Tag Archives: trinity

William Penn & the Trinity

William Penn (1644-1718), called the first great hero of American liberty, a Quaker, and a founding father in his own right, said some things that are relevant again in 21st century America, especially in the wake of several 2012 political election 'firsts'  (FIRST electing of a President who openly advocates homosexuality & same-sex marriage, FIRST states approving same-sex marriage by popular vote, FIRST states voting to approve marijuana for recreational use, FIRST election of an openly homosexual female Senator):

"If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by him." 
 
"Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." 
 
Penn gained a "deep sense of the vanity of this World, and of the Irreligiousness of the Religions in it."
 
In Ireland, the reign of King Charles had further tightened restrictions against all religious sects other than the Anglican Church, making the penalty for unauthorized worship imprisonment or deportation. The “Five Mile Act” prohibited dissenting teachers and preachers to come within that distance of any borough.

In 1668 William Penn was imprisoned for writing a tract (The Sandy Foundation Shaken) which attacked the doctrine of the trinity.

"Let them first prove their Trinity (three distinct and separate Persons in one Essence) and then charge their Blasphemy," he wrote.  

"God is not an Holy THREE, nor doth subsist in THREE distinct and separate Holy ONES.  God only is that Holy ONE; he can't be divided into, or subsist in an Holy THREE, or THREE distinct and separate Holy ONES."

"Unless the Father, Son, & Spirit, are 3 distinct Nothings, they must be three distinct Substances, & consequently 3 distinct Gods."

Divine Persons in a Trinity would be "Three distinct Infinites, Three Omnipotents, Three Eternals, and so Three GODS." 

Penn reasoned, "For if that the only God is the Father, and Christ be that only God, then is Christ the Father." 

He astutely noted, "[Trinity] was born above Three Hundred Years after the Ancient Gospel was declared."

"Conceived in Ignorance, brought forth & maintain'd by Cruelty..he that was strongest, impos'd his Opinion, persecuting the contrary."

"Neither was believ'd by the primitive Saints, or thus stated by any I have read of in the first, second, or third Centuries" 

This observation is very relevant today: "[Trinity] scandalizeth Turks, Jews, and Infidels, and palpably obstructs their Reception of the Christian Doctrine." 
 
William Penn may not have had a complete and correct heavenly revelation of the mighty God in Christ, but he certainly comprehended that the trinity was not it, thus putting him ahead of many so-called 'theologians' of our day. 

Perhaps the following sequence of verses would have helped him take the next step by understanding Jesus Christ is the only 'him' having all of the Godhead indwelling!!!

Matthew 28:18
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.'" 

Colossians 2:9
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." 

Hebrews 1:3
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person" 

John 14:9
"Jesus saith unto him.. 'He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?'" 
 
John 14:7
"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him." 
 
John 8:24
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
 
[Quotes adapted from: 'The Sandy Foundation Shaken' by William Penn, http://tinyurl.com/cp5kdx