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What Makes Christianity Christian? | Kermit Zarley

What Makes Christianity Christian?

What Makes Christianity Christian? September 22, 2018

Christian pastor and author Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church (I don’t know where), says of the doctrine of the Trinity, “If any doctrine makes Christianity Christian, then surely it is the doctrine of the Trinity. The three great ecumenical creeds–the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed–are all structured around our three-in-one God, underlying the essential importance of Trinitarian theology.”

No way! I was a Trinitarian for 22 years. Then I saw the light in the Holy Bible about this subject and wrote a 600-page book about it, The Restitution of Jesus Christ (available at kermitzarley.com), citing 400+ scholars. What “makes Christianity Christian” is, first of all, the New Testament of the Bible. It says nothing about God being three or a trinity. That is a false doctrine. God is “one,” not three. And no wrangling about words can twist like a pretzel that “one” into a “three.” God is a single person, whom Jesus called “Father.”

The NT gospel sayings of Jesus and the letters of the Apostle Paul certainly do not say God is three or use the word “trinity” to describe God. In fact, Paul writes, “If anyone teaches false doctrines and and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6.3 NIV). Paul also writes, “What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1.13-14). And Jude, Jesus’ brother, writes, “I … urge you to contend for the faith that God has once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). So, Christians are commanded to guard the original gospel, not change it into something else. The development of the doctrine of the Trinity was a departure from the biblical teaching that God is “one.”

And the Nicene Creed is not “structured around our three-in-one God,” as pastor De Young says. He needs to become better informed. See my post, “The Doctrine of the Trinity Was Not Established at Nicea, in 325.”

Trinitarian scholar R.P.C. Hanson established himself as the preeminent authority on the development of Christian doctrine during the 4th century with his book, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381 (1988, Baker). He writes in it (pp. 741, 748), “When we examine the creeds and confessions of faith which were so plentifully produced between the years 325 and 350, we gain the overwhelming impression that no school of thought during that period was particularly interested in the Holy Spirit…. It was Athanasius of Alexandria who first faced squarely the subject of the Holy Spirit.”

Hanson correctly informs that it was Athanasius’ letter in 360, which posed a question about the constitution of the Holy Spirit, that prompted the three Cappadocians to write their three treatises on the Holy Spirit in the 370s. That in turn caused the next ecumenical council, in 381. There, the doctrine of the Trinity was first officially established, yet without using that word Trinity because it was still controversial among Christians.

Hanson, a Trinitarian, admits (p. 872), “There is no doubt, however, that the pro-Nicene theologians throughout the controversy were engaged in a process of developing doctrine and consequently introducing what must be called a change in doctrine.” It was clearly wrong for church fathers to have made this very significant change in doctrine. For Moses wrote on behalf of God, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you” (Deuteronomy 4.2). The main command Moses gave them was this: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, LORD is one” (6.4). The doctrine of the Trinity is a clear departure from this teaching.

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