H. Leo Boles, David Lipscomb, Trinity

Trinity: Not before H. Leo Boles and the Gospel Advocate in 1942 did anyone dare claim that God was a FAMILY of three, separated persons. It has been suggested that others before H. Leo Boles at David Lipscomb College made this claim. Our examination of the resources suggest that the Boles views were recorded in a retrospective history and the later views were expressed out of time frame. We still know of no writer who has ever defined the trinity as three, separated beings capable of having committee meetings or know as a Family of Gods prior to the Restoration writers in 1942. It is clear that Boles must have taught at Lipscomb and preached these views prior to the publication of The Holy Spirit His Personality, Nature and Works.

1. ASSERTION: H. Leo Boles was the first person in history who, in 1938 at FHC, taught that the Godhead is three, separated persons (people) able to hold meetings and decide what to do.  John Mark Hicks at LU calls God "three centers of consciousness able to commune with one another. This is the rationale for removing Christ from the public confession and becoming The Family of God: as a community church it is defined in terms of COMMUNE."

2. CHALLENGE: a reader called my attention to the views of David Lipscomb. These views were written by J.W.McGarvey who defined SPIRIT as PERSONALITY as indeed all historic literature does.  "He has a nasty spirit" means that he has a nasty personality. I reviewd this request at this site.

3. t clear that neither he nor any Restoration Movement teacher believed that the Spirit OF Christ speaks to any person except through His Word.

DANGER: either out of delusion or using psychological violence claim that the SPIRIT told them that the music (noise) of the cursed sacrificial system was God COMMANDING INSTRUMENTAL PRAISE and WE MUST NOT DISOBEY this direct command.   This is THE WAY for Satan to deceive people and Peter outlawed private interpretation or further expounding as the MARK of a false teacher.

See our review of Earl D. Edwards in the Gospel Advocate.

Scholars such as Paul Tillich notes that prior to the 19th century to identify God as a PERSON--as opposed to the term PERSONAE--would have been a heresy. And it still is.

Dear sir:
Your comments following in TheTrinity In History seem to conflct with those of David Lipscomb below.

Here is what I have been able to find: you will have to reach your own conclusions because it is not clear.

"For those who have a Restoration Movement background, the early preachers and scholars never see God cut into three separated beings or a "family." This is latter day H. Leo Boles and the Gospel Advocate circa 1940s". 

David Lipscomb interpreted by J.W. McGarvey: "The term God is plural in the Hebrew, and embraces the persons of the Godhead-the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. There are three distinct, persons represented as God, yet in nature one and divine, one in purpose and aim, one in all the works of God.

Yet in that oneness each had his own specific, distinct office to fulfill or work to perform in all that was done by God, and the others did not interfere in this work.

In this chapter I do not take cognizance of the distinct offices, but inquire concerning the Godhead. Who is God? What is his nature and character and work as manifested in the general term God?" SALVATION FROM SIN by David Lipscomb pp31

"Chapter IV beginning on page 76 of this book has always appeared to me to be some of the best thoughts on the Holy Spirit.

pp 81 & 82 quotes

"The Spirit himself is unseen, unfelt, unheard, untasted, unsmelled. Spirit is not cognizable by any bodily sense. We cognize by our senses the effects of the Spirit; but, as Jesus said, " a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having." (Luke 24: 39.)

Note that Campbell denies that "SPIRIT" can be detected by any of our body senses. God gave us specificially eyes and ears as the only sensors for receiving instructions. Failure in the Bible is always failure to use the EYES and EARS.  Furthermoree, Jesus confirmed that He appeared to Paul so that He could be SEEN with his eyes and HEARD with His ears to qualify as a witness of Christ. That, says Lipscomb, is because the Spirit cannot be detected by ANY bodily senses.

Because people take the concept that God is made up of qualities like ours so that we can understand claim that the SPIRIT told them to do something specificially plan to go beyond the sacred pages and receive further revelation.  Lipscomb forces them to say that they SAW JESUS CHRIST or HEARD AUDIBLE voices as Rubel Shelly advises.

Lipscomb permits hearing the SPIRIT only through the flesh and bones of Jesus Christ.

David Lipscomb interpreted by J.W. McGarvey:  Spirit has no material manifestation. Many persons confound materiality and personality. When they say that spirit possesses personality, they have the idea of materiality.

They conceive of personality as something that can be cognized by the senses. Only materiality can be cognized. But personality does not pertain to materiality.

 Bodies purely material can have no personity. Personality is a function of spirituality.

Only spirits possess personality. Material beings become personal only as they become the abodes of spirit.
Notice that David Lipscomb interpreted by J.W. McGarvey identify the Spirit as the personality of the material body. The Spirit does not HAVE personality: the Spirit OF God is God's PERSONALITY or personhood or self.
A low order of spirits, dwelling in material bodies, give a low degree of personality.
The personality becomes distinct and pure as the order of spirits dwelling in the bodies are higher .

Only pure spirits, uncontrolled, unhampered by material bodies, possess the highest order of personality.

The Spirit OF God has no material manifestation, and hence is the highest order of pure personality. The manifestations, operations, and revelations of the Spirit indicate a pure, distinct, personal being. The Spirit is divine. "

Spirit or SELF is AUTOS: God is not a blob but God is SPIRIT and has PERSONALITY (Spirit)

God is Spirit " means that the reign of the Godhead is through the Spirit, 
only those can worship him who worship in spirit and in truth-
        by the Spirit and in
compliance with the truth.

That is why the unique worship word in the New Testament in a spiritual sense means "to give heed to the Word of God."  The Campbells said that church was "a school of Christ" and worship was "reading and musing the Word." Your spirit or your MIND must dwell on the MIND of Christ in the word.  If you don't teach the Word as it has been taught you cannot be worshiping.

The Spirit was with the Father and the Son in the council chamber of the heavens. As the Father sent the Son, so the Son sent the Spirit to guide his creation and complete the divine work on earth. " For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Rom. 8: 14.)

The. Holy Spirit in the Spiritual World

We have learned that the Godhead is presented to us in the Old Testament Scriptures as composed of God, the originator, author, and supreme ruler of all things; the Word, the creator; and the Holy Spirit, the organizer, life imparter, lawgiver, and guide of the created universe.

They are revealed in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - as the Father, who so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son to save the world; the Son, who became flesh and was full of grace and truth, who died as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world, and the sinner's advocate with God; and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter that should abide with the children of God forever and lead them into all truth.

These held a council at the creation of man. They are divine, one in substance, purpose, and design, yet distinct in person and in the offices they perform.

The offices, though distinct, are complements of each other and together present a perfect and harmonious whole."

God often speaks with Himself as we speak with OURself.
Is. 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called;
        I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
Is. 48:13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth,
        and my right hand hath spanned the heavens:
        when I call unto them, they stand up together.
Is. 48:14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things?
        The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon,
        and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.
Is. 48:15 I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous.
Is. 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this;
        I have not spoken in secret from the beginning
        from the time that it was, there am I:
        and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
Is. 48:17 Thus saith
        the LORD,
        thy Redeemer,
        the Holy One of Israel;
I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit,
        which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.
E-mail: I would appreciate any thoughts you might have about Libscomb's theology of the Holy Spirit. It would probably be wise to read the first one hundred pages of this book as I might be representing him out of context.I am restuding the subject of the Holy Spirit trying to prepare some teaching materials. 

I have tried to run down a chronology to see how Boles and Lipscomb overlapped:

Of Lipscomb: His famous Handbook on Baptism was published in 1894. See Also [208] CHAPTER X.

Next we find the commission, the general authority under which they were to go forth and disciple all the nations of the earth. It is to be expected that in a general commission to apply to all characters and people, for all times, the general end or motive that embraced all special ends or motives would be presented.

"Make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them into the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:
teaching them to observe all things whatsoever
I commanded you: and lo, I am with you [219] always, even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28: 19, 20.)

"Make disciples of all the nations "--teach them that Jesus is the Christ. This involves their believing in Christ Jesus.

"Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

They were to be baptized into. Eis connects the baptism with the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in just the same relation that it connects it with remission of sins in the scripture that says be baptized unto (eis) the remission of sins. It denotes the end or object to be reached

in and through baptism-baptizing them that they may obtain or enter into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Entering into these names

includes the obtaining all the blessings and riches to be found in these names
or in Christ Jesus, here and hereafter.

Here the true, comprehensive, full, and exhaustive object or design of baptism is set forth. In Christ remission of sins is found--in the blood of Christ; redemption, sanctification, and all the spiritual riches to be enjoyed here and hereafter are in Christ. If there be one scripture that sets forth the full end or aim of baptism above all others, it is this commission that declares that it shall bring them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The remission of sins is one of the chief fruits of coming into Christ. The great end of baptism is to put man into Christ that he may enjoy the fullness of all divine blessings in him.

It is important that we never see God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as three Gods. Rather, Father, Son and Spirit are NOT NAMES but offices. In both the Old and New Testaments God is HOLY Spirit. Holy means PURE: God as the ONE Spirit does not consist of anything OTHER than Spirit. We say that a soap is 99 and 44/100 percent pure.



The INVISIBLE Deity or GOD is





There are MANY elohim (gods) and even Moses was called an elohim. However, there is only ONE Lord or Jehovah.

By the word (Dabar or Logos) of the Lord (Jehovah) were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (Ruwach=Spirit) of his mouth. Psa 33:6


The lives of Boles and Lipscomb overlapped. It is hard to believe that they didn't share the same views although H. Leo Boles really identified The Family of God in about 1942 from lectures at Freed Hardeman College in 1938. This spread down into our little church through the Gospel Advocate class material and the locals are convinced that we should WORSHIP the names of THREE family members. Of course this is polytheism. John Mark Hicks accredits Max Lucado and Rubel Shelly with popularizing TRITHEISM.

It is clear that Lipscomb equated SPIRIT to PERSONALITY so that the personhood existed with God.

Boles Began his work with Lipscomb in 1906:

"H. Leo Boles was preeminently a teacher. In the Fall of 1906, he became a member of the faculty of David Lipscomb College (then Nashville Bible School). While doing regular work as teacher, he took lessons daily in the Bible under the lamented David Lipscomb. For seven years he taught philosophy and mathematics but, on become president of David Lipscomb College in 1913,

Salvation from Sins was written after 1910. This sounds almost identical to the views of H. Leo Boles. So, one seems to have learned from the other. Based on Lipscomb's views on BAPTISM he is not so certain

Dennis Gulledge - The Messenger, Kennett, Missouri

"His famous Handbook on Baptism was published in 1894. His teacher at the College of the Bible, Professor J.W. McGarvey, referred to the book as "the best and most comprehensive work of its kind in existence." 

Notice that Lipscomb Did not write this book:

In 1910 brother Shepherd edited and compiled Queries And Answers, containing questions answered by David Lipscomb in the Gospel Advocate.

He put together material for another volume bearing the name of David Lipscomb, Salvation From Sin. Also,

at the request of the aged Lipscomb, brother Shepherd took Lipscomb's notes on some of the New Testament epistles

and completed them for publication in the Gospel Advocate series of the New Testament commentaries.

Brother Lipscomb died on November 11, 1917, at the age of eighty-six years

Nov. 10 In Nashville, after dinner, I drove with David Lipscomb, Jr. out to old Brother Lipscomb's home, where we found Elam, Pullias, and many others, watching Brother Lipscomb die...

Monday, Nov. 12. Not soon can I forget today. Early this morning I was called over the phone by Bro. Leo Boles and informed of the death of David Lipscomb, and asked whether I could be at the funeral. I got Brother Thos Rose to take my place at this Algood meeting, and so took the morning train for Nashville, arriving at noon.

H. Leo Boles editing the GA wrote his book on the Holy Spirit in 1942. I have argued the case against him here:

Quick Conclusions:

Lipscomb studied under Tolbert Fanning. I don't know Fanning's views on the Holy Spirit but I do know that while preaching against slavery in East Main Church of Christ, in Murfreesboro, friends had to rescue him from the "brethren."

I can see that LIPSCOMB understands the NAME (singular) of Father, Son and Spirit (not names.) as Jesus in His Baptism book. In fact, so did Peter and all of the Biblical baptisms and that of the early history of the church. He obeyed the command of Jesus by baptizing in the NAME of Jesus Christ. All AUTHORITY is vested in Jesus Christ and FULL DEITY (Col 2:9) dwells in this singular name.

Lipscombs views WRITTEN UNDER HIS NAME are much like those of H. Leo Boles in 1942.

So the "written under his name" gives credance to Boles views.

However, the similar views means that they were held close to 1910.

Boles does not take note of the "figurative" relationship as does Lipscomb. Probably people continued to misunderstand Boles who might corrected them if possible.

T. Campbell also used the word PERSON but it was because he could find no better one to describe the COMPLEX level of God. The early "trinitarians" used the word personae which does not mean person: I am a person but I am not God, my dog has personality and he is not God.

In 1 Cor 2, Paul showed that:
The Holy Spirit
Is to God
What our spirit
is to us.
Then, he says WE have the MIND of Christ.

I would appreciate reading your conclusions. We don't have to agree but we have to be DISCIPLES to be Christians.

Thanks for any consideration,

Jon Darrow

I believe that later discussion of PERSONS in the Godhead are retrospective writings about H. Leo Boles and probably do not show that this view was fully published until by the Gospel Advocate in 1942 and promoted in their Sunday School Literature. This view has been "evangelistically" promoted by Max Lucado and Rubel Shelly. John Mark Hicks notes that the "incarnational views" may deny that Christ came fully in the flesh: their view is often that Jesus came in the flesh but in a Gnostic form.

Ken Sublett 1/4/04 Sun 10:15
Death of David Lipscomb

Henry Leo Boles was born near Gainesboro in Jackson County. Tennessee, February 22, 1874, and died February 7, 1946. His parents were Jefferson and Sarah Smith Boles. His paternal grandmother was a daughter of "Raccoon'' John Smith and his mother was a great niece of Smith.

Boles married Miss Ida Mae Meiser, of McMinnville, Tennessee, on September 23. 1906. To this marriage one son, Leo Lipscomb, was born. Leo Lipscomb was educated at David Lipscomb College, Vanderbilt University, and George Peabody College. He received his Ph.D. in 1941.

H. Leo Boles was preeminently a teacher. In the Fall of 1906, he became a member of the faculty of David Lipscomb College (then Nashville Bible School). While doing regular work as teacher, he took lessons daily in the Bible under the lamented David Lipscomb. For seven years he taught philosophy and mathematics but, on become president of David Lipscomb College in 1913, he began to give more and more time to teaching the Bible. It was a rare treat to attend his classes in logic, ethics, and evidences of Christianity. He taught his students the Bible-not merely some course related to the book, but the book itself. His students were taught to oppose all modernism, speculation and denominationalism. About 1,500 young preachers received instruction in his classes, besides hundreds of students who never became preachers.

Holy Spirit Page

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