It is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Catholic Encyclopedia refers to the Trinity as “the central doctrine of the Christian religion”. Did you know that?
The Athanasian Creed explains this doctrine, teaching that:
The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.
This is the doctrine that separates Christians from Jews. This doctrine requires Jews to call Christians “idolaters”, for they do not maintain the ancient Jewish doctrine, which teaches:
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.
Yes, the Christian doctrine claims to be consistent with the Jewish doctrine, but the Jews do not agree. They believe that when St. Thomas the Apostle knelt before Jesus and professed, “My Lord and my God!”–he was committing idolatry. This, to the Jews, is THE evil of Christianity–that Christians worship Jesus–a man–as God.
Now, this controversy is not unique to the Jews. The doctrine of the Trinity has been controversial throughout Church history and the creeds we have–which EMPHASIZE the doctrine of the Trinity–were formed to make this doctrine as clear as could be.
The Apostles Creed focuses on the Trinity, “I believe in God, the Father…and in His Son….and in the Holy Spirit”. The Nicene Creed further emphasizes this doctrine, “We believe in one God…the Father…and in one Lord, Jesus Christ…and in the Holy Spirit.” Anyone who suggests that this doctrine has never been questioned among Christians doesn’t know history.
Even after the Protestant Reformation, when “Bible-believing Christians” started their own “Biblical” churches, the doctrine of the Trinity came up again. In the 16th century, the Unitarians organized within Protestantism, believing that the doctrine of the Trinity was not to be found in Scripture but was rather Catholic Church dogma and not necessary for Christian faith and life.
As Christian Trinitarians, we face a weighty accusation from the Jews. They say were are, in this doctrine of the Trinity, committing idolatry. They do not deny that it may be true that Jesus is the Messiah…time will tell. However, they believe that even if Jesus is the Messiah, God is NOT made up of three persons, and Jesus of Nazareth may never be addressed as “God”.
Nevertheless, we profess it to be so. Have you ever realized how often you make reference to the Trinity in your daily life of prayer and worship? The Sign of Cross is a profession of the Trinity. The Glory Be is a profession of the Trinity. In Morning Prayer, we make the sign of the Cross three times and say the “Glory Be” five times! If you pray Morning and Evening prayer everyday for a month, you would have made the Sign of the Cross 180 times and the Glory Be 300 times! We can’t even eat a meal without professing the doctrine of the Trinity!
Are you committed to the doctrine of the Trinity? If so, why? I’m not asking, “Can you recite the arguments given by Christians for the Trinity?” Really, everyone knows them (the baptism of Jesus, the Great Commission, God refers to Himself in the plural, Wisdom is personified in the OT, etc..). I’m interested in knowing what has led you–personally–to be committed to the docrine of the Trinity, seeing how controversial it has been throughout history and how serious a doctrine it is.