The Trinity: Not Taught Among Us?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Major B, May 31, 2003.

  1. Major B

    Major B
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    One of the passions and emphases of my ministry, since the Lord began to lead me into Bible teaching in 1978, has been in the area of the fundamentals of the faith, and in no area have I encountered as much weakness as in the set of Biblical doctrines that surround the concept of the nature of God, a Biblical concept with the theological nickname, The Trinity.

    I spoke at a BSU Disciple Now weekend some years ago, and I gave an impromptu survey that I have repeated many times over the years, always with similar results. Now, mind you, these were mainly SBC-raised kids (I asked them, and over 90% were, out of a crowd of 250 or so). When I asked the question, "Can you remember a sermon in your church on the Trinity?", Ten hands were raised. [By the way, when I asked, "Have you ever heard a sermon on the doctrine of Justification by Faith?", I got even less response.]

    Now, maybe none of these kids had paid any attention, but they all recalled hundreds of "salvation messages," and all recalled sermons on stewardship and foreign missions, but not on the Trinity, or, by the way, on the Deity of Jesus.

    As my favorite sermon on the topic outlines, the fact that God is Triune means He is a God of Relationship; the fact that Jesus is the God-Man means that through Him we have Representation, Reconciliation and Redemption, and because the Comforter is God and is a Person, we have Regeneration and Indwelling (could not figure out an "R" there...). That all seems fairly important to me; I believe that without all this, we would have no faith as once delivered to the saints.

    The questions I have are: is this a widespread problem? and If so, what can we do about it?
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Good point, Major. Our churches are so busy preaching on the spectacular, the rehashing of John 3:16 or on the felt-needs of its people that little of really doctrinal import is being communicated.

    Sermon subjects deal with politics, family and child rearing, husband/wife relationships, church functions ad nauseum. Or a simplistic Gospel message is given as if the church service were an Evangelistic Crusade and the average attender (saved for 40 years) puts his mind into neutral.

    Expositional preaching, where every time the action, character or name of God - Father, Son, Spirit - occurs, it is proclaimed, will do much to inculcate real truth in the heart of those who hear and heed the message.
     
  3. Grasshopper

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    Dr. Bob, you've nailed it again. I'm hearing the same sermons I heard 30 years ago. Thank God for the internet where you can find great bible teachers. I've learned more Doctrine the last 3 years than the previous 30 combined.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    Maybe that's why so many churches sing that famous chorus,,,,,,

    Ye must be born again and again,
    I tell you again, Ye must be born again......

    I must say, in the Anglican Church, the Trinity is a common sermon, and since it is on the church calendar, the presiding vicar must approach it from different angles, so that he appears fresh with his sermons.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Bartimaeus

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    The deity of the Lord Christ, the virgin birth, preaching Holiness has been transferred to preaching on standards and separation.

    Good Post Thanks ----Bart

    P.S. Major B, I recognize and thank you for the way you answered my post on Dr. Bob's poll. You are a gentleman and a scholar, (I don't agree with you but I respect you).
     
  6. Rev. Joshua

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    Yet another argument for the Church Year! Maybe with some effort we might actually get Bob to start preaching from the lectionary.

    This is a concern of mine as well, which is why I took the time to deal with it here.

    Joshua
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Joshua - I have trouble enough with a dictionary and a Greek/English lexicon so I know I'd be in real trouble if I ever turned liberal or high church and started preaching from a lectionary. :D

    BTW, there probably are many readers who wonder what that is and why preach from. I don't, so guess I will leave it up to you to explain! :rolleyes:
     
  8. Major B

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    For the uninitiated, preaching from the lectionary basically means preaching according to a schedule of topics and texts devised by some religious bureaucrats.

    Josh, I have to admit that a lectionary approach would be superior to what a lot of churches get. OF course, the guys that mail-order their sermons (a widespread practice, unfortunately) are probably following somebody's lectionary...

    Actually, rather than preaching according to a lectionary, this is a good argument for expository, verse-by-verse preaching. If you do an honest job of exposition, you will not only cover all the major and minor doctrines, you will cover them in the same proportion God covers them in the Bible. You will also be forced to cover some topics you don't want to cover for whatever reason.

    My pastor has preached verse-by-verse through the entire NT and is going through again. What has been the result of this 25 year project? The church has grown from 60 in attendance to 1,000,and from a small church up a back country road to a big church on the main road (all facilities paid for). And this is in a small town (11,000) in a small county (33,000).
     
  9. Ben W

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    in my church we have different styles of preaching from the Pulpit, Expository, Evangelical etc.

    Yet one of the things that I get alot out of, is after the meeting we have a break for tea and coffee, and those who want to go do so. Then we have Bible study for about an hour. Where stuff like the trinity is studied in detail.

    I would encourage every church to have a Bible Study for those who wish to stay on for it after your main service. It is really helpfull to our church.
     
  10. Bible Student

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    Good topic Major B

    The problem is we have as Dr. Bob has said
    And in a lot of churches they do not want to listem to sound doctrine.


    Bartimaeus
    If the preaching and teaching was done correctly there would be no need to preach on standards and separation, the Spirit of God would take care of all that.

    Richard [​IMG]
     
  11. npetreley

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    I would just add that the problem extends beyond church. There was a Christian radio station in NJ that played heavy-duty Bible teaching programs almost constantly. I always had the radio on -- day and night. Then I moved to CA and it seemed like 90% of the Christian radio programming consisted of music, how to manage your money as a responsible steward, family/politics, and call-in talk shows. I completely lost the habit of listening to Christian radio.

    IMO, the lesson is that some give people what they want, others give people what they need.
     
  12. Major B

    Major B
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    Look at the books available at a typical Christian bookstore (not Lifeway Stores, they always have at least one section of "heavy" books). Most of what is out there is non-theological and extrabiblical fluff. Some dessert is needed, I suppose, but we need more meat.
     
  13. BrotherJesse

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    Sadly,
    I do not believe Christians talk about the Trinity. We prefer to stick with the Divine Jesus Christ and God. We completely ignore the Trinity. Please don't ask me for support for my beliefs. I can't give them.
     
  14. Larry in Tennessee

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    Is it possible that the Trinity is not taught because many pastors don't understand it either? At a church we attended a few years ago (SBC), there was a mandatory new members class where the Trinity was touched on briefly. The pastor explained it as the Father was God in the OT, the Son is God in the flesh, and the Holy Spirit is the presence of God with us today. Is this not a modalistic view, similar to that of oneness pentecostalism?
     
  15. Tim

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    Larry,

    I'm afraid you might be right. Why bother to study something that "doesn't apply to our lives"?

    Somehow we got the idea that it's all about us, when really--it's all about Him.
     
  16. npetreley

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    Give that man a cigar (or a reasonable facsimile). ;)
     
  17. Artimaeus

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    Optimistically, maybe one reason there aren't too many sermons specifically on the Trinity is that most people already accept this as the truth and don't need frequent reminders. For myself, I have never met a professing Christian of any flavor who didn't believe in the Trinity. The concept has been hit on in many sermons without being the actual topic of the sermon.
     
  18. Major B

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    Perhaps in some circles this is true. However, I have found so much confusion on this, even among church leaders, that it is scary. Walter Martin said that the cults were "the unpaid bills of the churches." How many cult members were raised in Baptist churches? Around here, the answer is: most of them.
     
  19. rsr

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    Larry and Major B, I'm afraid you're right. I think it would be scary how many Baptists can say the right words about the Trinity but slip into modalism if asked to explain it.
     

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