Picture Credit: some rights reserved by jimforest
The importance of the Trinity for Christianity cannot be overstated. The Christian doctrine of God defines our faith more than any other doctrine. A particular aspect of Christian evangelism and practice, that of apologetics, will be my focus here. The importance of the Trinity for Christian apologetics is likely greater than we realise.
In a recent conversation with a Muslim colleague, I maintained that our God is triune, to which she exclaimed “No he’s not. God is One. If there is more than one God then there would be war within God.” There’s a big conversation which flows from that statement, which I cannot go into. Some people would say that me raising the Trinity in an evangelistic conversation with a Muslim is apologetic suicide. In this context, it surely wasn’t. Why? Because the doctrine of the Trinity makes it abundantly clear to our fellow theists that the Christian God is not the same God as their Allah.
Likewise, when discussing who God is with a postmodern pantheist (who would reject the labels because labels are oppressive and not postmodern), I think it wise to raise the Trinity early on in the conversation. And not to get into a deep discussion about how it works, but mainly about who He is. Who is our Triune God? He is not one and the same as the world, that’s for sure.
The Trinity is highly useful in apologetic conversations, because there is no god like our God. We should not capitulate to the spirit of the age and say “Yes, of course all of our conceptions of god are ultimately valid and the same.” That is a lie. The fact that our God is triune makes that abundantly clear. To make this distinction saves us from wandering down a dangerous labyrinth with our unbelieving friends, and it saves them from thinking that all is well with their beliefs. The doctrine of the Trinity confronts everyone with the stark and dangerous truth that our God is three persons, and one God. When we are trying to convince someone of the truth of Christianity, we must ensure that they understand who our God is. We are defending and propagating the Christian faith, after all.
UCCF: The Christian Unions in the United Kingdom, have a couple of excellent websites. Both are vital resources for the Christian. I have utilised them for a number of years, now, and have not been disappointed at any point.
The biggest website is bethinking.org. This is an immense apologetics resource, featuring articles, talks, interviews, debates, and scholarly papers, all free of charge. Topics include culture & worldview, other religions, the historical Jesus, evangelism, and many others. There are talks from some of the greats of Christian apologetics, including Francis Shaeffer and William Lane Craig, and you’ll be introduced to some excellent British apologists like Michael Ramsden and Amy Orr-Ewing. If you talk with non-believers (and I sincerely hope you do!) you should utilise this resource. It covers just about everything you want to cover.
The second website from the UCCF crowd is theologynetwork.org. This is another brilliant resource, this time focusing on theology, and church history. Mike Reeves is the dominant figure on this website, and he really is one of the best communicators in theology today. Again, there are articles, talks, interviews, and so on. Many of the talks are from UCCF staff training sessions, and so are good for someone looking to tuck into some meaty, but accessible, material. There are sections on basic Christian beliefs, biblical studies, historical theology (including an outstanding series of talks on important theological figures from the Apostolic Fathers through to the awful, but important, Friedrich Schleiermacher). Download some articles to read, or put some talks on your phone to listen to while driving. It’s good stuff.
Today is Pastor Martin Pakula’s final Sunday service as Interim Pastor of Hills Bible Church. Martin has been with us since June 2011, and has served the congregation at Hills faithfully week in and week out. It is a sad day, as we have grown in fellowship and friendship with Martin and Jennie. Martin’s clear and accurate expositional preaching has been provoking, challenging and encouraging. His drive for Hills to be a church focused on evangelism and outreach will be an enduring part of his legacy. He instigated scripture reading training, the Christmas gingerbread house event, the regular public and systematic reading of scripture in our services, and hospitality evangelism. We will also miss his regular blog contributions. Jennie has also been faithful member at Hills, serving on the music team, and playing a leading role at the women’s events.
Picture caption: A recent Ministry Leadership Team meeting. Left to right – Stu pretending to be Luke Hodge, Lindsay looks to be off fishing, and Martin in his Anglican garb on his way to deliver the Eucharist at St. Chuzzlewit’s.
Martin, we have much to thank you for, not least for putting up with our Baptist sensibilities. We’re sorry you weren’t able to finish off the elements each Lord’s Supper, but it’s just not the way it’s done. In all seriousness, both you and Jennie will be sorely missed. May the Lord bless you and your family in the next chapter of your life and ministry.