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Doctrine: What’s important?

I haven’t been blogging much lately… but that’s because I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy. I’m back in college this semester as a full-time student, for the first time in ~15 years. It’s been an interesting experience so far. I’m attending Louisiana College, a Baptist school. I’m not there to study religion, but several religion classes are required for all students, and I’m taking some of them this semester. They’ve given me a lot to think about.

What doctrines/beliefs are truly important? Until now, my list was pretty short, simple, and (frankly) vague. Being at LC is challenging my vagueness. It’s not always a comfortable process, but it’s a valuable one. And it’s good for me.

For example, I’ve never heard the doctrine of the Trinity explained with such detail or “forcefulness” before. Of course, most of the churches I attended in my pre-Pentecostal days never actually taught on the Godhead at all. They were Trinitarian on paper & by default — because that’s just the way it was. There was no need to go into detail because as far as we all knew, that was the only option. But when I began to move towards more UPC-like churches, I started to hear a lot of Oneness teaching. It made sense to me… at least in part because it really didn’t seem all that different from the way I pictured God in my head. In fact, if you forced the average Oneness believer and the average Trinitarian believer to talk about the Godhead without using the terms “Oneness” or “Trinity,” it seemed like you’d get mostly similar descriptions. So the issue had become a non-issue for me.

But these two positions are not the same. And they’re not compatible. And despite what each side would like you to believe, neither position is taught explicitly in the Bible the same way that it is explained in texts and apologetic works. And neither position can give a fully satisfying explanation of the Godhead without ultimately acknowledging that certain things are simply a mystery.

So that’s one of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few weeks :) ¬†And I’ll probably blog about it some more now that I’ve “broken the ice” a bit.

One Response to “Doctrine: What’s important?”

  • Don Low says:

    Many years ago I worked with an old Church of Christ pastor who was also a pipe-fitter. I heard him explain one day, to a group who were discussing the oneness/trinity issue, that he had worn out three Bibles, and he knew exactly what he believed, and why. He then went on to say that he believed that God was indeed One, and that He was Three, and the reason he believed that was that the Bible clearly taught both.
    I personally see the issue as being similar to trying to explain to a child that steam, water and ice are all exactly the same substance.