Why is the doctrine of the Trinity essential to the Christian faith?

Oct 03, 2013

The importance of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity ultimately arises out of the urgency of affirming unequivocally, and yet harmonizing, such passages as:

Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (if the Trinity is not true, we are in consistent violation of first commandment when we call ourselves Christians);

Exodus 34:14, “Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (if the Trinity is true, then we are not worshipping any “other” God when we worship Jesus or pray for the Spirit’s power and blessing; if the Trinity not true, we are);

Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” (if the Trinity is true, we are not giving the glory due God to “another”; and yet we are giving him the glory he is due! If the Trinity is not true, we are in trouble for worshiping Jesus);

John 5:22, 23, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him” (if the Trinity is true, this makes sense; if not, this is in direct contradiction with the first commandment);

Matthew 12:32, “Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (if the Trinity is true, this is understandable; if not, what’s the big deal?).

As we examine Scripture, we see over and again that the Trinitarian dogma arises out of the clear teaching -- often in the very same contexts that affirm the jealousy of God for his glory -- that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one.

We approach the Father through the Son (John 14:6); hating the Son is hating the Father (John 15:23); whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father (1 John 2:23); he that abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son (2 John 1:9). And, finally, it is impossible to love the Father without loving the Son (John 8:42). Why? “For I [Jesus] proceeded forth and came from God.”

The Son came to do the Father’s will and will bring all into captivity to Him (1 Corinthians 15:28; 1 Peter 4:11); the Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to testify of the Son: “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name…the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26). Jesus says he's going back to the Father, but then says he is always with his disciples through the Spirit he would send.

As the doctrine of the Trinity was carefully honed and articulated by early Christians, Francis Schaeffer observes, the realization dawned on successive generations that: “The Christians realized that in the Trinity, as it had been taught in the Bible, they had an answer that no one else had. They did not invent the Trinity to meet the need; the Trinity was already there and it met the needs.”

Not only does the Trinity meet the need of maintaining Scriptural integrity and harmony, but the related and dependent need for a solution to human philosophical problems, communication issues, and every interpersonal challenge among humans who are themselves created in the image of this God.

Resource: Q&A
Categories: Bible Study, God & His Attributes, Names of God

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