Trinity symbol from “What is Binitarianism?” On Got Questions, last updated 1/13/2023. Free to use, under Got Questions' Copyright Policy. Note: the use of the symbol does not imply that this author accepts every point in Got Questions' Statement of Faith -- especially on eternal security, the “rapture,” and millennialism. (I just like the symbol, y'all!)
The article of 4/14/2023 mentions the wrong path that I'd taken, during my hike the day before. Papaw Ferrell would have laughed! That article, with embedded podcast, explains my “hiking theology,” on taking the right path up.
I didn't know, a day later, that I would take an online sidetrack. Well, I did. On Saturday, I came across Medium, a platform to read and publish articles. I decided to experiment. So, I created M. Fearghail, on Medium. I re-published my 4/14/2023 article there that day. Depending on various factors, I may delete that account or continue to re-publish articles there. (I already republish some articles on my Substack website.) Mainly, I am looking for other authors, who write on topics of interest to me.
That wasn't really the online sidetrack. My sidetrack, while searching for other authors, who write on religious topics, happened to find an anonymous writer, whose 3/24/2023 article raised my righteous and indignant Irish dander!
This thirty-eighth article on Logic - Theology - Deep Stuff will debunk the doctrine of Binitarianism and prove that the doctrine of the Trinity is true. (This is also my 404th article.) I hope that you, dear reader, find this little sidetrack both interesting and helpful – in your spiritual hike on the right path up.
The Binitarian Doctrine - Debunked
The 3/24/2023 article, which raised my indignant dander, is: "Debunking the TRINITY doctrine," on Forbidden Doctrines, by anonymous author, 3/24/2023. This is his second article. The “About” section of his website does not introduce the author by name. The website's stated purpose is “to expose the many lies and false teachings of the Church.” The stated goal for his readers is “to search their Bibles to see what is true.” The website is titled correctly, since it promotes forbidden and unscriptural doctrines, as the correct study of the Bible indicates. (See 2 Timothy 2:15.)
(As a brief aside, I will not become the eighth person to “follow” this anonymous author, who has published four articles, as of this entry. By quick glance, his first article (10/10/2022) seems to be biblical. However, his third article (4/6/2023) denies free will, which is unbiblical, obviously. His most recent article (4/14/2023) affirms the unbiblical notion that Adam and Eve were created, by a perfect and sinless God, as sinners, before they sinned.)
This article focuses only on the anonymous author's second article -- in which the false doctrine of Binitarianism is alleged. Interestingly, the article was written in critique of an article -- published over seventeen years ago -- which is: "What Is the Doctrine of the Trinity?" On Desiring God, by guest contributor Matt Perman, 1/23/2006. Amazingly, the author concludes his remarks, by stating that the 1/23/2006 article “. . . accurately explains the TRINITY doctrine.”
The author's Binitarian doctrine falsely affirms two -- God the Father and God the Son -- not three divine beings, who compose the one divine nature (or Godhead). The author thinks that the Holy Spirit is an “it” -- the spirit of both the Father and the Son -- not a separate, or third, divine person (as in the Trinity). The author states, “. . . the Word of God teaches . . . that the Holy Spirit IS the Spirit of both Jesus Christ AND His Father.”
Binitarianism falsely rejects the full deity and personhood of the Holy Spirit. I will cite the author's three Binitarian arguments and then debunk each one.
First Binitarian Argument Debunked
Argument: first, by misusing Matthew 1:20, the author claims that, if the doctrine of the Trinity is correct, then the Holy Spirit is the Father of Jesus. The verse, which the author mishandles, is the angel of the Lord's statement to Joseph, regarding Mary's conception, which states, in part, “. . . what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 1:20, NIV). The author's erroneous conclusion is: “. . . if the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus Christ, then the Holy Spirit is his father. That would be the logical conclusion if the TRINITY were true.”
Debunked: the author is guilty of eisegesis (reading his ideas into the verse) and of taking the verse out of context. His leap of logic is a non sequitur (from Latin, “it doesn’t follow”). Please read and consider the full context, in Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-7; and John 1:1-3,14,18. The correct exegesis (understanding) of the complete context is as follows.
God (the Father) sent the angel Gabriel, to the virgin Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph. Gabriel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, NKJV). The verse confirms the Trinity -- the Holy Spirit (or “power of the Highest”), the Holy One (or the Son of God), and, by necessary inference, God the Father.
The apostle John's inspired eloquence states:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3, NKJV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NKJV)
Obviously, God, the eternal Word, who “became flesh,” is “the only begotten of the Father” -- not the only begotten of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the means by which God the eternal Word became flesh, as the Son of God -- born of the virgin Mary, by immaculate conception. The full context confirms the Trinity.
Second Binitarian Argument Debunked
Argument: building on his first and debunked claim, the author's faulty reasoning continues to 2 John 1:3 (not to 1 John 1:3, which is an apparent typographical error, in the article). The author cites the World English Bible translation:
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (2 John 1:3, WEB)
The author attempts to build his second argument upon his first and concludes: “The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus, but Jesus is the Son of God the Father. The only logical explanation is the Holy Spirit is not some third distinct person.”
Debunked: the author's first claim has already been debunked; therefore, his second argument, built on that debunked argument, is also debunked. Obviously, scripture teaches that God, the eternal Word, became the incarnate Son of God, by the immaculate conception of Mary. Again, the immaculate conception was by means of God the Holy Spirit.
Third Binitarian Argument Debunked
Argument: finally, as well as I can understand the faulty logic of the author, he reasons, somehow, that John 14:26 and 1 John 2:1 prove that the “Counselor” (Greek, παράκλητος, translated Counselor, Helper, or Advocate) is Jesus, or the spirit of Christ -- not the Holy Spirit.
Debunked: the writer is correct, only in that παράκλητος is found five times in the Greek New Testament, each in the apostle John's inspired writings. See the Gospel of John (14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7) and the First Epistle of John (1 John 2:1).
The full context, in the Gospel of John, is the last supper, before Jesus' arrest (John chapters 13 - 17). The four times that παράκλητος is used, in that context, clearly indicate the Holy Spirit. The context also affirms the Trinity. In John 14:16,26, Jesus comforts His disciples by telling them that He will ask the Father to give them another Advocate, the Spirit of truth or the Holy Spirit. In John 15:26 and 16:7, Jesus continues to assure His disciples that He will send to them the Advocate, or the Spirit of truth, from the Father, after He has returned to the Father.
In his First Epistle, John wrote, “. . . we have an advocate with the Father -- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1, NIV). Here, John uses παράκλητος to indicate Jesus.
As has been said often, “a text taken out of context is a pretext.” The inspired apostle John uses παράκλητος to identify the Holy Spirit (in his Gospel) and also Christ (in his Epistle) – as separate divine persons – not as the same divine person. Otherwise, Jesus returned to the Father, to send Himself back, as the Holy Spirit.
The Johannine use of παράκλητος is a title, attributed to God the Holy Spirit (in his Gospel) and to the Son of God (in his Epistle). A title, in this sense, describes the function – of two divine persons – and does not imply only one divine being. For example, my wife and I have a niece, who is an advocate (or lawyer). We, however, know other advocates. If we call our niece “the advocate,” we do not imply that she is the only advocate.
In his same First Epistle, John also states:
And this is his [God's] command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 John 3:23-24, NIV)
This is how we know that we live in him [God] and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 John 4:13-14, NIV)
As in his Gospel, the apostle John also affirms the Trinity, in his First Epistle. God (the Father) commands us to believe in His Son, Jesus. By keeping God's commands, we live in God, and God lives in us. We know this by the Spirit of God that God has given us. (This is “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” which the apostle Peter mentions, in Acts 2:38.)
The author has “taken texts out of context and made a pretext.” This article intends no malice toward the anonymous author. My purpose is to enlighten him, in his error, to guide him on the correct path.
For further study on the error of Binitarianism, I suggest: “Binitarianism: Is It Biblical? How erasing the Holy Spirit also denies the true nature of the Father and the Son,” on Answers in Genesis, by Simon Turpin, 10/29/2022.
God in Three Persons – the Trinity
The previous section, which debunked the Binitarian doctrine, has also affirmed the Trinity. On Saturday, 4/15/2023, I commented on the anonymous author's 3/24/2023 article. He replied. I replied to his response. He then left his reply.
The draft of the still unpublished seventh article, in my Christian Evidences series, includes a section, “Important Note on the Trinity.” On Saturday, in my first comment, to the author's article, I included that section on the Trinity. It is as follows.
At this juncture, an important note on the Trinity is necessary. The Trinity is God the Father, God the Word (who became God the Son), and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct and divine beings, united perfectly, are one divine nature -- God. This is also called the Godhead.
Genesis 1:1 (NIV) states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In Hebrew, “God” is plural (Elohim, אֱלֹהִ֑ים) but “created” (bā·rā, רָ֣א) is singular. The next verse (NIV) states that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Verse 26 (NIV) states, “Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness . . . .'” The plural forms are used.
John 1:1-3 (NIV) states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Then verse 14 (NIV) states, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In Genesis 1:1,2,26 and John 1:1-3,14, the Bible states that God the Father created, through God the Word (who became God the Son), by means of God the Holy Spirit. The triune action of the Godhead created all that exists. God the Word became God the Son, to redeem us, by His grace and truth.
The Trinity was present at Jesus' immersion, when God the Father spoke and God the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. See Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; and John 1:31-34.
After His resurrection and before His ascension, Jesus gave the Great Commission.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV)
Christians continue to answer the call of the Great Commission, by immersing penitent believers in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The concept of the Trinity -- three distinct and divine beings, united perfectly, in one divine nature, God -- is profound but not a mystery. Consider that millions of distinct and human beings are one human nature. We are united in one human nature. We, however and unfortunately, are not united perfectly in character, will, or purpose – as God is.
That excerpt from my still unpublished article proves the Trinity. The following other scriptures also verify the Trinity. For example, in the context of the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, the apostle Peter affirms that the Holy Spirit is God.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4, NIV)
They lied to the Holy Spirit, whom the inspired Peter calls God. Even though the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, the doctrine of the Trinity is biblical. Consider also the following texts.
Jesus' Great Commission states, in part:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . . (Matt. 28:19, NIV)
(Note: I am aware that some claim that the verse is an uninspired addition, to the Gospel of Matthew. I also know that the art and science of textual criticism has confirmed that the text is the original words of the inspired Matthew. The fact can be unpacked and verified, in a future article, as needed.)
The apostle Paul concludes his second letter to the Corinthians, as follows.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor. 13:14, NIV)
The apostle Paul's encouragement to the Christians at Ephesus, to live worthy and united in their calling states, in part:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (Eph. 4:4-7, NIV)
One God, in three persons – one God and Father, one Lord (Christ), and one Spirit – is the apostle Paul's inspired truth.
The apostle Peter greets the Christians of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, by stating that they:
. . . have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood . . . (1 Peter 1:2, NIV)
Clearly, each divine person, in the Trinity, is present in salvation, by the foreknowledge of God the Father, the sanctifying of the Spirit, and obedience to Jesus Christ.
See also, among other texts, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, and Jude 1:20-21.
For further study on the Trinity, I suggest: “The Biblical Doctrine of the Godhead,” on the Christian Courier, by Wayne Jackson, undated.
At least this sidetrack was not like the one that I'd taken, during my hike on Papaw Ferrell's birthday! The anonymous author of the 3/24/2023 article, which this article has debunked, is welcome to continue our discussion, by his comments on this article. After publishing this article, I plan, in the Lord, to reference this article, as my final comment, to his article.
Binitarianism is clearly a false doctrine. The author's error is by not correctly handling (dividing or understanding) the true words of the Bible. (See the apostle Paul's guidance to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:15.) Instead, his eisegesis (reading his ideas into certain texts, which he takes out of context) twists and distorts the Bible. (See the apostle Peter's warning, in 2 Peter 3:16.)
I hope that this article guides the author back to the right trail up. I also hope that this article helps keep you, dear reader, from doing down the wrong Binitarian trail. “Dear God, in Christ's name, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I pray that this article will guide every reader along the right path up.”