Blaspheming a Blasphemy
by: Mark Armstrong
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It's somewhat rare for the details of "Christian" dogma to receive play on the wire services and get carried by name brand newspapers and websites. But the door to the normally "off-limits" subject of the "Trinity" just swung wide open.
Run the dial on mainstream "Christian" broadcasting, and you'll hear it told in no uncertain terms that the doctrine of the, Trinity is the foundation of the Christian faith, the cornerstone of all doctrine; it is absolutely necessary that you accept it if you hope to achieve salvation and avoid "everlasting fire." Simply put, according to all the mainstream churches, Catholic and Protestant, you simply are not a Christian unless you submit to the doctrine of the Trinity!
National news was made over recent days when the Presbyterian church released a paper to be sent "to local churches for study," suggesting that it would be helpful to sanction the use of alternative "non gender specific" terms to help their congregations understand the Trinity. A tall order to say the least.
The following quote is from the Richmond Times - Dispatch. "The Trinity is poorly understood by many congregations, according to the report. The task force that prepared it (the Presbyterian paper) sought fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God and to help the church renew its faith in the Trinity (emphasis mine throughout this article). Many people want the church to avoid gender exclusive terms, such as father and son. Some pastors already use language in their liturgies that is neither human nor gender-specific." The Times -Dispatch article did not mention the suggested alternative terms, but they were carried in numerous other stories including the AP wire service. The alternate terms included "mother, child and womb" (actually tends toward the gender specific, doesn't it?), and "rock, redeemer and friend."
Scholars are aware that the term Trinity does not appear in the Bible but that the concept is put forth in a document known as "The Athanasian Creed." It's a pretty safe bet that a majority of "lay-Christains" are not aware of "The Athanasian Creed," where it came from, who wrote it, or for that matter just exactly what it is supposed to mean. As was stated in the Presbyterian report, the concept is "poorly understood" among their own congregations who no doubt hear it referenced, if not explained, on a regular basis.
The "Athanasian Creed" is recognized as the foundational and definitive statement on the concept of the Trinity. Shouldn't it be required reading for those being told they have to accept it if they are to have any hope of salvation? Or might it cause something of a problem for Protestants when they read in the first sentence, "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." This is one of only a very limited number of clear statements contained within the creed You'd think Protestants who accept the doctrine would be interested to know that its defining document condemns them for eternity unless they "hold the Catholic Faith."
The Creed goes on to say, "For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost." Soon, of course it will tell you that there are no persons at all, but one "Uncomprehensible" as you will see.
The interesting thing is, that according to the Catholic Encyclopedia article which includes the Athanasian Creed, they don't know who wrote it! That's right. It has been attributed to the influence of Saint Athanasius, but their scholars are certain he didn't write it. It is just obvious from the content and language that it must have come from his influence, they explain.
The Catholic Encyclopedia article also opines that the Athenasian Creed probably appeared around the fourth or fifth century. But some of their respected (Catholic) scholars are absolutely certain that it couldn't have been in circulation prior to the ninth century, and they admit all this!
You're invited to read the entire article for yourself, as it is online and will appear early in any search for "The Athanasian Creed." You will see toward the end of the Catholic article that this creed is elevated to a par with Jesus' own words, and that "damnatory clauses" pertain to any who refuse to accept it. And the last two sentences of the article sum up the astonishing arrogance of the institution. "From a dogmatic standpoint, the merely historical question of the authorship of the Creed, or of the time it made its appearance, is of secondary consideration. The fact alone that it is approved by the Church as expressing its mind on the fundamental truths with which it deals, is all we need to know."
The Catholic Church demands you accept a doctrine based on a creed named after a man they are sure didn't write it, that appeared either in the fourth, fifth or maybe ninth century (according to their reckoning) and says you will accept it or face damnation. According to their explanation, apparently even God Himself (a concept the doctrine confuses) can't save you if you don't sign on to this "masterpiece" of mysterious origin.
It may be somewhat controversial to print the "Athanasian Creed" here, but in the interest of comparing it to so much that has been said and written about it and about the almost universal "Christian" acquiescence to the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, it seems necessary. But first, a glowing descriptive reference from Protestant church historian, Philip Schaff. "Beyond the [Athanasian] Creed the orthodox development of the doctrine in the Roman and Evangelical churches to this day has made no advance. (My take, they haven't been able to improve on this rendition of who God is in all this time, Catholics or Protestants.) The Creed is unsurpassed as a masterpiece of logical clearness, rigor, and precision..." You get the point. It goes on to say how important it has been in protecting against heresies, and how it "clearly and concisely sums up he results of the Trinitarian and Christological controversies of the ancient church."
Amazing how neither Jesus nor the apostles recognized the need to spell out the doctrine of the Trinity, or even mention the concept! But I digress. Now, please read the "masterpiece of logical clearness." It would be good to read it in its entirety, even though it can be a bit difficult. At least you'll know exactly what all the mainstream denominations demand you accept as the "cornerstone of the Christian faith."
No question that there are some true statements contained in the Creed, such as "He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead..." Too bad that there are even more obvious contradictions! And according to all of mainstream Christianity, you must buy into all that you just read, worshiping a Trinity or you are sadly deceived, and a potential danger to other Christians. One last thought. If the Lord will not hold him guiltless that "taketh His name in vain," how about "religious" entities that seek to confuse and distort the very concept of God and pronounce damnation on whoever will not submit! Congregations are having trouble understanding the doctrine of the Trinity? Surely not!
The Athanasian Creed
"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Coeternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved."