Kevin Stockmann: Discussion Questions

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Kevin Stockmann: Discussion Questions

Post by stockmannk on Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:20 am

1.If you had to pick two stories (narratives specifically, not just passages) from the Bible that best illustrate what God is like, which would you choose? Select one story from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, then explain your choices.

For the New Testament, I would choose the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees were prepared to stone her for the sins she was caught in the middle of. But Jesus' answer is one of the most significant answers in the entire bible. "Let the one who has never sinned cast the first stone." By this, he would be the only one who had the authority to stone her. And he chose not to. God can condemn us, and has the right to as we have sinned against him. But he chooses to offer us grace instead. That's absolutely incredible. And it is also what he calls us to do for each other -- forgive each others' sins because we have all sinned against each other and God.

For the Old Testament, I chose the general story of the Exodus. It best exemplifies God's pursuit of his holy people even though they rebel and complain and choose to worship other gods. He brought the Israelites, his people, out of slavery in Egypt and then provided for them Manna, and then gave them his law. They began worshiping golden calves as sponsored by Moses' brother Aaron. But God was convinced by Moses not to destroy these people and the world again like in the flood. And then he gave them their promised lands over 40 years later. This incredible narrative shows how far God is willing to go for us, his absolute power over creation, and his mercy in the face of our rebellion and sin.

1. What do you think of Augustine's statement that "whoever denies the Trinity is in danger of losing his salvation; whoever tries to understand the Trinity is at danger of losing his mind"? (Page 231).

I think that he is absolutely correct. I believe that the Trinity is the best explanation for the God we see revealed in the Old and New Testament. However, it is incredibly challenging to explain, and far smarter people than I can still not explain it well because it defies explanation. But to deny it is to misrepresent the God we see in the bible. That God has a distinct Father who is distinct from the Son, they are different people. Jesus does not pray to himself at the Garden of Gethsemane, he prays to the Father. And the Spirit has a personality that can be grieved. The Trinity is best understood through the narrative of the Gospel and Jewish Scripture, not in philosophical sense. Thinking too much about it is challenging because there is no good explanation, just a lot of bad ideas and misrepresentations. It is far easier to say what the Trinity is not than what it is. But if you see any of the members in a different manner than three characters with one essence, it has widespread ramification that distort God and his story.
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Re: Kevin Stockmann: Discussion Questions

Post by S.h.ave on Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:18 am

stockmannk wrote:1.If you had to pick two stories (narratives specifically, not just passages) from the Bible that best illustrate what God is like, which would you choose? Select one story from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, then explain your choices.

For the New Testament, I would choose the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees were prepared to stone her for the sins she was caught in the middle of. But Jesus' answer is one of the most significant answers in the entire bible. "Let the one who has never sinned cast the first stone." By this, he would be the only one who had the authority to stone her. And he chose not to. God can condemn us, and has the right to as we have sinned against him. But he chooses to offer us grace instead. That's absolutely incredible. And it is also what he calls us to do for each other -- forgive each others' sins because we have all sinned against each other and God.

For the Old Testament, I chose the general story of the Exodus. It best exemplifies God's pursuit of his holy people even though they rebel and complain and choose to worship other gods. He brought the Israelites, his people, out of slavery in Egypt and then provided for them Manna, and then gave them his law. They began worshiping golden calves as sponsored by Moses' brother Aaron. But God was convinced by Moses not to destroy these people and the world again like in the flood. And then he gave them their promised lands over 40 years later. This incredible narrative shows how far God is willing to go for us, his absolute power over creation, and his mercy in the face of our rebellion and sin.

1. What do you think of Augustine's statement that "whoever denies the Trinity is in danger of losing his salvation; whoever tries to understand the Trinity is at danger of losing his mind"? (Page 231).

I think that he is absolutely correct. I believe that the Trinity is the best explanation for the God we see revealed in the Old and New Testament. However, it is incredibly challenging to explain, and far smarter people than I can still not explain it well because it defies explanation. But to deny it is to misrepresent the God we see in the bible. That God has a distinct Father who is distinct from the Son, they are different people. Jesus does not pray to himself at the Garden of Gethsemane, he prays to the Father. And the Spirit has a personality that can be grieved. The Trinity is best understood through the narrative of the Gospel and Jewish Scripture, not in philosophical sense. Thinking too much about it is challenging because there is no good explanation, just a lot of bad ideas and misrepresentations. It is far easier to say what the Trinity is not than what it is. But if you see any of the members in a different manner than three characters with one essence, it has widespread ramification that distort God and his story.


I love your choices to represent God. They both display love, grace, judgment, and God's pursuit toward us. I find it interesting, however, that you chose the woman caught in the act of adultery, a passage of scripture not found in the earliest manuscripts that we have. Do you think that it remains a good choice to represent the New Testament, even though it might not have been in the original text of John? As for your choice of the Exodus, I don't think there is a better Old Testament choice out there that can apply to each of us. We have all identified with the Israelites at least once; whether it be imprisoned (by sin), walking in God's favor, questioning God, rejecting God, or trying to serve God while being pressured by those around you to sin, in the case of Aaron with the Golden Calves.

I find it interesting that you say there is 'no good explanation' for the Trinity. It's a bold claim, and one that I agree with. The ones we have are more so decent that good, and it is easier to describe what God is not than to say what He is. It becomes our aim, then, to discover if there exists a good explanation of the Trinity on this side of eternity.
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