If she needed to believe that to be saved, Jesus would have taught it to her, as well as to the people from Samaria who came to meet him after the woman told them about him John However, there is no hint in Scripture he ever mentioned the Trinity. Did he ignore their need for salvation? Of course not. What is evident from this record is that a person did not have to believe in the Trinity to be saved. Are we to believe that somehow this Galilean Jewess knew that Jesus was part of a Triune God, and by knowing that she gained salvation?
Such an assumption would be to stretch the record beyond credible limits. The woman was a sinner, not a theologian, and if she went to synagogue at all, which is questionable, she would have known about the Messiah only from what the Old Testament taught. There is no reason to believe that she somehow pasted together statements Jesus had made to build a case for the Trinity, and then believed it.
Answering Common Objections to the Doctrine of the Trinity by Ben Rast
She, like millions of Old Testament believers before her, was saved without believing in the Trinity. This is important, because although a person who already believes in the Trinity might think that what Jesus said supported the doctrine of the Trinity, someone who never heard of the Trinity would understand what Jesus said in a totally different way. Some Trinitarians see this statement as supporting the Trinity, but someone who did not know that doctrine would understand the statement in light of what he knew and believed, especially if what Jesus said made sense in terms of the beliefs he already held.
In the case of John , the Jews he was speaking to were expecting a human Messiah and that people who rejected him would die in their sins. What Jesus said fit their understanding perfectly. Jesus had to have known that, so if he was trying to say that anyone who did not believe in the Trinity was unsaved, he did a poor job of making his point.
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He certainly never stated that if someone does not believe in the Trinity, he would die in his sins. If a person did need to believe in the Trinity to be saved, we would expect that Jesus would have been at least as aggressive in teaching that as he was about correcting other erroneous beliefs of his day.
For example, we mentioned earlier that Jesus plainly taught his disciples that he had to die, even though they were not expecting it. Time after time he openly corrected the errors believed by the people around him. But never in that important teaching that spans three entire chapters in Matthew does he correct their ideas about him being a real human being, or teach them about the Trinity, which he would have if it was necessary for people to believe that to be saved.
After all, which is the more important theological mistake, being wrong about anger, taking an oath, and praying in public, or being wrong about the true nature of God? If the Trinity were a true doctrine, and especially if a person has to believe it to be saved, we would have expected Jesus to say something in the Sermon on the Mount such as this:. That makes no sense.
He did not even correct his closest disciples about the Trinity. Peter believed Jesus was the Christ he had been taught about in synagogue and was expecting, not God in the flesh who was part of the Trinity.
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Jesus never taught the doctrine of the Trinity or told anyone he had to believe it to be saved. When he taught about himself from the Old Testament, as he did in Nazareth when he quoted from Isaiah Luke and 19 , he never even hinted that there was more to believe about him than the Old Testament scriptures taught. All this is conclusive evidence that Jesus did not teach that a person had to believe in the Trinity to be saved.
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The book of Acts records the teachings of the Apostles and disciples as they spread the good news of Jesus. It is reasonable that if the doctrine of the Trinity were a truth not revealed in the Old Testament but necessary for Christian salvation, it should be clearly taught in Acts. After all, many Trinitarians believe that for an unbelieving Jew or pagan Gentile to be saved, he must believe in the Trinity.
The book of Acts, then, is a proving ground for what unbelievers need to know in order to be saved. So what do we see in Acts? In all the sermons in the book of Acts there is not one presentation of the Trinity. Furthermore, those who hear and believe that message get saved without hearing anything about the Trinity. Time after time Paul and others went into Jewish Synagogues and taught from the Old Testament about the Messiah, explaining that Jesus was the Messiah the Old Testament spoke of, and that teaching was enough to get people saved.
Doesn't the Trinity contradict monotheism?
There is not one record of Paul or others saying that what the Old Testament taught about the Messiah was not enough for salvation. What follows are summations of teachings in the book of Acts when believers preached the Word of God in order to get people saved. Almost every record listed below includes something that a speaker actually said to convince the audience about Jesus. If a record in Acts simply notes that someone such as Paul taught, but it does not record what he said, or if the purpose of the conversation was not about getting someone saved, the record is not included in the list below.
Each will show that there was no presentation of the Trinity, or that believing it was necessary for salvation. Acts Peter spoke to the crowd of unsaved Jews in the Temple on the Day of Pentecost, just 50 days after Jesus was crucified. They had not heard Jesus or the Apostles teach. All they knew about the Messiah was from the Old Testament and traditions about him, none of which included the doctrine of the Trinity or Jesus being God.
The Trinity: A Case Study in Implicit Truth - Christian Research Institute
Thus it is fair to conclude that if they needed to believe in the Trinity to be saved, someone would have to teach them about it. Peter never mentioned the Trinity or Jesus being God, yet about three thousand people got saved that day. This is conclusive evidence that on the Day of Pentecost, the start of the Christian Church, a person did not have to believe in the Trinity to be saved.
Peter spoke to a crowd that had gathered in the Temple because a lame man had been miraculously healed. This crowd gathered inside the Temple, so they would have been Jews or interested Gentiles who were not saved. That means that they had either not heard, or had rejected, earlier presentations about Jesus being the Messiah, including the one taught close to the very spot where they were standing on the Day of Pentecost. Peter spoke to the Jewish rulers and elders, and taught that although they had crucified Jesus of Nazareth, God raised Him from the dead.
He did not make any presentation of the Trinity or Jesus being God. Nothing Peter said referred to a Trinity of co-equal, co-eternal beings in a Godhead. Stephen made a presentation to the Jewish rulers, and gave a history of Israel. Like Peter had done Acts , he quoted Deuteronomy that the Messiah would be a prophet from among the people. Stephen was trying to win the Jews to the Christian faith, and he did so without mentioning the Trinity or that Jesus was God. Philip the Evangelist was told by an angel to meet, and speak with, a eunuch from Ethiopia, which he did.
The eunuch believed and was baptized with no hint that Philip tried to teach him about the Trinity or that Jesus was God. Actually, if you think about it, how could Philip have presented the Trinity? All the Ethiopian had were scriptures from the Old Testament. Because the Old Testament never said the Messiah would be a God-man, the eunuch would have dismissed Philip as being very misguided in contradicting the Scriptures.
What we learn from the record of Philip and the eunuch is that the eunuch got saved without ever knowing about the Trinity. Acts , 17 and Paul was a trained Rabbi and was expecting the Messiah, but he had resisted the Christian teaching that Jesus was that Messiah. Meeting Jesus proved that Jesus was the Messiah he had been expecting, but there is nothing Jesus, or Ananias who prayed for Saul, said about the Trinity or Jesus being God, so there is no reason to believe Saul had to believe it to be saved.
Furthermore, immediately after being saved, Paul went into the Synagogue and taught. Like all new converts, Saul would have been very enthusiastic about his new beliefs, but there is no mention that he mentioned the Trinity. At the house of Cornelius in Caesarea, Peter taught the Gentiles gathered there that Jesus died, but God raised him from the dead. He did not mention the Trinity or say that Jesus was God, but the Gentiles who listened to Peter were saved and filled with the power of holy spirit right in the middle of his teaching.
Paul spoke in a synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, a Roman province in what today is the country of Turkey. He addressed the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles who were gathered there, and taught a very effective salvation message. He gave a short history of the Jews, showing that Jesus, a descendant of David, was the Savior, crucified by the Jews, raised from the dead by God, and that he showed himself alive to many of his disciples who testify about him.
He further taught that God now offers forgiveness of sins through him. Many people were saved. In this record, a dispute arose between Paul and members of the Pharisees who claimed circumcision and observance of the Law was necessary for salvation. A council at Jerusalem was convened specifically for the purpose of discussing what was necessary for the Gentiles to be saved—Gentiles whose belief system had no conception of a Trinity. Neither the doctrine of the Trinity nor the divinity of Christ was mentioned as necessary for salvation. Acts and Paul and Silas were put in jail in Philippi and were miraculously released when an earthquake hit the area.
Paul taught from the Scriptures, which in a synagogue at that time were only the Old Testament. Thus, Paul could not have mentioned anything about the Trinity, which, as we have seen, was not in the Old Testament. Instead, Paul showed that the Messiah had to suffer, die, and rise from the dead, all easily shown from the Old Testament, and then he made the case that Jesus was the Messiah. There was no mention of the Trinity, yet many were saved.
This is a very important record for our study because it specifically states that the Jews of Berea were more noble than the Jews of Thessalonica because they searched their Scriptures, the Old Testament, to see if what Paul and Silas were saying was true. However, we have already seen that the Trinity is not in the Old Testament, so what the people of Berea would have seen was that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies and then believed he was the Messiah and gotten saved.
Paul went to Athens and spoke to the Greeks. They got saved without ever hearing anything about the Trinity. Paul went to Corinth, and as in many other cities, went into the synagogue to speak about the Lord Jesus.