Blogging Through the Trinity (part 2)

Dr. Ware began the morning with a moving lesson on what he calls the “poor god” syndrome that so many churches suffer from.  Ware describes this syndrome as the tendency of Christians to believe that they are somehow doing God a favor by getting saved, or serving in their local church, or giving to missions, as if these acts somehow makeup for a deficiency in God.  The truth of the matter is that God is completely self-sufficient and without any need whatsoever.  The fact that believers are allowed to participate in God’s work is an act of sheer grace intended to maximize our joy.

Another interesting thing that I learned today is that the doctrine of the trinity is a subject of great disagreement today.  Millard Erickson along with several other leading theologians are engaged in a significant battle with Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware over the nature of the trinity, specifically the rolls within the trinity.  It is Erickson’s position that any distinctions that we see between the Father, the Son and the Spirit are merely present because of the created order but in actuality there are no distinctions within the Godhead whatsoever.  Ware’s position is essentially that the distinctions within the Godhead are not based on any ontological differences, but rather are based upon the roles and relationships within the Godhead.  Several books have been written on this topic and it was a major source of discussion this year at the Evangelical Theological Society.

The roles which Ware went on to describe include the Father as being supreme among the persons of the Godhead (1 Cor. 15:28), the Son and his three offices as the eternal Son, the incarnate Son, and the exalted Son, all the while remaining a Son.  The position which Jesus occupies as the Son implies His submission to the will of the Father during His incarnation, as well as eternity past and eternity to come.

I walked away with several significant application points from today’s class.  1) Submission to authority is a godlike act, because Jesus always submits to the authority of the Father.  The culture which we find ourselves living in today is full of rebellion against authority and yet the submission of the Son to the Father reminds us that to submit to the authorities in our lives is to imitate God in the person of Jesus Christ.  2) To abide in Christ and to experience the full warmth of fellowship with Christ we must obey Christ.  Dr. Ware spent some time reviewing John 15:9-10 – “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”  In this passage Jesus is teaching that there is an intimate connection between our ability to abide in Christ and our obedience.  To abide is not simply to have warm-fuzzy feelings about God, but rather to obey Christ and in that obedience to find rest and peace and warmth and intimacy with God.

That’s it for today.  Tomorrow Dr. Ware will be covering Christ’s relationship to the Holy Spirit and wrapping up the section on the trinity.

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January 06 2010 08:00 am | Trinity

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