Pastoral 2012

Trinitarian Heresies

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 19 February 2012

Print

Throughout the church history, many unbiblical teachings about the Triune God had been introduced, but were duly condemned as heresies. These heresies resulted from their proponents’ unwillingness to accept by faith the mystery of the doctrine of Trinity. To them, since the Trinity is not pleasing to their human logic, it must be rejected as untenable. But the greatest reason for believing in the doctrine of the Trinity is that it is the divine revelation in the Scriptures. Divine truths are based on divine revelation, hence Trinity must be believed and declared.

Those who explained this doctrine to the satisfaction of their minds have seriously erred. They taught the following heresies:

Modalism (i.e. Sabellianism, Noetianism and Patripassianism):

The proponents of Modalism were Noetus and Praxeas (late AD 2) and Sabellius (AD 3). It taught that the three persons of the Trinity are different “modes” of the Godhead. Adherents believed that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not distinct personalities, but different modes of God's self-revelation. A typical modalist approach is to regard God as the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Spirit in sanctification. In other words, God exists as Father, Son and Spirit in different eras, but never as triune. Stemming from Modalism, Patripassianism believed that the Father suffered as the Son.

While some Modalists advocated that God revealed Himself differently at different times in history, others taught that God can reveal Himself in different ways during any particular period of history.

Tritheism: Tritheism confesses the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three independent divine beings; three separate gods who share the 'same substance'. The Divine Three are not three separate beings. Though there are three distinct Persons in the Godhead, they are not separated from one another (as separate beings).

The modern-day Mormons (The Church of the Latter-Day Saints) maintain that the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct beings who together constitute the Godhead.

Arianism: This heresy taught that the pre-incarnate Christ was the first and greatest of God’s creatures but denied His fully divine status. It propounds the idea that the Son is in some way less fully God than the Father.

The modern-day Jehovah Witnesses also believe that Jesus was a "lesser god"; a "mighty one" but not the "Almighty".

Ebionitism: The Ebionites were a Jewish Christian Gnostic sect of the 2nd century who upheld partial observation of the Jewish law and rejected the Apostle Paul’s teachings. They propounded that while Jesus was a human being, endowed with supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, He was not God.

Macedonianism: The Macedonians were a sect of the 4th century. Their doctrine of God resembled that of Arianism, but denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit. It insisted that the Holy Spirit is a created being.

Adoptionism: It is the error that Jesus was born totally human and was later “adopted” by God in a special (i.e. divine) way at either His baptism or at His resurrection.

Partialism: It taught that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are components of the one God. This led them to believe that each person of the Trinity is only part God, only becoming fully God when they come together.

Unitarianism: It denies the Trinity. It teaches that God is only one person and rejects the deity of Christ.

Modern non-Trinitarian groups include Christian Scientists, Christadelphians, Iglesia ni Chrsito (a Filipino denomination), Jehovah Witnesses, Living Church of God, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, Unitarian Universalist Christians and United Church of God. All these groups teach heresies about the doctrine of God, and hence they must be rejected.

 

 

 

Correspondence Received

 

Appreciation note for BWWR

 

Dear Pastor Koshy,

. . . I thank God for you and the Bible Witness ministry. Thank you and your team for your consistent work in producing all these discussions and making them easily available on Bible Witness Web Radio. They've often strengthened me spiritually and sharpened my thinking. (Applying the lessons in real life though is the more challenging part.) May God continue to give you strength and grace.

A missionary in Thailand

 

 

Appreciation for Bible Witness

 

Dear Editor,

Christ for you and the Bible Witness Media Ministry. The Bible Witness Media Ministry for the past 6 years (2 years of study at FEBC and 4 years of pastoral work in Sierra Leone) has been a blessing to me personally. And for us at Nyangba Town Presbyterian Church, it is our study material for the various Bible study groups.

As we study the articles in the magazines, we understand the Bible in greater depth and the doctrines of Reformed Presbyterian Church better. As we are applying the teachings we learn from the magazines and RPGs, our Christian life becomes steadfast and unmovable. Praise God.

Second, to all BWMM staff, beloved of God in this ministry, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for the tremendous work you are doing.

The Bible Witness Media Ministry is God-honouring work. This ministry promotes faith in the one and only Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died for us so that we might have everlasting life.

As you continue to send us the magazines and RPGs free, we, as a small church, are always standing in the gap making mention of your ministry in our prayers that God will continue to prosper your work. We hope to receive from you these precious gifts in the year ahead. Many thanks and God bless.

Rev Albert Ben Kainesie
Nyangba Town Presbyterian Church
Freetown, Sierra Leone

 

 

 

Thanks for Bible Witness

 

Dear brother,

Thank you very much for your help in bringing the Word of God to the doorsteps of readers. Adding the Bible Witness to RPG is indeed a blessing to readers.

In fact, it has brought to me spiritual growth and edification.

The historical expose of the King James Version of the Bible by the Bible Witness was inspiring. The Bible Witness is really an educative facility which can go a long way to bring about knowledge to readers of the Word of God.

Accept my congratulations and pray that your labour will not cease till the appearance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Greetings to you and all your staff members.

Sincerely yours,

Joseph T. Antie
La, Accra, Ghana

 

 

 

Request for Bible Witness

 

Hello Dr Koshy

I am a Christian from Eastern Europe, Albania. Have heard that you had written an article: Did Jesus and the apostles rely on “The Corrupt Septuagint”? – Bible Witness Jul-Sept 2002.

Can you send me a copy of the above article, as I am very interested in gaining information on such a topic?

Thanks,

Genti


 

Tune in to Bible Witness Web Radio
anytime for your edification!
www.biblewitness.com/webradio