As a Christian, and a baptised member of the ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints’, I get this topic thrown at me a lot. There is this misconception commonly held by a majority of Christians that ‘all Christian must believe in the Trinity’ – but I do not, and I am a Christian. I’d like to take this opportunity to explain why.
I will not be attempting to convince anyone, or to argue my point. I will however show quite clearly that a Bible believing Christian such as I am can (using the Bible) put forward enough scriptural backing to support my view that the Trinity is a false teaching.
What is the Trinity?
The answers put forward to this question are highly confusing and greatly contended. I have asked this question many times, and I get many, many different answers. Really different! So much so that the answers I have been given totally contradict one another. I’m sure that if I were to line up say 10 pastors/vicars/priests from various denominations within Christianity, they wouldn’t agree with each others definition.
The best answer I have received – at least the most credible – was a pastor who told me (in effect) “I can’t explain it. It is impossible. It is impossible to understand God. He is mysterious.. and this is one of the mysteries of God!”. Wow. He told me he couldn’t explain it, because it was so complicated.. but it was true.
My own simplified explanation is that the “Trinity” teaches that Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit are one being/person. If I were to enter Heaven and see them in front of me, I would see one being.. because Jesus is within God, and the Spirit is also within God. They are one and the same. Is that the correct definition? I think it must be pretty close! Some will say no, I’ve misunderstood.. but ask them to explain it, and they’ll end up back where I started!
The argument for the Trinity
I will readily accept that there is a good argument for the Trinity from the Bible. The problem that we face is that the Bible is a written source, and words can be interpreted and understood in many ways. Whilst there are many scriptures that indicate that Jesus, God and the Spirit are the same (one God), there are many scriptures that indicate that they are totally separate.
As I said from the outset, my intention here is to show that using the Bible, there is enough of an argument against the Trinity for it to be considered a reasonable contention. It is not simply so straightforward to say that “the Bible teaches the Trinity”! It depends on how you wish to interpret it. I will show you that the Bible teaches against the Trinity too!
There is no “Trinity”!
Let’s take a look at the Bible… (all scriptures are from the “New International Version”)
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Here we have the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. The scriptures clearly show that Jesus was on earth (mortal), the Spirit was ‘like a dove’ descending from heaven, and the voice of God came from Heaven saying “you are my Son”. Jesus in one place, the Spirit in another, and God in another! Three separate beings/persons.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
Talking about the ‘Second Coming’ of Jesus Christ, the scripture tells us that no one knows when that day will come. Jesus Christ himself does not know.. ony God the Father does! Can God know something that Jesus does not know – if they are the same being/person? This scripture indicates a separation between them.
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Again, indicating a separation between God and Jesus. Separate persons! Jesus was not doing his own will, but the will of his Father. Are they really the same being? It doesn’t sound like it.
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Jesus only spoken 7 times whilst on the cross. This is one of the phrases that he spoke – in which he was calling out to God and asking why God has forsaken him. Was Jesus talking to himself? Did Jesus forsake himself? No. He felt alone on the cross because his Father in Heaven (God) – yes, a separate being to Jesus – had withdrawn from him for a short time to enable Jesus to overcome the physical pain himself.
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Following his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary. Interestingly, he places himself at the same level as Mary. He refers to God as his Father, in the same way that he is the Father to Mary, and to him being God to Jesus in the same way that he is God to Mary. Additionally, if Jesus and God are the same being.. then why was he saying he had ‘not yet ascended’ to his Father (God)? Sounds very much like God was in a separate place… and Jesus needed to go to him.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
This is Jesus praying to God. Isn’t that odd if Jesus and God are the same being? was Jesus praying to himself? anyway, interesting, Jesus refers to himself as being separate to the ‘true God’. It wasn’t “us”. It was “you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”.
verses 20 through to 23..
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
The key words here are “be one”. Jesus is praying that all those who believe in him will “be one”. In what manner? – “just as you are in me and I am in you”. What does the trinity teach? – it teaches that Jesus and God are one and the same. That they are within each other. One being. One entity. Was Jesus praying that all the believers should be joined into the one entity/being that he and God are? hmm…
No. He was praying that they should all be united. One in purpose. Interestingly, he says that this is “just as you are in me and I am in you”. So if Jesus and God are “one” in the same way as he wants his disciples to be “one”, what does that tell us about the ‘oneness’ of Jesus and God? – yep, they are not literally one, but they are united. One in purpose.
John 17 demonstrates very clearly that all those confusing scriptures that talk of Jesus and God being “one” are not saying that they are literally one! (i.e. the trinity) but that they are one symbolically. One in purpose! Totally united! Working together for our good.. for our salvation.
I reject the teaching called the “Trinity”. I reject it primarily because of the Bible – because I strongly believe that the Bible clearly shows it is not true. I believe that the “trinity” is a doctrine created by men. The word does not exist in the Bible, and I do not believe the doctrine exists there either.
I have merely shared a couple of examples. There are many more!
I am a Christian. I believe the Bible. I use the Bible. I have used it today to demonstrate that as a Christian I am not compelled to believe the Trinity. It is not conclusive that the Bible actually teaches it. One can argue (as demonstrated above) that the Bible teaches against it.
I have been told by some Pastors that I am not a Christian – because I do not believe the Trinity. Do not be fooled. Do not believe them. There is no requirement to ‘believe in the Trinity’ to be a Christian. Use your own mind.