Monthly Archives: July 2015

Trinity Part 4 Proof Texting

trin_symblOver the years I have become more and more skeptical about proof texting (and proof texters). Proof texting is simply using Bible verse to support ones claim. The actual act itself is fine when each verse has been properly understood within the proper context and applied correctly. The problem comes in when those who are fast and loose with the Bible verses using passages of Scripture to prove points they were never intended to prove.  In a sense my protest is something like a “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. I realize it but I have enjoyed reading Biblical text apart from the numbering system that creates the verses. It is a pleasure to read Jesus in total apart from the distractions of individualized points of doctrine. Having been brought up with proof texting I still find my self reading verses and appointing a statement of doctrine to it. Sometimes bad habits are hard to lose.

The reason I bring all this up is I am going to shamefully proof text the Trinity in a minute. My apologies in advance. I would encourage you to take the verse and read it in its context to see “whether these things are so.”

God is one “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.Deut. 6:4; 1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Kgs. 19:15; Is. 37:16; 44:8; Mk.12:28–34; 1 Cor. 8:4–6; 1 Tim. 2:5; Jas. 2:19.

The Father is God (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 8:6; 15:24; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 4:6;
Phil. 4:20).

3. The Son is God now we are getting into some controversy. This proposition is rejected by monotheists for various reasons depending on the monotheistic system in question. However, this is a very fundamental teaching in Christianity.
The Son is called God (Jn. 1:1; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Tit. 2:13;
Heb. 1:8).
The Son is given divine names (Jn. 1:1, 18; Acts 5:31; 1 Cor. 2:8; Jas.
2:1; Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13).
The Son has divine attributes.
Eternity (Jn. 1:2; 8:58; 17:5; Rev. 1:8, 17; 22:13).
Immutability (Heb. 1:11, 12; 13:8).
Omnipresence (Jn. 3:13; Mt. 18:20; 28:20).
Omniscience (Mt. 11:27; Jn. 2:23–25; 21:17; Rev. 2:23).
Omnipotence (Jn. 5:17; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:8; 11:17).
The Son does divine works.
Creation (Jn. 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16–17).
Salvation (Acts 4:12; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 5:9).
Judgment (Jn. 5:22; 2 Cor. 5:10; Mt. 25:31–32).

The Son is worshiped as God (Jn. 5:22–23; 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil.
2:9–10; Heb. 1:6).

The Spirit is God.
The Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3–4; 2 Cor. 3:17).
The Spirit is given divine names (Mt. 12:28).
The Spirit has divine attributes (1 Cor. 2:13–14; Gal. 5:22; 1 Tim. 4:1;
Heb. 3:7; 9:14; 1 Jn. 5:6–7).
The Spirit does divine works (Jn. 6:33; 14:17, 26; 16:13; Acts 1:8; 2:17–18;
16:6; Rom. 8:26; 15:19; 1 Cor. 12:7–11).
The Spirit is worshiped as God (Mt. 12:32).

The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct persons in relationship with one another.
The Son prays to the Father (Jn. 11:41–42; 17; Mt. 26:39 ff.).
The Father speaks to the Son (Jn. 12:27–28).
The Father, Son, and Spirit—all three—appear together, but are clearly
distinct from one another (Mt. 3:16–17).
The Father sends the Son and the Spirit, and the Son sends the Spirit (Jn.
3:17; 4:34; 5:30; 6:39; 14:26; 15:26; 16:7).
The Father and Son love one another (Jn. 3:35; 5:20; 10:17; 14:31;
15:9–10; 17:24).

 

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Last Nights Sunset at HB

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Marva Collins Dies at 78

Marva Collins dies at 78. Mrs. Collins probably should not need an introduction but she is better known in the field of education. Mrs. Collins was especially known for her stand against the low standards of education in the inner city public schools. The article here describes her methodology as “back to the basics” but it was anything but that. She taught the Classics in a dialectical method where her grade school students were reading and discussing Socrates and Shakespeare. If anything, what Mrs. Collins brought to the inner city was a Classical education model.

Read the article.

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Trinity Part 3

trin_symblBefore I hit some of the common texts that help formulate the idea that God is Triune I want to start by addressing some of criticisms briefly.

IS THE TRINITY A NECESSARY LOGICAL CONTRADICTION?

Sometimes I like to pose a question before answering this one. That is, when I hear non-Christians refer to anything that has to do with “logic” I want to know what it is exactly that they are referring to. I find that what many people have in mind has more to do with just general critical thinking. In the filed of philosophy logic becomes more technical and precise. But what I really want to know is from the non-believer’s perspective what is logic? what is its origin, nature, essence, etc? I usually don’t ask for a whole lot of detail since this question is still trying to be answered logicians today. My point is, apart from the Trinitarian understanding of reality, laws of logic become problematic. Non-Christian philosophical systems seem to have a great deal of difficulty explaining the nature of the laws of logic but they ironically insist on using them. I know this is confusing to grasp at this point in the discussion so I will briefly say that within Trinitarian understanding of reality we have a foundational understanding for the existence of universal, abstract, invariant, entities such as those described in logical laws as well as an account of how the particulars of experience are universalized. Hopefully I can get into more of this in a later post.

SO!, is the Trinity a necessary contradiction? The reason people say that it is might be because we haven’t done a very good job at explaining it. First, I will begin with what the Trinity is not. It is important to understand what I am about to say. Here it goes; God is NOT a mathematical singularity. This is the first mistake that is always made not only by non-believers but by believers alike. By necessity the Trinity must be an ontological necessity. This is why the author of the book of Acts refers to God as the “Being in whom we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).”

Moving forward, what we often hear from non-believers is “how can God be ‘one’ (Deut. 6:4) if he is three?  From their perspective we are saying 1+1+1=1. Interestingly the word for “one” in Deuteronomy 6:4 is the same word for “one” in Genesis 2:24 (Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh). But from the particular perspective of the non-believer they are correct; that does present a logical contradiction. It’s like we are saying God is A but he is also -A. But in reality what we are saying is that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is A in person and B in unity and essence. However, after I neatly phrased the explanation it is important to understand that this does not give us the totality of understanding about God’s nature.

There is indeed much that is left to the mystery of God. However, some push that “mystery” terminology too far as if any time we talk about the relationship we find in Scripture between the three persons we are talking about the unknown. That is inherently wrong. The reason we are talking about it is because we found it in Scripture and therefore the “mystery” has been revealed not exhaustively but particularly. That is to say not totally but as much as a finite man or woman can understand.

It is within this finite understanding that we come to understand that the three persons of the holy Trinity are One. Our understanding of this truth is not exhaustive nor should we ever claim it to be since as Martin Heidegger once quipped any god that we can understand exhaustively is no god for me.

Tell me your thoughts. More to come.

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Trinity Part 2

trin_symblWay back in Part 1 I made the statement that without the Trinity there would be no Christianity. There are several criticisms that can be made against a statement like that. One could argue that the word “Trinity” is no where mentioned in the Bible. A second criticism could be that many genuine believers are saved without having understood the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet another might be there are many “Christian” denominations like Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses that reject the Trinity. Then there is the argument that the Trinity can not be known because it is a paradox or a mystery. In other words, in light of the opposing view points how can one possibly hold the view that without the doctrine of the Trinity there is no Christianity.

I would first begin by saying that each of these opposing arguments are problematic because they don’t take into account the full weight of the doctrine. As I said in Part 1 the doctrine of the Trinity is so foundational that predication would be impossible without it. Thus each of these opposing arguments would prove themselves to be internally incoherent against thorough understanding of the Trinity. Rather than work through each of these criticisms which I find to be superficial at best I would say that the organic relationship between the Trinity and Christianity is demonstrated naturally from the text of Scripture.

As Christians we come to the faith much like our ancestors dating back to the NT church confessing that only Jesus and He alone can save us from our sins (Acts 4:12). Simultaneously believers through out church history are always confronted with the notion that God is the only one that can save. Thus we conclude as Paul the Apostle that Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3; Isaiah 45:20-23). This is similar to when Paul writes, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Hence in a very real sense when we come confessing our faith in the Holy Trinity (some times you will notice a Pastor who will Baptize in the Trinitarian formulation) this a more thorough and robust way of confessing our faith in Jesus as Savior. However -and more to our point here- if confessing our faith in the Holy Trinity is on par with confessing our faith in Jesus as Savior then when happens when the Trinity is denied or rejected? By necessary default the Jesus as Savior is rejected.

Tell me your thoughts or questions. More to come.

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