The Trinity is a Work, not Faith

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Well, everything comes around again. So some are discussing the confusion of many with the Gospel and certain doctrines.

First, the Trinity is a way of explaining the Godhead, but it is not the only way. To confuse creeds and doctrines with the Gospel – that Christ saved us from our sins – is to put the work back into the hands of humanity, as if we discovered the mystery, as if that discovery is what saves us. As if we couldn’t possibly be wrong about the way we describe God. Surely not. We weren’t wrong with Constantine (and I note the origins of creedal orthodoxy), the Crusades, the Salem Witchtrails, oppression of men, women and children. The Church was never wrong about the way it pursued ‘doctrinal purity’, stood against science, gave a religious reason to colonize and commit genocide.

The Gospel is not doctrine, dogma or creeds. As Mark Stevens, 3 of 9 of uni-matrix 7, wrote:

…I think the gospel is the announcement that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah and Lord of the world! (As in Wright and more recently McKnight)

Be surprised but I think when you live outside of the US evangelical bubble you see things very differently. The US is the only place that is having these discussions and then a very small part of if the US at that!

Now, that can be verified by Scripture, from the earliest Christians. And yet… what about the Doctrine of the Trinity? There are so many versions of it, but pick the one you like, and defend it first completely from Scripture, then from Church History, and then from biblical scholarship. Now, watch the others do the exact same thing.

Sorry, guys, but ‘Orthodoxy’ is pertaining to generally the Tradition in Charge. I prefer orthopraxy. I prefer the communion of those who disagree, and even reject the doctrines of another, but around the Table of the Lord, can break bread together, in humble admission that we have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved not by our works (of doctrine, or otherwise), but by Christ.

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Post By Joel L. Watts (10,125 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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15 thoughts on “The Trinity is a Work, not Faith

  1. Firstly, I have my own blog! Secondly, I loved this comment, ” I prefer the communion of those who disagree, and even reject the doctrines of another, but around the Table of the Lord, can break bread together, in humble admission that we have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved not by our works (of doctrine, or otherwise), but by Christ.” brilliantly said!

  2. with all due respect and love…if the Jesus whom these others serve is described in terms other than as the second person of the Trinity he is not the Christ Messiah of the Bible to which you refer. So instead of Hanks question Who is Christ? It should be Which Christ?

    ps. I too affirm the Apostles Creed.

  3. Joel, grace and peace to you. My friend, I am saying no such thing. If we want to talk of the first couple of centuries then we can. In the present, we, the church universal, hold to the truths of the historic Christian faith which has proclaimed the reality of our Triune God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Yes, how this can be is indeed a mystery and a wonder to behold. Even so, it should be affirmed as it is the mark of Christian maturity to do so.

    you say you prefer to be in company with people who disagree with you and see things differently than you. I think that is all well and good, I need to do better at that myself. I really do. But to fellowship with those who openly if not brazenly reject God as Trinity… I think that s frought with many problems.

    I may be missing the point of it all. the original point is is belief in trinity necessary to understand the gospel – that Jesus saved us from our sins – (i really appreciated you saying this)? I say, of course not. Understanding God as Trinity comes with time and growth in the faith.

  4. Brian, you didn’t answer the question. The concept of the trinity was developed centuries – that’s right, centuries – after Jesus died. If it was essential, that is bad news for all those people who had faith before they knew what was required.

    The only reason anybody believes the trinity is because that is what they were raised to believe. Everybody believes it so it must be obvious. But read about history, about the ancient church, about how ideas delveloped and it is much harder to defend.

  5. just because the early christians may not have understood God in Trinity doesn’t mean they weren’t “saved.” If the doctrine of the Trinity is unessential to the gospel, what purpose does it serve?

    • You just contradicted yourself. You said people who didn’t assent to the trinity were saved, but then you said it was essential. Both can’t be true, kind of like you can’t be all of two different things.

      Look, there were debates about whether Jesus was human or divine. The argument dragged on for more than a century, and was marked by violence and political intrigue. Eventually someone came up with the idea that everybody was right and he was all of everything. People were sick of fighting, the compromise worked. It happened as the roman empire was in turmoil, people had other things to worry about.

    • Brian, I think that there can be a purpose which is not expressly tied to the Gospel. The Gospel has already happened. The words we use to describe it are our words, and give us purpose in creating an identity, but the only real identity I am concerned about is that of the blood of Christ.

  6. ” I prefer the communion of those who disagree, and even reject the doctrines of another, but around the Table of the Lord, can break bread together, in humble admission that we have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved not by our works (of doctrine, or otherwise), but by Christ.”

    Amen Joel, Amen!

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