Statement of Faith and the Triune God
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11/25/2014 at 10:23:43 AM GMT
Posts: 1
Statement of Faith and the Triune God

When signing up to become a member of this ASA website, I was required to sign my name in a box under this site's Statement of Faith (SF) as a prerequisite for joining. There are four points within the SF that outline the "distinctive character" of the ASA:

  • We accept the divine inspiration, trustworthiness and authority of the Bible in matters of faith and conduct.
  • We confess the Triune God affirmed in the Nicene and Apostles' creeds, which we accept as brief, faithful statements of Christian doctrine based upon Scripture.
  • We believe that in creating and preserving the universe God has endowed it with contingent order and intelligibility, the basis of scientific investigation.
  • We recognize our responsibility, as stewards of God's creation, to use science and technology for the good of humanity and the whole world.

I agree with all but the second point, since I consider myself, more or less, a Biblical Unitarian, and not a Trinitarian. While I would argue that the Apostles' Creed is not even a Trinitarian creed, I would go further to say that the Nicene Creed (A.D. 325) only identifies God the Father and Jesus as being homoousia (of the "same substance"), and not the Trinity. (The Nicene Creed does not completely state the doctrine of the Trinity as we know it today.) In any case, if the SF requires one to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, as laid out in the Athanasian Creed and many trinitarian commentaries on the Bible, are only trinitarians allowed to contribute to this site?

As I implied above, I agree with the first, third and fourth points of the SF. I am creating this post because, after signing my name in the box under the fourfold SF, I felt in my conscience that I was being deceptive, since signing suggests that I actually believe in the Triune God. I am not writing this post to argue with the trinitarians on this site, but simply stating the truth about my beliefs rather than basing my membership on a deceptive signature.

Thank you,



P.S. If the ASA will accept my membership in spite of my denying the second point of the Statement of Faith, I would suggest modifying the statement for believers who may want to join this site, but don't particularly hold to the trinitarian view of God.

Last edited Tuesday, November 25, 2014
11/25/2014 at 11:45:07 PM GMT
Posts: 9
Hi Kalvin,

First: I'm in no position to judge you, and while I did get to serve as an officer with the SoCal Chapter for a few years, I'm definitely a junior member here. That said, I'll hazard that the *spirit* of the SF is more important than the *letter*; the fact that the second point lists two unique creeds hints at this. In my meager experience, the ASA seems more interested in including many different Christians in open dialog, than they are in shunning Christians who fail to fit a particular theological bent. I hope that you get a response that sets the record straight, but in the meantime, I wish you welcome!

- Jason

I begin to suspect that, had the universe been made such that Suffering were not possible, then neither would Love be. - JNH

11/26/2014 at 7:52:46 PM GMT
Posts: 2
Hi Kalvin,

I won't comment on ASA's policy per se. I believe that all are welcome to contribute to this site.

What I would say is that the doctrine of the Trinity is part of mainstream, orthodox Christian belief, whether in its Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant forms (save Enlightenment Liberal Protestant theologies, many of which arguable are not actually Christian).

You say above that the Nicene Creed identifies only Father and Son as being of the same substance; this may be technically true, but the Creed also says that the Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life and is to be worshiped together with the Father and the Son. But even without that, its affirmation of the Father and Son already rules out unitarianism.

I don't say this to exclude. I think the ASA is about dialogue, though as a Christian organization it regards trinitarian belief as basic to Christian faith and confession.

Consider the following quotes (the books cited may be helpful to read):

“The doctrine of the Trinity can be regarded as the outcome of a process of sustained and critical reflection on the pattern of divine activity revealed in Scripture, and continued in Christian experience . . . Scripture bears witness to a God who demands to be understood in a Trinitarian manner.” (Alister McGrath, Christian Theology; Wiley-Blackwell, p. 239).

“For the Christian confession, the doctrine of the Trinity makes all the difference in the world, for that doctrine is at the heart of the Christian gospel, and so at the heart of the Christian understanding of the nature of God and of the manner of God’s relation to the world” (John Webster, Holiness, Eerdmans, p. 36).

“The doctrines of the Trinity and of the incarnation thus form together the nucleus at the heart of the Christian conception of God and constitute the ontological and epistemological basis for the formulation of every Christian doctrine.” (T. F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, T&T Clark, p. 30).

These are representative of the broad consensus of the Christian tradition. For a recent biblical approach, you might want to check out Koestenberger and Swain's book here:

My suggestion is to do some more reading on the Trinity to see why it's so central to Christian belief. And then continue the conversation.

I don't want to comment on the membership policy; that's for others to decide. But I would suggest that the statement of faith cannot be modified as you suggest without purging it of its distinctively Christian content.

Last edited Wednesday, November 26, 2014