Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (NASB)
It did not take long for the early Christians to start to qualify (or quantify) the relationship between the Father and the Son, not to mention what role if any the Holy Spirit played in this family of sorts.
Yesterday, while discussing the Book of Acts with my Sunday School class, I read this as a measure of the author’s (not Paul’s) Christological stance. The developing Trinitarian motif of the verse stood out in stark contrast to Paul’s subordinationism.
Here, all three Persons play a role in the Church.
The Church belongs to God (the Father, as indicated by the relationship to the spilt blood), but is governed by the Spirit. The blood (of the Son) is what secured the Church. Throughout Paul’s speech in Acts 20.17-29, the role of the Spirit is heightened much more so than it is in the Pauline Corpus, making it parallel to the role of the Spirit in the life of the Church in Ephesians. Further, the speech begins with a salutation to Jesus but ends with a commendation to God the Father.
Unless, of course, you believe God has blood and can die?
Thanks to Jason for bringing this to my attention, of just how awful the ESV Study Bible notes really are.
God’s act of creation is the foundation for the entire biblical history. - ESVSBGen 1:1
That there, folks, is just plain blasphemous.
Pretty sure that the New Testament says Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this house of ours, a foundation laid on the Apostles and Prophets:
Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. (Eph 2.20 NLT)
There are plenty of other verses testifying to just how heretical the ESV SB really is at this point.
Sure, the ESV SB says “biblical history” (a foreign concept, really), but if Jesus is not the cornerstone, and the Apostles and Prophets are not the foundation of the Church and the Gospel, what “biblical history” is there? In other words, there is no “biblical history” for Christians without Jesus Christ. Jesus is where “biblical history” starts, and not Ken Ham.
Not to mention just how badly they get Genesis 1-11 wrong, as well as the over all idea of what Creation is according to Scripture…
First, read Isaiah 9.5 in the Septuagint:
because a child was born for us,
a son also given to us,
whose sovereignty was upon his shoulder,
and he is named Messenger of Great Counsel,
for I will bring peace upon the rulers,
peace and health to him
Now, read Galatians 4.14
Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, as though I were Christ Jesus himself
So, Jesus was a messenger of God? Umm….
I am more troubled by what United Methodists will not be talking about at General Conference. For example, what are the odds that United Methodists at General Conference will have a lively conversation about the Holy Trinity or about the need to recover a more prominent role for Mary in United Methodist beliefs and practices? And what are the chances that we will have an animated conversation about the nature of holiness or about whether two sacraments are really sufficient?
In my opinion, I fear that the skepticism of miracles espoused by Hume and others undergirds the cessationist’s viewpoints, without, of course, their realizing it. This is nothing less than the triumph of the many (humanity) over the one (the Spirit). (270)
This, again, is part of an ongoing series, but also dealing with the role of the Spirit in Justification:
“proceeding from the Father and communicated through the “proceeding from the Father and communicated through the Son, and participated in by all creation, through Himself creating, and investing with essence and sanctifying, and maintaining the universe…And again we speak of the three subsistences as being in each other, that we may not introduce a crowd and multitude of Gods. Owing to the three subsistences, there is no compoundness or confusion: while, owing to their having the same essenceand dwelling in one another, and being the same in will, and energy, and power, and authority, and movement, so to speak, we recognize the indivisibility and the unity of . For verily there is one God, and His word and Spirit…I am in the father, and the father in Me …And we speak likewise of the Holy Spirit as from the Father, and call Him the Spirit of the Father. And we do not speak of the Spirit as from the Son : but yet we call Him the Spirit of the Son. For if any one has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His , says the divine apostle. And we confess that He is manifested and imparted to us through the Son. For He breathed upon His Disciples, says he, and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.”
I have taken heed to the words of Truth Himself:- “The Lord thy God is one.” (Deut. 6.4) And “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and shalt serve Him only, and thou shalt not have strange, gods.” (Deut. 6.13) Again, “Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath” (Ex. 20.4); and “Let them be all confounded that adore graven things.” (Ps. 97.7) Again, “The gods that have not made heaven and earth, let them perish.” (Jer. 10.11) In this way God spoke of old to the patriarchs through the prophets, and lastly, through His only-begotten Son, on whose account He made the ages. He says, “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou didst send.” (Jn 17.3) I believe in one God, the source of all things, without beginning, uncreated, immortal, everlasting, incomprehensible, bodiless, invisible, uncircumscribed,* without form. I believe in one supersubstantial  being, one divine Godhead in three entities, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and I adore Him alone with the worship of latreia. I adore one God, one Godhead but three Persons, God the Father, God the Son made flesh, and God the Holy Ghost, one God.
A Theology Professor of mine introduced me to this concept… these aren’t his words, but the concept is the same:
The Sun could be seen as the Father, the light that is begotten from the Sun can be seen as Christ, as he says I am the light of the world, and the heat from the sun and light which proceeds from them both, can be seen as the Holy Spirit who proceeds from both the Father and the Son as the creed says. So you have them sharing in the exact same essence or substance, yet different in relation to one another and in function. (here)
I can no longer call myself a true non-Trinitarian… so I will stick with non-non-Trinitarian
Vick notes that for the Adventist, God is Judge. That is nearly the sum total of their dogmatics, that God is Judge. This should be easy to see, in that most of their theology is bound up in the so-called Last Judgment.
But, what is God primarily?
The Apostles’ Creed simply posits that God is first the Father Almighty and then Maker of Heaven and Earth. God is then first Father, Creator, not judge. Perhaps this notion, that God is first Judge, has so polluted modern Christianity that we often times forget to look past this image to see that God can only Judge because he is first Creator. In my theological opinion, God is first Creator and because he is Creator, he can also be Saviour and Judge.
First, the Trinity is a way of explaining the Godhead, but it is not the only way. To confuse creeds and doctrines with the Gospel – that Christ saved us from our sins – is to put the work back into the hands of humanity, as if we discovered the mystery, as if that discovery is what saves us. As if we couldn’t possibly be wrong about the way we describe God. Surely not. We weren’t wrong with Constantine (and I note the origins of creedal orthodoxy), the Crusades, the Salem Witchtrails, oppression of men, women and children. The Church was never wrong about the way it pursued ‘doctrinal purity’, stood against science, gave a religious reason to colonize and commit genocide.
The Gospel is not doctrine, dogma or creeds. As Mark Stevens, 3 of 9 of uni-matrix 7, wrote:
…I think the gospel is the announcement that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah and Lord of the world! (As in Wright and more recently McKnight)
Be surprised but I think when you live outside of the US evangelical bubble you see things very differently. The US is the only place that is having these discussions and then a very small part of if the US at that!
Now, that can be verified by Scripture, from the earliest Christians. And yet… what about the Doctrine of the Trinity? There are so many versions of it, but pick the one you like, and defend it first completely from Scripture, then from Church History, and then from biblical scholarship. Now, watch the others do the exact same thing.
Sorry, guys, but ‘Orthodoxy’ is pertaining to generally the Tradition in Charge. I prefer orthopraxy. I prefer the communion of those who disagree, and even reject the doctrines of another, but around the Table of the Lord, can break bread together, in humble admission that we have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved not by our works (of doctrine, or otherwise), but by Christ.
- Anti-Trinitarians in the Gospel Coalition? (wateristhickerthanblood.wordpress.com)