Discovering the God of Christianity

Guest Post

Over the past two months I’ve had the distinct privilege and opportunity given to me by my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to have dialogue with a very prominent member of the LDS Church who comes from a very influential Mormon family. How we came to know each other is a story in of itself and I can only say that God has a real sense of humor in how He brings about these events. We have had some lengthy discussions on many issues relating to Mormonism and most of those have been about one subject: the nature of God. Most of these have been in written form because of the nature of his employment. He has said many things to me that surprised me when I take into account his background. For example:

“Andy, there are many things about Mormon history that bother me, there are many things about Mormon culture now that frustrate me, and there are aspects of Mormon doctrine that still perplex me.  (And there are certainly many Mormons who anger and disappoint me for the way they live—or, do not live—their faith.) Unlike many Mormons, I am not comfortable saying ‘I know’ it all to be true.  What I can say is that it has earned my faith and devotion.”

We have agreed to center our discussions on two topics: the nature of God and who is Jesus? The reason being that if one has the wrong concept of who God is and they are worshipping a false god that doesn’t exist, then all other issues really are a moot point. The first issue (nature of God) is a big issue to discuss and it branched off into two separate mini-issues: Mormonism’s polytheism vs. Christianity’s monotheism and specific details that describe God in the Bible. Of course, “rabbit trails” (off-topic issues/questions) would come up and were looked into and discussed, but it always came back to the nature of God. I encouraged him to closely examine in the Bible what we had talked about and see for himself what the Bible says about the one true God. He said to me:

“I’ll tell you one thing, though.  Our conversation has prompted me to make a directed study of the nature of God as described in the Bible–Gen. 1 to Rev.  22.  That obviously may take a while, but I can’t imagine anything more worth my time.  You indicated before that you’re skeptical that I can do this without seeing things through the filter of Mormonism; I hope that’s not true.  I have tried to make an honest search for Truth the hallmark of my life for sometime now.  I will try to set aside the assumptions of Mormonism, Nicea, Westminster, etc.”

It soon became apparent to him that, in fact, the God of Christianity as described in the Bible is not the same god of Mormonism. He asked of me:

“When you get a minute, I would love to get your personal description of the God you worship.  It’s so easy for us Mormons to thoughtlessly caricature others’ images of God; I would love to know yours.”

I told him that I would be happy to do that and listed below is what I wrote:

  • God is revealed as three distinct persons, but is one God and not polytheistic. (Definition of the Trinity: within the nature of the one God are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost). (Matthew 3:16; 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29)
  • God the Father is the first person of the Trinity. God the Son (Jesus Christ) is the second person of the Trinity. God the Holy Ghost is the third person of the Trinity.
  • All persons of the Trinity are co-eternal, co-equal, co-existent and are One.
  • God has always existed. He was not created, and He did not eternally progress to what He is today and has been God from all eternity and will continue to be God for all eternity.(Isaiah 43:10-12; Psalm 90:2; Malachi 3:6)
  • The Father is God. (2 Peter 1:17). Jesus Christ is God. (John 1:1, 14; 8:58/Exodus 3:14; Col 2:9; and many more!). The Holy Ghost is God. (Acts 5:3-4)
  • God created all things (heaven and earth – Gen 1:1) ex nihilo “out of nothing”.
  • God created man from the dust of the ground and gave him life (Gen 2:7). God formed the spirit of man within him (Zechariah 12:1).
  • All three persons of the Trinity were involved in the creation. The Father spoke it (Genesis 1). The Son did it (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). The Holy Ghost moved upon it (Gen 1:2).
  • This creation was singular in nature because God is One and He created all things alone (Isaiah 44:24).
  • There is only one God by nature [essence] (Gal 4:8).
  • There are no other gods – past, present or future (Isaiah 43:10-12).
  • God is omniscient. (Isaiah 40:13, 14, 28; Psalm 147:5; 139:1-4; 50:11). God is omnipotent. (Romans 1:20; Genesis 17:1; Rev 19:6). God is omnipresent. He is not isolated to one area (Mormonism’s god who resides near Kolob) and is everywhere all the time. (Psalm 139:7-10, Isaiah 66:1; Jeremiah 23:23-24; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Hebrews 4:13). The Father, Son & Holy Ghost are all omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
  • God the Father is not a man with a body of flesh and bones. (Isaiah 31:3)
  • God the Father is Spirit as well as the Holy Ghost (John 4:24; Gen 1:2). The Father and the Holy Ghost do not have bodies of flesh and bones like the Son (Luke 24:39). The Son has a body of flesh and bones because He “was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7) for the suffering of death (Hebrews 4:13).
  • The Father and the Holy Ghost are not male or female because He is [a] Spirit (John 4:24). The Son took on human flesh at the Incarnation (Matthew 1:23).
  • The Father is not married to a female deity because there are no such “goddesses” mentioned in God’s Word, the Bible, that state this to be so in being in essence with God. Yes, there may be in idolatry and in paganism, but not the real God by nature (Gal 4:8). There is no Scripture to support the concept of this or the idea of the Father being married to a “mother in heaven” as viewed in Mormonism (an argument based on scriptural silence).
  • God is a righteous judge (Psalm 19:9; 96:12-13; Gen 18:25).
  • God is absolutely holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 15:4).
  • God is love/loving (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; Romans 5:8).
  • God is merciful (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:32).
  • God does not show favoritism (Romans 1:11).
  • God does not lie (Hebrews 6:18).
  • God has a plan for my life and it’s a good one. (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28)
  • God loved and cared about me enough while I was dead in my sins (Ephesians 2:1, 5) to draw me unto Himself (John 6:44).
  • God demonstrated unmerited favor upon me by dying on the cross for my sins, giving me the choice to choose Him freely and by that choice of doing so I was given eternal life – not by my unacceptable works – but by his grace. (Romans 6:23; Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; John 6:47)
  • God forgives me of my sins and remembers them no more. (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 10:17)
  • God sticks closer to me than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
  • God cares enough about me that I can cast all my cares upon Him. (1 Peter 5:9).
  • God will never leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5).
  • God loved the world enough to give us His Word so we can learn about Him. (Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
  • God has a plan for the outcome and finality of the earth that cannot be thwarted by the evil intentions of mankind. (Job 42:2; Psalm 135:6; Daniel 4:35; Eph 1:11).
  • God speaks to me through the Holy Spirit and gives me guidance and discernment. (John 16:13)
  • God utilizes the spiritual gifts of others to communicate truth or other facts to me that let’s me know that He cares about me and that I am in His will. (1 Cor 14:6).
  • God can fill me with His Spirit which will empower me for service for Him. (Ephesians 5:18)
  • God will discipline me when I stray away or I am in sin (Hebrews 12:6).
  • God is before all things and all others in my life (Matthew 22:37).
  • “Dying to self” (1 Cor 15:31) in service out of gratitude to Him and accomplishing God’s will in my life is my desire.
  • Giving thanks and praise daily to God for erasing my sin debt that I could not pay by any action I could do my own gives me great joy and gratitude. (1 Thes 5:18)
  • Knowing that God hears my prayers and answers them by fulfilling them according to His will is very comforting and faith building. (1 John 5:14)

I received this reply back from him:

“Thank you, too, for your personal witness about the God you love and worship.  Since the nature of God is the overarching theme of our discussion, and the subject of my current cover-to-cover biblical study, I am going to hold on to your description of God as I work my way through the Bible trying to know the Father better.  I have begun that study, keeping a careful journal of my findings; I am eager to see what truths I may find.”

It is my hope and prayer that our Mormon readers will do as my friend is doing in his personal study. There is a difference between the Mormon “god” and the Christian God. Both are not the same and there is only one correct, true God that can give eternal life in God’s Word – the Bible: The God of Christianity as demonstrated from Scripture. Which one will you choose?

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142 Responses to Discovering the God of Christianity

  1. falcon says:

    Mormons can trace their doctrines, especially that dealing with the nature of God, back to Joseph Smith. It begins and ends there. He was the author of their man progressing to god idea. That’s as far as it goes in lineage. This idea of gods and goddesses procreating spirit children inperpituity out there on their own worlds and planetary systems is absent from the debate on the nature of Christ and God in the first centuries of the Church. In fact, Smith’s musings are a total fantasy. To repeat myself, Smith wouldn’t even qualify as a very good heretic because his ideas on the nature of God sound like something a preadolecent child with a vivid imagination conjured up.
    In the third and fourth centuries of the Church, the supreme doctrinal authority remained as before, the original revelation given by Christ which was than communicated to the Church by Christ’s apostles. Strictly speaking, this process was the divine/apostolic tradition of the Church.
    In the third century, Cyprian spoke of “the root and source of the dominical tradition” or “the fountain-head and source of the divine tradition” and Athanasius in the fourth century emphasized as the foundation of the Church “the tradition…which the Lord gave and the apostles proclaimed”. It was taken for granted that all of this was embodied in Holy Scripture and as an outlet the the general unwritten teaching and liturgical life of the Chruch.
    The Church fathers did, however without question, recognize the absolute authority of Scripture. This was the doctrinal norm. Tradition supported this.
    Mormons, with their “new revelation” regarding the nature of God, can find no support in the tradition of the Church or in the Biblical text. That their supposed “new revelation” fell victim to a grand conspiracy is Joseph Smith’s “the dog ate my homework” childish explanation for why Mormonism can’t be found in the Bible or the historical record.
    P.T. Barnum was right!

  2. Andy Watson says:


    I want to applaud you for “digging in” and staying with this discussion. It appears that your Mormon brethren have abandoned you from lack of interest, fear of the topic, ignorance of the topic, immature attitude of viewing the topic (Shemwater: “this thread is ridiculous”; St.Crisp: “OMG, Here we go again – the nature of God!”) or all of the above. Unfortuantely, some Mormons only want to engage in issues that have no real relevance such as discussions on whether or not regular or diet Coke should be part of the Word of Wisdom dietary restrictions with coffee and tea or a discussion on home storage and how it would be better if Mormons had a year’s supply of water and rice versus only 6 months.

    My Mormon friend that I wrote about above realizes this attitude among his brethren and it troubles and embarrasses him. He thought a discussion on who God is was the single most important issue that could be discussed. If I were to reveal who he is and his position in the LDS Church I think the Shemwater’s and St. Crispin’s of the LDS Church would be very embarrassed at their cavalier attitude about this topic. Like I said, if one has the wrong concept of who God is and they have the wrong God, then other issues that can be discussed mean absolutely nothing. My friend realized that his god (Mormonism) was very different than the God of Christianity. I also find it interesting that when one meets LDS missionaries the first question they ask you is, “Would you tell me what you think about God, who He is and what does He mean to you?”

    I appreciate your questions and thoughts on each one of these points especially regarding the deity of Christ and His attributes while in His earthly ministry. I have given them much thought and study too over the years. I still marvel at those things that my human mind cannot grasp. I will do my best to tell you what I have come to understand through study, education and prayer for discernment.

    More Later,

  3. Rick B says:

    Hey Ralph,
    To Go along with what Andy is saying let me point out what God said.

    Andy is so correct about getting the Nature of God correct. Read Job chapter 42. Better yet read the entire book of Job, but in Chapter 42, God rebukes Job for Job’s response, but the harsher rebuke is for Job’s friends who were way off in their view of who God is.

    Then after God harshly rebuked them, God told Job to pray for them and their wrong views. Then the 2 scariest verses in the entire bible are where Jesus says, I never knew you.

    The problem is, People think they know Jesus when in fact they really do not, and then it turns out, not only do they not really know him, but He does not know you, and if He does not know you, then your headed for eternal damnation. Rick b

  4. falcon says:

    I would encourage folks to order Issue 85 of Christian History titled “Debating Jesus’ Divinity: The Council of Nicaea and its bitter aftermath”. One question that is addressed is: “In the council, the bishops cooperated with-some would say, were co-opted by-the state…..”
    Robert Louis Wilken, Professor of Early Christian History at the University of Virginia answers; “The simple answer is this; what does the church do when it winds up convincing most of the society to become Christian? That’s what was happening by the fourth century. I don’t think the church was co-opted by the state. It was the other way around: It’s Constantine who changes. And once that happens, it means that the church assumes reponsibility for forming the society-a task it didn’t have before.
    At the Council of Nicaea, called by the emperor Constantine, the bishops confessed the triune God, the God of the Bible, the Creator who sent Christ into the world to save sinners, in a very public forum. It meant that the biblical God displaced the gods of Rome…..So at the end of the fourth century, when the emperor Theodosius procaims that the empire is now going to be officially under God, it’s the God of Nicaea, it’s the God of the Bible, it’s the Trinitarian God he affirms.
    The Nicene Creed is a way of proclaiming that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus, that is, the biblical God, is the God to whom we as a society are now beholden. Now we will give this God our worship and adoration.”
    The point of the Council was to affirm what the Church already believed and to vanquish (so to speak) the heresies that were prevalent at the time. What we see in early Church history, is the beating back of heretical notions concerning the nature of God.

  5. Andy Watson says:

    Part 1


    One important aspect regarding the deity of Jesus Christ that hasn’t been addressed probably in great detail is the humanity of Jesus Christ. One of the fundamental truths of historical, orthodox Christianity is that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Jesus Christ is the God-man. To say that Jesus Christ was fully God and not man or fully man and not God are both equally wrong. He was fully and equally both God and man (humanity). To say that Jesus was not a man and all-God is the heretical teaching called DOCETISM. In Christian systematic theology it is taught that Jesus Christ has two natures: divine and human. This DOES NOT mean that He was/is two person. Jesus Christ is not a schizophrenic (mentally) nor two persons (physically) in the same body.

    Jesus had a human mind. He went through the same learning process that all children go through including you and I in that we had to learn how to eat, drink, talk, walk, read, write, etc. Jesus Christ did not come out of the womb quoting the Psalms, speaking Aramaic and silencing the storms on the sea. However, the Word of God is clear that when He was born He was the “Mighty God” (El Gibbor – Isaiah 10:21; Exodus 3:6) from Isaiah 9:6 and Immanuel “God with us” of Isaiah 7:14. This is confirmed in Matthew 1:23. Notice that Jesus starting receiving worship at that very moment in Matthew 2:2,11. (More on this later)

    Jesus had to learn how to be obedient to his parents. He did this through His temptations. This was all part of the genuine humanity of Jesus. Jesus was in every way human that we are with only one exception – He was without sin (2 Cor 5:21; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15). For Jesus to not be fully human He would not be able to identify with us in our humanity and areas of suffering and temptations. The only difference was that He did not sin. He could not sin because He was/is God in the flesh (John 1:14). Jesus will forever be fully God and fully human.

  6. Ralph says:

    Hei Andy,

    It appears that this discussion of ours will take some time due to the limits of this site (No offence moderators I agree we need constraints). My email is [email protected] if you wish to do a longer and fuller discussion (please copy/paste this first part again for the entirety of the discussion). Yes I am showing I disagree with the Trinity, but I am also trying to understand what exactly you believe and how you can overcome scriptures that are contradictory to the description of the Trinity. The reason I am asking you to do this is because I want to jump on a few ‘holes’ ican see already in your argument, but I know I need to wait until I hear the full one to understand if these are or are not ‘holes’.

    Also I would like to know why many here brush off the scholars when it comes to comments about your faith – in this case the Trinity and the evidence I have given from Christian scholars that the doctrine of the Trinity is not in the Bible but a post-Biblical idea – but then hold us LDS to the letter of what the scholars say about the BoM or the LDS faith and tell us we cannot brush them off. Isn’t that a double standard?

  7. Andy Watson says:

    Part 2

    Jesus was tired, hungry, thirsty, stressed out and emotionally tapped out at times just like you and I because he humbled himself by taking on the form of man and the nature of humanity (coupled with His divine nature). He was made in the likeness of men and humbled himself and was obedient unto death to redeem lost mankind and bring reconciliation for us to God the Father (Philippians 2:7-8; Romans 5:10).

    God the Father was/is none of those things (Psalm 121:4) because He is not a man (Isaiah 31:3 and many other verses!). He is Spirit (John 4:24) and a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Notice what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:17: “flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father in heaven.” God the Father does not have two natures: divine and human. The Bible does not teach that God the Father (Elohim) did the same thing that Jesus did here on earth somewhere else thus having a humanistic nature coupled with divine.

    Jesus being fully human and fully divine (God) is why Jesus could say what He did in Matthew 24:36. He did not know the time of His return AS A MAN in the same way he didn’t know if the fig tree had fruit or not in Matt 21:19. However, in his divine nature He knew all things as stated in John 1:48; 2:25; 16:30; 21:17. Jesus did grow in wisdom and he did learn obedience as you stated in His humanity. However, as God in nature Jesus didn’t need to be taught anything (Isaiah 40:14,28).

    When Jesus said the Father was greater than He, the Father was in a greater position by office because Jesus had taken on humanity for the suffering of death, but not better in nature because Jesus was/is God in nature (see earlier post above). There is only one God by nature/essence (Gal 4:8).

  8. Andy Watson says:

    Part 3

    Another one of the early heretical teachings was the teaching of subordinationism. Subordinationism taught that the Son was eternal (not created) and divine, but still NOT EQUAL to the Father IN BEING or attributes. Christianity stands firm on the equality of Jesus, God the Son, in nature/essence with God the Father. For Jesus Christ to not be equal in nature with God the Father means that Jesus is not God and that conflicts with many scriptures that state otherwise.

    Yes, it was the Jews who understood Jesus equating Himself being equal to God the Father in John 5:18. Jesus knew what they were thinking (see past references) and He did not correct them or rebuke them for it. Look at Phil 2:5-6. Why did Jesus think “it not robbery to be equal with God”? One doesn’t have to rob, steal or covet something that already belongs to one’s self.

    In reference to John 10:30 I would like to draw your attention to John 10:28 when Jesus said that “I give them eternal life…neither shall any man pluck them out of MY HAND.” Jesus is able to give eternal life? That is quite a statement from someone who is not fully God in nature with the Father. The same meaning is then applied to the Father in verse 29 “my Father’s hand”. Verse 30 is referring to the Son and the Father sharing the same nature (Gal 4:8). Evidence of this is verse 33 when the Jews knew what Jesus was saying and tried to stone him.

    I would be happy to give you what I have on the LDS position on Jesus being the “I AM” of John 8:58. It’s lengthy, but I can summarize by stating that Jesus is Jehovah God of the Old Testament. Jesus Christ in this verse claimed and stated that He is Jehovah God and applied the divine name “I AM” of Exodus 3:14 to Himself. In Mormonism, God the Father (Elohim) is not present in the Old Testament and does not speak. It’s only the pre-Incarnate Jesus who is Jehovah. Christianity agrees that Jesus is Jehovah God in the OT – so is the Father. Who is talking in Psalm 2:7?

  9. Andy Watson says:

    Part 4 of 5


    Hebrews chapter 1 says a lot more about the deity of Jesus Christ than you realize. Remember I asked you who was talking in Psalm 2:7? Here it is again in Hebrews 1:5. Is this the Son talking to Himself? No, it’s God the Father speaking. Hebrews 1:6 is a key verse in that God the Father tells all the angles to worship the Son! The grand finale comes in Hebrews 1:8. Wow, the Father calls the Son – God – and says that the Son is to be worshipped. What did Jesus tell Satan in Luke 4:8? Only God is to be worshipped. The Father says that the Son is to receive worship too. Why would the Father allow anyone to be worshipped besides Himself? The Father and the Son share the same nature are one – one God (Gal 4:8) – not two “gods” as believed and taught by the Mormons. Jesus Christ received worship at his birth (Matthew 2:2,11), before the Crucifixion (Matt 14:33; John 9:38) and after the Crucifixion (Matt 28:9; Luke 24:52). Jesus never rebuked or stopped anyone from worshipping Him. Why not? Jesus knew who He was in nature – Jehovah God ‘I AM” as He stated He was to the Jews in John 8:58 and at His arrest in John 18:5-6.

    Jesus identified Himself as Lord and God as referenced above in John 8:58. He allowed and did not rebuke others from addressing Him as God as stated in the account of “doubting Thomas” in John 20:28. Jesus was a rabbi and it’s the responsibility of a rabbi to rebuke blasphemy and He did not rebuke Thomas but instead blessed him in verse 29. Jesus was fully human and fully God. When the LDS Church is in direct conflict with Colossians 2:9 when it says:

    “There was in Palestine a couple, Joseph and Mary. She, heavy with child, traveled all that distance on mule-back, guarded and protected as one about to give birth to a half-Deity. He lived in a lowly home, the only man born to this earth half-Divine and half-mortal.” (The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, page 10)

  10. Andy Watson says:

    Part 5 of 5

    In John 17:5 Jesus did lay down the glory that He had with the Father before the Incarnation and becoming a man. He was made lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Hebrews 2:9). He had not given up His nature of being God. For Jesus to come to earth and take on a human nature combined with His divine nature He had to set aside the glory that He had received earlier. Jesus said that He would raise Himself from the dead (John 2:19-21) and that He had the power to lay down His life and take it again (John 10:17-18). That’s quite a statement from supposedly being only “half-deity” as the Mormons believe.

    John 17:22 in light of other Scripture means to me that the Father had manifested Himself through the Son, and now the Son manifests Himself through His followers. This glory is not divine glory that the Son and Father share through their shared nature of being God. Believers are united by the Holy Spirit. No, we won’t become part of the Trinity because that conflicts with Isaiah 43:10-12 and more than three persons is no longer a Trinity. Man cannot become God by nature.

    Romans 8:17 doesn’t state that we will have the power and authority of God. We are joint-heirs by adoption by receiving the Savior (John 1:12). The LDS doctrine of exaltation isn’t supported in the Bible.

    Jesus Christ is omnipresent with a physical body because He cannot separate Himself from the Trinity. His nature is One with the Father and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 18:20). Mormonism doesn’t have a Trinity, but three separate gods and neither are omnipresent (Doctrines of the Gospel, p.8 & 11).

    This is a very large subject matter and what has been stated here are the highlights. The Trinity and the deity of Christ being the God-man are beyond the human mind to fully understand, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not true. I won’t understand it fully until later (1 Cor 13:12).

    I’ll be happy to email you to discuss further if you’d like. Thanks!

  11. jeffrey b says:

    Thanks for laying that out Andy! Was very easy to understand.. now if only we can get some people to remove the rose colored glasses.

  12. Here’s another angle;

    My family and I are fans of the TV show, “The Simpsons”. There are a couple of episodes when Homer and family get to interact with God. In these episodes, God is portrayed as a big bloke in the sky with a beard. In one episode God explains to Homer “I even sent my son down there but they didn’t treat him very well” – cut to Jesus, sitting on a swing and looking lonely and rejected.

    I don’t know why the writers of The Simpsons would portray God like this – probably because it reflects popular myth. The problem with The Simpsons’ vision is that its not representative of the vision of God that we read about in the Bible.

    Maybe that’s why westerners today have such trouble with the Trinity – its not something that can be represented in comic-book (visual) form. Mind you, we are talking about the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), or the paradox of having a visible representation of something that is invisible.

    The question I ask is this; where do we get our theology from? Do we get it from sources like The Simpsons, or do we allow the Bible to shape our ideas of what and who God is?

  13. falcon says:

    Good job Andy.
    Now if people will have the personal discipline to read it, check the references and put it all in context.
    You have done such a great job of laying all of this out, I won’t comment on it right now; choosing instead to address the process the Church went through in the first four hundred years of its existence to nail down exactly who Jesus is (along with the Father and the Spirit) and how it all fits together. The Church has had 1600 years to review and analyze all of this and has steadfastly maintained what those earlier Christians proclaimed.
    In 2 Timothy 2:2 the apostle Paul says, “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” This was the tradition along with the scriptures that the Church clung to. These early apostles entrusted the Gospel to other worthy men and it was these Bishops “overseers” that the Church looked to protect what was the dogma of the Church. Paul also says in First Timothy 1:3, “…..instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines.”
    I get a little embarassed for Mormons when they talk about conspiracies that caused the real Gospel to be lost. I know without the conspiracy theories they have no reason for a “restored” Gospel. But it’s all so foolish, especially when we have a historic paper trail that follows what went on during the first four hundred years of the Church regarding the articulation of the doctrine of God. The real clincher of course is, that while they find fault with the Churchs’ understanding of Scripture regarding the nature of God, their concept of God can’t be found anywhere; that includes in scripture, Church tradition, or the historical record. Some vast conspiracy I’d say!
    So what do they base their concept of the nature of God on? Well, some guy says that God revealed it to him. That’s it! Nothing more. They go with it. You’d think people would dig a little deeper.

  14. Ralph says:


    It will take me a while to digest what you have written in order to give a reasonable reply so please be patient. Its Monday morning (12:15) here right now and I have to get up for work in about 6 hours.


    You said “But it’s all so foolish, especially when we have a historic paper trail that follows what went on during the first four hundred years of the Church regarding the articulation of the doctrine of God. The real clincher of course is, that while they find fault with the Churchs’ understanding of Scripture regarding the nature of God, their concept of God can’t be found anywhere; that includes in scripture, Church tradition, or the historical record.”

    I believe that the Arian position was similar to the LDS position was it not? Jesus and Heavenly Father were 2 seperate beings and Jesus was begotton of the Father and thus was not co-existant with Him. I wonder if there were any other ideologies that had similarities to the LDS teachings that were at the council or that were left out because they were ‘fringe’ dwellers – ie small groups with no real power to represent themselves against the larger groups? Yes this is conjecture, but there is no evidence for or against such a thing is there?

    On an interesting side note, we LDS believe that all the religions/belief systems out there regardless of what creed they are, are derived from the one and only true religion that started on this earth with Adam and Eve. that we can find some aspect of truth in all of them and that if these truths are put together one will come up with the LDS church. However in saying that, all the research I have been able to do on this the only doctrine I have yet to find is the on-going pattern of Father/God creating a world for His children, who then can become Fathers/Gods of their own creations ad infinitum. Does anyone know of something like this? I have found all else.

  15. falcon says:

    You can wonder and speculate all you want that doesn’t bolster your postion. It’s just more Mormon wishing and hoping that it’s all true. Was the Arian position similar to the Mormon postion? Yes, and so is the Jehovah Witness postion similar to the Mormon postion. So what we know is that the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses have adopted a postion that was rejected by the Church. If you want to embrace it, have at it.
    And another thing Ralph, when you get down to making statements like the ones you’ve made above, I know we’ve come full circle and are back to Mormon conspiracy theories and endless speculation that fills the tremendous void of evidence in Mormonism. This is in contrast to the real scholarship that Andy and the other Christian writers have done here. You’re doing the Mormon thing here Ralph. Next comes the “I bear my testimony” witness.
    Ralph isn’t it possible that there are countless Mormons who have more than an inkling that Mormonism is not true but continue in Mormonism because they desperately want it to be true? My hunch tells me Ralph that you’re one of them. Your immediate post above indicates to me that you’ve run out of gas and are at this point coasting along with more hope than fuel. Unfortuately hope and good intentions aren’t going to gain anyone eternal life.
    God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures. The apostles communicated the Gospel to the Church. God through His Holy Spirit, safe guarded His Word. Jesus warned about those who would come in His name, but were not of Him. Joseph Smith was one of those types. I will continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of your understanding and that you will receive the God who can provide you with the gift of eternal life.

  16. falcon says:

    I know I’m a real Johnny One Note when it comes to my go to publication, “Christian History”, but I like it because it gives the facts and doesn’t sugar coat anything. In Issue 51, “Heresy In the Early Church” we see such articles as: “A Hammer Struck at Heresy: What exactly happened at the famous Council of Nicea, when the Roman emperor convended 250 quarreling bishops?”, “The champion of orthodoxy on why the Word became flesh”; “Fine Tuning the Incarnation: The church made a lot of mistakes before it figured out how best to describe Jesus”; “Key portions of the church’s most important theological statement”; “Inforgraphic: Sifting Through the Christ Controversies: a quick summary of the competing schools of thought”; “Finding the Truth: How the earliest church decided Marcion and the Gnostics, among others, were wrong”; “Testing the Prophets: In the Montanist controversy, did the church reject heresy or the Holy Spirit?”; “The Search for the Biblical Jesus: The hard, technical, theological work on Christ was essentially a 400-year Bible study”.

    Now why have I gone through all the trouble of listing all of these topics and subtopics? Very simply to prove a point. We know what went on in the early Church. It’s no big secret! There weren’t any thick plots and conspiracies to keep out Mormonism, for one good reason. There wasn’t any Mormonism. How Mormons just except this idea and keep truckin down the road is beyond me. Except I do know that folks will go to any length to protect what they’ve invested emotionally in the program.
    I’m blown away by the testimonies of our exMormon friends who post here. I keep thinking about what Arthur Sido said; “I went down on my knees a Mormon and when I got up I was a Christian.” I find myself asking God, “How did you do that Lord?” and “Why did you do that Lord? Why Arthur? Why that way?” And then I think of how God drew me to Himself and miraculously saved me. Just plucked me out of nowhere. Thank you Jesus!

  17. Ralph says:


    Just because the Arian position was thrown out of the convention as being heretical does not mean that it is incorrect. It just means that the supporters of that proposal were less in number and did not have as loud a voice. It also shows that Satan had more of a grasp on those who ran the convention to stop any semblance of the truth from getting through. I will restate again and again if I have to, scholars of the Bible and Biblical history say that the doctrine of the Trinity is not in the Bible but is a post-Biblical evolution of though from some verses in the Bible (see my posts above for the references). You cannot say that your God is the God of the Bible just as much as I cannot according to your criteria. Since the doctrine of both the Trinity and the LDS Godhead is not in the Bible but both can be supported by the Bible we do not and cannot know exactly what Jesus and His contemporaries taught and believed in about the Nature of God.

    As far as your comment about me having “run out of gas and are at this point coasting along with more hope than fuel” you are wrong. I am a researcher and thus I look at what is out there on a subject and then also look at what isn’t out there to see if that fills in the blanks and then set out to prove or disprove it. We know that there were a few ideologies about God represented at the Nicean convention but I can only find information on 3 major parties. The Arian, the Trinitarian and I can’t remember the other. What was decided on was not a full Trinitarian view but a conglomerate of the main parties that thought similar to the Trinitarian group. But the Trinitarians had the major voice. It also took 50 years (ie more than one generation) after the Nicean convention to decide to make the Trinity by adding the Holy Spirit into the equation – the first convention only had a binitarian God with the Father and Son. Now this is according to what I have read – if it is wrong then please correct me.

  18. falcon says:

    Of course it means it’s incorrect. The Church rejected it as heresy. It’s incorrect. Arianism was not and is not the doctrine of the Church. It’s the doctrine of the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. The Church drew it’s conclusions based on Scripture and the tradition of the Church.

    “Shortly after the turn of the second century, Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, consulted Emperor Trajan about the rapidly spreading Christian ‘superstition’ in his district, asking him what he should do about it. By interrogating a few people, Pliny learned that ‘on an appointed day,’ Christians habitually met before daybreak and recited ‘a hymn to Christ, as to a god.’
    These hymns, which go back to the earliest days of Christianity, sharply contradict the popular notion that the doctrine of the Incarnaiton is only a brainchild of fourth-century theologians playing irrelevant word-games. Long before Christian emperiors convened their solenm assemblies, thousands of Christian worship services sang the praises of the Holy Child of Bethlehem.”
    “This is one reason the orthodox party eventually triumphed in the Arian controversy: Athanasius simply argued theologically what the church had been singing for two centuries.(Heresy in the Early Church: Issue 51, Christian History)
    Ralph please, you’re embarrassing yourself. “Scholars of the Bible and Biblical history say…..” Rubbish Ralph! You are indeed an expert at finding “scholars” of no repute. It’s the same old tune with you. You try to find some sort of justification for things that are simply off in never-never land. It’s a pattern that I’ve recognized in Mormon “scholarship”.
    None of us here are arguing about the length of time it took for the Church to have the theological moxie to firm-up who they believed God, and more specifically Jesus to be. So what? You have decided to align yourself with the Arians against the orthodox Christian Church.

  19. falcon says:

    See here’s your other problem Ralph. You spend your time fighting the orthodox Christian Church’s postion on the nature of God; a theology drawn from the Scriptures and the tradition of the Church. “It just can’t be, this triune concept of God”, you say. However, you take off on a flight of fancy believing that god is a glorified man who progressed to his current status, that he has a wife that he lives with somewhere near the star Kolob, that they procreate spirit children and that eventually you yourself will become a god. Even the Arians of the first four centuries wheren’t that far out in left field. As Andy’s very well educated Mormon friend said, he can’t find the Mormon god in the Bible.
    Ralph, you see as totally rational, a revelation of the nature of God made by a man with a magic rock. So you line this guy up with the Church fathers and you choose him? Unbelievable!

  20. Ralph says:


    You said I am “an expert at finding “scholars” of no repute.” Could you please show me how disreputable the scholars that wrote these books (listed below) are from which I have gleaned my information?

    The Oxford Companion to the Bible
    A Dictionary of Christianity (Ed. Alan Richardson)
    The New Bible Dictionary
    Encyclopaedia Britannica
    The Penguin Dictionary of the Bible
    Harper’s Bible Dictionary

    Just to make sure you do understand, I have not said on this topic that these books say that the doctrine of the Trinity came only from the Nicean council – I have said that they say it is a post-Biblical evolution of ideas. Most of them agree that it was after the Biblical period but before the Nicean council that the doctrine was formed. But all state that the doctrine is not found in the Bible. Just to point out to you, the Harper’s Bible Dictionary and the Dictionary of Christianity are from Traditional Christian authors – not Modalists, athiests or LDS.

    I have also said that the LDS doctrine of God is not in the Bible but can be supported by it, similar to the Trinity – so what of it? You choose to believe what you think is right I choose what I have asked God about and know is right.

    Your last comment “So you line this guy up with the Church fathers and you choose him?” is incorrect. I line everyone up with what God has revealed to me to be true by the power of the Holy Ghost – and now I follow that.

  21. jeffrey b says:

    Ralph “I line everyone up with what God has revealed to me to be true by the power of the Holy Ghost – and now I follow that.”

    Odd thing Ralph, I prayed about the truth of my faith (orthodox Christianity, not Mormonism) and I was comforted and witnessed to by the spirit of its truth.. So where does that leave us? we both cant be right. One of us must be hearing the words of Satan…

  22. falcon says:

    You talk about “post Biblical” And it means what? If somethig is post Biblical it didn’t exist preBiblical? It isn’t in the Bible? I don’t get your point, but you seem to think you’ve really uncovered something here with the term. Joseph Smith’s “revelation” was “post Biblical”. So using your own measuring stick, your prophet should be dismissed. His BoM is “post Biblical”. All of his teachings and “revealed” doctrine are “post Biblical”. So post Biblical means that the doctrine of the trinity is not, what?
    What an erroneous concept to apply to the doctrine of the trinity. We’ve all written over and over here that the doctrine of the trinity resulted from the Church fathers studying the scriptures and from the tradition of the Church. I for one have provided you with endless quotes regarding this from legitimate sources and scholars. What’s interesting about your research is that you often align yourself with those who have a very liberal and low view of Christianity. That is essential, of course, in order to sell the new and improved version of the truth.
    There’s no big secret here regarding the Church’s proclamation of the doctrine of God. In fact I’ve used your very arguments to demonstrate that there was no “lost Gospel”. I keep writing that there’s a paper trail of what the deliberations of the Church were as she dealt with heresy. It was because of heresy that the Church intially defined and than as theological terms emerged refined the concepts.
    Sorry Ralph, you can torture the Scriptures and you won’t find Mormonism there. That is unless you use the unsystematic approach which is favored by Mormons. And yes, I would agree wholeheartedly that you are led by and receive your guidance from the spirit of Mormonism.

  23. falcon says:

    When we talk about heretics, it’s easy to conjure-up a picture of dark sinister characters that want to over through the Church. But when it came to Apollinarius, his foray into heresy didn’t occur until he was 60 years old. Actually, up until that time he was known to be very orthodox. He articulated his view of the Incarnation by stating the full deity of Christ. His reasoning went that only God could save the world, and, if Christ is Savior, he must be divine. The follow-up question was, “How was Christ divine?”. His reasoning went like this: 1) human nature embraced the body and the soul. 2)But at the Incarnaiton, the divine Word displaced the animating and rational soul in a human body. 3) the result wa a unity of nature between the Word and his body. So in his view, humanity was not the instrument of salvaton-it was just a place where salvation occurred. It was not a means of salvation. Conclusion: Christ had one nature. He called it “one enfleshed nature of the divine Word.” The only thing human about Christ, in this view, is his body.
    We give Apollinarius a nice try but no cigar! The upside of his heresy was that he forced the church to think more deeply about Christ. Apollinarius’ problem was that he didn’t think deeply enough.
    So to answer this the Church considered the fact that the Gospel’s picture of Jesus depicted a normal human psychology. Christ, it could be seen, had a human mind and human emotions. If the Word displaced the rational human soul, a soul with the power of choice and sin, could Christ be fully human? And it follows then that how could human beings gain full redemtion. Bottom line: If the Word did not unite full humanity with himself, then how can we hope to be saved?
    (To be continued)

  24. Ralph quoted some dictionaries and encyclopedias, so I looked up “Trinity” in my copy of the New Bible Dictionary (NBD) (IVP, 2004).

    As expected, there’s a lengthy entry that starts with…

    “The term ‘trinity’ is not itself found in the Bible. It was first used by Tertullian at the close of the 2nd Century, but received wide currency and formal elucidation only in the 4th and 5th Centuries. Three affirmations are central to the historic doctrine of the Trinity: 1 there is but one God; 2 the Father, the Son and the Spirit is each fully and eternally God; 3 the Father, the Son and the Spirit is each a distinct person. Nowhere does the Bible teach this combination of assertions. It may, nevertheless, be claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is a profoundly appropriate interpretation of the biblical witness to God in the light of the ministry, death and resurrection-exaltation of Jesus – the ‘Christ event'” etc etc

    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with Ralph or the NBD that the articulation of the doctrine was post-biblical. However (and this is a BIG however), as has been noted above by various posts, the development of the doctrine was done in the light of Scripture. In other words, the idea of the Trinity has its origins in Scripture, though the Church took some time to formulate the words that gathered together what Scripture was saying.

    As the NBD puts it, the Trinity is a “profoundly appropriate interpretation” of the Bible. The NBD does NOT support the notion that the Trinity originated from sources outside the Bible. Indeed, the idea that Jesus is not fully God, or that the Heavenly Father originated from His Father before Him are profoundly un-Biblical (or even anti-Biblical).

    Ralph, I commend you for looking it up in references outside the LDS “circle”, but I suggest you read the remainder of the entries in the various sources. I believe that you’ll find that they align pretty well with the various posts above which support the orthodox doctrine

  25. falcon says:

    In 451 the Council of Chalcedon was convened.
    “Against the earlier heretic Arius, the assembly affirmed that Jesus was truly God, and against Apollinarius that he was truly man. Against Eutyches it confessed that Jesus’ deity and humanity were not changed into something else, and against the Nestorians that Jesus was not divided but was one person.
    In order to deny the Greek conception of God as remote and uninterested, but at the same time to be loyal to Scripture, Chalcedon offers no ‘explanation’ of Jesus’ mystery. The council fathers knew that Jesus fits no class. He is absolutely unique. Chalcedon left the mystery intact; the church remained a worshiping community.
    But the affirmation also made it possible to tell the story of Jesus as good news. Since Jesus was a normal human being, he could fulfill every demand of God’s righteous law, and he could suffer and die a real death. Since he was truly God, his death was capable of satisfying divine justice. God himself had, by his grace, provided the sacrifice.”
    The record of what the Church fathers taught and how they came to thei conclusions is well documented. Despite this, some “prophets” have, over the centuries chosen to go another direction. None of their teachings regarding the nature of God can hold a candle to the dileberate, thoughtful and inspired conclusions of the Church fathers.

  26. Ralph says:


    I have used your arguments against the LDS God and scripture to prove that Jesus cannot fit into the above description of the Trinity.

    1) The posit Jesus is omniscient (ie all knowing) – Matt 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. There is at least one thing Jesus does not know. Neither does the Holy Spirit. So they are not omniscient.

    2) Jesus is omnipresent – Jesus has a physical body, regardless of your definition of Him being fully God and fully human – He has a physical body. Using the logic from many of the people on this site about the LDS view of Heavenly Father, Jesus cannot be omnipresent.

    3) Heavenly Father and Jesus are co-equal. Andy has been trying to do a good job at explaining this but still Jesus taught that – John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    John 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

    In John 10 Jesus first refers to Himself and then refers to Heavenly Father – thus indicating that Heavenly Father is “greater than all” including Jesus. The last verse is obvious in its meaning. Now Andy said that they mean that Heavenly Father was greater in office not in nature – that still means that Jesus is subordinate to Heavenly Father and thus they are not co-equal. Even a ‘father-son’ relationship shows inequality.

  27. Ralph says:


    post-Biblical menas that it is outside of the Biblical era. How far outside I do not know but the last book of the Bible written has been approximately dated in the 90 AD range. So some time after that I guess, after the original 12 apostles had died or were lost to the world.


    Thanks for the quote. It does say that Three affirmations are central to the historic doctrine of the Trinity: 1 there is but one God; 2 the Father, the Son and the Spirit is each fully and eternally God; 3 the Father, the Son and the Spirit is each a distinct person. Nowhere does the Bible teach this combination of assertions.” This states exactly what I ahve been saying – the doctrine is not in the Bible.

    Your second quote then says “It may, nevertheless, be claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is a profoundly appropriate interpretation of the biblical witness to God…” The question is appropriate to whom? And it is only an interpretation. i have said many time that yes one can support the Trinity from the Bible, but so can Modalism, LDS Godhead, and a few other ‘Christian’ doctrines out there tht are non-Trinitarian. These are all ‘interpretations’ and to their followers they are ‘appropriate interpretations’.

    Maybe I should try something different – I am saying that the DOCTRINE of the Trinity is not in the Bible, I am not saying that one cannot support the ideology from it. And that is exactly what these sources I have used are saying.

    And Falcon – you still say “What’s interesting about your research is that you often align yourself with those who have a very liberal and low view of Christianity” but you have not addressed my question about how these named sources are as such. In this case, that is more of an ad hominem attack about my methods and not about the content of the research itself.

  28. Michael P says:


    Why do I say you isolate verses? Because you choose to stop your analysis there, at least you have here.

    Yes, the Trinity is a difficult concept, especially given the verses you just provided. However, there are many more verses that suggest Jesus is much more than just a man, and is actually God himself. Andy did a great job pointing many of these out. Andy and Falcon have also done a great job pointing out the history of the doctrine. I learned it this way: pretty much all Christians of the early time knew what it meant to believe in Christ, ie the Trinity. This was pretty universal. It was not until a large threat came in the form of the Arians that the Church leaders needed to come together to work against the heresy. In doing so, they made the doctrine “official” and put words to it in a way that would clearly define heresy if the heresy went against the belief.

    Regardless, I still think you are right to suggest the Trinity is difficult, because it is. But it exists, and it is fully supported in the Bible. It is difficult precisely for the reasons you point out, but when you consider the verses that suggest Jesus is God, not a different god, you have to figure out what that means. And to remain Biblical, you have to use what is the Bible to figure it out.

    A final point, bringing together ideas found in the Bible to form a doctrine concerning the Bible is not going outside the Bible. It is when you bring in ideas not found in the Bible to bring them together that you go out of it. The Trinity is formed using ideas found in the Bible, and does not go outside of it.

  29. falcon says:

    What the Christian posters have done consistently here is point to the foundation of the thinking that went into the conceptualization of the doctrine of the trinity. Specifically we have talked about the Church fathers looking to Scripture and tradition as they confronted heresy. The reason they looked to tradition in addition to scripture is because tradition provided the context. The early heretics liked to isolate and massage scripture rather than have a systematic approach to understanding it. This is also quiescential Mormon thinking and scholarship. I guess we can’t expect you to divorce yourself from it. I have noticed that our Mormon posters are always getting their hands caught in the cookie jar when the Christians follow-up on their (Mormon) references. I think Martin and Michael P. have done a good job of pointing this out.
    I also want to point out that Andy’s Mormon friend, who has been referenced here, admitted that the Mormon god can’t be found in the Bible. I know this gentleman has some solid academic credentials and holds a position of significant responsibility in the Mormon church. He knows the score.

  30. Michael P says:


    I just saw your last post where you state that it is all interpretation. OK. This is a fair claim. But shall we ask which is the most appropriate? Its not about appropriate to whom, but rather which is correct. If we argue about whether it is appropriate to whom we are arguing a relativist point, and we all agree relativist points of view are ultimate wrong, right? If that is correct, the argument must be about which interpretation is correct, not about appropriate based on groups.

    So, shall we explore which is the most correct? To get to the answer, we must look at the Bible and history.

    You have granted the the Trinitarian view is supported by the Bible, so lets look at history. I’ll start with this question: what did the Jews believe?

  31. Ralph says:


    I don’t wish to sound like a ‘Traditional Christian’ at this point in time but it appears that you all want to talk around the 3 things I have pointed out in my second last post and just say that there are many other scriptures out there that have been given that show Jesus is God rather than address what they actually mean and why they are wrong. This is what you all accuse us LDS of doing on this site. So far Andy is the only one that has tried and that was about the ‘co-equal’ part. My argument is not against Jesus being God (or in my case part of the Godhead) its against the definition of the Trinity given above in respect to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If those 3 points I made cannot be answered properly then that to me brings up this ‘red-flag’ many here like to talk about. If they are being dismissed as unimportant, then why? If the doctrine of the Trinity says that they are all omniscient, but then Jesus taught that The Father knew at least one more thing than Jesus and the Holy Spirit, then that destroys that posit. That then shows a hole in the doctrine of the Trinity, does it not? The other 2 point I made are just as damaging to the doctrine of the Trinity. Now I do not care if you wish to explain them away and still believe, but I want to know how you can do it. Do not just rattle off another list of scriptures – please deal with the ones I have given. If I have mis-interpreted them or taken them out of context tell me how. If me using your logic about Jesus having a physical body shows that He cannot be omnipresent is flawed then show me how – and then change your arguments and ‘logic’ about how my God cannot be omnipresent with a physical body. And why would Jesus teach that He is subordinate to God and that God is greater than He if They are co-equal. I would agree that They can be equal in some things but with what Jesus taught I cannot agree that They are equal in all.

  32. Rick B says:

    When you said God and Jesus cannot be equal and shows the trinity cannot be real, My thought is this. Jesus was speaking that way while being in human form on this earth.

    If Jesus is in human form on the earth covered in flesh, then it stands to reason He cannot be everywhere at once. But the Bible does teach from the Verses I showed, Jesus is equal to God and is in the form of the trinity in the OT and after He went back to be with the father. Rick b

  33. Ralph wrote ” If the doctrine of the Trinity says that they are all omniscient, but then Jesus taught that The Father knew at least one more thing than Jesus and the Holy Spirit, then that destroys that posit.”

    …actually, it destroys modalism, Sabellianism and Pelagianism, which are the heresies that the creeds sought to demolish. Why did the creeds seek to demolish these ideas? Because they were opposed to what is written in the Bible. So, Ralph is almost right, but he’s hit the wrong target.

    I have not read any serious study of Trinitarianism that has not addressed this aspect, which is why Trinitarians speak of the “persons” of the Trinity. However you look at it, you have to come to terms with 1) One God, 2) The worship of the Son and 3) The Father and the Son speaking to each other, and 4) the Son not “knowing” all that the Father “knows”.

    We also have to deal with Jesus being fully and wholly God and also being fully and wholly human. The only way I can deal with it is to allow these concepts to shape my understanding of what God is. As has been demonstrated above, this is how the Church fathers formulated their creeds, and this is why I defend them today.

  34. Ralph also wrote “Maybe I should try something different – I am saying that the DOCTRINE of the Trinity is not in the Bible”

    I think that this objection comes from a warped understanding of what doctrine is, or, rather, what it should be. Its understandable when you consider the doctrinaire stance of the LDS movement and its emphasis on “doctrines”, the “ordinances of the Gospel”, the restoration of “true doctrine”, etc., or however the language is used.

    I prefer to think of “doctrine” as the “model” and “truth” as the “prototype” or “reality”. In other words, the doctrine describes the reality. Therefore, it does not trouble me that we don’t find a formulation of words in the Bible that exactly fit the Creedal statements, because we do see the realities in the Bible that the Creeds describe. (Incidentally, the video “Those Abominable Creeds” demonstrates that the Creedal formulations are, indeed, based on Biblical precedents). So, the Bible is the “prototype” and the Creeds are the “models”.

    Ralph’s objection appears to be founded on a reversal of this order – that the “doctrine” is the “reality” and the Bible is the “model”. Its the proverbial cart before the horse.

  35. Finally, it should be observed from the discussion above how consistent Orthodox Christianity has been on its doctrines concerning the nature of God.

    Contrast the position of Joseph Smith who, as demonstrated from his writings, started out as a kind of monotheistic deist (see Zeezrum’s defence) and ended up a polytheist (see the Council of gods in the Creation story in the Book of Abraham).

    This gives LDS a whole smorgasbord of positions to choose from, which means that pinning down LDS doctrine is rather like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling. However, what this does do is destroy any credibility in the notion that LDS doctrine somehow “clarifies” or “restores” our understanding of who God is.

  36. falcon says:

    If we look at the thought process of the Church Fathers we see that their conclusions were logical, reasoned and based not only on Scripture, but what they had received directly from those who had been taught by the apostles, who had received it from Chirst. The paper trail of their deliberations is long, deep and wide and puts to rest the Mormon lie of a “lost gospel”. The Gospel was indeed lost, to Mormons, when Joseph Smith, inspired by his magic rock, concocted his men progressing to gods foolishness. We have also seen demonstrated here, by our Mormon posters, that once you partner with Joseph Smith and his mental pathology, the light of understanding the Gospel and the doctrines associated with the nature of God, gets clouded at best and snuffed out at worse.
    We have conclusively demonstrated that there is no lost Gospel, that the doctrine of God comes directly from the Scriptures and the tradition of the Church and finally that the Mormon doctrine of man progressing to gods isn’t in the Scriptures. I think we’ve also had demonstrated, once again, a thinking and reasoning process that is pecular to Mormons. I applaud the Christians who have taken the time, and let me add patience, to present clearly and rationally, the truths about the nature of God.
    In my last post on this topic, I’m going to summarize this doctrine. At that point I think my obligation to defend the Gospel has been met.

  37. falcon says:

    There was a defining moment in Church history and it happened at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Chalcedonian Definition of the Faith set the boundaries in which Christians were to think about Jesus Christ. This is the definition that the vast majority of Christendom has submitted itself to. Let us consider the following information adapted from: “Creeds, Councils, and Controversies: Documents Illustrative of the History of the Church A.D. 337-461” and from “The Church of the Ancient Councils: The Displinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils”.
    *Some, taking in hand to set aside the preaching of the truth by heresies of their own, have uttered vain babblings, daring to pervert the mystery of the dispensation…..
    *The synod is opposed to those who presume to rend asunder the mystery of the Incarnation into a double Sonship.
    *It deposes from the priesthood those who dare to say that the Godhead of the only begotten is passable.
    *It withstands those who imagine a mixing or confusion of the two natures of Christ.
    *It drives away those who erroneously teach that the form of a servant he took from us was of a heavenly or some other substance.
    *It anathematizes those who feign that the Lord had two natures before the union but that these were fashioned into one after the union.
    Therefore, following the holy fathers, all of us teach unanimously that everyone must confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is one single and same Son, who is perfect according to divinity and perfect according to humanity,
    truly God and truly man, composed of a reasonable (rational) soul and a body, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity and consubstantial with us according to humanity, completely like us except for sin;
    he was begotten by the Father before all ages accorcing to his divinity, and in these latter days, he was born for us and for our salvation of Mary the Virgin, the Mother of God, according to his humanity,

  38. Ralph says:

    So RickB,

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that you believe that Jesus is talking about The Father being greater than His (ie Jesus’) ‘fully human’ side and is not talking about His ‘fully god’ side. Is this true? If so, I can understand that, although I still disagree with it, it does ‘work’ according to what I understand about your theology. But why the ‘Father/Son’ relationship which implies inequality?


    It is not my words that states that the doctrine is not in the Bible, it is the words of the 6 books about the Bible that I have referenced. As ar as I know the writers of these books are scholars of history and linguistics, and the Harper’s Bible Dictionary is published by the Society of Biblical Linguistics which is the largest and most prestigious Bible study group in America made up of mainly mainstream Christians (look them up on the internet if you want). Who was/were the author(s)/editor(s) of the NBD and what is/are their backgrounds? So in your opinion, these books have made the ‘doctrine’ the ‘reality’ and the Bible the ‘model’.

    Also, I asked about Jesus being fully omniscient as an individual earlier and those who answered said yes -which makes Him God according to the definition of the Trinity. So my comment still stands – if Jesus is not omniscient then He cannot be God according to the posits in the Trinity. Since Jesus (and the Holy Ghost) does not know when the Second Coming is then He is not omniscient – unless you have another definition of the word.

  39. Ralph says:


    You said “If we look at the thought process of the Church Fathers we see that their conclusions were logical, reasoned and based not only on Scripture, but what they had received directly from those who had been taught by the apostles.

    Where was the Spirit in all of this? We know that God’s thoughts and reasoning (including logic) is not the same as human thoughts and reasoning (and logic); we also know that scripture can be interpreted in a few different ways because ther are many denominations out there as well as different ideologies about God based on the Bible, and the last statement I have bolded is what you called ‘hearsay’ a couple of days ago in response to a post I wrote – ie someone heard something from the apostles and passed it on to another person.

    The apostacy was a full removal of the hearts of the people (especially those in theological power) from the promptings of the Holy Ghost coming to a doctrine that was pleasing to the ears of man. This removed the power of God (ie the priesthood) from the earth and resulted in the incorrect translation/interpretation of the Bible leading to the false and counterfeit religion known today as Traditional Christianity.

  40. falcon says:

    one single and same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, known in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation;
    the difference in natures is in no way suppressed by their union, but rather the properties of each are retained and united in one single person and single hypostasis (substance)
    he is neither separated nor divided in two persons, but he is a single and same only-begotten Son, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ,
    such as he was announced formerly by the prophets, such as he himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, taught us about himself, and such as the symbol of the fathers (the Nicene Creed) has transmitted to us.

    I think that last part is particularly instructive and it is what is meant by the “tradition” of the Church. The explanation of the nature of God was revealed before the first advent of Christ by the prophets. Christ then explained, revealed God, to his apostles. The apostles taught the Church (the mystical body of Christ) who by the Holy Spirit safeguarded this Word.
    Having clearly articulated this mystery of the nature of God, the Church has sought to convey these truths to the world at large. We know that at Jesus’ first advent the world at large rejected Him. Even today, religious sects such as the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, reject Christ for “a god”. They diminish and pull down God and His Christ. They malign the Spirit by robbing Him of His place in the Godhead.
    When the Chruch Fathers talked about those who were given over to “vain babblings”, they were describing once and for all, those who reject the God of the Bible for a god of their own creation; a god that only exists in their own perverted minds. If someone does not know the God of the Bible, they will not be granted eternal life in His name.
    That’s a big price to pay.

  41. falcon says:

    So friends there it is! No creative thinking, conspiracy theories or invented history can erase the truth that the Church (the Mystical Body of Christ) has safeguarded and kept to proclaim to the world. I think we see the degree that those “vain babblers” will go to oppose Christ, His teachings and His Church. Filled with ego and pride, these folks put forth psudo-intellectual arguments, that in order to make a point, use a form of scholarship that is acceptable only in their own circles. Thus entertained by their own, their satisfaction for validation is complete.
    To a man who came to him in the dark of night and wanted to know the truth of the Gospel Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God……unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God…..That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit….do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’…..the wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going; so is every one who is born of the Spirit”.
    Those who are not born of the Spirit cannot even begin to consider the things revealed by Christ. The rest labor under a false spirit of deception and delusion.
    I’ve taken this as far as I care to. I’ve fullfilled my obligation to preach the Gospel.

  42. Michael P says:


    What exactly do you want from us? Do you want us to talk about the verses you referenced without talking about the rest of the Bible? In other words, do you want us to isolate these few verses with the rest of the Bible?

    To be fair, I have said that looking at them they are problematic to a Trinitarian view. They do show a separate person. You are right. I admit this, that LDS opinion can work when you use these verses.

    However, they fail when you consider the rest of the verses that have been presented. Why? Because doing so means the rest of the Bible must be wrong, or that these verses are wrong. I know you think that the Bible may be translated incorrectly, and thus this is an out for you.

    Given this last point, you made the point earlier that the interpretation may be appropriate to differing groups. This can lead us into a discussion of the Bible’s interpretation. This is an historical discussion that must begin with the Jews, as Christianity sprung from that belief, worshipping the same God.

    Do you want to discuss more than your three verses, or are you going to stay within them and not look outside of them?

  43. Michael P says:

    Another point you wonder about is the role of the Spirit through the history of the church and through the formation of the creeds (part of what is really in question). To start, the Spirit is always with the church. When one is truly in the Word, the Spirit is with them. One can only be in the Word when they know what scripture says.

    The early church leaders knew what was in scripture, and fought to maintain what was truly there, not what they wanted to be there. The Spirit was there.

    The Bible says that when a few people get together in the name of Christ (remember, this is the true Christ) then the Spirit is with them.

    A quick thought of the Catholic church. Falcon may be better to discuss the intricacies of it, but here is my understanding. They use several sources to get to the truth– the Bible, tradition, the senses, and revelation. All of these are used to “invoke” the Spirit.

    The bottom line is that the Spirit was there, and is here with us today. Mormons like to think they have a monopoly on the Spirit, but they do not.

    Christianity is driven by the Spirit, and is led by revelation, even today. Of course, the meaning of that is somewhat different than what you believe, but alas.

    The bottom line is that the Trinity stands.

  44. shematwater says:


    I did not drop out, but I have limitted time now to respond on this thread.
    Also, my statement that the thread was rediculous had nothing to do with the topic, but how people are approaching it.

    The original article was very good, and even though I do not agree with all the doctrine, and think some of the references used are not all that good for teh purpose, I think it was well written and a good starting point. However, as it was bound to, the thread has become rediculous.

    Discussions of this sort should not be laced with accusations and underlined with contention. Each side should simply present their own beliefs, give the reasons for those beliefs, and accept that not everyone is going to agree with it.
    Instead we have people giving the beliefs of others, and then explaining why those beliefs are wrong, while ignoring questions from the very people they are supposedly trying to teach.

    I can show many references that contradict many of the points ariginally given in the article, but that is my interpretation. I accept that others will see these same verses differently, and that is fine, as long as they at least give an effort to understand how I see them, and why I see them in that way.

    In other threads the LDS have been accused of having a few lines to fall back on when we are losing the argument (such as the apostacy to dismiss early christian leaders). But I have seen that inveriable the Christians will always fall back on “That is not Biblical,” even after we have shown how it can be found in the Bible.

    If we can all just agree to explain the doctrine we believe in, and honestly answer any questions that are put to us, this thread would be a wonderful place to discuss God. But as long as either side is going to bring these dead end phrases and arguments into the discussion the thread will end up being rediculous.

  45. shematwater says:

    About the original article.

    There were 39 points given, and many of them I agree with. Here I give them each a number (1 being the first, and 39 the last) so as to make what I am saying a little bit easier to follow.

    Points 5, 8, 17-24, and 26-39 I agree with completely. I have no real argument concerning them. Though I will say that 36-39 are more personal feelings then doctrine of the nature of God.

    I will now comment on 6, 7, and 9.
    6: God created all things (Gen 1:1) ex nihilo “out of nothing”.
    In the verse of Gen. 1: 1 the Hebrew word that is translated as “Created” can also be translated as “shaped, fashioned, created.” In fact, if you read the Young’s Literal Translation it is worded thus “In the beginning of God’s preparing the heavens and the earth.” So, while he did create everything, the Bible does not say it was out of nothing.

    7. God created man from the dust of the ground and gave him life (Gen 2:7). God formed the spirit of man within him (Zechariah 12:1).

    9. This creation was singular in nature because God is One and He created all things alone (Isaiah 44:24).

    These two statements seem to contradict one another. If God is constantly creating new spirits when a person is born how could the first creation be truly unique or singular.

    However, if forming the spirit in the man simply means that he took an already existing spirit, and altered it in some fashion so that it would fit inside a physical body, and be connected to it, then both these statements can be correct.

    Evidence of the spirit existing before this earth is found in Job 38. Here we are told that the sons of God shouted for joy when the Earth was created. As we are so frequently called his sons, it is easy to believe that this verse is speaking of us, and thus we existed before the earth was created.

    Here are my views concerning the references made to the actual creation, and I have given my reasons for them. I welcome questions regarding them.

  46. shematwater says:

    One last note, concerning point 13.
    Where in the scriptures does it say that spirits are neither male nor female?

  47. Michael P says:


    I see the discussion in direct opposition to what you portray. Both sides have been very cordial and have sincerely tried to addres the other’s concerns.

    What you ask, I think, is for each side to simply accept the others’ beliefs for what they are, and accept that each may be correct. This cannot be, since there is only one truth. If there are multiple truths, then what’s the point in the discussion, or any philosophical discussion? There is also only one way to the truth. Again, if there are multiple ways to it, then again, why discuss? Christ told us that he “is the way, the truth, and the life.” And then that “no one comes to Father” except through Him. Clearly, he is saying he is the only way to reach salvation, if we both agree that reaching the Father is to be saved.

    Of course, this verse can be applied in the current discussion, because why would Christ say that He is the way to the Father if they are both the same? Interestingly, he follows that statement by saying that if you have seen Him, you have seen the Father. Why would He say that? Are we to ignore that comment because the first part differentiates them?

    What about the powers given to Christ, like the power to save? What about his saying that he is “I am”. Why did the Pharisee tear their robes when Christ was on trial? Were they wrong about their beliefs, too? If that is the case, then the apostacy took place long before Christ, because Christians believe much the same as the Jews, and differ at the point of the Savior in the person of Christ. What this means is that looking at the Bible as the source, the Trinity makes more sense because the Jews believed in but one God. Christianity did not change that, and has not changed that.

    As to your assertions on the creation, I think you misunderstand the singular creation. It was only God who creates, not that he creates many times. That changes the whole thing and is not contradictory and the position stands.

  48. Rick B says:

    Ralph said

    So RickB,

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that you believe that Jesus is talking about The Father being greater than His (ie Jesus’) ‘fully human’ side and is not talking about His ‘fully god’ side. Is this true? If so, I can understand that, although I still disagree with it, it does ‘work’ according to what I understand about your theology. But why the ‘Father/Son’ relationship which implies inequality?

    Yes Ralph it seems you understood what I was saying. According to the scriptures, Read the gospels again, Jesus Human side Grew in knowledge.

    Also, Jesus did say to His followers, If you have seen me you have seen the Father. He makes himself Equal to God. Then as it has been said before here, Jesus said, Before Moses was, I AM. He made himself out to be GOD, Not a god but God the father. The Jews understood that since they wanted to stone Him over it.

    Plus at His trial they brought that point up again. Rick b

  49. falcon says:

    When someone believes that they are going to become “a god”, they won’t easily reliquish that position to accept one that says that there is only One eternal God, who had no beginning and has no end. The mystery of the triune God is but a distraction to someone who believes he himself will become a god and be a dominant ruler and receive praise and adoration from his minnons; to be prayed to, worshiped and praised. Why would anyone strive to do the hardwork of following the thinking of the Church fathers as they recognized and articulated the doctrine of the revealed One and only God? Ego, pride and self-delusion are all part of the psychological profile of the Mormon male, who will fight tooth and nail to maintain a position that he is just a mere step away from personal exaltation. It’s got to be an emotionsl thrill beyond measure. Just think of all of the power being a god would bring. And then of course there’s the meetings with the other gods, get away vacation spots on the planets you’ve created with the goddess wife. Endless celectial sex. Thunder bolts emanating from ones finger tips. Of course there will always be some striving to reach even higher levels of the god hierarchy. And there will be other gods in embryo to mentor, bring along on the pathway to godhood.
    We know that men progressing to become gods is what the apostles believed. It’s all there, clearly spoken about in the Bible…..if the Bible is interpreted correctly which means pretty much make it up as you go along.

  50. Michael P says:


    It is a big deal for Mormons to abandon their faith. Not only do they affect their prospects, but also those of their loved ones.

    No laughing matter, indeed.

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