I hadn't talked to my friend for some time, so I decided to give him a call. I realized that I had been kind of an annoyance to him, and that he had been fairly busy lately, but I had been reading his articles, and had some questions about a few things that he seemed to be purporting.
Unusually ( I think, sometimes that he screens his calls ); he picked up the phone on the first ring, like he was glad to hear from me, or something! 'Hello, brother Jeremiah; I'm glad you called: I've been thinking about you lately, but I've been so busy...........'. I was a bit surprised to hear this, and so did not reply for an almost stunned moment, so he said again, 'Hello?' I quickly gathered my thoughts, and responded with a slightly hesitant, 'Hi Chuck?'
'What's up, brother?', he asked. I told him that I'd been reading some of his articles in which he seemed to be denying, rather than affirming, as the 'church' has for years ( 2,000+ ), the doctrine of the Trinity. 'What about all the instances where Scripture seems to name three distinct persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?'
'What about them?', he asked. As he went on to explain that, while Father and Son could be perceived as two 'persons', the 'Holy Spirit' was not ( necessarily ) any third member of a God-head, or 'Trinity; I interrupted him at once, reminding him that, while the term 'Trinity' is not found in the Bible, the principle of ( and the term ) 'the God-head' most certainly is!
'Believe me', Jer, he said, 'I have thought, studied, listened, and prayed abut this; I realize that there is a God-head, that much is clear, from Paul's statement in Colossians 2:9, 'For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily'. I realize too, that, in places like Genesis 1:26a, where God said 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness', that there is an obvious reference to a 'person' other than Himself, yet not really other than Himself, for we know there is only one God........................
My friend continued, 'did you realize that, by many historical accounts, the doctrine of 'the trinity', or three persons in one god, existed long before Christianity, and that the Christian doctrine was only fully 'theorized', or set down, by Tertullian, in the 3rd or 4th century ( AD )'?
'Yes', I replied, 'I had heard that, and there is not only that evidence which seems to detract from its canonization, but also the fact that parts of I John 5:7 & 9 do not appear in the older Greek manuscripts, nor in the passage as quoted by many of the early Church Fathers'. As this is the clearest evidence, besides the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19, for a 'Trinity'; I believe that we can safely question the doctrine.
'Even though there may be something to this' I asked him, 'should we be debating, or trying to debunk, this doctrine, since there are so many brothers and sisters out there, who hold on to this doctrine for dear life, and if we only upset them, or ( God forbid ) cause them to stumble, by refuting it, should we even try; is it really that dangerous of a doctrine, that we should risk alienating the brethren, by denouncing it?'
He had a good point, I had to admit, but when I reminded him that, although it was not a matter for division, but for discussion, there was always the danger of focusing on a singular aspect of the God-head, or 'Trinity', and in the process, worshiping a different 'God' ( although not really a different God, but only a different perception of Him, often a false, humanistically boxed-in one ), I think he began to see my point as well.
'I realize that we can find numerous examples of a trinity in nature as well,' he said, 'but are these really occurrences, or symbols/signs of a 'trinity', or are we projecting our idea of a 'trinity' onto nature? Sure, we can see that our sun is one body, but has three different aspects, those being that we can feel the sun's heat, even though we can't ( necessarily ) see the rays, it gives us power ( in many different ways ), and it gives us light'.
I had to remind him at this juncture that he had written several articles a number of years ago, in which he had tried to show that even the creation account itself ( Genesis 1 & 2 ) was merely symbolic of God's covenant with His people, and that this would seem to point toward a projection of the notion of 'three-in-one' ( trinity ) onto nature, rather than perceiving it in nature.
'I see what you're saying, my friend', he replied, 'but though nature itself does point us to our Creator, my point in writing those articles was not to prove this, but to show how the 'creation account' was, not so much a literal record of the creation of the universe, or even of the physical earth, but rather, was relayed in such a way as to reveal His covenant, and the spiritual nature of His workings'.
I had to concede his point, but I didn't want to give to much assent to his postulation, not wanting him to get any more 'puffed up' than he already was! ( by this time; I've begun to see that its usually best not to praise his efforts over-much ) As he had made his point; I reminded him that, although this may be true, it was not ( necessarily ) a matter for debate, or division, and while this view could potentially be, and has been dangerous to our theology, as orthodoxically portrayed, was not ( necessarily ) harmful. Having said my piece; I told him goodbye, thanked him for calling, and hung up.