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July 29, 2009

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Great post! I highly recommend the book mentioned, The Forgotten Trinity, James White- it is a short read and easy to understand, and makes the doctrine crystal clear.
I was a Christian for two years before I discovered the Westinster Confession and the Shorter Catechism. When I did, I felt upset that I hadn't known about them (and their related confessions) beforehand! They answer so clearly the basics of the faith, with scripture references, and deeply enriched my understanding. These confessions (and related) and catechisms need to be part of any sound protestant church, in my opinion. People wouldn't be so apt to carry around or fall into heretical ideas with such a firm foundation.

Lol@Little Heritics? Well, I know you are largely being humorus, but I hope atleast established a distinction (for the sake of someone who may not know better) between a genuine heritically held view and a misunderstanding based off of not knowing any better. Seems these kids just didnt know. And in one sense, we shouldent exactly expect them to have it spelled out so young. Not that it cant be done, but im just sayin.

S|Sense - cults use difficulties like these to lure the young away all the time. Education, such as undertaken here, is the best defense.

It is incredible to me to see all the theological resource materials available both in Christian bookstores and on the internet, yet we see such profound ignorance among young Christians in the USA. Not only has the church apparently failed to teach the basics (and why it’s important to know and be able to articulate and defend your faith), our culture of post-modern tolerance and pluralism has infiltrated to the point that most young people just accept ANYTHING anyone believes, and it’s considered rude and intolerant to question it. If your spiritual creed is just any old set of sincerely held beliefs, who cares if they actually have any basis in history, fact, or logic? Relativism and political correctness both kills our ability to reason.

Noblewar, with an overabundance of information we've tended to a staggering lack of application.

One thing I would encourage also that I did not see in this post (though it may have been part of the lessons) is for Brett to discuss the meaning of personhood in establishing the three distinct Persons. What is a person? What essential elements constitute personhood? We can posit attributes such as consciousness, will, reason, imagination (creativity), the capacity for emotion, for mercy, and for justice. Considering each Person of the Godhead as absolutely possessing all the attributes of perfect personhood was eye opening for me. God the Holy Spirit is as much a possessor of all the attributes of personhood as is the Son and the Father. He is not a Force, nor a Power, nor a divine presence of Love. He is a Person!

Sage S: Before you can discuss "person-hood" you first have to discuss the nature of God Himself, and His relationship with His creation. The reason being that all of the attribute you mentioned that apply to God ALSO apply to humanity.

The problem is that the uninformed may look at those attributes and say "See, God id just like man!" This is just presenting an anthropomorphized version of God, you know, the old "Man created God in his own image" kind of statement.

But in reality it is man who is created in God's image and everything else hinges on His relationship to His creation and what He expects in return.

There is no escape from the fact that Christian education needs to graduate from the Sunday School version of Noah's ark and David and Goliath stories at a MUCH earlier age than preteen. WE need to start precisely when we are tempted to "simplify" things for developing minds.

I taught Children's Church for ten years and I was distressed at the bankruptcy of the material I was given to communicate. And THAT was from a fundamentalist denomination! Heaven only knows what is being taught elsewhere...

Well maybe the Trinity is not in the Bible because originally Christians and Jews were Polytheists. It seems rather obvious when you look at the Ten Commandments which says, "Thou shalt have no other GODS [Plural] before Me." And the most used word for God in the OT is plural.

I think you will find the Trinity really show up only when Christians began to be accused of not being monotheists. Its an evolutionary belief, not a scriptural one.

Richard: The defense of the Triune God of Christianity may have evolved, but the truth of His existence is most assuradly scriptural as Brett has already demonstrated.

The trinity explanation of the Godhead is the only one which takes all of Biblical evidence into account as to Person/Persons whom God is.

Person = the Father
Persons = Father, Son of God, and Holy Spirit.

bobbym51,

My point is that if we are going to establish God as one Being eternally existing in three distinct Persons, we need to lay out Biblically what we mean by the term 'person'. Then we need to be consistent in applying this definition to each of the three Persons - not only in their relationship to each other (the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Spirit, etc) nor in relation to creation, but distinctly in and of themselves. Otherwise, we ought not to say that God exists in three distinct, co-equal divine Persons.

bobbym51,

If we find all or some of the attributes of personhood in God, though perfect and complete, which are also in human beings, though partial and imperfect, then this is consistent with us being derived from His constitution, patterned in His likeness. Or it indicates He is derived from our ideal wishes. The first is a theory with diverse supporting evidence, while the second is merely a suggestion with only circumstantial evidence.

Truth should have nothing to fear from open discussion, unfortunately the majority of Christians have never questioned the doctrine of the Trinity. This is a sacred cow that is looked down upon to question, and yet we often call this doctrine a mystery. It is a Biblical mandate to examine everything and to hold to what is good. Though I am still convinced of the Trinity, it is not the clearest doctrine to defend especially when you give the other side of the argument a chance. You may feel like a heretic for even questioning it, but many times those labeled heretics are those who represent the minority. William Tyndale anyone? At any rate, if anyone has the courage to examine everything, a good comprehensive article is John Bland's "There Is One God" http://www.friktech.com/rel/1god.htm

Gen 1:26 cannot be used to prove trinitarianism since the writer of Genesis (an early Israelite Jew) wasn't a trinitarian.

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