Andrew has a post showcasing the various views from within Rome concerning the development of theology – which very much is a historical fact.
Unsettled ChristianityOne blog to rule them all, One blog to find them, One blog to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
There is a debate of interest going on in the blogosphere, and once I get a grip on it, I might contribute my thoughts on Irenaeus. This debate interests me for several reasons:
I will not post the entire debate, but snippets. I hope that you click the links and read them.
Since Catholicism takes for granted that there is such a thing as authentic DD, the question is really whether Orthodoxy can also accept the idea. Notice that I did not pose the issue as whether there is such a thing as DD simpliciter. I take for granted that there is, or has been, in each of the three major Christian traditions. So did the late, great Jaroslav Pelikan, convert from Lutheranism to Orthodoxy, among whose works I’ve found profitable are Development of Christian Doctrine: Some Historical Prolegomena; and his five-volume The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. To my knowledge, Pelikan never disputed the very idea of authentic DD after his conversion to Orthodoxy; and certain Orthodox thinkers in America today, such as Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon and Prof. David Hart, also accept authentic DD in some sense.
Then you notice the comment thread and read this:
When I last devoted a post to an Orthodox take on DD, I did so in response to several of my Orthodox readers who recommended an essay by Fr. Andrew Louth entitled “Is Development of Doctrine a Valid Category for Orthodox Theology?”, written for the recent Pelikan festschrift. Unsurprisingly, Louth’s answer was “no.” But in my post, I analyzed Louth’s arguments and concluded that he was conceding substantively what he was rejecting verbally—i.e., that authentic DD has occurred in a sense now recognized not only by the Catholic Church but, I maintain, by some Orthodox thinkers such as Pelikan himself. I had been prepared to reach such an odd conclusion by the blowback I had got, privately and publicly, from criticizing the well-known Orthodox pastor Fr. Patrick Reardon for rejecting DD. Eventually I felt obliged to concede that Reardon, and perhaps some other Orthodox thinkers, are willing to admit “authentic DD” in some meaty sense of that term. But I also had to recognize that other Orthodox thinkers, such as Louth and Behr, deny that they themselves do. In this respect, the dissensus within Orthodoxy reminds me of its dissensus on other matters, such as ecclesiology. But it is not for me to criticize Orthodoxy for such dissensus; after all, in the Catholic Church we have the Magisterium, which rightly exists to minimize doctrinal dissensus and does so de jure, but often does not de facto. My aim is far narrower and more useful: to criticize arguments against the possibility of authentic DD, so that the parties on all sides might become more able and willing to get clear with each other about what the fact of authentic DD actually consists in.
Also, check out this link. Further, from the above post,
Here’s the nub of Behr’s argument:
If tradition is essentially the right interpretation of Scripture, then it cannot change — and this means, it can neither grow nor develop. A tradition with a potential for growth ultimately undermines the Gospel itself — it leaves open the possibility for further revelation, and therefore the Gospel would no longer be sure and certain. If our faith is one and the same as that of the apostles, then, as Irenaeus claimed, it is equally immune from improvement by articulate or speculative thinkers as well as from diminution by inarticulate believers (Against the Heresies, 1.10.2). We must take seriously the famous saying of St. Vincent of Lerins: “We must hold what has been believed everywhere, always and by all” (Commonitorium, 2).
From an Orthodox perspective, there simply is, therefore, no such thing as dogmatic development. What there is, of course, is ever new, more detailed and comprehensive explanations elaborated in defense of one and the same faith — responding, each time, to a particular context, a particular controversy etc. But it is one and the same faith that has been believed from the beginning — the continuity of the correct interpretation of Scripture. And for this reason, the Councils, as Fr. John Meyendorff pointed out , never formally endorsed any aspect of theology as dogma which is not a direct (and correct) interpretation of the history of God described in Scripture: only those aspects were defined as dogma which pertain directly to the Gospel. So, for instance, the only aspect pertaining to the Virgin Mary that was ever recognized as dogma is that she is Theotokos — “Mother of God” — for she gave birth to our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ — it is something which pertains to the Incarnation, rather than to Mary herself. Whilst individual theologians have speculated about other aspects concerning the Virgin herself, and her glorification, items not directly pertaining to the Gospel of Christ’s work of salvation, such as the Assumption and the Immaculate conception, have never been held to have the status of dogma in the Orthodox Church.
Nest, this post,
In just this respect, Irenaeus was the first major contributor to what I call “meta-doctrine,” i.e. the development of doctrine about doctrine. As far as we know, he was the first theologian to argue explicitly that the “true doctrine,” the orthodox faith, was that which was received, held and professed publicly and in common by the communion of churches led by those who enjoyed a publicly verifiable apostolic succession. Given that kind of succession, the only reasonable conclusion was that there was no esoteric “tradition” or “knowledge” or “Scriptures” whose import was contrary to that claimed by the official leaders of the Church. And that is just what we would expect if, as the Catholic Church has always insisted, divine revelation was given publicly to all for the salvation of all.
Then you have this post:
I’m struck by how scandalized John is by the Catholic Church’s developed understanding of her own teaching authority. And let us make no mistake: the claims of Rome have been a scandal to many for over a millennium. For some, the scandal has only been exacerbated by the assertion of the ecumenically-minded Second Vatican Council that “…the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (Dei Verbum §10). As a Catholic, I imagine the scandal to be rather similar to that which Peter afforded many educated Jews of his time. But I must now address Ioannes.
To deny that dogma is demonstrable from scripture would seem to betray a lack of confidence itself an anomaly to the great tradition. As I have told you before, I consider the word ‘deduction’ problematic because of its connotations, not because I find it ridiculous to speak of teachings which follow of necessity from scripture. When heretics challenged the claim that the orthodox doctrines were those of the apostles, the fathers refuted them by showing whence their doctrines came. When heretics read their own teachings into scripture, the fathers pointed out how those teachings made scripture incoherent. Orthodoxy to them was inevitable. It cannot be avoided if we are to keep the whole picture as painted by the apostles intact. Yet on your view it seems orthodoxy can be avoided, or at least dodged on the field in which the battles used to be waged. The fathers’ scriptural arguments did not establish their teachings but merely suggested a probability in their favor. Since this probability or reasonableness is subjectively evaluated, the heretics could disagree and appeal to their different interpretative standards. And so it was to no real end for St Irenaeus to “revert,” as he does in the latter part of book three of AH, “to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God.” Indeed, not only is scriptural proof unnecessary, but the attempt to provide it would be futile. In that court Irenaeus could never make his case sure beyond a reasonable doubt. The meaning of scripture is conditioned not on its own inherent intelligibility but on who does the interpreting. Thus Irenaeus wasted his time offering exegetical arguments–which is a shame, since he could have used that time to make more explicit the teaching authority whose proper place in his argument he failed to grasp, not elucidating it sufficiently. He did not realize that the charism which resides in the objective tradition does not only operate through the bishops but in fact resides in them, too, much as it would reside later in Pio Nono, enabling him to say, as the story goes (and se non è vero, è ben trovato), ‘I am the tradition’. Irenaeus the bishop should have anticipated that stroke of logic, throwing out the future pope’s slogan against his opponents, who would have been left manifestly jostling around in the realm of opinion, confined therein by the incarnated charismatic authority which both guarded and, more than that, as its uniquely capable interpreter, was part of the deposit of faith.
Although this may be just a deposit of material for myself, I encourage you to read the thoughts of Doctrinal Development and weigh the theory against Scripture. Are we allowed to develop doctrine beyond that of the Apostles or to use non-biblical concepts in doctrine?
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV)
Collected from here:
ANASTASIUS OF ANTIOCH
“It is manifest that those things are not to be inquired into, which Scripture has passed over into silence. For the Holy Spirit has dispensed and administered to us all things which conduce to our profit” Anagog Contemp in Hexem lib 8 init
“…for the tokens of truth are more exact as drawn from Scripture, than from other sources…” De Decretis 31
“The holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the Truth” Contra Gentiles 1,1
“These [canonical] books are the fountains of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them: in these alone the school of piety preaches the Gospel; let no man add to or take away from them.” Festal Letters 39
“For they were spoken and written by God” De Incarnatione 56
“…the Scriptures…will learn from them more completely and clearly the exact detail of what we said” ibid 56
“Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us” Ad Epis Aeg 4
“Divine Scripture is sufficient above all things” De Synodis 6
ANTONY OF EGYPT
“The Scriptures are enough for instruction” Vita S. Antoni 16
“What more shall I teach you than what we read in the Apostle? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare to be wiser than we ought” De Bono Viduitatis 2
“Let us therefore give in…to the authority of the Holy Scriptures” De Peccatorum 33
“Let us search for the Church in the Sacred Scriptures” Epis 105
“[H]e will find there in much greater abundance things that are to be found nowhere else, but can be learnt only in the wonderful sublimity and wonderful simplicity of the Scriptures” De Doctr Christ 2,42,63
“It believes also the Holy Scriptures, old and new, which we call canonical, and which are the source of the faith by which the just lives…” De Civ Dei 19,18
BASIL THE GREAT
“The hearers taught in the Scriptures ought to test what is said by teachers and accept that which agrees with the Scriptures but reject what is foreign” Moralia 72,1
“Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth” Epis Ad Eustathius
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA
“How can we prove and certify as true something which Sacred Scripture does not attest?” Glaphyra on Genesis PG 69,53c
CYRIL OF JERUSALEM
“In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures.” Catechetical Lectures 4,17
“…that you also, by ranging over the Sacred Scriptures, may lay hold of salvation for yourself, and, sated with the Scriptures, you may say: ‘How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ [citing Psalm 118(119):103]” ibid 9,13
“Now do not fix your attention on any skill of language on my part, for perhaps you may be deceived; unless you get the testimony of the prophets on each point, do not believe what is said. Unless you learn from the Holy Scriptures regarding the Virgin, the place, the time, the manner [concerning the Incarnation], ‘do not receive the witness of man’ [citing John 5:34].” ibid 12,5
“‘He was buried, and He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures’ [1 Cor 15:4]. An Apostle has sent us back to the testimony of the Scriptures; from the same source we will do well to discover the hope of our salvation.” ibid 14,2
“Let us assert of the Holy Spirit, therefore, only what is written; let us not busy ourselves about what is not written. The Holy Spirit has authored the Scriptures; He has spoken of Himself all that He wished, or all that we could grasp; let us confine ourselves to what He has said, for it is reckless to do otherwise.” ibid 16,2
“Therefore I beg you all that you give up what appeals to this one or that one and that you address all these questions concerning these things to the Scriptures.” Homily 13 on 2 Corinthians
“If anything is said without Scripture, the thinking of the hearers limps. But where the testimony proceeds from the divinely given Scripture, it confirms both the speech of the preacher and the soul of the hearer.” Commenting on Psalm 95
“But when Scripture wants to teach us something like that, it interprets itself and does not permit the hearer to err. I therefore beg and entreat that we close our ears to all these things and follow the canon of the Holy Scripture exactly.” Homily 13 on Genesis
“As a trusty door, Scripture shuts out heretics, securing us from error…” Joann 58
“Everything in the divine Scriptures is clear and straightforward; they inform us about all that is necessary” Epis 2 ad Thess 3,4
“[B]eing most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and by His Spirit” Against Heresies 2,28,2
“The Apostles at that time first preached the Gospel but later by the will of God, they delivered it to us in the Scriptures, that it might be the foundation and pillar of our faith” ibid 3,1,1
“Since, therefore, the tradition from the Apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those Apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, and that no lie is in Him” ibid 3,5,1
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” In Isaiah Prologue
“If it is nowhere written, then let it fear the woe which impends on all who add to or take away from the written word” Ad Hermogenes 22
“It is right that His conduct be investigated according to the rule of Scripture” Ad Marcion 3,17
THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH
“It would be acting according to demonic inspiration to follow the thinking of the human mind and to think there could be anything divine apart from the authority of the Scriptures” Pascal Letter of 401
Before we arrive at the Godhead, or any doctrine associated with Councils and Doctrinal Development, we must first decide on the proper place for Doctrinal Progression. I offer two points against such a theory:
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. (1 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV)
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13 NKJV)
How then can we go above that which is stands written, not only in the Old but the New – the Prophets and the Apostles – and create a new pattern of words – sound or otherwise?
If we are commanded not to go beyond what is written, then how can we have Church Councils which establish doctrine different, or progressed, than the Apostles?
If we are commanded to hold to the pattern of words which the Apostle spoke, then how can we create theological concepts, words, and indeed languages, when Paul would not have recognized them?
If Doctrine is allowed to be progressed, then who decides the correct doctrine if we can no longer measure the doctrine in full by the holy Scriptures?
Can we move past the Apostles and still hold to Paul’s words? Who has the authority to amend the Apostles?
If no Doctrinal Progession, then no Trinity – and no oneness or modalism either. Must we hold to only those words (translated or transliterated) found in the Bible to describe our theology proper?
More questions than answers, but that is what the comment section is for!
Many of the readers of this blog know that I disagree with the idea that Doctrine has developed over time. My basis for this belief is that idea that many times the New Testament writers spoke about the Faith that was once for all delivered unto the Saints. In Acts 2, on the Day of Pentecost, we read that the new Christians continued steadfastly in the doctrine of the Apostles. If the Church is to continue in the Doctrine of the Apostles then that Doctrine must not change. You might call it Doctrinal Procession or Development, but I do not see a scriptural basis for it.
This week, while reading Early Christian Doctrines I came across a que to a thought by Gregory of Nazianzus. So, I went searching for it, in hopes of finding something biblical about it. This is the quote:
XXVI. To this I may compare the case of Theology3733 except that it proceeds the reverse way. For in the case by which I have illustrated it the change is made by successive subtractions; whereas here perfection is reached by additions. For the matter stands thus. The Old Testament proclaimed the Father openly, and the Son more obscurely. The New manifested the Son, and suggested the Deity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit Himself dwells among us, and supplies us with a clearer demonstration of Himself. For it was not safe, when the Godhead of the Father was not yet acknowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son; nor when that of the Son was not yet received to burden us further (if I may use so bold an expression) with the Holy Ghost; lest perhaps people might, like men loaded with food beyond their strength, and presenting eyes as yet too weak to bear it to the sun’s light, risk the loss even of that which was within the reach of their powers; but that by gradual additions, and, as David says, Goings up, and advances and progress from glory to glory,3734 the Light of the Trinity might shine upon the more illuminated. For this reason it was, I think, that He gradually came to dwell in the Disciples, measuring Himself out to them according to their capacity to receive Him, at the beginning of the Gospel, after the Passion, after the Ascension, making perfect their powers, being breathed upon them, and appearing in fiery tongues. And indeed it is by little and little that He is declared by Jesus, as you will learn for yourself if you will read more carefully. I will ask the Father, He says, and He will send you another Comforter, even the spirit of Truth.3735 This He said that He might not seem to be a rival God, or to make His discourses to them by another authority. Again, He shall send Him, but it is in My Name. He leaves out the I will ask, but He keeps the Shall send,3736 then again, I will send,—His own dignity. Then shall come,3737the authority of the Spirit.
Theology, the translator tells us, is restrict to the Doctrine of the Deity of the Son. We can accept that. Gregory’s use of Father does not equal the use by the Jews, the Apostles, the Apostolic or the early Church Fathers. For them, Father was the principle, the source of Creation. The Son is proclaimed not as Son, but as Messiah, as the Hope of Israel.
The problem with Gregory’s analysis of the Old and the New and the Now (Father, Son, Spirit) is that it only provides Inspiration for the two. We are the base our doctrine on the Scriptures. If this is the case, then we have no real scriptures pointing to the deity of the Spirit and thus, no justification of the third person of the Trinity.
There is of course problem with the ‘gradual’ indwelling of the Apostles by the Spirit. There is no scriptural evidence for that. Christ did not give the Spirit measured in John 20.
Well, I don’t want to dissect him too much, but I would rather stick with Chrysostom
Below are selected writings and responses from you humble blogger.
Theophilus of Antioch ( – c185)
Theophilus occupies an interesting position, after Ignatius, in the succession of faithful men who represented Barnabas and other prophets and teachers of Antioch, and Peter as well. Little is known of the personal history of Theophilus of Antioch. We gather from the following treatise that he was born a pagan (i. 14), and owed his conversion to Christianity to the careful study of the Holy Scriptures. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., iv. 20) declares that he was the sixth bishop of Antioch in Syria from the apostles, the names of his supposed predecessors being Eros, Cornelius, Hero, Ignatius, and Euodius. We also learn from the same writer, that Theophilus succeeded to the bishopric of Antioch in the ‘eighth year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius’ (168). He is said to have died either in 181, or in 188; some assigning him an overseership of somewhere between 13 and 21 years.
Below, interspersed with comments by this author, is a selected of passages from his only remaining work, Theophilus to Autolycus.
Chapter III.—Nature of God.
You will say, then, to me, “Do you, who see God, explain to me the appearance of God.” Hear, O man. The appearance of God is ineffable and indescribable, and cannot be seen by eyes of flesh. For in glory He is incomprehensible, in greatness unfathomable, in height inconceivable, in power incomparable, in wisdom unrivalled, in goodness inimitable, in kindness unutterable. For if I say He is Light, I name but His own work; if I call Him Word, I name but His sovereignty; if I call Him Mind, I speak but of His wisdom; if I say He is Spirit, I speak of His breath; if I call Him Wisdom, I speak of His offspring; if I call Him Strength, I speak of His sway; if I call Him Power, I am mentioning His activity; if Providence, I but mention His goodness; if I call Him Kingdom, I but mention His glory; if I call Him Lord, I mention His being judge; if I call Him Judge, I speak of Him as being just; if I call Him Father, I speak of all things as being from Him; if I call Him Fire, I but mention His anger. You will say, then, to me, “Is God angry?” Yes; He is angry with those who act wickedly, but He is good, and kind, and merciful, to those who love and fear Him; for He is a chastener of the godly, and father of the righteous; but he is a judge and punisher of the impious.
Chapter IV.—Attributes of God.
And He is without beginning, because He is unbegotten; and He is unchangeable, because He is immortal. And he is called God [Θεός] on account of His having placed [τεθεικέναι] all things on security afforded by Himself; and on account of [θέειν], for θέειν means running, and moving, and being active, and nourishing, and foreseeing, and governing, and making all things alive. But he is Lord, because He rules over the universe; Father, because he is before all things; Fashioner and Maker, because He is creator and maker of the universe; the Highest, because of His being above all; and Almighty, because He Himself rules and embraces all. For the heights of heaven, and the depths of the abysses, and the ends of the earth, are in His hand, and there is no place of His rest. For the heavens are His work, the earth is His creation, the sea is His handiwork; man is His formation and His image; sun, moon, and stars are His elements, made for signs, and seasons, and days, and years, that they may serve and be slaves to man; and all things God has made out of things that were not into things that are, in order that through His works His greatness may be known and understood.
Chapter IX.—The Prophets Inspired by the Holy Ghost.
But men of God carrying in them a holy spirit and becoming prophets, being inspired and made wise by God, became God-taught, and holy, and righteous. Wherefore they were also deemed worthy of receiving this reward, that they should become instruments of God, and contain the wisdom that is from Him, through which wisdom they uttered both what regarded the creation of the world and all other things. For they predicted also pestilences, and famines, and wars. And there was not one or two, but many, at various times and seasons among the Hebrews; and also among the Greeks there was the Sibyl; and they all have spoken things consistent and harmonious with each other, both what happened before them and what happened in their own time, and what things are now being fulfilled in our own day: wherefore we are persuaded also concerning the future things that they will fall out, as also the first have been accomplished.
Chap. XV. — Of the Fourth Day.
On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior. And these contain the pattern and type of a great mystery. For the sun is a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the , of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man. Wherefore also on the fourth day the lights were made. The disposition of the stars, too, contains a type of the arrangement and order of the righteous and pious, and of those who keep the law and commandments of God. For the brilliant and bright stars are an imitation of the prophets, and therefore they remain fixed, not declining, nor passing from place to place. And those which hold the second place in brightness, are types of the people of the righteous. And those, again,, which change their position, and flee from place to place, which also are called planets,53 they too are a type of the men who have wandered from God, abandoning His law and commandments.three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity
Chapter XXII.—Why God is Said to Have Walked.
You will say, then, to me: “You said that God ought not to be contained in a place, and how do you now say that He walked in Paradise?” Hear what I say. The God and Father, indeed, of all cannot be contained, and is not found in a place, for there is no place of His rest; but His Word, through whom He made all things, being His power and His wisdom, assuming the person of the Father and Lord of all, went to the garden in the person of God, and conversed with Adam. For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice. But what else is this voice but the Word of God, who is also His Son? Not as the poets and writers of myths talk of the sons of gods begotten from intercourse [with women], but as truth expounds, the Word, that always exists, residing within the heart of God. For before anything came into being He had Him as a counselor, being His own mind and thought. But when God wished to make all that He determined on, He begot this Word, uttered, the first-born of all creation, not Himself being emptied of the Word [Reason], but having begotten Reason, and always conversing with His Reason. And hence the holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men, one of whom, John, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in Him. Then he says, “The Word was God; all things came into existence through Him; and apart from Him not one thing came into existence.” The Word, then, being God, and being naturally produced from God, whenever the Father of the universe wills, He sends Him to any place; and He, coming, is both heard and seen, being sent by Him, and is found in a place.
 This is not the title given by Theophilus, but the Translators.
 Wolf perfers πνευματόφοροι, carried or borne along by the Spirit. [Kaye’s Justin M., p. 180, comparing this view of the inspiration of prophets, with those of Justin and Athenagoras.]
 The Greek is ‘Τριάδος’. The Trinitarian claim about Theophilus is based on a misunderstood and mistranslated passage in his writings. It is mistranslated because trinity is not a Greek word. Thus, the proper translation would be: In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the three of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man.
 An eminent Trinitarian authority says, “It is certain, that, according to the notions of Theophilus, god, His Word, and His wisdom constitute a Trinity; and it should seem a Trinity of persons.” He notes that the title sofia, is here assigned to the Holy Spirit, although he himself elsewhere gives this title to the Son (book ii. cap. x., supra), as is more usual with the Fathers.” Consult Kaye’s Justin Martyr, p. 157. Ed., 1853.
 The annotators here warn us against supposing that “person” is used as it was afterwards employed in discussing the doctrine of the Trinity, and show that the word is used in its original meaning, and with reference to an actor taking up a mask and personating a character.
 Προφορικός, the term used of the Logos as manifested; the Word as uttered by the Father, in distinction from the Word immanent in Him. [Theophilus is the first author who distinguishes between the Logos ἐνδιάθετος (cap. x, supra) and the Logos προφορικός; the Word internal, and the Word emitted. Kaye’s Justin, p. 171.]
Ignatius usually gets a bludgeoning from various people and groups that I deal with personally, but in the end I hold that he was a solid ‘modalist’ although that word would have been foreign to him. He invented the word ‘apostolic’ which is horribly misused by Rome and oneness people. He also was among the first (if not they first) to use the term ‘catholic‘ in describing the Church, but this is not the big C Catholic that we know of today, but instead the universal Church, both Jew and Gentile, Living and Dead.
His famous quote,
Where the bishop is, there let the people gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church.
Expresses the unity of the Church, not a name or collective center such as Rome. After all, Alexandria would occupy the seat of papal authority long before Rome would. I have included a portion of Ignatius’ works, and a word of caution. One has to be cautious in discarding all of history because they are used and interpreted by the Trinitarians.
The Epistles of Ignatius (c35-110)
I have chosen to include several passages from different Epistles composed by this Bishop of Antioch, but I do so with caution. We know assuredly that this man lived and wrote extensively. We know fully that he was a Bishop of Antioch and that he was martyred for the Faith around 107 by the Romans. History, however, has given us several representations of his works. Along with most scholars, I have used only the shorter versions in which to extract doctrine. Many scholars will speak to the fact that it is plain one or the other of these versions (Shorter and Longer) exhibits a corrupt text, and scholars have for the most part agreed to accept the shorter form as representing the genuine letters of Ignatius, but that theory is not without its faults. I will hold to that theory, but with the rider that interpolations are known to have occurred.
The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory, being united and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father and Jesus Christ, our God: Abundant happiness through Jesus Christ, and His undefiled grace.
Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by the blood of God, ye have perfectly accomplished the work which was beseeming to you.
Let my spirit be counted as nothing for the sake of the cross, which is a stumbling-block to those that do not believe, but to us salvation and life eternal. “Where is the wise man? where the disputer?” Where is the boasting of those who are styled prudent? For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water.
Hence every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, God Himself being manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life. And now that took a beginning which had been prepared by God.
The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians
The Ephesians from Smyrna (whence I also write to you), who are here for the glory of God, as ye also are, who have in all things refreshed me, salute you, along with Polycarp, the bishop of the Smyrnæans. The rest of the Churches, in honour of Jesus Christ, also salute you. Fare ye well in the harmony of God, ye who have obtained the inseparable Spirit, who is Jesus Christ.
Epistle to the Trallians
Be on your guard, therefore, against such persons. And this will be the case with you if you are not puffed up, and continue in intimate union with Jesus Christ our God, and the bishop, and the enactments of the apostles. He that is within the altar is pure, but he that is without is not pure; that is, he who does anything apart from the bishop, and presbytery, and deacons, such a man is not pure in his conscience.
Epistle to the Romans
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Most High Father, and Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is beloved and enlightened by the will of Him that willeth all things which are according to the love of Jesus Christ our God, which also presides in the place of the region of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of obtaining her every desire, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love, is named from Christ, and from the Father, which I also salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father: to those who are united, both according to the flesh and spirit, to every one of His commandments; who are filled inseparably with the grace of God, and are purified from every strange taint, [I wish] abundance of happiness unblameably, in Jesus Christ our God.
For our God, Jesus Christ, now that He is in the Father, is all the more revealed [in His glory]. Christianity is not a thing of silence only, but also of [manifest] greatness.
Epistle to the Church at Smyrna
I Glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom
Ye have done well in receiving Philo and Pheus Agathopus as servants of Christ our God who have followed me for the sake of GOd, and who give thanks to the Lord in your behalf, because ye have in every way refreshed them. None of these things shall be lost to you.
 Interpolations can be easily indentified in the longer text with the addition of titles and the correcting on ‘Christological concerns, i.e. Ignatius’ unqualified declaration that Christ is God.
 God-bearer, indicating the indwelling of the Spirit
 The Greek is τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, indicating Christ is God. The longer versions reads ‘God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour’
 Cf Acts 20.28
 Clear statement as to the Ignatius’ theology of the nature of God
 It is either that Christ is the inseparable Spirit or God
 The longer version reads only ‘of Christ’.
Some time ago, I engaged in a discussion concerning Modalism and Trinitarianism. These following articles/posts are a result of that discussion that is on again, off again. I hear tell that it might start again, so in part because of that (and in part because I wanted to collect it all on one page, and in part because I recently discovered how to tag) I am posting this.
I have continued working on this, modifing it, polishing it, and getting it to a point for publication. Below is the introduction. Once completed, I will add the entire file to the blog for download and heavy criticism by my Trinitarian friends, if I have any left… Please bare in mind, that it is not completed.
I have attempted to create an apology for common use by The Church of Jesus Christ in an effort to avoid the use of materials published under any other banner but of the name of the Lord. It is my earnest desire to see The Church of Jesus Christ stand on her own when it comes to defending the historical Faith once for all delivered by the Apostles of Jesus Christ.
I have attempted to use the King James Version of the bible (1769 Oxford), but have found myself needing other versions as well. The most common of these is the New King James Version (NKJV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the New English Translation (NET). For the Septuagint I used the NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint). I have found it necessary at times to diverge from the traditional KJV and use others because they may prove the point more thoroughly. Do not be dismayed at this. Doctrine is established in the Original Languages by the original words, not by a mere translation made by human hand. To rely upon only one translation when studying doctrine is to severely limit ourselves and find ourselves in the same pit as Tertullian and other who preferred Latin, and thus changing concepts, to the Greek.
With that said, I used the same Greek text (Byzantine Textual Tradition) for the New Testament that the KJV does as well as the Hebrew Text of the Masoretic Tradition. For the Septuagint, LXX, I used the critical text established for the NETS. I understand that for the lay person, koine Greek is as useful as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and just as foreign, if not more so; however, I have attempted to include enough language tools in the same passage so that the point that I am attempting to make from the Greek is clearly seen and just as understood as if it were in English.
I have attempted, as well, to include in the footnotes the proper documentation as well as other helpful information. Some sections are amalgamated from various sources and therefore it is difficult to site every source, but efforts have been made to do so where required. The one thing that I do not want to be questioned on – not because of some imaginary ivory tower but because a falsehood will quickly dispel even truthful arguments – is scholarship.
It is my prayer not that this becomes the standard apologetic defense for The Church, but that it leads others into many works of defense of the great and Historical Doctrine. It is also my hope that this is the first of many works in developing a full and well versed Systematic Theology for The Church of Jesus Christ.
Introduction and History
And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so…. And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. 1st Kings 22:1-19 KJV (selected)
This passage illustrates a most important principle: not always is the majority opinion true. Though many may support a theory and that theory may be supported by Tradition, that theory is not necessarily right. In Church History there have been many Micaiahs. They have, for the most part, constituted the minority, but that doesn’t make them heretics.
The Church of Jesus Christ has suffered many setbacks in her history and it has seemed from time to time that Hell has almost prevailed and through persecutions, torments and laws against us she has withstood all, but the worst of those hindrances have been when men went outside of the Word of God and tried to bring in false doctrine. Throughout the Bible, we find great evil occurs when scriptures are either wrestled with, or used impart, to create something new. The Church needs nothing outside of the Bible to substantiate creeds or dogmas. The Holy Scripture, the very God-breathed Word, is all we need. The great injustice of the Second Century and subsequent centuries was that the Church leaders went outside of the Bible for their authority, essentially leaving the Church itself behind. They invoked the decisions of Church Councils, saying they had just as much authority as the Bible and even today, these Councils are considered the only way to approach Scripture. With these Councils and Synods, men met to determine the current view of ‘Apostolic Doctrine’, thus damning heresies started began to creep in. The greatest of these is the Trinitarian Doctrine. This scripturally unsafe doctrine is found only in creeds established by men with almost total disregard for Scripture. Its thoughts were borrowed from paganism. As we know, when one foundation is removed, man is liable to remove other supports, such as baptism, holiness, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When man looks to man, his end is confusion. The Trinitarian doctrine was formulated by men and thus we see the present denominational world in a steady state of confusion concerning doctrines, traditions, and conversions. The people are rarely firmly rooted in their tradition, but confused as to doctrinal boundaries. The entire denominational world is crumbling into a pool of waste.
Since the final formulation of the Trinitarian dogma in 381 the Catholic Church has persecuted and condemned any who would question it. It matters not that their dogma came from man and was recognized as something foreign to Scripture, Rome pretends to be the representatives of God. The Vatican claimed authority to condemn people for simply rejecting their human dogma, and in making the denial of the Trinitarian dogma a capital offense, they revealed their hearts and their master. The New Testament never gives license to kill. Neither does it sanction torture. The Early Church knew nothing but persecution, but sometime after the Third Century the tables turned and the Catholic Church began persecution in the name of the Lord, forcing true believers underground while declaring them heretics. They issued polemics against them, and removed them from Church office. They literally attempted to write them out of the history books.
And those who wrote the books, as well as those who write the books now, either label us falsely or attempt to fallaciously portray our doctrine.
It is difficult to escape terms that we have placed erroneously on ourselves or have had placed on us. I fully recognize that the term ‘oneness’ cannot be found in the Bible, in any language in any honest translation. I will accept the term ‘Modalist’, only so far as it is recognized that this too is a man made concept, and one imposed on us by ancient Trinitarians. Granted, ‘oneness’ seems to be a much more Biblical term than ‘Trinity’, but if I am going to criticize the Trinitarians based on the fact that ‘trinity is not found in the Bible’, then we should be honest and recognize that neither is ‘oneness’. I prefer ‘people of the one God’, or’ monotheists’, or even Unitarians (however that term has taken on a negative con notation due to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Unitarian-Universalists, but Trinitarians will claim that as well (although I believe for a majority of them, this is made in error). Unless absolutely necessary, I will try to avoid placing Modalism in opposition to Trinitarianism. Although they are opposed one to another, to define doctrine in opposition to another doctrine does justice to neither, and creates a reality that the other doctrine has merit as well at the situation that develops whereby we use the terms of the opposing doctrine and assign them our own definitions.
For our attempt to build a systematic theology of the One God, I would like to begin by recognizing areas of agreement and disagreements between the Trinitarians and Oneness believers. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate that our differences are not merely over semantics, but over concepts. For example, a concept that is foreign to the Modalist view of God is the theory of the ‘unified’ Godhead. For most Modalists the term ‘unified’ still carries within itself the idea that a separation or distinction exists. Here, we must cast doubt on the notion that distinction does not mean separation. According to Webster’s Dictionary, distinct means (1)’separate in place; not conjunct; not united by growth or otherwise;’, and (2) ‘so separated as not to be confounded with any other thing; not liable to be misunderstood; not confused; well-defined; clear; as, we have a distinct or indistinct view of a prospect.’ To the lay person, a distinction in the Godhead more than alludes to a separation but calls for an outright separation. We have to remember that in the bible, the διαστολή, which means ‘distinction’, is only applied to musical notes and to the believers, and never to God (1st Co 14.7). In the former, there is a distinction among the musical notes; in the latter, there is no difference, distinction, or separation in the believers (Jews or Greeks).
Both Oneness and Trinitarian theologians agree that the Bible teaches the existence of only ‘one’ God; both agree that the New Testament sees a difference between the Father and the Son; both views maintain that the Scripture speaks of Father and the Son as God. The question remains: to what level is there a distinction, if any, which exists in the Godhead? I believe that there is no distinction, or separation, in person; however, there remains a difference in manifestations, or spheres of operation, and that difference is temporary, caused by nature and condition.
Oneness and Trinitarian theology both attempt to answer certain questions concerning God, but we do so from different starting points, and end up with two different conclusions. I start with the clear and historically recognized teaching of the Old Testament and the Jews that God is one, and like the Apostles I seek to know Christ and interpret His gospel in light of His words while understanding the different New Testament manifestations between Father and Son in light of the foundation the Law and the Prophets. Trinitarians start with the terms ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ and attempt to justify the OT assertions that God is one in light of these, often relying upon one another’s interpretations. The result is that Oneness theologians usually understand the temporary differences as arising in the incarnation, while Trinitarians understand the differences as absolute eternal distinctions of divine persons in the Godhead both prior to, and after the incarnation. Further, while some Modalists see the Spirit as being the divine power, Trinitarians see the Spirit as being a third person co-equal with the Father and the Son. Throughout the New Testament, Christ and His apostles interpret the current events in light of the Old Testament; however we see no fundamental change in the understanding of what was being interpreted. We must not deviate from that example.
Many assume that the oneness doctrine is new, existing only shortly after the Azusa Street Revival in 1916, but in reality, Modalism goes back to the patristic Church, and past them, even to the Apostles themselves (as it would be natural to do so). To the victor go the spoils, so for Praxeas, Sabellius, and Noetus, we have nothing but the interpretation of their doctrines, perhaps even mischaracterizations, and the guile bestowed upon them by their opponents.
Praxeas explained that while Christ was the Father incarnate, Jesus died only in His humanity as the Son. Sabellius attempted to answer the charge of Patripassianism in a similar way. Noetus, according to his opponent Hippolytus, said, “When indeed, then, the Father had not been born, He yet was justly styled Father; and when it pleased Him to undergo generation, having been begotten, He Himself became His own Son, not another’s.” Hippolytus comments on Noetus saying, “For in this manner he thinks to establish the sovereignty of God, alleging that Father and Son, so called, are one and the same (substance), not one individual produced from a different one, but Himself from Himself; and that He is styled by name Father and Son, according to vicissitude of times. But that He is one who has appeared amongst us, both having submitted to generation from a virgin, and as a man having held converse among men. And, on account of the birth that had taken place, He confessed Himself to those beholding Him a Son, no doubt; yet He made no secret to those who could comprehend Him of His being a Father. That this person suffered by being fastened to the tree, and that He commended His spirit unto Himself, having died to appearance, and not being (in reality) dead. And He raised Himself up the third day, after having been interred in a sepulcher, and wounded with a spear, and perforated with nails. “ Noetus, although presumably a disciple of Praxeas, is derided by Hippolytus as being a disciple of Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher some 600 years before Christ (although Justin Martyr calls this long dead philosopher a Christian), who promoted an idea akin to pantheism. Nothing of the writings of Noetus, Praxeas or Sabelliusremains, only the words of their detractors.
The same Hippolytus who said, “The one God, the first and only, both Creator and Lord of all things, had nothing co-eternal. . . . No, he was one, to himself alone. And when he so willed, he created those things which before had no existence other than in his willing to make them and inasmuch as he had knowledge of what would be, for he also has foreknowledge”, is the one that the Trinitarians who promote co-eternal pre-existence promote as a great defender of the Faith. Hippolytus’ attacks were not limited to Modalists, but also to Quartodecimans and Montanists. (Polycarp, saying that he received his doctrine from the Apostle John, was a Quartodeciman and Tertullian became a Montanist.)
Tertullian, the founder of Latin theology, is widely quoted as saying, “the simple, indeed (I will not call them unwise and unlearned), who always constitute the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws them from the world’s plurality of gods to the one only true God….They are constantly throwing out against us that we are preachers of two gods and three gods, while they take to themselves pre-eminently the credit of being worshipers of the One God.” In his discussion of the Trinity, Tertullian acknowledged that the majority of believers did not accept the Trinity. Calling them simple, Tertullian failed to follow Paul’s directive of ‘not going beyond what is written’ and found himself ‘puffed up’. Tertullian goes on further to say that it was Praxeas that brought Modalism to Asia. What must be noted as well, are the many times this Latin father spoke of the Father and the Son as two separate beings.
Praxeas, Sabellius, and Noetus seemed to preach what some hold today as Modalism, although they might not recognize the term. They preached that the Father incarnated His Word as Himself from Himself, or God speaking Himself. They preached that it was the Son that died, or rather the human nature, while also preaching subordination of the Son to the Father, and a temporary, albeit only by nature and condition, distinction.
Contrary to what Tertullian assumed, Oneness theology does not believe that the Son is the Father, but rather that the Father is in the Son and that when you see the Son you see the Father. As Commodian, and ancient Christian Latin poet, said, “The Father went into the Son, one God everywhere.” Sabellius explained that the Logos was not the Son but was clothed by the Son, referring to the Son as the temporary human nature. Although Modalism holds to the passability of God (in opposition to one of the philosophical errors that gave rise to the Trinity, that of the impassibility of God); however, we fully recognize that the Father cannot die in any physical sense but can be affected by or that he participates in the suffering of the Son (the flesh). During the schism created by Hippolytus, Bishop Zephyrinus of Rome said, “I know only one God, Jesus Christ, and apart from Him no other who was born or could suffer… It was not the Father who died but the Son.” (There are minor variations in the quote, but the sense is still the same.)
We have a historical tradition of a firm doctrine of what the world calls Modalism which conflicts with Trinitarianism which simply has a history of development. We also have seen that the greatest Trinitarian theologians, those giving the most to the development of said doctrine, have been found to themselves to be separated against the Church. Be it Hippolytus or Tertullian, both men were members of sects that were later declared heretical by Rome, yet their theology is retained.
Trinitarians point to the ‘one in substance’ argument, but that is a human notion that is troubling on more than one front. What substance? Would not the feeble human analogy of triplets being of one substance yet distinct be accurate? If you have a set of identical triplets, they are literally of the same substance, and distinct. Applying this picture to the Trinitarians view, they would have us believe that the triplets are one person. Yet, distinction clearly means separation. Do we see a separation at all in the Godhead? We know that Father was assigned a person in scripture, but neither the Son nor Spirit was. If the substance is the Father’s as is the Person, and if the Son and Spirit have neither Substance nor Person, then Son and Spirit must originate from the Father.
 As noted later the Nicene Council in 325 was a failure
 Not only them, but others as well, notably John Calvin who had Michael Servatus burned at the stake for being a Modalist.
 However, Athenagoras used it about 177ad (see the section on his writings)
 The Cathecism of the Catholic Church admits the Church (not the Bible) had to come up with terms of “philosophical” (pagan) origin to explain it: (251) In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop its own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance,” “person,” or “hypostasis,” “relation” and so on (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 74). So, not only is the word unbiblical, but the concepts that have greated the word and theology as well.
 In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together…The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180 (We will read some of Theophilus writings and allow the reader to examine the usage). Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian (“De pud.” c. xxi) (The Blessed Trinity. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).
 For that matter, ‘Godhead’ is a foreign concept as well, which we will address later
 “distinct.” Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. 01 May. 2008. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/distinct>.
 An example being the Atonement. A sacrifice was needed in the OT and the NT. That fundamental requirement was not changed. What changed was the sacrifice itself. From the blood of goats and lambs to that of the Son.
 “Monarchianism,” Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, VIII, 780.
 Hippolytus stood uncompromisingly for a real difference between the Son (Logos) and the Father, but so as to represent the Former as a Divine Person almost completely separate from God (Ditheism) and at the same time altogether subordinate to the Father (Subordinationism). – New Advent Catholic Encylcopedia
 Hippolytus was Church Elder in Rome, and some say that he was a student of Irenaeus, but that cannot be collaborated. He was a follower of Novatian, who has also divided the Church having set up for himself his own sect and Church. He died c. 236 after being reconciled back to the Church.
 Refutation of All Heresies A.D. 228
 See Appendix B
 Montanism was a sect, very much kin to the modern Charismatic movement. Montanus and his two female attendants, Maximilla and Prisca, were enthusiastic revivalists of the mid-second century. They believed that in Montanus the Paraclete dwelt bodily, and that the heavenly Jerusalem would soon come down at Pepuza in Asia Minor. Their theology is thus largely based on the Johannine writings, which at this time were becoming very popular in Asia, and Gaius of Rome (XXVI) tried to cut the ground from under them by ascribing Gospel and Apocalypse to Cerinthus (Pseudo-Tertullian, 10). The visions and the prophecy of Montanism (which was sometimes called the New Prophecy, XXIII. I) have been thought of as a return to first-century Christianity; but there is little evidence that, except at Corinth, apostolic Christian- ity was ordinarily so effervescent. One of their Oracles (prophecies) reads Montanus: “I am the Father and the Son and the Paraclete.” (Didymus, De trinitate iii. 41. 1.) Assembled in P. de Labriolle, La crise montaniste (1913), 34-105, by Bates College, Lewston (Maine)
 ‘Most of Tertullian’s writings after 206 exhibit strong Montanistic leanings, although Tertullian was still part of the church. Around 213, Tertullian may have left the church and joined a Montanist group.’ – Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs. What should be noted is that all of Tertullian’s Trinitarian writings come from the period of his Montanist membership. According to Williston Walker, in his 1918 History of the Christian Church, ‘The Spirit had been the inspiration of the prophecy of the Old Testament. He guided the New Testament writers. Christian thought at the beginning of the second century the Holy Spirit was differentiated from Christ, but was classed, like Him, with God. This appears in the Trinitarian baptismal formula, which was displacing the older baptism in the name of Christ. Trinitarian formula were frequently in use by the close of the first and beginning of the second century.’
 Tertullian seems to suggest that the majority of believers at that time favored the Sabellian view of the oneness of God. Epiphanius (Haeres 62) about 375 AD notes that the adherents of Sabellius were still to be found in great numbers, both in Mesopotamia and at Rome. The second general council at Constantinople in 533 AD declared the baptism of Sabellius to be invalid, which indicates that Sabellianism was still extant.
 The ‘us’ is the Montantist sect that Tertullian was apart of. How apparent the priorities of Rome that they draw their theology from those that sought to divide the Church.
 1st Co 4.6
 The Christian common people held firmly, above all, to the Unity of God and at the same time to the true Godhead of Jesus Christ. Originally no distrust of this doctrine was felt among them. Pope Zephyrinus did not interpose authoritatively in the dispute between the two schools. The heresy of the Modalists was not at first clearly evident, and the doctrine of Hippolytus offered many difficulties as regards the tradition of the Church. Zephyrinus said simply that he acknowledged only one God, and this was the Lord Jesus Christ, but it was the Son, not the Father, Who had died. This was the doctrine of the tradition of the Church. Hippolytus urged that the pope should approve of a distinct dogma which represented the Person of Christ as actually different from that of the Father and condemned the opposing views of the Monarchians and Patripassians. However, Zephyrinus would not consent to this.
 Jules Lebreton and Jacques Zeiller, Heresy and Orthodoxy, Vol. IV of A History of the Early Church (New York: Collier, 1962), p. 155.- Catholic Encyclopedia (NewAdvent.org)