SoundWitness lighthouse logo

A Christian apologetics ministry dedicated to keeping the "false" out of doctrine

Ronald L. Dart’s Anti-Trinitarian Teaching 

                                                                                                               Print/Download: PDF

Mr. Ronald L. Dart, in his radio broadcast Born to Win, certainly has a winsome and down to earth way of explaining Scripture, which makes him very popular.  There are many things on which we can agree.  There are some things however, on which we must take exception. We heed St. Paul’s admonition to Timothy to test everything and hold on to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

You may have noticed that Mr. Dart has a very low view of doctrine.  For instance, he says thatdoctrinal creeds have the effect of blocking examination of issues that might have a bearing on the belief system,” and that “being locked into a belief system seems unwise.”[1]  He believes that “the creation of dogma is a major barrier. If we don’t stay open to him, to his revelation of himself, we can never hope to understand. Dogma closes that door.”[2]  His statements certainly aren’t in keeping with Scripture, for what is doctrine other than the confession of what Scripture clearly teaches, or, as 1 Timothy 4:6 calls it “the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.”

It should not surprise us that Mr. Dart rejects creeds, since there are no Christian creeds with which he could agree, given his rejection of the Trinity.  If you’re not listening too closely, Mr. Dart seems perfectly orthodox.  He states the Jesus is God in the flesh, that He died and was resurrected, as will we.  He believes that there is only one God, that Jesus is the uncreated Word of God, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may all be called God, and that all are eternal.  But what does he mean by these terms?

John 1:1 reads “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (ESV).  Mr. Dart wonders how Jesus, the Word, could be God and also be with God.  He believes that this “condundrum,” as he calls it, is merely a matter of semantics, and that “If you assume that God refers to a kind of being of which one is supreme, then the problem dissolves.”[3]  He explains,

Paul uses the expression “God-the-Father” [in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6] to make the distinction [between God the Father and others who are called “god”].  Most of the time, when we use the word “God,” we are referring to the one Supreme Being above all others – the one Jesus addressed as “Father.”  By definition, there can only be one being who is supreme (brackets added).[4]

and again,

The word “God,” then, can be used in the sense of the one Supreme Being, called “God the Father;” and in that sense, He is one, and there is no other.  But the word “God” can also be used to describe a kind of being – a being begotten by God the Father.  And there can be others of the same kind (emphasis in original).[5]

Thus, while at one point, in comparing God the Father and Jesus with an earthly family, Mr. Dart claims that “Father and sons are all equal in terms of their faculties and their ability to work,”[6] he must ultimately conclude

Jesus said the Father is greater than I, He made that very clear, so he understood that He and the Father were not, emphatically not, coequal.[7]

and that

In this context [of Isaiah 43:10] the word “God” refers to the Supreme Being.  If one is supreme, then there can be no others like Him.  If we define “God” as “Supreme Being,” then the very definition makes it impossible that there could ever be another “God” – not even Jesus, not even the Christ.  When you read passages like this from the Old Testament, you wonder how anyone could have imagined God as a Trinity (emphasis in original).[8]

Mr. Dart’s God becomes similar to the God of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They translate John 1:1 “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”[9]  Mr. Dart paraphrases John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the supreme God and the Word was also God.”[10]  In both cases, the Word is another God.  This other God is not the God of the Bible, but an idol.

Mr. Dart attributes the oneness of God the Father and the Son of God to their family relationship, and their same kind of being.  “God is Father and Son, a family relationship familiar to us all.  He has chosen to tell us that Father and Son are ‘one’ in the sense that they are united.  …God is a family.  God is also a kind of being.  We will see that both Father and Son are of the same kind and share the same name – as fathers and sons commonly do.”[11] This description of the Godhead is light years from the orthodox homooúsios of the Apostles’ Creed, where Father and Son are of one substance. 

This confusion of who Jesus is ultimately leads us even farther afield.  Since Christians are also sons of God and of the same family or kind, they can also become God. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, becomes “not a person, but the power of God,” likened to “pure energy arising from the interaction of Son and the Father.”[12]

The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ agent in the world.  We believe that the Holy Spirit is personal, because it is an extension of God Himself.  It is the way in which God can be omnipresent - that is He can be on His throne and be in us at the same time.  He dwells in us by His Spirit.  This is not to say that the Holy Spirit is a third person, a third mind.  The Holy Spirit is the spiritual presence, activity, power, and influence of God in the natural world.[13]

Mr. Dart demonstrates at least a basic understanding of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which the Church has taught from the beginning of the New Testament era, yet he rejects it. He rejects the three great Trinitarian Ecumenical Creeds, confessed by Christians across time and across the world, the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, and cannot understand why Christians place such an emphasis on understanding God’s Triune nature: “The Trinity is ‘not the thing that I might have thought were major considerations….’ It is interesting that it should be such a pivotal doctrine….”[14]  As the Athanasian Creed confesses, “And the catholic [universal] faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. ...This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved” (brackets added).[15]

This brief discussion demonstrates how Ronald L. Dart deviates from the Trinitarian doctrine clearly found in Scripture.  It is not our wish to criticize him personally, but only to criticize the heterodox aspects of his teaching.  We follow the same advice that St. Paul offers to Titus regarding pastors:  “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9 ESV). 

In light of this heterodox teaching, we would like to offer an alternative program to listen to named Issues, Etc., which is a Christian talk radio program, found here.

Written by Scott Diekmann


Endnotes

[1]  “Who We Are,” Born to Win website, "Doctrinal Statement" tab, 8 Mar 2014, <http://www.borntowin.net/Home/WhoWeAre.aspx>.

[2] Ronald L. Dart, The Lonely God, Servant of Messiah Ministries website, 8 Mar 2014, <http://servantofmessiah.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/01/The%20Lonely%20God%20-%20Ron%20Dart.pdf> 10. 

[3] Ronald L. Dart, The Gospel of John #1, Born to Win podcast , Podcast audio, 8 Mar 2014, <http://www.borntowin.net/Portals/0/AudioFiles/RadioArchives/the_gospel_of_john_01.mp3> 7:20.

[4] Ronald L. Dart, “Have you stumbled through life without… Knowing God!,” Active Bible Church of God website on The Wayback Machine, 8 Mar 2014, <http://web.archive.org/web/20120904133124/http://abcog.org/lesson2.htm>.

[5] Ibid

[6] Lonely God, 24.

[7] Ronald L. Dart, “Doctrine of the Trinity,” Independent Church of God website, 8 Mar 2014, <http://www.icogsfg.org/rld-trin.html >.

[8] “Have you stumbled.”

[9] New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Trans. New World Bible Translation Committee (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1984) 1327.

[10] The Gospel of John #1, 7:28.

[11] Ronald L. Dart, “Knowing God: The Mystery of the Gods,” Active Bible Church of God website on The Wayback Machine, 8 Mar 2014 <http://web.archive.org/web/20120903104651/http://abcog.org/lesson3.htm>.

[12] “Doctrine of the Trinity” 

[13] Ronald L. Dart, “Knowing God: Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit,” Active Bible Church of God website on The Wayback Machine, 8 Mar 2014 <http://web.archive.org/web/20120815084038/http://abcog.org/lesson4.htm >.

[14] “Doctrine of the Trinity.”

[15]  “The Three Ecumenical or Universal Creeds,” The Book of Concord website, 8 Mar 2014, <http://www.bookofconcord.org/creeds.php>.