I recently responded to a Mormon blog that claimed the doctrine of the Trinity was not taught by the Bible. Here is my response to the claims made in the articles
The Bible very clearly teaches the traditional doctrine of the Trinity
1) the Bible teaches there is only one God
2) the Bible attributes worship, names, works and characteristics to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that are due to God alone. For instance there are 9 passages in the New Testament that use the actual word “God” in reference to Jesus.
3) For these two teachings to be true at the same time, the one God must exist in 3 persons—the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
To deny point 3, which is the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, you must deny the truth of points 1 or 2, both of which the Bible clearly teaches. Only the doctrine of the Trinity allows points1 and 2 to be true at the same time.
If 2 is not true (that Jesus is God), then the New Testament is guilty of blasphemy for it makes a mere man out to be God.
If you deny 1 (that there is only one God), then you turn Christianity into a polytheistic religion with many gods like Hinduism. The universal teaching of the Old Testament, New Testament, all of church history and the understanding of all scholars of religion is that Christianity is monotheistic in the same family as Judaism and Islam. Mormon doctrine turns Christianity into an animistic, pagan or folk religion.
Those that deny the Trinity cling to some bible verses and ignore the others that contradict their position. It is the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity that fully embraces all of God’s teaching about himself in Scripture and allows all the Scriptures to speak and have their place in the Christian life.
What about Bible verses that seem to speak of Jesus as being subordinate to God or having certain weaknesses like tiredness and hunger?
Verses that speak of Jesus in any way being subordinate to the Father or having un god like limitations are always referring to his humanity which he took on himself in his incarnation. Verses that speak of Jesus on in terms of equality with God the Father speak of his deity of which he eternally shares with the Father. That is why the traditional doctrines of the Trinity and incarnation make the most sense of both sets of verses. He is 100% God and 100% man in one person. Again, the brilliance of the early church fathers in dealing with these issues is amazing. Their teaching fully embraces all that the Bible says about Jesus, not just part of it. Those that deny the Trinity affirm one strain of biblical teaching but reject the other, creating a false god. Only the traditional doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation bring all the biblical teaching about God into harmony.
The Mormon blogger seemed to think it was a big deal that the resurrected, glorified Christ was sometimes spoken of as being subordinate to the Father and that this proved he was not one God with the Father. But the glorified and resurrected Christ remains a human being as will all believers remain human beings once we are resurrected and glorified. Hence in his humanity he remains subordinate to God even in his glory as we will be in ours. It is part of the joy of our salvation that Christ the man represents mankind forever before God thus uniting God and man for all eternity. These scriptures therefore do not contradict the traditional doctrine of the Trinity as they refer to the human nature of Christ in his glory, not his eternal deity.
What about the verse in 1 John 5 which clearly teaches the Trinity but which has been shown to be a fraud?
The verse the Mormon writer referred to is only found in the King James Bible, ironically the only version of the Bible Mormons are allowed to read. All modern versions of the Bible do not contain that verse since it first appears in a 15th century Latin text of the Bible and clearly was not written by the authors of Scripture. The King James translators were not aware of the origin of this verse. But the biblical doctrine of the Trinity was never about that added verse which was written over 1000 years after the church councils that wrestled with these matters. It obviously could have no influence on them. The early church was compelled to believe the doctrine of the Trinity by the biblical logic outlined above, not this verse in the KJV version of 1 John 5 which they had no knowledge of. This argument against the Trinity is a straw man used to persuade those who are ignorant of the Scriptures and church history since Christians do not use this verse to support the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
Isn’t the doctrine of the Trinity the result of Greek and Roman philosophy and religion corrupting the Biblical Faith?
First, Greek and Roman religion was polytheistic. Think of all the gods that existed in their pantheons: Zeus, Mercury, Hades, Neptune, etc. Moreover, they added the gods of the nations they conquered to their pantheons to help those cultures assimilate into the Roman empire. They had hundreds if not thousands of gods. Far from the traditional doctrine of the Trinity being influenced by those cultures, it was radically counter cultural in insisting there was only 1 God. Greek and Roman culture shows the traditional doctrine of the Trinity was something completely new that did not arise from the cultures surrounding it. It arose because the early Christians were so radically biblical. They did not want to explain away any of the Bible verses but to let them all have their full place in the Christian life. In fact, it is Mormonism that looks a lot ore like ancient Greek and Roman culture than does traditional Christianity for Mormonism teaches there are many gods.
Second, the Mormon blogger said the early church creeds were not biblical because they used terms such as essence or substance to explain the Trinity, terms which did not appear in the Bible. For instance, the creeds say the Son and the Spirit are of the same substance as the Father. But the creeds were simply using terms of the Greco Roman culture to try to explain and safe guard the fact that the Bible teaches there is only one God. These terms do not contradict the Biblical teaching. Where does the Bible say the eternal Son and Spirit are not of the same substance as the Father? The creeds are trying to communicate to Greco Roman culture the fact that there is only one God, despite the fact that 3 persons, Father Son and Spirit, are all treated as God by the Bible. How can this be? Mysteriously, all 3 are the one God; they are the same being.