The Trinity was not there in the first century

Jesus, the apostles or Church Fathers? Who invented the Trinity?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Often Trinitarians claim that the Trinity (and by Trinity, they mean the mainstream dogma that says God is three persons in one being, i.e., God exists eternally as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) is taught in the New Testament and can be found even in the first century of the Christian era. They will direct us to Patristic sources such as Ignatius, Tertullian and others.Typically, from the first century, the Patristic sources that are cited include Justin Martyr and Ignatius, but none of the available records that may have been penned by these individuals actually carry in them a clear description of the Trinity dogma as we know it today. None of these three individuals actually imparted Trinitarian formulations that could have typified the content of the Athanasian Creed. And so we move on to the second century where we have Patristic figures such as Iranaeus, Tertullian and Origen, but none of them save Tertullian and Origen actually wrote anything that may resemble the Trinity. Origen was born in 185 AD and so, one would be hard pressed to contend that he was teaching theological doctrines before the age of fifteen, which means that whatever teaching that he put forward that had some Trinitarian semblance must have been made after 200 AD,the third century of the Christian calendar. Thus, even if Athanasius was not the promulgator of the Trinity, the earliest that one can trace the doctrine to is Tertullian. And so the eminent German scholar Adolf von Harnack writes: “When the Nicene formulary is praised, it is always of Athanasius that we think; when the Chalcedonian decree is cited, it is the name of Leo the Great that is magnified. But that Tertullian is in reality the father of the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ, and that in the whole patristic literature there is no treatise that can be compared in importance and influence with his tract Against Praxeas, it has necessarily been left to the investigations of our own day to exhibit.” [1]

But how can Tertullian be relied upon as the Father of Trinitarianism when he was officially condemned as a heretic for his Montanist leanings? Throughout church history, Tertullian of Carthage has been disparaged for his Montanism which disqualified him from receiving sainthood from the Church. He is the only prominent Patristic figure that was not awarded the title “Saint” and so he has remained throughout the ages as simply plain old Tertullian. According to official condemnations, he “…fell into the heresy of the Montanists, who blasphemously held that Montanus was that Paraclete or Comforter which our Saviour promised to send: and that better and fuller discoveries of God’s will were made to him than to the Apostles, who prophesied only in part.” [2] If Tertullian is the inauguration of early Trinitarian formulations, then Christians will have to contemplate receiving a fundamental dogma from a heretical source. In any case, Tertullian only came to the scene around 130 years after Jesus’ departure; therefore, it is hardly conceivable that his Trinitarian predilections should have any real relationship with Jesus or his apostles and earliest followers.

What is historically certain is that pre-Athanasian and pre-Chalcedonian sources do not contain in them the full blown and adequate Trinitarian formula. What we may see are rough patches that seem to resemble what later became orthodox church dogma through Athanasius and other such persons. And so, The New Catholic Encyclopedia says the following concerning the Trinity: “There is the recognition on the part of exegetes 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 definitive Trinitarian dogma “one God in three Persons” became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought.” [3]

A cup of tea with Unitarian scholar Prof. (Dr.) Sir Anthony Buzzard MA (Oxon.), MATh, Hon. PhD

Psalm 110:1 is a proof text for Unitarian monotheism that refutes the Trinitarian hypostasis: A brief exchange with premiere Unitarian scholar, Professor (Dr.) Sir Anthony F. Buzzard of the Restoration Fellowship, Atlanta Bible College

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Thoughts on Psalm 110:1. Does it say “the Lord (adonai) said to my Lord (l’adoni)” or does it say “the Lord (adonai) said to my Lord (adonai = Jesus)”?
Even at the outset, any novice of the Hebrew language knows that the phraseology in Psalm 110:1 which says “to my Lord” (l’adoni) is curiously an impossible as a phrase to be given to deity. In the Old Testament, this phrase is exclusively used for a human being and it is utterly distinct from the divine epithet ‘adonai’ (which is used as a substitute for the Tetragrammaton YHWH) that is exclusively used for deity. This is supported by the Septuagint rendering of ‘l’adoni’, i.e., ‘tou kuriou mou.’ This Septuagint phraseology is ever used for human beings and never once used for the Divine as Dr. Buzzard points out:
“In fact the Hebrew word for “my lord’ is not adonai but adoni, which is never used of God but often of the king of Israel and other human superiors.” (Buzzard, A. F. & Hunting, C. F. (1998). The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound. Maryland: International Scholars Publications. p. 48 fn. 16)

The following is a question that I posed to Dr. Anthony F. Buzzard on a rather interesting quotation that I found in a German theological treatise on Ps. 110:1 by a notable Christian German theologian.

Dr. Buzzard, what do you think of Roth’s comments below? Do you think they are probative in our quest against Trinitarianism?

German theologian Ulli Roth has some interesting comments on Psalms 110:1 that I’d like to share with Dr. Anthony F. Buzzard and perhaps elicit some thoughts from the good professor on it. The following is the German text, followed by my translation (interpretation) of it and a short discussion of its content.

Bekanntlich gab die Septuaginta das Tetragramm mit dem Wort “Herr” wieder, d. h. genauer die uns uberlieferten christlichen Septuagintahandschriften setzen stets fur den Gottesnamen das Wort Herr.
Fur judische griechische Handschriften, soweit sie uns bewahrt sind, ist dies nicht belegt. Sie lassen das Tetragramm einfach stehen oder ersetzen es in geeigneter Weise. Wenn die lateinischen Ubersetzungen jedoch konsequent das griechische kyrios mit dominum wiedergeben, ist nicht mehr ersichtlich, wo einmal der Gottesname oder etwa das hebraische Aquivalent fur “Herr” stand. Da das Wort “Herr” sowohl fur Gott stehen kann – und so liest man noch heute statt des Gottesnamens das Wort ‘adonai – als auch fur einen irdischen Herrscher, kann es bei der Ubersetzung zu Unklarheiten oder sogar Sinnverschiebungen kommen.
Wenn in Ps 110,1 “der Herr sprach zu meinem Herrn” plotzlich ununterschieden von zwei “Herren” die Rede ist. so konnte dies allein schon als Schriftbeleg fur die Lehre von Gott Vater und Gott Sohn als zweier unterschiedener Personen ein und derselben gottlichen Natur gewertet werden.

(Roth, E. (2003). Die Philologische Freiheit Des Humanisten Johannes Reuchlin: Interpretation und Edition von Reuchlins Ubersetzung der Psalmen 110-115. In Barbara Becker-Cantarino (Ed.), Zeitschrift fur Mittlere Deutsche Literatur und Kultur der Fruhen Neuzeit (1400 – 1750). Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 83)

The author writes that it is known that the Lxx (Septuagint) uses the word ‘Herr’ (Lord) and it is typically used for ‘Gottesnamen’ (the name of God). For Jewish Greek manuscripts, if they are preserved for us, this is not documented, The Tetragrammaton is left to stand as it is or it is replaced appropriately. The Latin translations, however, reflect the Greek ‘kyrios’ with the Latin ‘dominum’ , but it is no longer visible where once God’s name or the equivalent of the Hebrew for ‘Herr’ (Lord) was. Since the word ‘Lord’ can be used for both God — and so you read today instead of God’s name, the word ”adonai — as well as an earthly ruler and this may occur in the translation that confuses or shifts the meaning. In Psalms 11:1 ‘The Lord said to my Lord” is “suddenly indistinguishable from the two gentlemen mentioned”, this alone could be considered a signature document of the doctrine of God, the Father and God, the Son as two Distinguished persons of the divine nature.

Answering Islam’s Ringleader, Sam Shamoun has Acute Reading Problems

Why is Answering Islam only for those who dropped out of school or those who share the backward mentality of school dropouts? Exposing Shamoun as a sham.

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

In this kindergarten article (A Muslim Scholar’s Incriminating Statements on Islam Pt. 1: Muhammad’s Suicide Attempts), the new Christian prophet Sam Shamoun claims that Hadith expert Dr. Jonathan Brown recognises the historicity of Muhammad’s suicide attempt. In trying to find Muslim scholars that approve such fiction, Shamoun the Jester cited Brown:

“… Ibn Hisham found some of the material that Ibn Ishaq included objectionable, such as the story of the Prophet contemplating suicide after his first revelation and the Satanic verses (see below). He removed such reports…”

“his thoughts of suicide, and ultimate refuge with his loving wife. It is no accident that the mention of suicide, present in Ibn Ishaq’s original Sira, was removed in Ibn Hisham’s more orthodox edition. That Muhammad could have doubted his calling or thought of suicide was unacceptable to Muslim scholars.”

From these two sections taken from Brown’s ‘Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction,’ the court jester Sam Shamoun stupidly yells, “Brown isn’t the only scholar or authority who accepts the historicity of Muhammad’s attempt of killing himself after his initial encounter with a spirit being.”

Well, here’s the problem and it exposes Shamoun as having such poor reading skills that a seven-year-old would be embarrassed to sit next to him: In the given quotation, Dr. Jonathan Brown never says Muhammad s.a.w. actually ATTEMPTED suicide. When a person has the reading skills of a kindergarten child like the court jester Shamoun, I suppose it is not easy to see the huge difference between “contemplating” and “attempting,” between “thought” and “attempt.” To help our poor illiterate court jester out, we shall explain the difference. Contemplating or thought is the imagination that goes on in a person’s mind about a thing or an action. Attempt is the act of doing or putting to action what was imagined in the mind before. But we shouldn’t really blame Shamoun for his most embarrassing errors in language as he has literally zero academic credentials. He’s just a street urchin who discovered a colourful clown’s outfit that he sees as Joseph’s coat of many colours (kethoneth passim) and he sits in his plastic kindergarten chair pretending to be a king of kings.

When you have someone like Shamoun who crazily and insanely argues for the worship of a man in an inexplicable Trinity and uses such confusing language as one is three and three is one, man is god and god is man, you end up with the Shamounian stupidity of confusing “attempting” with “contemplating.”

What makes the article more amusing is that the [1] footnote that he gives to his claim that Brown and other scholars recognise Muhammad’s s.a.w. “suicide attempt” is the following:

“(1) Sadly, we still find Muslims today (1; 2) who are so embarrassed by Muhammad’s suicidal bouts that they are willing to go as far as distort the Islamic sources or rewrite history in order to avoid having to deal with the ramifications that such suicidal tendencies have on Muhammad’s mental sanity and prophetic claims.”

The 1 and 2 in brackets after “today” are links to Bassam Zawadi’s article and mine. He accuses us of distorting Islamic sources and rewrite history to avoid dealing with Muhammad’s s.a.w. “suicidal tendencies.” Well, anyone who has better reading skills than a kindergarten adolescent may well read my article on the subject and prove to themselves that nothing is distorted, but everything is treated with the utmost academic honesty, for example, the text of the relevant tradition is given and a technical discussion on the content and the chain of transmission are generously supplied by yours truly with proper citations to academic sources. And in the analysis, we prove that the story was a rumour, a gossip that was in circulation that has nothing to do with the Prophet’s s.a.w. real experiences with revelation. We address the issue from several different angles and securely come to the conclusion that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was blameless. So Shamoun’s claim that I ran away from dealing with the issue is more proof of his utterly deficient reading skills. Perhaps I should offer some reading lessons to him.

My article that addresses this issue may be accessed at http://unveiling-christianity.net/2013/04/03/prophet-muhammad-intend-commit-suicide/

The following is a scanned image of the relevant part where Shamoun commits the blunders discussed above. The red boxes highlight the specific instances that show Shamoun’s utterly poor reading skills.

shamoun

Was Jesus the Messiah for the Whole World?

Jesus’ Ministry was Only for the Jewish people

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Christians, especially Catholic (the name means universal) Christians, believe wholeheartedly that Jesus was sent to the world (John 3:16). They are correct insofar that later Christians after the departure of Jesus thought that Jesus was a messenger, a saviour for the entire world and not limited only to the children of Israel. This however is starkly at odds with the historical documentary evidence that we have of Jesus’ actual ministry. From the earliest strata of information, scholars have carefully gleaned that Jesus preached solely to the Jewish community and did not intend to promulgate a universal or Catholic Church (ekklessia) with a global network of believers. His message was exclusively for the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” and had absolutely nothing to do with the ‘goyim’ (Gentiles) and these were the fundamental parameters of religion upon which the primitive church or Urgemeinde operated.

The truth of the matter is recorded by Matthew in chapter 10 in spite of a contradictory instruction attributed to Jesus much later in the gospel (Matthew 28:19), which many scholars dismiss as ahistorical or a later historical development. In chapter 10 of Matthew we read a clear cut instruction from the lips of Jesus concerning the limits of his earthly ministry:

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5-6; King James Version)

Jesus could not have been more unequivocal in his command to the 12 apostles who were his only disciples that they should only deliver the message of Jesus’ ministry to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (ta probata ta apololota oikou ‘Israel).

Commenting on the verse, Rev. Dr. Alexander J. Grieve, who was Principal and Professor of Systematic Theology in the Scottish Congregational Theological Hall, Edinburgh, writes:

X. 5-42. The Charge to the Twelve. — The section forms the second of five passages into which Mt. collected the sayings of Jesus. The Markan account (6:7-11) is followed by Lk. 91-5, but Lk. 10:2-6 (the Seventy) is from Q; Mt. 10:5-16 combines the two sources. The mission is limited to Jews, hardly, in view of 6, 23, to the Jews of Galilee. Lk. 10 omits the limitation; he wrote mainly for Gentiles. Indeed, when Mt. wrote, the limitation was obsolete. Yet it shows that Jesus came to realise the Jewish hope, and though Gentiles are not wholly barred from the Kingdom (8:11f), the enter only as an appendage. Not yet is humanity welcome without distinction.” [1]

Simple Godly Truth: Three is NOT One

Trinitarianism is Tritheism in Disguise

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

 

It’s Gandalf… it’s a bird … it’s superman! It’s One! It’s Three! What???: Trinitarianism is Tritheism in Disguise.

“ ‘Trinitarianism, the faith of the Christian, is often Tritheism in disguise.’—(Dr. Vaughan.)’ “ [1]

However much the Trinitarian tries to convince himself and others and no matter the amount of complicated and convoluted sophistry that he pours into his theological acrobatics, he shall never in his sanity be able to superimpose the Father, the Son and the Dove as One Being. There will ever be three in the mind and this makes him a polytheist – a worshipper of three gods.

Many attempts to make sense of the strange idea of the Trinity that was never articulated by Jesus or his disciples often end up in Tritheism. For example, The Swiss philosopher and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg conceived the Trinity as three distinct principles: love, wisdom and energy. He believed that the Trinity came with the Incarnation and perceived an “eternal Trinity” as tritheistic and disclaimed both Protestants and Catholics as deviants. His belief gained foothold in such great personalities as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James Senior and Andrew Jackson Davis.

“Swedenborg called for adherence to the Word but in a special sense. He transformed the Trinity from three persons to three principles: love, wisdom, and energy. Insisting that the Trinity appeared with the Incarnation, he called the concept of an eternal Trinity thinly disguised tritheism and compared its Protestant and Catholic devotees to “lascivious harlots and purveyors of death.” [2]

Numerous other analogies have been put forward by Trinitarian theologians and lay persons alike in their feeble attempts to make their belief in this odd doctrine appear sensible. A rather below the belt analogy that was presented by Christianity’s premiere philosopher William Lane Craig has it that God is similar to Cerberus the dog of hell. Other popular analogies include the egg (the shell, the white and the yoke), H20 in three forms and most interestingly a Christian missionary suggested to me once that the Trinity resembles the male testicles. Whatever deranged and absurd examples, comparisons and analogies that they can possibly conjure up, each of them inevitable result in polytheism.

“We will venture to say, that there has never yet been a definition of the Trinity which has not been either Tritheistic or Modalistic; and church Orthodoxy has always stood either on Tritheistic or Sabellian ground. In other words, the Orthodox Trinity of any age, when searched to the bottom, has proved to be Unitarianism after all, – Unitarianism in the Tritheistic or in the Sabellian disguise;

The analogies which are used to explain the Trinity are all either Sabellian or Tritheistic. Nature has been searched in all ages for these analogies, by which to make the Trinity plain; but none have ever been found which did not make the Trinity either Sabellianism or Tritheism. They are either three parts of the substance, or else three qualities or modes of the substance.

Thus we have instances in which the three are made the three parts of one being, or substance; as in man, – spirit, soul, body; thought, affection, will; head, heart, hand.

One Being with three distinct faculties is Tritheism: one Being acting in three directions is Sabellianism.” [3]

Sir Isaac Newton rejected the Trinity

Sir Isaac Newton’s Crusade Against the Trinitarian cult

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Already in the 1600s, Christian intellectuals that inspected the Trinitarian theology rebelled against it. The brilliant mathematician Sir Isaac Newton* was vehemently against the invented cult of Trinitarianism. He was an avid believer in the worship of the ONE absolute God. Celebrated author and historian (former nun and Christian) Karen Armstrong seems to agree with Newton’s views.

“Like Descartes, Newton had no time for mystery, which he equated with ignorance and superstition. He was anxious to purge Christianity of the miraculous, even if that brought him into conflict with such crucial doctrines as the divinity of Christ. During the 1670s he began a serious theological study of the doctrine of the Trinity and came to the conclusion that it had been foisted on the Church by Athanasius in a specious bid for pagan converts. Arius had been right: Jesus Christ had certainly not been God and those passages of the New Testament that were used to ‘prove’ the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation were spurious. Athanasius and his colleagues had forged them and added them to the canon of scripture, thus appealing to the base, primitive fantasies of the masses: ‘Tis the temper of the hot and superstitious part of mankind in matters of religion ever to be fond of mysteries, & for that reason to like best what they understand least.’ To expunge this mumbo-jumbo from the Christian faith became something of an obsession for Newton. In the early 1680’s, shortly before publishing the Principia, Newton began work on a treatise which he called The Philosophical Origins of Gentile Theology.This argued that Noah had founded the primordial religion — a Gentile theology — which had been free of superstition and had advocated a rational worship of one God… Later generations had corrupted this pure religion, with takes of miracles and marvels. Some had fallen back into idolatry and superstition. Yet God had sent a succession of prophets to put them back on course… Jesus had been one of these prophets sent to call mankind back to the truth but his pure religion had been corrupted by Athanasius and his cohorts. The book of Revelation had prophesied the rise of Trinitariansm — ‘this strange religion of ye West’, ‘the cult of three equal Gods’ — as the abomination of desolation.” [1]

Similarly, Historian of Science and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Richard Westfall writes:

“In the Origenes Newton demoted Christ even from the semidive status Arianism accorded Him. He was merely one more prophet, who came to restore the true religion after mankind’s innate propensity for idolatry had corrupted it. Trinitarianism, the worship of a man as God, had in its turn repeated the pattern of idolatry. The “Christian religion was not more true” than the religion of the children of Noah, he stated, “and did not become less corrupted.”

…Trinitarianism was built on superstition in his view. Athansius had deliberately contrived it for the easy conversion of the heathens “by bringing into it as much of ye heathen superstition as the name of Christianity would then bear.”” [2]

Even if Jesus may well be addressed as “God” says Newton, that in no way means that he is of Divine origin as the Father. Echoing Armstrong and Westfall, Senior Minister of the Bonhomme Presbyterian Church Dr. Tom Pfizenmaier writes:

“Ultimately it is the Father, and the Father alone, in whom all worship terminates. Even the traditional understanding of the intermediary role of the Son is somewhat diminished in Newton’s scheme, especially in articles nine and ten. There we find that while we may call Jesus “God” without transgressing the first commandment, he is not to be worshiped as “God Almighty,” but only in relationship to his office as Monarch: as “lord, the Messiah, the Great King, and the Lamb of God.” Christ is not worshiped on the basis of his ontology according to Newton’s theology, but on the basis of his christological office. Newton could not abide worship grounded in the traditional understanding of consubstantiality, which he believed to be based in philosophy, not in scripture, and referred to it as “this strange religion of ye west,” and “the cult of three equal Gods.”” [3]

Christian scholars have begun to accept Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Was Muhammad s.a.w. a true Prophet of God? Find out what some major Christian academics and scholars have said in answer to this question.

By Ibn Anwar BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Many articles have been written, produced and promoted to show the many good words of past and present scholars and lay persons of the non-Muslim communities that have sang gleaming words of praise to our noble Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. I have always found these quotations fascinating and they assure us that not everyone is opposed to our faith. However, what many Muslims and non-Muslims have been kept in dark about is that many non-Muslim scholars have gone beyond simply giving words of tribute to the prophet of Islam, but they have even gladly and strongly call for the recognition of his prophethood. With the scant information on this in mind, I decided to write a most comprehensive article about it. Complete with explanatory notes, I hope that the content of the article may in some way fill the void of non-Muslims’ recognition of our good prophet’s messengership.

More than a thousand years ago, the Assyrian Patriarch Timothy was asked by the ruler of the ‘Abbasid empire as to why he wouldn’t recognise the prophet of Muhammad s.a.w. and in reply to this he essentially said that Muhammad s.a.w. was indeed among the brotherhood of prophetic dispensation.

“…In the eighth and ninth century, the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi asked this question of the Assyrian patriarch, Timothy, in his meeting with him, and Timothy answered saying “He [Muhammad] walked in the path of the prophets.” [1]

And many years later, in a French work called ‘Ces Ecritures qui nous questionnent: les Bible et le Coran’ by the Muslim-Christian Research Group, many favourable views towards Islam are cited, one of which is the view of the Catholic archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Tarancon, who was then the president of the Spanish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. In his inaugural lecture to the Second Christian-Muslim Conference of Cordoba in March of 1977, he “called on Christians to recognize Muhammad’s prophetic tone, especially his faith in one God and his thirst for justice.” [2]

This wonderful book also mentions Protestant scholars W. Cantwell Smith and Watt Montgommery (whom we shall see later) as essentially agreeing with Cardinal Tarancon’s stance on Muhammad s.a.w. He then cites the eminent Anglican scholar, Bishop Kenneth Cragg who, in his ‘Muhammad and the Christian: A Question of Response’, “calls on Christians to recognize without quibbling that Muhammad was really a prophet while still insisting that Jesus was “more than a prophet.”” [3]

Perhaps no Western academic was more vociferous is his profuse affirmation of Muhammad’s s.a.w. prophethood than Dr. William Montgommery Watt, who was a historian of Scottish descent and Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic studies at Edinburgh University. Watt encouraged his Christian brethren to carefully consider the revelation that Muhammad s.a.w. received and upon closer and unbiased scrutiny, one may well come to the affirmation that he was a true claimant of prophethood. In ‘Islam and Christianity Today’ he writes:

“A religious community developed, claiming to serve God, numbering some thousands in Muhammad’s lifetime, and now having several hundred million members. The quality of life in this community has been on the whole satisfactory for the saintliness of life, and countless ordinary people have been enabled to live decent and moderately happy lives in difficult circumstances. These points lead to the conclusion that the view of reality presented in the Qur’an is true and from God, and that therefore Muhammad is a genuine prophet.“ [4]