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 – A Time For…Teaching?

Christmas - Time for Teaching

As I tucked my son in last night his parting words were an utterance of understandable childhood excitement: “Three more days till Christmas dad!”. My response was shamefully pragmatic: “Well, the faster you get to sleep the quicker it will get here!” Admittedly, in my haste to finish bedtime and put my feet up, I realize that once again I missed a teachable moment. (Not the first time and probably not the last). Continue reading

Dealing with Objections to the Bible

Bible Objections

“Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” (Genesis 19:4)

“I’d like to hear you preach a sermon concerning the morality of this story and how we can apply it to modern life”, came the challenge from my anonymous online critic.  The gauntlet had been thrown down.  How could I uphold the Bible as God’s righteous word all the while knowing that it contains so much that is morally repugnant and revolting? Continue reading

Why Is Living By Faith So Difficult?

Why Is Living By Faith So DifficultSee Also: “Is Faith the Opposite of Knowledge?”
Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

I don’t know about you, but I would love to see mountains move as a consequence of me exercising my faith.  But if we’re honest, most of us see a disconnect between Jesus’ promise and our experience. We struggle to move “mountains” because we struggle to live by faith. Continue reading

Faith and Reason Series: Is Faith the Opposite of Knowledge?

Faith and ReasonIn a lecture given at Biola University in November of 2011, Dallas Willard opened with the following statement:

“The most significant event for human existence in the last 200 years has been the displacement in the common mind of the content of Christian teaching from the domain of knowledge into the domain of faith.” (Willard, Biola University, November 2011) Continue reading

Why Do Bad People Prosper and Good People Suffer? Insights from St. Augustine in The City of God

Saint_AugustineThis week I learned of the tragic loss of a Christian family within my own church community. The automatic response to hearing the news of course was “why”? So is our response to all such events, and while we must turn to God for comfort from his Spirit, (for where else can true comfort come from?) we are also stretched in our faith to reconcile these things with our belief in God’s goodness and love for us; and we do not do so lightly. But I have many times found Christians who in their moments of grief find their faith in God not stretched but completely dismantled, due in large part to the fact that they have not worked through the matter at all in their own minds before hand. Consequently their faith cannot accommodate their present experience of suffering and their grief turns to cognitive dissonance. Needless to say, it is very difficult to comprehend inside of grief what we never took time to understand outside of it. Continue reading

Faith and Reason Series: What is Faith?

Faith and ReasonThere are many words in English that have been so overused that they have almost lost all meaning. ‘Love’ is one such word that depending on context can mean sex, lust, selfish desire, selfless giving, emotional ecstasy or mushy sentimentality, and sometimes even context doesn’t make it completely clear what we mean.

‘Faith’ is another such word that has become especially confusing for Christians or those trying to understand them. We use it often, know that we need to have it, but feel puzzled and confused if anyone asks us to nail down what we actually mean by it. So what do we mean? What is faith? Continue reading

Kids Can Ask the Hardest Questions

Kids Can Ask The Hardest Questions

You never know where or when, but plan on it.  One night I got myself ready with my daughter for tuck in time that for us always includes Bible reading and prayer.  What I got was a question that I wasn’t expecting. Continue reading