March 13, 2012

Non-Trinitarian “Cult”??

1234300_231653400318886_391086095_nWe’ve received many questions over the years about the faith Youcef, Behnam and other believers we have represented over the years and have even seen some statements that say he is not a Christian. I would like to respond to these things in a public way. First in regards to the question if they are a Christian; Youcef, Behnam and Amin are men that heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, responded by faith and it changed their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I would like to give a little background to those who charge them with being a member of a non-Christian cult. They have been charged with not being a Trinitarian and a video of an interview with Youcef was posted where he stated he did not believe that God was a Trinity. The video did not show the rest of what he said.  Therefore, I want to give you a little background to what he believes in. He holds to a view that is very much the same as the viewpoint of the apologists of the 2nd and 3rd Century. There are many theologians in the 20th and 21st Century that have acknowledged that persons is not an adequate expression for the distinctions within God. Theologians Karl Barth and Eberhard Jungel preferred to use the terms “modes of being” in contrast to persons. John S Whale regarded the Trinity as a “personal unity existing eternally in three eternal modes or functions.”3 Many theologians have acknowledged that the word “persons” as a translation of hypostasis is not an adequate expression. We agree with this assessment and suggest using the terminology that these scholars have suggested as well.

The early church theologian that first used the term trinity is named Tertullian. He viewed the logos as having went forth from God just prior to creation. He used this picture, based upon Hebrews 1:3, to describe the trinity; The Father is the sun, the source. The Son is the light that comes forth from the source and the Holy Spirit is the energy produced by the sun. This picture certainly does not give us a social trinity of three individual persons that had fellowship for eternity.

Theologian GHW Lampe described the social Trinity as “a…unity of human persons in a social ‘Trinity’ in which three persons in the full psychological sense of persons are bound together in mutual love, implies the existence of three divine consciousness, in other words-three Gods.”1 Keith Ward a philosopher and theologian states, “To admit many centres of awareness in God would split the Divine unacceptably, entailing that none of them are omniscient or omnipotent. The view is indistinguishable from a more robust polytheism, and must be rejected by thoroughgoing monotheists, such as Christians are supposed to be.”2

Our view point is in good company and does not come from those that deny the final authority of Scripture or those who ignorantly follow some supposed leader.

We are not Branhamites or strictly followers of William Branham, but we are Christian’s that are following in a line of many leaders who have brought more Light on the Scriptures. In each period of time throughout church history various leaders arose starting at the day of Pentecost. There was Paul, Peter, Timothy, Iranaeus, Colomba, Martin of Tours, John Wyclif, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, William Tyndale, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Charles Parham, William Seymour, Charles Price, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts and William Branham. The Reformation period was an important part of bringing the Church out of a period of the dark ages, a time when the true Gospel was not widely known or published. We believe in the Reformation doctrine called “Ecclesia semper reformanda est.” This means that the church must always go through the process of examination and reformation. As time goes on God gives more Light on the Scriptures. This is a process called progressive revelation. Just as God progressively wrote the Scriptures he also gradually restores the correct understanding of those Scriptures.

I hope that out of this we will examine our faith and beliefs on the basis of the Bible and not merely church history or creedal formulations.

  1. GHW Lampe, God As Spirit, pg 222
  2. Keith Ward, Rational Theology and the Creativity of God, pg 86
  3. J S Whale, Christian Doctrine, pg 116

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