More Musings about KJV Onlyism

I used to think the KJV was the best translation, at one time. I have Edward Hills The KJV Defended; Thomas Hollands Crowned With Glory, and a couple by D.A. Waites. I have read some of them twice in fact. I do not hold to that position anymore however.

I am not a linguist or fluent in the original languages but I am a student currently and have a desire to know the the languages of which the New Testament was inspired, koine Greek. I am blessed to have The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts and several lexicons and text critical commentaries as well. These among others are helpful aids.

As it concerns the New Testament, Greek is the language which informs the meaning of the receiving language. For you and I that is probably English. That said I believe it is within our purview as Pentecostals to not only "follow" the Spirit but also understand that the original inspiration was made in a language that was not mine nor yours. I do not believe we should all run to schools to become linguists or lexicographers but I do think we must be careful in applying the principles of the ancient tongues. If authorial intent means anything, which I strongly believe it does, then the Scripture text is communicating a particular message to its audience.

There are a few theories or criticisms of interpreting the Scriptures. Such a one is called Reader Response, which means that the meaning of the text is determined by the person, apart from the author’s original intent. I believe this is a pervading trend we should avoid. I have sat and heard Bible studies started with questions like, "What does this Scripture mean to you?". The question should have been, "What is the Scripture telling us here?" We must train our thinking so that we hear what God is saying through His Word and not necessarily what we can analogize or scrutinize it into saying. Finding this meaning I believe starts with understanding, first, that the Word has a meaning for us and we are forming our opinions to it and not conversely. Secondly, it means to allow the illumination of the Holy Spirit to illumine the meaning as well. I believe that the two should always agree, in principle.

The main tension in the discussion of KJV Onlyism is the Minority Text versus the Majority text essentially. The Minority Text is much older while the Majority Text is newer. The Byzantine text family, which is the stream of manuscripts for the Majority Text, did not appear in full form till the fourth century. The Majority Text is basically an eclectic reading of all Byzantine mss. This work was not published till 1982 and then another in 1991. The Bishop Bible came after the Geneva and then the KJV but all those versions were translated probably using the TR. Not the Majority Text.

The Minority Text existed even earlier. Someone once said, "While it is not always true that older is better it is generally true." I believe that a translator will tell us that we cannot simply "count" manuscripts. They must be weighed. A manuscript written a century after the original will probably have more weight than a Byzantine 14th Century manuscript would. As I mentioned earlier it will come down to variants. Both families (Byzantine, Alexandrian, and others) of manuscripts have variants.

As suggested, so far as we know, there was no Byzantine text, at least in full form, until the fourth century. It did not become the majority until the ninth century. Prior to that the evidence we have says the Alexandrian texts were used and came before the Byzantine. KJV Only advocates cite some patristic writings that follow the Byzantine reading but that does not mean that they were using that "text type" in actuality.

Some make much to do over this Scripture. Notice the two renderings closely.

Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption, th forgiveness of sins. NIV

Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. NKJV
Using this very passage some believe that they have now identified the NIV as the “bloodless Bible.” Any person that is a student of Scripture might note that Ephesians and Colossians contain parallel passages. The parallel to Colossians 1:14 in Ephesians is found at Ephesians 1:7. Consider these two renderings closely.

Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace NKJV

Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace NIV
If translations, such as the NIV, that use the Minority Text were really trying to hide the blood of Christ and pervert the message of Scripture, why include it here? The answer is that they are not. This is only one example but should be kept in mind as we wade through posts that are quick to vilify the NIV and its renderings. It is always helpful to remember context and the testimony of Scripture as a whole when we are attempting to "rightly" divide the Word.

Why I Think the King James Bible Is Not The Best Translation for Today by Daniel B. Wallace (DTS)

Daniel B. Wallace from Dallas Theological Seminary wrote an article entitled "Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible Is Not The Best Translation for Today" Therein he states several salient points. This is not all that he had to say, but below are some highlights of his points. This can be handy when discussing translations and textual criticism with KJV Onlyites.

the Greek text which stands behind the King James Bible is demonstrably inferior in certain places. The man who edited the text was a Roman Catholic priest and humanist named Erasmus.1 He was under pressure to get it to the press as soon as possible since (a) no edition of the Greek New Testament had yet been published, and (b) he had heard that Cardinal Ximenes and his associates were just about to publish an edition of the Greek New Testament and he was in a race to beat them. Consequently, his edition has been called the most poorly edited volume in all of literature! It is filled with hundreds of typographical errors which even Erasmus would acknowledge. Two places deserve special mention. In the last six verses of Revelation, Erasmus had no Greek manuscript (=MS) (he only used half a dozen, very late MSS for the whole New Testament any way). He was therefore forced to ‘back-translate’ the Latin into Greek and by so doing he created seventeen variants which have never been found in any other Greek MS of Revelation! He merely guessed at what the Greek might have been. Secondly, for 1 John 5:7-8, Erasmus followed the majority of MSS in reading “there are three witnesses in heaven, the Spirit and the water and the blood.” However, there was an uproar in some Roman Catholic circles because his text did not read “there are three witnesses in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.” Erasmus said that he did not put that in the text because he found no Greek MSS which had that reading. This implicit challenge—viz., that if he found such a reading in any Greek MS, he would put it in his text—did not go unnoticed. In 1520, a scribe at Oxford named Roy made such a Greek MS (codex 61, now in Dublin). Erasmus’ third edition had the second reading because such a Greek MS was ‘made to order’ to fill the challenge! To date, only a handful of Greek MSS have been discovered which have the Trinitarian formula in 1 John 5:7-8, though none of them is demonstrably earlier than the sixteenth century.
the King James Bible has undergone three revisions since its inception in 1611, incorporating more than 100,000 changes. Which King James Bible is inspired, therefore?
300 words found in the KJV no longer bear the same meaning—e.g., “Suffer little children…to come unto me” (Matt 19:14). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God” (2 Tim 2:15). Should we really embrace a Bible as the best translation when it uses language that not only is not clearly understood any more, but in fact has been at times perverted and twisted?
the KJV includes one very definite error in translation, which even KJV advocates would admit. In Matthew 23:24 the KJV has ‘strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.’ But the Greek has ‘strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.’ In the least, this illustrates not only that no translation is infallible but also that scribal corruptions can and do take place-even in a volume which has been worked over by so many different hands (for the KJV was the product of a very large committee of over 50 scholars).
when the KJV was first published, it was heavily resisted for being too easy to understand! Some people revere it today because it is difficult to understand. I fear that part of their response is due to pride: they feel as though they are able to discern something that other, less spiritual folks cannot.
though it is true that the modern translations ‘omit’ certain words and verses (or conversely, the KJV adds to the Word of God, depending on how you look at it), the issue is not black-or-white. In fact, the most recent edition of a Greek New Testament which is based on the majority of MSS, rather than the most ancient ones (and thus stands firmly behind the King James tradition), when compared to the standard Greek New Testament used in most modern translations, excises over six hundred and fifty words or phrases! Thus, it is not proper to suggest that only modern translations omit; the Greek text behind the KJV omits, too! The question, then, is not whether modern translations have deleted portions of the Word of God, but rather whether either the KJV or modern translations have altered the Word of God. I contend that the KJV has far more drastically altered the scriptures than have modern translations. Nevertheless, I repeat: most textual critics for the past two hundred and fifty years would say that no doctrine is affected by these changes. One can get saved reading the KJV and one can get saved reading the NIV, NASB, etc.
although it is often asserted that heretics produced some of the New Testament MSS we now have in our possession, there is only one group of MSS known to be produced by heretics: certain Byzantine MSS of the book of Revelation. This is significant because the Byzantine text stands behind the KJV! These MSS formed part of a mystery cult textbook used by various early cults. But KJV advocates constantly make the charge that the earliest MSS (the Alexandrian MSS) were produced by heretics. The sole basis they have for this charge is that certain readings in these MSS are disagreeable to them!
when one examines the variations between the Greek text behind the KJV (the Textus Receptus) and the Greek text behind modern translations, it is discovered that the vast majority of variations are so trivial as to not even be translatable (the most common is the moveable nu, which is akin to the difference between ‘who’ and ‘whom’!)
when one compares the number of variations that are found in the various MSS with the actual variations between the Textus Receptus and the best Greek witnesses, it is found that these two are remarkably similar. There are over 400,000 textual variants among NT MSS. But the differences between the Textus Receptus and texts based on the best Greek witnesses number about 5000—and most of these are untranslatable differences! In other words, over 98% of the time, the Textus Receptus and the standard critical editions agree. Those who vilify the modern translations and the Greek texts behind them have evidently never really investigated the data. Their appeals are based largely on emotion, not evidence. As such, they do an injustice to historic Christianity as well as to the men who stood behind the King James Bible. These scholars, who admitted that their work was provisional and not final (as can be seen by their preface and by their more than 8000 marginal notes indicating alternate renderings), would wholeheartedly welcome the great finds in MSS that have occurred in the past one hundred and fifty years.


The Quest for Meaning:

Some of you may have heard the story of cynical Greek philosopher Diogenes and His lamp. Diogenes walked the streets of Athens around the 5th Century barefoot and supposedly not wearing the proper attire of the day. He would walk with a lantern during the day time as though he were looking for something in the dark. Diogenese would walk up with the lantern and thrust it into a persons face and say something like "I am looking for an honest man." Diogenes supposedly never found the "honest man". No matter how sincere our quest is it is possible then that how we go about it can be counterproductive for us.

From the womb we begin a quest for meaning. Our questions as toddlers were not just a waste of time. This is why we will never get away from a quest. The very first question of the Westminister Shorter Catechism is "What is the chief end of man?" It concisely replies, "Man’ s chief end is to glorify God, (1 Cor. 10:31, Rom. 11:36) and to enjoy him for ever. (Ps. 73:25–28)"(1) This of course is true and we can know that it is so since God has gone on public record about some matters through the Scriptures.

However, even Job who remained faithful to God questioned God for the meaning of the pain and suffering of his life. I believe there are truths that are clear or at least discernible to the saved and the unsaved alike. Man is depraved and fallen but we know this by our reason and thinking faculties therefore we must realize then that we are made in the image of God and in some way reflect this. As we can all attest to though there is also theological diversity among us as well. Yet, in spite of our diversity, we act as if we have a script of certitude in some areas of the Scriptures and God.

Applying holiness principles to today is a quest as well. We are all diverse on how to implement or appropriate them. The points of our diversity speak of a quest. A quest to apply meaning from the ancient times and theological principles of Scripture to the modern times of now. The reasons I cited above are all related, fundamentally, to our interpretation or application of the Scriptures in some sense.

Take for granted, momentarily, that there are indeed clear and evident truths in Scripture. As we start our journey, or quest, through Scripture we find a river that divides us. A river made of ancient culture, language, situation, and time separates us from the text and also hinders our grasping of the actual meaning of the text at times. As an attempt to cross this river, we develop a principilizing bridge to gain accurate meaning in the texts. Each text is different yet it is our pursuit to find the original meaning as well as the universal theological principles that are still relevant for us, today. I believe there are at least four steps in this quest, that have proved useful for me, and that we all should consider:

1. What did it mean to them? The importance of this step is actually priceless because by it we should determine how or in what way the text actually applied to the original audience. Reading and observation, not interpretation, are very necessary to come to proper conclusions. The grammar, historicity, and literary context all help to synthesize a coherent observation of what the text meant to the biblical audience.

2. How does it differ for us? This step actually compels us to identify the unique differences between the biblical audience and us, the modern readers. These differences actually form the very river we will later attempt to cross. In this step we take hard looks at the river and identify significant differences between the situations of then and now. We should see how the text offers these differences that may never apply to a NT believer, we also see beyond these cultural, historical, or literary differences that there is universal theological meaning still resting and waiting.

3. What is the principle? After steps one and two are satisfied we focus on crossing the bridge that we have begun. In step one we OBSERVE and find the general differences and became aware of the actual environment of the original author and his audience. In step two we identify significant differences and measure the distance that these create between us and the bible audience. In step three we find the theological principle of the text. The meaning that transcends covenant and time. For example, in Joshua 1:1-9 Joshua is obviously fearful of replacing Moses. God warns him to be “strong and courageous” (NIV) in this time. It is true that we, as Gentile believers, may never lead possibly millions of Israelites across a desert but we are called and commanded of God to serve and as we do God will give us strength and courage to do the job He has placed before us.

4. What does it mean for us? Step four brings about what we actually began to do, in the first place—to find accurate and relevant meaning. Learning how we should apply the theological principles in our lives is what this step attempts to assist. We should examine the principle we have found to see just how it applies in our real-life situations. Some texts offer many principles others very few.

This is not THE list, but here are some guidelines(2) for developing theological principles that may prove useful:

1. The principle should be reflected in the text.
2. The principle should be timeless and not tied to a specific situation.
3. The principle should not be culturally bound.
4. The principle should correspond to the teaching of the rest of scriptures.
5. The principle should be relevant to both the biblical and the contemporary audience.

Standing before Greek Stoic and Epicurean philosophers the Apostle Paul stated, "From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us." (Acts 17:26-27 NIV) Ultimately, God desires us to seek Him. To "reach out for him" because He "is not far from any one of us"!


1. The Westminster shorter catechism : With Scripture proofs. 1996 (3rd edition.) (Question 1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

2. excerpted from Grasping God’s Word-Second Edition, pg. 178 © 2001, 2005 by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays


The Vindication of God in Christ

Written by: Kirk VanOoteghem

When Jesus made His final approach into Jerusalem before His crucifixion, He paused just before entering the city. As He beheld the city, He was stirred with emotion and wept saying, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes" (Lk. 19.42). He went on to remorsefully and prophetically reveal the destruction that would inevitably fall upon Jerusalem. Why would this great "city of kings" have to meet such a tragic fate? Jesus Himself answered this question with His unforgettable words, "because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation" (Lk. 19.44). The inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem, along with most of those who came into contact with with Him during His earthly ministry, failed to recognize the deity of Jesus Christ. Even in all of the amazement that surrounded the dramatic, sacrificial death of Jesus, most still failed to realize the true identity of the crucified One. Therefore, it pleased the Lord that an irrefutable "sign" be provided to confirm once and for all the veracity of the Incarnation (Mt. 12.38-40). Indeed, the Resurrection of Jesus is undeniable evidence that He is in fact "God manifest in flesh." Although the Resurrection is the source of many important doctrinal truths, we often overlook one of the most profound objectives of this mighty act: the vindication of God in Christ.

The term "vindication" has often been used by theologians in reference to the Resurrection of Christ. Many times, no doubt, the Resurrection has been described as such without a complete understanding of the powerful truths that the concept implies. Although the word "vindication" (or the verb form, "vindicate") does not actually appear in the Bible, the term accurately describes many motives and results of the Resurrection that are related in purpose. The American Heritage Dictionary provides five similar definitions for the word "vindicate." Each definition, however, has its own unique distinction which illustrates a portion of God's beautiful design for the most significant event in history.

The first definition of vindicate is "to clear of accusation, blame, suspicion or doubt with supporting arguments or proof." When Jesus was put on trial by the Jewish Sanhedrin, His accusers found Him guilty of blasphemy against the God of Israel. Many times during His public ministry the religious leaders of the day claimed that Jesus blasphemed in that He, among other things, forgave sins (Mt. 9.2,3; Mk. 2.3-7; Lk. 5.18-21), claimed to be the Son of God (Mt. 26.63-66; Mk. 14.61-64) and claimed to be one with the Father (Jn. 10.30-33). The admission of Jesus that He was indeed "King of the Jews" sealed his fate as this confession was the official charge for which He was sentenced to the penalty of death by crucifixion (Mt 27.11,37; Jn. 19.19). Concerning these accusations of blasphemy against Jesus, only one of three alternatives can contain the truth. Jesus was either insane, deliberately deceptive or "God manifest in flesh." Through His Resurrection, Jesus proved the latter to be correct. In so doing, He cleared Himself of all "accusation, blame, suspicion or doubt" regarding the charges of blasphemy for which He was sentenced. The Apostle Paul promoted this very concept when he wrote that Jesus was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" (Rom. 1.4). Had Jesus been a mere mortal, He would have decidedly been a blasphemer. But, the Resurrection exposed the error of Jesus' accusers, that they slew Him in whom "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2.9)

The second definition of vindicate is "to provide justification or support for [something]." The attestation of the many Resurrection passages in the Bible provide more than adequate justification and support for the deity of Jesus. The Word of God describes Christ's Resurrection using various, similar terms and expressions. For example, Jesus is depicted twenty-five times as being "raised by God," thirteen times as having "risen" and six times as having "rose." In addition, Jesus foretells His own Resurrection ten times by saying that He shall "rise." The first of these expressions makes it clear that God is responsible for the Resurrection of Jesus while the remainder insinuate that Jesus rose of His own accord. Again, only one of two explanations can account for this apparent inconsistency. Either the Word of God is contradictory or these similar expressions are synonymous and are, therefore, used interchangeably. The only logical conclusion is that the expressions are indeed equivalent. To say that "God raised Jesus from the dead" is exactly the same as saying "Jesus raised Himself from the dead," because Jesus is in fact God. The words of Jesus Himself illustrate this concept. While abiding in Galilee, Jesus once told His disciples:

"The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again" (Mt. 17.22b,23).

However, on the road to Jerusalem, as well as at other places, Jesus told his disciples:

"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again" (Mk. 10.33,34; et. al.).

It is interesting to note two things about the above comments of Jesus. The first is that He used the two different expressions, regarding His Resurrection, interchangeably. The second is that Jesus used the designation "Son of Man" to emphasize His physical body; for the the Spirit of God could not die and be raised, only the flesh which housed that Spirit. This pattern of utilizing the title "Son of Man" recurs throughout all of the Resurrection discourses of Jesus.

Other statements of Jesus further illustrate the power that He possessed to resurrect Himself, which is overwhelming evidence of His deity. Consider the following passages.

"[Jesus speaking] Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received from the Father" (Jn. 10.17,18).

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up ... But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said" (Jn. 2.19,21,22).

These passages make it abundantly clear that Jesus did indeed assert His deity by proclaiming that His Resurrection would be a result of His own power.

Perhaps the most convincing justification or support for Christ's divinity is the testimony of the disciples who witnessed the risen Jesus. "It is the Lord," said John to Peter upon the recognition of their glorified Master (Jn. 21.7). Mary Magdalene also "told the disciples that she had seen the Lord" following her encounter with the risen Jesus in the empty tomb (Jn. 20.18). To Thomas, who was not present at Christ's initial appearance to his followers, the disciples proclaimed, "We have seen the Lord" (Jn. 20.25). The subsequent encounter between the glorified Jesus and Thomas is decisive evidence as to the identity of the Risen One. John 20:28-31 reads:

"Then saith he [Jesus] to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

Many Bible scholars and commentators agree that this verbal response of Thomas is the climax to John's Gospel and a beautiful summary of its theme.

The third definition of vindicate is "to justify or prove the worth of, especially in light of later developments." The "worthiness" of Christ is typically expressed in connection with His sacrificial death (e.g. Rev. 5.12,23). Indeed, the "worthiness" of His sacrifice can only be attributed to His deity (Acts 20.28; 2 Cor. 5.19; Phil. 2. 5-11). However, it is the Resurrection that affirms the acceptance of His death as a worthy sacrifice to satisfy His own just Law (Rom. 4.24,25; 5.10). The Apostle Paul demonstrates the worth of the Resurrection in that it elicits recognition of the ultimate power and authority of Jesus. To the Church in Ephesus, Paul wrote:

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1.19-23).

The fourth definition of vindicate is "to defend, maintain, or insist on the recognition of [something]." In the humility that characterized His earthly ministry, Jesus strove to keep His identity somewhat secret. He admonished many of whom He had healed to "tell no man" (Mt. 8.4; 9.30; 12.16; 17.9; Mk. 5.43; Lk. 5.14). The few who recognized His deity were commanded to keep their revelation private (Mt. 16.20; Mk. 3.11,12; 8.29,30). However, after His Resurrection He commissioned His disciples to preach His Gospel and be "witnesses" unto Him that the "uttermost parts of the earth" may know of His greatness and majesty (Mk. 16.15; Acts 1.8).

There is yet another manner in which the Bible establishes that a result of the Resurrection is the insistence on the recognition of Christ's divinity. Jewish Law forbids the worship of any entity other than the God of Israel (Deut. 6.13; 10.20). Jesus Himself upheld the necessity of compliance to this holy commandment (Mt. 4.10;Lk. 4.8). Being God, therefore, He allowed many to worship Him (Mt. 2.11; 9.18; 14.33; 15.25; 20.20; Jn. 9.38). However, at no time during His public ministry did Jesus require, or even request, that anyone worship Him. Prior to the Crucifixion, Roman soldiers mockingly worshiped Jesus saying, "Hail, King of the Jews" (Mt. 27.29; Mk 15.18; Jn. 19.3). But, Jesus would not be the object of humiliation for long, for the "Risen King" does indeed insist upon the recognition of His deity. "All hail" was the first commandment of the glorified Jesus to His disciples who responded by falling at His feet and worshiping Him (Mt. 28.9; also see Lk. 24.51-53). The Word of God speaks plainly to all:

"For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living ... For it is written, As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Rom. 14.9,11).

And again:

"That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2.10,11).

The fifth, and final, definition of vindicate is "to exact revenge for; to avenge." The Resurrection of Jesus is not the only resurrection to be recorded in the Bible. Furthermore, it was neither the first nor the last resurrection to take place. There are several resurrection experiences in the Bible in addition to that of Jesus including: the widow of Zepephath's son (1 Kings 17.17-24), the Shunammite's son (2 Kings 4.18-37), Jairus' daughter (Mk. 5.22-43), the widow of Nain's son (Lk. 7.11-17), Lazarus (Jn. 11.1-44), Tabitha (Acts 8.36-43), Dorcas (Acts 9.36-41) and Eutychus (Acts 20.7-12). All of these individuals undoubtedly died again. However, the uniquenes, and greatness of Jesus' Resurrection lies in the fact that He rose with a glorified body and ascended into heaven, never to die again (Mk. 16.19,20; Lk. 24.51; Acts 1.9 with Rom. 6.9). In so doing, He has "abolished" death (2 Tim. 1.10) and slated it for eventual destruction (1 Cor. 15.26; Rev. 20.13,14). Therefore, the enemy that Jesus "avenged" was, in fact, death. Only as God could Jesus have accomplished such a terrific feat. The Bible states:

"And being found in fashion as a man, he [Jesus] humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2.10).

However, as God it was impossible for death to have dominion over Jesus. The Word of God tells us:

"Him [Jesus], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it" (Acts 2. 23,24).

And again:

"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him" (Rom. 6.9).

Moreover, Jesus Himself demonstrated that His final victory over death is a direct result of His deity when He told John the Revelator:

"Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Rev. 1. 17b,18).

In conclusion, the grandeur of Resurrection Sunday lies in the fact that this miraculous event verified the divine identity of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches in numerous, different fashions that Jesus, as God, did indeed vindicate Himself by rising from the dead. Through this dramatic climax to the Gospel, all generations may assuredly know that Jesus is "Lord" and "God" and "have life through His name" (Jn. 20.28,31).


The American Heritage Dictionary. Third Edition. [computer file] Novato, CA: WordStar International Inc./Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993.

Bernard, David K., The Oneness of God. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1983.

Buttrick, George Arthur, Ed.. Interpreter's Bible Dictionary. Vol. 4. "Resurrection in the New Testament." New York: Abingdon Press, 1962.

Thiessen, Henry C. Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992.


About Kirk:

Pastor Kirk is an executive Pastor at River of Life in Muncie, Indiana. Kirk's primary responsibilities at River of Life include assisting the Lead Pastor with the administrative and operational oversight of the church and providing counseling services. Prior to becoming the Executive Pastor, he served River of Life in many capacities over the years including Youth Pastor, Outreach Director, and Sunday School Director. During his time in Youth Ministry, he also served on the Youth Committee of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International.

Pastor Kirk holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology, a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Education, History, and Religious Studies - both from Ball State University - and is currently enrolled in a graduate Business program. He enjoys studying, teaching and writing, especially in the areas of doctrinal studies, leadership, church administration/organization, counseling, and apologetics. He is also accomplished in the field of Information Technology.

Pastor Kirk is a committed husband and father. His wife, Tammy (formerly Caldwell), is a former Jackson College of Ministries (Jackson, MS) student and is active in the ministries of River of Life. They have three children: Gabrielle Hope, Silas Haywood, and Ella Grace.


The Sandy Foundation Shaken by William Penn

William Penn age 22

The trinity of distinct and separate Persons, in the Unity of Essence, refuted from Scripture.

"And he said, Lord God, there is no god like unto thee, to whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal, saith the Holy One?1—I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me. Thus saith the Lord thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. I will also praise thee, O my God; unto thee will I sing—O Holy One of Israel, Jehovah shall be One—and his name One."2 Which, with a cloud of other testimonies that might be urged, evidently demonstrate, that in the days of the first covenant, and prophets, but One was the Holy God, and God but that Holy One.—Again, "And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good? there is none good but One, and that is God. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee (father) the Only true God. Seeing it is One God that shall justify. There be gods many,—but unto us there is but One God, the Father, of whom are all things. One God and Father, who is above all. For there is One God. To the Only-wise God be glory now and ever."3 From all which I shall lay down this one assertion, that the testimonies of scripture, both under the law, and since the gospel dispensation, declare One to be God, and God to be One, on which I shall raise this argument:

If God, as the scriptures testify, hath never been declared or believed, but as the Holy One; then will it follow, that God is not an Holy Three, nor doth subsist in Three distinct and separate Holy Ones: but the before-cited scriptures undeniably prove that One is God, and God only is that Holy One; therefore he cannot be divided into, or subsist in an Holy Three, or three distinct and separate Holy Ones.—Neither can this receive the least prejudice from that frequent but impertinent distinction, that He is One in substance, but Three in persons or subsistences; since God was not declared or believed incompletely, or without his subsistence; nor did He require homage from his creatures as an incomplete or abstracted Being, but as God the Holy One, for so He should be manifested and worshipped without that which was absolutely necessary to himself: So that either the testimonies of the aforementioned scriptures are to be believed concerning God, that he is entirely and completely, not abstractly and distinctly, the Holy One; or else their authority to be denied by these Trinitarians: and on the contrary, if they pretend to credit those holy testimonies, they must necessarily conclude their kind of trinity a fiction.

Refuted From Right Reason

1. If there be three distinct and separate persons, then three distinct and separate substances, because every person is inseparable from its own substance; and as there is no person that is not a substance in common acceptation among men, so do the scriptures plentifully agree herein; and since the Father is God, the son is God, and the spirit is God, (which their opinion necessitates them to confess) then unless the Father, son, and spirit, are three distinct nothings, they must be three distinct substances, and consequently three distinct gods.

2. It is farther proved, if it be considered, that either the divine persons are finite or infinite. If the first, then something finite is inseparable to the infinite substance, whereby something finite is in God; if the last, then three distinct infinites, three omnipotents, three eternals, and so three gods.

3. If each person be God, and that God subsists in three persons, then in each person are three persons or gods, and from three they will increase to nine, and so ad infinitum.

4. But if they shall deny the three persons or subsistences to be infinite, (for so there would unavoidably be three gods) it will follow that they must be finite, and so the absurdity is not abated from what it was; for that of one substance having three subsistences is not greater than that an infinite being should have three finite modes of subsisting. But though that mode which is finite cannot answer to a substance that is infinite; yet to try if we can make their principle to consist, let us conceive that three persons, which may be finite separately, make up an infinite conjunctly; however this will follow, that they are no more incommunicable or separate, nor properly subsistences, but a subsistence; for the infinite substance cannot find a bottom or subsistence in any one or two, therefore, jointly. And here I am also willing to overlook finiteness in the Father, Son, and Spirit, which this doctrine must suppose.

5. Again, if these three distinct persons are one, with some one thing, as they say they are with the God-head, then are not they incommunicable among themselves; but so much the contrary, as to be one in the place of another: for if that the only God is the Father, and Christ be that only God, then is Christ the Father. So if that one God be the son, and the spirit that one God, then is the spirit the son, and so round. Nor is it possible to stop, or that it should be otherwise, since if the divine nature be inseparable from the three persons, or communicated to each, and each person have the whole divine nature, then is the son in the Father, and the spirit in the son, unless that the Godhead be as incommunicable to the persons, as they are reported to be amongst themselves; or that the three persons have distinctly allotted them such a proportion of the divine nature, as is not communicable to each other: which is alike absurd. Much more might be said to manifest the gross contradiction of this Trinitarian doctrine, as vulgarly received; but I must be brief.

Information and Caution

Before I shall conclude this head, it is requisite I should inform thee, reader, concerning its original. Thou mayst assure thyself, it is not from the Scriptures, nor reason, since so expressly repugnant; although all broachers of their own inventions strongly endeavour to reconcile them with that holy record. Know then, my friend, it was born above three hundred years after the ancient gospel was declared; and that through the nice distinctions and too daring curiosity of the Bishop of Alexandria, who being as hotly opposed by Arius, their zeal so reciprocally blew the fire of contention, animosity, and persecution, till at last they sacrificed each other to their mutual revenge.

Thus it was conceived in ignorance, brought forth and maintained by cruelty; for though he that was strongest imposed his opinion, persecuting the contrary, yet the scale turning on the Trinitarian side, it has there continued through all the Romish generations; and notwithstanding it hath obtained the name of Athanasian from Athanasius, (a stiff man, witness his carriage towards Constantine the emperor) because supposed to have been most concerned in the framing that creed in which this doctrine is asserted; yet have I never seen one copy void of a suspicion, rather to have been the results of Popish school-men; which I could render more perspicuous, did not brevity necessitate me to an omission.

Be therefore cautioned, reader, not to embrace the determination of prejudiced councils for evangelical doctrine; which the Scriptures bear no certain testimony to, neither was believed by the primitive saints, or thus stated by and I have read of in the first, second, or third centuries; particularly Ireneus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, with many others who appear wholly foreign to the matter in controversy. But seeing that private spirits, and those none of the most ingenious, have been the parents and guardians of this so generally received doctrine; let the time past suffice, and be admonished to apply thy mind unto that light and grace which brings salvation; that by obedience thereunto, those mists tradition hath cast before thy eyes may be expelled, and thou receive a certain knowledge of that God, whom to know is life eternal, not to be divided, but One pure, entire and eternal Being; who in the fulness of time sent forth his Son, as the true light which enlighteneth every man; that whosoever followed him (the light) might be translated from the dark notions and vain conversations of men to this holy light, in which only sound judgment and eternal life are obtainable: who so many hundred years since, in person, testified the virtue of it, and has communicated unto all such a proportion as may enable them to follow his example.

1.1Kings viii.23. Isa. xi.25.
2. Isa. xlv. 5, 6, xlviii.17. Psa. lxxi.22. Zac.xiv.9.
3. Matt.xix.17. John xvii.3. Rom. iii.30. 1 Cor. viii.5, 6. Eph. iv.6. 1 Tim.ii.5. Jude ver.25.

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Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)