In yesterday’s devotional by John Bunyan, we read his thoughts regarding the Holy Trinity. In today’s blog post I wanted to share a few resources that are available to both believers and non-believers regarding the early Church’s beliefs on the same subject.
The topic of the Trinity is quite deep and can be confusing for not only those who are new to Christianity, but also to those who have been Christians for many years. There are some cults outside of authentic Christianity that are the blame for much of this confusion. They are notorious for twisting the Scriptures, misquoting the early Church Fathers or quoting others out of context. Some of the cults that deny the Scriptural Trinity include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians and certain others. Naïve followers of various anti-Trinitarian cults and sects define the Trinity as being “three gods in one.” This is not how Biblical Christianity defines the Godhead.
To gain a better understanding of this topic, we only need to refer to the Bible itself and what the early Christians wrote about the Trinity. I hope the following basic materials will be of assistance to those who wish to learn more.
- Wiki on the Holy Trinity (Orthodox)
- The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity (Orthodox)
- What the Early Church Believed: The Trinity (Catholic)
- Early Trinitarian Quotes
- The Trinity (Protestant)
- What We Believe (Protestant)
There is nothing in the least liberal or akin to reform in the substitution of pure monotheism for the Trinity. The complex God of the Athanasian Creed may be an enigma for the intellect; but He is far less likely to gather the mystery and cruelty of a Sultan than the lonely god of Omar or Muhammad. The god who is a mere awful unity is not only a king but an Eastern king. The heart of humanity, especially of European humanity, is certainly much more satisfied by the strange hints and symbols that gather round the Trinitarian idea, the image of a council at which mercy pleads as well as justice, the conception of a sort of liberty and variety existing even in the inmost chamber of the world. For Western religion has always felt keenly the idea ‘it is not well for man to be alone.’ The social instinct asserted itself everywhere as when the Eastern idea of hermits was practically expelled by the Western idea of monks. So even asceticism became brotherly; and the Trappists were sociable even when they were silent. If this love of a living complexity be our test, it is certainly healthier to have the Trinitarian religion than the Unitarian. For to us Trinitarians (if I may say it with reverence) – to us God Himself is a society. It is indeed a fathomless mystery of theology, and even if I were theologian enough to deal with it directly, it would not be relevant to do so here. Suffice it to say here that this triple enigma is as comforting as wine and open as an English fireside; that this thing that bewilders the intellect utterly quiets the heart: but out of the desert, from the dry places and, the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone. (G. K. Chesterton)