THE GOD FAMILY
An old study from the old Ambassador College (founded by Herbert
W. Armstrong) in Pasadena, California.
Is God a Trinity or a family? Was Jesus Christ God, or
merely a man? Was Jesus the born Son of God, or only an adopted
"son"? Is the Holy Spirit a person or the creative power of the
The belief that God is one substance, yet three persons, is
one of the central doctrines of the Christian religion. Yet for
all this belief in the Trinity, it is a doctrine that is not
clearly understood by most Christian laymen. Few are aware of any
problems with the doctrine of the Trinity. They simply take it
for granted - leaving the mysterious doctrinal aspects to
And if the layman were to investigate further, he would be
confronted with discouraging statements similar to the following:
"The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the
Trinity. He who would try to understand the mystery fully will
lose his mind. But he who would deny the Trinity will lose his
Such a statement means that the concept of the Trinity
should be accepted or else. But, merely to accept it as doctrine
without proving it would be totally contrary to Scripture. God
inspired Paul to write: "Prove all things; hold fast that which
is good" (I Thes.5:21).
A Christian should prove to himself once and for all whether
or not God is a Trinity.
THE GOD FAMILY - OPEN OR CLOSED?
EMEMBER back to your high school days when there was a
particular group you wanted to break into. Maybe it was the
athletic clique, or perhaps the scholar's corner, or the popular
cheerleader's circle. How painful it was when you were rejected
because you didn't quite meet their standards. What an empty
feeling to be in the "outgroup," to feel unwanted, rejected, not
But do you know what's supposed to be the universe's most
exclusive club - the clique from which all mankind is utterly
It's the "trinity"!
Let's look at two verses in the Bible that supposedly
mention the trinity and see what they really say. Be prepared for
quite a shock.
Turn to 1 John 5:7-8. Notice how these verses read in the King
James Version: "For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and
the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
Virtually all scholars agree that the words "the Father, the
Word, and the Holy Ghost," are wrong words that have been
inserted into the text in an attempt to bolster arguments for the
The Interpreter's Bible states, "This verse [I John 5:7] in
the KJV [King James Version] is to be rejected ... It appears in
no ancient Greek MS [manuscript] nor is it cited by any Greek
father; of all the versions only the Latin contained it, and even
this in none of its most ancient sources."
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's commentary shows that the only
Greek manuscripts containing this "trinity reference" are either
"copied from the modern Latin Vulgate," "added in the margin by a
recent hand," etc. "All the old versions omit the words.... [I
John 5:7] was therefore first written as a marginal comment to
complete the sense [which is the Trinitarian rationalization],
then, as early, at least as the eighth century, was introduced
into the text of the Latin Vulgate.... Luecke notices as internal
evidence against the words, John never uses 'the Father' and 'the
Word' as correlates, but, like other New Testament writers,
associates 'the Son' with 'the Father,' and always refers 'the
Word' to God as its correlate, not 'the Father.'"
Now we are going to find out what I John 5:7-8 really means.
We're going to see that the very section in God's Word which has
been tampered with to try to prove the trinity in fact proves
just the opposite.
First, here's how I John 5:7-8 should read: "For there are
three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood,
and these three agree in one." So there are indeed three things
that bear record or give testimony, the Spirit, the water and the
But what do they bear record to? To a closed Godhead clique
of three beings? NO? Just the opposite!
The record of what they are witnessing to is clearly given
in verses 11-12- "And this is the record, that God hath given to
us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the
Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not
life." So what is witnessed to is the fact that if we have Jesus
Christ living His life in us, then through Him we have eternal
life residing in us right now.
In other words, to use the analogy given throughout I John
and elsewhere in the Bible, we are now begotten sons of God and,
if we don't abort ourselves in this growth process, we'll later
become born sons of God. That is, we'll actually become members
of the greatly expanded Family of God. There can be only three
God-beings in the trinity idea. But isn't it ironic that the
place where a verse has been inserted to try to establish a
God-clique, a closed trinity, is the very place where Gad is
showing how He is adding to His Family?
The three that "bear record" in I John 5:7-8 are:
1) God's Spirit, which is not a person but the power of God, the
"down payment" of begettal, given by God to show that He means
business and will later finish the payment when you're born into
the Kingdom of God with a wholly spiritual body (Eph.1:13-14).
2) The water-baptism, which symbolizes our burial and death so
that a new entity can begin to exist (Rom.6:4), an entity that
can grow into a Son of God.
3) The blood - Christ's death, which reconciles us to God, by
paying our death penalty incurred for our sins, thereby enabling
us to go on to become a Son of God (Rom.5:10).
Every Christian who is on the way to becoming a member of
the Family of God must partake of the three things that witness
to the fact God wants all mankind to join Him in His eternally
ruling Family - baptism, the receiving of the Holy Spirit, and
the yearly Passover that commemorates Jesus Christ's death. These
three unique occurrences in one's life prove powerfully that you
are another Son of God on the way to becoming born of God.
God is a Family not a trinity. God's Family will not be
limited to an intractably closed circle of three. This is one
group you don't have to be excluded from!
You can be put into the greatest group of all.
God's Family is open!
I John 5:7
In a deliberate and deceptive attempt to foist the false trinity
doctrine upon the world, a monk copyist in the fourth century
A.D. inserted totally spurious words into the Bible in order
to "prove" this major doctrine of pagan antiquity.
Turn in your own Bible (King James Version) to I John 5:7-8: "For
there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word,
and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one - And there are
three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, end
the blood: and these three agree in one."
But did you know that not one of the italicized words is in any
of the accepted New Testament Greek manuscripts? Did you know
this spurious section was not found in the text of any Greek
manuscripts until after the invention of printing? Comparison
with many of the more modern translations and simple research
will prove the point. Verses 7 and 8 should actually read as
follows: "There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and
the blood: and these three agree." This to how the passage is
rendered in the Revised Standard Version, perhaps the best
overall of modern Bible translations.
The editors of both liberal and conservative Bible commentaries
(ancient end modem) agree as to the very dubious origin of John
5:7 (as it now stands in the King James or Authorized Version).
Notice a couple of quotes from two commentaries of recent
vintage. Says the conservatively oriented New Bible Commentary
" .. The words are clearly a gloss and are rightly excluded by
RSV (Revised Standard Version] even from he margin" (p.1269).
Peaks's Commentary on the Bible, universally recognized as a
standard liberal work, is even more incisive with its comments:
"The famous interpolation after 'three witnesses' is not printed
even in RSV, and rightly ... No respectable Greek MS (manuscript)
contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th century Latin text, it
entered the Vulgate and finally the NT [New Testament] of Erasmus
(and eventually the King James)" (P.1038).
The translators of the Revised Version of 1881 immediately
spotted the difficulties with 1 John 6:7. The passage occurs in
only two modern Greek manuscripts, in one or two ancient versions
of little value and, of course, in many late copies of the Latin
Vulgate. This is the extent of the textual support for this
It is lacking in every manuscript of this epistle written before
the invention of printing, one excepted, the Codex Monforfii, in
Trinity College, Dublin.
It is wanting in both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Ethiopic, the
Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Slavonian, etc. - in a word, all the
ancient versions but the Vulgate - end even the oldest
manuscripts of the Vulgate omit it.
The fact could not be ignored that not a single Greek manuscript
or church-lesson book before the fifteenth century had any trace
of I John 5:7. Finally no Greek father even quotes it in any
discussion concerning the Trinity doctrine itself.
Consequently the passage was omitted and it does not appear in
the Revised Version of 1881 - the first scholarly revision of the
King James Version of any consequence - or in any modern
F.F.Bruce, a respected British scholar, has this to say about I
John 5:7: "... A footnote rightly points out that the passage is
'not in any of the early Greek mss, or any of the early
translations, or in the best mss of the Vulgate itself' and
suggests that it is probably a gloss that has crept into the
text" [The English Bible, p.2171.
Clearly it is a spurious addition to the New Testament Canon.
I John 5:7 should be considered nonexistent as far as the Bible
A grossly misunderstood text often cited to "prove" there is a
Trinity is Matthew 28:19: "Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, end of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
To imply that this verse means that all three (the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit) are persons is just not being honest
with the Scriptures. Clearly the first two (God the Father end
His Son Jesus Christ) are two separate individual spirit
personalities in the Godhead; but that fact does not
auto-matically make the Holy Spirit also a person.
People give names to many things that are simply not persons.
Nearly' everything - whether person, place or thing - has a name!
But why did Jesus commend the apostles to baptize converts into
these three names? And why must they be so baptized in order to
receive the Holy Spirit? Scholars translate the Greek expression
"eis to onoma," into the name of, something like "into the
possession of." When God the Father grants human beings real
repentance (Rom.2:4; Acts 11:18; 2 Tim.2:25) we then belong to
Him. We become His sons (literallyl) - the sons of God (bearing
His name) when we receive and are led by the Holy Spirit (Rom.
8:9,14,18-17). We become a part of that God Family which the Holy
Spirit also belongs to, though not as a person.
Human beings often beer the names of their forebears, i.e.,
Johnson, Robertson, Jackson, meaning originally the sons of John,
Robert and Jack.
"God" is the family name in English of the divine Kingdom of
spirit beings. The Father's name is called "God" in English.
Jesus Christ - who was crucified so our past sins may be forgiven
- is also called God in John 1:1, Hebrews 1:8 and other New
Testament texts. The Holy Spirit - which comes forth from God -
is the begettal agent by which we receive the earnest of our
salvation (2 Cor.1:22; Eph.1;14; Rom.8:18).
Many religionists do not understand the part that the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit each play in the salvation process. The
Trinity is the result, in part, of such fundamental
But here is another one of the "famous" Biblical opposites.
Instead of teaching the pagan doctrine of the Trinity, Matthew
28:19 really tells us that God is a growing family or Kingdom
into which we may enter upon repentance, baptism, the receipt of
the Holy Spirit and patient endurance to the end of our natural
lives and/or Christ's coming - whichever comes first. A closed
Trinity or triad, or triumvirate of three persons is as far from
God's mind and His plan for human beings as the east is from the
Entered on this Website February 2008
To be continued with "Who Was Jesus?"