The Betrayal of Tradition

It’s interesting to learn that the words tradition and treason both come from the same Latin word. “Traddutore” is the root word from which we get words like treason, traitor and betrayal. How fitting! This understanding helps bring into focus how easily human traditions can betray of the intent and will of God. “Traduttore” in the words of one writer “refers to the idea that translation is always a betrayal of the true meaning of the original.” This simply refers to the difficulty of accurately translating thoughts and ideas from one language to another. It seems especially apt when you consider how man’s traditions are so often a betrayal of the true intent of God. History shows that translating God’s will into religious traditions often distorts and betrays God’s true intention. Is it possible that this insight is relevant to the tradition of the trinity?

Man’s Misguided Love of Religious Traditions

There aren’t many things Jesus condemned more fiercely than the traditions of men. He looked Israel’s leaders in the eye and declared “it is written” before going on to condemn their traditions. Jesus knew full well that man’s misguided love of religious traditions would ultimately lead to His own torture and crucifixion. The rulers of Israel hated Him for pointing out that their love of tradition was actually treason against God! Could it be that devotion to the trinity is an example of people loving tradition to the point of treason? The sad truth is that it’s all too easy to put more faith in tradition than in scripture.

People Kill to Protect Their Traditions

People kill to protect their traditions and then claim they are doing it for God. Jesus said the traditions of Israel violated God’s will and  portrayed its leaders as a band of traitors! Calling them vipers, ravening wolves and hypocrites was hardly the way to make friends. History shows that challenging religious traditions can get you killed…. and that is exactly what happened to Jesus.

The Tragically Violent History of Christianity

The tragically violent history of Christianity reveals that anyone who dares to challenge well-established church traditions (i.e the trinity, infant baptism, meaning of communion, etc.) stands a very good chance of getting killed. Over the centuries, multiplied thousands of Christians have been tortured and slaughtered by those who claimed to kill them for God’s sake. Simply disagreeing about things like the trinity or baptism (or even owning the wrong books) has gotten more than a few believers burned at the stake. Unbelievers see these things all too clearly. Is it any wonder so many of them want nothing to do with Christianity? Jesus meant it when said “By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

Is the Trinity Theological Treason?

There is nothing more entrenched or fiercely defended in Christianity than the doctrine of of the trinity.  History reveals it actually took threats of death, torture and banishment to establish the trinity as orthodoxy. On the other hand, we are of the opinion that God can take care of the truth Himself. He doesn’t ask His people to resort to violence on His behalf. Jesus never killed anyone and neither did His Apostles. The tradition of the trinity, on the other hand, would never have been established or come to dominate Christendom without violence. We suggest that the trinity is much less a divine truth than an unfortunate mis-translation of God’s revelation that has hardened into an unquestioned tradition. That’s why we wonder… Is the trinity theological treason?

Copyright 2023 by Bob Shutes

What is the Hypostatic Union?

Ask the average person on the street about the hypostatic union and you’ll be greeted with a blank stare. Is it a labor union and members pay dues? Perhaps it’s a group of specially trained workers who unionized for better pay and benefits like the AFL-CIO? Do they specialize in something to do with static electricity? Who knows? We scratch our heads and wonder.  Can anyone can understand the hypostatic union? What exactly is the hypostatic union anyway?

The Mysterious Hypostatic Union

If you ask a theologian about the hypostatic union you’ll get an earful! Trinitarian scholars have conjectured that Jesus had two natures! They theorize that Jesus was God and a Man joined into one body by way of the mysterious hypostatic union.  Although He had a human nature it was somehow “impersonal” so He wasn’t really a genuine human being at all even though He seemed to have been formed from a human blueprint. He was “man but not a man”. This theory claims God inhabited a vacant human body! These are novel intellectual gymnastics but scripture does not indulge in this kind of thinking. Not for one minute, not for one second, never.

Jesus Christ is One of Us

Jesus said, “I am a man who has told you the truth I heard from God but now you want to kill me. Abraham wouldn’t have done that.” (John 8:40) The Apostle Peter said Jesus was “a man attested by God to you by miracles wonders and signs  which God did through Him in your midst” (Acts 2:22)  Moses prophecied about Jesus declaring “a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto thee, from the midst of thee, of your brethren, like unto me”. Now Moses was a great man indeed but he was still a man and Moses claimed this prophet would be like him. (Deureronomy 18:15) These are straightforward and understandable Bible verses. Do you really think we have to believe in a hypostatic union or an impersonal human nature to make sense of them?  We don’t think so either.

Jesus Said “I Am a Man”

Jesus never claimed to be God Himself but He did claim to be the Christ. He told us plainly that He was a man, a human being like us. “I am a man who has told you the truth!” He was a man who came in His Father’s name, did the works His Father showed Him and spoke the words His Father put in His mouth. (John 14:24) Jesus was a perfect man and His courage, compassion and sacrifice on Calvary were all intensely personal.  We declare that anti-scriptural notions like the “hypostatic union” and Jesus’ so-called “impersonal human nature” detract from the beauty and glory of His life.

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes

PS: This is what most Christians believed in the first three centuries of the Christian faith… and what many believers are re-discovering in our times. These are wonderful and ancient beliefs and if you get the chance please share them. God Bless.

Hee Haw Theology

Words Should Mean Something

Words should mean something… unless of course we are talking about the trinity, in which case all bets are off. Hang on tight because here we go! God is One but He is Three. God is one Essence and three Persons and this is not tritheism but is really monotheism. How easy was that? God is one and God is three and that’s all there is to it! All we have to do is agree that words don’t really mean anything. This helps us revere an idea that we can’t even begin to understand in any sensible way. We are left asking the question: Does the trinity mean anything?

Hee Haw Theology

Most of us grew up believing that one means one and three means three and that pretty much settled it. Had it not been for the work of Platonic philosophers who latched onto Christianity with a vengeance we might have continued believing this old fashioned truth in blissful ignorance. But no! When the Bible declares that God is One it doesn’t mean one at all, it means three which now equals one. To believe it all we have to do is dispense with the pesky idea that words actually mean something understandable and sensible. One trinitarian writer even suggests we dispense with grammar altogether and start speaking of God as, “He are and They is.” We could call this kind of thinking “He Are Theology” but calling it “Hee Haw Theology” is more fun.

If God is Not Someone…What is He?

Classic Trinitarian sleight of hand claims that although God is three persons He (It?) is just one God. C.S Lewis helps us make sense of all this by declaring, “We must remind ourselves that Christian theology does not believe God to be a person.” In simple terms this means that God is not a divine individual at all. He is not really someone, He is something! This lines up perfectly with the oft expressed idea that “God is one what and three who’s“. What’s so hard about that? All we have to do is change our thinking! Instead of asking “Who is God? we should be asking “What is God?”… but somehow that doesn’t seem to reflect Biblical thought at all does it?

Trinitarian Logic

Monotheism with three “persons” is a lot like monogamy with three wives. Trinitarian logic would let you claim that although you are married to three different women you have only one wife and are a firm believer in monogamy.  We say polygamy is not monogamy and the trinity is not monotheism. Simply claiming you believe in monotheism doesn’t make it true. Once you gut words of their meanings you can say anything you like no matter how absurd or illogical it might be. This dear friend is what we are faced with when we consider the most hallowed of all our religious traditions, the trinity.

A More Biblical Approach

A far better and more biblical approach is to simply declare that there is just one God, One Eternal Supreme Being we call the Father. He meant what He said when He declared “I alone am God and there is no other God beside me!” He is the Father of Eternity and the Father of Spirits. He is most assuredly a personal God. Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Savior, is His only begotten Son. These are the words and teachings of scripture and they mean something understandable. Someday these words will judge our beliefs and everyone, including you, will believe they mean what they say.

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes

PS: I would like to thank everyone who visits and takes the time to read the things we post on this website. I know it has been awhile since new posts have been published but we press on  and will try to be more diligent in the future. God Bless and thanks for your patience.

Who Owns the Trinity?

There is a world of difference between the mysteries of men and the mystery of God. Divine mysteries are spiritual truths that were formerly hidden but are now meant to be understood. Man’s mysteries are something else altogether and can be permanently impossible to understand. Scholars declare the trinity is a mystery that is beyond understanding and we agree! Since the trinity is so utterly incomprehensible we ask ourselves, who owns the Trinity? Is it God’s mystery… or is it ours?

The Greatest Divine Mystery

There’s no doubt that the greatest divine mystery of all is the revelation of God Himself and His plan for the ages in His Son Jesus Christ. This is something we can definitely understand and that God wants us to understand! Our inheritance includes “the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God and of the Father and of Christ.” (Colossians 2:2) God did not leave us in the dark about Himself.  When Christians though are pressed to explain the trinity they usually say,  “It’s a great mystery that no one can understand.” A highly educated orthodox bishop once told me the trinity is “a vague nebulousness” but he believed it anyway. We just can’t help but  wonder… who actually owns the trinity?

Does Anyone Understand the Trinity?

One of the most peculiar things about the trinity is that even people who claim to believe it wholeheartedly confess they have no idea at all of what it really means. We ask, “Does anyone honestly understand the trinity?” In an effort to explain how God can be one “substance” in three co-equal and co-eternal “persons” some have proclaimed that God is “One What and Three Who’s”. We say “who could fail to love a God like that?” To this day no one can explain precisely what a divine “person”  is and how such a “person” differs from God’s “substance”. Where did men ever get the idea that God is some type of substance anyway? The answer is pretty clear, they got it from Greek philosophy because the Bible never says things like that about God!

How to Explain the Trinity

Common trinitarian illustrations include “God is like an apple with skin, seeds and flesh but it is just one apple.” And let’s not forget other well-known explanations of the trinity such as God is like an egg with shell, egg-white and yoke but it’s just one egg!  Or God is like water, steam and ice! Do any of these things reveal God to us? Even more impressive than these examples is that most Christians subscribe to the notion that God is like a triangle!  One modern theologian has stated that “The Trinity reveals God more as a verb than a noun.” Did you notice that none of these illustrations have anything at all to do with scripture? Maybe that’s because the trinity has nothing at all to do with the Biblical mystery of God.

The Trinity is Officially a Mystery

Isaac Newton found the trinity to be “unintelligible, it was not understood at the Council of Nicea… nor ever since”. Newton also wrote that “the debates at Nicea had more to do with Plato and Aristotle than with Jesus.” Thomas Jefferson wrote “The Athanasian paradox that one is three, and three but one is so incomprehensible to the human mind that no candid man can say he has any idea of it.”  We affirm that the trinity is a man-made bafflement and a nonsensical philosophical abstraction. Perhaps the trinity is officially a mystery because it is man-made and doesn’t have much to do with God at all.

The Biblical Mystery of God and Christ

The divine revelation and Biblical mystery and  of God and Christ is both clear and understandable. The One and only God we know as the Father miraculously brought about the birth of His only Son Jesus, who is God’s Christ and our Savior and Messiah. This Jesus was crucified for our sake, rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God! He has promised to return to earth someday and set up a kingdom that will never end. Believers in every age have looked forward to this blessed hope. Compared to the philosophical abstractions of men, the Biblical mystery of God and Christ reveals divine truths in ways even children can understand… and we like God’s approach a lot better.

Copyright  2022 by Bob Shutes

God Has No Equal

God the Father

The doctrine of the Trinity insists that you believe Jesus is a divine “person” who is equal with the Father. To us this seems glaringly at odds with a host of scriptures that clearly and explicitly say otherwise. God our Father even seems a little indignant when He asks “To whom then will you liken me or shall I be equal?” (Isaiah 40:25) and in another place He says “I am YHWH and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” (Isaiah 45:5) The Old Testament is filled with statements like these and the New Testament likewise declares the unique supremacy and singularity of God’s Being. “For us (Christians) there is one God, the Father, and no other besides Him.” (I Cor 8:4-6)

Trinitarian Dogma Says God is Not Even a Person!

The trinitarian dogma we have inherited insists that God is not even a person! C.S. Lewis said it this way, “We must remind ourselves that Christian theology does not believe God to be a person.” I would suggest that instead listening to C.S. Lewis we should remind ourselves that this kind of thinking is radically anti-biblical. How is it even possible that our theology has reduced God to some type of “substance” or “essence”? Another good question is this… Is Jesus Christ or any other being equal with God the Father?

The Trinity Says God is One Substance

Scripture has been subjugated to philosophy to create the illusion that God is a single essence or substance instead of a single divine Being. In the words of one writer, “God is one what in three whos” (whatever that means). The truth that the God of Israel is an intensely personal God has been replaced by a new belief that God should be thought of as one divine “essence or substance” instead of one Supreme Being. This drastic change transforms the God of Israel into an incomprehensible abstraction thereby depersonalizing the most personal of all beings!

The Trinity Has Some Big Problems

One Catholic scholar observes “a fundamental crisis over plausibility and acceptance of the church’s Christology (read trinity). Incomprehensibility, complexity and remoteness from life and the Bible are the themes of a crisis of belief.” Another notable Trinitarian scholar has acknowledged “We may have to admit that we don’t really know in what way God is one and in what different way He is three.” These are open admissions of the weakness and failure of trinitarian theology. We appreciate this kind of honesty! These are modern scholars who recognize the trinity has some very big problems.

The Bible Says God Has No Equal

On the other hand, “We speak that we do know…” (John 3:11) “For us there is one God, the Father, and no other besides Him” (I Cor 8:4-6) “For us there is one God the Father, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Tim 2:5) There is only one divine person we call God and He has no equal. We know Him as the Father and Jesus Christ is His miraculously conceived, resurrected and glorified human Son. This truth is so straightforward and clear that even children can understand it. It is absolutely and utterly biblical to say that  God the Father has no co-equal “persons” beside Him. Remember this… God has no equal.

Jesus Never Claimed to be God’s Equal

The man Christ Jesus made it abundantly clear to His disciples that He did not consider Himself to be God’s equal. “My Father is greater than I…” (John 14:28) and that He (Jesus) said and did only what He had been taught by His Father. For example: “Of my own self I can do nothing…” (John 5:30) Jesus never claimed to be God’s equal but he did claim to be God’s son! Believing that Jesus is co-equal with the Father overrules the words and teachings of Jesus Himself and we think that’s a very bad idea. If you have accepted the notion that Jesus is co-equal with the Father you might want to reconsider. For your own sake please do.

PS: This isn’t hard to understand! The only reason it seems difficult is because our vision has been clouded and our hearing has been dulled by the archaic creeds and dogmas that still afflict the church. Be brave dear friend! Read the scriptures for yourself. See what Jesus said with your own eyes. Hear His words with your own ears. You’ll be glad you did. God Bless.
PPS: Please share this with a friend.

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes