Friday, 4 March 2016

Did Ignatius Teach the Trinity?

Did Ignatius of Antioch believe in the Trinity idea? Some Trinitarian apologists claim Ignatius taught the Trinity idea before the 4th century (in the first or second century). Is this a valid claim? No.

Firstly, the letters of Ignatius are suspected to be highly interpolated thus cannot be used as proof of Ignatius' beliefs as they are unreliable. See

..even the genuine epistles were greatly interpolated to lend weight to the personal views of its authors. For this reason they are incapable of bearing witness to the original form [Source]


There may be serious question whether these epistles of Ignatius have not been emended or edited by later writers. There are some words and phrases alien to early Christianity which raise suspicion that some of the works have been manipulated or added to by later church [Source]

Secondly, the quote Trinitarians use to contend Ignatius believed in the Trinity is thus:

"In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever,"

Notice there's no mention of the Trinity idea here. Remember the Trinitarians teach 3 in 1. This verse mentions three but there's no mention of the three being co-equal and of the same substance.

Thirdly, the Trinitarian is quite selective here in terms of which Triune formula they reference as it seems there's Triune formula including Mary:

A "triune formula" -- often used to prove the Trinity -- is a phrase which includes three things or three persons. The answer to this question is yes. There is one surprising Trinitarian formulation which seems alien to early Christian. In To the Ephesians, section 7, there is a trinity of God, the Son, and Mary. Or, in section 18, the trinity of Jesus, Mary and the Holy Ghost. [Source]


To say Ignatius taught the Trinity would be misleading.

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