The Nicene Creed and the Invention of the Trinity?

When it comes to the Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, there have been many theories about whether or not the Christian concept of the Trinity is true. Both Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons will attack the Trinity as being “incomprehensible” and therefore “illogical.” Too often these folks like to aim their artillery at the Council of Nicea that convened in A.D. 325 and was attended by approximately 300 bishops from the east and west churches.

Of course, I cannot cover in detail every nuance of the council or of the Trinity to show why I and millions of other Christians believe this doctrine makes good biblical sense. (Two good books I can recommend for study on the Trinity, though, are E. Calvin Beisner’s God in Three Persons and James White’s The Forgotten Trinity.) But it needs to be established that the issue of the Trinity did not originate in the fourth century. In fact, Christians, for the most part, have held very dearly to the idea of the Hypostatic Union (Jesus as the God-man was 100% God and 100% man, as detailed in Phil. 2:5-11) since the days of the apostles. It wasn’t until Arius came along that the Christian community needed to evaluate this critical teaching.

Council of NiceaTypically, detractors opposed to the Trinity will immediately use the name of Constantine in an attempt to show how the Council of Nicea was used to promote a pagan concept of God. When someone does this, ask her how well she has studied the process of how the decision was made. Rarely have I found anyone able to explain the major players of the council (Alexander and Athanasius versus Arius), let alone the century the council took place (4th)!

The truth is that less than two dozen bishops (out of some 300) attending the council were ever in favor of Arianism, and by the time the council concluded, only two did not favor the Orthodox position. Truly Constantine’s goal was for reconciliation and had nothing to do with the decision made in Nicea, which was overwhelmingly confirmed in a fuller form at the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381. As Steve Brandt points out,

“Constantine did play an important role at the Council. Eusebius of Caesarea reports that he played a key part in calming, convincing, and bringing all to agreement on contested points. The account of Eusebius fairly glows in regard to the Emperor, and he is portrayed as a key figure. It is nowhere suggested, however, that he was permitted to vote with the bishops nor that he used any form of force to obtain an outcome.”

While the word “Trinity” is never used in the Bible, neither is the concept “Heavenly Mother” nor “Paradise Earth” used in the Bible, even though some might argue these are biblically true ideas. Yet the Trinity clearly solves problems and is a correct belief based on the teaching of the Bible. It shows that, while there is one God (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29), there are three separate Persons who are fully and completely God. (Quick. Who raised Jesus from the dead? Of course, God the Father did according to Acts 3:15. But Jesus also raised Himself from the dead, according to John 2:19 and the Spirit gets credit in Romans 8:11.)

Trinity SymbolThe Trinity is supported by the testimony of Jesus as well as His apostles and brothers. In his book What Have They Done with Jesus, New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III carefully considers the early witnesses of the historical Jesus Christ. In his conclusion on page 291, he writes,

“The historical probabilities surely lie with the suggestion that these were honest witnesses, struggling mightily to explain the significance of a person they had encountered and who, in the process had irrevocably changed their lives. One has to decide, then, whether the Jesus they remembered and tried to explain, grasping after terms and titles large enough to convey his importance, was the real Jesus or not. Bear in mind that it is not a matter of trusting much later Christian testimony—say, for the Council of Nicea conspiracies to concoct a Jesus-is-God theology. No, it is a matter of trusting the very earliest witnesses of the historical Jesus, some of those who knew him best.”

James R. Edwards, a biblical languages professor at Whitworth College in Spokane, WA, agrees, writing in Is Jesus the Only Savior that “we do not find an evolutionary trend to elevate Jesus in the creedal tradition of Christianity” (p. 69) In fact, he writes on pages 55-56,

“The idea that the early church fabricated a portrait of Jesus that eventually resulted in the Nicene formulation of ‘true God of true God’ from a historical Jesus who was simply a first-century Jew about whom little was known, and who was either uncertain or confused about his identity, is a highly improbable—and unadvised—leap of faith. It is not surprising that an imposing line of biblical scholars has opposed it for nearly two centuries.”

It would be refreshing for critics of the Trinity to refrain from attacking the Council of Nicea to disprove the Trinity. If you don’t agree with the Trinity, use scripture for your source. This is a much better place to begin.

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102 Responses to The Nicene Creed and the Invention of the Trinity?

  1. Falcon says:

    The Jesus of the Bible is not the Jesus that is discribed by Mormon doctrine. This has been pointed out in detail on this blog with specific points contrasting the two discriptions. This is not just a matter of semantics. The definitions are important. Who Jesus is and what He did are at the foundation of Christian doctrine. The JWs say that Jesus is a created being, the Archangel Michael, if my understanding is correct. That’s a different Jesus. Counterfit money looks real and often passes as such, but that doesn’t make it real money. I sense that you have a heart for God and a longing for a deeper understanding and closer walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. The conceptualization and understanding of who Jesus is does make a difference in how a person walks and how a person worships and how a person prays.

  2. amanda says:

    i see and ;understand the differences as you laid them out…but that does NOT mean they are different Jesus’…that means each faith understands HIM differently. When you were a child, i’m sure your understanding of Him was different than it is today. there is certain TRUTH to the nature of Jesus and his purpose here in life…and all of us who believe in a Jesus are all on a path to understanding Him better, EVEN YOU. (besides, your example of JW’s does not apply when you are trying to argue mormon doctrine in Jesus…you didn’t actually list the major differences between evangelical and mormon)

    your understanding of mormon doctrine is limited–just read the book of mormon, here are some scriptures (and you can then cross-reference biblical scripture that is fundamentally different than these scriptures in the book of mormon–if you can find them ;))
    Alma 37:9,13
    9 Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.
    • • •
    33 Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 corinthians 11: 1-3

    Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
    2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
    3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the ahead of the woman is the man; AND THE HEAD OF CHRIST, IS GOD.”
    (caps for emphasis)


    logic suggests in this scripture: man, woman, Christ, God: SEPARATE entities.

  3. Falcon says:

    How did Jesus come to be?

  4. amanda says:

    Here are some more scriptures in the book of Mormon that outline our belief in the Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

    3 Nephi 5: 13, 20, 26

    13 Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.
    • • •
    20 I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi. I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, that he brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, (and no one knew it save it were himself and those whom he brought out of that land) and that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls.
    • • •
    26 And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth so shall it be. Amen.

    (This is relevant to my controversial comment about the bible and BOM complimenting each other—-RICK B!!!)

    John 10:16

    “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

    This means that there were other folds of sheep, followers of Christ, and they ALL are considered ONE fold– meaning the Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon is the SAME as the Jesus in the bible, there is only ONE Jesus.

  5. amanda says:

    why are you deleting my comments? many users post back to back to continue their points…rick B does it all the time

  6. amanda says:

    sorry, my bad, i thought someone had deleted one of my comments, my apologies…

    Falcon, How did Jesus Come into the world? via the virgin Mary.

    you should know that 😉

    Consider what Joseph Smith translated (or WROTE according to evangelicals) i suppose even if Joseph Smith wrote this, it was some kind of fluke prophecy?

    2 Ne. 29: 3-4, 6, 10
    3 And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
    4 But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
    • • •
    6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
    • • •
    10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.

  7. Eric says:

    Amanda, you’re confusing me. You quote John 10 to show that, somehow, the Book of Mormon is validated. Then you go on to quote the Book of Mormon to show that the Bible cannot be trusted by itself. So, questions:

    1) Does the Book of Mormon teach in one God? Three? Multiple? Do you have references to support this idea?
    2) Jesus came from Virgin Mary, you say. Where do you get this idea? And how did the pregnancy take place?
    3) You said, “logic suggests in this scripture: man, woman, Christ, God: SEPARATE entities.” It appears you think that the teaching of the Trinity does not allow for three separate Persons. Is this true? Could you give me a definition of what you think Christians teach about the Trinity?

  8. Falcon says:

    I wanted you to back up a little further when I asked how Jesus came to be i.e. prehuman birth.
    This is what I’ve learned thus far on this topic from the postings. The Mormon view of the trinity is basically repackaged Arianism, a heresy from early Church history. The Mormon view of the trinity was part of a “restored gospel”. But what Mormonism was restored to was heresy. That was what the defense of the Gospel is/was all about. There is the Gospel and heresy. The Arian heresy got the boot early in Church history along with several other aberrant heretical doctrines. Mormonism and JWism are merely continuing the fine tradition of early heretics. You can put a Chicago Bear fan in a Green Bay Packer sweatshirt and you still have a Bear fan. You can package Arianism in modern Christian speak (i.e. born again etc.) and you still have heresy.

  9. amanda says:

    eric, i think you misunderstood the bulk of my argument…and perhaps that is my fault. i found your comment however, because of this, confusing.

    falcon, your argument is weak. (i’m not much of a professional football fan) the whole football analogy was lost in translation. much like your interpretation of the bible.

    so you consider the teachings in the book of mormon, heresy? so when the book of mormon testifies of Christ, you call it heresy? when the BOM tells us to repent of our sins and put our faith in God, you call that heresy? When the BOM testifies of Christ’s atonement and his subsequent visiting of His other sheep, you call it heresy? what makes a religious persuasion heretic is their parting from Jesus and His actual purpose and atonement… and His teachings…ie the jews,islam (who consider jesus to only be a prophet), buddhists who believe in multiple gods and do not believe in a Savior, atheists who reject God altogether…so give me ONE example in the BoM that teaches heresy…heck, give me 5 examples, 10!

    you know, the pharisees considered what Jesus Christ said about Him being the King of Israel, heresy. but He and the faithful knew otherwise. to the extent that they reject Gods word, WHEREVER it is the evangelicals are modern day pharisees. the pharisees considered the old testament to be scripture, but had difficulty accepting Christ. why? because he was just a carpenters son. (Joseph Smith couldn’t have restored the gospel through Jesus Christ because he was only 13–he didn’t see a vision.)

    Evangelicals think that God only revealed himself to the Jews, and not to His other sheep…like as if God is limited in revealing
    His word.

    i also referenced scripture in the bible that prophesied of the evangelical rejection of Gods word, in the book of Mormon. you didn’t respond to that…nor did you respond to my other scriptural references. i’d appreciate an honest response to them this time, and not the usual MORMONS ARE HERETIC

  10. Eric says:

    Perhaps it was your fault as to the confusion. Regardless, you haven’t answered any of my three questions. I’m not sure what has confused you about them, but until I understand the answers to these, I have no ability to go beyond the typical “Mormons are heretic(al).”

  11. amanda says:

    Eric, let me make an attempt to clarify

    1. do mormons believe in one god? two? three? and references…

    the restored gospel teaches that we have a heavenly father, his son, jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. (reference article of faith #1)

    reference? Acts 7:55, HebreWs 12:2,
    Moroni 9:26,
    “And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen.”

    so no one is saying that this can’t also be interpreted to mean god, jesus and the holy ghost being the same entity, however it certainly does more for the interpretation that God, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate entities, with ONE purpose:
    Romans 15: 6 is an example of how the word “one” doesn’t mean literally being God Himself.

    2. what do you mean where did i get the idea that the Savior came from the Virgin mary, that’s borderline insulting! now how did that pregnancy take place? please, that’s like asking a child to explain mathematically how man landed on the moon. it’s impossible. and don’t refer me to quotations that you will take out of context of a mormon apostle discussing how god had sex with mary, because it’s not what we believe and its not at all what they have said.

    3. i have answered this point you made, above, except for what i think evangelicals believe of the trinity…
    my father in law is a former baptist preacher, and we have had several discussions concerning this matter…they believe God descended to human form in order to perform the atonement. and the holy ghost, His spirit. and that is the ONLY explanation i have received. i am interested in further explanation. 🙂

  12. amanda says:

    i used john 10 to explain why it isn’t far-fetched or heretical to believe that the book of mormon is God’s word as revealed to OTHER sheep…not whether you agree or not. i’m sure you interpret that to mean something else, but i wasn’t trying to persuade you to interpret it a certain way, i used that scripture to explain doctrinally where mormons stand on this scripture.

    so the book of mormon could be considered validated by this scritpure in the bible when interpreted that way.

  13. Eric says:


    1. So, do you believe three gods exist (Father, Son, HG) or is there just one, in your opinion?
    2. As far as origin of Jesus, you say you are insulted. But the question was not meant to be so. I merely ask because the historic teaching of the LDS Church is that Jesus came from a physical relationship between Elohim and Mary. A Family Home Evening Journal from 1972 clearly shows this to be true (along with a number of other resources). Maybe you don’t believe your leadership, but they have certainly taught it. And no, I’m not just using some apostle out of context. The person who should be insulted is the Christian who holds quite dearly to this sacred teaching, as the LDS version is very blasphemous.
    3. I’m unclear as to what your father-in-law taught. It seems you think that Christians hold in a teaching of the Trinity that is very heretical, called Sabellianism or Modalism. Yet the Trinity teaches that there is one God who is not just one in purpose but who is fully revealed in three Persons. The Father, Son, and Spirit are all fully God and yet not each other. The examples you’ve given throughout show that you really don’t understand what we teach or believe. Make a straw man, it’s easy to burn. But I think your straw man is nothing close to the version we believe. The Trinity actually makes much sense, especially when we look at the teaching of the Bible. We can go on and on in a blog and not get anywhere with this, but there has been plenty written on the topic to show how biblical this teaching is.

  14. Rick B says:

    Amanda you said

    (This is relevant to my controversial comment about the bible and BOM complimenting each other—-RICK B!!!)

    Sorry but that does not give me what I am looking for or asking according to how Bruce worded the challange at hand.

    Then you quote from the BoM saying stuff like,

    so when the book of mormon testifies of Christ, you call it heresy? when the BOM tells us to repent of our sins and put our faith in God, you call that heresy? When the BOM testifies of Christ’s atonement

    Sure sounds like we believe the same thing, but when you look deeper, then comes the problems.

    Repent of our sins, lets see, here is what you must do in mormonism.

    In Gospel Principles pg 125: WE MUST KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandments of the Lord (see D and C 1:32). we are not fully repentant if we do not pay tithes or keep the sabbath day holy or obey the word of wisdom. we are not repentant if we don’t sustain the authorities of the church and don’t love the lord and our fellow man.

    Here is what the Bible teaches,

    1John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Big difference in what we believe.

    Or the issue of the atonement, LDS teach it took place in the garden, we believe it was on the Cross, another big difference.

    The Bible teaches ONE GOD, the BoM teaches ONE GOD, The Pearl of great price teaches both ONE GOD and MANY GODS, king follet discourse teaches Millions of gods, they all cannot be correct, who do you trust, again big differences. Rick b

  15. amanda says:


    you quote john like repentance and forgiveness is the ONLY aspect to Christs gospel..(and those scriptures aren’t the only scriptures on repentance and forgiveness either)

    1. obey His commandments
    Deut. 11: 1, 22
    1 Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, always.

    2. tithing:
    Malachi 3: 8-10
    8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
    9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
    10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

    3. keeping the sabbath day
    Leviticus 23:3
    “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”

    4. Word of wisdom
    this is a revelation from God through the prophet Joseph Smith, and this is valid because prophets and their revelations are also biblical.

    Dan. 9: 10
    10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

    5. sustaining prophets,
    well, i’m pretty sure this is biblical…the Lord has always set apart a mouthpiece in His absence to preach His gospel…it would only be natural to sustain those which He calls.

    6.loving the lord and our fellow man: sermon on the mount ring a bell?
    Matt. 19: 19
    19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    Matt. 22: 39
    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    Mark 12: 31
    31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these”

  16. amanda says:

    rick, i assume that your response might be something like

    when Christ atoned for our sins, he fulfilled the law. meaning these other commandments, in the new testament are irrelevant? (apologize ahead of time if i am incorrect) but i would say to you that the law that was fulfilled was the law of sacrifice—the law of moses…an eye for an eye right?

    well Christ lays out his new commandments on the sermon on the mount by upping the ante…love thy enemies, do good to those who hate you and persecute you, etc….so to suggest that all we have to do is say “forgive me Lord” and not pay heed to the very things the Lord has asked of us, IN THE BIBLE, then we will all go to heaven. the point is that, if you love the Lord, you KEEP His commandments

    how are any of those things in your quote (d&c) you referenced me a problem to you?

    i’m not sure why those things that you laid out, and i explained above, are incorrect or heretical. maybe you should calibrate your doctrinal compass a bit. or explain further what you meant.

  17. amanda says:

    rick, it took place in both Gethsemane AND the cross….WRONG AGAIN–you keep proving to me that you really have NO idea what mormons believe…where do you get your information? i would challenge you to actually read the book of mormon, THEN ask your questions or argue your points.

    do you know the symbolism of the olive press? you should look into it…i really think you would appreciate it, all differences aside.

  18. Let’s play nice, folks.

  19. amanda says:

    aaron shafovaloff,

    will you please inform me what part of my statements weren’t nice? i certainly did not intend to be mean.

  20. Rick B says:

    Amanda, your the one who does not understand, First off I have read the entire BoM so stop claiming I never have. Then when You broke down the list of Gospel principles I posted, that is not what the Bible teaches we must do to be saved, and if that was what we must do to be saved, I guess Paul did not understand that stuff either and lied about what we must do to be saved.

    Paul and Silas were in Jail, The Jailer came to them and said:

    What must I do to be saved?
    Paul said

    Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

    Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    The response Paul gave was simple, Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Nothing more to do.

    Then Amanda, The atonement took place on the Cross not in the garden, not both places either. Read the OT better, no mention of the garden, the sin of the world was placed upon Christ. All through the entire OT we see the symbol of both the cross and the lamb who was to suffer, and shed blood, no garden out side of Eden.

    The unleavened bread used during the passover in the OT is stripped and pierced, so was Jesus on the Cross. The passover Blood on the door and sides formed a cross, The ten tribes when waiting in the wilderness were laid out in a spefic form, to them it did not look like much, but seen from an Ariel view it formed a cross.

    Jesus is referred to as the LAMB of God, the Lamb in the OT that was sacrificed, was first allowed to live with the Children as a pet before being killed for our sins. Jesus lived among us. The high priest would inspect the lamb for any blemishes before putting it to death. Jesus was inspected by questions before Pilate and the other religious leaders had him crucified.

  21. Rick B says:

    I happen to use and like the 1920 edition triple combination bound in leather. In reading the BoM in this edition, I find the word or mention of the Garden in only 4 places.

    we find 2 Nephi 2:19 and Alma 42:2 only speaking about Adam and Eve getting thrown out of the
    garden. And Helaman 7:10 and 9:8,11 speaking about Nephi’s garden No mention of the Shedding of Blood for our sins. But we Do read about the Cross or Christ being crucified on the cross for our Sins in the BoM and D and C here in these verses.

    Mosiah 3:8-9
    Helman 8:14-15 and 14:13-21
    3 Nephi 11:14-17 and 20:44 and 27:14 and 28:6-7
    Mormon 3:21
    Ether 4:1
    Moroni 5:1-2 and 10:33
    then over in D and C in this long list of verses.
    18:11-12 20:23 20:79 21:9 27:2 35:2 45:4,51,52 53:2 76:39,41,69 110:3-5

    And no mention of the Garden in these verses here,
    Mar 8:34 And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

    Mar 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

    John 19:17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called [the place] of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

    Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.

    Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Rick b

  22. amanda says:

    you haven’t responded to the olive press comment…there is obvious parallels to the garden of gethsemane. so you believe that when the Savior bled at every pour, it was just irrelevant? or lacked meaning? what else in the bible lacks meaning to you?

    and you also believe that the savior’s sermon on the mount, all that stuff was equally as irrelevant…because all we have to do is say that we believe IN him, we don’t have to actually ACT like we BELIEVE HIM.

    gethsemane is a biblical occurrence, it didn’t happen in the book of mormon.

    rick, you don’t need to be smug…you accuse me of not reading my bible or understanding it, uh, we understand it differently…and that is the only important distinction.

    honestly rick, i don’t like the tone of your comments, it seems as if you carry no respect for me, and if that is the case, i cannot carry on with you anymore. if i am wrong, which i hope i am, i look forward to your response.

  23. amanda says:

    President Spencer W. Kimball wrote

    “It is impossible to understand what happened on Calvary without some understanding as to what went on in Gethsemane. Likewise, the birth at Bethlehem must be tied to the significance of the empty tomb which signaled the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ministry of the Master cannot be understood fully either, unless we understand about his ministry on this hemisphere to the other sheep which were not of the fold in Jerusalem (see John 10:16; 3 Ne. 15:17, 21–24). The more one understands about the ministry of Jesus Christ, the more absurd it is to regard him as any less than the resurrected Son of God.

    The message from and about Jesus Christ is so fundamental and so crucial to mankind that it was and is essential for that message to be kept exceedingly simple. It is equally important for all of us who are disciples and followers of the Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, to live in such a way that our very lives are a witness by our works and our words that we are indeed believers.

    Paul, in writing to Titus, urged, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

    “Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” (Titus 2:7–8.)

    It is vital for you as young adults to be a pattern of good works and to give to others no real cause to condemn you. However, it will be, and is, the lot of the followers of the Master to know the sting of misunderstanding and of false witness.”

  24. amanda says:


    “No less a civil libertarian than John Stuart Mill wrote this: “A moral training of mankind will never be adapted to the conditions of life, for which all other human progress is a preparation, until they practice in the family the same moral rule which is adopted to the human constitution of human society.”

    Do not be surprised if all things are not immediately understandable to you and if some things must be accepted by faith, awaiting the day when that which is unclear becomes clear, when some duty which is now difficult will become a delight. Do not be puzzled if sometimes there are those in the world who mock how you live and what you believe, saying it is all false, but who, deep inside themselves, are really afraid that what you believe is really true. If ever a generation needed to believe in and understand the significance of these words of Paul’s, it is your generation. Paul counseled: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

    “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8–9.)

  25. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Okay, time to reign this discussion in. Please return to the topic of the Trinity/Council of Nicea.

    Rick and Amanda, perhaps you would like to carry on your conversation via email…

    Also, the moderators are frowning upon the continuing back-to-back comments. Please stop.

  26. amanda says:

    sharon, you are so kind to remind us, i will do my utmost..

  27. Falcon says:

    Just for clarification, I don’t think the Bible says that Jesus sweated blood. I think the statement might have been used as a metaphor.

  28. Falcon says:

    Luke 22:44
    “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”

    If that’s a proff text for the atonement or part of it happening in the garden, it doesn’t work. No blood was shed in the garden.

    Acts 2:2
    “And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind…..”

    No real wind but a sound like one.

    “I am the bread of life…” “Iam living water…”

    Not real bread or real water.

    I’ve heard people say that the tornado sounded like a fright train. It wasn’t a fright train, it sounded like one.

    He took off out of there like a rocket.

    He wasn’t a rocket.

    I’m thinking the atonement took place on the cross.

  29. Ralph says:

    To get back on topic,I’d still like an answer to my question earlier about verses that describe a “Trinity” because all the verses I have seen to support this doctrine describe, at best, a ‘Duality” – that of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. If there is none, then the inclusion of the Holy Spirit(Ghost) would have to be put down as a man-made doctrine.

  30. Falcon says:

    Just a minor point…..but my sense is that doctrines are all, in a sense, man made. What I mean by that is that doctrines are a way of explaining, what is believed. That’s why there is systematic theology. Theologians read the scriptures and develop a code, a standard, an understanding of what God has revealed to us in His written Word. So if someone says to me that he has a special revelation from God, I can look andd see how it lines-up with the doctrinal standard based on God’s revealed Word. There is nothing new regarding the views about the nature of God and who He is. What each individual must decide is if they are going to accept the views as articulated by the early Church fathers and which have become articulated doctrine or head in some other direction.

  31. Sharon Lindbloom says:


    You may find this Scriptural Support of the Trinity list helpful:

    The last (5th) column is titled “God Revealed in Trinity” and might be what you are looking for…

  32. amanda says:

    Sharon, i looked up those scriptures myself and found them to coincide with mormon doctrine as well. but there was one scripture on that site i’d like to ask you all about:

    Matthew 28:19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

    do evangelicals believe you need to baptize? as a necessary saving ordinance? if no, then why did the savior have john the baptist baptize Him?

    (ps, i’m not sure how that scripture, however, teaches of a trinity?)

  33. Amanda, thanks for continuing to interact with us (seriously).

    Matthew 28:19 doesn’t teach that physical baptism is an absolute requirement for final salvation, nor does it teach that it is a prerequisite for full and immediate forgiveness. Rather, it is a command, and Christians ought to take it seriously, baptizing converts (who have already become Christians by faith) to represent identity with the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

    Matthew 28:19 is a wonderful passage in support of the Trinity, and has historically been used to combat the notion that Jesus isn’t God. Notice that Jesus says “name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”, and not “names”. The “name” of God throughout the Old Testament refers to the one God, Yahweh, and his identity, power, righteousness, reputation, and renown. When Christians are baptized in the one “name”, we are baptized in the name of one God.

  34. Falcon says:

    When I went to Catholic school (decades ago) we were taught about water baptism, baptism of desire and blood baptism. Water baptism in that context was for babies or adult converts to the Catholic faith. Baptism of desire was for people who became believers but hadn’t had a chance to be baptised. Blood baptism dealt with being a martyr to the faith, not having been water baptised. Funny I remember all of this Catholic theology not being a practicing Catholic for 40 years now. The training had a life long effect. The Bible is pretty clear on the subject of salvation. We’re saved by faith. Water baptism is an outward sign of an inner conviction, some say grace. A ceremony/rite doesn’t save us. My thank you to God for what was done for me is to live as righteously as I can according to His standards.

  35. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Last call for sticking to the topic of the Trinity and the Council of Nicea. As interesting as this discussion is, comments will soon be closed on this thread if the discussion continues off topic…

  36. Falcon says:

    I think we’ve probably exhausted this topic anyway… least for the time being.

  37. Ralph says:


    Those scriptures are discussed on the website I mentioned above. They all mention three beings, but do not say anything about them being one (or a Trinity). It would just be like mentioning you, Bill and Aaron. You three work together on this site but you are 3 different people – but if you substitute your names into those scriptures you referred me to, they read correctly, but it does not in anyway infer that you three are a “trinity”, just that different things can be attributed to the three of you.

    As for Matt 28:19, the website I mentioned says that most (not all) Biblical scholars believe that the last part about baptising “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” is an insertion later on (ie a few decades after it was written) as that is never mentioned again in the NT. If you look at all other references to baptising – it says to baptise in Jesus’s name only – none other. Now if Jesus stated to baptise in the manner in Matt 28:19, wouldn’t you think that this would be repeated throughout the NT in all other references? Otherwise it would be in direct conflict with something Jesus said to do. What was that scripture about an angel professing a different Gospel?

    Also the verses listed about the Holy Ghost on your website to which you directed me, do not state that the Holy Ghost is God. These verses can also be interpreted to mean that God and the Holy Ghost are seperate.

  38. Falcon says:

    This, Jesus only, doctrine was promoted in the early part of the last century when at a pentecostal camp meeting in 1913 in South Pasadena, California a man by the name of John Scheppe, started shouting the name of Jesus. He reported that he had just received a vision of Jesus that made him feel Jesus needed to be given greater honor. A pastor by the name of Frank Ewart said that the way to honor Jesus was to be rebaptized in water in the name of Jesus only. There were some that went so far as to report if this wasn’t done a person would lose his/her salvation. A further declaration was made that there was only one Person in the Godhead, Jesus. Jesus, according to these folks, filled the offices/modes of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This was referred to as “The New Issue” but it was really old heresy. So when the denomination called the Asseblies of God was formed in 1914 they took particular pains to articulate the doctrine of the trinity. So somebody had a vison, somebody shouts amen and suddenly away we go.

  39. Ralph says:


    Sorry but I don’t understand what exactly you mean. You are talking about something that happened last century – but I am talking about something that is written in the Bible.

    What I said was that most Biblical scholars believe that the part about baptising ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” was actually written in the scriptures decades after the proper scripture was penned. Their proof is that throughout the rest of the Bible, whenever baptism is discussed, the apostles and disciples teach that it is in the name of Jesus – not all three (ie Father, Son and Holy Ghost). So if that scripture is an inclusion, then it cannot be used to indicate a Trinity. If it is not an inclusion, then all of the disciples and apostles were teaching a different gospel/doctrine to Jesus. It has nothing to do with last century.

  40. Sharon Lindbloom says:


    I guess I don’t understand what you are looking for in the matter of scriptural references. One must take the scripture as a whole. As author James White has written, “Christians believe in the Trinity not because the term itself is given in some creedlike form in the text of Scripture. Instead, they believe in the Trinity because the Bible, taken in its completeness, accepted as a self-consistent revelation of God, teaches that there is one Being of God…that is shared fully…by three divine persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (The Forgotten Trinity, 29)

    Much confusion arises over a misunderstanding of what the Trinity is. Christian theologian B.B. Warfield said, “When we have said these three things, then–that there is but one God, that the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each God, that the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each a distinct person–we have enunciated the doctrine of the Trinity in its completeness.”

    Ralph said: “Also the verses listed about the Holy Ghost on your website to which you directed me, do not state that the Holy Ghost is God.”

    A quick explanation. The listed verses (the Holy Spirit as God) apply divine attributes to the Holy Spirit: Psalm 139:7-8 (omnipresence); 1 Cor. 2:10-11 (omniscience); John 3:5-7 (life-giving, regenerates man to new spiritual life); Acts 5:3-4 (lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God).

    This is my last post on this — I’m off for a late-summer vacation. I hope you all have a safe and relaxing holiday!

  41. Falcon says:

    My point here is that these doctrines tend to get recycled in the history of the Church. The modern pentecostal movement can be traced back a little before that 1913 date. There was a split between the Jesus Only people and those who held to a more traditional view of the trinity. One group became the United Pentecostal Church (UPC) and the other the Asseblies of God. The latter holding to the traditional view of the trinity. There is a strict standard for basic doctrine that the traditional Church holds to. From time to time someone claims to have a revelation that recycles a doctrine that the Church has considered and rejected. There is a spiritual aspect to all of this, but there is also an intellectual aspect. The intellectual aspect keeps people from going off on tangents that can often be emotionalism mistaken for spirituality.

  42. amanda says:

    aaron, interesting point…the commas however would disagree with you…in terms of the english language (i am not trying to patronize, just to be clear)…
    name of the father, and (in the name of) the son, and (in the name of) the holy ghost.
    in the name of the father
    in the name of the son
    in the name of the holy ghost.

    if they are actually ONE being, why call it father, SON (of the father perhaps?) and holy ghost? look, our ideologies disagree and i don’t think there is anyway to prove either, hence the need for prayer and faith.

    in terms of physical baptism…Christ was physically baptized, he was physically crucified, he physically suffered, he physically was my faith, he was not only symbolically being an example..but a literal example as well…i think there is more to His gospel than what is commonly perceived by evangelicals…but i respect all of you and think the bulk of you are sincere and loving people.

  43. amanda says:


    i appreciated your response to me…it gave me some insight into who you are as a person.

    i have another question based on something you said…”we are saved by faith” (in so many words)

    what is faith? some on this site have said that we are saved by our belief in Christ and his atonement…however you say it is important to have FAITH in Him…well, faith is more than just belief. faith is action…and ordinances and covenants are an action of faith. the Lord has made many covenants with the children of men, and has required ordinances such as baptism. faith is action…
    John 13: 15 I have given you an example, that ye should do as I.
    John 14: 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. faith with us through the righteousness of God.

  44. M2 says:

    Dear Amanda,

    I’m sorry but I don’t have much time this week to post. You have brought up several subjects and questions that I would just love to sit down and discuss with you.

    Concerning your question about the word ‘faith’, modernly, in many circles/groups the definition goes something like this, “Belief in the unseen and/or the unknown” or “Belief in the unprovable.” But this word faith has Biblical origin and thus needs to be defined in it’s original Greek context. In Hebrew there is no word for ‘faith’, even though in the English the word faith appears in the OT. The Hebrew word ’emun/emunah’ does not carry the same concept as the Greek ‘pistis’. ‘Emun/emunah’ is “like” our word ‘trust’ but ‘pistis’ is very special, it carries the concepts (all together) of our words ‘confidence’ and ‘persuasion’ and ‘conviction’ and ‘reasonable belief’. Combine all those words and that is what ‘pistis’ means. Faith is not blind nor is it a step in the dark. What do I mean by that? If I told you, “lend me 5,000 dollars and I will pay you back in a year.” You would very much hesitate to trust me because you don’t know me. The same is with our beliefs. You and I are investing more than 5,000 dollars into our beliefs, we are investing our lives (eternal and temporal) into what we believe. Any rational person takes a car to a mechanic before they buy it, they don’t just pay 10,000 dollars for a car that they don’t check out first. The same should be with our beliefs. Your and my eternal lives are at stake here. Amanda, the more I learn the more my faith grows. But if were to find that what I believed in “didn’t hold water”, then we no longer have a reasonable confidence (faith). The philosophy in Mormonism of faith comes from the Evangelical Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard and from the philosophy called fideism, but neither of these is the true definition of what the early Christians understood when they heard the word faith.


  45. Falcon says:

    Basically you bring up the difference between Mormonism and Ev. Christianity when you give your definition or discription of faith (when you talk about ordinances etc.) My view is that Jesus, being God, is the qualified Savior. He took my place on the cross. I can’t earn salvation. I don’t qualify. I am not now, nor will I ever be god in any form. I testify to my faith in Christ by living a transformed life through the power of the Holy Spirit. I would agree that belief in Jesus is not enough to be saved in the sense that even the devil believes in Jesus and the devil isn’t saved. There is temporal faith; someone throwing up a prayer to God in a time of crisis. That’s not saving faith. There is a type of historical faith, acknowledging a person named Jesus lived at some point here on earth. But that isn’t saving faith. There is saving faith; which I talked about above. I’m sorry, but no amount of temple rituals or following religous rules is going to get you or keep you saved. God does that through His grace. The gift of eternal life that God offers us is free….to us…..but it cost Him everything.

  46. amanda says:

    Falcon, who said you need to earn salvation? He asks us to do all we can, refer to the scriptures above i referenced. Just because i point out that to whom much is given, much is required, that somehow i think that means we are earning salvation…no, out of love for our Savior and respect for his teachings and the way He lived His life..consider what he asks of us in the sermon on the mount. this was not a moment in His life that was insignificant.

    basically, you bring up the difference that doesn’t exist- the only difference i see is that evangelicals believe that there isn’t anything they are asked to do, other than believe on His name…and i wholeheartedly disagree with you. and i believe the scriptures disagree with you as well. let me add again, this isn’t a matter of whether we will be saved if we just do one more thing…but you can’t say that you believe in Christ unless you also BELIEVE Christ. He lived his life as an example to us. When you believe or have faith, you show it…you put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. just saying it doesn’t mean your heart is changed. our hearts are changed through service and love and experiences that humble us. i find it more ridiculous to say that “well, i believe on His name, and that’s all i have to just say it, then i’m saved”–that’s not what the Savior taught.

    and the reasons i continue to have faith in the restored gospel has everything to do with the consequences of my daily decision to continue to walk this path. I have experienced my testimony strengthened as i abide by the precepts i find through my study of the scriptures, and the counsel i receive from living prophets. and there is nothing anyone can say on this website that could come CLOSE to comparing with the peace i have felt in my heart regarding this issue. so we will have to respectfully disagree.

  47. Falcon says:

    First of all, I don’t base anything in my walk with God on how I feel. Peacful or other wise. I don’t think that emotions are a very good validation for faith or understanding God’s will. I’ve had God’s witness through his Holy Spirit directly to me in a manner that was not peaceful or emotionally rewarding.

    I think I pretty much covered the whole concept of the transformed life in Christ through His Holy Spirit. I would suggest you read Galatians because it’s there that Martin Luther saw the folly of trying to please God through useless works. That method has been tried by countless sects over the centuries and it earned the label of “legalism”.

    Your never going to get good enough Amanda. But if you want to keep trying through works, that’s your decision. God will accept you just the way you are now through what His Son Jesus did for you by shedding His blood on that cross of shame. Jesus took the curse of the law on Himself for us. Christ set me free from the bondage of useless works to a relationship with God based on grace. “For by grace you have been saved, through faith; and not by yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no man should boast.” I say amen Lord.

  48. amanda says:

    well, that has been your experience with the spirit…but how do you know it was the just know. likewise, my experiences have been the same, no matter how it effects me, it is that same spirit.

    falcon, you haven’t been listening(or reading) at all to what i’ve been saying. i never said i’ll ever be good enough, and you largely ignored my compelling argument. it’s not ME or MORMONS saying YOU or I need to do works, it’s the SAVIOR who asks this of us..and i have you MANY resources. i take whatever the SAvior says as doctrine. and my argument was never that my works save me, but that’s all you want to hear, so that is all you will hear.

    besides, you don’t believe that God will accept me as i am now, because i’m mormon. according to what everyone says on this site, when you’re mormon, it doesn’t matter if you believe on Christs name—you also have to renounce your faith and become an evangelical. that sounds like works to me. I believe IN Christ and i BELIEVE Christ–as far as YOU’re concerned, that should be good enough…so don’t be concerned about my salvation 🙂 and you completely misunderstand that scripture and its reference to works. he didn’t say, feed my sheep, turn the other cheek, follow my commandments, BUT, don’t listen to what i just said cause it doesn’t really matter THAT much..

  49. Interested says:

    Amanda my heart goes out to you. I have been following your comments for some time. You are truly troubled. I hope one day you will find peace.

  50. Falcon says:

    I’m going to back up and take another run at this. Let me try this angle. Could you stop doing all the things that the Mormon church is requiring you to do and still be in good standing with God and your church? Or are you compelled to do them.
    If you look at Phillipians Paul give his qualifications and works orientation that he was involved in before he encountered Jesus. He says this;

    “….whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.

    Paul goes on to say he doesn’t have a righteousness of his own based on a works orientation. That attempts at righteousness that comes from adherence to laws, rules, ceremonies and rites isn’t God’s plan or program. Personally, I serve Christ, again, by faith, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Paul says that this type of approach provides a righteousness “….which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

    We’ve gotten way off the track here as far as the Doctrine of the Trinity. I just wanted to take the opportunity to share with you the freedom I have in Christ. And by the way, I could detail for you how I know it’s the Spirit but that’s another discussion.

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