Editor’s Note: This article originally at soteriology 101 and is used by permission.
A good Calvinistic brother, Jared Longshore, posted an article entitled, “Calvinistic Southern Baptists and Theology” at Founders.org in which he addressed the chapel message of Dr. Rick Patrick at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Having once been a member of the Founders’ ministry and part of one of their church starts over a decade ago, I have great respect for these brethren and appreciate the cordial manner in which they confront these disputable matters within our convention. In that spirit, this would be a good opportunity to offer one Traditionalist’s commentary on the Founders’ initial response to Patrick’s message. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: This article orignially appeared here and is used by permission.
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important beliefs of Christianity. It is central to the Christian understanding of God. This doctrine is held by the large majority of Christianity.
An Explanation of the Trinity
“The doctrine of the Trinity is the belief that there is only one living and true God. Yet, the one God is three distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three have distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. They enjoy eternal communion and are coeternal and coequal.” –Dr. Bill Gordon, NAMB
“This word [Trinity] does not appear in the Bible. But it is clear that the one God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Spirit (Matthew 28:19). It is a revealed doctrine, not one arrived at by human reasoning. Yet it submits itself to reason.”
–Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs, A Layman’s Handbook of Christian Doctrine, Broadman Press, Nashville; 1974.
Some misunderstand and say Christians believe in three Gods; they do not. The Bible makes it plain that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; 1 Timothy 2:5), yet He is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No one can fully understand the details of the Trinity, but it is taught and revealed in Scripture. Besides, if a lowly human could understand all about God, He would not be God after all. God’s being and understanding are far beyond our understanding.
Scriptural Evidence for the Trinity (there is much more than what is listed here)
While the Bible does not use the term Trinity, it teaches the concept of the Trinity. (Neither does the Bible use other oft used Christian terms: missionary, evangelism, etc.)
1. Obviously, God the Father is God. Psalm 89:26; 1 Peter 1:2, 17; Romans 8:15.
2. Jesus, God the Son, is God. Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8 (Psalm 45:6-7); 2 Peter 1:1.
3. The Holy Spirit is God. Acts 5:3-4. The Bible gives characteristics to the Holy Spirit that only apply to God. Psalm 139:7-13; Luke 1:35; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 9:14.
The Bible describes the Father, Son, and Holy Sprit as distinct Persons.
Several passages speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same context. Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4- 6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-6.
Illustrations have been used to partially explain or represent the triune nature of God. While none are perfect, perhaps they can give you a hint of the Trinity:
A three leaf clover – it is one, yet three.
A man – he can be a son, a husband, a father.
Water – can be solid (ice), liquid (water), steam (vapor).
“There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.”
-Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention; full statement can be found at sbc.net.
“God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!”
-Christian hymn Holy, Holy, Holy by Reginald Heber, Baptist Hymnal, 2008, LifeWay, Nashville, TN. Also in many other hymnals.
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” –Matthew 28:19
***Editor’s Note: Doug is the author of “Chosen or Not?” which is available for purchase HERE.
Historic Christianity has always insisted on a Final Judgment Day. It is a biblical no-brainer. Many of Jesus’ lessons and parables ended with a final separation of those who are rescued and those who perish. There will be a “settling of accounts” based on God’s eyewitness record of every private (and public) thought, word, and action. I can bear witness to the biblical claim that this truth was written on my young heart, even as one who was not raised in a Christian home. I knew that God saw everything… and some nights it was hard to fall asleep. (Rom 1, 2) The very thought of being subject to this kind of perfect scrutiny is enough to make you want to put on some fig leaves, run, and hide. It may even lead to a feeble and truth suppressing denial that there is such a God and day of reckoning. But, alas, there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb 4:13) Continue reading