Sunday June 7, 2020 Trinity Sunday
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The Preeminence of Christ
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
9 Jesus answered, “Philip, I have been with you for a long time. So you should know me. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father too. So why do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The things I have told you don’t come from me. The Father lives in me, and he is doing his own work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or believe because of the miracles I have done.
Learn From Christ to Be Unselfish
5 In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.
6 He was like God in every way,
but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit.
7 Instead, he gave up everything, even his place with God.
He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form.
During his life as a man,
8 he humbled himself by being fully obedient to God,
even when that caused his death, death on a cross.
30 The Father and I are one.”
31 Again the Jews there picked up stones to kill Jesus. 32 But he said to them, “The many wonderful things you have seen me do are from the Father. Which of these good things are you killing me for?”
33 They answered, “We are not killing you for any good thing you did. But you say things that insult God. You are only a man, but you say you are the same as God! That is why we are trying to kill you!”
34 Jesus answered, “It is written in your law that God said, ‘I said you are gods.’ 35 This Scripture called those people gods, the people who received God’s message. And Scripture is always true. 36 So why do you accuse me of insulting God for saying, ‘I am God’s Son’? I am the one God chose and sent into the world.
If you search for Trinity in the Bible, you will not find anything. As a modern person of the 21st century, you will turn around and use Google or Bing to find the Trinity in the Bible. Bring bring out those six verses mentioned above. It is hard to understand with the reason the meaning of those verses. That is why we had so many false teaching over millenniums that the heretics use to discredit the Trinity.
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (Latin: Trinitas, lit. 'triad', from Latin: trinus "threefold") holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases, the Father, the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit, as "one God in three Divine persons". The three persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. The subset of Christianity that accepts this doctrine is collectively known as Trinitarianism, while the subset that does not is referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism (one deity in two persons) and Monarchianism (no plurality of persons within God), of which Modalistic Monarchianism (one deity revealed in three modes) and Unitarianism (one deity in one person) are subsets.
While the developed doctrine of the Trinity is not explicit in the books that constitute the New Testament, the New Testament possesses a "triadic" understanding of God and contains several Trinitarian formulas. The doctrine of the Trinity was first formulated among the fathers of the Church as early Christians attempted to rationalize the relationship between Jesus and God in their scriptural documents and prior traditions.
Modalistic Monarchianism (also known as Oneness Christology) is a Christian theology that upholds the oneness of God as well as the deity of Jesus. It is a form of Monarchianism and, as such, stands in contrast with Trinitarianism. Modalistic Monarchianism considers God to be one while working through the different "modes" or "manifestations" of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Following this view, all the Godhead is understood to have dwelt in Jesus from the incarnation. The terms Father and Son are then used to describe the distinction between God's transcendence and the incarnation (God in immanence). Lastly, since God is a spirit, it is held that the Holy Spirit should not be understood as a separate entity but rather to describe God in action.
Modalistic Monarchians believe in the deity of Jesus and understand Jesus to be a manifestation of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, in the flesh. For this reason, they find it suitable to ascribe all worship appropriate to God alone to Jesus also.
Theologian and Church historian Adolf von Harnack first used the term modalism to describe a doctrine believed in the late 2nd century and 3rd century. During this period, Christian theologians were attempting to clarify the relationship between God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Concerned with defending the absolute unity of God, modalists such as Noetus, Praxeas and Sabellius explained the divinity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as the one God reveals himself in different ways or modes:
God revealed as the creator and lawgiver is called "the Father."
God revealed as the Saviour in Jesus Christ is called "the Son."
God revealed as the one who sanctifies and grants eternal life is called "the Spirit."
By the 4th century, a consensus had developed in favour of the doctrine of the Trinity, and modalism was generally considered a heresy.
Modalistic Monarchianism is accepted within Oneness Pentecostalism. Oneness Pentecostals believe in the deity of Jesus and understand Jesus, the Son of God, to be a manifestation of the God of the Old Testament, Yahweh, in the flesh. When Jesus was on Earth, he referred to God as his Father since God caused his conception through the Holy Spirit. They also believe that, since God is spirit, the Holy Spirit is used to describe God in action. In this way, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are considered titles about the one God, not descriptions of distinct individuals.
Because Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are maintained to be titled, Oneness Pentecostals believe that they fulfill the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by baptizing solely in the name of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is the name given for salvation (Acts 4:12), they would argue that this led the Apostles in the book of Acts fulfilling the commandment of Jesus by baptizing in the one name of the one God, Jesus.
Much of their theology attempts to begin with an Old Testament understanding of God to understand what the first Apostles would have believed about Jesus. They also seek to avoid the use of theological categories produced by Platonic-Aristotelian epistemologies instead of telling the story of redemption through narrative. Thus, the distinction found in the New Testament writers between God the Father and Jesus is understood to be from the attempts to identify God the Father and Jesus together, rather than to separate them more than necessary.
The theology of the World Mission Society Church of God and its youth representing group ASEZ is another example of modalism. They believe that"'God' coherently refers to God the Father throughout the Bible. Apostle Paul, the writer of Philippians and Romans, testified that God the Son Jesus is in very nature God, indicating that He is God the Father Jehovah, who was born in the flesh." They believe that, later on, the Holy Spirit came on the human form to be revealed as Ahnsahnghong, who they believe is God the Son of Jesus Christ: "Following the Bible, God the Holy Spirit must also have a name. The name of the Holy Spirit is Ahnsahnghong. Ahnsahnghong is the Holy Spirit because He fulfilled the prophecy of the one to come and remind us of the truth Jesus taught. So, God, the Holy Spirit Ahnsahnghong is God the Son Jesus Christ."
In addition, the Old Testament has also been interpreted as foreshadowing the Trinity, by referring to God's word (Psalm 33:16), his spirit (Isaiah 61:1), and Wisdom (Proverbs 9:1), as well as narratives such as the appearance of the three men to Abraham. However, it is generally agreed among Trinitarian Christian scholars that it would go beyond the intention and spirit of the Old Testament to correlate these notions directly with later Trinitarian doctrine.
Some Church Fathers believed that a knowledge of the mystery was granted to the prophets and saints of the Old Testament and that they identified the divine messenger of Genesis 16:7, Genesis 21:17, Genesis 31:11, Exodus 3:2 and Wisdom of the sapiential books with the Son, and "the spirit of the Lord" with the Holy Spirit. Other Church Fathers, such as Gregory Nazianzen, argued in his Orations that the revelation was gradual, claiming that the Father was proclaimed in the Old Testament openly, but the Son only obscurely, because "it was not safe, when the Godhead of the Father was not yet acknowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son".
Christians have interpreted Genesis 18–19 as a Trinitarian text. The narrative has the Lord appearing to Abraham, who was visited by three men (Gen 18:1-2). Then in Genesis 19, "the two angels" visited Lot at Sodom. On the one hand, the interplay between Abraham and the Lord/three men/the two angels on the other was an intriguing text for those who believed in a single God in three persons. Justin Martyr, and John Calvin similarly, interpreted it such that Abraham was visited by God, accompanied by two angels. Justin supposed that the God who visited Abraham was distinguishable from the God who remains in the heavens, but was nevertheless identified as the (monotheistic) God. Justin appropriated the God who visited Abraham to Jesus, the second person of the Trinity.
Augustine, in contrast, held that the three visitors to Abraham were the three persons of the Trinity. He saw no indication that the visitors were unequal, as would be the case in Justin's reading. Then in Genesis 19, two of the visitors were addressed by Lot in the singular: "Lot said to them, 'Not so, my lord'" (Gen. 19:18) Augustine saw that Lot could address them as one because they had a single substance, despite the plurality of persons.
Some Christians interpret the theophany's or appearances of the Angel of the Lord as revelations of a person distinct from God, who is nonetheless called God. This interpretation is found in Christianity as early as Justin Martyr and Melito of Sardis and reflects ideas that were already present in Philo. The Old Testament theophany were thus seen as Christophanies, each a "pre-incarnate appearance of the Messiah."
How to explain the concept of the Trinity?
It’s hard to explain the Trinity no matter what example, word picture, or illustration you might choose.
As taught in our Catechism, the Trinity is a mystery. It reflects on the relation of the three persons to the divine essence that all analogies fail us. We become deeply conscious of the fact that the Trinity is a mystery far beyond our comprehension. It is the incomprehensible glory of the Godhead.”
If the Trinity is such a mystery, why study it? We research and learn about the Trinity because it has implications for the very heart of the Christian faith.
Archbishop Eric Michel