Some Interesting Observations About the Trinity,
Perhaps Not So Commonly Known:

Link back to: Good Companion Books
~~~~~~~~~~~~

"…it is a remarkable fact, that no single passage or verse of the Old or New Testament is received as an assured proof-text of the trinity by the unanimous consent of all Trinitarian writers: some ground their faith on one passage, some on another."

Taken from
: A Religious Encyclopædia: or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, Based on the Real-Encyklopädie of Herzog, Plitt, and Hauck.  Herzog, Johann Jakob (b.1805-d.1882); Schaff, Philip (b.1819-d.1893), D.D., LL.D., Professor in the Union Theological Seminary, New York, Editors.  Jackson, Samuel Macauley (b.1851-d.1912); Schaff, David Schley (b.1852-?), Joint Editors.  3 vols.  (New York, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, Publishers, 1882-1884), vol. iii, "Unitarianism," p. 2420.  BR95 .S4 / 01-11171.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


"One or other among them [the Trinitarians] rejects the Trinitarian meaning from each single passage brought in support of it. But this diversity, while it weakens the force of that particular argument, is itself even more fatal to the doctrine. It cannot be so stated that the mass of its supporters will accept the statement. Some dangerous heresy has always been detected, lurking under the disguise of every possible interpretation; and those have uniformly succeeded best who have simply stated the bald dogma, in the most paradoxical form possible, and have left the explanation as a `mystery,' to shift for itself."

Taken from
: Allen, Joseph Henry (b.1820-d.1888.) Ten Discourses on Orthodoxy.  (Boston, Massachusetts: William Crosby and H. P. Nichols, 1849), pp. 58, 59.  BX9843.A4 T4 1849 / unk83-015691.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Precisely what the [Trinity] doctrine is, or precisely how it is to be explained, Trinitarians are not agreed among themselves."

Taken from
: A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge for Popular and Professional use Comprising Full Information on Biblical Theological, and Ecclesiastical Subjects. With Several Hundred Maps and Illustrations. Edited by the Rev. Lyman Abbott, Assisted by the Rev. T[homas] J[efferson] Conant, D.D.  Abbot, Lyman (b.1835-d.1922); Conant, Thomas Jefferson (b.1802-d.1891), Editors.  ([n. p.]1875), p. 944.  BR95 .A3 1875 / tmp82-001468.  See also the following printing/edition: (New York, New York: Harper & Brothers, c1902).  BR95 .A3 1902 / 02-028398.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


"…[Trinitarian] theologians have discussed [the Trinity] in such a manner, that instead of rendering it intelligible to the mass of mind, looking to them for instruction, every feature of the doctrine has been shrouded in an impenetrable garb of mystery, in some cases involving direct contradiction of natural principles….Similarity of theological belief [among Trinitarian theologians], is not to be expected, yet the wide dissimilarity now prevalent, is due, in great measure, to the lack of a uniform standard of interpretation,…"

Taken from
: Robinson, Francis Smith (b.?-d.?). First Principles of the Triune Theology, In Which St. Paul’s Great Bible Analysis: “For of Him – and Through Him – and to Him, are All Things; to Whom be Glory for Ever.  Amen.” is Made the Standard by Which to Test Every Definition, Rule, Thought, Explanation, Illustration, and Picture.  (Afton, Iowa: Tribune-News Publishing Company, 1877), “Conclusion,” p. 26.  BT113 .R6 / 40-022657.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Our survey of the history of the [Trinity] doctrine in the text has indicated that there are several doctrines of the trinity: Eastern, Western, social analogy, modal, so forth. There is one doctrine in the sense of the threefold name of God of the rule of faith as found, for example, in the Apostle's Creed. This, however, is not yet a doctrine. It is ambiguous and can be interpreted in a number of ways. There is one doctrine in the sense of the Western formula of `three persons in one substance.' However, this formula is also ambiguous if not misleading and can be interpreted in a number of ways. A doctrine of the trinity would presumably be an interpretation of this formula…let us assume that the phrase `doctrine of the trinity' in question refers to any of a number of widely accepted interpretations of the threefold name of God in the role of faith."

Taken from
: Thomas, Owen (b.1922-d.?). Theological Questions: Analysis and Argument.  (Wilton, Connecticut; Peabody, Massachusetts: Morehouse-Barlow, 1983), p. 34.  BT77 .T458 1983 / 83-060658.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Whatever else might be said about the doctrine of the Trinity, it is safe to say that in the history of Christian doctrine there has been no single, universally accepted articulation of the specific way in which it is to be understood. Every attempt to articulate the doctrine has had its detractors and has been viewed as erring in one direction or the other. Articulations stressing the unity of God to the relative de-emphasis of divine threeness have most often been labeled modalist or Sabellian: whereas, those stressing the threefold existence of deity to the relative neglect of divine unity have been castigated as tri-theistic or polytheistic. It has seemed next to impossible to achieve a balanced presentation of the triune nature of God that is both relatively detailed and also acceptable to most sincere Christians with theological sensitivity."

Taken from
: Morris, Thomas V. (b.?-d.?). The Logic of God Incarnate.  (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1986), pp. 207, 208.  BT220 .M815 1986 / 85-021252.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


“[Regarding those who claim] a persistent unity among those who have defended the Trinity since the fourth century, as in appealing to the universal voice of the church in its behalf, there are, and have always been, differences, as marked between defenders of the Trinity in their conceptions of that dogma, as any that separate Trinitarians from Unitarians [non-Trinitarians].”

Taken from
: King, Thomas Starr (b.1824-d.1864). Trinitarianism Not the Doctrine of the New Testament.  Two Lectures Delivered, Partly in Review of Rev. Dr. [Frederic Dan] Huntington’s [b.1819-d.1904] Discourse on the Trinity, in the Hollis Street Church, January 7 & 14, 1860.  Printed by Request.  (Boston, Massachusetts: Crosby, Nichols and Company, 1860), p. 6 (footnote).  BX9843 .K4 T7 / 06-037091.

~~~~~~~~~~


Obviously, if Trinitarians come to the table with a multitude of different interpretations of their own 'doctrine,' no doubt, this would also directly influence which scriptures might be referenced as well as the ways in which they might be employed, that is, in defense of their own particular, unique brand of Trinitarianism.

This, in itself, might also explain some of the difficulty one may encounter when attempting to discuss this 'doctrine' with any who declares a belief in it, for just the variety of their definitions is quite perplexing.


It would also follow that this may be one of the principle reasons why Trinitarians appear to prefer to debate with ones who do not believe that God is a Trinity, that is, rather than with other Trinitarians.  Otherwise, it would then become all the more apparent (to them and to others) that they are truly as much at odds with one another as with those who don't believe the Bible gives any clear evidence of this doctrine as ever having been
taught, explained and/or defended.