I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Steve Bishop's Wonderful Overview of the Doctrine of the Trinity

Dan Brown in his 2003 book The DaVinci Code claims that the Trinity was a fourth century invention. He wasn’t the first person to suggest this, but his book placed doubt regarding the historical origins of the Christian faith and the role of the Gnostic gospels.

All good errors are based on a partial truth. And Brown was partially right. There was a fourth-century council and there are gnostic gospels. There are many so-called gospels that didn’t make the cut and get into the canon of scripture. But not for the reasons that Brown maintains! I’ll leave aside discussions of the gnostic gospels – but let’s look at the Trinity, as it’s appropriately Trinity Sunday.

Despite writing a work of fiction Brown maintained that his book was based on fact. But what are the facts behind the Trinity? Is it really a fourth-century mash up?

It was in the fourth century that the council of Nicea affirmed the idea of God as Trinity. But they didn’t come up with the idea, they drew together and clarified Trinitarian beliefs. Beliefs that were held from the early days of Christianity.

The idea of a Trinity has always caused problems, the one time president of the United States Thomas Jefferson wrote of the “incomprehensible jargon of Trinitarian arithmetic”!

On one level it does sound ridiculous. How could three be one?

Please review Steve’s great primer/overview of this, our central doctrine, the holy Trinity.  What a fine way to move into Trinitytide.


  1. Thanks for the mention! Much appreciated.

  2. Thank you, Steve; and, thank you for your many insights and wisdom. If you glance at the two Christian ecology essays listed in the "Pages" column to the right, you'll find yourself copiously quoted. We are grateful for your clear thoughts on these crucial dialogues! Blessings, brother.