History of the Trinity DoctrineStudy No. 132
The "Death by a Thousand Cuts"
Nashikuzushi is a hard-to-pronounce Japanese word. It aptly describes the actions of Japan in its march to dominate the world. Their constitution forbids a large military. But, unknown to most of the world, Japan’s navy and army rank among the best. Nashikuzushi means that you do not suddenly announce any important change of policy. You pretend that the original policy is still intact, but subject it to so many constant minor changes and amendments that eventually it ceases to exist and has to be replaced by the policy you wanted all along. One way to translate nashikuzushi is "death by a thousand cuts" (Gregory Clark in The Australian, August 31, 1990). Those who have to compete with the Japanese economically, sooner or later face the fact that they are not competing on a level field.
Likewise, in the field of religion, there are many who change doctrine by a thousand little cutting ways. Members of the early New Testament Church did not wake up one morning to find themselves keeping Sunday, Easter, and believing in the Trinity, when prior to this they had been keeping Sabbath, Passover, and believed in one God instead of three. Doctrinal departure occurs in many tiny stages, not often noticed.
Through the courtesy of Elder John Kiesz of the Church of God (7th Day), here is a documented progression of doctrinal change among Seventh-day Adventists concerning the doctrine of the Trinity. This brief history illustrates doctrinal nashikuzushi.
History of Trinity Doctrine Among Adventists
William Miller, the founder of the Adventist movement and promoter of the 1844 end of the world teaching, was a Trinitarian: "I believe in one living and true God, and that there are three persons in the Godhead — as there is in man, the body, soul, and spirit. And if anyone will tell me how these exist, I will tell him how the three persons of the Triune God are connected" (quoted by James White in Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller, Battle Creek, Michigan: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1875, p. 59).
Adventist leader Joshua V. Himes wrote about early Adventists: "At first, they were generally Trinitarians; subsequently they have, almost unanimously, rejected the Trinitarian doctrine as unscriptural." Their accepted statements regarding the Godhead were, "That there is one living and true God, the Father Almighty, who is unoriginated, independent, and eternal, the Creator and Supporter of all worlds; and that this God is one spiritual intelligence, one infinite mind, ever the same, never varying. . . That Christ is the Son of God, the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world. . . ." (Joshua V. Himes, "Christian Connection", Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, edited by T. Newton Brown, Boston: Shattuck & Co., 1835, p. 362).
Elder Joseph Bates, who introduced the Sabbath to the Adventists via his meeting with Seventh Day Baptists, became a staunch Anti-Trinitarian: "Respecting the Trinity, I concluded that it was impossible for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, ‘If you can convince me [we] are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son, and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the Trinity" . . . (Joseph Bates, The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates, Battle Creek, Michigan: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1868).
Early Adventist leaders were all Anti-Trinitarians. James White referred to Christ as the "Angel" who led the Hebrews, and was a lesser being than the eternal Father (James White, Christ in the Old Testament, Oakland, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1877, p. 11). J.M. Stephenson wrote that "The idea of Father and Son supposes priority of the existence of the other. To say that the Son is as old as his father, is a palpable contradiction of terms. It is a natural impossibility for the Father to be as young as the Son, or the Son to be as old as the Father" (J.M. Stephenson, "The Atonement," Review and Herald, VI, November 14, 1854, p. 128). These Anti-Trinitarian views are termed "Arianism." Arians believe that the Son is not co-eternal or co-equal with the Father, as stated by the Nicene Creed, but the Messiah was God’s first creation, and hence less than the Father. Arians believe that Jesus was created by the Father at the very beginning of creation, before anything else was created, even before the worlds began.
D.W. Hull said, "The doctrine which we propose to examine [trinitarianism], was established by the Council of Nice, A.D. 325, and ever since that period, persons not believing this peculiar tenet, have been denounced by popes and priests, as dangerous heretics. It was for disbelief in this doctrine, that the Arians were anathematized in A.D. 513. As we can trace this doctrine no farther back than the origin of the ‘Man of Sin’ and as we find this dogma at that time established rather by force, than otherwise, we claim the right to investigate the matter, and ascertain the bearing of Scripture on this subject" (D.W. Hull, "Bible Doctrine of Divinity," Review and Herald, November 10, 1859, p. 193).
Uriah Smith, perhaps the most famous Adventist writer of the 19th Century, said, "But respecting this Spirit, the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present" (Uriah Smith, "In the Question Chair," Review and Herald, LXVII, October 28, 1890, p. 664). In commenting on Revelation 3:14-22, Smith wrote that he believed that the Messiah was "the first created being" by God the Father (Uriah Smith, Thoughts Critical and Practical on the Book of Revelation, Battle Creek, Michigan: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1865, p. 59).
Adventist historian J.N. Loughborough wrote, "What serious objection is there to the doctrine of the Trinity? There are many objections which we might urge, but on account of our limited space we shall reduce them to the three following: 1. It is contrary to common sense. 2. It is contrary to Scripture. 3. Its origin is Pagan and fabulous" (J.N. Loughborough, "Questions for Bro. Loughborough," Review and Herald, XVIII, November 5, 1861, p. 184).
J.H. Waggoner wrote, "Surely, we say right, that the doctrine of the Trinity degrades the Atonement, by bringing the sacrifice, the blood of our purchase, down to the standard of Socinianism [denial of the divinity of Jesus]. . . .the Word was God, and also the Word was with God. Now it needs no proof—indeed it is self-evident that the Word as God, was not the God whom he was with. And as there is but ‘one God,’ the term must be used in reference to the Word in a subordinate sense, which is explained by Paul’s calling the same pre-existent person the Son of God" (J.H. Waggoner, The Atonement, Oakland, California: Pacific Press, 1884, pp. 174, 153).
Socinianism, another form of Anti-Trinitarianism, says that Jesus did not pre-exist before His human birth, and had no part in the creation of man. Adventist researcher Jonathan Ross says that the Church of God, 7th Day (Meridian, Idaho group) is Socinian, as well as the House of Yahweh in Odessa, Texas, and the Church of God, Abrahamic Faith (Oregon, Illinois).
The Seventh-day Adventist 1889 Yearbook, under the article, "The Godhead," states, "That there is one God, a personal, spiritual Being, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the eternal Father, the One by whom He created all things, and by whom they do exist."
According to John Kiesz (personal interview, April 1991), Adventist leader James White ridiculed the idea of the Trinity, but his wife, Ellen G. White, was a closet Trinitarian. After the 1880’s, the Seventh-day Adventists underwent a doctrinal change regarding the teaching of the Trinity. The 1931 Yearbook says something quite different from statements of the pioneers, who were by this time deceased: "That the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the work of redemption. That Jesus Christ is very God, being of the same nature and essence as the Eternal Father." And in 1980, the second point of the "Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists" states, "2. THE TRINITY—There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation."
From William Miller to Uriah Smith to the late 20th Century, Adventist teaching regarding the Trinity has gone a full circle. So important is the Trinity doctrine to most professing Christians, that the famous modern theologian, Dr. Walter R. Martin, recognizes Seventh-day Adventists as Christians and not an un-Christian cult, because they now believe in the Trinity (The Kingdom of the Cults, Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1982, p. 370).
Church of God, Seventh Day: Anti-Trinitarian
Around 1900, the Oklahoma Conference of the Church of God (7th Day) stated, "To us there is but one God, the Father, who created us. He is a person and has body and parts, and created man in His own image. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and mediator between God and man. Because the son is declared to be God; not the invisible, Almighty and self-existent God, but the created and dependent God, who has been seen many times."
The Bible Students Assistant, published by the Church of God Publishing House, 1911, says, "Titles of the Father: The eternal God, Whose name alone is Jehovah, The Ancient of Days, The only true God, the King eternal, immortal, invisible, God the Father, The God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Titles of the Son: The only begotten of the Father, The Son of the living God. Jesus Christ’s person was the express image or likeness of God’s person. He was made in the likeness of men and was a man."
A 1920’s issue of The Bible Advocate states, "The creed of the Church of God being the commandments of God and the testimonies of Jesus Christ, and Anti-Arianism being Papalism is directly against the testimonies of Jesus on this question; therefore ministerial license or credentials will not be issued to any person by the Church of God that teaches the doctrines of Constantine and the Papacy, on the subject of the Godhead."
Generally, the Church of God, Seventh Day has been Anti-Trinitarian in the Arian sense. Recently, there has been considerable discussion on this topic among Church of God ministers. John Kiesz appears to be a leader of the effort to maintain Anti-Trinitarianism.
Worldwide Church of God and Trinity Teaching
The Worldwide Church of God, in its 1930’s "Fundamentals of Belief," Article 1, states, "We believe in ONE GOD, eternally existing in the heavens, who is a Spirit, a personal Being of supreme intelligence, knowledge, love, justice, power, and authority, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, and the source of life."
During most of its history, the Worldwide Church of God was Anti-Trinitarian, but not Arian. They believed that the Father and Son are eternal, and equal in nature but not in rank. God is not a Trinity, but a Family. God the Father is the leader of Jesus Christ, just as the husband is the leader of the wife. Jesus is the Almighty God of the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit is not a person. Some have derided this teaching as "Dualism," but this in an inaccurate assessment. Theologians and "Higher Critics" have blindly accepted the heretical and false doctrine adapted from pagans who crept into the church, that the Holy Spirit is a third person. "This limits God to ‘Three Persons.’ This denies that Christ, through His Holy Spirit, actually comes now into the converted Christian and does His saving work on the inside —‘Christ in you the Hope of Glory’ (Colossians 1:27) . . . That heresy denies the true born-again experience!" (Herbert W. Armstrong, "Just What Do You Mean — Born Again?", pp. 17,19). At baptism and the laying on of hands, true believers are begotten of God’s Holy Spirit. After a life of overcoming, at the resurrection at Messiah’s return, they are "born again" when they become spirit, John 3:1-8.
George L. Johnson wrote the definitive Worldwide Church of God booklet on the Trinity, "Is God a TRINITY?" (Pasadena, California: Ambassador College Press, 1973). Johnson shows how the Trinity is a central doctrine of most Protestant and Catholic churches. Yet they are unable to explain this non-Biblical teaching. Lindsell and Woodbridge, in A Handbook of Christian Truth, page 51, state, "The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who would try to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind. But he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul." Athanasius, a deacon of the (apostate) church in Alexandria, Egypt, who was steeped in the philosophy of Plato, borrowed the idea of the Trinity from the pagans and formulated the statement adopted in the Nicean Creed of 325 A.D., that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are co-equal, and co-eternal, one God in three persons. At the Council of Nicea, Athanasius was confronted by Arius, a priest of Alexandria, who held that Christ was not a God, but a created being. Emperor Constantine cared nothing for the theological debate. He only wanted a united kingdom. Arius’ teaching was rightly rejected, and the views of Athanasius prevailed, not because of their weight but because there was no other viable position. And so, Johnson concludes, the official dogma accepted at Nicea has been vociferously defended over the centuries by the state Catholic church, and later by her Protestant daughters. Trinitarian believers persecuted Arians, and more were killed over the doctrine of the Trinity than by all the pagan emperors of Rome. Yet both Trinitarians and Arians were wrong Biblically (see our article on the Trinity, "The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit," contained in our book, Bible Studies).
About 1992-93, the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) changed its teaching relative to the doctrine of the Trinity. In spite of denials, the new teaching was in fact trinitarian. Because of the thousand little "cuts," or doctrinal changes over the past 15-20 years, most of the membership did not stir themselves from slumber when this major change occurred.
Once again, in an attempt to soft-pedal former spiritual understanding, the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) stated that the doctrine of the Trinity did not come from paganism. In the August 25, 1992 Worldwide News article, Joseph Tkach said, "the doctrine of the Trinity did not originate in paganism, as we have traditionally taught." The new WCG booklet, God Is..., said that "the Holy Spirit is also God," and, "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are God," and "The Bible does reveal three entities within one Godhead — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (page 41)." Finally, they concluded that "the Trinity doctrine has been accepted as a mystery — part of the mystery of godliness." On page 49, the booklet says that "upon conversion, the Christian is ‘born again’ into the kingdom of God as one of the ‘children of God’ . . . . It is biblically inaccurate, however, to say that God is a family." Further WCG literature said that God is not a person, nor is Christ; that God and Christ don’t have a body; that Christians are only adopted sons who will never become God beings; that God is not reproducing Himself, etc.
The WCG had now accepted three major false Protestant doctrines: Trinity, born again now (not at the resurrection), and God is not a family.
Just where did the doctrine of the Trinity come from? Alexander Hislop, in his famous book, The Two Babylons, clearly traces the trinity doctrine back to ancient Babylon. In chapter two, "Objects of Worship," after 90 pages of historical evidence, Hislop concludes:
Will any one after this say that the Roman Catholic Church must still be called Christian, because it holds the doctrine of the Trinity? So did the Pagan Babylonians, so did the Egyptians, so do the Hindoos at this hour, in the very same sense in which Rome [the Catholic Church] does (page 90).
The Worldwide Church answer to Hislop is to malign his scholarship. Yet other noted scholars, such as Frazer, confirm Hislop’s accuracy. You are encouraged to read Hislop’s The Two Babylons, available from Giving & Sharing.
Dr. Walter R. Martin and the Worldwide Church of God
The famous authority on cults, the late Dr. Walter R. Martin (not to be confused with Dr. Ernest Martin, a former Worldwide Church of God minister who led many to leave that organization in the 1970’s with his "Foundation for Biblical Research" and attacks on the doctrines of the WCG), had some interesting things to say about the Worldwide Church of God. Indeed, he seemed almost prophetic.
After attacking the WCG’s Anglo-Israel beliefs, Martin noted that almost all other Identity (Anglo-Israel) groups are "orthodox" relative to the nature of God and the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. In Martin’s view, the Trinity doctrine is a major test of a religious cult. Seventh-day Adventists believe in the Trinity, so he does not term them a cult. The Worldwide Church of God had been Anti-Trinitarian, so Martin labeled them a non-Christian cult. "The Worldwide Church of God," Martin said, "is outside the historic Christian Church because it denies foundational Christian truth." By this, Martin means Trinity and "born again" doctrine (Kingdom of the Cults, p. 297). Martin was so incensed at the WCG’s radical Anti-Trinitarianism that he said their "depersonalization of the Holy Spirit strikes at the very heart of the Christian Gospel, for it is through the agency of the third person of the Trinity that God regenerates men to eternal life . . . . By denying the personality of the Spirit, i.e., that the Spirit is. . .one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, Armstrong invalidates the only means whereby a man can be saved" (Ibid., p. 314).
Martin ridiculed Armstrong’s teaching against the "born again" doctrine as "one of the strangest doctrines in the area of cultism" (p. 316). Martin also showed that there is, according to the Catholic/Protestant "Orthodox" position, a close link between the Trinity and the doctrine of Spiritual Regeneration, i.e., "born again" (pp. 316, 317). With the 1991 Worldwide Church of God doctrinal change relative to "born again," one of the two positions which Martin uses to brand the WCG as a non-Christian cult was removed. Given the fact that the WCG had for the last several years been attempting to make itself more presentable and "respectable" to the world, could it be that Martin unknowingly predicted the "born again" doctrinal change, and the Trinity change as well? When the Worldwide Church God fully accepted the Trinity doctrine, they escaped from being labeled a cult by the world’s most renowned authority on cults, Dr. Walter Martin.
Is "Mainstream" Christianity a Cult?
An article by Pastor Hatch in Brief Bible Studies for July-September, 1984, presented some interesting views on the trinity and cults. Here are excerpts from this article:
"What is a cult? In order to understand the nature of a cult, we must recognize first that there are two great principles of revealed truth: The unity of God, and the mortality of man.
"Moses, Jesus, and Paul unite in their testimony that "God is One." There is one God who is one in person and being (Deut. 6:4; Mk. 11:29; Gal. 3:20; I Cor. 8:6, Eph. 4:6). And Genesis 2:7 and 3:19 tell us clearly that man is a material and mortal being. "The first man is of the earth," Paul says. He is "corruptible" and "mortal" (I Cor. 15:47, 53-54).
"Yet traditional Christianity speaks of ‘trinitarian monotheism’ and would have us believe that God is a three-in-one being . . . . So also, we are told that man is ‘dichotomous.’ That is, he is two parts. One part, his body, is mortal and returns to dust. But the other part, his ‘soul,’ is immaterial, and lives on after death.
"But this is to attribute to man a form of natural immortality. It violates the second great principle of revealed truth, the mortality of man, and has no Scriptural basis except the words of the serpent, ‘ye shall not surely die’ (Gen. 3:4). . . . Today’s ‘historic’ or ‘mainstream’ religion came from the days of Constantine. For political reasons, and the unity of the empire, this fourth century Roman ruler metamorphosed Christianity. He took it over, and changed all its standards.
"Constantine and his successors could not have accomplished this feat, of course, had it not been for the intrusion of false doctrine into the church. The so-called ‘Apologists’ arose, men whose goal was to blend Christianity and Greek philosophy. They said that although God was one, He was also three persons. They taught also that ‘soul’ and ‘body’ were separate things, the ‘soul’ being immortal. Thus Christianity became virtually a Christianized Greek philosophy.
". . . . In the sixth century, the emperor Justinian made it a crime to deny the doctrine of the trinity, and also the doctrine of infant baptism. To deny either one was a capital offense — a crime punishable by death!
"Thus was established the cult of Constantine! It retained the name ‘Christian,’ but it was a far cry from the clear monotheism of the New Testament: One God, and Jesus the Messiah, the virgin-born Son of God. (Compare I Corinthians 8:6 where Paul says, ‘But to us [Christians] there is but one God, the Father.’ . . . .
"A cult, then, is any movement or system of teaching that denies the unity of God’s nature and the mortality of man’s nature. God is One and man is mortal. These are the two basic principles of Biblical revelation. They transcend all other truth, and all other truth is related to them in some way. For example, ‘the man Christ Jesus’ is, as Paul says, the ‘one mediator between God and men’ (I Tim. 2:5).
"I have observed that much of today’s anti-cult material is produced by people who believe that God is three and man is dichotomous (or trichotomous). It never seems to occur to such people that they may be a cult—the oldest and biggest cult of all, that cult whose influence penetrates the farthest reaches of Christendom."
Trinity the Foundation of Catholic Teaching
Few of us who are anti-Trinitarian realize just how central the belief in the Trinity is to Catholic and Protestant teaching. Catholic priest Francis X. Weiser, in his book Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1958), page 254, states: "The greatest dogma of the Christian faith is the mystery of the Holy Trinity." The Trinity is the central teaching of the great false church. Weiser notes that the Feast of the Holy Trinity, one of the annual man made festivals of the Catholic Church, falls on the Sunday after Pentecost. The Trinity doctrine is stated in the New International Encyclopedia, vol. 22, page 476: "We worship one God in Trinity, but there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. The glory equal, the majesty co-eternal." Tertullian coined the word "Trinity" in 180 A.D.
The Trinity doctrine has a profound effect on belief and practice in the Church. The Council of Nicea insisted that the Trinitarian formula ("in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost") be used in baptism. Even earlier, as the Encyclopedia Britannica (11th Edition, Volume 3, pages 365-366) reports, "The baptismal formula was changed by the Catholic Church from the name of Jesus Christ, to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the second century." Also, "Everything in the oldest sources states that baptism took place in the Name of Jesus Christ." (Ibid., page 82). The Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion, Volume 2, pages 377-389, states "The Christian baptism was administered using the Name of Jesus. The Trinitarian formula of any sort was not suggested in the early Church history. Baptism was always in the Name of the Lord Jesus, until the time of Justin Martyr, when the Trinity formula was used."
How did the early church interpret the Messiah’s command in Matthew 28:19? It is easy to see in Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5 that they believed that Matthew 28:19 is not a baptismal formula or a supporting scripture for the Trinity. The early church always baptized in the name of Jesus. They understood, as we do, that this verse really means "immersing them into the name" (as correctly translated by the J. B. Rotherham Emphasized Bible), that is, baptism is a sign that we have entered into the Family of God, that we are now have God’s name, Revelation 3:12, 14:1.
The doctrine of the nature of God directly affects our understanding of baptism, the relationship we have with God, and the salvation of man. K.J. Stavrinides, Worldwide Church of God scholar, has attempted to downplay the importance of the theological implications of the Trinity doctrine (article, "The Trinity" in January-February 1991 Reviews You Can Use, a publication for the WCG ministry). He said we should leave such "deep" theological and philosophical questions to the "experts." However, Protestant watchers of doctrinal change in the WCG will continue to hold the WCG’s feet to the fire. The WCG may waffle on peripheral issues relating to the Trinity, and attempt to downgrade its importance. But unless they accept the orthodox heresy that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, orthodox Catholic and Protestant believers will continue to label them a non-Christian cult. And if the WCG does openly change its teaching (which is possible), they will have "gone off the deep end" in the mind of many of their followers.
Each time we hear of clever doctrinal changes, or rumors of doctrinal change, by Sabbath-keeping organizations, we return once more to the scriptures. The "faith once delivered" becomes more firm and sure in our minds. We are forced to study the issue more thoroughly and allow God’s Word to enlighten us.
I have observed that "New Truth" doesn’t come to those who have long ago thrown out what truth they had. It is sad that the masses are indeed like "dumb sheep" in that they seemingly accept whatever comes from the headquarters of their "true church." Now I can see more clearly how the early church became corrupted.
There is a natural human inclination to be accepted by the majority. After all, who wants to be labeled as a weird cult? Who wants to be persecuted and maligned? But, the Bible tells us to seek God’s ways and not be concerned about what others think of us. Let them call us a cult since we utterly reject the Trinity doctrine.
In the past, many have died rather than accept the baptized pagan doctrine of the Trinity. Today, some would like to convince us that it is merely a philosophical question for the learned theologians. Is there nothing sacred anymore? Is there no doctrine worth holding steadfast to, because the Bible simply says so?
Men concerned with public image, rather than what the Bible says, have used Nashikuzushi, death by a thousand cuts, tactics to push their agenda. Now they are bold enough to say that every doctrinal teaching of the church is on the table for examination and picking and choosing by the leadership. As one man told me, since the ministers told him all the doctrines were now on the table, he put the church organization on the table, and he has found it severely lacking. Any church organization that desires acceptance by the world’s false religions more than acceptance by the God of the Bible has long ago gone astray.
My friends, . . . [it is] urgently necessary to write at once and appeal to you to join the struggle in defence of the faith, the faith which God entrusted to His people once and for all. It is in danger from certain persons who have wormed their way in, . . . . They are enemies of [true] religion; they pervert the free favour of our God into licentiousness, disowning Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Jude 3-4, New English Bible.
May the Eternal deliver us from the "death of a thousand cuts."W