Counter Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun: Is the Holy Spirit Omniscient? - Part 3.

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Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun

On the “Deity” of the Holy Spirit

Abdullah Smith

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV][Part V]

 

HE WROTE:

As far as the fig tree is concerned there is a very reasonable explanation why Jesus cursed it, one that Smith could have found on our site and thereby saved himself from being embarrassed for writing such shallow rebuttals. Messianic Believer David Stern comments:

"… If Yeshua's cursing and drying up the fig tree had been a petulant reaction to disappointment because he couldn't satisfy his hunger, it would be unworthy of anyone, let alone the Messiah. But Yeshua is making a point by means of prophetic drama, acted-out parable (possibly Lk 13:6-9). Tanakh examples include Yirmiyahu, who bought and broke a clay bottle (Jeremiah 19), and Yechezk'el, who made and then burned up a model of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4-5); for a later New Testament instance see Ac 21:10-11.

Even out of season a fig tree in leaf- it must have been in leaf to be seen in the distance (v. 12)- holds forth the promise of fruit. The normal early season for figs in Israel is June, but the early unripe fruit (Song of Songs 2:13) begins to show itself even before the spring leaves appear on the branches, often before Passover.

We know that Yeshua expects God's people to put forth the fruit of righteousness, and that unproductive branches are thrown in the fire (Mt 7:16-20; 12:33; 13:4-9, 18-23; Yn 15:1-8). Thus, the drying-up of the fig tree is an acted-out warning. In keeping with Proverbs 27:18 ('He who tends a fig tree will eat his fruit, and he who serves his master will be honored') Yeshua here is teaching his followers what it means to serve their master, God: it means simply to have the kind of trust that comes from God (v 22), and that they will wither away if they don’t. Yeshua neither acts from pique nor perform arbitrary miracles like a magician; every one of his supernatural acts has spiritual significance." (Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary [Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., Clarksville Maryland, Fifth edition 1996], pp. 95-96)

The late renowned NT scholar F.F. Bruce noted:

"The other miracle is the cursing of the barren fig tree (Mk. xi 12 ff.), a stumbling block to many. They feel that it is unlike Jesus, and so someone must have misunderstood what actually happened, or turned a spoken parable into an acted miracle, or something like that. Some, on the other hand, welcome the story because it shows that Jesus was human enough to get unreasonably annoyed on occasion. It appears, however, that a closer acquaintance with fig trees would have prevented such misunderstandings. 'The time of the fig is not yet,' says Mark, for it was just before Passover, about six weeks before the fully-formed fig appears. The fact that Mark adds these words shows that he knew what he was talking about. When the fig leaves appear about the end of March, they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of fore-runner of the real figs. These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. They drop off before the rea fig is formed. But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. So it was evident to our Lord, when He turned aside to see if there were any of these taqsh on the fig-tree to assuage His hunger for the time being, that the absence of the taqsh meant that there would be no figs when the time of figs came. For all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree." (Bruce, Are The New Testament Documents Reliable? [Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove, Ill, fifth revised edition 1992], pp. 73-74)

More importantly, the cursing of the fig tree is a played or acted out parable. The OT uses the fig tree as a symbol of national Israel:

"I will take away their harvest, declares the LORD. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, AND THEIR LEAVES WILL WITHER. What I have given them will be taken from them.’" Jeremiah 8:13

"You may say, 'The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,' but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David's throne and all the people who remain in this city, your countrymen who did not go with you into exile- yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like poor figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth and an object of cursing and horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. For they have not listened to my words,' declares the LORD, 'words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,' declares the LORD." Jeremiah 29:15-19

"When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, IT WAS LIKE SEEING THE EARLY FRUIT ON THE FIG TREE. But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved... Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit. Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring." Hosea 9:10, 16

"What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net. Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire- they all conspire together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen has come, the day God visits you. Now is the time of their confusion." Micah 7:1-4

"All your fortresses are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater." Nahum 3:12

The foregoing helps clarify why Jesus did what he did. Christ sought after what the OT says Yahweh was searching for, namely the spiritual fruit that national Israel owed God. Yet instead of finding the early fig (cf. Hosea 9:10) Christ found the nation spiritually dead and therefore unfruitful:

"Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, "For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?" "Sir," the man replied, "leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."’" Luke 13:6-9

In light of Israel’s barrenness, God would now bring destruction upon the nation:

"He then began to speak to them in parables: 'A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, "They will respect my son." But the tenants said to one another, "This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill thosetenants and give the vineyard to others.’" Mark 12:1-9

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’" Matthew 23:37-39

"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.’" Luke 19:41-44

"So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, 'This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.’" Acts 6:12-14

Although these Jews were trying to falsely accuse Stephen, there was some truth to what they said since Jesus did speak of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.

 

RESPONSE:

Here is what Shamoun ignored:

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. (Mark 11:13)

I was emphasizing the limited knowledge of Jesus that he didn’t know the tree had no fig, or else he would’ve avoided the tree altogether. Shamoun explains why Jesus cursed the tree, which is a whole different topic.

Let us expose the discrepancies of the fig tree.

According to Matthew, the tree withered immediately:

Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately (parachrema) the tree withered. (21:19)

Yet according to Mark, the fig tree withered the next day:

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!" (Mark 11:20-22)

The Christian explanation is refuted here

Mark testifies that Jesus did not know the season:

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.(Mark 11:13)

Jesus should have known that Passover (in the springtime) is not fig season (Mk 11:13). The text “because it was not the season for figs” was probably added to explain why there were no figs on the tree.

The chronology of Matthew and Mark is inconsistent:

Matthew 21:1-22 states that Jesus made his Entry into Jerusalem (21:7-9), and drove out the money changers (12-13), he spent the night at Bethany (verse 17). The next morning he cursed the fruitless fig tree that withered (18-20)

Mark 11:1-22 states that Jesus made his Entry into Jerusalem (7-10); he returned to Bethany, it was late (verse 11). The next morning, Jesus cursed a fruitless fig tree (12-14), he drove out the money changers from the Temple (15-17), he spent the night in Bethany (verse 19), the next morning it was discovered the fig tree had withered (20-21)

According to Matthew, Jesus cursed the tree before he drove out the money changers, yet Mark states that he cursed the tree after he drove them out. How many nights did Jesus spend in Bethany? Matthew says one night, but Mark says two nights.

Randel Helms exposes the fig tree story:

 

“…The process of the fictional enhancement of a miracle story is perhaps best observed in the case of the cursing of the fig tree, a miracle story that began simply as a parable. Luke has the parable—probably the original version of the episode—but not the miracle; Mark and Matthew have the miracle but not the parable. This strange story began very simply:

 

Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' (Luke 13:6-7)

 

Randel Helms concludes by saying:

 

Matthew suppresses the part of Mark’s account that makes Jesus look childishly petulant; also, he moves the tree to the roadside, so that Jesus with his supernatural knowledge will not unknowingly make a needless trip to gather fruit from a non-bearing tree. And since Matthew characteristically depicts Jesus’ miracle-working powers as instantaneous, he makes that fictional change too. A parable becomes an even more striking miracle story. (Gospel Fictions, p 74)

The fig tree demonstrates that Jesus was not All-knowing, that is my point!

 

HE WROTE:

Smith cites John Shelby Spong and Shabir Ally to prove that the early Christians never believed in the Deity of Christ and that the hypostatic union is logically inconsistent. Smith also wrote:

The 12 disciples never preached the concept of trinity, the early Christian gospel known as the Didache (97 CE) contradicts the trinity and teaches the Oneness of God.

He even dares to lie that Constantine transformed Jesus into God incarnate. Here is what some of the early Christians wrote regarding the Deity of the Lord Jesus LONG BEFORE Constantine ever appeared on the scene:

 

RESPONSE:

You are ignorant of early Christian history; I was referring to the Nazarenes and Ebionites who believed Jesus was a Prophet and not a divine figure!

The preaching of Paul prevailed. He revolutionized the Christian beliefs and traditions, creating new doctrines. The faith originally preached by Jesus was fundamentally different, and that has prompted some writers to name the Christianity revolutionized by Paul as “Pauline Christianity”. (Akbarally Meherally, Understanding the Bible through Koranic Messages, p. 36)

 

It would probably come as a shock to most Christians today that the original followers of Jesus were never called Christians. They were called Nazarenes The gospels showed that the Galilean was normally referred to as Jesus the Nazarene (Mark 1:24; John 18:5). Most modern New Testament translations render this as "Jesus of Nazareth" but the former represents the more common form of words in the original Greek version. (online Source) 

The earliest followers of Jesus were known as Nazarenes, and perhaps later, Ebionites, and form an important part of the picture of Palestinian Jewish groups in late 2nd Temple times.

The Ebionite/Nazarene movement was made up of mostly Jewish/Israelite followers of John the Baptizer and later Jesus, who were concentrated in Palestine and surrounding regions and led by "James the Just" (the oldest brother of Jesus), and flourished between the years 30-80 C.E.  (1)

“…All these sources within mainstream Christianity agree that the Ebionites denied the divinity of Jesus, the doctrine of the Trinity, the Virgin Birth and the death of Jesus as an atonement for the Original Sin. Epiphanius describes them as opposing animal sacrifice and as vegetarians. Epiphanius quotes their gospel as ascribing the words to Jesus, "I have come to destroy the sacrifices" (Panarion 30.16.5), and as ascribing to Jesus rejection of the Passover meat (Panarion 30.22.4). This is in agreement with numerous passages found in the Recognitions and Homilies (e. g. Recognitions 1.36, 1.54, Homilies 3.45, 7.4, 7.8). (2)

According to Justin Martyr (c100-165) and Epiphanus (c315-403), the Nazarenes did not believe in the virgin birth. They considered Jesus to be born of normal parentage. And although they believed Jesus to be the messiah, they rejected the genealogies that show Jesus ancestry from David. They continued to follow the precepts of the Jewish law, just like Peter and James had done. The Nazarenes never considered Jesus to be divine (i.e. God the Son) but that he was given the messiahship after his baptism by John. The Nazarenes never accepted the teachings and writings of Paul. In fact, they looked upon Paul as an apostate who was not of pure Jewish blood.   (3)

There was serious conflict between the Pauline and the Jerusalem interpretations of Jesus and his message. This conflict, after simmering for years, finally led to a complete break, by which the Pauline Christian Church was founded, comprising, in effect, a new religion, separated from Judaism. On the other hand, the Jerusalem Nazarenes did not sever their links with Judaism, but regarded themselves essentially as practicing Jews, loyal to the Torah, who also believed in Jesus, a human Messiah figure.

 

When the Jewish insurrection was crushed by the Romans and their Temple destroyed in 70 CE, the Jewish Christians were scattered, and their power and influence as the Mother Church and center of the Jesus movement was ended. The Pauline Christian movement, which up until 66 CE had been struggling to survive against the strong disapproval of Jerusalem, now began to make headway. 

 

The Jerusalem Church, under the leadership of James, originally known as Nazarenes, later came to be known by the derogatory nickname Ebionites (Hebrew evyonium, “poor men”), which some Nazarenes adopted with pride as a reminder of Jesus’ saying, “Blessed are the poor.” After the ascendency of Graeco-Roman Church, the Nazarenes became despised as heretics, due to their rejection of the doctrines of Paul.

 

According to the ancient Church historian, Irenaeus (c. 185 CE), the Ebionites believed in one God, the Creator, taught that Jesus was the Messiah, used only the Gospel According to Matthew, and rejected Paul as an apostate from the Jewish Law.

 

Ebionites were known to still exist in the 4th century. Some had left Palestine and settled in Transjordan and Syria and were later known to be in Asia Minor, Egypt and Rome.  (4)

 

The persecution of the followers of Jesus, not only by the Romans, but also by the Jews, forced many of them to disperse throughout the land. Some of the apostles made their way to Antioch where they hoped to escape persecution and live a peaceful life. The followers of Jesus by then were known as Nazarenes, a name derived from a Hebrew word which means "to keep" or "to guard." Thus the adjective indicated their role as keepers and guardians of the guidance which Jesus had brought. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, 1992 edition)

 

The Congregation of Israel picked up on the exodus story and delighted in the thought that, though their group was an unlikely bunch compared to contemporary notions of Israel as defined by ethnically pure Jews, the Jesus movement in their time was like the formation of Israel in Moses' time. (Mack Burton, Who Wrote the New Testament? p. 43, 73)

 

The Nazarenes and Ebionites are by all the Church historians unanimously acknowledged to have been the first Christians, or those who believed in Christ among the Jews with which, his own people, he lived and died, they having been the witness of his actions, and of whom were all the Apostles. (John Toland, The Nazarenes, p. 6)

The Jesus movements which started in Galilee during the 30s and 40s were Jewish; they rejected the divinity of Jesus long before Constantine appeared on the scene. Shamoun is referring to the Pauline Christians, who are not the true Christians of Jewish descent.

In 325 A.D., the famous Council of Nicea was held. The doctrine of the Trinity was declared to be the official doctrine of the Pauline Church, and one of the consequences of this decision was that out of the three hundred or so Gospels extant at that time, four were chosen as the official Gospels of the Church. The remaining Gospels, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered to be destroyed completely. It was also decided that all Gospels written in Hebrew should be destroyed. An edict was issued stating that would found in possession of an unauthorised Gospel would be put to death.

“…Unfortunately, books like The Travels and Teachings of the Apostles were destroyed by the Pauline Church, once it had adopted the doctrine of Trinity, in its attempts to eliminate any record which contradicted this dogma. Therefore, much that was known about Barnabas and the early Christians has been lost.

Differences between the two were not only evident in life-style and belief, but were also clearly delineated geographically. As the Pauline Church grew more established, it became increasingly hostile to the followers of Jesus. It aligned itself more and more with the rulers of the Roman Empire, and the persecution which to begin with had been directed at all who called themselves Christians, now began to fall mainly on those who affirmed the Divine Unity. Attempts began to be made to change their beliefs and forcefully to remove those who refused to do so, together with the books they used. Most of the early martyrs were Unitarians. The more the doctrine of Trinity became accepted, the more its adherents opposed those who affirmed the Divine Unity. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, 1992 edition)

“…With the development, formulation and official acceptance in 325 A.D. of the doctrine of Trinity…The four accepted Gospels were selected and all the other Scriptures written after Jesus’ birth were banned.

Constantine signed the decree at the Council of Nicea which transformed Jesus into God!

The theory of Trinity and its implied renunciation of the biblical teachings of monotheism, developed over several centuries and through many controversies. When the Church advocated doctrine of Trinity was made the law of the land by Constantine. The scholars who wanted Christianity to be based upon the ‘Law of the Lord’ (the Torah), were banished and excommunicated by the Church. (Akbarally Meherally, Understanding the Bible through Koranic Messages, pp. 48-49)

Constantine was not a Christian. Supposedly, he converted later in life, but he was not baptized until he lay dying. Regarding him, Henry Chadwick says in The Early Church: "Constantine, like his father, worshipped the Unconquered Sun; . . . his conversion should not be interpreted as an inward experience of grace . . . It was a military matter. His comprehension of Christian doctrine was never very clear, but he was sure that victory in battle lay in the gift of the God of the Christians."

What role did this unbaptized emperor play at the Council of Nicaea? The Encyclopædia Britannica relates: "Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions, and personally proposed . . . the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council, 'of one substance with the Father' . . . Overawed by the emperor, the bishops, with two exceptions only, signed the creed, many of them much against their inclination." (1)

In 325 C.E., the Emperor Constantine was faced with two serious controversies that divided his Christian subjects – the observance of true Christian Passover on Easter Sunday, and the concept of Trinity which was being challenged by Arius and others.

The Emperor called the Council of Nicea to settle these controversies. Support for the Arianism was growing. The new territories of Constantine were split over a “theological trifle” according to Mr. Wright. The Council met in the Imperial Palace under the Imperial auspices. The Council of priests approved the observance of Easter Sunday and the doctrine of homoousious meaning, of co-equality, co-eternity and consubstantiality of the second person of the Trinity with the Father. The Doctrine became known s the “Creed of Nicea”. Arius was quickly condemned and later excommunicated. In 335 he was readmitted to the Church but in the following year he died before his reinstatement.

As a political and civil ruler, Constantine made it an Imperial Law to abide by the Council’s decision. Constantine was a pagan ruler. To him it mattered little if such a doctrine contradicted the basic principle of a monotheistic religion or negated the fundamental command pronounced by the Old Testament. (Akbarally Meherally, Understanding the Bible through Koranic Messages, p. 50)

 

HE WROTE:

Ignatius (107-112 A.D.). Bishop of Antioch and an eyewitness of the Apostles: "We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, BEFORE TIME BEGAN, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For ‘the Word was made flesh.' Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts." (Letter to the Ephesians 7)

"Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that hath found mercy in the bountifulness of the Father Most High and of Jesus Christ His only Son; to the church that is beloved and enlightened through the will of Him who willed all things that are, by faith and love towards Jesus Christ our God; even unto her that hath the presidency in the country of the region of the Romans..." ( Letter to the Romans 1)

"Nothing visible is good. For our God Jesus Christ, being in the Father, is the more plainly visible. The Work is not of persuasiveness, but Christianity is a thing of might, whensoever it is hated by the world." (Letter to the Romans 3)

"I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon you" (Letter to the Smyraeans)

"By the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God." ( Letter to the Ephesians)

Polycarp (70-160). Bishop of Smyrna and a disciple of John the Apostle: "O Lord God almighty...I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever"

"Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest Himself, the God Jesus Christ, build you up in the faith..."( The Epistle of Polycarp to the Church at Philippi, 12)

Justin Martyr ( 140 A.D.): "the word of wisdom, who is himself God begotten of the Father of all things, and word, and wisdom, and power, and the glory of the begetter, will bear evidence to me".(Dialogue with Tropho Ch.61)

"God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: 'Let us make man after our image and likeness' . . . I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with someone numerically distinct from himself and also a rational being. . . . But this Offspring who was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father BEFORE ALL THE CREATURES, and the Father communed with him" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 62)

"For Christ is King, and Priest, and GOD and Lord..."(Dialogue With Trypho, 34)

"...He preexisted as the Son of the Creator of things, being God, and that He was born a man by the Virgin." (Dialogue With Trypho, 48)

CHAP. LXVI.--HE (JUSTIN) PROVES FROM ISAIAH THAT GOD WAS BORN FROM A VIRGIN. - Chapter Title

"And Trypho said, "You endeavor to prove an incredible and well-nigh impossible thing;[namely], that God endured to be born and become man...some Scriptures which we mention, and which expressly prove that Christ was to suffer, to be worshipped, and [to be called] God, and which I have already recited to you, do refer indeed to Christ." (Dialogue with Trypho, ch. 68)

"We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God Himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the Mystery which lies therein" (First Apology 13:5-6)

Iranaeus Iranaeus (120-202): "In order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, AND GOD, and Savior, and King..."(Irenaeus Against Heresies, 1.10.1)

180 A.D. "But he Jesus is himself in his own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, Lord, and king eternal, and the incarnate word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles …The Scriptures would not have borne witness to these things concerning Him, if, like everyone else, He were mere man." (Against Heresies 3:19.1-2)

"For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, 'Let us make man after our image and likeness'". (Against Heresies, 4:10)

 

RESPONSE:

 

The bishop Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Iranaeus were pagan converts to Christianity, it is obvious for them to deify Jesus, because they worshipped a man-god aforetime.

 

The image of Jesus was altered to make it acceptable to the pagans!

 

This shift of emphasis from Jesus as a man to the new image of Christ, who was divine, enabled the intellectuals in Greece and Rome to assimilate into their own philosophy what Paul and those who followed him were preaching. Their view of existence was a tripartite one, and, with the Pauline Church’s talk of “God the Father” and the “Son of God”, it only needed the inclusion of the “Holy Ghost” to have a Trinity which matched theirs. With the passage of time, these two pictures merged into one, and the doctrine of Trinity was born. Not only the philosophical ideas prevalent in Greece at that time coloured the teaching, but also the very language of Greece itself influenced the expression of the teaching, trapping and limiting its meaning. Greek could contain the philosophy of the Greeks, but was neither vast nor supple enough to carry what Jesus had said. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, 1992 edition, p 70)

 

A true Jew would have immediately recognized the teaching of Jesus as a reaffirmation of what Moses had taught. But to many a pagan, it must have seemed new and strange and perhaps a little complicated. Most of the pagans still believed in a multitude of gods who, it was thought, mixed freely with human beings, mated with them, and took part in every sphere of human life. To the common people of Greece, any description of Jesus must have seemed like a description of one of their gods, and they were probably quite ready to accept Jesus in this capacity. There was always room for one more god. However, the actual teaching of Jesus negated all their gods, since it affirmed the Divine Unity”. (ibid p. 62)

 

Whatever else one may believe about Jesus, it is clear both from the New Testament documents and from the creeds of the early Church that he was a fully human being. He knew hunger, thirst, weariness; he endured pain, grief, and the agony of doubt; he experienced birth and death. His appearance must have been ordinary, for on several occasions when trouble was brewing he was able to simply lose himself in the crowds. The Church of the first few centuries had little trouble selling the idea of God-in-human form to a non-Jewish audience: this kind of myth was commonplace at this time. (Tom Harper, For Christ’s Sake, p. 32)

 

To anyone not as sincere and steadfast as Barnabas, the task of establishing Jesus’s way of life in Greece without making any compromises must have seemed overwhelming. To Paul, who had already displayed his tendency to change what teaching he did know, it must have now seemed absolutely necessary to make what adjustments were needed to make Jesus’s teaching palatable to the common people. Greece was not part of the Roman Empire. The Roman gods bore a marked resemblance to the Greek ones and belief in them only served to support the same misconceptions which a belief in the Greek gods entailed. Paul had previously spent some time in Rome and was a Roman citizen. It is possible that his own reasoning had been influenced by his contact with the Roman way of life. He was well aware of the strong hold which the Greco-Roman religions had on the common people within the Roman Empire. It is clear that he seems to have felt it would not be possible to change their ways without making changes too. Barnabas, on the other hand, as it is recorded of Jesus in Matthew 5:18, knew that his Creator did not wish His law to be diminished or changed “one jot or one tittle”. He therefore held firm to the guidance he had been given. (Jesus Prophet of Islam, ibid, p. 63)

 

Both Paul and Barnabas were faced with the practical challenge of establishing Jesus’s way of life. The teaching of the affirmation of the Divine Unity was essential to this, but initially it was necessary to establish a pattern of behavior which was probably different in many ways to the one which the pagans had been used to. Clearly, this new way of doing things could only be learned and assimilated into the texture of everyday life gradually. No pagan community could have adopted overnight the whole course of action which Jesus embodied. From what records there are, it seems that Barnabas and Paul never stayed for very long in any one place. They could not have transmitted the whole of Jesus’s teaching in a short space of time. They must, therefore, have taught what seemed to be the most important parts first, with the intention of returning later and supplementing what they had shown the people with further instruction. Whereas Barnabas intended to transmit the whole teaching of Jesus, Paul was prepared to dispense with many of its aspects altogether, since, according to the new doctrine he was developing, they were no longer necessary. (ibid, p. 64)

Paul produced a religion which encompassed different contradictory elements. He took the Unitarianism of the Jews and added to it the philosophy of the pagans”. (p. 71)

“…By using material familiar to these congregations, even while reshaping it for his own purposes, Paul was performing as an accomplished rhetor. That would not have been unusual for the times. (Mack Burton, Who Wrote the New Testament? p. 77)

We find evidence to prove that Ignatius never believed Jesus was God:

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the church of God the Father and of Jesus Christ the Beloved, which hath been mercifully endowed with every grace,
 
[But] shun divisions, as the beginning of evils. Do ye all follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment. (1) 
 

I know that ye possess an unblameable and sincere mind in patience, and that not only in present practice but according to inherent nature, as Polybius your bishop has shown me, who has come to Smyrna by the will of God and Jesus Christ, and so sympathized in the joy which I, who am bound in Christ Jesus. (2)

 

Crocus also, worthy both of God and you, whom we have received as the manifestation of your love to us, hath in all things refreshed me, and "hath not been ashamed of my chain," as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will also refresh. (3)

If any one is truly religious, he is a man of God; but if he is irreligious, he is a man of the devil, made such, not by nature, but by his own choice. The unbelieving bear the image of the prince of wickedness. The believing possess the image of their Prince, God the Father, and Jesus Christ, through whom, if we are not in readiness to die for the truth into His passion, His life is not in us. (4)

 

I know that ye possess an unblameable and sincere mind in patience, and that not only in present practice, but according to inherent nature, as Polybius your bishop has shown me, who has come to Smyrna by the will of God and Jesus Christ, (5)

All of these quotations disprove the “Deity of Christ”.

The professor James White of Grand Canyon University says:

Even if Ignatius had said that the Son was equal to the Father in eternity, power, position, and wisdom, it would still not be a Trinity, for nowhere did he say that the holy spirit was equal to God in those ways. But Ignatius did not say that the Son was equal to God the Father in such ways or in any other. Instead, he showed that the Son is in subjection to the One who is superior, Almighty God.  (1) 

The epistles of Ignatius are forgeries!

It is now the universal opinion of critics, that the first eight of these professedly Ignatian letters are spurious. They bear in themselves indubitable proofs of being the production of a later age than that in which Ignatius lived. Neither Eusebius nor Jerome makes the least reference to them; and they are now by common consent set aside as forgeries, which were at various dates, and to serve special purposes, put forth under the name of the celebrated Bishop of Antioch. (2)

Forged writings have been attributed to many of the early Fathers, such as Barnabas, Clement, Polycarp, and Origen. But the most comprehensive of such frauds are the famous Epistles of Ignatius. There are fifteen in all, of which eight are universally rejected as spurious, while the other seven are still the subject of controversy, although no one disputes that even these are full of interpolations. The Syriac version, which is the oldest, contains only three epistles, and there are two distinct Greek versions of the seven. All the Epistles profess to have been written by Ignatius, called a bishop of Antioch, while on his way to martyrdom at Rome. The story of his martyrdom is in the highest degree fantastic and improbable, and it is incredible that he could have written them in rigorous confinement on his journey as a prisoner under sentence of an ignominious death. (G.W. Foote, Crimes of Christianity)

The Shocking Facts about Ignatius:

(1). He never mentions the four Gospels.

(2). He never mentions the trinity.

(3). He is the first to record a physical resurrection.

(4). He is the first to mention Jesus in physical form.

(5). He is the first to use the word ‘gospel’ outside the NT.

(6). All of his epistles are acknowledged to be forgeries.

The Church fathers shall be exposed in a separate article; we don’t have the space to refute all of them here.

The Church fathers rejected the “divinity” of Jesus:

Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., called the prehuman Jesus a created angel who is "other than the God who made all things." He said that Jesus was inferior to God and "never did anything except what the Creator . . . willed him to do and say."

Irenaeus, who died about 200 C.E., said that the prehuman Jesus had a separate existence from God and was inferior to him. He showed that Jesus is not equal to the "One true and only God," who is "supreme over all, and besides whom there is no other."

Clement of Alexandria, who died about 215 C.E., called Jesus in his prehuman existence "a creature" but called God "the uncreated and imperishable and only true God." He said that the Son "is next to the only omnipotent Father" but not equal to him.

Tertullian, who died about 230 C.E., taught the supremacy of God. He observed: "The Father is different from the Son (another), as he is greater; as he who begets is different from him who is begotten; he who sends, different from him who is sent." He also said: "There was a time when the Son was not. . . . Before all things, God was alone."

Hippolytus, who died about 235 C.E., said that God is "the one God, the first and the only One, the Maker and Lord of all," who "had nothing co-eval [of equal age] with him . . . But he was One, alone by himself; who, willing it, called into being what had no being before," such as the created prehuman Jesus.

Origen, who died about 250 C.E., said that "the Father and Son are two substances . . . two things as to their essence," and that "compared with the Father, [the Son] is a very small light. (online Source)

All of these quotations are derived from the Watchtower Bible Society website.

 

HE WROTE:

All these quotes from the Fathers were written long before Nicea, demonstrating that the belief in the Deity of the Lord Jesus and the Trinity was something already affirmed and preached by the Church very early in its history, even by the apostles themselves.

 

RESPONSE:

Paul, the earliest writer of the New Testament, never mentions the trinity, the Pastorals, the Acts, and the Gospels never record the trinity.

The doctrine of the Trinity was coined by the Christians about three hundred years after Jesus. The four Canonical Gospels, written between 70 and 115 C.E., contain no reference to the Trinity. Even St. Paul, who imported many foreign ideas into Christianity, knew nothing of the Triune God. The New Catholic Encyclopedia admits that the doctrine of the Trinity was unknown to the early Christians and that it was formulated in the last quarter of the fourth century. (Ulfat Aziz-us-Samad, Islam and Christianity, p. 31)

“It is difficult, in the second half of the 20th century to offer a clear, objective, and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and theological claboration of the mystery of the Trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, presents a somewhat unsteady silhouette. Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegeses and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definite Trinitarian dogma ‘one God in three persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought”. (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, (1967, art. “The Holy Trinity”, Volume 14, p. 295)

A little later the same Encyclopedia says even more emphatically:

“The formulation ‘one God in three persons’ was not solidly established into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective” (ibid, p. 299)

The 12 apostles never heard of the trinity, the Jews rejected the religion of their Roman occupiers, so the apostles rejected the doctrine too.

The questions of the origin of Jesus, his nature and relation to God, which were later to become a source of much contention, were not raised among the first followers of Jesus. That Jesus was a man who was a prophet and one who had been given many gifts by God, was accepted without question. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life on earth had led them to modify this certainty. According to Aristides, one of the earliest apologists, the worship of the early Christians was more purely monotheistic than even that of the Jews. (ibid, Jesus Prophet of Islam, p. 56)

Paul’s reasoning had two major consequences. It not only resulted in further changes being made to what Jesus had taught, but also prepared the way for completely changing people’s ideas of who Jesus was. He was being transformed from a man to a conception in people’s minds. Divinity had been attributed to Jesus even when he was on earth by some of those who marveled at his words and miracles, and who, mistakenly, considered him to be more than a prophet. Some of his enemies had also spread the rumour that he was the “son of God”, hoping to rouse the orthodox Jew’s anger against him for associating himself with God. Thus, even before he disappeared, there had been a tendency to obscure his true nature and ascribe godhood to Jesus. This imaginary figure of Christ, who apparently had the power to annul what Jesus had previously taught, was clearly no ordinary mortal, and, inevitably, became confused by many with God. Thus, this imaginary figure became an object of worship, and was associated with God. (p. 70)

 

HE WROTE:

And here are some quotes from the Didache in order to refute Smith's lie that this document refutes the Trinity:

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shal be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead -- yet not of all, but as it is said: "The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him." Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven. (Source; italic and underline emphasis ours)

 

RESPONSE:

The Didache never equates the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”; they are distinguished by three separate dips, which denote three separate Persons.

 

But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head, into "the name of Father, and of Son, and of Holy Spirit." (Didache 7:1)

 

The “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” are not equal because the candidate is dipped three times, and not once, it should be once if they are equal, but they are not.

 

The Trinitarian Baptismal is clearly absent from the New Testament!

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (Acts 10:48)

 

On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19:5)

 

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16)

 

Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

 

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

 

Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? (James 2:7)

 

 

The Father and Holy Spirit are absent from the above texts, so the Baptismal formula is doubtful and erroneous.  The Trinitarian Baptism was not established until the 4th century.

 

"The New Testament knows only baptism in the name of Jesus... which still occurs even in the second and third centuries" (Schaff-herzog Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume 1, page 435--1966 edition)

 

 

"The formula used was 'in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ' or some synonymous phrase; there is no evidence for the use of the triune name." (James Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Volume 2, page 384 --1958 edition)

 

 

"The trinitarian formula and triune immersion were not uniformly used from the beginning, nor did they always go together." (The Encyclopaedia Britannica
Volume 3, page 365 --1910 edition)

 

 

"We gather from Acts 19:4, that John had merely baptized in the name of the coming Messiah, without identifying him with Jesus of Nazareth. The apostolic age supplied this , and the normal use during it seems to have been 'into Christ identification Jesus',or 'in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ' or ' of the Lord Jesus Christ.'" (The Encyclopaedia Britannica, ibid, p. 368)

 

"Moreover, there is no mention in the New Testament of any one being baptized into the name of the Trinity." (James Hastings, A Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 1, page 241--1906 edition)

 

 

"With the early disciples generally baptism was ‘in the name of Jesus Christ.'" (Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church, page 87--1957 edition)



"In the name of Jesus Christ or of the Lord Jesus. The former expression is used in Acts 2:38 and 10:48. The latter is used in Acts 8:16 and 19:5. See also Acts 22:16... From these passages, and from Paul's words in the 1st Corinthians 1:13 ('Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?), it is natural to conclude that baptism was administered in the earliest times 'in the name of Jesus Christ', or that 'of the Lord Jesus.' This view is confirmed by the fact that the earliest forms of the baptismal confession appear to have been single--not triple, as was the later creed." (Encyclopaedia Biblica, Volume 1, page 473--1899 edition)

 

Just because the Didache applies the formula “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” does not make them equal.

The Didache quotes Matthew 28:19.

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19)

 

This passage is a forgery

 

“All but the most conservative of scholars agree that at least the latter part of this command (Matt. 28:19) was inserted later” (Tom Harper, For Christ’s Sake, p. 84)

"The historical riddle is not solved by Matthew 28:19, since, according to a wide scholarly consensus, it is not an authentic saying of Jesus, not even an elaboration of a Jesus-saying on baptism" (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, 1992, page 585).

"It has been customary to trace the institution of the practice (of baptism) to the words of Christ recorded in Matthew 28:19. But the authenticity of this passage has been challenged on historical as well as on textual grounds. It must be acknowledged that the formula of the threefold name, which is here enjoined, does not appear to have been employed by the primitive Church, which, so far as our information goes, baptized 'in' or 'into the name of Jesus' (or 'Jesus Christ' or Lord Jesus': Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 1 Cor. 1:13, 15) (The Dictionary of the Bible, 1947, page 83).

Matthew 28:19, "the Church of the first days did not observe this world-wide command, even if they knew it. The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion. In place of the words "baptizing... Spirit" we should probably read simply "into my name," i.e. (turn the nations) to Christianity, "in my name," i.e. (teach the nations) in my spirit" (Peake's Commentary on the Bible, 1929, page 723).

"It cannot be directly proved that Jesus instituted baptism, for Matthew 28:19 is not a saying of the Lord. The reason for this assertion are: (1) It is only a later stage of the tradition that represents the risen Christ as delivering speeches and giving commandments. Paul knows nothing of it. (2) The Trinitarian formula is foreign to the mouth of Jesus and has not the authority of the Apostolic age which it must have had if it had descended from Jesus himself. On the other hand, Paul knows of no other way of receiving the Gentiles into the Christian communities than by baptism, and it is highly probable that in the time of Paul all Jewish Christians were also baptized. We may perhaps assume that the practice of baptism was continued in consequence of Jesus' recognition of John the Baptist and his baptism, even after John himself had been removed. According to John 4:2, Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples under his superintendence. It is possible only with the help of tradition to trace back to Jesus a "Sacrament of Baptism," or an obligation to it ex necessitate salutis, through it is credible that tradition is correct here. Baptism in the Apostolic age was in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 1:13; Acts 19:5). We cannot make out when the formula in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit emerged" (History of Dogma, Vol. 1, Adolph Harnack, 1958, page 79).

"The very account which tells us that at the last, after his resurrection, he commissioned his apostles to go and baptize among all nations (Mt 28:19) betrayed itself by speaking in the Trinitarian language of the next century, and compels us to see in it the ecclesiastical editor, and not the evangelist, much less the founder himself. No historical trace appears of this baptismal formula earlier that the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" (ch. 7:1,3 The Oldest Church Manuel, ed. Philip Schaff, 1887), and the first Apology of Justin (Apol. i. 61.) about the middle of the second century: and more than a century later, Cyprian found it necessary to insist upon the use of it instead of the older phrase baptized "into Christ Jesus," or into the "name of the Lord Jesus." (Gal. 3:27; Acts 19:5; 10:48. Cyprian Ep. 73, 16-18, has to convert those who still use the shorter form.) Paul alone, of the apostles, was baptized, ere he was "filled with the Holy Ghost;" and he certainly was baptized simply "into Christ Jesus." (Rom. 6:3) Yet the tri-personal form, unhistorical as it is, is actually insisted on as essential by almost every Church in Christendom, and, if you have not had it pronounced over you, the ecclesiastical authorities cast you out as a heathen man, and will accord to you neither Christian recognition in your life, nor Christian burial in your death. It is a rule which would condemn as invalid every recorded baptism performed by an apostle; for if the book of Acts may be trusted, the invariable usage was baptism "in the name of Christ Jesus," (Acts 2:38) and not "in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." And doubtless the author (Luke) is as good a witness for the usage of his own time (about 115 A.D.) as for that of the period whereof he treats" (The Seat of Authority in Religion, James Martineau, 1905, page 568).

"It is clear, therefore, that of the MSS which Eusebius inherited from his predecessor, Pamphilus, at Caesarea in Palestine, some at least preserved the original reading, in which there was no mention either of Baptism or of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It had been conjectured by Dr. Davidson, Dr. Martineau, by the present Dean of Westminister, and by Prof. Harnack (to mention but a few names out of many), that here the received text, could not contain the very words of Jesus? This long before any one except Dr. Burgon, who kept the discovery to himself, had noticed the Eusebian form of the reading." "It is satisfactory to notice that Dr. Eberhard Nestle, in his new edition of the New Testament in Latin and Greek, furnishes the Eusebian reading in his critical apparatus, and that Dr. Sanday seems to lean to its acceptance" (History of New Testament Criticism, Conybeare, 1910, pages, 98-102, 111-112).

"Feine (PER3, XIX, 396 f) and Kattenbusch (Sch-Herz, I, 435 f. argue that the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28:19 is spurious. No record of the use of the Trinitarian formula can be discovered in the Acts or the epistles of the apostles" (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, 1946, page 398).

Footnote to Matthew 28:19, It may be that this formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the liturgical usage established later in the primitive community. It will be remembered that the Acts speak of baptizing "in the name of Jesus", Acts 1:5 +. But whatever the variation on formula the underlying reality remains the same" (The Jerusalem Bible, 1966, Page 64).

Critical scholarship, on the whole, rejects the traditional attribution of the tripartite baptismal formula to Jesus and regards it as of later origin. Undoubtedly then the baptismal formula originally consisted of one part and it gradually developed into its tripartite form (The Philosophy of the Church Fathers, Vol. 1, Harry Austryn Wolfson, 1964, pg 143). (online Source) 

There is no indication that “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” is one essence, Matthew is not speaking of trinity.

 

Since Matthew 28:19 is a forgery, Didache 7:1 must be a forgery as well.

In fact, the Didache must be rejected because it follows Matthew 28:19.

This Church manual of primitive Christianity, or some section of it, also bears a longer title. "The Teaching of the Lord, through the Twelve Apostles, to the Gentiles", which gives us a clue to its nature. It may be a work conceived against the background of Mt. 28:18-20, [1]

The verse 1 John 5:7 states the “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one”, but the Didache never dares to mention this.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (a forgery)

In contrast, the Didache never equates the “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” because he was not speaking of trinity.

Regarding Matthew 28:19, the author Akbarally Meherally states:

Often this particular verse is quoted to support the Nicene Creed of Trinity. It is argued that Jesus himself had said to baptize all the nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and thus the doctrine of Trinity stands endorsed by the Scripture and the Christ.

Of course, the ceremony of Baptism does mention the three names and in the same sequence and order as the Trinity, but the most important factor is the status. Where does it say that the three identities are co-equal? It could very well be a sequence for religious hierarchy in faith. In the political arena there could be similar sequence of command, for example; An Emperor, his Minister and his Military Commander. But, the Emperor and his appointee – the Minister, are not equal. The Minister, by the virtue of being so opted, has a better status than the rest of the subjects. He can be considered as a chosen citizen and be so honoured. But, the Emperor would not condone his subjects if they were to call or glorify the chosen citizen as Emperor. (Understanding the Bible through Koranic Messages, p. 52)

The Didache does not mention the trinity, it refers to “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” in the sequence of religious hierarchy.

Jesus did not return during the lifetime of his people. The widespread anticipation ended with sheer disappointment.

At first, the Christian community expected an imminent return of Christ. We are told that during the first century AD, the Christian community looked forward to the imminent return of Christ in glory and the establishment of the Kingdom. This hope carried on in the second century. When the second coming failed to occur, the church organized itself as a permanent institution under the leadership of its bishops. (Misha’al Ibn Abdullah Al-Kadhi, What did Jesus Really Say?)

Second Thessalonians was forged in Paul’s name shortly after his death or during the late stages of his imprisonment in Rome. Scholars believe it was written to offset the disappointment and unrest then rising in the Christian community resulting from the unfulfilled promise of an imminent second coming (2 Thes. 2:1-8).

(Eddy, Patricia G., Who Tampered With the Bible?, p. 184)

 

FACTS ABOUT THE DIDACHE:

Jesus is called thy Servant of God, so the Didache denies the godhood of Jesus:

We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You modest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; (1)

The Didache was not mentioned until the late 2nd century, so it must be rejected.

The author is anonymous:

Scholars suggest that the Didache reflects a backward church in a remote situation, Syria and Palestine being the most favoured with Egypt also as a possible source. It reflects a situation in which an undisclosed number of scattered rural Christian communities are given advice on a wide variety of practical subjects by an unknown author who uses the pseudonyms of the Twelve Apostles. This may suggest that no Christian leader had sufficient authority to issue these directives under his own name.

The original text is lost:

This work became known for the first time in the Constantinople Manuscripts discovered by Archbishop Bryennios in 1875 and published 1883. It has been dated at 1056 CE. and is kept in Jerusalem.

It was then possible to go back and see that the Didache in Greek was actually to be found (in a somewhat revised form) in Book VII of the 4th century Egyptian Constitutions. In addition there are fragments in Greek (Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 1782), Coptic, and Ethiopic, and a complete Gregorian version. For the 'Two Ways' section there is (besides the witness of Barnabas 18-20) a Latin version (the Doctrina) the 4th century Apostolic Church Order, and three other manuals of the 4th century or later.

We cannot be sure that the 1056 MS represents the 'original' Didache or even what 'original' means in this context. As with the NT we are dealing with textual variants, but "with a developing tradition, and our various witnesses to the Didache merely afford us glimpses of this tradition at various stages." (online Source)

The Didache never mentions the Gospels, and is totally silent on Jesus’ life.

 

HE WROTE:

Smith will also mention the Apostles' Creed, claiming that this too doesn't include the Trinity. Here is what this creed actually states:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Amen.

This creed can be found all over the net, e.g. here and here.

As one can clearly see there is nothing in this confession which refutes or contradicts the doctrine of the blessed Trinity, and yet it does refute and expose Muhammad as a false prophet.

 

RESPONSE:

Where does the Creed equate the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” 

The Creed is not the same as Matthew 28:19, 1 John 5:7 and Didache. 7:1 and it does not equate the three identities. They are separated by status and position, Jesus is the Servant of God conceived by Mary through the Holy Spirit, who is separated from God, he executes the role by causing Mary to be pregnant.

Jesus was made “God incarnate” at the Council of Nicea, I quote Shelby Spong again:

Most biblical scholars agree that the earliest strata of New Testament tradition never designated Jesus as "God." Indeed in the primitive tradition God was the source of the action and Jesus was the one acted upon. (John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality, p. 88)

The earliest stratum of Christianity was the Hebrew Scriptures, destroyed by the Pauline Church because it contradicted the “Deity of Christ”. After the Nicene Council, an edict was issued to destroy all scriptures which contradicted the doctrine of Trinity.

In 325 A.D., the famous Council of Nicea was held. The doctrine of the Trinity was declared to be the official doctrine of the Pauline Church, and one of the consequences of this decision was that out of the three hundred or so Gospels extant at that time, four were chosen as the official Gospels of the Church. The remaining Gospels, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered to be destroyed completely. It was also decided that all Gospels written in Hebrew should be destroyed. An edict was issued stating that anyone found in possession of an unauthorised Gospel would be put to death. This was the first well-organised attempt to remove all the records of Jesus’s original teachings, whether in human beings or books, which contradicted the doctrine of Trinity. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, 1992 edition, p. 40)

The word ‘Father’ was added to the Creed:

According to Theodore Zahn, the article of faith up until about 250 A.D. was, “I belive in God, the Almighty”. Between 180 and 210 A.D. the word “Father” was added before the “Almighty”. This was bitterly contested by a number of the leaders of the Church. Bishop Victor and Bishop Zephysius are on record as condemning this movement, since they regarded it an unthinkable sacrilege to add or substract any word to the Scriptures. They opposed the tendency to regard Jesus as divine. They laid great stress on the Unity of God as expressed in the original teachings of Jesus and asserted that although he was a prophet, he was essentially a man like other men, even if highly favoured by his Lord. (ibid, p 10)

The Shepherd of Hermas rejects the doctrine of pagan trinity:

"First of all, believe that God is One, even He who created all things and set them in order, and brought all things from non-existence into being, Who comprehendeth all things, being alone incomprehensible.

Believe Him therefore, and fear Him, and in this fear be continent. Keep these things, and thou shalt cast off all wickedness from thyself, and shalt clothe thyself with every excellence of righteousness, and shalt live unto God, if thou keep this commandment." (online Source)

The Shepherd was written by Hermas in 90 CE, the oldest text is preserved in the Codex Sinaiticus (350 CE).

Scholars agree that the Apostles Creed is unreliable, it does not mention the trinity, nor does it equate the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” as one Person.

A legend may tell you that the Apostle’s Creed was jointly composed by the Twelve Apostles, each one contributed a clause, but the Creed has no direct link with the Apostles. The earliest text dates from about C.E. 400 (Akbarally Meherally, Understanding the Bible through Koranic Messages, p. 54)

The Church father Hippolytus (d. 250) rejects the trinity:

The first and only (one God), both Creator and Lord of all, had nothing coeval with Himself; not infinite chaos, nor measureless water, nor solid earth, nor dense air, not warm fire, nor refined spirit, nor the azure canopy of the stupendous firmament…By an exercise of His will He created things that are, which antecedently had no existence, except that He willed to make them. For He is fully acquainted with whatever is about to take place, for foreknowledge also is present to Him. (2)

The undermentioned text from Eerdman’s Handbook to The History of Christianity tells us that until the early third century C.E., the ‘Three’ were separate and each had his or its own status. (ibid, p. 53)

215 AD Hippolytus "When the one being baptized goes down into the water, the one baptizing him shall put his hand on him and speak thus: `Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?' And he that is being baptized shall say: `I believe.' Then, having his hand imposed upon the head of the one to be baptized, he shall baptize him once. Then he shall say: `Do you believe in Christ Jesus . . . ?' And when he says: `I believe,' he is baptized again. Again shall he say: `Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?' The one being baptized then says: `I believe.' And so he is baptized a third time" (The Apostolic Tradition 21). (1)

Hippolytus’s Old Roman Creed, seen above, is the earliest close parallel to the well known Apostle’s Creed. In the Apostles’ Creed the words “Jesus is our Lord” are added to the old Roman Creed. (ibid, p. 53)

According to the creed, the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” are separate entities.

 

HE WROTE:

We even find elements of this creed in Iraneaus' writings:

2. To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, BY MEANS OF CHRIST JESUS, THE SON OF GOD; who, because of His surpassing love towards HIS CREATION, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendour, shall come in glory, the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent. Those who, in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity, and wisdom. If any one were to preach to these men the inventions of the heretics, speaking to them in their own language, they would at once stop their ears, and flee as far off as possible, not enduring even to listen to the blasphemous address. Thus, by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to conceive anything of the [doctrines suggested by the] portentous language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has ever been established. (Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 4, Number 2; online source; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

Jesus, according to Iraneaus, is God's Son and the One by whom the Father created all things, who became a man from the virgin out of his love for his creation!

Moving on to Part IV.

 

 

 

 

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