QAWhat is your view on the Trinity?
we discuss the doctrine of one God in Jesus Christ, let’s look at a summary
of the doctrine of Trinity:
1. God is one.
2. The Godhead consists
of three distinct eternal coequal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The three persons are the same in substance, but distinct in subsistence.
3. God is indivisible
4. All three persons
of the triune God are involved in every work of God in the world. All
acts of God proceed from the Father, through his Son or Word or Image,
in the power of his immanent Holy Spirit.1 For example, the
Father, the Son, and the Spirit can individually be said to raise the
dead because, as God, each one does raise the dead.2 The
act is one act, performed by one God, but involving all three ways in
which God is God.3
5. Jesus is the
second person of the Trinity. He is God, but He is neither the Father
nor the Holy Spirit.
The trinitarian view
of God came as a result of an attempt to understand God rationally. Although
the language of trinity was found in Christian confessions before this
time, the word "trinity" itself was first formally used at the
synod held at Alexandria, in A.D. 317, and took its place in the language
of Christian theology for the first time in a Biblical work of Theophilus,
Bishop of Antioch, in Syria from A.D. 168 to 183.
Based on the Bible,
we do believe and agree that God is one, that Jesus Christ is God, and
that the Bible does make a distinction between the Father, the Son and
the Holy Spirit. But we cannot fully agree with with the trinitarian view
of God for the following reasons:
1. The use of words
and concepts such as "trinity," "three persons,"
"coequal," "substance," and "subsistence"
are often misleading. If these terms would clarify the concept of God,
the Bible would have used them. The fact that they are absent shows
that we must be careful about using our own terms when we explain God.
Even theologians such as the Cappadocians, Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin
all used the word "person" reluctantly and with much qualification.4
Many well-respected trinitarians feel that it is misleading and should
actually be dropped from contemporary trinitarian creeds.5
2. We must admit
that all theories about God’s being fail to accurately explain God.
It is not wise to define God with human concepts and put Him neatly
into a model because in so doing, we easily step beyond and sometimes
contradict God’s self-revelation through the Scriptures. For example,
the belief that Jesus Christ is not the Father or the Holy Spirit contradicts
certain passages in the Bible. Such misconception has led to teachings
that do away with baptism in the name of Jesus Christ or restrict believers
to praying to the Father alone but not to the Lord Jesus.
1. Gregory A. Boyd,
Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity (Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992)
2. Ibid., p 128.
3. Ibid., p 129.
4. Ibid., p 173.
5. Ibid., p 172.