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Part 1 Is the Trinity Biblical?

I am beginning a new series.  My inspiration for the title comes from the book, The Forgotten Trinity by Dr. James White.  The first four words of his opening chapter were, “I love the Trinity.”  As I read those words I realized I had the same love for the Triune God of Christianity.  If it sounds strange to you it is because you are so used to saying, “I love God” or “I love Jesus” but never “I love the Trinity.”  A possible reason many people avoid saying this is because they have trouble explaining the Trinity to someone else.  They have a vague idea about what it is but they struggle loving a fuzzy doctrine.  My hope in this series is through my writings I will clear away the mind fog and give you a new appreciation for the doctrine of the Trinity.  And if I do my job well you might even admit you love the Trinity.

In Christianity the Trinity represents who God is; one God subsisting in three persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This belief in the Triune God separates us from all other religions in the world.  Islam, Judaism, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormonism, Oneness Pentecostals, and other belief systems reject the historic doctrine of the Trinity.

Is the Trinity Biblical?

Many years ago my son Jeff was in a 7th grade History GATE (Gifted & talented) class at Grant Middle School in Escondido, CA where I taught physical education.  They were studying World History and had reached the chapter on Christianity.  I read what the history book said about Christianity and it wasn’t bad.  I also read some of the handouts they had received on Buddhism, Hinduism, and other major religions.  I made a decision to ask to be a guest lecturer in the class on the topic of Christianity.  With the permission of the teacher and the principal I taught about the Bible and that Jesus was fully God and fully man.  I also gave a clear message of what Jesus did on the cross.  As the class ended I asked for questions.  Some of the questions helped me clarify the exactly what was accomplished by Jesus dying on the cross; but one question gave me trouble.  It was delivered by a Jehovah Witness student.  He asked, “If Jesus was God, then why did he pray to God in heaven?  Was he praying to himself?”  I still remember the sweat forming on my forehead as I stumbled for an answer.  I really didn’t do an adequate job and felt this was a question that needed further study.  The next day this student, who was in my PE class, handed me a booklet, “Should you Believe in the Trinity,” written by the Watchtower Organization.  I was embarrassed and knew I had to do something; so I flunked the student [just kidding].  I set out from that day forward this would never happen to me again.

It is the doctrine of the Trinity where we find out who Jesus really is; fully God and fully man.  Jesus said in John 8:24“Therefore I said to you [speaking the Jewish religious leaders] that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” If you have a false view about Jesus, the Bible says you will be separated from God for all eternity.  It is my desire to convince anyone not to follow a false Jesus.

I believe the Trinity is the most important doctrine in all of Christianity.  And yet, it is difficult to find Christian churches that teach this doctrine.  Many feel it is too difficult to teach to their people.  As a result it is misrepresented both inside the church and by organizations outside the church.  Groups like the Jehovah Witnesses can fool unsuspecting individuals because they don’t understand the truth of the Trinity and cannot refute the lies.  Their booklet, “Should You Believe in the Trinity,” attempts to show why the Trinity was invented by a corrupted church and isn’t Biblical.  I am going to challenge that belief.

Historic Christianity believes that God has revealed Himself as one God and three persons through the written words of the Bible.  My first task will be to provide the historical background for the Trinity and then show why I believe this doctrine is Biblical.

Go to part 2 here

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Missy December 29, 2015, 1:22 pm

    Hello Steve,
    Did you ever figure out why Jesus prayed to Father before taking his last breath? It was because he wanted us sinners to later discover the prophesy that took place at that very moment. PSA 22 “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” These are the exact words that Jesus prayed while on the cross on Mat 27:46. As you continue reading PSA 22 you realize it is a description that fits with Jesus’s current circumstances while on the cross. PSA 22:14, “He is poured out like water” is equal to John 19:34.
    PSA 22:15, “My mouth is dried up” is equal to John 19:28
    PSA 22:16 “they pierce my hands and feet” we obviously know this one.
    PSA 22:18 “they divided my clothes among them” is equal to John 19:24.

    But this PSA 22:30-31 tells us He is the Lord and future generations will be told of him.

    Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one. He gave us science and nature to realize this.

    H20=Solid, liquid, gas.
    A butterfly has to undergo: caterpillar, pupa then butterfly.
    These are creations to help us understand the almighty.

    1John 5:8 tells us the three are one in agreement. But did you know Jesus said The Father will send us the Holy Spirit and he will teach us? John 14:26. Meaning He will come a second time. John 14:28, 15:26, 16:7-8, 16:12, Heb 9:28.. And there are even more versus. Again, all three are in agreement. All three are the trinity and God’s plan of salvation for us.

  • Steve Bruecker January 4, 2016, 5:56 am

    Missy,
    Thanks again for writing. I will only address the second half of your comment.

    From what you wrote you appear to be a modalist. Modalism was a 2nd century heresy, which was condemned because it went against the clear teachings of the Bible and the doctrine of the Trinity. My suggestion is to read my series called, “Loving the Trinity.” http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/loving-the-trinity-part-1/

    You wrote, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one.” This seems to infer the one entity God, appears in 3 different modes at 3 different times. One God and one person at a time. Then you affirm my suspicion when you use illustrations that are modalistic. You used water = ice, liquid, and gas or a butterfly. Both of these teach modalism. One substance water in 3 different modes at 3 different times. Modelism is not taught in the Bible. The Father, Son, and Holy ARE one God. The doctrine of the Trinity is Biblical: one God subsists in 3 persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal. God has been Triune for all eternity.

    1 John 5:8 doesn’t teach about the Trinity. The references to water and blood being in agreement have to do with the baptism and death of Jesus give testimony that he was the Son of God. This is also affirmed by the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth.

    Below is copied from my posting on the Trinity. It deals with the heresy of modalism.

    The modalistic heresy tried to maintain the oneness of God while at the same time explaining the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to this one God. Modalism taught the one God manifests himself in different “modes” at different times. During the Old Testament we see God the Father as the only person of the one God; Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not in existence. Then Jesus is born and the Father is gone, along with the Holy Spirit. Finally, during the church age we now have the Holy Spirit and the Father and Son are not in existence. God exists in one mode or person at a single period of time.

    A key religious leader who holds this view is TD Jakes. His popular books can be found at most Christian bookstores. If he is a true modalist then he is not a Christian, he believes in a false Jesus. Currently, a religious group that holds this view is the United Pentecostal Church International or “Oneness Pentecostals.” I heard one of their scholars debate an evangelical Christian on this topic and try to Biblically show that today we are under the power of God the Holy Spirit and God the Father and Son are nowhere to be found.

    I had an opportunity to share with a group of Oneness Pentecostals at Promise Keepers in Los Angeles. They were outside the Coliseum with their signs stating the Trinity is from Satan. I shared with one of the individuals holding a picket sign. I tried to show him the Biblical errors of his beliefs but he was too busy yelling at me to listen. I find people who yell or raise their voices during a discussion do so when their arguments are weak. He couldn’t answer me and was frustrated. Finally, a police officer asked me to go back to my seat because he felt if we ignored these picketers they would disappear. I returned to my seat in the Coliseum.

    A scripture to share with a modalist is found in Luke 22:42. [Jesus praying] “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Whom is Jesus praying to if only the son mode exists at that moment? How many wills do we see here? In the passage we see two, the Father’s will and the Son’s. If you have 2 wills you have 2 persons. Jesus was not a ventriloquist, talking to himself.

    In the baptism of Jesus we see the greatest modalist magic trick of all time. We read in Matthew 3:16-17, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’” Here we see all three persons of the Trinity in action at the same time. Jesus is being baptized, the Holy Spirit is present in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father speaking from heaven. According to modalism this isn’t possible. Only the person of Jesus is present at this moment.

    All Biblical verses where you see two persons of the Triune God interacting with each other are great verses to share with a modalist. Modalism in order to maintain the oneness of God, sacrifices the co-eternal nature of the 3 persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Their belief in one God and only one person at a time is a false view of the nature of God. Therefore, the early church rejected modalism.

    I strongly suggest rejecting modalism. It leads to worshiping a false God.

    I hope this helps,
    Steve

  • CJ January 3, 2017, 3:58 pm

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your article, I found it very helpful in trying to understand the trinity. I have a question, if the three are one is God in heaven the greater of the three? We see Jesus praying to god and asking for his help and even saying why have you forsaken me. If the three are one, is he praying to himself or the greater of the trinity? Sorry I struggle to understand

  • Steve Bruecker January 4, 2017, 4:55 pm

    CJ,
    I replied online but to make sure we could interact, I am emailing you personally.

    Thanks for asking about the doctrine of the Trinity. The key is to remember how the Trinity is a Biblical teaching. It is based on 3 Biblical facts: 1) there is only 1 God, 2) there are 3 distinct persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and 3) each person is God.

    Even though all 3 are co-equal and co-eternal, they do take different roles. Such as in salvation, the Father forgives, the Son pays the price on the cross, and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. All are equally God but they choose to take different roles.

    Jesus praying to the Father is natural and normal because in the one God, there are 3 centers of consciousness (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). They can communicate with each other and love each other. When Jesus was on earth as a human, he never gave up his Deity. And yet, he submitted himself, humbled himself to become human and it was natural for him as a human to pray to the Father. Just remember in the one God there are the 3 distinct persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal.

    Even before the creation of the universe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were constantly communicating with each other from eternity past.

    Does that help?
    Steve

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