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View Poll Results: Is acceptance of the formalized doctrine of The Holy Trinity a prerequisite for salvation?
Yes 4 21.05%
No 13 68.42%
Maybe 1 5.26%
No Idea 1 5.26%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-28-2013, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Chicago Area
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The Trinity is one of the few doctrines that many Christians hold as an absolute truth. In fact, many Christians wholeheartedly believe that failure to accept the formal doctrine of the Trinity invalidates your Christianity and dooms you to burn in hell for all eternity. If so, that probably makes the Trinity the single most important belief for every Christian.

Some posters on this forum have let their zeal for The Holy Trinity lead them to extremely disrespectful towards those who do not accept it. I'd like to understand why so many feel so passionately that Christian = Accepts the Trinity. Where and why did this doctrine come from and why is it so absolute?

The First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 AD was only the first of several Ecumenical Councils that formalized the doctrine known as the Trinity today. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity was ultimately established as "the official doctrine for all of Christianity."

So what does this official and absolute doctrine look like and why is it so absolute? Is it 100% Biblical? I've pasted the Nicene Creed below and bolded everything that isn't explicitly set forth in the Bible.

Quote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of all that is, seen and unseen.

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 (better translation = consubstantial) with the Father; Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven:

By the power of the Holy Spirit he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became a man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic (aka Universal) and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Athanasian Creed goes into greater detail attempting to describe The Holy Trinity and damning all who refuse to believe in it. It also contains a whole lot more conclusions and absolutes that are not explicitly taught anywhere in the Bible.
Quote:
Athanasian Creed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.
That's a lot to wrap your brain around, so at this point, I highly recommend taking a 5 minute break.

Okay, welcome back. So there it is in all its glory: The formal doctrine of The Holy Trinity. It's all very interesting ... but virtually all of it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. Sure, there are passages "that seem to say" this part or that part, but the Bible doesn't explicitly teach that Trinity. It might or might not be what the Bible is talking about. The apostles might have believed it or they might not have. Ultimately, it is absolutely impossible to prove one way or another.

Conclusion: The only reason anyone can insist upon The Holy Trinity as a Christian absolute is if they accept the authority of Ecumenical Councils. After all, the Councils set it forth an absolute in the first place. They also effectively make the doctrine a lens through which all "true" Christians must look in order to correctly read the Bible.

Since the Ecumenical Councils tell you how to read the Bible, clearly they must have greater authority from God than the Bible does. Thusly, insisting that belief in the formal doctrine of The Holy Trinity is a prerequisite to being Christian and to salvation means you believe Ecumenical Councils > The Bible.


Thoughts?

Last edited by godofthunder9010; 06-28-2013 at 08:01 PM..
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
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To the OP: IMHO, all of it is clearly taught in the Bible. So your statement contracts scholars who are very knowledgeable of the scriptures both today, and many centuries past. Today, still the majority of Christians in the world confess the Nicene Creed. This includes those who of the Roman Catholic church, the Eastern church, many Lutherans bodies around the world, and most of the church of England around the world.

I could detail it but it would take far to long for this forum. I'd suggest you do some reading on the issue. You could check out Luther's Small Catechism, the Reformed or Catholic Catechisms.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Chicago Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
To the OP: IMHO, all of it is clearly taught in the Bible. So your statement contracts scholars who are very knowledgeable of the scriptures both today, and many centuries past. Today, still the majority of Christians in the world confess the Nicene Creed. This includes those who of the Roman Catholic church, the Eastern church, many Lutherans bodies around the world, and most of the church of England around the world.

I could detail it but it would take far to long for this forum. I'd suggest you do some reading on the issue. You could check out Luther's Small Catechism, the Reformed or Catholic Catechisms.
They all descend from the same tradition: The united Church at 325 AD that accepted The Holy Trinity as the correct understanding of God. So naturally all of them accept the formal Holy Trinity. They always have and during the Protestant Reformation, nobody bothered to question the Nicene and Athanasian formulas for describing God. They simply accepted it as a given. There are precious few absolutes in Christendom. Abandoning the accepted doctrine of the nature of God wouldn't be easy at all, so I think that I understand why Luther and others never questioned The Trinity.

If you grew up in one of those traditional religions like most of us, you probably grew up hearing how absolutely true and undeniable the doctrine of The Trinity is. That means you grew up with a lens that told you how to read the Bible, etc.

Yes the majority of Christianity accepts the Nicene and Athanasian description of God. But if I toss the lens aside and try to work in reverse: Coming up with these teachings in their entirety just by reading the Bible and nothing else ... I can't do it. The best I can do is say, "Maybe it's there, maybe it's not." I find that very very strange, considering how absolute this doctrine is supposed to be. An absolute sort of?
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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Doctrines of men, neither required for a relationship with God nor for living in the Way. A seriously wrong direction the institutional church took.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:26 PM
 
Location: So California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
Doctrines of men, neither required for a relationship with God nor for living in the Way. A seriously wrong direction the institutional church took.
Totally agree.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:00 PM
 
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The nature of who God is is important. If you read the letters of the NT, its clear that the apostles considered it important.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
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Those of you who vote against the doctrine of the Trinity should remember one thing. Your theological opinion doesn't matter. What matters is what is true, who the true God is, and how, if possible we can be forever in His good graces. An atheist saying God doesn't exist does not mean that God ceases to exist.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Chicago Area
7,462 posts, read 3,861,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
To the OP: IMHO, all of it is clearly taught in the Bible. So your statement contracts scholars who are very knowledgeable of the scriptures both today, and many centuries past. Today, still the majority of Christians in the world confess the Nicene Creed. This includes those who of the Roman Catholic church, the Eastern church, many Lutherans bodies around the world, and most of the church of England around the world.

I could detail it but it would take far to long for this forum. I'd suggest you do some reading on the issue. You could check out Luther's Small Catechism, the Reformed or Catholic Catechisms.
Let's not forget that the First Council of Nicaea happened because there were massive disagreements in the Church concerning the nature of God. The goal was to establish one description of God. Some folks seem to believe that The Trinity was widely accepted and understood all along ... but if that were the case, why does it take five or six more Ecumenical Councils to sort it all out?

Really the underlying thing is proving with 100% certainty that Jesus Christ taught The Holy Trinity, that his apostles also taught it -- all of that so thoroughly that nobody could possibly misunderstand just by reading the Bible. That's a big part of why I opened this thread in the first place. I simply don't see it. If it is perfectly clear in the Biblical text, then great! Show us all so we may learn! Just because I'm not seeing the absoluteness of it doesn't mean I'm right, nor does it mean it isn't in the Bible.

I've seen the line, "You believe in a false god that cannot save you" and things like that thrown in the faces of non-Trinitarian Christians over and over and over again. I've seen it here on this forum and I've seen it many other places. If it really is an absolute requirement to receive salvation, I'd really like to see somebody/anybody conclusively establish it as such.

Obviously, it's a topic worth discussing!
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:26 PM
 
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The whole concept of a Trinity is syncretistic, evolving from Pagan polytheism and Greek philosophy; itís not pure and undefiled or without blemish.
Although, many would like it to be in order to justify the crucifixion of Christ, as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world to cover their sins.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Chicago Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerwade View Post
The whole concept of a Trinity is syncretistic, evolving from Pagan polytheism and Greek philosophy; itís not pure and undefiled or without blemish.
Although, many would like it to be in order to justify the crucifixion of Christ, as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world to cover their sins.
And therein lies a huge dilemma! Is The Holy Trinity similar to eggs and bunnies for Easter? Many have theorized that the entire origin of The Trinity (as described by Athanasias and the Nicene Creed) comes almost entirely from Greek philosophers.

Personally, I think that's just as bad as Trinitarians insisting that non-Trinitarians are going to hell. The formalized doctrine of The Trinity might be all about Greek philosophy being inserted into Christianity. Then again, it might not. My contention is quite simple: We simply do not know.

And please bear in mind that I'm not attacking the doctrine of the Trinity. I'm simply trying to understand why it is universally absolute and whether anyone can demonstrate beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ and his apostles actually taught the entire formalized doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
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