Readings from Church History on the Trinity

Readings from Church History on the Trinity by Jack Kettler

In this study, we will seek to understand the Trinity through the statements of church fathers, and theologians throughout history. There will be numerous quotations along with recognized creedal and catechisms cited.

“The doctrine of the Trinity wasn’t invented – it was uncovered. The doctrine of the Trinity is not some arbitrary and outdated dictate handed down by some confused council – it is the inevitable result of wrestling with the richness and complexity of the Christian experience of God.” – Alister McGrath

“I cannot think on the one without quickly being encircled by the splendor of the three; nor can I discern the three without being straightway carried back to the one.” – Gregory of Nazianzus

“Trinity is the Christian name for God.” – Karl Barth

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Modalism (i.e. Sabellianism, Noetianism, Patripassianism and Monarchianism)

Modalism                                                                                                                                    Teaches that the three persons of the Trinity as different “modes” of the Godhead. Adherents believed that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not distinct personalities, but different modes of God’s self-revelation. A typical modalist approach is to regard God as the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, and the Spirit in sanctification. In other words, God exists as Father, Son and Spirit in different eras, but never as triune. Stemming from Modalism, Patripassianism believed that the Father suffered as the Son.

Tritheism
Teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three independent divine beings; three separate gods who share the ‘same substance’. This is a common mistake because of misunderstanding of the use of the term ‘persons’ in defining the Trinity.Arianism
Teaches that the preexistent Christ was the first and greatest of God’s creatures but denied his fully divine status. The Arian controversy was of major importance in the development of Christology during the fourth century and was addressed definitely in the Nicene Creed.

Docetism
Teaches that Jesus Christ as a purely divine being who only had the “appearance” of being human. Regarding his suffering, some versions taught that Jesus’ divinity abandoned or left him upon the cross while other claimed that he only appeared to suffer (much like he only appeared to be human).

Ebionitism
Teaches that while Jesus was endowed with particular charismatic gifts, which distinguished him from other humans but nonetheless regarded Him as a purely human figure.

Macedonianism
Teaches that that the Holy Spirit is a created being.

Adoptionism
Teaches that Jesus was born completely human and only later was “adopted” – either at his baptism or at his resurrection – by God in a special (i.e. divine) way.

Partialism
Teaches that Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are components of the one God. This led them to believe that each of the persons of the Trinity is only part God, only becoming fully God when they come together.

Binitarianism
Teaches that the one true God exists as two Persons (the Father and the Son).

A short list of terms debated during the Trinitarian Church Counsels:

Hypostasis: Greek word is interpreted “person,” “substance,” “subsistence”

Ousia: essence/being/substance

Essence: Greek ousia, being; Latin substantia, substance

Perichoresis: members of the Trinity are mutually involved in personal and dynamic ways

Homoousios: Greek word is rendered “of one and the same substance or being”

Filioque: Latin word meaning “and from the Son”

Procession: Greek ekporeuomai, John 15:26; Latin processio, “to emanate from another”

Begotten: the eternal generation of the Son

Early Church leaders Eastern

Athanasius, AD 325 – 370
1. We believe in one Unbegotten God, Father Almighty, maker of all things both visible and invisible that hath His being from Himself. And in one Only-begotten Word, Wisdom, Son, begotten of the Father without beginning and eternally; word not pronounced nor mental, nor an effluence of the Perfect, nor a dividing of the impassible Essence, nor an issue; but absolutely perfect Son, living and powerful (Heb. iv. 12), the true Image of the Father, equal in honour and glory. For this, he says, ‘is the will of the Father, that as they honour the Father, so they may honour the Son also’ (Joh. v. 23): very God of very God, as John says in his general Epistles, ‘And we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ: this is the true God and everlasting life’ (1 John v. 20): Almighty of Almighty. For all things, which the Father rules and sways, the Son rules and sways likewise: wholly from the Whole, being like the Father as the Lord says, ‘he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’ (Joh. xiv. 9). But He was begotten ineffably and incomprehensibly, for ‘who shall declare his generation?’ (Isa. liii. 8), in other words, no one can. Who, when at the consummation of the ages (Heb. ix. 26), He had descended from the bosom of the Father, took from the undefiled Virgin Mary our humanity (anthropon), Christ Jesus, whom He delivered of His own will to suffer for us, as the Lord saith: ‘No man taketh My life from Me. I have power to lay it down, and have power to take it again’ (Joh. x. 18). In which humanity He was crucified and died for us, and rose from the dead, and was taken up into the heavens, having been created as the beginning of ways for us (Prov. viii. 22), when on earth He shewed us light from out of darkness, salvation from error, life from the dead, an entrance to paradise, from which Adam was cast out, and into which he again entered by means of the thief, as the Lord said, ‘This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise’ (Luke xxiii. 43), into which Paul also once entered. [He shewed us] also a way up to the heavens, whither the humanity of the Lord, in which He will judge the quick and the dead, entered as precursor for us. We believe, likewise, also in the Holy Spirit that searcheth all things, even the deep things of God (1Cor. ii. 10), and we anathematise doctrines contrary to this.
2. For neither do we hold a Son-Father, as do the Sabellians, calling Him of one but not of the same essence, and thus destroying the existence of the Son. Neither do we ascribe the passible body, which He bore for the salvation of the whole world to the Father. Neither can we imagine three Subsistences separated from each other, as results from their bodily nature in the case of men, lest we hold a plurality of gods like the heathen. But just as a river, produced from a well, is not separate, and yet there are in fact two visible objects and two names. For neither is the Father the Son, nor the Son the Father. For the Father is Father of the Son, and the Son, Son of the Father. For like as the well is not a river, nor the river a well, but both are one and the same water which is conveyed in a channel from the well to the river, so the Father’s deity passes into the Son without flow and without division. For the Lord says, ‘I came out from the Father and am come’ (Joh. xvi. 28). But He is ever with the Father, for He is in the bosom of the Father, nor was ever the bosom of the Father void of the deity of the Son. For He says, ‘I was by Him as one setting in order’ (Prov. viii. 30). But we do not regard God the Creator of all, the Son of God, as a creature, or thing made, or as made out of nothing, for He is truly existent from Him who exists, alone existing from Him who alone exists, in as much as the like glory and power was eternally and conjointly begotten of the Father. For ‘He that hath seen’ the Son ‘hath seen the Father (Joh. xiv. 9). All things to wit were made through the Son; but He Himself is not a creature, as Paul says of the Lord: ‘In Him were all things created, and He is before all’ (Col. i. 16). Now He says not, ‘was created’ before all things, but ‘is’ before all things. To be created, namely, is applicable to all things, but ‘is before all’ applies to the Son only.
3. He is then by nature an Offspring, perfect from the Perfect, begotten before all the hills (Prov. viii. 25), that is before every rational and intelligent essence, as Paul also in another place calls Him ‘first-born of all creation’ (Col. I. 15). But by calling Him First-born, He shews that He is not a Creature, but Offspring of the Father. For it would be inconsistent with His deity for Him to be called a creature. For all things were created by the Father through the Son, but the Son alone was eternally begotten from the Father, whence God the Word is ‘first-born of all creation,’ unchangeable from unchangeable. However, the body which He wore for our sakes is a creature: concerning which Jeremiah says, according to the edition of the seventy translators (Jer. xxxi. 22): ‘The Lord created for us for a planting a new salvation, in which salvation men shall go about:’ but according to Aquila the same text runs: ‘The Lord created a new thing in woman.’ Now the salvation created for us for a planting, which is new, not old, and for us, not before us, is Jesus, Who in respect of the Saviour was made man, and whose name is translated in one place Salvation, in another Saviour. But salvation proceeds from the Saviour, just as illumination does from the light. The salvation, then, which was from the Saviour, being created new, did, as Jeremiah says, ‘create for us a new salvation,’ and as Aquila renders: ‘The Lord created a new thing in woman,’ that is in Mary. For nothing new was created in woman, save the Lord’s body, born of the Virgin Mary without intercourse, as also it says in the Proverbs in the person of Jesus: ‘The Lord created me, a beginning of His ways for His works’ (Prov. viii. 22). Now He does not say, ‘created me before His works,’ lest any should take the text of the deity of the Word.
4. Each text then which refers to the creature is written with reference to Jesus in a bodily sense. For the Lord’s Humanity was created as ‘a beginning of ways,’ and He manifested it to us for our salvation. For by it we have our access to the Father. For He is the way (Joh. xiv. 6) which leads us back to the Father. And a way is a corporeal visible thing, such as is the Lord’s humanity. Well, then, the Word of God created all things, not being a creature, but an offspring. For He created none of the created things equal or like unto Himself. But it is the part of a Father to beget, while it is a workman’s part to create. Accordingly, that body is a thing made and created, which the Lord bore for us, which was begotten for us, as Paul says, ‘wisdom from God, and sanctification and righteousness, and redemption;’ while yet the Word was before us and before all Creation, and is, the Wisdom of the Father. But the Holy Spirit, being that which proceeds from the Father, is ever in the hands of the Father Who sends and of the Son Who conveys Him, by Whose means He filled all things. The Father, possessing His existence from Himself, begat the Son, as we said, and did not create Him, as a river from a well and as a branch from a root, and as brightness from a light, things which nature knows to be indivisible; through whom to the Father be glory and power and greatness before all ages, and unto all the ages of the ages. Amen. (1)

Saint Basil the Great AD 330 – 379
“The Godhead is common; the fatherhood particular. We must therefore combine the two and say, ‘I believe in God the Father.’
The like course must be pursued in the confession of the Son; we must combine the particular with the common and say ‘I believe in God the Son,’ so in the case of the Holy Ghost we must make our utterance conform to the appellation and say ‘in God the Holy Ghost.’
Hence it results that there is a satisfactory preservation of the unity by the confession of the one Godhead, while in the distinction of the individual properties regarded in each there is the confession of the peculiar properties of the Persons.” (2)

St. Gregory Nazianzus AD 329 – 390
“…we shall begin… by applying identical expressions to the Three. ‘He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world’ (Jn. 1:9) – yes, the Father. ‘He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world’ -yes, the Son. ‘He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world’ -yes, the Comforter. These are three subjects and three verbs – He was and He was and He was. But a single reality was. There are three predicates – light and light and light. But the light is one, God is one. This is the meaning of David’s prophetic vision: ‘In Your light we shall see light’ (Ps. 36:9). We receive the Son’s light from the Father’s light in the light of the Spirit: that is what we ourselves have seen and what we now proclaim – it is the plain and simple explanation of the Trinity.” (3)

“Aheism with its lack of a governing principle involves disorder. Polytheism, with a plurality of such principles, involves faction and hence the absence of a governing principle, and this involves disorder again. Both lead to an identical result – lack of order, which, in turn, leads to disintegration, disorder being the prelude to disintegration. Monotheism, with its single governing principle, is what we value – not monotheism defined as the sovereignty of a single person (after all, self-discordant unity can become a plurality) but the single rule produced by equality of nature, harmony of will, identity of action, and the convergence towards their source of what springs from unity – none of which is possible in the case of created nature. The result is that though there is numerical distinction, there is no division in the substance. For this reason, a one eternally changes to a two and stops at three – meaning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (4)

Early Church Leaders Western

Tertullian AD 160 – 220
“In the course of time, then, the Father forsooth was born, and the Father suffered, God Himself, the Lord Almighty, whom in their preaching they declare to be Jesus Christ. We, however, as we indeed always have done (and more especially since we have been better instructed by the Paraclete, who leads men indeed into all truth), believe that there is one only God, but under the following dispensation, or οἰκονομία, as it is called, that this one only God has also 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 by the name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and, after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics, much more before Praxeas, a pretender of yesterday, will be apparent both from the lateness of date which marks all heresies, and also from the absolutely novel character of our new-fangled Praxeas. In this principle also we must henceforth find a presumption of equal force against all heresies whatsoever — that whatever is first is true, whereas that is spurious which is later in date. But keeping this prescriptive rule inviolate, still some opportunity must be given for reviewing (the statements of heretics), with a view to the instruction and protection of various persons; were it only that it may not seem that each perversion of the truth is condemned without examination, and simply prejudged; especially in the case of this heresy, which supposes itself to possess the pure truth, in thinking that one cannot believe in One Only God in any other way than by saying that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the very selfsame Person. As if in this way also one were not All, in that All are of One, by unity (that is) of substance; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a Trinity, placing in their order the three Persons— the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in aspect; yet of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. How they are susceptible of number without division, will be shown as our treatise proceeds.” (5)

Augustine of Hippo AD 354 – 430
“The true objects of enjoyment, then, are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, who are at the same time the Trinity, one Being, supreme above all, and common to all who enjoy Him, if He is an object, and not rather the cause of all objects, or indeed even if He is the cause of all. For it is not easy to find a name that will suitably express so great excellence, unless it is better to speak in this way: The Trinity, one God, of whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things. Thus the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each of these by Himself, is God, and at the same time they are all one God; and each of them by Himself is a complete substance, and yet they are all one substance. The Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son: but the Father is only Father, the Son is only Son, and the Holy Spirit is only Holy Spirit. To all three belong the same eternity, the same unchangeableness, the same majesty, the same power. In the Father is unity, in the Son equality, in the Holy Spirit the harmony of unity and equality; and these three attributes are all one because of the Father, all equal because of the Son, and all harmonious because of the Holy Spirit.” (6)

Western Church Roman Middle Ages

Thomas Aquinas AD 1225 – 1274
Question 31. The unity or plurality in God (abridged):
I answer that, the name “Trinity” in God signifies the determinate number of persons. And so the plurality of persons in God requires that we should use the word trinity; because what is indeterminately signified by plurality, is signified by trinity in a determinate manner.
Reply to objection 1. In its etymological sense, this word “Trinity” seems to signify the one essence of the three persons, according as trinity may mean trine-unity. But in the strict meaning of the term it rather signifies the number of persons of one essence; and on this account we cannot say that the Father is the Trinity, as He is not three persons. Yet it does not mean the relations themselves of the Persons, but rather the number of persons related to each other; and hence it is that the word in itself does not express regard to another.
Reply to objection 2. Two things are implied in a collective term, plurality of the “supposita,” and a unity of some kind of order. For “people” is a multitude of men comprehended under a certain order. In the first sense, this word “trinity” is like other collective words; but in the second sense it differs from them, because in the divine Trinity not only is there unity of order, but also with this there is unity of essence.
Reply to objection 3. “Trinity” is taken in an absolute sense; for it signifies the threefold number of persons. “Triplicity” signifies a proportion of inequality; for it is a species of unequal proportion, according to Boethius (Arithm. i, 23). Therefore, in God there is not triplicity, but Trinity.
Reply to objection 4. In the divine Trinity is to be understood both number and the persons numbered. So when we say, “Trinity in Unity,” we do not place number in the unity of the essence, as if we meant three times one; but we place the Persons numbered in the unity of nature; as the “supposita” of a nature are said to exist in that nature. On the other hand, we say “Unity in Trinity”; meaning that the nature is in its “supposita.”
Reply to objection 5. When we say, “Trinity is trine,” by reason of the number implied, we signify the multiplication of that number by itself; since the word trine imports a distinction in the “supposita” of which it is spoken. Therefore, it cannot be said that the Trinity is trine; otherwise it follows that, if the Trinity be trine, there would be three “supposita” of the Trinity; as when we say, “God is trine,” it follows that there are three “supposita” of the Godhead. Article 2. Whether the Son is other than the Father?
I answer that, Since as Jerome remarks [In substance, Ep. lvii.], a heresy arises from words wrongly used, when we speak of the Trinity we must proceed with care and with befitting modesty; because, as Augustine says (De Trin. i, 3), “nowhere is error more harmful, the quest more toilsome, the finding more fruitful.” Now, in treating of the Trinity, we must beware of two opposite errors, and proceed cautiously between them—namely, the error of Arius, who placed a Trinity of substance with the Trinity of persons; and the error of Sabellius, who placed unity of person with the unity of essence.
Thus, to avoid the error of Arius we must shun the use of the terms diversity and difference in God, lest we take away the unity of essence: we may, however, use the term “distinction” on account of the relative opposition. Hence whenever we find terms of “diversity” or “difference” of Persons used in an authentic work, these terms of “diversity” or “difference” are taken to mean “distinction.” But lest the simplicity and singleness of the divine essence be taken away, the terms “separation” and “division,” which belong to the parts of a whole, are to be avoided: and lest quality be taken away, we avoid the use of the term “disparity”: and lest we remove similitude, we avoid the terms “alien” and “discrepant.” For Ambrose says (De Fide i) that “in the Father and the Son there is no discrepancy, but one Godhead”: and according to Hilary, as quoted above, “in God there is nothing alien, nothing separable.”
To avoid the heresy of Sabellius, we must shun the term “singularity,” lest we take away the communicability of the divine essence. Hence, Hilary says (De Trin. vii): “It is sacrilege to assert that the Father and the Son are separate in Godhead.” We must avoid the adjective “only” [unici] lest we take away the number of persons. Hence, Hilary says in the same book: “We exclude from God the idea of singularity or uniqueness.” Nevertheless, we say “the only Son,” for in God there is no plurality of Sons. Yet, we do not say “the only God,” for the Deity is common to several. We avoid the word “confused,” lest we take away from the Persons the order of their nature. Hence, Ambrose says (De Fide i): “What is one is not confused; and there is no multiplicity where there is no difference.” The word “solitary” is also to be avoided, lest we take away the society of the three persons; for, as Hilary says (De Trin. iv), “We confess neither a solitary nor a diverse God.”
This word “other” [alius], however, in the masculine sense, means only a distinction of “suppositum”; and hence we can properly say that “the Son is other than the Father,” because He is another “suppositum” of the divine nature, as He is another person and another hypostasis.
Article 4. Whether an exclusive diction can be joined to the personal term?
I answer that, When we say, “The Father alone is God,” such a proposition can be taken in several senses. If “alone” means solitude in the Father, it is false in a categorematical sense; but if taken in a syncategorematical sense it can again be understood in several ways. For if it exclude (all others) from the form of the subject, it is true, the sense being “the Father alone is God”—that is, “He who with no other is the Father, is God.” In this way, Augustine expounds when he says (De Trin. vi, 6): “We say the Father alone, not because He is separate from the Son, or from the Holy Ghost, but because they are not the Father together with Him.” This, however, is not the usual way of speaking, unless we understand another implication, as though we said “He who alone is called the Father is God.” But in the strict sense the exclusion affects the predicate. And thus the proposition is false if it excludes another in the masculine sense; but true if it excludes it in the neuter sense; because the Son is another person than the Father, but not another thing; and the same applies to the Holy Ghost. But because this diction “alone,” properly speaking, refers to the subject, it tends to exclude another Person rather than other things. Hence, such a way of speaking is not to be taken too literally, but it should be piously expounded, whenever we find it in an authentic work.
Reply to objection 1. When we say, “Thee the only true God,” we do not understand it as referring to the person of the Father, but to the whole Trinity, as Augustine expounds (De Trin. vi, 9). Or, if understood of the person of the Father, the other persons are not excluded by reason of the unity of essence; in so far as the word “only” excludes another thing, as above explained.
Reply to objection 2. For an essential term applied to the Father does not exclude the Son or the Holy Ghost, by reason of the unity of essence. Hence we must understand that in the text quoted the term “no one” [Nemo = non-homo, i.e. no man] is not the same as “no man,” which the word itself would seem to signify (for the person of the Father could not be excepted), but is taken according to the usual way of speaking in a distributive sense, to mean any rational nature.
Reply to objection 3. The exclusive diction does not exclude what enters into the concept of the term to which it is adjoined, if they do not differ in “suppositum,” as part and universal. But the Son differs in “suppositum” from the Father; and so there is no parity.
Reply to objection 4. We do not say absolutely that the Son alone is Most High, but that He alone is Most High “with the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father.” (7)

Western Church Protestant Reformation Era

John Calvin AD 1509 – 1564 “When the Apostle calls the Son of God “the express image of his person,” (Heb. 1:3), he undoubtedly does assign to the Father some subsistence in which he differs from the Son. For to hold with some interpreters that the term is equivalent to essence (as if Christ represented thesubstance of the Father like the impression of a seal upon wax), were not only harsh but absurd.
For the essence of God being simple and undivided, and contained in himself entire, in full perfection, without partition or diminution, it is improper, nay, ridiculous, to call it his express image. But because the Father, though distinguished by his own peculiar properties, has expressed himself wholly in the Son, he is said with perfect reason to have rendered his person (hypostasis) manifest in him. And this aptly accords with what is immediately added—viz. that he is “the brightness of his glory.” The fair inference from the Apostle’s words is that there is a proper subsistence (hypostasis) of the Father, which shines refulgent in the Son. From this, again it is easy to infer that there is a subsistence (hypostasis) of the Son, which distinguishes him from the Father. The same holds in the case of the Holy Spirit; for we will immediately prove both that he is God, and that he has a separate subsistence from the Father. This, moreover, is not a distinction of essence, which it were impious to multiply. If credit, then, is given to the Apostle’s testimony, it follows that there are three persons (hypostases) in God. The Latins having used the word Persona to express the same thing as the Greek, it betrays excessive fastidiousness and even perverseness to quarrel with the term. The most literal translation would be subsistence. Many have used substance in the same sense. Nor, indeed, was the use of the term Person confined to the Latin Church. For the Greek Church in like manner, perhaps, for the purpose of testifying their consent, have taught that there are three (aspects) in God. All these, however, whether Greeks or Latins, though differing as to the word, are perfectly agreed in substance.” (8)

“He said, ‘Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,’ (Mt. 28:19), since this is the same thing as to baptized into the name of the one God, who has been fully manifested in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Hence it plainly appears, that the three persons, in whom alone God is known, subsist in the Divine essence.” (9)

John Calvin on Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity:
“Again, Scripture sets forth a distinction of the Father from the Word and of the Word from the Spirit. Yet the greatness of the mystery warns us how much reverence and sobriety we ought to use in investigating this. And that passage in Gregory of Nazianzus vastly delights me:
‘I cannot think on the one without quickly being encircled by the splendor of the three; nor can I discern the three without being straightway carried back to the one.’”
“Let us not, then, be led to imagine a trinity of persons that keeps our thoughts distracted and does not at once lead them back to that unity. Indeed, the words “Father,” “Son,” and “Spirit” imply a real distinction – let no one think that these titles, whereby God is variously designated from his works, are empty – but a distinction, not a division, The passages that we have already cited [e.g., Zechariah 13:7] show that the Son has a character distinct from the Father, because the Word would not have been with God unless he were another than the Father, nor would he have had his glory with the Father were he not distinct from the Father. . . .” (10)

John Owen AD 1616 – 1683
“We produce divine revelations or testimonies, wherein faith may safely rest and acquiesce, that God is one; that this one God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost; so that the Father is God, so also is the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” (11)
“There is nothing more fully expressed in the Scripture than this sacred truth, that there is one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; which are divine, distinct, intelligent, voluntary omnipotent principles of operation and working: which whosoever thinks himself obliged to believe the Scripture must believe.” (12)

Thomas Watson AD 1620 – 1686
“Q-6. HOW MANY PERSONS ARE THERE IN THE GODHEAD?
A: Three persons, yet but one God.
‘There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.’ I John 5:5.
God is but one, yet are there three distinct persons subsisting in one Godhead. This is a sacred mystery, which the light within man could never have discovered. As the two natures in Christ, yet but one person, is a wonder; so three persons, yet but one Godhead. Here is a great deep, the Father God, the Son God, the Holy Ghost God; yet not three Gods, but one God. The three persons in the blessed Trinity are distinguished, but not divided; three substances, but one essence. This is a divine riddle where one makes three, and three make one. Our narrow thoughts can no more comprehend the Trinity in Unity, than a nut-shell will hold all the water in the sea. Let me shadow it out by a similitude. In the body of the sun, there are the substance of the sun, the beams, and the heat; the beams are begotten of the sun, the heat proceeds both from the sun and the beams; but these three, though different, are not divided; they all three make but one sun: so in the blessed Trinity, the Son is begotten of the Father, the Holy Ghost proceeds from both; yet though they are three distinct persons, they are but one God. First, let me speak of the Unity in Trinity, then of the Trinity in Unity.” (13)

Recent Contemporary

Geerhardus Vos AD 1862 – 1949
“There is only one divine being. Scripture expresses itself decisively against all polytheism (Deut. 6:4; Isa 44:6; Jas 2:19).
In this one God are three modes of existence, which we refer to by the word “person” and which are, each one, this only true God. In Scripture these three persons are called, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
These three persons, although together the one true God, are nevertheless distinguished from each other insofar as they assume objective relations toward each other, address each other, love each other, and can interact with each other.
Although these three persons possess one and the same divine substance, Scripture nevertheless teaches us that, concerning their personal existence, the Father is the first, the Son the second, and the Holy Spirit the third, that the Son is of the Father, the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Further, their workings outwardly reflect this order of personal existence, since the Father works through the Son, and the Father and Son work through the Spirit. There is, therefore, subordination as to personal manner of existence and manner of working, but no subordination regarding possession of the one divine substance.
The divine substance is not divided among the three persons as if each possesses one-third. Neither is it a new substance beside the three persons. Finally, neither is it an abstraction of our thinking in a nominalistic sense. But in a manner for which all further analogy is lacking, each of these persons possesses the entire divine substance.” (14)

St. John of Kronstadt AD 1829 – 1909
“As the word of the man reveals what is in his mind and heart (reveals the mind? unseen, dominating, creating), and as the breath proceeds from the man through the word, revealing the mind or the thought, so, somewhat similarly, the Word of God reveals to us the Father ? That great all-creating Mind? And, through the Word, the Holy Spirit, the life-giving Spirit, Who is the power of the Highest, eternally proceeds from the Father and is revealed to men. ‘The power of the Highest shall overshadow you’ (Lk. 1:35). Now the words of the Savior are comprehensible: ‘No man knows the Son but the Father; neither knows any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him’ (Mt. 11:27). That is, only the Son reveals the Father to men, as our word reveals our thought hidden in the soul. Such is the closeness of the union between the Father and the Son! And, every Person has His particular dominion and His own, so to say, work. And, therefore, the Lord said to His disciples: ‘If I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart I will send Him to you’ (Jn. 16:7). Glory to You, Son of God, Who has revealed to us the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity? The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Your Word is truth; we live by all and each separate word of yours. They are our sweetness, peace, and life; especially the words concerning the Comforter.” (15)

Louis Berkhof AD 1873 – 1957
“The divine essence is not divided among the three persons, but is wholly with all its perfection in each one of the persons so that they have a numerical unity of essence.” (16)

Karl Barth AD 1886 – 1968
“The doctrine of the Trinity is what basically distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian…” (17)
“Person” as used in the Church doctrine of the Trinity bears no direct relation to personality. The meaning of the doctrine is not, then, that there are three personalities in God. This would be the worst and most extreme expression of tritheism, against which we must be on guard at this stage. The doctrine of the personality of God is, of course, connected with that of the Trinity to the extent that, in a way yet to be shown, the trinitarian repetitions of the knowledge of the lordship of God radically prevent the divine He, or rather Thou, from becoming in any respect an It. But in it we are speaking not of three divine I’s, but thrice of the one divine I. The concept of equality of essence or substance (ofioovala, consubstantialitas) in the Father, Son and Spirit is thus at every point to be understood also and primarily in the sense of identity of substance. Identity of substance implies the equality of substance of “the persons.” (18)

“God is One, but not in such a way that as such He needs a Second and then a Third in order to be One, nor as though He were alone and had to do without a counterpart, and therefore again—this will be of clecisive significance in the doctrine of creation and man and also in the doctrine of reconciliation—not as though He could not exist without the world and man, as though there were between Him and the world and man a necessary relation of reciprocity. In Himself these limits of what we otherwise regard as unity are already set aside. In Himself His unity is neither singularity nor isolation. Herewith, i.e., with the doctrine of the Trinity, we step on to the soil of Christian monotheism.” (19)

“Trinity is the Christian name for God.” For many people God is a remote and inaccessible being – perhaps understood as the Creator or as a “life force,” yet in no way personal or intimate. The doctrine of the Trinity stresses that this “Creator” or “Father” has come near to us in human form in Jesus and “lives in us” in the Spirit. St. Paul, in Ephesians 2:15, was addressing Christians who had been converted from paganism: “You who were far off now in Christ Jesus have been brought near in the blood of Christ…through him we both have access in the Spirit to the Father.” (20)

Bishop Kallistos Ware
“This God who acts is not only a God of energies, but a personal God. When man participates in the divine energies, he is not overwhelmed by some vague and nameless power, but he is brought face to face with a person. Nor is this all: God is not simply a single person confined within his own being, but a Trinity of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each of whom ‘dwells’ in the other two, by virtue of a perpetual movement of love. God is not only a unity but a union.” (21)

Thomas F. Torrance AD 1913 – 2007
“The doctrine of the Trinity is the central dogma of Christian theology, the fundamental grammar of our knowledge of God.” (22)

From the Creeds:

The Athanasian Creed
Whoever desires to be saved should above all hold to the catholic faith.
Anyone who does not keep it whole and unbroken will doubtless perish eternally.
Now this is the catholic faith:
That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.
For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.
What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
The Father is uncreated,
the Son is uncreated,
the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
The Father is immeasurable,
the Son is immeasurable,
the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.
The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.
And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.
Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,
the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.
Thus the Father is God,
the Son is God,
the Holy Spirit is God.
Yet there are not three gods;
there is but one God.
Thus the Father is Lord,
the Son is Lord,
the Holy Spirit is Lord.
Yet there are not three lords;
there is but one Lord.
Just as Christian truth compels us
to confess each person individually
as both God and Lord,
so catholic religion forbids us
to say that there are three gods or lords.
The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
The Son was neither made nor created;
he was begotten from the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
he proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
there is one Son, not three sons;
there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
nothing is greater or smaller;
in their entirety the three persons
are coeternal and coequal with each other.
So in everything, as was said earlier,
we must worship their trinity in their unity
and their unity in their trinity.
Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.
But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.
Now this is the true faith:
That we believe and confess
that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son,
is both God and human, equally.
He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother,
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity.
Although he is God and human,
yet Christ is not two, but one.
He is one, however,
not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
but by God’s taking humanity to himself.
He is one,
certainly not by the blending of his essence,
but by the unity of his person.
For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
so to the one Christ is both God and human.
He suffered for our salvation;
he descended to hell;
he arose from the dead;
he ascended to heaven;
he is seated at the Father’s right hand;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
At his coming all people will arise bodily
and give an accounting of their own deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.
This is the catholic faith:
one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.
For our salvation he came down from heaven, he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Chalcedonian Creed
Following, then, the holy fathers, we unite in teaching all men to confess the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This selfsame one is perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man, with a rational soul and a body. He is of the same reality as God as far as his deity is concerned and of the same reality as we ourselves as far as his humanness is concerned; thus like us in all respects, sin only excepted. Before time began he was begotten of the Father, in respect of his deity, and now in these “last days,” for us and behalf of our salvation, this selfsame one was born of Mary the virgin, who is God-bearer in respect of his humanness.
We also teach that we apprehend this one and only Christ-Son, Lord, only-begotten in two natures; and we do this without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without contrasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the “properties” of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one “person” and in one reality. They are not divided or cut into two persons, but are together the one and only and only-begotten Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus have the prophets of old testified; thus the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us; thus the Symbol of Fathers has handed down to us.

Harmony of the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms on the Trinity:

Westminster Confession of Faith 2.3
3. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 8-11
Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.
Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?
A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.
Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 5-6
Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
Q. 6. How many persons are there in the godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 24-25
24. HOW ARE THESE ARTICLES DIVIDED?
Into three parts: the first is of God the Father and our creation; the second, of God the Son and our redemption; the third, of God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. [1]
[1] 1 Pt 1:2
25. SINCE THERE IS BUT ONE DIVINE BEING, [1] WHY DO YOU SPEAK OF THREE PERSONS: FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT?
Because God has so revealed Himself in His Word, [2] that these three distinct persons are the one, true, eternal God.
[1] Deut. 6:4; Isa 44:6, 45:5; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; [2] Gen 1:2-3; Ps 110:1; Isa 61:1, 63:8-10; Mt 3:16-17, 28:18-19; Lk 4:18; John 14:26, 15:26; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal 4:6; Tit 3:5-6

Belgic Confession Article 8-9
ARTICLE 8 – GOD IS ONE IN ESSENCE, YET DISTINGUISHED IN THREE PERSONS
According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God, 1 who is one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 2 The Father is the cause, origin, and beginning of all things visible and invisible. 3 The Son is the Word, the wisdom, and the image of the Father. 4 The Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 5 Nevertheless, God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each has His personal existence, distinguished by Their properties; but in such a way that these three persons are but one only God.
It is therefore evident that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless, these persons thus distinguished are not divided, nor intermixed; for the Father has not assumed our flesh and blood, neither has the Holy Spirit, but the Son only. The Father has never been without His Son, 6 or without His Holy Spirit. For these three, in one and the same essence, are equal in eternity. There is neither first nor last; for They are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.
1. 1 Cor. 8:4-6. 2. Mat 3:16-17; Mat 28:19. 3. Eph. 3:14-15. 4. Prov. 8:22-31; John 1:14; John 5:17-26; 1Cor 1:24; Col 1:15-20; Heb. 1:3; Rev 19:13. 5. John 15:26. 6. Mic 5:2; John 1:1-2.
ARTICLE 9 – SCRIPTURE PROOF OF THIS DOCTRINE
All this we know both from the testimonies of Holy Scripture 1 and from the respective works of the three Persons, and especially those we perceive in ourselves. The testimonies of Scripture, which lead us to believe this Holy Trinity, are written in many places of the Old Testament. It is not necessary to mention them all; it is sufficient to select some with discretion.
In the book of Genesis God says: Let Us make man in our image after our likeness …. So God created man in His own image…; male and female He created them (Gen 1:26-27). Also: Behold, the man has become like one of Us (Gen 3:22). From God’s saying, Let Us make man in Our image, it appears that there are more divine persons than one; and when He says, God created, He indicates that there is one God. It is true, He does not say how many persons there are, but what seems to be somewhat obscure in the Old Testament is very plain in the New Testament. For when our Lord was baptized in the river Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, who said, This is My beloved Son (Mat 3:17); the Son was seen in the water, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form as a dove. 2 For the baptism of all believers, Christ prescribed this formula: Baptize all nations into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Mat 28:19). In the gospel according to Luke the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the mother of our Lord: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Likewise, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2Cor. 13:14). In all these places, we are fully taught that there are three persons in one only divine essence.
Although this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding, nevertheless, in this life, we believe it on the ground of the Word of God, and we expect to enjoy its perfect knowledge and fruit hereafter in heaven.
Moreover, we must observe the distinct offices and works of these three Persons towards us. The Father is called our Creator by His power; the Son is our Saviour and Redeemer by His blood; the Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier by His dwelling in our hearts. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity has always been maintained and preserved in the true church since the time of the apostles to this very day, over against Jews, Muslims, and against false Christians and heretics such as Marcion, Mani, Praxeas, Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, Arius, and such like, who have been justly condemned by the orthodox fathers. In this doctrine, therefore, we willingly receive the three creeds, of the Apostles, of Nicea, and of Athanasius; likewise that which in accordance with them is agreed upon by the early fathers.
1. John 14:16; John 15:26; Acts 2:32-33; Rom 8:9; Gal 4:6; Titus 3:4-6; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 John 4:13-14; 1 John 5:1-12; Jude 1:20-21; Rev 1:4-5. 2. Mat 3:16.

Trinitarian Prayer Western
“Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more.
Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.
Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God,
have mercy upon me. Amen.” – John Stott

Trinitarian Prayer Eastern
“The Trisagion Prayers:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.
O Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life, come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3x)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy. (3x)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Our Father, who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name: Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.”

In closing:

Of particular interest to Protestants:

“Whatever we may conclude about Calvin’s relationship to the tradition he inherited, his focus on the three persons rather than the one essence is more like the Eastern approach than the Western. In much of what he writes, Calvin combines elements of both East and West. His use of the baptismal formula is reminiscent of Basil. He insists that God is not truly known unless he is distinctly conceived as triune, and that the fruit of baptism is that God the Father adopts us in his Son and through the Spirit re-forms us into righteousness. Butin comments on the influence of the baptismal formula on both Calvin and Basil, and also notices the weakness of Warfield on the Eastern church, for, like the vast majority of Protestants until recently, Warfield took little or no notice of Eastern theology. This focus of Calvin on the three does not undermine the unity of God, for his being is one. The three persons imply a distinction, not a division.” (23)

As previously noted on what Calvin said showing an appreciation for the Eastern Churches emphasis on the three: “that passage in Gregory of Nazianzus vastly delights me:”

“I cannot think on the one without quickly being encircled by the splendor of the three; nor can I discern the three without being straightway carried back to the one.” – Gregory of Nazianzus

Some may have questions regarding the next two quotations that confess a lack of human knowledge about our knowledge of God. They should not. Today many people do not understand how microwave ovens, cell phone, computers, televisions, and the internet works, and yet they have confidence in using these things.

“If Christianity were something we were making up, of course we would make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete in simplicity with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he doesn’t have any facts to bother about.” (24)

“A God understood, a God comprehended, is no God.” (25)

“Reformed theology holds that God can be known, but that it is impossible for man to have a knowledge of Him that is exhaustive and perfect in every way. To have such a knowledge of God would be equivalent to comprehending Him, and this is entirely out of the question: ‘finitum non possit capere infinitum.’ …true knowledge of God can be acquired only from the divine self-revelation, and only by the man who accepts this with childlike faith.” (26)

Some of the difficulty in defining and explaining the Trinity has to do with the limitations of human language itself. We are finite, and God is infinite. May the Triune God be ever glorified!

Notes:
1. Athanasius, “Statement of Faith” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans), p. 83-85.
2. St. Basil, Church Fathers, “Letter to Amphilochius” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans), Letter 236:6), p. 278.
3. St. Gregory Nazianzus, On God and Christ, Oration 31 sect. 3; (Yonkers, New York, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press), p. 118.
4. St. Gregory Nazianzus, On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 2; (Yonkers, New York, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press), p. 70.
5. Tertullian, Church Fathers, “Against Praxeas” Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans), Chapter 2, p. 598.
6. Augustine, Church Fathers, “On Christian Doctrine” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2 Michigan, Eerdmans), Book I. Chapter 5 p. 524.
7. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ, Unabridged, 1Vol, (Stief Books, 2017), p. 59-60.
8. Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), Book I, Chapter 2, p. 122-123.
9. Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), Book I, Chapter 13, p. 140.
10. Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), Book 1 Chapter 17, p. 141-142.
11. John Owen, Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Each Person Distinctly, in Love, Fellowship and Consolation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 1657), p. 380.
12. John Owen, Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Each Person Distinctly, in Love, Fellowship and Consolation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 1657), p. 406.
13. Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, (Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Banner of Truth Trust), p. 81-82.
14. Geerhardus Vos, “The Trinity,” chapter 3 of Theology Proper, vol. 1 of Reformed Dogmatics, ed. Richard B. Gaffin, trans. Annemie Godbehere (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013), 38-39.
15. St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ; (Jordanville, New York, Holy Trinity Monastery), p. 75.
16. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing), p. 40.
17. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol. I/1 (T&T Clark, International), p. 301.
18. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I.1. The Doctrine of the Word of God, Study edition, (London, T&T Clark), p. 56.
19. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I.1. The Doctrine of the Word of God, Study edition, (London, T&T Clark), p. 60.
20. Karl Barth as quoted by Dick Tripp in Understanding the Trinity, (Onehunga, Auckland, Castle Publishing), p. 3.
21. Bishop Kallistos Ware, Faith of the Church: Trinity, St. Basil’s Syriac Orthodox Church, Ohio, http:// http://www.malankaraworld.com/library/Faith/Trinity/Trinity_god-in-trinity-ware.htm
22. Thomas F. Torrance, Trinitarian Perspectives (USA, New York, NY, T&T Clark, 1994), p. 1.
23. Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, (Philipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing), p. 254.
24. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York, New York, MacMillan, 1952), p. 129.
25. Gerhard Tersteegen, quoted in Ministry in the Image of God, by Stephen Seamands (Downers Grove, Illinois, IVP, 2005), p. 99.
26. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company), 1996), p. 30.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith by Michael Reeves

The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship by Robert Letham

Church Dogmatics I.1. The Doctrine of the Word of God by Karl Barth

John Owen on the Trinity http://faithsaves.net/john-owen-on-communion-with-the-triune-god/

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