So, without further ado, here it is.
Why I love God, but the Trinity? ...Um, Not So Much.
(Or: Recovering the Spiritual Unity of God: Why the Trinity is an unbiblical, linguistically implausible, and unhelpful concept; an alternative way of speaking about God; and practical implications for Christian worship and evangelism.)
God: one, three, all at once. Huh?
“I have been given the topic of “Trinity” for my sermon today,” the pastor began. In the congregation, eyes gazed straight ahead; hairs raised slightly on end. “It’s a confusing topic,” he continued. “If you’re not confused by the end of this sermon, then you should be...”; and with such a desperate introduction as that, there began a toe-numbing discussion of three-ness, one-ness, Godheads, essences, substances, and, of course, the heresies which quickly ensue, should your grip on one of these prized tenets so much as think about loosening. As if the sheer weight of the vocabulary wasn’t enough, the good fellow’s native tongue was laid aside in a bid to derive some deeper meaning from Latin, Greek, and English - almost as if, by pulling in more languages, the smell of panic accompanying the words might somehow be fanned into the next room.
The Trinity has always been a doozy. No-one really claims to understand it, and no-one really claims that we should understand it. Can a pot understand the potter, after all? And yet, having sat through all-too-many sermons and theological lectures claiming that the received doctrine of the Trinity is vital to our belief system; having read through many a dense and smug-sounding textbook designed to persuade me (with proof-texts as watertight as a pretty Dutch doily) of the perfect reality of the orthodox trinitarian worldview; having sung too many a song where “Father”, “Son” and “Spirit” were awkwardly interchanged in each verse, making me say things I never normally would say; having wondered at night over who decided to turn my beloved heavenly Father into a Godhead; and having seen too many diagrams where the Father, Son and Spirit were each represented by the same kind of symbol, each relating to the others in the same kind of bland symbolic way - I feel the time has come to make the case for the Spiritual Unity of God, as testified to by God himself in Scripture - in a “non-three” kind of way.
In this little essay my main goal is to advocate a return to simple, biblical terms for God - none other than Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I advocate placing the terms “Trinity”, “three”, “persons”, “Godhead”, “perichoresis”, “essense” (and their multiple close companions) into the incinerator - at least in popular level discussions - for the love of God and for the love of future generations of those who seek Him. I will not try to say that the Trinity, as it has been conceived, is all wrong; or that Father, Son or Spirit are actually not God; or anything else heinous and heretical. I just want us to go back to talking about God the way He reveals himself to us. And I have some reasons for wishing this.
I’ll first explain why the terms we use for God do really truly matter. With great restraint, I don’t focus on my biggest personal irk (the “Godhead”), but rather choose to fire my flaming arrows into the idea that God should be described as “three persons”. I will do this by explaining why the theological concept of “persons” had to be emptied of normal meaning before it could be used to refer to Father, Son and Spirit, so that it means nothing anyway; and then, from the dark closet of my linguistic history, I will bring forth an explanation of why numbering divine persons as “three” actually distorts our understanding of God. Thus, the traditional terminology relating to the Trinity will be shown to be not only Bad Language (from a multi-lingual perspective) but also Bad Theology.
Some of the effects and implications of the traditional trinitarian view of God will briefly be discussed, and then I will suggest how we might now forge our way into this next millennium with a clean, fresh, accurate and endearing way of speaking about our God - as none other than Father and Son, who share one Holy Spirit, and are therefore One.
Before I go on, two confessions. First, I acknowledge that I am trampling over generations upon generations of cherished church doctrine in this essay. I confess that I am not more clever than Augustine, or whoever else took the time to come up with the original formulations. I readily acknowledge their Greatness of Brain, and my normal-ness. I can’t even begin to engage with the likes of Karl Barth, Bruce McCormack or others who have delved into this topic before me, and no doubt said many useful things. On the other hand, I do believe that I have the same Spirit as they did, and the same Word, and that if God wills it he can reveal things to whomever he chooses. And of course, I do see this as getting “back to the Bible” in a small but significant way - as all good mini-reformers ought - and if I have written it, it surely passes the ploughboy criteria.
And secondly: I confess that, while the thoughts in this paper have been brewing over many years of Bible study (sometimes of the academic variety), life, and ministry, I haven’t done a lot of specific academic research for this essay. I’m a mum of three small kids, living in a developing country (or bouncing between there and somewhere else), doing jobs, living life; and what’s more, passion rather than thoroughness is my forte. I’m counting on my lively and (hopefully) witty style to cover a multitude of factual errors, and that the main point of the essay will not be completely ignored if, for example, Augustine had nothing to do with the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity. I see this paper as a sort of modern Wisdom Literature - intended for provoking thinking - so do allow me to make bold assertions, and I will allow you to vocally disagree, as long as it is done in the spirit of seeking wisdom. May God guide us.
And now, on with the show!
What’s in a name?
said Juliet, wistfully, ruing the effect of her name Capulet on her budding love-life. Do names matter? Well, a rose may certainly smell as sweet by another name, but a frog which is called a rose is misleading, disappointing and moist. All this to say that naming things correctly has value. Thankfully, God, even when called “the Three-Personed Godhead”, is still wonderful in reality; yet this rather ghoulish naming of Him may leave some of us with a diminished will to live.
Come on a metaphor with me. Say you had a friend who, one day, held out his cupped hands and invited you to guess at the three things he held inside. After a few tries, you correctly identify a marble and a safety pin. You spend your next guesses in vain, until you reach the limit of 50 attempts, and your friend triumphantly opens his hand to reveal a marble, a safety pin, and... “air!” he gloats. Of course, you indignantly reply, “But air is not a thing!” “Aaah,” he replies, with the aura of someone in the know, “I wasn’t using ‘thing’ in its usual meaning. I’m using the [insert Greek word here]-ological meaning of ‘thing’.”
Now, depending on your particular pathology, you will respond in one of two ways. Perhaps you are the type of person who would be impressed at his wisdom and understanding, and ask many questions about [insert Greek word here]-ology, until they are fully conversant and also able to display an aura of being “in the know”. Then, the new convert will go and perform the same trick on other people, just for kicks.
The second type of person will find themselves annoyed, perhaps even angry, and decide to leave the smug friend to his own devices and find someone else to play with, someone who speaks normal language and doesn’t make them feel silly for using English properly.
The same thing happens, unfortunately, in discussions on the Trinity. “The Godhead,” theologians say, “Is made of three persons - Father, Son and Spirit.” “Wait!” someone cries, “A spirit is not a person!”. “Aaaaah!” cries the theologian, who has been eagerly anticipating this naive reaction, “I meant ‘person’ in the trinito-theological sense...” - and so it goes on. People either join the party, emptying language in a specialised kind of way until it no longer refers to any thing; or they leave, feeling slightly irritated and belittled, and certainly none the wiser about the so-called Godhead, to whom they had always enjoyed relating perfectly well anyway.
From my description you can possibly pinpoint my own particular pathology and which camp I have fallen into. I have dear friends of both persuasions, and no offence is intended. But I would not be sitting up at midnight writing this article in the dark if I had no strong opinion on the matter. It now falls to me to convince you that saying that God exists in “three persons” is:
- not only (subjectively) annoying,
- but also (objectively) bad Human Language,
- and ultimately (also objectively) unbiblical - bad Theology.
Why talk of “the three persons” is unbiblical
Did you ever notice that the word “three” never appears in the Bible in relation to God? Father, Son, and Spirit are mentioned, sometimes all at once; but not once in all 66 books is there a single simple statement like “and the three are one” or even “Father, Son, and Spirit - these three”. This, of course, will be no surprise to you well-researched friends; nor will it come as a surprise that at one point a wily scribe thought a reference to “threeness” would be a helpful addition (1 John 5:7), but actually... no. God never describes himself as “three”, not in the context of “three in one”, nor in any other context. Isn’t that something!
I know what you’re thinking. “Extrabiblical does not mean unbiblical!” Quite right, quite right. I am a woman - extrabiblical, yet quite true, right, and consistent with sacred writ. However, there is more to “three” than meets the eye, and I would like to prove that applying that label to God (even in the context of “unity”) is yea, unbiblical; hence it is important to first show that it is, at the bare minimum, not in the Bible.
Before we proceed with a theological evaluation of the phrase (leading to the claim that it is unbiblical), allow me to delve into the linguistic realm, to uncover the hidden meanings which are always unwittingly affirmed when we speak of God as existing in “three persons”.
Grammar speaks volumes: Why talk of “three persons” is bad English, and bad Chinese too
Oh dear friends, as you explore the concept of the Trinity, don’t leave home without this key of knowledge firmly fastened around your lanyard:
Linguistically speaking, enumerating (counting) objects - any objects - says something about the objects.
Before we go counting persons in the Godhead, we need to discuss if Father, Son and Spirit can be counted, or if by doing so we are perhaps saying something - grammatically - which is not true of Father, Son and Spirit.
Let me explain. In English, you can only enumerate things or people which have something in common. For example,
- Three different birds can simply be enumerated: “three birds”;
- A couch, a table and a bed need to use a more general category: “three pieces of furniture”;
- Likewise a dog, a cat and a fish: “three animals”;
- A wedding ring, a bottle top and a door handle have little in common but can be enumerated by reference to material: “three metal objects”;
- A boy, a dirt road, and a photo cannot be enumerated in any of these ways. Try it... “three... errrr...” Even the most general words available to us, ‘things’, doesn’t work, because of the boy; nor even ‘entities’, because the road isn’t one. They are simply too different in kind to be counted.
So you can see that in order to count in English, the things counted must be the same in kind. You will notice that even if things share characteristics (such as a brown boy, a brown road and a brown photo), they can still not be counted (“three brown... errr...”). The very act of counting means “these things are the same kind of thing”.
Hold on with your thoughts of essences and the like - we’ll get to deity in a minute. But first, this meaning of “sameness” attached to enumeration is common to many (maybe even all) languages. It is even more noticeable in languages (such as Chinese) which always employ classifiers for counting nouns. For example, in these languages, they can’t go on and say “three birds”, but they say things like this:
- Eight “animal” birds
- Three “long-thin-thing” pens
- Four “people” students
- Six “round-thing” apples
- And so on.
In languages like this, you would never be able to count together, for example, a pen, a student, an apple, and a bird, because there is not only no noun-word to describe them all (like “thing”), but also no classifier which applies to them all - and they need both before they can count them.
So you see, around the world, counting things means they are all the same kind of thing. To say that God is “three”, then, is to say that all of the “three” of God are of the same kind. Now, what kind of thing are they? The obvious choice is “the divine kind of thing” - but “three gods” or “three divinities” takes us places we really don’t want to go. So that’s out.
Well. Hmm... where to from here? If not three “gods”, then perhaps - persons? It solves the polytheistic implication, at least, so worth a try. History has indeed selected the word “person” to attach to “three” to explain in what way Father, Son and Spirit are the same kind. Of course, this works well for Jesus (post-incarnation, at the very least). However, to call the Father a “person” is obviously strange; and much more so, the Spirit, who is, of course, a spirit. Sure, using “persons” gives some helpful information in terms of characteristics (such as ability to feel and speak), but as discussed above, in order to count things they need to be of the same kind, not just share some characteristics. In order to successfully use “person” of Father and Spirit, then, it is necessary to strip the word “person” of all of its “kind” meaning when referring to God. It becomes a semantically empty word, created simply to enable the enumeration of God.
Well, yay, us! We’ve successfully created a way to count God. But wait... did we ever stop to consider what this would imply?
More on implications in a minute. First - there’s the added problem of ethnocentricity to raise. In classifier languages (as mentioned just before), what would the classifier for the “persons” be? Three “people” God-persons? Oh no, that doesn’t sound right at all. Much too human. Three “god” God-people gets us right back to polytheism. Would a new classifier, devoid of meaning, have to be made up? We have achieved that very glory with “person”, so why not create an semantically empty classifier too?
Bzzzzz, my friends. Not possible. Classifiers can’t be made up. In English, we can make up a noun; “Hey, that’s my snozzbong!” is acceptable - you just need to learn what a snozzbong is. But we can not create a new preposition (‘near’, ‘at’, ‘off’ etc): “Get that disgusting insect frecky my arm!” is not acceptable. Classifiers, like English prepositions, are a closed set - no new entries allowed. Therefore, classifier language people, unfortunately (or not?), are doomed to a life of not being able to call God “three persons” without violating not only their semantic sensibilities, but their grammatical structures as well.
So, we in the West (who are not burdened with classifiers as a way of life) have gone down the perilous path of creating new, vacuous words so that - hooray - we can now count God. Our ethnic neighbours don’t have that luxury. Unlucky for them, perhaps - or are they divinely blessed with an extra safeguard from thinking silly thoughts about God? [See the comments for more discussion of the Chinese way of talking about the Trinity.]
I have shown that enumerating God defies normal English semantic rules, and is grammatically impossible in other languages. Now, let’s turn to what happens to our understanding of God when it’s asserted (albeit implicitly) that each of the three “persons” are of the same kind.
Why “three persons” is an unhelpful way to discuss Father, Son and Spirit
As explained above, the “three persons” model of God carries the implication that Father, Son and Spirit are the same kind of being. This in turn has resulted in all sorts of diagrams which portray these “persons” as the same, and relating to each other in the same way, with no distinctiveness.
Now I know these diagrams are often criticised for their lack of nuance and so forth, yet they still persist in google searches and the popular consciousness; and rightly so, because three things of the same kind should be basically representable by three things of the same shape. Here are some exhibits of this “same-same” approach to Father, Son and Spirit (Trinity), which I have collected in my travels.
Exhibit B (a pumped-up version of Exhibit A):
Exhibit C (specifically depicting perichoresis):
Exhibit D (also depicting perichoresis):
In all of these diagrams, each “person” is depicted in exactly the same way: a circle, a point on a triangle, a tail-less fish, a ghoul. Each could be interchanged with the other. Each relates to the others diagrammatically in exactly the same way. So, the concept of “three persons” not only implies that the three are “of the same kind”, but this concept is reinforced by popular depictions of trinity. Chicken and egg, perhaps.
Various word-explanations of the Trinity fall into the same type of pattern, with each “person” relating to the others in exactly the same way:
The Father is God, but is not the Son or the Spirit - yet he is one with them.
The Son is God, but is not the Father or the Spirit - yet he is one with them.
The Spirit is God, but is not the Son or the Father - yet he is one with them.
Exhibit F (derived from exhibit B):
The Father is in the Spirit and the Son, and glorifies the Spirit and the Son.
The Son is in the Spirit and the Father, and glorifies the Spirit and the Father.
The Spirit is in the Father and the Son, and glorifies the Father and the Son.
As fun and cute as all these exhibits are, and as much as they have been deemed suitable for public consumption (with the obvious caveats of simplicity), the biblical evidence - when weighed up carefully - actually contradicts all of these models, not just in terms of their lack of complexity or nuance, but in the basics of what they are setting out to assert.
Allow me to challenge first the notion that the three are all “one with” the others in the same way. The Father and the Son are one - Jesus’ own words. But where does the Bible say that the Spirit and the Son are one? And where does it say that the Father and the Spirit are one? Nowhere, my friends. So, are they one, in the same way that Jesus and the Father are one? If you think so (and I’m not sure I do), where’s the evidence?
Neither are Father, Son and Spirit all “in” the others in the same way. The Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father - biblical. The Spirit is in the Son - true, but is that in the same way that the Father is in the Son? And then, is the Father “in” the Spirit? Is the Son “in” the Spirit? The Bible never talks of it this way; and with good reason. The Father and Son are not “in” the Spirit in the same way that the Father is in the Son.
You will find, if you scour the scriptures, that Father and Son have many of these reciprocal-type phrases applied to them (especially in John), and also a person-to-person-type relationship (speaking to each other, and so on). The Spirit, however, is excluded from these kinds of formulations. Jesus and the Father don’t seem to talk to the Spirit - more by the Spirit, or in the Spirit; and they don’t seem to feel the need to emphasise their unity with the Spirit, or reciprocal relationship with him, as much as their unity and reciprocal relationship with each other.
This significant tendency of the Bible to expressly teach the unity of Father and Son only is glided over glibly in the literature. But the question is begging to be asked: Why is this? Why in the Bible is the Spirit clearly identified as nothing other than God, and yet not given the same “one-ness” treatment as the Father and Son are? What is unique about the Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit
To answer this, the obvious starting place is that the Spirit is described in the Bible as a spirit. This is obvious, but often not given much weight. Why is he called a spirit? Because in human language, the closest thing we have to what he is, is a spirit - human or other. Have a look at 1 Corinthians 2:11, which directly parallels the Holy Spirit’s relationship with God to our human spirits’ relationship with us.
Although in my home culture (Australian) we don’t tend to think much about spirits (again, other cultures may have an advantage here), we do acknowledge in our more poetic moments that we have one (“my spirit soared”, etc). Is our spirit anything other than us? Certainly not. So is the Holy Spirit nothing other than God. Is my human spirit “one” with me? Well - I wouldn’t put it like that. My spirit is my spirit. If you wound my spirit, you wound me. My spirit isn’t all there is to me, but it’s none other than me, and it’s personal to me. Do these categories apply to God’s Spirit? Quite nicely, I think.
I’m not saying that a human spirit is exactly the same kind as God’s spirit - the Holy Spirit clearly functions in different ways than my spirit does - but I do think they are more the same kind than Father and Spirit, or Son and Spirit are. I think this because God chose to reveal his Spirit in human language to be a “spirit”; and also because the “same kind” theory is backed up by the 1 Corinthians 2:11 (above).
So, the Spirit of God is not a person (in common speak), but a spirit; different to, but of the same kind as, our own human spirits. Now, how then does he relate to the Father and the Son? Clearly, he’s the spirit of the Father (Matt 10:20 (cf Mark 13:11); Rom 8:11, among others), and he’s also the spirit of the Son (Rom 8:9; Gal 4:6; 1 Pet 1:11, among others)! This one Spirit does not just belong to one person (like my personal human spirit does), but he belongs to Father and Son.
This is, of course, the precise uniqueness of the Christian concept of God. God, one with Jesus, not by logical impossibility, but by his Spirit. This is the very “analogy” which we have been given by God! One Father, one Son, who are One in the Spirit. Without the spirit’s uniqueness - not a person, but a spirit belonging to both Father and Son - the two would not be One.
Think of this God-given analogy in human terms. If there was a (human) father, who had a (human) son, they would be two people, and not one. But imagine - just imagine as best you can - what if these two people did not have two separate spirits, but shared one spirit? Would they then be two, or one? Is this not the kind of unity we see between Jesus and his Father? Doesn’t this make great sense of why the scriptures emphasise the unity of Father and Son, but talk about the Spirit in a very different way?
The danger, then, of saying that Father, Son and Spirit are “three”, and therefore (implicitly) “of the same kind”, is that you lose the very thing which makes the Father and the Son one - the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit is a “person”, he cannot unite the Father and Son. He is just another person needing to be united. Three people cannot be one. A father and a son, however, could conceivably be considered one - if they share a spirit - and that is how God has chosen to reveal himself.
Augustine (OK so yes, I did a tiny bit of research) described Father Son and Spirit as “the lover, the beloved, and love” [The Trinity, Books VIII.14; IX.2, and XV.10]. This is somewhere on the way to that concept. How much more effective, though, (sorry Augustine), to say that the best analogy for Father, Son and Spirit is “a father, a son, and one spirit”?
Father, Son and Spirit: recovering the spiritual unity of God
So, I have argued that calling Father, Son and Spirit “three” is unbiblical, linguistically very bad, and theologically problematic because of the implicit assertion that all are of the “same kind”. If we leave aside language emptied of its meaning, and cutesie three-pronged diagrams, and revert to the biblical analogy of “father, son and spirit”, we will have a clearer picture not only of the oneness of God, but also how God can be one when he reveals himself as both Father and Son.
Not only this, but it enables us to have a more nuanced understanding of the Spirit - not just a “bit” of God which does cool things, but a real spirit who unites Father to Son, and us to Christ (and each other). How amazing to plumb the depths of how this spiritual unity between Father and Son can also occur (in some way) between the Son and ourselves, and between you and me (John 14:16-20, 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 6:17)! Using the biblical terminology deepens our understanding of this, without confusing us with matters of essense, substance, heads, perichoresis, and so on.
So, voila. Is the mystery of God’s unity - how Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit can possibly be One - therefore solved? Not at all. But we can know at least what the mystery is - how a Father and a Son can share a Spirit. This mystery is imaginable; it is biblical; and best of all, it is not a logical impossibility caused by our drifting off into linguistic wastelands, where no man should e’er have trod.
So, how can I explain the Trinity - oops, I mean, Father, Son and Spirit - to people?
So, if I am making a plea here to banish “Trinity” and “three” and “person” from theological language, what can we replace it with? Here’s my attempt at a simple explanation of God in his interesting oneness:
The Father is God.
The Son is the Son of God, but unlike most sons, he is one with the Father, because they share the Holy Spirit. (That’s why Jesus said he’s in the Father and the Father is in him.)
The Holy Spirit is God’s own spirit, the spirit of the Father and the Son. He is the reason the Father and the Son are one.
As for a diagram, how about something like this?
This has the beauty of showing their spiritual unity! “What the Father does, I do.”
OK, those are pretty good, but were mainly jokes. Maybe more like this:
That yellow haze with dots around them is meant to represent the Spirit (I’m not savvy enough to make it look any good) - but the idea is simple. One father, one son, and one spirit. No more three weird ghoulish fishies swimming around each other hoping that they will somehow look like “One”. Not a perfect representation of God, but a useful one which does some good and less harm - which is more than I can say for the previous applicants.
Is all this really important enough to keep me up late into the night? I think it is. Apart from having a biblically informed, consistent understanding of God (which is certainly nothing to sneeze at), there are more implications and applications to dropping the old terminology and using just Father, Son and Spirit. I’ll just note them here as a list, although they are very significant in my view, and warrant more attention another time.
Firstly, it should be acknowledged that the terms we use of God shape the way we think of him. What does “Godhead” imply to us, versus “Father”? How might use of these terms shape how we, as people, relate to God - as a “being”, or as our Father? What about singing about the “Blessed Trinity”, rather than “Blessed God”, “Blessed Jesus” or “Blessed Father”? The words we use shape our concepts and thoughts. We should be pretty careful to call God a certain kind of being which he doesn’t call himself - especially in normal conversation and worship.
Secondly, as mentioned above, the use of these relational terms is very important to our understanding of the role of the Spirit in uniting not just Father to Son, but also us to Father and Son, and us to each other (as the body of Christ).
Thirdly, it demonstrates our belief in biblical authority and sufficiency, by using the words the Bible uses to teach what the Bible teaches.
Fourthly, it means we can stop singing songs which have a verse for each of Father, Son and Spirit, as if the Spirit would feel left out if we just sang to Father and Son. Would my spirit feel hurt if you sang a song about me? Would you compose a song specifically to my spirit? Thinking of God in the terms he’s given us encourages us relate to him more sensibly (following also the pattern of the New Testament church in their prayer life).
Fifthly, talking about God in biblical ways has great potential for enhancing global and cross-cultural theology. How wonderful to be able to teach about God to a new tribe without mutilating their language while doing so! How wonderful that we might be able to communicate with the Chinese in actual Chinese, and with the English in normal English, about our most precious truths! How wonderful to begin a sermon on God’s oneness not with “Brace yourselves for impossibility and brainfreeze”, but with “Brace yourselves for a thing of wonder and marvellous joy - Immanuel, God with us!”?
Sixthly, and following from this last point, using biblical-relational terms of Father, Son and Spirit has huge implications for evangelism and apologetics. Imagine the two scenarios:
- “What’s the Trinity?” a seeker asks. “Oh help!” I reply. “This is so hard to explain. Look, well, it means God is Three and One at the same time. Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are one Godhead, but are three divine persons (no, not that kind of person - it actually doesn’t mean anything the way I’m using it...), but not three Gods. I have a diagram here which helps... no, it’s not a mutant fish, it’s God... well, it’s not God, but it shows how he can be three and one at the same time. Doesn’t it? Well, let’s just say it’s pretty complex. People have been debating it for millennia. Cool, huh?”
- “What’s the Trinity?” a seeker asks. “I don’t really know,” I reply. “It’s something people like to talk about. But, if you’re interested in the relationship between God and Jesus, I can tell you something amazing. Let’s have a look at how the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus in his baptism. And let’s see how Jesus says that everything he says is from the Father. And you know how he does all these cool miracles without needing to draw power from anyone else? That’s because God’s own spirit is in Jesus. That’s why Jesus can say he’s one with the Father. Cool, huh? That’s why we love learning about Jesus - because when we see him, we’re actually seeing God himself.”
This also has obvious boons in the area of apologetics/evangelism to people of belief systems which have an strong (and dare I say it, understandable) aversion to anything smelling of Trinity. So - why not just ditch the talk of Trinity? We can do so without losing God, or the Bible. When people get to know Jesus, they will realise that he was not just sent from God, but was one with God. The Bible meters out truth softly, gently, relationally and convincingly. We don’t need to confuse the matter with loaded and misleading concepts.
In conclusion, then - there are linguistic, theological, aesthetico-sensory (if I may), spiritual, and practical reasons for abandoning talk of Trinity (and its swathe of related concepts). Instead, we can speak of God in the simple, biblical way: we can speak of God, our heavenly Father; Jesus, his one and only Son, our Lord; and the Holy Spirit, who unites them - and us to them.
I desperately hope that some dear readers - maybe you, dear reader? - may finally sound the death knell to their (love-hate?) relationship with the language of the Trinity, and be converted to using natural, biblical words to talk about God - as I have. May it be for His glory and praise.