A pastor has issued a “call to arms” to his denomination, concerned that some of his brethren are non-trinitarian in theology and that others who are trinitarian are not militant enough in purging the denominational ranks. Although I do not belong to that denomination, the pastor sent me a copy of his “call to arms,” The following was my response.
The precise nature of God lies beyond the scope of divine revelation and, no doubt, also beyond our ability to fully comprehend. When we discuss topics of such depth and complexity, we do well to speak in measured tones and with obvious humility. Salvation does not come by explaining God, but by trusting him. He does not call us to understand him in his transcendent nature, but to believe, love and obey him as revealed in Jesus Christ.
Whatever Scripture clearly affirms regarding what Christians traditionally refer to as “trinitarian” doctrine, we are required to affirm. Whatever honors the Word of God bestows on the Son of God, we are privileged and required to bestow. We are not required by God (and therefore must not be required by any human being) to embrace or teach nonbiblical language in trying to explain the nature of deity, however logical that language might seem or however long it has been used by a majority of those calling themselves Christians.
Make no mistake — I am a trinitarian, as I understand that term. I sing, praise, worship and pray to “God in three persons” — although I am quick to confess that I understand very little of what that really means. I am certainly not ready to take up a spiritual sword against godly men and women of faith who do not understand that matter fully either, and who might be less ready than I am to use nonbiblical language to describe what they do understand.
May we be reminded of the exhortations of the Lord’s brother James, to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.” Indeed, we must always hear our Savior’s “call to arms” — against the world, the flesh and the devil. But we must be equally vigilent lest mistaken zeal finds us fighting our brother or sister who also serves God in the Spirit, and for whom Christ also died.