Reno Omokri, a Nigerian politician and social commentator, who is also known as the pastor of ‘The Mind of Christ Church’ wrote an article questioning one of the Christian core doctrines. Aside that he has also did some videos attacking the Trinity and the Deity of Christ.
According to him, he said, “Trinity is a false doctrine by so doing, it should be rejected.” In this article we want to examine if Renos assertion and his arguments are sound enough to refute the doctrine of Trinity.
As a believer in Christ Jesus, I therefore view this challenge as what Apostle Peter called “Questioning of Your Faith.” And what Apostle Peter asked us to do in this regard is to give a logical and reasonable defense with fear and meekness.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to everyman that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1Pet.3:15 (KJV)
In addition, Apostle Paul in his letter to Titus says: “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”(Titus. 1:9 ESV)
The blessed Apostle called us to rebuke those who contradict the sound doctrine that has always been taught by the Church. He goes on to say “[Their] …mouth must be Stopped” (Titus1:11KJV), “They must be Silenced.”(Titus 1:11 ESV) .
In what way do we stopped their mouth and silenced them ?
The Blessed Apostle Paul said “we destroy argument and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ “(2Cor.10:5)
Therefore, I am writing this as a Christian whose faith is being questioned. I am about to do what the scripture asks me to do when our faith is being questioned and that is to give a reasonable defense and refuting all unnecessary argument, theories and unreasonable confrontation which is not in accordance with sound doctrine of the Church. Taking this reasoning, argument or theories that are not in line with the thought of Christ or scripture captive and making it subjected to the word of God. Though, this will be done in meekness in other to silence those teachers that teach such false doctrine.
Without much ado, lets look at what our Dear brother Reno has written concerning the Doctrine of Trinity.
He said, “Billions of Christians in Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical churches around the world are united by a common doctrine called Trinity.”
What an Amazing thing to be united by sound doctrine and not just united by social activities. Apostle Paul while addressing the Corinthians concerning the issue of division among them, he said “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree, and that there be no division among you, but that you be united in the same mind and same judgment.” (1 Cor 1:10)
John MacArthur Commenting on that verse says:
“In Greek, that you all literally agreed to say, …that you all speak the same thing as in the King James Version. Nothing is more confusing to new Christians, or to unbelievers who are considering the claims of Christ, than to hear supposedly matured and informed Christians telling confusing things about the gospel, the Bible, or Christian living.”
[John MacAurthur Commentary on First Corinthians]
He proceeds to say:
“For a local church to be spiritually healthy, harmonious, and effective there must, above all, be doctrinal unity. The teaching of the church should not be a smorgasbord from which members can pick and choose.”
Now, Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical all agreed and have always speak the same thing concerning the Nature of Our God. We all say “Our God is a Triune God” and this is what the Church and the Scripture has always taught contrary to Bro. Renos article that was invented. The Church has always believed in a Triune God. Is Bro Reno trying to divide the Church with his teachings which is contrary to what the Church has always been taught and still profess? I guess No! By reading his article, our brother is sincere with his write up, but he is sincerely wrong and I guess he is trying to divide the body of Christ without knowing it.
Furthermore, Reno proceeds “The Trinity has not always existed for the first 300 years of Christianity, there was nothing like Trinity…it was introduced by the Holy Roman Catholic Church during the first Council of Nicea In the year 325AD.”
Oh My! This above assertion is an error and blunder that I find it difficult to believe that this is coming from a man that claim to do research and travel far and wide. This is nothing but error and falsehood. Mr. Reno has just displayed his ignorance about the early Church History and The Apostolic Fathers’ writings. You don’t need to travel to Rome before you have access to the Apostolic Fathers’ Writings (The Early Church Fathers from First century).
Although, a brother had refuted this part of his writing, We won’t comment more on this but just point out some errors.
The Word “Trinity” itself exists before 300 AD. The person that coined it was Theophilus of Antioch but it was Tertullian the Church leader who made it popular. Tertullian of Carthage [North Africa, today Tunisia ] died before 300AD, he died 240AD prior to the council of Nicea. And this is an information you can even get using Google or Wikipedia. How on earth our lovely brother could claimed the Doctrine was invented 325AD when both the Term and the Concept Exist prior to 325AD that’s Absurd?
In fact, The Hypostatic Nature of Christ was known prior to the Council of Nicea not to talk of council of Chalcedon.
Ignatius, One of the Early Church Fathers who died around 107-112AD refers to Jesus as God straight away without explanation. In his letter to the Ephesians, where he was warning them to be aware of false teachers he said this concerning Jesus:
“Beware of false teachers…For some are in the habit of carrying about the name of Jesus Christ in wicked guile, while yet they practice things unworthy of God, whom you must flee as you would with wild beasts. For they are ravening dogs, who bite secretly against whom you must be on your guard, in as much as they are men who can scarcely be cured. There is one Physician who possessed both flesh and spirit; both made AND NOT MADE (gennetos kai agennetos originate and un-originate, created and uncreated, born and unborn); GOD EXISTING IN THE FLESH;* true life in death; both Mary and of God; first passible and then impassible even Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Sam Shamoun, Article on The Early Post-NT Witness to the Trinity and Deity of Christ].
The Hypostatic Nature of Christ is clearly understood by these Church Fathers. They are Disciples of the Apostles; they only rehearse what the Apostles have taught them. This is not what was invented; this has been what the Church had always taught.
Ignatius can call Jesus God, and then the Son of God, in the same context without any difficulty:
“I glorify Jesus Christ the God who gave to you such wisdom for I know that you are fully established in your unmovable faith, just as if you have been nailed to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in spirit, firmly established in love in the blood of Christ completely persuaded with reference to our Lord that He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, but the Son of God according to God’s will and power; truly born from a virgin and was baptized by John in order to fulfilled all righteousness.”
[Dr. James R White, The Forgotten Trinity, ( Minnesota: Bethany house publishers, 1998),196.]
The depth of Ignatius’ doctrine of Christ demonstrates that such high view did not develop over time but are very primitive. That is not to say that others did not have less developed view, but that high view of Christ in regard to His deity, His natures etc., can be found early in the record as any other belief. Note what he( Ignatius) wrote to Polycarp his friend : Await the One who is above every season, the Eternal, the Invisible, the One who for our sake became visible, the Untouched, the Impassible, who for our sake suffered, who endured in every way for our sake.
(Polycarp 3)[ Dr. James White, Forgotten Trinity,196.]
Ignatius also wrote: “In Christ Jesus Our Lord, by whom and with whom be Glory to the Father with the Holy Spirit Forever (cited from Matt Slick article titled: Early Trinitarian quoted)
Where did they get it from? From the Apostles of course, the apostles also speak of the Father, Son, and Spirit cooperating to redeem a people for themselves (2 Thess. 2:1314; 1 Peter 1:2).
To say the doctrine of trinity was invented is to be ignorance of History and Scripture.
Again, Mr. Reno also writes that “Trinity was introduced by The Holy Roman Catholic Church during the First council of Nicea in the year 325AD”.
Oh My! This is nothing but a Joke because Roman Catholic did not exist during that time. Bro. Reno couldn’t distinguish between The Catholic Church and Roman Catholic. The word Catholic simply means universal; this includes all the Churches that were existing as at that time; namely, the church in Jerusalem, Turkey, Egypt, France etc. Roman Catholic came into existence around 800 – 1440 AD. How then can you say a church that began in 800AD invented the doctrine of Trinity in 325AD? That is illogical.
Furthermore, Mr. Reno proceeds to say: “The Word (Trinity) doesn’t exist in Holy Scripture”
What Bro. Reno fails to understand is that the concept of this doctrine in the scripture was what compelled the early Christians to summarize the teaching or concept with a word.
Dr. Wayne Grudem, in his book ‘Systematic Theology’ said: “The word ‘trinity’ is never found in the Bible, though the idea represented by the word is taught in many places. The word trinity means tri-unity or three-in-oneness. It is used to summarize the teaching of the scripture that God is three persons yet one God.
[Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 368.]
Dr. James R. White responding to such argument in his book “The Forgotten Trinity” says: “It is quite common for those who denied the Trinity to make Christians feel as if they are somehow inconsistent in believing in a doctrine that is not “biblical.” “Where do you find the word `Trinity’ in the Bible?” They asked. Yet, just the opposite is the case. The only folks who are truly biblical are those who believe what the entire Bible has to say on a given topic. If I believe everything the Bible says about topic X and use a term not found in the Bible to describe the full teaching of the scripture on that point, am I not being more truthful to the Word than someone who limits himself to only biblical terms, but rejects some aspect of God’s revelation? Christians believe the Trinity not because the term itself is given in some creed like form in the text of the scripture; instead, they believe in the Trinity because the Bible, taken in its completeness, accepted as a self-consistent revelation of God, teaches that there is one Being of God (Foundation One) that is shared fully (Foundation Three) by three divine persons (Foundation Two), the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is, therefore, no contradiction between being a “Bible believer” and holding to the Trinity. The one leads naturally and inevitably to the other. [ The Forgotten Trinity, 25]
In addition, Mr. Reno proceeds to say: “The council of Chalcedon decided to alter the nature of Christ and change him from the son of God to God the Son in AD451”
Bro. Reno’s article is so ridden and salted with error and falsehood that every line of it calls for refutation. If we are to do this, this article will be lengthier than we want it to be.
How on earth can you say that the council of Chalcedon altered the nature of Christ, for what reason?
Lets read the council of Chalcedon Creed to see if there is anything in it that wasn’t in the scripture and the church Fathers prior to 451AD.
“Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man; consisting also of a reasonable soul and body of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten for us men and for our salvation of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.” [ Dr. RC Sprouls What’s the Trinity (Florida: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2011), 29-30]
Does the above cited reference looks like altering what’s not in the scripture? Or is the phrase “God the Word” that cannot be find in scripture? John1:1 says: “…and the Word was God” is this idea strange to the scripture?
In fact, has the creed claimed, that, this was what the church has always taught. Ignatius quoted above shows that this is not new or invented by the council.
Also, Melito, a Bishop in Sardis who lives around late first to Second Century says this in his preaching:
“And so he was lifted up upon a tree and an inscription was attached indicating who was being killed. Who was it? It is a grievous thing to tell, but a most fearful thing to refrain from telling. But listen, as you tremble before him on whose account the earth trembled!
He who hung the earth in place is hanged.
He who fixed the heavens in place is fixed in place.
He who made all things fast is made fast on a tree.
The Sovereign is insulted.
God is murdered.
The King of Israel is destroyed by an Israelites hand.
This is the One, who made the heavens and the earth,
And formed mankind in the beginning,
The One proclaimed by the Law and the Prophets,
The One fleshed in a virgin,
The One hanged on a tree,
The One buried in the earth,
The One rose from the dead
And who went up into the heights of heaven,
The One sitting at the right hand of the Father,
The One having all authority to judge and save,
Through Whom the Father made the things which exist from the beginning of time.
This One is the Alpha and the Omega,
This One is the beginning and the end
This one is “beginning indescribable and the end incomprehensible”.
This One is the Christ.
This One is the King.
This One is Jesus.
This One is the Leader.
This One is the Lord.
This One is the One who rose from the dead.
This One is the one sitting on the right hand of the Father.
He bears the Father and is borne by the Father.
To him be the glory and the power forever. Amen.
And Amen and Amen Hallelujah.
(That was written prior to AD451 even prior to 325AD).
Tell me, is Mr. Reno trying to deceive the ignorant young Christians or can we say that he himself is completely ignorance of this Early Writings?
In summary, Mr. Reno also quoted some text of the scripture that he thinks disprove the doctrine of Trinity. We shall examine those verses in the second part of this article. We shall see that there is no problem in those verses. The problem and contradiction only exist in Bro. Renos mind and his lack of Biblical exegesis. These and many more will be revealed in my response to Mr. Renos Omokri in part 2 of this article.