The doctrine of the Trinity is the doctrine of God that is characteristic of Christianity. There are other religions whose adherents could join with us in saying the first article of our creed, expressing faith in one God as our heavenly Father, the Creator of all things in heaven and earth. But when we go on to the second article, and assert our faith in Jesus Christ as “His only Son, our Lord … very God of very God” we state the distinctly Christian faith, and the doctrine of the Trinity makes explicit what is implicit in this fundamental assertion.

Christianity began as the faith of a sect of the Jews who believed that the promised Messiah had come, that he had been crucified, had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, and had sent his Spirit to bind his disciples to himself and to one another. Through his death and resurrection he had brought them forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. They were to preach the gospel of God’s forgiveness as ready and waiting for all who repent, and to baptize converts into the fellowship of forgiven sinners.

In the Pauline and Johannine writings the gift of the Spirit and baptism into the fellowship are spoken of as adoption to share in the sonship of Christ (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; John 16:20; 1 John 3:2). Taken by grace and adoption to share in the sonship which is his by nature eternally, the Christian shares the risen Lord’s relationship to the Father in the Spirit. Thus the doctrine of the Trinity is the theological formulation of the nature of God as God has revealed himself in Christ to the members of his continuing earthly body.

Monotheism And Trinitarianism

The first Christians had a Trinitarian religion with a unipersonal theology. The history of the first 400 years ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: