The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Poll: Are you a Trinitarian?


#41

As far as I know, there’s no intrinsic reason why one’s stance on Trinitarianism should hinder fellowship among followers of Christ. :sunglasses:

Sonia


#42

Paul does touch on this subject a tad bit.

2 Thess 3:6;14-15.

3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

3:15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.


#43

you missed some verses out there, as they conveniently indicate something other than what is being discussed here. specifically, being divisive and disruptive, and taking advantage of hospitality and generosity. how does this have anything to do with the Trinity?


#44

I’m currently undecided. Jesus very frequently relegates what he does back onto the Father. Especially with statements like “nobody is good but God alone”. The “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God” etc., doesn’t quite convince me. John 5:3-4 is a potential interpolation, which further makes me suspicious.

Right now I prefer to stay on the side of caution. I believe God is, well, God, and you can worship him even without Jesus. I believe Jesus is the Son of God, and represents God so well that Jesus’s character reflects on God’s character. Jesus said that as long as you say he’s the Son of God, it is recognized. There are some passages where Jesus is worshiped, but I’m not sure if Jesus approved of that. And I have no idea how to glue the Holy Spirit in all this. I perceive the Holy Spirit as God’s panentheistic essence.

Yeah, I don’t even know. I am, honestly, not concerned with this topic too much. God is love!


#45

I’m having a little trouble seeing how John 5:3-4 probably being an interpolation relates to Trinitarianism. Can you clarify?


#46

Err, sorry, I confused it with some other interpolation. I meant this one:

1 John 5:7–8

7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”


#47

The phrase Son of God represents Jesus’ deity. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, teacher and the 3rd person of the Godhead. Which makes him God. :smiley:


#48

Son of God is a very widespread phrase throughout the Old Testament that usually seems to mean “angel” or something.

Where does the Bible say the Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the Godhead? Can’t it simply be a tool of God?


#49

Me too on priority but on following this debate on the Trinity, though no theologian or teacher myself, a question came to me " Did the Trinity begin with the baptism of Jesus Christ and was the Trinity concluded in its fullness on joining His Father, thereby from that moment the Holy Spirit was enabled to fulfill Christ’s promise of the Comforter.

If this has already been answered or debated on the Forum I’d be thankful to have the reference.

Happy New Year to all.

Michael in Barcelona


#50

The pre-existence of the Son (and the Son’s pre-divinity, and the Son’s pre-divinity as God Most High–the topics are not all automatically equivalent) has been discussed a lot on the forum of course, pro and con; but I suppose you’re asking about the pre-existent Most High Divinity of the Spirit.

The scriptures don’t have a lot to say about this, in a fashion that distinguishes the Spirit personally from the Father and the Son. By which I mean, there is quite enough talk about “the Spirit of God” being obviously God Most High, but not much in a way that distinguishes the person of the Spirit from another Person of God while doing so (i.e. it could easily be just a euphamism for the Father). On the other hand there are a good handful of scriptures indicating the Spirit being spoken of in personal distinction from the Father and/or the Son, including in contexts involving religious worship, but the specific identification with YHWH is usually only implied at most in such cases. (i.e. we’re only supposed to be talking about God Most High when talking in such a way, and yet here we are talking about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Therefore either it’s okay to talk about entities less than God Most High in such ways after all, or the HS, and the Son for that matter, are as much God Most High somehow as the Father.)

Several years ago I posted as much as I could find about the characteristics of the Spirit as part of the first edition of my Trinitarian Digest. Frankly, I don’t think this thread should be devoted so much to arguments on this or related topics, as to allowing members to vote (and somewhat report, if they wish) where they currently stand. But I’ll append the current version of the Digest–it features some corrections and additions since my first edition (and still could easily be substantially expanded. If you’ll pardon the ‘substantial’ pun there. :wink: ) I’ll also append the current version of my reply to various critiques of ortho-trin based on scriptural appeals (some of which are pretty sophisticated, some of which are rather inane, but all of which I’ve seen on this forum and elsewhere), which I originally posted at about the same time as the Digest.

There are times when the Spirit of God is treated as being a personal entity (not merely an impersonal tool); and those especially include most or all the times when something called the Holy Spirit is referenced in distinction as such along with the Father and the Son. (Including the couple of times that the OT talks about either three YHWHs at once (in one case) or Father Son and Spirit (in another case).) Details in the attached Digest.

So, no, the HS cannot only be simply a tool of God.
JRP vs scriptural crits vs ortho trin.pdf (384 KB)
Trinitarian Digest.pdf (273 KB)


#51

Heh. I saw what you did there. :wink: Nicely ironic.


#52

Many thanks Jason for your very informative reply and I have just read the introduction to your Trinitarian Digest. I shall read this with great interest and thank you for kindly sending it.

Michael in Barcelona


#53

Well, this seems as good a place as any to make my introduction to the group. I put in that I am unsure. I used to be a dogmatic Trinitarian, but the more I learn the less I feel I have a sure grasp on. All I truly KNOW for sure is that Jesus is Lord and Savior and that of the entire world, and that the Father has a plan that will be thwarted by no one.

And on that note, hi all. Looks like a great place. My name is L. Curtis and I am a heretic.

Thanks for such a great place to come to and speak about the One who holds it all together.


#54

Welcome LCurtis :slight_smile: Leonard, right, from Facebook? :wink: Maybe you could write an intro, maybe even share your story, here: viewforum.php?f=32

Just click on post new topic, and you should be able to figure it from there. :slight_smile:

Blessings to you

Matt


#55

That is me. Thanks for the welcome. I will do up a post when I have some time to get to it. This week is kind of nuts.

Again, great place.


#56

I grew up unitarian (NOT Unitarian Universalist) Christian. I strayed from the faith for a couple years (I became an atheist) but when I came back, I was still an unitarian. However the Spirit of God impressed upon me to do a study of it, and I ended up becoming completely convinced of the Trinity, based upon both Scripture and Science (The universe is trinitarian in nature: time, matter, and space. Each of these is also trinitarian. But, that is a different subject). Now, there is no doubt in my mind that the Trinity is true.

A truth learned through hard work (in this case, plenty of mental exertion and all the energy and time it took to do my research) is a truth not easily forsaken.


#57

I voted ’ Yes defiantly’ . God can play multiple roles and can pour Himself into a human being to play the role of ‘Savior’. So, yes, I believe Jesus Christ was literally God in the flesh .


#58

It’s curious to me that so many commentators still have this need somehow to remain within the “evangelical” framework to be legitimate. This question betrays our schizoid need to have it both ways (to affirm universalism and remain “evangelical”). I would rather have the Trinity question posed this way: where did the doctrine originate? When? Do we embrace it as a reasonable integration of the biblical data? Is it an “infallible” doctrine in the sense that Scripture is infallible? I answered “not really” (the only choice that seemed to work for me) in the sense that the Trinity is an intellectual construct that attempts to synthesize the Monotheism of Christian thought with the dual nature of *Christ (the God/Man). While I recognize it as the historical view of my Christian tradition for three hundred some years short of two thousand, it doesn’t, in my view, measure up to the absolute truth test. For sure, it is an intriguing way of describing God, as revealed in the Bible. And theologians get a special kind of satisfaction exploring the Trinitarian nuances.

In addition, we have to deal with the fact that Constantine commissioned a tribe of bishops to define a religion that would not only keep him on the Empire’s throne, but become a handy test for orthodoxy.

*NOTE - there is a clear distinction between “Jesus” and “Christ”


#59

Timothy,

You asked why so many of us feel this “need to remain within the evangelical framework.”

I remain within the Evangelical framework, as you call it, because that’s what I believe. I have my reasons for believing these things, and I’m willing to change what I believe whenever Father prompts me to. That’s how I ended up here.

But rather than prompting me to drop my belief in the Trinity, I feel He has strengthened that belief, giving me insights and understanding regarding the Trinity that I lacked before.

Now that’s my experience, and you should certainly go with whatever you believe that He tells you, so long as it’s scriptural, and you are willing with all your heart to see the truth, whatever the truth may be. I don’t deride you for believing as you do. I assume that your beliefs are honestly held, in all good faith in the Father of us all.

Mine are too.


#60

Hey Cindy - thank you for your prompt reply. This thing really works! I’m new… just had Gregory, er, Ron’s book The Ev. Univ) recommended to me and found it more than intriguing. I’ve only read the prologue… but I plan to continue.

Two things: first, this “need” to which I refer has more to do with legitimizing than living in community. I’ve been reared, educated and employed in the evangelical world most all my life, and would affirm Dr. MacDonald’s assertion that it is a risky thing to pose questions related to the shared assumptions that form the foundation of the movement. The fear is not so much discipline or punishment as it is banishment. The Trinity would certainly be one of those foundational assumptions. So rather than pursue the real questions, we set it up as an all-or-nothing: one is either in or out. To raise hard questions is tantamount to disassociation. “Oh,” it is concluded, “you must be one of THOSE.” (This is why, praise God, I applaud this open forum.) The mental gymnastics I’ve watched all my life, some of them worthy of a gold medal, have to do with force-fitting everything into a “Scriptural” confine - re-interpretting texts to fit foregone conclusions. It all creates a we/they - us/them paradigm which, I believe is what Dr. Ron is aiming at.

Second, I am not so much “rejecting” the Trinity as a doctrine. That may well be another discussion. I am raising the question - as I would to you. While you apparently feel as though “Father” has led you to embrace the Trinity (at least until you hear further), how do you respond to the historicity of a formulaic doctrine that was developed a near three hundred years later (that is, after the Ascension)? Were the framers of this “orthodoxy” inspired? The Bible is hardly as clear on the point as is, say, the Westminster Confession or the Holy Catholic Church.

Timothy James