Month 5:23, Week 4:1 (Revee/Pesach), Year:Day 5936:141 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 10 August 2012
What's the Messianic Evangelical Position?
Every now and then I am asked what my position is with respect to the orthodox Christian doctrine of the Trinity and over the years I have answered this in different ways in the hope of giving my readers and listeners solid mental and spiritual handles. It's a very sensitive issue and discussing it is a bit like walking on egg shells. I thought today I would answer the question as to the nature of the Elohimhead (Godhead) in a different way.
Early on in this ministry we decided not to be more dogmatic with respect to the broad body of believers than the Scriptures plainly teach on the subject and to give others the freedom to speculate but with the clear understanding that what is beyond the plain teaching of the Bible should never be a test of faith. The Trinity Doctrine itself, which lies at the core of traditional Catholicism and Protestantism (being a Catholic doctrine originally), did not come into formal existance until centuries after the death and resurrection of Messiah. Even the word itself was never mentioned before a whole century after Messiah, the distinction going to Tertullian.
In respect of our tolerance of divergent beliefs we make only the following absolute assertions:
We are prepared to get along with all Christians and Messianics who accept these five propositions even if we don't agree with their various formulations as we don't think it's a salvational issue.
- 1. That there is only one Elohim (God);
- 2. That there are at least Three Persons in the Elohimhead (Godhead) - Father, Son and Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit);
- 3. That the Ruach (Spirit) is more than a 'force';
- 4. That Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is Elohim (God); and
- 5. That Yahweh the Father and Yah'shua (Jesus) the Son are separate Persons.
This means that we categorically reject Polytheism (multiple Gods as in Mormonism), Binitarianism (two Persons only believed by Seventh-Day Adventists, Armstrongians, some Messianics, etc.), Arianism (Yah'shua/Jesus is a 'lesser' god as believed by Jehovah's Witensses), Modalism (one Person wearing one of three different 'hats' as in United Pentecostalism), Unitarianism (one Person only), and those who reject the deity of Yah'shua (Jesus) altogether. At the very minimum we insist that Yah'shua (Jesus) be accepted as Elohim (God) but separate from Yahweh as a Person, a doctrine we refer to as Proto-Trinitarianism. We refuse to have fellowship with, or regard as authentic believers, those who reject these two cardinal truths.
So whilst we are willing to embrace Trinitarians I'm afraid they usually won't embrace us because they have turned the Trinity doctrine into a dogma, elevating the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds to a status equal to that of Holy Writ, breaking (as far as Protestants are concerned) the Sola Scriptura position of 'Bible Only'. We do not accept Trinitarianism as absolute doctrinal truth but as Catholic speculation. And we certainly do not believe that you have to believe it or confess it in order to be saved. Our view is that Christians of the second century and onwards began mixing in Greek pagan Stoic philosophical ideas (like homousia and ousia, which are nowhere to be found in the Bible. In other words, the orthodox Christian doctrine of the Trinity is viewed by us as an unfortunate mixture of Biblical emet (truth) and Greek paganism. It is unkosher.
Our chief departure from classical Trinitarianism is our belief that:
For a thorough examination of our teaching on this subject, please see my key article, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ and His Place in the Elohimhead (Godhead), the study series on the Trinity and the various articles on the Elohimhead (Godhead).
- 1. The Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is our Heavenly Mother (and not an unidentified male Being) and that She is Sevenfold (the "seven spirits of Elohim (God)"); and
- 2. The Son, though fully Elohim (God), is subordinate to the Father, as all sons are supposed to be.
The doctrine of the Elohimhead (Godhead) is one of those 'hot potatoes' than tends to upset dogmatic and tradition-bound people, and to some degree that is understandable because the identity of Elohim (God) is very important indeed. The Trinity is described by those who use it as a 'mystery' precisely (in my view) because it is meaningless. Numerous analogies have been advanced by Trinitarians themselves to 'explain' it that reduce it to an absurdity. These include:
None of these analogies, of course, remotely represents classical Triniarianism but usually one of the heresies like modalism or polytheism. In truth, no analogies for Trinitarianism can be found and serious trinitarian scholars don't try to use them, shelving it as a perpetual paradox and 'mystery'. This itself ought to make us suspicious enough because Scripture abounds with analogies, the most obvious one being that Elohim (God) is familial. Is He not described as a Father, and as an allegorical Husband to Israel and Judah? Is Not Yah'shua (Jesus) the Son described as an allegorical Husband to the Messianinic Community (Church)? And were not Adam and Eve (male and female) literally made in Their (the Elohimhead's/Godhead's) image? These familial relationships are plainly stated.
- 1. The Trinity is like 3-in-1 shampoo, performing three functions;
- 2. The Trinity is like an egg - shell, white stuff, and yoke;
- 3. The Trinity is like water - ice, steam, and liquid;
- 4. The Trinity is like a three leaf clover;
- 5. The Trinity is like a man who is simultaneously a father, son, and husband;
- 6. The Trinity is like a person who is one, yet has a spirit, soul, and a body.
That is precisely what we say Elohim (God) is - a DIVINE FAMILY OF PERSONS of which human families are a reflection or image. This, we maintain, is the p'shat or plain sense of Scripture. Indeed, there are no 'mysteries' to those who are regenerated or born again in Messiah! They are only mysteries to unbelievers who must be taught these things in parables only, as Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself insisted.
Yahweh-Elohim is a Heavenly Family to which we can easily relate a family persons ourselves - people born into families, people raised in families, and people born again into the spiritual family of Elohim (God). Trinitarianism obscures this plain and precious emet (truth) about eternal relationships and is therefore a hindrance rather than a blessing. It is taboo to say this for over a billion Trinitarians worldwide but political or religious correctness is not the same of the game - the Emet (Truth) is. And the Emet (Truth) is we are going to feel awfully at home when we meet Yahweh-Elohim!