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The TRINITY refused or confused

  Today there are many Ministers who either discount the Trinity or confuse it. Many who know they do not hold to an orthodox view often retreat to the saying look at our works or our church size as fruit, not at our doctrine.

After looking at many of the popular movers and shakers in the church something is going on around here that is concerning. If I make take the liberty to use the words of Stephen Stills who once sang  “something going on over there, what it is ain’t exactly clear.” But it is very clear what is happening-- at least to some of us. Lets look at what tracks are being laid down by some very well- known teachers.

Tommy Tenney- Who has written the best seller The God Chasers was raised in the United Pentecostal Church (UPC), His family is 4 generations in this church.  UPC converts are to be baptized in Jesus’ name not in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit because all three mentioned in Mt.28 are suppose to be Jesus, God is only one person. T.F. Tenney who is Tommy Tenney's father a UPC leader  insists the Oneness doctrine does not contradict the Bible. “You can't call us 'Jesus only,' as some have. We do not deny the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit,” Tenney told Charisma. “We believe Jesus Christ is wholly, fully, absolutely and completely God. But no one is going to put us in the position of saying there are three Gods.”

Tommy Tenny for the most part has avoided answering anything on his Oneness background and current beliefs. Although we get a glimpse in his writings. 

 “Christians share a common body of beliefs, such as salvation by faith in Christ, the divine inspiration and authority of the Scriptures, the deity of Jesus Christ and the triune oneness of God”(God’s Dream Team p.18). However whatever sounds orthodox is then cleared up by his statement “Theologians struggle vainly to draw a line between Sonship and Fatherhood. We are unable to describe the oneness of Father and Son or the unity of the Trinity because these things are beyond our comprehension. Jesus Christ so wrapped Himself up in the providence and Person of His Father that He bluntly said, “You can't separate us. I and My Father are one”( God’s Dream Team p.31). Do theologians vainly struggle? Sonship and Fatherhood is the Oneness way of saying offices and not persons. To Oneness the trinity is not three persons but three modes of being all of whom are Jesus, one person (or no person depending who you ask).  

On the one of the crucial passages that uplifts the deity of Christ as well as shows plurality he interprets John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word.” The literal meaning of logos, the original Greek term translated as “Word,” is idea, thought or blueprint. It is an ancient Greek theatrical term describing the work of a playwright as he conceives, or dreams up, the plot of a play. So we could say, “In the beginning was the dream.” (God’s Dream Team p.22) this is the same as Oneness Pentecostals except Tenney goes further by calling the word a dream.

Considering Tenneys clear statement that the word (who is the Son)” was the dream” certainly makes him a non (pre-existent person). If the word is God, does this not make God himself a dream?

 Creflo Dollar-”the trinity is of course God the father God the son God the holy Ghost. We have to be careful because religion has us sometime thinking we have three different Gods. You know there’s God here ..hey holy ghost- hey Jesus…its God one God one faith one baptism not three Gods not three faiths not baptism’s everytime you mess up, one. God the father, one God, three functions one and different functions God functioning as a father- God functioning as a son -God functioning as the holy ghost. I am Creflo Dollar I’m a husband to my wife I’m, a father to my children I’m a pastor to gods sheep. Right now I’m not functioning as husband I am not functioning as a father I am functioning as one of the 5 fold ministry gifts to God’s sheep. Same guy other functions you follow me. One God other functions.”(Feb.19, 2001 World Changers program)

  This is oneness Pentecostalism to a T. Not three co existent persons, but one who functions as three. The claim of three different Gods is always the complaint from those who do not understand the Tri-UNITY.

Rod Parsley “God the father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, God three in one. The Holy Ghost is no different than Jesus and Jesus is no different than the Holy Ghost … water you see it… if you take that to a scientists and ask it to analyze that and tell you what it is. He won’t tell you its water he’ll say that’s two parts hydrogen one part oxygen. That’s H2O now if take this and boil it and I capture the steam and I take that to the scientist he won’t say its steam he’ll say its H2O if I take this and put it in the freezer and take it to the same scientist hand it to the scientist say analyze this for me he won’t say that’s ice he’ll say that’s H2O they’re all H2O but there different manifestations of the same thing.” ( Breakthrough 9/19/2000)

Again we have another who misunderstands the Trinity or does not believe it.

  T.D. Jakes – Does not confess an orthodox view of the nature of God but   neither has he abandoned his oneness view. He continues to acknowledge the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as different functions.

When being interviewed on the radio Jakes in responding to the questioner on the orthodox view of the trinity said “The Trinity, the term Trinity, is not a biblical term, to begin with. It's a theological description for something that is so beyond human comprehension that I'm not sure that we can totally hold God to a numerical system. The Lord said, “Behold, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one, and beside Him there is no other.” When God got ready to make a man that looked like Him, He didn't make three. He made one man. However, that one man had three parts. He was body, soul and spirit. We have one God, but He is Father in creation, Son in redemption, and Holy Spirit in regeneration. It's very important that we understand that, but I think that the first thing that every believer needs to do is to approach God by faith, and then having approached Him by faith, then they need to sit up under good teaching so that they can begin to understand who the God is that they have believed upon.” (“Living by the Word” on KKLA, hosted by John Coleman, Aug. 23, 1998)

I agree about sitting under “good teaching.” Wouldn’t God being called one be a numerical system? Jakes is actually quoting Sabellius who said that God revealed himself as the Father in creation, Son in incarnation, and Holy Ghost in regeneration and sanctification. In the United Pentecostal Church’s Articles of Faith they state the same“ God is manifested as Father in creation, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our (by emanation) regeneration.”   The mistake is to equate image with physical components such as we are body soul and Spirit. However even using this example defeats his own position as these are existing simultaneously while Jakes is saying God changes his roles to act in relationship wirh man.

 Jakes did not respond to CRI piece done in the Journal but later issued a statement to clarify his views on the Trinity, through an article written for Christianity Today. He said, “I believe in one God who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe these three have distinct and separate functions so separate each has individual attributes, yet are one. I do not believe in three Gods.

 Many things can be said about the Son that cannot be said about the Father. The Son was born of a virgin; the Father created the virgin from whom He was born. The Son slept (Luke 823), but the Father never sleeps (Psalm 121:3-5). The Son took on the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 83), but God is a spirit (John 4.24).

  In spite of all the distinctives, God is one in His essence…Jakes responded to the term modalism by saying. “The language in the doctrinal statement of our ministry that refers to the Trinity of the Godhead as “manifestations” does not derive from modalism. The Apostle Paul himself used this term referring to the Godhead in 1 Timothy 3:15, 1 Corinthians 12:17, and 1 John 3:5- “

The word manifestation in 1 Timothy 3:15 is applied to the incarnation God coming in the flesh of man, (as does 1 John 3:5) it has nothing to do with the nature of God as He existed prior to this event. 1 Corinthians 12:17 has to do with gifts not the nature of God directly. Again Jakes does not make the distinction between Jesus the Son of God and the son of man. Only the son and the father. He implies the Son is the humanity. This is a certain type of modalsim. Sabellianism later became other forms of modalim. Sabellius avoided using of the term “persons” replacing it with manifestations  The denial of three Gods is a basic oneness argument for the denial of the trinity. Despite that Trinitarians have mad e it absolutely clear there is only one God in three persons not three manifestations or offices. If Jakes or others believe in the orthodox view of the trinity they can easily make it clear. Instead they hem and hog over things shifting the issue. Since no one of any influence is insisting on these men and women to get it straight they will continue to avoid the issue.

This is straight up with Oneness Pentecostals who deny a tri-unity of nature and use the same wording. Yet he is accepted by Trinitarians who no longer care about these doctrines (some I realize are not aware of this aspect of his ministry). One of the Oneness views holds that God revealed himself as the Father in creation, Son in incarnation, and Holy Ghost in regeneration and sanctification.”

While not as explicit on paper the UPC does hold to the same view. “That this one true God manifested himself in the Old Testament in divers ways; in the Son while he walked among men, as the Holy Spirit after the ascension.”(Articles of Faith UPC) Therefore these are not co existent.

Dr. Norman Geisler President of Southern Evangelical Seminary and a well known scholar and speaker on cults said in an interview with “The Charlotte World,” “I know T.D. Jakes is very popular, and I know people don't like his ministry being called a cult, but it is. It would have been condemned by any orthodox church down through the centuries.”…He “ said that Jakes promotes modalism, which denies the doctrine of the Trinity.”

Rod Parsley  “I’m here to tell you this morning God the father, God the Son, God the holy ghost God three - in - one, the Holy Ghost is no different than Jesus and Jesus is no different than the Holy Ghost and water. Water, you see it… if you take that to a scientist, and ask it to analyze that and tell you what it is, he won’t tell you its water. He’ll say, ' that’s two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. That’s H2O.' Now, if I take this and boil it and I capture the steam, and I take that to the scientist, he won’t say it's steam. He’ll say, ' its H2O.' If I take this and put it in the freezer, and take it to the same scientist, hand it to the scientist say, ' analyze this for me,' he won’t say, ' that’s ice,' he’ll say ' that’s H2O.' They’re all H2O, but there different manifestations of the same thing. Do you understand what I’m saying? (Breakthrough 9/19/2000)

This is Onenes Pentecoatalism, Parsley denies personhood and attributes to each as  being a manifestation.

  Benny Hinn - “God the Father. ladles and gentlemen, is a Person, and He is a triune being by Himself, separate from the Son and the Holy Ghost... God the Father 1s a Person, God the Son Is a Person. God the Holy Ghost Is a Person. But each of them is a triune being by Himself. It I can shock you- and maybe I should- there's nine of 'em...

  'God the Father, ladies and gentlemen. Is a Person with His own personal spirit, with His own personal soul, and His own personal spirit body. You say, 1 never read that.' Well, you think you're in this church to hear things that you've heard for the last fifty years? Ladles and gentlemen, this thing is in my book and was tested by three theologians... it's all in the Word...” (TBN, October 13, 1990) We can only wonder what theologians he visited to get this approval. This is the very opposite of what we just heard, it is Tritheism. A separation of the nature of God. It is going in the other extreme.

  “Man, I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me here. Lift your hands. Something new is going to happen here today.  ...God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person; separate from the Son and the Holy Ghost. Say, what did you say? Hear it, hear it, hear it. See, God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Ghost is a person. But each one of them is a triune being by Himself. If I can shock you - and maybe I should - there's nine of them. Huh, what did you say? Let me explain: God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person with his own personal spirit, with his own personal soul, and his own personal spirit-body. You say, Huh, I never heard that. Well you think you're in this church to hear things you've heard for the last 50 years? You can't argue with the Word, can you? It's all in the Word.”  Benny Hinn” program on TBN, 10/30/90) “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost—three separate individuals, one in essence, one in work—and, may I add, each one of them possess His own spirit-body. You don’t like it?” (Benny Hinn, Praise the Lord program on TBN (October 23, 1992).

  This too is tritheism but with a new twist on it. Now they each are tri-parte beings in themselves a trinity within the trinity.

  “What was the appearance of God the Father? Like that of a man...God has the likeness of fingers and hands and a face.” (Good Morning Holy Spirit, (Benny Hinn, Word, 1991, p. 82)

  “What does God the Father look like? Although I've never seen Him, I believe - as with the Holy Spirit - He looks like Jesus looked on earth.” (Benny Hinn, Good Morning Holy Spirit, (Word, 1991) p.87)

  “God the father and the Holy Spirit look just like Jesus did on earth (God morning Holy Spirit 1st ed. P.87,140)

 Though not exactly as Mormonism this becomes too similar to their view for any Christian to be comfortable with. This attributes human parts(not functions) to God the Father and the invisible Holy Spirit.

  Kenneth Copeland- Copeland confesses the basic doctrines in writing on his web site- but when he teaches he can end up who knows where? As we can see he even contradicts himself, not just the bible.

  “So you see, that faith didn't come billowing out of some giant monster somewhere. It came out of the heart of a being that is very uncanny the way he's very much like you and me. A being that stands somewhere around 6'-2”, 6-3”, that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds or a little better, has a span of 9 inches across. Glory to God! Hallelujah! (“Spirit soul and a body” KCM 1985 audio #01-0601 side 1)

God is a “spirit-being with a body, complete with eyes, and eyelids, ears, nostrils, a mouth, hands and fingers, and feet.” (Kenneth Copeland ministry letter, 21 July 1977.)

 Once again this makes God have more than human qualities but bodily ones.

  “If you stood Adam upside God, they look just exactly alike....If you stood Jesus and Adam side-by-side, they would look and act and sound exactly alike....The image is that they look just alike, but the likeness is that they act alike and they are alike....All of God's attributes, all of God's authority, all of God's faith, all of God's ability was invested in that man.” (Kenneth Copeland, Authority of the Believer IV (Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987, audiotape #01-0304), side 1)

This is Mormonism.

Jesus has a beginning and an end.  (What Happened From the Cross to the Throne, Tape #00-0303)

“Why didn't Jesus openly proclaim Himself as God during His 33 years on earth? For one single reason. He hadn't come to earth as God, He'd come as man.” “ K. Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory magazine, Aug. 8, 1988. p.8.

Copeland is denying God came in the flesh

“Jesus existed only as an image in the heart of God, until such time as the prophets of the Old Testament could positively confess Jesus into existence through their constant prophecies.” (Kenneth Copeland, The Power of the Tongue, pp. 8-10)

  To deny Jesus’ preexistence means he could not be the creator. Then if he needs to be confessed by their words then men created Jesus.

  Gwen Shamblin-  Shamblin is the Founder and President of The Weigh Down Workshop and the creator of the Exodus out of Egypt weight loss program. While I may commend her in her work in helping people be released from their bondage of eating her theology questions the teaching of the bible and what the earliest Christian pastors commentaries state of the Scripture. She believes Jesus and God are two separate beings and Jesus is not God in the true sense yet he is deity in some sense (which is not clear) nor is there a triune nature.

“People who teach the Trinity argue that Jesus and God are one because they are trying to justify the teaching in the Trinity that says, “these three are one God.” They also use the one and only passage that I can find that might remotely back up their teaching. John 1:1-2 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” However, this means that Jesus is deity - He is not the Father -- for verse 2 says, “He was with God in the beginning.” And then verse 14 says “came from the Father.” Please do not take verses out of context.

She then confuses the issue by saying “Teachers of the Trinity teach that Jesus is Jehovah; they have no scriptures to back this up, and why don’t they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that Jehovah is Jehovah?

  The Bible does not use the words -”Jesus is a created being.” Therefore, I will not add these words. However, Jesus is described over and over as the Son of God, begotten by God, from God, sent from God, firstborn, etc. Therefore, I believe - Jesus is from God and He is His Son! … I Cor. 15:28 I believe that God is the Source of all and that the Son “was firstborn over all creation.” (Col.1:15)

  This what Arian first taught in 300 AD and challenged the Church that Jesus was God.

  “The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15). This is the authority line: God - then Jesus the firstborn - then God through the Son made all of creation.”

This is like the Jehovah Witnesses doctrine teaches. He is firstborn of the dead not first in all of creation.

  “How could someone state that Jesus and God are equal in all things when Jesus Himself refers to God as “His God.” God never refers to Jesus as “His God.” I am afraid that most people are more familiar with catechisms than they are with Scripture. This is horrifying and dangerous. The scriptures are teaching a scriptural line of authority - not polytheism. God and Jesus both are testifying that there is one ultimate God, and the authority that the Son of God has, was given to Him by the Father.

  In response I would say that we are familiar with the bible and apprehending what is meant. As a human being God was still over him as he came as a servant to serve God the Fathers will. Clearly this is a denial of some facts of who Jesus is and a distortion of others.

  Arnold Murray- Shepherds Chapel- “understand that there are three offices of the Godhead. Like this little lady said. She said, 'To my husband I am a wife, to my children I am a mother, that's my office. To hundreds of third graders I am their teacher and have been down through the years. That's a different office; none of them the same, but I'm still the same person.”(The Shepherd's Chapel, broadcast June 4, 1991) 

I have not heard anything since that would clarify this.  Murray does hold to Christ being God however this again is modalism.

Joseph Goode-  Hatikva Ministries “Yeshua was an attribute of the Father that was made flesh,” Goode said. “But in being made flesh, he was a man. Totally a man… Yeshua we do not see as being God when he walked here on earth. We see him as a man. A man anointed by God, sent by God to perform a function. Now in his resurrection, we do not see him as God. We see him as a man anointed by God and that has been restored back to what man was intended to be” [before the fall of Adam]. He has also stated  “I believed in the Trinity, now obviously I don’t.” (audio tape on file)

This again is denying God came in the flesh Jesus is not just an attribute but the sum total of all whom God is, in other words as Jn.1 says the word was God. 1 Jn.4:1-3 makes it clear how dangerous this is.

 Now that we have discovered what some of these well known teachers of the word say. There should be no complaints. If there are, don’t come to me about them, all I did was repeat what they said and share with you what it means. I hope you share the same concern. If they are unable to have the nature of God correct; we need to be concerned about other teachings that are not part of the core doctrines.


 Robert Schuller  Bishop Spong  Norman Vincient Peale Arnold Murray 
Benny Hinn Fred Price   Jesse Duplantis Christian Harfouche 
Kenneth Copeland Rod Parsley  Clueless in Nigeria The Trinity refuse or confused




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