2 Peter 2:1-3a
I posted this on my Facebook page a couple of days ago:
But, everything is not okay.
For the last five months I have consistently encountered Christian organizations (music companies, creative types, retreat centers, publishers, churches, etc.) who are promoting the works of non-Trinitarians.
Now let me pause here and say that I do not believe a person has to intellectually ascent to all the essential doctrines for salvation. A person needs to trust in Jesus Christ, crucified, buried and resurrected, for the forgiveness of their sins.
But, the doctrine of the Trinity is essential for Christianity. Both Protestants and Roman Catholics agree on this. To reject the doctrine of the Trinity, is to take oneself outside of the realm of Christianity.
A person has every right to reject the doctrine, but they cannot simultaneously claim to be operating in the realm of Christianity.
Back to the story. As I have brought this issue to the various individual organizations, their leaders have consistently shrugged, yawned and said all they cared about was whether the person believed in Jesus or not.
This all came to a head for me a couple of days ago as I stumbled upon a non-Trinitarian author being promoted by a self-identified Christian publisher. A publisher I love. A publisher I have never bought a bad book from. So, I brought it to the publisher’s attention and he was unconcerned, and even celebrated the fact that we could come to the same Scriptures and draw different conclusions. I wrote a lengthy e-mail back, entreating him to talk to pastors, seminary professors and consult multiple systematic theologies about the importance of the doctrine… and he wrote a short response that he held an M.Div. from a Baptist seminary. He was “at peace” with his position.
At that moment I felt sick to my stomach. I was horrified. I actually began to cry.
After running across the rejection of the Trinity as an essential doctrine for five months, after not seeking this out but it just coming to my attention, after hearing a seminary-trained person dismiss the importance of the Trinity . . . I felt broken.
Every time I expressed concern, the issue was compared to things like baptism, interpretation of Revelation, music-style and even the color carpet a church chooses. This thing, they say, shouldn’t divide us.
Was I crazy? Was I wrong here? Does this really matter? I knew that it did, and I knew my church and associates would affirm my conviction.
But, I was utterly grieved. And not only that, but I decided that I needed to submit myself and humble myself, so I reached out to one of my seminary professors, Dr. Alan Gomes. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t becoming a heretic-hunting fire-breathing pastor.
Dr. Gomes wrote back almost immediately and said:
Do not be discouraged: your labor for the Lord is not in vain. You are fulfilling your calling by what you are doing. And I sense that you know this, deep down. Continue to stand firm and don’t let it get to you.
We live in an age of great theological confusion and muddle—in which the degree of “peace” someone has about his or her position is somehow the test of whether that position is true. What utter nonsense! Yet, when you keep encountering people who think like this (if one can really call that “thinking”) it can tend to make you wonder whether everyone else is sane and you are the oddball. Don’t second guess yourself on this. You know the truth about this and don’t budge on it even if it seems like you’re the only one out there. In fact, you’re not alone, but it may feel like it at times. But even if no other person in your orbit agreed with you, you’ve got the Apostolic witness on your side (Scripture). That was good enough for Luther, good enough for Athanasius, and it’s good enough for you and me.
I’m still weeping.
The doctrine of the Trinity, you see, isn’t a contrivance of the Church. No, it is richly testified to in the Scriptures. The basic definition is: one God who eternally exists in three persons. (This is by, no means, a technical definition).
We see three types of texts that show us the nature of God: 1. There is only one God. 2. The distinction of each of the persons of the Godhead. 3. The full divinity of each of the persons.
Because it matters which Jesus we follow.
Do we follow the jesus of Mormonism who was just a man who became one of many gods?
Do we follow the jesus of Jehovah Witnesses who was created by God, and not God himself?
Do we follow the jesus of Arius who was a mighty and powerful creature, but not God?
Do we follow the jesus of the modalists who crucify God the Father on the cross and taught us that jesus humbled himself by submitting to himself?
Do we follow the jesus of Pelagius who was merely a good moral teacher that showed us the best way to live.
No. No. No. No. No.
I follow the Jesus of the Bible. The Son of God! Co-equal. Co-Eternal. Who stooped down. Who humiliated himself by taking on human flesh! Lived the perfect life I could not live. Who willingly sacrificed himself in my place. And rose from the dead! Resurrected in a new, glorified body! I don’t believe in a jesus who showed me how to live… I serve the Jesus who gave me the power to live. I serve the Jesus who sent the Holy Spirit, also co-equal and co-eternal, who comforts me, leads me, guide me and transforms me!
I serve King Jesus: Fully God, Fully man. Fully God otherwise his sacrifice would be insufficient to cover over my sins. Fully man otherwise he could not atone for my sins.
Have I given an argument for the Trinity here? No. Only a brief note on why the Trinity is important. Much smarter and much wiser people than I have written much better presentations than I could present. I suppose if there is good interest in this post I will supply additional resources.
I also must note that I am still praying about releasing the names of organizations who have communicated to me their acceptance of non-Trinitarians as Christians. I don’t really want to do this, but I am consulting mentors who are wiser than me.
But, make no mistake, this is a serious issue.
A neighbor is running up to the gatekeepers of the sheep-folds. There are wolves among the flock. The gatekeepers look back into the pen, a wolf is approaching one of the sheep. The gatekeepers turn back to the neighbor and say, “That’s just a big sheep. We celebrate diversity.” The wolf grabs the sheep by the neck and starts carrying it off.
The neighbor screams, “He’s dragging off the sheep.”
The gatekeepers say, “They’re having a difference of opinion, just let them work it out.”
The neighbor yells, “That wolf just snapped the neck of the sheep… he’s eating his entrails!”
The gatekeepers don’t even turn around and say, “We’re at peace with identifying that as a large sheep. Goodbye.”
My family is safe, yes. But the gatekeepers are watching wolves fatten themselves on the flock.
This issue has already burned a number of bridges for me. Wonderful opportunities are no more.
But it is worth it.
I’ll burn every bridge I have to, and allow my name to be turned to ash… if only to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.