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Trinitarians that subscribe to the Athanasian Creed believe, by definition, that rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity disqualifies one from salvation. Are there any Trinitarian denominations that think otherwise? Does a Trinitarian denomination exist that does not view belief in the Trinity as a "salvation issue"?


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  • Lots of denominations don't presume to decide who is saved or not based on their doctrine alone. Would they count? Nov 23 at 3:00
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    @DJClayworth - sure, as long as they are Trinitarian and don't consider the Trinity to be an exception to the rule. Nov 23 at 3:19
  • Most of them just require believing Jesus is the Son of God and the Christ.
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 23 at 10:06
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    There is a significant difference between not believing (or not understanding) the Trinity and rejecting the Trinity. Are you asking about only those who explicitly reject it? Nov 23 at 14:07
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    I would dispute your first sentence - correct belief (which no one can claim) is not essential for salvation - if it were, no one would be saved. Many strange ideas will need to be corrected when we meet Jesus face to face. Trinitarianism might be a requirement for membership in some denominations, but very few now have a formal (or even informal) exam to test belief. In any case, we are not allowed to judge others, including whether they have right belief or not.
    – Dottard
    Nov 24 at 2:10
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Your phrase, "belief in the Trinity as a 'salvation issue'" is problematic. The question would be clear if it was about the Athanasian Creed making belief in the trinity a 'requirement for salvation'. That would be one thing. It is another thing entirely to ask whether today's thousands of mainstream Christian denominations that do believe in the triune God, consider belief in that to be a salvation issue. Because that is another thing. The need would then be to explain how a 'salvation issue' becomes a salvation 'requirement', for those are distinct matters, even if closely connected.

The Bible is clear as to what God requires for sinners to receive his salvation and, as we all know, the word 'trinity' does not crop up anywhere there. Yet in both old and new covenants, faith is the essential element. Of course, that faith has to be in the one true God, who alone is to be worshipped. That is why the O.T. has examples of such shining, saving faith in the likes of Abraham and Moses, who are detailed in the N.T. as those who saw by faith, from afar, the heavenly 'country' they sought (Hebrews 11:8-10 & 23-27). Once Christ came into the world, then died as the essential perfect sacrifice in the plan of salvation, the new covenant came into force. As Hebrews explains, the death of the testator has to happen before his testament comes into effect. The new testament in Christ's shed blood then made clear how salvation was achieved for the many, at Golgotha and the empty tomb. Then Hebrews was able to show how superior the risen Christ is to any created angels and to the old covenant system. The immensity of just who the Son of God is was unfolded in the N.T.

Faith in THAT Christ is essential for salvation. The Bible rules out faith in other gods, in false prophets, in false Christs, in false systems of salvation by works, in false 'doctrines of men' which Jesus Christ castigated religious leaders for teaching (Matthew 15:9 quoting Isaiah 29:13). This is where the close connection between having faith in the biblical Christ as a salvation requirement is seen. Should any professed Christian claim to have faith in a Christ who is not the Christ of scripture, then that person would not have faith that saves. To have faith in a man-made concept of who Christ is would actually debar a person from salvation as that would be the greatest insult to the Lord's anointed Christ. That is why there are such strong claims and counter-claims made about mainstream Christian teaching that the Son of God is the uncreated Word of God who both was with God in the beginning, and who is God, and who made everything that was made (John 1:1-14). Trinitarian belief is founded on such biblical revelation (and a whole lot more), while denominations that are not trinitarian don't sit on the fence with this issue, but roundly condemn trinitarianism as false religion.

In the era of Athanasius, there were vehement attacks on the doctrine of the person of Christ. To protect the Church from teaching that would undermine the person of Christ, and thus annul the whole event of salvation achieved by him, anathemas were added. Those who said there was "a time when Christ was not" were cursed. The Church viewed those who said Jesus was a created creature as heretics (which certainly made that a 'salvation issue'!) The same situation obtains today. There are still those who say God created Jesus at a certain point in time. Trinitarian denominations warn that anyone teaching that is actually teaching heresy and leading people away from God's salvation in Christ, because they are following man-made teachings about who Jesus really is - a false Christ, in other words. However, many people who once believed that Jesus had been created have later come to saving faith in an uncreated Christ, in Jesus as God incarnate. This means that it is possible to so grow in understanding and faith in Christ that the 'salvation issue' about who Christ is, is resolved. Just keep in mind that Athanasius was concerned to expose heretical teaching that threatened the Church. Teachers of heresy do not meet God's requirements for salvation, and they are, indeed, accursed.

There is no trinitarian denomination that does not view belief about Christ being uncreated as 'optional' regarding salvation. But please don't confuse that with putting the Athanasian Creed on a par with the Bible, and Jesus' own words about salvation. Nor does this matter of salvation require each person who becomes a Christian having to clearly explain this - the deepest of doctrines - in theological terms. The basic requirements for salvation call for repentance of sins and faith in the finished work of Christ - to believingly call upon the name of Christ to be saved. As a new Christian grows in understanding, they will then come to grasp more about the Christ who saved them. Just see the Athanasian Creed as a necessary mile-stone in Church history for protecting against heresy; nobody's salvation depends on upholding its every word, for it was written to clarify various Christian beliefs that were becoming muddied due to heresies back then. Everything anyone needs for salvation is to be found in the pages of the Bible, rejection of which disqualifies one from salvation. Those who understand the deep things of God contained in the Bible will understand why the Athanasian Creed was so written, with its anathemas against teachers of heresy.

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  • Up-voted +1. Well-informed and balanced expression of the current situation in the present day.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 24 at 10:07
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In answering your immediate question I do not know of any. However, Trinitarianism is trying to deduce the truth about the nature of God by resolving what would otherwise be gross contradictions in the Bible.

Christians have insisted that it is correct in finished form ever since AT LEAST 200 AD (before the NT was even canonized) and since the first century in elemental form. It is regarded as true as far as it goes but Trinitarians also acknowledge that the ultimate nature of God is indeed incomprehensible.

HOWEVER, I do not believe Trinitarianism is a REQUIREMENT for salvation. It is the RESULT of salvation, for you cannot know Jesus Christ and somehow miss the fact that He is God. You cannot have experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit of God and somehow miss that He is God.

Romans 8:9-11, "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Vs10, "And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Vs11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

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  • Interesting take. So would you say the answer to both of these questions is 'yes'? Q1, Q2. Nov 23 at 16:23
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    @OneGodtheFather - your comment inspired me to ask this question. Nov 23 at 18:28
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    "rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity disqualifies one from salvation" - in a system of grace, belief is not a work we do in order to earn salvation. No one understands the gospel of salvation perfectly and so no one, on that basis, will be saved.
    – Dottard
    Nov 24 at 8:20
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    @OneGodtheFather I'm addressing what you said "What would you say to people who claim they have experienced the presence of the HS, but aren't Trinitarian." which is you. Please read the whole Creed: crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/creeds/athanasian-creed Please Notice that the thrust of the creed is the deity of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and of course the Father is God. The word "Trinity" is a shorthand way of describing the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. This is how the one being of God chose to manifest or reveal Himself in the Bible.
    – Mr. Bond
    Nov 24 at 14:51
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    @OneGodtheFather - for the record, LDS claim to have experiences with the HS as well, e.g. see christianity.stackexchange.com/q/84049/50422, christianity.stackexchange.com/q/84069/50422. Nov 24 at 18:23

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