Trinitarians typically claim that they rely upon the Bible for their theology. I posted two days ago, “What Makes Christianity Christian?” This post begins, “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.”
Mr. DeYoung is pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. I used to play the PGA Tour tournament there many years, on both tours, and because of it I have many fine Christian friends who lived there, and several of them were Presbyterians.
Christ Covenant Church is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America denomination. It adheres to Reformed Theology, and pastor DeYoung is a member of the Gospel Coalition, a group of Christian leaders and scholars which is Reformed.
Christ Covenant Church says on its website, “We believe in the Triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that people are saved by grace alone through faith alone and we believe that the Bible is God-breathed and our only infallible rule for faith and life.” It seems to me that this statement conflicts with what I quoted above from pastor DeYoung. If the Bible is their only infallible rule for faith, then how can pastor DeYoung say the three great ecumenical councils, with their doctrine of the Trinity, is mostly what makes Christianity Christian. Surely this is a contradiction.
But pastor DeYoung and his Christ Covenant Church are no different than most churches about this subject. Most say God is a Trinity and that you must believe this in order to be saved, that is, in order to be a genuine Christian. I know quite well about this. As I say in the above post, I was a Trinitarian for 22 years before I read myself out of it in the Bible and wrote a book about it entitled, The Restitution of Jesus Christ, which is available at my website kermitzarley.com.
Bible scholars who are leading Trinitarians nowadays admit that there is no doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible. That is, the Bible never says that God is three, or God is three persons, or God is a trinity. The word “trinity” does not even appear in the Bible, and neither does the expression “triune God.”
These leading Trinitarians nowadays also admit that Jesus did not claim to be God or even thought he was God. Trinitarian N. T. Wright–the leading New Testament scholar according to his peers and religious publishers–says this without reservation. Wright says in at least two of his books, “I do not think Jesus knew that he was God” (p. 121 in The Challenge of Jesus, and p. 166 in The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, which was co-authored with Marcus J. Borg, who does believe Jesus was God). I could quote numerous evangelical, Trinitarian scholars who now say the same as Wright.
In my opinion, you can’t have it both ways. Either you believe in the Bible, which says God is “one,” or you believe the above-mentioned ecumenical creeds about this. If you believe both, you are believing a contradiction. Thus, to believe what those creeds say about the identity of God and Jesus, you are not really making the Bible your ONLY rule of faith.