Why We Should Believe in the Trinity

How the Doctrine of the Trinity Developed The doctrine of the Trinity separates orthodox Christian teaching from heresy. This essential teaching of Christianity states that we believe in one God who exists in three separate and distinct persons–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each member is equal in nature and substance. (For a biblical defense of the Trinity, see Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Trinity. {1}) A common question raised by heretical groups is, When and how did this doctrine develop? According to the Watchtower tract “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” this doctrine was not held by the church fathers. Rather, it was imposed on the church by the pagan emperors who had “converted” to Christianity at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. and the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. The bishops in attendance were overawed by the emperor and signed the creed against their inclination. Let’s take a careful look at what really happened at these two key church councils. The Council of Nicea was the first church council ever called. Until this time, the church was under severe persecution from the Roman Empire. Early in the fourth century, the emperor Constantine showed an interest in Christianity and was tutored by Hosius of Cordova who held to the doctrine of the Trinity.

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Authority of the Bible

There are many books today that claim to be the Word of God. The Koran, the Islam holy book, claims to be the Word of God. The Book of Mormon claims to be the Word of God. The Hindus believe the Bhagavad Gita is the source of eternal truth. Karl Marx, with his atheistic worldview, claimed his writing, The Communist Manifesto, was the ultimate truth. We Christians believe the Bible to be the Word of God and the eternal source of truth we live by. How do we know the Bible is the Word of God? Can we actually prove that the Bible is truly the Word of God? The answer is yes. Before I begin this discussion of the authority of the Bible, let me first quote the words of Jesus found in John 15:18. Jesus warns his disciples about the attitude the world will have toward those who follow Him. Jesus says, ‘If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is you do not belong to the world. That is why the world hates you. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” What is vital to understand

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Origin of Man’s Religion

Is It Psychological? What is the origin of man’s religion? Why does every culture in the world worship some divine being? Anthropologists and historians have studied this question, and presently there are three primary theories: the subjective theory, the evolutionary theory, and the theory of original monotheism. The subjective theory teaches that religion originates with man. Humans have a psychological need for a transcendent being that provides meaning and hope to their existence in this vast impersonal universe. Adherents of this view believe that this religious makeup exists below our conscious awareness. Cultures have various views of reality according to their experience, but the awareness and desire for religion is a universal phenomenon. They therefore conclude that this disposition lies in our subconscious. In other words, our beliefs about a transcendent being are not the result of external realities or interactions with such a being. Rather, these beliefs derive from our psyches. These feelings are expressed in more concrete terms through symbols and attitudes, not through a set of defined belief systems. As a culture progresses, these symbols and attitudes are developed into a set of beliefs and practices. Several proponents were important in promoting this theory. Friedrich Schleiermacher believed that religion began with a feeling of dependence. This led to a need for an object to depend on which resulted in the idea of God. Ludwig Feuerbach taught

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The Tomb of Jesus: A Titanic Discovery or Hype?

INTRODUCTION On March 4, 2007, the Discovery Channel aired “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” a special directed by James Cameron, the Oscar winning director of the movie Titanic. Cameron based his work on a book released that day, The Jesus Family Tomb, by Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino. This documentary was based on a discovery made in 1980 in Talpiot, a suburb of Jerusalem where a large tomb containing ten caskets was found. Although scholars and archaeologists at that time did not associate this finding with any New Testament characters, there has recently arisen the claim that this is the tomb of the Jesus and several of His family members. Is this a titanic discovery that could change history, or is this a lot of overblown hype? If this is indeed the tomb of Christ and His remains are in one of the ossuaries, this would be a devastating blow to the New Testament teaching regarding the resurrection of Christ. However, as in other attempts to recreate Jesus, we find ourselves dealing with a flawed theory built on unlikely scenarios, fishy facts, and Hollywood hype. SCHOLARS SPEAK The tomb was discovered in 1980, so we have known about this site for nearly thirty years. Its lack of recognition by the scholarly community as a tomb of significance to New Testament

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God and Evil

I have sat with friends in hospital rooms grieving over the loss of a loved one as the result of a tragic accident or criminal act. There is little one can say in these situations. Often I feel helpless as I watch and share in the pain of the individuals involved. Inevitably at times like these they struggle with questions such as “How can God let something like this happen?” “Does He care?” “Why is there suffering and evil in the world?” or “Is there any hope for our suffering?” Studying and wrestling with this issue has led me to conclude that Christianity is the only system that can offer a reasonable explanation for evil and a message of hope in the midst of suffering. The Different Worldviews and Evil The religions that embrace a pantheist worldview teach that all reality is reduced to what Hindus call Brahma or the divine. “This reality – Brahma – alone exists; it is the sole reality, and there are no distinctions. Everything else is illusory. This Ultimate Reality has no personality; it is impersonal and beyond description.”1 Because of the belief in monism where all is one and the premise that besides Brahma all is an illusion, evil also is an illusion. There is ultimately no distinction between good or evil. Cruelty and

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Truth: Absolute or Relative?

Is truth relative or absolute? Is there such a thing as universal and objective truth? Can any group or individual honestly say they possess the truth? The popular postmodern view today is that truth is relative. Christianity, on the other hand, is built on the premise that truth is absolute and that the teachings of the Bible are universal. The notion that truth is relative presents one of the most significant challenges facing the Church. A survey of the American public revealed that sixty-six percent agreed with the statement, “There is no such thing as absolute truth.”1 Among youth, seventy percent believe that there is no such thing as absolute truth; two people could define “truth” in conflicting ways and both be correct.”2 Relativism has made significant inroads into the church as well. According to the latest research, 53 percent of adults in church believe there is no absolute truth. Among youth in church, research shows that 57 percent do not believe an objective standard of truth exists.3 For two millennia, the Church has been the guardian of truth. The Church cannot allow its foundation to be dismantled by relativism. It is important that Christians understand the nature of truth and engage relativist thinking. Absolute Truth Truth that is defined as being absolute, possesses the following qualities.4 Truth is discovered

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The Uniqueness of Jesus

Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? A serious study of the Gospels leads a person to one of three conclusions about Jesus: He was (1) an evil lying villain, (2) a preposterously deluded madman, or (3) the Messiah, the Son of God. It is ludicrous for anyone who has studied His life to take the position that He was simply a good teacher. Only one of the three conclusions is a logical possibility. Jesus made some outrageous claims that no ordinary person would dare to make. First, He claimed to be God. His statements of equality with God meant He believed that He possessed the authority, attributes, and adoration belonging to God. He proclaimed authority over creation, forgiveness of sins, and life and death. He declared to possess the attributes of God. He emphatically stated that He was the source of truth and the only way to eternal life. Among the significant leaders of history, only Jesus made such claims. Here are a few of His outrageous claims. When Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father,” Jesus answered, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). We also read in John 10, when the Pharisees disparaged Jesus and challenged Him, He responded, “I and the Father are one” (v. 30) The text continues: Again the Jews picked up stones

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