A Theological Conversation that Matters: Majoring on the Majors.

My dear Siestas! I would have written sooner, but I’ve just now finished reading all of your answers to my post a few weeks ago, “Talk to me.” Kidding. But for real y’all, I opened up a very glorious can of worms in that there post, didn’t I? For those of you who missed it, I asked everyone to answer two questions: 1) What biblical/theological/doctrinal issue(s) do you wish you were more educated about? 2) What biblical/theological/doctrinal issue(s) are you tired of hearing people bicker about? I was so delighted to learn that I am not the only chic on the blog-block who loves to talk all things theology. If you remain interested in these more technical discussions, then I will continue to respond every several weeks to your comments as in depth as I can without boring you to absolute tears. While I honestly don’t want to waste my hours working on posts that will be “too dry” or “too heady”, I also don’t want to under evaluate your desire to discuss theological issues. It would not be cool for the LPM blog to be part of promoting the long-standing reputation that women just don’t care about discussing theology. Can’t stomach the thought.

Now, if you read through the comments you probably gleaned the same thing I did: most of us are completely gorged by excessive arguments about church music preferences and minute details of the five points of Calvinism but have very little knowledge about the Trinity. This is telling but unsurprising because as many of you pointed out we often major on the minors and minor on the majors. And in terms of Christian theology it certainly doesn’t get much more “major” than the Trinity. Just the other day I when I was doing some personal reading I came across this paragraph:

“Every good answer to every question about God’s character appeals to God as Triune…My claim is no overstatement; it is an axiom of Christian faith. It is a theological rule the church has followed so we will not forget nor distort what we know of God in Jesus Christ, and so our knowledge of God in Jesus Christ will inform everything else we know and want to know better. Trinitarianism makes explicit the whole structure of Christian thought, which since its beginning has imitated and radicalized ‘the three structures of the Jewish understanding of God’ in light of Jesus Christ. It is neither a generalization nor a speculative exercise. It is our way to honor Christ’s memory and follow in his footsteps” Telford Work, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: Living through the Lord’s Prayer (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, p 16).

Turned out I was doing a theological read concerned with the Trinity the very same day I was reading through your comments. It got me all jazzed up to want to post about the Trinity. But to be honest, I didn’t feel qualified to do it justice. The bulk of my training is in biblical studies and biblical languages and the peeps who usually exposit the doctrine of the Trinity the best not only have biblical training but are also church historians or systematic theology buffs. So, I immediately wrote a former theology professor of mine from Moody Bible Institute and begged and pleaded for his help. He is one of very few people I know who speaks in Trinitarian language regularly and in a way that us common-people can actually understand.

Dr. Bryan Litfin is not just a former professor of mine, but he is truly a friend. It took me a long time to consider him as such because after all, he is a specialist in Patristics and has written articles like, “Tertullian’s Exegetical Use of the Regula Fidei as an Interpretive Device in Adversus Marcionem.Studia Patristica (2006). Dr. Litfin did his doctoral studies at University of Virginia and had the incredible opportunity to work under Robert Louis Wilken, one of the most distinguished professors of early christian studies in the field. How the heck are you supposed to be “friends” with a dork, oops, I mean a guy like that? Dr. Litfin’s teaching really resonated with me from the beginning, partly because he knows what it is like to grow up under quite a bit of pressure. His father is the President of Wheaton College and is a legendary preaching machine well known throughout the evangelical seminary world. I remember Dr. Litfin telling a small group of us a hilarious story about when he was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary and he had to preach in the same department where his father taught and had been given a hallowed preaching nickname. It’s brutal for me just thinking about it. I figured if he could live up to that kind of pressure, I could handle some of the pressure I live with as well. It was also Dr. Litfin’s respect for his father and his respect for Wheaton College that drew me to do my Master’s in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton Grad School. Those two years turned out to be two of the best years of my life. To make things even more exciting, Dr. Litfin’s wife Carolyn is a siesta! She is an incognito one most of the time but she reads the blog often and is always such an encouragement to me. She is my very favorite kind of woman – she not only loves the Lord with all of her heart but she also is an amazing cook and has a huge passion for Scripture. And she is so classy! They are a great pair, see them for yourself:

There is really no overstating how much the Litfin family means to me and there is no doubt that you will be hearing about them again, especially because Dr. Litfin has an exciting book coming out April of next year but we will save that news for another time. It deserves its own post. So that is enough by way of introduction. I hope you’ll read the post all the way through, maybe even twice. Here it is:

If there’s one thing I’ve observed about the siestas, it’s that they love the Bible. And no one can claim to be biblical without understanding the doctrine of the Trinity. Let’s talk a little bit about this famous doctrine that we all know we should believe, yet have a hard time grasping.

The Christians of Bible times worshiped Jesus as their divine Lord. They agreed with Thomas when he encountered the risen Christ and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) Jesus himself made the kinds of claims only a divine person can make, and his followers accepted his testimony that he is “one with the Father.” (John 10:30) But if you think about it, this is a hard thing to accept in a Jewish context. Remember what Deuteronomy 6:4 had said? “Hear o Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” The first Christians lived with a certain level of tension. They worshiped the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as God, yet they claimed to be monotheists. They didn’t try to figure out how both could be true at once.

Soon, however, people in the Roman Empire began to address this problem. They didn’t always get it right, and we call the erroneous views that cropped up, “heresies.” One heretical view taught that Jesus was simply a different manifestation of the same God who was previously known as the Father. In other words, God the Father now reveals himself as God the Son, but they’re actually the same guy. You can see how this concept, called “modalism” by theologians today, preserves the “oneness” of God. However, we must ask with skepticism in our voices: Is Jesus Christ just God the Father in a different outfit? No, that can’t be right. The early church fathers scrapped the modalistic idea as quickly as it popped up.

In the year 318 AD in Egypt, the senior pastor of the church at Alexandria held the view that Christ is eternal because he shares the same divine existence as the Father. However, one of the assistant pastors in Alexandria, named Arius, disagreed. To him, this smacked of modalism: it made Christ and the Father into the same being. Arius confronted his pastor (or bishop) and said Christ cannot be eternal. Only the Father is eternal, argued Arius. Therefore, Christ must have been created by God at a point in time. Arius claimed, “God existed when Christ did not.” You can see immediately this is just plain wrong. Today we call it the Arian heresy. But it made sense to a lot of people in ancient times. They viewed the Father as eternal, and said he created Christ as his helper.

The Arian heresy spread and became a huge divisive issue. The ancient church needed to define its views on the matter, so a council was called in 325 AD at a town called Nicaea. (It’s pronounced “Ny-SEE-uh, and today it’s known as Iznik, Turkey.) At the Council of Nicaea, the church rejected Arius’s view. The early church fathers defined the important Trinitarian terms of “person” and “substance,” which are the same terms evangelical Christians consider orthodox today. I teach this doctrine every semester in my theology class at Moody. The view held in the “Nicene Creed” produced by the council is that Christ and the Father have the “same substance.” In Greek, the term is homoousios, and sometimes you see that important word in books about the Trinity.

But if we say the Father and Son have the same substance – that they are both eternal and neither is created by the other – have we slipped into modalism? In other words, have we made God the Father and God the Son into the same being? Absolutely not. The theology of Nicaea uses the term “person” to distinguish them. God the Father is one Person, and God the Son is another. They share the same substance, but not the same personhood. For example, think of Beth, Melissa, and Amanda. They each share the substance of being a woman, yet each is distinct as a person. So it is with the Trinity: the shared substance is divine, but the persons are distinct.

In the aftermath of the Council of Nicaea, Arianism did not go away, but managed to hang around due to political considerations in the Roman Empire. Fortunately, several church fathers rose up to defend the ideas of Nicaea. The most famous defender was Athanasius, who went on to become the senior pastor of the Alexandrian church. Thanks to Athanasius’s tireless work, which often put him at odds with the Roman emperors who preferred Arianism, the true view of the Trinity (Nicene Trinitarianism) finally triumphed. Several thinkers also extended the theology that had originally applied to the Father and Son to the Holy Spirit as well. The initial debate had centered on the question of Jesus’ relationship to the Father, but everyone knew you were supposed to baptize in the threefold name of Father, Son, and Spirit. (Matthew 28:19) After the original council in 325 AD, a more secure theology was put in place by the church fathers, so that the Holy Spirit was clearly included as divine. The upshot is this: each member of the Trinity is a distinct “person,” yet they share one “substance.” That is the mark of the true doctrine of the Trinity: 3 co-eternal persons, 1 shared substance. Don’t follow anybody who tries to teach you otherwise!

What does all this mean for the busy siesta in 2009? There are several big-time implications of the Trinity. First, we see that the full and complete deity of Christ is defended. As Athanasius so often insisted, our salvation is compromised if you accept the Arian premise that Christ isn’t fully God. Christ had to be one with the Father to provide perfect salvation, and one with mankind by becoming fully man. To save us, Jesus had to be 100% God and 100% Man. Athanasius was really clear about this point.

We also see in the doctrine of the Trinity that the Bible’s teaching is well-balanced. There are many verses that depict the Father, Son and Spirit as divine, yet we are never taught in Scripture to worship three separate gods. We worship ONE GOD who is a Trinity of persons. How exactly something can be three and one at the same time is a mystery to us; yet we speak this way because the Bible makes both points equally clear. God is both three and one. He is a Tri-Unity, according to Scripture.

There is one final implication of the Trinity I want to mention. Imagine a man locked in solitary confinement his whole life. He lives in a stark white cell. Not once does he ever have any interaction with another living being. My point is not to focus on the tragic life or psychological trauma such a person would have, but to ask the simple question, “Can this man truly love?” In our imaginary scenario, we would have to say no, because he has no object for his love. He has no relationship with anyone. He is solitary. He is utterly alone. There is no one to receive his affection and give it back in return. But God is not like this. His love is so full, so abundant, so profound, that Relationship is built into his very being! Even before he said, “Let there be light” and created a world with people for Him to love, the giving and receiving of love already existed within the Trinity. God is a Community of persons who love each other perfectly.

Do you see what this means? The Trinitarian God is not just the “boss of the world”; he is Eternal Love. The experience of a relationship between Father, Son and Spirit is fundamental to who God is. Love is his identity – and he shares it with us! This is the amazing teaching of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17:21. Jesus prays that all Christians may be one, just as he and the Father are one. In other words, Jesus invites us into the Trinity’s community of love! Interpersonal love characterizes God’s own being for all eternity. We are called to participate in it – and to demonstrate it to a watching world in our own relationships.

The doctrine of the Trinity is not as complex as theologians make it out to be. Yes, it has some mysterious aspects, but its basic ideas are clear enough. The Bible teaches that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons who love each other perfectly, forming one Trinity with a shared divine substance. The God of love invites us into his community, and he makes it possible for us to live in loving relationship with others so that the image of God can be seen in man.

Dr. Bryan Litfin, Associate Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute

I am so grateful for Dr. Litfin’s willingness to guest blog here at LPM. I think it is a beautiful thing when academic folks and ministry folks partner together. I wish it happened a whole lot more often. So, thank you, Dr. Litfin, on behalf of the entire LPM blog! And come back and visit again.

“Such and so many are the Saviour’s achievements that follow from His incarnation, that to try and number them is like gazing at the open sea and trying to count the waves. One cannot see all the waves with one’s eyes, for when one tries to do so those that are following on baffle one’s senses. Even so, when one wants to take in all the achievements of Christ in the body, one cannot do so, even by reckoning them up, for the things that transcend one’s thought are always more than those one thinks that one has grasped…wherever a man turns his gaze he sees the Godhead of the Word and is smitten with awe.” (St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation).


144 Responses to “A Theological Conversation that Matters: Majoring on the Majors.”

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  1. 1
    Tammy says:

    oh this was very interesting and enlightening. Wow! is all I can say.

    I just love when you post Melissa. YOu are a deepthinking woman of God. Love that about you.

    Tammy S.

  2. 2
    Beth says:

    Dr. Litfin, I know first hand the monumental impact you've had on Melissa. She's quoted you or spoken of you several thousand times over the last five or six years. She had so much respect for you as a professor, THEN meeting Carolyn and falling so in love with her was icing on the cake. She became a fan of your family for life.

    I am astonished that you would honor us with this fabulous guest post and that you would go so far as to call us by our community name. With a grin from ear to ear, I tell you that the term "Siestas" just went up a huge notch.

    You have blessed us immeasurably. May Christ continue to fill you with "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better." Because of your faithfulness to teach, your knowing Him better means that every person who studies under you knows Him better…if they are willing.

    Siestas are willing.

    Thank you so much!

  3. 3
    Heather Brandt says:

    Yes, please do a regular feature on theo. issues! If I had the money and time, I'd go back for a degree like yours, Melissa! It sounds soooo interesting and fun. Honestly, I'd like support on any subject. I don't know how controversial of theo. issues you plan to delve into. I was concerned with some one who was talking recently about The Old Covenant and New Convenant. They claimed that the thief professed belief in Jesus as Savior and went to heaven because it was still the "old covenant" and that the "new covenant" followed Jesus death and ressurection (I think that's what they meant??) and that the thief wouldn't have gone to heaven if he had had his death bed conversion after the new covenant. I have no clue what they are talking about when they talk about this. I grew up Southern Baptist so my understanding of scripture doesn't support what this person was saying…If you aren't comfortable posting this on the blog, my email is heatherlbrandt (at) verizon (dot) net.



  4. 4
    Chelle' says:

    What a great post. Within the last few weeks I've found myself with a HUGE hunger for doctrinal knowledge and understanding.

    Two issues I've encountered recently have caught my attention and caused me to have my nose in the Word to discern truth.

    I'm finding these to be heavily debated issues without the denominations…

    Was the finished of work of Christ on the Cross… or did he go to HELL (substitutionarily) to suffer in our place?


    Is healing guaranteed in the atonement? Is it God's will that not one should ever be sick?

    I've researched the be-gee-bees out of these topics and believe I have an accurate understanding Biblically but want to thank you for knowing WE WOMEN CARE ABOUT THEOLOGY!!! We hunger for TRUTH and the intimacy that truth brings us in a relationship with God.

    Love you Melissa!! It's an honor to serve Jesus with you.

  5. 5
    HisTreasuredPossession says:

    WOW! and thank you.

    Melissa, Dr. Litfin, I truly appreciate the work and time it took to pull this together in everyday lanugage. I also hope to hear much more on these subjects.

    with a heart full for gratefulness!

  6. 6
    JudyB says:

    Awesome — thanks Melissa and Dr. Litfin.

    Judy B.

  7. 7
    Michelle V says:

    Thank you so much Melissa and thank you Dr. Litfin for blessing us with that wonderful lesson!

    You are right Melissa, we do love to discuss theology and learn! But, Beth, I think after all this heavy thinking we may need a good hair post to balance things out! 😉


  8. 8
    michellemabell says:

    Dear Melissa and Dr. Litfin,

    Thank you so much for this post. I have read it three times and know I will go back again…

    The Trinity is a beautiful mystery I sometimes seem to grasp and understand until someone asks me to explain it…:)
    Thank you for a clear and more precise answer but yet written for even me to understand!

    I love the history and theology but really the blessing in this post is how the Trinitarian God is Eternal Love.

    Thank you again.

    Love and Blessings in Christ,

    Michelle in Vermont

  9. 9
    Following Hard says:

    This is a great topic for discussion. It is also one that is frequently taken for granted.

    I was surprised a couple of months ago to hear an aunt (who belongs to a different denomination) talking about some struggles her church was having with members who do not believe in the trinity. I suppose Modalism would be an accurate description of the position they are taking. The pastor of the church has been working to correct this error in his congregation, and has discovered (to his dismay) that his mother is one of the parishioners on the other side of the issue!

    Let us never think we have outgrown sound teaching on the most fundamental doctrines of the faith. There are mysteries of God that should never be thought of as stale or commonplace.

  10. 10
    Kim Safina says:

    The Journey Continues ~


    I ditto what Beth said!

    Looking forward to reading in depth information from Dr. Litfin!!! whooo Hoooo!!!

    Melissa, I am looking forward to you writing a book one of these days! Most people don't want to be Bible Academicians.
    You got the gift girlfriend!!!!!

    With "Heaven Bound" blessings,
    Kim Safina 🙂

  11. 11
    Inksstillwet says:

    Thank you, Dr. Litfin, for sharing the uniqueness of the Trinity with us. What an insightful and intriguing response you’ve shared with us! And thank you, Melissa, for encouraging us to grow ever closer to our amazing God! Yes, keep the theology coming!

  12. 12
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you! This helped so much.
    Keep um coming Melissa……..
    Shawn, Georgia

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you, thank you for putting into plain English what I have in my heart, but am unable to verbalize! We serve an amazing God Who wants us to join in His community of love. I'd love to read more on any topic you care to discuss.

  14. 14
    Susan B. says:

    WOW! I never stopped to think about relationship within the Trinity. Mind blowing and over-flowing with love. I so appreciate Dr. Litfin taking time to teach us Siestas. Melissa, thank you for stretching our brains!

  15. 15
    Doris says:

    I am LOVING THIS POST! So exciting to be able to dig further into the Word with those who love to do the same! Melissa, I'm always spellbound by your writing and hearing from Dr. Liffin is thrilling! Thanks for your inspiration. Can't wait for the next installment!

    Trussville, Alabama

  16. 16
    Anonymous says:

    Wowzahs, that was good stuff! Thank you Melissa and Dr. Liftin… makes me want to go back to school right now and study!

  17. 17
    Leslie says:

    Thanks for this great guest post! I've never read about the history of the theology of the Trinity. Very interesting.

    This may sound strange, but I, in a way, came to terms with the mystery of the Trinity and not ever being able to fully understand it in my lifetime after hearing about a little book written by a mathematician about a fictional two-dimensional world he calls Flatland. The Flatlanders which inhabit this world can move from side to side, but have no concept of up and down (which would require a third dimension). Think of it as if they live in a piece of paper. If I were to pass my fingers through this two-dimensional space, the Flatlanders would see each finger as distinct and separate and would have no concept of them being part of the same body. In the same way, there's no way for me to currently completely understand how the three Persons of the Trinity are also One. I just have to believe it in faith.

  18. 18
    poppylatte says:

    Thank you for this awesome post. I'm not one who regularly comments but I wanted to say thank you. I love learning bible doctrine. It's strange and exciting to think about how the early church was left to sort out who Jesus really was, in relation to the Holy Spirit and to God Almighty. It's exciting that we are still sorting it out with the help of those who did most of the hard work hundreds of years before us. We should never take for granted the sacrifice of the early church, that faithful cloud of witnesses. What an awesome God we serve!

  19. 19
    Melissa says:

    Poppy, Thanks for commenting! And I think it is so interesting that the early church was left to sort it out as well and here we are thousands of years later trying to articulate it all in our own cultural context. It is amazing. Thanks for saying hello.

  20. 20
    colorado girl says:

    Dr. Litfin,

    Thank you for shedding so much light on our understanding of the Trinity.

    I have a dear friend who is an Iraqi Shiite Muslim. In our conversations of faith, she cannot begin to fathom how I can "worship three gods." Your post will help me to lovingly articulate the truth of the Trinity so much more effectively.

    Thank you!


  21. 21
    Sally says:

    That is so helpful as I am struggling with teachers and preachers who keep saying that we invite Him to worship! He is inviting US! God Bless

  22. 22
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you both Melissa and Dr. Litfin for such a great post and an explanation that answers what I have been raised on and what I believe. Now when asked, I have a down-to-earth way of explaining how God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are truly 3 in 1.


  23. 23
    Lisa says:

    We ARE willing. Praise God!

    This was the most clear explanation of the Trinity I have ever read.

    I, too, would love to study the Bible in depth. I've always had a passion for learning and studying, and not until I became serious about knowing the Word did I quite know how to channel that passion. Nothing satisfies me more than digging deep into Scripture and unearthing the endless gems contained within. God only makes Himself more real to me with each facet of Himself that He reveals.

    Thank you, Melissa and Dr. Litfin, for your dedicated service to the body of Christ, and hungry Siestas like me who just can't get enough of the Word!

  24. 24
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you Dr. Litfin and Melissa. To be honest, the depth of your answer still left me struggling to understand. Not believe, mind you, I do believe in the Trinity. But just plain understand what you are saying. I hope I am not being too simplistic, but this is a way that has helped me. Please tell me if this is totally incorrect. I think of the Trinity by using the example of H2O. H2O can be fluid (Jesus Christ), vapor (the Holy Spirit) or ice (God the Father). Each element is different and distinct, but still they are all
    H2O. Simple explanation, I suppose, but it helped me find the Trinity much less a mystery.

  25. 25
    HIS Daughter says:


    Can I just give you a huge cyber hug??? I adore you more everyday!!
    You are not afraid of anything…even the mystery of the Trinity!!

    Please let Dr. Litfin know that I was honored that he would take time to do this complicated subject true justice without overwhelming a 50 year old brain!

    I love, love, love Church History, Early Church Fathers, Theology (but no fighting please dear GOD!!!)

    I have a question and I really need a straight forward answer – and I know if you read this..I will get it.

    At age 50, my husband and best friend wants to return to the faith he remembered growing up with in the North – The RCC, Catholic Church. When our 23 year old son miraculously escaped death with only a scratch from a DUI crash that took the top off his car and not his upper body…(unreal!)…my quiet and private faith man wanted to dive in deep.

    Let's just say he is the sweetest guy in the world…but TULIP (his brother is John Calvin seriously), and all the other Protestant churches around us were not for him.

    Not to offend because I am a cradle Protestant…but he basically said, "Welch's grape juice and a cracker in disposable cups twice a year is scary awful!"

    So, my question is – I am pretty sure Beth is ecumenical minded about Catholics, right? I think I even met Sister Lynn on the Siesta blog.

    I am still welcome as long as I don't talk about differences of beliefs, etc….I hope???

    It's been trying to say the least…the last 3 months I've lost some friends and even my guys brother is not speaking to us!

    Will you guys let me know somehow, please? My heart is fragile right now and I've cried a bucket full of tears, but I'm going with my man because I prayed and prayed for him to be the spiritual leader and he definitely is now.

    Love and big hugs…more theology please..even if I can't comment..I'll read


  26. 26
    jill says:

    Thank you for stretching my brain on this sultry summer day. It will take several re-reads for it all to sink in but man does my heart yearn to learn so I can be a better witness for Christ.

  27. 27
    Melinda says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for going the distance to bring us better understanding of this key part of Christianity. For lack of any better way to say it, YOU ROCK.

    Thank you, Dr. Litfin, for taking the time out of what is no doubt a busy schedule, to teach this willing "classroom" full of knowledge-hungry Siestas. You have a wonderful way of making it understandable and a little easier to grasp. We are blessed and richer for your visit.

    Blessings all around,

  28. 28
    Leslie Lauren says:

    Wow! Thanks so much for getting this added perspective, Melissa! I look forward to reading through it very slowly tonight with a cup of tea 🙂

    Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

  29. 29
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa and Dr. Liftin – Thanks so much for the post; it takes me back to my seminary days! Love it!
    Holly in Houston

  30. 30
    Faran says:

    Love, love, love this! Thanks to Melissa for helping us be smarter about the God we love. And thanks to Dr. Litfin for your willingness to engage our minds on this issue. My husband is a deep-thinker about theological issues and I can't wait to share your post with him. I know he will also be blessed by your explanation.

    Grace and peace,

  31. 31
    Kristin says:

    Wow this was so good! Thank you Melissa and thank you Dr. Liftin for taking the time to do this post. You outline everything so clearly. I love that I can have better knowledge on this issue, especially as my children are growing and asking tougher questions!

    With gratitude ~ Kristin

  32. 32
    BeBe says:

    Thank you Melissa and Dr. Litfin – GREAT post and in language I can not only understand, but hopefully be able to reiterate in conversation with others! Such a central and important theme, as Christians we should all have this one down pat with no hesitation.
    Thanks for keeping us on our theological toes!!!

  33. 33
    Kelly S. says:


  34. 34
    Tabitha@ichoosebliss says:

    This was absolutely food for my soul!! My awakening began 18 months ago and how I LOVE this path!!

    This helped me in so many ways!!

    Thank You!!

  35. 35
    Cynda P says:

    Wow! Can't wait to share this with my college-aged son. Also, to "HIS Daughter" God's going to honor your commitment to your husband and to Him.

  36. 36
    Melissa says:


    I know that Trinitarian language can be very tricky which is why I got Dr. Litfin to write the post. I’ve never seen it exposited any better or any smoother. I must say though that it is best to refrain from some of the standard analogies like water, ice, and vapor. These are often too simplistic and could be interpreted as heresy (for example, modalism). We should stretch our minds to ponder the mystery even if it is hard to understand before we try to make it too simplistic. Thank you so much for writing. I hope this helps you.


  37. 37
    Anonymous says:

    What a great post, although I still lovethe baby and puppy pictures.

    It brought back ideas I haven't thought about since my undergrad days at Bible College.

  38. 38
    peggy sue says:

    Thank you Melissa for this – I so agree that you should write a book! Thank you for your insight, inspiration and willingness to share your knowledge with us!

    Dr. Litfin, thank you for taking your time to offer such a teaching to us. Looking forward to your book!

    Blessings to all!

    PeggySue – San Antonio, Tx

  39. 39
    Melissa says:

    Thank you for taking your time to help us learn more about theology. It is a truly scary subject (all those BIG words) and I appreciate you bringing your post to us on a level we can understand.
    I had to read through it rather quickly, as I was pressed for time, but I will try to go over it again later a little more slowly.
    Thank you again and love to you all.

  40. 40
    TraciG says:

    The idea of 3 persons, 1 substance gives me some clarity. That's what I've always thought but didn't have the words to express it so it made sense! I also appreciate the admonition to be aware of the things we are being taught and to be certain we are taught the doctrine of tri-unity. One of the things I observe about many evangelicals today is that there is such a fear of becoming legalistic that doctrine is being ignored or at the least treated lightly and rarely. Thanks for the deep stuff that is full of TRUTH.

  41. 41
    The Curly Redhead says:

    What a blessing this was to me today. I've had my mind blown contemplating the eternal nature of God and gotten my tongue tripped up trying to explain how Jesus was present at Creation to my children (6,5,3). And although I knew that the Holy Spirit was "hovering over the waters" at Creation, I had never meditated on the eternal nature of the Comforter until now. How extremely, blessedly comforting that the One who sealed me and guides me is triune with the Ancient of Days.

    At the risk of sounding completely incoherent, I had always thought of the Holy Spirit as really only getting involved in my life as He regenerated my spirit and then came to dwell in me. I am chewing hard, and with great relief, as I realize that He knows — and has always known — every part of my history. I can trust that when He asks me to do something that is uniquely hard for me,for He knows why it is hard for me, He was present when it happened (?), and He will supply the extra strength and grace needed by me. Not just because He is the Holy Spirit and can do these things, but because it is a personal gift to me, for He was there when the wound began. My intimacy with the Father and Son fully extends to the Holy Spirit. How had this eluded me before?

  42. 42
    tinerfay says:

    Thank you from those of us who crave to learn more of the deepest mysteries of God!

  43. 43
    Pat from Kansas says:

    Thank you Dr. Litfin. I appreciate your willingness to 'go an extra mile' and share your insight with us. May God bless you.

    Pat from Kansas

  44. 44
    Anonymous says:

    I want to know if I am understanding this correctly but in an "easy to wrap my brain around" way. God is a divine substance in Heaven, Christ is a divine substance that came to earth and the Holy Spirit is a divine substance that lives in us…?
    Hillary S.

  45. 45
    MaMa K says:

    Love this post. Thank you Dr. Litfin and Melissa for writing on the subject. That was something I honestly hadn't really thought about before. I guess I was misinformed early on in my church upbringing. A HUGE light bulb just went off in my head!


  46. 46
    Lynn says:


    I am SO excited about you doing some theology posts every once in a while. I LOVE it!
    Dr. Litfin did a marvelous job of explaining the Trinity.

    Can't wait for more!

    Sister Lynn

  47. 47
    Arleen says:

    Thank you for posting that, Melissa.

    Since we are discussing theology, specifically the Trinitarian aspect, I was wondering if I could ask a question that has been bothering me for a long time.

    What did Jesus mean when he said that no one, including himself, is good but the Father? Mark 10:18, "'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good—except God alone.'"

  48. 48
    Melissa says:


    Very good question. I will add that to my list of post topics for another day. Hope you have a great day!


  49. 49
    Fran says:

    Wow! I'll will be reading this again. I'm so grateful for the explanation and the opportunity to understand and learn.

    My husband knows Carolyn because they graduated from HS together.

    Lets keep this up Melissa. This is awesome. We need this.


  50. 50
    KR says:

    LORD have mercy! My frontal lobes are working overtime and I love it. I'll have to read this about 12 times to even begin to get it…but I am so grateful! Thank you Melissa for esteeming our brains so highly…you believe we will get it and so we WILL!!! Thanks to the Professor…just a GLORY to know people have the head knowledge with the heart passion. Thanks for bringing home some scholarly study for us siestas! ps please tackle the Timothy thing about women not teaching and being silent…I'm thinking there has to be a mistake.

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