It’s 10:15 Saturday morning. A slow-starting weekend yawns one more time. Sections of the newspaper try to make conversation with a halfempty coffeemaker. A nearly overdrawn checkbook waits to be balanced. Breakfast dishes lie in state on the kitchen table. Then the doorbell reminds you that you owe the paperboy for 2 months of news.
As you open the door, two young men dressed in white shirts and ties greet you with a smile. You’ve never seen them before. Yet you recognize them and their briefcase. Other members of their faith have visited you in the past. You expect that these two will ask similar questions about your spiritual interests. They will politely try to give you pamphlets linking our social problems to a national spiritual crisis. They are looking for people who are willing to study the Bible with them.
You don’t invite them in, but you find it hard to turn them away. You sense they have earned a few minutes of your time simply by their willingness to stand at your door. You wonder if you’d be willing to do as much for your own faith. Would you knock on the door of strangers to talk to them about the future, about God, and about their soul?
These members of a faith different from yours are doing that. These serious-minded visitors have a message of warning about average, normal, runof- the-mill church people. They say they can show you from your own Bible that much of what church people believe is actually contrary to the Bible. Christians, they say, have believed a lie.
Take, for instance, the church’s doctrine of the Trinity, they say. Christians worship a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet Moses, the great lawgiver revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, declared that there is only one God when he wrote, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Dt. 6:4-5).
How, your visitors gently prod, can Christians be faithful to Moses and to the foundations of the Old Testament while worshiping three distinct Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Is it possible, they ask you, that you have bought into a doctrine that violates the most basic teaching of the Bible? Is it possible that you have unknowingly accepted a teaching that puts you at risk with God?
The visitors at your door are not alone in their anti-Trinity conviction. They join with Jews, Muslims, and several other Biblequoting voices who insist that anyone believing in the Trinity has violated the sacred Hebrew Shema recited twice daily by devout Jews: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”
Anti-Trinity groups insist that when we speak about God as existing in three Persons, we are in reality establishing three Gods. They rightly declare that the word trinity never appears in the sacred Scriptures. But then they go on to say that this idea of three-in-one was transplanted into Christianity from Greek and Roman paganism.
Is it possible that they are right? Is there evidence that this teaching had its origin in paganism? Is the doctrine of a three-in-one God biblical?