Baptists/Trinity- Let us reason together
Hello Rev. Stuart, I greet you in the name of our risen saviour Jesus Christ, and as a brother in the Ministry; also a Baptist.
The reason I am contacting you is because I read your response to "Eddie" concerning the trinity. This is an issue close to me, for I am not a Trinitarian and I am a Baptist Preacher.
So as preachers, can we "reason' on this subject? Let us look at a couple of statements you made:
That Jesus is God is clearly there in scripture. In John's Gospel Jesus frequently uses the phrase 'I am' #eg Good Shepherd, the way the truth an the life etc.#and in John 8:58 & 59 He uses the startling words, 'Before Abraham was born I am.'
For thousands of years without question it has been accepted that the Trinity although not mentioned in the Bible, Is Biblical and addresses the nature of Christ and confirms HIM as being God.
This formula, first explained by the Platonists, but the term "Trinity" coined by Tertullian, was developed by the so called early Church Fathers. In its form, it is a Catholic teaching that has been accepted by all other denominations. But is it accurate? Is it really Biblical?
Now as I stated, I just want to reason on this subject and bring out some things we need to consider.
Lets look at John 8:57 Thru 59 so we can see what is being said in context:
King James Version #KJV#
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
The traditional view is that Jesus used the name of God referring to himself and the Pharisees thought to stone him because of it. However, when we look at this from the Greek, and in context we find something totally different. Jesus used the words "ego eimi" which literally means "I existed" or "I existed to be".
So when looking at the context of the scriptures we see the Jews making a statement and then asking a question:
"Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?"
Jesus then answers in vs 59 by saying #translated#: " Before Abraham was born, "I existed".
He was not claiming to be God, nor do the scriptures state that the Pharisees thought he was claiming to be. What was at issue was him making a statement of non earthly existence.
You: "Jesus was using the name of God revealed by God to Moses."
The name revealed to Moses was "Ehyeh asher ehyeh" " I Will Be What I Will Be" or " I Am What I Will BE", there is a big difference in the usage from the Hebrew when revealed to Moses, and the Usage of the term "ego eimi" that Jesus used.
You: "It is also clear that the Holy Spirit is more than just an impersonal force as in scripture He thinks, guides and can be grieved. That Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God is clear" Where in scripture can we find that the HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD? There is not one scripture that states that. It is an explanation of Theology.
You: Can someone be a Baptist and not agree with this? It is hard to see how as this is a foundation doctrine of all mainstream churches, though the understanding of how it fits together may vary.
Yes...A person can be a Baptist that stays with scripture instead of Theological position and disagree with this. Mainstream Churches are in agreement on Theology that became Doctrine. However, if it were Biblical, there would not be variations of the "Trinity Doctrine".
There are some key questions we must ask ourselves when dealing with the Trinity Doctrine:
1. What did the prophecies say?
2. Did God state he was coming in the flesh or sending a son?
3. Did Jesus return to himself? What does the Scriptures state?
4. Who was it in the Book of Hebrews that had a body prepared for them?
5. What did Jesus Himself say he is?
6. Where does the Bible say Jesus Came from?
When these answers are sought, you get a very different perspective on things. It eliminates doctrine and theosophy and gives exactly what the Bible says.
Now I know this is not popular, especially coming from a Baptist Preacher....what we must be Bereans,and examine all to see if it is what the scriptures are telling us.
Now I would like to share more, but need to know if you are willing, and am really interested in your thoughts on this.
Look forward to your response
Thank you for your comments. I nearly ticked the box for 'there is no question here' but that would have created an impression of rudeness which is not where my heart is. Nevertheless I must decline your offer to enter into printed dialogue on this issue. The simple reason is that I am a busy working pastor without the time to do this justice. Also these matters are always best talked through face to face and there must be people near to you (I am in England) who could do that. I would not 'lie down and die' to defend the term trinity but I would do for the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I believe the scriptures require this.
You think my understanding of John's Gospel is wrong. I believe yours is. We have clearly both not come to these positions lightly.
Were you a local pastor or a member of my congregation my decision might well be different but I honestly don't believe the time such dialogue would take would be justifiable for me.
May God continue to lead us both.
God bless you.