Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick, Defender of the Trinity

We've all heard of St. Patrick. Like the icon says, he's the Enlightener of Ireland. Got rid of all the snakes. Was a big fan of shamrocks. Most folks even know why he was a fan of shamrocks. He used it to explain the Trinity to the Irish pagans. It gave them a visual representation of the whole three Persons-one God idea. I'm thinking we need to start going door to door with shamrocks these days.

Here's the deal. The Trinity is the central and fundamental Truth of the Christian faith. Everything else flows from that. Ditch the Trinity, and the rest collapses. That's exactly what's going on.

Note in this previous post what the fastest growing religions are. Two of the top four (Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) explicitly reject the Trinity. I'm not sure how it has escaped notice, but Oneness Pentecostals (modern day modalists) are growing like weeds around here. Most Charismatic churches that label themselves non-denominational seem to be slipping down the same slope. For Catholics, most of us don't seem to have a clue what the Trinity is, much less its importance. We make the Sign of the Cross and recite the Creed, but we don't give much thought to what we are saying. The crisis in the faith has finally reached down to tear the entire basis of Christianity up by the roots.

I partially take that back. Latin rite Catholics have this problem. Easterners don't, probably because their liturgy is loaded with Trinitarian teachings.

Anyways, I think of this not just because it St. Patrick's Day, but also because this problem is getting so bad that congregations are actually being put in a position where they have to market the fact that they hold Trinitarian beliefs. "Pentecostal in Experience, Trinity in Doctrine" is becoming a tagline for these groups. What has the world come to where you stand out for believing in such a bedrock Christian principle?

If the issue of the Trinity ever comes up, recall St. Patrick's own words:

I arise today Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

Don't let people challenge this with impugnity. To deny the Trinity is seems tantamount to blasphemy, so treat it that way.

St. Patrick, pray for us!

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