Some Interesting Observations About the Trinity,
Perhaps Not So
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."
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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