On the Plains of Moab Blog
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May 21, 2014, 3:28 PM

On the Trinity

Last week, we looked at the "infallible Word of God."  One of my key concerns in that message was to drive home the point that we must, as students of the Word, be willing to interpret it as a whole.  The Bible is a presentation of Jesus Christ from beginning to end that accentuates the trajectory of God's redeeming purposes in this world.

We need to move away from taking various, isolated verses of Scripture and saying, "Aha!  You see?  The Bible promotes ________!"  (Fill in the blank with whatever offends you.)  The Bible does record in its pages many disturbing things that humans have perpetrated on other humans.  The Fall into sin and death has painted an ugly picture throughout human history.  The Bible does not hide from that reality.  But, it does show how God is working his purposes out in Jesus Christ.  All things, as N.T. Wright likes to say, "will be put aright in the end."  In the meantime, the Word of God gives us traction in an otherwise slippery bog of reality.  It sets our sights.  It helps us to find, and be found by God.  And, finally, to find the words of life that he longs to write on our hearts.  Scripture doesn't lie to us (it's infallible!).  It is a book that must be digested over a lifetime.  It is a bottomless book, and it will never be mastered.

This coming Sunday, we will be looking at the second Essential of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (which counts officially as #1, since the Essential of the Infallible Word of God was presented as the introduction and foundation to the Essentials).  The Holy Trinity: We believe in one God, the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To Him be all honor, glory and praise for ever!

As a preview of that message, I present a quote from the second century Church Father, Irenaeus in his work, Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching.  Look carefully at how he introduces this subject -- how much weight he gives to Trinitarian thought (emphasis mine):

"This then is the order of our faith, the foundation of our building, and the support of our conduct: God the Father, uncreated, uncontainable, invisible; one God, the creator of all things: this is the first point of our faith.  The second point is this: the Word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, who appeared to the prophets, each characteristically and according to the Father's ways of disposing; through Christ all things were made, and he also at the end of the times, to compplete and gather up all things, was made man among men, visible and tangible, in order to abolish death and show forth life and effect communion between God and man.  And the third point is: the Holy Spirit, through whom the prophets prophesied, the patriarchs learned the things of God, and the righteous were led into the way of righteousness; and who in the end of the times was poured out in a new way upon the human race, renewing man in all the earth unto God."

The Trinity has been, from the earliest times in the Christian Church, a foundational truth to be cherished.  Looking forward to preaching "Above Us, Before Us, & Inside Us" -- a phrase borrowed from Herman Bavinck's description of the Trinity in his Reformed Dogmatics.  

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