An Admission of A Trinitarian
Let me make it clear to all:
The New Testament does not have any explicit statement on the Trinity—apart from 1 John 5:7, which has been rejected as a medieval addition to the text—but the Trinitarian evidence is overwhelming.
Furthermore, there are two factors we must all come to grips:
- First, the term, "Trinity" is NOT found in Scripture.
- Second, the Trinity is a hard concept to understand to our modern, analytical, and mathematical minds. How can three equal one or one equal three?
If we are willing to accept the two above points, please, CD Posters/readers and anti-trinitarian, we do find in Scripture many references to three persons in God. For many people, this truth adds to the confusion in people’s minds. Although the Old Testament emphasizes
- The exclusive unity of God (Deut 6:4; 5:7–11).
- Also its alluion to the plurality of God (Gen 1:2, 26; 11:7; 18:1–33; Exod 23:23).
Of all allusions to this plurality of God in the Old Testament, (e.g. Isa 42:1 and 48:16), they come very close to a Trinitarian formulation. Don't you agree with the points stated above?
Now, let's settle down and mine the Scriptures on an important subject and stop acting like screaming cats on a "hot tin roof". End this biblical Guerrilla warfare, while taking sideswipes at one another's name and character. Jesus is clearly described as divine in the gospel of John (John 1:1–3; 20:28). Jesus, himself, proclaims his own divinity (John 8:58).
In the New Testament we also find clear references to the three persons of the Godhead.
- All three are mentioned at the baptism of Jesus (Matt 3:16–17).
- During the Lord’s Supper Jesus comforts his disciples with the thought that he and the Father would send the Holy Spirit to guide them after his departure (John 14:16–17).
- All three persons are part of the baptismal formula found in Jesus’ great commission to his disciples (Matt 28:19)
- Paul readily refers to all three persons in many of his epistles (Rom 8:9–11; 2 Cor 13:14; 2 Tim 1:3–14; Eph 1:13–14; 3:14–19).
- Peter acknowledges the work of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the salvation of people (1 Pet 1:2).
- John is a witness of the Spirit’s testimony regarding Jesus, the Son of God (1 John 5:5–9).
- The book of Revelation -- presents three persons involved in the final events of this world (Rev 1:4–5; 22:16–18).
Despite these biblical evidences to the triune God, it becomes somewhat ambivalent for some people because the Holy Spirit is often referred to with metaphors of objects:
- A dove (Matt 3:16)
- The wind (John 3:8)
- Fire (Isa 6:6, 7)
- Water (John 7:37–39)
- Oil (Matt 25:1–4).
Moreover, adding to this ambivalence are some New Testament statements that appear to refer to Jesus as having had a beginning when he is referred to as “begotten” (monogenes) or “firstborn of all creation” (prototokos) (John 3:16; Col 1:15).
The doctrine of the Trinity brings up some issues:
Historically, the doctrine of the Trinity is closely connected with the Christological disputes the early church struggled with. The early church through a series of councils:
- Confirmed the eternal divinity of Jesus.
- Opened the way for a clarification of the relationship between God the Father and Jesus.
“The more emphatic the church became that Christ was God, the more it came under pressure to clarify how Christ related to God.” Alister E. McGrath, Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought (Malden: Blackwell, 1998), 61.
In addition, the the early church needed to clarify the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit and involved acceptance of Jesus as Savior and Lord. This meant that the Trinity found its way into the creeds of the church. The Niceo-Constantinopolitan creed confesses in part that:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, . . . We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. . . . We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.”
Any student of history knows that the later western versions of the Nicene Creed added the clause: “who proceeds from the Father .” The addition of this clause was one of the issues that led to the great schism between east and west in 1054.
Until next time, let's search the Scriptures with an opened mind and little more humility. Let's allow the spotlight of truth to shine and reveal the organic roots, stems, growth and development of the one God self-revealed in Scripture as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This important subject must not be bannered about like a common-debate for self-agrandizement. CM
- G. W. Bromiley, “Trinity,” in Walter A. Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 1112.
- Alister E. McGrath, Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought (Malden: Blackwell, 1998), 61.
- Roger E. Olson, The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1999), 195–196.