The failure of analogies

This is the sixth in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon.

In seeking to simplify the complex truth of one God in three persons, Christians sometimes resort to analogies – the comparison of two things for the purpose of explanation or clarification. While analogies applied to the Trinity seem helpful on the surface, they fail to do justice to our infinite and eternal God. Worse, “each represents an ancient heresy,” according to Nathan Jacobs, visiting scholar of philosophy at the University of Kentucky.

As Jacobs points out, Trinitarian analogies typically fall into three groups:

Parts-whole. In parts-whole analogies, the Trinity may be likened to an egg, which has a shell, egg white, and egg yolk. Each part is fully egg but not the whole egg, and thus each part is distinct from the others. As another example, the Trinity sometimes is said to be like a three-leaf clover. Each leaf is distinct from the others, but the clover is incomplete without all three. One other example, from ancient times, is that the Trinity is like a single lump of clay divided into three parts.

Parts-whole analogies are similar to the heresy of Tritheism, which takes two basic forms: (1) the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate divine beings, and (2) that the divine nature may be divided into three parts. This reduces God to the sum of His parts.
Continue reading

Jesus in the Feast of Passover

With Easter approaching, as Christians celebrate the finished work of Christ — His death, burial and resurrection — it may increase our joy to see His earthly ministry in light of the Jewish feasts. In this post, we begin to look at the Passover, which foreshadows Jesus’ substitutionary and sacrificial death. For a free download of the complete study of Jesus in the feasts of Israel, click here.

When John the Baptist declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 KJV), every Jew knew John was referring to the Passover lamb. Jesus is called “a lamb” or “the lamb” 31 times in the New Testament, and Isaiah 53:7 refers to the Messiah as a lamb.

Every Christian can see Jesus in the Passover by observing the uniquely Messianic characteristics of the Passover lamb:

1. The selection of the lamb (Ex. 12:1-6; John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; Rev. 13:8).

2. The slaughter of the lamb (Ex. 12:7-10; Isa. 53:6; Heb. 1:3; 9:12-14; 1 Peter 1:2; Rev. 1:5).

3. The salvation of the lamb (Ex. 12:11-13, 23; John 1:29; 1 Cor. 15:26; Eph. 1:7; 2:1; 1 Peter 2:24-5).

LISTEN:  Jesus in the Passover – Part 1 (mp3)

Part 2 of Jesus in the Passover

Part 3 of Jesus in the Passover

Jesus in the feasts of Israel

Download the free study

The feasts of Israel are religious celebrations remembering God’s great acts of salvation in the history of His people. The term “feasts” in Hebrew literally means “appointed times” and in Scripture the feasts often are called “holy convocations.” They are times God has appointed for holy purposes – times in which the Lord meets with men and women.

While there are many religious celebrations in Jewish history and custom, seven are most significant: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. God established the timing and sequence of these feasts to reveal to us a special story – most significantly, the work of the Messiah in the redemption of mankind and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
Continue reading

False views of the Trinity

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available in print and Kindle versions from  Amazon.

As we pursue a biblically faithful understanding of the Trinity, it may help to sort through a number of false views of this crucial doctrine.

Some faulty definitions are grounded in misunderstanding, such as the Muslim view that Christians are polytheists for worshiping God, Jesus, and Mary. Others are subtler in that they properly identify the persons of the Godhead, yet reduce the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to pieces of a divine puzzle, or as three separate gods.

So, as we briefly explore these flawed depictions of the Trinity, it’s important to keep in mind that the Bible reveals one true and living God, who exists as three distinct, but inseparable, co-equal, co-eternal persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Continue reading

Ten reasons we suffer

Horatio G. Spafford was a prominent attorney in Chicago in the 1800s and a friend of evangelist Dwight L. Moody. While Spafford was both respected and comfortable, he was not free from severe hardship. First, he lost his four-year-old son to scarlet fever. Then his real estate investments along Lake Michigan literally went up in flames in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Not long after that, his four daughters drowned in a shipwreck, and his wife Anna survived the ordeal only because the ship’s debris buoyed her as she floated, unconscious, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Crossing the sea to join his bereaved wife, Spafford was called to the captain’s deck as the ship sailed past the foamy deep where his daughters were lost. The captain informed him that the waters there were three miles deep. Returning to his cabin, Spafford penned these words to the now-famous hymn:

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Why did such tragedy befall Spafford? He certainly wondered — and wrestled with the question the rest of his life — but in writing this poem, he rested in the sovereignty of God.
Continue reading