A Statement of Faith
We originally presented a dozen copies of this letter to the steering committee of a local organization of home school Moms and Dads. Although not associated with any particular Church or Denomination, this group was a dedicated Christian group. For the first time in its short history, they had decided that all members of the steering committee needed to sign a Statement of Faith. My wife was the newest member of the steering committee.
We could not in good conscience sign the newly released Statement of Faith because of the line, which read: “God has always existed from eternity in three persons”. Consequently, a special meeting of the Steering Committee was called. On a sunny day in July of 1994 in the home of one of the members, I was allowed to read the contents of the letter aloud while about a dozen others followed along with their own copies.
Although, we exhorted those present to give copies of our letter to their pastors, we really don’t know if that was ever done. That was the last steering committee meeting we attended. We didn’t expect to counter 1,600 years of Trinitarian propaganda in one afternoon. We wrote down what we shared with them so that it would not be misunderstood or misrepresented.
It saddens us that the great majority of sincere, loving Christians have never been given the opportunity to even consider that the words “God existing from eternity in three persons” might be a completely fallacious, non-Biblical idea. You have now had the opportunity to consider it for yourself. Our prayer is that you will be able to consider these matters free from denominational prejudice and bias. It is certainly no easy task given the abundance of proponents who are in direct opposition to our position. We wish you well.
It has been over 9 years since we first wrote this letter and we are even more convinced today of the error Christianity fell into 16 centuries ago. We are not members of any Church group or Denomination. We do however, continue to attempt to fellowship, rejoice, pray and dialogue with Christians of all persuasions.
What follows is the text of that letter.
Oasis Christian Fellowship
Joe and Carol Ricciardi
Fort Collins, Colorado
Thank you for the opportunity to address you concerning our reasons for being unable, in good conscience, to sign the proposed statement of faith for [name of organization left blank]. If I may I would like to greet you with the phrase the Apostle Paul used in the opening of each of his epistles to the Church.
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
My wife and I commend you for your diligence concerning the oversight of the [organization name]. We are surrounded by so much open evil and unsoundness in our world and society that we need not allow internal division or strife to add to that pressure. We certainly feel that you are justified to ask us whatever questions you deem appropriate. We also believe that individuals have the God-given right to administer their private organizations (especially religious ones) according to their conscience and the dictates of their heart.
I would also like to again thank you up front for this opportunity to clarify our position and I would ask your patient indulgence in hearing us out. The particular issue at stake is one that has caused great divisions among Christians throughout the ages. It has led to Councils, Inquisitions and Denominations. Almost two hundred years of argumentation and actual physical wars accompanied its adoption. Entire books have been written about it by very learned men: men of far greater training and skills than either Carol or I may ever possess. It is considered by many today to be the cornerstone of Christianity. In fact, it is so germane to what most denominations consider the basic tenets of our Christian faith, that there is doubt among many if you can actually call a person who does not adhere to this doctrine a Christian. We are referring here to the doctrine of the Trinity or that God has always existed from eternity in three persons. This is the specific line from the statement of faith that we are not in agreement on and as such the occasion of this rather lengthy defense.
Before we start, I would like to address a few matters. First of all, we appreciate your concern about our feelings in having to account for our beliefs. We realize that this may be uncomfortable and out of character for some of you. We hope that you will not feel too uncomfortable on our account. We do not expect you to make theological judgments. Your statement of faith is in harmony with the mainstream of Christianity. Except for the statement in question, we agree quite readily with the rest of it, especially the first line. I would also like to ask your forgiveness ahead of time. We are going to say things that may be in opposition to things you believe. Please bear with us. At best, my wife and I are just poor sinners who have clung to Jesus for salvation. In the final analysis, it will not be what we say that really matters but what the true God has said that will stand. If, in my zeal to explain our position, I tread too heavily on the faith or conscience of someone here, please realize that I am subject to the same passions we all are. Finally, we are not here to impose upon your good nature and kindness in allowing us to speak by using this meeting as an occasion to convince you of our beliefs or win you to our side. We are more than happy at all times to speak the truth in love and allow for God to work in all of our hearts by his spirit to reprove and admonish us as a Father does his children. My wife and I allow for the possibility that in any area of truth we could be in error or, at the very least, need to learn more. Because of this and our respect for each of you that I decided to write this down. We want you to be free to judge this situation on its own merits without regard for our friendship. Even if it means that you decide my wife should not be on the committee, we hope that you will gain an appreciation of the gentleness and moderation we feel towards yourselves. Perhaps some measure of Christian brotherhood and understanding can pass across a doctrinal void that has separated others in the past. Not that we pretend to speak for all of those who are non-Trinitarians even as we do not expect you to answer as if you spoke for all Trinitarian believers.
There are three main reasons that we have rejected the notion of God always existing from eternity in three persons, i.e. the Trinity.
1) The language of the doctrine itself is not scriptural.
2) The Church after Constantine was heavily influenced by pagan ideology.
3) Israel was firmly committed to the idea of One God in stark contrast to every major pagan religion of that time which had a Trinitarian component to it.
Here is a statement of faith to which my wife and I can adhere.
I believe in One God almighty And in Christ Jesus, his only Son, our Lord Who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried And the third day rose from the dead Who ascended into heaven And sits on the right hand of the Father Whence he comes to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost; The holy church; The remission of sins; The resurrection of the flesh; The life everlasting. [The Apostles Creed quoted from Eerdmans Handbook to the History of Christianity by Dr. Tim Dowley, p. 145.]
This is one of the texts of the Apostles Creed prior to the 4th century. During this century, there was introduced into Christian doctrine new words to explain the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This was done through the agency of Church councils under the direction of the Roman Emperor in what was later to become The Holy Roman Empire and viz a viz The Roman Catholic Church.
Here is a copy of the final text of what came to be known as the Nicene Creed although it was not complete in this form until the Council of Chalcedon well into the 5th century.
We believe in one God the Father All-sovereign, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father before all the ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sits on the right hand of the Father, and comes again with glory to judge living and dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end:
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Life-giver, that proceeds from the Father, who with Father and Son is worshipped together and glorified together, who spoke through the prophets:
In one holy catholic and apostolic church:
We acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. [The Nicene Creed quoted from Eerdmans Handbook to the History of Christianity by Dr. Tim Dowley, p. 169.]
When you compare this version with the much simpler Apostles Creed, you can see over 120 years of evolution in understanding about the nature of God. There are many reasons why these men found the language of the Bible insufficient to explain their belief in God. It is our contention, however, that much of this language is extraneous, confusing, divisive and unscriptural.
For example, the words of one substance are the result of an argument as to what Jesus meant when he is quoted in the Gospel of John as saying: “I and my Father are one.” Well, if we accept the classical formulation of the Trinity, we no longer have the freedom to decide what Jesus meant because at one of the Church councils it was decided for us by the invention of a new word: homoousios (Greek): homo means same and ousios means substance. It didn’t seem to matter that this word is never used anywhere in the Bible at all, let alone as an explanation of the important relationship between the Father and the Son. Well to us it matters. (And it mattered to a lot of Christian believers of that time also because this word was adopted over much controversy as was most of the Trinitarian doctrine.) We believe the language of the Scriptures is adequate for our faith and practice. If Jesus had meant to say I and my Father are of one substance, he would have said that. I would rather take his words than the words of Councils governed by men and politics.
Some of the other suspect phrases for which we can find no direct biblical correspondence are the following:
begotten … before all the ages
Light of Light true
God of true God
We understand that by their very nature statements of faith are an attempt to distill the essence of a belief into its simplest form and as such do not always contain direct biblical quotations. However, in dealing with so basic and important an issue like the nature of God, we think it unwise to stray too far from that which is easily verifiable in Scripture. To use words and phrases that were never used by Jesus himself or his followers and then ask others to subscribe to it, is, we believe, beyond the right and jurisdiction of the Christian men of that time.
Unfortunately, as a body of believers we have felt compelled to carry this doctrine around and make it a part of our faith and practice. How many people are actually aware that the word Trinity itself is not found in the Scriptures? I’ve met many people unaware of this. How many people are actually aware that the words three persons in one God are also not found in the Scriptures? Do we then have the right to tie individual consciences to these Creeds and Councils especially if an individual can profess all the words of Scripture without once mentioning these words? (Please realize I am appealing here to the spiritual reality and not challenging the right of any particular group to teach what they believe.)
Historically, we have found that, in having to defend what we believe is an indefensible position from the Scriptures, proponents of the Trinity have resorted to alternate means of persuasion including violence, intimidation and excommunication. There have also been a number of half-hearted analogies that liken the uncreated, invisible God to phenomenon found in nature as well as the unassailable defense that says: “It’s a mystery; accept it by faith.”
Other times defenders of the Trinity have had to resort to the argument that the Trinity is hidden in the Scriptures as if God is testing our ability to extract it. They might even make an out of context reference to what Jesus said concerning why he spoke in parables: seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Not only aren’t these explanations very helpful or satisfying, they sound very like what so called cults today are accused of doing. That is, coming up with doctrines that are either non-biblical or that need special interpretation by high-ranking members of their organization to get to the hidden meaning. (The Book of Mormon, for instance, is criticized by mainstream Christianity because it is not part of the Bible…yet the Trinitarian doctrines written by Church Fathers are accepted without question)
Although we’re sure God knows many things He has not told us, we believe that those ‘things which are revealed’ belong unto us and to our children forever’ (Deut. 29:29). We also believe Peter’s exhortation in his second epistle, stating that God hath given to us ‘all things that pertain to life and godliness’ (2 Pet.1:3). If the spirit has led us into all truth since Jesus ascended, we feel certain that he would not have forgotten or obscured something as basic as the nature of God. Especially since other items that are so important, like salvation in Christ, are so clearly repeated over and over again.
We believe in the simplicity of the Scriptures when they speak concerning God the Father, Jesus Christ his Son and the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit by the mouth of the Apostles and Prophets saw no need to use statements like: three persons in one, eternally coexistent, of one substance, etc., it causes us to question the need as well, not to mention the wisdom of Christian leaders three hundred years after Christ who felt compelled to reinterpret the nature of God for us.
While we are discussing the use of non-biblical language, there is one other item of note. Trinitarian doctrine frequently refers to: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet in the Bible, Jesus is referred to as the Son of God in fifty different places but not once is he referred to as God the Son. Why would we want to use words to refer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that even he never used himself?
The second major objection we have concerns the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the Trinity.
The Protestant Churches at the time of the Reformation rejected almost every major doctrine attributed to the Church (later called the Holy Roman Church) from the 4th until the 6th century. The idea that God has always existed in three persons is one of the few remaining contributions from that Church that has been allowed to remain in “Orthodox” Christianity. Of course, some would argue that this idea existed in the Church from the very beginning of the Church in the 1st century, but that is not the case.
When the Roman Emperor Constantine got involved in Church affairs, he made Christianity the state religion. Consequently many hitherto pagans entered Christianity not from a deeply held faith or conversion experience but because it was the popular thing to do. Far from being a glorious day for the Church some count it as the beginning of our downfall. James H. Rutz, founder of Open Church Ministries in Colorado Springs refers to these years “The Years When the Church Collapsed.” [The Open Church, by James H. Rutz, publ. by The SeedSowers, 1992] All the relevant Church councils and what we consider today to be the doctrine of the Trinity emerged after Constantine became involved in Christianity.
The Trinity didn’t just fall on the Church overnight. It was an evolution in doctrine from the 2nd century on. Tertullian even used the word Trinity in the 3rd century. However, the formal doctrine that finally emerged was vastly different from what had gone before in the first three centuries. Consider this concluding quote from a book on the subject.
The modern doctrine of the Trinity is not found in any document or relic belonging to the Church of the first three centuries. Letters, art, usage, theology, worship, creed, hymn, chant, doxology, ascription, commemorative rite, and festive observance, so far as any remains of any record of them are preserved, coming down from early times are, as regards this doctrine an absolute blank. They testify, so far as they testify at all, to the supremacy of the Father, the only true God; and to the inferior and derived nature of the Son. There is nowhere among these remains a co-equal Trinity. The cross is there, Christ is there as the Good Shepherd, the Father’s hand placing a crown, or victor’s wreath, on his head; but no undivided Three — co-equal, infinite, self-existent, and eternal. This was a conception to which the age had not arrived. It was of later origin.[The Church of the First Three Centuries, 1865, Alvin Lamson, p.396] The doctrine of the Trinity is not the only major doctrine to issue forth from this new Church. Between 325 A.D. and 787 A.D. there were seven major Church councils. Besides the Trinity, here are some of their other ideas and doctrines:
- Worship of Mary as the mother of God and Eternal Virgin
- Invocation of Saints and Saint days
- Veneration of Icons and Images
- Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday
- the day of the Eternal Sun
- Special Priesthood who interceded between Christians and God, including confession of sins.
- Consecration of the Mass including the doctrine of Transubstantiation
- Elevation of the Bishop of Rome to the Pontifex Maximus
- The doctrine of an intermediary state prior to gaining entrance to heaven, i.e. Purgatory
- The sale of indulgences for the pardon of sins.
Protestantism has rejected almost every one of these doctrines except the doctrine of the Trinity. If the Church leaders of that time were so fallible on almost every other pronouncement of orthodoxy, why has the doctrine of three persons in one God been so sacrosanct and above reproach?
Israel and the one true God
Now we come to our final and perhaps strongest influence for rejecting of the Trinity as a biblical concept. In Deuteronomy we have one of most solemn confessions of Scripture generally and of the nation of Israel specifically.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Israel was one of the only nations in the Old Testament who did not have more than one God. That remains true to the present day although as a nation they have rejected Jesus as their Lord. One of the reasons we believe that it may be hard for some Jewish people, even today, to accept Christianity is the Trinity. It is not in line at all with Hebrew thinking for a man to be God. Although the pagan nations had gods that could be man or beast, Israel’s God was always the invisible God who was so much higher than a man. Now I realize that some people feel that this is part of the great mystery of our faith: the incarnation of God into a man in the person of Jesus, but this is a Greek idea philosophically not a Jewish one. Listen to L.L. Paine, one time Professor of ecclesiastical history at Bangor Theological Seminary, writing on the evolution of Trinitarianism in 1900.
The Old Testament is strictly monotheistic. God is a single personal being. The idea that a Trinity is to be found there or even in any way shadowed forth, is an assumption that has long held sway in theology, but is utterly without foundation. The Jews, as a people, under its teaching became stern opponents of all polytheistic tendencies, and they have remained unflinching monotheists to this day. On this point there is no break between the Old Testament and the New. The monotheistic tradition is continued. Jesus was a Jew, trained by Jewish parents in the Old Testament Scriptures. His teaching was Jewish to the core; a new Gospel indeed, but not a new theology. He declared that He came not to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them, and He accepted as His own belief the great text of Jewish monotheism: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God. His proclamation concerning Himself was in line with Old Testament prophecy. He was the Messiah of the promised Kingdom, the Son of Man of Jewish hope…if He sometimes asked “Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” He gave no answer beyond the implied assertion of Messiahship. [A Critical History of the Evolution of Trinitarianism, 1900, pp.4,5]
Even to this day those Jewish believers who are anticipating a Messiah are certainly not anticipating God himself to come in human form. That would be as repulsive a thought to the Jewish way of thinking today, as we believe it would have been to Abraham, Moses, Elijah or any other Israelite believer in the Old Testament. Here is a quote from a Jewish Rabbi named J.H. Hurtz.
The belief that God is made up of several personalities such as the Christian belief in the Trinity is a departure from the pure conception of the unity of God. Israel has throughout the ages rejected everything that marred or obscured the conception of pure monotheism it has given the world, and rather admit any weakening of it, Jews are prepared to wander, to suffer, to die.
But there is something else that is even more disturbing. It is a fact that Israel never had a Trinity prior to the Christian era, but do you know who did? Egypt. China. Babylon. Greece. Every major religion prior to the Christian era had the concept of three persons in one god except Judaism. Here’s an example from a book on pagan religions of the Biblical world by Jack Finegan. Mr. Finegan is professor emeritus of New Testament history and archeology at Pacific School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union. He is writing about the Egyptian religion.
Another text of the Nineteenth Dynasty (Papyrus Leiden 1.350, from Thebes in the reign of Ramses II) is oriented similarly and subsumes the Trinity of Amun, Re and Ptah in a unity….In chapter 200 (4.12-21) it is said that his name is hidden because he is a mystery:…And then in chapter 300 (4.21-26) it is stated that there exist only three gods, namely, Amun, Re, and Ptah, and that they are actually only one: [Myth and Mystery,Baker Book House;Grand Rapids,MI 1989 J.Finegan, p.59,60]
Just recently I came across a used book written by a Theosophist named Florice Tanner in 1973. In the book, Ms. Tanner attempts to tie all world religions together by their mystic elements alleging that we’re all the same under the surface, we just have superficial differences. Though I am neither interested nor impressed by their philosophy of religion, it was intriguing for another reason. Chapter Two is entitled “The Trinity”. In the chapter, the author discusses all the similarities in world religions concerning the Trinity. She discusses trinities in Hinduism, Buddhism, Egyptian religion, Zoroastrianism, Orphic Greek religion and Christianity. The only major world religion (that existed prior to Christianity) that was not discussed in the chapter was Judaism. Even though Judaism and Hebrew thoughts are discussed in other chapters, they are not even mentioned in the chapter on the Trinity. Even Ms.Tanner, who may be quite mistaken in her attempt to tie all world religions together, still couldn’t find anything Trinitarian in Judaism.
It would be hard for me to imagine that pagan nations prior to Christianity had a significant insight into the nature of God as a Trinity, while at the same time God’s chosen people had no clue. There are literally hundreds of Scriptures that witness to the oneness or unity in God. However, there are only two verses in the King James Version that give any indication that there may be three persons in one God. One is in 1 John 5:7. Read it in the KJV and then look for it in the Revised Version or the Revised Standard or the American Standard or the New International Version. You won’t find it. The reason is that an overzealous scribe of the 1500’s added it to the text. Bible translators since the Revised Version have all recognized the dubious nature of this verse and it no longer appears in our Bibles.
The only other Scripture is Matthew 28:19. The mere fact that it is the only verse like it in the Bible is amazing in itself and hardly lends credibility to the Trinity being a biblical concept. However, this verse does appear in all the manuscripts since the 4th century. Of course, that is when the doctrinal formulation of the Trinity came into being. Since there are no manuscripts older than the 4th century in existence today, we can’t dismiss this verse as easily as the one in 1 John 5:7 which was an obvious forgery. However, there are two sound reasons that have caused scholars to doubt its authenticity:
1) Eusebius, a Church father who died in 340 A.D. quoted this Scripture in his writings 18 times using the words in my name to refer to baptism in the name of Jesus.
2) If this was a commandment by Jesus just prior to his ascension, why didn’t his followers ever follow his instructions? The Book of Acts, which records the events of the early church, has records of baptism in the name of Jesus or the name of the Lord but never the formula written in Matt. 28:19
For these reasons, we believe the original Scripture would have read: baptizing them in my name.
If the Trinity were really the cornerstone of Christianity, wouldn’t you think it would appear at least a few times in Scripture if not a hundred times? On the other hand, the name of Christ and salvation in his name does appear over and over again in the Scriptures. That’s why we agree with the Scriptures, which refer to our Lord Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone (Eph.2: 20) of Christianity.
When we look at the historical and textual evidence on the Trinity, it is worrisome to us that pagan religions had the three in one concept but the one nation that we know God worked with, Israel, who also wrote the entire Bible (even the N.T. was written by those of Jewish background) had no concept of it at all. We couple this with the fact that the accepted Christian doctrine of the Trinity came out of a time and Church that we know was heavily influenced by pagan ideology and Greek philosophy and we really have to wonder. Since so much of the critical language of the doctrine including the name Trinity itself is either extra-biblical or not easily found out by a simple reading of Scripture, we have had to reject the doctrine as unnecessary for our faith and practice.
We do believe that the Lord our God is One Lord. We also believe that following the fall of Adam, God promised he would send a Savior. And we believe that this promised seed was Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Word in the flesh. We do not believe this was God himself but God’s Son who made known to man, God’s true nature.
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
We believe what Jesus said of himself when confronted about his equality with God.
…Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself…
We believe what Jesus said when the Jews accused him of making himself God:
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
We certainly believe that Jesus and God are one, yet not one in substance but one in purpose. As Jesus himself said in praying to his Father for his followers:
…that they may be one, even as we are one
It was his prayer that all of us who believe would be one like he was one with his Father. Jesus couldn’t have meant that we should all be of one substance but as Paul wrote later in his epistles to the Church, that there would be oneness or unity among the followers of Christ.
We definitely believe in Jesus Christ’s preexistence even as we believe in our own preexistence:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…
We didn’t have to be physically present for God to choose us because God has knowledge of things before they happen. Even so it is not necessary for Jesus to have been physically present before his birth for Him to have been with God like we were in his foreknowledge.
We believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross at Calvary according to his Father’s will. In fact, when he was alone in the garden of Gethsemane, just days before he was to die, being quite concerned over the coming events, he asked his Father if there was any other way to accomplish our salvation. But he was sure to add:
…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
This act of obedience to the will of his Father, despite his own will, has earned him the highest position in all of God’s creation.
(9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
(10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
(11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus is Lord and Christ, second only to God the Father himself.
1 Corinthians 15:27 and 28
(27) For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
(28) And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
The relationship between God and Jesus was one of love, love between a Father and His Son. We believe it is for the one true God who is above all that Jesus died.
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
We don’t think Paul was deceived at all when he wrote the following by the spirit of God:
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Of course we realize that Jesus was more than an ordinary man. He had to be to redeem man. He was the only begotten Son of the Father. But calling Jesus the Son or offspring of God, no more makes him God himself than when the Scriptures refer to angels as sons of God or when we are called sons of God.
1 John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God…
Jesus is unique and divine because God was his Father. He came down from heaven; he was not an offspring of Adam even though he was born of a woman. Jesus conception was via the Holy Spirit. God is the Holy Spirit. Not as another person in three in one godhead but as John 4:24 says God is a spirit. Well he’s not an unholy spirit is he? Of course He isn’t. He is the Holy Spirit. And just as his spirit was given to the prophets and selected individuals in the Old Testament, it has been given to all members of the Body of Christ today. Jesus poured it out on the day of Pentecost after his ascension. As Peter preached on that glorious day:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This gift is the Comforter spoken about by Jesus as recorded in the gospel of John. Although we can certainly understand why a person or a Church would be Trinitarian given the fifteen centuries that it has held sway, we hope you can now better understand why we were unable to sign the statement of faith in good conscience. I wish we could give you a name or a label you could stick on us. In less charitable times, heretic would have been sufficient. Of course, I guess it just depends which side of the fence you’re on when you start with the accusations of heresy. We don’t belong to any organization or denomination. We are not Gnostic, Arian, Socinian or even Unitarian by today’s definition of that term.
We have found in discussing this issue with many Christians through the years that at times we know more about the doctrine of the Trinity than they do. Rather than interpreting this negatively, we have found it to be a witness that in practical everyday living most Christians are more concerned with the fruits of their faith and the Scriptural admonition to live a godly life than with arguing about the details of a complex doctrine that they never even had a hand in formulating anyway. My wife and I, too, are more concerned with living worthy of the calling in Christ than arguing over words to no profit. Laying aside the language of the Trinity and sticking to the Scriptures only, Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians tend to agree more often than they disagree.
For me personally, one of the saddest lines in the book, The Open Church by James Rutz is on page 63.
Today we have 23,000 denominations, each with its own pet doctrines, the logical offspring of the Reformation. God in Heaven, please forgive us.
Whenever possible may we seek to be peacemakers not sowers of discord. May we seek to understand and not be too quick to judge. May we seek His wisdom and not our own.
1 Corinthians 13:2
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
2 Corinthians 13:14
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.