Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 3:36 PM

Trinity post 5

Ok, so I'm in way over my head with the philosophical stuff. I don't know what I would do if someone came in and identified George Bush's gender wrong but got a lot of other things right. In a similar fashion, if someone said God was not Triune but understood how He worked in salvation, in incarnation, in history, and so on, I would have no idea what was going on. I am content to leave things like that up to the elders of his or her church and God to decide.

As to the essentials question, this is the best I could think of. It is noticably weaker than the original position staked out, but it is as far as Scripture goes, and as far as I'm willing to go. Kudos to jefe for challenging this. Provided without a lot of explanation, mostly because I'm lazy.
Jesus came in the flesh

1 John 4
2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
Jesus is God

John 8:24

24I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."

The Gospel:

Gal. 1
8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Now I don't think there is a distinction drawn between "preach" and "believe" here, as Paul is pointing out that the gospel falsely preached is that which does not save in the context.

As to what the gospel is, John Piper does an excellent job surveying the basics of it in his book God is the Gospel, but an examination of 1 Cor. 15:1-4 provides a good summary:
1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
As to A who affirms justification by faith alone, but denies that Jesus is God, I would say that the passage from John speaks to that. I don't know what I would do with someone who denied a different aspect of the Trinity though (like the (lack of) distinction between persons in modalism for example)

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Blogger ts said...

that sounds reasonable to me, mxu.

the thing is, of what practical purpose is this? if i were to meet a "christian" who misunderstood the trinity, i would still endeavor to correct his misunderstanding. when i preach the gospel, i'm still going to preach or teach in the context of the trinity. so while i agree with what you've written in this post, i guess i don't see how it really makes any difference since we're all going to preach/teach the trinity and essential doctrines, right?  

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Blogger mxu said...

The difference is the difference between Paul's response to the Galatians and Paul's response in Romans 14

Gal. 3

1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh?

Romans 14

1As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  

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Blogger ts said...

hm ... put in that light, i guess i can say with confidence that the doctrine of the trinity is essential ... at least more essential than the doctrine of eating only vegetables.

;-)  

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