....God is One in respect to essence; three in respect to personal distinctions, and three in regard to roles in the creative and redemptive process.
.... The Doctrine of the Trinity is a Christian teaching about the person of God. What sort of a being is God? What does the Bible have to say in describing the person of our Heavenly Father Himself, the Almighty? In the final analysis this understanding must be regarded as a salvation issue since it is able to influence the very basis of our relationship with Him. Allow me to explain this remark further:
.... Every doctrine of the church is simply a ‘paperback’ understanding of a living spiritual reality. It is meant to guide us truly into the reality it describes. We know that God alone, whom the Bible describes, is the Savior of all mankind, so a correct doctrine about Him would guide us toward Him in truth. The connection would be established and we could appeal to Him for salvation.
.... If, on the other hand, it turned out that our doctrine on this subject was wrong, then our misunderstanding would guide us away from Him as He truly is. Led astray in such a manner, we would miss the living spiritual connection we had intended. There could be no salvation in such a false direction, for the relationship would fail to materialize and no other relationship could possibly avail us. We would find, in the end, that we were worshiping a false concept within our own minds and nothing more, rather than a true spiritual being at all.
.... So a doctrine that teaches us about the person of God is really one of the most foundational doctrine there could possible be.
.... Now as we begin this discussion on the Doctrine of the Trinity, which teaches us about the person of God, a good introduction is to tell you that this doctrine has always enjoyed two historical distinctions:
1. The doctrine of the Trinity is the most agreed upon doctrine of all time. Every legitimate church in the entire world accepts the doctrine of the Trinity, completely agrees with it, and teaches it as the one and only doctrine that accurately and comprehensively describes the entire person of God as set forth in the Scriptures.
2. On the other hand, among those few groups who do not accept the Doctrine of the Trinity, this doctrine is the most bitterly contested of them all.
.... If you ever happen to meet somebody from one of those other groups, they’re going to want to talk to you about this doctrine and they’re going to want to pick a fight with you over it. This is because they’ve recognize the same importance that we’ve just voiced: that if you’re not worshiping the God of the Bible, you cannot truly be saved. They just have a different opinion as to what the Bible teaches about Him. So at least everyone agrees that this is one of the most basic doctrines there could possibly be and you must have it right.
.... As this study proceeds we’ll look at both sides of this doctrinal question, exploring the Trinity itself and also what its opponents have to say. We’ll show from the Scriptures that the Doctrine of the Trinity is the true teaching on the person of God, and show its opponents why the Scriptures disagree with their conclusions. And we will be doing this for three different reasons:
.... First, so you will know the God whom you are trying to serve, becoming acquainted with the Scriptures that teach about Him, for the sake of your own beliefs.
.... Second, so you can avoid the mistakes of the Trinity’s opponents and protect your beliefs from their errors.
.... Third and finally that you, in a spirit of gentleness, may be able to speak to those who are in opposition, show them the errors of their teachings, and show them the truth in its place, so that God, perhaps, will grant them repentance that they may know the truth and be saved.
.... So first of all this study is for your instruction, second it’s for your protection, and third it’s for helping you in reaching out to others – many of whom mean well. Some of them don’t. But many of them do, and perhaps you can use this study to help them in knowing the truth about God as the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) describes Him.
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