Is belief in the doctrine of the Trinity essential for salvation?

Tyler S. Ramey

First, let’s affirm that our beliefs about God deserve thought-provoking examination.  We need to ask ourselves if our beliefs about him are consistent with what he has revealed about himself.

Now, assuming that the reader is familiar with the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine will necessarily mean, by definition, that the second person of the triune God, Jesus Christ, is the same Jesus who is presently seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven; this notion is clearly revealed in Scripture.  However, there are some, e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses, United Pentecostals, and even some considered to represent mainstream evangelical Christianity, that deny trinitarian doctrine.  A sorite (soh-rih-tee), a form of argument in which a certain conclusion is inescapable, will benefit us as we pursue an answer to the above question.  Follow carefully the “chain” of premises below.

1)  Rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity is also a rejection of God’s personhood. 

2)  Since a quality of God’s personhood is that he is a Trinity, it follows that a rejection of his personhood is a rejection of the individuals (or persons) within that Trinity.

3)  Now, a rejection of the individuals within the Trinity is an obvious rejection of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity.  

4)  A rejection of Jesus Christ, then, would be a rejection of his defining acts and accomplishments which form the doctrines of the Christian faith (his substitutionary atonement most importantly).  

5)  Therefore, rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity is a rejection of Jesus, his atoning sacrifice on the cross, and it is a clear rejection of Christian faith.

What we believe about God is vital to maintaining a clear perspective of and relationship with the God who has revealed himself in Scripture.  So, in answer to the question,  “Is belief in the doctrine of the Trinity essential for salvation?” the answer is yes.  One cannot affirm faith in Jesus Christ and knowingly deny his personhood; to do so is to fail to believe in the Jesus of Scripture. 

Therefore, anyone who knowingly fails to accept or intentionally rejects the doctrine of the Trinity cannot be saved.  Without the Triune God, there is no God, and, hence, no Christian faith.”

“Watch your life and doctrine closely.”

—Paul (I Tim. 4:16)