The Unholy Trinity

The Holy Trinity is, of course, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Here’s what I’ve taken to calling the unholy trinity:

The belief in the all-seeing God who is unitarian, grouchy, and watching our every move.

The belief that Jesus came from this God (and was, in some ill-defined way, this God’s son) to create the potential for people to save themselves by their own faith. Jesus accomplished this mission by changing God from being angry all the time to only being angry some of the time.

The belief that we all better get busy doing church stuff to keep God happy. Jesus got him off our backs but he’ll get mad again if we slack off on personal evangelism, good works, tithing, etc., etc.

This unholy trinity represents, I believe, the basic theology of most Christians in the United States today. The exception would be those Christian who don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God. For them, the second point of the unholy trinity is that Jesus was a prophet who came to tell us what to do to make God happy and then left us to get busy doing it.

I don’t know about you, but I plan to steer far, far away from this unholy trinity, in all its many forms and manifestations. The only theology I want to hear, and the only ministers I will listen to, are those who speak to me of the Holy Trinity: the Father who has adopted, embraced, and saved humanity in his Son Jesus Christ and who has poured out his Spirit on all of us so that we might share in Jesus’ faith in the Father.

~ Jonathan Stepp

2 comments so far

  1. Lee Berger on

    I just now got around to reading “The Unholy Trinity” entry from April 23. I agree that the nature of the Persons of the real Trinity has been misinterpreted and misrepresented by way too many folks—including me in the past, hopefully not so much now. Jonathan describes the work of the unholy trinity, specifically mentioning the ticked off Father and the appeasing Son (who is barely able to hold back the punishing hand of the Father). But what about the Holy Spirit? What is His unholy part in the mix? It seems for many Christians, the Spirit is so ethereal and mysterious that He is basically a non-factor. But for others (especially our charismatic brethren), the Spirit is the kingpin, the trump card that controls the granting of full salvation and eternal rewards. Yes, the Father is forever angry and the Son is continuously appeasing the wrath of God, but the Spirit is the one who gives believers the power (or so the doctrine says) to exercise the proper gifts and obligate God to grant salvation and blessings to those obedient ones. Hence, the Spirit’s contribution to the unholy trinity, with God acting as a madman and man in control of his eternal destiny.

  2. Pastor Jonathan on

    Well said Lee. I hadn’t really thought about it when I wrote this post but the pneumatology you describe is both unholy and exhausting. I plan to steer far clear of it as well!

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