Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since the Council of Constantinople (381) the concept that God exists as three Persons in one Substance has been affirmed has formed a central part of the Christian confession. Though perhaps neglected in Protestant theology, the modern evangelical movement has given considerable emphasis to the doctrine of the Trinity as fundamental constituent of Christianity. Nevertheless a number of groups, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, have from biblical foundations developed a trinity-less theology. In their book The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting presented the argument that the doctrine of the Trinity is both a misrepresentation of the biblical doctrine of God and a liability that weakens Christianity’s power. The controversy caused by The Myth of God Incarnate opened up to scrutiny the doubts of ‘respectable’ theologians about the ideas surrounding the divinity of Christ.
The question I wish to consider in this article is what would Christianity without the Trinity look like, and is such a Christianity desirable? This can only be a cursory survey of the issues involved nevertheless I hope that this review prompts a reconsideration of the centrality ascribed to the doctrine of the Trinity in Christian theology.
A Platonic Doctrine
Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on the Hebrew word רוח “air, wind, spirit” having feminine grammatical gender in the Hebrew language (though in fact in a significant minority of its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, the word actually has masculine grammatical gender). Could be considered “non-orthodox” by the criteria of the traditional mainstream of Christian doctrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When theologians write about the doctrine of the Trinity they cite great luminaries like Augustine and Karl Barth, and, occasionally, the Bible. But rarely will one pause to consider the theological pioneers of later Christian doctrine, such as the early apologists. Yet any scholar who deigns to do so will come against the awkward fact that the concept of a triune god is not Christian at all, but has the Platonists as its progenitors. If Justin Martyr held a doctrine of three divine principles (First Apology 13), it is because Middle Platonists like Numenius of Apamea held this doctrine first. And the first thinker to propose three co-ordinate divine members of a trinity was not one of the Cappadocian Fathers but a bitter enemy of Christianity, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry.
The Platonic doctrine of a triune god is an imposition upon Christianity and an imposition that diverts Christianity from its original message and purpose. The simplicity of Christ’s teaching was supplanted by philosophic complexities that are seldom consistently defined. And thus too, the Bible was, in part, supplanted, because where in the Bible can one go to find theological definitions about the Trinity? It is noticeable that the Nicene Creed quotes verbatim from the New Testament regarding almost every aspect of belief except its definitions of the nature and trinity of God, where philosophic terms are supplied instead.
A return to the teaching of Christ and the apostles would necessitate a reversal of the Platonic influence upon Christianity and thus require the revoking of the doctrine of Trinity.
The Role of Christ
In early Christian thought Christ was understood as a mediator. Paul writes ‘there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim 2:5). This relationship between to God and Jesus was seen through the role of high priest, Paul describing Christ as ‘making intercession’ for believers (Rom 8:34). Paul does not connect the intercession of Christ to any supposed divinity but to his ascension to the right hand of God. We find the same concept used in Acts when Peter says of Christ ‘God has exalted him to his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 5:31).
The writer to the Hebrews makes this concept his own, repeatedly naming Jesus ‘High Priest’. As with Paul, this intercession is linked to the literal ascension of Jesus from the earth to the right hand of God, ‘passing into the heavens’, as the writer puts it (Heb 4:14). Christ’s entry into the presence of God is described as a high priest entering the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:11-12). And, unequivocally, Christ becomes High Priest, not by intrinsic divinity but by the calling of God (Heb 5:5-6, 10, 6:20).
Other early Christian writers also view Christ has a mediator between God and men. Clement of Rome describes Jesus as ‘High Priest’, saying that he was ‘chosen’ by God (1 Clem 64). Ignatius too uses the term ‘High Priest’ but also describes Christ’s intercession through another figure, saying ‘he is the doorway to the Father’ (Ign.Phil 9). Also see Polycarp’s letter to Smyrna, where he too says Christ is ‘High Priest’ (12).
If Christ is promoted to the Godhead (and the Holy Spirit too), who then intercedes on behalf of believers? Historically, this problem was ‘solved’ by the introduction of a series of other go-betweens, namely the Saints and the clergy. In modern evangelical theology can alternative ‘solution’ has been posited, namely that Christ, whilst ontologically co-equal with the Father, remains subordinate and can thus perform his scripturally defined duties of intercession. Yet this fudge simply results in the conundrum that Jesus is neither fully co-equal, nor fully mediator.
Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw both the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into the common tongues of the people of Europe. And following almost immediately on the heels of these developments was the emergence of groups that denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The Socinians, the Brüder in Christo and other unitarian groups were founded across Europe, teaching that the Bible alone was authoritative and that the Bible knew nothing of the Trinity. The problem for the Protestants was clear. The Reformation was founded on the principle of sola scriptura, and yet these groups, who also held the principle of sola scriptura, denied the doctrine of the Trinity.
English Protestant theologians wrestled with this problem throughout the seventeenth century. They urged that the believer needs both scripture and reason, and hoped that reason itself would be sufficient to safeguard the Trinity. Catholic theologians pounced upon the dilemma, challenging the Protestants to meet the objections of the Socinians by scripture alone or else return to the Catholic rule of faith. The consequence of these disputes led English Protestants to neglect the doctrine of Trinity, passing over it in silence, a tacit admission that with scripture alone as the rule of faith the Trinity could not be sustained.
Vickers bemoans the demise of the Trinity as the impact of an emphasis on the Trinity as a set of propositions (the immanent Trinity), and urges a return to the invocation of the Trinity in the believer’s encounter with God (the economic Trinity). Yet, as Karl Rahner declares, the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity; it would make little sense to invoke God as Trinity if that set of propositions cannot be assented to. Given then the failure of Protestant theologians to defend the doctrine of the Trinity by scripture alone, it seems we must either abandon the Trinity or the founding principle of the Reformation, sola scriptura.
Modern evangelicals attempt to hold both sola scriptura and the Trinity, and yet it seems no evangelical can preach about the Trinity without reference to the creeds. Though evangelicals may claim that the bible alone is authoritative, there is implicit in many evangelical writings a retreat to tradition to defend the doctrine of the Trinity.
Christianity is oft categorized as one of the three great monotheistic faiths, alongside Judaism and Islam. Yet the Trinitarian conception of monotheism is determinedly different from that of either Jews or Muslims. Inasmuch as the Trinity is three Persons in one Substance, the Trinitarian claim to monotheism is an ontological one. However, viewed from a liturgical perspective it is hard to escape the fact that Trinitarian Christians claim to experience God in plurality, worshipping three Persons as God. This feels very different from the Jewish experience of a uni-personal God, and seems to have more in common with Hinduism’s conception of Brahman.
The upshot of this is that in dialogue with other monotheistic faiths the Trinitarian brings to the table a plural conception of God. However carefully the theologian may define the Trinity ontologically as one God, the bread-and-butter of traditional Christian liturgy is hopelessly poly-personal. Christians may claim to be monotheists but they appear for all world to practice polylatry. This hampers interfaith dialogue (and ultimately evangelism).
The issue is not simply that Christians experience God differently from other faiths, but that they define God differently. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to adherence to the God of Abraham, and yet the Trinitarian definition of God is simply alien to both Jews and Muslims (and, one must assume, would have been alien to Abraham himself). Therefore Christianity’s most primitive form of evangelism, preaching the coming of Jewish Messiah, is robbed from it by a doctrine that fundamentally alters the conception of the God of Abraham.
One proposition above any other motivates the continued emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity in modern evangelical theology: that only God could be sufficient substitute to bear the punishment due to mankind. It therefore becomes necessary that Jesus was fully God to bring about the atonement and to question the Trinity is treated as tantamount to denying the salvation of believers. Yet this doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is a relatively new doctrine; it certainly did not motivate the doctrinal innovations that led to the formulation of the notion of the Trinity.
It is beyond the scope of this article to digress into a full rebuttal of the notion of penal substitutionary atonement but, in brief, there are at least two reasons why Christianity would be better off without such a doctrine.
Firstly, none of the New Testament writers appeal to the idea of a substitute to explain the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The analogy to the brazen serpent speaks of a representative icon (John 3:14-15); the analogy to the Passover lamb speaks of a representative offering (1 Cor 5:7); even the analogy to the Day of Atonement speaks of a representative death (Heb 9:11-14). The recapitulation theory that Paul develops at length (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:20-22; Phil 2:5-11) knows nothing of a substitutionary death, rather an offering of obedience to God (Rom 5:19). Even the very words of the NT writers presuppose a representative understanding of the Christ’s death, using huper (‘on behalf of’) in preference to anti (‘instead of’) in almost every instance where the death of Christ is described (cf. Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51; Rom 5:6-8; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:14; Gal 1:4; Eph 5:2; 1 Thes 5:10; 1 Tim 2:6; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:21; 1 John 3:16).
Secondly, the notion of penal subtitutionary atonement skews our notion of God. The psalms describe a God who does not desire sacrifices (Ps 40:6; 51:16). Hosea states that God prizes mercy above sacrifice (Hos 6:6; cf. Matt 9:13, 12:7). The idea of a God who requires sacrifice as a prerequisite for mercy seems inconsistent with this picture. Rather the biblical concept of forgiveness is one without price or condition; the king in the parable, moved with compassion, writes off the debt of his servant without any requirement of some other source of remittance (Matt 18:22-27). Followers of Christ are instructed to forgive freely; are we then more righteous than God, who only forgives at cost? This notion would seem to annul the very idea of grace and portray God as limited and constricted by the requirements of Justice, unable to act freely upon His compassion. This is not the God of the Bible.
Christianity without the Trinity
Christ Church (Photo credit: Nathan Kavumbura)
There are some that feel that without the doctrines of the Trinity and of the incarnation Christianity is doomed to failure. It is claimed that robbing Christ of his divinity makes his message and mission of null affect, and ultimately leads to a denial of the atonement, the resurrection and miracles in general. Unfortunately in some cases, such as the Unitarians (capital ‘U’), this has been the result, Jesus being treated as just a righteous teacher. However there is no reason why the reductive process of removing the doctrine of the Trinity from Christianity should be a purely negative process. Rather it is, I am arguing, a restoration of the primitive Christian faith.
What, then, would Christianity without the Trinity look like? A unitarian creed might look something like this:
There is one God
(Mark 12:32), who is the Creator
of all things (Eph 4:6) and the Father
of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; 2 Cor 1:3).
There is one Lord Jesus Christ
(1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:5), the Son of God (Rom 1:4) born of a virgin (Gal 4:4; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27f), who lived a sinless life of obedience to God (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; Rom 5:19), was crucified and rose the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4). Through his death Christ reconciled man to God (Rom 5:10).
There is one Spirit
(1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4), the power of God (Luke 1:35), by which God inspired the prophets (2 Pet 1:21) and works miracles (Gal 3:5).
What would Christianity without the Trinity feel like? It would feel more reminiscent of its Jewish roots, more consistent with its claims to monolatry, more reflective of scriptural language, and more intelligible to its adherents.
It has oft been claimed that those who deny the Trinity aren’t real Christians. Yet a ‘Christian’ (Greek christianos) by definition is a follower of Christ, and if this is to be anything more than a nominal title then those who claim to be Christian should follow Christ, in both his teaching and mode of life. Jesus Christ preached the God of Abraham (Matt 22:32) as his Father and as the one true God (John 17:3). Isn’t it time for the teaching of Christians to reflect the teaching of Christ?
 A. F. Buzzard & C. F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (New York: International Scholars Publications, 1998).
 The Myth of God Incarnate (ed. J. Hick; London: SCM Press, 1977).
 Cf. M. A. McIntosh, Divine Teaching: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell 2008), 111-178
 T. E. Gaston, The Influence of Platonism on the Early Apologists, The Heythrop Journal 50.4 (2009), 573-580.
 Pace I. S. Markham, Understanding Christian Doctrine (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 76-7.
 J. Dillon, ‘Logos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity’, in The Philosophy in Christianity, (G. Vesey ed.; Cambridge University Press, 1989).
 E.g. “Light of Light, very God of very God”, “being of one substance with the Father”, etc.
 R. M. Bowman, Why you should believe in the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 78-81.
 J. E. Vickers, Invocation and Assent: The Making and Remaking of Trinitarian Theology, (Grand Rapinds: Eerdmans, 2008), 69-101.
 Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 165-7
 Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 191-2
 cf. S. Olyott, The Three are One (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1979), 101-2; N. Gumbel [Alpha Course], Is the Trinity Unbiblical, Unbelievable and Irrelvant? (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2004), 7;
 cf. J. I Packer, Knowing God (Leicester: IVP, 1984)166-170.
 The single exception to this rule is Matt 20:28 (cf. Mark 10:45), “to give his life a ransom for (anti) many”.
 Cf. Packer, Knowing God, 46+
Please do find to read:
- Did the Inspirator exist
- God, Creation and the Bible Hope
- God of gods
- A god between many gods
- Only One God
- God is One
- “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
- The Divine name of the Creator
- God about His name “יהוה“
- Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
- Sayings around God
- Attributes of God
- One God the Father, a compendium of essays
- Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
- God Helper and Deliverer
- God is Spirit
- Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
- Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
- Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
- Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
- Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
- Seeing Jesus
- Jesus Messiah
- Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
- Who was Jesus?
- Jesus spitting image of his father
- Jesus and his God
- Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
- Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
- How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
- On the Nature of Christ
- Jesus spitting image of his father
- Yeshua a man with a special personality
- A man with an outstanding personality
- Reasons that Jesus was not God
- The wrong hero
- He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
- Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apsotle, High Priest and King
- Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
- Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
- Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
- One Mediator
- Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data
- A fact of History or just a fancy Story
- Politics and power first priority #2
- Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
- A promise given in the Garden of Eden
- 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
- Christ Versus the Trinity
- Is God a Trinity?
- The Trinity – true or false?
- The Trinity – the Truth
- The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
- Trinity And Pagan Influence
- How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
- How did the doctrine of the Trinity arise?
- History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
- Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
- Altered to fit a Trinity
- Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
- The Great Trinity Debate
- TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’
- Compromise and accomodation
- Written to recognise the Promised One
- Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
- Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
- About a man who changed history of humankind
- No Other Name (But Jesus)
- Doesn’t the name “Immanuel” show that Jesus is God, and therefore proves the Trinity? (Isa. 7:14, Mat. 1:23)
- Is Isaiah 9:6′s “Wonderful counselor” related to Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8′s “Immanuel”?
- Why does Isaiah 9:6 call Jesus “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”?
- In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
- One Mediator between God and man
- Philippians 1 – 2
- Worshipping Jesus
- Idolatry or idol worship
- People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
- People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
- Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
- Science and God’s existence
- Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
- Blackness, nothingness, something, void
- Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
- Joseph Priestley To the Point
- Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
- Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
- Thanksgivukkah and Advent
- The professor, God, Faith and the student
- Concerning gospelfaith
- Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
- Apologetics (23) – The Hard Questions: Which God? The Exclusivity Issue (7) The Resurrection and Exclusivity
- Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
- Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
- Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
- Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
- Edward Wightman
- Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Book of Mormon (5): God and Jesus
- The Book of Mormon: (7) Right First Principles are Essential to Getting it Right
- What the Qur’an Says About…(2): Jesus
- Creation’s Gospel: (12) The Veiled Glory
- Trinity And Pagan Influence
- Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
- Part 2) God is not a Trinity
- The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
- Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
- Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7
- Anyone Who Goes Too Far and Does Not Abide in the Teaching of Christ, Does Not Have God
- Is Jesus God?
Also of interest:
- Trinity Proof Texts Considered
- Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
- Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
- Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
- The Unholy Trinity
- The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
- Trinity And Pagan Influence
- Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
- The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
- What About Those Who Do Not Know The Name of God?
- The Existence of Jesus Christ
- Historical Jesus vs the Jesus of Faith vs the Mythical Jesus
- The Doctrine Of The Trinity
- The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
- Cult or True Religion
- Reimagining the Historicity of the Bible
- Bishop T. D. Jakes says he now embraces the Trinity Doctrine: T. D. Jakes was interviewed by pastor Mark Driscoll and pastor James MacDonald on January 27, 2012 at Harvest Bible Chapel
- TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’ By Nicola Menzie
- T.D. Jakes is Heretical Concerning Modalism Whether he Believes it or Not
- Changed Heart for @StevenFurtick & @BishopJakes: Conviction in The #ElephantRoom. Lessons for dads?
- An Elephant Room Roundup
- Mark Driscoll And The Mars Hill Churches: When Discipline Becomes Control Becomes … ?
- Heretical Modalism and T.D. Jakes Doctrine On the Trinity
- The Leader of the Episcopal Church is a Heretic
- Critiquing N.T. Wright’s monotheism
- God, the Trinity
- This Is That – 1
- A brief visit to the Father of Revolution and Evolution
- Who Are You Really Slandering?
- On Union with God
- By the oaks of Mamre
- Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
Immanuel Kant, a German Idealist continuing the exegesis of the Socinians, saw no need for the doctrine of the Trinity. It was this idea of “necessity” mixed with speculative interpretation that led many like Kant to dismiss it altogether. Questions addressing God’s being, volition, and self-consciousness brought to light some of the supposed weak spots in the Trinitarian doctrine. Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
- Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’
All this should have made it clear that according to the New Testament the key quesiton in the doctrine of the Trinity is not the question which is declared an impenetrable ‘mystery’ (mysterium stricte dictum), how three such different entities can be ontologically one, but the christological question how the relationship of Jesus (and consequently also of the Spirit) to God is to be expressed. Here the belief in the one God which Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam may not be put in question for a moment. There no other God but God! But what is decisive for the dialogue with Jews and Christians in particular is the insight that according to the New Testament the principle of unity is clearly not the one divine ‘nature’ (physis) common to several entities, as people were to think after the ne0-Nicene theology of the fourth century. For the New Testament, as for the Hebrew Bible, the principle of unity is clearly the one God (ho theos: the God = the Father), from whom are all things and to whom are all things.
- A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
- What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.
I can name at least three churches in my immediate area (i.e., within 25 miles of my home) who have either had to turn away prospective new members because they wouldn’t affirm the Nicene formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or who have only found out that a new member denied the Trinity after the individual had already been received as a member (in this case, it was kept hidden from the elders).
What’s more, I know of at least two seminary students (at Presbyterian and Reformed seminaries, no less!) who have informed their professors that they don’t out and out deny the Nicene Creed, but they’re not sure they can affirm it, either.
- “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
“The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
- Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com)
Giving recognition to the Holy Trinity is an important aspect of the Holy Orthodox Church. When we pray we make the sign of the cross. The thumb and first two fingers represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The bringing of these three fingers together signifies that we do not believe in three gods, only ONE GOD. Everything we do is in the name of the trinity: baptism, forgiveness, marriage, the confession of our faith (Nicene Creed) etc. The Trinity expresses the essence of our faith. The work of salvation begins with the Father who created the world, is realized by the Son through His death and resurrection, and is completed through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
- Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.
“Catholics believe (X), but (X) isn’t in the Bible”
First off, let me put this out there and get it over with — Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which translates to “Scripture alone.” Unlike many Protestant beliefs, Catholics do not accept the Bible as the highest authority on doctrine. This may sound like a heresy to some, but it isn’t. The Church isn’t derived from the Bible. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is precisely because of the Catholic Church that the Bible even exists
- Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was. Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it. Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church. It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
Scripture is God-breathed, making one spiritually complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17). If Scripture is sufficient, what need is there for anything beyond it? On what basis would we accept anything more or less than or different from the Bible? How could fallible man be equal to or co-authorize with the perfect law of the Lord? Let us accept no substitute or rival to the Bible!
- (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown. But to the glory of God, He rekindled the fire of the Gospel, and it spread like a fire in a barn of hay. The Reformation has given us such a wealth of knowledge of the truth of Christ’s teaching that I personally will never be able to ingest all of.