Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Do I believe in Three Gods?

Couple of days ago, I went to a marriage function where a Marthomite boy married a Pentecostal girl. I was surprised to see that the woman belongs to a 'different' kind of church and no one knew for clear what kind of church was that. Some said they are a kind of local church. Another gentleman said they are bible believing and bible following church. I found an elderly man and his wife staring at me for a long time as I enquire about the church. I approached that man and he happened to be the elder of that church. In the beginning he did not shared the name of the church but later he said a name. Then he said they are the real biblical church. I said OK, that is what many churches say now, let it be. Then he said "Jesus Christ is the Only God, there is no on else". I said praise the Lord, Thats what we believe. He continued then " He was the Father, became Son and now He is Holy Spirit" Wow wow wow, I felt the heat. "There is No Father now or the Son. Only Holy Spirit exists" Only one God. Father 'was' God, Son 'was' God, and Spirit "IS" God. And he started quoting from book of Acts and started arguing that they all gave baptism only in Jesus's name... not in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
I found that the people who came to the marriage started observing our conversation and it is not good to be in a talk like that right then, I gave him my address and I took his also and agreed for a discussion in future. This night that gentleman called me and invited to his home for sharing his views. 

Right now I don't know how many kind of teachings about christianity in this world! Freedom is there for each one to have their own faith and doctrine but God desires us to follow only His Truth for Truth shall set you free and nothing else can make you free from the bondage. This Truth is reveled us in the Word and that is our only basis of faith. But many people are trying to save 'God' for His actions by justifying Him with their emotional thoughts and human reasoning. There we see new doctrines takes birth. God never needs our help to prove Himself  just. He is just in Him self. 

Well I was trying to sort out my informations about the trinity as a preparation for the talk and I thought it would be fine to share it with you people too. Please see those thoughts below and add your points to make it more clear.

No man can fully explain the Trinity, though in every age scholars have propounded theories and advanced hypotheses to explore this mysterious Biblical teaching. But despite the worthy efforts of these scholars, the Trinity is still largely incomprehensible to the mind of man. John Wesley said, “Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God.” Until a person recognizes that his own wisdom and intelligence are not enough, he is not ready to listen to God’s greater wisdom. Jesus alluded to this when He said to God, “you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” (Luke 10:21).

Definition of the Trinity (Triunity) of God

Trinity: Webster’s dictionary gives the following definition of trinity: “The union of three divine persons (or hypostases), the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in one divinity, so that all the three are one God as to substance, but three Persons (or hypostases as to individuality).” Synonyms sometimes used are triunity, trine, triality. The term “trinity” is formed from “tri,” three, and “nity,” unity. Triunity is a better term than “trinity” because it better expresses the idea of three in one. God is three in one. Hypostases is the plural ofhypostasis which means “the substance, the underlying reality, or essence.”

Warfield’s: “There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence.”

 Equality in dignity

There is perfect equality in nature, honour and dignity between the Persons. Fatherhood belongs to the very essence of the first Person and it was so from all eternity. It is a personal property of God ‘from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named’ (Eph. 3:15).

The Son is called the ‘only begotten’ perhaps to suggest uniqueness rather than derivation. Christ always claimed for himself a unique relationship to God as Father, and the Jews who listened to him apparently had no illusions about his claims. Indeed they sought to kill him because he ‘called God his own Father, making himself equal with God’ (Jn. 5:18).

The Spirit is revealed as the One who alone knows the depths of God’s nature: ‘For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God … No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God’ (1 Cor. 2:10f.). This is saying that the Spirit is ‘just God himself in the innermost essence of his being.’

This puts the seal of NT teaching upon the doctrine of the equality of the three Persons.

Biblical Support for the Trinity
Since the Trinity involves the key aspects of oneness and threeness, support for this doctrine will be dependent on the discovery of these two aspects in Scripture as it reveals how God exists.

Old Testament Scriptures

(1) Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”
 (2) Deuteronomy 4:35 “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.”
(3) Isaiah 46:9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.”
(4) Isaiah 43:10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.”

The New Testament is even more explicit:
(5) 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 “Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”
(6) Ephesians 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
(7) James 2:19 “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”

Scriptures Demonstrating  God, Who is One, is Also Three
Old Testament Scriptures
While there is no explicit statement in the Old Testament affirming the Triunity, we can confidently say that the Old Testament not only allows for the Triunity, but also implies that God is a triune Being in a number of ways:
(1) The name Elohim, translated God, is the plural form of El. While this is what is called a plural of plenitude pointing to the power and majesty of God, it certainly allows for the New Testament revelation of the Triunity of God.
(2) There are many instances where God uses the plural pronoun to describe Himself (see Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7Isa. 6:8).
(3) In the creation account, both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are seen in the work of creation. It is stated that God created heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1), but that it was the Holy Spirit who moved over the earth to infuse it with life in the sense of protecting and participating in the work of creation (Gen. 1:2).
(4) Writing about the Messiah, Isaiah reveals Him to be equal with God, calling Him the “Mighty God” and “Eternal Father” (Isa. 9:6).
(5) Several passages reveal a distinction of Persons within the Godhead.
  • In Psalm 110:1, David demonstrates there is a distinction of Persons between “LORD,” the one speaking, and the one addressed called by David, “my Lord.” David was indicating the Messiah was no ordinary king, but his own Lord, Adoni (my Lord), one who was God Himself. So God the first Person addresses God the second Person. This is precisely Peter’s point when He quotes this Psalm to show the resurrection of the Messiah was anticipated in the Old Testament.
  • The Redeemer (who must be divine, Isa. 7:14; 9:6) is distinguished from the Lord (Isa. 59:20).
  • The Lord is distinguished from the Lord in Hosea 1:6-7. The one speaking here is Yahweh, the Lord, yet, note the statement in verse 7, “I will have compassion … and deliver them by the Lord their God.”
  • The Spirit is distinguished from the Lord in a number of passages (Isa. 48:16; 59:21; 63:9-10).
(6) In the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, God made it clear that the One who would be born of the virgin would also be Immanuel, God with us.
(7) Two other passages which imply the Trinity are Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1. In Isaiah 48:16 all three Persons are mentioned and yet seen as distinct from each other. See also Gen. 22:15-16.

New Testament Scriptures
The case for the Triunity of God is even stronger in the New Testament. Here it can be unequivocally demonstrated the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Furthermore, the New Testament teaches us that these three names are not synonymous, but speak of three distinct and equal Persons.

(1) The Father is called God (John 6:27; 20:17; 1 Cor. 8:6Gal. 1:1Eph. 4:6Phil. 2:11; 1 Pet. 1:2).
(2) Jesus Christ, the Son is declared to be God. His deity is proven by the divine names given to Him, by His works that only God could do (upholding all things, Col. 1:17; creation, Col. 1:16John 1:3; and future judgment, John 5:27), by His divine attributes (eternality, John 17:5; omnipresence, Matt. 28:20; omnipotence,Heb. 1:3; omniscience, Matt. 9:4), and by explicit statements declaring His deity (John 1:1; 20:28Titus 2:13;Heb. 1:8).
(3) The Holy Spirit is recognized as God. By comparing Peter’s comments in Acts 5:3 and 4, we see that in lying to the Holy Spirit (vs. 3), Ananias was lying to God (vs. 4). He has the attributes which only God can possess like omniscience (1 Cor. 2:10) and omnipresence (1 Cor. 6:19), and He regenerates people to new life (John 3:5-6, 8; Tit. 3:5), which must of necessity be a work of God for only God has the power of life. Finally, His deity is evident by the divine names used for the Spirit as “the Spirit of our God,” (1 Cor. 6:11), which should be understood as “the Spirit, who is our God.”
Ryrie writes: “Matthew 28:19 best states both the oneness and threeness by associating equally the three Persons and uniting them in one singular name. Other passages like Matthew 3:16-17 and 2 Corinthians 13:14associate equally the three Persons but do not contain the strong emphasis on unity as does Matthew 28:19.”
Peter, in explaining the phenomenon of Pentecost, represents it as the activity of the Trinity: ‘This Jesus … being … exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear’ (Acts 2:32-33). So the church of Pentecost was founded on the doctrine of the Trinity.
In 1 Cor. there is mention of the gifts of the Spirit, the varieties of service for the same Lord and the inspiration of the same God for the work (1 Cor. 12:4-6).

Peter traces salvation to the same triunal source: ‘destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet. 1:2). The apostolic benediction: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Cor. 13:14), not only sums up the apostolic teaching, but interprets the deeper meaning of the Trinity in Christian experience, the saving grace of the Son giving access to the love of the Father and to the communion of the Spirit.

What is amazing, however, is that this confession of God as One in Three took place without struggle and without controversy by a people indoctrinated for centuries in the faith of the one God, and that in entering the Christian church they were not conscious of any break with their ancient faith.

From the above evidence, it should be clear that the Scripture teaches God is one and three.

Three Distinct Persons

Although the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all called God, they are always distinguished from one another. The Father is not the Son; neither is the Son the Father. The Holy Spirit is distinct from both the Father and the Son.

The distinction between Father and Son is seen in such passages as Matthew 11:27; John 5:20, 22; 14:16; and Matthew 27:46. Luke makes this distinction in Luke 23:34,46, Stephen in Acts 7:55, and Peter in 1Peter 1:3.
That the Holy Spirit is a distinct Person from the Father and the Son is seen in Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 3:16,17; John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7-15; and Acts 1:4,5.
All three Persons of the Trinity are mentioned together in the triadic formulas of the New Testament (Matt 28:19; Rom 14:17,18; Gal 3:11-14; 4:6; 2Cor 1:21 22; 3:3; 13:14; 1Peter 1:2).
The evidence from the Bible sets forth three divine Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—as one God, not three Gods (John 10:30; 14:16-23; Rom 8:9; 1Cor 2:11). Therefore, the doctrine of the Trinity is without doubt a Scriptural doctrine.

Only trinitarianism affirms the deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as taught in the Scriptures. Only it affirms that Jesus is the Son of God, fully human and fully divine. Only trinitarianism affirms the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit as set forth in the Bible. Therefore, only the doctrine of the Trinity—that God is one substance or essence but three Persons—"preserves the oneness and uniqueness of God" evident throughout the Bible.

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