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The Good News about: GOD ie. TRINITY Willits, May 19, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "The Good News about: GOD ie. TRINITY Willits, May 19, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Good News about: GOD ie. TRINITY Willits, May 19, 2012

2 TRINITY: First three statements in our Doctrinal Belief’s declare that we believe God is three beings: Father, Son (Jesus), Holy Spirit. 1. The true and living God, the first person of the Godhead, is our heavenly Father, and He, by His Son, Christ Jesus, created all things. (Matt. 28:18, 19; 1 Cor. 8:5, 6; Eph. 3:9; Jer. 10:10-12; Heb. 1:1-3; Acts 17:22-29; Col. 1: ) 2. Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, and the eternal Son of God, is the only Saviour from sin; and man’s salvation is by grace through faith in Him. (Matt. 28:18, 19; John 3:16; Micah 5:2; Matt. 1:21; 2:5, 6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:11, 12; Eph. 1:9-15; 2:4-8; Rom. 3:23-26.) 3. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, is Christ’s representative on earth, and leads sinners to repentance and to obedience of all God’s requirements. (Matt. 28:18, 19; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15; Rom. 8:1-10; Eph. 4:30.)

3 These beliefs didn’t come easy! One retired SDA minister in 1940, denounced the doctrine of the Trinity as “a cruel heathen monstrosity…. An impossible absurd invention,… a blasphemous burlesque, … a bungling, absurd, irreverent caricature” Between 1846 and 1866 the doctrine was uniformly rejected and opposed by virtually all Adventist writers as being either inconsistent, unscriptural, contrary to reason and plain common sense, unbelievable and unintelligible, contradictory, absurd, preposterous, papal, pagan, or simply anti-Christian Not a single voice disagreed with that, Ellen White included In our hymnbook we even changed Reginald Heber’s hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” from saying “God in three persons, blessed Trinity!” to “God over all, who rules eternity”

4 Why the resistance? Because SDA’s clung to a literalist approach to the Bible, and nowhere in Scripture does the word Trinity appear The Trinity defies rational explanation, who can understand it? It opens the mind to question other beliefs: How could Deity die on the Cross? Is our salvation valid if he didn’t? If he didn’t die, did that mean he possessed an immortal soul? if he did, then denying that we are born immortal would be difficult (since we are made in his image). A teaching which the bible denies In fact, such a belief, would threaten a whole string of associated beliefs: (death, judgment, resurrection); and perhaps other indirect beliefs that anchor us to the physical realities of this world: (health, marriage, second coming, sanctuary, Sabbath, godlike behavior, etc.) nudging the church towards becoming a non-corporal “spiritualized” church And finally, such a teaching would align us with a particular early Christian sect which stated that the Father and the Son were a single person

5 Slow turn towards Trinity: In 1892 a small tract was published The Bible Doctrine of the Trinity by Samuel T. Spear Surprising from two points: it was written by a non Adventist, and because it favored Trinitarian views W. W. Prescott (Founding educator, Administrator, and General Conference Office), in the late 1890’s, began to urge the church towards a more Trinitarian position Later he was denounced for having introduced this “deadly heresy” into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first Trinitarian statements from the pen of Ellen White date from the years 1897 and 1898 she called the Holy Spirit “the third person of the Godhead.” (Special Testimonies, Series A, No. 10 (1897), 37; later appearing in Desire of Ages, pp. 669, 671; see also Evangelism, pp She also stated that “in Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived” (DA 530) Ellen White’s statements moved the church toward acceptance of Trinitarianism

6 Development of Doctrinal Beliefs: From 1851 to 1938 SDA’s held only two articles of faith: the commandments of God the faith of Jesus (which meant a belief in the NT) After the organization of the church in 1861, people desiring membership into the SDA Church were asked to sign a pledge stipulating that: “We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together, as a church, taking the name Seventh-day Adventist, covenanting to keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”

7 Development of Doctrinal Beliefs: In 1872, Uriah Smith, editor of the Review and Herald, wrote and published a list of 25 “Fundamental Principles” summarizing the faith of the Seventh-day Adventists It was the first detailed presentation of Adventist doctrines published by the church, and was repeatedly revised and reprinted in the ensuing years In its preamble, the document strongly disclaimed any intention of providing an authoritative or normative expression of Adventist doctrines No synopsis of the Adventist faith appeared in Adventist literature between the years

8 Solidifying our Beliefs The 1931 Yearbook had a completely revised synopsis of our beliefs Trinitarianism was clearly affirmed in the 1931 Statement of Fundamental Beliefs But not formally approved by the church as a whole A statement of our belief’s appeared in the new Church Manual in 1932 where it has appeared ever since In 1946 that statement of beliefs became officially adopted by the General Conference who voted: “That no revision of this Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, as it now appears in the Manual, shall be made at any time except at a General Conference Session”

9 Solidifying our Beliefs Prior to the 1980 General Conference major revisions were made to the Fundamental Beliefs: making them less exclusive, negative, judgmental, and legalistic making them more grace and gospel oriented The church was redefining itself as being more engaged in the world, caring and serving its fellowman, and not here for simply one reason – to escape to heaven more orthodox views on the Trinity, Christology, and soteriology were included The church, that for the first half of its history was very resistant to establishing a creed, now had taken a huge step towards defining what Adventism stood for

10 Beliefs have consequences: Adam & Eve believed a lie – to what affect! Apostle Paul explained the cause and effect of belief: God provides plenty of evidence to believe: i.e. even invisible things, such as the Trinity To all mankind, including the wicked Providing enough revelation to produce faith and salvation They abandoned that information, let go of God, without which they became: reprobates, fornicators, wicked, coveters, malicious; envious, murderers, debaters, deceitful, maligners; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, unnatural affection, implacable, unmerciful. Romans 1:16-32

11 What is the Good News about GOD ie. TRINITY

12 A law of the Mind: “It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become changed.” [2 Cor. 3:18], (Great Controversy, p. 555; Mind Character and Personality, Vol. 2, p ; Review & Herald, April 24, 1913, par. 3) “It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell.” (Christian Education, (1894) p. 65.1;119; Patriarchs and Prophets, 596.2) The way we think of God determines our belief’s and actions

13 How we see God? Polytheism: Pagan’s see many God’s everywhere Religion is confusing, chaotic, endlessly plagued with worry, fear, endless rituals and anxiety – no peace Spiritually they cannot be intimate with God because they fear him What effect does this have upon them: as citizens/society: in the way we relate to each other? as families: marriage, parenting, extended family? as believers: in their lives and witness?

14 How we see God? Polytheism: Postmoderns see God as user-defined, eclectic Religion is relative, whatever works for the moment Spiritually there is no depth, going no higher than themselves What effect does this have upon them: as citizens/society: in the way we relate to each other? as families: marriage, parenting, extended family? as believers: in their lives and witness?

15 How do we see God? Monotheism: Jews & Muslims see God as “ONE” Religion is a bsolute conformity to doctrine (controlling/killing those that disagree) Spiritually empty –while making great pretense of being his chosen they know not God – (Matt. 7:22, 23) What effect does this have upon them: as citizens/society: in the way we relate to each other? as families: marriage, parenting, extended family? as believers: in their lives and witness?

16 How do we see God? Christians see God as “three who are ONE” At Creation there were three God’s at work: Gen. 1:1 “In the beginning God” אלהים ’e lõhîm (pl. of ’ e lõ(a)h) He is plural! "Let us“ make man in “our” image Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7 At creation the Spirit אלהים is creating (Gen. 1:2) as was Jesus (Heb. 1:2) Same plurality of God is seen throughout Scripture Ps. 45:7 “therefore God, thy God” (applied to Christ & the Father in Heb. 1:8,9) the three-part formula of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35; Acts 1:1-6; 2:33, 38-39; 9:17-20; 10:38; 2 Cor. 13:14; cf. Gal. 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-6; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; Eph. 4:4-6; Gal. 3:14). Jesus referred to it: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" John 17:22

17 Christian application of OT texts: OT Texts about Yahweh applied to Jesus in NT: Ps. 68:18 in Eph. 4:8 is applied to Jesus Ps. 102:19, 23, 24, in Heb. 1:10-12 is applied to Jesus Isa. 40:3 in Matt. 3:3 is applied to Jesus Joel 2:32 in Rom. 10:13 is applied to Jesus Isa. 45:23 in Phil. 2:10 is applied to Jesus Isa. 43:11 in John 4:42/Acts 4:12 is applied to Jesus The way the NT writers used the OT texts clearly show they believed Jesus to be the Yahweh of the OT.

18 Jesus was God By Prophetic Confession Isa. 9:6 – “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Prior to his incarnation The apostle Paul claimed Jesus possessed the "form of God" (Phil. 2:6). Micah 5:2 – “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.” Psalm 102: This statement about Yahweh's creative power and eternity recorded in is applied to Christ in Heb. 1:10-12 The apostles clearly affirmed this: John 1:3; Heb. 1:2, 10; Col. 1:16 Isa. 44:23 - This song of praise that heaven sings to Yahweh for His redemption is applied to the worship of Christ in Phil. 2:10

19 Jesus was God By his own Confession John 16:28 – “I [Jesus] came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” John 14:8-11 – “Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.” John 8:58 - Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (after hearing this the Jews picked up stones to kill him because of blasphemy)

20 Jesus was God By Apostolic Confession: Matt. 1:1, 23 – The Genealogy of Christ: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” ending with vs. 23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” John 1:1-3, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” see also 1 John 5:20 “his Son Jesus Christ… is the true God” John 20:28 – “Thomas answered and said unto him, ‘My Lord and my God.’”

21 Jesus was God By Apostolic Confession (cont.): Col. 1:15-17 – “Who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Col. 2:9 – “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Heb. 1:8,9 – “But unto the Son [he saith], Thy throne, O God ( 'elohim ), [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom. … therefore God, [even] thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (quoting from Psalm 45:6,7) Philippians 2 – Paul’s theme is unity in the Church, which can only be achieved via humility. In chapter 2 he illustrates his point by saying Jesus (in the nature of God) humbled himself (became a man).

22 Yet God is One: Singular & Plural used together: Gen. 1:1 ’e lõhîm is f ollowed by the singular verb ברא, bara’ created The baptismal formula in Matt. 28:19 baptize them in the name (singular) Father, Son, Holy Spirit (plural). 2,500 years later God confronted Moses at the burning bush, instructing him to lead his people out of Egypt. Moses asked: “What is your name?” he wasn’t questioning who God was, but asking “are you able to carry out what you are asking me to do?” After all, so many years had passed during which God seemed absent. Now, suddenly he reappears to boldly come up against the strongest nation on the planet. השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.”

23 Yet God is One (cont.) : God answers by announcing his new name, אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה “I AM that I AM” (from Heb. h ä yâ, “to be”) Ex. 3:14 “I Am all you need” “I Am the One Who Always Is.” From then on, God’s personal name was יהוה YHWH (Jehovah) Shema (Dt. 6:4): “Hear, O Israel: (שׁמע ישׂראל), The Lord our God, the Lord is one” KJV (see also Deut. 4:35; see 4:32- 39). The most well known passage among Jews (quoted daily), yet they failed to understand it’s meaning The Three (Trinity) are ONE! Those who had absolutely no need for one another (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresent) chose to be ONE Submitting and limiting themselves for the sake of the mission (Jn. 5:19,22; 8:28; 16:13) השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.” השׁמים ואת הארץ At the outset the reader is introduced to an Omnipotent Being, possessed of personality, will, and purpose, who, existing before all else and thus dependent on nought else, exercised His divine will and “created the heaven and the earth.”

24 The Essence of Divinity: Is not TRUTH Adventism is obsessed with truth Almost all churches are! The true essence of Divinity is RELATIONSHIP! This is how we know if we are righteous! Our capacity for oneness Revolving around questions of equality, humility, submission, service Not hierarchy/structure Things all Christians struggle with

25 Jesus’ passion - Satan loathes : Jesus’ impassioned plea to His Father: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” John 17:21 Whenever unity isn’t present – God’s enemy is… stirs up the most anger: When Jesus suggested that he was God they wanted to stone him – John 8:58, 59

26 How do we see God? Trinitarians: Christians see God as “three who are ONE” Religion: requires great patience, tolerance, selflessness, understanding, and growth from them. Yet producing in them the greatest freedom, variety, uniqueness, and Godlikeness. Each is challenged to become less so others can be more, and to work together as equals, respecting, understanding, trusting and loving one another. Spiritually: they are experiencing God - becoming one with Him. What effect does this have upon them: as citizens/society: in the way we relate to each other? as families: marriage, parenting, extended family? as believers: in their lives and witness?


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