I recently read a post on some blog about Mark T. Barclay’s anti-Trinitarian doctrine. (There are so many blogs. WordPress alone hosts over 40 million.) This piqued my curiosity, so I decided to do some research on Barclay’s view of the Trinity as well as the various doctrinal stances on the Trinity (being raised Southern Baptist, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Trinitarian. You just can’t sing the Doxology without it). I want to summarize my findings in this post. I’m also working to secure a phone interview with Barclay to directly ask him what he believes. Stay tuned for that post, if it ever pans out. But first, theology . . .
If you’re going to be any kind of pseudo-theologian on the doctrine of the Trinity, you must first understand why the doctrine is still debated and why some well-meaning Christians fall into the error of denying the Trinity. First and foremost, it must be noted that the term Trinity is not used anywhere in the Bible. The doctrine of the Trinity, or Trinitarian theology as it is also called, was developed and taught in order to explain certain “tensions” that arise in the Bible’s description of God. By “tensions” I am referring to seeming contradictions that arise from God’s description of Himself. Christianity is a strictly monotheistic religion. The God of the Bible has declared, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). The Lord God Himself said, “Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8). The Bible clearly describes God as one God: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” (Deut. 6:4). A tension arises because the Bible also clearly ascribes deity to three persons: the Father (Matt. 6:26-30), the Son (Matthew 3:17, 17:5; John 1:1), and the Spirit (Acts 5:1-4). This seeming contradiction demands an answer to the following question: How can God be one, yet three? As with any sound Christian doctrine, every verse and reference pertaining to that subject must be severely considered and accounted for. The early Church fathers studied the Scriptures and developed the doctrine of the Trinity after taking into consideration all of the Scriptures on the subject, not just one or two. This doctrine explaining the triune nature of the infinite God was given a name, officially adopted, and then taught by the early Church (circa 190 AD).