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What defines a Trinitarian?

Discussion in 'Traditional Theology' started by Nicolaus Mourer, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Nicolaus Mourer

    Nicolaus Mourer Call me Nic. Supporter

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    I'm posing this question merely for the sake of conversation, and am not desiring to proclaim my views one way or another against another on this subject, seeing as how the nature of God (according to the scriptures) can often times be interpreted differently.

    So, my question is: what defines a Trinitarian?

    Can Trinitarians believe in a one-person God (which is one God made up of one Spirit and one will with three record-bearers), or are Trinitarians defined by a strict belief of a three-person God (which is the essence of one God with three distinct persons and wills, that co-exist equally eternally)?

    Also, is it wrong for a Trinitarian to believe that Jesus is equal with the Father?

    Don't misunderstand me: I'm in no way trying to negate or attack the nature of God according to what the Bible says, but I must admit that I'm having a hard time fully grasping it according to what scripture says. So, hopefully, you guys do know.
     
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    What is meant by a record-bearer?

    Not that either.

    It might be advisable to look closely at both the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed, being careful to pick up all the specifics.

    No, although I am aware that what anyone means by the word equal might be a problem.
     
  3. Nicolaus Mourer

    Nicolaus Mourer Call me Nic. Supporter

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    Well what does it mean in 1 John 5:7? "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." That's why I posted this question.
     
  4. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    To define a trinitarian, one must first define the Trinity. And that is historically very difficult.
     
  5. Nicolaus Mourer

    Nicolaus Mourer Call me Nic. Supporter

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    So, what sayest thou then? How would you define the Trinity?
     
  6. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    The problem with that is if you go past "One God, Three Persons," you start drifting into one of the ancient heresies.
     
  7. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    All right. The verse (and others) are susceptible to being interpreted in various ways by different readers. Therefore, the church ultimately issued several statements on the matter (which I commended to you).

    The belief is that there are three persona (not individual beings) in one God. God is not, therefore, three beings...or one being with three different roles to play at different times. For that matter, he is also not one being who looks different to us at different times, leading to us mortals to use different names or titles for each.

    The persons/persona of God are of one will and one substance, existing from all eternity.

    I kind of like the famous Shamrock analogy that is attributed to St. Patrick, but others fault it. The fact is that no analogy is really good enough to explain the Trinitarian nature of God.
     
  8. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Belief that God is one Person is Modalism, therefore it is a rejection of the Trinity. Not Trinitarian.

    Denying that the Son is of the same Being/Nature/Essence/Substance with the Father, would also be a rejection of the Trinity. Not Trinitarian.

    Two fairly exhaustive statements on the doctrine of the Trinity can be found in the Athanasian Creed, also known as the Quicumque Vult, which is one of the Western Creeds used by Catholics and most Mainline Protestants, which you can find a version of it online here. The other is a more obscure statement of faith that was drawn up at a small council in Spain in the late 7th century, but is a wonderful expression of Trinitarian faith, you can find the text here.

    Those two statements are fairly exhaustive and wordy, because it's necessary to try and be as exact as possible so that we don't preach false doctrine.

    If one needs a very simple, shorthand way to get the gist of the doctrine of the Trinity, one way to help visualize it is the Scutum Fidei ("Shield of Faith"):

    [​IMG]

    The Father is God.
    The Son is God.
    The Holy Spirit is God.
    One God.

    The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit.
    The Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit.
    The Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son.
    Three distinct Persons.

    One God and three Persons.


    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  9. Chinchilla

    Chinchilla Well-Known Member

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    Trinitarian is person who believers in trinity . Bible calls the thing which we call Trinity - Godhead.
    If you believe that three bear record in heaven . Father , the Word and Spirit and these three are one you are Trinitarian ( 1 John 5:7 , see in KJV modern Bibles remove it ).

    How it works we don't know , maybe we will when we get to heaven . We know Holy Spirit is not 1 spirit aswell but 7 Revelation 1:4 .
    It seems that there are different persons in Godhead having different authority but still one God .
    They are distinc of each other because as we read in John 1:18

    No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    God the Father said
    Exodus 33
    20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

    21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

    22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

    23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.


    But people could see Jesus Christ which is still God , face to face before and after resurrection , which indicated that God the Father and Jesus Christ are different persons but still one God . Jesus said Father is in me and I in Father . Thing is God the Father had to always hide his face with something like clouds / rock / burning bush / send angels instead of going directly to talk to people because they would simply :dead: cuz too Holy for them .

    God restored that relationship with us because of Christ , before that he could not have relationship because of sin . It had to do something with authority because Christ said in John 20:17

    Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

    Thing is we have no idea how it works and we will never be able to understand who God really is because we are just finite beings compared to him . If God wanted us to know he would simply put everything in Bible but he decided to choose this amount of Scriptures to reveal only what he wanted us to know .

    If you called Jesus the Father he would not be upset for sure .
     
  10. Chinchilla

    Chinchilla Well-Known Member

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    About that Picture , read Isaiah 9:6

    His name of son the Everlasting Father
     
  11. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    He's not God the Father, however.

    I think the best understanding of the text is that Jesus' messianic position is being spoken of, and it is as King Messiah that He is called aviad (lit: "perpetual father" or "father forever").

    Since the clear witness of Scripture is that Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of the Father, He cannot be His own Father. To say that Jesus is the Father is heretical, it's Modalism. And Isaiah 9:6 does not override the abundant and clear testimony of Scripture on this matter, as such it must be understood in light of the clear and abundant testimony of Scripture, not used to contradict it.

    Since I recently commented on this over on a thread in General Theology, a more thorough response would be found here: Is this heresy?

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  12. Chinchilla

    Chinchilla Well-Known Member

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    Jesus himself said that he was the voice of burning bush , the I AM which God YHWH called his name I AM aswell . That's why Jews wanted to stone him for blasphemy .

    John 10
    32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

    33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
     
  13. GUANO

    GUANO Well-Known Member

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    It is a word used to spiritually 'bind' a person to an memeplex within the psyche so that a single short-hard-word can be used to invoke the spirits/principles associated with that memeplex or ideology during a conversation or cognition.
     
  14. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Jesus, as the Son, is God.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  15. dreadnought

    dreadnought Lip service isn't really service. Supporter

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    My understanding is that people who call themselves Trinitarians believe there are three people up there who are united in purpose.
     
  16. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    A vague understanding of the Trinity (which I think is pretty common) can actually be tri-theistic. (Not saying that is correct - it's not.) I was not well taught (not for lack of effort on my part) through some early years of being Christian. Perhaps because I spent most of my time in fellowships that honestly didn't pay a lot of attention to defining just what they believed, so I remained at a surface understanding of pretty much all theological topics for years - though I did learn how this group differed from that one.

    Still, though I wouldn't have admitted it, Three simply does not equal One, so if I am perfectly honest now (I didn't dare to be then), I have to admit that I was essentially tri-theistic. The best I could do was accept "one God, three Persons" but in my mind, the result was tri-theism.

    I spent probably about two weeks really concentrating on just a few aspects of what is expressed in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, and when I better understood not just what it says in English, but what those words meant in Greek, I came to a much better understanding of the Holy Trinity. No longer tri-theistic. But I admit, it is not really possible for human minds to fully comprehend God. I just understand how three Persons can possibly co-exist without being three "Gods".

    For me, it was mostly in the eternal begottenness, and the eternal progression, and the nature of that progresssion (which is like being "breathed forth).

    Such depths were never mentioned in any of the many denominations I had been previously associated with.
     
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  17. gordonhooker

    gordonhooker Franciscan tssf Supporter

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    I was waiting for the Johannine Comma to come up...

    actually those words were added to KJV and some other early manuscripts, some sources that were originally margin notes in a Latin version.

    The earlier Greek manuscripts do not include the words added to the KJV and others.
     
  18. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    My understanding of the Trinity was so poor growing up that when I first encountered Modalism, I thought it was a more accurate depiction. As such I flirted with it for some time, until I actually had to confront the issue more seriously, by having to take the Bible more seriously. And, fundamentally, coming to an understanding of the Trinity rooted in the historic language of the Church, as expressed in the Creeds. I was not aware of the Creeds for my first ~18 years of life, they were not only not used in any of the churches I attended or visited, they never were even mentioned in anything church related.

    My knowledge of the history of Christianity, until my late teens was something like this:

    Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, and after His ascension the Apostles then spread Christianity as recorded in the book of the Acts. Then in the 1500's Martin Luther opposed the Catholic Church and told everyone to just go back to believing the Bible, then there were a couple other people later on like John Wesley, and now it's the 20th century. There were also some Puritans in there too somewhere.

    When I started looking into the history of the Church, well let's just say that there was a lot for me to catch up on.

    In some ways I was angry initially, or perhaps frustrated more than angry. It seemed absolutely bonkers to me that nobody had ever bothered to tell me some really basic things when I was growing up. The first thing that really showed me how much I didn't know was when I started reading Scripture and noticed it kept talking about resurrection, that we would be resurrected. Nobody told me that, not in all my years going to Christian schools, twice-a-week church services, Sunday School, youth group, Bible study groups, small groups. But then I realized that part of the reason nobody told me this stuff is because they didn't know it either.

    That was kind of a long-winded rant that went on tangents. But figured I'd share a little.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  19. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I can understand. I too considered Modalism for a while as it seemed to fit a lot of Scriptures better than what I had in my mind. It was hard for me to reconcile a few though, like the baptism of Jesus. I was definitely on that fence for a while though.

    At around age 18, my understanding of Church history was about like yours (plus the fact that England apparently bounced between Catholicism and Protestantism based on who was in charge). But I knew not much else. And I tried hard to learn for years, but the places I spent most of my time were not interested in teaching such things. I did learn what they were teaching, which my opinion kept changing on as my experiences would run contrary.

    I didn't get into any real depths until just several years ago. So I still have a lot of catching up to do. But at least I'm good at studying, and I have had time to devote. I imagine I could spend the rest of my life and still have plenty to learn - there's so much richness available! Now I'm kind of sad that it is essentially ignored by so many, but there have been times along the way I was angry too.

    Especially after having been promised assurance no matter what - but as it turns out, I'm glad God didn't judge me at certain points. All the confusion and wasted time too.

    That's one thing I appreciate about all the ones usually represented here in Traditional Theology - we might not agree on every point, but I can still learn from everyone, and especially because we all have reasons for our doctrines - if I can understand those also, then there is a lot of insight to be gained indeed.

    But we all tend to agree on so very much, I think, especially most of the doctrines that are most important.
     
  20. Anto9us

    Anto9us Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A Trinitarian is a person who believes that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are different personae of the same One God.

    He or she believes this even when realizing that the Johannine Comma may well be a later gloss, and that the triune baptismal formula at end of Matthew is disputed as being added later also.

    The true Trinitarian is not bothered by these two disputed passages, and avoids Modalism as well.

    The true Trinitarian is also Homoousian, believing that the Son and the Father are the same substance, so is the Holy Spirit, who "with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified" (Nicene Creed).

    Some Trinitarians believe that the Holy Spirit PROCEEDS FROM THE FATHER;

    others (including, but not limited to, RCC) believe that the Holy Spirit PROCEEDS FROM THE FATHER AND THE SON -- and that filioque phrase too may be one of those "added later" clauses in the Creed.

    A Trinitarian is a Christian according to the rules of this CF site.

    There are "Non-Trinnies" and "not-godders"; the latter deny the full deity of Christ, the former do not grok The Trinity -- these two types fall outside of "the Nicene Country Club" -- and miss the mark of being a Christian copasetic to CF definition.

    A Trinitarian understands that God is Three-in-One, even if they cannot explain that to the satisfaction of a Non-Trinnie or a not-godder.
     
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