Mr. Chairman, Mr. Everitt, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
In Jeremiah 9:24 we read these words:
“Thus saith the Lord (Yahweh), Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me”.
I would suggest to you that the Trinity is a conception of God which is impossible to understand and which completely contradicts the clear teaching of the word of God. Can you understand a God who is one and yet three and three and yet one? Can you conceive of a son who existed before he was born? A son who is as old as his father? I suggest that the doctrine of the Trinity finds no place at all in the Word of God. There is no mention of the word “trinity” in the Bible, and it was introduced into Christianity, as most of us here will be aware, in the 3rd century A.D.
The word “God” occurs about 1,300 times in the New Testament, and in not one of those passages where the word “God” occurs is there any suggestion of a plurality of persons in the Godhead. By contrast, we read in Isaiah 45, “Thus saith the Lord (Yahweh)… I am Yahweh and there is none else, there is no God besides me”. So far as the Bible is concerned there is one God and that one God is Yahweh. Now I presume Mr. Everitt believes that there is one God. He believes there is one God consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. But that God, I submit, is unknown to the pages of the Scriptures. We turn to the New Testament where we read in 1 Corinthians 8:6 “to us (the true believers) there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things…and one Lord Jesus Christ”. So far as the Bible is concerned there is one God, not God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost. There is one God, the Father, and in addition, there is one Lord Jesus Christ. Malachi 2:10 likewise associates "the Father" with the one God: "Do we not all have one Father? Has not one God created us?". The Father is the only God. Jesus himself said, John 17:3 “Father (notice how he called God his father) this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”. So again, there is only one God, the Father, and in addition, one Lord Jesus Christ sent by the Father. Ephesians 4 tells us the same thing “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all.” God the Father is above all. 1 Timothy 2:5 “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. There's evidently a difference between the Holy Spirit and Jesus- according to trinitarianism, they're "one", yet Jesus Himself speaks as if they are separate. He says that whoever blasphemes Him will be forgiven, but blasphemy of the Holy Spirit isn't forgivable in this way (Lk. 12:10).
Now I suggest that every passage that Leslie may quote can be explained in harmony with this simple teaching of the Bible. The idea of the Trinity needs to be read into every passage that may be quoted.
Now concerning this one God, Yahweh, we read in John 1:18 “No man hath seen God at any time”, and yet in Exodus 19 we read that Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, and in Exodus 24:9 “Then went up Moses and Aaron …and they saw the God of Israel”. But John says that “No man hath seen God at any time”. Exodus 24 says Moses and Aaron went up into the mountain and they saw the God of Israel. Now does the book of Exodus contradict the gospel of John? Well, of course not. The two are reconciled by Acts chapter 7, where we read in Acts 7:38 “This is he (Moses), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him from Mount Sinai”. So when it says that Yahweh came down onto the mountain and that they went up and they saw the God of Israel, Stephen tells us in Acts 7 that it wasn’t Yahweh himself, in person, who came down it was an angel who came down. Concerning that angel, we are told in Exodus 23 God says, Yahweh says “I send an angel before thee to keep thee in the way. Beware of him, for my name is in him”. So there was an angel who carried the name of Yahweh and it is said that where this angel went Yahweh was said to go. When this angel spake, it is said that Yahweh spake. When this angel did things, it is said that Yahweh did them. This angel then, represented Yahweh; he carried Yahweh’s name. But that angel was not Yahweh himself. That angel was not God himself in person. He represented God. And that is an important point to which I will return later.
Now throughout the Old Testament, there are indications that it was in the purpose of Yahweh to manifest Himself in another way different to this manifestation through the angels. This purpose of God to manifest Himself in another way is indicated by His very name “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” which means “He who will be”.
Now this purpose is elaborated, it is expanded upon in prophecies like 2 Samuel chapter 7 where God says to David, 2 Samuel 7:14 “When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up (the phrase there in the Septuagint is ‘I will resurrect’, incidentally) thy seed after thee (thy descendant) and I will establish his kingdom. I will be his father and he shall be my son”. Now there is no doubt who this great descendant, who this seed of David really is. The very first verse of the New Testament: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David”.
So then, God said to David concerning Jesus “I will be his father, he shall be my son”. Now notice the future tense there. How could Jesus have been existing as God, next to God, at the time when God spoke those words to David. God said “I will be”, I the future, his father, “he shall be my son”.
Psalm 132 develops the same theme, verse 11, God says to David “Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne”, and that’s quoted in Acts 2 concerning Jesus. He was the fruit of David’s body that was to be set upon the throne of God. If Jesus was the fruit of David’s body how could he then have been in existence at the time when God spoke those words to David?
So David was to have a son. The son did not exist at the time but the promise was made.
Psalm 89 is, if you like, God’s commentary upon this promise that he made to David. In that Psalm we read in verse 27 about this son promised to David. God says “I will make him my firstborn”. Now therefore there is no question of Jesus being “eternally begotten”, whatever that means, as the doctrine of the Trinity states. No question at all of Jesus being begotten eternally. God says “I will (future) make him my firstborn”. Now earlier in verse 26 of that Psalm, we read “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God and the rock of my salvation”. So, Jesus calls God “my Father, my God”. Of course, one thinks of the cross, the crucifixion, Christ saying on the cross, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me”. Now there is no possibility, as I can see it, that Jesus was very God when he said things like that. Notice also “He shall cry unto me (Jesus crying to God) thou art the rock of my salvation”, and so this son of David who was to be the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would need salvation. He was to cry unto God “thou art the rock of my salvation”. So then, Jesus needed salvation.
So we come in the New Testament to the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. Remember how the angel came to Mary and said to her “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, (notice the future tense again ) and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David”. “He shall be called the Son of the Highest.” It doesn’t say “he is called”, no, “He shall be called the Son of the Highest”. Notice the “Son” of “the Highest”. Now if God is “the Highest”, if words mean anything at all, how can Jesus be co-equal and co-eternal with God, if God is “the Highest” and Jesus Christ is “the Son” of the Highest. Now please see whether Leslie answers that point.
So then, we go on. How was this to be brought about? How was Jesus to become the Son of God? Well, the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and the Holy Spirit is defined there in Luke 1 as the “power of the Highest”. The Holy Spirit therefore is not a person; it is the power of “the Highest” who is God himself.
Matthew 1:18 puts it this way “Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit”. If Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit, and if the doctrine of the Trinity is true and we have God the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit is the father of Jesus, for she was “found with child of the Holy Spirit”. So the doctrine of the Trinity surely introduces into the simple teaching of God’s Word, contradiction and confusion.
So Jesus was the son of David through Mary and he was Son of God because he was begotten of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I want to bring to your mind a very well known passage, John 3: 16 – and this is typical of where people read a passage, hear it preached from, preached about and yet they don’t actually stop to think what it really implies. Now we are all like that. So let’s think about that verse again. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. Now if Jesus was begotten, he had a beginning; and if he had a beginning, and he was begotten by God, he could not be co-eternal with the Father, neither could he be God, for God, we are told, has no beginning. In Galatians 4:4 we are told Christ was “made seed of a woman”. Romans 1:3 says Christ was “made of the seed of David and declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead”.
Now we can take it a stage further. We read in Hebrews 1:5 “unto which of the angels said he (God) at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee”. So according to the Scriptures, the Son of God was begotten at a definite point in time. “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee”. So Jesus was not eternally begotten as the Trinity maintains. A being cannot be eternal and be begotten. So I submit that since Jesus came into existence and was born, begotten of the Father at a definite point in time, he cannot be the second person of the Trinity.
So we go on in Christ’s life. Luke 2:52 “Christ increased in wisdom and in favour with God and man”. The word “favour” there means “acceptability, giving of pleasure”. Christ increased in acceptability, in giving of pleasure to his God. So we come to the baptism of Jesus. Jesus said he was baptized because “thus is becometh us to fulfil all righteousness”.
Now if Jesus was God he wouldn’t need salvation, and yet, as we have touched on earlier, the Bible teaches that he did need salvation, and he asked God for that salvation. Hebrews 5:7 puts it this way: “In the days of his flesh, when Christ offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears (notice how Jesus prayed to God) unto Him (that is God) that was able to save him from death, and was heard, in that he feared”. So then Christ prayed to God to save him from death. Therefore Christ needed salvation. It goes on another two verses which are very difficult to understand from the Trinitarian viewpoint: “Though Christ were a son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered”. Obedience to whom? Obedience to God. Christ learned obedience to God by what he suffered. There is no way that God can learn obedience to God Himself. Verse 9 “and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation”. So Jesus was made perfect in the sense of “made complete”. It shows therefore that he wasn’t perfect right when he was born. Now I stress the word “perfect” there doesn’t necessarily mean “sinless”, it just means “complete”. Jesus was sinless, holy, harmless, undefiled.
Now we also read in Hebrews, Hebrews 13:20 we read that “God brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ through the blood of the everlasting covenant”. Well, what was the ‘blood of the everlasting covenant’? It was the blood of Jesus. So it was through the sacrifice of Jesus, through his own blood, offered on the cross, that he was saved, that he was brought again from the dead.
And so Jesus began his ministry. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that during that time he “was tempted in all points like as we are” and yet James 1:13 says that “God cannot be tempted with evil”. So if God can’t be tempted but Jesus was tempted, surely the conclusion is that Jesus was not God.
Now again, we can go a stage further because James 1 goes on to say that every man is “tempted when he is drawn away of his own evil desires and enticed” and then he goes and sins. Now Jesus was “tempted in every way” that we are tempted it said in Hebrews 4:15. James 1 says that we are tempted by these evil desires inside us. So for Jesus to be tempted, he had to have our evil desires inside us. He had to be of our nature. Now of course, it is blasphemous to say that God Himself in person has the possibility of sinning and of temptation. Christ was tempted like we are tempted, in exactly the same way, it says. Now when you and I are tempted, we come in our lives to a point when we can either obey God or we disobey God. Jesus came to those same divergent paths. Every time though he obeyed. At the end of his life, another temptation, he obeyed. Always going God’s way. By definition therefore, he had the possibility of sinning or else he wouldn’t have really been tempted. He had the possibility of failure. He didn’t sin, he didn’t fail, but he could have done. And God himself has no possibility of any failure. Now as we said, 2 Samuel 7 that prophecy about Jesus who would be the great descendant of David, it goes on to say “If he commit iniquity, I will punish him”. Now that prophecy is quoted about Jesus in the New Testament where it is talking about the Son of God. “I will be his father and he shall be my Son”, and yet God says about Jesus “If he commit iniquity, I will punish him”. So therefore, God knew when made that promise to David that Jesus had the possibility of sinning. Now he DID NOT SIN, I cannot labour that strongly enough. He was perfect. But he could have sinned.
Now although Jesus was not God Himself, he was God’s representative – like the angel – he carried the name. “I am come”, he said in John 5:43 “in my Father’s name”. That is why we read in Matthew 1:23 that Christ was called “Emmanuel” “God with us”.
(I’m going to go over time a little bit).
Now I would point out to you that Jesus did not demonstrate God the Son Incarnate in his life. He showed us what the Father is like. Because he was perfect, he could say “he who hath seen me, hath seen the Father”. The words Jesus spoke were not the words of God the Son Incarnate, they were the words of the Father. Jesus said “he that sent me is true and I speak to the world those things that I have heard of him; as my Father hath taught me I speak these things”. So Jesus was the vehicle, if you like, through whom the Father was speaking to Israel. John 3:34 “he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God because God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him”. Notice how Jesus said that he was sent by God. He says later that he who is sent is inferior to him who sent him. And he said another time when people started to think that he was God Himself, he said “why callest thou me good, there is none good but one, that is God”. He was aware as keenly as anyone else, as anyone ever has been, that he had our human sin-cursed nature in which Paul says “dwelleth no good thing”.
Throughout the New Testament letters the Apostles constantly refer to Jesus as “the Son of God” and they use phrases like “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Jesus then, looked upon his Father as his God. “I ascend to my Father, to your Father; to my God and to your God”. He said in John 14:28 “My Father is greater than I am” and yet the Creed of St. Athanasius which defines the Trinity says that in the Trinity no part of it is greater or less than any other part and yet Christ himself said “My Father is greater than I”.
So then, I rest the non-trinitarian position. I submit that Jesus Christ is not the second person of the Trinity, he is the Son of God who is the Father.
Actually, two minutes before the end of the period we are just ringing to let the people know they have two minutes before the end of the period and then, obviously, if they do go over then it will be deducted from their second speech. So we will balance it up there. Right.