THE EARLY CHURCH WAS OUTSPOKEN ONTHE DEITY OF CHRIST
Ignatius Bishop of Antioch died about 110 A.D. he was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote about the lords 2nd coming, "Look for him that is above the times, him who has not times, him who is invisible". Only God is without time , eternal and invisible. In numerous other places in his letter to Polycarp he states "Jesus is God", "God incarnate"
"Be deaf, therefore, when any would speak to you apart from (at variance with) JESUS CHRIST [the Son of God], who was descended from the family of David, born of Mary, who truly was born [both of God and of the Virgin ... truly took a body; for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us without sin" Bishop of Antioch died about 110 A.D. he was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote about the lords 2nd coming, "Look for him that is above the times, him who has not times, him who is invisible". Only God is without time , eternal and invisible. In numerous other places in his letter to Polycarp he states "Jesus is God", "God incarnate."
"Be deaf, therefore, when any would speak to you apart from (at variance with) JESUS CHRIST [the Son of God], who was descended from the family of David, born of Mary, who truly was born [both of God and of the Virgin ... truly took a body; for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us without sin."
Ignatius of Antioch "In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever" (n. 7; PG 5.988).
"We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For the Word was made flesh.' Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passible body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts." ( The ante-nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Vol. 1, p. 52 .)
"For our God Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost."( Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:9)
"...God Himself appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life."( Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:13)
"Continue inseparable from Jesus Christ our God."( Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians 2:4)
"For even our God, Jesus Christ, now that He is in the Father".( Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans 1:13)
Clement of Rome (Philipians 4:3)"For Christ is with those who are humble, not with those exalt themselves over his flock. The majestic scepter of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, did not come with the pomp of arrogance or pride (though He could have done so), but in humility, just as the Holy Spirit spoke concerning Him." (1 Clement 16:1-2)
"Brethren, we ought so to think of Jesus Christ as of God : as of the judge of the living and the dead".(2nd Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 1:1)
Justin Martyr ( 140 A.D.) "the word of wisdom, who is himself God begotten of the Father of all things, and word, and wisdom, and power, and the glory of the begetter, will bear evidence to me".(Dialogue with Tropho Ch.61)
"God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: 'Let us make man after our image and likeness' . . . I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with someone numerically distinct from himself and also a rational being. . . . But this Offspring who was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with him" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 62).
"For Christ is King, and Priest, and God and Lord..."(Dialogue With Trypho, 34)
"...He preexisted as the Son of theCreator of things, being God, and that He was born a man by the Virgin." (Dialogue With Trypho, 48 )
"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).
Polycarp (70-160). Bishop of Smyrna.A disciple of John the Apostle. "O Lord God almighty...I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever"
"Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest Himself, the God Jesus Christ, build you up in the faith..."( The Epistle of Polycarp to the Church at Philippi, 12
Iranaeus Iranaeus (120-202) "In order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King..."(Irenaeus Against Heresies, 1.10.1)
180 A.D. "But he Jesus is himself in his own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, Lord, and king eternal, and the incarnate word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles The Scriptures would not have borne witness to these things concerning Him, if, like everyone else, He were mere man." (Against Heresies 3:19.1-2)
"For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, 'Let us make man after our image and likeness'".( Against Heresies, 4:10)
Iranaeus gave the Church two statements which have continued in its creeds: (1) Filius dei filius hominis factus, "The Son of God [has] become a son of man, (Earl Cairns Christianity Through the Centuries, Zondervan, 1981, pg.110) Jesus Christus vere homo, vere deus, "Jesus Christ, true man and true God." (Harold Brown Heresies, Zondervan, 1989, pg.84)
Irenaeus gave three forms of the statement of faith in three different contexts in This is showing the variety of ways that the faith could be expressed in his day:)
Third Form: IN ONE GOD ALMIGHTY, from whom are all things; and IN THE SON OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST, our Lord, by whom are all things, and in his dispensations, through which the Son of God became man; the firm -persuasion also IN THE SPIRIT OF GOD, who furnishes us with a knowledge of the truth, and has set forth the dispensations of the Father and the Son, in virtue of which he dwells in every generation of men, according to the will of the Father (IV. xxiii. 7).(God in three persons C.Beisner) this is long before the council of Niacea.
Diogneteus Diogneteus to Mathetes (written 130 A.D.) "as a king sends his Son, who is also king, so sent he him, as God (1) he sent him; as men he sent him; as savior he sent him, " Chpt.7 says "God" (1) which refers to the person sent.
Theophilus (115-181) Bishop of Antioch (To Autolycus 2:22 ,160 A.D.) "For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice but what else is this voice but the word of God, who is also his Son."
Tatian the Syrian (170 AD ) "Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is Himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the Maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible and untouchable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. This we know by the evidence of what He has created; and we perceive His invisible power by His works".(Tatian, Address to the Greeks , 4)
"We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man" (Address to the Greeks 21).
Melito of Sardis (177 AD )The activities of Christ after his baptism, and especially his miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the deity hidden in his flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, he gave positive indications of his two natures: of his deity, by the miracles during the three years following after his baptism he concealed the signs of his deity, although he was the true God existing before the ages" (Fragment in Anastasius of Sinai's, The Guide 13).
Athenagoras (160 AD.) Speaks of "one God, the uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, uncontainable, comprehended only by mindand reason, clothed in light and beauty and spirit and powerindescribable, by whom the totality has come to be."(suppl. 10.1)
"the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of Spirit, the understanding, and reason of the Father is the Son of God." (Ante Nicene Fathers vol.2 p.133 a plea for Christians)
"For Christ is the God over all".(Refutation of All Heresies 10.34)
Athenagoras identifies the Word as the Son of God, says 'although the word is Gods offspring, he never came into being. Rather, having been with God and in God eternally he issued forth at a point in time."( A plea for the Christians 12.20) "God the Word came down from heaven...He came forth into the world and...showed Himself to be God".( Against the Heresy of a Certain Noetus, 17)
speaking of what the church believes, "they hold the Father to be God, and the Son God, and the Holy Spirit, and declare their union and their distinction in order."(A plea for the Christians.10.3)
"Who, then, would not be astonished to hear those called atheists who admit God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and who teach their unity in power and their distinction in rank?"( Intercession on Behalf of the Saints, 10)
Clement of Alexandria (190 AD) "The Word, then, the Christ, is the cause both of our ancient beginning, for he was in God, and of our well-being. And now this same Word has appeared as man. He alone. is both God and man, and the source of all our good things" (Exhortation to the Greeks 1:7:1).
Tertullian (converted around 193 AD)(215 AD) "The origins of both his substances display him as man and as God: from the one, born, and from the other, not born" (The Flesh of Christ 5:6-7).
"God alone is without sin. The only man without sin is Christ; for Christ is also God."(The Soul 41.3)
We find that it was the ones who did not understand the trinity that were looked upon as divisive. Tetullians theological writings consisted mostly in response to what the Oneness (modalists) believes. (God is singular in person) When he debated Praxeas of which he wrote. "thus the connection of the Father in the Son 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," in respect of unity of substance, not singularity of number."( Ante-Nicene fathers vol.3,p.621, against Praxeas.) He went on to say "Yet we have never given vent to the phrases two Gods, or two Lords: not that it is untrue the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God, each is God." (ibid 13)
Tetullian developed his arguments and refined his belief of which the third form of his rule of faith became this. "We believe there is but one God, and no other besides the maker of the world, who produced the universe out of nothing, by his word sent forth first of all, that this word, called his Son, was seen in the name of God in various ways by the patriarchs, was always heard in the prophets, at last sent down, from the spirit and power of God the Father, into the virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and born of her, lived as Jesus Christ...".
Not only is he careful in his explanation but throughout all his writings he defines three persons and one substance who are the one God. ."That this one and only God has a Son, his word, who proceeded from himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the virgin, and to have been born of her- being both man and God, the Son of man, and the Son of God, and to have been called the name of Jesus Christ;" (against Praxeas vol.3, p.598)
Novatian (235 AD. )"For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God" (Treatise on the Trinity 11).
Novatian "The rule of truth demands that, first of all, we believe in GOD THE FATHER and Almighty Lord, that is, the most perfect Maker of all things. . .' The same rule of truth teaches us to believe, after the Father, also in the SON OF GOD, CHRIST JESUS, our Lord God, but the Son of God.... Moreover, the order of reason and the authority of faith, in due consideration of the words and Scriptures of the Lord ', admonishes us, after this, to believe also in the HOLY GHOST, promised of old to the Church, but granted in the appointed and fitting time.
The church did not have non-Trinitarians. The Gnostics, Arians, Oneness and others were considered to be praching heresy and were excluded from the church universal. (This is not my words but the Churches) This did not stop them from going out and starting their own movements and churchs. These were the first cultic movements and many today have aligned themselves with their teachings , some have synthesized several of them together to make something altogether new.
Hippolytus 190 A.D. (Against the heresy of one Noetus "a Oneness promoter" ch.14, ) After quoting part of Jn.1:1 "If then the word was with God and was also God what follows ? Would one say that he speaks of two Gods ? I shall not speak of two Gods but of one; of two persons however and of a third economy, the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father is indeed one but there are two persons because there is also the son; and there is the third the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the word executes and the son is manifested, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy of the harmony is led back to the one God, for God is one. It is the father who commands and the son who obeys and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding; The Father is above all the son is through all and the holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit".
"God, subsisting alone, and having nothing contemporaneous with Himself, determined to create the world....Beside Him there was nothing; but He, while existing alone, yet existed in plurality....And thus there appeared another beside Himself. But when I say another, I do not mean that there are two Gods....Thus, then, these too, though they wish it not, fall in with the truth, and admit that one God made all things....For Christ is the God above all.....He who is over all is God; for thus He speaks boldly, 'All things are delivered unto me of my Father.' He who is over all, God blessed, has been born; and having been made man, He is (yet) God for ever....And well has he named Christ the Almighty. "(Hippolytus " The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pp. 227, 153, 225)
In another of his writings "This is the order of the rule of our faith...God the Father, not made, not material, invisible; One God, the creator of all things; this is the first point of our faith. the second point is this; the word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord who was manifested to the prophets according to the form of their prophesying and according to the method of the fathers dispensation, through whom all things were made."
Gregory the Wonder-worker (262 AD) "But some treat the Holy Trinity in an awful manner, when they confidently assert that there are not three persons, and introduce (the idea of) a person devoid of subsistence. Wherefore we clear ourselves of Sabellius, who says that the Father and the Son are the same [Person] . . . We forswear this, because we believe that three persons--namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--are declared to possess the one Godhead: for the one divinity showing itself forth according to nature in the Trinity establishes the oneness of the nature" (A Sectional Confession of Faith 8).
"But if they say, 'How can there be three Persons, and how but one Divinity?' we shall make this reply: That there are indeed three persons, inasmuch as there is one person of God the Father, and one of the Lord the Son, and one of the Holy Spirit; and yet that there is but one divinity, inasmuch as . . . there is one substance in the Trinity" (A Sectional Confession of Faith, 14)
Dionysius (262 AD )"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'" (Letter to Dionysius of Alexandria, 3)
Methodius (305 AD) "For the kingdom of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is one, even as their substance is one and their dominion one. Whence also, with one and the same adoration, we worship the one Deity in three Persons, subsisting without beginning, uncreated, without end, and to which there is no successor . For nothing of the Trinity will suffer diminution, either in respect of eternity, or of communion, or of sovereignty" (Oration on the Psalms 5).
Arnobius (305 AD) "'Well, then,' some raging, angry, and excited man will say, 'Is that Christ your God?' 'God indeed,' we shall answer, 'and God of the hidden powers'" (Against the Pagans 1:42).
Athanasius (290 -370) "[The Trinity] is a Trinity not merely in name or in a figurative manner of speaking; rather, it is a Trinity in truth and in actual existence. Just as the Father is he that is, so also his Word is one that is and is God over all. And neither is the Holy Spirit nonexistent but actually exists and has true being." (Letters to Serapion 1:28).
"United without confusion, distinguished without separation. Indivisible and without degrees." (Sermon on Lk.10:22)
If One examines carefully the writings of the early church writers their language and theology reflects their understanding of the Trinity. They contended from Scripture not from Greek philosophy or paganism as is charged from anti-Trinitarian opponents. Trinitarianism certainly was not developed in the 4th century but was part of the theology of the early church. Those who oppose it today, are not part of the Church just as they were not part of the Church in the beginning.
These are excerpts from the book (binder form) The Trinity Defining and defending the Trinity among the cults
Can be ordered for $9.00 plus shipping thorough Let Us Reason ministries P.O BX..683 Wahiawa Hawaii 96786