Pack, David C.
The Trinity — Is God Three-in-One?
Wadsworth, OH: Restored Church of God, 2005.
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