The Historic Doctrine of the Trinity
This article is one in a series of studies on William Branham and the Trinity - you are currently on the topic that is in bold:
- What did William Branham believe about the Godhead?
- William Branham and the Trinity Doctrine
- The Historic Doctrine of the Trinity
- Did William Branham Teach Oneness?
- William Branham and Arianism
- Did William Branham teach Nestorianism?
- Bible Study on the Trinity
- Q&A on the Godhead - Answers to emails we have received
- Christians that God required to believe the Satanic Trinity doctrine
- Other articles on the Godhead
- Giants of the faith who believed the doctrine of the Trinity
The Trinity is an explanation of the The Godhead that has historically been accepted by the vast majority of the world's Christian churches. The word "Trinity" was first used circa. A.D. 200 by Tertullian, a Latin theologian from Carthage. It is acknowledged that the word "Trinity" does not appear in the Bible, but then neither does the word "rapture" which is used regularly by message followers.
The doctrine of the Trinity is shown in John 14:23, when Jesus says:
- If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
The Historic Doctrine of the Trinity
So that we are all on the same page, a basic definition of the Trinity is necessary:
- Within one Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Commonly referred to as "One God in Three Persons", the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are identified as distinct and co-eternal "persons" who share a single Divine essence, being, or nature.
The doctrine of the Trinity was developed as a direct response to false doctrine that appeared in the church. Initially, the church was not in the need for a clear doctrine on the Godhead. But into the truth that Jesus and the Apostles left the church, error began to assert itself. This error finally manifested itself in false doctrine and the church responded with "right teaching" ( which is what the word "orthodoxy" means).
The martyrdom of Polycarp, perhaps the oldest martyrdom of which we have a written account (ca. early 160s A.D.), pictures the dying Polycarp addressing God in a clear Trinitarian confession:
- “O Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved Son Jesus Christ … I bless you because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of the martyrs … to the resurrection to eternal life … in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit”
An early Ante-Nicene apologist for the Christian faith, Justin Martyr (110–165 A.D.) refers to Christ in a variety of ways, including “Lord,” “God the Son of God,” and “the Word.” As the “Word,” Jesus “carries tidings from the Father to men.” The power the Word exerts, however, is “indivisible and inseparable from the Father.” How so? Here Justin employs an illustration destined to appear again and again in the trinitarian thought of the fathers. Think, Justin asks his audience, of the sunlight that reaches the earth. While this light is distinct from the sun in the heavens, it is equally “indivisible and inseparable” from it. It is much the same with a fire igniting another fire. So it is with the begetting of the Son. The unbegotten Father begets the Son, “but not by abscission, as if the essence of the Father were divided.”
In On First Principles (De Principiis), Origen (c. 245 A.D.), the great Alexandrian exegete, provides important and interesting examples of a theologian’s attempts to understand the biblical testimony and rule of faith concerning Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and contributed to the development of trinitarian thinking.
Origen understands that the Son was not created but was eternal:
- “For we do not say, as the heretics suppose, that some part of the substance of God was converted into the Son, or that the Son was procreated by the Father out of things non-existent, i.e., beyond His own substance, so that there was a time when He did not exist.”
In a preview of coming debates, Origen wonders how anyone could assert “that there once was a time when He was not the Son.” To assert that there was ever a time when the Son did not exist would be to contend “there was once a time when He was not the Truth, nor the Wisdom, nor the Life, although in all these He is judged to be the perfect essence of God the Father, for these things cannot be severed from Him, or even be separated from His essence… .”
Irenaeus states that:
- “The Jewish Creator God is identical with the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240 A.D.) wrote a book, Against Praxeas, in which we find Tertullian pondering central trinitarian issues and responding to heterodox Christian views regarding the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In his responses and formulations, Tertullian was the first writer to use the word “person” to the members of the Trinity and the first to apply the Latin word “trinitas” (Trinity) to God, and the first to develop the formula of "one substance in three persons.” Tertullian constructed his model of God as one substance (substantia) and three distinct persons (persona) in response to the threat of both gnostic polytheism and Christian modalism.
Athanasius vs. Arius
Arius argued that the Son was an exalted creature, elevated above all others, but still a creation of God. Arius writes, for instance, that “God was not always a Father,” “The Son was not always,” “the Word of God Himself was ‘made out of nothing,’ ” “once He was not,” “He was not before His origination,” and “He as others ‘had an origin of creation.’ ” “For God,” Arius taught, “was alone, and the Word as yet was not, nor the Wisdom. Then, wishing to form us, thereupon He made a certain one, and named him Word and Wisdom and Son, that he might form us by means of Him.”
Athanasius’ writings are inseparably linked to his lifelong battle with Arianism. His "Four Discourses Against the Arians" provide us with many examples of how Athanasius read the Bible and applied its contents to a specific theological problem of great moment. Arian Christians refused to equate the Son with the Father, basing this rejection on philosophical, theological, and exegetical reasons.
As the Son, Christ existed as “the Father’s Word and Radiance and Wisdom.” In the incarnation the Son willingly and lovingly took on the human flesh derived from “a Virgin, Mary, Bearer of God, and was made man.” The Word was “not external” to the humanity he had assumed. Rather, when the incarnate Son lived and ministered on earth, humanity and deity were both at work in an incomprehensible union. When Jesus healed the mother-in-law of Simon Peter, “He stretched forth His hand humanly, but He stopped the illness divinely.” When he healed the man born blind from birth, “human was the spittle which He gave forth from the flesh, but divinely did He open the eyes through the clay.” At the raising of Lazarus, “he gave forth a human voice, as man; but divinely, as God, did He raise Lazarus from the dead.”49 Athanasius sees the Son’s incarnate actions as manifesting the genuine union existing in his person between his humanity and his deity. If he grieved or expressed other human emotions, such was only proper. For “it became the Lord, in putting on human flesh, to put it on whole with the affections proper to it,” though Athanasius is uncomfortable with the idea that Christ’s human “affections” touched his deity.
The Limitations of the Doctrine
The doctrine of the Trinity is the summary expression of what Christians have to say in answer to the question who God is and what God is in the divine life and in relation to what is not God.However, William Branham felt that he could reject almost 2000 years of thought and study out of hand:
- So they say... He said, "Well, Mr. Branham, you know, even the--the theologians can't explain it."
- I said, "That's exactly right. The Word don't come to a theologian." Uh-huh. I said, "The Bible is all tied into the Revelation, 'Upon this rock I'll build My Church, and the gates of hell can't prevail against It.'" See? Amen, there you are. See? But then when it comes to those things... Oh, my!
However, it is important to understand that theologians believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is a very difficult issue:
- We do not think it open to full explication in human thought. It is not wise to attempt more than is attainable. Yet the manifest prudence of this law has often been violated in strivings after an unattainable solution of this doctrine. We shall not repeat the error. Still, the divine Trinity is so manifestly a truth of Scripture, and so cardinal in Christian theology, that the question cannot be omitted. If a full solution cannot be attained, the facts may be so presented as not to appear in contradictory opposition. With this attainment, nothing hinders the credibility of the doctrine on the ground of Scripture. 
- How is it that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Holy Ghost is God, and yet that there are not three Gods, but one God? I cannot tell you. I know it is so, for so it is revealed; but how it is so it is not for us to guess, because it is not revealed or explained. Our understanding can adventure as far as the testimony, and no farther. Many attempts have been made by divines to find parallels in Nature to the Unity and the Trinity of God, but they all seem to me to fail.
- Perhaps the very best one is that of St. Patrick, who, when preaching to the Irish, and wishing to explain this matter, plucked a shamrock and showed them its three leaves all in one—three, yet one. Yet there are flaws and faults even in that illustration. It does not meet the case. It is a doctrine to be emphatically asserted as it is expounded in that Athanasian Creed; the soundness of whose teaching I do not question, for I believe it all, though I shrink with horror from the abominable anathema which assert that a man who hesitates to endorse it will “without doubt perish everlastingly.” It is a matter to be reverently accepted as it stands in the Word of God, and to be faithfully studied as it has been understood by the most scrupulous and intelligent Christians of succeeding generations.
- We are not to think of the Father as though anything could detract from the homage due to him as originally and essentially divine, nor of the only begotten Son of the Father as though he were not “God over all, blessed for ever,” nor of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, as though he had not all the attributes of Deity. We must abide by this, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Jehovah”; but we must still hold to it that in three Persons he is to be worshipped, though he be but one in his essence.
Must one believe in the Trinity to be a Christian?
Roger Olson, a well known Christian theologian and author (Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology of Ethics at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University) stated the following:
- ...the doctrine of the Trinity is not part of the gospel; it is not revealed truth. It is constructed out of revealed truth and constitutes necessary reflection on revealed truth in the light of heresies (subordinationism, adoptionism, modalism, tritheism, etc.). Once the doctrine of the Trinity was constructed and embraced by the church ecumenical (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant) it could not and should not be set aside, ignored or rejected. But neither should it be confused with revelation itself or the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- ...If the doctrine of the Trinity is not part of the gospel, what doctrine is? Central to the gospel are the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ (incarnation) and the atonement (the cross as saving sacrifice for sins). Also included are salvation by grace through faith and Jesus’ and our resurrections by the power of God. These are necessary beliefs, insofar as they are known and understood (however dimly), for being “Christian.” Part and parcel of the gospel is that God has come to us and for us as the Father of Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ is God and savior and that the Holy Spirit is the personal power and presence of God in resurrection life.
- ...How one can grasp the gospel and not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to understand, but it happens. Many Christians simply cannot “wrap their minds around” the doctrine of the Trinity and so put it on a shelf, so to speak, and leave it there — neither believing it nor denying it. A few deny it simply because they misunderstand it and it’s difficult to blame them. According to a famous statement often attributed to St. Augustine “If you deny the Trinity you lose your salvation but if you try to understand it you lose your mind.” That’s the difficulty many Christians find themselves in and they feel caught between having to believe a doctrinal formulation they can make no sense of and being threatened with losing their status as Christian (if not their salvation).
- ...Please don’t get me wrong; I think belief in the Trinity, that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and yet one God, is essential to authentic Christianity. But someone who demurs from confessing the “one substance, three persons” for reasons other than denial of the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, are probably just confused, mystified, perplexed. I would not join a church that did not confess the doctrine of the Trinity in some form (at least implicitly if not explicitly), but I cannot deny the Christian status of someone who is genuinely confused and uncertain about it.
- A few years ago I visited a church that claims not to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. A soloist sang a song titled “O Lamb of God” the first line of which says “From your side you sent your Son.” I tried to ask my friend who is an elder of the church how they can sing that song and mean it and at the same time deny the doctrine of the Trinity. He looked at me bemused and said “We believe whatever the Bible says.” Then I was bemused. My life experiences and reading of Brunner have led me to think that the doctrine of the Trinity, although extremely important as a landmark, if not a pillar, of Christian doctrine, is not essential to being Christian. But I suspect that if I could get any real Christian who claims not to believe in the Trinity alone in a room, one-on-one, for an hour long conversation about the matter I could convert them to belief in it.
- In sum, then, I am suggesting that the doctrine of the Trinity lies in a liminal position between or overlapping the borders of dogma and doctrine as I described these as two of three categories (the third being opinion) of Christian beliefs. “Dogma” is the category of essentials of the Christian faith, what is required to believe in order to be considered Christian. There I would place the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ (incarnation). “Doctrine” (in the sense of this taxonomy) is the category of important but not essential beliefs. There I would place, for example, universal atonement. “Opinion” is the third category in which I would place premillennialism.
What does "person" mean
We have been asked the question: God in 3 persons? What is the definition of a person? What is this concept all about? Here is a discussion from Reymond's Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith:
- What is the meaning of “person” in the orthodox representation of the Trinity? Etymologically, the word is from the Latin persona, from per, “through,” and sono, “speak,” hence, “speak through” and thus the “mask” through which the Roman actor spoke, and hence the specific “character” he portrayed. The word, it is true, does not appear in the Nicene Creed per se. But it is the word with a history of doctrinal usage that went back as far as Tertullian and which eventually came to be universally used by the church to designate the Three Selves in the One God and to distinguish them from the one divine essence which each is as God.
- Today it is commonly understood by orthodox theologians to refer in the Trinitarian context to a “conscious self or ego,” that is, a “center of self-consciousness.” But it is often alleged that persona did not mean in the fourth and fifth centuries what it means today, that it originally referred only to “roles” which God assumed, and that it has only been since the days of Descartes and Locke that “person” has been defined as a self-conscious center of individuality, and that, therefore, because of its modern divergence in meaning away from its first and original intention, “person” should be abandoned as a theological term which has lost its usefulness. What are we to say in response? Here we need to be reminded of Calvin’s opinion that all such words as the church finds useful after the close of the canon to aid in the understanding of Scripture are admissible provided they attest to what Scripture itself teaches. There is nothing, I admit, sacrosanct about the word “person,” and if the church were to discover another word which more accurately conveyed the intention of Scripture, I would welcome it. Indeed, I am certain that John Calvin speaks for every Christian when he writes:
- I could wish they [that is, the Greek words, ὁμοούσια, homoousia, οὔσια, ousia, πρόσωπον, prosōpon, and the Latin substantia, persona] were buried, if only among all men this faith were agreed on: that Father and Son and Spirit are one God, yet the Son is not the Father, nor the Spirit the Son, but that they are differentiated by a peculiar quality.
If William Branham had taken this whole question seriously, he would have learned the following:
The historical problem with trying to describe God
How do you even attempt to describe in terms of the English language (or any other language) a Being - God - who created all time and space and whom human beings can not possibly comprehend in His fullness?
You can see from the following discussion by John McIntyre, that for centuries people have wrestled with the difficulty of trying to describe God:
- The original words for the nature of being of Godhead—essence (essentia or ousia) and substance (substantia) are straightforward enough. On the contrary, the originals for ‘person’ underwent considerable revision. Of the adoption of the word persona by the Latins, Augustine said that they did so ‘since they could not discover any more suitable method to describe that which they could understand without words’ (De Trinitate, V. 10). The Greeks seemed to have difficulty in establishing the most acceptable term for the object designated by the Latin persona, which is not quite equivalent to ‘person’ or ‘personality’ in our sense of the words. The exact translation (at least of one of its senses), namely, prosopon, means ‘a mask’, ‘an aspect’. Since, however, the word had been employed by the Sabellians in their unacceptable view of the Trinity—that the same one person, God, is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as it were in sequence, showing one aspect when creating, another aspect when redeeming, and a third when sanctifying, these external aspects reflecting no eternal distinctions immanent in the Godhead—it was rejected. So the Greeks chose hypostasis, which was by no means initially a simple or obvious choice; for hypostasis itself has two connotations—the one, strictly etymological and signifying ‘substance’ and so apparently equivalent to substantia or ousia, eventually fell out of use in trinitarian theology; and the other has traditionally been translated as ‘person’. In the history of trinitarianism, persona was equated with tropos hyparxeos, and with the Latin subsistentia in divina essentia.
"Person" does not mean "Individual"
Maclean in the Dictionary of the Apostolic Church states the following:
- The words which we render ‘Person’ (ὑπόστασις, πρόσωπον, persona) are of a still later date, and at first exhibited a remarkable fluidity of signification. Thus ὑπόστασις was used at one time to denote what is common to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what we should call the Divine ‘substance,’ at another it was used to distinguish between the Three; so that in one sense there is one ὑπόστασις in the Holy Trinity, in the other there are three. With regard to the word ‘Person,’ the student must necessarily be always on his guard against the supposition that ‘Person’ means ‘individual,’ as when we say that three different men are three ‘persons’; or that ‘Trinity’ involves tritheism, or three Gods. These technical expressions are but methods of denoting the teaching found in the New Testament that there are distinctions in the Godhead, and that, while God is One, yet He is not a mere Monad. These technical terms are not found in the apostolic or sub-apostolic writers; with regard to the second of them, it may be remembered that the idea of personality was hardly formulated in any sense till shortly before the Christian era; and its application to theology came in a good deal later.
The word "person" is not a perfect descriptor
Theologians recognize that the word "person", particularly in its current meaning in the English language, does create problems.
- Both [Karl] Barth and [Karl] Rahner held that “person” (from Lat. persona), the traditional term in the so-called Western church for the divine Three, had become seriously misleading. While originally designating a theater mask and then a role and hence an identity, in contemporary usage “person” (→ Self) had come to denote a subjective center of consciousness. With that understanding of “person,” the claim that God is three persons stands in grave danger of degenerating into tritheism. Barth proposed as an alternative the phrase “mode of being” (Seinsweise); Rahner proposed “mode of subsisting” (Subsistenzweise).
Even in the KJV English of 400 years ago, the word "person" carried a different meaning than today:
- Today we think of a person as an individual human being with his or her own character, history, and consciousness. “Respect for persons” is regarded as a basic principle of sound democracy and true religion. But we then read in the KJV that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), and this idea is repeated in one form or another in a dozen passages of the Old and New Testaments. The Greek word which the KJV translates as “respecter of persons” means “one who accepts the face”; the Latin equivalent is acceptor personae, that is, “one who accepts the mask worn by an actor or the character he assumed.”
- When the KJV was published, the English word “person” was still close to this primary meaning of the Latin word persona, mask. It referred to people’s outward appearance or circumstances—physical presence, dress, wealth, position—rather than to their intrinsic worth or inner springs of conscious, self-determining being. “God is no respecter of persons” or similar wording in Acts 10:34 and elsewhere means that God does not regard mere externals.
But... there is no better term at present
Carl Henry explains that the reason the "threeness" of God has been expressed as "God in 3 persons" is that there is really no better simple explanation:
- There is little doubt that the formula “one essence, three persons” creates problems, but any alternative formulation only multiplies the difficulties. Augustine was dissatisfied with the term persona but found no preferable alternative: “We say … three persons, not that we would say this, but that we would not be silent” (De Trinitate, V, 9); “… not because Scripture does so, but because Scripture does not forbid” (VII, 4).
- But Western Latin theology has used the formula “one substance, three persons” ever since Tertullian. Eastern or Greek theology had translation problems with the Latin formula (in Greek, the Latin persona becomes prosōpon which means “mask” and thus seems to deny essential identity) so Basil the Great and the Cappadocians, distinguishing two terms that until then had also been used confusedly, spoke of three hypostases in one ousia.
- The Latin translation, however, was una essentia, tres substantiae (“one essence, three substances”) which implied tritheism.
- Apprehensive lest three “persons” might imply three “substances,” Anselm affirms “three I do not know what” (Monologium, c, 78). Aquinas equates “person” with a relation that is “its own mode of being” (Summa Theologiae, I, W. 29, Art. 4).
- Calvin defines person as “a ‘subsistence’ in the Divine essence … distinguished … by an incommunicable quality” (Institutes, Book I, XIII, 6). To this day Eastern theologians (cf. for example Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church) insist that the Greek term hypostasis best fits the meaning of “person”; Roman Catholic theologians, on the other hand, find it unserviceable as a clear alternative to pagan polytheism and to bare monotheism. Nevertheless their mutual recognition of theological intention serves to override semantic differences.
C.S. Lewis' analogy
C.S. Lewis provided one of the best analogies for understanding this problem that we have encountered:
- You know that in space you can move in three ways – to left or right, backwards or forwards, up or down. Every direction is either one of these three or a compromise between them. They are called the three Dimensions.
- Now notice this. If you are using only one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you are using two, you could draw a figure: say, a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines. Now a step further. If you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body: say, a cube – a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made up of six squares.
- Do you see the point?
- A world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways – in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.
- Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level. On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate beings – just as, in two dimensions (say on a flat sheet of paper) one square is one figure, and any two squares are two separate figures. On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine.
- In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube. But we can get a sort of faint notion of it. And when we do, we are then, for the first time in our lives, getting some positive idea, however faint, of something super-personal – something more than a person. It is something we could never have guessed, and yet, once we have been told, one almost feels one ought to have been able to guess it because it fits in so well with all the things we know already.
Isn't it important just to believe in Jesus?
The more important question is - who is the Jesus they are believing in?
There are two main heresies on the Trinity:
Oneness or Modalism (sometimes called Sabellianism, named after the 3rd century heretic Sabellius) teaches that God is one person (a Unitarian view of God) who manifests as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and/or one God who has 3 roles or “workings” as Father, Son, and Holy SpiritArianism (named after the 3rd/4th-century heretic Arius) teaches that Jesus is a created being and is lesser than God. The modalist view includes:
Jesus is God the FatherJesus is the “flesh” of GodThe Holy Spirit is part of God/JesusThe Father is the “divine nature,” and Jesus is “the human nature” of God In contrast, the Bible unequivocally gives this information:
Jesus is the Son of God, distinct from the Father; Jesus cannot be the Son of God if he is also God the Father. Jesus spoke of his Father in many passages. Jesus prayed to the Father. Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus talks about how God sent him (Jesus) to earth. The Holy Spirit is given the same attributes of deity as God Illustration of The Trinity
The Holy Spirit is given personal traits and spoken of as a Person, not as a mere force, power, or energy.
Some Oneness followers will say that when Jesus prayed to God in heaven, it was the human nature praying to the divine nature. But natures don’t pray, individuals pray. Also, it would be deceptive on God’s part to make it appear as though Jesus is praying to someone else when, in fact, he is not.
The Arian Jesus of the non-Trinity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christadelphians, the Way, and other cults, is a created being. He has a beginning and is not equal to the Father. This is clearly a false Jesus and is easier to refute than the modalist/Oneness Jesus, which is arguably more deceptive and more difficult to refute.
- The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Jn 14:23.
- James White, The Forgotten Trinity, Bethany House Publishing, 1998
- The Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:1–2
- Roger E. Olson and Christopher A. Hall, The Trinity, Guides to Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 21–22.
- Roger E. Olson and Christopher A. Hall, The Trinity, Guides to Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 24.
- Roger E. Olson and Christopher A. Hall, The Trinity, Guides to Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 27.
- Roger E. Olson and Christopher A. Hall, The Trinity, Guides to Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 29-30.
- Roger E. Olson and Christopher A. Hall, The Trinity, Guides to Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 32-33.
- Colin E. Gunton, The Doctrine of Creation : Essays in Dogmatics, History and Philosophy (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004), 155.
- WHO.DO.YOU.SAY.THIS.IS_ PHOENIX.AZ V-6 N-9 SUNDAY_ 64-1227
- John Miley, Systematic Theology, Volume 1, 223 (New York: Hunt & Eaton, 1892)
- C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. LXII, 315-16 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1916).
- Must You Believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity to Be a Christian?, Roger E. Olson, published on www.patheos.com, February 5, 2015
- Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 319-20 (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1998).
- John McIntyre, The Shape of Pneumatology : Studies in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, 76-77 (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2004).
- A. J. Maclean, "God", in , vol. 1, Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (2 Vols.), ed. James Hastings, 460 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916-1918)
- Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, vol. 5, The Encyclopedia of Christianity, 547 (Grand Rapids, MI; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 2008).
- Martin H. Manser, Natasha B. Fleming, Kate Hughes and Ronald F. Bridges, I Never Knew That Was in the Bible!, electronic ed., 332 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000).
- Carl F. H. Henry, vol. 5, God, Revelation, and Authority, 210-11 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999)
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 161-162