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Introduction

 

Theological Metamorphosis

Moving From Trinitarianism Towards Biblical Monotheism

2nd Edition

Presented at the 24th Theological Conference, Atlanta Bible College, April/May 2015

Revised and Expanded After the Conference

Part One: The Trinitarian Past and the Monotheistic Present and Future of Christian Disciples Church

Part Two: A Re-evaluation of the Deity of Jesus Christ in John’s Gospel

 

 

 

Introduction

metamorphosis

Zoology (in an insect or amphibian) the process of transformat­ion from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages.

→ a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means:

his metamorphosis from presidential candidate to talk-show host

[New Oxford American Dictionary]

This paper consists of two parts, the shorter of which is Part One. In Part One, chapters 1 to 3, I briefly explain the “theological metamor­pho­sis” of Christian Disciples Church (CDC), a church in which I have served in various capacities for a few decades. In speaking of this metamorpho­sis, I am refer­ring to something that took place around 2005 or 2006 when we en masse, as a whole church spanning three contin­ents, abandoned our long­standing belief in trinitarian­ism. In so doing, we were moving towards true mono­theism or what is appropriately called “biblical mono­the­ism,” in which no one but the Father of Jesus Christ is true God. A Bible verse that impelled us in this direction was John 17:3 in which Jesus declares that his Father is “the only true God”.

So whereas for several decades we had been proclaim­ing a trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, we now pro­claim the one and only God—the Father—and the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Our move away from trinitarianism is more thorough­going than, say, a switch from Cal­vinism to Armin­ian­ism, or from Protest­ant­ism to Cathol­icism, for the reason that the God of biblical mono­theism is incompati­ble with the God of trinitarianism. What changed for us was not just the content of our faith but its nature.

Hence even metamorphosis falls short as an adequate metaphor of our transition, for a butter­fly’s basic nature remains the same whether it is a caterpillar, a cocoon, or a full monarch.

Yet in a real way, metamorphosis accurately describes our jour­ney. We went through a win­ter of inner stirrings as we searched the Bible for the truth about God. This was followed by the warmth of spring as we stepped out into the world of biblical monothe­ism.

Our story is not just about the past but the present and the hopeful future. In recounting our past, we are moving towards a future strate­gy for the cause of bibli­cal monotheism, to proclaim the one and only God.

Explanation of the Two Parts of the Book

This paper is divided into two parts. Part One, consisting of chapters 1 to 3, is short and introductory. Part Two, consisting of chapters 4 to 13, explains the biblical basis of our departure from trinitarianism. The sole authority for our study will be the Scriptures, the inspired Word of God. There will be no further mention of Christian Disciples Church in Part Two.

A few chapters in this book are taken from Eric H.H. Chang’s The Only Perfect Man (2nd edition) of which I was the second author. All in all, about 80% of the material in this paper came from me, so I am responsible for all mistakes and inaccuracies in it.

The views expressed in this paper are solely mine, and do not necessarily represent those of Atlanta Bible College. But that doesn’t hold me back from recommending the great resources from Atlanta Bible College, Anthony Buzzard, and the Restoration Fellowship.

I can be contacted at biblicalmonotheism@gmail.com.

Gratitude

Special thanks to Sir Anthony F. Buzzard for inviting me to speak at the Atlanta theological conference, and for the Christian hospitality that you and your family have shown me and Sylvia and others visiting from Canada.

Copyrights

Theological Metamorphosis: Moving From Trinitarianism Towards Biblical Monotheism, 2nd Edition

Copyright © 2015, 2017, 2018, Bentley C.F. Chan

The print edition (ISBN 978-1535079808) and the Kindle edition (ASIN B0763XFMF7) of this book are available from Amazon.com and other online stores.

Cover design by Bentley C.F. Chan. Picture credits: Shutterstock/jps, Wikimedia Commons, Travis Dixon. 

The caterpillar/butterfly artwork, “Metamorphosis,” is used with the kind permission of the artist, Travis Dixon, whose online art gallery is hosted at http://travisdixon321.blogspot.ca and www.travisdraws.com.

Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. // Scripture quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, © copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1995. Used by permission. // Scripture quotations marked HCSB are from the Holman Christian Stand­ard Bible. Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Pub­lishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB, and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers. // Scripture quotations marked NIV are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Interna­tional Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.

(c) 2012 Christian Disciples Church