Volume. XXIII, No. 48
Sunday, 24 May 2009


The Trinity: Questions and Answers


Almost all Christian cult groups deny the doctrine of the Trinity along with Christ’s Deity and His Eternal Sonship. The followers of Christian cult groups are encouraged and equipped to engage in debate with orthodox Christians hoping that they will convert them to their cult belief. It is no surprise that many cult followers of Jehovah’s Witness churches and Mormon churches were formerly orthodox church goers. Christian cult group like Jehovah’s Witnesses are being systematically equipped and prepared to bombard orthodox Christians with questions mainly to deceive you to deny one doctrine more than any other doctrines – the Trinity. If the followers of the cult groups are ready to launch their assaults on orthodox Christians, will you be ready to answer those questions as we are explicitly commanded in the Bible (1 Peter 3:15)? I pray that you will be. The following are some of the questions which may be posed by the followers of Christian cults and biblical answers for those questions. I hope you will find them useful if you are ever encountered by followers of a Christian cult group.

Question: I will first say that I am a believer in God. I believe that He alone forgives sins and that the only way to achieve success in this life and the hereafter is to believe in and submit to Him. Now a problem I am having is with the understanding of your belief [Trinity].

Answer: You may have problem with our belief, but it is not a problem to us at all because the Scripture, both the Old and the New Testament, is our final authority (2 Tim 3:16,17; Eph 2:20; 1 Cor 3:11), not natural man’s inability to comprehend biblical truths and theological mysteries (1 Cor 2:14) like the doctrine of the Trinity which is explicitly and implicitly taught  in the Scripture (Jn 1:1-14; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3a; Phil 2:6a; Heb 1:1,2a; Gen 1:26a; I Pet 1:20; Eph 1:4; Jn 8:56-59; Jn 17:5; Jn 3:35; Heb 2:8; II Tim 1:9; Jn 3:13; Jn 6:33; Jn 20:28; Heb 1:8; Isa 9:6; Jn 10:34-36; Ps 82:6; Heb 1:6; Acts 10:25, 5:3; 13:2, 15:28; Rev 3:9; Jn 10:30; Jn 17:11,20-22; I Cor 8:6; 1 Jn 5:7). Webster’s dictionary gives the following definition of the 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).

Question: You believe that God is One, yet you believe that He is also in three parts, being: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Answer: God does not consist of three parts as you have defined but One being in three Persons. J. Hampton Keathley explains, “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 of hypostasis which means “the substance, the underlying reality, or essence.” The word “persons” does not suggest that God is made of three separate entities. The word “persons” is not used in same way it is in ordinary usage in which invariably implies an identity completely distinct from other persons. In fact, the word “persons” may tend to detract from the Unity of the Trinity. According to the teaching of Scripture (passages quoted above), the three Persons are distinct yet inseparable, interdependent and eternally united in One Divine Being. The orthodox writers in the past have struggled over this term. Some have opted for the term subsistence, but most have continued to use the word “person” because they have not been able to come out with a better term and I doubt finite men could ever come out with a “perfect” term to describe God’s Triunity in three “persons”. And what are the definitions of the words “substance” and “subsistence” used to definite the Trinity? Kenneth Boa says, “The word substance speaks of God’s essential nature or being and subsistence describes His mode or quality of existence.

Question: A clear problem with this [doctrine of the Trinity] is that 3≠1.

Answer: You have attempted to solve this theological mystery with a mathematical formula and human logic – this won’t work. Do you suppose mathematics or science or human logic can explain away all the physical phenomena in the universe, let along metaphysical universe and what is happening in the spiritual realm? You say three does not equal 1 (3≠1), fair enough. By adopting this analogy, you are implying that the doctrine of the Trinity is illogical or unscientific. Thus, it also implies that everything you believe must be logical like 1+1+1=3. Then, where does the element of faith come in? Is God’s supernatural six-day Creation of the Universe and everything therein logical? Is resurrection logical? Is the incarnation of Jesus Christ logical or virgin birth of Mary logical? Is man’s sinful nature inherited from Adam logical? Is final day judgment and eternal damnation logical to you? I believe you don’t believe in these things, because you can’t prove them with your mathematical formula or logic. If you do, then you must have accepted them as biblical truths by faith. If this is the case, why can’t you accept the Trinity by faith in the light of Scriptures?         

Question: You say that Jesus died for our sins, or rather that the Father sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins. Now in accordance with the Trinity belief, did the Father send Himself, or His Son? If He sent his Son then would that not then be dividing God into parts - thus giving Him partners.

Answer: God the Father did not send Himself, but He sent His only eternally begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Second Person of Holy Trinity. Bear in mind that the Three Persons in the Triune Godhead is distinct yet not separated. When Jesus Christ came into this world (ie. incarnation), he did not come as a 1/3 of God or part of God because each Person of the Holy Trinity is equal in essence, power, authority and glory.

The phrase like “part of God” or “partners” is really poor choice of words to describe the doctrine of the Trinity and shows how misinformed or confused you are about your understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. God is One, but nowhere in the Bible says that God has ‘three parts’ or each person as a “partner”. The Scripture explicitly and implicitly proclaims that the Triune Godhead consists of three persons (Mt 28:19; 1 Jn 5:7 [KJV]). When the Scripture, for example in Deut 6, says that God is One, the Hebrew word for one used is echad, which speaks most literally of a compound unity, instead of using the Hebrew word yacheed, which speaks of an absolute unity or singularity (Genesis 22:2 and Psalm 25:16). How about the word ‘God’? Is it singular or plural? The word ‘God’ used in the Scripture most frequently is Elohim. And the word Elohim in Hebrew grammatically is a plural word used as if it were a singular noun. Martin Luther says, “….we have clear testimony that Moses aimed to indicate the Trinity or the three persons in the one divine nature.” Therefore, God does not consist of three parts, but one Divine and Eternal Being in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in Tri-Unity.

Question: Do you say that the Son actually died or that his body died? If you are saying that the Son himself died then wouldn\'t that be saying that God Himself had died?

Answer: When the Scripture says that the Son died, it refers to the death of the incarnated Son of God in human form, the son of man (Mk 8:31;Mk 9:12;Lk 9:22; Lk 24:7;Jn 3:14;Jn 12:34). When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He said that He commits His spirit (Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30) to the Father. It simply suggests he died as a man or as a son of man (see above references), but as God he never died – how could God die!? Jesus died as a God-Man, but not as GOD. He died as a son of man for the remission of sins of many, but nowhere in the Scripture does it say that God ever died – the idea itself is crooked and blasphemous.

Question: With the Trinity I can\'t but help thinking of three separate identities. How does this affect your worship of God? If you are worshipping God according to the Trinity concept then how do you not see three?

Answer: With your understanding of the Trinity I can’t but help thinking that you need to trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour (Acts 4:12; Pro 14:12). We have no problem worshipping our God. You may come to our church and worship with us and see it for yourself. You said that you are a believer, but you never mentioned that your sins are forgiven or that you have an assurance of salvation by grace, nor of works, through faith in Jesus Christ. I wonder how this affects your worship of God, or perhaps, you need to start coming to our church. 

Question: In light of the above, I invite you to worship the One God without any partners or equals.

Answer: I invite you to worship Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, the Second Person of Holy Trinity, the Saviour of Mankind, the King of kings and the LORD of lords, the Ancient of Day, the Lamb of God which was slain before the foundation of the world who will judge both the quick and dead on the judgment day.

Ps Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements

Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Phil Surman

Special Thanks to Sis Nita Chong for her help & contribution to mothers on Mother’s Day

Thank you to all who helped with the Senior Citizens’ Fellowship meeting.

All members & regular worshippers are encouraged to join and regularly attend at least one Neighbourhood Bible study group. Please see Elder Michael Lee for details.

Candidates: Baptism - Bro Phil Surman; Membership Transfer - Bro Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong (Sherilyn & Benjamin); Bro Frank Wong; Sisters Shu Ai Cho, Lydia Fan, Wendy Liang & Iris Surman

 

Looking Ahead

23rd Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, 28 June. Speaker: Pastor Ki.

VBS 6-10 July, Speaker: Bro Hai Seng Lim

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Europe); Sisters Mariam (& Jayden) Atijatuporn, Marion Chan, Lin Poh & Pek Kun Poh (Adl)  & all others who have arrived safely.

Church activities: BBK Class; Shorter Catechism Class;  AFG Marriage Seminar; Ladies’ Fellowship Share & Prayer; Senior Citizens’ Fellowship Meeting; Session Meeting; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; YAF Dinner &Activity

 

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Stephen Khoo, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi; Len & Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Fred Volvricht & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Swee Liang Ng, Mr Yeom; Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Lai Kheng Cheong, Nita Chong, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Choon Fong Lee (Evangel BPC - KL); Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; Mrs Win Hooper; & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia (Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry in Phnom Penh & Kandal Province; Pr Zhang & ministry in Sihanoukville), Pastors & believers in Laos, Pakistan & India; Kuching Ministry (Teo family).

Special Prayer: Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for financial support for his family & ministry in Vientiane & Siem Pang.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor & Sis Ki - ministry & travelling mercies in USA; future ministry in New Life BPC, London; UK visa application.

Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Ki, Sis Suzane Lim (Adl); & all others who are travelling.

Pastor Weng: family & ministry in Hope BPC.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Marion Chan, Tabitha Heah, Judy Li & Corinne Teng.

God’s comfort, guidance & care: Sisters Kathleen Creaser & Margaret Hooper.

Bro Max Opaskiatikul serving the Lord in MV Doulos

Brothers & Sisters for Baptism/Transfer of Membership

Bro Richie Hornung’s mission (Cebu)

Job security during this recession.

Fellowship Exams - Bros Raphael Ng (June) & John Wong (July)

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063