The Evangelical Universalist Forum

JRP's scriptural digest toward orthodox trinitarianism

I’ve spent the past several weeks working up a summary of scriptural data on which trinitarians as a matter of Christian history, have arrived at their trinitarianism. I have done this for several reasons:

1.) Even though this forum (and I want to stress this) is primarily dedicated to discussing the topic of Universal Reconciliation and Salvation in various forms (pro or con), nevertheless it’s also specifically dedicated to “Evangelical” universalism. As a group label, most “Evangelicals” are trinitarian. And even though I don’t quite consider myself an “Evangelical” in the sense typically self-defined by the largest group of such people today (I am not committed to biblical inerrancy as a theological doctrine, for example), I am still very much “orthodox” in my theology. Which leads to…

2.) I and “Gregory MacDonald”, the two (current) guest authors, have sometimes been vilified by our non-universalistic brethren for not “worshiping the same God”, for teaching “worship of a different god”, and for either being flatly unorthodox in our theology or for having, at best, a merely incidental (and so irrelevant) profession of trinitarian orthodoxy. This is altogether false. “Gregory” and I, though in slightly different ways, both consider our trinitarian theology to be more important (theologically) than our belief in universal reconciliation.

3.) Even though my signature contains a link to a very detailed and massive metaphysical analysis leading to orthodox trinitarian theism, I haven’t yet created a document giving some idea of why I find this doctrine being taught in the Christian canon as a whole when the pieces are put together. Put shortly, I find it there for the same reasons that trinitarian scholars and authorities before me have found this doctrinal set being evidenced there: because the data set broadly says so (even though not in the terms which theologians were using when the debates on the scriptural data began to be made more public and formal at the turn of the 4th century CE.)

4.) Recently the topic has come up on this forum, that trinitarians are being actively deceptive, aren’t following scripture, are ignoring scripture, have only a few prooftexts for their scriptural case (and easily refuted prooftexts, too), etc. In short, much the same kind of complaints that are often thrown at me (and other universalistic theologians) for being universalists.

Frankly, I would rather be spending my time here, as guest author, focusing on the primary topic of the forum, which is universalism. Which is why I have not gone into much detail trying to explain why I believe trinitarianism to be true (metaphysically or scripturally, which I find to independently dovetail with one another in categorically different fashions), even when I have tried to go into some detail for why my orthodox trinitarianism is critically important for my universalism.

But, since I am aware that there is a common perception among non-trinitarians that trinitarians ignore scripture and/or have only a paltry few scriptural grounds for our belief, I have provided the attached .doc file as a digest of much (though not all) of the scriptural data from which Christian authorities have agreed that trinitarianism is being taught by the Christian canon. It should at least provide a handy reference even for Christian opponents to trinitarianism.

(1/12/09 Edit addition: the question has come up elsewhere, I think, of the extent to which I actually wrote this paper. The answer is: I wrote all of it myself. There was no copy-pasting, although a handful of times I copied a phrasing on a topic that I heard or read from somewhere else. I did not uncritically follow the structure or content of the two books I primarily borrowed the structure from, as should be obvious from the fact that I spend an early paragraph parenthetically warning readers about weaknesses in those books. It’s probable that I accidentally skipped over checking some of the longer lists of scriptural refs myself, due to the multiple weeks of composition and the sorting of data into a topical progression; but I made a point to check lists of purported refs and, consequently, I have omitted some refs that I didn’t think were up to par despite being included by the authors. This is aside from material that I have included apart from anything mentioned by either of the three authors, none of which is marked as such however. I am quite prepared to discuss any of the material on the list in detail, as in fact I have already done in many cases. (Though, as I’ve noted, it isn’t impossible that I’ve accidentally skipped checking sources on some longer ref sets, and might easily be convinced to drop those some or even many of those refs under examination.))

(3/20/11 Edit addition: I have yet to update this digest, so be aware that there are some things I would correct and update in it, especially at the beginning.)

And now I will take a few days vacation from the topic, before trying to catch up on various objections to trinitarianism that have cropped up in the past few weeks. (Though personally I would rather be working on analyzing a professor’s recent argument against universalism and responding to that, seeing as such things are why we have this forum in the first place… And in fact I may go ahead and do that first before coming back to this topic. 76 pages of analysis from me ought to be enough to chew on for a while, even though I could go much further with it still.)
Trinity and scripture.doc (231 KB)

Thank you , Jason. I find the topic of the Trinity critically important to Evangelical Universalism, especially since many associate Universalism with Unitarianism.

And not even theological Unitarianism, the chunky doctrinal kind… :wink:

(Not that I’m being derisive to UUs; they themselves would reject most of the specific theological doctrines of “unitarians”, on principle.)

Busily working on a comment sheet to Prof. de Young’s theological comments about universal reconciliation. Hope to be finished by Sunday…

Hi Jason, I find your one liner light hearted while I prefer that you wouldn’t suggest that your being derisive to UU’s.

I like the irony that UU rejects a stand on both unitarianism and universalism.

See Topic Split
[The Egalitarian Trinity by Steve Dancause)
“The Egalitarian Trinity by Steve Dancause” in Biblical Theology
by JeffA on Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:17 am