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Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

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Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

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  1. Systematic Theologyby Wayne Grudem Chapter 14 The Trinity Part 2 Truth Bible Church Sunday School 4 September 2011

  2. Overview • Questions? • Review of Part 1 • Simplistic Solutions… • All Analogies Have Shortcomings • God Eternally and Necessarily Exists as the Trinity • Errors Resulting from Incorrect Trinitarian Doctrine • The Importance of the Trinity

  3. Questions?

  4. Review of Part 1 • Def of the Doctrine of the Trinity: • God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God. • The word “trinity” does not appear in Scripture, yet the concept is found throughout • See Gen 1:26, 3:22, 11:7, Psalm 45:6-7, 110:1

  5. Review of Part 1 • The Doctrine of the Trinity is absolutely foundational and vital • Without a correct understanding of who God is then there cannot be true conversion/salvation • Trinitarian doctrine is more complete in the New Testament (progressive revelation) • Matt 3:16-17, 28:19, 2 Cor 13:14, Eph 4:4-6

  6. Review of Part 1 • Three statements summarize the Biblical Teaching: • God is three persons. • Each person is fully God. • There is one God. • Important term: hypostasis • Hypostatic Union = Jesus was both fully man and fully God!

  7. Denying One Aspect of the Trinity • If someone attempts to “simplify” the Doctrine of the Trinity then one of the three aspects or statements on the Trinity is necessarily denied! • This results in heresy and a wrong concept of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit • “My salvation and yours depends on a true understanding of Christ and who He is. A false Christ is a damning deception.” • John MacArthur p. 115 “The Truth War”

  8. Simplistic Solutions… • The three statements: • God is three persons. • Each person is fully God. • There is one God. • The result of denying any one of these statements: • No #1 = modalism • No #2 = Arianism • No #3 = tritheism (polytheism) • More on this later…

  9. Simplistic Solutions… • In an attempt to “simplify” the concept of the Trinity, error will be introduced and a wrong theology will result. • As challenging as the Doctrine of the Trinity any attempt to simplify it or deny the three aspects must be avoided at all cost!

  10. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • Simple solutions result in error! • What about using analogies? • “Sometimes people have used several analogies drawn from nature or human experience to attempt to explain this doctrine.” • “Although these analogies are helpful at an elementary level of understanding, they all turn out to be inadequate or misleading on furhter reflection.” - p 240

  11. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • Examples of some analogies: • God is like a three-leaf clover • A tree has three parts • Three forms of water • The roles of a man • The union of intellect, emotions, and will • All others!

  12. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • God is like a three-leaf clover • While a clover has three leaves it cannot be said of each individual leaf that it is the whole clover • The tree is impersonal, distinct and complex personality of each part of the trinity is not included • Analogy Fail!

  13. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • A tree has three parts: roots, trunk, and branches • These are only “parts” of the tree and none of these parts can be said to be the whole tree • The parts each have different properties • The tree is impersonal, distinct and complex personality of each part of the trinity is not included

  14. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • Three forms of water (steam, water, and ice) and the triple point • No quantity of water is ever all three of these at the same time • They have different properties • There is no “one water” • Intelligent personality is lacking

  15. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • The roles of a man as farmer, mayor and elder • This analogy is very deficient • There is only one person doing three activities at different times • This essentially teaches modalism! Phillips, Craig and Dean!

  16. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • The union of intellect, emotions, and will • While each part of a personality no one factor constitutes the entire person • Each part also has different characteristics

  17. All Analogies Have Shortcomings • ALL others! • What are some you may have heard or used? • Sun - has light, gives heat, and radiation • Etc.

  18. God Eternally and Necessarily Exists as the Trinity • “When the universe was created God the Father spoke the powerful creative words that brought it into being, God the Son was the divine agent who carried out these words, and God the Holy Spirit was active ‘moving over the face of the waters’.” p 241 • John 1:3, 1 Cor 8:6, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2 Gen 1:1-5, John 17:5, 24 • Also, Truth Bible Church Statement of Faith •

  19. God Eternally and Necessarily Exists as the Trinity • 1 Corinthians 8:6 “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.” • Geness 1:2 “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” • John 17:5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

  20. God Eternally and Necessarily Exists as the Trinity • “if all three members of the Trinity are equally and fully divine, then they have all three existed for all eternity, and God has eternally existed as a Trinity” p. 241

  21. Errors • By denying any one of the three statements summarizing the Biblical teaching on the Trinity errors result • The most common historical errors include: • Sabellianism / Modalism • Arianism • Subordinationism • Adoptionism • Tritheism

  22. Sabellianism • Sabellius - a teacher in Rome in the mid-third century. • He stressed the oneness of the Godhead to the point of denying any meaningful distinctions between the members of the Trinity. • He used Deuteronomy 6:4 to say that this ruled out the possibility of three distinct persons. • He claimed the three names all belong to one divine person who manifests Himself at different times as different characters. • Hence “modalism” for the three modes or characters

  23. Sabellianism • Tertullian (c. 160- c. 220) was a skilled apologist and had confronted the heresy of gnosticism, also confronted Sabellianism. • Tertullian argued from the New Testament that Sabellianism was in direct opposition to what God had revealed.

  24. Sabellianism • Some current believers in Sebaellianism: • “Bishop” T.D. Jakes • Oneness Pentecostals • United Pentecostal Church • Phillips, Craig and Dean • They worship a false Christ and are not Christians

  25. Arianism • Arius (c. 250 -336) - Bishop of Alexandria, start of the fourth century, rejected the deity of Christ. • Attempted to refute Sebellianism but fell into greater error stating: • “Before the Son was begotten, he was not.” • He was already popular and had influential friends in positions of leadership.

  26. Arianism • Arius drew his conclusions from the words “only begotten” as used in John 1:14, 3:16, 18, 1 John 4:9 and from Colossians 1:15 containing the words “first-born” • Better understanding is begotten is not in the human sense and first-born is the birth-right of the first born • Argument over the Greek words: • Homoousios (same nature) and • Homoiousios (similar nature)

  27. Arianism • Arius failed to put into practice a good hermeneutic where Scripture interprets Scripture, he took a few verses and created an entire theology from them. • This is due in large part to the Latin translation. • Context, Context, Context!

  28. Arianism • Arius wrote a book of poetry called Thalia (after Greek mythological character of comedy) • The verses consistently asserted that Jesus was not eternal • These blasphemous verses where put to music and quickly spread, even replacing some hymns

  29. Arianism • Many Christians were unsure how to combat this heresy • Constantine had recently converted to Christianity and outlawed any persecution • For this reason many were fearful of confronting Arius and inciting conflict • The few outspoken opponents of Arianism were accused of being harsh, overly meticulous, unduly critical, and maliciously divisive.

  30. Arianism • The views of Arianism were condemned at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 • Nicene Creed resulted • Reaffirmed at the Council of Constantinople in 381 • Athanasius was instrumental in opposing Arianism

  31. Arianism • Arianism today: • Jehovah’s Witnesses (Jesus is an arch angel) • Muslims (Jesus was a prophet) • Mormons (Jesus is a created being)

  32. Subordinationism • States that the Son is eternal (not created) and divine, but is not equal to the Father in being or attributes. • The God the Son is inferior or “subordinate” in being to God the Father • Origen (c. 185 - c. 254) was an early church father who taught this concept before the concept of the Trinity was well formulated • Also, rejected by the Council of Nicea

  33. Adoptionism • Teaches that Jesus lived as an ordinary man until his baptism, at which point God “adopted” him as His “Son” and gave him supernatural powers. • Also, maintains that even after this adoption, Jesus never became divine in nature but only an exalted man. • Adoptionism is expressed today by many who call Jesus a “good man” or “great teacher” • Ghandi and many other moralistic teachers

  34. Tritheism • Tritheism denies that there is only one God and is essentially a polytheistic belief. • This is a more pagan idea that was not very wide-spread • This error can be made whenever the uniqueness of each distinct person of the Trinity is emphasized without maintaining the unity of God as an undivided being.

  35. The Importance of the Trinity “Clearly, in the doctrine of the Trinity, the heart of the Christian faith is at stake.” - p 248 • The atonement is at stake • Justification by faith alone is at stake • Prayer to Jesus or in His name is at stake • Salvation would be attributed to a creature and not the Creator • The independent and personal nature of God is at stake, God would not be perfect/complete • The unity of the universe is at stake if there is no unity in God Himself

  36. Next Week • The Trinity - Part 3 • What are the distinctions between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? • Discussion