James White Debates Jack Moorman On Exclusive KJVOnlyism

Excellent debate. White does a great job in answering many current KJV Only arguments. Moorman essentially suggests conspiracy and then posits the KJV without recognition, seemingly, of its own shortcomings.



Oneness Pentecostalism

Here is a great website that I highly recommend hosted by Jason Dulle and William Arnold. Both men are Oneness Pentecostal scholars and provide a variety of resources and studies. If you are Oneness Pentecostal and want to dig deeper or are a Trinitarian wanting to know more this is a great place to start online. Click here to visit Oneness Pentecostal.com. 


Biblical Archaeology Series by Jason Dulle (Theosophical Ruminations)

Jehoichan-ration's tablet
Friend and scholar Jason Dulle is doing an excellent series on Biblical Archaeology at his blog Theosophical Ruminations. Dulle (pronounced like "Julie") writes, "Over the next few weeks I will be posting and discussing archeological discoveries of Biblical significance." He also lists several interesting facts about the value of Biblical Archaeology. If you've been wanting to brush up on this topic I suggest you give his blog a visit. Click here to peruse the series at his blog.

Value of Biblical Archaeology
Why should Christians be concerned about archeology?
  • Archaeology brings the Biblical stories to life in tangible way. It transfers them from the pages of a book—from stories—to the real world of experience by presenting us with empirical evidence that confirms the reliability and accuracy of the Bible’s historical claims.
  • Archaeology cannot prove everything in the Bible given how little is preserved, but what we have discovered supports the Bible’s general reliability against the skeptics who claim it is myth.Liberals tend to think the Bible is guilty until proven innocent. If there is no extra-biblical confirmation of the Biblical record, they presume the Bible is wrong. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Given the corroborating evidence archeologists have uncovered thus far, the Bible should be given the benefit of the doubt for historical claims that cannot be tested, or for which we do not presently possess any extra-biblical evidence for.
  • Archaeology helps adjudicate between religions by supplying good reasons to take the religious claims of one religion seriously over that of another. If the historical claims of religion Q has no corroborating support from archeology whereas the historical claims of religion R do, then that is one good reason to prefer religion Rover Q as the true religion. (Click here to read full post.)
I hope you enjoy the upcoming posts as much as I’ve enjoyed researching them.


David Lamb: The Trinity at Nicea?

I was recently made aware of the website and writings of David Lamb and in particular his critique of Oneness Pentecostalism (OP hereafter). He has written several lessons online where he attempts to deal with OP theology but primarily quotes from authors such as Robert Morey. In this blog post I will discuss some of what I have read of his online writings. I immediately recognized that Lamb is also a KJV Only advocate. The very first statement of belief on his website Basic Beliefs page indicates that he believes in, "1. The verbal inspiration of the King James Bible." Lamb offers nothing different here than men such as Peter Ruckman who also feels that the KJV translators of 1611 were divinely inspired. I have contacted Lamb via the contact page on his website and expressed an interest in debating him publicly concerning the Trinity. In the mean time, I will just point out a few of the errors he makes. For previous blog posts on the subject of KJV Only click here.

 In the first paragraph of his first lesson on the "History of the Oneness Pentecostal Movement" Lamb quickly abandons use of logic. He attempts to cite sources properly but falls short here also. On Facebook Lamb claims to have studied at Master's Divinity School and if so he is the one that is disingenuous. I have nothing person against Lamb and respect him as a person but disagree with his conclusions. In one lesson he refers to my writings without proper citation. In his first lesson he gives us sophmoric phrases which include words like "unbelievable", "horrid", "underhanded", and of course one liners like, "hook, line, and sinker!' He even says OP's like David Bernard use underhanded tactics. It seems as though this Lamb is smarting.

In the same paragraph he suggests that the OP use of patristics is inconsistent because when they need "only the Bible" they will abandon the patristics when they disagree with their conclusions. He especially finds this to be the case here in "Baptismal Regeneration" and in baptism in the name of Jesus. He never demonstrates how this is done. In fact, he is resorting to ad hominem from the start while in the same paragraph accusing OP's of "discrediting the historian or Church Father's". OP's do not teach or affirm baptismal regeneration.

He frequently cites David Bernard but I get the impression he has read very little of his writings. If Lamb was truly familiar with Bernard's writings he would know that he has explicitly stated that "the Bible does not teach baptismal regeneration."(1) It would take Lamb very little effort to find this statement as the very first paragaraph on the UPCI.org website regarding salvation:
Salvation is by grace through faith and not by human works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The doctrine of grace means that salvation is a free gift from God, which humans cannot merit or earn; in other words, salvation is God’s work in us. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ have made this gift available.(2) 
Lamb abandons use of logic in his claims against our use of patristic writings. I have noted this particular problem in other posts. James White has criticized my use of Biblical scholar James D.G. Dunn in the past. I certainly see why Trinitarians do such things given Dunn's criticisms of popular Trinitarian beliefs. Lamb simply fails to recognize that a person can agree with someone without also agreeing with everything that someone believes This is a non-sequitur. There is nothing inconsistent or logically invalid in Bernard or myself citing and reading patristics or modern scholarship. If Lamb feels there is I would like for you to demonstrate this for us. At this point he has only complained. Consider the following premises and conclusion.

A) David Lamb likes the Bible.
B) David Lamb is a human.
C) Therefore, all humans like the Bible.

This is certainly a novel idea but an incorrect one. I am comfortable with saying premises A and B are true. I think Lamb would too. However, admittedly the conclusion (C) is false. Although many may like the Bible it does not logically follow that all humans like the Bible. In fact, history is rather clear of some men's hatred of Scripture (e.g. Voltaire) I am sure there is one or two people on our planet that do not hold the Scriptures in near the esteem that Lamb or myself would. Obviously OP's can agree and choose to disagree just as do Trinitarians. No one person accepts all the writings of Church History as authoritative or even correct on every issue. If Lamb believes this to be the case then he cannot be a Trinitarian. Denominations such as the Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Church of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ all affirm the Trinity. Howard Dean and Barak Obama are both considered members of the United Church of Christ. I would be curious if Lamb finds much doctrinal agreement with these politicians?

Essentially Lamb has a gross misunderstanding of Church History since it is quickly apparent that there is not a monolithic consensus on even issues he would deem foundational such as the Trinity or the Holy Spirit in such writings. Lamb skips over many passages cited by Bernard to suggest that he omits a verse in John 8 because it destroys his position. Lamb is once again making a non-sequitur since it does not follow that Bernard did so to for any deceitful reason. Speaking of OP's Lamb suggests his readers "not be intimated by their much speaking!". It seems in the prior paragraph Bernard did not say enough but in the next he is seems to be saying too "much". Lamb needs to make up his mind.

He also suggests that "Many Oneness believers assert that the doctrine of the Trinity was invented in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea, but this is simply not true." Lamb goes further and suggests "From the Apostles up until the late 2nd century, the triune nature of God was universally assumed by nearly all Christendom...they did not invent anything." Lamb puts much weight on his fanciful idea that the Trinity is clearly articulated in the early Church Fathers. There are big problems with Lamb's scholarship. While some OP's may have suggested such a thing this does not mean all of them do nor are they right in doing so. In fact, Lamb has his own historical errors to contend with here before he should direct an OP on this matter. The original Council of Nicea of A.D. 325 was not about the Trinity and Lamb completely assumes that it was. The original creed completely excludes the Holy Spirit and was later condemned in A.D. 357 at the Synod of Sirmium. It would not be until A.D. 381 before the Holy Spirit would even be included in the historic creeds. Lamb later goes on to suggest the creed of 381 was simply reaffirming the Trinity. Perhaps the most revealing quote from Lamb is below where he assumes the council of Nicea deemed Oneness doctrine a heresy.
The Oneness doctrine has always been considered heresy, and will always be heresy. Not because the council at Nicaea said so, but because the Bible plainly teaches that God is a Trinity of persons, not parts, modes, or manifestations!
Lamb is simply quoting authors and referencing creeds that he seems to understand very little. Creeds are helpful but are in no way equivalent to Scripture. If they are then the original Creed is not normative for Trinitarians today. The Original Nicene Creed reads:
"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ousia] of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance [homoousion] with the Father, through whom all things came to be, those things that are in heaven and those things that are on earth, who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and was made man, suffered, rose the third day, ascending into the heavens, and will come to judge the living and the dead." 
As a result of the influence of mainly Western bishops, the creed stated that Jesus and the Father were “of one essence” [ousia, existence or being (from the word “to be”)]” and “the same substance” [homoousion] as the Father. Although the word ousia does not appear in the Bible with the same meaning as applied by the council, they used it as a synonym for the Biblical word hupostasis which we see translated as "person" in Hebrews 1:3 (“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person”). That is, the original Nicene Creed said that the underlying reality of Jesus, His very being (deity), is not distinguishable from the Father. In his “being” Jesus is the Father. Thomas Finger clearly points this out:
For example, ousia (“substance”, Lat. substantia), the term central to the creeds’ claim that Son and Father are homoousios (“of the same substance”), carried at least two quite different meanings. In Aristotelian tradition ousia meant a subsisting individual. In Platonism it meant a characteristic shared by many individuals. The Council of Nicea (325 C.E.) intended the second meaning. This meant that Son and Father were distinct. Yet many others understood ousia in the Aristotelian sense. They thought the council was proclaiming that Son and Father were one individual (or modalism, which most of them rejected). Between the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople (381 C.E.) much energy was expended in deciding what ousia should mean, partly by searching for other terms to express the distinctness of Father and Son (such as hypostasis and prosōpon [person]).(3) 
OP's are not Aristotlean philosophers and do not agree with his philosophy anymore than they might would with Plato in certain areas. Such writings are only good as far as they go no matter which side of the issue one finds themselves. OP's believe that Jesus is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19) but that does not mean they fail to recognize certain distinctions as well (1 Tim. 2:5, 3:16). God the Father is God existing as God. Jesus is the same undivided God existing as a man and mediator. A true and permanent Incarnation of God's divine person. This is why every characteristic of the Father is also a characteristic of Jesus as the Son of man. There are no distinctions between the Father and Jesus except those produced by His humanity. When we honor the Son we are honoring the Father.

Lamb then goes on to suggest that modalistic monarchianism was started by Simon of Magus found to be a sorcerer in Acts 8:9-20. This is complete speculation. Outside the Scriptures the identity of Simon Magus is highly debated. Trinitarianism as seen prior was not what the early church believed. Modalism is perhaps the oldest view of the Godhead. Trinitarians will suggest the church evolved away from this view into what is now called the Trinity. Finger suggests that modalism emerged first and took "historical revelation seriously" but "experienced difficulties in accounting for the Biblical distinctions...From early on theology usually rejected modalism."(4) Conversely John Chapman notes, "There was much that was unsatisfactory in the theology of the Trinity and in the Christology of the orthodox writers of the Ante-Nicene period."(5) OP's adequately recognized and explain these Biblical distinctions however they do not allow Platonic philosophy to override rather they appeal to the Scriptures themselves. They also acknowledge progressive revelation but also believe that it will not be contradictory to already revealed truths in God's Word.

According to T.E. Page "There are many legends" about Simon Magus "but nothing is really known..." Page goes on to say that "Justin Martyr relates that he subsequently went to Rome, performed miracles and had a statue erected to him with the inscription Simoni Deo Sancto; but in this he was undoubtedly mistaken, as a stone found in the Tiber A.D. 1574 bears the inscription SEMONI SANCO DEO FIDIO SACRUM, Sancus being a Sabine name for Hercules, and Semo=Semihomo (ἡμίθεος) ‘a hero’."(6) A.T. Robertson also noted this in his Word Pictures in the New Testament. He also suggests that Simon was a common name and also one used by a "number of messianic pretenders..."(7) In the New American Commentary J.B. Polhill records, "It is quite possible that the Simon of Acts had virtually no connection with Justin’s Simonians but was “co-opted” by the later Gnostic group to give a New Testament rootage for their movement."(8) Bruce Metzger also noted that one manuscript calls this man "Atomos". Metzger suggests, "Although most of the manuscripts of Josephus call the magician Simon, one eleventh-century manuscript, supported by the Epitome of the Antiquities, give him the name Atomos (Ἄτομος)."(9)

Lamb is correct to distinguish Sabellius because his form of modalism may not be the same form as that of older modalism. He mistakenly thinks Oneness organizations like the UPC are Sabellians. Although they may have some nominal agreement with Sabellius he may have mistakenly held to sequential modalism. We do not know if Noetus or other modalists may have held an identical view. Modalists primarily believed in one God without distinction of persons. While not rejecting all of the teachings of some of these early writers sequential modalism is and should rejected by OP's.

Click here to visit Lamb's website.


1) Bernard, David K. (1997) The New Birth. (131) Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.

2) http://upci.org/about-us/beliefs

3) Finger, Thomas N. A contemporary Anabaptist theology : Biblical, historical, constructive. 2004 (409). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

4) ibid. pg. 421-422 "Early Christians, who referred to Jesus and the Holy Spirit in terms appropriate to God, were accused of being tritheists. In response theologians insisted on divine unity and explained it by means of three main models. Modalism emerged first. It perceived the three biblical agents as ways, or modes, in which the one God appeared to and worked among humans (usually as Father in the Old Testament, Son in Jesus’ career and Spirit since his resurrection). But while modalism took historical revelation seriously, it experienced difficulties in accounting for biblical distinctions between and interactions among the agents. From early on theology usually rejected modalism."

5) Chapman, John. "Monarchians." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 23 Aug. 2011

6) Page, T. E. (1886). The Acts of the Apostles (131). London: Macmillan.

7) Robertson, A. (1997). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 8:9). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

8) Polhill, J. B. (2001). Vol. 26: Acts (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (216). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

9) Metzger, B. M., & United Bible Societies. (1994). A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition a companion volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed.) (355). London; New York: United Bible Societies.

Roger Perkins and James White Debate - Brisbane Australia

Click here to watch video promo!


Angel of the LORD: Part Seven

Genesis 22:8-18: The Sacrifice of Isaac
ESV | ‎Genesis 22:8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.  ‎9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  ‎10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.  ‎11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.”  ‎12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”  ‎13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.  ‎14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”  ‎15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven  ‎16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,  ‎17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,  ‎18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 
In his Commentary on Genesis Martin Luther noted, "The angels likewise, appear in human form, though it is certain that they are only spirits; spirits we cannot recognize when they present themselves as such, but likenesses we do recognize...This is the simplest way of treating such passages, for the nature of God we cannot define; what he is not we can well define—he is not a voice, a dove, water, bread, wine. And yet in these visible forms he presents himself to us and deals with us."(1) In many of the passages which include the angel of the LORD it is conspicuous that God Himself is acting and working in our world. To suggest that God is more than one person as a result is to make judgments about the nature of God that are not warranted by Scripture.

In the passages we have considered so far it was obvious in most cases that Yahweh and Yahweh's Messenger are one and the same divine person. In Genesis 16:11 the angel of the LORD begins speaking to Hagar after leaving the tent of Abraham. In verse 13 she calls this angel LORD or Yahweh. Commenting on the appearance of the angel of the LORD to Hagar in Genesis 16:13 Reyburn and Fry note that the LORD and the angel of the LORD are the same. They suggest that "the Lord replaces the expression the angel of the Lord, giving the understanding that the two expressions mean the same in this passage, that is, an appearance or manifestation of God to a person. As von Rad says, “The one who speaks, now Yahweh, now the messenger …, is obviously one and the same person. The angel of the Lord is therefore a form in which Yahweh appears. He is God himself in human form.”(2) 

In Genesis 22:8 the ESV, NKJV, NASB and NET have"God will provide for himself...". The NAB, NRSV have "God himself will provide..." and the AV "God will provide himself...".  The emphasis here is that the same personal God of Abraham will, alone, provide the lamb. Without help God will supply the sacrifice. Everett Fox translates "...God will see-for-himself..."(3) God needs no consort or additional persons in order to save. He is the source of provision and only God can save. In Romans 8:31-32 Paul uses irony to explain that if God is for us who can be against us? In verse 32 God, who did not spare his own Son, gave him up for us all. We may can find some similarities here with the offering of Isaac. Yet we know that the Son is God Himself uniquely present (Hebrews 1:1-3). Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22) but if the Son is only body and flesh then there could be no atonement for our sins. 

Matthew records that Jesus is "Emmanuel...God with us." (Matthew 1:23) but before God came in flesh (John 1:14) it was foretold that Yahweh would be our redeemer and savior (Ps. 130:7-8; Deut. 32:43). Exodus 15:2 records, "The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him." (ESV) Here the LORD or Yahweh is our salvation or yeshua and is David's God and Lord (See also Ps. 42:6, 12; 43:5; 62:2; 68:20; 89:27 where the title "savior" is given to Yahweh). 

In verse 11 Abraham is poised with knife in hand when the angel of the LORD calls out to him. Starting in verse 16 the angel of the LORD actually speaks and declares the words of Yahweh in first person (22:16-18). As noted just prior the angel of the LORD is actually the LORD or Yahweh Himself. Use of "angel of the LORD" is not to distinguish one divine person from another but a reverential way of referring to the same divine person--Yahweh. 

In Isaiah 44:6 we have another interesting interplay of words. We read, "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." (ESV) Notice the slight difference of rendering here by the NET: "This is what the LORD, Israel’s king, says, their protector, the LORD who commands armies: “I am the first and I am the last, there is no God but me." Trinitarians often suggest that the phrase "the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts" makes a distinction between two divine persons of the Trinity. In reality, God is presented with a double title and not double persons. Such a view allows the Scriptures to be interpreted by themselves without having to insert later philosophical or theological ideas about God who is actually a council of divine persons. J.D.W. Watts seems to support such an idea also. He noted, "The Herald presents God by a double title. He is King of Israel....He is revealed in this act as Israel’s redeemer, Yahweh of Hosts."(4) Verse seven through eight makes things even more clear concerning how many persons are being spoken of in this verse. Yahweh says:
"Who is like me? Let him make his claim! Let him announce it and explain it to me – since I established an ancient people – let them announce future events! ‎8 Don’t panic! Don’t be afraid! Did I not tell you beforehand and decree it? You are my witnesses! Is there any God but me? There is no other sheltering rock; I know of none." (44:7-8 ESV) 
If more than one divine person is being referenced then the memo must have gotten lost. Instead Yahweh speaks with singular personal pronouns, "Who is like me?....Is there any God but me?" Here Yahweh says that his hearers are "my witnesses" meaning He has testified to them concerning His Oneness. He also says "I know of none". The verb "know" here is in the perfect tense (See also Ps. 140:13, Job 42:2). It means that God does not possess information(5) about anyone else nor can He find out about anyone else. Yahweh is our rock and our salvation and there is no one beside Him. Yahweh is without distinction in His eternal nature and does not recognize or perceive any other God beside Him. Any future NT revelations are not intended to contradict this either. The singularity referenced here is "first and last" meaning it applies to all times. Therefore, no other divine person who is called God could exist. NT revelation will further show that Jesus is God and that He is the True God manifest in flesh  (e.g. John 1:1, Titus 2:13, Romans 9:5, 1 Peter 1:1, 1 John 5:20, 1 Tim. 3:16). Jesus is the express image of Yahweh's being (Heb. 1:3) and we shall behold His face on that Day.


1) Luther, Martin. Commentary on Genesis. Translated by John Nicholas Lenker, D.D. Vol. II The Luther Press: Minneapolis, Minn. USA: 1910

2) Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (1997). A handbook on Genesis. UBS handbook series (355). New York: United Bible Societies.

3) Fox, E. (1995). Vol. 1: The five books of Moses : Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy ; a new translation with introductions, commentary, and notes. The Schocken Bible (Ge 22:8). New York: Schocken Books.

4) Watts, J. D. W. (2002). Vol. 25: Word Biblical Commentary : Isaiah 34-66. Word Biblical Commentary (145). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

5) See Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


Pre-1900 Examples of Apostolic Doctrine in North America by Stephen Kuntzman

Acts 2:38

History undeniably records various elements of distinctly Orthodox Apostolic doctrine in North America as early as 1677, which was only 70 years after the first permanent settlement was established in Jamestown.[1]  What we will attempt to show is a chronological outline of these various apostolic doctrines and practices as they appear in the index of North American history. While many will view this as a restoration of Apostolic Pentecostal experience we maintain that it actually proves the continued existence and growth of the orthodox teaching of the book of Acts.  We further assert that there have always been pockets of true believers in every century following and obeying the true message of the New Birth.  Some examples record partial alignment with the Apostles’ doctrine, the following is a list of some of those instances:

  • Society of Friends (Quakers) – “…our tongues loosed and our mouths opened, and we spake with new tongues as the Lord gave utterance, and as His Spirit led us.”[2]
  • John Wesley (1703-1791) – “What so impressed and encouraged John Wesley and his followers, what so shocked, startled, and bewildered his contemporaries, is no mystery to the modern psychologist, to whom it is known as glossolalia…”[3]
  • Charles G. Finney (1783-1875) – “I received a mighty baptism in the Holy Ghost…No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart.  I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart.”[4]
  • John Miller – a Presbyterian minister wrote Is God a Trinity in 1876 and “believed that the doctrine of the trinity was not biblical and that it greatly hindered the Church….He emphatically declared the full deity of Jesus Christ.”[5]
  • D. L. Moody (1837-1899) – According to R. A. Torrey, Moody’s friend and associate, he once witnessed Moody walk to the pulpit to preach but instead of addressing the crowd in English he began to speak in another language.  This occurred one more time before he was able to gain control and preach to the audience, but “only after much prayer and praise.”[6]
  • LowellOhio (1835) – a group of Camisards and/or French Huguenots establish an Orthodox Apostolic Acts 2:38 believing Church, but article IX of the church constitution changes the baptismal formula from Jesus’ name to the trinitarian formula in 1847.  In 1980 Dr. Nelson preaches the Apostolic message to the congregation and they convert back to the orthodox message of Acts 2:38.[7]
  • Dan Huntington (1850) – baptized people in Boston,Massachusetts in Jesus’ name.[8]
  • Canada (1854) – “There was an organization of Acts2:38 clergymen in Canada.”[9]
  • America (1865) – More than 160,000 Americans spoke in tongues.[10] [11]
  • Alvin E. Velie (1884-1904) – all pre-1900:[12]

1)      Wrote the book Safety First Acts 2:38.

2)      Baptized over 1,500 people in Jesus’ name inWisconsin.

3)       Preached in various locations along the Mississippi River.

4)      Preached a considerable amount of the time in the Salvation Army.

  • Charles Fox Parham – “the first leader in the twentieth century Pentecostal movement, began to administer water baptism in Jesus' name, although he apparently did not link this practice with an explicit denial of trinitarianism.”[13]  Parham also “formulated the basic Pentecostal doctrine of ‘initial evidence’ after a student in his Bethel Bible School, Agnes Ozman, experienced glossolalia in January, 1901.”[14] 

Click here to visit Stephen's blog: The Pillar and Ground of Truth
[1] Weisser, Thomas. After the Way Called Heresy. 1981.
[2] Bresson, Bernard L. Studies in Ecstasy. New York: Vintage Press. 1966. p. 48-52.
[3] Bowen, Marjorie. Wrestling Jacob: a study of the life of John Wesley. London: Watts & Co. 1948.
[4] Finney, Charles G. Memoirs of Charles G. Finney, being an Autobiography. New York.
[5] Bernard, David K. The Oneness of God. Hazelwood: Pentecostal Publishing House. 1993. 31 May 2005.
[6] Darbee, Lennard. Tongues: the Dyanmite of God.
[7] Nelson, Joseph. Church History. Parkersburg Bible College. Lecture given and Church Constitution shown to class on 18 November 2002.
[8] Synan, V. Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, NJ: Logos. 1975.
[9] Arnold, Marvin M. Apostolic History Outline. Arno Publications, Inc. 1985.
[11] Blunt, John H. Dictionary Of Sects, Heresies, Ecclesiastical Parties, And Schools Of Religious Thought.Ann Arbor: Gryphon Books. 1971.
[12] Nelson, Joseph. Church History. Parkersburg Bible College. Lecture on 18 November 2002.
[13] Bernard, David K. The Oneness of God. Hazelwood: Pentecostal Publishing House. 1993. 31 May 2005.http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/pentecostal/One-Ch10.htm.
[14] Synan, V. Pentecostalism. 16 April 2005. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/pentecos.htm.


Angel of the LORD: Part Six

Genesis 19:24 and Double Use of Yahweh: 
Genesis 19:23-26: The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. ESV
In his book Trinity: Evidence and Issues, under section title "Two Yahwehs" Dr. Robert Morey suggests that the "only" natural interpretation "possible" of Genesis 19:24 is that Yahweh in human form rained down fire from the Yahweh in heaven. Morey suggests, "No other interpretation fits the context and grammar of the Hebrew text."(1) Trinitarian apologist Dr. James White has also appealed to this very passage suggesting it too reveals Yahweh as consisting of multiple persons.(2)  Such Trinitarians have in mind here as well that each Yahweh is a separate divine person with their own mind and center of consciousness. Therefore, the divine person on earth is raining down fire from the other divine person in heaven.

One is forced to ask why one divine person would even need to rain down fire from heaven from another divine person? Is this what Moses was intending to impress upon us as the author of Genesis? Sadly, this may just be another case of Trinitarians trying to find the Trinity under every verse. Many Trinitarian commentaries are silent on this verse concerning the Trinity. However, if the "only" interpretation is the one of Morey or White then we should see some recognition of this from Abraham or Lot in the Genesis narrative. A conception of Yahweh being more than one person though is nowhere found in the Scriptures and especially in the Old Testament. 

In Genesis 18 Abraham visited with Yahweh and possibly two angels. He later intercedes with God on the behalf of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 18:22 suggests that the angels leave God and Abraham and continue "toward Sodom" (ESV) Now God's judgement upon human wickedness had come. The two angels convince Lot and his family to move from the path of God's judgment. Before we look closer at verse 24 let's look at some verses prior.
12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.”...17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. ESV
The word "men" is referencing angels (vs.12). They also tell Lot that "we are about to destroy this place"(vs. 13). Why? Because the the outcry had become great before Yahweh and it is Yahweh Himself who sends the angels (vs. 13). Lot immediately tells his family that Yahweh is about to destroy the city (vs. 14). He recognizes that God is involved in what these angels had to say. Then while recognizing something special about them Lot calls the angels "my lords" (ESV, NRSV, NASB, NKJV); "my lord" (NAB, KJV, Tanakh); "No, please, Lord" (NET). The Hebrew word for "Lord" here is adonai and has several uses. The word form in this verse is an emphatic plural. This plural can also be taken to be singular or plural but should more likely be translated in the singular in this case. Lot actually continues in verse 19 with "your servant has found favor in your sight," where both pronouns ("your") are in the singular form. Nothing about this is an indicator for the Trinity. The angel grants Lot's request and he is allowed to escape to Bela a city thereafter called Zoar. 

Once Lot and his family are removed we read verse 24. The narrative is reaching a climax wherein the impending judgement the angels had warned Lot and his family about is now overhead. Yahweh rains down "sulfur and fire" (ESV) is the conclusion. Here we possibly have two words that form a hendiadys(3) which is used to increase the effect of what is said. By doing it this way two words are used to refer to one thing for added emphasis. The meaning could be something like "burning sulfur".(4) Either way it has no bearing upon the nature of God here. Now let's compare 19:24 in several major translations to see how they treat the double use of Yahweh in this verse. Notice the differences carefully.

NAB | at the same time the LORD rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah (from the LORD out of heaven). 
‎‎NRSV | Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 
‎‎ESV | ‎Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. 
‎‎NASB95 | ‎Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, 
‎‎NKJV | ‎Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 
‎‎NET | ‎Then the LORD rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the LORD. 
NIV11| Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.

Did God allow Moses to record this verse in such a way to represent two separate or different divine persons? They must be different because if they are the "same" then one person is identical to the other person. As noted above some interpret Genesis 19:24 to refer to two divine persons each called LORD. If this is true then this also means one LORD (first divine person) on earth orchestrated with, in some way, the other LORD (second divine person) in heaven to rain down fire. 

All translations involve interpretation but the point seems clear to this reader. The NAB places the second occurrence of Yahweh in a parenthesis to suggest its use for further emphasis. The NRSV, ESV, NASB are nearly identical. The NKJV places a comma after the word "Gommorah" and the NET makes another sentence while supplying the words “It was sent down” for stylistic reasons. They also suggest that "The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the LORD. What exactly this was, and how it happened, can only be left to intelligent speculation..."(5) The NIV is also careful to distinguish the second use with "—from the LORD out of the heavens." By way of the second use of Yahweh it appears the Hebrew writer has given us an example of a restatement. The Reformation scholar John Calvin also suggested this view.(6) Everett Fox's translation here seems to capture this as well. Notice, "But YHWH rained down brimstone and fire upon Sedom and Amora, coming from YHWH, from the heavens,"(7)

Whether this burning sulfur was a natural phenomena is not important when one considers the source. This was the divine judgement of Yahweh, the Creator of heaven and earth. This is the very thing the angels had warned Lot about. The source of the destruction being emphasized is from the LORD/Yahweh above. The Hebrew writer may have restated and used Yahweh twice to emphasize this very thing. Jeremiah 23:24 suggests that no man can hide himself from Yahweh and that He fills heaven and earth. Even if Yahweh had appeared here in a human or theophanic form this would not limit Yahweh, the Almighty, from being able to rain down fire from the heavens. His ability to do so does not require Him to also consist of multiple persons. 

If this interpretation is valid it cannot be said that Moses had such a one in mind. Such conclusions are likely to come only when an individual is familiar with or using Trinitarian philosophy. The philosophical terminology needed for the Trinity would not be provided for several hundred years after the death of the Bible writers (e.g. John - A.D. 100). In verse 24 both LORD/Yahweh statements describe the LORD as one being, in one place and doing one thing, i.e. in heaven, raining down fire. Keil and Delitzsch suggest there is no distinction implied here:
In the words “Jehovah caused it to rain from Jehovah” there is no distinction implied between the hidden and the manifested God, between the Jehovah present upon earth in His angels who called down the judgment, and the Jehovah enthroned in heaven who sent it down;(8)
Some have gone so far with Old Testament plurals to suggest the Hebrews were polytheists that had evolved into monotheism. The typical Trinitarian will reign in just short of this view suggesting there is a distinction between persons not gods. I do applaud my Trinitarian friends for stopping short here but in reality they can only offer a soft defense of monotheism. Such an inference is not necessary or conclusive. We should always press further to adhere to the very monotheistic creed Jesus Himself affirmed to the Jewish ruler (Mark 12:29-30). 

We should never overemphasize any conceived plurality at the expense of His singularity. Suggesting that there are two divine persons who are "LORD" and also separate from each other with their own mind or consciousness falls short of true monotheism. This view is militated against by the Scriptures themselves. There is only one LORD (Deuteronomy 6:4; Eph. 4:3-6). Our interpretation of Scripture should never deviate from what it has already fundamentally revealed. We do not understand everything about God but the fact of His Oneness is not hidden from even those who but casually read His Word.


1) Morey, R. A. (1996). The Trinity : Evidence and Issues (116). Iowa Falls, IA.: World Pub. "The only natural interpretation possible is that יְהוָה in human form standing on the earth rained fire from the יְהוָה who was in heaven. No other interpretation fits the context and grammar of the Hebrew text."

3) See NIV or NAB. The NET editors suggest “burning sulfur” in the footnotes. See Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press. 

3) Hendiadys: using two or three terms to express the same idea.

4) Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.

5) Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.

6) "To this point belongs what Moses says, that the Lord rained fire from the Lord. The repetition is emphatical, because the Lord did not then cause it to rain, in the ordinary course of nature; but, as if with a stretched out hand, he openly fulminated in a manner to which he was not accustomed, for the purpose of making it sufficiently plain, that this rain of fire and brimstone was produced by no natural causes." (Calvin, John. Commentary on Genesis (Vol. I) - See also "From the Lord out of heaven: this emphasizes that the source of the destruction is from the Lord above. NEB, REB say “from the skies.” Reyburn, W. D., Fry, E. M. (1997). A handbook on Genesis. UBS handbook series (432). New York: United Bible Societies.

7) Fox, E. (1995). Vol. 1: The five books of Moses : Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy ; a new translation with introductions, commentary, and notes. The Schocken Bible (Ge 19:24). New York: Schocken Books.

8) Keil, C. F., Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Ge 19:23–28). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.


1x1x1=1 Is Not A Trinitarian Argument

In 2005 a debate took place in California between three Unitarians and three Trinitarians. It was a marginally interesting debate. On the Unitarian side were Lee Greer, Andre Dixon, & Dan Mages. On the Trinitarian side were Gabriel Coleangelo, Mike Sarkisian, & Edward Enochs.(1) In previous discussions and debates in the past I have heard Trinitarians resort to multiplication. This usually occurs when the Trinitarian is trying to explain such an inexplicable doctrine. The argument looks something like: 1x1x1=1. 

Recently I was looking over some of my books by Dr. Stanley M. Horton. In his book, Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective he offers these opening remarks on the Trinity: "A great mystery is before us here, for, since there is only one God, only one Trinity (or "Triunity"), we have no adequate analogies, or comparisons, to aid us in understanding the Trinity of the Godhead (the divine Being that exists in a unity of three distinct, divine Persons)." (See Horton) In the footnotes Dr. Horton actually gives an analogy. It is much like the analogy given at the debate in California. He notes:
"Dr. Nathan Wood, former president of God College and Gordon Divinity School, believed we could see the imprint of the Trinity in nature. He suggested, for example, that three-dimensional space shows it. If the dimensions of a room are taken as equal units, the length goes through the entire room, so do the width and the height, yet each is distinct. And to get the space you do not add 1 + 1 +1; you multiply 1 x 1 x 1, which is still one. (Like all analogies, however, this one falls short, since dimensions are not personal.)"(2)
Phil Hernandes, a Trinitarian apologist, in an article entitled "What is the Trinity" also appeals to this argument. With some reserve he suggests, "...if God were deduced to a mathematical formulae he would not be 1+1+1=3 which would be tritheism, but would be 1x1x1=1, a unified one."(3) I think my Trinitarian friends do not really want to use this argument. The Trinity is essentially one God who is three persons. Three divine persons who are called God. Let's consider the Trinity in light of this multiplication problem. 1x1x1=1. Let's actually do the math. This equation essentially amounts to something like this:

Father = 1
Son = 1
Holy Spirit = 1

Therefore, 1x1x1=1. On the surface this seems to aid the Trinitarian argument concerning three who are called God. Let's look even closer. Remember, in Trinitarianism the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit = three divine persons. Now, let's plug in the real data:

1 (Father person) x 1 (Son person) x 1 (Holy Spirit person) = 1 (person)

How about I and my Father are one (John 10:30)?

1 (Father person) x 1 (Son person) = 1 (person)

I still see this as the wrong argument for Trinitarians. Horton is right when he says that before him lay a "great mystery" if what was before him was the Trinity. Such an argument is something like three divine persons = one divine person. I am open to being wrong here but I seriously doubt this is an orthodox Trinitarian argument. Trinitarians who have adopted some type of philosophical modalism may find this argument satisfying but do not seem to be Trinitarians (modern ones at least) at this point. Essentially, when we start to do math in our discussions of God we are heading in the wrong direction. God is one and should not be added or multiplied. Yahweh--alone--is a dynamic and living God. 


1) Click here for the Greer, Dixon, Mages and Coleangelo, Sarkisian, Enochs debate video made available from Christian Monotheism.com 

2) Horton, Stanley, M. Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective © 1993 by Gospel Publishing House. All rights reserved.

3) Click here to read this article from Let Us Reason by Phil Hernandes


Angel of the LORD: Part Five

Exodus 3: Moses’ Burning Bush Experience
2 And the angel of theLord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am. ESV
On Mount Sinai Moses had perhaps the most defining moment of his life. In Exodus 3 God appears to Moses as he is keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, at the mountain of God. It may be best to understand this location as referring to Mount Sinai which was considered a holy mountain. However, the identification or exact location of Mount Sinai is doubtful.(26) This experience was so profound on the life of Moses. So much so that that this mount is the same place he would later bring Israel back to after the exodus from Egypt (See Exodus 19:2-3).

In The Jewish Trinity Sourcebook author Yoel Natan literally pushes his interpretation of the Trinity further from true Biblical monotheism. He suggests that "mountain of God" should read, “He led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of All The Gods.”(27) This may not be so bad since he is referencing a location but in the same verse identifies “Gods” or Elohim here as referring to the Trinity. Natan also suggests, "Often in sections where there is a mix of singular and plural words referring to Yahveh, the singular words do refer to The Trinity."

Elohim is translated as god, gods or God (28) and never person or persons. In context of the Jewish Deity it always refers to the One True God. This term is also used in Genesis 1:26 when God addresses the angels and says “Let us...”. God communicating or addressing angels is a common feature in the Old Testament (Gen. 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, Isa. 6:8, Job 38:7). Elohim is used to refer to both pagan gods and Yahweh God. It is translated in the KJV as “thou are mighty” in Genesis 23:6; “with great” in Genesis 30:8; “thy gods” Genesis 31:32; it is also used in Judges 16:23 to refer to the god Dagon of the Philistines. 

Elohim can also be used to refer to everything we can comprehend about the divine reality or God. This is why El is accompanied in the word to emphasize that Elohim alone "exhausts everything comprehended in the category of divine reality."(29) Its reference within the context of  Jewish monotheism means God not gods or god. G.T. Manley and F.F. Bruce, commenting on the names of God, suggest that Elohim "is appropriate to cosmic and world-wide relationships (Gn. 1:1), because there is only one supreme and true God, and he is a Person; it approaches the character of a proper noun, while not losing its abstract and conceptual quality."(30) They go on to suggest that Yahweh "in contrast with Elohim, is a proper noun, the name of a Person, though that Person is divine. As such, it has its own ideological setting; it presents God as a Person, and so brings him into relationship with other, human, personalities. It brings God near to man, and he speaks to the Patriarchs as one friend to another."(31)

Yahweh is shown to be God of gods (Deut. 10:17). Yahweh is Elohim (God) and declared that no one is besides Him. (Deut. 4:35). The singular personal pronoun "Him" that is often used in reference to and actually by Yahweh can refer to one person. Yahweh's communication with the Hebrews is always as something like a person to person relationship. I have yet to find one experience where more than one divine person is represented as being Yahweh. Trinitarians can make such claims based upon a Kierkegaardean sense of faith but not one completely committed to the Biblical message.

Natan is using anachronistic Trinitarian presuppositions and concepts to read more into these texts than is necessary. His obvious bias is apparent though. Major Christian translations such as the NAB, NRSV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, and NET render this “the mountain of God.” Even Jewish translations such as those done by Everrett Fox, Robert Alter, Richard E. Friedman and the Tanakh (JPS) all render Elohim here as “God.” The LXX does not even render Elohim and instead only has “mountain of Choreb.” Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich in their rendering of the Dead Sea Scrolls even have “mountain of God.”(32) 

No ordinary situation would have probably caused Moses to get distracted from tending to his flock. After seeing this bush Moses turned aside to see this great sight. Fire and smoke are frequently used symbolically with divine presence (See Ex. 13:21-22). In this passage we have no mere man or an angel. It is God Himself who calls out to Moses. God is communicating His presence and message to Moses. It will change his life forever. 

As we saw with Abraham in Genesis 18 the use of "angel of the LORD" here could be a way of previewing the events that are to be reported.(33). It may be like saying, "This is how it happened..." Different meanings have been suggested here though. In the Commentary Critical and Explanatory of the Old and New Testaments it is suggested, “Here the preternatural fire may be primarily meant by the expression “angel of the Lord””.(34) The Jewish Study Bible suggests this is an angel that "takes the form of fire, a substance evocative of the divine because it is insubstantial yet powerful, dangerous, illuminating, and purifying.” (35) In any case, God appears to Moses as the angel of the LORD(36) and something supernatural is happening. As Moses draws near God speaks from the burning bush. Robert Alter, professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, notes:
“In what follows, it is God Himself reported as speaking to Moses from the burning bush. Either God first assigns a divine emissary to initiate the pyrotechnic display that will get Moses’ attention, or the piety of early scribal tradition introduced an intermediary into the original text in order to avoid the uncomfortable image of the LORD’S revealing Himself in a bush.”(37) 
As we noted in previous posts by scholars such as Lampe, Dunn and the Oxford Companion to the Bible that the idea of God Himself reaching out to communicate His message may have been replaced with the need for intermediaries between the untouchable and unknowable. Between God and humans. It is God Himself who has come near to communicate His message and presence to Moses. God is not contingent upon persons or intermediaries.

Such a divine act is not predicated or determined by how many persons God may or may not have nor upon a need for an intermediary. These are all human conclusions of the events. God can be a perfect and complete self that is capable of interacting with and entering into His own creation. The burning bush that was not consumed cannot be explained by natural phenomenon. This suggests to us that God is not hopelessly unknowable or merely prior to creation but at the same time willing to engage it in real time and space. 

The movement of these verses is very fluid as it moves from the angel of the LORD being thought of as merely an angel or a burning bush to being Yahweh Himself. Notice the angel of the LORD was said to be “in” the bush and yet God calls out from the bush. Yahweh serves as His own messenger. The meaning is clear that messenger or angel of the LORD referenced here is used with reverence as a synonym of Yahweh Himself. R. Alan Cole suggests a similar interpretation when he suggests, 
“The angel of the Lord: literally ‘messenger of YHWH’. As verse 4 speaks of God Himself calling to Moses out of the bush, ‘angel’ here is probably only a reverential synonym for God’s own presence, as in the Patriarchal stories (Gen. 18:1; 19:1)...Advanced angelology does not occur until the apocalyptic books of the Old Testament (Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah). Throughout the whole of the earlier period, it would be better to translate the word ‘angel’ as ‘messenger’ and leave it to the context to decide whether this emissary is human, superhuman, or simply a reverential way of referring to God Himself, as apparently here.” (38)
In the ESV above we read “LORD” and “God”. The first term "LORD" is actually the Hebrew word for Yahweh and the latter "God" is Elohim. John I. Durham has suggested, “there was no inconsistency: the addition of Elohim (v 4) to the messenger, the fire, and Yahweh of v 2 simply provided four designations of the same and single reality.”(39) We cannot assume by the language of these verses that more than one divine person is present and speaking. Yahweh Himself. That would be to say too much about the passage. It was obviously not revealed unto Moses and the Hebrew people. We shall look closer at this when we discuss Judges 13. Notice Exodus 3:5-6:

5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. ESV

Exodus 3:2 contains the first mention of Yahweh (Yahweh's messenger) in that book. Once Yahweh had the attention of Moses he lays out an essential element in Monotheism. Here God cannot be confused with any god of the Orient. He cannot be simply an impersonal "what" in the context of Biblical revelation including the Old Testament. Yahweh  immediately reveals His identity to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  In verses 7-9 God continues to let Moses know that He is greatly concerned about the suffering of His people. An obvious expression of feeling or emotion. God here is not a "what" but a "who" that speaks as a "He", "me" and is called a "Him". 


26) Negev, A. (1996). The Archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Land (3rd ed.). New York: Prentice Hall Press.

27) Natan, Yoel. (2003) The Jewish Trinity Sourcebook : Trinitarian Readings From The Old Testament. Copyright (c) 2003 by Yoel Natan. All Rights Reserved.

28) Henry, C. F. H. (1999). Vol. 2: God, revelation, and authority (185). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.

29) Holladay, W. L., Köhler, L., & Köhler, L. (1971). A concise Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament. (16). Leiden: Brill.

30) Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (420). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

31) ibid. pg. 421

32) Abegg, Martin Jr & Flint, Peter. & Ulrich, Eugene. (1999) The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible. (28) New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.

33) "a kind of preview or superscription to the events reported in 3:2b–6, which are then described in chronological sequence. This is a rhetorical device occasionally used in biblical narrative. In some languages it may be necessary to make this explicit by adding the words “and this is how it happened” at the end of the clause. The And at the beginning of the verse may be understood as “There” (3:2 TEV), or “In that place." (Osborn, N. D., & Hatton, H. (1999). A handbook on Exodus. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators (55). New York: United Bible Societies.)

34) Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Ex 3:2–3). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

35) Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, Michael Fishbane. (2004) Jewish Study Bible: The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. (110) New York, NY: Oxford University Press

36) Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Ex 3:2–5). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.

37) Alter, Robert. (2004) The Five Books of Moses: A Translation With Commentary. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company

38) Cole, Alan R. (1973) Exodus: Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. (64) Downers, Grove: Inter-Varsity Press

39) Durham, J. I. (2002). Vol. 3: Word Biblical Commentary : Exodus. Word Biblical Commentary (31). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.


Angel of the LORD: Part Four

Genesis 18: Abraham and Three Men
1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3 and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. ESV
John J. Davis notes, "Some commentators argue that the three men were the three persons of the trinity, but their argument is unconvincing."(21) Many passages cited by Trinitarians as evidence of multiple divine persons are in reality inconclusive. Such an interpretation is not certain nor necessary. Let's allow the inspired Bible writer to tell his own story.

Two chapters prior the angel of the LORD had appeared to Hagar after she had been removed from the camp of Abraham (See Gen. 16). In this chapter Abraham and his wife Sara are promised to have a son who would be called Isaac. This is the beginning of God's fulfillment to Abraham as being a great nation (Gen. 17:5). In Judges 13 the angel of the LORD also appears to Manoah announcing the birth of Samson. This chapter also leads into the story of God’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). That is why God reveals to Abraham his intentions to bring judgement (Gen. 18:17-21).

Verse 1 begins by telling us that the LORD or Yahweh was made visible to Abraham while he was sitting at the door of his tent perhaps preparing for an afternoon nap. Some have suggested thought that the phrase “And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre” might be a title or heading for the elaborate story that follows (e.g. Genesis 17:1). In other words, it sets the stage for the following events. (22) If this is true then as Abraham is seated by the door of his tent he sees what appears to be three men.

As verse two makes clear Abraham thought they were men at first. He rushes to extend the typical hospitality and humility of the Oriental tradition by bowing and asking to wash their feet (18:2). He offers a respectful greeting and bows. His bowing to the visitors was nothing more than an expression of humility. Richard E. Friedman suggests these three "men" are all three angels. He notes, “Abraham can face three angels and address “my Lord.” And an angel can speak God’s words in first person or can speak about God in third person. All this is so because in some ways an angel is an identifiable thing itself, and in some ways it is merely a representation of divine presence in human affairs.” (23) I agree with Friedman here about first person and third person language. However, I disagree that all three men were really angels.

Jewish NT scholar Pinchas Lapide admits, “...it appears clear to most of the exegetes that God is manifested here in a triad of men, or as one of the three men, which corresponds to a dynamic monotheism attempting to bring the manifoldness of the experience of God under a single roof.” (24) Keil and Delitzch and other scholars suggest here that it is Yahweh and two angels that appears to Abraham, in human form.(25) For God to appear to us it would have to be in a form we could safely and intelligibly understand or discern. This could also explain why the Scriptures also record the presence of the angel of the LORD.

In 18:3 Abraham says, "if I have found favor in your sight". This is actually common when used to reference someone of a higher rank or to honor someone. Laban (Gen. 30:27), Jacob (32:5) Shechem (Gen. 34:11) and the Egyptians (Gen. 47:25) all used this same phrase. This alone is no evidence of a theophany or even an angel at this point. However, perhaps Abraham did not immediately recognize who his guests truly were. It seems though Abraham and Sarah were indeed visited by the LORD Himself. In 18:12-13 the LORD discerns Sara's inner laughter and asks if anything is "too hard" for the LORD?

In verse 13 we read, “The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’” (18:13, ESV) Here the Lord, alone, speaks to Abraham. This becomes even more clear as we reach verse 22 where we read, “22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.” (18:22, ESV) The term “Lord” here is used throughout this chapter as an obvious and specific reference to God and not the other two angels. Only one of them is recognized as true LORD while the others are angels. These two angels eventually leave Abraham and are the very two who later appear to Lot in the next chapter (Gen. 19:1) to bring judgement to Sodom (Gen. 19:12-13). 

Genesis 18 includes no Trinitarian concepts. The LORD appears to Abraham with probably two angels that at first appeared to be men. These are not three divine persons of the Trinity. If so, the Trinity is actually three divine beings who are all called God, i.e. tritheism. It seems clear, at least to this writer, that Yahweh Himself appears as one person in human form.


21) Davis, John J (1975). Paradise to Prison (196) Salem, Wisconsin. Sheffield Publishing Company.

22) See Wenham, G. J. (2002). Vol. 2: Word Biblical Commentary : Genesis 16-50. Word Biblical Commentary (45). Dallas: Word, Incorporated. - Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (1997). A handbook on Genesis. UBS handbook series (384). New York: United Bible Societies.

23) Friedman, Richard E. (2001) Commentary on Torah. (63) New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.

24) Lapide, Pinchas. (2002) Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine. A Dialogue by Pinchas Lapide and Jurgen Moltmann. Eugene, Oregon: Wiipf and Stock Publishers

25) See Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Ge 18:1–15). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. - Davis, John J (1975). Paradise to Prison (196) Salem, Wisconsin. Sheffield Publishing Company. - Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition (4th ed.) (Ge 18:1–15). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press. - Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. (1995). Reformation study Bible, the : Bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture : New King James Version (Ge 18:2). Nashville: T. Nelson. - Reyburn, W. D., & Fry, E. M. (1997). A handbook on Genesis. UBS handbook series (385). New York: United Bible Societies.

The Attack of The Fitness Water on the Dividing Line!

Are you OK, Dr. White? Your podcast about lexicons and resources was very good. I must admit when I first heard you tell Rich "I think we're gonna have to take a break now" I was a little worried. But after I played it back to make sure I heard what I thought I did I couldn't help but laugh! My side hurts. Great podcast but please no more swigs of "fitness water."  

I was disappointed that your "British friend" was discouraged by your show. I believe we should be diligent students of God's Word (2 Tim. 2:15). However, after listening to you it seems you suggest one must know the original languages in order to understand the Trinity and consequently the Scriptures. Most believers have no formal seminary experience and the common man on the street that I witness to doesn't either. Dr. White if our English translations have any value then they should evident your view of the Trinity. If so, what good are they after all? I believe an element in early Reformation history was the impulse to put the Scriptures in the language of the common man. Because of this I believe our world is a much better and more brilliant place.

Do you believe that all Oneness believers are wrong because they do not "understand" how the language works? If so, wouldn't that mean any Trinitarian who also disagrees or misunderstands something also doesn't understand how the language works? How about when you told Robert Sabin that the Father was speaking in John 17:5? The subject speaking in that passage is Christ Jesus. Did you understand how the language worked then too? I get the impression from listening to you that you are the only one who really knows anything about Biblical exegesis and interpretation. I mean how many really know anything about the Greek article, right?

You have also repeatedly criticized my use of James D.G. Dunn and well you should given his criticisms of popular Trinitarian beliefs. You should more clearly point out though that scholars such as Dunn aren't the only ones I cite who disagree with you. There is nothing inconsistent or logically invalid in my use of such a scholar. If you feel there is I would like for you to demonstrate this for us. At this point you have only complained. If you simply disagree with them then just say so. Consider the following premises and conclusion.

A) James White likes to ride his bike in the mountains.
B) James White is a human.
C) Therefore, all humans like to bike in the mountains.

I am comfortable with saying premises A and B are true. I think you would too but we shall see. However, admittedly the conclusion is false. Although many may like biking in the mountains I am sure there is one or two on our planet that do not. Are any of the premises true, Dr. White?


Angel of the LORD: Part Three

Who is the“Angel of the LORD”?

Everett Fox gives a somewhat vague answer. He suggests it is an “unspecified manifestation of God, and open to wide interpretation.”(8) In the Oxford Companion to The Bible we read a rather critical suggestion, “The Angel of the Lord” is a problematic figure. The ambiguous Hebrew phrase is best translated without the definite article, that is “an angel of Yahweh”. Later Christian theology tended to see the pre-incarnate Christ in this figure (hence the definite article), but the phrase probably referred vaguely to any mediator sent by God...(Gen. 16.7-13; 22.11-12; 31:11-13; Exod. 3.2-4; Judg. 6.11-23), it is probably that some of these stories originally described God at work but were modified through time to accommodate God’s increasing transcendence as one who no longer casually confronted mankind.” (9)

The question of identity concerning this Biblical character is debated from the start. (10) There are even mixed views amongst Trinitarians on this subject. Some have gone so far as to compare this Biblical character to the Incarnation itself. The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary needlessly appeals to mystery, “This special relationship is a mystery similar to that between Jesus and God in the New Testament.”(11) In a newer edition they remove the term "mystery": "This special relationship has led many to conclude that the Angel of the Lord was Jesus in a pre-incarnate form." (12) There is no need to further obfuscate Trinitarian theology by appealing to mystery. Some will also suggest that it is only an angel or Michael, the archangel. Justin Martyr speaks of this character often. In his Dialogue with Trypho he frequently calls Jesus “the Angel.”  The Hellenized Jewish philosopher Philo identified the Angel of the Lord with the logos.

D.M. Howard suggests that there are about three options. He notes, (1) It is simply an angel with a special commission. (2) It may be a momentary descent of God himself into visibility. (3) It may be the Logos himself (i.e., Christ) “a kind of temporary preincarnation of the second person of the trinity.” Because of the close relationship—even alternation—of the angel of the Lord and the Lord himself, it would seem that the first option is not adequate. The angel represents God himself in very real ways.”(13) We would agree with Howard on the fact that the first one is not adequate and would also suggest that the latter is stating too much. Advanced angelology is probably not very developed at this point in Jewish history either. The second option is most coherent and is compatible with the Oneness view: God Himself became visible if only momentarily.

The term “angel” can also be thought of as simply “messenger” and should be defined more closely by its usage in context. The Hebrew writers are simply relating to us the divine presence that they saw and felt through these experiences with God Himself. D.R. Wood offers this view, “In the NT there is no possibility of the “Angel of Jehovah” being confused with God. He appears as *GABRIEL in Lk. 1:19,”(14) Although Wood is referencing the New Testament it seems quite logical that some of the appearances of the “angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament are indeed Gabriel (one of two named angels), or another angel. The angel Gabriel or another angel simply cannot account for all of the Biblical records of this character.

This character can also be thought of as referring to someone other than God. When this is so the angel is often doing the work of God and speaking for God. In the fourth vision of Zechariah 1 the angel of the Lord asks the Lord for information and then receives comforting words indicating that he is perhaps not co-equal with God in power or knowledge. D.J. Clark and H.A. Hatton  recommend that "(a) that the angel among the myrtles and the angel who talked with the prophet are regarded as separate figures; and (b) that “the angel of the Lord” in verse 12 is identified with the angel among the myrtles."(15)

An early Reformation scholar Michael Servetus suggested that Christ is compared to the angels in the book of Hebrews so that we “could understand that Christ himself...was above the angels as the true God.” He goes on to say, “The Jews saw the angel in God and God in the angel; we see Christ in God and God in Christ. God was once worshipped via an angel, but now He is truly worshipped in Christ alone...for us Christ’s voice is God’s voice (Acts 12). Christ speaks the words of the Father (John 3).”(16) 

The New Testament is not reluctant to identify Jesus Christ with Old Testament figures, i.e. King, Messiah, Priest, or Word. Nevertheless, the Old Testament never identifies Christ with the “angel of the Lord”. Nothing in the Scriptures requires our understanding God’s self-expressions or manifestations prior to Jesus’ birth to have been a second or even third person of the Trinity. This type of information is nowhere suggested as being assumed or even seeded in a Bible writer’s thought.

In his book God is Spirit Geoffrey W. Lampe noted, “The concept of the angel of the Lord also refers in the first instance to human experience. In this case, too, it is an experience of a communication from God, of a message received from beyond the human personality itself...The angel of the Lord signified the manifestation of the divine presence itself in action at certain specific times and places; but the idea of a messenger from God came to replace that of God himself reaching out to communicate his message.”(17) T. E. McComiskey’s conclusion seems to be a sensible one, “It is best to see the angel as a self-manifestation of Yahweh in a form that would communicate his immanence and direct concern to those to whom he ministered.”(18)

Both Lampe and McComiskey note that the angel of the LORD is a manifestation of Yahweh. Both scholars would have little agreement other than that but they at least recognize the activity is Yahweh acting in the world. If what was communicated to Hagar (Gen. 16), Abraham (Gen. 18), or Moses (Ex. 3) was any suggestion of God existing as multiple persons then they never got the communique. Instead, the Hebrew writers speak of God as absolutely one in the strictest sense. James D.G. Dunn in his book Christology in the Making seems to confirm the fact that they surely did not understand the angel of the LORD as being separate or independent of Yahweh. It was a way of speaking about Yahweh Himself. He notes:

“to understand the angel of Yahweh as a being somehow independent of Yahweh is basically to misunderstand what the ancient writers intended...it is clear enough even from a cursory study of the passages...‘the angel of Yahweh’ is simply a way of speaking about Yahweh himself...it is impossible to distinguish between the angel of Yahweh and Yahweh himself; they are obviously one and the same person.”(19) 

In Judges 19:9-24 Yahweh speaks and changes from speaking as an “I” to speaking of Himself as “He” or from first person to third person often. This does not require the speaker be more than one person which is necessary for Trinitarian theology. We cannot be thinking of the One True God if we must begin to count beyond one. Yahweh was experienced by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each in his own way, each according to his own destiny. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all experienced God in different yet personal ways. The God of the Old Testament is not impersonal but is active as a partner with creation, nations and even individuals. These experiences and partnerships did not suggest to Abraham or Jacob that God consisted of more than one person. All three Hebrews experienced God in unique ways without thinking of God as nothing but the one "Living God" (See Deut. 5:26).

In addition, if Moses is understood to be the speaker in Deuteronomy 11:14-15 he shifts from referring to God in the third person to speaking directly on God’s behalf, in the first person . Jewish scholars such as Robert Friedman suggest, "The subject of "I'll give" must be God, and so Moses has apparent shifted in the middle of his discussion and is now quoting God when until now he has been speaking as his own name and referring to God in the third person." (20) (See also TANAKH (JPS), Jewish Study Bible, Alter, Friedman, Fox translations). All the while Moses is the only person speaking. In Jewish thinking this literary device can be employed without suggesting more than one person is speaking. 

References to the “angel of the LORD” usually occur when something dramatic and meaningful is about to happen, generally with serious consequences. Either for good or ill concerning God’s people. This character both commissions and commends God’s servants. The angel of the Lord can be a reverential way of speaking about God revealing His divine presence or simply a manifestation of God Himself. It can also be a created angel/messenger in applicable passages. 

In future posts we will examine some of the passages that reference the Angel of the LORD


8) Fox, E. (1995). Vol. 1: The five books of Moses : Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy ; a new translation with introductions, commentary, and notes. The Schocken Bible (Ex 3:2). New York: Schocken Books.

9) Metzger, Bruce M. & Coogan, Michael. (1993) Oxford Companion To The Bible. (28) New York, NY: Oxford University Press

10) Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. (1995). Reformation study Bible, the : Bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture : New King James Version (Ge 18:2). Nashville: T. Nelson.

11) Lockyer, Herbert, Bruce, F.F., Harrison, R.K., et al. "Angel of The Lord" Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers

12) Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. (1995). "Angel of The Lord" Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville: T. Nelson.

13) Howard, D. M., Jr. (2001, c1998). Vol. 5: Joshua (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

14) Wood, D. R. W. (1996, c1982, c1962). New Bible Dictionary (37). InterVarsity Press.

15) Clark, D. J., & Hatton, H. (2002). A handbook on Zechariah. UBS handbook series (81). New York: United Bible Societies.

16) Servetus, Michael. The Restoration of Christianity (An English Translation of Chistianismi Restitutio, 1553) by Michael Servetus. Translated by Hoffman and Hillar. The Edwin Mellen Press

17) Lampe, Geoffrey W. God As Spirit. Oxford University Press 1977

18) McComiskey, T.E. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, “Angel,” See also M. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986) who has a similar conclusion.

19) Dunn, James D. G. (1996) Christology In The Making. (150) Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

20) Friedman, Richard E. (2001) Commentary on Torah. (63) New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.

Adversus Trinitas

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