cult groups (Jehovah's Witnesses, The Way International,
Christadelphians, etc.) who deny the Trinity and state that the
doctrine was not mentioned until the 4th Century until after the
time of the Council of Nicea (325). This council "was called by
Emperor Constantine to deal with the error of Arianism which was
threatening the unity of the Christian Church."
following quotes show that the doctrine of the Trinity was
indeed alive-and-well before the Council of Nicea.
(70-155/160). Bishop of Smyrna. Disciple of John the Apostle.
"O Lord God almighty...I
bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high
priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you,
with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever" (n. 14, ed.
Funk; PG 5.1040).
Martyr (100?-165?). He
was a Christian apologist and martyr.
in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our
Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the
washing with water" (First Apol., LXI).
Antioch (died 98/117).
Bishop of Antioch. He wrote much in defense of Christianity.
Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to
the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever" (n. 7; PG 5.988).
have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the
only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards
became also man, of Mary the virgin. For ‘the Word was made flesh.'
Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a
passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life,
He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from
death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to
health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts."
(Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The ante-Nicene
Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 1, p. 52, Ephesians
(115-190). As a boy he listened to Polycarp, the disciple of John.
He became Bishop of Lyons.
"The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even
to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their
disciples this faith: ...one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of
heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and
in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our
salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the
prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth
from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead,
and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ
Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of
the Father ‘to gather all things in one,' and to raise up anew all
flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our
Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the
invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and
things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue
should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment
towards all...'" (Against Heresies X.l)
(160-215). African apologist and theologian. He wrote much in
defense of Christianity.
"We define that there are two, the Father and the Son, and
three with the Holy Spirit, and this number is made by the pattern
of salvation...[which] brings about unity in trinity, interrelating
the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three,
not in dignity, but in degree, not in substance but in form, not in
power but in kind. They are of one substance and power, because
there is one God from whom these degrees, forms and kinds devolve in
the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (Adv. Prax. 23; PL
(185-254). Alexandrian theologian. A disciple of Origen. Defended
Christianity. He wrote much about Christianity.
"If anyone would say that the Word of God or the Wisdom of God
had a beginning, let him beware lest he direct his impiety rather
against the unbegotten Father, since he denies that he was always
Father, and that he has always begotten the Word, and that he always
had wisdom in all previous times or ages or whatever can be imagined
in priority...There can be no more ancient title of almighty God
than that of Father, and it is through the Son that he is Father"
(De Princ. 1.2.; PG 11.132).
if [the Holy Spirit were not eternally as He is, and had received
knowledge at some time and then became the Holy Spirit] this were
the case, the Holy Spirit would never be reckoned in the unity of
the Trinity, i.e., along with the unchangeable Father and His Son,
unless He had always been the Holy Spirit." (Alexander Roberts and
James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 4, p. 253, de Principiis, 1.111.4)
"Moreover, nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less,
since the fountain of divinity alone contains all things by His word
and reason, and by the Spirit of His mouth sanctifies all things
which are worthy of sanctification..." (Roberts and Donaldson,
Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 255, de Principii., I. iii. 7).