View Poll Results: What is the Degree of the Churchgoer's Understanding of the Trinity?

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  • 1. Not a critical concept for the modern church

    0 0%
  • 2. Not thought about and not taught

    1 14.29%
  • 3. taught by not valued by the Christian

    2 28.57%
  • 4. Recognizes the deity of Christ but does not think this through any further

    0 0%
  • 5. Recognizes Christ and the Father as equal existence and status in the Godhead

    0 0%
  • 6. Recognizes the equality of Christ, the Spirit, and the Father in the Godhead

    3 42.86%
  • 7. Realizes the complexity of the Trinity and the difficulties of conceptualizing the Trinity

    2 28.57%
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Thread: Churchgoer Understanding of the Trinity?

  1. #21
    tWebber
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    The antique philosophical language had a big advantage when it was used. Those were terms that were meaningful to people at the time. Today they’re not.

    While traditional terms act as a shibboleth (a way to reject “liberals”), I doubt that very many people actually use them in their normal Christian life. I think for many evangelical Christians the traditional doctrine is effectively replaced by the statement “Jesus is God.” For example, at another site, there are people who object to Chalcedon (some members are from traditional Eastern non-Chalcedonian churches), but no objection is allowed to “Jesus is God.”

    It’s hard to know just what people mean by that, but for many I fear it is probably docetic in one way or another.

    But unless we’re willing to have at least some difference in perspective, we’ll never be able to do anything other than repeat traditional terms. No translation into a different philosophical framework will be precisely identical, even if it’s as good an explanation of the NT.

  2. Amen mikewhitney, NorrinRadd amen'd this post.
  3. #22
    tWebber
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    The Trinity represents one thing that is not spelled out in scripture yet we have to teach it so that people don't fall for the common mistakes. So, it helps to speak the confessions in church gatherings and to teach the meaning occasionally. The effort to understand the Trinity is the process of excluding the ideas which don't make sense of scripture. Then we have the narrow path which integrates the set of ideas by which we comprehend God.

    Probably the main thing to recognize is that the sacrificial death of Christ could not mean anything if Christ were only 100% God who only appeared as a man. Nor could this death mean anything if Christ were merely a man, since many people have died for certain causes. He had to be fully God and fully Man for the atoning death to have sacrificial relevance.

    A church group can survive without an exact knowledge of the Trinity. However it is easier for people to fall for some other teaching unless properly equipped with this knowledge, at least in the confessional sense. It is great to know some places where this knowledge is known in the church body. I think it helps to keep people from falling for false Christianity.

  4. #23
    tWebber 37818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    The Trinity represents one thing that is not spelled out in scripture yet we have to teach it so that people don't fall for the common mistakes. So, it helps to speak the confessions in church gatherings and to teach the meaning occasionally. The effort to understand the Trinity is the process of excluding the ideas which don't make sense of scripture. Then we have the narrow path which integrates the set of ideas by which we comprehend God.

    Probably the main thing to recognize is that the sacrificial death of Christ could not mean anything if Christ were only 100% God who only appeared as a man. Nor could this death mean anything if Christ were merely a man, since many people have died for certain causes. He had to be fully God and fully Man for the atoning death to have sacrificial relevance.

    A church group can survive without an exact knowledge of the Trinity. However it is easier for people to fall for some other teaching unless properly equipped with this knowledge, at least in the confessional sense. It is great to know some places where this knowledge is known in the church body. I think it helps to keep people from falling for false Christianity.
    What creed acknowledges death of Christ's soul on the cross prior to His physical death? And that His soul was alive when by His own will died bodily? And in both deaths did not cease being God.
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

  5. #24
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by 37818 View Post
    What creed acknowledges death of Christ's soul on the cross prior to His physical death? And that His soul was alive when by His own will died bodily? And in both deaths did not cease being God.
    This detail is a bit beyond what I was thinking of. The creeds present the specific understanding of the unity of the 3 persons in the Godhead. The relationship of the Trinity doctrine to the atoning death would be an additional study. Christ's death on the cross just helps to understand some of the significance of the Trinitarian doctrine.

  6. #25
    tWebber 37818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    This detail is a bit beyond what I was thinking of. The creeds present the specific understanding of the unity of the 3 persons in the Godhead. The relationship of the Trinity doctrine to the atoning death would be an additional study. Christ's death on the cross just helps to understand some of the significance of the Trinitarian doctrine.
    More to the subject, all the ancient creeds fail in a most important point of the Trinity, how the Son is fully God in a most important way, in that the Son is God the Father's sole agent as Creator. Without the Son, nothing is caused, John 1:3, Ephesians 3:9.
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

  7. #26
    tWebber
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    Maybe it is a good idea to include points that you mentioned into a creed. However, the creeds still clarifies major points that have to be recognized in order to differentiate the basic Christian orthodoxy from the most troublesome views. The creeds address the bigger heresies encountered in the distant past. These creeds are not to identify all critical doctrines.

    No severe problem exists solely on someone's lack of clarity about the Trinity. That person may still have become justified in Christ. However, if whole congregations are lacking aware of the understanding of the Trinity, they are missing a critical point of knowledge and are susceptible to errant teachings. Nor do I want an atheist pastor who just teaches concepts of deity to please the congregation.

  8. #27
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by 37818 View Post
    More to the subject, all the ancient creeds fail in a most important point of the Trinity, how the Son is fully God in a most important way, in that the Son is God the Father's sole agent as Creator. Without the Son, nothing is caused, John 1:3, Ephesians 3:9.
    Nicea says “by whom all things were made.” Is that what you’re thinking of?

  9. #28
    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    I've never belonged to a church that recites a creed or confession, or even discusses them. My ELCA cousins recite the Apostles' Creed. Some of them can do it in German, having learned it from the previous generation when their church -- purportedly the oldest Transylvanian Saxon Lutheran church in America -- did a lot of the service in German.

    I would suspect that *many* modern Christians, if asked to *explain* the Trinity and the Incarnation, would end up qualifying as heretics -- docetists, Arians, Eutychians, etc.
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

    Beige Nationalist.

    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

  10. #29
    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    I remember doing a course on heresies and discovering that some of my beliefs were borderline heretical.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

  11. Amen NorrinRadd amen'd this post.
  12. #30
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    I've never belonged to a church that recites a creed or confession, or even discusses them. My ELCA cousins recite the Apostles' Creed. Some of them can do it in German, having learned it from the previous generation when their church -- purportedly the oldest Transylvanian Saxon Lutheran church in America -- did a lot of the service in German.

    I would suspect that *many* modern Christians, if asked to *explain* the Trinity and the Incarnation, would end up qualifying as heretics -- docetists, Arians, Eutychians, etc.
    At first I thought by "cousins" you were talking about a Lutheran group different from "yours." Now I see you are Full Gospel. That is where I started out ... long story.

    I think I only heard the Trinity doctrine addressed once in 20 years when I was in an SBC church. Maybe there were other times before that church and in that church that the concept came up. I'm in a group that in normal services will have us recite one creed or another. It may be a bit much to recite every time but maybe once a month is good -- but people may only come once a month and might miss that day.

    I think there should be a class once a year on it so people can be reminded of the Trinity doctrine. This proposal got more significance when I heard how missionaries reached communities and established churches only to be overtaken by cult groups when the missionaries were not there.

  13. Amen NorrinRadd amen'd this post.

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