WCG Misapplies Early History


Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales


In a document that was revised by the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) on August 21, 2008, titled An introduction to Trinitarian, Christ-centered Theology, by Ted Johnston, WCG-USA Ministry Development Team (with Dr. J. Michael Feazell, Dr. Michael Morrison, Terry Akers and Keith Brittain), it proclaimed the following:

Trinitarian, Christcentered Theology has been around a very long time.  In fact, it was the theological vision that informed much of the teaching in the early church, was the basis of the early Christian Creeds, and the basis for determining the canon of the New Testament. Following is a summary of a few of the early and prominent Trinitarian teachers/theologians.

Irenaeus (died A.D. 202) Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp (who had studied with the Apostle John)…

Athanasius (died A.D. 373) As a young man, Athanasius defended the true gospel of God’s grace in Jesus against false teachers (including Arius) who denied Jesus’ divinity. This defense led to the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, affirmed at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. Athanasius was also a principal among those who helped settle the final canon of the New Testament.

There are several problems with this.  One of which is that Irenaeus, despite his many flaws, was not a trinitarian–yet he is cited as WCG’s earliest proof.  Yet notice what Irenaeus actually wrote:

there is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book IV, Preface, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Irenaeus held a binitarian view of the Godhead.  Notice that he does not say that the Holy Spirit is also called God. Also notice that Irenaeus states that only the Father, the Son, and those who possess the adoption (Christians) are God. This is a binitarian, not a trinitarian view.

Additionally, it was the Apostle John who God used to fix the New Testament canon (see The New Testament Canon – From the Bible Itself), and this was in essence confirmed by Polycarp (Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians).  Perhaps I should mention that WCG skipped from a bogus implication related to Irenaeus (as he was not trinitarian) to a person of the 4th century (Athanasius) as proof of the early acceptance of the trinity–kind of a big historical gap.  Furthermore, contrary to WCG’s indications, Athanasius’ view was a minority one until about the time of his death among the Greco-Romans.

Contrary to the interpretations of the current WCG there are no early (pre-third century) writings other than those from recognized heretics such as Valentinus and Montanus (both of whom are recognized as heretics by the Church of Rome and most Protestant scholars) that supported trinitarian theology.

The only trinitarian theology that was around for a long time was not Christ-centered and according to a Catholic in the fourth century, it entered the professing Christian world from the heretic Valentinus who got the idea from Hermes and Plato:

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God…These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him ‘On the Three Natures’.  For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato (Source: Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), ‘On the Holy Church’: Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9.  Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95 ).

Thus, it is not true that the early true church had a trinitarian theology–this was not even something that was uniformly adopted by the Greco-Romans until the late 4th century.

It is a historical fact that the bishops of both Rome (Liberius) and Constantinople (Macedonius) approved binitarian/Semi-Arian/non-trinitarian positions in the middle of the 4th century–this is a matter of history for those interested in the truth.

However, just because WCG has misapplied history, does not mean that you have to.

If you are truly interested in learning the truth about the Godhead and what true and false Christians taught about the Godhead in the first few centuries, I urge you to diligently study the following articles.  If you have any doubts, please pray about it, check out my historical references, and compare the teachings with the Bible.

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

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