Most of the really interesting attempts to defend Jehovah’s Witness theology do not come in official Watchtower literature, which is generally rather superficial in its argumentation. The most interesting defenses come from individual Jehovah’s Witnesses producing their own blogs, websites, and in rare instances books. (I began doing research and writing on Jehovah’s Witness doctrine nearly forty years ago, when such individuals were producing their defenses on typewriters!)[1]

Lessons from a Non-Trinitarian Defense

Roman Montero, a Jehovah’s Witness blogger, recently published a series of four blog posts that provide some good object lessons on how not to defend JW theology—lessons that we as evangelicals can also apply to ourselves. Roman was responding to my article in which I challenged non-Trinitarians to defend their position.[2] The article was recently re-posted on Fred Anson’s blog Beggar’s Bread.[3]

Follow the Rules

I started my article with the following statement of its purpose: “I am going to tell you exactly what you need to do in order to defend your non-Trinitarian position as a superior alternative to the Trinitarian view.” Here are the five guidelines I provided:

  1. Refute one or more of the essential propositions of the doctrine of the Trinity.
  2. Present a clear alternative to the doctrine of the Trinity.
  3. Identify the religion associated with that alternative to Trinitarian Christianity.
  4. Show that your alternative theology does not suffer from the defects you claim to find in Trinitarianism.
  5. Demonstrate that your theology explains the full range of biblical information better than the doctrine of the Trinity.

Montero devotes most of his first three articles to critiquing two of the essential propositions of the doctrine of the Trinity—that there is one God and that the Son is God. In the fourth article, he briefly presents an alternative that he claims is superior (his response to requirements 2, 4, and 5).

With this brief summary in place, let’s look at the issues raised here and some lessons we can learn from how Montero addresses the issues. In doing so, I will be using American football as a metaphor or analogy. The use of a sports analogy is not meant to trivialize the subject. The Apostle Paul’s use of sports analogies is well known (1 Cor. 9:24–26; Gal. 2:2; 5:7; Phil. 2:16; 2 Tim. 2:5; 4:7; see also Heb. 12:1).

Lesson #1: Don’t Shift the Goalposts

A distinction crucial to my article is that there is a difference between expressing objections to someone else’s view and showing that one’s own view is preferable. There is nothing wrong with the former, but it is not a substitute for the latter. Showing that there are problems with neo-Darwinian evolution is all well and good, but that isn’t enough to establish the truth of a particular form of creationism. If I give some reasons for questioning that Jesus is Michael the archangel (as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe), I have not yet shown that Jesus is God.[4] Similarly, if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, you can defend your theology only by showing that Jehovah’s Witness theology is superior to orthodox theology.

Don't Shift the Goalposts

This is exactly where Montero’s four-part response fails. He should have presented a clear alternative to the doctrine of the Trinity. Instead, Montero asserts that this demand “is unnecessary because one could argue that there is no obvious, or clear alternative, but that we know that the trinity is not a possible option.”[5] Already Montero has moved the goalposts and in so doing changed the object of the game without acknowledging it. What my article discusses is precisely how to defend an alternative theological position. If you don’t have one that you are prepared to defend, then you have forfeited the game.

Of course, not everyone has an alternative theology. Skeptics, for example, can argue that they don’t accept any theology. Buddhists can maintain that all Christian theologies are flawed. Montero, however, claims to be a Christian. If he has a better theology, why wouldn’t he want to defend it? In any case, if he’s not interested in meeting my challenge he should just say so.

Lesson #2: Be a Team Player

Montero even more strongly rejects my third guideline: “Identify the religion associated with that alternative.” According to Montero, this is an invalid requirement because, for example, it would have barred the Protestant Reformers from advancing their theology:

Robert Bowman, being a protestant, would have to insist (if his principle is to hold) that the earliest reformers would have to have pointed to an existing denomination for their objections to Catholicism to be valid; I don’t think he’s ready to affirm that.[6]

Be a Team Player

Montero missed the point entirely. Here’s what I actually said:

It’s no good telling us that you believe X, Y, and Z instead of the Trinity, if this “alternative” is your own private confection of beliefs. I say this because the true doctrine of God will be held by a community of believers in Jesus Christ—by the church. Theologies do not exist in a vacuum, or in isolation. You are either part of a church that teaches the theology you espouse, or you are picking and choosing what you will believe from others and not committing yourself to a way of life that puts a set of teachings into practice.

The point is that those who espouse a particular theology must offer some meaningful religious context in which that theology belongs. If your religion is brand new, fine—tell us what it is, who its other adherents are if any, and why we should accept it. If yours is so far a religion of one, have the courage of your convictions. Boldly present yourself, as Joseph Smith did, as the founding prophet or teacher or sage of the new religion.

Montero’s citation of the Protestant Reformers displays woeful ignorance of history. The Reformers were not advocating a different religion than the Catholic faith. They were Catholics, calling for a return to the standard authority of Christianity, the Bible. Moreover, the Reformers were not teaching a new theology. They accepted the same ancient creeds (Apostles, Nicene, and Chalcedonian) as the Catholic Church. They believed in the same God—the triune God revealed in Scripture as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They believed in the same Jesus Christ—the incarnate, eternal Son of God, fully God and fully man by nature. In support of their reforms they not only appealed to Scripture but also noted precedents for their positions in the teachings of the church fathers, especially Augustine. Protestantism is a different stream of the same religion, not a different religion. And of course the Reformers were not secretive about their agenda or their larger theological and religious commitments.

The Catholic Church refused to make the proper reforms and excommunicated the early Reformers (chiefly Luther, Zwingli, and Cranmer). As a result, the Reformation led to the formation of separate ecclesiastical bodies (the Protestant denominations). However, Protestants classically still consider themselves “catholic” though not part of the Roman Catholic Church.[7]

Lesson #3: Wear the Uniform

Whatever one wishes to say about the Reformers, the fact is that Montero is not advancing a new theology but is an adherent to an existing theology taught by a well-known religion. Although Montero is a Jehovah’s Witness, one would never know this from his own blog. I had to find his full name, which he doesn’t give openly on the blog, and then search for his name online. Eventually I found a comment he made on someone else’s blog in which he admitted being a Jehovah’s Witness.[8] I say “admitted” because in his response to my challenge to anti-Trinitarians, Montero explicitly refuses to identify the religion that teaches his theological alternative to the Trinity.

Here was a perfect opening for Montero to promote his religion, which claims to be “the true religion.” The Watchtower claims that its organization is the “agency” through which Jehovah God provides the only reliable “spiritual food.” It tells its members that they must be “loyal” in order “to have Jehovah’s favor and blessing.”[9] If those claims are true, then everyone needs to know—and such knowledge is supposedly indispensable to knowing the truth about such issues as the doctrine of the Trinity. It’s disingenuous for Montero to assert that we don’t need to know what his religion is if we are to assess his view. The fact is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are part of a larger theological system that gives those beliefs their context.[10]

Lesson #4: Don’t Tackle Your Own Quarterback

Most of Montero’s series presents objections to two of the basic propositions of the doctrine of the Trinity I’ve defended.[11] Some of his objections even conflict with the official teachings of the Watchtower Society.

Don't Tackle Your Own Quarterback

Take, for instance, Montero’s criticism that my arguments supposedly misunderstand biblical texts in “Aristotelian” categories. Montero says that Psalm 86:8 is not “making a statement about some Aristotelian concept of an essence of God.” He further argues that none of the other texts describing God as unique make “a metaphysical statement about Aristotelian categories.” He says references to angels as gods simply mean that they are powerful beings, “no Aristotelian metaphysics necessary.”[12] I had argued that 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 does not deny that the Son is “equal in nature” to the Father. Montero claims that I was guilty here of “arbitrarily adding in the non-biblical Aristotelian category of ‘nature’ into the text when no such thing is there.”[13]

There is nothing distinctively “Aristotelian” about the distinctions between nature and function, any more than that the law of non-contradiction is somehow an invention of Aristotle. In any case, Montero doesn’t seem to realize that he is undermining the teaching found in official Jehovah’s Witness publications. According to the Watchtower Society, human beings and animals have different natures, and spirit persons also have “a different nature.”[14] Jesus’ statement that God is a Spirit (John 4:24) “reveals a basic truth about God’s form, or nature,” whereas anthropomorphic language about God in Scripture is not a literal description of “the nature of God.” Likewise, “Gender distinction is unique to physical creatures and is a linguistic device that reflects the limitations of human language to capture fully the essence of Almighty God, Jehovah.”[15]

Lesson #5: Try Not to Trip over Your Own Two Feet

According to Montero, Psalm 86:8 is not a categorical statement about Yahweh being the only God but merely part of David’s “love song” to Yahweh:

It’s David declaring that for him, there is only one God he turns to, the one he can trust, it’s a Doxology, it’s a divine love song, in the text itself in verse 8 it acknowledges other Gods, but there are none like Yahweh. I can say the same thing about my wife, there are many women out there, but none like her.[16]

By this reasoning, it would have been perfectly fine with David for other people to love, trust, revere, pray to, and worship other gods. Yahweh just happened to be his God, the one he personally loved. If we were to apply this thinking consistently, Montero could have no objection to evangelicals loving Jesus as “their” God, the one they trust and adore. (Of course, evangelicals do love Jesus as their God, but not to the exclusion of the Father or the Holy Spirit.)

Jesus meets all of the qualifications Montero sets up (and more):

  • We must put our trust (faith) in Jesus (e.g., John 1:12; 3:15-18; 14:1; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6).
  • Jesus is also the rightful object of our unqualified, absolute love (Matt. 10:37; Luke 14:26; John 14:15, 21; 15:10; Eph. 6:24).
  • Jesus is a divine figure to whom we should give praise in doxologies (2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:20-21; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18; Rev. 5:12-13; cf. 1 Chron. 29:11-12).
  • We should sing songs of devotion to Jesus (Eph. 5:19; Rev. 5:9-10).[17]

David flatly contradicts Montero’s interpretation in the immediate context of the statement under consideration here:

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God. (Ps. 86:8-10 ESV)

David affirms that one day all the nations that the Lord (not some other god!) had made will worship the Lord and glorify his name, because he alone is God. This is a love song, all right, but it is one that calls all of humanity to join David in loving the same God.

According to Montero, my “fundamental error” is viewing the word God as “a special category of being,” so that “anything which is not Yahweh cannot properly be called a god.” Not quite. There are a few places in the Old Testament where the term “gods” (always in the plural) may designate supernatural beings in the heavenly or divine “council.” This is one possible interpretation of the “gods” in Psalm 82, for example (a different view than the Israelite judges interpretation I discussed in my outline study on the Trinity). Almost always, however, in the Old Testament a God or god is an object of religious devotion.

Contrary to Montero’s complaint[18], there is nothing unclear or ambiguous about religious devotion. It is a stance of fear (reverence), faith (trust), worship (humble submission), and love (loyalty, desire to please) toward a supernatural figure. Religious devotion is expressed in prayer, sacred ritual (including initiation rites, sacrifices, sacred meals), and hymns and other verbal forms of praise and honor. The Old Testament emphatically teaches that Yahweh is the only God who is properly the object of such devotion, because he alone made and rules the world. This was at the core of the Jewish faith.

However diverse Judaism may have been in other respects, this was common: only the God of Israel is worthy of worship because he is sole Creator of all things and Ruler of all things…. God alone created, and no one else had any part in this activity.[19]

Montero is not alone in tripping over his own feet in his view of Jesus Christ. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Christ may properly be designated “a god” (as their New World Translation renders John 1:1) while still regarding him as a creature inferior to Jehovah. They argue, as does Montero, that Jesus can be called a god because a god is simply a powerful or mighty being, of which there are many. In taking this position, however, Jehovah’s Witnesses empty the biblical affirmations of monotheism of any meaning. If a god is simply a mighty being, then Jehovah is clearly not the only god in that sense. Yet the Bible states some two dozen times that there is only one God, usually identifying him in the context explicitly as Jehovah.[20] One need not be a devotee of Aristotle to see the problem here.

Lesson #6: Playing Defense Is Not Enough

Montero’s second and third parts focus on whether Jesus is God. Montero agrees that it is obvious that “in various places [in Scripture] Jesus is given the title of God.” He then adds that “the question is what does that mean.”[21] Believe it or not, Montero never answers this question.

In part 4, Montero finally gets around to discussing his own alternative theology, which he calls “the pre-existent but created logos alternative.” Yet he still does not explain what it means for the pre-existent but created Logos to be called a god. He simply insists that it does not mean he is Jehovah. Montero cites only one text in support of his view, Psalm 110:1, and doesn’t even bother quoting it or explaining how it supports his position. Somehow, he imagines that one biblical reference without any exposition or engagement with other interpretations is sufficient to show that his view explains the whole teaching of Scripture better than the Trinity.[22]

This brings us back to a point made at the outset of this discussion. It’s not enough to try to find problems with the theological position of someone with whom you disagree. Nor is it sufficient to assert that your view is obviously better. You need to have a positive alternative that answers the pertinent questions in a meaningful way. You can’t fight something with nothing. Playing defense is not enough; you must be prepared to move the ball down the field in the right direction.


  1. See especially Robert M. Bowman Jr., Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989); Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989); Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: Why They Read the Bible the Way They Do (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991); Jehovah’s Witnesses, Zondervan Guide to Cults and Religious Movements, ed. Alan W. Gomes (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995); and much of Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell, with Kenneth D. Boa (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), and Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, with J. Ed Komoszewski (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2007). ↩
  2. Robert M. Bowman Jr., “What about This View? How to Defend an Anti-Trinitarian Theology,” FAQ about the Trinity #3 (Grand Rapids: Institute for Religious Research, 2014), accessed Oct. 7, 2015, ↩
  3. Robert M. Bowman Jr., “How to Defend an Anti-Trinitarian Theology,” Beggar’s Bread (blog), Sept. 5, 2015, accessed Oct. 7, 2015, ↩
  4. On Jesus and Michael, see Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr., Sense and Nonsense about Angels and Demons (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 62-66. ↩
  5. Roman Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 1,” Theology and Justice (blog), Sept. 29, 2015, accessed Oct. 7, 2015, ↩
  6. Roman Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 4,” Theology and Justice (blog), Oct. 5, 2015, accessed Oct. 7, 2015, ↩
  7. See C. Michael Patton, “The Rise of the Roman Catholic Church in a Nutshell,” Credo House (blog), July 19, 2012, accessed Oct. 7, 2015, ↩
  8. Roman Montero, comment on Dale Tuggy, “Podcast Episode 67—Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?” Trinities (blog), Dec. 22, 2014, accessed Oct. 8, 2015, ↩
  9. Reasoning from the Scriptures (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1995), 203-205; “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?” Watchtower, July 15, 2013, 21; “Are You Moving Ahead with Jehovah’s Organization?” Watchtower, May 2014, 29-30. For a detailed overview of Jehovah’s Witness doctrine with documentation from currently used Watchtower publications, see Robert M. Bowman Jr., “What the Watchtower Society Teaches” (Grand Rapids: IRR, 2014), accessed Oct. 8, 2015, ↩
  10. See Bowman, Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses, 91-93. ↩
  11. Robert M. Bowman Jr., “The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity: An Outline Study” (Grand Rapids: Institute for Religious Research, 2009), accessed Oct. 9, 2015, ↩
  12. Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 1.” ↩
  13. Roman Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 3,” Theology and Justice (blog), Oct. 3, 2015, accessed Oct. 9, 2015, ↩
  14. “Nature,” in Insight on the Scriptures (Brooklyn: Watchtower, 1988), 2:474. ↩
  15. “What Is the Nature of God?” Awake!, Oct. 2008, 24-25. ↩
  16. Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 1.” ↩
  17. Bowman and Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place, 32-35, 55-63, 69-70. ↩
  18. Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 1.” ↩
  19. Richard Bauckham, God Crucified: Monotheism & Christology in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 11, 12. ↩
  20. Deut. 4:35, 39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32; 2 Kings 5:15; Is. 37:20: 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5, 14, 21-22; 46:9; John 5:44; Rom. 3:30; 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25. ↩
  21. Roman Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 2,” Theology and Justice (blog), Oct. 2, 2015, accessed Oct. 9, 2015, ↩
  22. Montero, “Robert Bowman’s Anti-Trinitarian Challenge—Part 4.” ↩




Robert Bowman
Robert Bowman

Robert M. Bowman Jr. (born 1957) is an American Evangelical Christian theologian specializing in the study of apologetics.

    7 replies to "How Not to Defend Jehovah’s Witness Theology"

    • Glenn Shrom

      I’d like to come back to this and make more detailed comments. For now, I’ll just say that there are things I agree with in Bowman’s reasoning, and things I find off-track. In the big picture, I am a Trinitarian, but Bowman is not arguing in this blog for the Trinity, only for a dialogue that follows certain rules of engagement and debate.

      • Robert Bowman


        Hi there. Your comment is so generalized that there isn’t anything specific to answer. A blog article can’t do everything, and so I’m not embarrassed by the fact that this article doesn’t attempt to argue for the doctrine of the Trinity. I’ve already done that, you know. 🙂

        Whatever it is you think is off track in what I said, feel free to point it out.

      • kainosktisis

        I Jesus couldn’t be the Creator, you’d have to justify this:

        Colossians 1 NABRE (USCCB):

        Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understandinge
        to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God,
        strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy
        * giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.f
        He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
        in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.g

        II. The Preeminence of Christ

        His Person and Work
        * He is the image* of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.h
        For in him* were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,
        whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.i
        He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
        He is the head of the body, the church.* He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
        that in all things he himself might be preeminent.j
        For in him all the fullness* was pleased to dwell,

        and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross*
        [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.k
        * And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deedsl
        he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him,
        provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister.

        Christ in Us.*

        Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking* in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,
        of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God,
        the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,m
        to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.n
        It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.o
        For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.p

    • phillip mutchell

      All white people are racists and if you disagree that’s because you’re racist.
      Your attempt at confining the argument is of course simply rhetorical as the above and any who insist they are entitled to set the terms of the debate are merely arguing from a perceived position of superiority. One doesn’t need to ‘defend’ a non trinitarian argument as, that the Father alone is God is expressly stated, whereas of course that God is three persons is never stated, also, that God is one person is stated. Will ye speak unrighteously for God? and for him speak deceit? 8 Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God? 9 Job 13:7-9 (Job)

      • Maryam

        This is similar to arguments from Trinitarians who believe that only that which is explicitly stated in Scripture is true. That is not true. Scripture can explicit as well as implicit in teachings.

    • kainosktisis

      No, not all Whites are racist, & it’s been my experience that you can find racists on earth of every shade of melanin under the sun.

      The Holy Trinity is implied in Scripture – from Genesis with “Let Us make man” to the NT’s “…baptizing them in the Name of the Father, & of the Son, & of the Holy Spirit…”

      The writings of the Early Church Fathers support the Trinitarian view – like it or not. That is history.

      From “ What the Early Church Believed: The Trinity” (Catholic Answers):

      The Didache
      “After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. . . . If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Didache 7:1 [A.D. 70]).

      Ignatius of Antioch
      “[T]o the Church at Ephesus in Asia . . . chosen through true suffering by the will of the Father in Jesus Christ our God” (Letter to the Ephesians 1 [A.D. 110]).

      “For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God’s plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit” (ibid., 18:2).

      Justin Martyr
      “We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the mystery which lies therein” (First Apology 13:5–6 [A.D. 151]).

      Theophilus of Antioch
      “It is the attribute of God, of the most high and almighty and of the living God, not only to be everywhere, but also to see and hear all; for he can in no way be contained in a place. . . . The three days before the luminaries were created are types of the Trinity: God, his Word, and his Wisdom” (To Autolycus 2:15 [A.D. 181]).

      “For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, the Father Almighty . . . and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit” (Against Heresies 1:10:1 [A.D. 189]).

      “We do indeed believe that there is only one God, but we believe that under this dispensation, or, as we say, oikonomia, there is also a Son of this one only God, his Word, who proceeded from him and through whom all things were made and without whom nothing was made. . . . We believe he was sent down by the Father, in accord with his own promise, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father and the Son, and in the Holy Spirit” (Against Praxeas 2 [A.D. 216]).

      “And at the same time the mystery of the oikonomia is safeguarded, for the unity is distributed in a Trinity. Placed in order, the three are the Father, Son, and Spirit. They are three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in being, but in form; not in power, but in kind; of one being, however, and one condition and one power, because he is one God of whom degrees and forms and kinds are taken into account in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (ibid.).

      “Keep always in mind the rule of faith which I profess and by which I bear witness that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and then you will understand what is meant by it. Observe now that I say the Father is other [distinct], the Son is other, and the Spirit is other. This statement is wrongly understood by every uneducated or perversely disposed individual, as if it meant diversity and implied by that diversity a separation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (ibid., 9).

      “Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent persons, who are yet distinct one from another. These three are, one essence, not one person, as it is said, ‘I and my Father are one’ [John 10:30], in respect of unity of being not singularity of number” (ibid., 25).

      “For we do not hold that which the heretics imagine: that some part of the being of God was converted into the Son, or that the Son was procreated by the Father from non-existent substances, that is, from a being outside himself, so that there was a time when he [the Son] did not exist” (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:4:1 [A.D. 225]).

      “For it is the Trinity alone which exceeds every sense in which not only temporal but even eternal may be understood. It is all other things, indeed, which are outside the Trinity, which are to be measured by time and ages” (ibid.).

      “The Word alone of this God is from God himself, wherefore also the Word is God, being the being of God” (Refutation of All Heresies 10:29 [A.D. 228]).

      Pope Dionysius
      “Next, then, I may properly turn to those who divide and cut apart and destroy the most sacred proclamation of the Church of God, making of it [the Trinity], as it were, three powers, distinct substances, and three godheads. . . . [Some heretics] proclaim that there are in some way three gods, when they divide the sacred unity into three substances foreign to each other and completely separate” (Letter to Dionysius of Alexandria 1 [A.D. 262]).

      “Therefore, the divine Trinity must be gathered up and brought together in one, a summit, as it were, I mean the omnipotent God of the universe. . . . It is blasphemy, then, and not a common one but the worst, to say that the Son is in any way a handiwork [creature]. . . . But if the Son came into being [was created], there was a time when these attributes did not exist; and, consequently, there was a time when God was without them, which is utterly absurd” (ibid., 1–2).

      “Neither, then, may we divide into three godheads the wonderful and divine unity. . . . Rather, we must believe in God, the Father Almighty; and in Christ Jesus, his Son; and in the Holy Spirit; and that the Word is united to the God of the universe. ‘For,’ he says, ‘The Father and I are one,’ and ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me’” (ibid., 3).

      Gregory the Wonderworker
      “There is one God. . . . There is a perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged. Wherefore there is nothing either created or in servitude in the Trinity; nor anything superinduced, as if at some former period it was non-existent, and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abides ever” (Declaration of Faith [A.D. 265]).

      Sechnall of Ireland
      “Hymns, with Revelation and the Psalms of God [Patrick] sings, and does expound the same for the edifying of God’s people. This law he holds in the Trinity of the sacred Name and teaches one being in three persons” (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 22 [A.D. 444]).

      Patrick of Ireland
      “I bind to myself today the strong power of an invocation of the Trinity—the faith of the Trinity in unity, the Creator of the universe” (The Breastplate of St. Patrick 1 [A.D. 447]).

      “[T]here is no other God, nor has there been heretofore, nor will there be hereafter, except God the Father unbegotten, without beginning, from whom is all beginning, upholding all things, as we say, and his Son Jesus Christ, whom we likewise to confess to have always been with the Father—before the world’s beginning. . . . Jesus Christ is the Lord and God in whom we believe . . . and who has poured out on us abundantly the Holy Spirit . . . whom we confess and adore as one God in the Trinity of the sacred Name” (Confession of St. Patrick 4 [A.D. 452]).

      “All the Catholic interpreters of the divine books of the Old and New Testaments whom I have been able to read, who wrote before me about the Trinity, which is God, intended to teach in accord with the Scriptures that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are of one and the same substance constituting a divine unity with an inseparable equality; and therefore there are not three gods but one God, although the Father begot the Son, and therefore he who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, himself, too, coequal to the Father and to the Son and belonging to the unity of the Trinity” (The Trinity1:4:7 [A.D. 408]).

      Fulgence of Ruspe
      “See, in short you have it that the Father is one, the Son another, and the Holy Spirit another; in Person, each is other, but in nature they are not other. In this regard he says: ‘The Father and I, we are one’ (John 10:30). He teaches us that one refers to their nature, and we are to their Persons. In like manner it is said: ‘There are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit; and these three are one’ (1 John 5:7)” (The Trinity 4:1–2 [c. A.D. 515]).

      “But in the one true God and Trinity it is naturally true not only that God is one but also that he is a Trinity, for the reason that the true God himself is a Trinity of Persons and one in nature. Through this natural unity the whole Father is in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, and the whole Holy Spirit, too, is in the Father and in the Son. None of these is outside any of the others; because no one of them precedes any other of them in eternity or exceeds any other in greatness, or is superior to any other in power” (The Rule of Faith 4 [c. A.D. 523).

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