Three Trinitarian Controversies Every Christian Should Know

~ Adriel Sanchez

It may surprise you to find out that, generally speaking, everyone in the “Trinitarian controversies” of the ancient church had some sort of doctrine of the Trinity. Worship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was so entrenched in the liturgical life of the church that even those who denied the true deity of Christ still found themselves praying and singing to him! That Christ existed, and was divine in some sense, was not the primary question early on.

Throughout the history of the church, Trinitarian controversy has centered on how the Persons of the Trinity relate to one another. Here are three controversies every Christian should be aware of:

1. The Arian Controversy

Arius was a priest in Alexandria during the fourth century. Because of his views, he was excommunicated from the Egyptian church around 320AD. Arius taught that God was absolutely transcendent, and that as such could not have any genuine intersection with the created world.

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Apostasy Happens … Slowly

By Bill Smith

Apostasy happens. Various schools of thought within the church have different explanations concerning the nature of apostasy, but the fact that it happens is undeniable. Judas, chosen by Jesus himself to be an apostle, is the paragon of apostasy. The ability to apostatize from the faith is assumed in Jesus’s exhortations in John 15 for the disciples to continue to abide in him. Jesus also alluded to apostasy in his parable of the soils when he spoke of those who receive the word of the kingdom with joy, endure for a while, but then fall away when tribulation and persecution come (Matt 13.20-21). The writer of Hebrews assumes the ability of apostasy when he exhorts the Jewish Christians not to do so throughout his letter. The possibility of apostasy also undergirds Paul’s exhortation to the Gentiles in Romans 11 not to be proud but fear, for if God did not spare the natural branches (i.e., the Jews), neither will he spare them.

Apostasy happens. Explain it however you will, but it happens. There are people who are a part of the people of God, people who may even be excited about their faith (as in Jesus’s parable), but as time passes they become the enemies of Christ. They forsake the faith and are the objects of God’s wrath.

The threat of apostasy is repulsive to some in the church. We believe in the “security of the believer.” Well, I do to … as long as it is understood biblically. Our salvation is secure in Christ alone and is received only by faith. As long as you are loyal to Christ, your salvation is secure. The security of your salvation doesn’t come through a magic “sinner’s prayer” or even baptism. Just because you wrote the date of your conversion down in the fly leaf of your Bible doesn’t mean that your salvation is secure no matter what. Salvation is by faith. Salvation is by faith in Christ that perseveres to the end. Persevering faith is the only faith that saves. Anything less is, by definition, not saving faith.

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