The following information is not a sermon nor a teaching on the issue. It’s simply a listing of quotations made by prominent Christian ministers. These passages were gleaned from religious writings which come from many different centuries over the past 2000 years of New Testament church history. These excerpts and quotes reveal how church religious leaders on both sides of this debate believed during their generation. In studying history one must remember that church history for the most part was written by the conquerors, as it is in all cultures after all battles. The victors always write the monuments of their battles in the way they want those of future generations to perceive the events. As you read some of the the Trinitarian comments, you will see that they use Greek logic and non-scriptural terms. You will also come across such terms as Sabellians, Priscillians, and Monarchians. These names were given to different sects of believers down through history who were contrary to the popular, majority Trinity concept. They were usually considered heretics by the majority of that time.
95 AD….CLEMENT…the Bishop of Rome was pre-trinitarian (that means before the concept was developed and promoted) and said, ..”Christ being originally Spirit became flesh.”
115 AD….IGNATIUS…Pastor at Antioch (Turkey) was pre-trintitarian and had no logos doctrine (the greek logos concept was of a logos or Word being), he was never recognized by any of the great trinitarian writers, he said..”Our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived in the womb of Mary…..There is one God who manifested himself through Jesus Christ..”
140 AD….JUSTIN MARTYR….said…” Jesus was 2nd and that “us” of Gen. 3:22 was the 2nd devine person..”For I would not say that the dogma of that heresy (sect) which is said to be among us is true, or that the teachers of it can prove that God spoke to angels..” He 1st mentioned “Trinity” in 140 AD.(7 years after his conversion to Christianity) He expounded the Greek idea of Logos, derived from Plato, as a devine person through whom God (another devine Person) created and arranged all things. He gave the1st trinitarian water baptism reference..”For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of the Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.”
150 AD….POLYCARP….Pastor at Smyrna (Turkey) ..was Apostle John’s disciple…he personally knew Phillip & his 4 daughters ..corresponded with Ignatius and yet was never recognized by any of the great trinitarian writers…said, ..”the coming of our Lord in flesh..”
177 AD….Athenagoras used the term “God the Son” in his Apology
180 AD.. NOETUS.. had a confrontation with Smyrna Presbyters (in Asia Minor) for preaching Jesus Christ was God, contrary to trinitarians…He said, “the Father took flesh of Mary and became son. The son was the Manhood, the Father was the Godhead.”
180 AD. Theophilus, Syrian Bishop of Antioch, mentions the term, “Trinity.”
190 AD… IRENAEUS …a trinity Pastor in Gaul (France) said, “The Son of God became the Son of Man.” “The Son of God existed before he appeared in the world and before the world was made.” “One of the three angels which appeared to Abraham was the Son of God.”…and said of water baptism..”we have received baptism for the remission of sins in the name of God the Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate and died and rose again, and in the Holy Spirit.”
200 AD….PRAXEAS…(the following are Tertullian’s words about what Praxeas believed) ….”As in respect to the O.T., they hold to nothing else but “I am God and there is none other beside me, so in respect to the gospel they defend the response of the Lord to Phillip..”I and the Father are one, he who seeth me seeth also the Father” and again “I am in the Father and the Father in me”. He (Praxeas) asserts that Jesus Christ is God and Father Almighty….so that all in one person they (the Praxeans) distinguish two, Father and Son, understanding the Son to be the flesh , that is man, that is Jesus, and the Father to be Spirit, that is God, that is Christ.”….Praxeas views were said to be those of the majority of the Christians of that day.
200 AD. TERTULLIAN ….. “The Son I derive from no other source but from the substance of the Father. The Spirit is third from God and the Son.” (a disciple of Justin Martyr’s) Even Tertullian admitted that the “simple people..who always are a majority of the faithful..shy at the economy (ie..distinction of persons).
…..”and indeed it (immersion) is not once only, but three times, that we are immersed into the Three Persons, at each several mention of their names.
210 AD… ZEPHYRINUS…Bishop of Rome…”The Father did not die but the Son….I know one God, Christ Jesus, begotten and susceptible of suffering and beside him I know no other.”
213 AD. After Praxeas went to North Africa, the next Carthage Pastor commanded that all heretics be rebaptized into the Trinity.
215 AD….SABELLIUS…Preached in North Africa & the Middle East..(Gregory Thaumaturgas says of Sabellius) ….”But some treat the Holy Trinity in an awful manner, when they confidently assert there are not three persons…Wherefore we clear ourselves of Sabellius, who says the Father and the Son are the same.”…..He asserted that Father, Son and Holy Ghost were not distinct persons but modes of one divine person…hence the term modalistic monarchianism.
217 AD. Rome, Italy …. after the church split, Jesus name believers were allowd for a times to enter the Rome Church, even though the church practiced Trinity.
220 AD…CALLISTUS…Pastor of Rome Church said, ….”The Word is the Son Himself, the Father himself, there is only one and the same indivisible Spirit, except in name. The Father is not one and the son another, they are one and the same …The Spirit, made flesh in the virgin, is not other than the Father, but one and the same hence the Scripture says, Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me.”
220 AD… HIPPOLYTUS…presented Christ as subordinate to the Father and attacked Callistus…”For the Father indeed is One, but there are two persons, because there is also the Son; and there is the Third, the Holy Spirit..”
230 AD. Asia Minor ….Two different church councils convened and confirmed that hereitcal baptism (in Jesus Name not Trinity) was invalid.
240 AD…BERTYLLUS…of Bostra(Bozrah), Syria, …Eusebius says of him, ….”Beryllus taught that our Lord and Savior did not exist as a distinct person before the incarnation; and that the divinity of the Father dwelt in him.” …thus Beryllus rejected Greek Logos teaching of the pre-existence and independent hypostasis (substance) of the Son.
265 AD… DIONYSIUS…Bishop of Rome….spoke of those who opposed Sabellius saying, …many..”divide and cut to pieces and destroy that most sacred doctrine of the Church of God, the Divine Monarchy, making it as it were three powers and partitive substances and godheads three.”
272 AD….PAUL of SAMOSATA…. (SYRIA) was ousted as Pastor of the Antioch Church in Syria by the Trinity believers. Accusations against him included: ….striking his thigh and stamping the platform when preaching, …his congregation frequently clapping hands, ….waving hankerchiefs, ….shouting, ….dancing, or ….leaping during the preaching.
325 AD….COUNCIL OF NICEA …. required all Oneness, Monotheistic, or Jesus Name believers to be rebaptized for re-ordination or have their property confiscated; thus oneness beleivers went underground.
330 AD… MARCELLUS of Ancyra…he attacked Eusebius of Caesarea(see next note) by saying, ” …(He) is said to conceived God as one and believed that the one God expanded himself in the offices of Son and Holy Ghost and at the end of time there will be no distinction between these offices, and God will be all in all” …he opposed Arianism (Jesus simply a man)
340 AD…. EUSEBIUS of CAESAREA…cites Matthew 28:19 eighteen times in his writings prior to the 325 AD. council of Nicea. His quotes before the council read, ….”Go ye and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in my name, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you. The phrase “in the name of the Father, and of the Son , and of the Holy Ghost.” did not appear in Eusebius’ writings until after the 325 AD. council.
345 AD….PHOTINUS…Bishop of Sirmium..(N.E. Yugoslavia) was a disciple of Marcellus and said, ….”that Jesus Christ was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary; that a certain portion of the Divine Substance, which he called the Word, descended upon and acted through the man Jesus Christ; that on account of this association of the Word with the human nature Jesus was called the Son of God, and even God himself …and held that Jesus existed before the incarnation only in the mind of God.”
380 AD….PRISCILLIAN….Bishop of Avila..& other Southern Spainish & French Bishops ….”affirms Christian faith in Father, Son, and Spirit to be belief in one God Christ: He is God, Son of God, Savior, was born in the flesh, suffered and rose for the love of mankind….In Christ the Father is known. God is invisible; none has seen him at anytime. So he came in name and form to such that he could make himself known.”
400 AD?….COMMODIAN…. a Poet from Southern Gaul (France) …revealed himself Sabellian in his “Carmen Apologeticum” in which he recognized Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be different designations given to the same person.
447 AD….POPE LEO….wrote a letter condemning the Sabellianism of Priscillianists…(thus it was still a prevalent teaching among many believers in that time )
450 AD?….BACHIARIUS…. of Galacia….held a Sabellian view of the Godhead.
538 AD….POPE VIGILIUS….wrote a letter to Profuturous of Bracara expressing concern over the persistence of Priscillianism (believers who rejected the Trinity idea) in northwest Spain.
645 AD…..BRAULIO.,..Bishop of Saragossa wrote a Galician presbyter, Fructuosus, who was curious about Priscillian beliefs and seeking Braulio’s advice. (thus oneness was still being preached)
692 AD….The QUINISEXT…. speaks of how to admit SABELLIANS back into the Catholic faith
950 AD….BOGOMILS…..1st headed by a priest and propagated Sabellianism in the Byzantine Empire and were in Constantinople in the 11th century, moved west to Serbia, and had influence in Italy and France. They were catholic but rejected the Trinity. Basilius, who was a Bogomil martyr in Constantinople was quoted saying..”that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are merely titles ascribed to the Father.”
1121 AD…. PETER ABELARD….an English nobleman whose writings were condemned as Sabellian by the Synod of Soisson of 1121. His students taught (this says Gerhoh of Reichersberg)..” that God was not taken from the Virgin but that the human Jesus was only the dwelling place in which the full plentitude of divinity resided.”
1441 AD. The COUNCIL OF FLORENCE condemned Sabellianism..”the holy Roman church condemns….Sabellius who unifies the persons and completely does away with the real distinction among them.’
…EUGENIUS IV said, … the church condemns Sabellius for not distinguishing the Persons of the Trinity.
1531 AD….MICHEAL SERVETUS …a Spainard wrote a paper entitled, ..ON THE ERRORS OF THE TRINITY, he said, “Christ is in the Father as a voice from the speaker. He and the Father are one as the ray and the sun are one light. An amazing mystery it is that God can thus be conjoined with man and man with God. A great wonder that has taken to himself the body of Christ that it should be his peculir dwelling place.” John Calvin encouraged the Geneva council to condemn Servetus to death because of his non-belief in the Trinity and infant baptism, ….which they did.
1646 AD….REV. THOMAS EDWARDS….as an English minister he published a list of heresies prevalent in England at that time, ….”#24 (is) That in the Unity of the Godhead there is not a Trinity of Persons; and that the doctrine of the Trinity is a Popish tradition, and a doctrine of Rome. #25.(is) That there are not three distinct persons in the divine essence, but only three offices and that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not Persons but offices.”
1668 AD….WILLIAM PENN…. & the QUAKERS in England….Penn gave in his tract,.THE SANDY FOUNDATION SHAKEN, …a denial of the Trinity doctrine which resulted in his imprisonment in the tower during which time he wrote, “…Must I deny his Divinity because I justly reject the Popish School Personality? It is manifest, then, …that though I may deny the Trinity of separate persons in one Godhead, yet I do not consequentially deny the Deity of Jesus Christ.”
1790’s….DR. NATHANAEL EMMONS….a Congregational minister and Pastor of the Franklin, Mass. church for 54 years….was said to believe, …..”Father and Son are names assumed to set for activities of the one Absolute God and cast aside eternal generation of the Son.”
1820’s….EMMANUAL SWENDENBORG…. of Sweden wrote , THE ONENESS OF GOD AND THE MIGHTY GOD IN CHRIST, …in it he stated, …”Passages from Scripture showing that there is one God, …”He is the Redeemer and Savior, …He came into the world, …As to his Humanity, He called Himself Jesus Christ, …Jehovah Himself came into the world and became the Savior and Redeemer.”
1849…..HORACE BUSHNELL….a Congregational minister, theologian, & writer, pastored the North Church of Hartford, Ct. for 28 years and wrote in 1849 a book entitled.. GOD IN CHRIST.. (which almost brought him charges of heresy) …He was teaching a “unipersonality of God, but introduces a trinity of developments of God in time for purposes of Divine manifestation in creation and redemption. These developments are in personal modes, but not such as constitute three personal beings.”
1875….H. B. SMITH…..a Presbyterian clergyman and teacher at the Union Theological Seminary for 24 years said, ….”The one Supreme Personality exists in three personal modes of being, but is not three distinct persons.”
1880….. HENRY WARD BEECHER, …..pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn, New York, said, …”Could Theodore Parker worship my God? Jesus Christ is his name. All that there is of God to me is bound up in that name.” A Dr. Abbot said of Beecher, …”the heart of Mr. Beecher’s teaching was this: that Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh.”…and I hold no less earnestly.”
1880’s….JOHN MILLER …a Presbyterian minister wrote a book entitled, .. IS GOD A TRINITY? In it he said, “The question is, Is the deity in Christ the Second Person of the Trinity, or the One Personal Jehovah…..for the Trinitarian believes in but one of three Persons as in Christ, whereas we believe in the Sole Person of the Almighty as present in our Great Redeemer…Christ is distinctly called the Father (in) (Isa.9:6; Jn.14:9), He is distinctly called the Son (in)(Rom 1:3), and He is distinctly called the Holy Ghost (in)(2 Cor 3:17).”