Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Trinity

Johann Maurer, commenting on a post by Alice, referred us to a link to William Penn's refutation of accusations of heresy against Quakers with this beautiful statement, about the Trinity in particular, but generally true of most accusations of heresy:

The Holy Three. I found most apropos the following short and succinct statement:

"Perversion 9: The Quakers deny the Trinity.

Principle: Nothing less. They believe in the holy three, or Trinity of Father, Word, and Spirit, according to Scripture. And that these things are truly and properly one; of one nature as well as will. But they are tender of quitting Scripture terms and phrases for schoolmen's"

This describes very clearly my own view of the Trinity: a beautiful image, but terrible dogma. When these "schoolmen's" "terms and phrases", are made tests of faith this "tends little to godliness and less to peace."

The old boy really knew how to 'tell it right'. The Trinity has led to all sorts of 'unpeace', culminating in the execution of Michael Servetus in Calvin's Geneva for being unable to 'believe' it.

God deliver us from those who are willing to kill because of creeds.


crystal said...

Interesting stuff.

So, what exactly do Quakers believe about the Trinity?

I read Alice's comment ...

So by that phrase "became fully G-d before he went to the cross" I mean that he as a living human was fully G-d. Everything in him was godly, no uncontrolled impulses bursting out, no fears or grief or anger getting in the way of breathing pure G-d into the world ...

I agree with the idea that Jesus was completely human and completely divine at the same time. But he did, according to different gospels, feel grief, anger, have uncontrolled impulses ... in the Garden before he was arrested, in one account, he sweated blood ... all part of being human as well as divine.

Larry said...

Crystal, you've asked an interesting question: no one can say what Quakers believe, simply because a multitude of Quakers believe a multitude of different things.

That's the nature of Quakerism: there is no creed. A Quaker may be an Arian, a unitarian (rather than a trinitarian), an agnostic, or whatever.

Perhaps the most common belief is what Fox articulated when he said "Let Christ be your teacher".

My belief is that Christ is my friend, but I don't know that any (other) Quaker might state it like that.

If we have a creed, it might be "there is that of God in everyone".

Well thanks for giving me a chance to air my views about it.

Alice M. said...

Hi Larry, and Crystal,

Good point, Crystal. Thanks for that.


Larry said...