Cairns (The Unity Church Journal of the Arts Book 4)

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Haddad, At the same time, the Christian presence within Jordan suffers both from some specific and overall problems that both Muslims and Christians experience within the region. On the one hand, emigration swells the Jordanian brain-drain , with numerous Christians seeking career opportunities abroad. This weakens their presence. These still raise some questions regarding the real extent of the concept of equality and, therefore, of full citizenship for Christians within Jordan G.

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Khoury, 9; M. Haddad, 3. Before the foundation of the Hashemite Emirate , the prevailing relationship between Muslims and Christians was not inspired by Islamic scriptural tradition or by Ottoman legal norms S. Musa, 45; E. Rogan, ; G. Chatelard, At the same time, the Byzantine canon was not decisive either. As in other isolated and mountainous areas of the Middle East, essentially independent from official political and religious authorities, tribalism concretely shaped their relationships and daily life.

First, it determined traditional local balances of power, also favouring the development of forms of syncretism and popular religiosity A.

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Jaussen, 79; A. Lutfiyya, Later on, when proto-state and proto-community structures began to develop during the second half of the 19 th century, it reproduced some of its logics within the newly established institutions, overlapping with and repositioning itself also within the dimension of local religious community institutions still in fieri. Afterwards, this peculiarity stabilized and consolidated along with progress in the nation-building process of the Hashemite state G.

Chatelard, ; P. Maggiolini, Also contributing to this situation was the absence of high-ranking religious authorities and poles of religious orthodoxy, traditionally located outside this territory in Damascus and Jerusalem, which were progressively established in Jordan only between the ss, never surpassing the bishopric level. This is not just because of the fragmented ecclesiology that characterizes their presence, a condition shared by all Christians within the Middle East A.

This is, instead, due to a tendency to consider their position quite unproblematic thanks to the level of guarantees ensured by the Hashemite monarchy, or of little interest because of their limited demographics. Therefore, any analysis of the Christians of Jordan first needs to concern itself with these attitudes, approaches and stereotypes. According to this interpretation, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been frequently described and analyzed from its weaknesses and problems or through its perceived dichotomies such as tribesmen-townsman or Transjordanians-Palestinians , underestimating the value of its national and socio-political experience.

Anderson, ; I. Maffi, 17; D. Corbett, In Jordan, the relationship between politics and religion and the dynamic of the religion-state alliance, regarding both the Muslim and Christian dimensions, developed precisely through understanding the inherent institutional and ideological pluralism of its political field 2 , where the monarchy is the ultimate and supreme point of unity. Consequently, the Jordanian political field is managed and regulated by a form of authoritarian pluralism functioning by promoting cooperation between the regime and the various elements and actors in its socio-political space, including religious movements and community and tribal institutions M.

Moaddel, For Christians this political event not only generated the beginning of a new historical experience as citizens and protected religious minority within a newly founded Arab state, but also fostered the foundation or revival of ecclesiastical institutions and hierarchies, now needed to pursue Trans -Jordanian Christian interests with the Emir-King and his followers, favouring the development of new narratives and discourses regarding the Christian presence and heritage within the Hashemite political field and Jordanian state.

Moreover, they were called on to elaborate a notion of their past and heritage according to the new Hashemite political parameters. Accordingly, this also helps to highlight another important aspect of the Christian presence in Jordan, connecting the interaction of Arab Christian identity within the sphere of the state, the relationship between Islam and Christianity, between majority and minority and, finally, within the specific religious dimension of the ecclesiastical identity of Christian Churches in Jordan.

At the same time, this approach may be useful to understanding the progress and impact of the Jordanian and Hashemite state-building process and how this affected the development of Christian ecclesiastical identity and religious community institutions within this land and political field. The point is more epistemological and methodological. It pertains to the need to reveal and fully evaluate their peculiarity and specificity regarding their contribution to the construction and development of such a concept, narrative and image. This attitude produces a double effect.

A space which traditionally has been forcedly shared by different political, ethnic and religious actors on both the local and international levels, where each actor constantly seeks to claim and reclaim its own existence, socio-political rights and positions amongst and towards the others. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and, according to our focus, its Christian population and Churches are not just mere components or residual and added elements, but actors and contributors to the development and evolution of this space and landscape K.

Katz, ; I. Maffi, Maffi, , investigating their specific relationship within Jordanian social and political fields.

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This because it represents both an institution and a field where state and the ecclesiastical and lay actors continuously interact and negotiate. More in detail, the analysis of the community helps explain both the relationship between lay and clergy for each denomination and the connection between these, the state and society. Of course, it involved all its inhabitants, regardless of their faith, who during the span of a few years were integrated into and recognized as citizens of the newly established autonomous Emirate of Transjordan Musa, 88; M. Abu Nowar, ; K. Salibi, ; E.

Rogan, On the one hand, part of their traditional local autonomy began to be progressively eroded as the Hashemite state-building process proceeded and Christians were officially recognized as a protected religious minority through the adoption and integration of their community institutions. This developed by adapting the 19 th century Ottoman millet scheme to the new Hashemite administrative and legal system.

Compared to their previous experience, this was an important innovation because now there was a central authority able to concretely impose such a system, whereas in the past local balances of power and tribal customs had been prevailing even during the last decades of the 19 th century when Istanbul had tried to impose its direct authority E. At the same time the Christians of Transjordan, both lay and clerics, remained attached to their tribal past. Tribalism persisted to be an important factor in the new-founded Hashemite state and offered the Christians a means to escape their narrow minority boundaries to access the Hashemite political field as equal partners of their Muslim tribal brethren.

More in detail, the Christian socio-political position in the Hashemite state was determined by the intertwining between their tribal past, the role of Christian ecclesiastical institutions already important since the second half of the 19 th century, the Ottoman millet legacy and the introduction of Western legal and state administration traditions.

This prevented them from dealing with a single authority, as they had since , complicating the management of their activities and state-church relations A. Consequently, Christian ecclesiastical authorities were obliged to re-negotiate, re-configure and re-think their organization and role according to the newly established state borders.

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Hourani, Maggiolini, , centring their activity and community life within new state borders and political fields that had never existed before in history. Compared to other cases within the Middle East, the absence of high-ranking ecclesiastical hierarchies within the territory and the overlapping between tribalism and religious community prevented the development of narratives strongly centred on religious affiliation and identity in competition with the newly imposed Hashemite political discourse.

Rather, this made it possible for Christian institutions to reconfigure, revive and develop their presence, role and identity in strict relation and according to the Hashemite state-building process and its discourse. In the Hashemite Emirate won independence, becoming the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and, later on, it extended its authority to the West Bank, ruling East Jerusalem from until This historical event reshuffled the condition of Christians and their ecclesiastical institutions on both banks of the Jordan River.

On the one hand, part of the ecclesiastical administration system returned to referring to a single central authority, the Hashemites. At the same time, along with a half-million Muslim Palestinians, an estimated 60, Palestinian Christians fled their homes along the coast and in the Galilean highlands and relocated within both the East and West Bank territories under Hashemite rule.

This was an important shift, spectacularly raising the population of Jordan and prompting their rapid ramification, also laying the basis for the often cited tension between Transjordanian and Palestinian identities within the Hashemite state K. Gandolfo, Neuhaus, The first event in this historical path was enactment of the Organic Law A.

Giannini, that redrew the socio-political and legal relationship between Christian and Muslim citizens of what was now Transjordan, combining Islamic legal traditions with Western juridical and administrative practices. At the same time, although not officially recognized, tribal customs continued to be practiced by both Christians and Muslims, regulating and marking specific turning points in life M. Haddad, ; G. Islam was declared the religion of the state and the Emir, but Christians were granted freedom of belief and religion art.

Established Churches were officially recognized by Transjordanian law and guaranteed rights as religious communities art. Moreover, the Organic Law recognized and reserved to Christians a specific number of seats in representative institutions art. Finally, it allowed for the creation of religious community councils to manage community courts and their socio-educational institutions arts.

Islam was confirmed as the religion of the state and the King art. Pruvost, All citizens were again recognized as equal before the law regardless of their religion, language or race art. In fact, the Jordanian government reiterated that there were no minorities within the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and that all Jordanians were equal before the law, whatever their differences in race, religion, or language P. Gubser, This principle was again repeated and expanded in the National Pact of which called for securing the values of tolerance and objectivity, and respecting the beliefs of others J.

Al Shalabi; M. Alrajehi, Moreover, the Constitution guaranteed religious communities the right to create and maintain their own educational institutions art. Shuweihat, Given the fact that their demographic weight oscillates between 6, 4 and 2. At the same time, the provision of 12 reserved female seats further increases possible Christian representation within the House of Representatives, as confirmed by the election of a Christian woman in Moreover, in Jordan the monarchy has stably assured that cabinets include Christian ministers, also appointing Christians as palace advisors, to senior ranks in the military and high positions within public administration.

However, a full picture cannot ignore the flip side of both these guarantees and the quota system. On the one hand, unresolved issues endure, such as marriages between Christian men and Muslim women; some aspects related to inheritance; the custody of children in mixed marriages and the prohibition of conversions from Islam 5 , not to mention the impossibility for Christians to rise to the highest political and military ranks S. Sayegh, The Jordanian laws guarantee full respect for their beliefs, but also weaken their position as individuals within society and the public sphere.

Without overstating the negative aspects of such a schema, since their number is somewhat marginal both in terms of actual members and percentage of the overall population, the quota system clearly represents the will to grant them a solid and definite political representation, avoiding their struggle to attain it F.

McCallum, Sabella, 8. Moreover, to this picture should be added the fact that the persisting significance of tribal networks within both Christian and Muslim dimensions still orients the selection of candidates and the nature of the representation. From this standpoint, the recognition of a quota for Christians as a protected religious minority gave the tribal networks control of a guaranteed field in which to replicate their logics, overlapping and intertwining with the community dimension and reinforcing each other.

Thus the Trinity was to them a fact before it became a doctrine, but in order to preserve it in the credal faith of the church the doctrine had to be formulated. This is the teaching that there are three Gods who are sometimes related, but only in a loose association. Such an approach, abandons the biblical oneness of God and the unity within the Trinity. Sabellianism or Modalism. Sabellius A. This teaching came to be known as modalism because it views one God who variously manifests Himself in three modes of existence: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This doctrine had it roots in Tertullian, who made the Son subordinate to the Father. Arius taught that only God was the uncreated One; because Christ was begotten of the Father it meant Christ was created by the Father.

Arius believed there was a time when Christ did not exist. Arius and his teaching was condemned at the Council of Nicea in A. Since the Trinity involves the key aspects of oneness and threeness, support for this doctrine will be dependent on the discovery of these two aspects in Scripture as it reveals how God exists.

This is apparent in most English translations. This confession clearly prepares the way for the later revelation of the Trinity, but how? As such, it is used of the union of Adam and Eve Gen. Further, it is used in a collective sense , like one cluster of grapes rather than in an absolute sense as in Numbers when the spies brought back a single cluster of grapes.

Furthermore, the oneness of God is implied in those Old Testament passages that declare that there is no other God beside Yahweh, the God of Israel. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. While there is no explicit statement in the Old Testament affirming the Triunity, we can confidently say that the Old Testament not only allows for the Triunity, but also implies that God is a triune Being in a number of ways:. While this is what is called a plural of plenitude pointing to the power and majesty of God, it certainly allows for the New Testament revelation of the Triunity of God.

It is stated that God created heaven and earth Gen. In Isaiah all three Persons are mentioned and yet seen as distinct from each other. See also Gen. The case for the Triunity of God is even stronger in the New Testament. Furthermore, the New Testament teaches us that these three names are not synonymous, but speak of three distinct and equal Persons.

His deity is proven by the divine names given to Him, by His works that only God could do upholding all things, Col. He has the attributes which only God can possess like omniscience 1 Cor. Other passages like Matthew and 2 Corinthians associate equally the three Persons but do not contain the strong emphasis on unity as does Matthew The evidence of the NT writings, apart from the Gospels, is sufficient to show that Christ had instructed his disciples on this doctrine to a greater extent than is recorded by any of the four Evangelists.

They whole-heartedly proclaim the doctrine of the Trinity as the threefold source of redemption. The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost brought the personality of the Spirit into greater prominence and at the same time shed light anew from the Spirit upon the Son. So the church of Pentecost was founded on the doctrine of the Trinity. In 1 Cor. What is amazing, however, is that this confession of God as One in Three took place without struggle and without controversy by a people indoctrinated for centuries in the faith of the one God, and that in entering the Christian church they were not conscious of any break with their ancient faith.

From the above evidence, it should be clear that the Scripture teaches God is one and three. John And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Such an understanding denies His eternality and also the concept of the trinity. Hence monogenes is used for the only child. Isaac was not the only Son of the Patriarch, but he was the unique son of the promise of God. The emphasis is not on derivation but on his uniqueness and special place in the heart of Abraham. It suggests relationship indeed, but must be distinguished from generation as applied to man. The Christ did not become, but necessarily and eternally is the Son.

He, a Person, possesses every attribute of pure Godhood. The value and the greatness of the gift lay in the Sonship of Him who was given. His Sonship was not the effect of His being given. Again, because of the thought of birth that this word denotes in our minds, this passage has been used to teach that Christ was not the eternal second Person of the Trinity because He had a beginning as the firstborn of God.

The point and focus of the word must be taken from the context in which it is used. But even here, He is the first-born of the dead so that He might come to be pre-eminent in all things as the head of the body, the church vs.


The point is that prototokos can mean either first in time or first in priority and it is the context which determines the meaning. As the second Person of the Trinity, Christ is God and sovereign, but as the God-Man who died for our sins and was raised from the dead, He is the pre-eminent head of the body of Christ, the church. The full deity of Christ is nonetheless in bodily form —a full humanity cf. Paul affirmed here that Christ is both fully God and truly man cf.

All doctrine is practical and has specific ramifications to life. This is no less true of the Triunity of the Godhead which draws our attention to the concept of the tri-fold personality of God. This communicates all the elements of personality—moral agency, intelligence, will, emotion, and communion that exists within the three Persons of the Godhead.

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What are some of the ramifications of this doctrine not only for theology, but for Christian experience and life? Scripture teaches us that God is light, and one of the main functions of light is illumination. The act of revealing is as natural to God as it is for the sun. Before the creation of any being, angel or human, there was revelation and communication taking place within the Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father to the Son, the Son to the Father, and so on with the Spirit.

When, in the eternal decrees of God, He willed to create a universe with angelic and human beings, it was merely the expression of this very nature of God. So if God is a fellowship within himself he can let that fellowship go out to his creatures and communicate himself to them according to their capacity to receive.


This is what happened supremely when he came to redeem men: he let his fellowship bend down to reach outcast man and lift him up. And so because God is a Trinity he has something to share: it is his own life and communion. Since God is within himself a fellowship, it means that his moral creatures who are made in his image find fullness of life only within a fellowship. This is reflected in marriage, in the home, in society and above all in the church whose koinonia is built upon the fellowship of the three Persons. There is … diversity in the life of God.

God the Father designs, God the Son creates, God the Spirit quickens; a great diversity of life and operation and activity. For that reason we can realize that if the universe is a manifestation of God, we can expect a diversity of life within the whole of the created universe. We think that the so-called uniformity of nature is utterly untrue. All the wonders of creation, all the forms of life, all the movement in the universe, are a reflection, a mirroring, of the manifold life of God. There is no monotonous sameness, no large-scale uniformity of pattern, for nature reflects the many-sidedness of the nature and character of the living God.

First, historically, men have either ignored it or rejected it as illogical and incompatible with human reason. Third, historically and for the most part, the church has accepted it completely by holding both truths God is three in one, triune in a proper balance. Based on all the data of the Bible, the church has accepted this doctrine by faith though it is incomprehensible to our finite minds.

Any time man elevates his own reason above the clear revelation of Scripture and he is faced with those truths in Scripture that defy his human logic, he usually goes in one of two extremes. For instance, when faced with two truths which seem to contradict each other e. In his attempt to make the truth harmonize with his reason, he will inevitably move to one extreme or the other. He will accept one truth A, God is one either to the neglect of the other or reject it completely truth B, God a tri-personality , or he will swing to the other side and either minimize or reject truth A and emphasize truth B.

In an effort to water down the doctrine of the triune God many have fallen into error. One such error is unitarianism. This view regards God as only one Person. The Unitarian-Universalist Church is an example of this extreme. This new Arianism repudiates the Trinity because it holds it to be unreasonable. The second extreme is tritheism. This is a variation of polytheism because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are regarded as three separate Gods. Sometimes this is carried a step further into the idea that there are many different gods, some perhaps associated with other worlds or realms.

Mormonism is an example of tritheism, for it speaks of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as three distinct Gods Ibid. Mormonism is actually polytheistic since it indicates that there are other gods besides these three. The only way to avoid these extremes is to accept all the biblical facts in a balanced way.

The Trinity cannot be comprehended by the human mind because it is super-rational. Nevertheless, when anyone places his faith in God and the truth of His Word, he finds a satisfaction in this and other difficult areas of revealed truth. There is no need for a continual struggle.


The doctrine of the trinity is truly beyond human comprehension or the limits of our finite minds, but it is nevertheless a vital truth of the Bible. It is a doctrine that is closely connected to other key doctrines like the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. In fact, our salvation is rooted in the mysterious nature of the Godhead who coexists as three distinct Persons all of whom are involved in our salvation in all its aspects, past, present, and future.

It encompasses everything we know and practice as Christians—our sanctification, our fellowship, our prayer life, our Bible study, or our corporate worship. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. Walvoord and Roy B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Revell, , pp.

Zuck, Editors, Victor Books, p. Questions About the Old Testament Law. Is it okay to involve an unbeliever in church ministry? What Denomination Does Bible. Psalms Of Kindness. You are here Home. Introduction Because the word trinity is never found in the Bible some wonder about whether this is a biblical doctrine or not, but the absence of a term used to describe a doctrine does not necessarily mean the term is not biblical.

Walter Martin points out: No man can fully explain the Trinity, though in every age scholars have propounded theories and advanced hypotheses to explore this mysterious Biblical teaching. Cairns discusses this time of theological controversy in the early church and the extreme care given to this issue: It was an era when the main dogmas of the Christian Church were developed. Note the following points: 1 Evangelical Christianity has believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, Triunity, or the Triune Godhead because of the teaching of the Bible as a whole Old and New Testaments and not because of one or two particular passages.

In a chart, it can be expressed as follows: Ancient Diagram of the Holy Trinity The three Persons are the same in substance, i. Unity in diversity In most formularies the doctrine is stated by saying that God is One in his essential being, but that in his being there are three Persons, yet so as not to form separate and distinct individuals.