Theology Discussion Question

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Theology Discussion Question

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:26 pm

If being Trinitarian was a crime, what evidence would there be to convict you?

Your response should be at least one paragraph in length. Support your answer with some of the following elements: scripture, items from the reading, personal experience, and insights from other conversations or reading.

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Trinitarian Conviction

Post by Matt Ostermeyer on Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:29 pm

This study of the formation of Trinitarian doctrine was so enlightening for me. Prior to this class I was someone who would have stances on theological issue but no backing or evidence to support my reasoning for these. However, I am continually understanding that much of my desire to steer clear of theology has been rooted in the churches ill use of it and the argumentative nature that has surrounded it. I am now understanding that theology does not necessitate this form of behavior and drives me closer to God and to worship.

After studying the Trinitarian doctrine and the Scriptures I would gladly be led to jail for being a believer of God the Father, God the Son, and The Spirit. Three beings who are separate yet share the same essence making them One. Clearly from the beginning of Scripture we have evidence that God the Father was not alone in creation. Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that…” (emphasis added). It is obvious to see that not only was God the Father not the only one involved in creation, but mankind was made in the image of more then simply God the Father (“in our image”). Genesis 1:2 and Job 33:4 affirm this belief and specifically state that the Spirit of God was both present and involved in creation. 1 Corinthians 8:6 affirms that Jesus is the third and final person present at the beginning. Paul writes “There is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” Though Paul is stating Jesus and God as separate beings he unifies them with a common purpose that implies they are One. This clearly leads to the belief in Trinitarian doctrine.

Isaiah 48:9-11 helps me to firmly believe in a Trinitarian belief. Through the prophet Isaiah the Spirit speaks of God, “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” This verse sheds light on what I believe to be the most humbling characteristic of the Trinity. God specifically states that what He does is for His own glory which at first seems to contradict that the Father will give glory to the Son. However, this is exactly what Jesus says is occurring in John 8:54 “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.” If God only glorifies himself, how is it that He can give glory to Christ? Unless of course Christ, although a separate being, is One with God is essence. The same can be said for the Holy Spirit who does not glorify himself but the Son (John 16:14) and Jesus who glorifies not himself but the glory of the Father (John 13:31-32). These are just a few reasons as to why I believe in the Trinitarian Doctrine.

I would willingly be jailed for believing this doctrine because I believe that if you are not believing in the Triune God then you are not believing in God. I cannot worship but the Triune God, for He is One.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question

Post by Admin on Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:46 pm

Thanks for writing out your thoughts, Matt, and helping us see what leads you to hold a Trinitarian view. What about if another person was observing your life? Would there be any external evidence that you are Trinitarian? Could they look at how you talk, pray, live, etc and come up with enough evidence to convict you?

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Trinitarian

Post by Brittony on Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:51 pm

God’s nature is to be in community because He is community. Relationship was built because of Him, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:26-27 ESV).” Bird points out the pronoun use of “us” and “our” used in Genesis (Pg. 101), signifying the Trinity in the Old Testament, pointing out that an angel wouldn’t use the word “us” or “our” since angels would announced themselves as servants of the Lord, when speaking. They were, and are, messengers of God. This “us” and “our” was used in a conversation between persons. The community character of God is revealed in these two little verses, and God then allows community to thrive in His creation.

He is one God but with three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all being important in the godhead. With each person having such defining roles yet all being one God, it is often difficult to accurately portray each person; however, I appreciate Bird as he describes the godhead, “…Father is the author of salvation, the Son is the actor of salvation, and the Holy Spirit is the applier of salvation (Pg. 95).”  Illuminating these characteristics of the godhead, I think, shows a much deeper unity between the three persons. All three are committed to each other, ready to serve each other and to take action in order to bring glory to God. Often it’s easy to remember the Father and the Son because, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 ESV).” This is a very common verse that most Christians know and while the verse is truth and the only way to salvation, people forget the role of the Holy Spirit. He's the one who gives power and has an important role in the salvation process. Jesus even says later in John, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever (John 14:16 ESV).” Jesus knows he can’t be everywhere and do all things like the Spirit can. The Spirit knows that he can’t atone for people’s sins. And the Father knows he must give up himself, his son and spirit, in order for people to be brought into the Kingdom. They all know their roles; all three are equal in their divinity and humble themselves to each other thus creating the most healthy and holy community to ever be.

As we aspire to live in holy community, I don’t think this requires only three people but instead to have at least three different people within a community, just like the Trinity; humbling ourselves to serve each other. The most common example, I see, is during a wedding. It’s common for a wedding to have three cords be braided following the verse, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Eccl. 4:12 ESV).” Though this is used to describe the commitment between a bride and groom and God, I feel as though it describes the strong relationship within the Trinity. A marriage, and in any community, puts the Trinity on display, reflecting it in all we do. Therefore, to be convicted to be Trinitarian, for me, would be to live in a holistic community as much as possible on this side of Heaven.

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Trinitarianism

Post by SHKelly on Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:21 pm

Several experiences in my life were done in a Trinitarian way. I was baptized with the Trinitarian formula found in Matthew 28:19 “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.” I pray as a Trinitarian, praying to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit. I worship as a Trinitarian, singing songs that address each person and worship them as equal and co-divine, such as This I Believe by Chris Tomlin, How Deep the Father’s Love, What a Beautiful Name, and others. I also take communion as a Trinitarian, thanking the Father for sending his Son, praising the Son for his obedience and love, praying that the Spirit would wash and fill me as I take the elements.

I have enjoyed the challenge of the last month to so immerse myself in thoughts about the Trinity that I reflected the reality in my life everyday. It has been difficult to think about each person’s attributes and functions when praying, but it has made prayer come alive and has given meaning to phrases like “in Jesus name.” I think that meditating on Bird’s insights, contemplating the council’s arguments, and reading Scripture has brought light and life to my thought and devotional life.

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Trinity Response

Post by Lindsay Leeson on Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:51 pm

I think the best evidence to use in deciding if someone is a Trinitarian would be their outward life and how they see and speak about God. Since it is someone’s belief, it is inside one’s mind, and we can’t see inside someone’s brain. Yet, people’s actions tend to show what they believe.
Being a Trinitarian means you believe God is three persons in one, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are distinct from one another yet are all God united. They are all at the same hierarchy, yet have different roles.

One way to see if someone is a Trinitarian is in how they pray. Trinitarians believe that the only way to pray to God the Father is through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. That means all three are necessary to have a conversation with God. If in prayer, a person mentions the three persons in the Trinity and treats them as equally understanding yet having different roles in the process, they are probably “guilty” of being a Trinitarian. On the other side, if someone is not a Trinitarian, then they may pray to only Jesus or only to God the Father or only to the Holy Spirit or feeling like those are three different people who don’t all hear their prayers together.

Also, the way people talk to God in prayer can show if they are Trinitarian or not. By believing in the Trinity, you see different aspects of God’s personality. When looking at God the Father, people tend to feel reverence toward Him, they see Him as perfect and holy and so much bigger than ourselves. When looking at Jesus the Son, people can tend to see God as coming to our level, as a human because Jesus was a human. When looking at the Holy Spirit, people see God as a comforter and counselor and someone who leads us in how we live day to day. People who aren’t Trinitarian may see God as only one of those aspects rather than all three together.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question

Post by Dane Miles on Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:13 pm

The most primary evidence for trinitarianism in my life is prayer. In my prayers, I often attempt to worship and commune with all three aspects of God, and acknowledge each of them at different points. First, I will pray to the Father and submit my praise, thanks, and requests to Him. Second, I will thank Jesus for His sacrifice and atonement, as well as for the fact that He is interceding to the Father on my behalf in my prayer. Finally, I ask that the Holy Spirit would be present in my life and minister to others (in comfort, in conviction, etc.).

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Guilty

Post by Kenji on Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:20 pm

I think the strongest evidence that makes me a trinitarian is the testimony I shared during my baptism. Before then I spoke to God and prayed to God, but I only called Him "Father" or "God." The moment I knew I was truly saved was when I started referring God as "Jesus" and "Holy Spirit" and I understood who His name was "wholly." I had never called Him Jesus or spoken directly to that person in the Trinity. I also had never experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and I realized that He was also desiring to be part of my life.

I think as the chapter talked about, you cannot receive the gospel by only receiving two persons of the trinity. You need to receive all three persons and accept them all as God. Christianity doesn't work without accepting all three.

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Theology Prompt Response

Post by Kelly Lantz on Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:54 pm

If I was being convicted of being Trinitarian, there would be some evidence to convict me. I frequently pray to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When I worship God by listening to music, I think my music choices reflect all three members of the Trinity. I feel like I speak about all three members of the Trinity (although probably not equally) to friends and fellow believers.

I wish there was more evidence to convict me of being Trinitarian and I think after this reading I have a much better understanding of the Trinity. I think previously I did see them as three masks of the same God, or different beings more present at different times. I think reading about Genesis 1, and never really noticing "the Spriit of God" being mentioned was mind blowing from me. I frequently see each member of the Trinity as sequential, first God, then Jesus, and after his death and resurrection, the Holly Spirit. I want to read my Bible with a Trinitarian mind from now on, and be more mindful of specifically how I talk about the Trinity. For example, I would describe God and Jesus as loving, but that is not the way I would naturally talk about the Holy Spirit (even though it is true!).

** I posted this earlier last week and I must not have gone all the way through the posting process - so I'm sorry this is so late!! Sad

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