The New Christians

The New Christians

Comment(s) of the Day

Several readers, when considering the Trinity, Mormonism, and orthodoxy, are wondering about the authority of Nicaea.

Master Doyle:

The two arguments I’ve heard most often to explain why Mormons
aren’t Christian are 1) they believe in extra-Biblical scriptures,
namely the Book of Mormon, and 2) they don’t believe in the Nicean
creed. Isn’t this ironic, believers in one extra-Biblical document shun
those who believe in a different extra-Biblical document.



I never understood how the Creedal view on the trinity could be
ultimately defended. For example what happened to the homoousian
trinity when, as Christ says (and regardless the fact that he’s
verbatim quoting OT scripture doesn’t mean he means the words any less,
or that the words are not applicable to his condition) “My God My God
why hast thou forsaken me?”

Had the Father forsaken the Son? How can something of the same
substance forsake itself? Why did Christ say “Touch me not, for I have
not ascended to my Father”?

There was a clear and complete separation if we take Christ at his
words. And if we’re not taking him at His words then I think there are
bigger issues than mere ontology that we have to address. If you think
there was some mystery meaning in why Christ said those things then
you’ve got some clever explaining to do.


Anywho. That’s one of the biggest befuddlements I have about trying
to figure out why everyone is ready to trust an extra-biblical council
on the final word on the nature of God when it’s in such stark contrast
to actual events and statements in the Bible given by Christ himself.

Be careful, kids — this is what got me rejected by Wheaton!

Comments read comments(5)
post a comment

posted January 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Great point Tony. I have to say you’re sounding like a well trained Jehovah’s witness.

report abuse


posted January 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm

It’s not like Mormonism’s status as a seperate religious movement solely hinges on its view of the trinity.

report abuse

Seth R.

posted January 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm

It should be noted that the objection to the role of creeds in modern Christianity is not necessarily an objection to the doctrine contained therein. Joseph Smith famously called all existing Christian creeds “an abomination” (reporting what he says God said to him). But what did he mean by that? Was it an objection to “apostate” doctrine?
I’m not so sure it was. I have heard more than one Mormon who has bothered to actually read the Apostles Creed remark that doctrinally, it is largely unobjectionable – even from an LDS perspective. So what’s the beef?
My own feeling is that Joseph was not so much condemning the doctrine of the creeds as much as he was criticizing the role and function of those creeds – as gatekeepers for “who is in” and “who is out.” Here’s a quote from Joseph I’ve found illuminating. It was given in reference to a dispute that had arisen among some Mormons where it was felt an elderly gentleman in the congregation had preached “false doctrine”:
“I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their Church. I WANT THE LIBERTY OF THINKING AND BELIEVING AS I PLEASE. It feels so good not to be trammelled. It does not prove a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (History of the Church 5:340)
I tend to agree with this statement. I think the real “abomination” of the creeds – if there is one – is that they set themselves up as false lights and standards by which men and women must be judged before God. Really, they are nothing more than the best attempts of flawed groups of men to organize God’s revealed word systematically – with mixed results. I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong about trying to apply a systematic approach to doctrine.
Where you fall off the wagon, is when you start trying to set up those attempts as the new arbiter of Christ’s covenant. That is indeed “abominable” in my mind.

report abuse


posted January 11, 2009 at 11:40 pm

The creed is a summary of scripture. So it isn’t quite an extra-biblical document in the way that the book of mormon is, as it is quite self-consciously an addition to scripture, not a restatement of its content. So, no. It isn’t ironic.

report abuse

Joe Bumbulis

posted January 16, 2009 at 10:34 am

Well, not that the Trinity and Christology issues are really “solvable” which is part of the beauty of our faith, but I do like what Bonhoeffer basically says about christology. It determines not what we can say (positively) about Christ, but what we cannot say (negatively).
So, we cannot say that Jesus is not a human or that he is not God. Certainly it’s much harder to formulate the positives like Jesus’s relationship to the Father, etc which the Nicene Creed attempts to do using greek thought.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

My Blog Has Moved
Dear Readers, After a year with Beliefnet, I've decided to move to my own domain for my blogging.  It's been a fine year -- some things worked, other things didn't.  But in the end, I'll be a better blogger on my own.  My thanks to the ...

posted 12:13:57pm Nov. 13, 2009 | read full post »

The Most Important Cartoon of the Year
By Steve Breen, San Diego Tribune, October 18, 2009 ...

posted 8:51:22am Oct. 25, 2009 | read full post »

Social Media for Pastors
Following up on Christianity21, we at JoPa Productions are developing a series of boot camps for pastors who want to learn about and utilize social media tools like blogging, Twitter, and Facebook.  These are one-day, hands-on learning ...

posted 10:45:52am Oct. 22, 2009 | read full post »

Ending Christian Euphemisms: "Fundamentalist"
I've taken some heat in the comment section for using yesterday's post on "unbiblical" and a "higher view of scripture" as a thin foil for my own disregard of biblical standards. To the contrary, I was pointing to the use of the word unbiblical ...

posted 10:15:41am Oct. 21, 2009 | read full post »

Why You Should Get GENERATE
Last week at Christianity21, GENERATE Magazine debuted. With the tag line, "an artifact of the emergence conversation," it fit perfectly at the gathering. When I actually got around to reading it last weekend, I was truly surprised at how good ...

posted 3:14:37pm Oct. 20, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.