Drinking Deeply

Friday, April 14, 2006 at 8:50 AM

A question I need to get to:

jefe posted in a comment earlier. It's being posted so my readers can 1) read and respond and 2) keep me accountabile to my promise to respond to it:
theocentric writes:
"If you deny the Trinity, you deny the clear teachings of Scripture. ...the regenerate heart loves the word of God."
let's say we grant both of those points (i'm not so sure, but let's say). does it really follow that trinitarianism is essential to being "saved"?

i don't think that's a valid argument. for instance, the scriptures say that Jehu the son of Jehosaphat conspired against Joram (2 Kings 9.14). the bible's much more explicit on this than any of the claims about the trinity. but i don't think anybody would say this proposition is essential to christian belief. if an ignorant person like me got in an argument with you, saying, "Jehu never conspired against Joram", would you really think that put my savedness into question?

"What kind of God is He? We declare Trinity."
remember, the issue under discussion is not "is trinitarianism true about God?" lots of things are true about god that certainly aren't "essential doctrine". for instance, does god immanently occupy space, or is he "outside of space" (i.e. non-spatial)? you'd have a hard time arguing that having the wrong belief on that count is damnable.

any argument (and there are many) to the effect that some kind of trinitarianism is the most consistent and reasonable position kind of misses this point--unless we say that salvation hinges on our rational virtues. i'm with mickey in saying that runs deeply against the good news of grace.

returning to mickey's post, and taking "essential doctrine" to mean the things that you gotta believe--"what must we believe to be saved?" (not that we're saved by virtue of having the right beliefs, i'd say, but rather, the way we're saved is through god's giving us the right faith.):

now, i could be off base here, but i only know of a couple of propositional statements that scriptural texts say are essential in that way.

1. (a) god exists and (b) he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11.6)

2. god raised jesus from the dead (Romans 10.9)

(you might also want to add "jesus is lord" to that, from the last passage--but i think (and please feel free to correct me) that that's not really a propositional belief: it's more like a statement of allegiance--as the passage goes on, it's a matter of trusting jesus. and that's important--because while our faith does have propositional content, that content is not the core of our faith.)

now that's a darn short list. there may be things i missed--but i really don't think we should be striving to make it longer. remember jesus' words (Luke 11.46): "woe to you who load people down with burdens".

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Blogger jefe said...

dude, i'm honored.  


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