Archive for November, 2007

On the Trinity

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Yesterday I was at the STR blog reading a post about Mitt Romney. In the comment section, a former Mormon named Steve was objecting to the use of the word “cult”, and lashed out with a comment about the Trinity. He asked some reasonable questions…But they revealed a basic misunderstanding that was pretty predictable, given his background. (Though in fairness, I remember asking the same questions when was growing up.) Because his background separates the persons of the Trinity more than the Bible allows, he thinks we combine them more than the Bible allows. He doesn’t realize the distinctions that we recognize.

I’ve recently listened to some great material on the subject, so I was able to recommend some resources. If you have any interest in getting a better understanding of the Trinity, you can read this post and look into those resources. I’m going to post his comment, along with my answers (slightly edited):

“For any Christian conservative to support Mitt Romney is to fly in the face of scripture.”

No, but it may fly in the face of YOUR interpretation of scripture and your precious Nicean creed. I was raised Mormon, so maybe I’m a just a little biased, but the Mormon idea of three separate beings makes a lot more sense than the trinity. Jesus prayed to himself? Jesus asked, why have I forsaken myself? When he was baptized he looked down from the heavens at himself?

These questions you ask are understandable. But they reveal that part of the reason the Trinity seems irrational to you is that you do not know what is the actual doctrine of the Trinity. (That’s not an insult; many American Christians are just as unclear about it.) The answer to those questions is no, no, and no. Jesus was not praying to Himself, because Jesus is not the same as the Father. The Father is not the same as the Spirit. The Spirit is not the same as the Son. The Trinity is one God, and you seem to understand that. But the Trinity is three separate “persons”, and that’s where you’re going wrong.

[Edited to add: I should have said "distinct persons", not "separate persons". See the comment section.]

(more…)

Investing in a Local Church: Something Revealed By Pain

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

I guess this is part three, following my first and second entries on the topic.

I just returned from a congregational meeting. Among the issues they discussed was the fact that several families who have been with the church for a long time have left over the last year or so. They brought it up to discuss some of the reasons this has been happening. It was difficult, because of what a wrenching experience it has been to lose those families.

And that made me think–It is as painful as it is because of the depth and value of the relationships that had been formed. I’m a newcomer, and so I was not directly affected by their loss, not really knowing them. But the visible pain spoke clearly to the richness of the connections in this church family. How much poorer would we be if we held ourselves aloof, or did not stay in one place long enough to put down the roots that are so painful when torn?

I want those roots. And I am glad beyond my ability to describe that God has brought me to this family. It is my duty, my calling, and it will be my joy to discover how I can use what God has given me to bless these people, and to be blessed in return. I pray that God will use me well, and will continue to bring into my life people whose gifts God will use to grow me up in Him, so that at the end of my life here in this world I will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Investing in a Local Church: Follow-Up Thoughts

Friday, November 9th, 2007

I have a few follow-up thoughts about my last entry on investing in a particular local church, as opposed to habitual church-hopping. The first have to do with some additional Biblical reasons, and then I have a thought about the way I wrote my last entry.

1.) Submission to elders, and examples to, um, youngers.

There are two similar passages, in 1 Peter 5 and Titus 2.

(more…)

Investing in a Local Church

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

I was talking on the phone earlier tonight with a friend. She’s been involved with a local Baptist church for a while, but said that she’ll have to find a new one soon–she’ll be moving to another town for a couple semesters for some med school requirements. She knows of at least one good church there, but will naturally want to look around to see what else is there. And she said that she may end up church hopping for a while. She has mixed feelings about it, but is more OK with it than most people. After thinking for a minute, she explained why:

She sees the church in terms of the global Church. There isn’t one particular organization, one building, one group. There’s the global Body of Christ, and she can be part of that whatever church she goes to on Sunday.

I affirmed what she said, but went on to explain why I still see importance in investing yourself in a particular congregation, and not switching churches lightly, but only as something of a “last resort”. (more…)