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OFF: Trinity

From:Daniel A. Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Sunday, May 28, 2000, 3:27
From: "Tom Wier" <artabanos@...>

> Danny Wier wrote:
> > Well, I better take that back. Most Christians believe in one God in three > > Persons, thus the Trinity, from "tri-unity". The three Persons are equal in > > divinity and all agree in every way. > > Most? I dunno. Certainly a lot, but there are still a number of monophysite > Christian churches throughout the middle east.
Monophysites (the Orthodox Churches that left the European mainstream centuries before the Eastern-Western Schism, i.e. Syriac, Coptic) believe in the Triniry. They're distinct from Eastern Orthodox and Catholics in that they believe that Jesus Christ, the Son within the Trinity, is of one nature, a divine person with a fully integreated and assimilated human nature. One from two, that is. The Orthodox/Catholic doctrine is that Jesus is fully divine but also fully human, with two natures in perfect union yet still distinct. The only non-Trinitarian churches/movements out there today are the Unitarian-Universalists (Unitarian instead of Trinitarian), who do not believe Jesus is God, as well as groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and The Way Intenational. The Arians of the early history of the Church held similar beliefs, saying that Christ was created, not begotten of the Father from the beginning of time. But another non-Trinitarian movement called Oneness is growing rapidly, especially down here in East Texas (Lufkin is the headquarters of a huge regional evangelistic center); the leading denomination being the United Pentecostal Church International. The Oneness theology says that there is one God, and Jesus Christ is God. But there is no distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. These are merely three titles, or three modes of manifestation and operation, of the one God who is incarnated as Jesus. Baptism in Jesus' name -- literally -- is required for salvation, and the Father-Son-Holy Spirit formula doesn't count. And if one isn't speaking in tongues and prophesying, he doesn't have the Holy Spirit and there is not saved. Other dogmae are that women cannot wear pants, makeup or jewelry and cannot cut their hair, and that the other churches are apostate whose members are to be swiftly evangelized and converted. Oneness theology arose only about a century ago, and divided the fledgling Assemblies of God, which is strongly Trinitarian with a basically Reformed but Arminian doctrinal position. It was an ugly battle, as religious disputes often turn out to be. I realized I tread on dangerous water in this, so if anybody's offended, feel free to bomb my account.
> > Tom asked what should be the definition of a "person". > > [Well, it was more of a rhetorical question, but yes: there're all sorts > of slants you can take on the issue]
Why do peoplpe ask rhetorical questions?
> > It would then be possible for one to determine that God has DID > > since he's one being with three persons, if you assume that "person" is > > synonomous with "personality". After all, God relates to mankind in three > > ways through His three Persons: the Father the Creator, the Son the Savior, > > and the Holy Spirit the Sustainer. > > The Sabellianists (an early group of heretical Christians) got around this > by saying that there's really only one God, but it's just that we call him
> things when he operates in different functions.
The Sabelianists, also known as the Monarchial Modalists, had a similar theology to today's Oneness movement. That was way back, I'm talking second century. I hate it when I digress from the main topic to another, then another, then another, then another, and forget what the hell I was talking about in the first place! (A symptom of both bipolar disorder, manic phase, and schizophrenia, especially disorganized.) But don't worry, God is neither dead nor insane. DaW. "Jesus, save us from your followers!" (seen on a T-shirt in Seattle, WA)