De Moor V:18: New Testament Testimonies for the Doctrine of the Trinity, Part 2

Yet above all these the passage in 1 John 5:7 rises. On the text of 1 John 5:7, and the controversies that are moved concerning it, especially concerning its αὐθεντίαν/authenticity/authority, carefully read TURRETIN, Decade Disputationum miscellanearum, Disputation V; TRIGLAND, Dissertatione de tribus in Cœlo Testibus, in Dissertationum Sylloge, pages 67-198; JOHN MILL, Dissertatione on this passage; DAVID MARTIN,[1] in his three French treatises, which are inscribed, Deux Dissertations Critiques, la premiere sur 1 John 5:7, etc., Utrecht, 1717, Examen de la Reponse de Mr. Emlyn a la Dissertatione Critique sur 1 John 5:7, London, 1719, La Verite du Text 1 John 5:7, demontree par des preuves, qui son au-dessus de toute Exception, etc. Utrecht, 1721; WOLF,[2]Curis philologicis et criticis on this passage, in which he renders in Latin the Vindicias of this passage, which LEONARD TWELLS[3] published in the English idiom; BENGEL,[4] Apparatu Critico ad Novum Testamentum on this passage, pages 744-771; HOORNBEECK, Socinianismo confutato, tome I, book II, chapter V, section II, pages 435, 436; LEUSDEN, Philologo Hebræo-Græco, dissertation V, § 11-16; THEODORUS PETRUS ELSNERUS,[5]Commentario Belgico on this passage. JOHN GERHARD also gave two Dissertations on this passage in Disputationibus Jenensibus, page 1293 and following; the former of which asserts the canonical authority of the saying, the latter asserts the mystery of the Τριάδος/Triad/Trinity from it.

[Three Persons, etc.] Indeed, from the Personality of the Father as the first Witness, is also inferred the Personality of the Λόγου/Logos/Word and of the Πνεύματος ἁγίου, Holy Spirit; and, since these Witnesses are called Three, all these are not able to be held as the same Person, nor one for a person, the other for a merely accidental virture; since these Three are called ἓν/one, they are shown to be of one Essence, by comparison with John 10:29, 30, in which the Lord, from this ἑνότητι/unity, derives the Identity of the Power of the Son with the Father, which pertains to the Essential Attributes. Now, this Essence, since it is Divine in God the Father, is also shown to be Divine in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. And, since a Plurality of God is altogether false, contradictory, and impossible, as it has been seen in Chapter IV, § 23, it is not able to be contemplated here concerning the Divine Essence in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, which with respect to kind is only One and the same with the Essence of the Father; but we are obliged to attribute the Divine Essence, completely the Same with respect to Number, to the Son and the Holy Spirit as to the Father: see ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, de Cogntione Dei, chapter I, § CXVII-CXIX, pages 127-129, who then best draws together the argument for the Trinity from this passage against the captious objections of the Racovian Catechism, de Cognitione Dei, chapter I, question 38, pages 40, 41, in his refutatione of that Catechism on the place cited, § CLXXIII-CLXXXVIII, pages 153-159; TURRETIN’S Decadem Disputationum miscellanearum, Disputation V, § 3, 7-22, 26-28, in which at the same time he teaches how these Three bear Testimony concerning Christ’s Deity and Mission into the world to procure the Redemption of the elect: add TRIGLAND’S Dissertationem de tribus in Cœlo Testibus, Dissertationum Sylloge, § 33 and following; GERHARD’S Disputationem posteriorem on this passage, § 1-22, pages 1355-1385; LAMPE’S Dissertationum philologico-theologicarum, volume II, Disputation III, chapter II, § 4, page 113.

Our Adversaries set forth their desperate case in two parts:

Faustus Socinus

1. [Fleeing here to the mere Unity of Consensus and Testimony, etc.] See Socinus’ Explicationem of 1 John, opera, tome I, page 242b; TURRETIN, Decade Disputationum miscellanearum, Disputation V, § 21, 22; TRIGLAND’S Dissertationem de tribus in Cœlo Testibus, Dissertationum Sylloge, § 40, pages 196, 197; GERHARD’S Disputationem posteriorem on this passage, § 23-26, pages 1385-1392.

Nevertheless, α. the difference of Expression in each Verse does not allow this restriction: for, in verse 8, it is εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν, they agree in one, but here, ἕν εἰσι, they are one. In verse 8, it is καὶ οἱ τρεῖς, etc., and the three, etc.; but here it is καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς, etc., and these three, etc., so that the Unity, altogether proper to these Witnesses in Heaven, might be indicated, of which sort is the Unity of Essence of those Three divine Persons; not the Unity of the Consent of testimony of them concerning fundamental truths, in the assertion of which John is concerned, which they have in common with the Three Witnesses on Earth, not to mention with many others.

β. Our Savior explains it otherwise, extending it further to Power and other Attributes, John 10:29, 30; of the same expression found in our text He makes use in John 10:30, Ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν, I and the Father are one, so that He might prove that the same Power, belonging pre-eminently to the Father, is applicable to Him, which flows from the Identity of Essence, supposing that Power is among the Essential Attributes.

Theodore Beza

γ. [The Unity of Authentic and Infallible Testimony plainly implies the One Deity, which our Men had supposed, explaining this saying of Consensus.] Compare TURRETIN, Decade Disputationum miscellanearum, Disputation V, § 25, in which you may see that BEZA and CALVIN judge that these words of John, καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι, and these three are one, ought to be referred to the Consensus of these heavenly Witnesses, than to the Ὁμοουσίαν/Homoousian/Consubstantiality of the same: in the same manner CALVIN also judges of the sense of the words in John 10:30, Ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν, I and the Father are one: see his Commentary upon both passages. But compare PAREUS’ Calvinum Orthodoxum, book II, chapter XIV, XVII, pages 137-140, 146-153.

δ. [Finally, not the Unity of Believers among themselves and with God, etc.] Thus they take Exception to our argument for the Numeric Unite of the Essence of the Three divine Persons from this place; that in a similar manner also the Unity of Believers among themselves and with God is declared, Acts 4:32; John 17:21; 1 Corinthians 6:17: whence, nevertheless, the numeric Identity of Essence of the same among themselves, or even of kind with God, would be incorrectly concluded.

We Respond, that the Unity of Believers among themselves and with God is not confounded with this Unity of divine Persons, but is only compared somewhat: as elsewhere they are also compared with God in Perfection and Holiness, Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15, namely, through a slight likeness, while the Perfection and Holiness of Believers always sinks infinitely below the Divine: see TURRETIN, Decade Disputationum miscellanearum, Disputation V, § 24; ARNOLDI, refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, de Cogntione Dei, chapter I, § CXX-CXXII, pages 129, 130.

[1] David Martin (1639-1721) was a French Reformed Pastor. He produced an annotated French Bible. [2] Johann Christoph Wolf (1683-1739) was a German Lutheran Hebraist and scholar. His Bibliotheca Hebræa (published in four volumes, 1715-1733) was a standard reference work on Jewish literature for more than a century. [3] Leonard Twells (c. 1684-1742) was an Anglican churchman and Biblical critic and scholar. [4] Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752) was a Lutheran clergyman. He is remembered for his work in textual criticism and annotation of the New Testament. [5] Theodorus Petrus Elsnerus (1710-1746) was a Dutch Reformed minister.


Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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