Well, I did it again! I stepped into another discussion about the Nature of God and was branded a heretic, not a “real” Christian. And, I was accused of spreading lies about other people’s faith. The discussion started on a facebook page devoted to people who consider themselves politically libertarian who are self described Christians. I didn’t think that was the appropriate place to argue theology and decided to defend myself on my personal blog. I have only been a part of that group for a short time. I have been told twice by two different members that I am not a Christian. I find it discomforting that people who espouse with their words (and sometimes with their vote) that they believe in freedom and liberty would not allow others the gift of free thought.
I consider myself and monotheist and reject what I have been taught is the “right” Trinitarian view of God. I didn’t always assert that I was a monotheist. I accepted the church teaching on the tri-unity of God. Then, I was given a wonderful gift. I adopted a child who was not successful in the public school system. I brought her home to school and in the process I learned a lot! We were studying art when I encountered Hendrik van Balen’s The Holy Trinity. I had, of course, seen this before. But, this time I was looking at it with purpose. The illustration was supposed to be a jump off point for our discussion about God. How would I respond? My first thought was, “That isn’t what I believe.” I believed in one God and assumed that is what my church taught. As I studied further, I realized that I had never understood what my church taught. I found the illustration above in notes from an adult Sunday school class in a notebook I kept with old sermon notes. I read that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons of the Trinity that are co-equal and co-Eternal.
For several years, I have studied the Hebrew Bible, the Apostolic Writings and the Church Fathers in my attempt to understand the nature of God. The God of the Hebrew Bible created space and time and is not limited by them. He is incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipowerful. This is the God I worship with a sense of wonder, fear and awe. I believe in the Holy Spirit as the power of the one God, not as a third person of the Trinity. There is not one example in the New Testament of worship being directed at the Spirit of God.
Despite the fact that the Ancient Church inherited from the Jewish heritage a disdain for pagan idols, she worshiped Christ as the image of God. Being several centuries removed from pagan Rome, I doubt we can ever fully grasp the significance identifying Christ as the image or their God. This was not an idol of silver and gold, the work of man’s hands! Christ was the very image of God revealed by God. The incarnate, crucified and risen Lord!
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
~ Romans 10:9
I have been blogging since 2006 and I have written about my views on the Trinity three times. Sometimes I think I should just drop it, but then I read something like, “The Kingdom and Throne of our Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven and the earth is His Footstool” and the writer reference Isaiah 66:1. That verse isn’t about Christ. It is in the Hebrew Bible and is talking about the incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipowerful Creator God, the one Christians call the Father. We, the corporate we that includes many people in the church, are confused about the most basic aspect of our faith who and what we worship. And, I think this error results in behaviors and thoughts that are unflattering at best and just plain old sin at their worst.
First, I know I am a very visual learner. I know also that I like ideas and concepts that are small enough to fit easily in my brain. It would be very tempting and easy for me to right size God by focusing on Christ. He is more tangible, more manageable. But, that would be worshiping the image and not the God. It could easily become idolatry. I have chosen not to use icons or statues in my personal worship. It is one of the tools I use to help me stay focused on the wonder, fullness and bigness of God.
Second, there seems to be a “humanization” of the incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipowerful God that people use to lift up a human attribute as better. There is a male Father and Son that is used in paternalistic cults to lift up maleness and masculinity and to subjugate femaleness and femininity. There are white gods and black gods to lift up a race of people. The God of the Bible is neither male nor female. He is not defined by or associated with a racial group. He is Creator of all.
Last, I don’t believe American Christians have a clear idea or understanding of Christ as Lord and King. As members of the body of Christ, we are all theocrats: we all live under the headship of a king. Our kingdom values have been outlined for us in the Sermon on the Mount. We have already submitted to a ruler and we should not give our unquestioned allegiance to any political party or human government. Our future hope is already secured. We don’t have to vote right or make sure the right man is in office. We don’t have to use our combined political strength to interfere with other people’s right to self determination. Our kingdom is not of this world.
Some people might read this and think, you are using different words, but you are really a Trinitarian and you can think that. I already know that any truly orthodox understanding of God must be able to articulate itself in light of what is found in Scripture.
“Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”
~ 1 Corinthians 8:6
But, kicking me out of the fellowship of Christians? I don’t believe you have biblical grounds.