The majority view

The majority view of mainstream Christians today is that unless you believe in the Trinity you are not a Christian.  The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self- Inflicted Wound is a useful resource in examining the doctrine’s history and its impact on Christianity. In addition, the book outlines the arguments from Scripture that are commonly used in support of the doctrine and then systematically demolishes the arguments.

Evidence against the Trinity

Much of the evidence and argument against the Trinity presented in the book would be familiar to Christadelphians, but it is one of the few books which provides such a comprehensive source of evidence and argument against the doctrine.

The authors also provide evidence and quota­tions from Trinitarian writers which contradict the main Trinitarian arguments. This evidence is all the more convincing, coming as it does from Trinitarians themselves!

The book points out that the Old Testament presents us with the clear and unequivocal view that God is one and that there is none beside him. Jesus believed the Old Testament Scriptures and never claimed to be God. In fact when he was accused by the Jews, of making himself equal with God, he denied this charge and instead insisted that he was the Son of God.

Pre-existence of Christ

A considerable amount of time is spent dealing with the idea of the pre-existence of Christ which is closely linked with the idea of the Trinity. It is pointed out that any idea of the pre-existence of Christ in the Bible is based on the fact that Jesus existed in the mind of God before he was born of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. The authors ask the question how could a person who existed from eternity be a descendant of David?

Corruption of the Truth

The book demonstrates how the teaching of a mon­otheistic God and a promised Messiah contained in the Old Testament and confirmed by the New Testament writers was gradually corrupted by the ideas of Greek philosophy. In the second century the belief of God as two-in-one developed. Constantine changed the course of Christian history by merg­ing Christianity, Paganism and the State under the umbrella of the Roman Empire. Although Constantine claimed he was the thirteenth apostle and Christianity adopted Constantine as a great hero, it seems likely that Constantine never aban­doned his worship of the Sun God. After his pro­fessed acceptance of Christianity, Constantine set up a statue of the Sun God bearing his own features!

Although it was Constantine who by official edict brought Christianity to the belief that the Godhead was comprised of God the Father and God the Son, it was a later generation that brought Christianity to the final development of a belief in the Triune God.

A remnant

Despite the doctrine of the Trinity becoming the belief of most Christians, a small remnant of be­lievers down through the centuries have believed in God the Father and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ as separate personalities. Interestingly, the authors nominate amongst these believers the Polish Anabaptists of the 16th century, amongst whom we, as Christadelphians, think we may find our spiritual forbears.

Gospel of John

Many of the scriptural references that Trinitarians seek to use as support for the idea of the pre-existence of Christ and the Trinity come from the Gospel of John and in particular John 1:1. The book tackles all of these references and more besides proving comprehensively that the doctrine of the Trinity has no scriptural foundation.

A word of caution

Readers should note one caution about the book. There are three or four mentions of the words Satan or Devil in contexts which seem to imply that the authors hold the mainstream doctrine of a personal devil. There is however no discussion of this idea.

Availability

The book is recommended as a resource for anyone likely to prepare a lecture on the Trinity. It may be obtained from Sister Fran Caudery at Christadelphian Book and Literature Agents for $22.50 plus $8 for packaging and postage. The price may vary according to movements in the rate of the Australian dollar.