Questions for Brandon E: #6 Why Did the Trinity Doctrine Take Multiple Centuries and Multiple Church Councils to Evolve?

This is the sixth in a series of questions for Brandon E which began with this first question.

When the apostles encountered a controversy about the status of the Gentiles with respect to Christ, they held a church council in Jerusalem.  They settled the issue then and there.  Subsequent to that apostolic age, it took multiple councils and multiple centuries to arrive at the understanding of God now called the Trinity.  Why did it take so long to resolve the latter when it did not take long to resolve the former?

6 Replies to “Questions for Brandon E: #6 Why Did the Trinity Doctrine Take Multiple Centuries and Multiple Church Councils to Evolve?”

  1. The simplest answer is that the apostles were apostles, the ones in a higher position to receive new revelation and to write Scripture, not the ones meaning to interpret the completing Scripture. Why should it not take longer for the latter group to discuss the matters involved? Besides it is unclear whether their all the conclusions of the council in Jerusalem were final, binding, or obeyed. Acts 15:20 says that they should write to the Gentiles that they should, “abstain from the contaminations of idols and fornication and what is strangled and blood,” but in Paul’s epistles, for instance, there seems to be less legal of a concern for food sacrificed to idols, stranglings, blood, etc. Paul also had to stand against Peter and Barnabas when some came from James and they began shrinking away from eating with the Gentile believers for fear of the circumcision (Gal. 2:11-14).

  2. I think it’s telling that it took the 2nd to the 4th Centuries to settle an issue that didn’t even arise in the 1st Century. For this reason, I don’t think we should put all that much weight on their “solution.” And all the more so for the reason you give: they weren’t apostles who arrived at this “solution.”

    1. Mike, I believe I recall that your own admission you haven’t read much of the early church fathers. The reason why these issues didn’t come up until the 2nd to 4th centuries is that the new and controversial things that were being taught (the Father and Son not existing at the same time; the Son being not “God” but a separate being from the Father and therefore a lesser “God”; there being two separate beings, a divine, spiritual Christ, and a human Jesus) weren’t developed and being taught until the 2nd to 4th centuries. That some people created new issues doesn’t mean that the entire church is apostate, and the “solution” was in response to these new issues that came up. The “trinity” was an attempt to summarize the revelation of the Scriptures (the Father and Son exist at the same time; the Son is not a separate being from the Father and thus a lesser “God”; Jesus Christ being one person with a divine and a human nature) in response to these new problems that the new controversial teachings and ways of reasonings about God and Christ introduced later.

      And who among any of them actually believed what you teach about God? You can’t just say that the apostles and early church did. That is begging the question, and besides, you have it that the reason why your “solution” is not mentioned in Scripture is because it wasn’t revealed until the Lord’s second coming that supposedly happened in the first century after the writing of the Scriptures (a new, post-scriptural revelation), and in the meantime Christ and the apostles had this tendency of talking about the Father and the Son as if they existed at the same time (you even say, as separate persons) even though it wasn’t accurate or true. But who really believed this?

  3. The revelation to the human soul that Jesus was God was not given until the coming of the Lord. This is the reason it is not proclaimed in the New Testament. However, if people will follow the New Testament’s teaching to be devoted to Jesus Christ the Son of God, this truth will be made known to them.

    1. So you have it that the church didn’t even have the revelation that Jesus was God. No wonder they didn’t have Christological controversies! They didn’t even have truth to believe in the first place, the import of which was at the center of the later Christological controversies.

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