Friday, September 15, 2006

Talking About The Trinity

At Christ Covenant, we have a Pastor's Book Club. About every six weeks or so, the majority of the church is reading a new book. We usually have a get-together at someone's home and discuss what we've read.

Little did the Pastor know when he chose Ralph Smith's Trinity & Reality: An Introduction to the Christian Worldview that it would prompt multiple discussions. In fact, for the last few weeks, it has been the subject of our adult Sunday School class.

This book is about 200 pages, but is is jam-packed with profound thoughts. Christianity is a trinitarian faith - but what does that mean? Does it go beyond the catechism answer of "There are three Persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory." How does (or should) our belief in a triune God impact our lives?

This has truly been a mind-expanding, faith increasing study. Here are just some snippets of thoughts gleaned from the book (it's a safe bet I'll add more later!):

*Because man is at enmity with God, he is also at odds with himself because of the reflection of God is stamped on his soul. As a result, man loves and hates himself, the human race and the rest of creation.

*Genesis 1:27 says He created him and He created them. It means every individual is the image of God, but the race as a whole also images God. What the Genesis story is pointing to is that man, like God, is both one and many.

*With the coming of Christ, we learn that human worship is an analogy of Trinitarian fellowship. In Trinitarian fellowship, we see each Person of the Trinity seeks to glorify the Others. Christian worship has implications for our relationships because rightly seeking the honor and blessing of other people is an aspect of biblical love and an imitation of the Trinity. The essence of work is mutual service and so work reflects the Trinity. Work is always an other-directed and social activity.

*Evil is an improper relationship with God. It is not an entity. To be created in God's image entails the possibility of evil, for man could not be the image of God if he didn't have moral freedom. When man sinned against God, he lost his freedom, because freedom only exists in living for God as the creatures He created us to be. The problem is that now this would-be god finds that not being omnipotent or omniscient is a severe handicap because he has to compete with other would-be gods who don't always acknowledge his divinity.

*In nonchristian religions and philosophies, we see the very essence of evil, the lust for self-deification masquerading as the quest for truth or salvation. Only in Christianity does evil have meaning and a solution. In the worlds of nonchristian faiths the problem of evil is unsolvable.

*In the Bible, for all practical purposes, the notion of Christian life apart from membership in a local church never occurs. To reject baptism, the Lord's supper, and weekly worship is to reject the body of Christ, the bride He loves. This is tantamount to rejecting salvation for Jesus came to save His church, not a conglomeration of unrelated individuals.

I highly recommend this book. You can read more about it here.

1 comment:

Nakiru said...

kiss baby Jackson for me, will you. i saw pictures, but it's not the same. mary-mary looks so much like her aunt lizzie!!