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Is understanding the Trinity necessary for one’s salvation?

This is one in a series on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. To see MRM’s website page on the Trinity to see other resources, please click here.

By Eric Johnson

Some have wondered if understanding the Trinity is necessary for one’s salvation. The answer is no. As Harold Lindsell and Charles Woodbridge put it,

The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who has tried to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind; but he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul (A Handbook of Christian Truth, pp. 51-52).

That’s probably as good of a summary on this issue as ever has been made. Indeed, the person who tries to understand (in a complete sense) the Trinity will end up going crazy. Three in one? One but three? How does that work? We admit, the Trinity is impossible for a finite human mind to completely grasp. It is a mystery. But notice the second part of the quote above: “he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul.” Even though the Christian may not fully understand the concept, it is vital to believe that it is true. To deny the concept means a denial of the God of the universe. We are told in John 4:24 that “God is Spirit.” Thus it is vital to “worship Him in Spirit and in truth.”

Christians ought not to criticize those who cannot understand the Trinity. It is not expected for a new believer, for instance, to have a solid grasp on this. Willfully denying the Trinity, though, is a complete different issue.


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