How Biblical is the Doctrine of the Trinity - Essay Example

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For most of the past 1800 years Catholic Christians the world over followed with unquestioning faith the doctrine of the Holy Trinity which hinges on the union of three persons in one Godhead - the Father, Son and the Spirit. We begin our Christian life through the baptismal ceremony that invokes the Trinity, exactly the way John the Baptist did with the earliest Christians: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The same invocation we use in our everyday prayers, solemnly touching as we make the sign of the cross our forehead in honor of the Father, the breast in adoration of the Son and the shoulders in deference to the Holy Spirit.
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Download file "How Biblical is the Doctrine of the Trinity" to see previous pages... Rev., 2002, pp. 75-82). The debate heightened when theologians came forward to question the "biblicality" of this doctrine and the pagan impression it gives of worshipping three separate gods. One of these theological tracts, God Who Acts as published by George Ernest Wright in 1952, declared that the Hebrew wisdom on theology as reflected in the Trinity doctrine was "deficient.
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" (Coakley, 1993, ch. 3)
Maurice Wiles stoked the fire with a series of lectures called God's Action in the World, articles such as Some Reflections on the Origins of the Doctrine of the Trinity and the book The Making of Christian Doctrine published in 1967. In these works, Wiles trained his guns on attempts to defend the doctrine as based on the Christian religious experience. Such justifications, he maintained, are fatally flawed since the nature of this problem is "inherently circular." Miles took issue with the way the doctrine's emphasis swung from the distinctness of Father and Son in the 3rd century to the unity of the two in the 4th century.

All these spawned the perception that the Trinity doctrine is an inaccurate and outdated statement of the nature of God because of the changes that have taken place since the dogma was laid down. Such changes involved the word "person," the world's understanding of relationships and the substance of which God is composed. In addition, the theological problems that the doctrine was intended to solve are believed no longer a prime concern (Coakley, 1993, ch. 3)

It was suggested that the church hierarchy in those days tried to stifle criticism, an indication that the doctrine stands on shaky ground. Said Wiles: "Once the triadic baptismal formula became fixed quite early in the church's life, it exercised a strongly authoritative - but ultimately arbitrary - clamp on more proper, critical reflection." (Wiles, 1967, ch. 6) For the same reasons, protesting Catholics broke off from the church and set up their own religion based on that action.

What is in the Trinity doctrine that the protestants in today's world found so hard to accept as touchstone of their faith

The Doctrine

Belief in a three-in-one God is as old as Christianity itself. The Trinity appeared as a theological term near the end of the 2nd century, first used as "Trias" by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch in A.D. 180. (Oomen, J., 2002, pp. 75-82)

But from the very start, the Trinity doctrine was formulated without benefit of a biblical imprimatur. The three Cappadocian monks admitted as much when they developed the doctrine in 325 A.D. Basil, one of the monks, instead invoked a "secret unscriptural tradition" while the other monk, Gregory, looked for a new scriptural provision that would accommodate the doctrine. (Hanson, R.P.C., 1985, p. 245)

The polytheistic character of the doctrine may be traced to the fact that the early Christians, who were once Judaists and therefore ...Download file "How Biblical is the Doctrine of the Trinity" to see next pagesRead More
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