Views on the Trinity

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Trotter, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Trotter

    Trotter
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    What is YOUR view on the Trinity? :confused:

    I must say that my eyes have been opened to the fact that not all Baptists see things the same way :eek: . I must admit that I was rather surprised at the views posted by many. Recently, I had the experience of being the odd man in an online discussion of the nature of God :( . As I was outnumbered, I had to "agree to disagree" (deadpan- "in love"). This has led me to ask the following:

    What are your views of the Trinity? I want to hear what you think, but I also want to see how you are able to defend your position Biblically. I look forward to learning how my brothers and sisters interpret this vital doctrine. :cool:

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  2. Major B

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    The Holy Trinity

    Mat 28:18-20


    § Throughout the history of the church, the enemies of God have attacked the Biblical teaching concerning His Nature, particularly the Deity of the Son of God.

    § The doctrine we touch upon in this issue is one of the most attacked (and best and most consistently defended) of all the major teachings of the Faith: God is Triune, eternally existing as Father, Son, and Spirit (three persons or personalities that are distinct)--yet there is only one God.

    ¨ This has been called the doctrine of the TRINITY since the days of the early church

    ¨ The early church wars and the philosophical debates surrounding that doctrine, have obscured the fact that the doctrine of the Trinity is solidly supported by Holy Scripture, and is directly drawn from the scriptures.

    § The simple statement we have made, stripped of the technically philosophical terms, expresses what the Bible everywhere teaches about the subject.

    · I Frankly don't understand it for one second.

    · However, I recognize fully that the Bible teaches these truths, so I believe them and teach them whether I understand them or not.

    · The key presupposition we must have as we approach the doctrine of the Trinity is this: BELIEVE WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES, AND DON'T TRY TO UNDERSTAND IT.

    ¨ This doctrine speaks of the very essential nature of God, how can we expect to understand it?

    ¨ Indeed, nearly every cult that has departed from the evangelical Christian faith has either begun from someone trying to explain the Trinity or a perversion of that doctrine has been close to the center of the movement.

    · The view of the entire orthodox church, including evangelicals, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholics, has always been that denial of the doctrine of the Trinity constitutes departure from "the faith once delivered to the saints." (Jude 3)


    OVERVIEW

    1. Basic Ideas of the Trinity
    2. The Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity


    1. Basic Ideas of the Trinity--Mat 28:19….baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"


    a. “…In the Name….” MONOTHEISM--There is only One True God. – the foundation of the doctrine of God's tri-unity is that there is only One God.

    (1) It is emphatically taught in both the Old and New Testaments.

    (a) "hear oh, Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD." (Dt 6:4).
    (b) "...there is no god with me..." (Dt 32:39);
    (c) "...I am the LORD, and there is none else..."(Is 45:18)
    (d) "...before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me..." (Is 43:10).
    (e) "There is one God and one mediator between God and man..."(1 Tim 2:5);
    (f) "...and this is eternal life, that they might know thee, the only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent..."
    (g) Jn 17:3



    b. PLURALITY: “…in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Within the One True God exists a plurality of persons.

    (1) First, there are plural terms and names applied to God. The most prevalent in the Bible is the Hebrew Elohim.

    (2) God also is described with plural pronouns,

    (a) "...Let us make man in our image.."
    1. (Gen 1:25),

    (b) Gen 11:6-8 "And the LORD said, "….. 7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city."

    (c) Isa 6:8 "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?"

    (3) . Finally Is 48:16-17 --The Trinity in Isaiah

    Isa 48:16 "Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit Have sent Me."

    Isa 48:17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.

    Isa 48:18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.


    c. THE FATHER IS GOD--“…in the name of the Father,,,”

    (1) Jesus is often called the Son of God, therefore God is a Father, and the Father is God.

    (2) There is no scripture that even hints that the Father ever ceases to be a separate person.

    (3) Jesus continually refers to the Father as a separate Person

    (4) Jesus continually talks to the Father

    (5) Jesus tells us to pray to the Father

    (6) On more than one occasion, the Father speaks while Jesus is physically present

    (a) Mat 3:16-17
    (b) Mat 17:5

    d. Jesus Christ is Eternal God—and the Son

    (1) This is the foundation doctrine of Christianity--Jesus Himself said "...If you believe not that I AM he, you shall die in your sins..." (JN 8:24)

    (2) This is not just a speculative, philosophical teaching--unless God redeems us Himself, we cannot be redeemed

    (3) He is called God.

    (i) He is called God by men,
    (ii) He is called God by the Father

    (4) He is worshipped.

    (5) The works of God are ascribed to Him.
    (a) Creation
    (b) Preservation of the universe
    (c) The sending of the Spirit of God
    (d) The forgiveness of sins
    (e) The giving of eternal life –
    (f) He demonstrated His power over nature, over disease, demon powers, even over death,

    (6) He possesses divine attributes.

    (a) Self existence
    (b) Eternity
    (c) Omniscience
    (d) Omnipresence
    (e) Immutability
    (f) Sovereignty
    (g) Omnipotence

    e. The Holy Spirit is a Person, and He is God—and the holy Spirit

    (1) The Holy Spirit is a Person--not a force, influence, etc. Many cults and sects deny His personality. He is turned into some kind of "divine electricity,", a sort of impersonal force for God and good in the world. This, of course, goes along with their denial of the Trinity. However, when we look at the Bible, we find that He has personal qualities ascribed to Him by scripture

    (a) He can be lied to—Acts 5:1-5

    (b) He can be tested—Acts 5:1-5


    (c) Personal Qualities: understanding and knowledge, (1 Cor 2:10-11), a will (1 Cor 12:11), love (Rom 15:30), Grief (Eph 4:30)...

    (d) Personal Actions: He speaks (1 Tim 4:1, Rev 2:7), He teaches (Lk 12:12, Jn 14:26), He commands (Acts 13:2), He intercedes (Rom 8:26).

    (e) Personal characterizations applied to Him: Comforter (Jn 14:16), Witness (Heb 10:15, Rom 8:16), Justifier and Sanctifier (1 Cor 6:11), Intercessor (Rom 8:26)…

    (f) Pronouns used of Him (Jn 14:26,
    1. Jn 16:7).

    (2) The Holy Spirit is God—

    (a) The Holy Spirit is called God – Act 5:3-5, 1 Cor 3:16— compare with 2 Cor 6:16).
    (b) Indirectly, the Holy Spirit is also called Jehovah--

    (i) It was Jehovah who spoke by the prophets (Lk 1:68-70) yet Peter says it was the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:20, also compare 2 Sam 23:2-3 with Acts 1:16).

    (ii) It was Jehovah that Israel rebelled against in the wilderness (Ps 78:4, 17-18), but Isaiah says it was the Holy Spirit (Is 63:10).

    (iii) In Dt 32:12, Jehovah led Israel, but in Is 63:14, It says the Holy Spirit led them.

    (iv) Jehovah commissioned Isaiah the prophet (Is 6:6-8), but Paul says (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) that it was the Holy Spirit who commissioned the prophet (Acts 28:25-26).

    (c) The Holy Spirit Demonstrates the Attributes of God: Holiliness (Rom 1:4, cw Ex15:11), Eternality (Heb 9:14), Omnipresence (Ps139:7), Omniscience (1 Cor 2:10-11), Omnipotence ( Lk 1:35, Mic. 3:8, Is 40:28), Sovereignty (Mat 4:1--He led Jesus!) (Jn 3:8, 1 Cor 12:11, Acts 13:2-4, 20:28).

    2. The Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity--Mat 28:20 “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen."


    a. Relationship

    Mat 3:16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
    Mat 3:17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

    (1) People mess up relationships--the human race is a race at war with itself

    Guess what? God does not have this problem! What the doctrine of the Trinity teaches us is that

    (2) God is a God of relationship! -- The most long-lasting and tranquil relationship which has ever existed or will ever exist is the all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

    Psa 90:1 LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
    Psa 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

    John 17:5 "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

    John 17:24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

    Gen 1:2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

    Heb 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    -God is not like us in our failure to relate--He does not leave us nor forsake us. God will never leave, God will never forsake--and God will never divorce one of His own.



    and this relational nature of God means that we can have

    b. Representation

    (1) Christ is our Representative--

    (a) In our text, Jesus is both our Representative and our example in Baptism:

    Mat 3:15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.

    --Remember, we can't go to heaven without righteousness--and our righteousnesses are filthy rags..our works cannot save us....we must have the righteousness of God. Jesus, in His earthly ministry, fulfilled the righteousness of God for us.

    --Christ Jesus lived for us!

    (2). Jesus was our representative on the cross...

    Isa 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
    Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

    --WE could not pay the price

    --WE could not stand in that place and endure the totality of God's wrath against a sinful race.........

    --WE could not stand in the presence of a Holy and just God for even one second!

    --The Sin was Ours, the Guilt was Ours, the Iniquity was Ours, the Shame was ours, the punishment and the stripes were Ours--but the blood was HIS!!!!!

    --My Representative, my Substitute, endured the wrath of God for me.....

    And No Mere Man Could have done that for even one of us.....Only a being, a Person of infinite strength and power could have hung on that cross enduring that wrath, and satisfied that debt!

    Without the doctrine of the Trinity, there is no representation, because unless God has stood in our place, we are doomed, doomed, doomed!

    (3) Jesus is our representative in all dealings with God the Father.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
    1 Tim 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

    --How can I, a sinful man, approach the Almighty, Holy Father in heaven? I have a Mediator, a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, a Holy Hand that joins my hand with the Father.

    (4) Jesus is our Representative at the throne of Grace--He is our priest in the Holy of Holies.

    Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
    Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
    Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

    (5) Jesus is our Representative in the court of the Most High

    Heb 7:24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
    Heb 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

    The ultimate aim of the Representation by Christ Jesus is

    c. Redemption and Reconciliation through the Person and Work of Christ, through the blood of the Lamb.

    1 Pet 1:18-21

    --Redemption was ordained and planned before God made the world--Christ was the Lamb Slain from the foundation of the world....

    --God the Father sent His Son on a Holy Mission--and the objective location of that mission was a small, rocky, ugly, hill outside the gates of an ancient city in the mountains of Palestine.

    --The hill was Calvary

    --The City was Jerusalem

    --And the mission the Son accomplished on the cross was our reconciliation with God

    Rom 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

    2 Cor 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
     
  3. Trotter

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    Maybe I should make myself a little more clear... [​IMG]

    I want to know if anyone here believes other than Father, Son, and Spirit are three in one. I seem to keep bouncing into people who don't, and I do not understand their Biblical basis (if they have one). I believe in the Trinity, and will defend it until the last drop of my blood! But others don't, and I want to see their reasoning on the matter.

    For what it's worth...

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  4. rsr

    rsr
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  5. 4study

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    The terminology of this subject is vague. Particularly the word “person”. Most will say there are three distinct persons but one God. The difficulty comes because “person” suggests uniqueness and individuality. Thus many concede that this doctrine while supported by scripture is beyond human comprehension. The problem lies in the using the term “person” to describe the characteristics of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To my knowledge, it is never used in the Bible to describe the Divinity.

    Another problem adding to the ambiguity of this subject is the neglect of making a distinction between “person” and “office”. No one does it. Yet the terms “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit” are more easily defined in terms of “office” than in “person”.

    I believe in one God in three offices.

    There are not three persons in the Divinity.
     
  6. rsr

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    Any time we try to describe God, we will come up short.

    But "persons" is infinitely better than "offices," which easily slips into modalism, which is NOT trinitarianism. It's not like God puts on a different hat and becomes a different member of the trinity.
     
  7. 4study

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    rsr,

    Describing God is of utmost importance to our personal theology.

    Why?


    I'm not sure what you mean by "a different member" but nevertheless, is the thought I've presented much different than how it applies to a human being? One human being can fill serveral offices. A man, for instance, in family relations can be "husband", "father", "son", or "brother". All of these titles have nothing to do with "person" but are all "offices". However, the office cannot be understood without a person filling it. Yet that does not mean a different unique individual fills each one. In fact, in most instances, it is the same one person who fills each office. Since we are created in the image of God, is it really so difficult to think of God as one person known in three offices rather than three unqiue persons somehow combined into one Divinity?
     
  8. rsr

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    I suspect the kind of modalism you describe (its name is Sabellianism) is very common in the pews.

    It is not, however, trinitarianism nor a historic Baptist belief.
     
  9. Trotter

    Trotter
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    Baptist Faith and Message, Article II

    Personal belief---&gt; God is one Supreme Being. He is eternal, existing in all places and times at once, all knowing, ever vigilant. God has shown Himself through three seperate means (i.e. God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit). These three are each unique, owning individual attributes, personalities, and offices (each has His own place/function, although all Three are equal and overlap).

    These Three are each unique, but these Three are also ONE . God exists in three persons, each consisting of the Person of God. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are equal in deity, being the same God.

    God does not exist as three seperate entities with one purpose. God was not God the Father, who became Jesus Christ the Son, who became the Holy Spirit. God did not sit in heaven and create a man to be called Jesus so He could bestow His Spirit upon Him.

    Trying to get the finite human mind around the doctrine of the Trinity is more than we can do. Will we ever truly grasp all that it entails, or all of the eternal implications that it casts forth? No, and of that I have no doubt.

    I have to adamit that the inability to fully express the nature of the Trinity while preaching is more than a little frustrating (and the glazed eyes that the attempt brings forth doesn't help). So I try to settle in my own mind the mystery of it enough so that I may keep a feeble grasp on the truth of God. It is all that i can do...this side of heaven.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  10. 4study

    4study
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    rsr,

    The terms "modalism" and "Sabellianism" are new to me. I'll have to do some research on those to see what they entail.

    My views on this subject are not common among the pews, as you put it. At least not at the Baptists churches I've been to. There are a few, but the majoriy hold to the doctrine as described by Trotter on this thread.
     
  11. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
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    imo the idea of one person with 3 offices doesn't provide enough "separation" for the idea of jesus praying to his father to make any sense. after all, strictly speaking, why bother talking to yourself? e.g. why would a man with the simutaneous offices of father and husband need to talk to himself when planning the family vacation?
     
  12. rsr

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    4study said:

    Agreed, mostly. The early church struggled repeatedly to come to an understanding of God. Trinitiarianism was the result.

    What I was saying is that we are limited in our understanding of God; He can't be pinned down by our limited understanding. Many of His attributes have been revealed to us, and we know what we need to know, but I can't really understand God. He is the ultimate Other, One who is not like us.

    Since we can't adequately describe our own being, how can we expect to express in finite, human language the nature of God?

    I Corinthians 13:12, Phillips New Testament
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    I agree that the English words "three offices" or "three means" (BFM) are much more vague and confusing than "persons".

    Out here in Mormon country, the LDS has rewritten a great hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy" to eliminate this (since they are not trinitarian)

    Instead of "God in three persons, blessed Trinity" they sing, "God in his Glory, blessed be His Name". Even on the Mormon Tab choir.
     
  14. DCK

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    Sad to say, but many Christians I've known have little or no interest in theology, and so their beliefs about the Trinity are vague at best. When pressed some may admit to a modalistic model, although they've never heard of modalism. This view is simply easier to express than the historical understanding. There's no doubt that Scripture teaches that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each divine. There is only one God, but He consists of three Persons (I agree that "offices" is misleading). It can't be fully explained, and it is often difficult to find adequate language to express the doctrine, but it does have to be believed.
     
  15. 4study

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    timothy 1769

    Jesus is the mediator between God and man. Yet Jesus is God. How then can he also be a mediator? A mediator is not of one but of two. The question is, is the mediator and God two persons? No. God is one and "mediator" is an office.

    It sounds like the "separation" you are comfortable with creates the idea of three gods rather than one.
     
  16. 4study

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    Consider the following;

    God is omnipresent.

    Jesus is God.

    Jesus is on the "right hand of the father".

    How can Jesus be on the right hand of Himself?

    If expressed in the concept of "person", you have two gods. If expressed in the concept of "office", you have one God.
     
  17. Trotter

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    That's why Paul called it a mystery...

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  18. 4study

    4study
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    Trotter,

    I recommend you look up the Greek word for "mystery" as used in the NT. It doesn't refer to something that is foggy or hard to grasp. A "mystery" is something that can be understood.
     
  19. Trotter

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    Touche! :D

    The Trinity is something that we may never truly come to grasp with our feeble human intellects, but it is a doctrine that we must accept. To deny it would be to deny the deity of one, or all, of the Godhead. As for me, I believe.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  20. 4study

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    Trotter,

    I don't understand your last post. First you ascribe Paul as saying the Trinity is a "mystery", which I point out as meaning something being comprehensibile, and then you respond by saying this subject is beyond our human capabilities to grasp.

    Is this a cop out? Are you suggesting we cannot grasp who God is? How can we know Him if we cannot determine if He's One God or three?
     

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