The Great Commission in Matt 28 and preaching on the Trinity

The Sunday gospel lectionary reading for Trinity Sunday in this Year A is Matt 28.16–20. As with the readings in Years B and C, it is short and compact.

But many will not preach on this passage! For some reason, this is the one Sunday of the year when those preaching feel they should depart from the Scripture readings, and (sometimes for the only time in the year) try and preach on a theological idea. I can understand the temptation; Stephen Holmes, in his Quest for the Trinity notes the influence of Karl Barth, who commented:

The doctrine of the Trinity is what basically distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian…in contrast to  all other possible doctrines of God (cited in Holmes p 4).

I think this is true, and you only realise how surprising this is if you ask someone who has not thought about it: what is the central distinguishing feature of Christian faith? I remember being asked this when I started ordination training, and still feel my sense of surprise, first, that I hadn’t ever really considered the question and, second, that this was the answer.

But focussing on preaching on the Trinity is a bad idea for several reasons. First, why depart from preaching on Scripture on this day of all days? Secondly, why choose to preach on the Christian doctrine which, although distinctive, has been the biggest and most challenging that theologians have wrestled with down the centuries? Thirdly, why preach on something that so many get so badly wrong, with illustrations of clover leaves or ice, water and steam that alternately lapse into tritheism and modalism or (even worse and more common) make the false analogy between the ‘persons’ of the Trinity and human persons in social Trinitarianism? These problems might be a good reason to do some teaching—but whether this can be done on one Sunday of the year, in a service of worship, is another matter.

Yet there is a bigger reason not to preach ‘on the Trinity’ on this one Sunday. If the Trinity is indeed not so much taught in Scripture (though Revelation gets pretty close to this) but the doctrine underlying all of Scripture, without which Scripture does not make sense, then if we have been preaching faithfully on Scripture all through the year, then we have in fact been preaching on the Trinity! What we might do is to make the Trinitarian assumptions of our text clear as we preach on them—but that is something we should be doing all the year.

I was encouraged to read this comment on social media in response to my previous post on Pentecost:

I REALLY appreciate this post and the emphasis on maintaining a trinitarian lens through which to understand and explain Pentecost and the role of the Spirit. Thanks.

Perhaps this Sunday is a moment to reflect on our preaching through the year, and ensure we have a Trinitarian orientation to it, just as we should have an anti-antiSemitic orientation to our preaching and reading of Scripture. as well.

So I offer here some briefs notes on the reading from Matt 28.16–20, followed by some important contributions on the subject of the Trinity from previous articles here which might help shape your preaching on this occasion.

It is immediately striking how condensed this conclusion to the gospel is, and how abrupt is the change of scene and focus. The previous extended narrative has all been set in Jerusalem—but now the scene is Galilee, without explicit explanation. The clue to this is surely found in the narrative shape of the gospel as a whole. Like the other synoptics (Mark and Luke), Matthew has depicted Jesus’ ministry as essentially in two halves: the dynamic, popular, and successful ministry in Galilee, where Jesus has moved about freely and drawn the crowds; and the final ministry in Jerusalem, where opposition has closed in around him, he cannot move in the open, and the crowds are divided in their opinion.

Such opposition as there is in the north is sometimes connected with the south, as in Luke 5.17, which hints that the situation is more complex. And of course the depiction in the Fourth Gospel, of Jesus moving frequently from north to south, not least to celebrate the Pilgrim Festivals, is more much historically realistic; the binary depiction of ministry in the Synoptics is a narrative construction.

The movement to Galilee is often thought to be problematic in terms of an overall chronology, apparently contradicting the clear command of Jesus in Acts 1.4 for the disciples to ‘remain in Jerusalem’. Against this, we need to note how selective and condensed these passages are; how the Fourth Gospel agrees with Matthew on the disciples returning to their home territory; the fact that Luke does not tell us where Jesus was with the disciples during the ‘forty days’ in which he taught them about the kingdom through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.2–3); and that Matthew does not tell us that Jesus ascended to the Father from Galilee. So the contradiction is more apparent than real.

Although most English translations imply that there was a specific mountain or hill that Jesus directed them to, the grammar of the text is more general—’to the mountain/hill country where Jesus had directed them.’ The phrase ‘to the mountain/hill’ occurs quite often in Matthew, most notably at the beginning of the first of the five discourses that Jesus gives, suggesting an echo of the five Books of Moses, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5.1).

The juxtaposition of the disciples both ‘worshipping’ and ‘doubting’ jars on first reading. But, as with the account of Thomas’ encounter with Jesus in John 20, we need to be careful about how we read these terms.

The term proskuneo can have a sense of mere respect to a social superior, with its etymology of bending the knee, but it can also have the stronger sense of ‘worship’, and the context of both the encounter with the risen Jesus and his teaching which follows surely gives us this second, stronger, sense. The verb distazo, translated ‘doubt’, only occurs twice in the New Testament, both in Matthew, and both in the context of recognition of who Jesus is. The earlier occurrence is Matthew’s unique account of Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water in response to Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 14.29–31; when Peter sees the wind and the waves, he is afraid, and cries out, and is rescued by Jesus who chides him for his little faith and his ‘doubting’.

It denotes not intellectual doubt so much as practical uncertainty, being in two minds—the disorientation produced by the unfamiliar and overwhelming situation… It indicates that they did not know how to respond to Jesus in this new situation, where he was familiar and yet now different; compare the bewilderment and fear of the three disciples who witness the Transfiguration (R T France, NICNT Matthew pp 1111–1112).

This aspect of being ‘double-minded’ is paralleled in another di– term dipsuchos in James 1.8. Within Matthew’s narrative, this is their first encounter with the risen Jesus, so it is unsurprising that their ambivalence matches that recorded in Luke 24.38.

‘Jesus came to them’ is an expression of encouragement and reassurance, parallel to the same phrase we saw at the Transfiguration in Matt 17.7. His commissioning of them includes a fourfold ‘all’, sometimes obscured in English translations:

  1. He has been given ‘all’ authority, which he confers on them in their ministry.
  2. He sends them to ‘all’ nations with the good news of the kingdom.
  3. He calls them to teach ‘all’ that he has in turn taught them.
  4. He will be with them ‘all’ of the days to the end of the age.

The granting of them authority for ministry offers a strong parallel to Matthew’s version of the sending of the Twelve in Matt 10, in which he blends the local commission of Jesus for that period with the longer challenge of future ministry. But the language of authority, heaven and earth, and the nations also creates strong parallels with the vision of the ‘one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days’ in Daniel 7.13–14, language that Matthew records Jesus using in the Olive Discourse/Little Apocalypse in Matt 24.30.

The idea of being sent to ‘all nations’ appears to contradict Jesus’ vocation only to the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel’ (Matt 10.5), yet we have had anticipations of this all through the gospel—from the coming of the Magi to seek the new king in Matt 2, through the faith of the centurion in Matt 8 pointing to the future coming of ‘many from the East and the West to feast with Abraham’ (Matt 8.11), to the anticipation of just such global ministry in the Olivet Discourse at Matt 24.31. Note that this mission ‘to the nations’ does not replace the mission to Israel, but extends it.

The Gentile mission extends the Jewish mission – not replaces it; Jesus nowhere revoked the mission to Israel (10:6), but merely adds a new mission revoking a previous prohibition (10:5) (Craig Keener, cited in France p 1115).

The command to ‘make disciples’ uses the unusual verb matheteuo, related to the noun for a disciple (mathetes, from which we get the word ‘mathematics’ which originally referred to general learning and instruction); it is often said to be unique to this passage, but in fact occurs in Matt 13.52 (in the description of the scribe who has been trained in the kingdom), in Matt 27.57 (to describe Joseph of Arimathea, who has been ‘discipled’), and in Acts 14.21 (where Paul and his companions have made many disciples). It refers to a process of teaching and training—and it is striking that the ‘teaching’ follows baptism in Jesus’ order, suggesting that, as reflected in (for example) Acts 8 and Acts 16, and in contrast to much practice of the early church of the second and third centuries, baptism is administered at the first confession of faith, and the teaching of discipleship then follows as a longer process.

There is simply no reason to claim that the triadic formula of ‘Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’ is a later emendation of the text, despite the clear indication in Acts that baptism was initially ‘in the name of Jesus’. This would not be the only example of early practice taking time to conform to the teaching of Jesus as recorded in the gospels.

It is striking that here, there is a single, threefold ‘name’, thus identifying Jesus and the Spirit with the name of God. This incorporation of Jesus into the godhead is exactly what we find in Paul’s writings, most notably in three examples:

  1. In 1 Cor 8.4–6, Paul cites the Shema, the central confession of Jewish faith, that ‘there is no God but one’ in explicit contrast to pagan claims that there are multiple gods. But in doing so, he then incorporates Jesus into that ‘one’, arguing that there is ‘one God, the Father…and one Lord, Jesus Christ’, when in the Old Testament ‘Lord’ is simply a way of referencing the God of Israel.
  2. In Rom 10.9–13, it is the confession that ‘Jesus is Lord’ which saves—a recognition that he is both lord of our lives and the cosmic lord enthroned at the right hand of the Father. But Paul seals his argument by citing Joel 2.32: ‘For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”‘. For Paul, this ‘Lord’ on whom we call is the Lord Jesus, but for Joel, this saving ‘Lord’ is Yahweh וְהָיָ֗ה כֹּ֧ל אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָ֛א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה יִמָּלֵ֑ט. Paul is incorporating Jesus into the saving identity of God.
  3. In Phil 2.9–11 God bestows the name that is above every name on Jesus—which is his own name. In anticipating that ‘every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord’, Paul is borrowing the language of Is 45.23 which asserts that God alone is the one who commands worship in all the earth.

And of course we find the same kind of triadic language in the opening epistolary greeting from John to his readers in Rev 1.4–5.

So this is indeed a fitting conclusion to the gospel, which draws together multiple threads in a compressed form, and sends out both the original disciples and successive generations of readers, commissioning them on a global task of proclaiming the good news of Jesus and the kingdom until he returns.

If you are tempted to talk more about the Trinity than the passage, then here are some pointers from previous articles.

Mike Higton, Professor of Theology and Ministry at Durham, preached on Trinity Sunday a couple of years ago. To demonstrate that this was not complicated, he preached (almost) the whole sermon in words of one syllable. He concludes:

So there is God, the one to whom we pray, the one to whom we look, to whom we call out, the one who made the world and who loves all that has been made. And then there is God by our side, God once more the one with whom we pray; God in the life of this man who shares our life, this man who lives the life of God by our side, and who pours out his life in love for us. And then there is God in our hearts, God in our guts, God one more time, the stream in which we dip our toes, the stream in which we long to swim, the stream which filled the Son and can fill us too, and bear us in love back to our source.

The life of the one God meets us in all these three ways, and all that we meet in these three ways, has its roots deep, deep down in God’s life—all the way down in God’s life—in ways that our minds are not fit to grasp in ways that break our words to bits. One life, one love, one will, works through these three to meet us when we pray, to catch hold of us, to bear us up—and to take us home.

And that’s why our words for God need to stretch; one-bit words, it turns out, will not do on their own. We call the source, the one to whom we pray, God the Father. And we call the one by our side, the one with whom we pray, God once more, Jesus. And we call the one in our hearts, the one in whom we pray, God one more time, the Spirit. And that is why we call this God—the God we meet when we pray, the God we know when we pray—that is why we call this God ‘three in one’; that is why we call our God Trinity.

Turning to the text of the New Testament, I previously shared my theological comments on Revelation 4 and 5, which offer perhaps the clearest narrative articulation of the Trinity in the Bible:

The language of worship here does a remarkable thing in identifying the lamb as equal with the one on the throne in deserving of worship and adulation—in a text which implicitly refutes the claims of the human figures to be deserving of such obeisance. Because of this, it is reasonable to claim that it offers us the highest possible Christological understanding in the whole New Testament: what we can say of God in worship, we can say of Jesus. The two figures of the one seated on the throne and the lamb are thus characterised as God the creator and God the redeemer. These figures are never quite merged, and remain distinct within the narrative of Revelation and, unlike the association of the Word with the work of creation in John’s gospel, their roles also remain distinct. But in the final hymn of praise, the worship is given to the two as if they were one.

The placing of these scenes of heavenly worship following on from the royal proclamations to the assemblies in the seven cities has a powerful rhetorical impact. The followers of Jesus might be facing particular challenges and opportunities, located within their own cultural and physical contexts—yet the context for all their struggles is this cosmic vision of the praise of God and of the lamb. Where they might feel as though they are ‘swimming against the tide’ in terms of dissenting from the cultural norms of their society—in their participation in the trade guilds with their associated deities, in their moral stance, and in their reluctance to participate in the imperial cult—the juxtaposition of chapters 4 and 5 offers a startling reconfiguration of their world. All of creation is caught up, not in obeisance to the emperor, but in the worship of the God and Father of Jesus, and of the lamb, and any who are not taken up with this are, in fact, in the minority. It is an extraordinary cultural and spiritual counter-claim to the majority perception of reality. And in its emotive extravagance, this vision of worship is not offered as a rational fact, but as a compelling call for all readers to join in themselves.

And finally, Kevin Giles warns us away from any comparison between the ‘community’ of the Trinity and the community of human persons, the heresy that is ‘social Trinitarianism‘.

The way in which the three divine persons relate to one another in eternity is neither a model for nor prescriptive of human relationships in the temporal world. God’s life in heaven does not set a social agenda for human life on earth. Divine relations in eternity cannot be replicated on earth by created human beings, and fallen beings at that. What the Bible asks disciples of Christ to do, both men and women, is to exhibit the love of God to oth- ers and to give ourselves in self-denying sacrificial service and self-subordination, as the Lord of glory did in becoming one with us in our humanity and dying on the cross. In other words, the incarnate Christ provides the perfect example of Godly living, not the eternal life of God.

Specifically, appealing to the doctrine of the Trinity, a three-fold perfect divine communion, to support either the equality of men and women or their hierarchical ordering, is mistaken and to be opposed.

Happy Trinity Sunday!

Come and join Ian and James as they discuss this passage, and the related issues of whether we should be preaching on the Trinity, here:

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92 thoughts on “The Great Commission in Matt 28 and preaching on the Trinity”

  1. Well, I disagree with Barth’s statement ‘The doctrine of the Trinity is what basically distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian…in contrast to all other possible doctrines of God’.

    It may be true that no other religion has a Trinitarian concept, but this isn’t necessarily the point of key importance. The key issue that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions is that, when I come to faith – i.e. believe on Him (John 3:16), that his crucifixion was for my sins – and that in His resurrection my sins have been dealt with, I have eternal life; I have passed from death to life. By believing in Him, means believing in Christ alone and not Christ plus something else (where the ‘something else’ may be my good behaviour or progress in the process of sanctification after coming to faith).

    Other religions don’t seem to have this; with other religions, God may be encouraging the believer, helping the believer to get to the right place, but the starting point for someone who has come to faith does not seem to be that they are in; with other religions heaven seems to be a reward for good behaviour (with the possibility that the believer might fall short of the mark). With Christianity, we (those who believe) have been brought into the number of the Saviour’s family (perfect tense – completed action); ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven – and what we do after that is a response to having been saved – and is not a part of what saves us.

    Clearly, there is something deeply Trinitarian in all of this – in the way we are saved through the crucifixion and resurrection – but it isn’t the first thing that leaps to mind as the distinguishing feature.

    • But only God can save us; only God can deal with our sin; so Jesus’s work is only effective if he is indeed God incarnate; which implies the Trinity.

      No Trinity, no redemption through Jesus. This is not believe in ‘Christ plus something’; it is, as Paul says in Romans 10, declaring Jesus is Lord (the word in the OT for the God of Israel).

      • Ian – yes – I’d agree with that – the Trinity is certainly implied. (Although I’d agree entirely with the main point you made in the piece – focusing on preaching on the Trinity is a bad idea – for the reasons you gave).

        • Jock – one of the reasons Barth rejected Natural theology and general revelation was because observation of and deduction from the created order could never get you to what was uniquely Christian among the religions: the uniqueness of God’s being as Trinity and the uniqueness of salvation through the Cross. And he was right.

      • There you are. You’ve just preached the Trinity!
        And without the Triunity, of God, there is no unitarian declaration that God is Love. That is only possible within the intra- unity Love.
        Love is not a name or attribute of Islam, so far as I am aware.
        For more of the same for lay readers, see The Good God, by Dr Mike Reeves, who also expounds the point that the Trinity is what makes Christianity unique, separate from all other religions and gods, giving examples of similarities to other religions which without our Triune God, would amount to a blurring and merging, a synchronism which is much beloved by some liberal theologians. And yet it is a Christian doctrine, which Reeves identifies receives comparitively little attention even amongst systematicians in their books on Systematic Theology.
        Though in fairly recent times there was a spat between advocates of the schools ESS and ERS, particularly in how it (was misused in my view) played out in male and female roles in Church.
        It could be suggested that this could be approached, certainly not comprehensively, in the passed of scripture by the Names of God. What’s in a name.
        Indeed, Ian correctly returns to the name LORD, which is the Name of Covenant making, Covenant keeping God Yahweh, God who IS. It is He who in Jesus, God the Son, keeps Covenant (a new covenant) in His blood, as Man, the second Adam, and as God.
        Now, what is
        remains to be more fully discussed is the Name of God the Holy Spirit.
        What’s in a Name?
        BTW, Ian, if I may say, you make some mighty big presumptions with, *if* and *should* in preaching scripture with some Trinity, emphasis as appropriate to the text.
        And if/should they not have been complied with perhaps Trinity Sunday will be a good place to start. You have given ample pointers.
        After all, there is no Good News, outside the Trinity!

      • is the same word used? I thought the OT often translated as LORD GOD in modern Bibles is not necessarily the same as the word translated Lord in the NT? But Im probably wrong in that.

        • It is the Name of God of Covenant and includes other Names, such as Rapha, such as Jireh.
          It is suggested that we read the whole of scriptuture poorly if we ignore God of Promise, Covenant making/ keeping.
          Kept (past/present/ future) by and in Jesus’s incarnation in the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
          Good News indeed.
          Some suggest that there is scriptural support for a pre-creation, intra-Trinity covenant of Redemption. But I do hope mention of this doesn’t lead to comments disappearing into the distance as a distinct topic.

      • ‘Jesus’s work is only effective if he is indeed God incarnate; which implies the Trinity.’

        I think not. Jesus’s work is effective because he was sinless, and he was sent by God for that purpose. Indeed, his work was effective because he was a man, standing in our place. The ‘Trinity’ does not affect the effectiveness one jot.

        The statement that Jesus was ‘God incarnate’ is in itself nonsensical. How can it make sense if, at the Ascension, he sat at the right hand of God?

        In addition, but separately, Scripture reveals that he was the son of God. One cannot responsibly declare that he was God incarnate without properly understanding what Scripture means by that, and without respecting the nuances behind the scriptures that speak of, or hint at, his divinity. ‘The Word became flesh.’ Yes, but who, in the first place, is the Word? It is an OT concept, so the answer must be found in the OT.

        Of course, the fact that ‘in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself’ makes the mystery of the gospel that much more profound.

        You have recently said that Jesus is only metaphorically the Son of God. As his sonship is way more prominent, explicit and central a teaching of the NT than the ‘Trinity’ (which, in my opinion, is not taught at all), this is a bold statement, and since it seems to mean “Jesus is not really the Son of God”, it sails very close to I John 2:22.

        ‘Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’ is clearly not a threefold name, because its three constituents are not names. To make the basic grammatical point, they are common nouns. Paul never greets his readers at the beginning of his letters by any such formula, being always careful to distinguish between God – whom no man has ever seen – and the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘One God, the Father…and one Lord, Jesus Christ’ is just one instance of this careful distinction. To say that in the Old Testament ‘Lord’ is simply a way of referencing the God of Israel is simply to nullify the distinction.

        Jesus dealt with the point himself, when discussing Psalm 110. In the opening words, ‘The LORD said to my lord,’ the first word is Yahweh (God) and the second is David’s lord. Yahweh is not speaking to himself (the first sign of madness). He is speaking to his son, the Son explicitly referred to in Ps 2:7 where we get the same revelation: ‘Yahweh said to me, “You are my Son.” ‘ Jesus in Matt 22 identified himself implicitly with ‘my lord’, not Yahweh. Hebrews in Heb 1:5 explicitly says that the speaker in Ps 2 is God – not Jesus, because the Son is Jesus.

        How there can be any meaning in Jesus’s desperate cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” if Jesus was simply ‘God incarnate’? Trinitarian theology just railroads such questions and says “It is blasphemous to ask questions”.

        As for the idea that Christianity is unique among religions in revealing God as a Trinity, this is also untrue. The splitting of the godhead into three started in 4th millennium Sumer, when God was split into Anu (‘Heaven’), Enlil or Ellil (‘God’, Heb. Elohim or El) and E(y)a (his proper name). Anu was given the heavens, Enlil the earth and Ea the underworld. That was the start of the multiplication of gods that we know as polytheism.

        So no wonder that the OT, and the NT even more, is so insistent that God is one, not three, or any other number! The polytheistic religion was anathema, and while the Roman doctrine of the Trinity (plus Mary – Catholicism arguably has four gods) is not to be equated as on the same level of darkness, it is still spiritually and intellectually sub-par, and one reason why the nonsense that passes for modern Christian theology makes no impact in this generation.

          • My view is that Jesus was the Son of God. Even a little child understands that a son comes from and after the Father. Do you too think the idea, in Jesus’s case, is just ‘metaphorical’? If so, where is the evidence in Scripture that it is not literally true? And if not literally true, where are you on the virgin birth, and where does this liberty to treat the ostensibly literal and real as merely metaphorical and therefore unreal in the plain sense end? Is there no end, because it goes right back to the identity of God himself, and modern Christianity’s denial that he literally created the heaven and the earth. Trinitarianism is a false orthodoxy, and the end result is no God at all – no Creator, no Son, no Holy Spirit.

        • I suppose I ought to respond…but I don’t know whether it is worth it. At every point you appear to completely misunderstanding and misrepresent the view you claim you are refuting.

          It is most strange.

        • (Lifted shamelessly from

          Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee.
          Instant is Apollinarian because it’s had its soul removed and replaced.
          Frappuccinos are essentially a form of Monophysitism, having their coffee nature swallowed up in milkshake.
          Chicory is Arian, not truly coffee at all but a separate creation.
          Irish coffee is Nestorian, being two natures conjoined solely by good will.
          Nitro coffee (coffee + Red Bull) is Montanist, having a form of godliness but denying its power.
          Affogato is Adoptionist, being merely topped with espresso.
          The Café Bombón is Sabellian, appearing at some points to be foam, at others coffee and at others sweetened condensed milk.
          The Caffè Americano is a form of Unitarian Universalism, being so watered down so as not even to qualify as coffee.
          The Café miel violates Canon 57 of the Council in Trullo, “for it is not right to offer honey and milk” in one’s coffee.
          The Cafe Mocha (espresso + steamed milk + chocolate) is syncretic and polytheist, for it presumes to adulterate coffee with another nation’s gods.
          The Doppio (espresso + espresso) is Monothelite, permitting only one will to dominate.
          Half-Caf is another form of Adoptionism, being a hybrid of disparate natures.
          The Pharisäer (drip coffee + 2 shots rum + whipped cream) is nothing but sheer Antinomianism.
          The Red Eye (drip coffee + 1 shot espresso) is Ebionite, for it would swallow up pure faith in the Law.
          A rigorist exclusivism for Fair Trade Coffee is a form of Donatism, insisting that only sinless hands may produce a true beverage.
          “Coffee is bad for you”: The watchwords of the Iconoclast.
          The fellow who just keeps adding sugar to his over-roasted Pike’s Peak[*] is surely a Pelagian.

          So, which coffee do you prefer?

  2. So my question is, if it’s not necessary/helpful/advisable to explicitly preach on the doctrine of the Trinity, does that go for other doctrines? Incidentally, I think it’s true that ‘the function of doctrine is to help you read scripture well.’
    I preached a short sermon on the ascension 10 days ago. The passage was Acts1vv6-14, and with a number of visitors in church for a baptism, I felt the verse ‘ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight,’ deserved closer examination (for apologetic reasons). I felt what I came up with was helpful to believers, but I don’t think there was time to enable our visitors to understand in any significant way what we thought we were talking about.
    So are the problems which I faced (pre-modern creed, post-enlightenment audience) the same as those encountered in preaching the Trinity. Or is the Trinity a uniquely unhelpful element when preached from a doctrinal point of view?

    • ‘if it’s not necessary/helpful/advisable to explicitly preach on the doctrine of the Trinity’.

      That is not what I am saying. I think we should highlight the doctrinal implications of all our texts as we preach on them. But what I object to is devoting this one Sunday alone to preaching on a doctrine, rather than preaching on a passage. When we preach on Phil 2, Romans 10, or 1 Cor 8, or Revelation 1 or 4–5, these are the texts which most clearly highlight the Trinity.

      But, again, the point of our preaching is not to teach right doctrine. The point of right doctrine is that we read Scripture well…!

      (And of course we will all be reciting the creed every Sunday, so that should help…!)

      • That reminds me Ian, of a friend who came out if JW’s though his wife remained.
        He followed an older but dead brother to an independent Reformed Church and was disappointed when he didn’t recognise any overt TULIP preaching/ teaching. From the times I’ve visited evening services preaching centres on Jesus, even when the scripture is from OT.

        But I di think that while you are correct about the preaching ideal in relation to the Trinity, it is clear from the comments here and from earlier comments by liberals on other matters, the reality of the Triune God of Christianity can no longer be assumed as sound, central to. Christianity and if there is nor discrete teaching on the topic there is a neglect at the core of the offices of preaching/ teaching, and for that matter pastoral.
        Likewise, preaching/teaching on the core doctrines of the CoE, especially as found in the Articles for which there seems to be no appetite at all! Neglect here breads nebulism, a derogation of duty.

  3. Ian: A very helpful post, but I am puzzled by your opposition to preaching focused on the Trinity. For many people, the only way they will know anything about the Trinity is from the preaching they hear on a Sunday morning. Yes, the message of the Trinity should be woven in all through the year, but sometimes a focused teaching is necessary, particularly in those churches which have little going on with respect to Christian education outside of the Sunday sermon.

    • Paul says that for First century Christians, “there is only one God, the Father’ (1 Cor. 8:6).

      Jesus says that the Father is “the only true God” (John 17:3).

      ‘The Encyclopedia Americana’ says :

      “Christianity derived from Judaism and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is only one person]. The road which led from Jerusalem to Nicea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.”

      Volume XXVII, p. 2941.


    1. The God of the Jews has a personal name, which is represented in the Masoretic Hebrew Text by the transliterated consonants ‘YHWH’. There is now, almost universal scholastic consent that the original name of God was pronounced as ‘Yahweh’.
    God in Exodus 3:15 says to Moses : “So you must say to the Israelites, Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and is how I am to be remembered generation after generation.”

    2. Careful English Bible Translations that use the divine Name of God, ‘Yahweh’, include the ‘Lexham English Bible’, ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ (1966); The Legacy Standard Bible’, ‘The New Jerusalem Bible’ and ‘The Emphasized Bible’; et al.

    2. Yahweh God is THE ONLY TRUE GOD. Deuteronomy 6:4 reads :

    “Listen, Israel ! Yahweh our God is THE ONLY TRUE GOD”. (cf. LSB; NOG; TLB; CEV)

    3. Yahweh God is THE FATHER. Isaiah 63:16 reads :
    ” You, O Yahweh are our Father ..” (LSB).
    Isaiah 64:8 (LSB) reads :
    “But now, O Yahweh, You are our Father” (LSB). cf. Malachi 2:10.

    4. There is a consensus amongst current Old Testament scholars that the holy spirit (‘Spirit of Yahweh’) was not regarded as a separate hypostasis, alongside Yahweh God, Himself.

    5. The Father spiritually indwelt Jesus (John 10:38), to such an extent, that to see Jesus was to spiritually ‘see’ the Father ( cf. John 14:10-11).

    4. Jesus recognized, in John 8:54, that the God of the Jews was indeed, only the Father.

    5. Jesus also recognized that the Father was “THE ONLY TRUE GOD” (John 17:3).

    ‘ONLY’ in John 17:3 translates the Greek word ‘monon’, and ‘monon’ means :

    ” Alone; without a companion”

    6. Jesus thus tells us that the Father is HIS GOD, and OUR GOD. (cf. John 20:17; Rev. 3:2; 3:12; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6).

    Paul said that for First century Christians, “there is ONLY ONE GOD, THE FATHER..” (1 Cor. 8:6; NJB); just as Jesus said that the Father is ” the ONLY TRUE GOD” (John 17:3).

    7. When Thomas came to full faith, he ultimately believed the words of Jesus that were directed to both him, and to Philip, in John 14:5-11, and recognized that in Jesus, there is a full revelation of the FATHER – Who is the ONLY TRUE GOD. Thus, Thomas, in seeing Jesus, spiritually ‘saw’ the ONE TRUE GOD, Who is the FATHER (cf. John 20:28).

    8. This is why the author of John’s Gospel states that His Gospel is written to show that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God (i.e. not to show that Jesus is God – which is something that Jesus Himself, always denied (cf. John 10:33-36).

    9. This explains why Paul, after his conversion starting preaching Jesus, not as ‘God’, but as ‘the Son of God’. (cf. Acts 9:20).

    10. This also explains why salvation is only dependent on faith in Jesus as the Messianic lord (of Psalm 110:1), and the Son of God (See John 20:31; 1 John 3:23; 4:15; 5:1; 5:5; 5:12; 5:13; Rom. 10:9).

    11. Psalm 110:1 in the M.T. Hebrew text reads :

    “Yahweh said to my lord ”

    The word “lord” in Psalm 110:1 translates the Hebrew word ‘adoni’ . ‘Adoni’ means ‘master’ or ‘lord’ , and is never used on its own as a title for Yahweh God. ‘Adoni’ is thus, a non-Deity title.

    Consequently, as Anglican Christologist, James D.G. Dunn observed, the apostle Paul’s designation of the title of ‘lord’ with respect to Jesus, distinguishes Jesus from God, rather than identifies Jesus with God. For both Jesus, and Paul, there is ONLY ONE TRUE GOD, Who is THE FATHER (John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6). God is thus ‘The Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 1:3; and 1 Peter 1:3).

    Praise Almighty Father God, and His lord Messiah, Jesus ! (cf. Rev. 19:6; Psalm 2:2; Rev. 12:10;).

    Hallelu- Yah ! ( ‘Yah’ being the shortened name for ‘Yahweh’ )

    • Pellegrino,
      Have I summed you up correctly in what you have stated -to wit:

      1. There is one God – (the Father)
      2. Jesus is not ‘God’ but a son of God – simply a first born son? (but worthy of worship) . A Son above sons perhaps?
      3. The Holy Spirit is not a person but more an attribute of God (this is what I think SR believes).
      4. Jesus is a created being in time and subordinate of God i.e. he was not with God the Father and the HS in the beginning.
      5. Trinitarian is a profoundly mistaken belief about the nature of God and has been so for many centuries in christendom.

      Is that a fair assessment of what you (and presumably SR) believe?

      • Chris;

        1. There has to only one true God (Yahweh) , Who is the Father. I believe Jesus, in John 17:3. I will not change the inspired text of John 17:3, like Augustine tried to do (in his ‘Homilies on John’). I respect both Jesus, and the Word of God.

        2. If the Father is the ONLY (Gk. ‘monon = alone, without a companion) true God, then nobody else can be. This is why although Jesus as been exalted to act as God’s Vice-regent, and Messianic Lord, Paul is insistent that for First century Christians there is still “only One God, the Father”. (1 Cor. 8:6, NJB).

        As distinguished scholar Hermann Cremer noted in his “Biblico-Theological Lexicon of the New Testament”, p. 383 :

        “For the designation of Christ as lord, there is a special point of connection and explanation in Psalm 110:1 ( ‘YHWH [ Yahweh Father God] said to my ‘adoni’ [a non-Deity title, meaning ‘master’ or ‘lord’). Cp. 1 Cor. 8:6, ‘For us there is one God, the Father and one lord Jesus Messiah’ “.

    • Fine as far as it goes. But you ignore the biblical data which is inconvenient to your case.

      1. Adonai is the word used when reading YHWH (ketiv v qere)

      2. It is a bit bizarre to claim that Jesus ‘denies he is God’ in the Fourth Gospel. Of course he is denying that heaven is now empty that the he is the totality of the God of Israel. But there are so many claims to divinity in this gospel that most liberals argue is it unhistorical, for it would be impossible for a Jew to make such claims.

      3. Along with James Dunn, you are misreading 1 Cor 8. God is the Lord; to have one God and one Lord is to have one to whom we bow down—that is precisely Paul’s point as a contrast to polytheism. We do not have two to whom we bow, but one. Tom Wright points out Dunn’s error: Paul is incorporating Jesus into the one God in his reuse of the Shema.

      4. You appear to be ignoring exactly the places where Paul is putting Jesus in the place of God in Phil 2 and Rom 10. There is only one to whom ‘every knee will bow and every tongue confess…I and no other’ says Yahweh, and Paul includes Jesus in this One. There is only one to whom we call and are saved: Yahweh, says Joel, and this includes Jesus, says Paul.

      The path from Scripture to Nicea was indeed not straightforward—but not because Scripture was unclear. It was because a whole new way of thinking about God and reality was needed in order to be faithful to the clear claims of Scripture.

    • Dear P What exactly is an “Anglican Christologist”? And secondly this I believe is the second time you have described James (Jimmy )Dunn as Anglican. When lecturing at Nottingham University he was among other things a Methodist Local Preacher. I for one was privileged to “sit at his feet” while he delivered a series of lectures on “Unity and Diversity in the New Testament”. Regrettably the leadership of St John’s College at that time decided it was “time up” for “oor” Jimmy! A great pity! Only much later was I made aware of his major contribution to the “New Perspective”.

      And dear P – once again you are continuing to trot out your usual stream of well-trodden shibboleths. Could you not possibly turn off the “78” and incorporate a more thorough -going “Biblical technology”?

      • Colin – You’ve surfaced ! 🙂

        Good to see you back.

        An Anglican Christologist would look a bit like John Macquarrie, or dear Jimmy Dunn.

        Beloved Jimmy Dunn was an Anglican, although he was raised as a Presbyterian, and had experience with other denominations. He was licensed as a minister in the Church of Scotland.

      • Actually in his old age when he and his wife moved to be closer to their children Jimmy did worship in the local C of E church.

  5. Take a tip from Hebrews . See Jesus the open door of the Temple. He is supported either side by the power of the Spirit and the Strength of the Father. That is Jakin and Boaz. All three are the entrance to fellowship with God ,the Throne.

    • Dear Ian;

      God bless you.

      Thanks for your comments.

      My response to your points would be :

      1. The Divine title ‘Adonai’ is indeed substituted when reading ‘YHWH’ – but usually, only by Jews. In contrast, it is ‘Adoni’ (not ‘Adonai’) that is used in the M.T. Hebrew text of Psalm 110:1 (i.e. ‘ YHWH said to ‘adoni’ ‘); and ”adoni’ is a non-Deity title.

      2. You say, Ian, that there are many claims to Jesus’ Divinity in the Gospel of John. But this depends on what you exactly mean by Jesus’ ‘Divinity’. That Jesus was denying that He was ‘God’, is quite evident in John 10:33-36. In other words, the Jews had made a total mistake in thinking that Jesus was in any way, claiming to be ‘God’. John 8:58 has both translational and interpretive issues. The NET Bible (if I remember correctly) admits that Jesus’ use of ‘ego eimi’ in John 8:24 is Jesus’ own cryptic, self-reference to being the Messiah. If this is so, in John 8:24, then why not also in John 8:58 ? It appears that when Jesus is next directly quizzed about the John 8:58 incident (in John 10:24), the Jews ask of Jesus : “Tell us plainly [not cryptically], are you the Messiah ?”. This could confirm that John 8:58 may have cryptically meant ” Before Abraham was born, I am the Messiah” (cf. Rev. 13:8 (NIV)). Furthermore, if Jesus had been claiming to be ‘God’ in John 8:58, then it would almost certainly have been brought up at His trial, and, in addition, the author of John’s Gospel would have written in John 20:31, that the purpose of his gospel was to encourage faith in Jesus being “the Messiah and God”. However, the very fact that the Gospel author doesn’t say this, indicates that he is careful to keep his Gospel contents still within the bounds of Jewish monotheism.

      3. That the post-Parousia, future reigning Messiah Jesus, will have a functional equality with God is admitted, but all praise given to Jesus all enhances the glory of God, the Father ( Phil. 2:11; John 17:3). In the end, when all enemies have been subjected to God’s Messiah, then Messiah Jesus will hand the Kingdom over to God, Himself (i.e. the Almighty Father [‘ho Pantokrator’, cf Rev. 19:6]).

      That Jewish Kings could receive worship, alongside with Yahweh [‘Jehovah’ a Latinized type version ], is shown in 1 Chron. 29:20b, which reads :

      “All the assembly blessed Jehovah, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads, and worshipped Jehovah, and the king.” (ASV) cf. Rev. 5:10.

      If Tom Wright is correct that Jesus ‘has split the Shema’, then why don’t we see that fact reflected in terms like “the Lord God Jesus”, or “the Lord God Jesus Christ” , or “the God Jesus” ?

      4. The relationship between the Father (the only true God; John 17:3), and His Son Jesus, is probably best analysed, not in terms of a Trinity or a Binary, but in terms of the ancient Jewish concept of the Shaliach (i.e. The fully authorized ‘Agent-Representative’ of a Sender, who can (at times) bear the Sender’s name, and act with the Sender’s full authority). The NIV Study applies the Shaliach concept to the ‘Angel of Yahweh’ in Gen. 16:7 ff, and as a consequence, concludes that we can now no longer be certain that ‘Angel of the Lord’ is the pre-incarnate, second person of the Trinity (as has been traditionally believed).

      5. Finally, when the distinguished Anglican scholar, Canon Anthony E. Harvey claimed that there is no unambiguous biblical evidence that the constraint of Jewish monotheism was ever effectively broken by any New Testament writer, then I personally think that A. E. Harvey was right. (cf. ‘Jesus and the Constraints of History.’)

      • And about your response to Chris Bishop above…
        Ian Paul is correct in his assessment of your argumentation, even in your selective authority referencing, as a disciple, for your own purposes, of Harvey.
        Angel of the Lord is seen as a Christophy by some theologians, OT Anglican scholar Alec Motyer being one. I could set out his reasons for doing so, but it would be water off a duck’s back, and it is not a point that makes or breaks the scriptural teaching, support for the Biblical Triune God.

        D A Carson, below, does not follow Motyer and others.
        (Carson is a Trinitarian and has an extensive understanding of Biblical Theology across the whole canon of scripture, as editor of NSBT series, amongst others, which I doubt that Harvey has much of a grasp on.)
        Even as Jesus says that the scriptures testify about him, here is Carson’s talk as an example, “Getting Excited about Melchizedek”:

        And here is a talk about the Trinity.

        • Geoffrey says :

          ” the Scriptural teaching support for the Biblical Triune God.”

          Founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, William Penn, says :

          ” I should inform you, reader, concerning the origin of the Trinitarian doctrine : Thou mayest assure thyself, it is not from the Scriptures nor reason.”

  6. Can a Being who is sent out by YAWEH God as His Messenger ( in Hebrew, His ‘Shaliach’, or His messenger, Agent Representative) ever be called ‘Yahweh’ ?

    Answer : Yes. A classic example example of it occurs in Exodus 3:4-7, where Yahweh God is said to speak to speak to Moses from a burning bush. However, In the New Testament, Stephen (who is described as a man full of the holy Spirit and faith, in Acts 6:5) said that the Being in the burning bush was not ‘Yahweh God’ Himself, but an angel (Acts 7:30) – who was speaking on behalf of Yahweh God (Acts 7:35). As angels are ‘messengers’ (cf. Heb. 1:14), the angel in the burning bush was acting as Yahweh God’s Shaliach, or His fully authorized, Agent-Representative, and as such he even carried Yahweh’s name (although the angel was not literally ‘Yahweh God’).

    The same principle occurs in Exodus 23:20-23, where Yahweh God tells the Israelites that it will be an angel that will lead them into the promised land. However, they are to respect the angel because Yahweh God’s Name “is in him”. This means that the angel will carry God’s name “Yahweh”, and will act with Yahweh’s full authority, as His Agent-Representative, or Shaliach.

    The Charles B. William’s translation renders Jesus’ words spoken exclusively to the FATHER, in John 17:3, as :

    ” Now eternal life means knowing You as the ONLY true God, and knowing Jesus Your MESSENGER, as Christ [Messiah].”

    In Weymouth’s New Testament, Jesus’ own words in John 5:43a are rendered :

    ” I have come as My Father’s representative..”.

    Jesus is thus God’s ‘messenger’ and ‘representative’, or ‘Shaliach’.

    Conclusions :

    In Phil. 2:9 (KJV) it says that God has given Jesus a “name” (Gk. onoma : ‘name’, ‘authority’). W.E. Vine claims that ‘the ‘Name’ in Phil. 2:9, represents the ‘TITLE and dignity’ of the ‘Lord’, as in Eph. 1:21; Heb. 1:4. Some translate ‘onoma’ in Phil. 2:9, as ‘authority’ – thus, God gave Jesus “the authority which is above every authority” . Others, however, believe that ‘onoma’ refers to Father God’s personal name ‘Yahweh’. But, even if this were so, it would be in keeping with previous Shaliachs (messenger, Agent-Representatives) of Yahweh God, who also bore the name ‘Yahweh’ (as His authorized Agent-Representatives), but who are not literally, ‘Yahweh’God. As in Judaism, the New Testament is still insistent that there is only one Almighty (Gk. ‘Pantokrator’) God, Who is the Father (cf. John 17:3; Rev. 19:6-8).

    • It is up to those who disagree to address the scriptures which you cite, and indicate why, on scriptural grounds, they think your interpretations are incorrect. Anything else is just an unthinking appeal to 4th-century (and later) belief statements that have no biblical basis or authority.

      You continue to say that Yah is an abbreviation of Yahweh. As I have pointed out, this is is manifestly incorrect. ‘Yah’ was God’s personal name before he revealed himself to Hebrew-speaking Moses.

      As for ‘angel’ meaning ‘messenger’, which it does in both Hebrew and Greek (i.e. there is no ancient word for what we mean by ‘angel’), note that Mal 3:1 refers both to John the Baptist, the messenger who will go before ‘me’ (= the word of Yahweh (Mal 1:1) = Yahweh (Mal 1:2)), and to ‘the messenger of the covenant’, Jesus himself.

  7. See above for a comment as to whether Angel of the Lord may or may not be a Christophany.
    It neither makes nor breaks the doctrine of the Trinity.
    There is no Good News outside the Triune God of mainstream Christianity.

    • Geoffrey -says :

      ” There is no good news outside the Triune God of [Fourth century] mainstream Christianity.”

      Founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, William Penn, says :

      ” Know then, my friend, that the the Trinity was born above three hundred after the ancient Gospel was declared: it was conceived in ignorance, brought forth and maintained by cruelty “.

  8. Hi Pellegrino,
    I thought you might ponder the pillars and door and return with a few comments.

    Jesus is at the centre of the Throne.
    The messaging is done through His Crown.
    The Throne on which He sits is the Father. (Solomon sat on his father’s throne)
    Just because these are inanimate objects does not mean they are impersonal objects.

    Think of Rebecca approaching her wedding tent. She is brought in by Isaac. Abraham vacates. The Chief Steward retreats. She sees only Isaac. The throne scene of Revelation is that moment when the Lamb takes the Scroll to be His alone to open.

  9. No authority at all. Sola scriptua.
    Even though you are few solas short of a picnic, P.
    We disagree profoundly and wordhip a different God.
    The only reason you are on this site is to attack the Trinity.
    BTW you never did get back in a bit after your cuppa (tea for two dance with SR?) from the The links I made to Carson and to Giles. Nor as far as I can see from my limited scrolliing ability on phone to the questions Chris Bishop asked of you.
    You are not only donkey years, centuries, outside of time with your arguments you are not up to date with the whole sweep of Biblical theology, it seems to me.
    Every blessing in the Name of the Father, Name of the Son and Name of Holy Spirit.

    • Try asking a ChatBot a theological question, Geoff. You will be surprised. I tried it once. My host wanted me to ask it a theological question, so I asked it what Jesus wrote in the dust. The answers were well balanced and referenced. Perfect for an essay on the subject. I could even get it to rephrase in iambic pentameter. In the end the exercise left me cold. It does seem that, even here, some people are now resorting to A.I. to give them an edge. In the end, will all the comments on this site be generated from A.I.? It will be very impressive, accurate but derivative. Nothing to ponder, no soul; just an endless stream of opinion dug up from the internet. I wish people would stop quoting Great Men of the past. All that can now be done with a chat app. Lets have original ideas, rough around the edges, comment, discussion.

      • Dear Steve;

        I hope you’re not suggesting that my quotes from the godly Quaker, William Penn come from either A.I., or from the internet. I can assure that they do not.

        That chat box A.I. can be useful – but not always. It seems to grab whatever on the web that is closest to it, at the time, and then regurgitates it, whether it be error strewn, or not. The chat box A.I. freely admits that it can get things wrong.

        Steve – have you been to any interesting Abbeys recently ?

        P.S. This post has not been generated by A.I. 🙂

        • Thanks P
          I was beginning to wonder. You are great with the linear thinking but seem stumped by left field comments.
          Anyway, it’s worth noting that we don’t know how to debate the great commission but we have plenty to say about the trinity. Some preacher shouted out once “what don’t you understand by the word ‘GO’?
          So we went…home.

          • Steve;

            Concerning the anecdote about the preacher discoursing upon Mathew 28:19 –

            In the words of Hugo Francis (Frank) Carson KSG :

            ” That’s a cracker ! ” 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments, Geoff.

      Geoff – you mentioned ‘Christophanies’ yesterday.

      Bearing in mind what Stephen (who was a man who was full of the holy Spirit and faith) said in Acts 7:30, do you accept that the ‘Angel of Yahweh’ in Exodus 3:2 was just a supernatural angel, and not Jesus? Surely, if anyone would have known if the ‘Angel of Yahweh’ was Jesus, then it would have been Stephen ? Furthermore, The Epistle to the Hebrews conclusively demonstrates that that God’s Son (Jesus) has only spoken to us in this final age – not in the past (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2).

      I think Ian Bishop may have completely disappeared into Cyberspace. Quite a few people just seem to make a comment, and then go.

      Have a good day, Geoff.

      • “I think Ian Bishop may have completely disappeared into Cyberspace. Quite a few people just seem to make a comment, and then go”

        Pellegrino, may I assure you that neither myself or Ian Paul are in any form of hypostatic union and have not disappeared into cyberspace (I have been away for a few days) and I am sure IP is still about. I am simply trying to understand what you actually believe about the nature of God and how it deviates from historic Christianity and the doctrines held by the Church of England. It is not my intention to belittle you in any way.

        I confess I was bit disappointed with your responses to my questions which did not require such long-winded answers and which you did not answer directly. However having read them, I think I am now persuaded that you consider Trinitarianism as an erroneous doctrine that the church has held for many centuries (I don’t think you have any truck with any form of Perichoresis for example).

        I am still uncertain if you think that Jesus had any pre-existence at all prior to the incarnation or whether you think he was a being created in time. In one sense of course, Jesus was created in human form in time being born of the Virgin Mary but I don’t think that in itself rules out him having any pre-existence in a non -human form.

        I think Steven Robinson believes that Jesus was a temporal created entity without any pre-existence and he rules out the HS being being any kind of separate person at all. By doing this I think he comes very close to denying Jesus’s essential and primary divinity or at least certainly diminishing it. His view of the HS seems to me a modified but not complete, version of modalism. I am unsure if you agree with him on the HS here.

        I think the concept of Kenosis is an important idea in understanding how the Word was made flesh, emptying Himself while in human form and walking amongst us at a very personal level. The reference to being the Son of God to my mind, has strong kenotic overtones.

        This is a mystery which is hard for us to understand. The ‘road to Nicaea’ must have considered all these questions and while we are discussing them again here, the formularies that have subsequently evolved concerning the nature of God have been tested and stood the test of time. I think the essential nature of God is relational within three persons and has lessons for us as humans.

        At a practical level, then it is faith in the risen Christ being the conqueror of death, the sacrifice for our sins and acknowledging Him as Lord and Saviour in our lives that matters. I am not sure that the thief on the cross with Jesus who was told he would be in paradise, was wondering whether Jesus was in hypostatic union or not.
        This does not mean that all these other questions are unimportant, but I do think you and SR are a long way from what is considered as orthodox christian doctrine and understanding concerning the nature of God.

        But there we are.

        • Chris,
          Thumbs up.
          You put into words what I only,vaguely think.
          And now for something completely different; I’m back outside to enjoy the sunshine.

        • I regret you have not reported my views accurately, and this not for want of my (and, independently, Pellegrino’s) setting out the scriptural testimony at some length – which is all that matters (not my ‘view’ or beliefs, as if they were manifestly different). You must either engage with the Scriptures that bear on the matter or keep your own counsel. ‘The road to Nicaea’ is, to say the least, uninformative.

          As has been shown, Trinitarianism is heterodox and, worse, heretical. Thus the shoe is on the other foot. Saying that Trinitarianism (or the constant testimony of Scripture that Jesus was the Son of God, or the concept of kenosis) is ‘a mystery which is hard for us to understand’ is little different from saying that you do not understand it, but whatever ‘it’ is, you believe it. In which case, keeping your own counsel is certainly the wiser course.

        • Dear Chris;

          (1). Just as a matter of interest, have you conducted your own, in-depth, personal study of Philippians 2:6-11. and are you aware that :

          (a). There are genuine and significant translational and exegetical issues involved ?

          (b). That The New Jerusalem Bible footnotes state (with reference to Phil. 2:6-11) that a ‘Second Adam Christology’, rather than any ‘Pre-existence (kenotic) Christology’, underlies the Philippians hymn?; and,

          (c). That leading Anglican and Roman Catholic Pauline scholars, James D.G. Dunn and Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, did not believe that Phil. 2:6-11 is teaching anything about a pre-existent being Who later became ‘Man Jesus’ ?

          2. Are you really suggesting that belief in the finalised, eleventh century, Western version of the ‘Nicene Creed’ is NOT necessary for salvation , because a thief on the cross was assured of salvation by Christ, even though the thief probably knew absolutely nothing about any ‘Trinity’ ?

          God bless you, Chris.

          • Pellegrino, I am aware of the passages and scholars you quote except I am not convinced by their arguments as I am not with your and SR’s.
            In fact, in my own tradition (Baptist) a former Baptist college principal and scholar Professor Michael Taylor made similar assertions to you way back in 1971 so to me, what you are saying is nothing really new.

            On your point (2), I am suggesting that the account we read of the thief on the cross implies that having an incomplete knowledge of who Christ is was not necessarily a barrier to salvation for him. God looks at the heart and the thief knew he was a sinner, and believed that somehow Jesus could save him from his sins if he trusted Him. That’s what mattered. Jesus’s response suggested that his trust was sufficient -at least for the thief.

            I don’t imagine that the thief had a right theological understanding of Jesus do you.? Even the disciples initially thought that Jesus main purpose was to rid Israel of the hated Romans (Acts 1:6 ). They only ‘got’ who Jesus was and worshipped him for who he was sometime later as did the early church.

            God bless you also Pellegrino.

          • Hi, Chris;

            Thanks for your comments.

            (1). The intellectual qualifications for salvation in the New Testament are quite explicit and simple. They are belief in Jesus as the Messiah, and the Son of God.

            (See John 20:31; 1 John 3:23; 4:9-10; 4:14-15; 5:1; 5:5; 5:10, et al)

            As the thief on the cross believed in Jesus as the future reigning Messiah (Son of God; cf. Psalm 2:2; 2:7), and repented of his sins, then of course the thief was saved. (Luke 23:39-43).

            (2). According to the Anglican scholars, professors Anthony and Richard Hanson in ‘Reasonable Belief : A Survey of the Christian Faith’ – it is no good looking for Trinity concept in the New Testament, because it isn’t there. Rather, the ‘Trinity’ doctrine was :

            ” a process of theological exploration which lasted at least three hundred years “. (p. 172; ibid.).

            The ‘Trinity’ doctrine evolved through various developmental stages. Tertullian, for example, believed that there was a time when the Son did not exist, and early proto-Trinitarians held to theological subordinationism.

            (3). Jesus is either ‘The Truth’ or He is not the truth. (John 14:6)

            When Jesus says that the Father is the ONLY TRUE GOD, then Jesus is either telling the Truth, or He’s not . (John 17:3).

            I believe Jesus.

            God bless you, Chris.

  10. Some interesting comments in your notes Ian – for which I am grateful – but I am surprised that you didn’t (I think – apologies if I have missed it) pick up on the link between the ‘I am with you’ of Matt 28.20 and the ‘Emmanuel’ of 1.23. I think the ‘withness’ of God in Jesus is intended as a frame through which to read Matthew’s Gospel. (And I think Matthew is quite subversive and the passage points back to the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and the fact that Jesus is ‘with’ us in the poor, hungry, homeless etc. I also think that this ‘withness’ is a good opening into linking Matt 28 to the Trinity (more so in fact than the ‘formula’ about baptising in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.) If you don’t already know it my former colleague Jacques Matthey (a lovely gentle Swiss Reformed pastor) wrote a seminal and widely drawn onarticle in 1980 which is well worth pondering and has certainly led me to appreciate Matthew’s Gospel and his understanding of mission. Matthey, Jacques. “The Great Commission according to Matthew.” IRM 69 (April 1980)

    • Hi, Clare;

      Could I please make a few quick remarks on your comments, above ?

      (1). Regarding Matthew’s use of the term “Emmanuel”.

      Yes, indeed, Yahweh Father God (cf. Isa. 63:16, NJB) was with us, in the person of His Son, Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah. As Paul says, ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself’ (2 Cor. 5:19). Note, however, that Paul does not say ‘ Christ was God reconciling the world to Himself’. See also, John 14:4-11, which provide the crucial background for understanding Thomas’ words in John 20:28, i.e. When Thomas eventually came to full faith in Jesus, He was able to see our Father God (Whom Jesus said in John 17:3, was ‘the ONLY true God’), manifested in Jesus. That Jesus is the expression of ‘the only true God’ (i.e. the Father), is confirmed by John 20:31, where the Gospel author informs us that his Gospel is for the sole purpose of creating faith in Jesus as ” the Messiah, the Son of God ” (John 20:31).
      Similarly, Mathew 16:15-18, records the momentous divine revelation given by our Father God, to Peter, by which Peter was enabled to say to Jesus :

      ” You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” –

      (the Living God being of course, the Father, Who is ‘the only true God’; John 17:3).

      (2). Regarding Matthew 28:19. The words ”Father’, ‘Son’ and ‘holy Spirit’ represent a ternary formula (as occurs too. in 2 Cor. 13:14), which do not prove that the holy Spirit is a distinct divine hypostasis, with the Trinity. The Trinitarian scholar, Johann David Michaelis wrote concerning Matthew 28:19 :

      ” It is impossible to understand from this passage [Matt. 28:19], whether the Holy Spirit is a person. The meaning of Jesus may have been this : Those who were baptized should, upon their baptism, confess that they believed in the Father and the Son, and in all the doctrines inculcated by the Holy Spirit ” (i.e. by the prophetic spirit of the Father).

      ” The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus..” p. 327.

      Anglican Theologians such as Geoffrey H. Lampe and Maurice F. Wiles, et al, openly admitted that God’s Spirit in the the Bible is not an independent divine hypostasis, separate from our Father God, Himself. A footnote in the CTS Bible, regarding the triadic formula in 2 Cor. 13:14, reads :

      ” This [triadic] formula is more a reflection of Paul’s tendency to use ternary formulas than an expression of the Trinity.”

      (3). You seem to imply that the dis-advantaged group mentioned Matthew 25:45 specifically represents literally anybody and everybody, and that literally anybody and everybody, are Christ’s ‘brothers and sisters’ – as is mentioned in Matthew 25:40 (NTE Version).

      However, quite a lot of Bible commentators and Bible translations (including Tom Wright’s ‘New Testament for Everyone’) identify the two disadvantaged groups as specifically being ‘brothers and sisters’ of Christ, and Biblically speaking, one only becomes a bother and sister of Jesus by hearing God’s Word and doing it (cf. Matthew 12:47-50). People who reject God’s Word, and continue to seriously ethically flout it, are unlikely to be Christ’s ‘brothers and sisters’.

      God bless you, Clare.

  11. Isaiah 9:6
    For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

  12. Hi, Steve.

    The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in Isa. 9:6 is ‘El’, which primarily means “god-like’, “mighty one”, “god”, “mighty men”, “angels”. (Brown, Driver, Briggs; ‘Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament.’)

    My REB Bible reads in Isa, 9:6 :

    ” .. and his title will be,
    Wonderful Counsellor, Almighty Hero, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”.

    Regardless of whether we translate the Hebrew as “Mighty God”, what we have is an example of a Theophoric name, i.e. A God carrying name or title, that describes not the person who holds the name, but the God whom the parent(s) worshipped. The theophoric title (according to Isa. 9:6, in ‘The Jewish Study Bible’) is :

    ” The Mighty God is planning grace,
    The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler ”

    Praise Yahweh Father God for Yeshua ! (Jesus).

    • “If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.” Douglas Adams.

          • Dear Steve;

            The Father is the ONLY true God.

            God’s Messenger is Jesus the Messiah.

            As Jesus says with respect to the Father :

            ” Now eternal life means knowing You as the ONLY true God and knowing Jesus Your messenger as Messiah “.

            (John 17:3; cf. C.B. Williams Translation).

            Jesus was ” The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

    • Scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tested, were slain by sword.

  13. Concerning the Trinity and the Lord Jesus’ role within it.
    I recommend an article by a Hebrew scholars view of the Masaoretic
    Texts and its’ various corruptions by the Hebrew translators’
    I do so agree with Ian that the teaching of the nature of God must be a teaching taught throughout the year,along with the work of making deciples,especially defining what a deciple is in the Kingdom of God of which Repentance is a foundation stone and also requires defining teaching.

    • Dear Alan –

      An Orthodox Jewish view by :

      Pinchas Lapide -historian, theologian, Israeli diplomat, and a believer in the resurrection of Jesus :

      ” Whoever knows the development of the history of dogma knows that the image of God in the primitive Church was unitary, and only in the second century did it gradually, against the the doctrine of subordinationism, become binary. For the Church ‘fathers’ such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, Jesus is subordinate to the Father in everything, and Origen hesitated to direct his prayer to Christ, for as he wrote, that should properly be to the Father alone.”

      ‘Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine’, p. 39.

      Lapide later speaks of the :

      ” bloody intra-Christian religious wars of the fourth and fifth centuries, when thousands upon thousands of Christians slaughtered other Christians for the sake of the Trinity.”

      Ibid., p. 40.

    • Our pastor , yesterday evening’s anecdote:
      ‘A philosophical construct is , say, the omnipresent, omnipotent, omnicientce of God. We hold it up and then try and force Jesus into it. Rather, we should hold Jesus up and allow Him to shape our understanding.’
      The doctrine of the trinity is another such construct. By holding it up we force scripture to conform to our understanding. But before Pellegrino shouts for joy, the same it true of his perceptions of intellect.
      I say this debate is never going to get anywhere, however clever you think yourself to be. Even ‘S’ sometimes gives me the impression that truth is an objective philosophical reality when, in fact, Jesus is The Truth. If He wants to make all of our conjectures float or sink , He could.

      • Steve –

        I fully agree that we should only allow God’s Son, Jesus the Messiah, to completely shape our understanding of Who God is, and what is the nature of human reality. It is because Jesus is ‘The Truth’ (John 14:6), that I believe Him when He says that the Father is “the only true God” (John 17:3).

        Our Heavenly Father God was ‘Yahweh’ in the Old Testament, and He was the ONLY God (See Deut. 6:4; New Jerusalem Bible). Isaiah 64:8 says :

        “But now, O Yahweh, You are our Father.
        We are the clay, and You are our Potter;
        and we all the work of Your hand.”

        Jesus has plainly told us that the Father is “the Only True God”, and that the Father is His God, and our God’ (John 20:17). Our Father God has also told us :

        “This is My Son, Whom I love.
        Listen to Him ! ”

        (Mark 9:7).

        The fact that Jesus is right about the Father being ‘the only true God’ (John 17:3) is confirmed by the book of Revelation, wherein :

        1. There is always a distinction between ‘God’, on the one hand, and then, ‘Jesus’ or ‘the Lamb’, on the other hand (Rev. 1:1, et al).

        2. Only the Father is called ‘ Pantokrator’ = The ‘Almighty’ (Rev. 4:8, et al).

        3. The term ‘our God’ always refers to the Father (Rev. 5:10; et al).

        4. Only the Father is referred to by Jesus as being ‘My God’ (See Rev. 3:2; 3:12).

        5. It is the Father alone Who (in Rev. 1:4; et al) bears the Divine description “Ho On” (“The One Who Is”), which occurs in Exodus 3:15 of the Septuagint. (i.e. Moses was told by Yahweh to tell the Israelites that ‘Ho On’ (” the One Who Is”) had sent him).

        6. That the ‘severn Spirits’ before the throne are angels, and is not a reference to the holy Spirit is clearly indicated in Rev. 3:5, where Jesus will confess the names of those who overcome, only before “My Father and His angels”. The ‘seven Spirits’ of Rev. 1:4, as even some Trinitarian commentators admit, are the seven angels of Rev. 8:2; and Rev. 1:4 is a parallel expression to 1 Timothy 5:21, which reads :

        ” I charge thee in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels”.


        We need to listen to Jesus.

        God bless you, Steve.

        • The jury is out in my opinion as to who the angels are. I feel sure the Torches in front of the throne are the HS. So too the angels gathered before God in Job. They go out into all the world and report back. So too is the Angel in Rev 1 . He takes the message to John. He is then seen as the stars in Jesus hand. Throughout Revelation the HS is the agent by which Jesus the man in heaven communicates with His church on earth. The mighty Angel is the HS with the message for John to eat. I think every iteration of an Angel is always The HS in combination with a created being. Sometimes even and usually just a human agent. Phillip , acting in the Spirit became an Angel for the Ethiopian. The Angel who released Peter from prison was, in my mind a human agent, un named, who the HS used .
          The Father is God on the throne , behind and above all.
          Jesus is at the centre of the throne. 100%God, 100% man. The New creation.
          The HS is God, active in the hearts of Christians.
          …in my humble, non intellectual, opinion.

          • Steve –

            If the holy Spirit is as you say, Steve, then why is there no explicit mention of all this in the New Testament ?

            If the holy Spirit is a separate divine hypostasis (‘person’) alongside our Father God, and Jesus, the Son of God, then why is it that the holy Spirit is :

            never prayed to ?;
            never sung to ?;
            never worshipped?;
            never sends any greetings in Paul’s epistles ?;
            never has a throne in the book of Revelation?;
            never has a personal name ?

          • We pray in the Spirit. He helps us pray. He seeks not His own glory. The Angel at the end of Revelation refused worship, not because He is a created being but because He directs John to worship Jesus. Only the HS does that. Is able , ultimately to do that. Revelation is, after all, the Spirits message, He gets to write the postscript!
            Sung to , etc, comes under the same logic. He is the One in our heart who invokes worship. A science magazine got people to describe which part of their bodies warmed when they experienced different emotions. Shame, for instance on a body map showed a glowing neck, joy showed up as glowing legs. Who has the greatest joy ? The Spirit, the mighty Angel!
            …just a thought…
            Bedtime here.

          • Steve –

            1. In the book of Revelation only the Father is worshipped, apart from a possible exception at Rev. 5:12-14. However, Rev. 5:12-14 is parallel to 1 Chron. 29:20, which says that all the congregation :

            “worshipped Jehovah [Yahweh] and the king ”

            Thus, King David was ‘worshipped’ alongside as Yahweh Father God, because David was Yahweh’s representative.

            The two angelic warnings to worship only God (in the book of Revelation) refer to our Father God. There is no angelic command to worship Jesus.

            Furthermore, if the holy Spirit is a distinct divine ‘hypostasis’ (person), then the holy Spirit would be the ‘Father’ of Jesus ! (cf. Matthew 1:18); And the Jews would have been Binitarians, and not Unitarians.

            2. Father God’s Spirit is Father God Himself in His interaction with the world, and with human beings. Through His Spirit, Father God communicated His thoughts to the Prophets, and to Jesus. Thus, when the disciples pray to God our Father, in Acts 4:24-30, they say that He had spoke by the holy Spirit, through the mouth of David (cf. Acts 4:25).

            Just as your ‘spirit’, Steve, is not a separate, distinct being, apart from yourself (which would make you two persons!), so God’s Spirit is not a distinct being, separate from our Father God Himself (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11).

            When it says that “The Spirit clearly says’ in 1 Tim. 4:1, this is a case of the use of a biblical figure of speech known as ‘metonymy’. The phrase would probably thus literally mean :

            ” Our Father God, by His Spirit, says to the Christian prophets that …”

            Thus, in conclusion.

            ‘God’s Spirit / holy Spirit ‘ in the Old Testament was the operational presence and power of the One God, Yahweh our Father. In the New Testament, the ‘ holy Spirit’ is the operational power, and/or presence of God our Father, and now also, the exalted Jesus, who is with us in spiritual form (cf. John 14:23; 1 John 2:1 [where Jesus is the promised ‘Parakletos of John 14-16]); Matt. 28:20). The holy Spirit communicates the spiritual presence of God the Father and Christ Jesus, to us, but :

            (a) The holy Spirit is not a distinct divine hypostasis (person), alongside our Almighty Father God and Jesus;

            and, (b). There is only one true God, Who is the Father (John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6).

        • Dear Pellegrino,
          “Up to a point, Lord Copper.”
          But, I think it is my turn to go and buy the next round of drinks. Which is good ‘cos everybody else has vanished.
          What’s yours?
          Excuse me while I slope off.

          • Have we got time for a quick game of darts, Steve ?

            18O !

            I found Jocky Wilson’s autographed message to me, yesterday.

            What a player ! What an Athlete ! 🙂

          • A game of numbers Pellegrino?
            Okay, 180. What is at the centre?
            The One! on the throne, holding the scroll in his right hand as the Lamb approaches ‘rising like the sun, like a bridegroom rejoicing to run his course’. He arrives at the zenith, blazing like the sun, to take from the Father of the Bride his betrothed, sealed with the Sprit. He begins to employ full power and wisdom to open the sealed scroll. I now see the scroll at the 180 point. Jesus is on the left, The One on the right. For a moment, at this trig point, I see the Groom, The Father, The Spirit (Horns with eyes) on the throne. Only momentarily because next we see only the Lamb and the scroll. The scroll is the bride to be. Made ready, sealed. The seals represent the 7 churches’ who have ‘overcome’ . The Scroll, the Bride, is white and ready. The Father of the Bride retreats, Jesus is now hers alone. After this, history is played out as the scroll is unwound, from the very beginning to the end. Jesus is one with the Father, Jesus is one flesh with His Bride.
            For in the now and not yet the Spirit says come, Jesus is on the throne. The Father of the Bride has given Esther seven maids of wisdom to make herself ready. Only at the end of the wedding banquet will there be full unity. Until then we have the help of the seven. Revelation is at the centre of the dartboard, all scripture, wisdom and power radiates from it.

          • I was a graphic artist but now retired. I’m getting back into art based on my understanding of scripture. So far I have only made 7.
            I am on N°8 right now.
            The intriguing thing to me is how ideas look when presented as a diagram.
            The art is just the means by which it is presented.

          • Thanks, Steve.

            I understand one needs artistic and computer skills to be a graphic Artistic ? And talking about computer skills, you know when you said that the, : symbol, followed by the, ) symbol results in a smiley face, are there any other emoji’s I can get up on Ian’s comment page just by using my keyboard ? I think you used another emoji the other day, apart from just the smiley faced one.

            Is all your theologically-themed work so far on the Trinity, Steve?

            God bless you, Steve. 🙂

          • ; followed by ) = 😉
            Trinity? I’m a quadrinitarian!
            One day we will be caught up in the Spirit to meet Jesus in the air to spend eternity with Him. He in turn brings us, His bride, into His Fathers house.
            I think you muddle up the past, present and future Biblical history into one.
            YHWH was one revelation , superseded by Jesus The final revelation. You seem to want to go through with the wedding of the Lamb but at the end of the day stay seated at the top table with His Father.
            Incidentally, the Father is also the Father of the bride. This is probably why incest is forbidden . It is the last taboo to be overturned at the end.
            For instance , eating blood was forbidden but now Jesus says “drink this”. A priest was made unclean by touching the sick. But when Jesus touched the sick they were healed. Etc.
            Anyway… art…. I can’t imagine any dynamic of biblical allusion without the trinity there in some way.

    • Thanks for your comments, Alan.

      There’s some ‘smart cookies’ on that 48 Omnibus, Alan, and you’re one of them.

      You do some good research, Alan.

      Quick Points :

      1. All/most of our recent English Bibles are based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text, so if there’s any textual corruptions in the Masoretic text, then most of our English Bibles will have the corruptions as well. There is no perfect Biblical text – either Greek, nor Hebrew. However, God has given us more than enough Scripture for our own personal, spiritual edification and salvation.

      2. All Christian religions, whether they be Unitarian, Binitarian, or Trinitarian have sub-divisions within them. There is no perfect denomination – but that doesn’t stop God working within people, and conforming them, more and more, to the image of His Son, Jesus. God is bigger than our denominations.

      3. The C of E is a bit of a coalition of almost different Christian denominations. Personally, I’m not over-concerned about what any Christians believe, as long as they act like Christians.

      God bless you, dear Alan.

    • Thank you, Alan.

      I pray for everybody, Alan, even my enemies, persecutors, and slanders.

      May our Father God turn them to Himself, and, God willing, conform them more and more to the image of His Son, Jesus.

      God bless you, Alan. Have a good day.

  14. Hi Pellegrino,
    One last comment from me.
    Things change. Jesus is the ‘anointed one’ but on his ascension He became king of kings. His Father was ‘The One ‘ on the throne but now He has taken the position in the ‘centre of the throne’ the Father has started the process of putting ‘everything under his feet’ . Surely, we come to the Father through the son but when we get there we will find Jesus. So yes a Unity , one God , but Until that time we have and are in the dynamic of now and not yet. We live in the Spirit, worship the Father and live in the hope of being United with Jesus.
    Like Ian stated, we do ourselves no service by making too much of the Trinity by way of discussions like this. As St. Paul said to the Philippians, if you think otherwise God will make it plain to you. He was wise enough to know when to stop and leave the rest to God.

    • Dear Steve – I just responded to your second to last post (June 5th), above.

      This is the response to your latest post :

      ” Christian Origins..” by Oxford Professor Christopher Rowland, p. 248, seems to have it absolutely right.

      As the lord (Hebrew ‘adoni’) of Psalm 110, the exalted Messiah Jesus has a :

      “lordship, delegated to him temporarily by God (1 Cor. 15:28)..” (ibid., p. 248.)

      Professor Rowland later describes Jesus as :

      ” God’s agent, the Messiah”. (ibid., p. 248.)

      When all enemies have been subjected to Jesus’ Messianic reign, then Jesus, as God’s representative agent, will hand the Kingdom over to His Father God – Who will then reign directly and supremely, in all, and over all. (1 Cor. 15:24, 28.)

      Just as Joseph was elevated to a ‘lordship’, and shared a delegated ‘functional equality’ with Pharaoh, as Pharaoh’s ‘agent-representative’, so Jesus has a ‘functional equality’ with God, during Christ’s temporary, Messianic kingdom.

      However, just as there was only one Pharoah, so there is only one God, Who is the Father (I Cor 8:6; 1 Cor. 15:24; 1 Cor. 15:28; John 17:3).

      The New Testament never breaks the bounds of Jewish Monotheism – which is why the New Testament never contains any Trinitarian controversies with the Jews, which would be the case if the ‘Trinity’ was ever preached during the New Testament period.


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