Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity—the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases or persons who are coeternal and indivisibly united in one being, or essence. Certain religious groups that emerged during the Protestant Reformation have been known as antitrinitarian, but are not considered Protestant in popular discourse due to their nontrinitarian nature. According to churches that consider the decisions of ecumenical councils final, Trinitarianism was definitively declared to be Christian doctrine at the 4th-century ecumenical councils, that of the First Council of Nicaea, which declared the full divinity of the Son, the First Council of Constantinople, which declared the divinity of the Holy Spirit. In terms of number of adherents, nontrinitarian denominations comprise a minority of modern Christianity; the largest nontrinitarian Christian denominations are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oneness Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, La Luz del Mundo and the Iglesia ni Cristo, though there are a number of other smaller groups, including Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Dawn Bible Students, Living Church of God, Assemblies of Yahweh, Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, Members Church of God International, Unitarian Universalist Christians, The Way International, The Church of God International, the United Church of God.
Nontrinitarian views differ on the nature of God and the Holy Spirit. Various nontrinitarian philosophies, such as adoptionism and subordinationism existed prior to the establishment of the Trinity doctrine in AD 325, 381, 431, at the Councils of Nicaea and Ephesus. Nontrinitarianism was renewed by Cathars in the 11th through 13th centuries, in the Unitarian movement during the Protestant Reformation, in the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century; the doctrine of the Trinity, as held in mainstream Christianity, is not present in the other major Abrahamic religions. Christian apologists and other Church Fathers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, having adopted and formulated the Logos Christology, considered the Son of God as the instrument used by the supreme God, the Father, to bring the creation into existence. Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch, Hippolytus of Rome and Tertullian in particular state that the internal Logos of God —his impersonal divine reason—was begotten as Logos uttered, becoming a person to be used for the purpose of creation.
The Encyclopædia Britannica states: "to some Christians the doctrine of the Trinity appeared inconsistent with the unity of God.... They therefore denied it, accepted Jesus Christ, not as incarnate God, but as God's highest creature by whom all else was created.... View in the early Church long contended with the orthodox doctrine." Although the nontrinitarian view disappeared in the early Church and the Trinitarian view became an orthodox doctrine of modern Christianity, variations of the nontrinitarian view are still held by a small number of Christian groups and denominations. Various views exist regarding the relationships between the Father and Holy Spirit; those who believe that Jesus is not God, nor equal to God, but was either God's subordinate Son, a messenger from God, or prophet, or the perfect created human: Adoptionism holds that Jesus became divine at his baptism or at his resurrection. Arius' position was that the Son was brought forth as the first of God's creations, that the Father created all things through the Son.
Arius taught that in the creation of the universe, the Father was the ultimate creator, supplying all the materials and directing the design, while the Son worked the materials, making all things at the bidding and in the service of the Father, by which "through all things came into existence". Arianism became the dominant view in some regions in the time of the Roman Empire, notably the Visigoths until 589; the third Council of Sirmium in 357 was the high point of Arianism. The Seventh Arian Confession held that both homoousios and homoiousios were unbiblical and that the Father is greater than the Son: "But since many persons are disturbed by questions concerning what is called in Latin substantia, but in Greek ousia, that is, to make it understood more as to'coessential,' or what is called,'like-in-essence,' there ought to be no mention of any of these at all, nor exposition of them in the Church, for this reason and for this consideration, that in divine Scripture nothing is written about them, that they are above men's knowledge and above men's understanding".
They interpret verses such as John 1:1 to refer to God's "plan" existing in God's mind before Christ's birth.
John Thomas (Christadelphian)
Dr. John Thomas was an English religious leader, the founder of the Christadelphian movement, he was a Restorationist, with doctrines similar in part to some 16th-century Antitrinitarian Socinians and the 16th-century Swiss-German pacifist Anabaptists. John Thomas M. D. born in Hoxton Square, London, on April 12, 1805, was the son of a Dissenting minister named John Thomas. His family is reputed to be descended from French Huguenot refugees, his family moved as his father took up various pastorships including a congregation in London, a brief stay in northern Scotland, back to London, up to Chorley, Lancashire. At the age of 16, in Chorley, he began studying medicine, his family moved back to London. After two years, he returned to London to continue his studies at the Guy's and St. Thomas's hospitals for a further three years, he trained as a surgeon and had an interest in chemistry and biology, publishing several learned medical articles for The Lancet, one of which argued in favour of the importance of the use of corpses for the study of medicine.
The Marquis of Wellesley docked in New York and Thomas travelled on to Cincinnati, Ohio where he became convinced by the Restoration Movement of the need for baptism and joined them in October 1832. He came to know a prominent leader in the movement, Alexander Campbell, who encouraged him to become an evangelist, he spent his time travelling around the eastern States of America preaching, until settling down as a preacher in Philadelphia. It was here on 1 January 1834. Dr Thomas wrote for and was editor of the Apostolic Advocate which first appeared in May 1834, his studies during this period of his life generated the foundation for many of the beliefs he came to espouse as a Christadelphian and he began to believe that the basis of knowledge before baptism was greater than the Restoration Movement believed and that held orthodox Christian beliefs were blatantly wrong. Whilst his freedom to believe his unique beliefs was accepted, many objected to the preaching of these beliefs as necessary for salvation.
This difference led to a series of debates between Dr Thomas and Alexander Campbell. Because Thomas rebaptised himself and rejected his former beliefs and associations, he was formally disfellowshipped in 1837; some people, associated with him and accepted his views. At this time the Millerite or Adventist movement was growing, in 1843 Dr Thomas was introduced to William Miller, the leader of the Millerites, he admired their willingness to question orthodox beliefs and agreed with their belief in the second coming of Christ and the founding of a millennial age upon His return. Dr Thomas continued his studies of the Bible and in 1846 travelled to New York where he gave a series of lectures covering 30 doctrinal subjects that formed part of his book Elpis Israel. Based upon his newfound understanding of the Bible, Thomas was rebaptised in 1847 and the groups of congregations and individuals who shared his beliefs continued to grow. In 1848 the movement became international when he travelled to England in order to preach what he now saw as the true gospel message.
Upon his return to America Dr Thomas moved from Richmond, Virginia, to New York City and began to preach there. He made a point of speaking to the Jewish community because Dr Thomas had come to believe that Christianity did not replace the Law of Moses but rather fulfilled it, he believed. It was at this time that Dr Thomas and those who shared similar beliefs became known as the Royal Association of Believers; this group of believers used a Greek word meaning "assembly", to describe them. However, the movement did not have an ‘official’ name until 1864, when a name was chosen during the American Civil War. Instead of having a system of clergy, all the brethren took equal responsibility on a rota to take on the role of presiding and speaking during their meetings; when in 1861 the American Civil War broke out, Dr Thomas travelled to the South and became concerned that the war had placed believers upon opposing sides. The movement as a whole considered that the war required them to make a stand for what they believed in as conscientious objectors.
In order to be exempted from military service, it was required that believers had to belong to a recognised religious group that did not agree with participation in war. Thus in 1864, Dr. Thomas coined the name Christadelphian to identify members of the movement; the term Christadelphian comes from Greek and means "Brethren in Christ". It was during the war that Dr Thomas worked on the three volumes of Eureka, which discusses the meaning of the Book of Revelation. On May 5, 1868, Dr Thomas returned to England where he travelled extensively giving lecturers about the Gospel message and meeting with Christadelphians in England. During this period of his life he found extensive support and help from Robert Roberts, converted during a previous visit to England by Dr Thomas. Following his return to America, he made one final tour of the Christadelphian congregations prior to his death on 5 March 1871 in Jersey City, he was buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery, New York. Thomas did not claim to be any kind of prophet, or in any way inspired, but through study and borrowing from the work of others he believed that many traditional church teachings were incorrect and that from the Bible he could prove that position.
The Lecturer commenced by denying a statement which had appea
Holy Spirit (Christian denominational variations)
Christian denominations have variations in their teachings regarding the Holy Spirit. A well-known example is the Filioque controversy, the debates centering on whether the Nicene Creed should state that the Spirit "proceeds from the Father" and have a stop, as the creed was adopted in Greek, or should say "from the Father and the Son" as was adopted in Latin and followed by the Western Church, "filioque" being "and the Son" in Latin; the majority of mainstream Protestantism hold similar views on the theology of the Holy Spirit as the Roman Catholic Church, but there are significant differences in belief between Pentecostalism and the rest of Protestantism. The more recent Charismatic movements have a focus on the "gifts of the Spirit", but differ from Pentecostal movements. Non-trinitarian views about the Holy Spirit differ from mainstream Christian doctrine. According to Roman Catholic theology the primary work of the Holy Ghost is through the Church. According to the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII Divinum illud munus: "...the indwelling and miraculous power of the Holy Ghost.
Through the Church's sacraments, Christ communicates His Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the faithful." Around the 6th century, the word Filioque was added to the Nicene Creed, defining as a doctrinal teaching that the Holy Ghost "proceedeth from the Father and the Son". The holy Council of Florence in 1438 proclaims: "The Holy Ghost is eternally from Son, he proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration.... And, since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son." In the Church, the Western tradition professes the consubstantial communion between the Father and the Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds in eternity from the Father and the Son. It says this, "legitimately and with good reason", for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as "the principle without principle", is the first origin of the Spirit, but that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds."
Since the Council of Florence, greater theological discussion between the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church, has developed a greater sense of agreement on the matter. Both the East and West have agreed that the same essential meaning can be expressed in the belief that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and from the Father through the Son. Although certain disagreements do continue beyond the Filioque clause on the matters of God's nature, the co-equality of the Trinity, the Eastern belief in a "Monarchy of the Father", relational Subordinationism. While the Eastern Catholic churches are required to believe the doctrinal teaching contained in the Filioque, they are not all required to insert it in the Creed when it is recited during the Divine Liturgy, so as to use the liturgical text as it was in antiquity. Eastern Orthodoxy proclaims that the Father is the eternal source of the Godhead, from whom the Son is begotten eternally, from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally.
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church and Western Christianity in general, the Orthodox Church does not espouse the use of the Filioque in describing the procession of the Holy Spirit. Filioque was mentioned for the first time at the Third Council of Toledo in 589 and it was added by the Roman Catholic Church to the Credo in the 11th century; the Holy Spirit is believed to eternally proceed from the Father, as Christ says in John 15:26, not from the Father and the Son, as the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches claim. The Greek Orthodox Church teaches that the Holy Spirit proceeds through the Son, but only from the Father. Orthodox doctrine regarding the Holy Trinity is summarized in the Symbol of Faith. Oriental Orthodox usage teachings on the matter; the Assyrian Church of the East retains the original formula of the Creed without the Filioque. The majority of mainstream Protestantism hold similar views on the theology of the Holy Spirit as the Roman Catholic Church, as described above. There are significant differences in the rest of Protestantism.
During the late 19th century, the prevailing view in the Restoration Movement was that the Holy Spirit acts only through the influence of inspired scripture. This rationalist view was associated with Alexander Campbell, "greatly affected by what he viewed as the excesses of the emotional camp meetings and revivals of his day." He believed that the Spirit draws people towards salvation, but understood the Spirit to do this "in the same way any person moves another—by persuasion with words and ideas." This view came to prevail over that of Barton W. Stone, who believed the Spirit had a more direct role in the life of the Christian. Since the mid-late 20th century, many among the Churches of Christ have moved away from this "word-only" theory of the operation of the Holy Spirit; as one student of the movement puts it, "or better or worse, those who champion the so-called word-only theory no longer have a hold on the minds of the constituency of Churches of Christ. Though few have adopted outright charismatic and third wave
Henry Sulley was an English architect and writer on the temples of Jerusalem. Sulley was born to English parents in Brooklyn, Long Island, USA, 30 January 1845, but relocated back to Nottingham when still young; as an architect, Sulley is noted for several buildings in Nottingham, among them 2 Hamilton Road,'a fine Victorian dwelling' designed for James White the lace manufacturer in 1883. Although he had no formal training in archaeology, Sulley's background in architecture allowed him to develop various ideas about Solomon's Temple and the City of David, his primary area of activity was in writing concerning the temples in Jerusalem: Solomon's Temple, Herod's Temple and Ezekiel's Temple. In 1929 Sulley was the first to propose that the watercourse of Siloam tunnel was following a natural crack, a theory developed by Ruth Amiran, Dan Gill. Sulley had been baptised as a Christadelphian in October 1871 at the age of 26 following lectures by Robert Roberts and reading Elpis Israel; when he was only 28 the bulk of the Nottingham Ecclesia left following Edward Turney into the Nazarene Fellowship for six years until Turney's death in 1879, after which most of those who had left returned.
As a Christadelphian Sulley toured Australia, New Zealand and Canada, showing his large illustrated architectural designs for Ezekiel's temple, in lecture halls and museums over two or three nights. These public lectures followed a regular pattern: archaeology, architecture and preaching. On his journeys he would write articles for publication in England giving impressions on the buildings he saw: for example, noting that the Washington Monument was a marvel, but that the corner-towers of Ezekiel's temple would be two-and-a-half times taller. During the period from 1898 onwards he was a regular assistant to the second editor of The Christadelphian, Charles Curwen Walker. Upnah House, 22 Balmoral Road, Nottingham 1873 Malvern House, 41 Mapperley Road, Nottingham 1874 2 Hamilton Road, Nottingham 1873 Oakfield, Cyprus Road, Mapperley Park, Nottingham 1882 Elmsleigh, Hamilton Road, Mapperley Park, Nottingham 1883 Addison Street Congregational Church 1884 Warehouse, Peachey Street, Nottingham 1887-88 Temple of Ezekiel's prophecy A Handbook to the Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy Pentaletheia: Five writings on the Truth The Sign of the Coming of the Son of Man What is the Substance of Faith?
A Reply to Sir Oliver Lodge Is It Armageddon? A House of Prayer for All People Where are our dead friends? Divine worship in the age to come Spiritlism
Glad Tidings is a free Bible magazine published monthly by the Christadelphians. The magazine was launched in 1884; the stated aims of the magazine are: to encourage study of the Bible as God's inspired message to men. To this end the magazine contains articles such as A Closer Look at Bible Prophecy and Arabs to Find Lasting Peace and Three Steps to a Happier Life. Www.gladtidingsmagazine.org