Skip to comments.The doctrine of the Trinity — transcription of Dr. Walter Martin video
Posted on 04/17/2013 12:29:08 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
Recently at the Elephant Room 2, Bishop TD Jakes was interviewed by Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald. These two men supposedly questioned Jakes position on the Holy Trinity to such a point that supposedly he (Jakes) made a profession of doctrinal truth to such a level that these two other men declared Jakes to no longer be outside of Christian orthodoxy, but in fact Jakes is now orthodox.
They did so based on what Jakes said in the interview. Yet Jakes in his statements said he was more comfortable using the word manifestation rather than persons.
Now, it may sound like I am splitting hairs here, but orthodox Christianity has dealt with the issue of the Trinity for HUNDREDS of years, and core Christian doctrine declares God to be ONE GOD, yet 3 distinct Persons, NOT three Gods, and certainly not three manifestations.
This isnt some minor doctrinal difference that we can sweep under the rug for the sake of Christian unity. If we get this one wrong, then its heresy. And unfortunately, as much as I would like to be very charitable to Bishop TD Jakes concerning the Trinity, words MEAN THINGS.
In order to help bring some clarity to this understanding of the Trinity, I transcribed a video from YouTube that is from Dr. Walter Martin.
The video is embedded below, or you can click this link (opens a new browser window) and listen to Dr. Martins wonderful explanation of the Trinity.
What is the Trinity Doctrine by Dr. Walter Martin
Unfortunately, this video isnt the ENTIRE audio of Dr. Walter Martins sermon on the Trinity. There are a couple of skips. But what IS in the video is incredibly clear, and should help to dispell the idea that the Trinity can be expressed as manifestations.
NOTE: Comments by me, or edits for missing words are in brackets [ ].
Nature of the one God
There are three Persons Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and these three share the same attributes. In effect, the three Persons are the One God.
All we are saying very simply is that within Gods Unity or Nature, we can discern 3 distinct Persons, so far as you and I are able to understand Persons.
And, these three Persons are in effect the One God. Thats the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity what that revelation is.
Now one of the cardinal rules of interpreting the Bible is this: You always interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament NEVER the reverse.
The New Testament completes the Old Testament, and you go backwards from the completion to the beginning to interpret, for the Scriptures are complete in the New Testament revelation.
Now if we can demonstrate from the New Testament that there are really three Persons, and if we can demonstrate that the three Persons are all called God, and if we can demonstrate that there is only ONE God, then we are driven to only one possible conclusion:
Things equal to the same thing, are equal to each other, and the three Persons are the one God.
You dont have to be a great logician. You dont have to be a great theologian. You dont have to go to college. You dont have to even graduate from high school to think that one through.
Think about it for a moment.
If you can show that there are three Persons in the New Testament, and if you can show that these three Persons are called God (or Jehovah to accomodate the Witnesses), and if we can show there is only One God, then the three Persons ARE the one God. And the argument ends at that point.
If the New Testament says that there are three Persons, and if the New Testaments says that these three Persons are all called Jehovah, and if there is only one Jehovah, then the three Persons are the One God, and the doctrine of the Trinity is true.
Let us begin scientifically, inductively, simply to see whether or not it can be proved.
First of all: Is there a Person called the Father in the New Testament and is He called God?
A legitimate question to which we ought to have a legitimate answer.
2nd Peter Chapter 1 verse 17 It should be marked in your Bibles, and I think it should be clearly indicated why you are marking it there you are identifying someone.
2nd Peter Chapter 1 verse 17: For He The Lord Jesus received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Now we have proven two specific things from this text:
One There is a Person called the Father and
[TWO] He is identified as God. Verse 17 He received from God the Father.
Identification – The Father is Jehovah. No possible way out. The Jehovahs Witnesses will agree with you right down the line.
Secondly, there is a Person called the son. They will agree with that.
Now the question is: Is the Son identified as Jehovah?
[Note: This video is 10:44 long, and it's apparent that it was made from a longer video by Dr. Walter Martin. There is a gap here where Dr. Martin would have told his listeners that he was using these verses:
(John 8:57-58) Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. ]
And he used the divine name and applied it to himself.
I tell you before Abraham was, I am the eternal God. And used it.
Now you might mark those verses down in your Bible. There is a Person called the Son and He declares himself to be Jehovah. He even uses the divine name.
[Another skip in the audio]
Revelation 1 is a very clear example.
Verse 8: I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Now Jehovahs Witnesses admit in their own translation that this is Jehovah God, and they translate it this way: I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says Jehovah God, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
They have established the premise.
Revelation 1:8 Alpha and Omega IS Jehovah God.
Revelation Chapter 22 The person speaking says Behold, I come quickly! Verse 7.
And as you go on reading Revelation 22 theres a repetition Verse 12 Behold, I come quickly; my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Verse 13: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
I think thats pretty clear. The Alpha and the Omega is speaking again. And the Alpha and the Omega is by Jehovahs Witnesses own definition Jehovah God.
So Revelation 22:13 can be cross-referenced with Revelation 1:8 and you have a perfect identification of Jehovah God in both places.
Now get to Verse 17 and 18. When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as dead. And He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the First and the Last.
So Jesus Christ the son of Man identifies Himself as Alpha and Omega, identifies Himself as First and Last, and now He even goes further:
I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.
Literally the Greek reads I am He that lives and BECAME dead and behold I live for all eternity. Amen. I have the keys of Hell and of Death.
Now the identification is irrefutable. Christ calls Himself First and Last, and Jehovahs Witnesses admit Hes Alpha and Omega.
Its a terrible problem for them to solve, and they dont solve it at all.
[Skip Again - Isaiah 44:6 is the reference here]
It reads . and if you look at it in Isaiah I think youll see why:
Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the First, and I am the Last, and beside Me there is no God.
So Jehovah identifies Himself as the First and the Last.
Now either there are two first and two lasts which is linguistic suicide and logical redundancy, and there are two Alphas and two Omegas which is Greek suicide
OR the same Person is talking.
[Another skip... Acts Ch. 5 is referenced here]
Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife being (literally in cahoots with him. The word privy means in Old English she was actually working with him in the deal. She knew what was going on.) and they laid that part of it they intended to give at the apostles feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit (Verse 3) and keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not your own power? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart?
Now underline the next sentence: You have not lied unto men, but unto God.
Now go back a verse: [Acts 5:3] Peter said unto Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to who? the Holy Spirit.
Now who IS this Holy Spirit in verse 4? You have not lied to men. You have lied to God.
The same man who identified God the Father identifies God the Holy Spirit. And if theres only one Jehovah, then the three Persons are the One God, and the doctrine of the Trinity is true.
I hope that in some way, this post will help the truth of the Triune nature of God will go forth. God is NOT three manifestations. God has revealed Himself to us in 3 Persons, yet ONE God.
Ultimately, this transcript shows the folly of what happened in the recent Elephant Room 2. I pray that the men involved would repent, and call TD Jakes to task for making a half-hearted attempt at professing orthodoxy in regards to the Trinity.
Things equal to the same thing, are equal to each other, and the three Persons are the one God.
You dont have to be a great logician. You dont have to be a great theologian. You dont have to go to college. You dont have to even graduate from high school to think that one through. Think about it for a moment.
If you can show that there are three Persons in the New Testament, and if you can show that these three Persons are called God (or Jehovah to accomodate the Witnesses), and if we can show there is only One God, then the three Persons ARE the one God. And the argument ends at that point. If the New Testament says that there are three Persons, and if the New Testaments says that these three Persons are all called Jehovah, and if there is only one Jehovah, then the three Persons are the One God, and the doctrine of the Trinity is true.
Around 2000 years, actually.
"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. "
If you want to read a great short book on the subject of the Trinity try “Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith”, by Michael Reeves.
We are going to use it in our small group discussion.
Dr. Jakes is long on words and rather short on understanding the material he’s attempting to explain.
Enough with the videos, doc, back to the books!
I have studied and read much on the Trinity, because I have some relative in the “oneness” movement.
I come from a Baptist background, and have always believed in the Trinity.
However, over the course of 10 years, I investigated this (I like doing my own work and reading others rather than relying on the opinions of others, essentially I “check facts”). That’s why my handle is BereanBrain. The Bereans were commended for checking the scriptures to see if what even the Apostles said was true (concerning the Gospel).
That being said, there are a few camps in those that believe in the Trinity, and those that don’t. Let me see if I can summarize them.
1) We believe in the Trinity because we were taught it. These folks typically stick on the English meanings of words, and Church history, and just believe, without thinking too much about the implications. The individuals often agree with the belief that the Trinity is something you can’t understand, but you may be able to comprehend the overall idea. Or that you can’t prove the Trinity. This is typical of “reformed” believers.
2) We believe we can understand the Trinity. See Romans 1:20. Essentially, the these people believe two things. (1) God is not like man, rather man is a image of God and (2) that God’s divine nature can be seen in his creation. The second point implies we can understand God by the things he has created. The people typically believe they understand the Trinity and that there really are no inconsistencies with 3 in 1 (Triune) existence.
3) Those that do not believe the Trinity. These people generally object to the idea of three “persons”. Typically like #1 (orthodoxy based believers) they examine the words instead of the meanings and implications and therefore object to the “threeness” of God.
I happen to have originally belonged to group 1, and now group.
So let’s examine the problem: Can we know the answer?
YES! Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse
So this says the NATURE of God’s existence EVEN the Godhead — CAN be understood! The Trinity is NOT A MYSTERY.
Now let’s take scripture at it’s word, and believe what it says. We SHOULD be able to find rough analogs in the creation that demonstrate the nature of God’s existence.
Consider that the ENTIRE UNIVERSE exists as 3 in 1.
That is, Height, Width and Depth (X,Y,Z). If you reduce the dimensions by 1 or 2 (instead of 3) the volume of the universe is ZERO.
Consider that Man has Body, Soul, and Spirit. Does this mean there are three men? NO! Also recall that in man, the flesh has a will, as does the soul, and the Spirit. Does this mean you are three persons? NO! The flesh wars against the soul. God told Adam that the DAY they eat of the fruit they would DIE. Obviously their bodies did not, but their Spirit did. That’s why we are dead without Christ. Before we are saved, the spirit of inequity is at work in us, and after we are believers, the spirit of God resurrects our spirit.
God is Spirit (there are verses to that), and the Holy Spirit is God (there are verses to that) and Jesus is God (there are verses to this effect, as well as Jesus’ words)
The problem is the way we define PERSON. To us, a PERSON IS THE BODY.
It seems that besides the Mormon multiple gods, the Jehovah's Witness (Jesus is a demiurge), the Moslem (Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not God) and the Unitarian (all are just the same, we perceive them as distinct), there is the UGC which is that Jesus and the Father are distinct gods and the Holy Spirit is not a god or God.