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Sunday: The Triune God: The Origin of Mission — 28 Comments

  1. The nature of the Godhead is one of those themes that has been argued about right through the history of Christianity. In fact, there have been accusations of heresy and acts of persecution as different factions have sought to assert that their view is the correct one. Even in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Godhead has been vigorously argued and although we have a "Fundamental" devoted to it, there are still enough dissenters to make a noise in a discussion such as this.

    It is worth mentioning that such arguments have been a distraction from the mission of the Church and perhaps we need to think more about the accomplishment of the mission than dissecting who did what and how. The love of God is sure, irrespective of our view of the relationship between members of the Godhead.

    Most of us can derive a benefit from using electricity without describing how it works in detail. There is no requirement for a person to know Kirchhoff's circuit laws before turning the electricity on to a lightbulb. Likewise, our mission - God's mission through us - does not rely on our ability to describe the Godhead, but rather on the relationship that provides the power to love one another.

    • Mission is about propagating the truth. And truth includes knowing who the true Godhead is. What difference shall it make to the Remnant church if we go on the mission bearing the falsehoods like the trinity? The debate about the Godhead isn't just noise: it's the search for truth. Truth that shall set us free from the wine of Babylon.

      • Yes Isiac that is true. Just the same we can't let dissenters distract us from our mission. Paul was annoyed by dissenters of the truth and by distractions sent out to derail his mission, God's mission. I do believe Maurice is pointing out that despite the static, God's truth will get through by the Holy Spirit, if we ignore or squelch the static, and push through with God's mission, our mission, which is to give the Good News of Christ Saving Grace. Yes, we still give the the truth of the trinity, however we don't make it our mission. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict, not ours.

      • God's character is not defined by the 28 Fundamental Beliefs or any other creed. Instead it is revealed through his words and actions, and through the words and actions of his body on this earth, that is, his church. If "God is love" is not what our words and actions preach and teach, then we have missed the Way, the Truth and the Life because we do not know him.

  2. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all involved in the work of saving souls. Why should you find this thought so comforting?
    I find this so comforting because we are never alone in the mission God has given to us. The trinity are actively involved in this mission.

  3. I consider that the Son of God can do no different than the Father. The decision to ultimately unite all things in CHRIST is because He is the true Son of God, not the imposter - the Triune God designed His Creation in this way

    To me, humanity was never on its ‘own’, it was always carried and sustained by the undying design f its Creator to nurture and grow it into what He considered to be the ever dance of the culmination of His Love for His Creation.

    Again I hold that we are the mission field of our designer - God, as well as His agents to physically interact with others in order for His spirit to touch the lives of all men. Those having received the Holy Spirit have their life by it and live in Christ. They can do no other than to be an activated, living mission-field growing its crops.

  4. Satan uses many deflectors and distractors. May we not get caught up in the mysteries of God. If we remain faithful and focused we will have the answers when we get to heaven. 1 Corinthians 2:13. The triune, the union of divinity with humanity are just a few. The central theme is that God loves us so much that He had the plan of salvation in place before the foundation of the world. What a mighty God we serve!

    • Amen. Sometimes we major in the minor and don't realize that process is a distraction from the enemy. We are well-versed in the Adventist lingo and culture but are incapable of demonstrating the love of God. A love that led God to have a plan in place before the foundation of the world. Praise His name!

  5. To augment Maurice's comment, which Ms, White endorsed, consider the following: Since The One God created Man in His image, and created Man male and female in order to have offspring in their image.... What if the Spirit of Christ came from the Father as Eve did from Adam and Christ Jesus was their only preincarnate Son. In that case, the term "Spirit of Christ" would be equivalent with "Mother of Christ." We redeemed are, like Eve, the corporate bride of Christ and partakers of divinity. Arguing about the validation of such a construction produces no more love than considering "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin."

    • Ellen White endorsed Maurice's comment? That's very strange. EG White never wrote anything like what is being taught about the trinity doctrine. Let us be honest and not misuse EG White's name.

      • Hmmm! I don't think that Ellen White endorsed anything I have written. She died long before I even existed. But Ellen White was very sparse in her use of the word Trinity. I have found only one reference and thqt was in a letter that was later reused in the compilation, "Evangelism". There are a lot of places where she uses the expression, "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost", or similar in the one sentence. While I don't denigrate those who use the word "Trinty", given that it causes friction with some people, I prefer to use the same description as Ellen White. It keeps me out of trouble (wry grin).

    • Jamie, I think you may be on to something, but with an odd twist. The creation of Eve was unlike anything else God did in creation. Adam was as well, but Eve was brought forth from the bossom of Adam, made of the exact substance as Adam, but a completely different person than Adam. Eve was no less mankind than Adam, made a help-meet to Adam. Adam was first and Eve was "begotten" from the substance of Adam. The mystery of God, in my opinion, is not THAT Jesus is the only pre-incarnate Son of God, for we are told this over and over in scripture, but rather, how the Father performed this without a mother. But, then again, He can create with His own words, so why not? Man is the head of the wife, Christ is the Head of the church, and God is the head of Christ.There is a correlation we can look at. The man of the family is the representative of the Father, and the wife is the representative of Jesus to the family. We know that the Father created all things THROUGH Jesus Christ. Jesus carried the burdens of our life, and gave himself for our life. But, only with the power of His Father. Much like the wife carries the burden of the child, and holds the child in her. But, the child is there with the power (seed) of the father.

      But, I digress. The Spirit of Christ, could only be, in essence, Christ's spirit, not Christ's mother. Just like the troubled spirit of pharaoh was pharaoh's personal spirit. As you offered, I do the same; consider the following: Man is made in the image of God. Like all creation producing after it's own kind - apple trees produce apples, humans produce humans, and the Divine Father produced a Divine Son. And also in His image, our spirit (that which makes us US, mind, thoughts, desires, plans, etc) is the human equivalent of God's Spirit (God's mind, thoughts, desires, plans, etc), and the Spirit of Christ (Christ's mind, thoughts, desires, plans, etc).

      Just food for thought. Blessings to all as we journey this world in search of Truth and hope for the Glory to come.

  6. When we shall reach heaven, will we see/find 3 different persons seated with seats marked Father Son and Holy Spirit?

    • I don't know about seats, but it's pretty clear that there will not be one being. There can't be as Jesus will be human forever so He and the Father have to be separate beings. As for the Holy Spirit, I don't want to speculate about His essence but the Bible provides plenty of evidence that He is a separate being. Don't try to use math formulas. God is not math nor can He be understood fully by humans. But if He is love, there must be a plurality. Love needs an object and the Godhead experienced that before anyone or thing was created.

    • God the father will be there visible to us, wearing His snow white garment, the hair of His head like pure wool. This we know from the Bibles description of Him. We know that we are made in His image so from that we can deduce He has a physical form who’s copy we are, which ties up with the single description of Him we have.

      Jesus has retained His humanity with which He was born in Bethlehem, took to Calvary and which body at the command from God, He took up again and walked from the tomb.

      We further know in heaven all traces of sin’s effects will be removed from us. After the destruction of Lucifer and the finally impenitent, and the world is recreated perfect, the only visible trace of sin’s history will be seen in the scars on Jesus. There to remind us forever of the terrible results and cost of disobeying the loving commands of God.

      Of the Holy Spirit we do not know as much. We do know the He will be in us continuously through all eternity, and He and his glory will visibly shine from us. The clothing we wear will be no artificial clothing, but the light will itself have a physical form we can touch and it will cover us as it covers the angels today and as it in the past was worn by Adam and Eve. That is of course like no type of light we or science knows of today.

      I do not know of any other descriptions or likenesses given to us. We may infer from creations account of the Holy Spirit hovering above the water that He is visible separately from his indwelling in all Gods creation of intelligent beings.

      What form or shape He took we do not know. At times in history He has appeared as a bodiless hand writing on a wall, or as a dove. I rather suspect those were shapes He took for a task at hand so to speak. Like the Father and the Son, if we humans were to see Him as He truly is, we would not live.

    • From scripture, we know that the Son sits at the right hand of the Father. From EGW's vision as described in DayStar, March 14, 1846 she said, "I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and his Son Jesus Christ." As you read further, you will note that this particular throne is not in the Holy of Holies. You might consider the furniture in the tabernacle, where the table of shewbread had two stacks of bread, and designed with 2 crowns around the edge. The table was on the North side of the tabernacle. In Isaiah 14, we read about Lucifer, "For thou hast said in thine heart,I will ascend into heaven,I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,in the sides of the north:". Why the North? That's where the Father and the Son sit together and are worshiped by the heavenly host.

      However, we also see in Revelation that there is One on the throne, and before Him is One like a Lamb that was slain. That One on the throne is the One who was, the One who is, and the One who is yet to come. (Rev 4:10-11, Rev 5:7).

      Later in the same DayStar vision, the Father rises and goes into the Holy of Holies and "did sit". Here Jesus is before the Father as a High Priest, not sitting with the Father.

      I say all that only because we know how many seats/thrones the Divine beings utilize. One throne that only the Father sits in which resides in the Holy of Holies, and another throne that both the Father and the Son sit in together; I believe in the the Holy Place, on the mount of the congregation,in the sides of the north.

      Blessings to you all in your search for the Truth God has made through His Son.

  7. Knowing that the FATHER, SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT are all INVOLVED in the WORK of SAVING SOULS gives me HOPE and COMFORT that HIS MISSION will NOT FAIL.

  8. This week's lesson is very worrying. If trinity is not in the Bible, why bring it into play? And is Godhead really the same as trinity? The Bible, obviously, does not say so. EGW tells us that "Rome began by enjoining what God had not forbidden, and she ended by forbidding what He had explicitly enjoined." (GC 289.2).
    Very dangerous move here.

    • The words "Trinity", "Millennium", "Investigative Judgement", "Second Coming" are not found in the Bible but that does not mean that we should not use those terms. Having said that, we need to be clear what we mean when we use those terms, and we also need to ensure that we do not use them when others do not understand what they mean, or have different associations with those words.

      The history of the the use of the word, "Trinity" is interesting and I can understand that some people have negative connotations with it. That is one reason why I prefer not to use it myself, and at the same time not critical of those who do. But the nature, composition and relationships of God, the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are at the very core of Christianity. While we may not be able to understand the detail, we should be left in no doubt about their love and purpose.

  9. Interesting comments and all have some validity that in part I can agree with. Maurice is certainly correct in that the English words, "Trinity", "Millennium", "Investigative Judgement", "Second Coming" are not found in the Bible. However, written in Greek and Hebrew, they’re most certainly implied. As English thinkers, does that mean that we cannot or should not use them with others, those who believe and more importantly, with others who do not believe, which is a part of our commission from God/Christ to spread the Gospel Message of Salvation to the world for all mankind?

    For the word “Trinity," I believe the best and easiest explanation of the "triune" "God Head we have come to understand, if found in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” To me this says that the Word, the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit, is God the Father and God the Father is the Holy Spirit.

    Skipping down to verse 10 we find “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” We, who believe, first recognise this to be Jesus, the Son of God or more explicitly, “Immanuel" or God is with us, or God in the flesh if you will. Verses 11 through 13 tell us why he came and are a fulfilment of His prophecy/promise made to Adam and Eve that He would return and Crush the head of Satan.

    If that was not enough verse 14 really defines Him as Jesus Christ with, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” There you have it in a nutshell in less than 15 verses. The “Trinity” or “Triune Godhead.”

    With respect to discussing this with other churches not of our domination and religious doctrines/traditions, somewhat like Mrs, White and being a communications engineer in this secular world, The history of the Christian Church following the death of John the Revelator is not clearly understood by many Christian Churches today and thus many non-Christian traditions have crept in and, not knowing any better, are followed by those people. So, the question arises, how to change that and bring those well-intentioned people back into conformance with God’s will?

    As a Technician/Engineer I learned that in order to fix a problem it is necessary to know what is causing the problem. Simply put, if you do not understand the problem you cant fix it and that is why God pot all of those histories and stories in scripture to show us the real problem and not just the symptom, how we got that way and a way to fix the problem. This exactly why we have Revelation Seminars and invite other believers in different demoninations and non-believers to attend. If you think about it this is what Paul, Peter and others were doing in their allotted tome.

    It’s easy to get off track in our own thinking but remember the commission that has been assigned to us by God. That is our task/assignment.

  10. We know the Roman Catholic church has challenged Protestants about the Sabbath? See romeschallenge.com. If you apply that reasoning to the trinity doctrine, you will get the same results. I agree with Maurice to the extent that we should avoid this term and not even substitute it with "Godhead" because they are not the same. The gospel mission is too critical to be tainted with Roman Catholic appendages and men's traditions.

    • I agree that it may be best for us to avoid the use of the word "Trinity." That said, what we mean by "trinity" is vastly different from Roman Catholic teaching on the subject. I believe our fundamental belief statement on The Godhead or Trinity is thoroughly biblical.

      We should probably explain what we mean by the term, because most people have little understanding of it - even of the Roman Catholic version. The explanation is important and should highlight the fact that, since God is love, He must necessarily be more than one Person. But we should be careful not to try to parse the nature of the triune God too finely, because on details the Bible does not reveal, silence is golden.

      It should go without saying that *we* should know the difference between our teaching on the Trinity/Godhead and the Roman Catholic teaching. (Hint: Review our Fundamenatl belief on the subject and the additional material on that page.)

  11. A tempest in a teapot! In my nearly 90 years of being SDA, I have heard every argument and still remain thankful for the power available to us to be restored in the Son's image. Too much "heat" causes the teapot to boil over and no one is one step closer to His character as a result. Jesus came to reveal His Father and Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. Sounds like three separate "persons" to me. What am I missing?

  12. I do not profess to understand who God is in his entirety, or how He can be the beginning and the end, have no beginning, be all knowing, be in all places, have all power, or three in one. There are many attributes of God that my mind cannot grasp. I only see dimly at this time but someday I will see face to face (1 Cor 13). What I am certain of however is that He is merciful, longsuffering, and abundant in mercy to me. At the end of the day my answer is the same as the man born blind that Jesus healed. He did not know the details about Jesus but could only reply "one thing that I know is that I was blind and now I see." John 9:25.

  13. If we say we love the Lord and we do not obey then the truth is not in us. Whenever I read the verse of loving thy neighbor as thyself I always cringe. I question how people perceive loving themselves. I see so many things in my clinical practice of how patients treat themselves and they say they love themselves. I also see this in Christian circles. Society’s love for self is opposite to how Christ loves us and wants us to love ourselves. It is only then that we can love our neighbors as we Christ love ourselves.

    • Maria 🙂

      Most Christians have ignored the bolded part of King Jesus' words in Matthew 9:13 KJV & Matthew 12:7 KJV: "...I will have mercy and not sacrifice..."

      Also: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself", King Jesus in Matthew 22:39 KJV.

      He has made the sacrifice for His children. All that is needed now, is to give Him thanks.

      A Google search with search phrase: "mercy etymology" reveals this : Middle English: from Old French merci ‘pity’ or ‘thanks’, from Latin merces, merced- ‘reward’, in Christian Latin ‘pity, favour, heavenly reward’.


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