Is The Trinity Practical? – Part 4

TRINITARIAN  LIVING – EVEN  FOR  KIDS

Thus, keeping the Trinity as core to faith and worship,  how can we in turn lead our own children into ‘Trinitarian living’?  That might sound foreign to our ears, but remember that God is the Trinity.  What we simply mean is ‘living with God’, but with the recognition of who God is and what he is like.  Remember that the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives us is not about life in heaven (although it includes that), but about knowing God.  As Jesus said:

“Now this is eternal life, that they know you the one true God, and Christ Jesus whom you sent” (Jn. 17:3)

That said, we really can lead our children into a more full and satisfying relationship with God by helping them consciously relate to God according to who he really is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  And I believe we can do this within the simple framework of gospel living that we are hopefully striving to teach them already. Continue reading

Is The Trinity Practical? – Part 3

TRINITARIAN WORSHIP

“Keep it practical!” Restoring the Trinity to the core of our faith and worship then is intensely practical because, to quote Packer again, “it requires us to pay equal attention, and give equal honor, to all three persons in the unity of their gracious ministry to us.”4 This isn’t just theory that remains in the abstract, but reality that forms and shapes all true worship. For starters consider this: Continue reading

Is The Trinity Practical? – Part 2

BEHOLD  YOUR  GOD!

You’ve probably heard many attempts to explain the ‘oneness’ and ‘three-ness’ of God by analogy.  Water is one substance that can exist in three forms; gas, liquid and solid.  An egg is one thing made up of three parts: yolk, white and shell.  However, all such analogies break down at some point. Continue reading

Is The Trinity Practical? – Part 1

When I mentioned to my wife the idea of writing an article on the Trinity her response said it all: “Keep it practical!”  But can the doctrine of the Trinity really be practical?  In this four part post I would like to help you grow in your understanding and appreciation for what most consider to be either a riddle or a blatant contradiction that Christians believe about God.  The first three parts are meant to help you grasp more fully this awesome truth about God’s nature and identity, and see how it will deepen and enrich your faith walk with God.  The fourth part is for those of you who are raising children, and is meant to give you some practical tools to make a trinitarian view of God foundational to their faith. Continue reading

The Trinity for Kids – Part 2

The Doctrine of the Trinity is such an important thing for kids (and grown ups) to learn about God.  It is no exaggeration to say that our understanding of God as Trinity supplies the bedrock for Christian faith and the gospel.  J. I. Packer pulled no punches in stressing its importance:

“All non-Trinitarian formulations of the Christian message are by biblical standards inadequate and fundamentally false, and will naturally tend to pull Christian lives out of shape.”

Teaching your children about God as Trinity therefore should begin at the earliest age possible.  In my first The Trinity for Kids post I discussed how to begin teaching the Trinity to young children, emphasizing our need to simply “stick to the facts”, and not giving them more than they can handle.  When my kids were very young I just wanted to affirm the truth about God as the Bible presents it.  The core affirmations of a biblical view of the Trinity can be summarized as:

1. God is three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit
2. Each person is fully God.
3. There is one God.

As they grow and begin developing higher critical thinking skills however, I want to help them grapple with the great truth of God’s triune nature, encouraging them to reflect and dwell upon this great mystery that God has revealed to us about himself.  At the same time however, I want to help them avoid falling into error and any pitfalls that may distort their view of God. Continue reading

Don’t Focus On The Manger

I’m glad to still see public displays of the Nativity here and there, even if mostly on church properties. Sometimes however the manger scene itself can become a distraction where it merely turns our attention to some serene ideal of personal peace or feelings of ‘goodwill toward men’. The manger after all only receives a passing mention in Luke’s gospel. Let’s face it, the picture that inhabits our carols and adorns our Christmas cards is pure conjecture. Really it is an ideal scene that we have made up, and that fact should give us pause given our propensity toward idolatry. Continue reading

Christmas Means What?

CHRISTMAS MEANS WHAT?

In a radio interview, CNN’s Larry King was once asked who he would most want to interview if he could pick one figure from history. “Jesus Christ”, he said. When asked what he would most like to ask him, King replied, “I would like to ask him if he was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.”1 Continue reading

Ripley’s “Life Beyond Belief”…Or Not!

Bob Ripley - Life Beyond Belief

The ‘blogosphere’ is buzzing after Bob Ripley’s recent announcement that he has officially moved from the ranks of Christian ministers to convinced atheists. The majority of comment is coming from atheist, secular humanist and free-thinking quarters who celebrate this as yet another example of what inevitably happens when Christians really start ‘thinking’ about their faith.

With the characteristic tone of the New Atheists, (minus the vitriolic edge) Ripley provides an eleven chapter catalogue of his reasons for rejecting God in favour of atheism. He characterizes his move as a “journey from faith to reason.” (p. 28, 120) Using borrowed arguments from his new mentors; Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, Ripley embraces their supposed intellectual oasis of rationalism which rejects belief in God as nothing more than irrational ‘humbug’.

The difference for Ripley however is that his story is one of deconversion; of someone who walked with Christian conviction most of his life only to now reject it as false. I respect Ripley for shunning the hypocrisy of being remembered as a very public Christian leader without making equally public his decision to renounce his Christian convictions. However, what troubles me is how Ripley frames his deconversion as a move from “faith to reason”. What his book actually demonstrates is that he has simply exchanged one set of faith commitments for another. Continue reading

The Trinity for Kids

Trinity for Kids - Small

Also see: The Trinity for Kids – Part 2

The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most important teachings of the Christian faith, and yet admittedly one of the most difficult to understand, especially for kids. Nothing caused me more trepidation during nightly bible reading with my kids than beginning to explain to them how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all God yet different persons. My approach was prayerful, slow but steady. Continue reading

“Daddy, Why Can’t I See God?”

Kids-Questions-02

I’m not sure why it is always at bedtime that my kids ask me the hardest questions. Perhaps its because that’s when we finally slow down long enough for them to feel like it’s a good time to talk.  Whatever the reason I’m thankful for these God orchestrated encounters, and I just pray that God gives me daily awareness so I don’t rush through them.

One evening after bible reading and prayer, my son asked yet another good kid question: “Dad, how come I can’t see God?”  Young children think in such concrete terms, and so we need God’s wisdom to give them clear answers to their hard questions.  In this case, I had recently read what I thought was a really answer written by J. P. Moreland. Continue reading

Thinking About Proof for God

Think Proof God

One of the most common objections from questioners about God is that belief seems irrational because there is no ‘proof’ that God exists.  Given the cultural influences on our children’s minds, this objection may eventually come to us.  How then as parents should we respond? Continue reading

Religion Is An Evolutionary Crutch

Jesus CrutchSome university students recently shared a challenge to their faith thrown at them by an atheist friend.  The challenge went something like this: “Religion is just a crutch that evolution gave to help people cope with life in the world so they could survive…nothing more.” Continue reading

“Wasn’t God Cruel?”

angry_godRecently, a parent posted this question to our website:

“My son was wondering why God wiped out tribes, including women and children in many stories in the Old Testament.  He thinks this is pretty cruel.  Thanks! Continue reading

God and Evil Series: A Biblical View of Evil

God and Evil

For most, it is the experience of evil that presents the greatest struggle in reconciling evil with God’s existence.  “A ‘good God’ would never allow ‘_______’ to happen”; and since ‘_______’ happened God gets reasoned away.  And why not, since it is nonsensical to assert a ‘good’ God who is at the same time responsible for evil…isn’t it? Continue reading

God and Evil Series: A Key Objection to the Free Will Defence

God and Evil

The heart of the Free Will Defence is in denying any logical contradiction between the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent God and the existence of evil in the world. Simply put the argument goes that a ‘good’ God would create a world containing evil if he had ‘good’ reasons for doing so. The Free Will Defence suggest that creating meaningfully free moral creatures can logically be defended as a possible ‘good’ that defeats any logical contradiction.

A key objection however comes from Anthony Flew and J. L. Mackie, Continue reading

God and Evil Series: The Free Will Defence

God and Evil

In this segment we continue dealing with the problem of God and Evil. Before we begin a quick reminder that we are still working with the logical argument. Since some questioners consider God’s existence in the face of evil to be a logical problem, we serve them best to offer a response at the level of logic. We must never forget, however, that nobody lives at the level of logic alone, (with the possible exception of Mr. Spock). We may reason about the problems of evil at the level of logic, but we live with them at the level of experience. That said we must always treat our questioner with compassion and gentleness because though they may present a logical objection, the issue is always personal. Even Jesus reasoned with people’s minds, but always in consideration of their hearts. Continue reading

God and Evil Series: “Evil Disproves God’s Existence”…Really?

God and Evil

Questioner: “I don’t know how you can believe in God with all the evil and suffering that happens in the world.  Where was God during 911?  Where was God during the Tsunami of 2004?  Where was God during the holocaust of WWII?  According to your Bible, God is loving and kind and all-powerful…so why didn’t he do something to stop it?  Why does he let anything evil happen for that matter?”

Christian: “Uhhhh….” Continue reading

God and Evil Series: Theodicy – A Word Christians Should Know

God and Evil

In the battleground of ideas, one of the greatest challenges Christians face surrounds the issue of evil and its apparent conflict with the existence of God.  Unfortunately, popular and vocal atheists like Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have made their skeptical soundbites so accessible that many have adopted them without even considering the validity of the arguments that lie beneath.  This is unfortunate since their arguments are not new and already have a long history of thoughtful response from Christian thinkers.   Continue reading