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The Words Matter

Rich Leonardi points us to a Vatican document released today that affirms there is only one acceptable form for the Rite of Baptism.

It is interesting that Rich should mention the Episcopalians. If one reads the information on the National Episcopal Church USA web site, one sees that in addition to a change in the wording of the Trinity, their understanding of the Trinity has also migrated:

One of the most difficult to explain, and often misunderstood concepts in the Christian faith is the belief in a trinitarian God, one God with three aspects. Often characterized as the 'Father,' Son,' and 'Holy Spirit,' the trinity represents God the Father/Creator, Jesus Christ the Son and Savior, and the Holy Spirit, or the creative, inspirational force at work in the world.

It is this 'three-in-one' characterization of God that some point to as contradictory to the doctrine of there being one and only one God, that somehow Christians pray to more than one god. Christian teachings and belief however are clear on this point: there is only one God, the Creator of the universe, who has three 'persons' or aspects, inseparable yet unique parts of the whole.

There are many metaphors for the Trinity, many ways of trying to conceptualize that which is almost beyond our grasp, but for Christians it is the way we interact with these three aspects that matter most. The Trinity provides structure to our prayers, our worship services, our lives.

As there is nothing new under the sun, this is really a restatement of the Monarchian heresy which holds that God has three “aspects” that are referred to as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The words matter. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.

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