The Doctrine of Christ
Summary and Conclusions
Some 1600 years have passed since the Trinity was forged. In all that time, no one has been able to provide a clear and logical statement of it. It has begged an explanation in every age. Oddly enough, no scholar or groups of scholars have been able to coin a clear and workable formula that is an acceptable standard for all time. Every explanation is flawed and needs more theology to clarify it. Endeavors at clarification, more often than not, lead into a labyrinth of words with the fog-level index going out of sight. And there we would be lefthopelessly lost and struggling for truth.
The Trinitarians paradoxically operate on two levels. When reading or quoting the Bible, both Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians sound alike. Both refer to the same verses, and their readings are similar. As long as the Bible is adhered to, they are hard to tell apart. But when the Bible is departed from and philosophical arguments are introduced, a wide gap soon appears. Because the Trinity is a doctrine of inference, and not of statement, it can be sustained only as long as it is continually inferred from the Bible. Whenever the Scriptures are merely read and quoted, the Trinity loses ground. Hence, every so often, the doctrine must be "injected" into the consciousness of the hearers lest they forget. The Trinity has to be piped into Scripture before it can be piped out.
Everyone knows you do not get cider from cotton. Yet, in fact, you can squeeze cider from cotton. However, you must first soak the cotton with cider, and then, lo, and behold, you can squeeze cider from cotton. That is how you may extract the Trinity doctrine from the Bible. First, saturate the Bible texts to be used with the concept; then squeeze it out. That is why Dr. Pelikan, who has been called "perhaps the foremost living student of Church history," said, in effect, no one could find the Trinity by just reading the New Testament (see p. 8). You need the theologians to superimpose their theology upon the Word before you can find it there.
In our brief consideration of this subject, we have found the Scriptures unequivocally teach that "to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him" (1 Cor. 8:6). These are the two great personalities of the Bible, with the holy Spirit an expression of their power and influence. The Father, always supreme and preeminent, exists "from everlasting to everlasting." The Son, the direct creation of the Father, was highly exalted for his faithfulness in becoming the worlds redeemer; yet he always remains in harmony with and in submission to his Fathers will.
It was also shown that Trinity as a concept was an integral part of heathen religions many centuries prior to Christianity. The idea was borrowed by some later theologians, who, during the third to the fifth centuries, developed it into a basic dogma of the Christian religion. The gradual emergence of the Trinity doctrine is freely acknowledged by most historians, attested by its lack of Scriptural support and demonstrated by the evolving sequence of the basic creeds of the faith.
Hence, rather than being pure truth taught by Jesus and his Apostles, the Trinity turns out to be Church dogma arising gradually from the philosophy of men who attempted to fuse certain heathen and Christian ideas together. It required many years to fashion and shape it against the objections of many of the outstanding leaders of the early Church, as we have noted. In the end, the effort prevailed, a doctrinal theory was created, and it was given the blessing of orthodoxy by official Church councils. Yet all of this does not make it valid, for eternal truth is not the handiwork of man but stems only from our immortal and all-wise God.
We opened this treatise with a discussion of the "doctrine of Christ." We found this to mean that Jesus had come in the flesh and died in the flesh. It holds that he was the "Anointed" of God, anointed King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and also the abiding Melchizedek priest. He is the glorious Bridegroom for whom the Heavenly Father is selecting a bride during this Gospel age. As Christians, we hope to be joined with our Master in the marriage of the Bride and the Lamb. No Christian can anticipate marriage to God, but only to Gods dear Son. In another figure, he is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). And in yet another, he is the head of the body of Christ of which the faithful believers are members (Col. 1:18). In contrast, God is spoken of as being "the head of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:3).
Repeating our opening text, 2 John 9 (RSV) "Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son." The lesson is clear. We cannot have access to the Father apart from the doctrine of Christthat he is the Anointed One of God. When we accept the singular personhood of Jesus as Gods Anointed, then by addition, we have twoboth the Father and the Son. Let us then abide in the doctrine of Christ. In so doing we shall have the extravagant blessing of having both the "Father and the Son"and that is everything!
The Trinity was a theological attempt at fusion. Somehow, with the incantation of words, the effort was made to fuse God, Jesus and the holy Spirit into one. We get the feeling, sometimes, that many scholars wish they had not done this, but like the leaning Tower of Pisa, it will just have to remain a religious wonder until it falls of its own weight and imbalance due to an unscriptural foundation.