Tag Archives: Trinity

Is Suspending Judgment an Option?

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Imagine someone saying the following:  “The doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to accept.  On the one hand, reason tells me that this doctrine is impossible.  Three persons in one being is illogical.  On the other hand, the Bible seems to be pointing in the direction of the Trinity.  But we have to acknowledge that our human interpretations of the Bible are fallible, so we might be mistaken in believing that God is Triune.  I’m faced with a conflict between what reason says and what the Bible appears to be saying.  Therefore, I’m going to suspend judgment for the time being.  Perhaps in the future there will be more clarity on this matter and then I can make a responsible judgment.”  If we heard someone talking like that, we would recognize that there are significant problems in this reasoning.  When all the evidence is considered, the Bible is clear about the doctrine of the Trinity.  Yes, there have been numerous heretics over the centuries who’ve drawn this doctrine into question.  Yet the consensus of the Church has always been that God is Triune.  It’s in our creeds and confessions.  Christians are called to accept and believe what the Word of God teaches, not to suspend judgment on it.  As the Belgic Confession puts it in article 5, “We believe without any doubt all things contained” in these holy and canonical Scriptures.  Moreover, we also “reject with all our heart whatever does not agree with this infallible rule” (BC 7).  It sounds humble to suspend judgment and it might be when it comes to assertions from human authorities.  But when it comes to divinely authoritative Scripture, nothing could be more arrogant.

We can see that suspending judgment is not an option when it comes to the Trinity.  Why should it be when it comes to other vital areas of Christian theology, such as origins?  I urge you to read this important post from Dr. John Byl illustrating one example of someone trying to argue in this manner and why it doesn’t work.

 


Our Creed and Our Triune God (Lord’s Day 8)

Of all our creeds and confessions, the Apostles’ Creed is probably the one with which we’re all the most familiar.  Even the youngest members of our congregation know how to belt out Hymn 1A.  Many of us can recall stories of our younger selves or others singing the Creed at, let’s say “interesting,” times.  For instance, I vividly recall one of my younger sisters driving around our crescent on her bike, loudly singing Hymn 1A over and over again for the whole world to hear.  I guess that was her idea of evangelism or neighbourhood outreach.  There’s little question that the Apostles’ Creed connects with many of us at some level, especially when we’re young.  Perhaps that has to do with the tune of Hymn 1A, or maybe it has to do with the actual content of the creed.  I don’t know.

We are familiar with the Creed, but that doesn’t always mean that we sing it or confess it thoughtfully.  The danger is there that familiarity makes autopilot our default mode, especially as we get older and have sung it hundreds or thousands of times.  Think about it, if you’re about 50 years old, and let’s say you’ve been going to church for 45 years or so and if you’ve been to every afternoon service, you will have sung the Apostles’ Creed over 2300 times.  Whether it was Hymn 45 (as it used to be in the old blue Book of Praise) or Hymn 1A, that’s a lot of times.

So, it’s good for us to periodically step back and revisit the basics of the Apostles’ Creed.  For instance, what do we know about the history of this document?  What is its basic structure?  Why do we have creeds and confessions anyway?

Click here to continue reading this sermon based on Lord’s Day 8 of the Heidelberg Catechism.