Doctrine Of The Trinity -- By: Edward Robie

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 027:106 (Apr 1870)
Article: Doctrine Of The Trinity
Author: Edward Robie


Doctrine Of The Trinity

Rev. Edward Robie

There is in the sacred scriptures a doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This is freely admitted, even by those who deny the doctrine of the Trinity, as commonly received by the church. The Christian Examiner1 for March, 1860, says: “We wish it understood, once for all, that we are not arguing against the Trinity, as conceived by the early church, and expressed in the so-called Apostles’ Creed. Our polemic relates solely to an ecclesiastical and metaphysical tri-personality — a philosophem of after ages. A triad of Christian sanctities—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — is one thing; the doctrine of tri-personality, whether true or false, is another and a very different thing. We use this word [Trinity], in deference to ecclesiastical custom, to denote the aboriginal Christian doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, i.e. of a God self-revealing in his Word, and self-communicating by his Spirit. The universal prevalence of the doctrine itself in the early church is patent to every student of ecclesiastical history” (p. 238). Again: “We shall have failed to make ourselves understood, and shall deem ourselves unfortunate, if in these criticisms we have seemed to impugn the Christian doctrine embodied in the ‘Trinity.’ It is only the forced construction of that doctrine in the Constantinopolitan creed, and the claim that any construction of it, by any council or creed, is of evangelical and binding authority, against which we protest. The belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost embraces and oecumenizes Christendom in one confession. The confession is common; the interpretation of it must be

left to the individual mind and heart. We would not be supposed to think lightly of its import. To us it is the sum and summit of Christian truth. We see in it that which specifically distinguishes our religion from all antecedent and contemporary faiths; exactly defining it against polytheism, on the one hand, and Hebrew and Arabian monotheism, on the other. We see in it the sublimest and completest theory of God — a God whose nature is neither diffracted by multiplicity, nor yet concluded in singularity; who is neither the unconscious All of pantheism, nor the insulated Self of Judaism; a God whose essence is not to be sought in lone seclusion, but in everlasting self-communication; whose being is a unit, and yet a process — a process of which the two associated names, Son and Holy Ghost, are the august terms and the perfect method; a God who allies himself with finite intelligence by the co-eternal, mediating Word, and reflects himself in human nature and enchurches himself in human society, by ...

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