholic Church move me thereto."[158]

74 So the fact that the “mother” Church had declared (as “encouraged” by Emperor Constantine) the new doctrine that Jesus is equally God with the Father to be true in 325 A.D. (and reaffirmed it, with the addition of the Holy Spirit, in 381 through the “encouragement” of Emperor Theodosios) was enough for Augustine! No other proof was necessary for him no matter what the scriptures might say! And so this Neo-Platonist “Christian” writer of genius became the greatest authority of the Roman Church in defense (and promotion of) its newly-established trinitarian doctrine.

The Nicene Council itself has been shown to be in complete opposition to the Spirit of God.

“The adoption of a non-Biblical phrase at Nicaea, constituted a landmark in the growth of dogma; it is true [say the ‘orthodox’], since the Church - the Universal Church speaking by its bishops [a tiny minority, as we have seen, who, through a pagan emperor, forced their will upon the majority of bishops] - says so; though the Bible does not!” - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., v. 7, pp. 501-502.

It is also generally recognized that the Council of Nicaea led directly to many non-Biblical “fruits” such as the doctrine of “veneration” for “Mary, the Mother of God,” the “Queen of Heaven,” “more prayed to than Christ himself."[147, 148] An Encyclopedia of Religion, for example, tells us that the “veneration” of Mary “The Mediatrix” derived “from the church’s desire to safeguard the orthodox doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ [established, of course, at the Nicene Council] and to maintain a human mediator before the Godhead, as well as from pagan goddess-worship [Isis and other Mother Goddesses].” - pp. 473, 814.

75 And, of course, as we have already seen (McCollister), a declaration of the scripture-denying celibacy (marriage-forbidding) doctrine was one of the “fruits” of the Nicene Council of 325 A. D. and clearly shows how “pleasing” to God this highly esteemed (by trinitarians) Council really is! People enforcing such a thing are clearly identified in the Bible as those who “abandon the faith”:

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons [paganisms].” - 1 Tim. 4:1, NIV

And how can we identify such God-defying apostates? Among other things which are “taught by demons” they “forbid people to marry...” - 1 Tim 4:1, 3, NIV.

Author and historian H. G. Wells was not so subtle in his criticism of the Nicene Council:

“the Council of Nicaea, which ... formulated the creed upon which all the existing Christian churches are based, was one of the most disastrous and one of the least venerable of all religious gatherings.” - God, The Invisible King.

76 Wells is referring, among other things, to the trinitarians’ hateful treatment of the Arians and Semi-Arians during the council (and through its decrees). The trinitarians in this very council were the first to give pagan, non-Biblical terms and concepts critical importance, the first to formally, officially curse their brother Christians, and have them actively and severely persecuted.[148]

Wells went on to say:

“The systematic destruction by the [Western church trinitarians] of all [opposing Arian and Semi-Arian] writings, had about it none of that quality of honest conviction which comes to those who have a real knowledge of God ...."[159]

Trinitarian Robert M. Grant writes:

“The books of Arius ... were to be burned; the discovery of such writings if concealed was to result in the application of the death penalty.” - p. 243, Augustus to Constantine, Harper and Row, 1990.

Constantine (and the triumphant, hate-ridden western bishops) even made sure that the canons of the Nicene Council would elevate Alexandria, which, as we have seen, already had great influence over the western church, to a position of control over the eastern church.

“The [Nicene] council ... granted papal authority in the east to the Bishop of Alexandria.” - p. 6149, vol. 17, The Universal Standard Encyclopedia (An abridgment of The New Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia), 1956 ed.

77 A final observation concerning the Nicene Council has to do with an event that may (or may not) indicate a higher judgment. We know that, upon occasions of great significance in the relationship of mankind with its God, God has shown approval or condemnation through acts often considered to be “acts of God” or “acts of nature.” For example,

“The earthquake was figurative of divine judgment.” - New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., Tyndale House Publ., 1982.

The earthquake that hit Jerusalem when Jesus was killed (Matt. 27:51, 54) was obviously a sign of God’s displeasure with the unfaithfulness of His people. And Rev. 6:12-17 shows the great day of wrath of God and of the Lamb will begin with a “great earthquake."

Why would God bring destruction upon a land or a city that claims to be worshiping Him?

“Even all the nations shall say, ‘Wherefore hath Jehovah done thus unto this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger?’ Then men shall say, ‘because they forsook the covenant of Jehovah, the God of their fathers ... and went and served other gods, and worshipped them [along with Jehovah], gods ... that he had not given unto them.” - Deut. 29:24-26, ASV. (Compare Matt. 7:21-23.)

“I will also stretch out My hand on Judah, and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. …. those who bowing, swearing to Jehovah yet [also] swearing to Malcham [Molech], and those drawing back from [following] after Jehovah, and those who have not sought Jehovah, nor asked of Him.” - Zephaniah 1:4-6, KJIIV. [The footnote for verse 1:5 in NIVSB reads: “swear by the LORD ... by Molech. Syncretism (worship of one's own god along with other gods).”]

78 As for the fate of the city where a church claiming to serve the God of the Bible (Jehovah - Psalm 83:18, KJV; Ex. 3:15, NEB; ASV; Living Bible; MLB; Young’s; etc.) first began to proclaim that God was three persons (“gods ... that he had not given unto them” to worship equally with Him!): there was barely enough time for the bishops and their retinues to leave the area and for Constantine to declare his decision as “the judgment of God”
before Nicaea was completely destroyed by an earthquake![160]

“Constantine declared that ‘the decision of 300 bishops [at Nicaea] must be considered none other than the judgment of God.’ The judgment of God was perhaps more obvious later in the same year when an earthquake toppled the city.” - p. 87, Safari for Seven, Thea B. Van Halsema, Baker Book House, 1967.

79 With the passage of the centuries many ‘daughters’ were spawned as branches broke away from the ‘Mother’ Church at Rome. And in spite of their sometimes violent disagreement among themselves, they nearly always kept the adulterous mark of their Mother: many of her pagan-inspired doctrines and celebrations.

80 Speaking of the doctrine-forming ecumenical councils of the early Roman Catholic Church, starting with the Nicene Council of 325 we are told,

“Of these, the Protestant churches generally recognize [as authoritative today] the first four; the Church of England ... the first five .... The Greek church accepts the first seven.” - The American People’s Encyclopedia, v. 6, p. 6-395, 1954.

81 We have seen how God’s people never had even the hint of a three-in-one God concept throughout their history (see the ISRAEL study) while it was a common belief in many contemporary lands.

We have seen how the trinity idea was gradually introduced into Christendom through pagan “Christian” philosophers.

We have seen how, in 325 A. D., the still-pagan emperor and his Alexandrian-influenced trinitarian advisor forced the trinity idea on a reluctant church as the first official doctrinal change of a church that had, for the first time, become dominated by the secular government. In fact, church historian (and strong trinitarian) Cairns admits that

“[Christendom’s] association with the Roman state between 313 and 590 [A. D.] was to bring it many flaws.” - CTTC, p. 130.

We have seen how the most respected and most influential Church “authorities” were greatly pagan-influenced and insisted on the authority of state-dominated, pagan-inspired ecumenical council decisions over and above any scriptural authority (or truly Apostolic tradition).

We have seen how this same Roman Church adopted and taught other obviously pagan-inspired anti-scriptural doctrines during this very same time period through the efforts of these very same “Christians.”

We have seen how the Pope himself admits that although he has the authority to abolish an obviously pagan doctrine within his church he cannot go against such a strong tradition![132]

And we have seen how nearly all of Christendom today has inherited the traditions imposed by the first councils of that state-dominated, pagan-inspired Roman Church. (Nearly all of Christendom has come to blindly accept this paganistic tradition as completely natural and proper. Many of its adherents even claim that only the ignorant and uneducated - or intellectually dishonest - would dispute this essential doctrine.)[163, 164, 165]

82 Clearly this manifestation (or foremost representative) of Babylon the Great [161] seated upon the seven hills of Rome has spawned many daughters who share in her harlotry. And how clearly worshipers of the Only True God are commanded to get away from such idolatrous harlotry and touch not the unclean thing. - Rev. 18:4, 5; Is. 52:11; Jer. 51:9.

“... take care that you are not ensnared into their ways. Do not inquire about their gods and say, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I too will do the same.’ you must not do for the Lord [Jehovah - ASV] your god what they do, for ALL that they do for their gods is hateful and abominable to the Lord [Jehovah].” - Deut. 12:29-30, NEB. (Cf. JB.)

“In the New Testament the word ... (idololatria), afterwards shortened occasionally to ... (idolatria) [‘idolatry’], occurs in all four times, viz., in 1 Cor. 10:14; Gal. 5:20; 1 Pet. 4:3; Col. 3:5. In the last of these passages it is used to describe the sin of covetousness or ‘mammon-worship.’ In the other places it indicates with the utmost generality ALL the rites and practices of those special forms of paganism with which Christianity first came into collision.” - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 71, v. 12, 14th ed. [1 Cor 5:11 and Eph 5:5 fit into the latter category above also.]

(See how strongly these “special forms of paganism,” “idolatry” are condemned: Gal. 5:20, 21.) - Even the modern Roman Catholic Church admits the Bible’s condemnation of the acceptance by some early Christians of pagan teachings.[162]

The testimony of history, as well as the testimony of scripture, shows us the truly idolatrous nature of the trinity doctrine and why we must not even “touch” such an unclean thing![166]

* * * * *

Note: Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is usually at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research to provide evidence disproving the Trinity doctrine being examined in this paper. The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS. They truly believe it is false, even dishonest. Therefore some of the information provided in this paper may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics. Jehovah’s Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.

(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)

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