When will they learn? (David C. Pack on the Trinity)

Pack.jpgPack, David C.

The Trinity — Is God Three-in-One?

Wadsworth, OH: Restored Church of God, 2005.

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So I’ve taken a short break from reading Morey’s book on the Trinity (by the way, I’m still not impressed, although I would recommend it for any beginner) to read a booklet that I got from the Restored Church of God (an Armstrongite splinter group) on the Trinity. Restored Church of God leader David C. Pack has written a 171 page book on the Trinity called, “The Trinity-Is God three-in-one?” This book can be viewed online here. Pack makes the same lame arguments that most opponents of Trinitarianism make, but it takes quite some time for him to even get there. The book begins by espousing the doctrines of all Armstrongite churches, i.e. Sabbatarianism, Dietary Laws, Tithing, No Christmas, No Easter, blah, blah, blah…

He then goes on to whine about the word Trinity not being a Biblical word, then he brings up a few Pagan “trinities” (triads) just like the JWs do in their booklet “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” — Nothing too new there. Nevermind that the triads are always three out of dozens to thousands of other gods worshiped by these people… Nevermind that there is no real analogy between three gods in a Triad and the Three Persons of the Trinity. After this he begins connecting the dots with Orthodox Christianity and Platonism, and the philosophy of Philo.

He spends quite a few words telling us that Origen is the father of Trinitarianism and that no definition of the Trinity has gone outside the bounds set by Origen, never mentioning the fact that Origen considered the Son a lesser god, second in substance to the Father (which is anything but Trinitarian, to say the least). His reliance upon the Encyclopedia Britannica is alarming, as one would expect more research be done in order to refute the central tenet of the Christian faith than to merely look to the bookshelf that is lined with the set of encyclopedia he purchased from a door to door salesman in the 80′s.

Paragraph after paragraph Pack poisons the well before ever once presenting any case against Trinitarianism. He does everything in his power to prejudice the reader against the doctrine before he even attempts to mis-quote and selectively cite Trinitarian authorities. The standard out of context scriptural references are there as well, as he claims that the Trinity must be false because “God is not the author of confusion” and the Trinity is said to be a “Mystery.” Who cares that Paul was speaking to the Corinthians about the order of worship and the conduct of a church service–I mean if Pack says that God is not the author of confusion, then the Trinity can’t be true, now can it?!

He contradicts himself from one page to the next, for example he said:

“One must use ‘philosophical reflection’ to deduce what the trinity is. This actually contradicts verses we have already seen. Mankind, on his own, cannot understand spiritual matters! In fact, our natural thoughts are hostile to what God teaches: ‘Because the carnal mind is enmity against [Greek: hostile to] God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Rom. 8:7).” [p. 55]

Then 5 pages later he chides, “Yet, we have seen that God commands us to prove Him!” in response to a quote taken from the article on the Trinity in the  International Standard Bible Encyclopedia which said:

“That is to say, it embodies a truth which has never been discovered, and is indiscoverable, by NATURAL REASON. With all his searching, man has not been able to find out for himself the deepest things of God” [p. 60, Caps Mine]

So which is it? Can we with our natural mind that is hostile toward God understand Him, or can’t we? Mr. Pack seems to like it both ways, changing up when it suits his position!

In any event, I’m only about a third of the way through the book and am already very bored and unimpressed with the level of argument. This is your standard uneducated cult leader at work. These arguments may fool his congregation, but they wouldn’t budge anyone who has studied this doctrine in any depth. I should have the book finished in the next day or two and will make my final comments on it then…

…To be continued

B”H

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31 thoughts on “When will they learn? (David C. Pack on the Trinity)

  1. I clicked on this website thinking that I would be reading something positive and true about David C. Pack but, quite to my dismay.
    As with every religilon and church someone had to start it so what is the title of the starter of your church as you were blah, blah,blah along without any real thought about the real evidence of truth there might be in Mr. packs teachings. It is very well documented where most of our religious holidays originated from . I am quite sure that the devil is working over time with as many people as he can to se that the truth is distorted. That is why there will only be ” few that enter ” into the kingdom of heaven. It may not be me and I am quite sure it won’t be you either.

  2. Barbara: How presumptuous of you! Your negative rant aside, I’d like to invite you to please correct any misinformation I might have presented here. You seem to be saying that there is something positive and true in Pack’s book so I’ll leave it to you to point it out. I found the book to be very poorly written and full of false information. On top of that his theological conclusions seem absolutely ridiculous to me.

  3. I’ve noticed that those who are wedded to the idea of the trinity defend it vehemently and sometimes irrationally.It seems to provide your stock definition of a ‘cult’ ; Don’t believe in the Trinity? Your a cult!

  4. Vic: I’ve noticed that too, with some folk at least. Don’t know that it fits the stock definition of a ‘cult’ but hey, ‘cult’ can mean pretty much ‘any group.’

  5. Nick: I checked out this guy’s site–eeeek!!! I read through a couple of sections….oy vey! Consider this gem (citing Jeremiah 17:27 and 52:13):
    “Over twenty-five hundred years ago, after God warned Jerusalem that He would burn her with an “unquenchable fire,” if she did not repent, this happened. I have also seen Jerusalem. You, too, have probably seen it many times on television. It is not still burning today.”

    Words escape me…

  6. Judging by the above comments religion prevokes such strong reactions and our personal believes are so precious to us that my response is to remember the addage “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. So whether the book by Mr Pack is heresy or truth individuals will have to make up their own minds.

  7. I worked for Pack for about 3 1/2 years, and wrote most of RCG’s original “Trinity” booklet (which Pack later expanded into a book after my departure). Very enlightening times, to say the least, although there was nothing even remotely “enlightening” in what I was “inspired” to scribble in that booklet. In the few times that I have picked it up since leaving church and religion behind, I have found myself appalled at the level of ignorance and arrogance that it exudes.

  8. Chrome: Thanks for your candor here. I have to agree with your final assessment. I’ve read a number of books that argue against the doctrine of the Trinity and some are obviously better than others, but this one was at the bottom of the pile.

  9. Most christians when pressed admit they do not really understand the trinity, they simply believe it because they think its in the bible. Most calvinists also when pressed admit they do not really understand ‘predestination’ but believe it because the bible says so. I think this is just so sad. I had never heard of Pack until accessing your website. Having read a little now from Pack’s own wesite, he seems to make a lot of sense. Jesus did preach the kingdom of God, but you never hear this in evangelical churches. I wonder why??

    Tom

  10. Tom: There’s a difference between the Trinity (= God) and the doctrine of the Trinity (= systematized thought/talk about God). That said, I’d suggest that NOBODY understands God, no matter what view of him they take. I think plenty of people understand the doctrine of the Trinity, but I don’t think understanding something is necessary to believe it, although it is preferable.

    If Pack makes sense to you then I dare say that you fall into the camp of folks who don’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity. For the folks who are familiar with the doctrine and its history Pack doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also, I don’t know what evangelical church’s you’ve been attending, but I regularly hear preaching about the kingdom of God.

  11. Nick: I was glad to read your article here. I’ve been saved a long time. Baptized in the Holy Spirit..and seen a lot of amazing things in the Name of the Lord Jesus. It amazes me to come across people like Pack who profess that they are the “true” proponents of the “gospel”. It’s really sad. It’s sad because many people will go to hell because they don’t believe in Jesus and never find Him. And then you have heretics causing confusion in the Lord’s name. It makes me sick. I want to rebuke them hard. It scares me that people could be so deceived and think they are serving the Lord. But, Paul said these times would come when false prophets would come and introduce destructive heresies. I have a hard time praying for them.

  12. I am in Bible College and I’ve discovered how many of our creeds were formed throughout the life of the Church. Nevertheless, many who we call our church fathers didn’tr believe in the trinity, but accepted it so that they would not be disfellowshiped. I believe what Jesus claimed about himself and I believe in the same God that Jesus believed while He was here ministering in His name. Hear O Israel, The Lord your God is one Lord. I believe in God, in His Son, and in His Holy Spirit. I worship the same God the Jews, including Jesus, worshipped. One day He will teach us all the truth. Peace and blessings!

  13. Franklin: The formation of creeds is also a great interest of mine. I find it fascinating how they’re formed in the midst of controversy in order to formalize already widely held beliefs.

    Concerning anyone accepting the doctrine for fear of persecution or disfellowship; God knows their hearts. If they merely honored him with their lips then they’ll stand in judgment for it one day. I personally believe in the Trinity with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I believe that the God I worship is the only God has has ever truly existed and therefore I’m in line with all of God’s true believers that have come before me. I rejoice that I happened to have been born in a time after the Incarnation of the Son and the sending of the Spirit to indwell believers. I’ve been given all of the information necessary to know that the Trinity is who God is. God bless you!

  14. @ NICK

    Thank you for your perspective on this matter. I believe it is a touchy situation, and just as the Bible says: It’s a mystery. As humans it’s hard to fathom the oneness of God, and understand the different roles God masters in manifesting Himself to us. As you said, thank God for the times He chose for us to live.

  15. Maybe the issue is that the Word tells us to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”, my paraphrase. We have to be careful of the doctrines of men. Many conclusions that Mr. Pack has revealed I have come to myself. I personally attend a trinitarian church and beleive that is how Jesus desribed his nature. I am begining to believe that some of the Holy days we as a church observe are so steeped in paganism that they should be rejected and the old testament traditions restored. Perhaps Jesus’ words to his disciples ” are you still so dull” still apply to us all even though we think we are wise. I for one plan to continue to study the word on my own, pray for understanding and rejoice when I receive knowlege of truth poored from the father into a sincere heart. We need to be carefull when condeming the Lords servants because He did say “who are you to judge between the Lords”
    servants”. One of my Pastors once told me to eat the meat and spit out the bones. This ment that not everything you may hear from the polpit may be true but do not throw out the whole message just because a flawed man said something that may not be entirely acurate.

  16. Dale: Things like what holidays to celebrate are really side issues that believers can disagree about until Jesus returns. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas and Easter doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but whether or not you believe in the Trinity does. I’m sure that Pack does say some stuff that’s true here and there but that doesn’t make up for what he says that’s false.

  17. It certainly expresses the importance of being in the word yourself. He definately could use our prayers in this area. Some of the other splinter groups from the old Worldwide Church of God believe in Trinitarian doctorine perhaps in time he will too. It will take an act of God to change his heart. I cannot imagine what it would be like to beleive the way he does and having writen books to support my beliefs, then renounce them as false.

  18. Dale: I wasn’t aware that any of the splinter groups accepted the Trinity but I did know that the WCG was reformed under the leadership of Joseph Tkach and has changed its name to Grace Communion International. This is definitely a very positive step and I pray that the splinter groups like the RCG, UCG, CGI, and others would follow suit.

  19. You got me thinking when you listed the groups to pray for because one of them was a source for what I believed to be true, (UCG) about the trinity and some splinter groups believing in it as three disticnt persons in one. If one is not closlely following the rules of our language when he reads the opening paragraph of their doctrinal beliefs one can easily beleive it says something it does not. It is not till later about 6-8 paragraphs down that one discovers that they believe that the holy spirit is a manifistation of the other two parts of the God head and not an equal.
    I have been unable to retrace my steps on the net
    to support my statements about these splinter groups. I apologize to anyone I have mislead.

  20. Dale: I believe that certain unorthodox statements of faith are designed to sound orthodox so that upon first encounter people won’t be immediately turned off to them. The UCG was actually my introduction to Armstrongite splinter groups. My mother had been receiving their Good News magazine so I started by reading the magazine and then I requested a bunch of their free booklets. There were two in particular that spelled out their beliefs about God, the first was Fundamental Beliefs of the united Church of God and the second and more detailed booklet was Who is God?.

    And no apology necessary; I doubt that you’ve misled anyone. :-)

  21. I once had a pentacost preacher explain the one God thing to me. I was smiling to myself, because as I remarked to him after he was finished that what he had said was one of the best descriptions of trinitarian doctorine I had ever heard. I think a lot of people out there put on the brakes when they hear the word Trinity for the mere reason that it as a word appears nowhere in scripture. I’ve remarked to my wife about people that do not believe in the trinity that the seven Spirtits of God spoken of in Revelations 4:5 must really blow there minds. If you have thouhts on this verse I’d like to hear them.

  22. Dale: I read Revelation 4:5 (and 1:4; 3:1; 5:6) in light of Isaiah 11:2:

    (1) The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
    (2) the Spirit of wisdom and of
    (3) understanding,
    (4) the Spirit of counsel and of
    (5) power,
    (6) the Spirit of knowledge and of
    (7) the fear of the LORD -

    This verse is speaking of the Holy Spirit alone so I believe all the references to the seven spirits of God are references to the Holy Spirit.

  23. After 35 years knowing what Jesus Christ has done for me I am amazed at the arrogance that any man or woman would appear to be the one who has ALL the TRUTH understood, and figured out! IThere are mysteries that we will never know until the day that we stand before our Redeemer. I can’t help but notice the lack of grace, and mercy in Mr. Pack’s messages.The longer I walk this walk the more I know I do not know ;except this one thing,,,Jesus Christ died and rose again for my sins. And I humbly say..”Thank you Lord for saving a wretch like me. I once was lost and now I am found.” Praise your holy name. I also know that God hates a proud spirit, but “a broken and contrite spirit He does not despise. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord and all our self righteous knowledge will be burned up in the Lake of Fire. Lord have mercy on us all. I earnestly suggest for everone who wants to know God’s heart on all these matters to get on your knees daily. Spend time communing with the one who was willing to sacrifice all for you. Prayerfully read His Holy Word , and surrender yourself to Him daily. “SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED UNTO YOU.” “THE KINGDOM FO GOD IS NOT MEAT NOR DRINK, BUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,PEACE, AND JOY, IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.” And remember, “THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.” If you are a Christian.

    Respectfully & humblysubmitted by a Bible believing, tongue speaking servant of the Most High God

    A bible believing, tongue speaker servant of the Most High God

  24. I have not read any of David C. Pack’s writings, however I have read all of the attacks against him here by those calling themselves Christians.
    As a child growing up in Scotland, the Land of the Protestant Reformation and attending our local Presbyterian Church every Sunday listening to the sermons of our Minister, Mr. Cruickshanks, his preaching of the Trinity puzzled me; I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t.

    After John the Baptiser baptised my Lord Jesus Christ, a voice from the Heavens announced.. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.
    When the Disciples asked the Savior how to pray, did he not begin the following, “Our Father who art in Heaven”?
    When the flatters called our Lord Jesus Christ ‘good’, did he not say, “Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good”.
    Did the Lord Jesus Christ not also say, that the Father was greater than him?
    Our Savior never took any credit for himself, he always gave it to his Heavenly Father where it rightly belongs.

    Before ascending to the Father to sit at his right hand, Jesus Christ told his followers that he would send a helper, that helper being the Holy Spirit.

    To me it seems obvious that the Son is the Son, and the Father is the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the wonder working power of the Almighty God with which he Governs and Rules his endless Universe.

    The Almighty God said that he is from everlasting to everlasting, knowing no beginning or end.
    Now read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. It goes on to say that through him and for him was everything else created”.

    I don’t understand people trying to take away the Majesty of the Lord God Almighty when his beloved Son was telling mankind that he himself was the first of all Creation… the only begotten Son of the Almighty God.

  25. Dorcas: We’ll certainly never fully understand the mystery of the Trinity but I think we can fully understand the doctrine of the Trinity (since doctrines are supposed to make sense). It’s for this reason that people like Pack are without excuse. You’re correct to notice a lack of charity on Pack’s part. He has every opportunity to understand exactly what it is that the doctrine of the Trinity teaches and what Trinitarians believe but he chooses to misrepresent the doctrine and its adherents.

    Alexander: Perhaps we have different definitions of the word “attack.” I haven’t seen Pack attacked here at all. I’ve seen people strongly disagree with him, and that for good reason, he’s wrong.

    I don’t have time to go into detail but Trinitarians believe in the Trinity because we believe all of what the Bible says. It’s easy to cherry pick select verses (as you’ve done, although none of those verses present any difficulties for Trinitarian theology) and then assert that the doctrine of the Trinity is not true. You ask about prayer to the Father while neglecting to mention prayer to the Son (John 14:14; Acts 7:59); you point to Jesus affirming that God is good while neglecting to mention that he does not deny the same about himself; and you ask about Jesus saying that the Father is greater than him while neglecting to point out the way in which this is true (i.e., as Father to Son = paternal/filial relationship).

    If there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that the Son is not a creature; he’s the Creator. The very verse you quote illustrates this quite clearly. All things were created through him and he existed alongside the Father “in the beginning” before the creation of all things. But affirming that the Son is every bit as much God as the Father is not to take away the majesty of the Lord God Almighty. It’s simply to affirm what the Bible says which does nothing but bring glory to God.

  26. Nick Norelli, my dear Sir.
    You say that I cherry picked select verses from the Bible. my goodness! I paraphrased even those very few, simply not to take up too much space; there are many, many more.
    Now show me one verse in the Holy Bible mentioning the “Trinity”.

    Up until stumbling across this site by accident, I had never heard of David C. Pack so I decided to take a look and see for myself what all of the excitement was about. I found Mister Pack to be overly animated, on top of that, the camera direction changes reached the point of being very annoying, therefore I decided to read the booklet on line for myself. I saw his reference to the Encyclopedia Britannica that you mentioned in order to try and discredit him. He simply used the Encyclopedia Britannica along with several other publications for historical happenings only; at no time did he try to tie them in with the Holy Bible.

    There was one thing that I didn’t understand, and that was his tip toeing around the Church of Rome, an organization that completely defies the Almighty God with its bishops, arch-bishops, and cardinals etc., all dressed in rich robes and bejewelled miters, saints, beads, holy relics, men having a desire to be called “father”, and yes even asking statues of Mary the Mother of Jesus to be their intermediary when the Lord Jesus Christ said that he alone that is the intermediary between God and man.
    The same Church of Rome famous, or I should say infamous for its Inquisition, obviously thought up by the criminally insane.

    Oh and yes, the Church of Rome preaches the Trinity also.

  27. Alexander: My point is that you told half the story in order to make a point but Trinitarians accept the whole story which is why we are Trinitarians. Now why would I look to one verse when I have the whole of Scripture? I don’t know about you but I don’t do theology that way. In Pack’s section on Origen did you find him reference any source other than the Encyclopedia Britannica? I didn’t and given the literally thousands of volumes written on Origen by patristics scholars I’d imagine that someone who wanted to write a good book would have looked to them. And I’m not sure what the reference to tying anything to the Bible is supposed to mean. I won’t comment on the Church of Rome since it’s really irrelevant.

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