15 Early Church Christians who used the word “Trinity” before 325 AD

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
This entry was posted in Apologetics, church history, The doctrine of the Trinity, The rule of Faith, Theology, Theology of God. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 15 Early Church Christians who used the word “Trinity” before 325 AD

  1. If Tertullian believe that the Sonship of Christ began slightly before or at creation, and is not eternal as God, then how is he considered a true trinitarian?

    I’m not questioning his argument, but isn’t the idea of “trinity” the idea that God is three and hence a “true trinitarian” should be a person who believe that God is three. Now if the deity of Christ is questioned, then how is Tertullian a “true trinitarian”?

    Pardon me if my phrasing of the question is a little bad. Haha.

    • Ken Temple says:

      Good question. Thanks for your thoughts and questions. I need to study that specifically more in Tertullian, but I am pretty sure, that He affirmed the eternality of Jesus as the Word (John 1:1) in eternity. Origen had that same view. The bottom line, is that no early church writer is infallible; only the canonical Scriptures are “God-breathed” and therefore infallible. The eternal generation of the Son seems to be implied by the Scriptures such as John 17:5 and John 1:1-5, in light of the purpose of the whole gospel according to John (20:30-31; 20:28)

      From what I understand, both Tertullian and Origen later, were wrestling with the text that Jesus was the Word from eternity (John 1:1, etc.) but that when the Word became flesh, then He became “the Son”, but without denying His Deity and eternality. (as the Logos / Word)

      the early church had to wrestle with the specifics as new questions were brought and heresies arose.

      The word “today” in Psalm 2:7 and the many quotes of that passage in Acts 2, 13; Hebrews 1, 5, etc. – they had to wrestle with what that word “today” means. Does it mean “an eternal today” ? (as Origen proposed) [ seems strained to me]
      or does “today” point to the incarnation into history and humanity (John 1:14; Luke 1:34-35; Philippians 2:5-8) ? or is the “today” about the resurrection? (Acts 13:33) ? or is it His ascension and session at the right hand of the Father? (Psalm 110 and all the quotes and allusions in the NT and connections to Jesus as “the Son”.)

      For me, John 17:5 and the context of Jesus as the Son praying to the Father (John 17:1 ff) points to the eternality of the Son / Word.

      But I still wrestle with which one of the interpretations of “today” is right from Psalm 2:7 and all the quotes of that passage in the NT. IMO, the “today” points to the entry into history in the incarnation from that specific text (Luke 1:34-35 points to that also); but it does not mean that the Son did not exist in eternity past as the Son (as spirit, not human yet, eternal; word, logos) – John 17:5 and 1:1-5 show He was both Son and Word in eternity past; but that He is declared the Son in the incarnation and also declared and proved as the Son by the resurrection from the dead – Romans 1:1-5; Acts 13:33.

      • Thank you so much for your in-depth response to my humble question. 🙂

        Personally, I felt that the deity of Christ is still a topic worthy for debate in our current age. I mean, it is the Sonship and the deity of Christ that differentiates Christianity from any other monotheistic religion. 🙂 And without a definite answer to the supreme “Godhood” of Christ, I find that a lot of people might stumble in their faith because of this.

        When discussing aspects of eternity, a lot of issues will arise. Namely the definition of “Sonship” and eternal presence with God. I mean, if believers are led by the Spirit, we are called children of God (Romans 8:14), and whoever does the will of God are Jesus’ brothers, sisters, and mothers (Matthew 12:50). And if we will be given eternal life (which God foreknew and predestined in the first place – Romans 8:29-30). That does not mean we are God too, right?

        Consider also that Christ is the firstborn from among the dead (Colossians 1:15,18), and we can likewise call God, “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15), what makes Christ different from us? (Apart from the fact that He was born of the virgin mary and hence, not a descendent of sin.) I mean, this does not satisfactory identify the “deity” of Christ given to Him, right?

        Pardon me posting my questions and my struggles regarding concepts of the Trinity here. Hehe. God is in fact too great that the human mind is just unable to fathom. But studies and debates on this topic will help build believers faith on the Rock! 🙂

  2. Ken Temple says:

    That does not mean we are God too, right?

    No; Jesus is the Son by nature/essence in eternity – but we are only “sons” (and daughters) = “children of God” by adoption. Ephesians 1, Romans 8

    No problem with wresting the issues and questions. Your article on the Trinity and aspects of it that are in Greek paganism and Hinduism was interesting also. I just read it a few minutes ago. I need more time to digest it better though; as these are deep concepts. I have thought that Hinduism had some connection to Greek mythology / paganism and your article seems to confirm that.

  3. Ken Temple says:

    Go to the side bar and click on “The doctrine of the Trinity” for a lot more articles on the Trinity.

    Also, go the side bar and click on “Deity of Christ” and check out those articles also.

  4. Ken Temple says:

    I mean, this does not satisfactory identify the “deity” of Christ given to Him, right?

    There is a lot more Scripture and theological harmony in the entire Bible, on the Deity of Christ than just what you mentioned.

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